Gorilla Trekking Safari

Mountain Gorilla

The words gorilla trekking safari conjure up an iconic image, Dian Fossey surrounded by a troup of majestic black gorillas in a sea of green foliage. For any would-be-naturalist this is a once in a lifetime experience – sitting in close proximity to one of humankind’s closest primate relatives. A gorilla trekking safari allows you to experience the wonder of coming in contact with these magnificent and powerful creatures.

A gorilla trekking safari is one of the most unique and memorable safaris one can undertake in Africa. Exploring the expansive rain forests of central Africa on foot does not only bring one in touch with nature, but also allows you to observe gorillas and other primate species in their natural habitat.

Guide blends in to the foliage in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

 

The guides who accompany you on the gorilla trekking safari are true experts in their fields. They know which gorilla families occupy which areas as well as which patterns they move in, ensuring that your gorilla trekking safari meets its intended gorilla family. While on route the guides will point out other animals you might meet along the way such as the Uganda Kob, Forest Buffalo or Colobus Monkey and a variety of bird species from brightly coloured Turaco’s to the secretive Broadbill.

Mother and baby

Upon discovering the family of gorillas your guide will allow you to spend an hour’s worth of observation time with that particular family. Here time slows and you you will spend the session watching the family going about their daily routine of feeding, playing and communicating,. Highlights are no doubt the young playing in the foliage while the mothers keep a close eye or when a massive Silverback passes by close to you.

Volcanoes National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

With tours spanning over Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the Congo’s Odzala-Kokoua National Park and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park there are numerous opportunities to find your perfect gorilla trekking safari. From the novice to the expert trekker everyone can see these wonderful creatures int he wild.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

 

This is one for the bucket list, nothing can beat meeting a families of gorillas in the forests of Africa. Get in touch with the Safari Index to tick off your dream gorilla trekking safari!

The Kruger Park

South Africa’s world-renowned Kruger National Park spans over 2 million unspoiled hectares and is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. The Kruger Park, as it is known locally, is one of the world’s most fertile and abundant wildlife sanctuaries, and famously hosts the majestic Big 5. The Kruger Park is a dream destination for anyone wishing for a safari getaway.

Kruger Park guided safari

There is plenty to see when out on a game drive while in the Kruger Park.  The park’s incredible diversity of life includes 336 tree species, 507 bird species and 147 mammal species. Whether you choose to do a self-drive safari or guided game drive, there are plenty of ways to see what the Kruger Park has to offer. When doing a self-drive safari, you need not be concerned about wear and tear on your vehicle, as the Kruger Park boasts a well-maintained road infrastructure.

 

RWS walking safari

Driving safaris are not the only type of safari on offer in the Kruger. Several camps, like Rhino Walking Safaris Plains Camp, offer walking safaris, where keen-eyed, well-informed guides are able to find even the most elusive animals.

The famous African Big 5- consisting of the lion, leopard, rhino (white and black), elephant and Cape buffalo- can be found in the Kruger Park. The highlight of any Kruger safari is spotting all 5 members out in their natural habitat. Imagine being on an early-morning walking tour, the sun rising above the plains, and spotting a family of elephants in the distance. Picture enjoying sundowner drinks with a view of a waterhole, where a pride of lions joins you in enjoying some refreshments after a hot day. The Kruger Park is a magical place where just such occurrences can take place.

The Kruger Park offers different accommodation options to suit anyone’s budget and taste. From the versatile accommodation types at Skukuza Rest Camp, to the rustic rondawels of Pretoriuskop Rest Camp, to the more luxurious lodges like Singita Lebombo, there is something to suit everyone.

Singita Lebombo
Pretoriuskop Rest Camp

No matter what your budget, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Let the experts at Safari Index help you find the best option for your pocket. Contact us today to book your dream safari getaway to the Kruger  Park.

Cape Town and the Garden Route

Expansive beaches, breathtaking mountain views and ancient forests- these are just some of the features that you can expect to encounter when traveling along South Africa‘s famous Garden Route. Known for its diverse landscape and vegetation, this 300km route stretches from the Storms River in the Eastern Cape all the way down to Mossel Bay in the Western Cape. Traveling on the Garden Route will give you the perfect opportunity to not only see perhaps the most beautiful part of the country, but also to partake in a variety of experiences.

The Garden Route is like no other, a paradise for those with a love for nature. Found between the Outeniqua Mountains and the ocean, the area features a mild climate, which allows for a mixture of fynbos, wetlands and forests to thrive. The Route is also a paradise for animal lovers. There are nearly 300 species of birds, several types of large and small game, as well as a diversity of marine life found in the region- safari opportunities are plentiful. You can even see the Big 5 in Gondwana Game Reserve or Sanbona Game Reserve.

A number of smaller game reserves can be found dotted along the Garden Route, allowing for visitors to enjoy a variety of activities. Hiking is a popular activity, as there is a lot to explore. The Knysna Forest is world-famous for its population of ancient Outeniqua Yellowwoods, while the Table Mountain Nature Reserve is home to the world’s smallest yet most diverse floral kingdom- the Cape Floral Kingdom.

For those interested in history, the Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve is the perfect place to visit. This World Heritage Site offers informative tours led by experienced guides, who take guests to over 130 bushman painting sites. The area is also famous for the indigenous rooibos that grows there.

There is also plenty to do for those looking for adventure or an adrenaline rush. Go shark-cage diving, canoeing, rock-climbing, quad biking, paragliding, and even skydiving! The world’s highest bungee jump is located along the Garden Route, at the Bloukrans Bridge. There is also horse-riding, zip-lining, sandboarding, surfing, and whale and dolphin-watching- the list is endless…

There is something for every nature lover on the Garden Route. It is the most beautiful part of the Cape, and definitely worth the trip. The Safari Index team will expertly help you to plan your Garden Route holiday- contact us today.

The Great Wildebeest Migration

Africa’s annual Great Wildebeest Migration is the world’s largest overland animal migration. This spectacular phenomenon occurs when approximately two million wildebeest, zebra and other indigenous antelope undertake an incredible journey across the African plains, from Tanzanias beautiful Serengeti to the world-renowned Masai Mara in Kenya.

The Migration does not just consist of one large herd, but rather thousands of smaller ones that branch in and out of the main bulk, depending on the availability of food and water. The sizes of the herds fluctuate, as some wildebeest do not travel, choosing to stay in specific areas.

It is also interesting to note that during the Migration, the wildebeest and zebra travel harmoniously together. Though both species are herbivores, their feeding preferences differ greatly, as they prefer different parts of the same grasses. This means that while they inhabit the same space, they are not in competition for the same resources.

The thrill of the Migration is also enhanced by the presence of predators. As the herbivores cross the plains in their thousands, they are closely pursued by fearsome carnivores. More than 3 000 lions prey upon the herds, bringing down thousands of wildebeest each season. These losses are replenished during the rainy season between January and March, as the herds roam the Serengeti. It is speculated that over half a million wildebeest are born during this period.

Other predators can also be spotted preying on the herds, including hyena, cheetah, and leopard. These predators do not migrate with the herds. Rather the herds move through their territories, making them ideal prey. However, some predators have become nomadic and spend their lives in pursuit of these herds.

Crocodiles also lie in wait as the wildebeest and zebras attempt to cross over the Mara and Grumeti Rivers, ready to prey upon any who are not strong or quick enough. These crossings typically take place during the dry season when the animals make their way to the greener grazing fields of the Masai Mara.

While herd movements depend on the availability of food and water, the animals can be seen to travel in a general clockwise direction during the Great Migration. This gives the discerning traveller ample opportunity to witness the incredible phenomenon all year round. Several well-appointed lodges and camps cater to the seasoned as well as first-time viewer of the Migration. One can easily find accommodation that will suit your particular needs and provide the perfect opportunity to see this awe-inspiring spectacle.

The Great Migration Pattern

The Great Migration takes place annually, spanning the whole year. This allows for a Migration safari trip at any time of the year, depending on where the herds are. Don’t you think that this is an experience that should be on your bucket list? Chat to one of the Safari Index team of experts today to plan that dream Migration safari now!

 

African Wildlife Poaching: The Forgotten Ones

Game reserves, national parks and protected areas play a critical role in the protection and conservation of vulnerable species, especially those that are in high demand amongst illegal poaching rings. In 2017, official statistics released in July by the Department of Environmental Affairs showed a decrease in the number of rhinos poached compared to the same time in 2016- a positive sign.

However, with the focus being primarily on rhino poaching in the last few years, there are a number of other animal populations that are being targeted without restraint. Animals such as lions, elephants and pangolins are also under threat from poachers. These creatures generally don’t get the media attention that they deserve.

Elephant poaching has occurred for centuries. However, rates have dramatically increased in recent years, with most elephant tusks ending up in Asia and the Middle East on the black market. With this rise in demand for elephant tusks, various national parks and private reserves have taken up commendably strong initiatives to help protect these gentle giants and bring a halt to the illegal ivory trade. Sadly, many parks and reserves do not have the funding needed to support a cohesive anti-poaching effort, and these incredible creatures are getting slaughtered every day.

Even the King of the Jungle is not safe…

Despite an increase in awareness and conservation efforts, lion populations are still dropping. Without urgent intervention, the lion could be extinct by 2050. There do exist, however, shining beacons of hope in organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund and African Parks. These organisations not only do fantastic work in creating awareness and raising funds to conserve lions, but they are also actively involved in the management of areas where lions are found. A great example of this can be seen in Zambia‘s  Liuwa Plains National Park, where lions have been successfully reintroduced and the population is re-establishing itself. Then there is the much-anticipated arrival of lions in Malawi‘s Liwonde National Park,  where the big cats were wiped out by man 20 years ago.

The fascinating pangolin is another wild creature that is currently at risk. One of Africa’s most elusive nocturnal creatures, the pangolin  is  currently the most trafficked animal specie in the world. This is due to the demand for its unusual scales (modified hairs), which are ground up and consumed as a medicine. Several organisations are doing wonderful work in the effort to ensure the survival of the pangolin. These include PangolinConservation.org  and Now-or-Never-Africa.  Game reserves are also doing their part for the pangolin. Tswalu Game Reserve in the Kalahari provides a safe environment for these rare creatures, and is one of the best places in Africa to see the pangolin in its natural habitat.

 

Although the situation may seem dire for many of Africa’s magnificent creatures, there are many people, organisations and parks in Africa that are doing great things to ensure that the continent’s incredible wildlife species survive for future generations to see and enjoy. You can do your bit by creating awareness, supporting conservation initiatives, contributing to fund-raising efforts, or simply just by visiting one of these parks on a safari holiday. As long as parks and reserves generate revenue from people wanting to see the wildlife, there will be an incentive to preserve them!

 

 

Timbavati Lodges

Timbavati Nature Reserve is found in South Africa‘s Lowveld region, bordering the world-famous Kruger National Park. This private reserve comprises 53000 hectares of open woodlands, mopane tree belts, rocky outcrops and dry river beds that teem with an abundance of wildlife and birdlife species. The reserve is also home to the iconic African Big 5. Large herds of buffaloes and elephants are seen regularly, and it is a good place for spotting the elusive leopard. The Timbavati is also home to a rare and unique specie: the white lion. These stunning animals have been the subject of many books and documentaries.

A major advantage of visiting the Timbavati is that the reserve has a much lower density of lodges and camps than most other reserves and parks in the Lowveld. This means that there are much fewer safari vehicles on the roads, allowing for a more exclusive and less crowded safari experience, especially around game sightings.

The is a small selection of lodges found in the reserve, offering accommodation options to suit various budget types, from super luxury to mid-range to more affordable. These are some of the best lodges and camps to stay at when visiting the Timbavati:

Walker’s River Camp

This self-catering camp is set on the banks of the Klaserie River, and is the perfect option for families and groups. It accommodates a maximum of ten guests in en-suite chalets. Each chalet has its own private outdoor shower, as well as mosquito netting on the beds. The kitchen is fully-equipped and has a gas stove, fridge, freezer, oven and microwave. The lodge has to be booked out it its entirety by one group, making it perfect for those a budget. Guided game drives and bush walks are offered to guests, providing thrilling encounters with wildlife in the reserve. Relax with family and friends after an exciting day of game-viewing: enjoy a drink around the pool or a braai in the outdoor boma.

Umlani Bush Camp

Umlani Bush Camp is a charming, rustic safari camp set in the heart of the Timbavati. This delightful camp provides a genuine wilderness experience and the chance to truly reconnect with nature. The accommodation is made up of traditional-style round huts. Each hut is constructed from reed and thatch, helping them to blend wonderfully with the surrounding wilderness. The huts have en-suite bathrooms, open-air bush showers, comfortable beds with crisp white linen, draped mosquito netting, and soft towels- all ensuring comfort in the bush. Enjoy waterhole views from the bush bar and deck, cool down in the sparkling pool, end enjoy award-winning meals in the outdoor boma.

Kings Camp

This ultra-luxury lodge is the perfect destination for those who want to experience their African safari in the ultimate style and comfort. It is designed in a colonial style, with lavish decor and classic, antique-style furniture. The lodge is set among beautiful gardens and overlooks a busy waterhole- you can watch the wildlife come to drink while sitting back and enjoying a cold drink or reading a book. The service is exceptional and the staff cater to guests’ every need. The spacious rooms are air-conditioned with en-suite bathrooms, as well as secluded outdoor showers. Facilities include a pool, gym, spa, library, business centre and WiFi connectivity. There is also a private 4-bedroom luxury villa, where guests can enjoy the services of their own personal butler, chef, game ranger sand game-viewing vehicle.

Serengeti Walking Safari

The Serengeti in Tanzania is one of Africa’s most iconic safari destinations. The wide open plains of grassland and savannah are home to thriving populations of Africa’s quintessential wildlife species, including vast numbers of plains game, fearsome predators, and the famous African Big 5.

While it is true that African safaris are traditionally conducted in open game-viewing vehicles, there are many other unique and exciting ways in which the African wilderness can be explored. A walking safari is one of the most thrilling ways to have an African bushveld experience. On a walking safari, you are able to connect with your surroundings in a much more intimate and up-close way.

These Serengeti walking safari tours are led by experienced guides and armed rangers, who will enhance your game-viewing experience and make sure that you feel completely safe out in the wilderness. You are also accompanied by a safari chef and camp assistant, all of who will ensure your safety and comfort, and strive to ensure that you have the best possible game-viewing opportunities.

There are two walking safari tour options: a 7-day/6-night tour, or a 5-day/4-night tour. On the tours, you spend approximately 4 to 5 hours a day walking, with some of the nights spent at luxury wilderness safari lodges, and others out “camping” under the stars in the African bush. The “camps” are fully-equipped and feature walk-in dome tents, bedding and mattresses, bush toilets and showers, mess tents, chairs, fridges/cool boxes, and camp lighting.

The tours are conducted in pristine wilderness areas inside the Serengeti National Park, away from busy crowds and safari vehicles. The 7-day/6-night tour also includes a visit to the Ngorongoro Crater, another of Tanzania’s iconic wildlife destinations, where wildlife is found in abundance and the chances of spotting the members of the Big 5 are high. There is also the option of stopping at the Olduvai Gorge, a world-renowned paleoanthropological site. Guided game drives are also included in the safari tour package- but it is the walking safaris that are the undoubted highlight.

What is there to do in Victoria Falls?

Victoria Falls in one of the most iconic travel destinations in Africa, and indeed the world. Magnificent and breathtaking, the Falls are known locally as the “Mosi-oa-Tunya”, or the “Smoke that Thunders”. The name refers to the smoke-like appearance of the spray that is generated as the mighty Zambezi River plummets 100m into the yawning gorge below. The Falls provide the perfect base from which to enjoy a variety of adventure and safari activities.

For the more adventurous, there are several hair-raising activities to try. The Victoria Falls Bungee Jump is one of the most incredible bungee jumps that anybody can experience. It is 111 metres high, one of the highest in the world. Its setting against the backdrop of the Falls only makes it more spectacular.

Adrenaline junkies can also have a go on the Victoria Falls Bridge Swing. The swing is done from the railway bridge that spans the Second Gorge of the Falls, linking the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Those looking for a more relaxed experience can enjoy a leisurely boat cruise down the Zambezi. Or, just take a tour of the Falls, simply to marvel at their brilliance.

The splendour of the Falls can also be witnessed from above. Soar above them in a helicopter or microlight aircraft. Aptly known as the “flight of angels”, this is one of the best ways to see the Falls.

Wildlife lovers will also find plenty to appreciate in the region. The area surrounding the Falls is a national park and protected area. Wildlife species are found here in abundance. Experience a safari in a unique way on a boat, canoe or horseback safari, exploring the channels of the Zambezi and the surrounding forest and riverine bush. Look out for species such as hippo and elephant. You can also embark on a traditional game drive into the adjacent Zambezi National Park, for a chance to spot the famous African big 5.

The Zambezi is also an excellent fishing destination. You can try your hand at catching one of the more than 75 species found in the waters, including the elusive tiger fish, one of the most sought-after fish in the world. Guided fishing tours are offered, and the boats are fully-equipped.

Uganda Safari Tour

Uganda is a small landlocked country located in East Africa. It is one of the continent’s top safari and wildlife destinations, and is known as “The Pearl of Africa”, due to its breathtaking beauty and diverse habitats. These include everything from vast savannah plains, to snow-capped mountains, to dense rainforests. The country offers a host of unique attractions and experiences that will delight even the most experienced safari-goer.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the country’s most well-known destinations. It is made up of thickly forested slopes that are home to one of the most fascinating creatures in the world- the endangered mountain gorilla. In Bwindi, you can hike through the forest to track the gorillas and see these incredible creatures in the flesh in their natural habitat- an awe-inspiring experience. There are a number of well-established lodges, camps and tour operators that offer excellent accommodation and guided treks in the park.

Wildlife lovers can enjoy a big-game safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park. This stunning park features rolling hills, grasslands and acacia woodlands, and is home to an incredible diversity of big game species, as well as over 600 species of birds. The Ishasha region of the park is famous for its population of tree-climbing lions, a fascinating species.

Visitors to Uganda can also stop by the town of Jinja. It is here that the source of the mighty River Nile is found. The world’s longest river, the Nile goes on to flow through eight other African countries before reaching the Mediterranean Sea.

The snow-capped mountains of Rwenzori and the might Murchison Falls provide fantastic photography opportunities for visitors to Uganda. Murchison Falls National Park is the country’s oldest and largest park. It offers the chance to enjoy a wonderfully comprehensive safari experience: go on traditional game drives or walks to see the big game species, while also getting the chance to enjoy unique boating safaris on the river. Visit the spectacular Falls, and take part in adventure activities on the river.

Another unique destination in Uganda is Kibale National Park. It is found in the south of the country, and is home to one of the richest diversities of primates in Africa. Here, visitors have the unique opportunity to go on a chimpanzee-tracking safari, to see these these wonderful creatures in their natural habitat.

Uganda is also an excellent destination for birders, with over 1000 species recorded, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Try out a special 10-day overland Uganda birding tour, on which you will visit all the main destinations in the country for a chance to experience its incredible birding opportunities.

South Luangwa Walking Safaris

It is a place where time stands still and it feels like you are where “it” all began. South Luangwa National Park in Zambia is popularly described as a wildlife anchorage and is one of the best places to go on a walking safari.

Why South Luangwa?

Any respected game ranger, safari travel agent, bush enthusiast or wildlife blogger will tell you that it’s because the game populations found in this part of Africa are among the densest in the world. From the highest concentrations of hippo in the world, to one of the highest leopard counts in Africa, to the tens of thousands of carmine bee-eaters that nest in the sand banks of the Luangwa River, all find refuge in South Luangwa.

Why a South Luangwa Walking Safari?

Why would any sane person want to do a walking safari in an area with such an abundance of big game such as South Luangwa? Well, we believe that there are a few good reasons …

  1. You get a new outlook on what nature is all about

Think about how much you actually miss when you are on safari in a vehicle. When you are on foot, you are able to see exactly where you are going and what’s around you. You start to observe the “whole package”.

  1. You become part of your environment

It’s amazing how quickly a person adapts to life in the bush. You start zoning in on the natural environment around you. You become part of it and it becomes part of you.

  1. It’s all about the detail

Suddenly the world is just as much about micro as it is macro. You suddenly become aware of every little thing, from the tiniest bug to the beauty and mystery of a certain plant.

  1. You experience nature through 5 senses instead of one

Birdsong becomes more pronounced and you feel the wind on your skin. You smell plants and taste their fruits. You touch dung and feel the texture of bark.

  1. You de-stress properly!

There’s no rush, no traffic, and most probably no cellphone signal either. You have no other choice than to switch off and re-tune yourself with Mother Nature.

  1. The big thrill!

The thrill of encountering a large animal such as a member of the Big 5 on a walking safari is unforgettable.

A South Luangwa walking safari is the new frontier of safari. Go in search of Africa’s wildlife on foot in a remarkably beautiful environment- it will leave you with dinner table stories for life.  A South Luangwa walking safari can range from between two to ten days. The best part is that it is completely flexible. Guests have the option of going on game drives in place of or that form part of the walk in the afternoons and evenings. This allows you to get closer to the big cats like lion and leopard.

Custom-made walking safaris in South Luangwa are made to fit your particular requirements, so if you want to walk decent distances every day and avoid the sounds of motors, you can do so. You can even walk between different luxury bush camps, each with its own look and feel, and all situated in beautiful locations in vast private concessions in the south of the park. This means that you could spend every night in a new camp. Or, base yourself at one camp. The Safari Index team recommends enjoying each camp over a couple of nights. The bush camps on a South Luangwa Walking Safari offer simple luxury at its best.

The daily walks  last, on average, between 3-4 hours, but can be extended or reduced if required. After a long day of walking and tracking, you can sit back and enjoy sumptuous meals, while taking in the stunning views of the game-rich Luangwa river system around you. Or gaze up at the starlit African skies. There is nothing quite like it.

What are you waiting for? Get in touch with the Safari Index today. The Safari Index team of safari experts can help you plan the ultimate South Luangwa Walking Safari – it’s that simple.

The Safari Index is an online index of safari destinations in Southern and Eastern Africa, showcasing hundreds of game lodges, camps, game reserves and national parks in Africa.