Located in central Africa and it’s also known as ‘’a land of thousand hills’’, Rwanda is the principal tourism destination that attracts tourists from different parts of the world. Like its counterpart Uganda, Rwanda is also a landlocked country and has no seaport, this central African country lifts as one of the few countries where a person can go and have a life changing experience especially when next to real nature of Africa. It has many tourism fraternities although a few people especially foreigners don’t really know what precisely makes this small country unique that almost everyone wishes not to miss visiting it. A number but some of the most interesting tourist activities one should not miss while on Rwanda safari include;
Gorilla tracking;- This is the leading attraction in Rwanda, over 80% of travelers to Rwanda visit the volcanoes national park for gorilla tracking, the park houses over 400 individuals out of 900 mountain gorillas left worldwide and Rwanda is known as the best gorilla safari destination in the world. Spending some excellence time with the gorillas in their natural environment a moment in life very difficult to forget and trust me, you will always want more of a gorilla tracking safari. A gorilla permit is a passport to anyone to see these animals in their natural habitat and you are advised to book your gorilla permit prior to your tracking dates at least 2-5 months as permits are at a very high demand the earlier to secure your permit the better to avoid inconveniences. Rwanda gorilla permits costs USD 750 per person per tracking including park entrance and a ranger guide.
Wildlife Tours;- Game drives through Akagera national park provides a great opportunity to view various species of wildlife some of which are rarely seen. Game drives can be carried out either in the morning or in the evening and some of the games expected to meet include lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, kobs, wild pigs, buffaloes, zebras, antelopes, and many more. A wildlife safari to Rwanda is one of the most thrilling tours one will ever have as it comes with different nature wonders on top of wildlife encounters.
Cultural Tours;- Culture is certainly Africa’s best tourism lure, cultural encounter with the local people is really magnificent, especially for those who are interested in knowing how the African people live. A walk through some of the villages in the country gives visitors a chance to meet and interact with some of the elders from different cultural background. The local people will perform their traditional dance and music to foreigners and if interested they can join them through their music and dance, it’s really a great experience and I trust before getting back home you will get to learn some of the locally used words. A cultural safari to Uganda gives them a chance to find the truth by themselves and also have a remarkable experience in Africa.
Chimpanzee tracking; for primate lovers, Rwanda is a best country to go on a safari, it houses over 13 species of primates coupled with chimpanzees the most close relative of man sharing 98% of human genes. These chimpanzees are fabulous fan to watch when playing in fruitful trees or tree blanches not only chimpanzees that can be seen in the forest of Nyungwe national park, but other primate species can also be seen like the black and white colobus monkey, baboons, red colobus monkey, civet monkey the list is endless.
Other tourism activities one can think of while planning for a trip to Rwanda include; – hiking adventure, nature walks, city tours, boat ride, and more.Read More
Famous for being the ultimate wildlife safari escape Kenya is still a next dream destination for thousands worldwide with exciting vacations whether water ,beach gateways, culture or land adventures .It’s hard to take on one adventure while in the area a daily decision made by many tourists especially the wildlife lovers who end up heading for the Balloon safari in Masai Mara as an additional to the game viewing excursion. Some chose to view wildlife and also climb mountain Kilimanjaro the highest peak in Africa and also the only mountain with a breathtaking tallest free standing mountain summit. Mere looking at its striking view while in Amboseli National park is enough for you to understand why its second to none in the entire continent. Besides witnessing the battle of hungry crocodiles and large wild herds crossing the river is a great experience and a moment to cherish while in Kenya and thousands around the globe yarn to capture it.
The right time has come again for everyone to plan & book trips to Kenya any time of the year according to taste, preference and convenience after the Kenya informing all citizens and foreigners that all is well. Besides the country has started receiving tourists from its traditional source markets the UK and US, a few months after the countries lifted travel advisories to their citizens. Britain, Australia, Germany and the US are major tourism markets and the travel warnings in May last year led to massive cancellation of hotel bookings at the Coast and tours to different parts of the country a thing which impacted the entire country in one way or the other. The Kenya tourism industry was worried about its future which has turned out to be a success according to the increase in the current tourist arrivals in the country.
Around 138 from Canada, 45 from the UK, Australia and 25, 25 from Germany and had 308 tourists from the US arrived at Mombasa port on Friday with a cruise ship a cirmstance which showed Kenya that the other side of the world has regained its trust that it’s a safe country for travel any time and ready to welcome more tourists any time year round. Also the Managing director of Kenya tourism Board Muriithi Ndegwa said that “the cruise ship is a good sign of recovery for the tourism industry which was affected by the wave of terrorism in Kenya last year.“We are expecting to see more and more cruise ships,” he said. Another factor was the United states President Barack Obama’s visit in July which is believed to have attracted many American travellers to chose Kenya as their best travel destination in Africa. Above all other service providers the hotels, charter companies , tour operators are hopefull and have resumed their services even more than before to serve increasing demand of tourists to the satisfying level. Although travel can be expensive but the experience is worth it if you travel to Kenya.Read More
The Start of direct flights to Kenya and the increased marketing of Nairobi as a tourist destination across China is a positive trend for the growth of Chinese tourists to the East Africa region, as observed by the Kenyan Tourism Board. This is backed by the memorandum of understanding which Kenya signed with China in 2014 on cooperation to boost tourism between the two countries. Though Kenya Airways has emerged as a big loser with the launch of China Southern Airlines’ direct flights from Nairobi to Guangzhou.
Initially the national carrier had a code sharing agreement with China Southern Airlines, which authorized them to fly passengers to Guangzhou after which it would transfer them to the Chinese airline for domestic connections. But now as the China southern Airline takes over its responsibility, customers will prefer to use the Asian Carrier making the national carrier to lose out passengers but discussions are going on how they can both benefit from the operation of direct flights.
According to the Kenya Tourist Board Director Muriithi Ndegwa, the flight operation will increase the number of tourists taking safaris to Kenya which is evidenced by the Kenyan tour operators with several tour requests to visit the world outstanding Magical Wildlife park –Masai Mara National Park and other attractions around the East Africa Region like the Mountain Gorillas.
“We have a lot of goodwill from across the world,” Ndegwa told Xinhua in an exclusive interview in Nairobi ahead of a major tourism exhibition in Diani, Kenya’s coastal region, which has attracted 185 major tourism marketers from around the world, including 10 leading Chinese tour operators. The Kenya Tourism Board whose command is to market the East African nation across the world is focusing on the launch of the direct flights from China to Kenya by the China Southern Airlines and the expansion of local and international hotel chains into Kenya as a helpful factor for the growth of the Chinese tourists into the region.
China is grand market which can make Kenya’s travel and tourism industry rise from the fall. The East African Region is also organizing the Magical Kenya Travel Expo on 15th-17 October 2015 to put in the open all the region tourism products to the world .Many tourists around the globe will get to know what they have always missed to explore in the region hence increasing the number of tourist arrivals of the region.
This partnership is expected and has been observed to spill over to other East African Countries for various travel adventures such as Gorilla Tracking in Uganda and Rwanda, Chimpanzee/primate treks in Uganda and Rwanda in their natural rainforest parks, birding safaris in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania and main preferred destinations with over 650 bird species to sight, water games along the Nile River in Uganda and other family holidies and wildlife game excursions in the various parks in the region. Traveling is made easy for international travelers with increased number of airlines operating in the region and pushing fares to practical levels to easily connect between continents for business and tourism adventures.
The Kenyan government has announced that manual visa application at the port of entries into the country will continue until such time that the newly introduced ‘e-visa’ is fully operational.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said, though the e-visa was already running, manual application at the entry points to the country will continue concurrently so as not to bar the last minute visitors to the country.
“We have had a number of challenges on the implementation of the e-visa and I have therefore ordered that application of visa on arrival to the country continues as it were,” the President said.
The resumption of manual visa application that ceased to be operational from 1st September, 2015 is good news to travel agents and tour operators who had raised a red flag on the possibility of a drop in visitation to Kenya as a result of challenges associated with the new system.Read More
Leading Chinese carrier, China Southern Airlines has announced the launch of new direct services from the provincial capital of Guangzhou to Nairobi in Kenya.
The inaugural flight flew on Wednesday, the 5th of August 2015. The new route will be operated on the airline’s fleet of Airbus A330-200 air crafts operating three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Kenya Airways already operates daily flights between Nairobi and Guangzhou, but they fly via either Hanoi or Bangkok, depending on the day of the week. China Southern currently operates over 500 Boeing and Airbus aircraft to 43 countries across the world.Read More
Over the past decades, Uganda’s tourism industry has been largely depending on the wildlife attractions in Uganda’s 10 major national parks. In fact if you were to ask any one around what tourism is like, people will tell you that it’s about going to the national parks to view the various animals, which is not the case. Many foreign tourists visit Uganda and head for gorilla tracking or game drives and some activities around the Nile especially white water rafting and end their trips yet they could have a lot more. The domestic travelers have had the worst tourist options because the park fees seem quite expensive for them.
Referred to as the pearl of Africa by Winston church hill, Uganda has many potential tourist attractions embedded in the major cultures of the people, the food, historical attractions, religious attractions, city attractions and many others which means that it is totally wrong to just keep depending on uganda wildlife tourism. Below is a brief description of the potential tourism attractions and destinations that are most times under looked and missed by many tourists who visit Uganda.
This the largest fresh water lake on the African continent with a potential of having many recreational tourist activities like boat cruises, water trips to the different islands in the lake, birding activities and many others. The lake just has few beaches in Entebbe that are developed but usually overcrowded especially during the weekends. Some ports around the lake are even not fully developed especially port bell and yet they could be better ports with standard restaurant and relaxation places offering the great views of the lake.
The only well developed resort is in Munyonyo and trust me it can not fully accommodate all the luxurious tourists interested in staying near the enormous lake.
Tourists visiting Uganda should at least be considering visiting one of the many islands in the lake especially Bulaggo island which at least has well developed resorts with beautiful sand beaches and good views of lake victoria.
Uganda has other lakes that could be developed in to major and leading attractions for example lake Kyoga, lake Edward and lake George. All these are potential cruising lakes and if well developed could positively impact the tourism industry through increased visits.
Uganda has over 56 tribes each with unique customs, cultural practices and taboos that could attract many tourists especially those interested in learning about the unique cultures of the Ugandans. Cultural tourism in Uganda is a little developed all thanks to the Bagishu initiation ceremony that attracts many individual to witness a mega circumcision of the Bagishu boys being from childhood to adulthood and manhood.
The other over looked tribes include the northern tribes and communities that have unique dancing skills and styles especially Larakaraka dance that greatly entertains viewers showing the strength, love and passion of the Luo and Alur people of Uganda. Home stay programs have been fully introduced in Uganda and therefore tourists interested in culture should try to explore the various divergent cultural practices of the Ugandan tribes.
This is another kind of tourism tourists can look at instead of only wildlife. Uganda has many major towns that can be explored by tourists going for shopping, to the movies, going for social gatherings like music concerts and performances and major events and festivals like carnivores, street bashes and games.
The major tourist towns include Kampala that is the capital city and Uganda’s most busy and business center. Kampala has many shopping centers (malls and arcades) with all the items one can be interested in, cinemas showing and premiering new movies, many monuments around, hotels, museums and many other attractions. Kampala city excursions are usually organized giving tourists a chance to explore the pearl of Africa’s capital.
Entebbe town is also well developed with beaches (Entebbe botanical beach, lido beach, spennah beach among others), great views of lake victoria, many bird species, and also with standard shopping malls that have major tourists commodities and cinema halls. Other towns that could be visited by tourists include fort portal, Mbarara town, Mbale town and Gulu town in the north.
The 56 tribes in Uganda have their own traditional delicacies that are prepared using local recipes’ and can leave any one’s mouth watery. All these foods can be got in the major eateries around the major towns of the different regions in Uganda. The outstanding foods a tourist should not miss out on a Uganda tour include Kalo, Luwombo, Nsenene (grasshoppers), Rolex (chappati and eggs) Kalamaleewa (bamboo shoots), Ugali (posho), groundnuts and many others.
If all these tourism attractions are well marketed and included on travelers’ itineraries, Uganda’s tourism industry will greatly develop and reduce reliance on wildlife attractions only. All tourists should therefore note that visiting Uganda is not just about viewing the mountain gorillas or other big games like lions, elephants and many others.Read More
Comfort, relaxation and joy starts when you get a seat on any of Kenya airways aircrafts to Africa & the rest of the world. It’s awesome to fly with the world’s top 10 airline with the youngest air craft’s 41 in number flying to 52 destinations worldwide, 42 of which are in Africa and carries over three million passengers annually. The Business Airline of the Year in Africa, Kenya Airways will soon receive three more new Aircrafts to join its fleet in Nairobi a new incentive to forefront connections in Africa to the rest of the World at the new ultra-modern Terminal Jomo Kenyatta international Airport in Nairobi.
Kenya airways jubilate for its two ready brand new Dreamliners which will be released any time to join others in Nairobi. The third one will be due in November 2015 a final delivery of the last order for Boeing B737-800NG’s coming with the fancied Boeing Sky Interior, whose lighting effects have found praise from passengers around the world. The new aircrafts will sport the new economy and business class seats in line with previous deliveries of this order. It is understood that the B737-800NG will be flying in Sky Team livery with the Kenya Airways logo prominently displayed, promoting Africa’s only Sky Team member across the airline’s network from East to West and South to North Africa. No dates have been given for the ferry flights as of yet but the delivery is an added sign that the tide has turned and renewed confidence about the airline’s future addition into the market place.
East Africa has become the main hub for tourism and business oriented travelers recently meaning such additions further strengthen the travelers flexibility in connecting to other regional countries with ease coupled with other Airlines already operating. Travelers stream in to enjoy safari adventures such as gorilla safaris in Uganda and Rwanda, Primate/Chimpanzee treks in Uganda and Rwanda in their natural wild, Wildlife excursion and the big Five sighting in over 20 National parks in the region Uganda Murchison falls and Queen Elizabeth parks, Kenya Masai mara with the wildebeest migration July-October, Tanzania Seregenti Park being most prefered besides other holiday adventures such as Honeymoon getaways, beaches, city night life coupled with Live bands and clubs, Restaurants and a well developed hospitality industry to ensure travelers feel at home away from their Homes while in the region.
The Africa research show that Kenya airways books more tickets two or less days to the travel date for passengers compared to other counter parts in Europe and America. Sometimes flight seats get filled up which make passengers unpleased wondering why they didn’t book their tickets quite early. The new crafts will meet the demands of the missing passengers and keep the airline relationship strong and with its passengers. However, passengers stand a chance of getting good ticket deals by booking their travel ticket at least two months in advance for the domestic travels and six months in advance for the international travels.Read More
Take a flight from Cape Town to Mozambique and you can watch the sun go down over the Atlantic Ocean, whilst sipping a cocktail at a Camps Bay bar and then watch it come up over the Indian Ocean, whilst eating freshly caught prawns in Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique.
This is now all possible as I have just been informed that SA Express now flies direct from Cape Town to Mozambique. Return flights, including all taxes, are going for as little as ZAR 2,842 pp. Flights to Mozambique go on Mondays and Fridays.
All in all it sounds like a great deal to me, maybe I should drop my boyfriend a hint about being whisked away for an exotic long weekend?Read More
According to a recent survey, there is a consistent increase in the numbers of elephant populations in Uganda’s national parks reported by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). The surveys were conducted by WCS and UWA with funding from Paul G. Allen and WCS, as part of the Great Elephant Census®. This report comes in a period where most elephant populations are declining across the rest of Africa.
Uganda’s protection efforts is bringing good news and hope that there is still a chance to save the elephant population across Africa. This is good news for the elephants, of course, and also good news for tourism in the Pearl of Africa hence growth a great boost to Uganda’s tourism industry that is largely based on wildlife. The elephant is one of most sought after animal in Africa and many tourists visit Africa to enjoy game viewing including the big five, which includes the grand elephants! Many tourists visiting Uganda enjoy wildlife safaris in national parks and elephants are among the animals that they look for while on safari.
The survey comes an encouragement for conservation efforts to see elephant numbers increasing in Uganda as a result of effective protection in different national parks, despite recent increased poaching and ivory trafficking across much of Africa.
According to an interview with the WCS Senior Conservationist Dr. Paul Elkan, the major reasons contributing to this increase is the strong Ugandan Government leadership, targeted investment in field based anti-poaching and anti-trafficking action, and transboundary elephant protection efforts, are the most important bases for sustaining efforts and addressing the poaching problems in Queen Elizabeth national park one of the Uganda’s national parks with high numbers of elephant population in uganda.
During the early 1970’s – 1980’s, Uganda had been facing decrease in her elephant numbers due to the rampant poaching and limited resources for the then Uganda National Parks. Elephants became confined to protected areas due to poaching pressures from human population looking at trading ivory hence a dropped as low as 700-800 elephants the country. Uganda was labeled by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) in 2012 as one of the eight countries of primary concern in the ivory trade because of the volume of illegal ivory that had passed through Uganda.
With improved protection since the 1990s and the creation of UWA, together with support from Government, donors, and conservation partners, elephant numbers have now increased to over 5,000 individuals today.
In June 2014 the WCS and UWA staff conducted several aerial surveys where the current elephant numbers in the different national parks was established. Murchison Falls National Park – 1,330 elephants, 2,913 in Queen Elizabeth National Park and 656 in the Kidepo Valley National Park and neighboring Karenga Community Wildlife Management area. Elephant numbers in Queen Elizabeth Park have reached levels similar to those in the 1960s before heavy poaching hit the Park. For Murchison falls, the numbers are steadily increasing a former elephant stronghold, which means UWA’s protection efforts are yielding positive results for many wildlife species in Kidepo Valley and Karenga.
A number of recent elephant poaching incidents were recorded in Queen Elizabeth demonstrating the critical need for reinforcing anti-poaching and surveillance efforts in the Park both within Uganda and along its border with neighboring Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo. No recent elephant poaching incidents were observed in Murchison or Kidepo Park/Karenga during the survey, which is a notable improvement in security for those areas.
According to the survey, its was establish that, its very important to establish transboundary conservation programs with Kidepo Wildlife Reserve in South Sudan and adjacent areas in Kenya so as to conserve wildlife that keeps moving to and fro each country.
In conclusion, while it is encouraging that elephant numbers are increasing, poaching remains a big challenge in Uganda and there is a need to remain vigilant from the government and community surrounding national parks. Recently for example, illegally killed elephants were discovered in Queen Elizabeth Park which means, Uganda is still not completely secure from poaching.Read More
The dates for the 11th annual Kwita Izina, a gorilla naming ceremony have been realeased by the Rwanda Development Board as Rwanda Continues with its Efforts to protect the mountain gorillas in Africa.
The land of a thousand hills is getting filled with excitement as the celebrations of the 11th annual Kwita Izina – Gorilla Naming Ceremony draw close. The famous Kwita Izina is a Rwandan celebration of naming newborn baby gorilla which have been born with the same year period. This ceremony come up as an ancestral cultural baby naming ceremony that happens in the African societies after the birth of a newborn child which is a very important experience that calls for partying and celebrations.
The main reason for this occasion is to catch the attention of the whole world, about the need to protect these endangered mountain gorillas through monitoring each individual infant gorilla and their groups in their natural habitat. Today, the Kwita Izina has caught the attention of both locales and international audience about the importance of protecting the mountain gorillas and their habitats in the Virunga Mountains – the Volcanoes national park located in the north of the country.
This year the annual baby gorilla naming ceremony, Kwita Izina, according to officials from the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) Tourism and conservation department will be held on September 5th, unlike in previous years when the Kwita Izina was held in July, due to the need form the country to ensure compliancy with the Northern corridor tourism events calendar – a three-some tourism promotion initiative established under a tripartite agreement between Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda, each member country set a period to focus on a flagship tourism event.
Looking back on last year’s ceremony, a total 16 babies mountain gorillas at the Volcanoes National Park were given names. Each year a focus theme is set, by the head of Tourism and Conservation at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). Last year’s theme was ‘Conserving – Empowering – Growing’, set to reflect and celebrate the efforts of all those that have contributed to the sustainable regional and national conservation of the mountain gorilla and other wildlife in general.
Today the Kwita Izina has received thousands of regional, local as well as international audience very enthusiastic about travelling to the Virunga mountain ranges to visit the endangered mountain gorillas. So far, the Volcanoes national park mountain gorillas have been receiving substantial resources from international conservation organizations, donors and concerned people for the conservation efforts of the Mountain gorillas in Rwanda. The park is the prime spot for tourists looking for gorilla safaris in Africa given the improved accessibility to the park located in a distance f 3 hours drive from Kigali.
The Kwita Izina largely looks at protecting the remaining home range of the endangered mountain gorillas which for decades is the Virunga Massif – a chain of volcanic mountains comprising of Rwanda’s Volcanoes NP, DRC’s Virunga NP and Uganda’s Mgahinga NP. The Volcanoes national park actually covers two third of the Virunga Massif’s remaining endangered mountain gorillas.Read More