Enjoy the Ultimate African Safari Experience

At dawn you wake up inside your cottage room or a tented camp, enjoying the cool fresh air after a restful night’s sleep. Outside your tent the natural noises of the camp site emerge. Grasshoppers chirp in a hypnotic, high-pitched chorus of bird, Frogs croon sad songs in the reeds, sometimes a roar of a lion in a distance. Then meters away an elephant wanders-surprisingly quietly-around the campground, sweeping its great gray trunk along the ground in search of fallen acacia pods. You grab your weapon of choice and quietly approach. Framing the great beast in your sights, you shoot! Great shot! You got him, the perfect photograph of the beast with the burnt orange sunrise forming a rising mountain of fire and light behind it.

An African safari holiday is the best way to experience the beauty, romance and soul of Africa. Just mentioning the word Safaris in Africa, immediately conjures up images of exotic treks through the bush in the heart and heat of Africa, thousands of miles from a Starbucks or McDonald’s, decked in khakis and a pith helmet, exhausted and grimy with sweat and dust.

While a safari experience like that is definitely an option, you may be surprised to discover that it’s just one of many. People love to dispel this great safari myth, and they roll out the long list of wilderness adventures available in every degree of comfort, adventure and budget. The only constants are the stunning African landscapes and the amazing scope and proximity of wildlife. But safaris in Africa have much more to mention than wildlife. There are differing cultures within the different African destination, you will find amazing food, village setups and different languages you would like to pick at least a single word.

Safaris range from luxury holidays, where elegant lodges and fine wines share time with tracking giraffes from a sturdy, open-roof vehicle, to mobile camping safaris where you follow predators or stake out the great wildebeest migration, sleeping in tents at a different locale each night. It’s all about how you want to get from amazing Point A to spectacular Point B-from a hot-air balloon, a canoe, or from the back of a horse or taking on a nature walk.

Africa transformed the meaning of the word safari into ‘to travel in the shadows of extraordinary animals.’ Each safari is judged by the thrilling wildlife it encounters, and many come through with high marks as they bring you into the playgrounds of zebras, lions, elephants, hippos, rhinos, gorillas and cheetahs and a whole ark-full of other animals. So many beasts roam these lands that the ground itself feels alive.

Many choose their safari destination based on the wildlife they most want to capture and cage in a picture frame on their wall. Yet travel agents also suggest considering the many natural wonders of Africa. One of the best locations for both is Uganda, the quintessential safari experience. Uganda’s must-see is the Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park, home to the famous Mountain Gorillas, these attract people worldwide to come and see these human like creatures and Uganda gives you the best of this adventure experience compared to Rwanda and Congo.

A Practical Guide to Gorilla Trekking in Africa

Gorilla Trekking has become one of the most popular adventures to take in Africa. This wildlife experience is rated as the most thrilling wildlife safari experiences in the world and you can check out its reviews on travel review websites like Trip Advisor. With so many travelers opting for gorilla trekking in the jungles of Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo, here is a practical guide for beginners looking to planning this world known adventure;

What is Gorilla Trekking?

Gorilla Trekking is the observation of gorillas in their natural forested jungle home. This recreational life time safari experience unveils the secret beauty of rare primates in the world. You may have seen multiple primate species but that of mountain gorillas is filled with exceptional beauty  that make it one of the most loved wildlife encounter  in Africa. There is so much to enjoy on your gorilla trekking safari in Africa from the lush green jungle forest, ancient local tradition, golden monkey trek, Nyiragongo trek, nature walks, primate viewing, bird watching, cycling, hiking to the world class wonderful hilly landscape.

Gorilla Tracking Process

Tracking mountain gorillas starts at before sunrise which means early wake up with a healthy breakfast, packed lunch and a quick drive to the park briefing point. The sense of excitements increases as you set off into the jungle to search for the beautiful habituated primates. The hikes are rewarding so you need to be fit enough to manage.Remeber to carry enough drinking water, insect repellant and dress right in long sleeved and a rain jacket because nature can’t be predicted. The trek can last between one and half hours and six hours depending on how far you’re the gorillas could be. Once you find then enjoy a full hour of photography and observation a moment that require good cameras plus good recording device.

Where to Track Gorillas

Mountain Gorillas live in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo in the four national parks Mgahinga National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National Park. The parks have a wide number of habituated gorillas ready for tourists each day provided one has a gate pass to the jungle-“Gorilla Permit”. However in all the three countries the gorilla trekking experience is same with a difference in gorilla permit prices and programs. Gorilla permits in Congo go for $350 per a trek , Uganda $600 and Rwanda $1500.But those who want to spend more time with gorillas can either track gorillas twice or book the gorilla habituation program that allows tourists to spend a full day in company of the wonderful apes.

Those interested in trekking low land gorillas visit Kahuzi Biega National Park, and Odzala- National Park in Congo for the top low land gorilla trekking safari destination in Africa. Though low land gorillas can also be found in West Africa but Congo is the best.

How to make your Trek a success

When you follow these steps definitely your gorilla safari tour will be a success either in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. Chose your trekking destination, followed by gorilla permits and later head out for the trek. Make sure you reserve your gorilla trekking permits a few months to the trek in order to make your trip flexible. Use the right experts and you will never regreat.Remember tracking gorillas in Africa is conserving for generations.

 

Planning a Gorilla Safari Adventure

I have always wanted to do something unusual in my life. However, I have honestly never come across anything that is worthwhile and thrilling. Recently though, I read about some activity called gorilla tracking on the internet. The members of my chat room said only interesting things about this activity and it left me wondering whether I was the only one who had not done it.

I knew at this moment that I wanted to do this on my next holiday vacation. I am not sure whether it was because of the need to keep up with the trend or for the thrill that the activity promised. However, now that I have done some research on the subject, I have come to realize that the activity is one of the most exciting and amazing activities in tourism at the moment.

The prospect of seeing the mountain gorillas in the natural habitat on an activity commonly referred to as gorilla trekking and not viewing them in some enclosure at the zoo is exciting enough. The mountain gorillas are so rare in the world that they are found in two conservation areas in the world, Virunga and Bwindi areas. Yes, I did my research and I have a few of the facts at hand right now like the gorillas cannot survive in confinement and because of this reason, you will not see these amazing primates in a zoo or something like that.

I have heard from some of the people who have been on such trips that you can get as close as just 10 meters from the primates and who in their right mind would pass up an opportunity like this to interact with our near similar relatives. It is always good to enjoy these kinds of experiences with your friends by your side and because of this I hope to go with some of my friends. Knowing the kinds of people my friends are, I have a strong feeling that they cannot say no to this.

I have also learned that tracking the mountain gorillas in Rwanda is on constant increasing demand and that I must book my gorilla tracking permit well in advance. Rwanda is also a very beautiful country and I have been assured that this will be a life changing experience as I will meet people who enjoy the forest life and in some way they are not obsessed with the luxury that life in the city offers.

I am therefore in the process of booking a safari to Rwanda with the best deal that I got from Go Gorilla Trekking. I have been communicating with several tour companies organising safaris in Rwanda and i chose GGT because of their available discounts and quick communications that are straight to point. I have also been told that Rwanda has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and that I will enjoy my trip safely and without any interruptions.

Also, from my correspondences with Go Gorilla Trekking, i have realized that Rwanda has very good hotels which is surprising for a country which in 1994 was embroiled in a catastrophic genocide. There are several luxurious, mid range and budget hotels. Though i have been traveling frequently on budget, am looking at staying in mid range accommodation. The trip promises an exciting and amazing experience and I am looking forward to enjoying my time in this small east African country and I promise to tell my story to whomever wishes to listen.

5 Good Reasons to Book 2018 Uganda Safaris Well in Advance

Also referred as the “Pearl of Africa”, Uganda is a real paradise that is endowed with fantastic attractions including more than 100 species of mammals such as the extraordinary mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, big five animals (lions, leopards, rhinoceros, elephants and buffaloes), breathtaking water bodies inform of lakes (Victoria, Bunyonyi, Kyoga, Mutanda and Katwe among others), River and waterfalls as well as birds, butterflies and Reptiles especially Nile crocodiles among others.

It is always recommended to plan in advance when considering undertaking a safari to the Pearl of Africa. It involves booking for tickets early (which has been made easier due to advancement in internet), parking early and booking for transport as well as accommodation. You might be wondering why but these are the key reasons why it is advisable to book for Uganda safaris in advance;

You always have different options to choose from

If you book for a safari earlier, you will always have a number of options to choose from than someone that does last minute bookings. This is very critical especially during the peak season where advance booking prevents disappointment since you will always be able to choose what you desire. For instance, you will be able to get several budget friendly Lodges within the busy destinations such as Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Parks that are always fully booked during peak seasons and school holidays. Therefore, tourists are always advised to book for safaris at least 3-6 months in advance.

Lowest Priced Gorilla Permits

Since Rwanda increased its gorilla permits to a whopping $1500, Uganda has remained the most popular budget gorilla safari destination. Till 2019, gorilla permits are booked at USD 600 per person. Therefore if you are planning to take a gorilla safari in Uganda, it is imperative to book your safari well in advance.

Gives more time for planning

Having a vacation is undeniably the most exciting and interesting thing in anyone’s life but when you book for a safari in advance, you will have enough time to plan for whatever you need for your trip to the Pearl of Africa. With at least a month to your safari, you will be left with plenty of time to go shopping for clothes, accessories and other items needed during the safari. Not only that, you will have enough time to get or renew your travel documents such as passports, Identity Cards, Visas and Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificates.

Saves money and time

It is obvious that when you plan for your safari in advance, you will be able to save more time and money. If you book late, you will discover that all the budget accommodation facilities have been taken and you might end up paying more for what you need but when you book at least 3 months in advance, you can choose the cheap facilities with all the amenities you desire. Not only that, it also applies to air fares because when you plan earlier, you can be able to get the cheaper airline seats thus will be able to save more for other expenditures for the safari.

Allows prior research

When you book early, you will still have time to find out more about the destination you are visiting especially the extra activities to engage in during the itinerary, the popular sites such as market places, places of chilling or passing time such as the clubs, Cafes, restaurants and bars, Resorts as well as National Parks and Wildlife Reserves to explore.

Therefore, booking in advance for your Uganda safaris not only avoids last minute disappointments but also allows enough time for research, saves more time and money, allows tourists to make right decisions from the many options and also gives more time for planning for the safari.

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.

Rwanda

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
WHO RUNS IT:
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
WHO RUNS IT:
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
WHO RUNS IT:
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!