Virunga National Park -Congo
Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, on the border of Uganda and Rwanda. Virunga is Africa’s oldest national park and is also the continent’s most biologically diverse protected area. The park’s 7800 square kilometres (3000 square miles) includes forests, savannas, lava plains, swamps, erosion valleys, active volcanoes, and the glaciated peaks of the Ruwenzori Mountains.
Virunga is home to about a quarter of the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas. The park’s two other Great Ape species, eastern lowland gorillas and chimpanzees. This makes Virunga the only park in the world to host three taxa of Great Apes. Another prominent inhabitant of the park is the Okapi, an endangered species that resembles a zebra but is more closely related to a giraffe.The Park is comprised of three sectors:
The northern sector’s defining feature is the Ruwenzori Mountains that border Uganda. Lake Edward, the Ishasha river valley, and the Bwindi plains are the dominant geographical features that define the park’s central sector. Lake Edward contains over 50 species of fish, as well as numerous bird species. The lake and the adjacent Ishasha river valley are home to the park’s recovering hippo population – once the world’s largest. The park’s highest concentrations of elephant, buffalo, warthogs, and topi are found on the Bwindi plains of the central sector.
Virunga’s southern sector is best known for the mountain gorillas that live on the flanks on the dormant Mikeno volcano (4380m/14,557 ft).
All gorilla treks are led by park rangers and usually depart from Bukima patrol post. Treks usually require 1-2 hours of hiking in each direction, depending where the mountain gorillas spent the previous night and the difficulty of the terrain.
To safeguard the health of Virungas gorillas, visitors are required to wear surgical masks which are provided when in the presence of gorillas. Time with the gorillas is strictly limited to one hour. If you don’t feel well at the time of your scheduled trek. Mountain gorillas are extremely susceptible to human illnesses. Gorillas have died after being exposed to human respiratory viruses and other common ailments.
Kenya riding safari
The best way to experience Kenya’s zebras from the back of a horse. Travellers can gallop alongside the stripey beasts in the Masai Mara, covering up to 100 kilometres in a week.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park.
The Rwenzori also named as the fabled Mountains of the Moon lie in western Uganda along the Uganda-Congo border. The equatorial snow peaks include the third highest point in Africa, while the lower slopes are blanketed in moorland, bamboo and rich, moist montane forest. Huge tree-heathers and colourful mosses are draped across the mountainside with giant lobelias and “everlasting flowers”, creating an enchanting, fairytale scene.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park protects the highest parts of the 120km-long and 65km-wide Rwenzori mountain range. The national park hosts 70 mammals and 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics, as well as some of the world’s rarest vegetation.
The Rwenzoris are a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination. A nine- to twelve-day trek will get skilled climbers to the summit of Margherita – the highest peak – though shorter, non-technical treks are possible to scale the surrounding peaks. For those who prefer something a little less strenuous, neighbouring Bakonzo villages offer nature walks, homestead visits home cultural performances and accommodation, including home-cooked local cuisine.
Rwenzori is exceptionally rich in endemics: it harbours at least 1 hawkmoth, 6 butterflies, 19 bird species and 12 small mammals that occur only here and/or in a few other highlands on either side of the Albertine Rift (including the Rwenzori hyrax Dendrohyrax arboreus ruwenzorii and Rwenzori Leopard Panthera pradus ruwenzori). Twelve species are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals including the ‘vulnerable’ Moon striped Mouse (Hybomys lunaris), the ‘vulnerable’ Rwenzori Horse-shoe Bat (Rhinolophus ruwenzori), the ‘near threatened’ Rwenzori Otter Shrew (Micropotomogale ruwenzori) and the ‘least concern’ Rwenzori Turaco.
The park is home to 70 species of mammal, including six Albertine Rift endemics; 12 are endemic to the park and three are rare species. Other mammals include the Elephants, chimpanzee, Rwenzori otter and leopard. Though wildlife is difficult to spot in the dense forest, do look out for primates such as colobus (Angola and black-and-white varieties are both present) and blue monkeys; small antelope such as bushbucks; and unusual reptiles such as the three-horned chameleon.
Nxia Pan National Park, Botswana
One thing we know — Botswana is not short of sodium.
The Baines Baobabs that sit close to the entrance of Botswana’s Nxai Pan National Park take their name from a series of watercolours by Victorian explorer and artist Thomas Baines.Their fruit apparently tastes a little like sherbet.
The Nxai Pan Park is great for viewing the vast, salt-rich pans that characterize the Kalahari and is also known for lion, leopard and cheetah and unusually large herds of giraffe.
Fish River Canyon, Namibia
For all NASA knows, the Mars rover went off course and landed here. Some 500 meters deep and more than 160 kilometres long, this great rift is second only to the United States’ Grand Canyon in size, and during the dry season is characterized by beautiful turquoise pools of seasonally-flowing water stretching into the distance.
Rhinos at Solio Reserve, Kenya
Located in the valley between the dramatic slopes of Mount Kenya and the rolling peaks of the Aberdare Mountains, Solio Reserve is home to around 250 black and white rhino and considered the best place to see these increasingly rare species.
Mount Kilimanjaro, at 5,895 meters Africa’s highest peak — and an item on thousands of bucket lists — is a “Sky island,” creating a varied and dramatic natural habitat.
Rising through lush rainforests and alpine meadows, climbers finally cross a barren lunar landscape to reach the twin summit, often above the clouds.
The mountain is home to an incredible variety of ecosystems: its arctic summit sitting above the slopes of the alpine desert, rugged heath land, a rain forest and even cultivated.
The scenery at the peak is breathtaking, with the huge glaciers forming a heavenly white landscape. To make this an even more desirable destination, the region around the base of Mount Kilimanjaro is home to some of Africa’s premier wildlife parks and reserves, so it is easy to see why a visit to Kili is indeed an African “must-do”.
Lake Malawi, Malawi
Lake Malawi, one of the largest lakes in the world, was dubbed “Lake of Stars” by Dr. David Livingstone, who trekked here a century and a half ago.
The lake has more tropical fish than any lake in the world — 1,300 species — and the freshwater diving is great.
The bio-diversity has been recognised by UNESCO, which has made Lake Malawi National Park, the world’s first freshwater park, a World Heritage Site.
Karnak Temple Complex – Egypt
The Karnak Temple Complex, the largest and most impressive temple site in Egypt, is probably the largest religious complex anywhere in the world. It is located near Luxor, a region that is also home to many other impressive sites including the Sphinx and the Pyramid of Giza. The complex is a conglomeration of three main temples and several smaller ruined temples. It took dedicated work across the reigns of 30 different pharaohs to complete the temple, and no wonder – the main temple alone covers an area of 65 acres, with the Great Hypostyle Hall large enough to accommodate the Cathedral of Notre Dame! This main temple, the Temple of Amun, is the largest and most impressive – it’s the only temple that is currently accessible to tourists as this is still an active archaeological site.
Okavango Delta – Botswana
The magnificent Okavango Delta sometimes incorrectly called the “Okavango Swamp” is the world’s largest inland delta, covering an area of over 17,000km, and one of the top places to visit in Africa.
This unique natural wonder was formed after an ancient inland sea, Lake Makgadikgadi, dried up thousands of years ago. The Okavango Delta is fed by the highland waters of Uganda, which flow for over a 1,000km to reach the plains of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana. Here, they fan out to create an incredible labyrinth of inland lagoons, islands, channels and lakes – the lifeblood of the animals in the region. The absence of industry or agriculture is responsible for remarkable water purity, which supports a spectacular range of wildlife. As a result, safaris in the Okavango Delta are an exceptional experience.