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The Best Gorilla trekking destination mystifies travelers –Rwanda or Uganda?

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Gorilla Trekking is a surreal and unlike any other experience in Africa. Sharing time with the world’s remaining mountain gorillas in the wilds of Africa’s rain forests is utterly magical and this makes to everyone’s bucket list planning to visit Africa at one time.

Sitting or standing in silence on the cold ground of a rain forest for 60 minutes might be one of life’s greatest privileges every adventure traveler is dreaming of. There are only 1,000 mountain gorillas in existence in the whole world, and gorilla trekking provides a rare opportunity to observe the everyday interactions of these gentle mysterious primates.

Mountain gorillas only live in the dense vegetation of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and along the dormant volcanic Virunga mountain range that stretches across Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Often the question on every traveler’s mind is which of these East African countries they should visit for the ultimate gorilla trekking experience. There is no easy answer as each country is unique and offers different experiences

To help you choose between these two famous gorilla trekking destinations, we’ve pitted Uganda and Rwanda against each other to answer the ultimate question; Gorilla Trekking: Uganda or Rwanda? Here we go.

Gorilla numbers

In Rwanda, gorilla trekking experience takes place at Volcanoes national park with a total of 380 gorilla members divided into 10 habituated gorilla families. Only 8 people are allowed to trek a family in a day implying there are only 80 gorilla permits available in one day thus booking a gorilla tour in advance is important.

On the other side, Uganda gorilla safaris take place in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park both in the southwest of the country. Uganda has a total number of 14 habituated gorilla families with each group comprising of 10 to 40 members of varying ages headed by a silverback gorillas (the oldest male) in the group. Bwindi impenetrable forest is known for having the highest number of gorillas in the whole world; 50% of the global population resides in this thick jungle of Uganda. These gorillas are in 12 habituated gorilla groups and 2 more families available for gorilla habituation experience. Only 8 Gorilla permits are available each day for each gorilla group. Gorilla families are given names depending on their formation history, group location and name of the dominant silverback.

Mgahinga national park hosts just one Uganda gorilla family known as the Nyakagezi group. Few visitors go to Mgahinga for gorilla tours despite having one of the largest gorilla families anywhere around.

The Nyakagezi family is composed of 9 members; 4 silver backs, 2 infants, 2 adults females 1 juvenile.

In the past, the group was famous for their migratory behavior across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. However, this gorilla group has today settled in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda where tourists are assured of gorilla trekking experiences.

Gorilla permit cost

At $1,500, the Rwanda gorilla permit is said to be the highest in the region; the permit costs $700 in Uganda. For those travelling at a tight budget, Uganda is the best option to save $800.

Gorilla Trekking in RwandaSome travelers opt to go to Rwanda despite the higher permit cost due to several reasons we will cover in the blog.  However, some choose Uganda due to the higher cost of the permit in Rwanda, planning either to do 2 gorilla treks each at $700 and still save some money for their porters or do a gorilla habituation which costs the same price as a normal gorilla permit in Rwanda. ($1,500)

On a gorilla habituation, tourists are allowed to interact with these great apes for 4 hours unlike on a normal trek where it’s approximately 1 hour with them.

This is the number one reason why many opt for Uganda over Rwanda while planning their gorilla trek in Africa.

The trekking;

The tracking experience is an open door to seeing these primates in their natural habitat and the trek to reach them is wild enough itself .Both Uganda and Rwanda offer great opportunities for gorilla trekking.

However, Rwanda is more favorable as most of the terrain during the gorilla trekking is a little bit more open and therefore it is easier to get a good view.

Trekking routes in Rwanda are considered a bit more open and not as steep and slippery compared to Bwindi in Uganda. That said, many tourists who are not ready for the real trekking challenge opt for Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. However, the park is at a much higher altitude than Bwindi and this can also make the trek more challenging.

In Uganda, the gorillas cover large territories due to the high numbers in the Bwindi forest  and tracking time can vary greatly from day to day, from 30 minutes up to eight or nine hours. The vegetation can be very thick, hence the name Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Slopes can be steep, often steeper than a flight of stairs and there are no trails. Some of the flora is so dense; rangers have to cut it back with machetes. There are no footpaths or clear routes, just the rangers following their intuition and instruction from the trackers as you scramble behind them.

The treks are varying lengths according to one’s fitness ability, so make sure you’re honest about any physical limitations before you begin, otherwise you may end up being carried down the rocky terrain on a stretcher.

Uganda also offers a unique way of watching gorillas unlike Rwanda known as the Gorilla habituation where tourists are allowed to spend more time (4 hours) with the gorillas unlike on the normal trek where they are permitted only one hour.

The habituation permit was introduced only recently in response to visitors’ desire to spend more time with the mountain gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable national park and only 2 gorilla families have been set aside for this amazing experience in the southern sector of the park

Getting there

Given the relatively close proximity of Volcanoes National Park to Kigali Airport (KGL), Rwanda is the best country for visitors who only have time for a brief stopover to go gorilla trekking, and nothing else. This is more likely to be the case for those in transit to somewhere else, or travelling in from a nearby country like Tanzania, Kenya or from South Africa.

It takes approximately 3 hrs to drive 120km from Kigali international airport to Volcanoes national park. This makes it easy for one to arrive in the country in the morning or afternoon and still get to the park in time for dinner and an overnight stay.

With the case of Uganda, it’s quite different.  It takes 10 hours to drive 465km from Entebbe international airport (EBB) to Bwindi impenetrable national park. This drive involves bumpy and dirty drives as you approach the park through the remote villages.

Proper planning is key when you choose Uganda; the drive must start in the early morning hours to avoid rushing and to enjoy the beautiful sceneries and amazing stops as you cruise to the south west of the country.

Alternatively, for those who can’t stand the long hours drive there is an option of flying to and from the park . There are domestic flights on arrangement by Aerolink and Bar aviation taking off from Entebbe and landing in Kihihi and Kisoro airstrips for the northern and southern sectors of the park respectively and drive to the park head quarters in 2 hours.

Besides Gorillas

For most foreign travelers, the time and expense put into getting to East Africa means they want to do more activities like a safari, hike the great mountains or experience the culture of the locals while in the region than flying back and forth.

Rwanda is a land of extreme beauty, each bend in the road revealing a more beautiful vista than the one before.

Before going out of the capital and to Rwanda’s famous national parks, you will probably want to visit the Genocide Memorial Center in the capital Kigali. The Museum holds the remains of about 250,000 people who were brutally murdered by the Interahamwe (Hutu extremists). The center is divided into three sections – one for children killed during the genocide, another for adults and the final section dedicated to learning about genocides which occurred in different parts of the world.

Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda with its golden monkey trekking adds an additional experience to a gorilla-trekking visit. So, if clients want to see both golden monkeys and gorillas we recommend that they visit Rwanda.

Nyungwe Forest is perfect for people wanting to hike with 130 kilometers (80 miles) of trails and the chance of seeing 13 different primates

Rwanda is growing its diversity with the reintroduction of lions and rhinos to Akagera National Park and there is a boat safari on Lake Kivu hence offering a perfect safari making it a wonderful addition to the gorillas.

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is more accessible to meetings and incentives travelers thanks to the infrastructure the country has to offer. Rwanda has recently been ranked among the safe countries and the most popular conference and events destinations on the continent by the International Congress and Convention Association and now famous for having the cleanest city Kigali in the whole of Africa.

Uganda has always enticed travelers with its unrivaled natural features and incredibly rich fauna. After all, it is what Winston Churchill referred to as “the Pearl of Africa.”

Its 10 national park boast a diverse ecosystem including barren savannahs that host an incredible concentration of wildlife including some of the rarest animals on the planet, beautiful lakes and waterfalls, and green rain forests that gives haven to mighty primates and unique birds.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is a famous park in Uganda and one of the reasons for this is because it shows a different side of Uganda. In this park, you get to spot diverse wildlife including tree-climbing lions, warthogs, elephants, leopards, waterbucks and many more. You also get to go on a boat cruise along the Kazinga channel where you can see many birds and animals like crocodiles, hippos, and buffaloes. Other activities in this park include visiting a salt lake as well as visiting a fishing village.

Kibale ChimpanzeeKibale National Park holds one of the most beautiful and most varying tracts of tropical forest in the whole of Uganda. Arguably the best chimpanzee destination and some refer to it as the primate capital of Africa.

Kibale forest is just close on the wind ward side of the Rwenzori Mountains. This is one of the most picturesque natural scenery in East Africa. It supports glaciers and is one source of the river Nile. It offers spectacular trekking and climbing trips featuring a breathtaking variety of landscapes including bamboo and giant fern forests, alpine meadows, gorgeous lakes, and snow-capped peaks.

Uganda has the source of the longest river on this planet; the Nile river. In Jinja where it flows out of Lake Victoria is a very interesting and adventurous district with lots of attractions and activities to do including the best white water rafting on the continent, bungee jumping, kayaking, tubing, water slide, boat cruises, biking, horse riding to mention but a few.

As the Nile flows to the north of the country, it forms the most powerful waterfalls know as the Murchison falls where it squeezes through a narrow gorge just 7 meters wide making a thunderous roar and a spectacular scene.

The amazing savannah where the falls are is known as the Murchison falls national park. This is one of the best safari destinations in the country with hundreds of elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, lions, leopards and thousands of different antelope species roaming the plains. The boat ride on the Nile to the bottom of the falls offers one of the best river safaris with schools of hippos, crocodiles basking on the shores, elephants and other grazers lining on the river shores to quench their thirst. For bird lovers, the cruise will add more colorful bird species on your checklist.

Given the number of its amazing attractions, a perfectly planned 10 days Uganda safari  will connect to most of them for a thrilling adventure experience of this pearl.

Where to stay

In Rwanda, there are limited options when it comes to lodging in the wilderness unless you book an exclusive luxury lodge that come at a higher cost. The growing number of guests has attracted new luxury lodges opening in Rwanda, including Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge, One & Only’s Nyungwe Lodge, Gorilla’s Nest as well as Singita Kwitonda.

Most budget and standard lodges are available in towns quite a distance from the park.

Check out where to stay in Volcanoes national park.

In Uganda, there is a plethora of accommodation options whether you are in a shoestring budget or an all-out luxury vacation. In all the four tracking points; Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga, there are different options of accommodations right from camping to a five star lodge in the wilderness and close to the park headquarters where tracking begins. This makes Uganda favorable to every traveler planning to track gorillas. Check out where to in Bwindi impenetrable national park.

In conclusion

With all these mind-blowing adventures, it is not easy not to fall in love with Rwanda or Uganda. Whichever country you choose, you will surely enjoy the place.

Other than the cost of the permits and the number of gorillas available (Uganda has over half of the world’s population of critically endangered mountain gorillas), there really is little to differentiate between these two wonderful gorilla-trekking destinations.

If costs are a concern, Uganda might be the answer, but all things being equal, you will have an unforgettable experience whether you encounter Rwandan or Ugandan gorillas.

Best 8 Destinations to Go Bird Watching in Kenya

Lake Nakuru Flamingoes

Would you like to go birding in Kenya? Kenya is sometimes referred to a birdwatcher’s paradise! With about 500 species recorded within Lake Baringo, Kenya is known among the best destinations for bird watching.Whether you are planning to go on a self drive in Kenya or a guided safari, you will enjoy birding through different spots throughout Kenya.

Here are my favorite spots for bird watching in Africa;

Nairobi National Park

Nairobi national park is one of the most unique parks in the world. It is the only wildlife park within a capital city and hosts a wide variety of wildlife including the Big 5, and over 500 species of birds.

The park has a range of habitats including open grasslands, lightly wooded plains, rocky valleys, seasonal wetlands, dams, forest lined rivers and stream, and montane forests. So it is not uncommon to get a species list of more than 200 species in a day!

The savannah grasslands host a variety of seed-eating birds from Orange-breasted Waxbills and Black-cheeked Waxbill to Yellow bishops, and the Near Endemic Jackson’s Widowbird. Other birds expected would be Shelley’s Francolins, Kori Bustards, Secretary Birds, Black-shouldered Kites and about 10 species of Cisticolas.

The dams and seasonal wetlands hold a huge number of water birds, including: Grey Herons, African Darters, African Water Rail, Saddle-billed, Yellow-billed and Marabou Storks. Rivers and streams also hold the elusive African Finfoot. And the montane forest is great for Palearctic migrants such as Eurasian Bee-eaters, Blackcaps, Common Nightingale, Upcher’s and Willow Warblers.

Mount Kenya National Park

Mt Kenya is the highest mount in Kenya, and arguably the most difficult to climb. But Mt Kenya also hosts a wide variety of montane forest and moorland species. The forests on the slopes of the mountain are most productive in birds, but the shy forest birds are sometimes more often heard than seen.

The cold montane forest are a heaven for elusive birds like the Olive Ibis, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Black-fronted Bush shrike, Montane White-eye, Bar-tailed Trogon, Jackson’s Francolin, Mountain Buzzard and Abbot’s Starling.

As you climb higher, you will reach the bamboo zone which house a different array of species like Mountain and Slender-billed Greenbuls, White-headed Wood hoopoe, White-starred Robins, Thick-billed Seedeater and Oriole Finch.

After having passed the bamboo zone, the moorland welcomes you to the land of Sunbirds, like Northern and Eastern Double-collared, Tacazze, Malachite, Scarlet-tufted and Golden-winged Sunbirds. The moors are also good for spotting Moorland Chat and White-naped Ravens. If you’re very luck, you might spot a Bearded Vulture which many say have disappeared from Mt Kenya.

Samburu & Buffalo Springs National Reserve

The semi-arid areas of Samburu are well known for its Samburu warriors and diverse wildlife like the threatened Grevy’s Zebra, Reticulated Giraffes and even Black Leopards. But this area also hosts about 400 species of birds in its dry environment. The Ewaso Ny’iro river that passes through these parks is a vital source of precious water, and many birds and animals can be expected to visit the river at different times of the day.

The Acacia bush land dominates much of the Samburu area and birds like Pygmy falcons, White-headed Buffalo Weaver, Magpie Starlings, Somali Bee-eater, Vulturine Guineafowl, Donaldson Smith’s Sparrow-weaver, Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill and the tiny Yellow-vented Eremomela are easily found.

Most of the lodges with well-maintained gardens in the park can be a magnet for the surrounding birds such as; Abyssinian Scimitarbills, Black-capped Social Weaver, Black-throated Barbet, Black-bellied Sunbird and sometimes a Shining Sunbird.

The riverine woodland of the Ewaso Ny’iro river is a refuge especially for big raptors like Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Martial Eagle, African Hawk Eagle, Egyptian, Lappet-faced and White-headed Vultures can all bee seen roosting on the tall trees. Smaller birds that inhabit the woodland are Orange-bellied Parrots, Lesser-masked Weavers and Scaly-throated Honeyguide.

The main river and springs attract waterbirds such as African Spoonbills, Water Thick-knees, Reed Cormorants, African Darters and many waders like Wood Sandpipers, Three-banded, Little-ringed and Kittilitz Plovers.

Lake Naivasha

Lake Naivasha is one of the freshwater lakes along the rift valley. It is well known locally for its sheer number of waterbirds. The edges of the lake are fringed with yellow fever trees which host a wide variety of special birds and free ranging wildlife.

The lake itself hold a huge number of water birds such as; Great White and Pink-Backed Pelicans, Reed and Great Cormorants, African Darters, Yellow-billed Ducks, Red-billed and Hottentot teals, Red-knobbed Coots, Black and Grey Herons, Great White, Little and Cattle Egrets, African Spoonbills, African Skimmers, Grey-hooded, Lesser Black-backed and Common black-headed Gulls, Lesser and Common Moorhen, Purple Swamp hens; and the highest concentration of African Fish Eagles anywhere in Kenya!

The woodland around the lakes are quite productive and you can come across; White-fronted Bee-eaters, Wahlberg’s Honey bird, Black-lored and Arrow-marked Babblers, Variable Sunbird, Green Wood hoopoe, African Grey, Cardinal and Nubian Woodpeckers.

Kinangop Plateau

The Kinangop plateau is an abrupt floor that rises from the floor of the rift valley. Although this area is outside a protected park or reserve it still host quite a few special birds, including the Endemic Sharpe’s Longclaw.

The tussock grasslands that stretched for mile are now farmlands, but the birds can still be seen hanging on these artificial habitats. Birds commonly seen around these grasslands/farmlands are; Sharpe’s Longclaw, Rufous-naped and Red-capped Larks, Cape Rook, Capped Wheatear, Long-tailed and Jackson’s Widow birds, Hunter’s, Leveillants and Stout Cisticolas, Red-throated Wryneck and Augur Buzzards.

Marshes and seasonal lily ponds in the grasslands attract Grey-crowned Cranes, Yellow-crowned Bishop, Glossy Ibis and the elusive Lesser Jacana. Migrant Harriers also frequent the wet marshes like the Western Marsh, Pallid and Montagu’s Harriers.

Lake Baringo

Sometimes referred to a birdwatcher’s paradise, with about 500 species recorded, Lake Baringo is well known among birdwatchers. And it’s also one of my favorite spots for birding!

The Baringo area has a similar semi-arid environment as that of Samburu, but the plants and animals are very different. There are steep cliffs on one side of the lake and mixed woodland and grasslands on its opposite shores, which are both bustling with birds from the northern territory.

The cliffs are good places to look for its resident pair of Verreaux’s Eagle, Grayish Eagle Owl, Hemprichs Hornbill, Fan-tailed Raven, Brown-tailed Rock Chat and Mocking Cliff Chats. The dry scrub around the cliffs has Bristle-Crowned Starlings, Pygmy Batis, Three-streaked Tchagra, Brubru and Red-fronted Warbler.

The grassland on the opposite are great for Spotting Heuglin’s Courser, Jackson’s Hornbill, Spotted Thicknee and Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse. The woodland and scrub hide Northern White-faced and African Scops Owls. Other birds you are likely to see around the lake are Northern Red Bishop, Northern Masked, Little and Golden-backed Weavers, Allen’s Gallinule and Black Crakes.


Kakamega forest

Kakamega forest is the only remnant of the Guineo-congolese rainforest in western Kenya, which makes it a hotspot of unique bio-diversity. Close to 450 species have been recorded here.

The forest has species found here that are found nowhere else in East Africa such as; Blue-headed Bee-eater, Ansorge’s and Kakamega Greenbul. Other uncommon birds that can be found in the forest are; Yellow-bellied Wattle-eye, Equatorial Akalat, Turner’s Eremomela, Southern Hyliota and African Broadbill.

The streams in the forest are great for spotting White-spotted Flufftails, Banded Prinia, Grey-chested and Black-faced Rufous Warblers and Scaly-Breasted Illadopsis. While clearings in the forest are good places to look for Great Blue Turaco, African Crowned Eagle, Western Banded Snake-eagle and Black-and-white Casqued Hornbills.

About a dozen different greenbuls can be found in the higher canopy to lower canopy of the forest, these greenbuls can be tricky to differentiate by sight, so call are a good way of knowing what bird you are seeing. Not forgetting the lovely barbets of which there are many species like; Yellow-spotted, Grey-throated, Hairy-breasted and Yellow-billed Barbets.


Masai mara national reserve

This popular park probably needs no introduction and is definitely the most visited park in Kenya. The park is renowned for its Masai people, vast herds of migrating wildebeest and high density of predators, but it’s also a spectacular place for Birdwatching with over 550 species recorded!

The Masai Mara is mostly grasslands but also has some acacia scrub, riverine forest and cliffs on the Oloolol escarpment. Grassland birds such as Red-necked Spurfowl, Black-bellied Bustards, Crowned and African Wattled Lapwings, Temminck’s Courser and Fawn-colored Larks are commonly seen on a game drive.

While the scrub and bush are good places to find Magpie Shrike, Karamoja Apalis, Pale Wren Warbler, Rufous-tailed Weavers, Usambiro Barbet, Green-capped Eremomela and about 10 species of Cisticolas; including Long-tailed, Red-faced, Croaking, Siffling, Black-backed and Rock-loving cisticolas, to name a few.

Arabuko Sokoke Forest

It is the largest remaining coastal forest in East Africa and famous for its diversity in mammals, butterflies, amphibians and birds, many of which are only found here. The endemic Clarke’s Weaver is also found here.

The forest is made up of miombo woodland, cynometra and mixed forest. The main forest highlights would be; Sokoke Scops Owls, Amani Sunbird, East Coast Akalat, Red-tailed Ant-thrush, Fischers Turaco, Mombasa Woodpecker, Little Yellow Flycatcher and the endemic Weaver.

But of course, there are many more enjoyable birds to see, the open miombo woodland is great to search for gorgeous Bush-shrike, Forest and Pale Batis, Dark-backed Weaver, Southern-banded Snake-eagle, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Yellow-bellied and Fischer’s Greenbuls.

The mixed forest is much denser and sometimes impenetrable, but cool species seen here are Blue-mantle Crested Flycatcher, Tiny Greenbul, Terrestrial and Northern Brownbul, Green Barbet, Eastern Green Tinkerbird, Peter’s and Green-backed Twinspots. Fiery-necked Nightjars and African Wood Owls can commonly be seen on the forest edges at night.

Mida Creek

Mida creek is a wonderful and important place for migrants’ seabirds and is a locally protected site. The creek floods during high tide, but when the tide goes out, all the waders and seabirds forage the beach to feed. The mangroves around the creek are important in sheltering the coast from the harsh winds of the sea.

Many of the palearctic waders come here during the Eurasian winter (September-April). When the tide goes out, it’s the perfect opportunity for them to feed. Migrants like; Common Ringed Plovers, Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers, Crab Plovers, Common Greenshanks, Whimbrel, Grey Plovers, Eurasian Curlews, Terek, Marsh and Common Sandpipers are easily spotted and seen in good numbers. Gull-billed, Caspian, Saunders and Common Terns can be seen flying with Sooty Gulls and an occasional Osprey as they go out to sea.

The mangroves and coastal scrub are great to get coastal resident birds like; Black-headed Batis, Three-banded Plover, African Paradise Flycatcher, Black-bellied Starling, Zanzibar Greenbuls, Speckled Mousebirds, Village Weavers, Purple-banded, Amethyst and Violet-Bbeasted Sunbirds. Some afro-tropical migrants can also be found from April-August, such as; African Golden Oriole, Mangrove Kingfisher and Red-capped Robin-chats.

Enjoy a Magical Encounter with Migration Safari

Wildebeest Migration Safari

To put it simply, if you have opted for Migration Safari …  you are either going to Tanzania or Kenya. Thus, as you can well understand, planning a migration safari and catching hold of the best of Africa’s wildlife as they migrate is comparatively easy…or, is it?

Let’s find out!

Planning a Migration Safari in Kenya or Tanzania

Migration in Tanzania’s Serengeti is active for 9 long months of the year whereas, in Kenya’s Masai Mara it is active only for 3 months; August, September and October.

It is advisable that you visit either Kenya or Tanzania. Don’t combine both of them.

Make sure you

  • Have a map of Serengeti…if you have opted for Tanzania.
  • Know how the migration works in theory.
  • Know that the migration

itself involves around 1, 5 million wildebeest, gazelle and zebra on the move.

The resident game doesn’t follow the migration beyond their specific ranges.

  • Know that you can find the resident game in and around their home all the year round.
  • Opt for destinations other than Masai Mara or Serengeti if you choose to view specific game species like elephant, wild dog or leopard.

Now, coming to the real planning!

These are a few things you should keep in mind

  • Plan in advance: It is best to plan in advance. Because, if you are late…not only will the prices be high… there will also be this big uncertainty about getting accommodation.
  • Crowd density: Masai Mara and Serengeti have some pretty big hotels and lodges which is why crowd density can be a problem. If you want to get your way round the crowd, plan your trip with smaller outfits. These outfits plan their trips at flexible times like in the morning before the place gets crowded. They organize breakfasts under the tree while the minibuses are doing rounds. They also zero in on quieter spots where you can spend the afternoons and the evenings away from the hustle and bustle of crowds.
  • Availability of good guides: Standard good professional guides who are experienced, reputable, and dedicated can make a big difference to your safari experience. They will help you come real close to the wild life…without encroaching upon their private space.

So, if you really plan a migration safari for your next holiday…you can seek the help of The Africa Guide. They will provide customized package tours for your migration safari…

They will extensively cover all the areas of Kenya or Tanzania and will not leave you wanting anything else.

5 Iconic Wildlife Species that Need Our Help

Hunting Dogs in Zambia

With emotive documentaries and spectacular photographs capturing the abundance and diversity of Africa’s wildlife, it seems that our plains are abuzz with life. But in reality, thanks to human intervention, habitat encroachment, poaching and even war, there are a number of Africa’s most iconic species whose populations are under serious threat.

Their survival and ability to thrive is now dependent on us again. Luckily, there are a number of organizations worth supporting who have dedicated their lives to protecting and conserving these vulnerable species. Here are just five of Africa’s species in dire need of help.


Due to the introduction of industrial fishing around the Cape, the iconic black and white African penguin was declared Endangered in 2010. With an estimated 25,000 breeding pairs left in the wild, the population is at approximately 2.5% of the estimated figure of one million breeding pairs, recorded in the early 20th Century.

It is clear to see that seabirds, such as the African penguin, are in dire need of help. Luckily, organizations such as SANCCOB and SAMREC are doing all that they can in an effort to save and bolster the waning penguin population in South Africa. As non-profits these organizations rely on volunteers and contributions from the public to carry out their precious work in seabird conservation.


Perhaps the most widely campaigned-for species in Africa is the rhino. Both black and white rhino have been poached for their horn to a point where the survival of their species is teetering on the edge. According to WWF, there are approximately 4,800 black rhino and 20,000 white rhino surviving in the wild, with this number declining on a daily basis. The rising demand for rhino horn, has driven poaching to record levels.

African Rhino

This said, there are a host of organizations raising awareness and helping to fight against poaching of these precious animals. The MyPlanet Rhino Fund (administered by the Endangered Wildlife Trust) puts rhino conservation in the spotlight, and has supported best practice and innovation since its creation in March 2011. The fund disperses money raised to a variety of conservation organizations and government agencies working towards the protection of rhinos.

As humans have encroached on gorilla habitats in the Virunga landscape, they have cleared land for agriculture and livestock, destroying hectares of forests in which mountain gorillas once dwelled. The war in Rwanda in the 90s, and years of civil unrest in the DRC drove thousands of refugees into the Virunga region, which is home to more than half of Africa’s mountain gorilla population. This led to increased poaching and habitat destruction. Grauer’s gorilla, a subspecies of the Eastern gorilla, the largest ape in the world, was recently just been added to IUCN’s Critically Endangered red list.

However, gorilla tourism in Uganda, Rwanda and even the DRC is helping to pour money back into local communities and into gorilla conservation. Organisations such as WWF are also working together with local communities surrounding the Virunga landscape to encourage them to protect and conserve this important species.


African elephants have a number of factors threatening their survival in the wild. Potentially the biggest of these is poaching for ivory. Poachers are decimating their numbers, with tens of thousands of elephants killed every year for their tusks.


Elephant-human conflict is another issue facing Africa’s elephants. A large amount of elephant habitat continues to be lost to the agricultural industry. When their crops are damaged by elephants passing through, farmers will sometimes retaliate by killing them. As animals that naturally migrate hundreds of kilometres every year, their loss of habitat has had hugely detrimental effects on their survival as well as their relationship with humans.

To help mitigate this human-wildlife conflict and protect elephants from poachers, South Africa has a number of anti-poaching units and organisations focused on conservation. Volunteer programmes such as SANParks Honorary Rangers , the official fund-raising arm of SANParks, helps to protect and monitor elephants in South Africa through passionate, committed individuals.

African Wild Dog

Less than 6,600 African wild dogs remain in the wild today. Challenges with human-wildlife conflict has been a major contributing factor to the endangerment of these dogs. Throughout the continent, wild dogs have been poisoned or shot by farmers, who sometimes mistakenly blame them when another predator kills their livestock.

As human populations expand, leading to agriculture, settlements, and roads, African wild dogs are losing the spaces in which they were once able to roam freely. Human encroachment from urbanization and clearance has severely reduced their range and numbers, with wild dogs all but disappearing in 15 of the 39 sub-Saharan Africa countries in which they one ranged.

Wildlife ACT is one of the organizations working to fight against the worrying decline of South Africa’s wild dogs, with much of their work focusing on Endangered and priority species.

Mountain Gorilla Tourism: A Brief History

Gorilla Tourism

Having started from the mid-1900’s, trekking into dense rainforests in search of the elusive mountain gorilla has become a highlight for many adventurers.

We take a look at the fascinating history and development of mountain gorilla tourism and how it has helped support conservation projects and increase the awareness of these critically endangered creatures.

A little bit about mountain gorilla history:

In October 1902, German explorer Captain Robert Von Beringe discovered these gigantic creatures on the ridges of the Virunga Mountains. The initial interest in the gorillas were mainly scientific as zoologists attempted to classify and accord them the respective naming, although later need for their conservation became apparent.

In 1967, the famous American primatologist, Dian Fossey, arrived in the Virunga range and established her research station in the Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. Her extensive research about gorillas was immense and her records are still referred to in present day research.

Mountain gorilla tourism:

The mountain gorilla tourism in Africa gained momentum in the 1990s when the respective countries embarked on rigorous habituation exercise of selected gorilla groups. Uganda, for example, started with the two-year habituation of the Mubare gorilla group in the Buhoma region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park from 1991 to 1993.

Today, there are 12 fully habituated groups in Bwindi alone, and one in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, while the two others are undergoing habituation in Bwindi. These concerted efforts have in return stimulated memorable gorilla trekking safari tours in Uganda, Rwanda, and the DRC.

Mountain gorilla habitat:

The habitats in which these mountain gorillas thrive are unique and remarkable. The hilly, dense forested landscapes with narrow valleys and steep slopes covered by mist make the gorilla trekking safaris an experience beyond just seeing the majestic animals. Their area of abode lies in the Albertine Rift which is renowned for its bird species such as the African green broadbill in Bwindi  – one of the prime forest birds sought after by birders while on birding safaris in Uganda.

Supporting a good cause:

Not only has gorilla tourism increased the awareness of these critically endangered apes world over, the finances gathered from the sale of gorilla permits support conservation activities and provides surrounding communities with alternative livelihood programmes. This in turn ensures the survival of mountain gorillas. With the increasing public and private investment in tourism infrastructure, such as transport and accommodation, one can agree that gorilla tourism is set to thrive for a very long time.

You can book all your gorilla safaris in Rwanda, Uganda, and the DRC through us and we’ll arrange your safari adventure of a lifetime

Ultimate Wildlife Encounters in Uganda


If Wildlife is a thing that captures your mind, don’t try to omit Uganda on your bucket list of destinations to see in Africa. This amazing spot has a diverse range of Wildlife species including those you can’t easily find in other localities around the globe. Whether you are after Wild animals, reptiles, insects or various species of birds you are all covered when you go on a safari in Uganda.

Thousands of Wildlife enthusiasts come in per year to explore all what Uganda has to offer. If this is your next travel plan, listed below are the major exciting places you shouldn’t ignore for endless sweeping views of varied Wildlife species.

Where to go for Wildlife

Wildlife in Uganda is majorly protected in National Parks, game reserves and Sanctuaries. These protected areas are many, therefore named below are some of the must visits.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

When it comes to Wildlife Safaris in Uganda, Queen is highly rated and stands among the mostly visited parks. Established in 1952 as Kazinga channel National Park, this protected area was later renamed to Queen Elizabeth Park to honor the visit of Queen Elizabeth II. Additionally Queen Elizabeth covers a total area of 1978 square kilometers which span three districts including Kasese, Rukungiri, Kamwenge and Rukungiri. It is bordered by Kyambura gorge, Kalinzu forest reserve and Lake George in the east, Lake Edward and Ishasha River in the west. It lush habitats are home to a number of Wildlife species including the rare tree climbing lions in the Ishasha sector. Other than Wildlife, Queen consists of over ten crater lakes.

Murchison Falls National Park

Covering a total area of 3898 square kilometers, Murchison is the largest National Park in Uganda. It is geographically located in the north western part of Uganda and straddles four districts that include Kiryandongo, Masindi, Nwoya, and Buliisa. By road, this Park is about 283 kilometers North West of Kampala. From Kibanda area, it is about 72 km up to Masindi the nearest large town. What’s more, Murchison Falls National Park is bisected by the Victoria Nile for a distance of 115 km. adding to the falls, Murchison Falls National Park invites tourists with its Wildlife that consists of animals like elephants, buffaloes, various bird species and more.

Budongo Forest Reserve

This is one of the notable forest reserves in Uganda. It is also located in the north western part of Uganda near Murchison Falls National Park and part of the Murchison Falls conservation area. It is a great habitat to a number of Wildlife species but most tourists visit it for the unique bird species and the chimpanzee primates. Other species that enjoy cool atmosphere of this reserve include primates like baboons, red tailed monkeys, colobus monkeys, reptiles, insects like butterflies and more.

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

This is a dream destination for Rhino lovers. It is located in central Uganda, Nakasongola district. Since it is located along Kampala – Masindi – Gulu highway, most travelers use it as a great stopover while heading to Murchison Falls National Park. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary was put in place mainly to reintroduce the species of Rhinoceros back to Uganda. It is currently homing the species of White Rhinoceros. Some were imported from Solio ranch in Kenya and other donated by Disney Kingdom of animals.

Kibale Forest National Park

For those who are visiting Uganda mainly for primates, Kibale Forest National Park should be your first start. This ever green protected area is located in the western part of Uganda. Fort portal is the nearest town from this Park. Part of its area is occupied by the notable Kibale forest. This forest is a great home to many wildlife species including the thirteen primates, bird species, reptiles and more. These 13 primates includes the chimpanzees, the main reason for most safaris to this park.

Kidepo Valley National Park

Situated in the far north eastern Uganda, Kidepo is the most isolated park in Uganda. It stands amongst the most rewarding parks if it is Wildlife in Uganda. It was declared as a national Park in 1962 and plays host to multiple species including the ones that are rarely found in other Ugandan parks. Located in Kaabong district, this park is ranked the third best National park in Africa. Its location in a core of savannah landscapes and mountainous sceneries makes it one of the most photogenic areas in Uganda. Kidepo’s rich fauna is composed of 470 bird species and over 75 species of mammals.

Lake Mburo National Park

If you fancy a blend of wildlife encounters and boat cruise, you should look no further than Lake Mburo National Park. This Park is located in western Uganda near Mbarara town. It is rated to be the nearest park from Kampala, Uganda’s capital. It biodiversity consists of plant life, wild animals, reptiles and insects. Some of the animals that tempt wildlife addicts are elephants, Zebras, topi, buffaloes and numerous antelopes. Boat cruise along the waters of Lake Mburo offers endless views of aquatic species like water birds, crocodiles and lake side scenery.

How to see Wildlife in Uganda

There are many ways to immerse yourself into Uganda’s rich wildlife. Some of these include game drives, boat cruise, nature walks, forest walks and camel riding. In Uganda, camel riding is only offered in Lake Mburo National Park.

Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking in Kahuzi Biega National Park

Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure, a world in which there is no end to the travel opportunities that lie in wait for us at every turn. But there is one experience you should definitely add to your bucket list and that is eastern lowland gorilla trekking.

A gorilla trekking experience in Kahuzi Biega National Park, which home to the Eastern Lowland gorillas in Democratic republic of Congo, will allow you to discover many wonderful and unique characteristics and behaviourism’s of these magnificent creatures.

Eastern lowland gorillas are one of Africa’s most beloved of primates and this is made obvious by the sheer number of international travellers who come to visit the continent for an African safari experience. Eastern lowland gorillas can only be seen in the Democratic republic of Congo in the famous national park of Kahuzi Biega. The Eastern Lowland gorilla can be trekked for a minimum duration of 3 days, which is offered to explorers as the 3 Days Lowland gorilla Tour.

The terrain of the gorillas is spread out over two famous Mountain ranges that were once active volcanoes, Mount Kahuzi and Mount Biega and also within the valleys of the park, which is where the gorilla trekking is done.

Here are some fun facts about the Eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega national park:

1) They are largely herbivorous and eat a wide range of plants, fruits, seeds, leaves, stems and barks as well as ants, termites and other insects

2) Eastern lowland gorillas are the largest on average of all gorilla subspecies

3) Males can weigh 250 kilograms and can reach two metres tall when standing

4) Visitors are allowed one hour with the lowland gorilla, and during this hour you can watch them feeding and playing with their young ones. After this special experience, trekkers are invited to visit to the local community to meet the people who inhabitant the forest and who were previously living with the lowland gorillas.

5) The main threat to these lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National park is the habitat loss from illegal logging, agriculture and illegal settlements; poaching and wildlife trade of mainly baby gorillas and mining for coltan as explained.

6) Through observing the gorillas in the wild, we learnt that they will make a new nest from the vegetation for every night, and that the young gorillas will share their mother’s nest until they are about three years old.

For the ultimate primate safari discover what the Democratic republic of the Congo has to offer, experience not only the lowland gorillas but also the Chimpanzee Tracking in Nyungwe forest national park – a park that is the home to over 10 Species of primates in Africa!

Don’t miss the chance to visit the eastern lowland gorillas in their local habitat with the most reliable safari company.

How to Travel Around Uganda during Covid-19


Traveling is part of our lives. It is something we are attached to. One feels lifeless without traveling for a while. At least once in a year, one has to leave his/her usual place to visit a new area, meet new people and discover some new things that are peculiar to their normal environment.

Traveling is really therapy for refreshing and reenergising oneself to get going again. One of the popular places to visit is the natural environment. The natural environment consists of undisturbed flora and fauna in their original form. In this day and age generation, natural environments are rare to find, Uganda located in the east of Africa is one of the few places in the world with a wealth of virgin environs.  The country has ten national parks, over 20 wildlife reserves and a plethora of other natural features like lakes, river and mountains to explore and enjoy.

Traveling around Uganda was hampered by the outbreak of covid-19 which restricted socialisation (crowding) of people. Traveling had to be cut out since it encompasses around visiting new places and interacting with people.  However, as covid-19 has been slightly subdued, people are back to traveling and in full throttle because of the lengthy period they were indoors. They now have ravenous appetite to enjoy the outdoor environment and the beauty it beholds.

Although people have been allowed to travel around Uganda, the usual travelling is no more. Standard operating procedures have been set out to guide people on how to travel around Uganda in the new normal (covid-19 era)

Uganda Travel Tips During the Covid-19 Era

  1. Travel with Negative PCR Covid-19 Test certificate

The negative PCR Covid-19 Test certificate is like a green card for international travellers to Uganda. No one is allowed into Uganda without presenting a negative PCR covid-19 test certificate at Entebbe Airport or any other border point. Its validity must be less than 72 hours before the test.  More so, upon arrival at the airport, a traveller is subjected to a mandatory PCR covid-19 test at 30$. The good news is; the tourist is left to travel to the hotel or any other abode and the results are sent electronically. If found positive of covid-19, the guest is advised to quarantine at the hotel for 14 days and then continue his/her travel.

  1. Take a Covid-19 Jab

Covid-19 is a killer bug that has claimed millions and millions of people, you are not exception. We are all susceptible to it especially the traveling people who are likely to get to crowed places like airports, hotel and recreational centres. We advise to get vaccinated of Covid-19 as it is the only way to fight it. Covid-19 vaccination is free of charge in any country around the world. it doesn’t cost a thing to save yourself from the virus.

  3.Carry a facemask and Hand sanitizer

Wearing a facemask at all times while with people and hand sanitizing when in contact with people and people reachable places are among the main guidelines set out by World Health Organisation Advisory on Covid-19. During your travel around Uganda, carry as many facemask as you can and adequate hand sanitizer to prevent yourself from any likelihood of covid-19 transmission.

4.Avoid Using cash

It is evident that money is the major carrier of covid-19 virus. Uganda being a cash economy, it is very hard to do away with it. However, the positive is that there are other avenues of making payments like the use of visa card and mobile money. The travel and hospitality sector has embraced cashless payments especially in this pandemic period. Airport, Hotel, national parks and supermarkets have electronic payment systems compatible to Visa card and credit card. They also accept Mobile money transfers. Therefore, carry your credit card or visa card and also while you get a Uganda sim pack for your mobile phone endeavour to register it for mobile money transaction. Deposit some money on your mobile money account which you will use to make payments for local item purchases on your tour around Uganda.

  1. Avoid Traveling to crowded places

Uganda has so many tourism destinations to travel but avoid places that encourage mass tourism, go to places with fewer people like the national parks and other eco places around the country. There is a high chance of getting covid-19 in places where people are crowded because of the great likelihood of getting in contact with one another yet that’s how covid-19 transmits.

  1. Hire a car

It is best to do away with public means of transport to avoid contact with other people. We advise you to hire a car in Uganda, there are very many rental companies with reliable, convenient and cheap services. A rental car does not only serve from Covid-19 but it is also a faster means of transport.

  1. Don’t drive at night

One of the Covid-19 guidelines set out in Uganda is stoppage of movement of cars and people by 7:00pm. Therefore, you have to abide to the curfew rule set so that you don’t be on the wrong side of the law.

Top Big Cat Safaris for 2021

Pride of Lions in Masai Mara

Looking for big cat safaris? It is not yet late! Here are some of the best safari offers for the big cat lovers looking to travel in Africa. These trips can be tailor-made to include your own safari ideas. Just tell a local tour operator your interests so that these trips can be tailored exclusively to you!

1. Safari in Zambia & Malawi

Zambia & Malawi safari combines the perfect amount of wild exploration, wildlife, relaxation and exclusivity.

Price: from £3,730 Per Person Sharing, excluding International Flights

Enjoy 6 nights on safari in the remote southern areas of the South Luangwa National Park before heading to an island in the middle of Lake Malawi for some R&R.

Zambia is renowned as one of the last true African safari destinations with remote bush camps, some of the best guides in the industry and some amazing wildlife. This safari stays in some of the best camps in the southern section of the South Luangwa National Park away from the crowds & in the home of the walking safari…

2. Kenya Wildebeest Migration & Big Cats

Kenya Migration Big Cats & Game Safari shows off the best the original safari country has to offer.

Kenya: Migration, Big Cats & Game Safari – From £2,995pp, Excluding International Flights

A fantastic 6 night safari with the chance to view the spectacular wildebeest migration and renowned river crossings, as well as the resident game and big cats of the Mara Reserve & Naboisho Conservancy.

Spending half your time in the Main Mara Reserve, enjoy morning & afternoon game drives in search of game and the migration, then relax watching the animals drinking from the river in the evening. Staying at the world famous Rekero Camp, you are set right in the heart of the best wildlife viewing in the Maasai Mara.

The second half of your safari will be spent in the beautiful Naboisho Conservancy, bordering the Mara Reserve. This private conservancy has an exclusive and personal feel, with fewer vehicles at wildlife sightings. Activities throughout the day (often with a picnic breakfast or packed lunch enjoyed in the bush!) will include guided game walks and visits to one of the local Masai Manyattas.

Price Per Person Sharing: From £2,995

Kaya Mawa on Lake Malawi is the perfect place to sit back, relax & reflect after your adventures in Zambia!

Price Per Person Sharing: From £3,730

Dates: Tailored to your specifications

Zambia: Art & Photography Safari

Price – From £ 2,995pp, Excluding International Flights

This 6 night bespoke safari in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, promises something special. Using the complimentary media of photography &  sculpture Nick & Nick hope to inspire you towards a new appreciation of wildlife.

Based in Mfuwe Lodge in the renowned South Luangwa National Park, you will combine morning and afternoon game drives (when light conditions and wildlife activity are best) with practical demonstrations and tuition in field sketching, sculpture and photography.

Get to know different photography skills covering a variety of subjects including camera basics and simplifying the photographic process, to essentials in composition, field techniques, editing & organizing.

Feed your artistic side on this magnificent & unique safari in one of the best areas for wildlife in Africa.

Remember no prior experience or knowledge is required. All tools and air-hardening clay  will be provided and your sculptures will be packed safely for transport home.

Top 10 African Safari Experiences

African Safari

It is true that we all travel for different reasons, and our tastes and likes vary.  However, when coming for a holiday in Africa, I think there are some places you just have to visit, and some activities you must undertake to enjoy a complete African safari experience. I have compiled a list of what I consider the 10 unique African safari experiences. You may not be able to do all of them during one visit, unless of course you have a lot of time. But with proper planning, you can cover aspects of all of them in at least two trips to Africa.

1. Wildlife safaris

If you have time for only one safari activity, then wildlife safaris are the obvious choice, especially if the closest you have ever come to an African wild animal is in a zoo. Among all African animals, the big five (lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, and leopard) are the most popular, and perhaps most fascinating to observe. The experience of seeing them and other animals in their natural habitat is indeed very amazing. No wonder the word “African safari” is almost synonymous with wildlife safaris.

There are so many places in Africa that give you a rewarding wildlife experience, top on the list being Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya, South Africa’s Kruger national park, and Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. You can also have an equally (or even more) satisfying safari experience in other less known wildlife destinations like Etosha national park in Namibia, South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, and Chobe National Park in Botswana. For a first-time visit to Africa, I would recommend starting with any of the parks mentioned above.

2. Primate Safaris

There are wildlife destinations that meet your unique tastes. One of the growing popular niche are primate safaris in East and Central Africa. If for example you are interested in the gorillas, chimpanzees and other apes, you should visit the game reserves in Uganda, Rwanda, and the DRC. You can enjoy a primate safari in Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania or the Democratic Republic of Congo.

3. Gorilla Trekking

Looking to doing something different from the usual tours? Why not plan a gorilla safari expedition into Uganda or Rwanda. Meeting the mountain gorillas in their natural home is a dream come true to many travelers who travel to East and Central Africa.

Though mountain gorilla tours are the most popular, you can also see the Eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as well as Western Lowland gorillas in Odzala National Park of the Republic of Congo.

4. Cultural safaris
It is indisputable that the African culture is rich and very diverse. Among the thousands of African ethnic groups however, there are a few that stand out because of their unique way of life and traditions, the Masai tribe being the top-most. There is arguably no better way to appreciate the Masai culture than visiting a Masai village and possibly spending some nights there. This is not for the faint-hearted though. An easier alternative would be to visit a Masai village during your safari in Kenya.

Other African ethnic groups with interesting cultures and that you may want to visit include the Samburu and Turkana of Kenya, and the Swahili found along the coast of East Africa.

5. Mountaineering Expeditions

For quite obvious reasons,  Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania ranks high among Africa’s adventure destinations. Though it is the highest mountain in Africa, it is also the most accessible. You do not need any special mountaineering equipment to get to Uhuru peak, the highest peak. Any reasonably healthy person can make it to the top especially if they climb slowly. This is unlike the more rugged Mt Kenya, where the highest you can get without mountain climbing gear is Point Lenana, at 4985 meters above sea level.  Only accomplished mountaineers attempt to get to the higher peaks of Batian and Nelion.

Mt Meru in Tanzania, the Rwenzori mountain range and the Virunga mountains in Uganda and neighboring countries are some of the other African mountains suitable for climbing or trekking expeditions.

6. Bird Watching Safaris

Would you like to see Africa’s unique birds? There is an amazing record number of birds on the continent. Africa is one of the best bird watching destinations in the world. From rare birds to endemics that cannot easily be found elsewhere on the continent, there is a lot to see for an avid birder.

There are lots of other activities for an adventure safari in Africa. You can fly over the Victoria falls on a microlight helicopter, go for gorilla tracking expeditions in the great Lakes region, canoeing, white water rafting, and kayaking (e.g in Sagana and Nanyuki in Kenya), skydiving (e.g in the annual Diani boogie in Kenya), snorkeling and white shark diving in South Africa, overlanding from Cairo Egypt to Cape Town in South Africa, etc.