Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

By Squack Evans

This was a short safari in June, but we had an amazing experience: three days in Rwanda, trekking the Mountain Gorillas, a total of two treks, one with the Agashya group and the other with the Kwitonda group. There are very few Mountain Gorillas left in the world, experts tell us somewhere just over 800, so this is a very special safari.

Our first day out we bumped into a herd of buffalo on the way. This happens from time to time but you very rarely get a chance to actually see them. The normal state of affairs is the thundering of hooves, usually in the opposite direction. This time we had a good look at them; probably about 15 animals in total. Do these qualify as true Forest Buffalo, Syncerus caffer nanus?? Would love to hear the comments of an expert!

Both gorilla groups we visited have large numbers of individuals and both also have good number of babies which provides interesting interactions and play all the time. This youngster decided it was time to take a siesta on the Silverback, Agashya, he was very tolerant all told!

The Kwitonda group also has some very interesting dynamics with 3 silverbacks at the moment, which provides for some exciting viewing.

We managed on both days to get very close to the gorillas, on one occasion we were boxed in to the thick vegetation with a youngster sitting very close by watching with interest, and sometimes amusement, our attempts to maintain the required 7 metre distance. What a great trip, something every Africa-phile should do at least once!

Friday, January 27, 2012

June in Northern Tanzania

by Squack Evans

Having had a busy season this year, there has not been much time to post about our adventures (although I confess to a certain amount of procrastination too!). A subject of a delicate nature with those who have kept up  with their posts!

Starting our safari on the night of a full lunar eclipse, we made our way from Arusha leisurely north. Starting with an afternoon in Manyara National park with some amazing close up views of elephant. 

Overnighting in the wonderful Plantation lodge and taking in the Ngorongoro Crater the following day. Onward to the Serengeti, we found some amazing 'rock star' lions perched on the kopjies in central Serengeti on the way to our mobile camp, set up in the Western Corridor, specially to catch up with the migration. 
Scores of wildebeest and zebra with the cacophony of noise that goes with the wildebeest at this time of year; rutting season. 
A balloon flight, bush breakfasts and on to the northern Serengeti for the last few days of our safari.

What a pleasure to arrive there and experience untrammeled Africa without the crowds! Out of season is definitely the way to travel these days. 

Leopard, lion and cheetah in our time here not to mention wonderful vistas of seas of grass with zebra and topi navigating their way across the plains.