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Gorilla Safari to Uganda and Rwanda for Allana Botha


Queen Elizabeth Park/Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda

Little did I know what a whirlwind adventure awaited me. After an overnight in Entebbe, Uganda greeted my senses with its old world charm. My drive from Kampala to Queen Elizabeth National Park meandered through villages and green hills, banana plantations, small crop farms and eager children calling 'hello'. Enterprising 'bike taxis' and stall keepers of a ll merchandise highlighted the road ways as we crossed the Equator.

Drive from Kampala to Queen Elizabeth National Park meandered through villages and green hills at uganda

The beautiful plains of the Queen Elizabeth National Park le ft me speechless with its never ending vistas. Prolific Uganda kob and topi with elephant and tree climbing lions made for fabulous game viewing. Ishasha Wildern ess Camp was welcoming after a hectic day offering a peaceful haven along the river, until the evening when a lion came roaring through the camp! The camp staff was attentive and the food was sumptuous!

The beautiful plains of the Queen Elizabeth National Park

We continued onwards to Bwindi National Park. Climbing up mountain passes we viewed red tail monkeys, black & white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys and r'host along the roadside. The valleys and sights were just breathtaking. Arriving at Gorilla Forest Camp was mesmerizing with the forests and rumbling skies in the late afternoon.

Bwindi National Park

There was great excitement the morning of our gorilla trek. We were trekking the Habinyanya family. We met with our guide and trekked for two hours. The guides, trekkers and porter s were just great. Any tiredness from the trek faded immediately on sighting our first gorilla. The lazy sounds of them munching away and rustling leaves made one aware that they were all around us. The guide cleared the vegetation for better viewing an d seeing our first silverback was breathtaking.
The Gorilla Forest Camp was wonderful to return to. The ladies enjoyed a massage before dinner at our camp. The staff was exceptional as was the food.


The Gorilla Forest Camp

The next day we climbed and curved through mountains and valleys to the Rwanda border. We cleared customs and continued onwards to Gorilla Mountain View Lodge with Sabyinyo Volcano in the background. In the evening we enjoyed a cultural show.

Gorilla Mountain View Lodge with Sabyinyo Volcano in the background and enjoyed a cultural show

The following day brought the excitement of a golden monkey trek. This was different than the gorilla trek as we hiked through farmlands and a bamboo forest. These delightful creatures were all around and quite at home with us being there.

Gorilla Safari to Uganda and Rwanda for Allana BothaGolden monkey

The following morning I left our group and went onwards to Kigali which is a clean, developing city. After a very emotional visit to the Genocid e museum, I did some last minute shopping at the local market before leaving for the airport to connect with my return flight home.  

Kigali which is a clean, developing citKigali which is a clean, developing cit

An amazing journey and adventure!

- by: Allana Botha


Allana Botha in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana


SOUTH AFRICA, ZIMBABWE AND BOTSWANA
I recently returned from a fantastic adventure to southern Africa which included my first safari to Botswana!

My trip started with a wonderful weekend in Durban, South Africa where I caught up with family and visited the Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks. Recently refurbished, this hotel is beautifully situated on the beach offering luxury accommodations and excellent food.

Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks

After spending a night in Johannesburg at the Southern Sun Tambo International Airport Hotel, I departed for Victoria Falls. My reception on arrival at the Victoria Falls Hotel was welcoming with a warm face cloth and drink. The bellboy took me through the main entrance and my breath was taken away with the beauty of the bridge and the Fall's mist bellowing high in the air. - just lovely! After a light lunch on the hotel patio, I enjoyed a guided trip of the Victoria Falls by Esther (Africa Adventure 's exclusive local guide). The water levels were very high and mist came from everywhere leaving us soaked.

In the evening I enjoyed a s unset cruise on the Zambezi followed by a relaxing dinner under the stars at the hotel's Jungle Junction

The Victoria Falls Hotel Victoria Falls view with a rainbow

The next day created fabulous memories at the Elephant Interaction camp and in the evening lots of fun and good food was to be had at the Boma (which is located next to the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, about a 10 minute drive from the Victoria Falls Hotel).

With excitement I left Victoria Falls and transferred by road t o Kasane on the Botswana border. I was promptly met by lodge's vehicle and driven to Muchenje Safari Lodge on the border of Chobe National Park . The view is the first thing that hits you on arrival at Muchenje - the Chobe River flows directly in front an d is stunning! You feel like you have arrived home . Great people, home cooking and lovely accommodations. My first game drive was exciting as we viewed giraffe, buffalo, various antelope, baboons and lots of elephants (they were at the camp's front door ).

Our 12-Day Best of Southern Africa Safari visits Victoria Falls and Chobe.

12-Day Best of Southern Africa Safari visits Victoria Falls and Chobe. 12-Day Best of Southern Africa Safari visits Victoria Falls and Chobe.

After breakfast we drove back to Kasane and departed by a scheduled chart er flight for Savuti Camp, located in the Linyanti Reserve (which is an extension of the world famous Okavango Delta). The game viewing was especially good and our guide and during our day and night game drives we saw elephant, giraffe, zebra, antelope, h yena and even wild dog! I thought the staff and hospitality at Savuti were outstanding. One morning I visited Kings Pool, a premier level camp in the Linyanti Reserve which offers incredible luxury.

Savuti Camp, located in the Linyanti Reserve Wild dogs

A scheduled charter flight took me to the heart of the Okavango Delta and m y next stop was Jao Camp. This premier camp is stunning! Between game activities I enjoyed incredible luxury, water views and outstanding service (and for those who really want to indulge can arrange for a massage on their priva te deck).

I was fortunate to explore two other camps in the region which included Kwetsani, where I enjoyed my first mokoro ride (a dugout canoe that glides through the Delta waterways) and Jacana Camp.

Our 11-Day Botswana Wilderness Wing Safari visits 3 camps&regions in Botswana

11-Day Botswana Wilderness Wing Safari visits 3 camps&regions in Botswana 11-Day Botswana Wilderness Wing Safari visits 3 camps&regions in Botswana

Ready to experience a different region, I flew to the edge of the Moremi Reserve and Chitabe Camp. Technically within the Okavango Delta, this camp offers big game viewing and Chitabe didn't disappoint as it was here that I got to see m y first lions! Between game drives I thoroughly e njoyed a siesta at the camp's pool and a traditional boma dinner. All guests enjoyed the singing and dancing by the staff - a memorable evening for all.

11-Day Botswana Wilderness Wing Safari visits 3 camps&regions in Botswana 11-Day Botswana Wilderness Wing Safari visits 3 camps&regions in Botswana

My last stop was Banoka Bush Camp located in the Khwai game concession . I could hear the welcoming song of the staff before we saw the camp. After warm introductions I checked out my tent and loved the endless view of water and grasslands.

Part of the adventure of visiting Botswana during this time is the annual rising water levels and I got to witness the beauty first hand. On a practical level, it is impressive how prepared the Wilderness Safari camps are for the rising water. Supplies and food are well-stocked and ready at a moment's notice with a replacement vehicle if a Land Rover gets stuck during a game drive. Dinner was served under the stars with magical lanterns sc attered around. It was just magical and what a lovely camp to end my African adventure!

Our 07-Day Awesome Value Safari to Botswana visits Banoka Camp

07-Day Awesome Value Safari to Botswana visits Banoka Camp 07-Day Awesome Value Safari to Botswana visits Banoka Camp

The next day I flew to Maun for my connecting flight to Johannesburg and home.

- by: Allana Botha


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