Rwanda – Uganda 6 days

Day 1
Met on arrival at airport and transfer to Kigali. Briefing on your safari. After lunch, depart for PNV at 2pm. The journey north goes through the beautiful terraced hillsides that characterise much of Rwanda’s landscape, gradually climbing to the base of the awesome Virunga volcanoes, sometimes with as many as five peaks visible. O/N: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge [FB].
 
Day 2
Go gorilla tracking in Parc National des Volcans (subject to permit availability at the time of booking). Tracking the gorillas through the light mountain forest on the slopes of the Virungas is a magical experience. If you are lucky you can get to the gorillas, spend an hour with them, and be back at the base in time for a late lunch! Some gorilla families however are more elusive and tracking can take a full day, especially when it is wet and muddy. O/N: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge/ La Palme Hotel  [FB].
 
Day 3
Either go gorilla tracking again in Parc National des Volcans (on payment of supplement at time of booking), or visit the golden monkeys or drive to Gisenyi, visit Ross Carr’s orphanage and Lake Kivu or climb the Visoke/Muhavura volcanoes, or trek to Dian Fossey’s grave, or visit the local school, community projects or walk to Lake Bulera. O/N: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge/ La Palme Hotel  [FB]. .
 
Day 4
In the morning either relax or walk near the Lodge, visit the golden monkeys or trek to Dian Fossey’s grave. After lunch transfer to Uganda [Clocks go forward one hour]. O/N: Clouds Lodge   [FB].
 
Day 5
Either go gorilla tracking again, this time in Nkuringo (on payment of supplement at time of booking), or go Bird watching. O/N Clouds Lodge  [FB].
 
Day 6
Leave for Kigali in Rwanda. [Clocks go back one hour]. Time permitting, go for a tour of the city including a visit to the market, pottery project, handicraft shops, the Franco-Rwandan cultural centre and the genocide memorial. Transfer to the airport [HB].
Sharon C
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Dream destination in Kenya

Nairobi National Park is the only city in the world which neighbors a natural game protection area, harboring more than 100 species of mammals. The park borders the traditional South Kapiti Plains and Kitengela Migration Corridor and attracts a range of exciting game. It is a seasonal park but most of the game, like the indigenous Black Rhino, lives in the park all year round. Herds of plains zebra, wildebeest and eland enter the park during the great migration in July and August to enjoy the rich grazing until the next rains come.

However in recent years a unique trend has been recorded with increasing frequency. A cheetah has successfully raised seven cubs in the park to the delight of local and international visitors. The park is an ideal starting point for ornithological safaris, with more than 400 species of birds that suite your dream safari in Kenya.

Nairobi National Park was Kenya’s first ever national park. Its golden anniversary occurs in 1997. It is here that Kenya’s President Daniel Arap Moi’s torched ivory worth Kshs. 60 million, in a dramatic display of Kenya’s commitment to curbing the slaughter of Africa’s elephants for their tusks. The site is near the main gate of the park and bears a commemorative plaque with the striking words “Great objectives often require great sacrifices.” Since then, the great bonfire has been lit twice to banish confiscated stocks of poached rhino horn and ivory.

There is no accommodation within the park, but Nairobi offers a wide selection of excellent accommodation to suit all visitor preferences and pockets. Many other tourist attractions are located close to the park, making it an ideal one-day trip venue.

 

Masai Mara Wildlife Updates!

The wildebeests makes a dramatic come-back in the Mara.

The wildebeest have made another dramatic come back into Masai Mara. For sometimes, earlier in the month we were uncertain of their movement since most had started going back into northern Serengeti. The current dry spell experienced in the region is widespread therefore all plains in the Mara and Serengeti are dry. This made the wildebeests to start  heading north into the Mara again, where though still dry, still has some fresh water which is a commodity lacking in most of Serengeti. Right now all the plains south of the Talek River are full of wildebeests and zebras. The crossing points on the Mara River just below lookout hill are places to be now as many animals cross the River west into the Mara triangle. In just a few days, the concentration in the south of the reserve swelled to an enormous number. Most of these herds have made a complete cycle in the past two weeks. They moved from the eastern part of the river, crossed west onto the Mara Triangle, then south into northern Serengeti and east from there before re-entering the Mara around the Sand River gate exactly as they did in July when they first came. In fact everything now is just like at the beginning. There is a higher concentration on Burrungat, central and Metaplains. The westward bound herds have spread out on the central plains again and some herds have started crossing the Mara Rivernear look out hill. The animals are crossing over into the Mara triangle just as before and others heading north with the first ones now around central plains. Most of the herds here have settled temporarily on the plains in these areas, even though the grass is dry. On Saturday, we had some rains have played a crucial role in the sprouting of the grass. The crossing points in the north around paradise plains have been teeming with activities, with the animals crossing over the Mara triangle.

looking back, the current migration scenario is similar to what I documented in October 2006, when the wildebeests delayed going back to Serengeti due to drought. They kept going back and forth between the Mara and north Serengeti

 NB:

I still have places for the photographic safari to south Serengeti as per details on my previous post below. If you are interested, kindly get in touch by mid next month since we have to firmly reserve accommodation due to high demand in the camps in south Serengeti.

 http://paul-kirui.blogspot.com/2014/07/wildebeests-calving-season-photographic.html

 The wildebeests making a come back to the Mara last week.

The map of the Mara showing the recent movement of the wildebeests between the Mara and Serengeti

Kenya Birding safaris

Kenya destination is not only made of wildlife but also various birds’ species. These varieties of birds in Kenya are made possible by the favorable climate, diverse habitats and geographical features that make it a suitable migratory route for birds. Among the famous destination for birds include Kakamega forest, Lake Nakuru which has millions of flamingoes, Pelicans, Marabou stork among other bird species.

Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, it has more than 600 resident and migratory bird species are found; more than in any other capital city, and more than in most countries. One could just enjoy the storks flying across the blue sky as he or she relaxes in the beauty of city. The giant Marabou Storks, a frequent visitor to the city, now nests on the acacia trees along the streets giving you a nice capture as you relax in the city centre.

Other famous attraction includes the dry-country parks of Tsavo or Samburu, the western grasslands of the Maasai Mara, one of the Rift Valley lakes or one of the highland forests, will produce a long and varied bird list making ones to experience the magical of Kenya

However, every destination site is known for its unique birds as like in western Kenya, Kakamega Forest is a little patch of Guineo-Congolian rainforest in Kenya. Among the many rainforest species found are spectacular Turaco and Hornbills.

The famous Masai Mara has remain to be home to migratory and non migratory birds for a decades of years and this have remain to attract tourists year round. Among the birds found in the Masai Mara include: Bastards, Starlings, Stork, Vultures, Ostriches, Eagles, Spa wings, Lilac rollers among others.

http://www.soinafricasafaris.com

Sharon C

Kenya awarded Kshs 18million equipment secured to support Night Vision in protecting Kenya wildlife

A nice move as Kenya Wildlife Service has received a significant boost in its fight against poaching with a pledge of Kshs. 17.8million (US $ 210,000) towards the purchase of night vision equipment that will be used to enhance the protection of wildlife in their natural ecosystem. 

The support was made to the KWS team while attending the recently concluded 2014 Smithsonian Folk Festival – Kenya Mambo Poa in Washington DC. The night vision equipment which has high performance capability will enable the KWS rangers to “own the night” as they patrol within the perimeter of the parks thus poaching will going to be a thing of the past in Kenya destination.

The pledges were made by the Wood and Tiger Foundation Kshs 5.5million (US $ 64,000), Pegasus Foundation Kshs 3.8million (US $ 45,000), and Wild Cat Foundation through Animal Welfare Institute will provide Kshs. 8.5million (US $ 100,000) to enable Kenya  rangers monitor the anti-poaching which have been come rampant in  most of Kenya attractions sites.

http://www.soinafricasafaris.com

NOTCH, THE ONLY OFFICIAL KING IN KENYA MASAI MARA SAFARIS

 
All the great features of the Mara are special in their own way. They are natural and unmovable. They are ever present, ever striking and forever talked about and cherished by generations, ancient, recent and present. The plains, the elevated grounds, the rivers and the annual longest distance and most massive marathon on earth; the wildebeest migration are the phenomena upon which spectacular images have been shot and jaw-dropping stories put down.
This is just the little we know for the little time we roam the vastness of the world’s most talked about land. But perhaps Notch, the King of Mara knows, beyond what we see about the drama that unfolds on the ground all night and all day. This King owns the Mara, it breeds into it and puts life to where it has been taken away or where it has never been.
Being the most prominent cat of Kenya’s Masai Mara, and the most popular lion in the region, he is an official public figure.

And Notch’s Legacy Roars on.

He is influential, resistant, tough, energetic, protective and a mascot of pride and territorial control. You would forgive him for his ruthlessness to the enemy when you meet him and see his macho figure, the handsomeness in his eyes, his undiluted mane, and so greatly his brood of boys that he is endowing Mara to so that they may by his orders protect and breed into it like he solemnly did in the light and in the dark of his heyday, so that when he is no more the brilliance of his lamp lives on.
He protects his sons and they protect him. His polygamous lifestyle takes him to every inch of the reserve, to inspect his territory, to reassure his big girls and to cuddle his adorable brood. To the lions of Masai Mara waiting on the queue, Notch has lived a long life. But to the tour guides, game rangers and tourists who called him by name, the big cat film makers and to the authors, Notch has lived a short life full of bliss, pride, dominance and a self acquired legacy.
This uncommon public figure, has roared his way into the big channels of the globe, bitten his path to the awesome records in the diaries of the Big Cats and leaped his road ahead of many other lions and brought to himself an empire. He has made friends in Africa his home place, Asia where he is fondly remembered, Australia where his images lie, South America where his stories are told this minute, North America where a film of him is on, Europe where he is widely saluted and probably in heaven where he was sent from.
When he is gone, if he is gone, if he ever goes, his force in the shadows and dreams of those who watched him in documentaries, read of him in books or heard of him in verbal tales shall be represented by the multitude of his living effects today. The consequences of his existence when he goes to rest shall be seen on his tracks and the strong scent of the thick skin of the life he excellently lived. When the living lions imagine, dream or remember the vibration his roar caused across the Mara, they will tremble with the nostalgia of his majestic legacy.
http://www.soinafricasafaris.com

South Serengeti Safaris 2015

Safari profile
This safari is specifically for great photographic opportunity of calving wildebeests, our camp is located in Ndutu, an area famed for extraordinary wildlife! Huge concentrations of the great migration often gather in this area from late December through March as it is the wildebeest calving season when 400,000 wildebeest calves are born. This incredible concentration of potential prey leads to very high densities of predators and the area and season is unmatched for the potential to observe start to finish hunts. Ndutu is exceptional for cheetah and has proven to be quite a nursery area to raise their young cubs. Lions and spotted hyena are also very common and frequently observed hunting. There is a great diversity of habitats with expansive plains, great marshes, lakes, and woodlands. Full day trips can be made to other rich areas such as Gol Kopjes, Central Serengeti, Kusini Plains, Moru Kopjes, and the Kakesio Plains to the south.
These trips will be lead by Paul Kirui who is a photographer and tour leader for many years. he will work with the drivers on the ground to give you the best photographic opportunity. You will be provided with bean bags for camera support in each vehicle. I can also avail some other kinds of mounts for cameras.

Day 1: 10th February 2015
Pickup from Kilimanjaro Airport and transferred by road to your camp at Ngorongoro crater (3hrs)depending on time of arrival, just spend the evening relaxing in your camp as you watch the sun set over the western rim of the crater.
NB: We will arrange for your regional flight from Nairobi, if your international flight arrives and depart from Jomo Kenyatta airport. We will also arrange hotel if you are arriving a day earlier or previous evening

Day 2: 11th February 2015
wake up at 6.00am, and after breakfast, depart camp at 7.00am for a whole day game viewing in the crater with packed lunch. the drive offers great photographic opportunities. You will have lunch at the crater floor. Head back to camp in late afternoon, to allow time to relax after a long day and watch the sunset beyond the western side of the crater.

Day 3: 12th February 2015
Wake up at 6.30am, depart camp after breakfast at 7.00am and drive towards Ndutu area where your next camp is situated. You will be game driving en-route, to arrive at camp by lunch time, where after lunch, you will have a short rest then depart for your afternoon game drive at 3.30pm. afternoon game drives in this location will provide you with perfect opportunities for photography as you follow the predators and observe them in action. you will return to the camp in the evening

Day 4- 7: 13th-16th February 2014
Wake up every day at 6.00am and prepare to leave camp by 6.30am for half day of great game and photographic opportunity. you will have packed breakfast which you will enjoy on the plains of Ndutu among thousands of wildebeests, most of which have just given birth (or even in the process of)

Day 8: 17th February 2015
On this day you will wake up as usual, have breakfast at camp at 6.30am then depart camp by 7.00am for drive to Arusha then Kilimanjaro airport. it will take about 4-5hrs. you will have lunch either in Arusha or at a restaurant at the airport, depending on your flight schedule. Those most flights to Nairobi leaves around 2.30pm (In case you are catching your international flight from Nairobi)
NB: We may have to adjust the time of departing Ndutu area depending on flight schedule
(Itinerary for group 2 starts from 18th to 25th February, with everything as with group1)

Paul Kirui
Photographer & Tour leader
http://paulkirui-photography.com
http://paul-kirui.blogspot.com

email: paul.safariguide@gmail.com