Uganda Safari Destinations to Explore this Off Season

There are a number of Uganda safari destinations that nature lovers love to add on their bucket list while planning to Visit the beautiful country. The country is one of the few places in the world where you can experience both primates and savanna wildlife safaris. Uganda is truly gifted by nature with diverse wildlife attractions and it is from this basis that is called the Pearl of Africa.

Uganda has two main seasons the dry and wet season. The dry season stretches from June to September and from Mid December to March. This is also doubles as the high tourist season a time when tourists from various parts of the world Visit Uganda for wildlife adventures. During the dry season, there are minimal rainfall disturbances making it the best time to explore Uganda safari destinations. For wildlife photographers this also doubles as a best time for photography with great light effects from the bright sun received in Uganda throughout the year.

When going for renown safari activities like mountain gorilla trekking, because it is done in the forested mountains, it is easy to Hike much as the trails are often wet in the morning. General activities even game drives and nature walks are very easy to do in the dry season.

The wet season from April to May and November experiences rainfall and it is the low tourist season. Much as there are rains almost every day, the low tourist season is still a good time to explore Uganda and be part of the different safari activities. For birders that is the best time to visit as migratory birds from Europe set in. Let us briefly look at the leading Uganda safari destinations you must not miss visiting this off season.

Chimpanzee in Kibale National Park. Uganda Safari destinations
Chimpanzee in Kibale National Park. Courtesy Photo

Bwindi Impenetrable national Park is most famous for mountain gorilla trekking and is home to half of the remaining mountain gorillas whose population is about 1000 individuals. Bwindi is the best place to see the rare mountain gorillas in their most preferred habitants. The park has 3 major sectors each with habituated gorilla families that are open to tourist visitation. It can be accessed by both road and air and gorilla trekking safari adventures are doable even in the wet season.

It is important to book permits for the right sector where you are required to report to the park headquarters by 7:00 am for a briefing. Because rainfall is very unpredictable especially in the wet season, it is advisable to carry a Poncho or rain coat. To easily navigate the wet muddy trails, you are advised to wear water proof pants and gaiters or boots. You are then guided to the forested mountains a hike that takes 1 to 4 hours or more until you meet the mountain gorillas. Here you are given time to take photos, observe and to learn more about the mountain gorillas. Even on a bloody rainy day you will still get to enjoy a gorilla trek in Bwindi.

Bwindi is not only home to mountain gorillas but also other primates including chimpanzees and Many other monkey species. There are also many bird species and other mammals including forest elephants and buffaloes. The park is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site and it is undeniably among the top Uganda Safari destinations to Visit this off season.

Lake Mburo national park is the smallest savanna wildlife park in Uganda. It is located in Kiruhura district about 4 hours drive from Kampala Uganda Capital city. Despite its small size, lake Mburo national park is home to various savanna wildlife species. The park is one of the only two places to see zebras in Uganda the other being Kidepo valley national park located in North eastern Uganda. With the long drives involved when going to Kidepo and some roads becoming impassable because of the rains, if you are seeking an exclusive experiences with the zebras then Lake Mburo national park is the place to be.

The park is also home to elands that do not occur in other national park in Uganda. Lands tallest mammals the giraffes also occur here and can only be seen in two other national parks in Uganda that are Murchison falls and Kidepo valley national park plus Pian Upe game reserve.

Other notable wildlife in Lake Mburo national park include the Topi, waterbucks, Oribi, warthogs and various birds. Many of these are seen while on game drives in the park. During the wet season the rains enable the growth of lush vegetation that the major grazers are seen enjoying and can easily be spotted while on game drives and nature walks. Just as per its name the park has a Lake (Mburo) where you can enjoy a boat cruise seeing Hippos and other aquatic wildlife. There is also an ankole community near the park where you can enjoy a community visit participating in local activities like Milking.

Given the accessibility and the activities you get to engage in, lake Mburo should not miss on your top Uganda safari destinations to visit this season.

The primate capital of the world can not fail to make it on this list. Kibale national park home to chimpanzees and 12 other primates species and the best place to see chimpanzees in the wild. Some of the notable primates here include the Black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys among others.

The park has the highest chimpanzee population in the region and chimpanzee trekking is the commonly done adventure activity here. There are two chimpanzee trekking sessions here the morning and afternoon one. The morning session starts with a briefing at the park headquarters and then you set off for a guided trek from 8 am lasting for 3 to 4 hours depending on the movement of the chimpanzees. The afternoon session starts at 2 pm and also last for 3 to 4 hours. Unlike some primates like mountain gorillas, chimpanzees are very mobile and often times they jump over tree canopies.

To allow for experiential adventures and give people more time to get to know about Mans’ closest wild relatives, there is chimpanzee habituation experience in Kibale national park. This experience enables you to follow the daily routine of the chimpanzees starting from when they wake up, feed, groom, interact and retire. The chimpanzee habituation experience is best for researchers and those who would like to spend more time in the wild with chimpanzees.

Murchison falls national park is Uganda’s leading savanna national park and the best place to see major savanna wildlife species. The park is situated at the northern edge of the Albertine rift valley near Lake Albert one of the great Rift Valley lakes. Murchison falls National park is crossed by the great River Nile on its journey up north and forms a great waterfalls – Murchison falls from which the park was named.

The Great River Nile at Murchison falls plunges down a 7 meter narrow gorge forming a thunderous sound and often has a rainfall on a sunny day. The waterfalls are very magnificent to watch and are often seen while on a boat cruise to the bottom of the falls. From here one can hike to the top of the falls for a panoramic view of the falls and surrounding area.

The park has diverse wildlife species and is the best most diverse national park with 4 of the big Five mammals. There are over 76 mammals and 450 birds most of which are seen on game drives while in the park. The northern sector has the highest wildlife concentration and it is where most game drives are done. Notable wildlife species to see here include giraffes, leopards, buffaloes, elephants, hartebeests, warthogs among other.

Apart from the boat cruise to the bottom of the falls, there is another boat cruise to the Nile delta boat that offers yet another exploration of the great River Nile. This is usually done by birders hoping to see a number of birds including the shoebill stork in the marches of Nile Delta. You can also do sport fishing along the River and on a lucky day can catch some of the biggest Nile Perches.

Murchison falls national park is true wildlife gem and a Must visit when exploring leading Uganda safari destinations.

Luxury Safari Lodges To Consider on Your Visit To Masai Mara

Masai Mara national reserve has some of Kenya’s leading luxury safari lodges that complement the vibrant big five and wildebeest migration safaris. Masai Mara is renown for its big five mammals that can be experienced in the Mara Triangle and and the various conservancies around the reserve. Accommodation is Key in exploring the vast lands of the Masai ecosystem and a number of luxury safari lodges have been set up over the years. These are strategically located making it easy for tourists to access Masai Mara for general activities like game drives.

Let us look at some of the most outstanding luxury safari lodges you must consider when visiting Masai Mara.

Luxury Safari Lodges in Masai Mara
A luxury Tent at Mahali Mzuri. Photo by Mahali Mzuri

This beautiful luxurious tented safari camp is situated in the Olare Motorogi conservancy. The camp has 12 luxury cottages that are self contained with great views of the conservancy. Mahali Mzuri was voted Number 1 hotel and number world safari lodge in 2021 in Travel+Leisure for its outstanding services and luxurious touch.

Mahali Mzuri has an infinity swimming pool where you can swim and cool down on a hot day and relax enjoying the views of the wilderness. The pool is also heated and you can still enjoy your swim on a chilly day.

While staying at the Mahali Mzuri you get to experience big cats safaris, Wildebeest migration if it is the right season, safari game drives and much more. The Olare Motorogi conservancy is famous for the big cats and many other wildlife species. Incase you are interested in visiting the Mara triangle you can still do for wildlife viewing. You can also have a community to the Masai where you would get to know more about their culture and heritage.

Ensure to make your booking to the camp in advance since it gets fully booked especially in the peak tourist season.

Angama Mara is one of the best luxury safari lodges in Masai Mara overlooking the reserve. It is situated on the Rift Valley escarpment over looking the Rift valley floor. The tented safari lodge has 15 luxurious self contained and fully furnished tents that offers interrupted views of the great Rift Valley.

It is among the best exclusive and Honeymoon destinations in Kenya. It has over the years been internationally recognised as among World’s best accommodation facility for its outstanding beauty and excellent services offered there. It featured in and got accolades from renown travel magazines including Travel+leisure, Conde Nest Traveler, National Geographic among others.

Angama Mara is the perfect place to explore Masai Mara starting from Big five and big cats plus the wildebeest migration experiences. The lodge has a mobile tented camp called Angama Safari Camp in the Mara Triangle that is very ideal to explore the wildebeest migration. With this you are able to keep up with the wildebeest migration including live predators hunting moments.

The lodge can easily be accessed by air to the lodge’s airfield and it would be the best means to maximise your experience at the lodge. The safari experience starts right at the lodge and at the Angama Safari Camp so if you a wildlife lover you are very much covered. Those interested in filming or photographic safaris are very much welcome here. The lodges strategic location makes it ideal for filming and a lot of scenes from Out of Africa were filmed here. You can therefore enjoy photographic safaris, family safaris, Masai cultural visits, classic game drives, ballon safaris, guided nature walks among others.

You can not list luxury safari lodges and camps in Masai Mara and fail to mention andBeyond’s Kichwa Tembo tented camp. It is located on a private concession on the Oloololo escarpment overlooking Saparingo River. The concession is home to wildlife species including big cats that are often seen while on game drives. Kichwa Tembo is one of the best places in Masai to enjoy the great wildebeest migration experience. 

It has 8 superior view tents, 20 superior tents and 12 classic tents that are well furnished and decorated with a rustic touch. They offer great uninterrupted views of the Masai Mara and one can easily spot wildlife even at the comfort of their tent. The tents are self contained and private and you get to have an exclusive access during your stay at Kichwa Tembo. 

Kichwa Tembo also has a beautiful infinity pool where you can relax enjoying the sunset and the great scenic views. While staying at Kichwa Tembo you can engage in a number of safari activities including game drives, nature walks, community visits among others.

This rustic camp has 12 tented cottages and it is among the top luxury safari lodges in Kenya’s Masai Mara. Its strategic location makes it an ideal place for game drives featuring the big cats. It is very exclusive giving one an opportunity to enjoy interrupted wildlife safari experiences and services at the lodge it self.

Elewana Sand River overlooks the Sand river and often times dinner and breakfast is set at the River banks. Here one relaxes enjoying great scenic views of the River and wilderness in general. There is also a swimming pool overlooking the plains of Masai Mara where you can enjoy a swim or sunbathe.

While Elewana Sand River you can engage in a number of safari activities like game drives, nature walks, community visits among others. The lodge is very ideal for the great wildebeest migration as you can get to watch the migration from your cottage.

The lodge received a Conde Nest traveler Readers’ Choice award in 2020 and it is truly outstanding.

This beautiful camp overlooks Talek River and is also strategically located in the heart Masai Mara national reserve. The camps location makes it an ideal place to enjoy and explore the great Masai mara and its wildlife species. Mara Intrepids Tented Camp is located just a few minutes drive from the Mara River where millions gather to witness the Wildebeest River crossings as the wildebeest cross over from Tanzania’s Serengeti National park. With this easy access to the Mara River, the camp is the best and ideal to book if you are much interested in the wildebeest migration.

The luxury tents at the camp are self contained with great views of the surrounding scenery. You can engage in a number of safari activities while staying at the lodge. These include safari game drives, photography safaris, ballon safaris among others. Mara Intrepids Tented Camp is also a great place to stay with your family. They organise kids activities that keep them engaged and also get an opportunity to learn and explore more of the African and Masai Mara wilderness.

They also organise bush dinners and sundowners where you can enjoy the view of the sunrise and sunset. The camps exclusive nature makes it a great option if looking for luxury Safari Lodges to stay at when in Masai Mara.

Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s Top Tour Experiences

Democratic Republic of Congo has diverse wildlife species and offers by far some of the most outstanding tour experiences. The country is now part of the East African community adding to the great tourism diversity the region has. In the Congo you will find endemics that occur only there and can not be found in any other place.

The country is among the less traveled destinations and a lot of it is still untouched. This gives one an opportunity to enjoy exclusive tour experiences that range from primate treks to the rich culture and heritage experiences. Let us look at some of the highly rated tour experiences that you must be apart of when exploring the Congo.

Golden Monkey in Virunga National Park. Wildlife Tour Experiences
Golden Monkey in Virunga National Park. Photo by Steve Woods

Democratic Republic of Congo is among the 3 countries with mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas are primates with over 95% DNA similar to humans. This makes them among man’s closest wild relatives and mountain gorilla trekking tours are now among the highly demanded and sought after tour experiences in East Africa.

Mountain gorillas in Congo live in Virunga national park Africa’s oldest national park. The park is part of the great Virunga massif that is a chain of Volcanic mountains shared among the three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain gorillas just like their name prefer to live in the forested mountains. They mainly feed on plant vegetation and bamboo shoots.

They live in families of up to 20 individuals or more that are led by a dominant male gorilla called Silverback. There are ten habituated mountain gorilla families that are open to tourism visitation. For now the park is currently closed due to insecurity issues but it offers incredible mountain gorilla tracking tour experiences. Unlike the other three gorilla parks, Virunga national park receives few tourists making it an ideal gorilla trekking destination especially for those who seek exclusive tour experiences.

Mount Nyiragongo is among world’s most active Volcanic mountains with its last eruption having happened in May 2021. The eruption was very destructive displacing over 364,000 people. Before the eruption mount Nyiragongo had gained momentum ranking among the leading adventurous tour activities in Virunga national park.

The mountain has a lava lake on it’s summit that is best seen early morning or in the evening. Hikers of this mountain would spend a night on the mountain summit to be able to catch a glimpse on the hot lava lake on the mountain. Much as hiking was temporarily halted, once open again the Nyiragongo will still offer by far the top mountain hiking tour experiences in the region.

It is over a year since the last eruption happened and so far no serious seismic action has been reported. We anticipate that by the end of next year maybe the mountain and park will be open again to tourism.

Democratic Republic of Congo is also home to the eastern lowland gorillas. Eastern lowland gorillas live in Kahuzi Beiga national park situated in Eastern Congo. These are endemic to the forested mountains of Kahuzi and Beiga and it is the only place to see them in the wild. Kahuzi Biega national park can be accessed via Rwanda to Bukavu on the shores of Lake Kivu.

Eastern lowland gorillas just like mountain gorillas live in families led by a dominant male gorillas. They are also vegetarian but are bigger in size compared to the mountain gorillas. Congo is therefore the only destination in the planet where you can enjoy two gorilla species tour experiences. Just like many other wildlife destinations in Congo, Kahuzi biega national offers exclusive tour experiences. There are few tourists to the park enabling one to enjoy the lowland gorilla trek without any disturbances.

For many other primates and savanna big five mammal experiences destination east Africa got you covered. You can visit Democratic Republic of Congo for the less disturbed and exclusive primate experiences. Kenya and Tanzania have the big five where you can enjoy classic savanna game drives. Uganda and Rwanda offer both the primates and savanna wildlife experiences.

Birding tour experiences

There are a number of bird species in Democratic Republic of Congo including endemics of the Albertine rift and the Congo forests. This makes the country among the ultimate birding safari destinations. Birding in the country is done in the major protected areas including Virunga national park. There are over 706 bird species recorded in the park. Some of the birds here include Yellow-Billed Barnet, Rwenzori Turaco, Narrow-tailed starling among others.

There are trails in the park that you can take on a birding expedition with chances of seeing other primates especially monkeys.

Other national treks in Congo also include golden monkey trekking in Virunga national park. The country much as it has gone through a number of insecurity issues it is still the best less disturbed wildlife destinations in East Africa. Tour experiences here can be enjoyed any time of the year. You can directly fly to Goma international airport if interested in Visiting Virunga national park. Alternatively you can fly into Kigali international airport and then connect to Virunga or Kahuzi Biega by road.

If interested in having a combined tour with Virunga and Kahuzi Biega you can connect to the two parks by Ferry along Lake Kivu.

French is widely spoken along with a number of Congolese native languages. English is also spoken but by few especially in towns. For easy communication and getting around it is advisable to get a local guide. The country can be visited any time of the year but the months of April, May and November have a lot of rainfall and double as a low tourist season. With the rainfall disturbances, some roads become impassable and tracking trails become hard to hike. This does not mean that you can not visit the country during these months. For birders it time when migratory birds set in.

There are many descent accommodation options in the major towns and near the parks that one can choose from. To avoid any inconveniences it is better to book lodging option within the proximity of the area you are visiting.

The Wildebeest Migration Adventure

The great wildebeest migration is an annual animal migration between Serengeti and Masai mara ecosystems in Kenya and Tanzania. It features vast numbers of wildebeest, zebras, gazelles and other antelope species moving over the plains of Serengeti and Masai mara for fresh pasture. This natural phenomenon happens month per month gradually transitioning into the other as the grazers move facing deadly predators especially the big cats.

Wildebeest Migration Visit East Africa. 3 Days Masai Mara
Wildebeest Migration Maasai Mara. Photo by Thomas Vijayan

The Wildebeest Migration Annual Road Map

In January at the beginning of the year the migration is often in Southern Serengeti. Here they evenly spread throughout the Ndutu conservation area and part of the Ngorongoro Crater. They would have returned from Kenya’s Masai Mara around mid October spreading through out Northern Serengeti.

The wildebeest stay in southern Serengeti throughout the months of February and March that also double as a calving period. The young ones are a great addition to the wildebeest population that eagerly await to take on their journey up north once again. The calves are however targeted by the predators like lions, leopards, cheetahs that often hide in the lush grasses ready to take down their prey.

In April and May, the wildebeest steadily start moving towards northern Serengeti as the wet season ends. This ushers in the dry season in June as the animals spread further west. Here they encounter River Grumeti their first major obstacle on their journey. The high water levels from the rains in the wet season discourage the wildebeest from quickly crossing over. The River banks are also graced with some of the deadliest Nile crocodiles that the wildebeest have to look out for.

In July and August at the peak of the dry season quite a number of them would have crossed Grumeti River. They move further north towards Masai Mara crossing the Mara River that has a number of predator crocodiles that take advantage of the wildebeest numbers. The Nile crocodiles feast big time on the herbivores that also fight hard to continue on course northwards. The wildebeest move over the Masai Mara Ecosystem till around mid October when they start crossing back to Serengeti.

The Migration cycle then starts allover again a journey that wildlife enthusiasts often want to be part of.

The Big cats

Serengeti and Masai are among the few places in East Africa with highest concentrations of big cats. These have large prides of lions whose survival is directly linked to the wildebeest and the many herbivores that they prey on. The wildebeest migration is among the few places where you can catch live action hunting in the wild.

Apart from the lions, the wilds’ most stealth predators the leopards are also many in Serengeti and Mara ecosystem. These also take advantage of even the calving period to hunt prey for their survival. Cheetahs are also present here and use their speed advantage to race out herbivores. The big cats are often accompanied by hyenas that like to steal some of the already hunted prey.

Hyenas are also deadly predators that are evenly distributed in the region. These attack in groups to easily maximize their chances of a kill.

The wildebeest Migration Experience

The best way to enjoy the wildebeest migration is on a day game drives in the parks and the respective conservancies. Luckily the migration can be easily predicated month per month which enables travelers to plan accordingly on where to visit at a particular time. Early morning game drives are highly recommended for those who would like to catch up with the early risers.

Evening game drives are ideal for you to see the wild animals retire from a busy hunting and grazing day. You are also able to catch up with the African sunset while on evening game drives. The nocturnal wildlife then start heading out as they are most active at night including the big cats.


Hot air ballon safaris are also highly recommended as they offer a panoramic view of the wildlife. It is always refreshing to observe wildlife from an elevated point of view and in the masai mara and Serengeti it is even more spectacular. The best time for ballon safaris are early mornings and late evenings. For the early morning expeditions, you can have bush breakfast that is prepared and served in the wilderness offering you uninterrupted views of the game.

Accommodation

There are a number of accommodation facilities that are strategically located within and at the outskirts of the parks. Staying at one of these beautiful Wild places ahead of your wildebeest safari expedition is very ideal. You can start your game drives right from your lodge or tented camp and occasionally have wildlife visitors like lions and other big five mammals including elephants.

It is very important to book the appropriate accommodation depending on the wildebeest migration movements. There are temporary safari camps that move with the migration throughout the year. Before you book your tour it is better to be certain where the wildebeest are for you to book the most convenient accommodation option.

The dry season from June to September doubles as the peak tourist season a time when accommodation facilities get fully booked. Incase you plan to travel during this Time it is highly recommended for you to book your accommodation in advance. October is a transition month from the dry to wet season but still busy and features River crossings of the wildebeest from Masai Mara to Serengeti. You would still need to book your accommodation in advance a year or couple months before to avoid missing out.

During the wet season mainly in November, March, April and May, there are high chances of rainfall which makes some game drive trails impassable. This however does not prevent one from enjoying the migration especially with the calving period. A number of lodges also offer discounted rates during this time of the year and could ideal to travel if you want to save some money.

Birding

For birders, the wet season is the best time to visit as the migratory birds set in coming from as far as Europe. General wildlife viewing is also great including the big cats that are spotted hiding in the lush vegetation.

Now that we are in the middle of the peak tourist season, you can plan your safari now and visit towards the end of year or book for the next season come 2023. Visit East Africa for these and much more wildlife adventures.

Wildebeest Migration Safari Diaries

The wildebeest migration safari is an annual mass animal migration in the Masai mara and Serengeti Eco system. The migration involves a movement of millions of wildebeest, Thompson gazelles, zebras across the open plains searching for fresh pastures. The wildebeest migration safari is a wildlife wonder to look out for when visiting Kenya and Tanzania for a classic African wildlife experience.

The annual animal movement features the mating, calving and growth stages that keeps the crowds alive. A number of these are also targeted by the deadly predators the ecosystem has from Lions to the deadly crocodiles in the River Grumeti and Mara. Despite all these challenges, the births along the trail keeps the animals in the migration going year in year out.

All these happen in a particular month transcending into another. This helps travellers to know the best month or stage to catch up with the migration.

Wildebeest Migration Safari. African Safaris
Wildebeest Migration. Courtesy Photo

Wildebeest Migration safari Month by Month

The wildebeest migration being an annual migration gives a unique experience each month or quarter. The calving period is a great time to view the newly borns and how they adopt with the deadly open savanna’s. The River Crossings are the most anticipated as wildebeest struggle crossing the paths of the deadly crocodiles. Let is briefly look the the wildebeest migration safari activity month per month. For anyone planning a safari featuring the migration this would help to know when to visit or what to expect at a particular month.

December to February

The rains in November favours growth of pasture that the wildebeest continue to feed on as they slowly drift south of Serengeti. From mid November throughout January Southern Serengeti is the best place to catch up with the migration. More wildebeest continue calving reaching the peak in February.

A Serengeti Safari around February is humbling as you might get to see wildebeest births in the wilderness. The predators use this time attacking the young and  isolated wildebeest as the crowd slowly moves towards Central Serengeti.

March to April

These months are wet and high chances of rainfall. This however does not deter the wildebeest migration journey in Central and western Serengeti. There is often plenty of pastures to feed on and much it is a low tourist season, the migratory birds set in making a wildebeest migration safari even more enjoyable.

While in Tanzania ensure to book your accommodation strategically to catch up with the live a action wildebeest migration.

May to June

As May sets in, the wildebeest move towards Northern Serengeti always driven by the need for fresher grazing grounds. May is also a transition month from the wet to the dry season and a great time for wildlife viewing.

The wildebeest plus other major herbivores continue sweeping across the north as they prepare for their adventure in the Masai Mara. The rains in March and April increase the water levels of Grumeti River but by June it starts reducing and the wildebeest start their River crossing quest. At the Grumeti River you can spot some crocodiles but River crossings are not as enjoyable as the Mara River crossings. Nevertheless, it is always fascinating to see the bold wildebeests that take the first jump leading the whole group.  

July to September

The July to September period doubles as the peak tourist season and it is very significant time for a wildebeest migration safari. It features the migration River crossings in the Serengeti and Masai Mara Ecosystems. Two major Rivers are Grumeti and Mara. These are home to some of world’s deadliest Nile crocodiles that the Wildebeest have to overcome on their journey northwards to the great Masai Mara.

The wildebeest River crossings start in July as the wildebeest would have reached Western Serengeti. The major first River Crossing obstacle they meet is River Grumeti and tense but quite a sight to see for adventure lovers. Towards the end of July, the surviving herds of the wildebeest continue to northern Serengeti. From early to mid August, the crowds proceed through northern Serengeti into Masai Mara and cross the Mara River yet another obstacle on their journey.

In the Mara region they get to enjoy the lush grasses that act as hiding places for worlds’ fierce predators especially the lions. While in the Mara ecosystem, the wildebeest traverse the northern Mara conservancies before starting their journey back to the Serengeti. Here they once again Cross the Mara River an event that attracts a number of tourists.

For those interested in the River Crossing, the best time to catch up these in Serengeti is early July. From Mid July to September Masai Mara would be place to be.

October to November

By this time the wildebeest start slowly drifting towards northern Serengeti. Those visiting Tanzania during this time of the year the best place to catch up with the migration is the Serengeti Lobo Area. The month of October being a transition month from the dry to wet season, the rains set in especially towards the end. This gives a boost to vegetation growth enabling the wildebeest enough pastures for grazing.

The calving period also starts and with the young ones coming in it reboots and rejuvenates the wildebeest population. The lush vegetation however attracts a number of predators that sometimes target the young ones. Survival in the Serengeti is by chance but many survival despite the attacks from the predators.

Plan your visit to magical Kenya and Tanzania to be part of the never ending Wildebeest migration safari adventures. Remember these feature classic African encounters of major wildlife species including birds and predators.

There are a number of tented camps and lodges where one can stay to enjoy the wildebeest migration. Some tented camps are temporary and change to new locations depending on the movement of wildebeest. Now that the peak season has set in it is time to book your bucket list adventure to either Serengeti or Masai mara. The best time for these safaris are early mornings as you get to see the early risers some returning from hunting. 

Rwanda Safari Journeys to the Country’s National Parks

Many tourists from all over the world take on Rwanda safari journeys to the country’s major national parks. Rwanda is blessed with diverse wildlife most of which is experienced in the four national parks it has.

In this article we will be tackling Rwanda safari journeys featuring safari experiences in these national parks.

Volcanoes National park

This is the most visited national park located just a 3 hours drive Northwest of Kigali Rwanda’s Capital city. Volcanoes national park is part of the Virunga massif a series of mountain ranges along the border with Uganda & DRC. The park is most famous for its primates and its home to half of the mountain gorilla population in the Virunga massif.

Golden monkeys are other primates that live in Volcanoes national park. These are endemic to the Virunga massif making the park one of the best places to see them. There are a number of bird species here that can be seen while on primate tracking or on birding excursions.

With the Virunga Volcanic mountains, mountain climbing is also often done in this park. Common hikes include the Dian Fossey Hike where adventure lovers hike to where Dian Fossey was buried near her favorite gorilla Digit. One can also hike mount Bisoke to the summit where you will clearly see the crater.

There are many activities in this park therefore while on Rwanda safari journeys there ensure to add this park to your bucket list.

Primates of East Africa: Rwanda Safari Journeys
Silverback in Volcanoes NP Rwanda. Photo by Peter Nasasira

Akagera National Park

As the only savanna park in the country, Rwanda safari journeys to Akagera are very exclusive and enjoyable. The park is located in eastern Rwanda about a 3.5 hours drive from Kigali. While in Akagera national park you get to experience classic safari experiences especially game drives.

Akagera national park is home to a variety of savanna wildlife that include the big five mammals. These are lions, elephants, leopards, buffaloes and rhinos. Apart from these, there are zebras, giraffes, a number of antelope and bird species.

The parks northern sector has the highest concentration of wildlife and its where most game drives are done. This beautiful park has a number of water bodies but lake Ihema is the most prominent. Lake Ihema is very ideal for boat cruises where you will see hippos, crocodiles and a number of birds.

Ensure not to miss visiting Akagera national park while on any Rwanda safari journeys.

Zebras in Akagera National Park. Beyond Gorilla Safaris, 3 Days Akagera Tour
Zebras in Akagera National Park. Photo by J. Dickens

Nyungwe National Park

This forested national park is Rwanda’s ultimate primate national park located in the southwestern part of the country. Nyungwe national park is home to chimpanzees plus other primates including colobus monkeys, Silver monkeys among others.

The park is one of the best places in East Africa for chimpanzee tracking as you meet one of mans’ closest primates. Chimpanzee tracking is the common activity done here as well as other primate treks.

Nyungwe national park is outstanding as it has one of East Africa’s oldest forests and with age comes with diversity. While here you will get to see a number of plant and tree species as well as reptiles and small insects.

While on Rwanda safari journeys, Nyungwe national park comes highly recommended for primates. Its even the isolated and while here you can enjoy calm and peaceful environment away from the city noise.

Nyungwe National Park. Rwanda Safari Journeys
Nyungwe Forest National Park. Photo by Alistair Horne

Gishwati Makura National Park

Gishwati Makura National Park is the fourth and newly established national park in Rwanda. Its located in western Rwanda and its also home to a number of wildlife species especially primates.

The two major primates species in this forested park include the eastern chimpanzee and golden monkeys. Other wildlife species here include bats, Jackals (side striped) and a number of birds. These are often see while on guided walks in the forest.

A lot has not yet been discovered about this new destination but while on Rwanda safari journeys ensure to visit this place. Its not crowded and therefore one gets to enjoy the exclusivity of the park listening to the sights and sounds of nature.

East African safaris One must not miss This February

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.

Mountain Gorilla in Virunga National Park. East African safaris
Mountain Gorilla in Virunga National Park. Photo by Anthony Caere

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.

Chimpanzee in Nyungwe National Park. East African safaris
Chimpanzee in Nyungwe Forest National Park. Photo by Jonathan Gregson

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.

Leopard in Masai Mara National Reserve
Leopard in Masai Mara National Reserve. Photo by Steve Woods

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.

Wildebeest River Crossing
Wildebeest River Crossing. Photo by Trevor
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.

Shoebill Stork at Mabamba Swamp Uganda. East African safaris
Shoe-bill Stork at Mabamba Swamp Uganda. Photo by Daniel Rosengren

Best All Inclusive Safari Lodges In Uganda

Safari Lodges form a great part of travel and are places to be keen to book ahead of a safari. This December is a great time to travel and Uganda is one of those places many yearn to be.

Being one of East Africa’s finest safari destinations, Uganda has many safari lodges in the different national parks the country has. Lets explore some of the all inclusive safari lodges in Uganda for families, couples and single travelers.

This beautiful lodge is located at the edge of Kyambura gorge overlooking the endless plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The lodge has rustic bandas each offering a great view of the open savanna plains or Kyambura gorge.

There are 4 deluxe bandas at Kyambura gorge lodge, a swimming pool and all the essential lodge amenities. The lodge is ideal when going for chimpanzee tracking, game drives, boat cruise and other activities in the park.

Kyambura gorge lodge is among the all inclusive safari lodges in Uganda and a great for a getaway. The lodge provides wireless internet at the main building and also offer a personal butler for all guests.

Kyambura Gorge Lodge. Uganda safari Lodges
Kyambura Gorge Lodge. Courtesy Photo

Buhoma lodge is among the best safari lodges to stay at while going for gorilla tracking in Bwindi impenetrable national park. The lodge is located in Buhoma the first sector that opened up for gorilla tracking in Bwindi in the early 1990’s.

The lodge directly overlooks the impenetrable forest and was constructed in an Eco-friendly manner minimizing impacts on the ecosystem. Each cottage here has a private verandah and large windows which enables clients to have incredible forest views at the comfort of their rooms.

There are a total of 8 cottages here self contained each with a flush toilet, hot showers and some with bath tubs. Buhoma lodge is ideal when going for gorilla tracking, birding, nature walks and community visits in the Buhoma sector.

Buhoma Lodge Bwindi Uganda
Buhoma Lodge Bwindi Uganda. Courtesy Photo

Elephant plains lodge is located in Queen Elizabeth National Park with a spectacular view of the park. The lodge is strategically located and its only a 2 minutes drive to the national park gate.

The lodge is very close to Kasenyi sector where most game drives are done. While here look out for animals like lions, antelope species and many birds. You can also go for a crater drive enjoying beautiful views of some of the unfilled craters in the park. From these adventure activities you can dive in the pool and relax enjoying Ugandan weather.

Rooms at Elephant plains lodge are very spacious, self contained with large windows offering views of lake Kikorongo. All rooms here have bath tubs and showers with flowing hot water incase you need a hot bath. The bar at lodge is fully stocked with wines and also offers great views of the park.

Elephant Plains Lodge. Uganda Safari lodges
Elephant Plains Lodge. Photo by Uganda Lodges

This lodge is located near Kibale forest national park in western Uganda. Ndali lodge is situated in the Crater lakes area and directly overlooks one beautiful crater lake. The lodge has a calm serenity and of the best places to relax and escape the noise from the city.

Ndali lodge is ideal for those interested in chimpanzee tracking, nature walks, birding and community visit in Kibale national park. It lies in between Kibale and Queen Elizabeth National park a strategic location for adventure lovers.

Cottages at Ndali lodge are spacious, self contained with views of the lake and the beautiful landscapes of the area. The lodge can be easily accessed by road and a highly recommended place for adventure lovers.

Ndali Lodge Uganda Safari Lodges. Destination Uganda
Ndali Lodge Uganda. Photo By Jonathan Benaiah

Tips To Make Safari Tours During the 2020 Holiday Season a Little Easier

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania East Africa. Safari tours
Hot Air Balloon in Serengeti National Park. Photo by Fred Shirima

The year 2020 is ending and tourists are visiting East Africa for safari tours to celebrate the holiday season. Travel this time has been greatly affected by the corona virus disease but nevertheless people are visiting safari destinations.

East African governments have put up measures to prevent the spread of COVID19 as the number of tourists increase steadily. Travel for safari tours is not easy this season because of COVID19 regulations. Below are some tips you can follow to ease travel and enjoy your holiday season.

1. COVID19 Testing and Results

This has become a travel requirement from travelers and those interested in safari tours in East Africa. International travelers are required to present COVID19 negative results tested not later than 72 hours prior arrival.

In Rwanda, on arrival tourists are further subjected to another COVID19 test and are supposed to wait 24 hours in Mandatory quarantine. All this is done to ensure safety of travelers.

When planning travel this season, have your COVID19 test results ready and expect more tests if visiting countries like Rwanda. For departures, they will also require you to take a test to ensure you left East Africa COVID19 free.

2. Wear a Mask

Wearing a mask has become a new normal as countries push to reduce the spread of COVID19. A mask must be on top of your packing list when planning safari tours to East Africa. Its a major standard operating procedure requirement even on arrival at the airport so ensure to have one.

When going for primate tracking for example mountain gorillas and chimpanzee tracking, you will be required to put on a mask. Its advisable to have more than one mask or buy disposable masks that you can dispose off properly after use.

3. Check in ahead of time

With the current standard operating procedures, its better to check in ahead of time. With check ins a mean flight or hotel check ins. This will help you avoid long queues especially at the airport as you wait to be cleared.

Checking on hotels or lodges by calling them prior your arrival is also very important now. With this it helps them plan accordingly and find ways of enforcing social distancing for all clients arriving.

Crossing checking hotel bookings will help you get an alternative incase your booking was missed or not booked as planned. There are curfew regulations and the last thing you need is to fall prey as you sort out hotel bookings. December is a busy season and therefore if going for safari tours have all hotels booked and confirmed in advance.

4. Pack what is Necessary

Packing for safari tours is an important aspect and for one to enjoy their tour they need to pack right. Have all your travel documents ready for example passports or personal identification.

As mentioned above, masks and other necessities like hand sanitizers have become a new normal so ensure to pack them. Equipment like cameras, extra camera battery, chargers, power banks should not be missed.

Ensure to pack the right attire for safari tours and enough to take you through the entire safari. Avoid over or under packing as it can easily ruin your trip or safari holiday.

Birding Safari Destinations Not to Miss in East Africa in 2021

East Africa is not only a famous general wildlife but also a special birding safari destination. The region is home to countless bird species many of which are endemics to the region.

Birding safari enthusiasts have been flocking East Africa to be part of exclusive birding trips in the different birding destinations. When you look at the safari destinations map of East Africa its hard to outline few birding safari destinations as many of them are outstanding.

Birding in East Africa can be done anytime of the year but the best time is usually from September to April when migratory birds especially from Europe come in. Lets explore some of the must visit Birding safari destinations in the region for exclusive birding experiences.

Lake Nakuru is one of the rift valley lakes in East Africa and its among Kenya’s ultimate birding safari destination. The lake is most famous for flamingos often seen in millions along the lake shores feeding.

Over the years, the flamingo population along lake Nakuru has declined due to some unfavorable conditions. The lake however has over 500 recorded bird species so you get to enjoy a variety of these.

Notable birds here include great white pelicans, long crested eagles, grey crowned cranes, great snipes, maccao ducks and others. Birding here can be best done from November to April a breeding season and a time when birds are in full plumage.

White Pelicans. Birding Safari
White Pelicans in Lake Nakuru. Photo by Yash Mahadik

This swamp is located at the edge of Lake Victoria in Entebbe Uganda. The swamp is a prime birding safari destination with over 300 bird species including the rare shoe-bill stork. Mabamba swamp covers several hectares of wetland vegetation with water lilies and papyrus that act as homes of the many birds here.

Other notable birds here include papyrus webblers, blue swallow, papyrus gonolek , brown snake-eagle, grosbeak weavers and many others. Birding at Mabamba is very classic and its done in motorized wooden boat through the different trails in the swamp.

Shoebill Stork, Mabamba Swamp Uganda. Birding Safari
Shoe-bill stork at Mabamba Swamp. Photo by Daniel Rosengren
Nyungwe Forest

Nyungwe forest is located in southwestern Rwanda and its one of Africa’s old rain-forests. Its a home to various wildlife species including birds some of which are endemic to the Albertine rift valley.

The forest was gazetted a national park to protect the major wildlife it has and many tourists visit the area for wildlife safaris. For those interested in birding, Nyungwe forest national park is a place to be as you will encounter countless bird species here.

There are over 300 bird species recorded here and notable birds include blue-headed sunbirds, Kivu ground thrush, and regal sunbirds. Birds endemic to the Rwenzori area often seen here include the Ruwenzori Apalis, Ruwenzori Turaco, Ruwenzori night jar and others.

Great Blue Turaco Nyungwe National Park. Rwanda Birding safaris
Great Blue Turaco Nyungwe NP Rwanda. Photo by Eric Manzi

This crater is located in northern Tanzania and one pf Africa’s natural wonders. The crater is worlds largest unfilled crater and a haven for different wildlife species including birds.

There are over 500 recorded bird species here and birds often seen include black Kite, lesser flamingos, black winged lapwings and others. Some birds live in the grassland on the crater floor like ostriches, crowned cranes, secretary birds among others.

Birding in Ngorongoro can be done anytime of the year but for best experiences visit from June to October. November to May is also a unique time for birding where you get to see migratory birds from Europe.

Lilac Breasted Roller. Birding Safari
Lilac Breasted Roller in Ngorongoro Crater. Photo by Murali Nature