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How Tourism helps the Gorillas of Rwanda

How Tourism helps the Gorillas of Rwanda

Rwanda Uganda Gorilla Tracking Tours Gorilla Watching Congo How Tourism helps the Gorillas of Rwanda

Should we really be entering the habitat of some of the most endangered primates left on our earth, or should we just leave them alone? In my humble opinion – and in hindsight – gorilla safari tourism has been an unprecedented success.

In an ideal world we would leave endangered wildlife to their own devices so that they can live in peace and re-populate undisturbed, but the truth is that this is just not possible these days.

The human population is exploding across the world, putting pressure on food resources, infrastructure and natural resources. This puts huge pressure on the wildlife left on our planet’s surface, and Rwanda is no exception.

Rwanda is one of the smallest countries in Africa yet it is also one of the most densely populated with a fast growing economy. The growth of the economy is fantastic for the human population, but not for the gorillas.

Look at any aerial map of this beautiful country and you will see the patch work fields criss-crossing the countryside, surrounding one small green mass encompassing the Virunga Volcanoes and the last stronghold of the endangered mountain gorillas.

Eco-tourism has undoubtedly bought money and therefore stability to this small corner of Africa. With gorilla permits now costing USD$1,500 per person per day, this is a booming eco-tourism project.

Ok, I am sure at least some of this money is misappropriated, however a vast amount of it also filters through to the right areas, to the guides and anti-poaching patrols, to the park authorities, to the local communities that gain employment and improved infrastructure from the presence of this tourism.

As a result of ever present tourists within the area, Rwanda has also resulted in improved security, this means less poaching, tighter border patrols with its rather unstable neighbour DRC and as a result, increased mountain gorilla populations.

This is proven categorically by the numbers. Approximately 12 years ago, the mountain gorilla population was struggling at around 640, since then it has increased dramatically to 840 individuals. This does bring with it its own problems as the remaining habitat is so limited and surrounded on all side by human encroachment, but at least things are heading in the right direction.

Maybe more notice should be taken of this example. Rhinos, pangolins, elephants and more are under threat – we need to act quickly if we are going to halt the destruction of our natural world, as in recent years we have plundered our natural resources and it will soon be too late to do anything about it.

Solo travel made safe

Solo travel made safe

image Solo travel made safe

Independent travel is a liberating experience – but it can be daunting, too. Observing a few common-sense rules of the road can keep you safe on your journey

Is 2015 the year you want to head out on the open road alone? Even if you’re looking forward to the total freedom of travelling solo, there are sure to be some doubts as you face what could be a daunting prospect. Employ a spot of Fixology, though, and you can enjoy the freedom and flexibility of travelling solo, safely.

Consider your destination

There are some geopolitical hotspots, such as various destinations in the Middle East, that are currently best avoided. Be aware of any issues by checking the Foreign Office website. Beyond this, there are some countries that are easier to travel around alone; most European destinations present few issues, for example. Longer haul, consider places that travellers tend to congregate, such as Thailand, where infrastructure is good and you might meet others in the same situation. Australia and New Zealand are even easier, with no language barrier and excellent infrastructure.

Join a group

One halfway house for nervous first-timers is to join a guided group trip for “solo” travellers. Yes, you do lose a bit of your independence, but you gain the necessary backup to build confidence for your next truly solo trip. It need not be the old cliched Club 18-30 holiday (which are actually often a lot of fun for those in that age group), with a wide choice of operators today targeting different ages and tastes.

Keep your belongings safe

Minimise the potential stress of losing your passport or cash hoard and having to sort it out alone by keeping your luggage and key belongings safe. Buy a subtle travel pouch or belt to keep things tucked away out of sight and plan to carry a minimum of cash by packing bank cards and credit cards instead – but keep them separate so they can’t be lost all at once. Use a tagging service such as idtagit to ensure that if you do lose something, anyone who finds it will know how to return it.

Take care

When you are out on the road alone, use traveller common sense. Blend in by wearing what the locals do: avoid wearing your favourite sports top or any clothing that may offend local customs, such as sleeveless tops or short skirts. Be wary and remember that you don’t have the benefit of safety in numbers, so keep your belongings close and avoid attracting attention, especially at potential flashpoints like bars, clubs and transport hubs.

Keep in touch

Checking in with others is a great way to stay safe when travelling solo. Let your social media friends know how often you will be updating your status so they can keep an eye on you. It’s safer to bore them with daily photos of the Taj Mahal than disappear off the radar. Use social media, email, texts, calls and any other communications you can to let people you trust know where you will be and when, so they can watch out for you and alert someone if they are concerned.

10 MUST VISIT PLACES ON A TRIP TO KENYA

10 MUST VISIT PLACES ON A TRIP TO KENYA 

Tsavo ntl park 10 MUST VISIT PLACES ON A TRIP TO KENYA

KENYA IS ONE OF THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER TOURIST DESTINATIONS IN THE WORLD. WITH ITS BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT CULTURES, ANIMALS AND BREATHTAKING VEGETATION, THERE IS NO WAY ANYONE WOULD NOT WANT TO VISIT THE COUNTRY. TOURISTS COME TO KENYA FOR BOTH SAFARIS AND BUSINESS PURPOSES. THERE ARE MANY PLACES WHICH SERVE AS BOTH KENYA LUXURY SAFARIS RAND KENYA NORMAL SAFARIS (CHEAP). BUT WHAT ARE THE PLACES THAT EVERY TOURIST WANTS TO VISIT WHENEVER ON A VISIT TO KENYA? WE HAVE COMPILED A LIST OF 10 MUST VISIT PLACES WHILE ON A KENYAN SAFARI.

1.Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park is about 7 KM away from Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi which is equivalent to a 10 minute drive. The park’s environment is comprised of open grass plains and scattered Acacia bushes. There are several tree species found here like, Apodytes dimidiataCanthium schimperiana among others. Some of the animals found here are black rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, African Buffalo, Ostrich, Maasai giraffe among others. Nairobi’s towers are visible from the park.

2.Maasai Mara National Park

This is the most visited tourist attraction site in Kenya. It’s famous for its remarkable population of wild animals and famous wildebeest migration. The Wildebeest Migration which takes place each year from July to October is one of the ‘Wonders of the World’. There are several hotels, Camps and conservancies that offer accommodation while on a visit to Maasai Mara.

3. Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru is one of the soda Lakes in Rift Valley Kenya. The Lake is famous for its beautiful flamingos that give a breathtaking view to tourists. It’s often referred to as the greatest bird spectacle on earth. Other animals found here are Baboons, Warthogs and the black & White rhinoceros. Other birds also camp at the lake.

4.Samburu National Reserve

The Samburu National reserve is located in Northern Kenya on the banks of Ewaso Ng’iro River. This is a nice destination to see wild animals like blue-legged ostriches, Elephants, Leopard, Zebra as well as enjoy the culture and traditional practices of the Samburu People. There are daily flights from Nairobi to Samburu.

5.Mount Kenya

This is the highest mountain in Kenya and the Second highest mountain in the whole of Africa. Its slopes are covered with forests while its highest peaks are covered with snow. The highest peaks are Batian (5200m) and Nelion (5188m which are difficult to climb. However, there is another peak Lenana (4985m) which is easily accessible and tourists have much fun climbing it. Tourists can use huts built on the mountain for accommodation or put up tents.

6.Tsavo National Park

Tsavo National park is comprised of Tsavo east and Tsavo West National Parks. It’s located in the Kenyan coast. Tsavo East National Park is famous for Bird watching, animals like the Cape buffalo, Caracal, African Wildcat etc., Rock Climbing, Falls and dams and several other attractions. Tsavo West is famous for Rock climbing and wide range of wildlife.

7.Malindi and Watamu

If you are looking for a beach safari, Malindi is the place to visit while on a Kenyan Safari. It is an island located in the Kenyan coast surrounded by magnificent beaches. Watamu, also found in the Kenyan coast about 15 KM south of Maslindi is surrounded by beautiful beaches and has a National Park. Fishing is also practiced here. This is also where one of the world’s largest spitting cobra called “Nasha Ajei” was discovered in 2007.

8.Lamu

Lamu Island, found in the Kenyan coast is one of the oldest cities in Kenya. It is the place to go to when you want to ‘run away’ from the world. There are no disturbing matatus and buses here. Donkeys are greatly used as a means of transport. One will also find comfort in the beautiful oceanic waves. It is a quiet Kenya Safari destination.

9.Amboseli National Park

It is located on the Kenya-Tanzania border on the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro; the highest mountain in Africa. Amboseli National Park is famous for elephants and a very beautiful view of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

10.Hells Gate

As the name suggests, it’s one of the most adventurous Kenya safari destinations. It is the only place where tourists can take unguided walks and cycles. It is famous for its steep cliffs, gorges basalt columns and varied wildlife (few). Hells gate is one of the historical sites in Kenya.

The world famous Maasai Mara

The world famous Maasai Mara

wildebeest migrations The world famous Maasai Mara

Maasai Mara

The world famous Maasai Mara is home to the Great Migration, July through October each year. It also boasts astonishing amount of resident wildlife. The rolling grasslands, the Mara River and the Rift Valley all make for great game viewing and wildlife photography.

Amboseli

To capture the definitive Kenyan wildlife shot, visit Amboseli and photograph herds of elephant wandering past the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. Amboseli’s big skies and far horizons, combined with swampy springs and dry and dusty earth trampled by hundreds of animals, is a safari paradise – and the views of Mount Kilimanjaro are incomparable.

Tsavo

The twin National Parks of Tsavo East and West form one of Africa’s largest wilderness reserves, incorporating savannah, ranges and hills, acacia and montane forest, and an extensive river system. Tsavo is a bird watcher’s paradise, and viewing hippo and crocodile in the crystal clear waters of the volcanic Mzima springs is unique in all of East Africa.

Mount Kenya

Africa’s second highest mountain, Mount Kenya, is both a Unesco World Heritage site and a Unesco Biosphere Reserve. The mountain is best seen at dawn, when the day’s early light silhouettes its impressive summit high over the surrounding mountains. Trekking on Mount Kenya, for all levels of walkers, is a true African wilderness adventure. Meru Made famous by conservationists George and Joy Adamson, Meru is where Elsa the lioness was raised. With impressive views of Mount Kenya, visitors to this lovely wilderness may see eland, Bohor reedbuck, black rhino and some of the more than 427-recorded bird species in the park’s diverse habitats.

Samburu

Samburu is the best place to find several endemic Northern species, including gerenuk, the reticulated giraffe and Grevy’s zebra. Lions are frequently seen on the riverbanks, and cheetah can be found on the open plains together with huge herds of elephant. Travellers will also delight in meeting the Samburu people, who call this wild part of Kenya home.

Laikipia

This spectacular region is the gateway to Kenya’s northern frontier country. Wild and sparsely populated, much of Laikipia is covered by privately owned ranches where cattle share the land with free-ranging wildlife. Horseback riding through Laikipia’s wilderness is a true African adventure.

Lake Naivasha

This fresh water lake, fringed by thick papyrus, is home to an incredible variety of birds, including the pink-backed pelican, goliath heron and giant kingfisher. The waters of the lake draw a great range of game: giraffe feed on the acacia, buffalo wallow in the shallow waters and colobus monkeys call from the treetops.

Lamu

End your Kenyan safari by spending a few days in the ancient town of Lamu on the Indian Ocean coast. The winding streets, traditional houses and carved woods hark back to the Swahili culture of old.

A JOURNEY BACK IN TIME WITH ONE OF THE WORLD’S OLDEST TRIBE

A JOURNEY BACK IN TIME WITH ONE OF THE WORLD’S OLDEST TRIBE
bushmen experience A JOURNEY BACK IN TIME WITH ONE OF THE WORLD’S OLDEST TRIBE
The Hadzabe tribe of Tanzania is the last true nomads of Africa

They grow no food, raise no livestock, and live without rules or calendars. They are living a hunter-gatherer existence that is little changed from 10,000 years ago. What do they know that we’ve forgotten?

Spending time with traditional hunter-gatherers
Spending time with traditional hunter-gatherers could be likened to spending time with yourself – with the clock wound back several thousand years. It brings to the fore everything we find alluring and appealing about spending time in the bush – the wild animals, the scenery and the savage beauty – but in this case we form a part of that environment as one of the apex predators.
Lake Eyasi

Living near Lake Eyasi in northern Tanzania, the Hadza have managed to preserve their hunter-gatherer way of life for over 30 000 – maybe over 50 000 – years. Their language was once classified with the Khoisan due to similar click sounds, but it has since been reclassified as an isolate – a language unrelated to any other.

They are also not closely genetically related to any other tribe. This, combined with their location in the Great Rift Valley, only adds to the intrigue and mystique of these wonderful people. Even their oral history, unlike that of most African tribes, does not indicate that they moved to Hadzaland from elsewhere, making them one of the oldest tribes in Africa – if not the oldest.

Using bow and arrow

Using bow and arrow, Hadza hunters shoot tiny birds from 30 yards with deadly precision. A hunter takes aim at a bird and follows through the thorns to find his quarry. Below: Hunters kindle a fire to cook birds and a freshly killed dik-dik. 

Hadza typically live in camps with 20-40 residents. On any given day, camp members decide where and how to forage by closely observing their country, discussing their observations with other camp members, and by drawing upon their expert knowledge of the land. Though the Hadza recognize five general regions within their country (Mangola, Han!abi, Tli’ika, Sipunga, and Dunduiya), there are no land-holding territorial divisions between Hadza groups.

The Hadza

The Hadza are highly skilled, selective, and opportunistic foragers, and adjust their diet according to season and circumstance. Depending on local availability, some groups might rely more heavily on tubers, others on berries, others on meat. This variability is the result of their opportunism and adjustment to prevailing conditions.

Traditionally, the Hadza do not make use of hunting dogs, although this custom has been recently borrowed from neighboring tribes to some degree. Most men (80%+) do not use dogs when foraging.

 

The they’ve never lived densely enough to be seriously threatened by an infectious outbreak. They have no known history of famine; rather, there is evidence of people from a farming group coming to live with them during a time of crop failure.

The Hadza diet remains even today more stable and varied than that of most of the world’s citizens. They enjoy an extraordinary amount of leisure time. Anthropologists have estimated that they “work”—actively pursue food—four to six hours a day. And over all these thousands of years, they’ve left hardly more than a footprint on the land.

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