East African Birding Destinations to Visit this June

The East African region stands out in the many birding destinations world wide. The region has over 1500 recorded bird species including endemics that can not be found In any other places. East Africa’s diverse wildlife also Makes birding journeys in the region more memorable as you get to see a number of wildlife species including the big five mammals. As we kick start the peak tourist season, lets look at some of the birding destinations you should not miss visiting this June.

Shoebill Stork at Mabamba Swamp. Birding destinations
Shoebill Stork at Mabamba Swamp Uganda. Photo by Newman Dixon

Mabamba Swamp Uganda

Covering an area of 2424 hectares, Mabamba swamp is among Uganda’s best birding destinations. Its situated on the Northern shores of lake Victoria and comprises of marshes of papyrus, water Lillies among other swamp vegetation species. The swamp is home to over 300 bird species including the rare shoebill stork. Other notable birds here include the grey crowned cranes, Hammerkops, Egrets, African Jacana, Palm-nut Vulture, swamp flycatcher among others.

The beauty about birding in Mabamba is its done by motorized canoe riding through a maze of the thick swamp vegetation an adventurous activity in itself. Birders here are often interested in finding the shoebill stork as the wetland is the best place to see the shoebill stork in Uganda. The best time of birding is very early morning as the shoebill prefer hunting its favorite meal (Lung fish) around that time. Evenings are also great times for birding as you get to also enjoy the African sunset.

While in Uganda ensure to visit Mabamba for your ultimate birding excursion. Birding here is doable all year round. Incase you want general birding safaris in Uganda the best time to Visit is from November to April when migratory birds set in giving one a wide range of opportunities to watch.

Akagera national park is Rwanda’s only Savanna national park and an important birding Area in the country after Nyungwe forest. There are over 480 recorded bird species here with 100 endemics and can therefore not be found in any other national park. The parks diverse ecosystems of wetland, grasslands and woodlands gives it an advantage making it an excellent area for a birding safari.

Notable birds to see in Akagera include the African fish eagle, Africa Jacana, shoebill stork, booted eagle, crested barbet, grey crowned cranes, western reef heron among others. Birding journeys here are very much complemented by safari game drives featuring the big five mammals. The park now has both the White and black rhinos that were reintroduced in the park after they had gone extinct.

Birding safaris in Akagera can be done throughout the year with the dry season offering opportunities to see wetland birds among others. The wet season especially in November Is a great time to see migratory birds with these spanning upto April.

This wanderlust ecosystem is not only famous for its wildebeest migrations, big cats but also a birders haven. The park is located in northern Tanzania and together with Kenya’s Masai Mara form the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. Here the renown annual mass wildebeest migration takes place as wildebeest, Thompson gazelles, zebras, and many others move over the endless plains of the Serengeti.

There are over 500 bird species recorded in Serengeti alone with about 5 Endemic bird species found in no other place. Notable birds here include Fischer’s Lovebird, Kori Bustard, Secretary bird, silver bird, grey backed fiscal, among others. The best time for a birding safari adventure in Serengeti is from November to April when resident birds are nesting and in full plumage. The migratory birds also set in coming from as far as Europe and north Africa.

You can still enjoy a birding safari in the dry season when savanna game drives are very much enjoyable with less disturbances from the rains. Birding safari journeys in Serengeti are very enjoyable as you get to see more the park has to offer including East Africa’s most sought for wildlife species.

Lake Nakuru is strategically located on the floor of the great Rift Valley and is surrounded by wooded and bushy grasslands. The park covers a land area of 188 square kilometers and is among Kenya‘s Best wildlife and birding destinations. Its a soda lake previously famous for its thousands of flamingos that were driven away to other lakes by harsh climate conditions. They however still occur though in few numbers if compared to the past.

Pelicans however occur in large numbers as well other birds. Other Notable birds here include the greater blue-eared starling, Batuleur, crab-plover, grey crowned Cranes, Maccoa duck, great snipe among others. The best time for birding adventures around lake Nakuru is during the breeding season from November to April when birds are in full plumage. This is the time when migratory birds also set in giving one a variety of species to see.

The park is also home to other wildlife species including Rhinos, waterbucks, giraffes, buffaloes, zebras among others. While on a visit east Africa expedition you can check out the above featured birding destinations for your memorable wildlife expedition.

Other notable must visit birding ares include Nyungwe forest, Bwindi impenetrable national park, the Ngorongoro crater among others.

Must Do Congo Safari Adventures

Congo Safari Adventures have over the recent years featured on adventure lovers bucket lists. Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the World’s less discovered wildlife safari destinations yet with a lot to offer. The country is the second largest country in Africa and with its vast size comes with more diversity and opportunities for wildlife.

Unfortunately Congo has had several insecurities related emanating from rebel attacks that hinder tourism and wildlife conservation. Despite the attacks and insecurity issues in the country, the beauty and tourism potential keeps on attracting a number of tourists from different parts of the world.

Eastern Congo has a number of key attractions including Virunga National Park Africa’s oldest national park. The park team has security protocol it follows to ensure that all visiting tourists are safe. They monitor the park and ensure to inform the public whenever they suspect any insecurity and go ahead to refund payments made by the visitors.

Let’s see the top Must do Congo safari adventures one should be apart of especially while visiting the Eastern part of the country.

Mountain Gorilla trekking

Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the 3 countries with the remaining mountain gorilla population on the entire planet. They live in Virunga national park and are the main tourist attractions. Mountain gorillas are apes with over 95% DNA similar to humans making them among man’s closest primates species.

Mountain gorillas live in families ranging from 2 to 20 or more each family headed by a dominant gorilla called Silverback. Congo safari adventures featuring gorilla trekking are very amazing and offer a once in a lifetime experience. Trek one of the habituated mountain gorilla families in Virunga National Park for of the the ultimate primates adventures.

The gorilla trekking experience starts with a briefing early morning at the park headquarters. You are then led to the forested mountains in a 2 to 4 hours trek. Once you get to the mountain gorillas you will be allowed in their presence for an hour and later be brought back to the park headquarters.

Lowland Gorilla Trekking

Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is blessed with another gorilla species, the eastern lowland gorillas. These Inhabit the forested mountains of Kahuzi Beiga National park in the Bukavu region.

Eastern lowland gorillas to differ from other gorillas sub species are relatively bigger in size. Just like other gorillas, they are vegetarian and feed to a plant and fruit diet. They also live in families led by a dominant male gorillas.

Lowland gorillas trekking is not as prominent as mountain gorilla trekking but also offers exclusive primate trekking experience. These gorillas are also endemic to Kahuzi Beiga national park and its therefore the only place where you can see Eastern lowland gorillas in the wild.

Lowland Gorilla in Kahuzi Biega National Park. Congo Safari Adventures
Juveline Lowland Gorilla in Kahuzi Biega National Park. Photo by Shannon

Mount Nyiragongo Hike

Mount Nyiragongo is one of the worlds’ active volcanic mountains located in Eastern DRC. The mountain has a lava lake on its summit and last erupted in May 2020 displacing thousands of families as lava spread allover burning people’s homes and gardens.

Since its eruption, tourism was halted temporarily. Hiking will be open again once the park officials are sure that the mountain is safe to hike. The Nyiragongo Hike takes 2 days with the first day ascending the mountain to its summit. The night and early mornings are the best times to see the hot lava Lake. The 2nd day is for descending the mountain an activity that offers great scenic views of the surrounding Great Lakes region and the chains of the Virunga massif mountains.

Once it’s open again for tourism, Mount Nyiragongo will still offer amazing and exclusive Congo safari adventures.

Best Wildlife Safari Experiences On A Visit Rwanda Expedition

Rwanda is one of the leading safari destinations offering some of the best wildlife safari experiences. The country has over the years heavily invested in tourism branding and marketing. It signed a marketing deal with international football teams like Arsenal and PSG that have a visit Rwanda tag on their jerseys. These campaigns aim at uncovering top wildlife tour destinations in Rwanda featuring the country’s best wildlife safari experiences.

Lets explore some of the best wildlife Safari experiences Rwanda has to offer and a Must do while on a safari in the country.

Rwanda Mountain gorilla. Wildlife Safari Experiences
Mountain gorillas in Volcanoes NP Rwanda. Photo by Klaas Jan Jonkman

Gorilla Trekking Safari Experiences

This is the most famous in the land of a thousand hills. Mountain gorillas in Rwanda live in Volcanoes national park located in the northwestern part of the country. The Park is part of the greater Virunga area that extends stretches along the border with Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo and home to the remaining mountain gorillas population.

Mountain gorillas are amazing apes with over 95% DNA similar to humans. They live in families ranging from 2 to 20 or more often headed by the dormant male gorilla called Silverback. These gorilla families are open to tourist visitation offering adventurous wildlife experience that many describe as once in a life time.

The gorilla trekking safari experience starts with a briefing at the park headquarters at 7:00 am. Here you are told about the gorilla trekking regulations and brief summary about these rare apes. You are then guided to the forested mountains amidst sighting of other wildlife species. The trek takes 2 to 4 hours or more and once you get to the gorillas you will be allowed to stay in their presence for an hour taking photos and getting to know more about them.

While planning a visit Rwanda expedition, ensure to add a mountain gorilla trekking safari for unforgettable primate safari experiences.

Big Five Safari Experiences

Rwanda’s Akagera national park is home to the big five mammals that include Lions, Rhinos, Leopards, buffaloes and Elephants. These are seen while on game drives in the only savanna national park in Rwanda. Akagera national park is located in the north eastern part of the country and best place for classic safari experiences.

The big five safari experiences are more amazing with the viewing of other big names in african safari wildlife. These include giraffes, antelopes including waterbucks, Topi, Oribi among others, hippos, birds and so much more.

The northern sector of Akagera national park has the highest wildlife concentration and its where most game drives are done. A boat cruise a long lake Ihema is a must do and Equally offers unique wildlife safari experiences. Here you view a number of hippos, Nile crocodiles, a number of birds among others. Its most enjoyable in the evening as you can wind it with remarkable views of the African sunset.

Chimpanzee Trekking Safaris

Rwanda is a ultimate primate trekking safari destination with major primates including the chimpanzees. These live in Rwanda’s Nyungwe forest located in the southwestern part of the country.

Nyungwe forest is one of the oldest forests in East and Central Africa and its not only home to chimpanzees but other primates including blues monkeys, L’hoest monkeys, colobus monkeys among others. Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe is the top most and must do primate trekking adventure while visiting the park.

To supplement on a chimp tour in Nyungwe, you can also do other primate treks as well as nature walks long the different trails in the park.

Visit Rwanda today and be part of the never ending wildlife safari experiences. The country is fully open for tourism and it follows strict standard operating procedures amidst the Corona Virus pandemic crisis.

5 Affordable Places To Visit On An East African Wildlife Holiday

Going for a wildlife holiday has become a trend to many travelers visiting the East African region. East Africa boosts with diverse wildlife species from the most rare and endangered to the commonly known wildlife species.

The region comprises of 5 major countries that are Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania & Burundi. These are unique in-terms of wildlife that has made each become a leading wildlife holiday destination in its own right. Close by is Democratic Republic of Congo which is still relatively less explored making it a giant wildlife tour destination as well.

Wildlife tours to this beautiful region always seems very costly as majority of tourists travel several Kilometers from their home countries. When you incorporate the international flight fares plus the park fees and accommodation expenses, it becomes quite expensive.

Important to note though is that there are affordable Wildlife holiday tours you can do and still have a great time. Lets briefly look at these Must Visit affordable safari destinations in the area.

Murchison Falls National Park

This vast national park is stretches from Mid Western to Northern Uganda and its among the most diverse wild places. The park’s most outstanding land mark is the Murchison falls listed among the most strongest waterfalls on the planet. The falls were formed along the Nile River and plunges about 7 meters down a narrow gorge with a great force.

It forms a permanent rainbow that can be visibly seen when the Sun rays hit that waters of the Nile at the falls. These magnificent falls are often seen while on the boat cruise to the bottom at only $30 per person. There is also an option of hiking to the top of the falls at only $15 per person. Driver guides also have an option of driving a 10 kilometer distance to the top of Murchison falls for better sight seeing and Photography. This option works incase you don’t intend to hike from the bottom to the top.

Four of the big Five mammals freely roam the open plains of this beautiful park. These include lions, leopards, Elephants and buffaloes. The 5th species (the rhinos) can be tracked at $50 per person at the Zziwa rhino sanctuary found en route to Murchison. With this, a wildlife holiday tour to Murchison guarantees you of the big 5.

Major tourism activities done here include game drives, boat cruises, ballon safaris, nature walks, birding, sport fishing among others. The park also has a tropical rain forest – Budongo forest a home to chimpanzees and other Primates. Park entrance fees is only $40 per person per day which comes a long with never ending adventures.

Giraffes in Murchison Falls NP, Wildlife Holiday
Giraffes in Murchison Falls NP. Photo by Craig Trexler

Virunga National Park

A trip to this region without Mountain gorilla trekking is often seen as incomplete. Gorilla tours have over the years become the most desired wildlife tours as people seek to meet one of mans’ closest primate species.

Mountain gorillas are endangered primates living in the forested Mountains in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. The first two mountain gorilla destinations are however a bit expensive compared to DRC’s Virunga National Park. Its located in eastern DRC and one of the oldest national parks on the African continent.

The park has about 10 habituated mountain gorilla families open to tourist visitation. Gorilla permits here cost $500 per person which is way cheaper than the $700 per person in Uganda and $1500 per person in Rwanda. While here you can also see a number of other primates including golden monkeys, baboons among others.

Mount Nyiragongo with the world’s only lava is also situated in Virunga national park. The mountain recently erupted affecting the neighboring communities but studies are being done to determine when it will be safe again for tourists. While on a wildlife holiday here ensure to add Virunga national park for the most affordable gorilla tracking tour.

Golden Monkey in Virunga National Park. Wildlife Holiday
Golden Monkey in Virunga National Park DRC. Courtesy Photo

Serengeti Tanzania

Serengeti is the most famous savanna wildlife tour destination in East Africa because of its wildebeest migration. The park is located in northern Tanzania and together with Kenya’s Masai Mara forms an ecosystem where an annual mass migration happens.

4 of Savanna’s big five also live here that include lions, buffaloes, leopards and elephants. Some of the last remaining large prides of lions are seen roaming the plains of Serengeti national Park. Many of these are seen while on game drives, nature walks and ballon safaris that are organized within the park.

Unlike expensive wildlife tour packages like gorilla tracking, a safari in Serengeti is very affordable and worth. Here you not only get to witness the wildebeest migration but also get to see a variety of wildlife including birds.

There are a number of affordable accommodation options including campsites for budget travelers. For your ultimate and affordable wildlife tour expeditions in East Africa, ensure to add Serengeti on your bucket list.

Serengeti National Park
Wildebeest Migration Serengeti National Park. Courtesy Photo

Nyungwe National Park

In the land of thousand hills is Nyungwe forest national park located in the southwestern part. Its home to chimpanzees and many other primate species including the black and white colobus monkeys, Blue monkeys among others. Nyungwe forest National park is however most famous for chimpanzee tracking and its ideal for affordable chimpanzee tracking wildlife tours.

Tracking permits here cost $90 per person and one gets a chance to hike the tropical rainforest to meet chimpanzees. Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe is very adventurous as you get to see other wildlife in the forested Park. You can engage in other primate treks where you can do an exclusive Hike to see other wildlife in the park.

Birding safaris are very rewarding here as well as. There are a number of the endemic bird species to the forest and the Albertine rift valley. Notable birds here include the great blue Turaco, regal Sunbird, Ruwenzori Nightjar, Kivu-ground Thrush among others.

All Nyungwe forest national parks activities are very much affordable. With the diversity the park has, on a visit there for a couple of days you can explore the major tourist attractions.

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

Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park is the only wildlife protected area near the city center. The park is located only 10 kilometers from Kenya’s capital city Nairobi and its home a variety of wildlife species.

Its the best safari escape from the city congestion as you get to explore the best of East Africa’s wildlife. Notable wildlife here include the endangered black rhinos, lions, buffaloes, leopards, hyenas, zebras and others.

The park is also a birders haven with over 400 bird species 20 of which are migratory coming as far as Europe. The park entrance fees is $40 per adult and $20 for children. Citizens and foreign residents have discounted rates making the park among the best affordable destinations for wildlife tours.

Leopard in Nairobi National Park. Wildlife Holiday
Leopard in Nairobi National Park. Photo by Samuel Vellas