• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton
    Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

The Pearl of Africa

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Posted by:

Kirsty Saunders

 

Uganda – The Pearl of Africa

It has been brought to our attention that the Ugandan Tourist Board are currently changing their tourism focus. This is an effort to highlight the diversity of their beautiful country, and we thought we’d give them a hand.  Many of you will know Uganda as home to some extraordinary primates, however there is an array of other tourist attractions across the country that definitely deserve a mention. To quote Winston Churchill “The kingdom of Uganda is a fairy-tale. … For magnificence, for variety of form and colour, for profusion of brilliant life – bird, insect, reptile, beast – for vast scale — Uganda is truly the pearl of Africa.”

Wildlife certainly is a big draw for many visitors, and along with primates, Uganda is home to 1061 bird species including the Crested Crane, the Turaco, and the elusive Shoebill.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

This prehistoric looking bird stands five feet tall with its huge distinctive bill.

Along with Africa’s ‘big five’ there is a host of other wildlife, some of which are endemic to Uganda, so a safari is a must!

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Another opportunity for a animal encounter of a different kind would be to help herd, feed and even milk Uganda’s Ankole Cattle.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

And if you are partial to ‘having a go’ take time to visit the fair-trade tea and coffee plantations and experience the production process first hand.

If prehistoric plants are of interest, Mpanga Gorge in the west is believed to be the largest Cycad colony in the world.  This palm like plant species is believed to have existed before prehistoric times, remaining largely unchanged for 200-300 million years!

We must next draw your attention to Uganda’s water orientated attractions. Uganda is home to ‘Lake Victoria’ the World’s second largest lake, and the source of the magnificent river Nile!  Here there are many activities to embark on such as kayaking, white – water rafting, fishing or take a boat trip.

Finally an interesting fact: Did you know that Uganda provides the opportunity to have one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and the other in the Southern Hemisphere? Visit the landmark showing where the equator passes through the country. You will be fascinated to watch a demonstration of how the water drains in opposite directions, depending on which side of the equator you stand!

In order to incorporate all of your preferred activities, you would certainly benefit from a tailor made itinerary. This is where we come in. Africa is one of our specialist countries and our team of experts with first-hand experience can guide you every step of the way.

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Some ideas of places you can still visit this year.

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Costa Rica

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

December is a great time to visit Costa Rica. Here you will find one of South America’s largest cloud forests, Monteverde, with its evergreen canopies, exotic birds, butterflies and a host of other wildlife. There are numerous national parks and wildlife spotting opportunities, waterfalls, rain forests and volcanoes!

There really is so much to see and do here: visit Arenal Volcano, hike through the lava fields, go birdwatching, bathe in the hot springs, zip-lining and trekking through the rainforest.  This is an ideal place for a family holiday, and when you are feeling less adventurous you could spend time on the many beautiful beaches such as the golden sands of Manuel Antonio National Park.  Click here for your Costa Rica Adventure.

Picture Courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

Hawaii, USA

For some winter sun, Hawaii has it all. With its golden sands, turquoise waters and a tropical feel, you could have a very different Christmas this year, spent on the beach!

Take a trip out to see the whales and dolphins. Snorkelling is a popular activity here and a great place for this is the partially submerged volcanic creator off Maui’s southwest coast. Here there is a thriving coral reef with an array of marine life to spot.

On land you could hike Kauai’s forest trails to the hidden waterfalls, or go island hopping on a small plane for more adventure in the glorious winter sunshine.

Picture courtesy of Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau (IHVB) Kirk Lee Aeder

Picture courtesy of Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau (IHVB) Larry Marshall

 

 

Whistler, Canada

Picture courtesy of Destination BC – Blake Jorgenson

This very popular ski resort is definitely one for the ski lovers bucket list.  The snow is in abundance throughout the winter months, making the chalets look picturesque, with tree lined streets  and twinkling lights.

There are no end of activities to take part in such as, dog sledding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and hiking the trails up Blackcomb Mountain stopping off for a fondue dinner at the top.  Or on a Sunday night you can watch skiers and snowboarders pulling tricks with fire for a bit of live entertainment.

Picture courtesy of Destination BC – Blake Jorgenson

Picture courtesy of Destination BC – Blake Jorgenson

 

Vietnam

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Our winter is a popular time to visit South East Asia as there is very little rain and the days are sunny.  Stay at one of Vietnams beach resorts, surrounded by tropical rainforest and fishing boats hauled up on the beach, for a bit of relaxation.

See the water lilies and flower fields begin to bloom, which are then picked to decorate the temples and shrines.  Any cultural seeker would love Vietnam. It has a thousand-year-old civilisation and a fascinating history. Wander through the streets of the Hanoi Old Quarter or Hoi An Old Town to get a glimpse of the French architecture mixing with the ancient and modern temples. See one of our Vietnam bespoke itineraries.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Thinking about what to do for your next holiday then take a look at Triple Creek Ranch…

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Triple Creek Ranch is a truly gorgeous mountain hideaway and perfect for a special occasion – a luxury all-inclusive resort nestled in the Bitterroot Mountain Range of the Montana Rockies, close to border with Idaho. This year round resort, a member or the prestigious Relais & Chateaux collection, has an exceptional level of service, incorporating luxury private log cabin accommodation, fine dining and world class wines.

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Surrounded by incomparable scenery and wildlife, the ranch offers a wide range of activities from which to choose. In spring, the meadows are alive with wild flowers, in summer the sun-filled days are perfect for horseback riding, fishing, hiking, float trips and rafting. Autumn brings stunning fall colours – bright blue skies and crisp cool evenings. In winter, enjoy cross-country or Alpine skiing – just 30 minutes from the resort is the Lost Trail Powder Mountain Ski Resort – with an average yearly snowfall of 300 inches of powdery snow this is skiing without the long lift lines and crowds. Snowmobiling, snowshoeing or horseback riding through unspoiled snow-covered wilderness are also on offer. Then spend your evenings relaxing in front of a cozy fire.

 

Situated midway beteen Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, a stay at this fabulous ranch fits perfectly into a holiday to this stunning region.

 

Please contact us for more information.

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

 

Tips for choosing the Right Safari

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

 

Picture Courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture Courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safaris are a holiday that most people want to experience once in their lives. There are several things to think about before deciding on where and when you go on safari and the following are some of the questions to ask:

  • Choose your destination with care. You will be very disappointed if your favorite animal is a rarity in the country that you choose.
  • Check the right time of the year to go. Parts of Africa have heavy rain making getting around very difficult.
  • Choose a conservancy for an exclusive experience with wildlife and not fight for position with tour buses for a glimpse of a beleaguered animal. Many of the eco lodges have the benefit of being right in the bush with the wildlife passing right in front of your tent.
  • Stay longer in each destination for a fuller experience of that Park or Conservancy.
  • If you can afford it, fly between parks and camps. This particularly applies when the alternative could see you spending 6-8 hours on the road.
  • Choose accommodation that offers the authentic African experience with the wildlife and local people at the heart of its being.
  • Pick the right time of the year to see the migrations – animals, birds and whales. There is no guarantee with wildlife but there are norms.
  • Pack with the right safari clothes and do not pack too much. Many lodges and camps offer laundry facilities.
  • Read up about your chosen destination and ask someone who knows the area well for advise re the above.

That is all there is to it!

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Gorgeous Gorillas of Uganda

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Peter has been off on his travels again, this time he visited Uganda. Our local agents in Uganda, Great Lakes Safaris, are currently celebrating as the Mountain Gorilla’s status has now been moved from Critically Endangered to Endangered. This is thanks to conservation efforts from the wildlife authorities of Uganda and its neighboring countries Rwanda and Republic of Congo.

In 2008 the Mountain Gorilla population was about 680 individuals and now, as of November 2018, this has increased to over 1000 the highest ever recorded. So now is a better time than ever to visit Uganda and their Mountain Gorillas. Uganda is an amazing place and a wonderful holiday destination with so much to see, why not contact us and start your safari amongst the Gorillas? Peter will be sure to write up about the great tails from his trip and we look forward to sharing them with you all very soon.

Picture courtesy of Bethan Evans
Picture courtesy of Uganda Tourism UK

Winter Sun in Kenya

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

It has just been announced that Qatar Airways is offering flights to Mombasa via Doha at very reasonable prices. This makes some winter sunshine very affordable and the chance to add a short safari to your itinerary as well – speak to us about the choices or take a look at our suggested itinerary.

Mombasa and the Kenya coast has long been an option for a winter getaway and Qatar have just made it a destination to consider.

Photos courtesy of Peter Ellis

Around Zimbabwe

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Times are changing fast in Zimbabwe and tourism, which in the recent past has concentrated on the Victoria Falls area, but is now looking to expand across the whole country.

There is much to offer the traveller who has a love of Africa or those that want to visit before too many others arrive. While this itinerary concentrates on the wildlife areas of the country it can easily be built upon to include the cultural and historic side of a diverse and fascinating country.

Summary

Around Zimbabwe

 

Day 1:         Victoria Falls

Day 4:         Hwange National Park

Day 7:         Mana Pools

Day 10:      Bumi Hills/Lake Kariba

Day 12:       Victoria Falls

Description

Description

 

This itinerary gives you the highlights of what Zimbabwe has to offer from the scenery and wildlife point of view. We can easily ensure you have plenty of cultural and historic aspects of the country.

 

Day 1

With Victoria Falls International Airport recently refurbished and more major carriers flying in to it, getting to this town has become easier. On arrival transfer to your hotel either in or close to the town or consider one in a National Park along the Zambezi River.

Over the next couple of days, you will explore the Falls and involve yourselves in the activities that abound here. When in the year you go will determine what type of experience you will have at the Falls. At the end of the rainy season the Falls are in full flood and good soaking guaranteed. However, when the rate of flow drops so the adrenalin activities (such as white water rafting) begin.

Day 4

Transfer to your lodge deep in the Hwange National Park. For a really different way of getting half way there, consider taking the train that runs along one of the boundaries of the Park. There is something magical in sitting in an open sided carriage looking out for the wildlife and with a cool drink close to hand. Your lodge’s 4×4 will meet you at the station and give you a game drive as you head to your lodge.

The next couple of days will have you exploring this huge Park with some of the largest herds of elephants and sable antelopes in Southern Africa.

Day 7

Transfer to Mana Pools National Park on the border with Zambia brings you to one Africa’s most iconic and beautiful spots on the Zambezi River with excellent wildlife around. Getting there could be a long drive and the chance to see the country up close or catch a small plane direct to the Park – and a chance for a different view of Zimbabwe. The Long Pool offers large numbers of crocs and hippo with a host of games animals coming down to drink. This in turn brings in the predators. A true untouched African scene.

As well as being a World Heritage Site parts of the Park are a Ramsar Site so bird watching is at a premium. For the adventurous you can canoe on the Zambezi, join a lion tracking walk or consider a guided and even unguided walking (if you are comfortable with being in a true wilderness) tour.

Day 10

Transfer to the Bumi Hills alongside Lake Kariba. With time to unwind you can go fishing on the lake, make the most of the stunning views from your lodge overlooking the Lake. There is still plenty of wildlife and bird life around the Lake to keep you experiences going.

Day 12

Return to Victoria Falls and your homeward flights.

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Little Gems

Little Gems

Being a few yards from a full grown elephant and on foot (downwind), as you watch as he/she feeds from the bushes and trees.

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Coming Soon!

Uganda, new destination video

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Here is a short clip featuring a number of Uganda’s unique attractions including Murchison Falls, Kibale, Bwindi, Lake Mburo, Lake Albert and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Another and Quieter side to Tanzania

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Most people know about the plains of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater and the wildlife spectacle to found there. But there is so much more to explore in Tanzania and much of it is untouched and incredibly diverse.

If you would like to see and hear Africa at its unspoilt best then consider heading to places like the Gombe Stream National Park and walk in the footsteps the British primatologist, Jane Goodall, in search of the descendants of her favourite chimps – Frodo, Merlin and David Greybeard.

On the banks of Lake Tanganyika, the deepest lake in Africa, is Mahale National Park, another place to see primates such as chimps and Colobus monkeys in their natural habitat. End up on your own private beach to cool down and then around the camp fire with more stars above you than you could imagine.

Katavi National Park, Tanzania’s third largest Park, is ideal for the traveller looking for a truly remote experience away from regular tourist routes. In this park, you will find animals curious and unfamiliar to human contact. Herd sizes of buffalo and other plains animals are massive, often in the thousands and this in turn brings in good numbers of predators. With hardly anyone else around and a great lodge to retire to, you will feel like a true explorer.

For more details please contact us.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

More reasons to visit Namibia…

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Namibia is a destination that has so much to offer tourists, particularly if you like your wildlife, geology, spectacular scenery, sea life and adventure. With 4 different deserts, each with its own ecosystem that would keep most desert lovers happy.

But here are some new ideas for when you are there and a new camp on the Zambezi River in the Caprivi Strip.

Firstly, the Zambezi Mubala Camp and Lodge are located under tall, shady trees on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, about 40 km east of Katima Mulilo. Eight safari tents, equipped with four beds each, ensuite bathrooms, self-catering kitchens and verandas invite you to linger along the river. Traditional campers are also welcome to pitch their tents on one of the ten campsites with private sanitary facilities.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Guests to Zambezi Mubala Lodge are transferred by boat from Zambezi Mubala Camp to the lodge. As they are only allowed to do transfers on the Zambezi River during daytime, guests are kindly require to arrive at least one hour prior to sunset.

The next adventure gives you a bird’s eye view of the Namib Desert. As from 1 May 2018, the Namib Desert Lodge offers Powered Paragliding to its guests. The Gondwana Collection partnered with Wild Air Safaris to provide guests with an adventure of a lifetime. The 20-minute flights can be booked and paid directly at the Namib Desert Lodge and are subject to availability. Safety is our priority and flights are only offered on the motorized paragliding flights in perfect weather conditions.

Walking part of the Fish River Canyon (the World’s Second Largest Canyon).  On 20 April the 12 participants of this season’s first Klipspringer Trail made their way through the Fish River Canyon in the wilderness area north of the main viewing point. Luggage and equipment are conveyed between the overnight camps, so participants only need to pack water and snacks for the day’s hike. Each overnight camp offers cooking and bathroom facilities. The self-guided Canyon Klipspringer Trail (4 nights/3 days) covers altogether 30km, hikers are equipped with a detailed map.

For fuller details or to learn more about Namibia, please contact us.

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

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