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INSIDERS AFRICATM

Exploring Africa's Wildlife And Wild Places

Kenya's Top 5 Places to Visit on Your African Safari

From the Africa's wildlife in the Masai Mara to the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, take a journey through our top 5 African safari destinations in Kenya, the gateway to Eastern Africa. 

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Posted in: Destinations

Top Safari Trips to Kenya Africa: Kenya's Private Reserves Safari

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ONE COUNTRY. LIMITLESS ADVENTURE.

Why go to Kenya? As one of our top trips to Africa, this Kenya safari delivers the feeling of days of yore in an untrammeled setting by taking advantage of private wilderness reserves in bucolic places with access to top game-viewing. So many dream of visiting Africa as depicted by legendary explorers only to find themselves surrounded by crowds of fellow adventure-seekers, rather than in a pristine "Out of Africa" setting.

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Posted in: Destinations

If the World is Your Oyster...than in Uganda You’ll Find Many Pearls

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Whenever someone wants to do a PR job on Uganda they trot out the fact that Sir Winston Churchill called it the “pearl of Africa.” As with just about all things past and distant the truth turns out to be far more interesting than the myth. Way back in 1907 Churchill was the newly appointed under-secretary for colonial affairs (not a top job in the day). At age 33 he made the arduous journey – by ship, train, lake steamer, by canoe, on foot and even by bicycle. All the sir business and war accolades were still far in his future.

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Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife, Activities and Culture, Destinations

Top 3 Reasons to Go on an African Safari in Kenya

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For many of us, consciously or subconsciously, we think of a safari, and Kenya comes to mind.

In part, we can thank Hollywood for its unforgettable rendering of Karen Blixen’s Kenyan farm in “Out of Africa.” But, beyond the silver screen, the history of the traditional African safari has played out in Kenya on a world stage for over 100 years and has shaped our sense of what a safari is and who takes it. Our collective interest began with early twentieth century accounts by adventurers Theodore Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway, continued with the mid-century drama of a young Princess Elizabeth learning of her father’s death and her ascension to the throne while she was on safari in Kenya, and endures today with ongoing conservation stories like that of Dame Daphne Sheldrick and her late husband David Sheldrick, and their tireless work championing Kenya’s elephants.

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Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife, Destinations

Gorilla Trekking and Photography Safaris in the Congo Jungle in Africa

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After having photographed mountain gorillas in Rwanda and chimpanzees in both Uganda and Tanzania, I wanted to photograph lowland gorillas and bonobo monkeys. My research for an African safari ground operator who could provide us access to lowland gorillas led me once again to Bushtracks. Bushtracks was providing a trip to Doli Lodge in the Central African Republic where there were habituated families of lowland gorillas, forest elephants and forest buffalos. With the rampant bush meat trade ongoing in Central and Western Africa, locating primates that were available to photograph was very difficult. If they hadn’t been habituated to not fear humans, they were long gone before you could get a photo.

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Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife, Activities and Culture

Chelsea Handler's Uganda Be Kidding Me: A Bushtracks Book Review

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Uganda Be Kidding Me: A Bushtracks Book Review

uganda-be-kidding-me-chelsea-handlerBy Deborah Olsen

The title alone was irresistible, so when my colleague, Liz, mentioned E! personality and comedienne Chelsea Handler’s latest autobiographical book, she didn’t have to ask me twice to do a little primary research. First (spoiler alert!), Chelsea and her five friends went on safari in Southern Africa, so if you are looking for a book on Uganda, you should keep looking – there are no gorillas here. You may also want to know that her recap of Africa accounts for less than half of the book, from there she’s off to the Bahamas, Switzerland and beyond.

But her views on an African safari inject some much-needed levity into a topic generally treated with the gravitas reserved for a BBC production.  Fans of Chelsea Handler will not be surprised by her irreverent approach to the African safari, nor will they be deterred by her impressions viewed mainly through the lens of glasses made rosy by perpetual Bloody Marys. Never a traditionalist, her idea of safari adds a sixth conquest to Africa’s big five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino for the uninitiated) in the shape of her ruggedly handsome South African guide Rex – the one that got away.

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Posted in: Destinations

How Your Safari Protects Africa’s 900 Remaining Mountain Gorillas

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Mountain gorillas are still under threat. Even though the mountain gorilla population in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is growing, the species remains endangered. Poaching, habitat loss, and human–wildlife conflict threaten to halt the progress of this species.

 

African Wildlife Foundation's Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge

uganda-clouds-mountain-gorilla-lodge-rwanda-outside-1Gorilla lodge makes tourism a win–win. Officially opened in the spring of 2008, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge is located just outside the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The lodge idea was introduced in 2002, when the Uganda Wildlife Authority, along with the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP) and African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), sought to address human–gorilla conflict in the region.

What resulted was a high-end lodge based on gorilla tourism, co-owned by a private operating partner and the local communities—represented by the Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF). This unique partnership was facilitated by IGCP and AWF. 

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Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife, Activities and Culture

Celebrating Earth Day! Safaris Help Sustain Africa’s Wild Places

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It’s not a stretch to say that every day is Earth Day at Bushtracks. We know that our past and our future are inextricably linked to the conservation of Africa’s wild places, and that when we share Africa’s remarkable beauty with our guests, that we are inspiring them, too, to take part in protecting these precious parts of our planet. But, although raising the awareness of Africa’s lands in our guests’ minds is an important part of what we do, it’s not the only way we think responsible travel can make a meaningful difference in our world.

DAVID AND CAROLYN BECOME AWF COUNCIL MEMBERS

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Last year, Bushtracks owners David and Carolyn Tett strengthened their ongoing relationship with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) by becoming AWF Council Members. The AWF’s work spans entire countries, crossing borders to support critically important landscapes that harbor biodiversity and offer people economic opportunities. 

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Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda: A Mother & Daughter Adventure

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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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Posted in: Activities and Culture

Africa's Finest by David Bristow and Colin Bell

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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

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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Posted in: Activities and Culture, Planning, Tips, and Tools

Gorilla Trekking Safaris for Teens

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Gorilla Forest Camp in Uganda

Gorilla Trekking Safaris for Teens

 

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.

WHERE TO GO GORILLA TREKKING WITH TEENS 

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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Posted in: Activities and Culture, Destinations

Mountain Gorillas and the African Wildlife Foundation

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 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.

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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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Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife, Activities and Culture

Best Places to Stay in Uganda: Bwindi Safari Lodge

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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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Posted in: Activities and Culture, Planning, Tips, and Tools, Destinations

Rwanda Remembers

Rwanda Remembers

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Photo Credit: borneobulletin.brunei-online.com

 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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Posted in: Destinations

Top 3 Reasons to Go on an African Safari in Uganda

 

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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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Posted in: Activities and Culture, Destinations

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