Answering your questions about what can be found in Uganda… and what can’t!
Apr19

Answering your questions about what can be found in Uganda… and what can’t!

Uganda is the perfect in-between and therefore the most popular country for gorilla trekking. It isn’t the elite, exclusive, and expensive primate safari that is offered in Rwanda (but if that’s what you’re after, this comes highly recommended), and it isn’t the most affordable, wilder, and somewhat risky experience offered in the Congo. Uganda’s gorilla trekking safaris take place in the mystical forest of Bwindi and the strictly controlled experience means your encounter will be of the highest quality. You can find out all you need to know about this specialised and, yes, life-altering activity in our detailed blog post here. What we want to do in this article is answer some other frequently asked animal related questions about this country they call The Pearl of Africa. What is the national animal of Uganda? This prestigious title goes to the Uganda kob, a subspecies of the kob antelope. Kobus Kob thomasi has reddish-brown fur with prominent white markings around each eye and a patch on the throat. The males are adorned with lyre-shaped horns, ringed just about all the way up. They are quite similar to the puku and the red lechwe, which are two of southern Africa’s wetland loving antelope, also related to the waterbuck. The Uganda kob shares that classic heart-shaped nose like others in the Kobus genus. They like open grassland habitats close to permanent water and they hang around in herds of up to about 40. In Uganda, one of the best places to see these handsome animals that appear on the country’s coat of arms is in Murchison Falls National Park. Perfectly rolling hills of green and plenty of water in the form of the Nile River that bisects it. Definitely a special sight to see! Are there tigers in Uganda? Negative! Tigers might be part of the Felidae family, which includes African specials like lion, cheetah, and leopard, but they don’t roam the savannah like their cat cousins. Tigers migrated to Asia all those thousands of years ago, and they thrive in the jungles of India, but that is not to say they are abundant. Sadly, tigers are some of the most threatened big cats in the world and there are only an estimated 3000 that remain in the wild. India, China, Russia, Nepal, Indonesia and among the tiger’s native countries, and historically these cats could live in a broad variety of habitats, including the savannah, but over 90% of this cat’s habitat has been lost to human activity, and they are still at risk of poaching. You won’t find a tiger in Uganda, but you can travel to India’s Ranthambore and Kanha National...

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Cape Town 1 of 3 African cities in global City Nature Challenge 2019
Mar12

Cape Town 1 of 3 African cities in global City Nature Challenge 2019

If you are a nature lover interested in getting to know the great outdoors of Cape Town, then this is something to diarise in April! For the first time, Cape Town is participating in the City Nature Challenge – a global annual event that is only in its fourth year of operation and already has more than double last year’s numbers participating. This is a challenge to residents and tourists in over 150 cities to photograph as many living organisms as they can within their city and urban nature reserves over four days from April 26 to 29. Launched in 2016 in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the City Nature Challenge has grown exponentially, and this year Cape Town is among three African cities and over 150 cities in the world partaking in the global BioBlitz. See your city differently This initiative to assess the biodiversity of urban areas throughout the world is an exciting and adventurous way to spend time outdoors and pay attention to what plants and creatures live among us. It is so easy to get lost in the cityscapes and forget that there are mosses and insects and algae and weeds that are found in every nook and cranny. Not only that; there are floral kingdoms and forests and birds and mammals that live on the outskirts of our cities, existing alongside us as we go on with our daily lives. The City Nature Challenge is something that encourages us, our families, and our children to pay attention to our natural world and to be a part of the global documentation of the biodiversity makes this a challenge worth participating in. How to take part in the City Nature Challenge in Cape Town Taking part is easy, and it even requires using your smartphone! The challenge is so accessible for city dwellers and requires nothing more than downloading the iNaturalist app, signing in, and uploading pictures of every species of fauna and flora you find in your city and surrounding nature reserves. As participants, you are the data collectors, sending thousands of pieces of evidence to the teams at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and California Academy of Sciences. Here, the data is analysed and the results form part of globally important biodiversity studies and scientific research. In Cape Town, official activities for participants will be held in designated urban nature reserves on the 26, 27, 28, and 29 April, so families and friends are encouraged to get out and enjoy the sunshine while exploring and discovering as much of the natural world around them as possible. The impact the City Nature Challenge...

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Canoeing Wild on the Zambezi River
Mar11

Canoeing Wild on the Zambezi River

The rivers are the lifeblood of Africa. The major watercourses through the continent have dictated the distribution of plants, wildlife, and even people. Where permanent and seasonal water sources are found, so are fertile soils, riverine trees, grasslands, and animals. In the rivers, themselves are hippos, crocodiles, and fish. On their edges are reeds, birds and their nests, amphibians, and terrestrial mammals that have come to drink. Even in the Namib – the oldest desert in the world – there are riverbeds that become fossilised over time and all of a sudden burst into life when enough rain encourages a flood. The celebration can be heard from all corners of the country and beyond as videos of water flowing through the dry, sandy desert are sent through the community with palpable excitement. Into the wilderness, on a canoe It is quite something to feel a part of the African river systems, to float on their surfaces is both thrilling and calming. Knowing that crocodiles lurk beneath and hippos wallow, almost fully submerged, in the coolness is enough to convince you either to paddle out and be a part of it or to stay on shore and watch from a distance. This is for the adventurous souls out there who want to dive right in and take their game viewing experience to the next level. Canoeing wild on the Zambezi River offers a whole new perspective on the wilderness. On land, you’re disguised by a big, rumbling vehicle, but on the water, you’re eye level with the hippos, silent, and quite exposed. It’s an incredible opportunity to look and listen like you never have before. Surrounded by wildlife on either side The Zambezi River valley has Mana Pools on one side, Lower Zambezi National Park on the other, and the great Victoria Falls downstream. It’s in southern Africa’s most magnificent and popular safari region with world-famous game viewing quality. From Chobe National Park to South Luangwa, the Zambezi lies in between with Zimbabwe and Zambia on either side. Mana Pools on the Zim side is the kingdom of elephants that are familiar with seeing people on foot, which creates the opportunity to view the giants of Africa from the ground up. Or, from the seat of a canoe! Flourishing wildlife flock to the banks of the river, offering excellent views of these peaceful antelope and other mammals, large and small, as they bend their heads to the water to drink. Imagine the photographic opportunities of an elephant doubled up on its reflection, or wading storks patiently fishing in the shallows. Hippos blow vapour through their nostrils and it clings to...

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Three different Kruger Park Walking Trails to suit adventurous safari goers
Mar01

Three different Kruger Park Walking Trails to suit adventurous safari goers

Walking trails are guided on-foot safari experiences that appeal to people who want to truly connect with the wilderness, step out of their comfort zones, and get to know the bush. Without the protection and security of a 4×4 vehicle, the idea of being on a walking trail is full of vulnerability, but it’s that extra care and alertness that brings things into true colour. Getting the blood flowing in nature is invigorating and inspiring and it gives walkers an opportunity to see the details of the bush, like tracks and signs, insects, nests, and to learn about medicinal uses of wild trees. Encountering animals on foot is a bonus, and will make for an unforgettable life experience. A trail is a dedicated multi-day walking safari experience, unlike guided bush walks that are offered at a variety of camps and lodges throughout southern and East Africa. The whole activity is about walking the bush, picnicking for lunch, and settling in for the night around a campfire and resting those tired legs while feeling at one with the wild world that surrounds you. In the Kruger National Park and the Greater Kruger region, some of the world’s last remaining true wilderness areas are protected and untouched. About half of the national park is considered true wilderness, off the track, and away from any infrastructure and road networks. The surrounding private nature reserves enjoy the unique privilege of exclusive access and professionally guided trails. There is nothing quite like getting spiritually lost and found in the African wild, and we’ve selected three different types of Kruger walking trails that are on offer to produce the kind of experience we know to be so connecting and life-altering. Olifants Trail, Letaba, Kruger National Park This is a three night, catered and accommodated trail with two full days spent walking along the Olifants River with a SANParks field guide. Food and accommodation are basic, yet comfortable and wholesome, and facilities are limited while providing the necessities. A maximum of eight people can partake in one trail, accommodated in four chalets. Highlights: The landscape of the Olifants River valley is a huge drawcard, and the presence of water and riverbanks means lovely, big trees as well as wildlife that gather to drink. There is a strong presence of hippo and crocodile, as this is their preferred territory,  but of course, the park is home to an enormous diversity of animals, including the Big Five. There are no cellphones, generators, or private vehicles allowed, and there is no electricity, so think of this as a blissful break from reality. Departure: Letaba Rest Camp. Guests must sign in and...

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Three fun things to do in El Chaltén, Patagonia Argentina
Feb28

Three fun things to do in El Chaltén, Patagonia Argentina

El Chaltén is a small town – probably more accurately described as a village – at the foot of a looming icy peak in Patagonia Argentina. This isn’t to say it’s a dozy, quiet place for reflection in the mountains. It is a hub for hikers and backpackers and it’s bustling with tourist activity. El Chaltén, in Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park. is the centre of adventurous excursions, hiking trails, glacial melt lakes, water rafting, and ice trekking. It’s surrounded by rises and valleys, peaks and turquoise rivers, waterfalls, and smooth, rocky, rapids. In the village itself, tarred roads are lined with cosy cafes and restaurants, craft breweries, and traditional barbecues. Adventure centres and outdoor stores are well signposted so that wandering travellers know where to go to book their activities in the mountains. If there is anything you do in El Chaltén, make sure it’s at least one of these things… Hike Mount Fitz Roy El Chalten has the unmistakable air of back-backer heaven and just about everything is within walking distance. It’s the trekking capital of southern Patagonia, and there’s no doubt you’ll fall in love with its energy. There is so much on offer, starting with hiking the icon of El Chaltén: Cerro Fitz Roy. This jagged peak stands tall above the little town at its feet and it is the first thing you’ll see as you approach El Chaltén. Most often, the peak is shrouded in cloud, so you won’t even see it in all its glory, but in good weather when the granite tower is fully revealed, there is no question why it is one of the best-known mountains in the Deep South of the continent. Climbing Mount Fitz Roy is a challenge plenty of hikers take on, but the last stretch of vertical rock climbing is reserved for the most experienced of cliff-scalers, and not ordinary trekkers without proper experience and gear. The ascent to the foot of the tower is, however, a challenging full day excursion most keen hikers conquer happily. Fitz Roy was named after the captain of the HMS Beagle, who navigated South America in the early 1800s with Charles Darwin in tow! After that, the avid climber who started the clothing brand, Patagonia, used the image of this peak to illustrate his logo after he successfully scaled Fitz Roy in the 1960s. So, this imposing mountain at El Chaltén really is worth the effort! It’s a full day excursion to get to the base, where a magnificent, blue lake shimmers between the granitic rocks, and return to El Chalten. The hike takes you through green forests full of birds, like...

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