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Best Sustainable Way to Travel In East Africa

Travelling responsible and sustainable is a shared commitment between travellers and destination management companies aiming at creating a harmonious relationship with the environment and local communities.

The best way to travel sustainably in East Africa is by striking a delicate balance between local communities, tourists and conservation to ensure the wild stays wild as possible.

What is Eco Travel or Sustainable Tourism?

Sustainable Tourism or Eco Travel can be defined as responsible travel to natural areas that help conserve the environment, wildlife and also improve the well-being of the local communities.

Ecotourism is more than just how travel companies manage their resources and the impact they have on the environment, also it is about taking responsibility to help travelers understand the impacts of their actions, both while travelling and when they return home.

If travelers are looking for an environmentally friendly way to travel, traveler companies and tour operators should advise them to first think about what they consider to be good eco-tourism. Once they understand how to travel more sustainably, they are in place to ask their travel agents the hard questions about the products they are suggesting, as well as their own operations.

These questions includes

  • What is your company’s commitment to eco-tourism and how are you making this a reality?
  • Are the suppliers you are commending part of any regional or global eco-tourism initiatives?
  • What are your supplier’s employment and development programs?
  • How does a camp or lodge minimize its use of resources and the impact it has on the immediate environment?
  • Are you or your supplier’s involved in any carbon offsetting programs?
  • Do you or your supplier’s support any environmental or conservation programs.

Why Is Sustainable Travel Important?

The essence of Eco-tourism is to educate travelers about how to travel sustainably, provide funds for ecological conservation programs, and aid the economic development and empowerment of local communities. And to foster respect for different cultures and human rights.

Sustainable travel has become a critical endeavor for wildlife conservation and to ensure that future generations may experience destinations reasonably untouched by human intervention.

How To Travel More Sustainably in East Africa?

As Mantis Africa Safaris, here are our best sustainable travel tips for an East Africa Safari Vacation.

  1. Fly Less, Stay Longer

This way you will not only save money by taking fewer internal flights in East Africa, but you will also help reduce the carbon emissions produced by your trip. Choosing just one safari park or game reserve to spend your entire East Africa safari in is a great way to travel more sustainably and also enjoy an affordable African safari.

  • Use Efficient Means of Transportation

In addition to taking less flights in East Africa, there are other ways to reduce carbon emissions on your East Africa trip. Although all modes of transportation require energy, some are more efficient and cleaner than others.

Safari vehicles are the commonly used mode of transport in East Africa, this affords you the time to soak in East Africa’s most magnificent landscapes and stop along the way for a couple of game drives in search for the legendary Big 5 – lions, leopards, cape buffaloes, rhinos and elephants.

  • Step off The Safari Vehicle

Get a new perspective of East Africa on foot, as the first explorers did. A walking safari is a unique physical, mental and spiritual adventure through nature, fully experiencing the sights, smells and sounds of the bush.

Walking safaris can vary from the gentle, morning stroll to a multi-day journey from camp to camp – especially in Masai Mara National Reserve and Serengeti National Park.

Other sustainable travel tips for reducing carbon dioxide emissions on your safari would be to opt for activities like canoeing, launch cruises, horseback riding safaris and cycling. Furthermore, while the standard combustion engine of a safari vehicle does burn fuel, there are lodges and camps in East Africa with electric safari vehicles that offer Carbon dioxide emission-free game drives in Africa,

  • Stay at Sustainable accommodations and support community projects

Staying at eco-friendly accommodation in East Africa (safari lodges and camps that lessen their environmental impact and contribute to the well-being of local communities), is also how to travel sustainably in East Africa.

Do some research about specific practices and polies that you have implemented and ask your tour company or travel agent to guide you in choosing the one that is right for you.

The following are the important questions to ask to show you are looking at how to travel sustainably are

  • Do you have water conservation practices in place?
  • Have they eliminated single – use plastics
  • Do they promote diversity and inclusion?
  • Do they hire local people for management roles?
  • Do they prioritise local suppliers and sustainable producers?
  • Are they solar-powered
  • Do they support zero-waste practices
  • Do they have programs that help mitigate human wildlife conflict and safe guard threatened species.

When thinking about how to travel sustainably in East Africa’s countries – Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda, consider staying at eco-friendly lodges including Singita Sasakwa Lodge, Usangu Expedition Camp, Chem Chem Lodge among others.

  • Stay in A Private Conservancy or Reserve

Staying in a private conservancy is one of the best sustainable travel tips for going on a safari in East Africa. A conservancy is a very specific for of land and wildlife conservation, whereby local landowners enter into lease agreements with safari operators. This means that thousands of small scale farmers and residents who own small parcels of land come together, put their properties in a corrective and enter contracts with safari operators in return for monetary compensation and other assistance like educational and healthcare programs, or livestock and grazing management.

By going on safari in a private conservancy, you directly finance conservation and contribute to the well-being of the local communities like the Maasai and Samburu in Kenya and Tanzania, this is a tangible incentive to help protect Africa’s beautiful flora and fauna.

Also, you will enjoy some perks that are not available in national parks, such as

  • Go off road on game drives for more intimate wildlife sightings
  • Go on a night drives to track Africa’s nocturnal animals like aardvark, honey badger and porcupine
  • Go on guided walking safaris
  • Enjoy exclusive crowd-free game viewing
  • Go fly camping – an adventurous, private and unique experience often offered as part of a walking safari
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What One Can Do When in Uganda

Uganda is an enchanting African destination with stunning landscapes, captivating culture and amazing wildlife including the critically endangered mountain gorillas and the Big Five, which is why it was crowned “The Pearl of Africa” by Churchill Winston.

A Uganda Safari can be an adventure packed, soul soothing and memorable experience. From thrilling wildlife encounters to adrenalines – pumping adventures, Uganda offers an array of experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Here is a list of what to do when in Uganda on your Africa safari to make it worthwhile.

  • Gorilla trekking

Venturing into the thick forests of Southern Uganda searching for the famous mountain gorillas and spend an hour watching these majestic creatures feeding their offspring or just going on with their life in the forest is one of the most exciting wildlife experiences in Africa.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in two national parks that is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, these misty forested parks host the largest population of mountain gorillas in the world. With habituated gorilla families open for gorilla tourism, giving you the ultimate feel of gorilla trekking adventure.

While in the forest and presence of mountain gorillas, remember to heed to your ranger’s instructions, prepare physically for a considerable amount of walking and participate while in good health or else you will leave the gorillas infected.

Gorilla trekking is an adrenaline stirring experience and worth every minute of your time.

Note: Gorilla trekking is one of the most sought out activity on a Uganda Safari Experience which is why you need to book for your experience in advance. 

For visitors who wish to spend more than one hour with the gorillas, you can do Gorilla Habituation Experience which is only offered in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This experience allows you spend 4 hours with a semi-habituated gorilla family, together with researchers and scientists you will learn how these giants are trained to be less hostile to human presence.

  • Chimpanzee trekking

Uganda is a primate haven with over 13 different primates and the largest population of chimpanzees in the world, chimpanzee trekking is one of the most popular primate experience in Uganda offered in several Uganda primate destinations including Kibale Forest National Park, The Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kalinzu Forest, Tooro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve and Budongo Forest.

Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is one of the most popular wildlife activities in Uganda allowing you to step into the world of chimpanzees in the wild, the trek last about three hours and include a maximum of one hour with the chimpanzees. In this one hour expect to see chimpanzees from a safe but intimate distance of 8-10 meters, get up close and personal with the chimpanzees and discover their intelligence, beautify and social structures.

For visitors who wish to spend more hours with the chimpanzees, you can do chimpanzee habituation experience joining the researchers of the habituation team for a half or full day excursion in the forests of Kibale.

For visitors who don’t wish to venture into the forests to see the chimpanzees, visit Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Uganda Wildlife Education Centre to view orphaned rescued chimpanzees.

Enjoy the sight of chimpanzees going about their daily, picking and eating fruits, watching and grooming each other. 

  • Birding Safaris

With over 1,050 bird species recorded, Uganda is a fantastic destination for birding enthusiasts. The tropical rainforests, savannah plains, swamps and lakesides are a home to many beautiful bird species.

These bird species mainly migrate from Lake Victoria’s shores, the source of the Nile and from the Albertine Rift.

The best birding spots in Uganda include Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Semuliki National Park and Mabamba Swamps among others.

On a Uganda birding safari, expect to see beautiful bird species including Fox’s Weaver, Blue-headed Sunbird, Short-tailed Warbler, Ruwenzori Nightjar, Rwenzori Turaco, Red-throated Alethe, African Green Broadbill, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Handsome Francolin, Collared Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Dwarf Honeyguide, Grauer’s Warbler, Dusky Crimson wing, Rwenzori Batis, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Shelley’s Crimson-wing, Stripe-breasted Tit, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Kivu Ground Thrush, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Strange Weaver, Chapin’s Flycatcher among others.  

  • Uganda Community and Cultural experiences

Flora and fauna are not to only form of diversity Uganda has to offer, the country has a mixture of traditions and cultures worth exploring. Uganda has many tribes and each tribe and local community will offer you a different recipe, cultural dress and sense of style, language, traditional song and dance.

On a Uganda community and cultural experience try the famous Luwombo from Buganda, Eshabwe from Ankole, Atapa from the land of Teso, Malakwang from Acholi and Maleewa from the Bagisu of the East.

Participate in the Batwa Trail, stop by the museums such as Igongo Cultural Centre, Ndere Centre, the National Theatre and be entertained by local dances and drama by the local people giving you a feel and taste of Uganda’s culture. 

  • White Water Rafting on River Nile

For adrenaline junkies, white water rafting is a perfect activity for you in Uganda, raft down the ferocious rapids of Uganda’s White Nile from the lakeside town of Jinja. This thrilling experience lasts about 6 hours along 25 kilometers of the River Nile.

White water rafting is not for the fainthearted, it is for the wild hearts that crave a spectacular exploration of the Nile one rapid immersion at a time. The options range from the Grade 5 Extreme Rafting, the Raft River Board, Grade 3 Full day rafting or the 2 day water rafting. These routes bypass the most extreme rapids, while still giving enough of a thrill.

After this nerve-wrecking but fulfilling adventure, you will be treated to local music, bonfires, barbeque and dancing on the banks of the Nile. 

  • Canoeing on Lake Bunyonyi and Craters

Discover the picture perfect vistas of the Lake Bunyonyi – the deepest lake in Uganda and the second deepest in Africa, the lake has 29 islands surrounded by prissily terraced food gardens.

Canoeing on Lake Bunyonyi will allow your eyes to saunter up the hills and as deep down into the waters as your eyes can take you while listening to the traditional tales about the Lake and watching the birds.

Canoeing on Lake Bunyonyi is done in a traditionally dugout canoe will be your transport means around the site while you visit island to island, hike the terraced hillsides and learn traditional crafts.

  • Game viewing on safari

Explore Uganda’s savannah and discover the various wildlife in 4×4 wheel vehicles with open roof, remember to carry a good camera and a pair of binoculars. Treat your eyes to several species of animals and the stunning landscape.

Game viewing is one of the most sought for adventures in Uganda and the most popular activity that many travelers in Uganda ought not to miss. With you’re a ranger guide, you will spot various animals including lions, leopards, cape buffaloes, zebras, gazelles, Rothschild’s giraffe, Uganda Kob, eland, warthogs, waterbucks among others.

Game viewing safari in Uganda is available is savannah national parks including Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park and Semuliki National Park.

Game viewing options available in Uganda are morning, afternoon and night game drives.

  • Mountain Climbing and hiking

Uganda is a land of hills, valleys and Volcano Mountains. To the east of Uganda stands Mount Elgon at 4,321 meters with the largest caldera in the world, Rwenzori Mountains, Mount Rwenzori the third –highest peak in Africa in western Uganda and the mighty Virunga Ranges; Mount Mgahinga, Muhavura and Sabinyo which stand at 3,474 metres, 4,127 metres and 3,645 metres respectively offering the best climbing adventures in the world.

To hike up the Volcanoes is not a merely a rocky climb, rather it is a walk through the dense forests that grow on the fertile slopes of the volcanoes, a peek at the gorillas that tread the bamboo in the Virunga Ranges and the rare birds that have made these highlands a dwelling place.

Hiking these mountains and volcanoes is a test of character, strength and an accomplishment that leaves you prouder of your ability than you were before the hike. 

  • Boat safaris

Uganda offer incredible opportunities to enjoy watching wildlife from a boat, enjoy the stunning views of nature and hear the light waves of nature’s sound track. The country’s water bodies attract a large number of wildlife that come to sip on the life-giving waters and the boat safari is one of the best ways to get up close to these animals.

A Uganda boat safari is also one of the best vantage point for spotting wildlife, and it is a more peaceful experience compared to the bumpy ride in a safari truck which earns it a place on your bucket list for things to do while on a safari in Uganda.

Best destinations for boat safaris in Uganda include Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo in Lake Mburo National Park, Victoria Nile in Murchison Falls National Park.

  • Kampala City Tour

Kampala is not only a capital city of Uganda but also a great destination with several incredible attractions, sitting on 22 hills you can choose to explore Kampala on a bike tour, vehicle ride or a walking tour. Top things to do in Kampala City include visiting The Gaddafi Mosque, Kibuli Mosque, The Buganda Parliament, visiting the Kasumbi Tombs and Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo among others.

The greatness of Kampala lies in her architectural and historical sites like the Uganda Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo, Rubaga Cathedral, Namirembe Cathedral, the Bahai Temple, the Hindu temple and the independence monument, Kasubi tombs.

Remember to get a taste of a Rolex. Reach out and let us tailor make your dream Uganda safari.

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What are the best safari countries in Africa

Africa is listed among the best destinations in the world and the continent is home to a wide range of safari conservation parks, canyons, deserts and deltas, rivers and ravines creating an ideal canvas for a dream adventure.

Choosing the best destination to visit depends on what you are looking for, animals you want to see in the wild, the type of safari holiday you are interested and who you are traveling with.

Here are to the best safari countries to visit for the best safari holiday.

Overview

1. Botswana

2. Kenya

3. Namibia

4. Rwanda

5. South Africa

6. Tanzania

7. Uganda

8. Zambia

Explore the Best Countries in Africa on Safari

  1. Botswana

Botswana is one of the best safari countries in Africa offering some of the most incredible wildlife experience, several must see- wildlife destination and stunning landscapes.

The breathtaking natural beauty of Botswana presents scenes ranging from start desert beauty to thickets of acacia tree, and the winding waters of the Okavango Delta are one of the reasons to choose Botswana as your Africa safari destinations. With exclusive, adventurous exploration and unforgettable wildlife encounter, Botswana is the ideal destination for any safari seeker on the African continent.

 Whether you are looking for a safari for seniors or interested in a luxury African safari, in Botswana you can find the right place to fit your style of travel and more.

Here are the spectacular destinations in Botswana.

  • Okavango Delta

The famous Okavango Delta is a vast inland Delta in northwestern Botswana, the Okavango Delta is a 15,000 sq.kilometer  of pulsing wetland that is unlike any other on the planet. The Okavango (Kavango) River which flows from the Angolan highlands through Namibia’s Caprivi Strip and into the Kalahari Desert, created the iconic Okavango Delta.

The Delta offers water-and-land based safari experiences.

Highlights of the area:

  • Discover how the channel of the Okavango Delta provide a pathway through reeds and bushes to highlight some of the best birdlife as well as smaller wildlife in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Witness how the landscape shifts from desert-like sand to stony savannahs
  • Embrace unparalleled game experience looking for animals like elephants and lions, lively avifauna and foraging mongoose.

When to Visit: In the months of May to September, the Okavango Delta is at its best with cooler days, low grasses and game viewing is at its prime. These dryer, winter months of the Southern Hemisphere are simply perfect to explore on water or land.

  • Chobe Game Reserve

Situated in the North of Botswana not too far from the Zimbabwe border, Chobe Game Reserve is the third-largest game drives in the country and home to the largest population of elephants on earth – over 120,000.

Highlights of Chobe Game Reserve

  • Great herds of elephants – an incredible sight to witness from within the reserve and from a boat on the Chobe River
  • Proximity to the magnificent Victoria Falls to experience it as a day trip
  • Combines well with the Okavango Delta and Maun to create the overall Botswana Safari adventure

When to visit: The winter months in the Southern Hemisphere are the best time to visit Chobe Game Reserve, these months are drier, cooler months of June to the end of September. Combining Chobe Game Reserve with a visit to the fascinating and famous Victoria Falls works exceptionally well during the winter months as the falls are at their most magnificent from May to the end of July. 

  • Kalahari Desert

70% of Botswana is covered by the Kalahari Desert, this desert crosses several countries starting from the southern border with South Africa and expanding up into Botswana. Kalahari is a dominant ecosystem in Botswana, it is not a typical desert with the dunes often associated with this harsh environment. Instead it is an arid landscape that is mainly defined by areas of grass, bush scrub land and the lunar like Mkagadikgadi Salt Plains.

Kalahari offers some of the typical topography and features you would expect from a desert experience and more.

Highlights of Kalahari Desert

  • Diverse wildlife, flora and fauna during dramatic variations in temperature
  • Visit with the renowned bush men who have lived in the distinctive landscape and temporal conditions for millennia
  • Enjoy stargazing and nature walks to embrace the encompassing majesty of the Kalahari Desert

When to Visit – To enjoy all of the region’s offerings most noticeably the prolific birdlife, consider visiting during the wet season. The prolific birdlife can be seen from December through to March, also animals congregate around the pans so wildlife spotting is good. The cooler and drier months will make road travel easier, so one could say this is a year-round destination.

  • Linyanti Wildlife Reserve

Linyanti is a swamp-like safari wonder situated in the northwestern corner of Chobe National Park, near the river border of Namibia. It is remote and rugged and offers exceptional off-the-beaten-track safaris.

This untouched wildlife sanctuary boasts splendid scenery of untouched grasslands, riverine forest and meandering lagoons. Due to its remote location, each corner has something mesmerizing to see for example thousands of exotic birds that migrate to this region during the green season. 

Highlights of Linyanti Wildlife Reserve

  • Amazing views of vast herds of elephants which are one of the main highlights of any safari in this reserve
  • Indulge in the stillness, remoteness and incredible birdlife associated with the serene corner of Botswana

When to Visit – September is a peak time to visit the reserve, the best birding months are January and February. The winder in the southern Africa falls from June through to the end of August making wildlife sightings easier during dry months when the grass is low. 

2. Kenya

      Kenya is a gateway to some of Africa’s key safari destinations sitting along Africa’s eastern coastline, this beautiful country comprises of vast savannahs, flourishing lakes and impressive mountains.

      Kenya offers opportunities to enjoy the world’s largest migration of land animals – The Kenya Great Migration Safari or honeymoon safari across the country’s intimate destinations, the country is well known for its alluring parks including Masai Mara National Reserve hosting the Great Migration, Amboseli National Park with large herds of elephants and views of Mount Kilimanjaro among others.

       A safari to Kenya offers fantastic times as you visit the following iconic destinations

      • Amboseli National Park

      Crowned “The Land of Giants”, Amboseli National Park is one of the popular safari destinations in Kenya offering a frontline view of one of the majestic sights of Mount Kilimanjaro.

      The name Amboseli comes from the Maasai word “empusel” meaning a salty, dusty place. Amboseli National Park is relatively a small national park at a size of 150 square miles located in southern Kenya, the park encompasses of wide- open areas of savannah grasslands, tangled acacia forests and the dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli. 

      Highlights of Amboseli National Park

      • Enjoy the national park with one of the best panoramic views of Mount Kilimanjaro
      • Explore the wilderness in search for wildlife in the park including four of The Big Five
      • Indulge in the natural landscapes of Kenya as drive through one of Africa’s most scenic national parks

      When to Visit – The drier months of the Southern Hemisphere’s winter are prime time to experience this park of Kenya, the best time to visit Amboseli is from the end of May to the end of September and enjoy mild days and cool nights with quality game viewing guaranteed.

      • Maasai Mara National Reserve

      Masai Mara is the most famous Wildlife Safari Destination in Kenya located in the southwest of the country bordering Tanzania, this iconic reserve offers some of the best game viewing in Africa. Its wide-open plains provide a sanctuary for an abundance of animals like elephants, buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, hyenas and Mara’s famous big cats – lion, leopard and cheetah.

      Masai Mara National Park is the quintessential safari destination and the place most first-time safari goers look to experience on Maasai Mara safaris.

      Highlights of Masai Mara National Reserve

      • Witness the Annual Great Migration – the greatest wildlife spectacle on Earth, the largest migration of land animals ever witness on earth
      • Explore the vast savannahs with exceptional safari guides, inviting lodges and premier camps
      • Take advantage to discover the wilderness of Masai Mara in search for the Big Five and herds of other game

       When to Visit – The Great Migration in Masai Mara Kenya usually occurs around July and again in reserve around the end of October to provide the best – game viewing opportunities. Birding in Masai Mara is wonderful in January and February, the Southern Hemisphere’s winter months of June to August are known as the peak safari period.

      Masai Mara is one of the few safari destinations that assures you of a great wildlife experience any time of the year. 

      • Laikipia

      Located in the central region of Kenya, Laikipia County runs across vast open plains, dense hilly areas and impressive mountain ranges. The county overlooks the Ewaso Nyiro River and is home to vast herds of elephants and buffaloes, it is also one of the few places where wild dog populations are on the rise and black rhinos are a huge success story with around half of the country’s population of these critically endangered animals found here.

      Highlights of Laikipia County

      • Find a refuge for large number of endangered black rhinos and other captivating wildlife such as giraffe, kudus, waterbucks, elands and leopards
      • Revel in the wilderness from a different perspective on walking and horseback – riding safaris
      • Discover the active colors, songs and hunting prowess of the impressive avifauna with distinctive bird watching opportunities

      When to Visit – for optimum game viewing, the drier months of June through to September are perfect, if you are an avid bird watcher, the best time to visit is in January and February.

      • Lake Nakuru National Park

      Located in west-central Kenya approximately three hours from Nairobi City, Lake Nakuru National Park hosts a captivating lake in the Great Rift Valley, visiting this destination will add a splash of color to your safari in Africa.

       Highlights of Lake Nakuru

      • See thousands of flamingoes that cover the shimmering waters of the lake as they forage, rest and cast a slightly pink hue across the water.
      • Search the landscape amongst the shrubs and along the shoreline to find vibrant wildlife such as crocodiles and baboons

      When to Visit – the best time to visit Lake Nakuru National Park is during the dry season between June and September. 

      3. Namibia

       Namibia is the soul of Africa characterized by vast open spaces, breathtaking scenery and great contrasts. The country to home iconic and richly rewarding safari destinations, Namibia continues to be safe, friendly and diverse country to visit.

      Namibia has so many incredible places to see and experience, from Red desert scenery, a breathtaking canyon and an eerie yet serene coastline summing up the fascinating country of Namibia.

      The town of Swakopmund has a strong German influences which is fascinating to experience and spending time with the Himba tribes as its people sharing their lifestyle and environment offers you unforgettable experience.

      The ghostly Kolmanskop is a captivating and spending time exploring the Bushmen painting at Twyfelfontein and marveling at the petrified rocks at Vingerklip round up a magnificent experience of the following places. 

      • Etosha National Park

      Situated in the North of Namibia, Etosha National Park is a perfect destination for safari goers who want to explore more than the famous dunes, san culture and quaint coastal towns of Namibia.  

      Highlights of Etosha National Park

      • Witness the Big Five roaming freely through the park during the dry winter months
      • Discover elephants and a variety of buck as they gather at waterholes amid – arid open savannahs

      When to visit: consider visiting during the drier winter months of the Southern Hemisphere between June and September for optimum game viewing. The days are cooler too, making the destination good to visit all year round. 

      • Namib Naukluft

      The Namin Naukluft is the largest game park in Africa covering part of the Namib Desert, the park is situated on the southwest coast of Namibia.

      Highlights of Namib Naukluft

      • Visit the key highlight at Sossusvlei, a salt and clay pan surrounded by magnificent rusty-red sand dunes
      • Explore the Sesriem Canyon, an impressive gorge carved by the Tsauchab River

      When to visit – the best time to visit is during the cooler, South Hemisphere Winter months of May to September

      4. Rwanda

       Referred to as the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda is one of the best safari countries in Africa thanks to its unique environment and kind, welcoming people providing one-of-a kind experience.

      Rwanda is characterized by its impressive biodiversity, volcanoes and highland rainforests that are home to the gorillas. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda combines well with other East African destinations such as Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania or Botswana and others.

      There is also Nyungwe Forest National Park – home to the primates where chimpanzees frolic and the skies are filled with a myriad of birds. In the low lying eastern Rwanda, Akagera National Park offers big game viewing in a diverse savannah setting with iconic safari animals including lions and elephants among others.

      • Volcanoes National Park

      Volcanoes National Park is one of the most iconic places in Rwanda to visit for African safari, the park is located in northwestern part of Rwanda and is part of the Virunga Conservation Area covering more than 48 square miles.

      Volcanoes National Park is home to five extinct volcanoes, the Muhabura, Sabyinyo, Gahinga, Karisimbi, and Bisoke.

      Highlights of Volcanoes National Park

      • Venture deep into the dense jungle of Rwanda to uncover the endangered mountain gorillas
      • Trek through the lush forests and trees to see the rare and rambunctious golden monkeys
      • Enjoy wilderness hikes that take you into the rainforest for unique views and experiences with prolific birdlife

      When to Visit – the best time is during the cooler, drier months of May to the end of August. A shorter dry season runs from Mid-December to early February, a perfect time for bird lovers.

      5. South Africa

        Definitely South Africa is one of the top safari destinations in Africa, and with its unparalleled natural reserves and breathtaking scenery, you can easily be immersed in the wonder of the Big Five and other majestic wildlife. 

        South Africa offers a wide range of malaria-free reserves and parks, and with safari options available options available around the country, a trip to South Africa is easily combined with visit to other parts of the country for a mind-blowing introduction to a South Africa safari for individuals, family or couples, or a safari with South Africa food and wine tour.

        The country has exception wildlife to see and here are some of the best places you can explore on your holiday /tour 

        • Kruger National Park

        This is one of the most famous safari parks in Africa, Kruger National Park lies on the northeastern border of South Africa and Mozambique covering an area of 2 million hectares of unrivaled diversity of life forms.

        Highlights of Kruger National Park

        • Explore the breadth of the Kruger National Park to find some of safari’s most notable wildlife including the Big Five (lion, leopards, buffaloes, elephants and rhinos) and so much more.
        • A day of game drives in Kruger National Park takes you deep into changing landscapes across the park’s distinctive ecosystems.
        • Enjoy discovering the Kruger with a specially trained guide as you travel in a private vehicle or an open 4×4

        When to Visit – the best time is during the cooler, drier months of May to September to get optimum game viewing. Avoid visiting the park during school holidays as many locals enjoy the park at this time.

        Generally, Kruger National Park is a year-round destination with fascinating wildlife viewing, regardless of the season. 

        • Sabi Sands National Park

        Lying adjacent to the World-renowned Kruger National Park, Sabi Sands offers a private safari experience with game drives conducted in a small, private area on a very popular safari circuit. 

        Highlights Sabi Sands National Park

        • Indulge in the comforts and attention provided by a private game reserve as you find game viewing on small sections of land
        • Delight in the opportunity to see more wildlife at your leisure and pace, while also seeing fewer vehicles while you traverse this prime safari region

        When to Visit – The best time is during the winter season in the Southern Hemisphere that is from May to September, with mild days, low grass and fantastic game viewing. 

        • Hluhluwe National Park

        Situated in the Kwazulu – Natal Province, inland of South Africa’s east coast, it is about four hours from Durban’s King Shaka International Airport.

        Highlights of the Hluhluwe National Park

        • Have an opportunity to spot the rare rhinoceros, Hluhluwe is one of the best destinations for spotting wildlife in their natural habitat.
        • Enjoy the lushness of the hills and the picturesque scenery that creates an unforgettable safari experience in South Africa’s old national park

        When to visit: The best time is during the dry months of June, July and August, these months are best for game viewing. The rainy season from late December through to February hinders wildlife sightings. 

        • Madikwe Reserve

        This fascinating reserve is situated in North West Province of South Africa, near the Botswana Border and the Kalahari Desert. The reserve boasts malaria-free status.

        Highlights of Madikwe Reserve

        • Explore this fascinating reserve famous for wild dog sightings and strong conservation efforts focused on the preservation of wild dog packs
        • Discover the freedom of a safari experience in a malaria-free zone

        When to visit – the best time to enjoy safari is during the Southern Hemisphere winter months from June to September. Daytime temperatures are mild, with low grass offering incredible wildlife sightings.

        6. Tanzania

         Tanzania is one of the biggest safari experiences in Africa with must see destinations such as Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater and Zanzibar Islands.

        The Tanzania’s northern circuit is a popular safari circuit and is where most safaris in Tanzania take place, the Serengeti Great Migration Safaris and luxury game adventures in Tanzania appeal to all safari goers, in local and style, with famous game parks fiving way to lesser-known reserves for visitors seeking something more or different.

         There are so much to explore and see in Tanzania during your African safari.

        • Ngorongoro Crater “Ngorongoro Conservation Area”

        The world’s famous intact and unfilled caldera and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ngorongoro Crater is located in the highlands of Tanzania approximately 110 miles west of Africa and forms part of Tanzania’s northern safari circuit.

        Highlights of Ngorongoro Crater

        • Explore the crater, a key feature in the conservation area and your safari to Ngorongoro as you travel around one of the world’s largest inactive volcanic calderas.
        • Enjoy sightings of the Big Five in an incredible setting that provides a memorable combination

        When to Visit – the best time is during the Southern Hemisphere’s winter months from May through September to enjoy an incredible safari experience. If you want to witness the birthing season of the Wildebeest, visit in January or February and is witnessed in the Ndutu Plains. 

        • Serengeti National Park

        The word famous Serengeti National Park is located in the northern part of Tanzania sharing a border with Kenya, Serengeti is also the most famous safari destination in Tanzania renowned for the Wildebeest Migration and the Big Five. 

        Highlights of Serengeti National Park

        • Embark on game drives in search of an incredible amount of wildlife, open savannahs, rocky outcrops and five famous rivers
        • Wander the exciting stage of the Great Migration as you witness one of the ultimate safari experiences

        When to Visit – to catch the Great Migration, visit in October or November to watch thousands of wildebeest cross from Serengeti to Masai Mara.

        • Tarangire National Park

        The iconic Tarangire National Park known for its spectacular landscape dotted with baobab trees and large herds of elephants is located in the northern part of Tanzania in the Manyara region. The park is named after the Tarangire River that runs through it. 

        Highlights of Tarangire National Park

        • Enjoy game drives with sightings of large herds of elephants and other animals along the Tarangire River
        • Search for the iconic baobab trees doted around the landscape

        When to Visit – the best time is during the dry season from June to October.

        7. Uganda

        Uganda – The Pearl of Africa is one of the top Africa safari countries with a fantastic diversity of landscape, flora and fauna, birdlife, culture and hospitable people.

        Fascinating wildlife encounters in Uganda include gorilla, chimpanzee trekking and game viewing which are a highlight of an Africa Safari to Uganda.

        Uganda is a gem and offers a unique safari and scenery experience at the following must see destinations.  

        • Queen Elizabeth National Park

        Queen Elizabeth National Park is the most popular wildlife destination in Uganda located in the western Uganda, between the Kazinga Channel and Lake George and Lake Albert.

        Highlights of Queen Elizabeth National Park

        • Enjoy the prolific birdlife and sightings of wildlife along the Kazinga Channel on a boat cruise
        • Spot the tree climbing lions in the Ishasha sector, southern region of Queen Elizabeth National Park

        When to Visit – Queen Elizabeth National Park can be visited any time of the year. However, the dry and cooler months of June and July are the best time for wildlife sightings. For birders, the best time is January and February. 

        • Murchison Falls National Park

        Named after Murchison Falls – the most powerful waterfalls in the world, Murchison Falls National Park is in the northern part of Uganda, just northwest of Kampala – the capital of Uganda. 

        Highlights of the Murchison Falls National Park

        • Experience the alluring thunder of Murchison Falls – the most powerful waterfalls in the world
        • Explore the diverse wildlife habitat

        When to visit – June and July or January and February are the best time for wildlife viewing, the wet months of April and May and August to October are the best for bird watching.

        • Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

        Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the best place in the world to see the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, the misty forested park covers around 120 square miles and lies in Southwestern Uganda, bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo.

        Highlights of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

        Spend either one hour or four hours in the presence of the endangered mountain gorillas

        8. Zambia

        Zambia – the land of legendary walking safari is a southern Africa gem blessed with awe-inspiring natural wonders, a plethora of wildlife, huge water bodies and vast open spaces.

        The wide-open spaces and an abundance of wildlife are the two of the country’s major attractions, with walking safaris being a distinct highlight when exploring the best places to visit Zambia.

        Zambia’s incredible safari circuit is accompanied by the majestic Victoria Falls, which shares its glory with neighboring Zimbabwe. The country has many more excellent destinations to discover during your trip. 

        • Lower Zambezi National Park

          The lower Zambezi National Park is located in southwestern Zambia, along the north bank of the Zambezi River. 

          Highlights of Lower Zambezi National Park

          • Travel beneath big skies that offer incredible stargazing opportunities
          • Discover camps and lodges that are unfenced offering a vast exploration experience
          • Enjoy the pristine wilderness of the park and have quality experiences

          When to Visit – the best time is from June to September when it is drier and cooler

          • South Luangwa National Park

          This fascinating park is in the southwestern Zambia, in the valley of the Luangwa River and is referred to by the locals as “the South Park”.

          Highlights of South Luangwa National Park

          • Embark on game drives through grasslands, savannahs, riverine and woodlands discovering the splendor of South Luangwa National Park – one of the most beautiful parks in Uganda
          • For phenomena wildlife sightings, travel near the Luangwa River to find many animals gathering

          When to visit – the ideal time to visit is during the drier months of June through to September. Reach out to our team of knowledgeable safari consultants and let us plan your African safari.

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          Travel News

          Best Safari Parks in East Africa

          East Africa is a popular safari region in Africa with extraordinary cultures, people, stunning landscapes, wildlife and historical significance. This amazing safari region has many safari destinations worth exploring including the untamed wonders of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda which make up this region, featuring stirring scenes of wildlife, fascinating human cultures and incredible landscapes.

          East Africa is the birthplace and home of the Africa safari where angulates stampede in their millions across the savannah plains, these amazing destinations offer excellent game viewing experiences, birding safaris, primate trekking experience including the magical encounter with mountain gorillas and golden monkeys among others.

          Here is a list of the top adventurous safari destinations in East Africa

          Serengeti National Park – Tanzania

          Home to the Great Migration and teeming with abundant wildlife and birdlife, Serengeti National Park is a World Heritage Site and one of the adventurous safari destinations in East Africa.

          The Serengeti is undoubtedly one of the world’s most celebrated national parks and a perfect piece of true African wilderness, its great rolling grasslands and golden savannah give an awe-inspiring sense of space and support abundant wildlife including zebras, buffaloes, elephants, giraffes, gazelles and antelopes among others.

          Serengeti National Park is the oldest park in Africa, the park is home to the Big Five and hosts The Great Annual Migration when millions of wildebeests and zebras migrate through its vast grassland plains and tangled riverine forest to Masai Mara in Kenya and back.

          The extensive southern Serengeti plains are the best for watching the wildebeest before they embark on their annual journey, the ungulates congregate in the southern breeding grounds between December and May to feed on the new pastures, give birth and take care of their young before continuing their annual trek to the western corridor. 

          Serengeti National Park boasts the largest population of lions in Africa and is the best destination in East Africa to watch the big cats at their best hunting games.

          Safari activities to do in Serengeti include game viewing, hot air balloon safaris, guided nature walks, witnessing the Great Migration and cultural safaris to the Masai people.  

          Masai Mara National Reserve – Kenya

          Masai Mara is the most iconic wildlife safari destination in Africa offering an “Out of Africa” experience, the “Mara” means “spotted” in the Maa language which is spoken by the area’s ancestral residents referring to how the Mara is dotted with acacia trees and craters.

          Masai Mara’s wide plains provide an oasis-like sanctuary for an abundance of wildlife like lions, leopards, buffaloes, zebras, hyenas, giraffes and host the Great Migration – the largest migration land mammal ever witnessed on earth with over 2 million wildebeests accompanied by thousands of zebras and gazelles.

          Masai Mara National Reserve is contingent with northern Serengeti and is situated in the southwest of Kenya, the land of the Maasai – a semi nomadic pastoralists who live off their herds of cattle and known to be excellent warriors.

           When the dry period starts in June in the southern Serengeti, large herds of wildebeests traverse the Mara River into the Masai Mara National Reserve to feast on fresh and succulent savannah. The herds stay in Masai Mara devouring on its grasslands until November and then cross back into the Serengeti. 

          The Mara River which flows from Kenya through the Masai Mara region and continues across the border into north Serengeti is the greatest obstacle of the migrating, the river is filled with crocodiles which feast on the herds as they attempt to cross. 

          Masai Mara National Reserve is home to a year-round concentration of game thus being a photographer’s and naturalist’s paradise. On a safari in the Mara, you can easily spot elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, lion, cheetah, migratory wildebeests, zebras, the endangered black rhinos, hippos and enormous crocodiles found in the Mara River.

          The reserve is also home to over 450 bird species including African finfoot, African wood owl, Ayres’s hawk eagle, Cinnamon-breasted bunting, Denham’s bustard, Giant kingfisher, Grey-crested helmet-shrike, Grey penduline tit, Hildebrandt’s starling, Jackson’s widowbird, Lazy cisticola, Ostrich, Purple grenadier, Red-throated tit, Ross’s turaco, Rosy-throated longclaw, Rufous-bellied heron, Rufous-throated wryneck, Saddle-billed stork, Schalow’s turaco, Secretary bird, Silverbird, Southern ground hornbill and Swahili sparrow among others.

          Safari activities to do in Masai Mara include game drive safaris, birding safaris, witness the great migration, hot air balloon safaris, guided natural works, horseback riding safaris and cultural safaris.

          Volcanoes National Park – Rwanda

          Spreading out on the base of Five of the 8 Virunga extinct volcano mountains, Volcanoes National Park is a dramatic, misty tropical jungle protecting Rwanda’s side of the misty mountain and some of the last mountain gorillas roaming in the forested mountain slopes.

          Volcanoes National Park is one of the best places to see mountain gorillas and is best known for mountain gorilla trekking, in the ancient forest dominating the park is where Diani Fossey established her base dedicated to research to save these gentle giants and is the scene – setting of “Gorillas in The Mist” – a 1998 adaptation of wildlife experience primatologist’s autobiography.

          Volcanoes National Park lies about 3 hours from Kigali – the capital city of Rwanda, the park is part of the Virunga Volcanoes which is shared between Uganda, Rwanda and DR.Congo.

          Gorilla trekking is undeniably the main reason why thousands of tourists chose to visit Volcanoes National Park, the park has 10 habituated gorilla families open for gorilla trekking. Visitors get a chance to spend 1 hour in the presence of the gorillas on this exhilarating jungle adventure. 

          A gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda costs $ 1,500.

          Volcanoes National Park is also home to the endangered golden monkeys, there are also over 200 bird species with a number of Albertine rift endemic including Grauer’s rush warbler, Rwenzori batis, Rwenzori turaco, Rwenzori double –collared Sunbird, handsome francolin, strange weaver, dusky crimson-wing, collared Apalis, red-faced woodland warbler and Archer’s ground robin among others.

          Other safari activities offered in Volcanoes National Park include birding safaris, golden monkey trekking, mountain hiking, cultural tours and Dian Fossey Tomb Tour. 

          Ngorongoro Conservation Area – Tanzania 

          Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a UNESCO World HeritageSite and a spectacular wildlife ecosystem spanning vast expanses of highland plains, savannah woodlands and forests, from the plains of Serengeti National Park in the northwest to the eastern arm of the Great Rift Valley in Northern Tanzania.

          Ngorongoro Conservation Area comprises of Ngorongoro Crater – the largest unfilled caldera in the world listed among the greatest natural wonders on earth, there is also the Olduvai Gorge – a 14 km long deep ravine and one of the most important paleoanthropological sites.

           Ngorongoro Conservation Area is one of the best safari holiday destinations to watch the famous “Big 5” game (elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes and rhinos). The northern plains of the conservation area “Ndutu Plains” host the ungulates taking park in the Great Wildebeest Migration for their calving with thousands of calves born every day. 

          The Ngorongoro Crater is home to the highest concentration of mammals in the world with a population of more than 25,000 large animals, most ungulates alongside the highest density of mammalian predators in Africa including the densest population of lions ever known. 

          The most fascinating part of Ngorongoro Crater is the semi-nomadic Masai Tribe living and grazing their livestock alongside wild animals within Ngorongoro. 

          Safari Activities to do in Ngorongoro Conservation Area include game viewing safaris, guided nature walks, photographic safaris, visiting the Maasai and birding safaris.

          Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Uganda

          Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the most famous safari destination in Uganda renowned for being the best place to see the critically endangered mountain gorillas in the wild.

          Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to world’s most mountain gorilla individuals making up to over half of the remaining mountain gorilla individuals, the park is dominated by an ancient forest covering an area of 321 km. The forest lies on steep slippery valleys with ridges and hilltops.

          Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 because of its rich diversity different flora and fauna.

          Bwindi Forest is the best place to do gorilla trekking in the world with 20 habituated gorilla families open for gorilla tourism, this experience is done in four different sectors that are Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo Sectors.

          Gorilla trekking in the main activity in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park offering visitors a chance to have an encounter with the endangered mountain gorillas for one hour.

          For visitors who wish to spend more time with mountain gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park offers the incredible Gorilla Habituation Experience on which tourists spend 4 hours with a semi-habituated gorilla family.

          Other safari activities offered in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include bird watching safaris, Nature and waterfalls walks, community walks and cultural experiences.

          Queen Elizabeth National Park – Uganda

          Named after the late ruler of Britain Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Elizabeth National Park is the most popular wildlife safari destination in Uganda renowned for its wealth of biodiversity. Queen Elizabeth National Park is also the most visited safari destination in Uganda spanning 1,978 square kilometers, the park is strategically located in the Great Rift Valley between Lake Edward and Lake George providing a majestic overview of nature at its finest.

          Queen Elizabeth National Park is renowned for its diverse ecosystem which includes savannah grasslands, tropical forests, wetlands and volcanic features. The rich habitat supports an extraordinary variety of wildlife including four of the Africa’s Big Five – lions, elephants, buffaloes and leopards. The park is also home to over 600 bird species including African mourning dove, Swamp flycatcher, Grey headed kingfisher, pin-tailed whydah, slender-tailed nightjar and collared pratincole among others.

          Safari activities to do in Queen Elizabeth National Park include game viewing safaris, birding safaris, Boat safaris on Kazinga channel, chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge and cultural encounters in the local communities.

          Kibale National Park – Uganda

          Crowned the Primate Capital of the World, Kibale National Park also known as Kibale Forest National Park is an enhancing wonderland beaming with ancient tropical rainforests and woodland.

          Kibale Forest National Park is the last stronghold for the highest concentration of primates on their entire African continent with chimpanzees being the most popular of all of them, the forest is home to 13 primate species including chimpanzees, bush babies, L’Hoest’s monkey, red colobus monkey, red-tailed monkey, black-and-white colobus monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, olive baboon, blue monkey, Vervet monkeys and Potto.

          Kibale National Park is the premier site for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda, the park is located in Western Uganda outside Fort Portal – a colonial Town and approximately 310 kilometers west of Kampala – the capital of Uganda.

          Apart from primates, Kibale National Park is home to over 250 species of butterflies, several species of primates and amphibians. There are also over 375 bird species including six endemic species to the Albertine Rift Area, other bird species include Red-chested owlet, Purple breasted sunbird, African Grey Parrot, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Crowned Eagle, little Greenbul, Black Bee eater, White-naped pigeon, andScaly-breasted Illadopsis,Western bronze-napped Pigeon, Nahan’s Francolin, Yellow-throated Nicator, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Red Headed malimbe , Yellow-spotted barbet , Dusky-blue Flycatcher among others.

          Safari Activities in Kibale National Park include Chimpanzee trekking, chimpanzee habituation experience, bird watching safaris, nature and hiking walks and community walks and cultural experiences. 

          Kidepo Valley National Park – Uganda

          Kidepo Valley National Park is one of Africa’s most magnificent wilderness tucked in the northeastern corner of Uganda bordering Kenya and South Sudan, Kidepo is the third-largest national in Uganda after Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls National Park.

          The park has a remote location in the extreme northeast of Karamoja sub-region, more than 500 km from Kampala, bordering South Sudan to the northwest and only 5 km from the eastern border with Kenya.

          Kidepo Valley National Park is notable for its rugged mountain scenery and compelling wilderness atmosphere which makes it one of the top adventurous safari destinations in East Africa.

          Kidepo’s thrilling game drives through Kidepo Valley plains offer visitors sightings of exceptional wildlife, here you find rare animals (some of which are not found elsewhere in Uganda like greater and lesser Kudu, eland and cheetah). In Kidepo Valley National Park, it is easy to spot lions, leopards, elephants among others.

           At a size of 556 sq (1,442 sq mi), Kidepo Valley National Park contains diverse landscapes, spanning from lush mountain ranges to vast savannah plains which are home to almost 500 bird species and 77 mammals.

          The heart of Kidepo Valley National Park is Narus Valley, a permanent wetland around the Narus Valley that attracts a swarm of wildlife populations from much of the northern Kidepo. In a hidden area of Kidepo Valley National Park is the Kanangorok Hot Springs which are a magnificent attraction.  

          Safari Activities to do in Kidepo Valley National Park include game viewing safaris, birding safaris, guided nature walks and hiking safari and cultural encounters. Mantis Africa safaris offers a number of these safari encounters so reach out to us and let us plan with and for you.

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          Mountain Gorilla trekking in Africa

          Mountain gorilla trekking is a once-in-a lifetime adventure, experienced deep in the heart of lush rain forests of Africa where you have to the opportunity to encounter one of the world’s most fascinating creatures.

          Mountain gorilla trekking in Africa offers a unique and awe-inspiring experience that allows tourists to witness these gentle giants in their natural habitat forming an indelible connection with nature.

          Africa is home to three species of gorillas that is the endangered mountain gorillas. the eastern lowland gorillas and the critically endangered western lowland gorillas

          What is Mountain Gorilla Trekking?

          Mountain Gorilla Trekking is an extra-ordinary wildlife activity referring to a thrilling activity of venturing into the remote corners of Africa’s dense forests in search of habituated gorilla families, this immersive experience allows you to observe these captivating primates up close, witness their social interactions, behavior and their intricate dynamics of their family groups.

          Mountain gorilla trekking is a chance to witness their astounding strength intelligence and striking resemblance to humans, mountain gorillas are the closest relative to humans sharing 97% of the DNA.

          Where Can You Go Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Africa?

          Mountain gorillas are an endangered species and there are only three countries in the world where you can see them and that is Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  Each gorilla destination offers a unique gorilla trekking experience of encountering gorillas in their natural environment.

          Uganda

          Crowned the Pearl of Africa, 2 of Uganda’s dense forests are home to almost half of the world’s remaining population of the mountain gorillas protected in two fragile habitats that have been gazetted as national parks, these are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park both situated in South Western Uganda.

          Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies in Southwestern Uganda on the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of the oldest rain forests that date back over 25,000 years. Bwindi forest is a great destination for eco tours given its unique flora and fauna.

          Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to 120 mammals including several primate species including baboons, chimpanzees, forest elephants and antelopes.

          Uganda is a home to 20 habituated gorilla families that can be visited by tourists each day. On a daily a number of visitors are regulated to a maximum of eight tourists visiting each gorilla family and observing mountain gorillas is strictly limited to one hour.

          Also, Uganda offers a privilege of watching the gorillas for longer hours on a gorilla habituation experience which can be done in Rushaga – the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Gorilla Habituation Experience can be arranged with the Uganda Wildlife Authority and a gorilla permit costs US$ 1,500 per person, the activity is restricted to only four visitors so that you can maximise your experience with the great apes.

          Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

          Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the best for mountain gorilla trekking in Africa, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to half of the remaining population of mountain gorillas with the most habituated gorilla families.

          Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in the southwest of the country on the border of Uganda with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, situated on the edge of the Albertine Rift Valley incorporating 124 square miles of untamed mountainous and lowland forest.

          Mountain Gorilla Trekking is the main Uganda safari activity in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and it takes place in four sectors/areas of the park that is Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo.

          Mountain gorilla families open for mountain gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include

          • Rushaga Sector – Nshongi Group, Kutu Gorilla Family, Mucunguzi Gorilla Family, Rwigi Gorilla Family, Bikingi Gorilla Family,  Kahungye, Bweza, Busingye and Mishaya Gorilla Families. 
          • Buhoma Sector –  Mubare Gorilla Family, Habinyanja Gorilla Family, Katwe Gorilla Family,  Muyambi Gorilla Familyand Rushegura Gorilla Family
          • Ruhija Sector – Kyaguriro Gorilla Family, Mukiza Gorilla Family, Bitukura Gorilla Family,  and Oruzogo gorilla family
          • Nkuringo Sector – Nkuringo Gorilla Family, Bushaho Gorilla Family.

          Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

          Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the second mountain gorilla trekking destination in Uganda also situated in the Southwestern corner of the country, the park is part of the Great Virunga Conservation Area and straddles the magnificent slopes of the majestic Virunga Volcanoes – the massif mountain ranges that rise at an altitude of 4507 m on the Uganda border with Rwanda and DR.Congo.

          Crowned as “a place where gold meets silver”, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to two endangered primate species that is mountain gorillas and golden monkeys.

          Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to one habituated gorilla family – Nyakagezi gorilla family, this family is famously known for crossing over to Rwanda as well as DR.Congo but for the last years it has settled on the Uganda side in the forested volcanoes of Mgahinga, Sabinyo and Muhavura.

          How to Travel to Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks

          Uganda’s gorilla destinations – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are located in South Western region of the country, most organized tours start from Entebbe or Kampala and you can get their by either road or air.

          By road – it is a journey of approximately 8 to 9 hours through the towns of Masaka, Mbarara and Kisoro.

          Alternatively, it is possible to get to either Bwindi or Mgahinga from Kigali City. It is a drive of approximately 4 hours with border crossing at either Cyanika or Katuna Border.

          By Air – there are charter/domestic flights from either Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Kihihi or Kisoro Airstrip then transferred to the parks.

          Rwanda

          Often referred to as the “Land of a Thousand Hills”, Rwanda is renowned for offering the most accessible gorilla trekking expeditions and commitment to conservation and gorilla tourism. The country jealously protects its mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park in the northern region of Rwanda, the park is home to ten habituated gorilla families that can be visited by tourists and each family can be visited by a maximum of 8 tourists.

          A gorilla permit in Rwanda costs US$ 1500 per person per trek, though Rwanda is a luxury destination, there are also budget and midrange lodges to make your Rwanda gorilla safari more affordable.

          Volcanoes National Park

          Volcanoes National Park is a great destination for mountain gorilla trekking in Africa known for offering the easiest gorilla trekking, the park is located in northwestern part of Rwanda approximately 3 hours of drive of Kigali City.

          Volcanoes National Park is named after the chain of dormant volcanoes making up the Virunga Massif – Karisimbi – the highest at 4,507m, Bisoke with a beautiful crater lake, Sabinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura.

          Virunga National Park is home to 10 habituated gorilla families namely Agashya, Sabinyo, Amahoro, Tatus, Susa A, Umubano, Karisimbi, Kirwa, Kwitonda, Bwenge and Ugende which are open and available for gorilla trekking.

          How To Travel to Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

          Volcanoes National Park is situated in Northern region of Rwanda taking approximately 2 hours to get there from Kigali City – the capital of the country.

          Democratic Republic of Congo

          Democratic Republic of Congo is the only destination where you can see both the Eastern lowland gorillas and the mountain gorillas, though less known to most tourists, Congo offers off-the usual paths for adventure safari seekers.

          Democratic Republic of Congo is renowned for its rich biodiversity and wide range of exciting experiences to do including gorilla trekking and volcano hiking.

          Virunga National Park

          Part of the Great Virunga Conservation Area, Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heriyage Site listed in 1979 covering 3,000 square miles of land on the edge of the world’s second largest tropical forest.

          Mountain gorilla trekking is the main Africa safari activity to do in Virunga National Park, the park hosts a third of the 1063 mountain gorillas left in the world. The park is has 8 habituated gorilla families open for gorilla trekking namely Kabirizi gorilla group, Humba gorilla group, Rugendo gorilla group, Mapuwa gorilla group, Lulengo gorilla group, Munyaga Gorilla Group, Nyakamwe gorilla group and Bageni gorilla group.

          How to Travel to Virunga National Park

          Travelers can reach the Virunga National Park either by road or by air, the easiest way to access the Eastern Congo is fly to Kigali International Airport and travel by road to the border at Gisenyi / Goma Town in Rwanda.

          Since most international flights land in a bit late and visitors are advised to spend a night in Kigali, then set off early in the morning the following day.

          When is the Best time to Do Gorilla Trekking?

          All the 4 gorilla trekking destinations are situated in the same region of Equatorial region with two seasons that is wet season which occurs around March to April and October to November, the rest of the year is dry season (July to October and December to March).

          The dry season is the best time for gorilla trekking, this season offers great conditions for hiking through the forests as the trails are relatively dry. 

          However, since it is a jungle. Rain can be received at any time of the year.

          Also, the dry season coincides with peak season in these three countries thus creating a high demand for gorilla permits and safari accommodations. Therefore it is important to book your gorilla safari well in advance so that you can avoid being disappointed and missing out on the gorilla permits.

          The advantage of gorilla trekking in the wet season, you can enjoy discounts in the shoulder months of April, May and June since most lodges offer offseason rates for rooms. Also gorilla trekking experience during the wet season is shorter since there is plenty of food and the gorillas do not roam far as compared with the dry months

          Is Gorilla Trekking Safe?

          Gorillas are very peaceful animals and since they are omnivores, they are very uninterested in humans. Gorillas are safe and are not aggressive towards human presence.

          Gorilla families that are open to gorilla trekking are used to human presence since researcher take time to habituate these gentle apes, this process helps gorillas to understand that the visiting humans are friends not enemies.

          Visitors on mountain gorilla trekking experience get close encounter with the gorillas and a distance of 20 feet from these animals must be maintained, there are several measures that are addressed to you at the time of briefing and you are expected to adhere to these rules.

          What to Pack for Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Africa

          On mountain gorilla trekking experience, packing the right gear is essential and there are important things that should not miss in your back pack.

          • Pair of good walking shoes or boats – these should be comfortable and well fitting for a comfortable gorilla trek
          • A bottle of water – it is recommend to carry at least 3 litres of waters to rehydrate during the gorilla trek
          • Waterproof bag – call a waterproof bag to protect your camera and a rain jacket in case it rains
          • Good Camera – gorilla trekking is a thrilling experience where taking pictures is a must do, make sure that you do not take photos with flash photography.
          • Insect repellent and sun protection
          • Carry-ons – long sleeved shirts or T-Shirts, hats, gloves and sunglasses.

          Get to book yourself on a mountain gorilla trekking in Africa at on of our gorilla trekking destinations and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.

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          Tips for a family on an East African safari

          An East African safari equals golden sunrises, vast savanna teeming with wildlife, and the thrill of getting up close and personal with these magnificent creatures. The wonders of an East African safari never cease as there are awe-inspiring landscapes, diverse cultures, and thrilling encounters await.

          In this article, we will take you on a virtual journey through the East African safari experience. Get ready to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti, marvel at the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, and encounter majestic elephants and lions in their natural habitats.

          East Africa is the jewel of the safari world, offering a range of national parks and private conservancies to explore. Whether it’s the iconic Maasai Mara in Kenya, the serene plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania, or the stunning landscapes of Uganda and Rwanda, there is something for every adventurer.

          From educational game drives to immersive cultural experiences, an East African safari is the perfect way to create lasting memories with your family, so gather your loved ones, pack your sense of adventure, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the wonders of East Africa.

          East African wildlife

          East Africa is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts, boasting a diverse range of species and habitats. From the Big Five (elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, and buffalo) to the great primates of the region to a myriad of bird species, the region offers an unparalleled opportunity to witness the wonders of the animal kingdom.

          The Great Wildebeest Migration is one of nature’s greatest spectacles and a must-see for any safari-goer. Every year, millions of wildebeest, zebra, and other herbivores make their way across the Serengeti in search of greener pastures. This remarkable journey is filled with heart-stopping moments as predators lie in wait, creating a dramatic spectacle of life and death.

          Beyond the migration, East Africa is home to a rich variety of wildlife. In the Maasai Mara, you can witness prides of lions lounging in the grasslands, herds of elephants roaming freely, and graceful giraffes silhouetted against the horizon. The Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania offers a unique opportunity to see an abundance of wildlife in a concentrated area, including rare black rhinos and pink flamingos.

          Choosing the right safari destination

          When planning your East African safari, it’s important to consider the different destinations and what they have to offer. Each country has its own unique attractions, landscapes, and wildlife, so it’s worth doing some research to find the perfect fit for your family.

          Kenya is renowned for its diverse ecosystems, from the vast plains of the Maasai Mara to the stunning Rift Valley lakes. It is also home to a rich cultural heritage, with opportunities to interact with the Maasai people and learn about their traditional way of life.

          Tanzania, on the other hand, is famous for the iconic Serengeti National Park and the breathtaking Mount Kilimanjaro. The Serengeti offers unparalleled wildlife viewing, while Mount Kilimanjaro presents a challenge for adventurous families looking to conquer Africa’s highest peak.

          Uganda and Rwanda are known for their gorilla trekking experiences, offering a chance to encounter these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Both countries also boast beautiful landscapes, including lush rainforests and picturesque lakes and they also have wildlife spots for a chance with the Big 5.

          Ultimately, the right safari destination will depend on your family’s interests, budget, and travel preferences. Consider the time of year, accessibility, and the specific wildlife you wish to see when making your decision.

          Tips on planning your East African safari

          Planning an East African safari requires careful consideration and attention to detail. Here are some essential steps to help you plan a memorable and hassle-free adventure:

          1. Research and choose a reputable tour operator: Look for a tour operator with extensive experience in East African safaris and positive reviews from previous customers like Mantis Africa Safaris that has proven itself over the years. They will help you navigate the logistics, arrange transportation, and provide knowledgeable guides.
          2. Decide on the duration of your safari: Consider how much time you have available and how many destinations you would like to visit. A typical safari can range from a few days to several weeks, depending on your preferences and budget.
          3. Consider the best time to visit: Research the climate and wildlife patterns in your chosen destination to determine the best time to visit. Some parks may have specific seasons or events that offer the best wildlife viewing opportunities, such as the Great Wildebeest Migration.
          4. Obtain necessary travel documents: Ensure that you have a valid passport with at least six months’ validity from the date of entry. Check if you require any visas or vaccinations for the countries you plan to visit and make the necessary arrangements in advance.
          5. Pack appropriate clothing and equipment: East Africa’s climate can vary, so it’s important to pack a mix of lightweight, breathable clothing for warm days and layers for cooler evenings. Don’t forget essentials such as sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, and comfortable walking shoes.
          6. Prepare for photography opportunities: If you’re interested in capturing the stunning wildlife and landscapes, make sure to bring a good camera with a telephoto lens, spare batteries, and plenty of memory cards. Familiarize yourself with your camera settings and practice before your trip to ensure you can capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments.

          By following these steps and planning ahead, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable safari experience for the whole family.

          Essential items to pack for your safari

          Packing for an East African safari requires careful consideration. Here are some essential items to ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

          1. Clothing: When it comes to clothing, opt for lightweight, breathable, and neutral-colored clothing. This helps you blend in with the surroundings while keeping you cool. Pack long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect yourself from the sun and insects. Don’t forget to bring a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and a sturdy pair of walking shoes.
          2. Binoculars: A good pair of binoculars is essential for wildlife spotting. Look for lightweight and compact binoculars with a high magnification power. This will allow you to get a closer look at animals, especially those in the distance.
          3. Camera equipment: If you’re a photography enthusiast, don’t forget to pack your camera gear. A DSLR or mirrorless camera with a telephoto lens is ideal for capturing wildlife moments. Make sure to bring extra memory cards and batteries to avoid running out of storage or power.
          4. Insect repellent: East Africa is home to various insects, including mosquitoes. To protect yourself from mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria, pack a strong insect repellent containing DEET. Apply it regularly, especially during the early morning and evening when mosquitoes are most active.
          5. Sunscreen and first aid kit: The African sun can be intense, so don’t forget to pack a high SPF sunscreen. Also, bring a basic first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, antiseptic cream, and any necessary prescription medications.

          Remember to pack light and prioritize the essentials. Many safari lodges and camps provide laundry services, so you can wash your clothes during your stay. Now that you’re all packed, let’s move on to wildlife spotting and photography tips.

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          The Best Lodges and Camps on a Uganda Safari

          Uganda is having a variety and the most attractive accommodation facilities as this is where the tourists do stay during their safari time in Uganda. Uganda has got 10 national parks that are situated in the country and the tourists on their safari to those stunning national parks have a variety of the most incredible accommodations that are such suitable and comfortable to the tourists.

          The accommodation facilities in Uganda are categorised into three different groups in order to cater for all the traveller’s budgets. The accommodation facilities are scattered and put in the various Uganda national parks like Murchison Falls National Park, Bwindi Forest Impenetrable National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Kibaale forest National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Mount Rwenzori National Park, Mountain Elgon National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Semuliki  Valley National Park.

          The accommodations in these National Parks are all monitored by the Uganda Wildlife Authority for the best service delivery, the quality of the service offered as that determines the travellers to visit Uganda on a safari. Uganda provides the best accommodation to the all tourists on a safari to Uganda to ensure that the tourists dreams become true, all the selected accommodations have got enough skilled and friendly staff that provide all the necessities that are needed by the tourists or the guests. The system used to rate the guests’s accommodation is far exceeding most of the lodges rating indoor to give the best safari to the guest that is providing the quality food to the visitor, service delivery,  amenities, hot and cold water delivery and among others.

          Our team of safari consultants always guide the guests on the right choice of the accommodations in Uganda or the best choice they want and the three categories of accommodation in Uganda includes the Budget lodges, Mid-range lodges and the Luxury lodges rated by the Uganda Tourism Board. Ratings of these accommodations are categorised with the stars from 1 to 5 stars that is 1 to 2 stars are the budget lodges that are mostly the camps, then 3 to 4 stars are the mid-range lodges and mostly in the safari tents and the permanent lodges and the 5 star and above is the high-end lodges also known as the luxury lodges.

          Budget accommodations.

          Budget lodges are often referred to as the 1 to 2 stars and mainly the camps and these are mostly loved by the solo travellers and the students and these can be mostly the public camping area inside the national parks or outside national parks in Uganda. These majorly mean the experience of the true African wilderness as you enjoy the calm night in the middle of the bush. The budget accommodations have shared bathrooms, no hot water and mobile tents, they usually have small restaurants, small rooms, and small bars. The only advantage of the budget accommodations is that the guest saves much but with the experience an ideal wildlife experience if well planned with a reputable local planner as you enjoy a variety of the wildlife in the Ugandan national park.

          The Budget accommodation facilities in Uganda includes Murchison River lodge, Sambiya River lodge, Mama Washindi Lodge, Budongo Eco lodge, Buhoma Sector, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Bwindi View Bandas, Ruhija sector, Tembo safari lodge, Kazinga channel view resort, Simba safari camp, Enjojo lodge, and among others.

          Mid-range accommodations.

          Mid-range accommodations are also known as the 3 to 4 star lodges found in various national parks or outside the national parks, and these are the most recommended accommodations in the country, as they give value to the money with the excellent services offered to the guests, mostly these are permanent safari tented lodges and some are built in the permanent cottages, as here in the mid-range accommodations the rooms are mostly large with king-size beds that can comfortably be shared by two people, the rooms in the mid-range do range from the double, triple, family rooms, the family tents can even cater for 8 people. The rooms have clean bathrooms with 24 hours electricity or solar, the toilets are clean and flashing. The tents can be having the balconies where the guests do enjoy the fresh air and their privacy during their leisure time after their safari activities.

          Mid-range accommodations in Uganda include Twiga safari lodge, Pakuba safari lodge, Budongo Ecolodge, Rushaga gorilla camp, Gift of nature lodge, Lake Mulehe safari lodge, the crested crane Bwindi lodge, Marafiki safari lodge, Enganzi game lodge, Queen Elizabeth bush lodge, Park view safari lodge, Buffalo lodge and many others.

          Luxury accommodations.

          Luxury accommodations are the end or the last class of the high-end lodges that are well built in the international way, some of the luxury are built inside the park with the natural friendly materials specifically in the western art and design. Luxury accommodations gives the tourist the most comfortable service during their safari in Uganda, the luxuries give extra miles on the service delivery, free wifi in all the parts of the lodge, swimming pools, well-stocked bars that are fully inclusive, massage and sauna and among others. Most of the luxury accommodations in the Uganda national parks are always situated on the raised land where the tourists can enjoy the clear views of the entire park at your own balcony, in luxury the rooms are divided into the deluxe rooms, standard rooms, superior rooms with the different charges unlike in Mid-range.

          The luxury accommodations in Uganda includes the Baker’s loge, Paraa safari lodge, Nile safari lodge, Chobe safari lodge,  Trackers safari lodge, Gorilla Heights lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Kyambura game lodge, Mweya safari Lodge, Jacana safari lodge and among many others.

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          A typical Day on an African Safari

          So much has been written and been told about an African safari, the experience and the after experience however few have gone deep into detail about the day on an African safari. Africa is undeniably the most beautiful planet and this backed by the weather, the scenery, the geographical set up of the African scape.

          How one would choose to describe an African safari entirely depends on their experience or on the stories they have been told or the documentaries they have encountered. One’s experience and knowledge of an African safari can not tell you everything about a safari so let us have a detailed narration about a day on an African safari.

          When one says “African safari, they quickly think wildlife and yes Africa is the wildlife center but there are a number of ways of exploring this wildlife. One can opt to take on a safari game drive for the terrestrial game, take on a boat cruise for the aquatic life or even spice it up with a hot air balloon for an aerial view of the wildlife of the park.

          Depending on your interests and the destination chosen, each day is taken by day and for one who chooses to take on a safari in a destination such as Murchison falls national park, you may chose include a hot air balloon in your visit to this park.

          Hot air balloon safaris are offered in limited destinations but are very exciting options for your African safari. As colorful as the balloon may come off, you will need some pointers for this experience. These guidelines are shared on a briefing ahead of the activity and Serengeti national park is one of the best destinations for the hot air balloon.

          A typical African safari differs from a typical day on an African safari and this writeup highlights a day in the African safari. So much could change basing on the weather, the destination, the choice of safari vehicle, the activity so one should be as flexible as possible.  

          Let’s say it is the second day of your safari and you are waking up in your destination, you may receive a wakeup call from the lodge of stay if you requested so as to get up and freshen up for the day. Get showered and dress up according to the weather and the activity planned for as well. Before you meet up with your driver guide, grab a cup of coffee or order your breakfast as you wanted and enjoy it as time wishes.

          The safari guide will then drive you to your next point and this will probably be the starting point of the day’s activity. If you are having a safari morning game drive, you will set out on the hunt however for the hot air balloon experience, you will connect to the briefing point and this will be at around 5 am. Once the assembling team is set and done with the routine checks, you will receive a briefing on the do’s, don’ts, expectations and how the activity works. This is when you will hop aboard the balloon. The pilot will set the fire that is meant to mix with the wind for the magic and up into the space you will go.

          The weight is not a stability factor but you are assured of safety with the knowledgeable team. You will get to enjoy the aerial view of the Murchison falls national park, spot the game move freely without disturbance. The beauty of the hot air balloon, you will be able to spot both the animals on land as well those in the water.

          Enjoy the hippos asking on the banks of the Nile as well as the crocodiles, spot the Rothschild giraffes, elephants, antelopes of different types and this is a 1 hour experience. You will end the hot air balloon experience with a certificate as a souvenir for your participation and that’s not all! You will have a magical breakfast in the wild and pop a bottle of champagne before you end the activity to drive back to lodge.

          You may choose to go back to the lodge to rest and have a hot lunch and much later continue on a game drive for a closer view of the land animals and later in the evening connect to have a cruise on the Nile to the bottom of the world’s most powerful waterfalls.

          If you choose to stay at the hotel after the balloon safari, you may spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing or take a swim or even nap and then later wake up for a cup of coffee ahead of your evening game drive.

          An evening game drive is a chance to spot the nocturnal animals as they come out for their night hunt. Incase you missed some earlier in the day, your chances could get better with this evening game drive.

          On a day of clear weather and good luck, your day on the African safari should play out almost or exactly like this.

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          Where to See Gorillas – Rwanda Vs Uganda

          Which Destination Offers the ideal Mountain Gorilla Encounter?

          Dive into this write up on the adventure through lush rain forests in search of a mountain gorilla in a thrilling showdown between the two East African countries, Uganda and Rwanda. Let us explore which destination offers the best gorilla encounter together.

          Uganda, known as the “Pearl of Africa,” boasts stunning landscapes and a flourishing wildlife population. Its Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is home to almost half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population. Immerse yourself in the dense forest and witness these incredible creatures in their natural habitat, an experience that will undoubtedly leave you in awe.

          In Uganda, there is another national park, the Mgahinga gorilla national park that also offers a mountain gorilla trekking opportunity and this park is much closer to the mountain gorillas of Rwanda.

          On the other hand, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park provides a mesmerizing backdrop for gorilla trekking. Set against the backdrop of dormant volcanoes and lush bamboo forests, Rwanda offers a more intimate encounter with these majestic creatures.

          Both countries offer unique experiences. While Uganda showcases its diverse wildlife and vast landscapes, Rwanda offers a more exclusive encounter.

          Overview of Uganda and Rwanda as gorilla trekking destinations

          Uganda and Rwanda are two East African countries that have gained worldwide recognition for their incredible gorilla trekking experiences. Both destinations offer unique opportunities to witness these magnificent creatures up close in their natural habitat. However, there are distinct differences that set them apart from each other.

          Uganda, often referred to as the “Pearl of Africa,” is a land of stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife. Its Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is home to almost half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population. The park covers a vast area of dense rainforest, creating an awe-inspiring setting for gorilla trekking. The sheer size of Bwindi allows for a more diverse range of gorilla families to be observed, providing visitors with a greater chance of encountering these gentle giants.

          Rwanda, on the other hand, offers a more intimate encounter with mountain gorillas. Its Volcanoes National Park, located in the Virunga Mountains, provides a mesmerizing backdrop for gorilla trekking. Set against the backdrop of dormant volcanoes and lush bamboo forests, Rwanda’s gorilla encounters are often described as more exclusive and personal. The smaller size of Volcanoes National Park means that there are fewer gorilla families to track, but the chances of having a close encounter with these majestic creatures are higher.

          In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the features that make each country a remarkable choice for a once-in-a-lifetime gorilla encounter.

          Gorilla population and conservation efforts in Uganda and Rwanda

          The mountain gorilla population is critically endangered, making the conservation efforts in Uganda and Rwanda of utmost importance. Both countries have taken significant steps to protect these majestic creatures and ensure their survival for future generations.

          In Uganda, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to around 600 plus mountain gorillas, making it the largest population of these primates in the world. The Ugandan government, in collaboration with various conservation organizations, has implemented strict regulations to protect the gorillas and their habitat. These efforts have resulted in a steady increase in the gorilla population over the years.

          In Rwanda, the Volcanoes National Park is home to approximately 420 mountain gorillas. The Rwandan government has made significant investments in gorilla conservation and has implemented a range of measures to protect these endangered species. Strict guidelines are in place to regulate gorilla trekking activities, ensuring that the encounters are conducted in a responsible and sustainable manner.

          The efforts made by both Uganda and Rwanda to conserve and protect the mountain gorillas have been commendable, contributing to the gradual growth of the mountain gorilla populations in both countries.

          Accessibility and logistics of gorilla trekking in Uganda

          Gorilla trekking in Uganda offers a unique adventure, but it’s essential to consider the accessibility and logistics involved in reaching the gorilla trekking sites.

          Uganda has various entry points for gorilla trekking, with the most popular being Entebbe International Airport. From there, visitors can take a domestic flight to either Kisoro or Kihihi, which are the main gateways to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. One can opt to use road however the journey to the park can be long and challenging, often involving several hours of driving on rough roads. The plus side of the daunting long drive is the scenic beauty of the Ugandan countryside and the stopovers one can make.

          Once at the park, visitors must be in possession of the necessary permits to participate in mountain gorilla trekking. These permits are limited in number and need to be booked well in advance. The trekking experience in Bwindi forest or Mgahinga gorilla national park involves hiking through rugged terrain and dense forest, which can be physically demanding. However, the reward of encountering these gentle giants in their natural habitat makes every step worthwhile.

          Accommodation options near Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park range from budget-friendly lodges to luxury resorts, providing visitors with a range of choices to suit their preferences and budgets. Overall, while the logistics of gorilla trekking in Uganda may require some planning and effort, the experience is undoubtedly rewarding.

          Accessibility and logistics of gorilla trekking in Rwanda

          Rwanda offers a more convenient and accessible option for gorilla trekking, thanks to its well-developed infrastructure and proximity to Kigali, the capital city where the international airport is situated.

          Visitors to Rwanda can fly into Kigali International Airport, which is well-connected to major cities around the world. From Kigali, it’s a relatively short 2 hour drive to Volcanoes National Park, where gorilla trekking takes place. The journey to the park is smooth and comfortable, allowing visitors to enjoy the scenic beauty of Rwanda’s countryside.

          Obtaining permits for gorilla trekking in Rwanda is also a streamlined process. The permits are limited in number and need to be booked in advance, but the process is efficient and well-organized. The trekking experience in Volcanoes National Park involves hiking through bamboo forests and volcanic terrain, offering a unique and memorable encounter with the gorillas.

          Accommodation options near Volcanoes National Park range from luxury lodges to charming guesthouses, ensuring that visitors have a comfortable and enjoyable stay. The accessibility and convenience of gorilla trekking in Rwanda make it an attractive choice for those seeking a hassle-free adventure.

          Cost comparison of gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda

          Gorilla trekking is undoubtedly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it’s important to consider the costs involved in planning such a trip. Here’s a comparison of the costs of gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda.

          In Uganda, the cost of a gorilla trekking permit is currently $800 per person for foreign non-residents, $700 for foreign residents, and UGX 250,000 for East African residents as of 2024 June. The permit includes the services of a trained guide and park entry fees and the trek. Accommodation options in Uganda range from budget-friendly lodges to high-end resorts, with prices varying depending on the level of comfort and luxury.

          In Rwanda, the cost of a gorilla trekking permit is currently at $1,500 per person for all visitors. The permit includes park entry fees, the services of a trained guide, and a certificate of participation. Accommodation options in Rwanda are generally more expensive compared to Uganda, with luxury lodges and resorts offering world-class amenities and services.

          While gorilla trekking in Rwanda may be more expensive, the intimate and exclusive encounters with the gorillas, coupled with the convenience of accessibility, make it a worthwhile investment for many travelers. On the other hand, gorilla trekking in Uganda offers a more budget-friendly option without compromising the quality of the experience however if you are looking at experiencing the lux mountain gorilla trekking experience then Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park is the destination.

          Mountain Gorilla trekking experiences in Uganda

          Mountain Gorilla trekking in Uganda is a thrilling and immersive experience that takes visitors deep into the heart of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park or the hills of Mgahinga gorilla national park. The park is divided into different sectors, each offering a unique gorilla tracking experience.

          In the Buhoma sector, visitors can embark on treks that range from easy to moderately challenging, catering to varying fitness levels. The Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors provide more strenuous trekking opportunities, with longer hikes and more rugged terrain. The Ruhija sector offers a mix of easy and challenging treks, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced trekkers.

          During the treks, visitors have the opportunity to observe the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, witnessing their behavior, interactions, and feeding habits. The encounters are carefully managed to ensure the safety and well-being of both visitors and gorillas, with strict guidelines in place to minimize any negative impact on the animals.

          The gorilla trekking experiences in Uganda are often described as awe-inspiring and life-changing, leaving visitors with a deep appreciation for these incredible creatures and their fragile ecosystem.

          Mountain gorilla trekking experiences in Rwanda

          Mountain gorilla trekking in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park offers a more intimate and exclusive encounter with the mountain gorillas. The park is home to about 11 habituated gorilla families, each offering a unique experience.

          The treks in Volcanoes National Park are generally shorter and less challenging compared to Uganda, making them accessible to a wider range of fitness levels. The lush bamboo forests and volcanic terrain provide a picturesque backdrop for the treks, creating a truly immersive experience.

          During the treks, visitors have the opportunity to spend a precious hour with the gorillas, observing their behavior and getting up close to these gentle giants. The encounters are carefully managed to ensure the safety and well-being of both visitors and gorillas, with trained guides providing valuable insights into the gorillas’ habits and social structures.

          The gorilla tracking experiences in Rwanda are often described as intimate and emotional, leaving visitors with a deep connection to these incredible creatures and a lasting impression of their conservation efforts.

          Other attractions and activities in Uganda and Rwanda

          While gorilla trekking is undoubtedly the highlight of any visit to Uganda or Rwanda, both countries offer a range of other attractions and activities that add to the overall experience.

          In Uganda, visitors can explore the diverse landscapes of Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, lions, and hippos. The Murchison Falls National Park offers breathtaking views of the Nile River and the powerful Murchison Falls. For those interested in cultural experiences, a visit to the vibrant city of Kampala or a tour of the traditional villages in the Karamoja region can provide valuable insights into the local way of life.

          In Rwanda, a visit to the vibrant capital city of Kigali is a must. The city offers a fascinating blend of modernity and tradition, with its bustling markets, vibrant arts scene, and poignant genocide memorials. The Nyungwe Forest National Park, known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills,” is another must-visit destination, offering opportunities for chimpanzee tracking, canopy walks, and birdwatching. Lake Kivu, with its stunning scenery and tranquil beaches, provides the perfect setting for relaxation and rejuvenation.

          Choosing the best gorilla trekking destination

          Choosing between Uganda and Rwanda for a gorilla trekking adventure ultimately depends on personal preferences and priorities. If you seek a diverse range of wildlife, vast landscapes, and a budget-friendly option, Uganda may be the ideal choice for you. On the other hand, if you value exclusivity, convenience, and a more intimate encounter, Rwanda offers a compelling option.

          Both destinations have their unique features and experiences that make them remarkable choices for a once-in-a-lifetime gorilla encounter. Whichever country you choose, a mountain gorilla trekking adventure is sure to leave you in awe of these magnificent creatures and their extraordinary habitat.

          Embark on this exhilarating journey and witness the ultimate gorilla trekking showdown between Uganda and Rwanda. The choice is yours – which destination will you choose for your unforgettable gorilla encounter or even better, opt to visit both for the personal view.

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          An Enthralling Mountain Gorilla Trek

          Embark on an unforgettable adventure in the heart of the lush mountain forests with our thrilling mountain gorilla trekking experience. Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of nature as you encounter these magnificent creatures up close and personal. Your journey begins as you delve into the misty landscapes, guided by our expert trackers, ever watchful for signs of the elusive gorilla families that call these mountains home.

          Drawn by their gentle and intelligent nature, you’ll be captivated as you observe gorilla troops going about their daily routines, from playful antics to nurturing interactions. This unique encounter allows you to witness their raw power and peek into their complex social structures. As you hike through the dense foliage, accompanied by the soundtrack of exotic birdcalls and rustling leaves, you’ll feel a deep connection to the natural world.

          Not only will this adventure leave an indelible mark on your soul, but it also contributes to the conservation efforts of these endangered species. Come and join us on a mountain gorilla trekking experience that will take your breath away and leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime.

          The best destinations for mountain gorilla trekking

          When it comes to mountain gorilla trekking, certain destinations stand out as prime locations for this unforgettable experience. One such destination is the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and The Mgahinga Gorilla national park in Uganda. These UNESCO World Heritage Sites are home to approximately half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population. The dense forest and steep hills provide the perfect habitat for these majestic creatures.

          Another incredible destination for gorilla trekking is Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. This park is part of the larger Virunga Mountains conservation area and offers breathtaking views of volcanic peaks and lush valleys. With experienced guides leading the way, you’ll have the opportunity to encounter gorilla families in their natural habitat.

          Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is also a top choice for gorilla trekking enthusiasts. This park is not only home to gorillas but also boasts other unique wildlife and stunning landscapes. Trekking through the dense forests of Virunga is like stepping into a lost world, where adventure awaits at every turn.

          Planning your mountain gorilla trekking adventure

          Before embarking on your mountain gorilla trekking adventure, careful planning is essential to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Firstly, it’s important to book your trekking permit well in advance, as availability is limited. The permits not only secure your spot but also contribute to the conservation efforts aimed at protecting these endangered species.

          Next, consider the time of year for your trek. The dry seasons, which typically fall between June to September and December to February, offer better trekking conditions with less rainfall and more stable hiking trails. However, it’s important to note that gorilla sightings are possible throughout the year, so you can plan your trek based on your preferences and availability.

          Additionally, it’s crucial to be physically prepared for the trek. Gorilla trekking can involve hiking through challenging terrain for several hours, so maintaining a good level of fitness is important. Regular exercise and cardiovascular training will help you navigate the steep slopes and dense vegetation with ease.

          What to expect during a mountain gorilla trek

          A mountain gorilla trekking adventure is an immersive experience that offers unique opportunities to observe these incredible creatures in their natural habitat. On the day of your trek, you’ll meet your expert guides and receive a briefing about the rules and regulations in place to protect both the gorillas and trekkers.

          As you venture into the forest, the anticipation builds. The trek can vary in duration, ranging from a few hours to a full day, depending on the location of the gorilla families. The expert trackers will lead the way, using their knowledge of the gorillas’ habits and movements to guide you to their whereabouts.

          Once the gorilla family is located, you’ll have the privilege of spending up to one hour in their presence. This hour is carefully managed to ensure minimal disruption to the gorillas’ daily routines. You’ll have the opportunity to observe their behavior, interactions, and even witness their feeding habits. It’s important to maintain a safe distance and follow the guidelines provided by your guides to ensure the safety of both humans and gorillas.

          Essential gear and clothing for mountain gorilla trekking

          To make the most of your mountain gorilla trekking adventure, it’s crucial to come prepared with the right gear and clothing. Here are some essentials to consider:

          • Sturdy hiking boots: The terrain can be challenging, so comfortable and waterproof hiking boots are a must.
          • Long-sleeved shirts and pants: These will protect you from scratches, insect bites, and thorny vegetation.
          • Rain jacket: The weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, so a lightweight, waterproof rain jacket is essential.
          • Backpack: A small backpack will come in handy for carrying essentials like water, snacks, and camera equipment.
          • Insect repellent: The forest is home to various insects, so a good quality insect repellent will help keep them at bay.
          • Hat and sunglasses: These will protect you from the sun and provide shade during breaks.
          • Camera with extra batteries: Capture the unforgettable moments with a good quality camera and ensure you have enough battery power.

          Safety precautions and guidelines for gorilla trekking

          Gorilla trekking is an incredible adventure, but it’s important to prioritize safety, both for the gorillas and the trekkers. Here are some safety precautions and guidelines to follow during your trek:

          • Maintain a distance of at least 7 meters from the gorillas to minimize the risk of disease transmission.
          • Follow the instructions of your guides at all times, as they are experienced in gorilla behavior and know how to keep you safe.
          • Avoid direct eye contact with the gorillas, as it can be perceived as a threat.
          • Keep your voice low and avoid sudden movements to avoid agitating the gorillas.
          • Do not eat or drink in the presence of gorillas, as it can create an unnatural association between humans and food.
          • If you need to cough or sneeze, turn away from the gorillas and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow.
          • Respect the environment by not littering and following the designated trails to minimize disturbance to the gorillas’ habitat.

          Responsible tourism and gorilla conservation efforts

          Mountain gorilla trekking not only provides an unforgettable experience for visitors but also plays a vital role in the conservation of these endangered species. The revenue generated from permits and tourism activities directly contributes to gorilla conservation efforts, including habitat protection, anti-poaching measures, and community development projects.

          Responsible tourism practices are crucial to ensure the long-term survival of mountain gorillas. By following the guidelines set by the national park authorities and local communities, visitors can minimize their impact on the gorillas and their habitat. It’s important to choose reputable tour operators that prioritize sustainable and ethical practices.

          Other wildlife experiences to complement your gorilla trekking adventure

          While mountain gorilla trekking is undoubtedly the highlight of any trip, there are other incredible wildlife experiences to complement your adventure. Many of the gorilla trekking destinations are also home to a wide variety of wildlife, including chimpanzees, golden monkeys, and a plethora of bird species.

          Consider adding a visit to the chimpanzee sanctuaries in Uganda or Rwanda, where you can observe these intelligent primates up close and learn about conservation efforts aimed at protecting them. Alternatively, take a guided nature walk to discover the diverse birdlife that inhabits the lush forests surrounding the gorilla habitats.

          A once-in-a-lifetime experience with mountain gorillas

          Embarking on a mountain gorilla trekking adventure is a truly unforgettable experience that will leave an indelible mark on your soul. The awe-inspiring beauty of the mountain forests, the raw power of the gorillas, and the deep connection to nature make this journey a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

          As you observe the gorilla families in their natural habitat, you’ll gain a newfound appreciation for these incredible creatures and the urgent need to protect them. By choosing responsible tourism practices and supporting gorilla conservation efforts, you not only contribute to their survival but also ensure future generations can have the same awe-inspiring encounters.

          Join us on a mountain gorilla trekking experience that will take your breath away and leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime. Book your adventure today and embark on a journey of discovery and wonder in the heart of the mountains.

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