Guidelines for your safari experience!
East Africa hosts an incredible variety of habitats and wildlife. The conservation of these habitats into National Parks and Wildlife Reserves is the cornerstone for wildlife viewing. One of the most important geographical features of the region is the Great Rift Valley. The large depressions within the Rift Valley fed by streams, have become great Lakes, around which many species of wildlife can be found. Some itineraries are designed for the first-time visitor (The Classics) and will give an all-round wildlife experience.
They include several National Parks and Wildlife Reserves and concentrate on different aspects of wildlife observation. Other itineraries will focus on a particular interest or activity like bird watching, primate viewing, etc. (Special Interest Safaris). Our different safari itineraries are carefully designed and listed in the “safaris” section of our website. They are the result of a long field experience. The different safari options that you will find on the East African market are endless. Unfortunately we can’t offer them all.
Some guidelines for your safari:
- National Parks are too often selected for quantity of animals, certainty and ease of viewing on the game drives. Some National Parks became so popular that they are overcrowded with too many minibuses and jeeps getting careless and scaring animals. Animals move around, seasons change weather varies. There is no way of knowing what each day will bring and there is no guarantee that you’ll see absolutely everything you are after, but most safaris give an amazing wildlife experience!
- The duration of your safari is an important aspect, the more time you have to go on safari the more you will see! The chosen travel style will also greatly enhance your wildlife experience; A camping safari will offer you a different experience than lodge safari or motor bike safari.
- There are different ways to observe wildlife:
Game drives are the most common way to observe African wildlife and for most visitors the backbone of their safari. Game drives should be undertaken in a customized 4 x 4 drive vehicle with a driver-guide who has experience and knowledge of the area.
-The game drives can be organized at any time of the day but you will have the best chances to encounter wildlife in the early morning and late afternoon. It is cooler and animals are then most active. A first-time visitor will want to see plenty of game, mainly large animals. Although the major animals are important, we advise not to get too caught up with 'Big Five' fever, the African wilderness has so much more to offer, especially its incredible bird-life, smaller mammals, primates, reptiles, trees and other plants... If you are receptive to learn about the different aspects of nature and conservation your trip will be much more meaningful and pleasurable.
-The search and identification of the animals is the most interesting aspect of a game drive and also the first step to know more about animals and wildlife. Your driver-guide is experienced and well trained to assist you, don’t hesitate to establish a dialogue with him.
-To learn a little before you travel about the animals you will see, will enhance your wildlife viewing experience greatly. We avail at least a pair of binoculars for spotting wildlife and a few field-guides in each safari vehicle. Don’t hesitate to bring your own with you. Photographing is another important aspect of a game drive. Each client has his window seat and our vehicles are customized with an open roof.
-Don’t hesitate to tell your driver-guide if you want to stop or to take a picture. If you are on a group safari and are travelling with others, there will be a need for co-operation and compromise. For everyone to have a good time and to achieve harmony, you will need to get along with the other photographers in your safari vehicle.
-Communicate your photographic needs and goals with your guide. In certain areas (Semliki WR) we are able to travel in safari vehicles after dark. Night drives offer you an opportunity to experience some of the nocturnal mammals and birds which are only very rarely encountered during the day.
- Game drives can become monotonous and therefore we will mix them with other ways to observe animals:
Boat trips for example will give you a different perspective and view the game on the edges of the river. The boat trips on the Kazinga Channel (Queen Elizabeth NP) and upstream on the Nile River up to Murchison Falls are particularly rewarding experiences. The boat trip at Lake Mburo NP is less known but also an activity not to miss.
Hides and observation towers where visitors can watch game and birds peacefully, from the safety of the hide. Patience and time is the key to profitable observation. (Kibale NP, Lake Mburo and Queen Elizabeth NP)
Canoeing at Mabamba Wetlands gives the best opportunity to spot the shoebill stork (bird watching).
Guided Nature walks are the only way to explore forests in company of knowledgeable and well trained guide. The most popular guided nature walks are gorilla and chimpanzee viewing. Some protected area will also organize nature walks for birdwatchers (Queen Elizabeth NP) or offer an exploration on foot in the bush (Lake Mburo).