A lovely email from Faye and Alan, who’ve just got back from a beach honeymoon in Zanzibar, where it was (allegedly) the short rainy season! Lovely reading on a chilly morning at Extraordinary Africa HQ- thanks guys!
Uganda’s long been one of our favourite African countries and it seems the world is catching on to it. Not only is Uganda home to some of the very last mountain gorillas in the world, it also has the sort of game reserves that people come to and sigh “this is what the Serengeti used to be like”… Kidepo (recently acknowledged by CNN as the 3rd finest game reserve on the entire continent- fine praise up against such heavyweights as the Kruger, Masai Mara or Ngorongoro Crater) has spectacular game viewing and a fraction of the vehicles you’d find elsewhere in Africa.
Why? Well it used to be virtually impossible to visit unless you chartered a private plane, but scheduled flights announced in December 2013 have put safari in Kidepo firmly on the map. Combine this with some of the spectacular special offers available during the green season in Bwindi and you’ve got a great value, utterly magical trip on your hands.
Day 1: Fly overnight from London to Entebbe, and crash out here for the night. Welcome to Africa!
Day 2: Connect on to your light aircraft flight up to Kidepo, a vast undiscovered savannah ringed by craggy peaks, where the wildlife clusters around the Narus and Kidepo Rivers. Remote and with utterly wonderful scenery and game viewing, this is a park to visit now before the hoardes catch on that it’s easy to visit. Spend 3 nights here at Apoka Lodge. Take game drives and look out for cheetah (not found elsewhere in Uganda), leopard and lion. Look out for ellies, skittish zebra and fat little warthogs with their tails firmly in the air. Take a walking safari and trace pug marks in the dust, or a night game drive to watch the glint of eyes as you pass by in the darkness.
Day 5: From Kidepo, take a private flight down to Bwindi National Park. Not cheap, no (if you want to do this itinerary at a reduced price, we can send you back to Entebbe for a night in between), but what a way to get a sense of the magnificent Ugandan landscape. Spend 3 nights here at the utterly wonderful Gorilla Forest Camp- so close to the national park that it’s not unknown to spot gorillas actually in the gardens. Just watch this YouTube video if you don’t believe us… We’ll include two gorilla treks while you’re here so you really get a sense of how special these wonderful animals are.
Day 8: Fly back to Entebbe and relax beside Lake Victoria, before your overnight flight back to London.
Day 9: Arrive in London early in the morning.
Normal price from £5,805 per person sharing. Travel in April, May or November, and pay £5,230 per person sharing, with discounted gorilla permits, and a free night at Gorilla Forest Camp, saving £575 per person!
Includes two gorilla permits (usual price US$500pp per permit), international flights, 7 nights accommodation, all food, internal light aircraft flights (including one private flight), game drives, walking safaris and transfers.
Think of African landscapes and the chances are you’ll be imagining an endless golden savannah, broken only with twisted and parched acacia trees. The wildebeest are cantering frantically in search of water and fresh grass (this is the main driver of the Great Migration) and vultures float on the thermals hoping to spot a lion kill.
There’s another Africa however, the Africa that blossoms with life in and around the rains. The green season (sometimes rather optimistically known as the “emerald season”) transforms the landscape. Rivers burst with life and grasses and trees seem to glow in almost implausibly bright hues. Under thunderous storm clouds young animals learn to stand on shaking legs within minutes of their births, and predators look sleek and happy with a bellyful of food. This is the time when you’ll take the most spectacular photographs and see the bush at its very best (and sometimes at half the price of the peak periods).
Beyond that, the parks are largely deserted, and if you’ve done several safaris it’s utterly fascinating seeing the game reserves in a new light. Birding in particular is utterly glorious- if you’ve never seen a fish eagle swoop for its kill or a finfoot skiddle-skaddle across the water’s surface- this is your moment.
Green season safaris are at their best in Kenya and Tanzania in March and June (catch the savannah with its spring colours) or in Zambia between January and April. The ultimate experience is a boat safari in the South Luangwa– thanks to our friends at Norman Carr for the amazing selection of photos above. Elsewhere, watch the desert spring to life in Namibia, the mighty flood at the Victoria Falls or catch the mini Migration in the Kalahari.