FAQs on Taking Guided Safaris in Africa

Taking a safari is one of the most exciting and memorable activities you can ever do. The thrill of seeing one of the big five is an emotion that one can never forget in east Africa you can take a guided safari with a trained safari guide. These guided safaris can either be a drive through a national park or a game reserve or even guided hikes or horse rides.

While a guided safari may sound the safest option for the new safari goer there are some questions you should ask be asking before you book your trip:

  1. Does the guide possess a qualification or certification?

There are many different institutions that provide training and certifications for guides. One example would be the USAGA of Uganda whereby other companies train field guides to be able to pass the USAGA exams. Simply asking if the guides taking you are USAGA certified helps you understand if they have the necessary knowledge to safely take you on a game drive.

  1. Putting the qualification aside, how many years has the guide been working?

Often experience counts more than qualifications but having both would not hurt. The longer the safari guide has been at a company the more experience the guide should have. When it comes to safari guides, experience is the best requirement for a wonderful and memorable trip.

  1. Will there be more than one guide?

A guided tour will often have more than one guide, if it is a guided walk there could be two guides. On some guided drives there is a safari guide and a tracker on the vehicle to increase sightings of animals. Having two specialist guides can reduce your safety risks greatly. Ask the company how many guides they use and if they say one, ask why?. In most cases the company can liaise with the rangers at the park to be safe.

  1. What means of communication do the guides have?

If something were to happen on your guided safari how would the guides (or you) contact someone for assistance? Do the guides just have intermittent cell phone signal or do they have a proper radio communication system between safari vehicles as well as central office where help can be reached? The quicker help can be called the safer you will be in case of a bad situation.

  1. Is the guide linked to a major company?

Going with a big name, well-known safari company is often more expensive but the bigger companies should have proper communication infrastructure, guides that have passed exams and often will ensure there is a second guide with the safari group; they have a reputation to uphold! If you go for a cheaper option with a smaller company, you might be putting yourself at risk. Then again if you do your research, read reviews and ask the right questions, you may be in better hands even in a smaller, more intimate setting. It is all about doing the right research.


Best Countries to Enjoy Both Gorilla Trekking & Volcano Hiking

Million people travel to Africa seeking for wonderful volcano hikes and gorilla trekking safari experiences but trouble takes over the floor when it comes to choosing right countries to visit in particular months of the year. Remember hiking the volcano is only interesting and wonderful during the dry months of the year. However Africa has only three best countries for seeing mountain gorillas and also hiking the beautiful volcanoes that is   –Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Enjoy best hiking and trekking experience during late November to early March and from Late June to mid-October. After your safari experience in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, you will definitely become an inspirational example for many friends and family who have never been to Africa. If you planning to track gorillas and also enjoy wonderful views of the various attractions and vegetation are just get ready for your next holiday to Uganda, Congo and Rwanda.

Uganda –The Gifted Land of Nature

Oh Uganda! The most populated mountain gorilla base in Africa with two national parks that protect these great apes –Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Mountain gorillas have served as prime tourists attractions drawing a wide number of tourists to the country. Most safaris in Uganda are for gorilla trekking and volcano hike despite the pricy gorilla permit and high demand. Tourists come from all over the world for gorilla trekking in Uganda and use the other trip time to explore other attractions of the country. So what are you waiting for, grab your bag, reserve your gorilla permit, golden monkey and volcano hiking permit and discover the well conserved protected jungle forest of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi forest National Park. Though one can track gorillas in Bwindi forest and Mgahinga national park, Gorillas and volcano hikes are done in Mgahinga national park.

Congo –DRC

In Virunga National park of Congo, you’ll discover the beautiful mountain gorillas and also hike the Nyiragongo volcano on of the most active in Africa. All you need is to have four-five days free and carry back memories of the lovely colorful Crater Lake that turns reddish at night giving right photo captions beyond your imagination. Hiking Nyragongo needs two days while trekking gorillas can be done in just a day. Besides if you look for budget gorilla trekking and volcano hiking, Congo is your place to be since everything is affordable except accommodation. Therefore, make it appoint to use more of Rwanda accommodation and save a few dollars for other adventures. Exploring Virunga National Park makes you fall in love with Congo.


What many know as the Land of Thousand hills Rwanda is a very beautiful natural country for primate lovers and adventurers. If you want to track mountain gorillas, hike Bisoke volcanoes or Karisimbi and also trek the golden monkeys, Rwanda is your place to be in Africa for life time experience. Rwanda has one mountain gorilla park-Volcanoes National Park that holds the countries travel flag across the world. Before Rwanda changed its gorilla tourism trend, it was the most visited gorilla trekking country conveniently located, nice for short gorilla treks and a great place to connect to other travel destinations. But even after the change of Rwanda tourism to Luxury gorilla safari destination, still many people fly to Rwanda and later find their way to affordable gorilla safari destinations of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

A Stroll in Tsavo West National Park

According to most guidebooks, black rhinos charge out of fear, confusion, and panic. This happens frequently, due to their terrible eyesight. They have been known to charge tree trunks and termite mounds. I ask Karanja, the Kenya Wildlife Service officer I am following across the dusty thornlands of Tsavo West, a 3,500-square-mile national park in east Kenya, what the plan is in the event the rhino we are tracking charges. “You can dodge them easily,” he says, glancing at his transceiver, which he hopes will lead us to our subject. I hustle to keep up with his giant marathoner strides and think, What about the lions?

Photographer Kevin Arnold and I arrived here on assignment with a high-end safari company, but after a few days rattling around the desert in the van, dodging identical tourist vehicles, we realized we’d have to dig harder for a unique experience. We forced our poor driver to take us to park headquarters, where, interviewing the head warden, we asked if there were opportunities to accompany rangers on their scientific rounds. In fact, he said, there was just such a pilot program for tourists. Striking out cross-country on foot—normally a taboo practice here—sounded exciting. But it’s starting to feel like the time I embedded with a police unit and ended up helping arrest a meth addict who had a homemade bomb duct-taped to his hand.

Instead of finding the rhino—the transceiver turns out to be broken—we stumble upon eight frisky lion cubs, all of whom are delighted to see us, and two lionesses, who aren’t. You have no idea how loud a lion’s roar is until it’s directed at you. “Just keep walking,” says Karanja, his stride lengthening as we veer directly up a hill. The lionesses stand down. Karanja has had closer calls, he says later over a beer, with the assurance of a man who has it all under control. I ask him how many other people have gone out with him on this program. “You are the first,” he says.

DO IT: The Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary, in Tsavo West National Park, allows volunteers to help with the full-moon rhino census in exchange for donations to the program. kws.go.ke/parks.’

Best 5 Conservation Safaris to Take in 2018

Africa is one of the few remaining natural ecotourism destinations. There have been several conservation projects in various countries in Africa. Responsible travelers are encouraged to at-least take conservation safaris that can create a meaningful difference in the destination visited. Here are the top 5 conservation safaris to take;

WHERE: Kenya
Hidden Places

Hidden Places’ founders, veterinarian Dag Goering and author Maria Coffey, started the Elephant Earth Initiative to make life better for the world’s largest land mammal. Join them by raising pledges of $500 to $2,500 to walk with Samburu guides on a nine-day camel-supported trek across Laikipia Plateau, home to one of East Africa’s largest free-ranging elephant populations. Stay the first night in a luxury tented camp, then rough it for a week in expedition tents. January 23–31; from $3,450 per person.

Gorilla Trekking Safari

WHERE: Uganda, East Africa
WHO RUNS IT: Go Gorilla Trekking

There are as few as 880 mountain gorillas left in the whole world. Almost half of these great apes are found in Uganda. There are two national parks that protect the mountain gorillas; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Meeting the mountain gorillas in the jungles of Bwindi is one of the most thrilling adventures in the world! By taking a gorilla safari in Uganda, you contribute to the survival of these great apes. Gorilla tourism has proved to be a great tool in the conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas.

Climb Kilimanjaro & See the Big Five

WHERE: Tanzania, East Africa
There’s an urgency to climbing Kilimanjaro—the famous “tropical ice” that covers the 19,341-foot Tanzanian peak has melted to 15 percent of its 1912 size, diminishing your chances to chip glacial ice for your sundowner gin and tonic after the summit push. Cheekiness aside, Africa is a place of great flux, with precious animal populations shrinking faster than high altitude glaciers. Make sure to see them both by combining a summit bid on Tanzania with a safari to see the continent’s Big Five—lions, elephants, cape buffalo, rhino, and leopard. Try Abercrombie and Kent’s new trip up the southern flank’s Umbwe route. It’s a far steeper approach than the standard—and crowded—Mishame route, but your group should have a campsite to itself. Combine a November ascent with a four-day safari to witness the great wildebeest migration on the Serengeti, one of Earth’s wildest spectacles ($7,924).

Africa Conservation Safari

WHERE: Namibia, Botswana, South Africa
African Safari Company

This 12-day itinerary offers a crash course in conservation. In Namibia, visit Na’an Ku Se—a wildlife refuge that so impressed Brangelina, the couple donated $2 million—then head to Okonjima Bush Camp and the AfriCat Foundation, home to cheetah rehabilitation. After a stop in Botswana’s Mashatu Game Reserve, the trip winds up in South Africa at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, where helicopter rides afford sweeping views of the park’s rhino-darting program. Proceeds from this portion of the trip support Kwandwe’s rhino project. From $7,750 per person.

Experience a Conservation Safari in Manyara Ranch

Opened in June of 2010, Manyara Ranch Conservancy is the result of long-term conservation efforts undertaken by the African Wildlife Foundation, aimed at securing the vital kwakuchinja wildlife corridor that leads to Tarangire National Park. The conservancy is privately run by Mantis Limited whose owners have many years of experience in the safari industry in Tanzania. The result is a low-key but high quality and exclusive destination. More information can be found on www.manyararanch.com where photo galleries, downloads and a frequently updated blog help promote the facility.

Manyara Ranch Conservancy works with key safari operators to expand their product offerings to include a more participative safari experience.

Environmentalists Against The Road Through the Serengeti

The U.S is against the construction of a road through the Serengeti game reserve. US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson says they have raised their concerns with the Tanzanian authorities who promised to address the issue.

Environmentalists say the new road could affect the famed wildebeest migration and threaten endangered species. Tanzania however says the road will spur development. What are your thoughts on this issue….please weigh in!

Tuli Predator Project

Botswana – report from the Tuli Game Reserve:

For a while the star(s) of the show was the mother leopard with her 3 cubs. Although they are still seen nearly every day, and still steel the hearts of many a guest, the new gems of the bush these days are a mother cheetah with 5 cubs! Yes 5! These 6 cheetahs are found occasionally

Dramatic Rescue of Mother and Baby Elephant

Most conservationists would agree that you should not interfere with mother nature. But there are exceptions to every rule.

Staff and tourists at Kapani Safari Lodge in Zambia were caught by surprise when a mother and baby elephant became trapped in mud.

Saying they couldn’t just “stand by and watch them slowly die,” what ensued was a dramatic rescue. Read the full story here…..

Kruger Elephant Tusk May Break Record

Mbombela – The tusk of one of the Kruger National Park’s oldest elephants, Duke, who died in October, seems set to break environmental records, according to a report on Tuesday.

The elephant’s left tusk was the longest ever measured in the KNP, reported Beeld newspaper.

It was 3.21m long, while the right tusk was 2.93m long.

Together, the tusks weighed 140.5kg.

“We are waiting for official confirmation, but it seems like this tusk is the longest ever measured [in the park],” KNP spokesperson William Mabasa told the daily.

Until Friday, when Duke’s tusks were measured, the record holder was Shawu, whose left tusk measured 3.17m.

Duke, who was more than 55-years old was, died last month. His five-day old carcass was found near the Crocodile Bridge Camp in the first week of October.

At the time of his death, he had already lost both his tusks.

One of his tusks broke off in August 2007, but it was found in the veld, while the second broke off a year later, but was also tracked down and stored by environmental officials.