East Africa is blessed with a variety of wildlife species that enable excellent tourism experience. Safaris experiences in the region can be carried out at any time of the year but however need proper planning. These safaris can be managed by all kinds of tourists from budget backpackers the high income and big spender tourists. Lets quickly look at the major safari destinations in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia includes the following.
Maasai Mara National Park – Kenya
The trip to this national park from Nairobi is about a 5 hours drive using road transport and about only 40 minutes using a charter flight. This is one of the most visited national parks in Kenya and east Africa at large because of the unique world life species the park has. Maasai Mara national park is most famous for the wildebeest migration that happens every year including millions of wildebeest moving from Serengeti national park to Maasai Mara in search for fresh grazing grounds. The major wildlife species in the park ranges from large land mammals to birds, aquatic animals and unique vegetation types.
The major mammals include elephants, antelopes, buffaloes, cheetah, impalas, gazelles, hyenas, leopards and lions. This national park has the largest lion population in the world and they are always in the camouflaging in the thickets and grasses ready to hunt and take down their meals of the day (wildebeest and other herbivores they feed on).
The park also has a reasonable number of crocodiles especially in the Mara River that also eagerly wait for the great wildebeest migration to feast on some of the migrating animals. Other small aquatic animals include frogs plus a large number of bird species including king fishers, eagles and many others.
Tourists interested in having wildlife safaris in this national park are very welcome even the budget travelers because there is a possibility of having a safari in this national park at only $300 a day including transport, accommodation and park entry fees.
Mountain Gorilla Tracking In Uganda
The jungles of Bwindi impenetrable forest national in southwestern Uganda have half of the remaining mountain gorilla population in world. within this park, mountain gorilla trekking is one of the most splendid tourism adventure activity one can engage in on a visit to east Africa.
Mountain gorillas are human like with about 95%DNA similar to humans. They are however dangerous animals and could easily attack anyone who intrudes their territory.
Bwindi impenetrable national park has a total of 10 habituated gorilla groups that are evenly distributed in the major sectors of the park. Trekking these unique mammals starts early in the morning and are trekked by groups of only 8 tourists per gorilla group a day. After locating the mountain gorillas, tourists spend only an hour with them whiling taking photographs and observing them relax and feed in their natural habitants.
Gorilla permits in the peak seasons (June – October) are sold at $600 and in the low seasons of April, May and November, permits are sold at $350. These can be obtained from Uganda wildlife authority or from trusted tour operators.
Serengeti National Park – Tanzania
This is located in the northern circuit of Tanzania’s tourist attractions and most famous for the great wildebeest migration. During this great migration, more than a million wildebeest mainly comprising of buffaloes, zebra, elands, Thompson and grant gazelles trek over the savannah planes in search for fresh pastures and drinking places. A spectacular view of this great trek by tourists in their safari van provides one of the unforgettable experiences in east Africa.
Apart from the great wildebeest, Serengeti national park also has a number of wildlife species that include the lions, elephants, giraffes, leopards and various bird species. The park also has the Ngorongoro crater whose floor is a home to various species of wildlife. Serengeti national park can be accessed through Arusha the major entry point for tourists interested in doing their wildlife safaris in the northern circuit.
Nyungwe Forest National Park – Rwanda
Nyungwe forest national park is a home to number of chimpanzees which makes this national park the number one destination for chimpanzee tracking in east Africa. The national park is covered by massive equatorial rain forest with some of the oldest tree and plant species. The vegetation in the forest is evergreen and therefore provides enough food for the chimpanzees that largely feed on plant leaves, wild fruits and shoots.
The chimpanzees are the closest primates to human beings with about 98% DNA similar to humans. They live in groups of their close relatives and usually move from one place to another over the tree canopies of the forest looking for what to eat.
There are habituated chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest that can be visited by tourists but only 8 tourists are allowed to track a chimpanzee group a day to limit distraction and disturbances of these wild animals.
Nyungwe forest has a number of clear chimpanzee tracking trails and a standard canopy walk that rises above 50 meters thus enabling tourists to clearly view those wildlife species that stay in the higher forest canopies. Chimpanzee tracking permits can be obtained from the Rwanda development board offices in Kigali or from a trusted tour operator.
Apart from chimpanzees, Nyungwe forest also has other unique primates that include L’Hoest monkeys, vervet monkeys; owl faced monkeys as well as colobus monkeys.
Bale Mountains National Park – Ethiopia
This is most famous for the rusty hued Ethiopian wolves the world’s rare canid specie. The rusty hued wolves are also among the most endangered wild animals on the planet however the good news is that the Ethiopian Bale Mountains contains half of these unique mammals.
The Bale Mountains are located in the southeastern part of Ethiopia with a rugged terrain with unique wildlife species.
There are also many other beautiful wildlife species in Ethiopia that include spotted hyenas, lions, leopards, hippos, and many bird species. Wild life safaris in Ethiopia can be best enjoyed during the dry seasons around November to February or from May to July.
This is an interesting destination inn east Africa famous for the dolphin swimming and beach holidays.
The islands major entry point is stone town that has various historical tourist attractions especially those related to early Arab trading activities along the coast.
The waters around the Zanzibar islands have various aquatic animals that include various species of fish, giant Aldabra tortoises and many others. The islands has beautiful sand beaches suitable for holidays and relaxing especially after swimming in the cool waters of the ocean.