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Bushtracks' African Safaris Blog

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda: A Mother & Daughter Adventure

Posted by Samantha Barbitta

Apr 18, 2014 4:05:00 PM

 2010_Kenya_011Samantha Barbitta, Rwanda 2010. Photo Credit: Samantha Barbitta


By Samantha Barbitta
Bushtracks' Safari Specialist,
Independent Travel

Very few mothers and daughters share the experience that my mom and I did in March 2010 when she joined me on Bushtracks' safari in Rwanda to go gorilla trekking. We were in Rwanda for 3 nights and 4 days, with one gorilla trek, before connecting on to our safari in Kenya.

We arrived in Kigali off our international flight, and enjoyed a recovery night before being met by our private guide the next morning. He made sure we saw all the city’s highlights in the morning, the most notable being the genocide memorial. Although we came to Rwanda to see mountain gorillas, the genocide memorial’s self-guided tour through photography, video, and most poignantly, the tattered clothes and belongings of the victims, made a very strong impression on us.

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Topics: Trips to Africa, Chimpanzees, Gorilla Trekking Safari

Across East and Southern Africa by Private Jet

Posted by Elizabeth Donahey

Apr 17, 2014 4:10:00 PM


Across East and Southern Africa by Private Jet

Northbound - August 11-26, 2015 OR Southbound - August 20-September 4, 2015

David-TettAn Interview with Bushtracks Founder and President, David Tett

What is the inspiration for this 16 day journey
across Eastern and Southern Africa?

The Great Rift Valley inspired this program. It is Africa’s wild heart: migrating herds, big cats, magnificent vistas and human origins. So in the most general sense, this program combines the highlights of Eastern and Southern Africa which top our travelers’ “must-see” list: the Okavango Delta and Kalahari Desert in Botswana; Victoria Falls in Zambia; the Great Migration of the Serengeti in Tanzania; and the anthropological and cultural treasures of Ethiopia. It offers in one sweeping adventure what many of our guests take 2 or even 3 separate trips to Africa to discover. But, perhaps more interestingly, it connects these seemingly distinct destinations, and the people and wildlife that call them home, into a geological story going back 30 million years.

p._12_hot-air-balloon-safari-Kulala-Desert-Lodge-Sossusvlei-Namibia_(12)Soussusvlei, Namibia

What makes this expedition-style journey different from other Bushtracks safaris?

Four things set this safari apart from our custom safari programs. First, the 16 day duration is longer than our average safari – but necessary to capture the sense of the 3,000 mile long Great African Rift! Second, we’ll fly by private jet and bush planes throughout which offers excellent “flight-seeing” in addition to personalized care, while minimizing long road transfers.


Plus, our bush flights will take you directly to your remote safari lodge’s door step. Third, the trip is designed to give you a true insider-experience with perspectives from your African-based expedition leader, hand-picked experts on a range of topics at every stop, and even me and Carolyn at a stunning camp perched in the rocky kopjes of the Serengeti. Last, unlike our custom programs, this journey departs on two set departure dates (August 11, 2015 or August 20, 2015) with a maximum of 24 guests. Shown left: Okavango Delta, Botswana

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Topics: The Serengeti, Trips to Eastern Africa, African Trips and Tours, Best African Travel Destinations, The Great Migration, Safaris By Private Jet

Africa's Finest by David Bristow and Colin Bell

Posted by Elizabeth Donahey

Apr 17, 2014 2:27:00 PM


Africa's Finest by David Bristow and Colin Bell

Africa's Finest (Hardcover) by David Bristow and Colin Bell was published in December 15, 2013 - A stunning perspective of the most sustainable and responsible safari destinations in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands. Africa's Finest is the game-changing book that celebrates the lodges and camps in Africa that are making a difference: those practicing environmentally friendly and sustainable tourism methods while providing world class safari and nature experiences. Explore this book here on http://africasfinest.co.za/ Also available on Amazon


david-bristow-africa-1David Bristow is also a guest blogger and Bushtracks' Specialist Guide based in Cape Town, South Africa. Read his latest article "Insiders Cape Town" on our blog here.

"Still so many mountains to climb, still so many books to write," says nature and environmental writer David Bristow.

Stints on Johannesburg’s two biggest circulating dailies – The Star and The Sowetan – following a double honors degree in Journalism and Speech and Drama at Rhodes University – made him realize a desk job would not be the life for him.

Soon after returning from an expedition to Nepal he set off on an 18-month mountaineering odyssey that culminated in the best-selling coffee table book Mountains of Southern Africa (Struik, Cape Town, 1984). Since then he has authored some 20 books and written hundreds of travel articles – mainly on Africa but as far flung as Antarctica and Alaska. Some time in mid career David decided he needed a firmer grounding in the earth sciences. There followed a masters degree in Environmental Sciences at Cape Town University.

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Topics: Africa Travel Guides and Tips, African Wildlife Photography, David Bristow, Photography Safaris, Books on Africa

Gorilla Trekking Safaris for Teens

Posted by David Tett

Apr 11, 2014 2:01:00 PM

Gorilla Forest Camp in Uganda

Gorilla Trekking Safaris for Teens

David-TettBy David Tett
Owner and President
Bushtracks Expeditions

On safari you can expect to spend many hours in your four-by-four vehicle – and front-row seats to the most amazing wildlife show on earth is nothing to complain about. However, when we’re planning a safari for families with teens or young adults, we strongly encourage our guests to also incorporate activities – ranging from high adrenaline like shark cage dives in South Africa or bungee-jumping in Victoria Falls to the more subdued like a canoe-paddle through the Okavango Delta.


Gorilla trekking is a perfect example of a higher level activity safari for teens and young adults aged 15 and older. And Uganda is a great destination for blending vehicle-based game-viewing with an activity that will stretch your teen’s legs, and change their thinking about the natural world for years to come. The world’s remaining mountain gorillas are fewer in number than 900 and can’t be seen in zoos – you must go to high altitude forests in Uganda, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo and seek them out. Your adventure begins with an early wake-up, after which your group of 6 to 8 guests will set out in search of one of the habituated family groups of mountain gorillas with experienced trackers. While the duration of the hike can vary based on the gorillas’ location, expect to walk for 2 to 6 hours in terrain that can be steep, slippery and thick with foliage. Your interesting surroundings, the occasional black and white faced  L’Hoest monkey jumping overhead, and your guide’s interpretation of the gorilla’s traces combine with your anticipation to make the hike more than worthwhile.

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Topics: Trips to Uganda, Gorillia Trekking in Uganda, Best African Safaris

Mountain Gorillas and the African Wildlife Foundation

Posted by Craig Sholley

Apr 9, 2014 3:38:27 PM


Mountain Gorillas and the African Wildlife Foundation


Craig-Sholley-African-Wildlife-AssociationBy Craig Sholley
Vice President for Philanthropy
and Marketing,
African Wildlife Foundation



Craig’s experiences with wildlife and conservation began in 1973 as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire. As an L.S.B. Leakey grant researcher in the late 1970’s, Craig studied mountain gorillas with Dian Fossey and, in 1987, became director of Rwanda’s Mountain Gorilla Project, of which African Wildlife Foundation was a sponsor. He became a full-time employee of AWF in 2001 and now serves as Vice President for Philanthropy and Marketing.

The world’s remaining mountain gorillas live in three countries spanning four national parks – Bwindi
Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Virunga National Park.

Infant Moutain Gorillia at Bwindi, Uganda in Eastern Africa

A 2011 census recorded fewer than 900 mountain gorillas left in the wild. The gorillas’ biggest threats come from deforestation and the region’s growing population. The forests where mountain gorillas live are fertile and rich in biodiversity, making this one of the most populated regions in Africa, with 85% of the population making its living by growing food on the land. As people move closer to where gorillas live, they also bring the risk of spreading human diseases to gorillas such as the flu, pneumonia, and even ebola. War in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has resulted in more than four million lives lost over the past 14 years.

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Topics: Gorillas in Africa, African Conservation, African Safaris, Craig Sholley Wildlife Photographer, African Wildlife Foundation

Best Places to Stay in Uganda: Bwindi Safari Lodge

Posted by Elizabeth Donahey

Apr 8, 2014 12:22:00 PM


Best Places to Stay in Uganda: Bwindi Safari Lodge


The Bwindi Safari Lodge is among the best places to stay in Uganda and is a Bushtracks favorite. The Bwindi Safari Lodge in Uganda overlooks the primeval Bwindi Forest, home to gorillas, monkeys, chimpanzees and birds. Tracking gorillas in the so-called ‘impenetrable' forest is a magical experience. At this stunning eco-lodge with eight bandas, clients can spend the day on the terrace, which juts out into the forest, mesmerized by its exotic sounds, watching primates and birds in the canopy. 

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Topics: Africa travel guides, Gorilla Trekking Safari, Uganda, Best Trips to Eastern Africa, Best Places to Stay in Uganda

Rwanda Remembers

Posted by Arthur Kakai

Apr 7, 2014 4:02:00 PM

Rwanda Remembers

Photo Credit: borneobulletin.brunei-online.com



Arthur Kakai
General Manager, 
The Far Horizons,  Rwanda

On April 7th every year Rwanda holds a Kwibuka ceremony, honoring the million lives lost through genocide 20 years ago. Kwibuka is the Kinyarwanda word for ‘remember’ and describes the global commemoration framework. Kwibuka20 calls on the world to stand against genocide in three key ways:

- To remember: Honoring the memory of those who died. Offering support to those who survived.

- To unite: Rwanda shows that reconciliation through shared human values is possible. We ask the world to do the same.

- To renew: As we build Rwanda anew, we are humbled to share our experiences and learn from others. Let’s create a better world together.

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Topics: Rwanda Genocide Rememberance Ceremony, Rwanda Kwibuka Ceremony, Rwanda

Top 3 Reasons to Go on an African Safari in Uganda

Posted by Samantha Barbitta

Apr 4, 2014 7:30:00 PM

Top 3 Reasons to Go on an African Safari in Uganda


Samantha-Barbitta-Safari-PlannerBy Samantha Barbitta
Expert Safari Planner

Best single-country combined big game viewing and primate experience 

As we think about Jane Goodall’s achievements on her 80th birthday, we are reminded that primate encounters capture the imagination and the heart in a way that few other wildlife viewing experiences can do. “No one who looks into a gorilla’s eyes – intelligent, gentle, vulnerable – can remain unchanged, for the gap between ape and human vanishes…” said American biologist George Schaller, and we agree. We’ve found that only Uganda allows you to enjoy gorilla and chimpanzee trekking plus Big Five game viewing in a single-country safari experience. Progressing from north to south, you can experience the chimpanzees of Kibale, head on to big game viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and conclude with mountain gorillas trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in a straightforward program that requires no back-tracking.

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Topics: Trips to Africa, Gorilla Trekking Safari, Uganda

Hiking with Chimpanzees in Uganda: Why Haven't You Done This Yet?

Posted by Elizabeth Donahey

Apr 4, 2014 10:58:00 AM

Uganda Chimpanzees
A chimpanzee mother rests with her four-month-old infant while babysitting an older baby from another mother. Kibale Forest National Park researchers are inviting safari travelers to help habituate a chimpanzee family to human observation so that future visitors can get up close and personal with our closest genetic relatives.

One of the best places in Africa to hang with our closest relatives is Uganda's Kibale Forest National Park, home to more than 1,400 chimpanzees and the continent's highest diversity and density of primates. Most safari travelers opt for one of the twice-daily, ranger-guided, three-hour chimpanzee hikes. But as rewarding as this experience is, you are limited to spending just one hour with the primates once the guide locates them to avoid provoking stress or transmitting human-borne diseases.

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Topics: Africa travel guides, Gorillas in Africa, Chimpanzees, Gorilla Trekking Safari, Jane Goodall, Uganda, Trips to Eastern Africa, Colubus Monkey

Jane Goodall Celebrates Her 80th Birthday Today

Posted by Elizabeth Donahey

Apr 3, 2014 9:20:00 AM


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Topics: Trips to Tanzania, Gorillas in Africa, Jane Goodall, Uganda

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