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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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Karamoja – The Epitome of Northern Uganda

Uganda’s Karamoja Region is one of the unexplored regions of the country with untouched wilderness, the Karamoja Region is situated in the North-Eastern part of Uganda consisting of 7 districts including Audat, Nakapiripirit, Moroto, Abim, Kaabong, Napak and Kotido.

The Karamoja region is a semi-arid region well known for the nomadic – pastoralists – The Karamong and their fascinating culture and traditions that has remained the same for centuries.

Let’s take a dive in the 8 top icons to explore in Uganda’s Northern Karamoja on a Uganda Safari.

  1. Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park is Uganda’s hidden gem located in the north-east region of Uganda, close by the borders of South Sudan and Kenya. The park is an enthralling place of semi-arid savannah, seasonal rivers and low mountains.

Kidepo Valley National Park’s landscape extends across 1,442 km² at an altitude range  from 914m above sea level on the valley floor to the 2,750 m peak of Mount Morungole which dominates the horizon.

Kidepo Valley National Park is the third largest national park with a great biodiversity, the park is home to 77 mammal species offering great opportunities for game viewing, 20 species of predators including lion, leopard and spotted hyenas.

  • The Karamojong People

The Karamojong are a pastoralist ethnic group of north – eastern Uganda with a reputation of being cattle rustlers and have in the past stolen animals from people in Katine.

The Karamojong are eastern Nilotic pastoral people, the Karimojong are the largest of a cluster of culturally and historically related people including the Jie, Teso, Dodoth and Labwor of Uganda and the Turkana of neighboring Kenya. They speak an Eastern Nilotic language of the Nilo-Saharan language family.

The Karamojong live a communal lifestyle of extended families in very large homesteads, manyattas sharing comound. Thorny fences and wood encircle the manyatta for protection against raids from other cattle rustlers and wild animals. They move from place to place which is an outstanding features used to identify a group.

Visiting the Karamojong People is a great cultural experience giving you a deeper insight into their lifestyle, style and traditions.

  • Mount Morungole

Mount Morungole lies within the Kidepo Valley National Park, north east Uganda, and Africa, in the rugged, semi-arid Karamoja province near the border with the Sudan. The mountain range stands at 2,750m making it the highest point in Kidepo Valley National Park.

Mount Morungole is the source of Kidepo and Narus Rivers, during the rainy seasons different streams in the mountain range feeds into the valleys in Kidepo Valley National Park.

Mount Morungole features exciting and dramatic landscapes, creating an illusion of rocks that are about to topple onto Kaabong at any time. The highlight of hiking Mount Morungole is meeting the IK Community living on the summit of the mountain.

  • The Ik People “The Mountain People of Uganda”

Sometimes the Teuso, the Ik ethnic people are native to northeastern Uganda, near the Kenya border. The word Ik means “head of migration”, traditionally they are believed to have been some of the earliest settlers in the region from Kenya. In 1972, they were the subject of anthropologist Colin Turnbull’s highly contested book “The Mountain People”, which described them as traditionally nomadic hunter-gatherers.

The IK people are believed to have been the area’s original inhabitants until the arrival of the larger Karamojong ethnic group, who almost migrated from Ethiopia.

The IK people is a small ethnic group comprising approximately 10,000 to 11,000 individuals, swelling in the mountainous enclave of Mount Morungole, standing at an elevation of 2,700 meters above sea level. This rugged terrain is situated along the border between Kenya and the Kidepo Valley National Park in the Karamoja Region of Northeastern Uganda.

Visiting these people is an authentic African culture adventure that will test your physical test, the Ik have a rich cultural heritage rooted in their traditional hunter – gatherer lifestyle.

  • Aruu Falls

The beautiful Aruu Falls are one of the most interesting waterfalls in Uganda offering unforgettable experience while on a Uganda safari in Northern Uganda, the waterfalls are located in Pader district approximately 386 kilometers from Uganda’s capital Kampala, 43 kilometers from Guli and 57 kilometers from Kampala- Uganda’s capital.

The Arru Falls are made up of several streams that flow with a roaring sound and a strirring scene that is simply stunning and unrivaled. The various streams of the falls flow from seven rocks; Ryanga, Awilo Yaa, Akweyo, Wang Okiye, Lacee, Okello Gem and Lanya Kweyo. The jagged rocks at the falls have a step – like formation that allows the water to flow smoothly downstream from the river Agago.

  • Ajai Wildlife Reserve

The Ajai Wildlife Reserve is another iconic wildlife destination in the Northern – Eastern Uganda (Arua District) situated on the western banks of the Nile. The reserve gained world attention when Theordore Roosevelt, a former American president visited in 1910 on a hunting expedition. Ajai Wildlife Reserve is located in an area with higher elevation but is relatively small (166 sq.km), the reserve is characterized by a prominent island that is surrounded by savannah and swamps.

This seasonal swamp is fed by the river Acha and Ala, during the rainy season the swamp gets completely flooded cutting off the island from the rest of the world.

Ajai was established in 1962 as the White Rhino Sanctuary. Unfortunately the rhinos were hunted down by poachers from South Sudan

Wildlife in Ajai Wildlife Reserve – following the stiff conservation efforts, the reserve is home to various species of wildlife including sitatunga, the Uganda Kob, waterbucks, hippos, black and white colobus monkeys, warthogs and many more.

  • Mountain Moroto

Mount Moroto is an ancient Volcano standing at 3,083 raising put of the semi – arid plains, the volcano is situated adjacent to the town of Moroto in Moroto District, Karamoja, Northern region of Uganda. It is approximately 3 kilometers by road, east of Moroto’s Central business center.

Mount Moroto is one of a chain of volcanoes along the international border of Uganda with Kenya that begins with Mount Kenya in the south and includes Mount Kadam ad Mount Morungole. The region around Mount Moroto is a forest reserve protecting a range of habitats from arid thorn savannah to dry montane forest.

The mountain is home to the So/Tepeth tribe also living in the western and northern mountains in the region, migrated from the plains when the Karamojong settled in the past.

Mount Mroro is hiked on a 3 Days Trek starting from Moroto Town, the trek is a moderate hike with a strenuous climb on the first day, a scenic hike over the rides and through the forests on the second day and a half day descend on the last day.

  • Fort Patiko

Also referred as Baker’s Fort, Fort Patiko is an iconic historic site in the Northern Uganda. This fort was a military fort built by Sir Samuel Baker in Patiko Uganda, its construction was completed on December 25, 1872. After Baker leaving in 1888, the fort was used by Emin Pasha and Charles Gordon while they served as Governor of the Equatorial Province of the British Uganda Protectorate.

A plaque on the remaining wall of a grain storage building in the center of the fort reads “Fatiko 1872 – 88, founded by Sir Samuel Baker, occupied by Emin and Gorden”

Ruins of the Fort remain in Ajulu Parish, Patiko Sub-county, Aswa County, Gulu District. This area is full of culture and would be great blend into your Ugandan safari so reach out to our team of knowledgeable consultants to plan this visit for you.

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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.

          Categories
          Travel News

          Places to Visit the Chimpanzees of East Africa

          If you want to see chimpanzees in the wild, the East Africa region has some of the best destinations in Africa to see the amazing creatures.

          Some of the chimpanzee families in East Africa has been habituated for chimpanzee trekking where visitors can spend hours interacting with them.

          Tourists can spend several hours to a day observing human – habituated chimpanzee troops in large swathes of forests of Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania

          These are the best places in East Africa where you can see wild chimpanzees in the natural habitat. 

          The following are the places to see chimpanzees in East Africa

          1. Kibale National Park – Western Uganda

           Located in the remote western region of Uganda, Kibale National Park also known as Kibale Forest National Park is the best place to see chimpanzees in the wild. The park protects the oldest and most charming rainforests in Africa, Kibale is also home to the highest number and diversity of primates in East Africa. With over 1,400 chimpanzees and 13 species of primates, Kibale National Park is crowned the Primate Capital of Africa.

          In addition to chimpanzees, other primates you will see in Kibale National Park include the vervet, red-tailed, L’Hoest’s, and blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, endangered red colobus, and the black-and-white colobus monkey.

           Chimpanzees in Kibale National Park are seen on chimpanzee trekking experience allowing visitors to spend only 1 hour in the presence of the chimpanzees, for visitors who wish to spend more hours with chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park there is Chimpanzee Habituation Experience allowing a full day of being with the chimpanzees together with researchers and scientists. Chimpanzee Habituation Experience allows visitors to witness how chimpanzees are habituated to human presence, learn about their individual trails among others.

          On this day of the chimpanzee experience, visitors head out at dawn with the research team to find a chimpanzee troop before they leave their nests and spread almost the whole day among the forest, giving you a more profound experience, learning more and better sighting.

          Cost of Seeing Chimpanzees in Kibale National Park as of July 2023

          CategoryEast African Community NationalsResidentsNon – Residents
          Chimpanzee Trekking180,000 Ugx$ 200$ 250
          Chimpanzee Habituation ExperienceUgx 250,000$ 250$ 300

           Where to Stay in Kibale Forest National Park

          There are several accommodation options in Kibale Forest National Park ranging from budget, midrange to luxury.

          • Primate Lodge
          • Kyaninga Lodge
          • Ndali Lodge
          • Papaya Lake Lodge

          How to get to Kibale Forest National Park

           Kibale Forest National Park is situated in the western part of Uganda and about 26km south-east of Fort Portal. The park is easily accessible from Kampala from the North through Mubenda as well as Fort Portal. The northern route is shorter and faster and the distance is about 300 km with a tarmac road going to Fort Portal and also a distance of 36 km on murram to Kanyanchu.

          In the southern part, you can use Mbarara or Kamwenge road to get to the park

          There is also chartered/domestic flights from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Kasese airstrip, then connect to the park by road. 

           Mahale Mountains National Park – Tanzania

          The forested slopes of the Mahale Mountains protects the least world’s largest protected population of approximately 700-1000 of the eastern subspecies of chimpanzees, Mahale Mountain National Park is a remote, magical chimpanzee destination covering about 1,600 square kilometers.

          Located along the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika, the park is renowned for its fantastic sunsets over Lake Tanganyika and its breathtaking array of habitats which include rainforest, grasslands, alpine bamboo and woodlands. 

          Mahale Mountains National Park is home to other primates including red colobus, yellow baboons, blue, red-tailed and vervet monkeys. 

          Chimpanzees in Mahale Mountains National Park living in small communities and only one group – the Mimikire clan of more than 50 individuals, has been habituated to close human contact since 1965.

          Chimpanzee trekking excursions in Mahale Mountains National Park are done on a daily, except on Mondays and Thursdays, visitors should be conscious of their physical fitness before heading into the Mahale Mountains. The trek can be challenging, lasting five to six hours a day, up very steep inclines in the humid jungle. 

          Costs of tracking chimpanzees in Mahale Mountains National Park

          The guided Chimpanzee tracking fee in Mahale is $ 20 per person plus a park entrance fee of $80 per 24 hours.

          Where to Stay.

          There are limited accommodation facilities in Mahale Mountains National Park.

          The best accommodations to stay at are Greystoke Mahale or Kungwe Beach Lodge, both sitting on a pristine, white sandy beach overlooking the turquoise water of Lake Tanganyika, with the dramatic backdrop of the forested Mahale Mountains. 

          How to get to Mahale Mountains National Park

          To reach Mahale Mountains National Park, the most convenient method is to take a flight from Arusha to Katavi. The only public schedule flight available is Safari Air Link’s Service which operates twice a week between Ruaha, Katavi and Mahale. After arriving at Mahale Airstrip, you will need to take a 90-minute boat ride to reach the beach lodges. 

          • Kyambura Gorge – A Mysterious Wilderness in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

          Kyambura Gorge known as The Valley of Apes is a cliff-lined sunken ravine with a mystical river flowing at its foot to join the Kazinga Channel, its forested ridges form a deep chasm in the savannah landscape and a natural boundary between Queen Elizabeth National Park and neighboring Kyambura Wildlife Reserve. 

          Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge is more active than most, as visitors may have to cross the river by a fallen log and hike on the gorge’s steep sides which can be a bit difficult at best.

          However, the effort is worth it as the valley is mysterious, primal place and the view alone is worth the 1.6 miles(2.5 km) drive from the Katunguru highway.

          Visitors should note that the terrain in Kyambura Gorge can be challenging, and they should bring appropriate clothing and gear. Additionally, visitors should book a tour package with transportation and a guide to enjoy a hassle-free experience and make the most of their time in the gorge. 

          Cost of visiting chimps in Uganda’s Kyambura Gorge

          You can purchase chimpanzee permits for Kyambura Gorge locally from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) for $80 per person. However, due to limited availability, it is best to secure them in advance for fee. Also visitors must have to pay the park entry fee of $10 per person to access the platform.

          • Kaniyo Pabidi, Budongo Forest Reserve – Uganda

          Kaniyo Pabidi located in the Budongo Forest Reserve in Northern Uganda is a less popular but less excellent place to see chimpanzees in the wild, the forest reserve is located en-route to the famous Murchison Falls National Park making it a convenient stop for visitors traveling to the park.

          Budongo Forest Reserve is worthy visiting for chimpanzee trekking while on a Uganda Wildlife Safari in Murchison Falls National Park for the big game viewing experience. The reserve offers visitors a chance to experience the beauty of the forest and its inhabitants including chimpanzees in a more intimate setting.

          Visitors to Budongo Forest Reserve for chimpanzee trekking in Kaniyo Pabidi requires a permit which is obtained from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) or registered local operator.

          Nyungwe National Park – Rwanda

          Located in southwestern Rwanda, Nyungwe Forest National Park is a stretch of 394 square miles (1,020 sq km) teeming with a dazzling array of flora and fauna explored using several hiking trails.

          Nyungwe Forest is one of the world’s most beautiful and pristine rain forests, dominated by a series of mountains originating in northern Uganda and Congo, running south through the Rwenzori Mountains, western Rwanda and Burundi, to the shores of Lake Tanganyika.

          Chimpanzees are the main attraction Nyungwe Forest National Park, however the park is also home to other 12 primate species including Silver monkey,Golden monkey, Owl-faced monkey/ Hamlyn’s monkey, Grey-cheeked mangabey, Red-tailed monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, Vervet monkey, Olive baboon, Dent’s Mona Monkey, Blue Monkey and Angolan Colobus Monkeys.

          Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of the best places to see chimpanzees in East Africa in the wild, with over 500 chimpanzees living in the forested park,  chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe is done every with visitors spend one hour interacting with the chimpanzees as they go on with their lives. 

          Cost of chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest

          International VisitorForeign ResidentsRwandan/East African Citizens
          $150$75$25

          Where to stay in Nyungwe Forest National Park

          The best accommodations to stay at in Nyungwe Forest include

          • One&Only Nyungwe House
          • Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel 
          • Nyungwe Nziza Eco Lodge
          • Nyungwe Forest Lodge

          How to get to Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest National Park

          Nyungwe Forest National Park is situated approximately 124 miles south of Rwanda and is a 4-5 hour drive from Kigali International Airport via Muhanga and the King’s Palace in Nyanza.

          There are also scheduled domestic and helicopters flights from Kigali International Airport to Nyungwe at Kamembe Airport or One& Only helipad, the flight takes only 45 minutes.  

          Gombe Stream National Park – Tanzania

          Tucked away on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, the deepest lake in Africa and the largest among the Albertine Rift lakes. Gombe Stream National Park is the most petite and loveliest destination in Tanzania, made famous by Jane Goodall.

          Gombe is one of the only two places in Tanzania where visitors can see chimpanzees in a natural habitat, however it is also the most challenging of all chimpanzee trekking destinations in East Africa as well as Africa.

          The park is only 2 miles wide and 9 miles long, stretching from the white sandy beaches of the blue lake up into the thick jungle and the mountains of the rift escarpment in the backdrop. The park also has strips of riverine bush alongside the many streams that gouge out steep valleys as they make their way from the highlands to flow down into the lake. 

          To follow in Jane Goodall’s Footsteps, you ought to be reasonably fit. Keeping up with a group of feeding and moving chimpanzees as they climb hills and forage deep in valleys of Gombe can be very strenuous work. But the effort will be worth with as you come face to face with a chimpanzee or accompanying a group as they make their way through the forest. 

          Cost of Chimpanzee Trekking in Gombe Stream National Park

          The cost of a chimpanzee permit is as follows

          $ 118 for adults and $ 23 for children between the ages of 5 and 15.

          Where to Stay

           The best accommodations in Gombe Stream National Park include

          Gombe Forest Lodge

          Kigoma Hilltop Hotel 

           Sunset Vista Hote

          Kwa Sifa Norad

          Mama Muni (Kigoma)

          Categories
          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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          A visit to Murchison Falls National Park

          Situated at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley in the northwest Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park is an iconic safari destination in Uganda named after the dizzying waterfall at its heart – Murchison Falls.

          Murchison Falls National Park covers just over 1,500 square miles including savannah and riverine woodland in the northern section, the swamp-like delta along the shores of Lake Albert and the dense forests to the south. Murchison Falls National Park along with other neighbouring protected areas that is Bugungu Wildlife Reserve and Karuma Wildlife Reserve form the larger Murchison Falls National Park.

          About Murchison Falls

          Once you lay your eyes on the powerful waterfall of Murchison, you will understand why the whole area of 1,500 square miles is named after the cascading fall, the water comes from the Victoria Nile River, but is not like the waterfalls you are probably used to. The water surges through a narrow gorge in the ground that stretches approximately 7 meters pushing onwards before it makes its way down a massive drop.

          Murchison Falls is constantly compared to the waterfalls found in Canada’s Nahanni National Park, only Murchison Falls is more magnificent.

          Activities To Do in Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

          Game Viewing

          Murchison Falls National Park is one of the top destinations for Uganda wildlife safaris, game drive is the easiest way to explore the park and is done in the comfort of your vehicle. The best time to catch the most active wildlife moments on a game drive is very early morning or late in the evening.

          At that time, the lions are actively hunting for their early or late meals before they have their digestion slumber.

          Murchison Falls National Park has several tracks running through the heart of the park which are a prime location for spotting lion prides preying on abundant Uganda kobs, giraffes and buffaloes.

          If you are interested in spotting lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes and many antelope species, the 7-kilometer Buligi tracking converging at Nyamsika Gorge around the Victoria Nile is the perfect track to drive on.

          Other tracks to use during game viewing in Murchison Falls National Park include Albert and Victoria game drive tracks. Your UWA guide or ranger will take you to spots they identified as hot zones for animals particularly on your day of game viewing.

          Hike to the Top of the Falls

          From the bottom of the falls, embark on a 45-minute hike up the steep slopes around the falls. You will experience the mighty force of the falls from its belly. The hike is not for physically unfit people but very rewarding, you will be able to hear the sounds of the water forcing its way through the rocks and falling and take as many beautiful photos as possible.

          Nature and forest walks

          Nature walks in Murchison Falls National Park happen through the forests of Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo forest where you have opportunities of watching the primates such as chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys and several bird species.

          Guided nature and forest walks are great activity for visitors who wish to connect with nature on foot.

          Launch Cruises

          A Launch cruise is one of the most popular activity in Murchison Falls National Park lasting about 3 hours starting and ending at the bottom of Murchison Falls, this thrilling experience is done on the Victoria Nile towards the falls offering an ultimate experience of enjoying the calm water, animals, birds and great scenery.

          Lookout for animals such as crocodile and hippos in the water, elephants, buffaloes and antelopes which come for water.

          Launch cruises also offers opportunities for water birds such as the pre-historic shoe bill, king fishers among others. The launch trip happens twice a day with a morning trip starting at 9 am and afternoon at 2 pm, for tourists who prefer a more private experience, there are private boats you can rent.

          Game Drives

          Game viewing is the primate Uganda Safari activity to do in Murchison Falls National Park, the park comprises of demarcated tracks on the northern bank of River Nile for game drives.

          Game drives in Murchison Falls National Park are done in custom – made tour vehicles with open roof for easy spotting of animals and unparalleled views of the scenic landscape, game drives takes about 4 hours to an entire day depending on your interests as tourists.

          Game drives in Murchison Falls National Park are done as morning game drives, afternoon game drives and full day game drives. As you drive through the park on several tracks, lookout for animals like Uganda Kobs, Bushbucks, hartebeests, Oribi, Pattas monkeys, warthogs, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, lions and many bird species among others.

          Community walks and Cultural experiences

          For visitors interested in engaging with the local community, the Boomu Women’s Group is a must visit. Take a scenic village tour in the local community as you learn about their way of life, cultures and traditions, demonstration of basket weaving, preparing several local meals and visit to a local schools.

          Best Time to Visit Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

          The best months to visit Murchison Falls National Park on a Uganda Safari are from December to February since the weather is mild during this time of the year, the peak tourist time in Uganda and Murchison Falls National Park as well is from June to September, so be aware that the park will be crowded during these months.

          There are two low seasons due to heavy rainfall, from March to May and October and November. For tourists interested in birding, the rainy season may be the best time to go. During this time of the year, the birds in the park are very active. It is the breeding season and migratory birds escaping harsh winters in Europe can also be sighted in the African savannah of Murchison Falls. Unfortunately, the low season is characterized by heavy rains that leave the park roads impassable in some sections.  Viewing animals becomes more difficult because they scatter in smaller groups because food is plentiful.

          How To Get There

          Most international visitors to Uganda arrive at Entebbe International Airport (EBB) located approximately one hour’s drive southwest of Kampala – the capital. From the airport, it is a 200-mile journey north to Murchison Falls National Park, there are two approaches from the south departing from Masindi town. The main route enters the park through Kichumbanyobo Gate and reaches Paraa after 53 miles (85 kilometers).

          The longer, scenic route travels for roughly 84 miles via Bugungu Fate. If you are traveling from the north, there are four gates to choose from – Chobe, Wankwar, Mubako and Tangi.

          All access roads lead to Paraa, where a vehicle ferry provides access to the other half of the park and runs roughly every two hours.

          If you prefer flying, there are three airfields in the park accessible by charter plane from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airfield near Kampala. The closest to Paraa is Pakuba Airfield.

          Where to Stay 

          There are several accommodation options in Murchison Falls National Park ranging from luxury, midrange to budget situated inside and outside of the park. Top accommodation options in Murchison Falls National Park include GeoLodges Nile Safari Lodge, Murchison Safari Lodge, Paraa Safari Lodge, Sambiya River Lodge, Chobe Safari Lodge, Budongo Eco Lodge or even the Murchison River Lodge.

          Get in touch with us and let us discuss your visit to Murchison falls or to Uganda in general.

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          The national Parks of Uganda

          Crowned the Pearl of Africa by Sir Winston Churchill in 1909, the national parks of Uganda are an amazing African destination choice whose natural beauty is beyond any words. Churchill’s sentiments about Uganda are echoed more in the country’s diversity of people, ecosystems and wildlife.

          Uganda is strategically situated in a special geographical position where western and eastern Africa come together, the country’s savannah plains are home to several species of wildlife, mountainous forested region is home to the endangered mountain gorillas. It also teems with several primate species including chimpanzees, olive baboons and black and white colobus monkeys and several bird species.

          Uganda encompasses a wide range of habitats including woodlands, moorlands, mountains, rivers and lakes, approximately 20% of Uganda is covered by water.  

          Uganda is one of the most popular wildlife destinations in Africa, it is also one of the most popular birding destinations on the continent with around 1,050 species – 50% of those on the continent and 11% in the world.

          Here is a list of Uganda National Parks to explore on an African Safari. 

          Queen Elizabeth National Park

             Queen Elizabeth National Park is the most popular wildlife safari destination in Uganda located in the southern region of the country, at a size of 1,978 square kilometers it is the second-largest national park in Uganda. The park encompasses of savannah, acacia woodlands, tropical forests, fertile wetlands and lakes within its borders.

            Queen Elizabeth National Park was first gazetted as a Kazinga National Park in 1952, later the name was changed two years later in honor the visit of Queen Elizabeth – the then leader of Britain.

            The park’s popularity is attributed to its breathtaking biodiversity, Queen Elizabeth National Park is spread across the Albertine Rift Valley and its savannah plains are habitat to over 60 bird species and 95 mammals include 4 of the Big Five (lions, leopards, buffaloes and elephants) and 10 species of primates. Because of the huge number of bird species recorded in Queen Elizabeth National Park, the park has been recognized as an International Birding Area by Birding International.

            Queen Elizabeth National Park offers amazing safari experiences including game drives safaris, birding safaris, chimpanzee trekking in the Kyambura Gorge, guided walks through the Maramagambo Forest and cultural encounters with local communities like the salt workers at the Lake Katwe evaporation pans.

            Queen Elizabeth National Park offers visitors a chance to see the rare tree climbing lions found in the Ishasha Sector – Southern region of the park.  

            Murchison Falls National Park

            Spanning 3,840 km², Murchison Falls National Park is the largest protected area in Uganda found approximately 300 kilometers northwest of Kampala. The park is also the oldest protected area in Uganda originally established in 1952.

            Murchison Falls National Park is famous known as the location where Murchison Falls – the world’s most powerful waterfalls where the Nile River squeezes through a sox-meter gap and then plunges 43 meters with a thunderous roar.

            Murchison Falls National Park attracts birders and animal lovers, there are over 450 species of fowl recorded here including the pre-historic and rare shoebill stork and many endemics and 76 mammals including four of the Big Five (lion, leopards, elephants and buffaloes). For travelers interested in a full Uganda Big Five Safari, you can visit the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for rhino tracking experience. 

            Uganda Safari activities to do in Murchison Falls National Park include game viewing safaris, birding safaris, boat cruise on River Nile, hiking to the top of Murchison Falls and guided nature walks.

            Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

            Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the best place to see mountain gorillas in the world as it is home to the world’s largest population of the critically endangered mountain gorillas, the park hosts about one-third of the 1,060 plus mountain gorillas arrive today with the remainder thriving in the Virunga Conservation Area shared by Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and DR.Congo’s Virunga National Park.

            Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to 18 habituated mountain gorilla families on Uganda gorilla trekking safari.

            At a size of just 321 km², Bwindi Forest is preserved on the edge of the Rift Valley in southwest Uganda. The park was established in 1991 as part of the conservation effort to save the mountain gorillas, three years later the forest “one of Africa’s richest and oldest forests dating back about 25,000 years” was recognized as a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO. 

            In addition to gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is full of other life. The park is one of the richest ecosystems in Africa with 120 species of mammals, 350 species of birds, 200 tree species, 310 butterfly species, 51 reptile species and 27 frogs, geckos and chameleons.

            The huge list of bird species recorded in Bwindi Forest earned the forest the title of the Best Birding Destination in Africa, humans of Bwindi are notable. The Batwa people used to live in Bwindi Forest until they were forcefully evicted from the forest as a way of protecting mountain gorillas, now they reside in an adjacent buffer zone from which they lead cultural tours that teach visitors about their age-old hunting, hut-building, honey-harvesting, agricultural, sharing traditional music and dance as well as trapping practices.

            Kibale National Park

            Dubbed the Primate Capital of Africa, Kibale Forest National Park is the best place to see the world famous endangered chimpanzees. The park is home to 13 primate species including black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons among others and the largest number of chimpanzees in East Africa.

            At a size of 795², Kibale National Park is a rare expanse containing both lowland and montane forests including the last large tract of pre-montane forest in East Africa and it is contiguous with Queen Elizabeth National Park. Altogether, more than 350 species of primates have been recorded in Kibale‘s lush and variable woodlands.

             Chimpanzees in Kibale National Park are visited on chimpanzee trekking experience, the park has set a side groups of chimpanzees that have been habituated to make them used to the presence of human beings.

            In addition to the chimpanzees, more than 50 other terrestrial mammals and over 350 species of birds thrive in Kibale National Park and take advantage of their freedom of movement along the 180-kilometer-long wildlife corridor which is part of the park.  

            Rwenzori Mountains National Park

             Rwenzori Mountains National Park is a scenic park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in western Uganda stretching on the foothills of Rwenzori Mountains, the park was gazetted in 1991 and later UNESCO gazetted as a heritage site thanks to its mountain flora biodiversity which is the greatest in Africa.

            At a size of 996 square kilometers, the park lies against the border of Uganda with the Democratic Republic of Congo and serve as a stunning backdrop to Queen Elizabeth National Park. 

            The park is dominated by the famous Rwenzori Mountains which are the source of River Nile, because of the Rwenzori Mountains range the park is a world-class destination for hiking and mountaineering. The climbers here move through a mixture of ecosystems that include rainforests, alpine meadows and a wonderland of glacier-carved and lake-filled valleys. These abound with rare montane vegetation and more than 70 mammal species and 217 bird species.

            Kidepo Valley National Park

            Kidepo Valley National Park is the most isolated national park in Uganda set in far north, the park encompasses of semi-arid valleys and is home to some of Africa’s most isolated stunning wilderness.

            At a size of 1,442, Kidepo Valley National Park is divided across two river valleys that is the Kidepo and the Narus. In the dry season, the water turns to seasonal oasis – wetlands and remnant pools near Apoka in the Narus Valley.

            Kidepo Valley National Park is a perfect destination for watching the 475 species of birds and 77 mammal species inhabiting in the park including ostriches and cheetahs.

             Uganda Safari activities to do in Kidepo Valley National Park include game viewing safaris, guided nature walks, birding, hiking mountain Morungule and cultural encounters.

            Lake Mburo National Park

             Covering 370 square kilometers of wetlands and woodlands making the smallest savannah park in Uganda, Lake Mburo National Park is an amazing Uganda Safari destination and the only park in the country situated close to the capital – Kampala. The park is situated in a short distance of about 235 kilometers west of Kampala off the main highway. 

            Lake Mburo National Park encompasses a long chain of 14 lakes with Lake Mburo as the biggest Lake, the park is home to over 350 bird species and 69 wildlife species including zebras, buffalo, leopards and hippos. Lake Mburo National Park is also the only park in Uganda with impalas.

            Lake Mburo National Park was protected in 1983 and in 2006, it was declared a Ramsar Wetland in 2006. The wetland system in Lake Mburo dominates only a fifth of the park area, the rest is dominated by savannah and woodlands. 

            Uganda Safari activities to do in Lake Mburo National Park include game viewing safaris, boat cruise safaris on Lake Mburo, horseback safaris, guided nature walks and cultural experiences with local Banyankore community groups.  

            Semuliki National Park

             Semuliki National Park is a great destination to visit for tourists interested in having a taste of Central Africa without leaving Uganda, the park is situated in western Uganda sitting in a wide, flat valley to the west of the Rwenzori Mountains right along the border of Uganda with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

            Geologically, this is the eastern edge of the Congo Basin’s vast and ancient Ituri Forest which is popular for its biodiversity.

            Semuliki National Park covering an area of 220 km² is home to over 441 recorded bird species and 53 types of mammals and one of the few African forests to have survived the last Ice Age. The park also protects a true lowland tropical forest – the only of its kind in East Africa and savannah grasslands, much of the park is prone to flooding during the wet season.

            Uganda Safari activities to do in Semuliki National Park include game viewing safaris, primate walks, birding safaris and guided walks to the Sempaya hot springs which run hot and it is possible to boil eggs in the waters and the Mumbuga spring geyser.

            Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

             This second gorilla trekking destination and the small national park in Uganda, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the incredible national parks in the country located in the far southwest. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is part of the Great Conservation Area that spreads for thousands of square kilometers across the Virunga Mountains Chain found in Uganda, DR.Congo and Rwanda.

            Dubbed as a place where Gold meets Silver, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the only two places in the world where the endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys thrive peacefully. The park is home to one habituated gorilla family by the name of Nyakagezi gorilla family.

            Mgahinga Gorilla National Park features a dramatic scenery which includes three extinct volcanoes (Mount Sabinyo, Mount Gahinga and Mount Sabyinyo. The Virunga Range is known for its rich biodiversity. 

            Mount Elgon National Park

               Dominated by dormant – Mount Elgon, Mount Elgon National Park is a scenic national park in Uganda located in in Eastern Uganda on the border with Kenya, Mount Elgon is the massively eroded remains of an extinct shield Volcano that was once Africa’s tallest mountain.

              At 4,321 meters, Mount Elgon is now the tallest in Africa with a based that is still the largest in the world. Mount Elgon is also the largest and oldest solitary Volcanic Mountain in East Africa measuring 80 kilometers in diameter, with a caldera of more than 40 square kilometers.

              Mount Elgon National Park covers an area of 1,279 km² across both Uganda and Kenya, though the biggest area (1,121 square kilometers) are in Uganda. This area is home to a wide variety of climates which are greatly influenced by elevation, both small and big mammals and over 300 bird species.

              Check out our Uganda safaris for a variety of options to visit any of these national parks.

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              Essential birding equipment and gear

              Before embarking on your birding safari in East Africa, it’s important to ensure you have the right equipment and gear to enhance your bird watching experience. Here are some essentials:

              1. Binoculars: A good pair of binoculars is crucial for spotting birds in their natural habitats. Look for binoculars with a magnification of at least 8x to 10x and a wide field of view.
              2. Field guide: A comprehensive field guide specific to the birds of East Africa will help you identify the different species you encounter. Look for guides with clear illustrations, detailed descriptions, and distribution maps.
              3. Camera and telephoto lens: Capturing the beauty of East Africa’s birdlife requires a good camera and a telephoto lens. Consider investing in a lens with a focal length of at least 200 mm to get close-up shots of birds.
              4. Comfortable clothing and footwear: East Africa’s birding safaris often involve walking and hiking, so it’s important to wear comfortable clothing and sturdy footwear. Opt for lightweight and breathable clothing to stay cool in the African heat.
              5. Sun protection and insect repellent: Protect yourself from the sun’s rays by wearing a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Additionally, mosquito repellent is essential to guard against insect bites and the risk of malaria.

              Guided birding safaris in East Africa

              Embarking on a guided birding safari in East Africa is a fantastic way to make the most of your birdwatching experience. Expert ornithologists and passionate local guides will not only help you spot and identify bird species but also provide valuable insights into their behavior and habitats.

              Guided birding safaris often include visits to prime birding destinations, such as national parks, reserves, and wetlands. These tours are carefully curated to maximize your chances of spotting a wide variety of bird species. Furthermore, guides are well-versed in the local culture and can provide a deeper understanding of the region’s rich heritage.

              Whether you opt for a group tour or a private safari, guided birding safaris offer a seamless and enriching experience. You’ll have the opportunity to learn from experts, connect with fellow birdwatchers, and create lasting memories in the captivating landscapes of East Africa.

              Tips for successful birding in East Africa

              To ensure a successful birding safari in East Africa, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind:

              1. Be patient and observant: Birdwatching requires patience and keen observation skills. Take your time to scan the surroundings, listen to bird calls, and watch for movement in the trees or on the ground.
              2. Stay silent and still: Birds can be easily startled by sudden movements and loud noises. To avoid scaring them away, try to stay as quiet and still as possible while observing them.
              3. Learn bird calls: Familiarize yourself with the unique calls and songs of the bird species you’re likely to encounter. This will help you locate and identify birds even when they’re hidden from view.
              4. Respect the environment: When birdwatching in East Africa, it’s important to respect the natural environment and wildlife. Avoid littering, keep a safe distance from the birds, and follow any guidelines provided by your guide or the park authorities.
              5. Take breaks and stay hydrated: Birding safaris can be physically demanding, so remember to take breaks and stay hydrated throughout the day. Carry a water bottle and pack some energy-rich snacks to keep you fueled.

              Conservation efforts for bird species in East Africa

              East Africa is not only a birding paradise but also a region that faces numerous conservation challenges. Habitat loss, climate change, and poaching are just some of the threats that bird species in East Africa face. However, there are several conservation organizations and initiatives working tirelessly to protect these avian creatures and their habitats.

              One such organization is the East African Bird Conservation Network (EABCoN), which focuses on conserving bird species and their habitats across East Africa. EABCoN collaborates with local communities, governments, and other stakeholders to promote sustainable conservation practices.

              Additionally, many national parks and reserves in East Africa have their own conservation programs aimed at protecting the bird species within their boundaries. These initiatives involve habitat restoration, anti-poaching efforts, and community engagement to ensure the long-term survival of the region’s unique birdlife.

              By participating in guided birding safaris and supporting responsible tourism, you can contribute to the conservation efforts in East Africa. Your visit not only provides economic benefits to local communities but also raises awareness about the importance of preserving the region’s natural heritage.

              Unique bird species to spot in East Africa

              East Africa is home to a plethora of unique bird species that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. These endemic birds are a testament to the region’s exceptional biodiversity and make birdwatching in East Africa truly special.

              One such endemic species is the Grey-crested Helmetshrike, found only in the woodlands of Kenya and Tanzania. With its striking black and white plumage and distinctive crest, this bird is a sought-after sighting for birdwatchers.

              Another endemic species is the Jackson’s Francolin, a small ground-dwelling bird found in the highlands of Kenya and Tanzania. Its reddish-brown plumage provides excellent camouflage in the undergrowth, making it a challenge to spot.

              The Rwenzori Turaco, endemic to the Albertine Rift in Uganda, is another unique bird species to look out for. Its shimmering green and blue feathers and distinctive call make it a true jewel of the region.

              These are just a few examples of the many endemic bird species that call East Africa home. With each birding safari, you’ll have the opportunity to discover and appreciate the remarkable diversity of avian life in this captivating region.

              Why you should experience a birding safari in East Africa

              Embarking on a birding safari in East Africa is an experience like no other. The region’s rich biodiversity, breathtaking landscapes, and unique bird species make it a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts and nature lovers. From the vibrant plumage of the African fish eagle to the graceful flight of the crowned crane, every moment spent in the company of these winged wonders is a feast for the senses.

              Guided by expert ornithologists and passionate local guides, you’ll have the opportunity to witness rare and endemic bird species, while also immersing yourself in the vibrant cultures and stunning landscapes of East Africa. Whether you’re a seasoned birdwatcher or a beginner, a birding safari in East Africa will leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime.

              So, pack your binoculars, grab your field guide, and get ready to embark on a captivating birding adventure in the mesmerizing landscapes of East Africa. Unveil the beauty of this remarkable region, one bird at a time.

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