Gorilla Trekking Increases Population Numbers in Uganda
Jan05

Gorilla Trekking Increases Population Numbers in Uganda

A recent census of the wild mountain gorillas of Uganda’s verdant Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the neighbouring Sarambwe Reserve in DR Congo revealed positive statistics with regards to primate numbers. These gorillas once faced extinction due to habitat loss, hunting, disease and natural threats. Wild mountain gorillas live in the rainforests of Uganda, DRC and Rwanda and are currently facing a bright future thanks to conservation efforts and funds made from gorilla trekking permits. Thanks to over 30 years of conservation efforts, gorilla numbers have now increased. A census of the mountain gorillas living in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda and Sarambwe wildlife reserve of DRC revealed an increase from 400 to 459 gorillas from the last census. The census covered an area of 340 km2, where 459 individual gorillas were found in 50 groups and 13 solitary individuals. A team of conservationists, rangers and scientists formed part of the survey teams that had the arduous task of tracking gorillas, counting and collecting genetic data over a period of time spanning March – May 2018 and October – December 2018. Coupled with current numbers of mountain gorillas living in Rwanda and Congo’s Virunga mountains (over a 5 year period there was an increase from 480 – 404 individuals), the number of mountain gorillas have escalated to 1 063. Fantastic news for our wild mountain gorilla population. With the involvement of multiple stakeholders, governments and increase in gorilla trekking tourism; we should see this number increase hope to see this number increase in the future. Do come gorilla trekking in Uganda’s Bwindi region – your money from the gorilla permits and support of these treks gets put straight back into education and conservation of these enthralling primates. We recommend these Ugandan gorilla trekking lodges : Luxury and eco-friendly Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge  The contemporary Bwindi Lodge The authentic Gorilla Safari Lodge on the outskirts of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. * “The survey was conducted by the Protected Area Authorities of Uganda and DRC (Uganda Wildlife Authority and l’Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature, respectively) under the framework of the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration with support from Rwanda Development Board and many other partners and donors.” *...

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5 Tours and Activities in Nairobi
Dec07

5 Tours and Activities in Nairobi

These are 5 tours and activities in Nairobi worth doing if you’re based in the country’s capital for a brief period of time. It’s not always possible to explore the vast wildlife-rich areas of Kenya and its reserves if you’re just in Nairobi for a city break, but the Nairobi National Park more than makes up for the lack of time you have in Kenya. And Nairobi also happens to be quite an interesting – and chaotic – city to explore. Here is our choice of tours and activities in Nairobi. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) : Elephant Orphanage Fondly referred to as “Nairobi’s Nursery”, the David Sheldrick elephant orphanage is a safe-place and sanctuary for orphaned elephants rescued by the trust. Most of these calves have lost their mothers and matriarchs to poaching; and some to natural causes.  The elephant nursery is located in Nairobi National Park and provides the first stage in the hand-rearing of young elephant calves. When the youngsters have graduated from the nursery phase they are moved to Tsavo East National Park where they will be reintegrated into the wild after years of proper rehabilitation. Visitors are welcome to visit during the milk feed and mud bath time of day, which normally only last for about 1 during midday. During your visit the passionate keepers and conservationists will give a bit of background about the trust, and the heartbreaking stories behind the orphaned pachyderms. Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick founded the trust in 1977 in honour of her wildlife loving husband who passed away in the same year. Her and her husband – David – rehabilitated a number of species needing a helping hand. Although world-renown for their protection and passion for elephants, their operation is not only limited to elephants. The Sheldrick family and foundation is also involved in anti-poaching, environmental protection and assistance to injured/sick animals. Find out more here : The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Giraffe Manor : Breakfast with the Rothschild Giraffes Giraffe Manor is luxury boutique hotel set on exquisite, cascading lawns. Surrounded by a flourishing indigenous forest in the heart of one of Nairobi’s suburbs, the Giraffe Manor hideaway is one of the most appealing destinations in the capital. Its major drawcard? There is a huge herd of resident giraffe that visit the grounds every morning and evening, without fail. They are creatures of habit and routine, and return to the hotel in the hopes of getting fed a treat from the hotel’s guests. The giraffe often poke their long, gangly necks through the expansive windows of the restaurant and demand a portion of your meal. The stately hotel...

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4 Perfectly Placed Masai Mara Lodges for the Migration
Oct27

4 Perfectly Placed Masai Mara Lodges for the Migration

The annual migration is Africa’s greatest wildlife spectacle, and one of the main reasons why nature lovers and photographers descend upon East Africa. The migration happens year-round, and sees thousands strong herds of wildebeest, zebra and antelope  following a continuous loop snaking its way through the Serengeti in Tanzania and the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The herds are at the mercy of the weather, and tend to follow the rains. The rains replenish landscape and provide nutritious laden grazing grounds, and ample supplies of water which is much needed in the otherwise brutally dry savannah. Because of the high concentration of plains game, big cats wait in the wings – especially during Spring time when the ungulates calve. Not only do visitors descend upon the area for spectacular migration sightings, but also for the prolific big cat kill.  Wildebeest are notoriously erratic and often veer off course, making it impossible to predict where herds will congregate at a particular moment in time. For migration timelines, we tend to look at upcoming weather patterns, birthing season and previous years movements. It gives good insight and allows us to create a rough route of where wildlife is located at any given point.  The river crossings are the most sought after periods of time during the migration, and they tend to happen on the banks of the Mara River. There are points along the river where the herds are able to cross without too much difficulty. The organised chaos at the river crossings tends to happen between July and August; which is also the most productive time of year to watch predators flush out prey. It’s important to note that the bustling Mara River is hugged by the Serengeti National Park and the Masai Mara National Reserve, which are open to the public and day visitors. If you want a sense of exclusivity then it’s advisable to stay in a private conservancy. We’ve selected our top 4 perfectly placed Masai Mara Lodges ideal for the Migration in Kenya. Sala’s Camp Sala’s Camp brings a sparkle of elegance to the bushveld. This luxury tented safari camp is ideally located on the convergence of two mighty rivers inside the Masai Mara National Park. Each of the 7 safari tents are located in the thick of the riparian vegetation on the banks of the river. In total, the camp can accommodation 18 guests, and there’s even a spacious honeymoon tent available. This is exclusivity personified. Rooms have sitting areas, and views of the Kenya’s untouched savanna. Deep set copper baths, plunge pools and power showers are just a few of the added value extras...

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3 Unique Tropical Beach Lodges in Mozambique for Barefoot Luxury
Jun05

3 Unique Tropical Beach Lodges in Mozambique for Barefoot Luxury

The Mozambique coast is a rugged tropical paradise fringed by warm turquoise waters and landscapes laden with coconut groves. It’s remove, edgy, authentically African and offers secluded pockets of paradise on exclusive islands. Colourful village markets, bustling beach towns, crisp coconuts and freshly caught seafood is the order of the day in Africa’s beach paradise. The best way to enjoy the coast? To cocoon yourself in luxury and surround yourself with the wild beachy wonder of Mozambique. We’ve selected 3 tropical beach lodges in Mozambique for your barefoot luxury. Sava Dunes along the Inhambane Coastline Tofo is a world-renown diving region in Mozambique and offers abundant opportunities to spot whale-sharks and mantra rays, along with an array of colourful fish and corals. Located along the Inhambane Coastline in Mozambique, Tofo is a popular village with visitors to Mozambique. During the height of the summer holidays it can get quite busy, but still manages to keep its quaint rustic African seaside charm. Sava Dunes Beach Lodge is a pocket of luxury perfectly placed along this wild, raw and rugged coastline. Set a mere 5 – 7km outside of Tofo, it has its own private and remote beach location. The lodge is perched upon the sand dunes, and overlooks the emerald and sometimes turquoise Mozambican seas. It’s an eco-friendly lodge offering an authentic, off-the-grid experience. Sava comprises just 5 seaside beach cottages, constructed from wood. Balconies with endless views of the horizon provide the perfect place to kick back and soak up the tropics of Africa. The main area of the lodge houses a relaxing lounge that opens out onto a pool and decking area. Our favourite part? The swim-up bar of course. Take a swim to the bar and order yourself a Pina Colada – that’s an order! The beach is a few metres from your doorstep, and offers warm waters with a peeling surfable wave ideal for bodyboarding. In season, humpback whales are commonly spotted from the lodge. The surrounding area is world-renowned for its ocean safaris, which can all be arranged from the lodge. Distance from Maputo :  White Pearl : Ponta Mamoli, southern Mozambique With a name like “White Pearl” you can only imagine what’s in store for you. Located in southern Mozambique, the elegant White Pearl Resort is perfectly placed in a picturesque destination on the shores of the Ponto coastline. Decor is chic with a light Mediterranean beach club feel – not over the top, but rather a sublime and sophisticated take on coastal furnishings. Just the right combination of blues and crisp whites to complement the champagne sands in front of the rest. Certainly...

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Kichakani Serengeti Camp in Tanzania : An Escape in Two Migration Locations
Jun03

Kichakani Serengeti Camp in Tanzania : An Escape in Two Migration Locations

Sanctuary Retreats has raised the bar in terms of exclusive, luxury mobile camps in the Serengeti. Set in two unique locations across the plains of Africa, the aim of Kichakani Serengeti Camp in Tanzania is to track and follow the movements of million-strong zebra and wildebeest herds. The famous migration of the Serengeti is one of the many reasons visitors flock to Africa on an annual basis. Stay at Kichakani Serengeti Camp and follow the herds as they stampede off in search of succulent, sweet grasses during the annual migration cycle. How is it possible to have on camp in two locations? The answer is simple. It’s an entirely mobile and moveable tented structure that leaves little imprint on the environment. Tents are completely exclusive and offer an elite sense of luxury that matches the Sanctuary brand synonymous with classic safari style. The idea is to let guests experience a modern take on how the pioneering explorers of the 19th century lived. The locations vary and are selected based on a number of factors, with the major factor being the natural migration path of these adored ungulates. With so many species littering the plains, it’s inevitable that the marauding predators would come out to play. You will witness some of the greatest take-downs in history, and ogle over slender cheetah prowling the plains. It’s an absolute spectacle of wildlife, and the Kichakani team ensures that camps are set up in the most wildlife-rich pockets of the region. Nights are spent in the Classic Campaign Tents, canvas tents that serve as a protective canopy over an interior filled with mid-century decor coupled with a few contemporary items. We’re talking a mix of brass, copper, character cabinets, and high-quality wood designed to create a sophisticated safari atmosphere. A collection of Africa’s finest things! There are 10 tents in total, each of which is furnished in a classic Out of Africa distinctive style. Tents have their own wooden deck, a perfect place to kick back and relax with a freshly brewed Tanzanian coffee. Bathrooms are all en-suite and come complete with bucket showers – an experience not to be missed! Your own private tent butler will top up your bucket shower with warm water, as and when you please. Absolute wilderness relaxation at its best. When you’re not in the privacy of your authentic tent, lapping up the pristine surrounds, we urge you to migrate to the central canopied area housing a main tent that flows gently into a relaxation lounge and dining area. The tent is kitted-out with plush furnishings – the types of sofas that swallow you and cocoon you...

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Our Top 5 Hotels in Nairobi, Kenya
Mar10

Our Top 5 Hotels in Nairobi, Kenya

The jewel of Africa is a vast country famed for its stream of wildlife, contrasting scenery and distinct culture. The bustling metropolis and capital city, Nairobi, is home to restaurants with exceptional cuisine, friendly people and a rich cultural heritage. Whatever your reason for visiting Kenya, don’t miss out on this pulsating city – it’s certainly worth a stopover. We thought we’d share our top 5 hotels in Nairobi. The skyscrapers and eclectic vibes of Nairobi await! Kenya is a sought after safari destination, and visitors marvel at the absolute variety in habitats and landscapes present within one country. The Indian Ocean coastline of Kenya is ideal for rustic tropical holidays and exploring unique mangrove swamps. The plateaus and mountains of East Africa straddle the centre of the country; while open savannahs, snow-capped peaks, and rivers snaking and cutting their way across typically African landscapes can be found throughout the rest of the country. But the most famous destination in Kenya is the Maasai Mara National Reserve, a preserved area of wilderness home to the famous wildebeest migration and prides of lethal predators. A visit to the reserve is always included in a safari to Kenya!  When you’re hopping from the coast to the national parks and visiting the tall mountainous peaks, you’re bound to overnight in Nairobi on at least one occasion. And if you don’t – slot it into your itinerary! This sprawling city is similar to other metropolises in Africa but boasts modern skyscrapers overlooking this diverse country. Tribe Hotel in Nairobi  The Tribe Hotel is a trendy and contemporary building comprising 137 rooms scattered across three wings. The decor is a blend of modern art mixed with handpicked artefacts (900 pieces) from all over Africa. Located in Nairobi’s diplomatic district, Tribe Hotel certainly sets the bar high in terms of luxury urban hotels. The hotel even has a rather fun tropical-style heated pool with a waterfall! The waterfall is one of the main features. Surrounding the cascading waters is a floating granite bar, islands and relaxation areas. The rooftop bar is the perfect place to take in the sweeping views of Africa’s chic and pulsating city. When you’re not exploring the themed areas, you can always hit the gym or indulge in a few Thai massage treatments. Giraffe Manor Giraffe Manor is a boutique hotel that has made it onto many travellers’ bucket lists. And for good reason ! Where else in the world can you settle down for breakfast and a giraffe pokes its head through the window to nibble on your toast?! Giraffe Manor is located on the outskirts of the city and spills...

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Iconic Destinations in Kenya, the Jewel of Africa
Jan31

Iconic Destinations in Kenya, the Jewel of Africa

Kenya is fondly referred to as the “Jewel of Africa”, and is probably one of the most recognised safari destinations in Africa. There’s no denying that Kenya is an “all rounder” when it comes to game viewing, sweeping scenes, open savannahs and tranquil tropical islands. In one country it’s possible to go from viewing the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro to relaxing in the turquoise waters of Lamu Island, and witnessing tree-climbing lions straddling branches of trees on arid open plains. One-tenth of Kenya has been given either national park or reserve status, making it a coveted region for spirited safari-goers. But it’s not only the exquisite biome and wildlife that make Kenya an exceptional destination. It’s also the people. Kenya has a rich and vibrant culture, one that has the earth and conservation at its core. The boldly dressed Maasai people are the custodians of their land, constantly conserving Kenya’s wildlife. And it’s also the birthplace of many novels and movies. Kenya certainly lives up to its colloquial phrase, the Jewel of Africa. Masai Mara for the Famous Wildebeest Migration The wildebeest migration put Kenya on the map in terms of being a sought after safari destination. The Masai Mara area is a major drawcard for many visitors and borders the neighbouring country of Tanzania; which means holidaymakers will often combine countries for the ultimate wilderness experience. Located in the southwestern region of Kenya, this preserved savannah is home to a wealth of wildlife. But the highlight? Well, that would have to be witnessing the annual wildebeest migration which is best witnessed during the October months. Of course, the peak season is when it’s dry from late June to October. The herds are generally around from June – October, but October they begin their mass migration back to the Serengeti in Tanzania. The Coast and its Islands for a Tropical Getaway  Mombasa lies along the coast of Kenya and is the gateway for a tropical island retreat – Africa style! Picture scenes of dhows, remote beaches, dilapidated houses, fishing villages and Moroccan style villas framed by calm seas and endless stretches of beach. The best place to wipe the safari dust off with salty sea water is in the Lamu Archipelago –  a group of tropical islands lying parallel to the coast of Kenya. Lamu is the quintessential Kenyan coast life and remains a rustic, and remote destination with a signature donkey-and-cart way of life.  Amboseli National Park for the Famous View of Mount Kilimanjaro Amboseli is famous for its gigantic free-roaming Tuskers roaming the plains, one of which was well-documented and researched. Echo the elephant was the subject of many books....

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