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Mahale Mountains National Park

Mahale Mountains National Park

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Mahale National Park

Mahale national park was the research base for a team of Japanese anthropologists for several decades. Despite the gorgeous clear waters of Lake Tanganyika and the obvious draw of the chimps themselves, Mahale was not an established tourist destination until about decade ago. It’s still remote, but absolutely worth the trip. Mahale is located in the Western Tanzania to the South of Kigoma town, it is bordering Lake Tanganyika-the World’s longest, second deepest and least polluted freshwater lake-harboring

Rwanda Uganda Gorilla Tracking Tours Gorilla Watching Congo Mahale Mountains National Park

 

10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa

10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa
Serengeti National Park 10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa

Serengeti National Park

Long gone are the days of a big adventure trip to colonial Africa for game-hunting safaris. In the past, the debonair safari suits and sun helmets of Hemingway’s Hollywood era dominated; nowadays, it’s normal to escape on a long weekend safari with little more than casual clothes thrown in a rucksack. Meanwhile, though Kenya and Tanzania remain popular options, Africa’s previously political no-go zones are rapidly emerging as new safari destinations, now that more national parks are being designated and protected while tourism is increasingly welcomed. And there are exciting new safari options, from private helicopters to sailboats in pristine marine reserves to nighttime game drives through voluptuous volcanic lands. Here are our picks for the 10 best sarafi destinations in Africa.
BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST RESERVE

Where: Uganda

Guides ask you not to stare at the mountain gorillas, but it’s tough. The gentle giants have deep mysterious eyes that lull you into a sense of serenity. Home to roughly half the world’s mountain gorillas, tracking is a highlight of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Reserve.

Gifted with theatrical landscape, volcanoes intersperse jagged valleys and waterfalls shrouded in altitude mist. The principal birding destination bears no fewer than 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift endemics, including the spectacularly endangered African Green Broadbill.

Insider Tip: Gorillas often enter Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp. Nestled deep inside Bwindi UNESCO World Heritage Site, this camp is remote and atmospheric.

ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK

Where: Namibia

Namibia is rousing serious safari attention with its stark beauty, rugged coastlines, and evolving landscapes. Etosha National Park is home to Africa’s tallest elephants, the endangered black rhino, cheetah, and perennial springs luring the big cats. Unique scenes across a shimmering saltpan of mirages are seen via self-drive safaris. Upmarket lodges and camps fringe park boundaries, where guided safaris are inclusive.

Don’t Miss: A stay with a difference, Onguma Treetop Camp is built on stilts amongst treetops, with panoramic views over Onguma Game reserve. The sense of remoteness is unparalleled. Four very intimate thatched rooms feature canvas walls and outdoor showers.

CHOBE NATIONAL PARK

Where: Botswana

Africa’s densest game concentrations lie along a brilliant peacock-blue river, making Chobe National Park a prime game destination. Situated within the Okavango Delta, we recommend Savute marsh: teeming with wildlife year-round, easily accessible and with a wide range of lodgings for all budgets. Chobe is a stronghold of endangered species such as wild dog, cheetah, and brown hyena.

Insider Tip: Take a water safari to watch wildlife huddled around papyrus-clad curves in the river. Meet the original inhabitants, the San Bushmen, to learn their extraordinary culture. Indulgence is paramount at the Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero lodge, with spa, gourmet food, and undisturbed views.

MASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE

Where: Kenya

Africa’s most popular safari destination boasts effortless vistas and dramatic game viewing. Masai Mara remains most visited, with rolling grasslands and scattered acacia woodland home to the Big Five. July through October is a Mara highlight—annual migration, where a stampede of millions of wildebeest makes the ground vibrate. Naibor Camp is a luxury-tented camp of contemporary comforts, tucked away within riverine woodland on Talek River.

Insider Tip: Spectacular safaris are specialty of Enasoit. Dhow sailing on the serene Lamu archipelago, soaring over deserted beaches and visiting nomadic tribes by helicopter, or traditional Jeep through foothills of Mount Kenya; Enasoit redefines luxury safari.

HWANGE NATIONAL PARK

Where: Zimbabwe

Unrivaled guides and unique backdrops are Zimbabwe’s assets, amidst low-lying semi-desert to lush highlands strewn with lakes and forests. Hwange National Park in the Northwest is the largest. The elephants are world-famed and, here, you’ll find one of the world’s largest populations. The mighty Zambezi River, from Victoria Falls, creates waterholes for thirsty wildlife. Emerging from recent troubles, tourists are flocking in.

Insider Tip: View game from an underground hide at The Hide, which also offers night game drives.Somalisa is an elegant bush camp with six solar powered highly luxurious tents. The pool overlooks the entire pan of wildlife below.

KRUGER NATIONAL PARK

Where: South Africa

Kruger is a classic. One of Africa’s oldest and best-maintained parks typifies the highest variety of wildlife. It’s renowned as the easiest spot to see the Big Five, aided by its unfenced borders with Africa’s finest game reserves. Sophisticated lodges offer the ultimate in lavish luxury and intimate bush hideaways.

Insider Tip: Set in private Sabi Sands Game Reserve, sustained by the Sabi and Sand rivers,Dulini’s six suites ooze elegance. Romance is heightened by a symphony of birdlife and passage of wildlife. The original eco private game reserve, Londolozi, is unashamedly family-run and winning awards for its quality of food, service, accommodation, and ecotourism.

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

Where: Rwanda

The landlocked beauty of Rwanda stuns visitors. Misty moody rainforest, forested volcanoes, undulating grasslands, and tranquil lakes are ideal for trekking and dugout canoeing. The upper slopes of Virunga volcanoes conservation area comprise three national parks, encapsulating Rwanda, Uganda, and DR Congo—the most famous residents being 350-strong mountain gorillas.

Insider Tip: On the fringes of Parc National des Volcans, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is minutes from walking treks. In the dramatic foothills of the Virungas, this residence is beautifully appointed and atmospheric. After a hard day’s trek, luxuriate in a massage to ease aches, or adventure-seekers can head out on mountain bikes.

ZAMBEZI VALLEY

Where: Zambia

Gloriously wild amidst raw nature and with decadent wildlife viewing—southern Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park is a haven of hippo, elephant, and birdlife. Less frequented than its neighbor, Tanzania, Zambia’s national parks are the essence of wilderness. South Luangwa spawns symmetry of exotica and expanse.

Don’t Miss: Camps are drizzled along the immense valley’s tranquil riverbank.

The Royal Zambezi Lodge Bush Spa is enveloped within nature’s embrace. Try post-safari canoeing or fishing. A quick dip in the pool before a sunset massage at Royal Bush Spa completes a perfect day. Lilayi in Lusaka is a haven for horseback and bush walk safaris.

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SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

Where: Tanzania

Arguably the most magnificent park in Africa, the Serengeti basks in prolific amounts of game and is invigorating in its sheer vastness and dramatic staging. Annually, 1.5 million wildebeest and some 250,000 zebra migrate through. Prides of lion thrive here, upwards of 3,000, spotted lazing on ‘kopje’ outcrops. Grumeti River houses some of the largest Nile crocodiles in the world.

Insider Tip: Even non-campers can tent overnight without omitting creature comforts. The Lamai Serengeti nestles among rocks of a kopje with expansive views. The elemental theme ensures a back-to-nature feel. Kirawira Serena Camp makes it a glamorous affair with Persian rugs and carved rocking chairs.

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GORONGOSA NATIONAL PARK

Where: Mozambique

With more than fifty coral islands and abundant marine life, the Quirimbas Archipelago has recently been designated a national park. The islands remain an unexplored underwater safari sanctuary.

Gorongosa is the country’s flagship reserve. It once attracted more visitors than South Africa and Zimbabwe combined, but the harshness of war left resources depleted. Hippos, lions, and elephants have recovered following restocking, helping Mozambique regain its reputation as a game-viewing destination.

Insider Tip: Explore Gorongosa leads expeditions on foot or by car. Girassol Gorongosa Lodge & Safari ensures uninterrupted experiences between you and wilderness. The Azura at Quilalea, a private island luxury resort, boasts world-class diving and snorkeling straight off the beach.

Lion climbs tree to escape herd of buffalo

Lion climbs tree to escape herd of buffalo in Kenya

anticipate the fierce reaction it would receive Lion climbs tree to escape herd of buffalo

Lion climbs tree to escape herd of buffalo in Kenya as the king of the jungle is left with his tail between his legs. Remarkable pictures have shown a lion making a desperate bid to avoid being trampled by scrambling up a tree. Below him the group of angry buffalo waits as he slowly begins to lose his grip and slide down the tree trunk

Lion climbs tree to escape herd of buffalo in Kenya Lion climbs tree to escape herd of buffalo

But with a terrified snarl the cowardly lion managed to escape by leaping onto the grass and running to safety. Despite retreating to the unusual safety zone the danger wasn’t quite over as the buffalo – prone to trampling – gathered under the tree to wait for the lion to fall.

Charles Comyn, a 63-year-old ex-army official, was exploring the stunning Maasai Mara reserve in Kenya with his wife when he stumbled across the incredible scene. When the lion sprung from its hiding place and quickly scaled the tree to avoid being trampled by the angry buffalo

But as they remained below the tree waiting for the lion to come down, it started slipping towards the ground. The lion had been hiding in the grass in what witnesses suspected was an attempt to hunt a baby buffalo. However, it didn’t anticipate the fierce reaction it would receive from the adults guarding the newborn.

The lion had been hiding in the grass Lion climbs tree to escape herd of buffalo

The pair were on the last safari of their holiday but said they had no inkling that their lasting memory was yet to come. Together with their experienced guide the couple parked next to a herd of buffalo who were carefully guarding a new-born calf.

But the animals – known for unpredictable behaviour – suddenly became nervous. Mr Comyn said: ‘All of a sudden, literally out of nowhere, a male lion sprang out from his hiding place hightailing for a nearby tree with the buffalo now starting to give chase. ‘It didn’t take long before the lion had scrambled up the tree, fearing for its life.

‘The marauding buffalo circled below, smelling the lion. They were not going to let it get away.’

The herd had realised the lion was stalking the young buffalo and weren’t about to give it a lucky escape, he said. But after a few seconds of clinging onto the tree the cowering lion became to tremble and tire and started to slide down the bark. After it fell from the tree trunk, the lion wasted no time speeding away across the savannah.

the lion wasted no time speed Lion climbs tree to escape herd of buffalo

Photographer Charles Comyn said the lion appeared to be ‘doomed’ prior to making his quick getaway

Out of desperation the big cat let out a snarl and suddenly leapt from the tree, ran towards Mr Comyn’s jeep and disappeared into the bush.

Mr Comyn said: ‘It was a hair-tingling moment. The lion could not hang for long – one could really sense that he was almost doomed – so he had to make another attempt to flee.

‘Very quickly the buffalo resumed their early morning grazing. It was only then that we spotted the newly born calf in the middle of the herd, which they obviously had been protecting from the lion who possibly had spotted a potential light breakfast.

‘What a magical, unforgettable, and as we later learnt, unheard of occurrence.’

By COREY CHARLTON

Malindi Kenya Little Italy

Malindi Kenya Little Italy

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Malindi Kenya Little Italy

Malindi is a small town located in coastal Kenya. It acquired the name ‘Little Italy’ because of the growing Italian population in the area, which is more than 3,000 at present. It is also estimated that Italians own more than 2,500 properties there.

Three decades ago, the scene was not the same. The first batch of Italian tourists flew into the scenic coastal town in 1978 to enjoy the beautiful white sand beaches. The number of flights has been increasing ever since.

Smooth cultural integration between the locals and tourists has been a major factor facilitating the transaction. Locals in Malindi have grown fond of the Italians to an extent that their relationship crosses commercial boundaries.

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Malindi Kenya

You’ll definitely be forgiven for mistaking that you’re in Rome when in Malindi. The billboards are filled with Italian advertisements. Interestingly, locals from all walks of life in the quiet town are eloquent in the language as well.

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Malindi. The billboards

Archaeological Sites in Kenya

Archaeological Sites in Kenya

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Kenya is a magical land with rich history that dates back to several million years ago. This is evident through the numerous archaeological sites located in different parts of the country.

Most of these sites provide historians with the opportunity of studying the behavioral pattern of early man. Light is also shed on some of the ancient civilizations to inhabit this part of the earth.

The Leakey’s family is largely credited to the success of discovery and excavation of many of these significant sites. Mary and Louis plus their son Richard have unearthed plenty of fossils and artifacts.

Here are some of the top archeological sites in Kenya that act as attractions to historians and tourists alike.

Lake Turkana, Rift Valley

Lake Turkana is the largest alkaline lake and permanent lake located in a desert in the entire world. Located along the Rift Valley, this lake is the outlet for three other lakes namely: Kerio, Turkwel and Omo. Since it lacks an outlet, evaporation is the only method of water loss.

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Lake Turkana is home to Nile crocodiles, carpet vipers, scorpions, hundreds of bird species and more than 50 species of fish. The banks are grazed by mammals such as zebras, gazelles, rhinoceroses and elephants. Predators such as cheetahs and lions are also present. Hominids inhabited the area three million years ago when it was more fertile.

Hyrax Hill, Nakuru

In 1926, Louis and Mary Leakey discovered the Hyrax Hill. Excavations started a decade later which led to the conclusion that Neolithic presence there dates back to 1500 B.C. There is a fortress and several tombs.

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Of all the findings, six Indians coins must’ve been the most amazing. These coins date back to 500 years ago with no logical explanation of how they ended up there.

According to oral history, women were more politically powerful than men in that society. This is why they were buried with grave items such as mortars, pestles and dishes.

 Koobi Fora, Koobi Fora Ridge

Koobi Fora is an important site with vital info on the hominid species that dates back to 4.2 million years ago.

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Numerous terrestrial mammals and stone tools have also been discovered in the area. Two species of the Australopithecus and three species of the Homo co-existed in the area. While the Australopithecus species vanished, the Homo species continued to evolve thereby bringing forth new species of man.

The excavation process was quite challenging so Richard Leakey mobilized locals and trained them. The team was known as ‘The Hominid Gang’.

Pate Island, North Coast

Human activity on Pate Island dates back to the 7th century. The area was largely inhabited by the Arabs and served as an important port in the 14th century. The town prospered in fine art producing amazing goldsmiths, weavers, carpenters and musicians.

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Chinese porcelain artifacts discovered in Pate proved that Chinese explorers traded with the locals there centuries ago. Some even intermarried which is why some of the people there have Asian features. History also reveals that the Chinese explorers from the Zheng He’s voyage were shipwrecked at Pate. Tombs from the Ming Dynasty have been discovered there.

Kariandusi, Nakuru – Elementaita Basin

It was discovered in 1928 but its history dates back to 1 million years ago. Geological evidence proves that much larger lakes existed in the basin.

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The area is currently covered by the Elementaita and Lake Nakuru. Plenty of tools and weapons have been discovered in the riverbed. This led archeologists to believe that rising levels of the previous lakes might have been a contributing factor to migration.

The popular tool of choice in this Lower Paleolithic site was the hand axe. The tool was also discovered in other parts of the world like South Africa, France and England from the Acheulian period.

Olorgesailie, Eastern Rift Valley

Olorgesailie is not only a significant site for archeology but also for geology and paleontology too. Excavation on the site began in 1943, several decades after it was discovered.

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The hand axes were in abundance which suggested the Acheulian period. Some of the animal fossils found include those of giraffes, gazelles, zebras and hippos.

The findings also included fossils of some animals’ species that are now extinct. The first human fossil unearthed from Olorgesailie in 2003 was the skull of a Homo erectus. Volcano ash helped in preserving the fossils.

Lamu, Lamu Archipelago

Lamu town was established in 1370. It is the oldest town in Kenya to be continually inhabited. An invasion by the Portuguese in 1505 forced Lamu’s King to pay them royalties.

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A century later, the Oman helped locals from the town in successfully resisting the Portuguese. This consequently led to the ‘Golden Age’ of Lamu which was under the Omani protectorate. In the 17th century, the town prospered in trade, crafts, politics and poetry.

Notable landmarks in the area include: Lamu Fort, Riyadha Mosque and the Donkey Sanctuary. Swahili architecture is on brilliant display there.

Gedi Ruins, Malindi

Excavation expedition in Gedi began in 1948 and lasted for a period of 11 years. Artifacts from Spain, China, India and Venice suggested a cosmopolitan population which was approximated at 2,500.

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The architectural designs of houses in Gedi were quite complex. This is especially when taking into consideration that the town existed from 13th century to 17th century. The houses had flush toilets and modern drainage systems. There was also a palace and a mosque.

The Oromo from Somalia invaded the town in the 16th century driving out the original inhabitants.

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