Best Safaris in Africa cont……

  1. – Gorilla Trekking in Uganda & Rwanda

    With less than 800 mountain gorillas left in the world, seeing some of these magnificent, intelligent creatures is a must for an African safari tour. Even though you only get to spend an hour with a gorilla family per trek, the excitement of getting close to such huge, gentle but wild animals is a thrill few get to experience.

    When visiting gorillas there are two main things that need to be understood;

    Firstly, the gorilla trekking fees are expensive but when taken in context, it just seems that it is a bargain at the price. Here my math background comes to the fore, so bear with me. There are 10 habituated families in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, eight permits per day are allowed per family, making it 80 permits per day and at the current cost of USD1500 per permit, this amounts to USD 120 000 per day. This money is used to maintain the park, its roads and infrastructure, its boundaries, pay the staff, share the spoils with the surrounding villages so that they benefit and are incentivised to protect rather than destroy the gorillas. Should the gorillas wonder into the villages and destroy their crops, the villages need to be compensated. All this on USD 120 000 per day (assuming all the spots are full every day).

    Secondly, the issue of permits is on a first come, first serve basis. All the slots for one family are filled before booking for the next family starts. These permits are booked well in advance and there is no way to predict whether the family will be close to or far away from the starting station. This may mean that for some people a trip of a couple of hours over a bumpy road followed by a trek into the forest that could be anything from a few minutes to several hours is in the offing. For this reason, a reasonable level of fitness is required. It is however possible, in extreme cases, for a visitor to be carried through the forest on a rudimentary stretcher to visit the gorilla family. This is quite an expensive exercise, but possible.

    Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are the two other places that gorilla trekking can be experienced. The only two locations in the world are the Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest in Uganda and the Virunga range of mountains that spans Rwanda and the DRC. Due to the current fighting and Ebola outbreak, we do not recommend trips to the DRC, only safaris to Uganda and Rwanda.

    Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

    Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

    Is gorilla trekking better in Rwanda or Uganda?

    It is often asked which is better, Uganda or Rwanda and the answer is the experience in both is almost identical. Having said that several issues will help you decide which option you would prefer. The permits in Uganda are currently US$ 700 but getting to the Bwindi area in the far south-west of the country is more expensive and if you are driving it takes a full day to get there. Volcanoes National Park is only a two-hour drive on good roads from Kigali in Rwanda, so access is quicker and less costly. The add-on safari options in Uganda are many a varied and include Queen Elizabeth National Park, Semuliki National Park and Murchison Falls (to name a few) while it is only really Akagera in Rwanda that works as an elegant add-on to a gorilla safari in that country.

    Fun Fact: Some gorillas in captivity have managed to learn sign language.

  2. – Desert Adapted Rhino and Elephant of Namibia

    Desert adapted black rhino and calf

    Desert adapted black rhino and calf

    When speaking of African safari tours, very few can compare with trekking the desert adapted rhino or elephant of the Damaraland and Kaokaland regions of Namibia, collectively known as the Kunene region. What is less well-known is that there are also desert adapted lions that frequent this area as well.

    When referring to the desert adapted rhino, we are referring to a black rhino in particular. These rhinos can be told apart from other black rhino as their horns are slightly longer and thinner than their cousins. They are also for the most part solitary with the exception being mother a calf who can be seen together for about 2 years. With a range of about 500km² in an area just smaller than Belgium, you will have to work for your sighting, but this is what makes and Africa safari tour so special.

    Desert adapted elephant against the backdrop of the barren mountains

    Desert adapted elephant against the backdrop of the barren mountains

    The desert adapted elephant are not a separate species but have adapted certain characteristics to cope with the harsh environment they live in. They, on the whole, weigh less, have longer legs, wider feet and destroy less trees than their savannah counterparts. The family groupings are also smaller.

    The desert adapted elephants get their water from the vegetation they eat and the waterholes in the region. Waterholes are often great distances apart, so the elephants have adapted to be able to survive for several days without water. This is in stark contrast to their adult cousins that need in the region of 150 to 180 liters of water per day.

    Desert adapted lion walking along the dunes

    Desert adapted lion walking along the dunes

    A small population of desert adapted lions live in the northern Namib Desert of Namibia. It is the only place in the world where lions naturally occur against the background of sand dunes or on a beach. The harsh conditions, extreme heat during the day and cold nights, barren gravel plains and mountains and looming dunes have forced these lions to adapt their feeding habits, patterns and ranges to survive.

    Occasionally some of these lions are seen on the Skeleton Coast and have been known to kill seals. Other food sources are birds, porcupine and oryx.

    Their wide ranges inevitably bring them into conflict with the human populations of the area where easy prey in the form of cattle, donkeys and sheep are available. It is an ongoing battle to manage these situations and preserve the last vestiges of these uniquely adapted beasts.

    Fun Fact: Desert adapted rhino are nocturnal in order to miss the heat of the day.

  3. – Lemurs of Madagascar

    lemurs
    The most famous of all lemurs is King Julien of Madagascar movie fame. Contrary to the character in the movie, lemurs have very few pretensions and are as unique an ingredient in an African safari tour as you are likely to find. Occurring only in Madagascar and a few in the Comoros, over 100 species of lemur range from big to small.

    The biggest is the Indri which can grow to be just short of a metre tall and 15 kgs in weight. The smallest lemur is Berthe’s mouse lemur which is about 9 cm tall and reaches a whapping 30g in weight. The rarest of the lemurs is the northern sportive lemur of which there are only about 50 individuals left.

    The largest and smallest of the lemur species

    The largest and smallest of the lemur species

    Lemurs have TWO tongues. Under the main tongue is a smaller, tougher tongue used for grooming and they can be used independently of each other. A lemur can be manipulating food into its mouth while grooming its friend.
    Lemurs are important pollinators of the forests in Madagascar. They live in troops and do what all normal holiday makers do, eat, groom and sunbathe. The small species are nocturnal and the larger species diurnal (active both day and night).

    Lemurs are among the most endangered species’ in the world so make a plan in the near future to go on an Africa safari trip to see these incredible primates.

    Fun Facts: Lemurs do not hang by their tails; some may hibernate and the male lemur with the smelliest tail becomes the dominant male of the troop.

Although Africa has 30 500km of coastline, it is not its magnificent beaches that Africa is most well-known for. Africa is the world’s premier safari destination. I have been very fortunate to have go on hundreds of safari drives and I still learn something on almost every drive. Going on safari is a bug that once it has bitten it has no cure, Africa gets into your blood.
Read more

It is time to start planning your next holiday. Where do you go this year? The choices are endless. After much debate, because you want to experience something different, you have narrowed down your options to a safari in Africa or a trip to the Far East. I have done both, and here is why I would choose an African tour:

My time is precious, and I need to rest. I would also like to get away from the hustle and bustle, and spend some time watching the sun go down with a cocktail in hand, surrounded by the sounds of nature and very little else. There is only one choice: an African tour.

Here is why I love Africa:

Safaris in Africa are unique, exciting, and wild. Few things are more exciting than being a couple of metres from a fully grown lion, or pride of lions; having an elephant inspect your safari vehicle, so close that you could almost touch it; hearing the thunder of thousands upon thousands of hooves and the splashes as wildebeest dive into the swollen river; or the silent stare of a magnificent buffalo bull. These are experiences that nothing other than an African tour can offer.

Luxury safaris in Africa generally come with a lot of eating, morning tea/coffee and snacks, breakfast, game drive snacks, lunch, high tea, sundowner snacks, and dinner. This is normally combined with early morning and afternoon/night safari drives, wilderness walks, and just lazing in your air-conditioned room or at the pool during the heat of the day, experiencing the sounds of the African bush. As the sun sets on the African savannah, you stand with drink in hand and experience the quietness that no city can offer. This is my Africa.

For those that are a bit more adventurous, a walking safari, in my opinion is the ultimate African tour experience. The thrill of walking amongst the animals of Africa, being almost one with them and nature, reminds me of what life used to be like in Africa. The slow pace of walking allows you to breathe in the wild air, stop to smell the African bush, and casually observe the animals in their natural state, all while getting a little exercise to boot. The guides on these safaris are the best, and are well-trained, and it is more likely that you will be mowed down by a car in a city than be attacked by a wild animal.

An African tour, however, is not only about safari. Africa has so much more to offer. It has some of the world’s most endangered species, including the mountain Gorillas of Rwanda and Uganda. It is a life-changing experience to stand within a few metres of a 195 kg male gorilla and looking into its liquid brown eyes, eyes that portray an intelligence not often associated with wild animals. Instead of holding hands with your significant other, hold hands with a furry chimpanzee. This is my Africa.

Hike up iconic Table Mountain, scale the mighty Drakensberg, trek up Mount Kilimanjaro or Mount Kenya, or walk to the crater rim of an extinct volcano. These are just a few of the options you have to see Africa from a bird’s point of view. Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro, and some of the other peaks in Africa are permanently covered in ice, which is counter-intuitive with the warm, African climate, but adds a dimension not often associated with an African tour.

One of my favourite places on earth is the Okavango Delta. There is a peacefulness and calmness that descends unawares on you when visiting this unique part of Africa. Besides the animals that are always in attendance, gliding in a canoe (mokoro) on the calm waters of the channels, surrounded by huge reed beds, is a chance to experience the gentleness, stillness, and beauty that remote Africa offers in spades. The call of a bird, a distant grunt of a hippo, the splash of a fish, or the sound of a bell frog’s call are but a few of the memories you will carry with you from this special place. This is my Africa.

Africa is home to some of the world’s biggest and best rivers. The Nile, the longest river in the world, starts in Lake Victoria (Uganda) and Ethiopia, and travels 6650 km to the Mediterranean Sea. The Victoria Falls, on the mighty Zambezi, is the world’s biggest waterfall by volume. It plunges 108 m over a span of 1,7 km in a magnificent display of power and beauty.

The mist from the spray can be seen for kilometres around. The river is the focus of an enormous number of adventure activities, including the best white-water rafting in the world and one of the highest bungee jumps in the world at 111 m. The Mara River is the scene of the largest animal migration in the world. Needing to cross the mighty river, at the time that it is flooded, hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, zebra, and Thompson’s gazelles brave the floods and the world’s largest crocodiles to see whether the grass is indeed greener on the side. The Okavango River ends in the desert sands of Botswana, not before filling the best inland delta in the world. These are just a few of the options on your African tour.

Arguably the best destination in Africa is Cape Town. With Table Mountain dominating most views in Cape Town, it is both beautiful and unique. Cape Town is also a mixing pot of cultures, a culinary destination in its own right, a center for culture and art, as well as just plain exciting. Set in the part of the Western Cape that boasts some of the world’s best wine farms, producing award-winning wines, Cape Town and surrounds can keep you busy for a week of more. Cape Town is part of the Cape Floral Region, which comprises 1% of the area of Africa, but boasts 20% of its floral species. Combine Cape Town with the scenically beautiful Garden Route, and you have a holiday of note. This is my Africa.

These are just a few highlights for you to consider on your African tour, and I did not intend for it to be an exhaustive list. Africa is a destination that will take a lifetime or more to explore and experience. Africa is, however, a challenge to travel in, and it is advised to get an African travel expert to help you plan your trip. An Africa expert will help you get the most out of your trip and provide you with options you may not otherwise have thought of. I truly hope that you will consider an African tour for your next holiday.

You are planning a holiday to Africa in the next few years and you have to decide where to go. Wow! not an easy choice, as Africa has so much variety to offer. You may want to revise your travel plans to include several trips to Africa.

We assume that you want to travel to Africa to experience its unique wildlife and culture, wild beauty, and variety of scenery, and to get away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. If this is the case, Africa is definitely for you.

My first choice will undoubtedly be the Okavango Delta in Botswana. This unique inland delta, with its reed-lined waterways that wind between a myriad of islands, offers peace and quiet that is seldom found elsewhere. When the rest of Southern Africa is dry and stark, the Okavango Delta flood is at its height, offering an abundance of water, the lifeblood of the wildlife that move into the area at this time.

Besides the peace and tranquility, watching the sunset over the mirror-like lagoons from your luxury lodge, gliding along the water channels in your mokoro on your game boat trip, or while on a walking safari is the stuff that memories are made of. With game drives, mokoro excursions, boating and walking safaris, fishing, and birdwatching, the Okavango Delta needs at least four days for you to sample all it has to offer. We strongly suggest that you combine your trip to the Okavango Delta with the magnificent Victoria Falls, the famous Chobe National Park with its huge herds of Buffalo and Elephant, and perhaps the Makgadikgadi Pans – the largest salt pans in the world.

Crossing the Mara River is not for the faint-hearted

The ground rumbles, the clouds of dust come ever closer, the snorting of hundreds of thousands of animals reach your ears, and you know that you are about to witness one of the wonders of the natural world. The annual Wildebeest migration of about 1.8 million individuals, accompanied by half a million Thompson’s Gazelles, and the accompanying entourage of predators and other antelope takes place in the Serengeti ecosystem between the middle of June and the beginning October.

The famous river crossings of the Grumeti and Mara Rivers conjure up scenes of giant crocodiles leaping out of the water, with wildebeest firmly held in their strong jaws. Of the two rivers, the Mara River offers up the most spectacular scenes, and is best seen in the northern Serengeti in Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya. The migration is not static, so it is essential that you plan your trip carefully, so as not to miss this wonder that mother nature has dished up. After bouncing around the bush in your safari vehicle, relax on one of the beaches of the Zanzibar, Pemba, Fanjove, or Mafia islands.

Gorilla Tracking in Uganda, Bwindi

Gorilla Tracking in Uganda, Bwindi

From the hectic scramble of the wildebeest to survive another year to the gentle brown eyes of the Mountain Gorilla, a change of pace may be just what the doctor ordered. Hidden in the lush forests of Uganda and Rwanda, these gentle giants live in families in a small part of Africa that was set aside to protect them. It is an experience of a lifetime to spend an hour with a gorilla family, to watch them play, eat, and interact with each other. If you are really fortunate, they may decide that you are interesting and come closer to inspect the strange two-legged creatures that smell funny.

Relaxing after a day’s walking in the South Luangwa

Swap your safari vehicle for your own two legs on a walking safari in wild Africa. Few experiences rival a walking safari in the South Luangwa, home of the walking safari. While some safaris take you back to nature completely with dome tents and meals cooked on an open fire, there are more genteel options where you walk from lodge to lodge and enjoy the comforts of a luxury lodge each night. Whichever floats your boat, there is something for everyone. The opportunity to see nature eye-to-eye will create memories that your grandchildren should hear about.

It seems like such a travesty to have to choose from Africa’s many captivating travel options, but you have to start somewhere and then visit Africa again and again and again and …….

Robin Pope

South Luangwa Wildlife Safari

Zambia 8 Day/7 night South Luangwa Safari 2 nights Luangwa River Lodge/Nkwali, 3 nights Tena Tena & 2 nights Nsefu Includes: •Return flights Johannesburg to Lusaka on SAA incl airport taxes •Return light aircraft transfers…
Majete Game ReserveRobin Pope

Best of Malawi Bush & Beach

Malawi 12 Day/11 night Malawi Bush & Beach 1 night Lilongwe, 3 nights Majete, 3 nights Liwonde & 4 nights Lake Malawi Includes: •Return flights Johannesburg to Lilongwe on SAA incl airport taxes •One way road transfer…

4 Days Victoria Falls Livingstone

Zambia Stanley Safari Lodge 5* Includes: •Return flights from Johannesburg to Livingstone on BA in G Class •Return road transfers airport to lodge •4 nights at Stanley Safari Lodge with all meals, bar, guided tour of the Falls (Zambian…

12 Day Selous, Ruaha & Island Safari

Tanzania 12 Day/11 night Tanzania South & Lazy Lagoon Island 3* 1 night Dar es Salaam, 3 nights Selous, 3 nights Ruaha & 4 nights island Includes: •Return road transfers Dar es Salaam to hotel •1 night at Double Tree by…

9 Day Classic Migration Safari

Tanzania 9 Day/8 night Classic migration safari [usr 4 text="false"] 1 night Arusha, 3 nights Ngorongoro & 4 nights Serengeti Includes: •Road transfers Kilimanjaro/Arusha/Arusha Airport, return Manyara Airstrip to The Highlands/return…

9 Day Best of the Kruger

South Africa 8 night Best of Kruger [usr 5 text="false"] 3 nights Madikwe, 2 nights Sabi Sands & 3 nights Timbavati Includes: •Light aircraft transfers JNB/Kruger/Timbavati •Light aircraft transfer Sabi Sands to Kruger Mpumalanga…

Africa is a varied continent. It is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world. It is a dream safari destination that rewards even the most adventurous with its numerous fascinating tourist wonders and mind-blowing attractions.

However, the increased exposure of Africa to both the African and tourists from other continents boosted Africa travel experiences but has also pushed up the cost of travel. Q2 Travel gives you a few Africa budget travel tips to help you negotiate your way out in Africa.

Africa Budget Travel TipsGetting There

Getting to Africa can be one of your greatest travel expenses. The sooner you can book your flight the cheaper it will be. There are many discount airlines to Africa so do your research to find the cheapest one. Keep in mind that traveling in Africa is characteristically adventurous; there are also more popular times. If you are traveling in the tourist season, or during a long weekend or festival, cheap flights will tend to sell out a lot faster. If you can’t seem to find a reasonable flight price try changing your dates. Even by just a few days can help. Flights are generally more expensive during special season particular Christmas and end of the year. On arrival, you should have a visa/passport to the airport and, respect and check all visa rules with your travel agency.

Best Time To Travel

The climate of Africa ranges from tropical to subarctic on its highest peaks. Know the appropriate time of the year for your travel to your destinations of choice. Find out the busiest travel period, what you need to carry, and the season of the event or activities you would like to see. Do an online search about the weather of your destination before deciding when to set off.

Budget Accommodation

It is very important to plan your stay correctly to enjoy your Africa holiday to the full. Again booking ahead is paramount. It guarantees you what you want. Africa has several types of accommodation ranging from hotels, guest houses, bush lodges, spas, bed and breakfasts, tented camps, boat houses, game lodges to name but a few. Good hotels at good rates go quickly. If you don’t want to book in advance then be prepared to be patient. Guest houses and lodges are very popular for Africa safaris. The further away from a city centre and tourist sites the cheaper accommodation gets. When choosing your hotel, consider access, security and available facilities. First, trust the venue before putting yourself in vulnerable situations.

Eating Out

Saving money on food when traveling can be the most difficult part. You want to eat well and save money at the same time. Experiencing different cultural foods can be one of the best parts of traveling. Try and keep your eating habits at bay. Choose to go to the grocery store to buy at once is also perfect. Buy bread and make sandwiches in your hotel room before heading out for the day. Of course, you will still want to dine out and enjoy the African cuisines; we recommend that you make sure you set a budget for dining out so that you know how often you can afford to do so and what you can have.

Getting Around

In all honesty, public transport in Africa isn’t very reliable. Booking an organised tour can be very economical and convenient. It is best to speak to an experienced Africa tour operator like Q2 Travel to get the best service possible within your budget.

In Conclusion

Traveling to Africa for an adventure holiday can be both inexpensive and extremely exciting. Depending on the availability of money, decide on a budget and time frame that will suit your travel and plan ahead.