The new year already set in and many are planning their East African safaris to get a break from work and the COVID19 stress. December throughout March are great travel months and a period where we see many travelers visiting national parks.
East African safaris and travel has however greatly changed as governments seek to enforce COVID19 regulations. Now any one traveling is expected to present negative COVID19 Results tested not later than 72 hours prior arrival. Before departing for your favorite East African destination ensure to know COVID19 regulations you will have to follow to avoid any inconveniences.
A number of tourists choose East African safaris to be part of vibrant primates experiences like gorillas and chimpanzee tracking. Given that these primates have over 95% DNA similar to humans, only negative COVID19 travelers are allowed to track them to avoid disease spreading. You will have to bear all these in mind as you plan your next adventures in the region.
Below are those safari adventures first time travelers and returning visitors should not miss on a visit East Africa expedition.
Mountain gorillas offer East Africa’s niche tourism and wildlife experiences as tourists hike the forested mountains to meet them. Mountain gorillas are apes covered with black fur. They live in groups or families headed by a dominant male called Silver-back.
They prefer the forested mountains and in East Africa they can be tracked in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain gorilla groups that are tracked by tourists are habituated (accustomed to human beings presence) and therefore very safe to visit.
Since the COVID19 lock-down was instated in March 2020, there has been a gorilla baby boom as many births have been recorded. This means a lot for gorilla tourism and conservation and we hope the gorilla population will keep on increasing.
This February don’t miss out on exclusive mountain gorilla tracking safaris in Volcanoes national park Rwanda, Virunga national park DRC, Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla parks in Uganda. The good news is that the gorilla permits have been discounted for the different tourist categories meaning you will save if you travel now.
Still about primates, chimpanzees are among East African safari exclusives one must not miss on a visit to the region. Visit Uganda’s Kibale national park the primate capital of East Africa where you will meet families of chimpanzees with over 30 individuals.
Kibale national park apart from chimpanzees is home to many other primates including various monkey species often seen on hikes. When Uganda, you can have chimpanzee tracking experiences in other safari destinations like Budongo forest, Kyambura forest and Kalinzu forest.
In Rwanda, Nyungwe national park is home to chimpanzees and its Rwanda’s ultimate chimpanzee tracking destination. Chimpanzees here live in Nyungwe forest one of East Africa’s oldest forests home to many other wildlife species including Albertine rift valley endemics.
In-case you don’t get a chance to visit Nyungwe forest then Gishwati Mukura forest would the best alternative. This primates national park is a newly established protected area in Rwanda and home to many primates species and birds.
These are the most sought for safari experiences in East Africa as 90% of the protected areas in the region are savanna parks. Here you will see a variety of wildlife from herds of African elephants, giraffes, hippos and nile crocodiles.
Cape buffaloes are very common as well, lions, leopards, antelope species, zebras, wildebeest, warthogs among others. Many of these are seen on game drives in the different national parks of East Africa.
In Rwanda you can have savanna safaris in Akagera national park the only savanna park in Rwanda. The park has gone through a series conservation that has seen animals that had gone extinct like lions and rhinos being reintroduced in the park. You can go for boat cruises along lake Ihema where you will see hippos, crocodiles and birds.
Other outstanding savanna parks in East Africa include Murchison falls NP Uganda, Amboseli NP Kenya, Serengeti NP Tanzania, Selous game reserve and Masai Mara. This time throughout March is the first best quota for safari game drives with minimal rainfall disturbances.
The wildebeest migration is East Africa’s safari natural wonder that involves a movement of millions of animals. This great migration takes places between Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania and Masai Mara game reserve in northern Kenya.
Over 2 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebras, over 350,000 gazelles and other hoofed animals move in search for pasture. This annual migration is year round and attracts a number of predators like lions, cheetahs, hyenas, leopards that openly hunt the animals on the migration.
Most iconic on the wildebeest migration are the river crossings of Mara river. The River is home to giant Nile crocodiles that eagerly await for the animals crossing. Here only the strong and smart ones survive. This January and February, don’t miss on the wildebeest migration experience when on your East African safaris expedition.
Currently the animals have spread in Eastern Serengeti and are in the calving process. This will go one and transit around April when the animals will move towards Central Serengeti. Between now and April is a best time for those who are interested in seeing the calving process or seeing newly born of the great annual migration.
5. Birding Safaris
For those interested in birding, destination East Africa is very ideal especially this time of the year. Between now and April many migratory birds from Europe and North Africa Visit East Africa and are often seen while on birding excursions.
Apart from migratory birds, East Africa is blessed with many other bird species including native and endemic species. Birding safaris in East Africa can be enjoyed in all national parks and major ramsar sites.
Mamba swamp along Lake Victoria in Uganda is among the outstanding birding safari destinations. Its home to the rare shoe-bill stork and other 250 bird species. For those interested in seeing the shoe-bill should go for birding here early in the morning or late afternoon.