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Destinations

CNN Names Bwindi Forest the Most beautiful Place Around the World

The Cable News Network (CNN) has named Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest as the most beautiful place around the world on their list of 25.

According to the American news-based pay television channel writer Joe Minhane, the forest situated on a a series of steep ridges and valleys in the south western part of Uganda has a biodiversity that extends far beyond its most famous inhabitants.

Mountain Gorillas
Mountain Gorillas; the top attractions in Bwindi Forest

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the last reboudts of the mountain Gorilla. Over 400 call this UNESCO-protected national park home with the chance for visitors do mountain Gorilla trekking and meet habituated groups.. It biodiversity extends far beyond its most famous inhabitants” Joe Minhane wrote.

Joe’s list of the world’s spectacular places was based on the world full of hidden and overt beauty in every corner and it was part of celebrating of Earth day, rounding up the best from African forests to vast Latin American deserts, watery Balkan paradises to ancient middle East cities.

Rivers in Bwindi
One of the water Streams in Bwindi Forest

Beauty is also suspective. It would be possible to get a unanimous decision on the most beautiful places around the world but we think this list is a good start to plan your travel” He added.

Brief Insight on Bwindi Forest

The famous Bwindi Forest National Park is home to more than half of the world’s remaining population of mountain Gorillas offering a number of Uganda Safari adventures including Gorilla Tracking, Gorilla habituation, bird watching, hiking, nature walks and cultural tours among others.

The park is estimated to inhabit over 500 individuals of these endangered creatures with about 19 gorilla families divided into four tracking sectors; Rushaga, Ruhija, Buhoma and Nkuringo.

The biologically diverse nature of Bwindi Forest also provides a number of other attractions to see including over 10 species of other primates like chimpanzees, Hoest’s, red-tailed and blue monkey, black and white Columbus, olive baboon, 310 butterflies’ species, 88 moths, 200 trees, 357 bird species, 51 reptiles and 120 types of mammals among others.

Other Places on the List

Other places that were mentioned are Samburu in Kenya, Morocco’s Mount Toubkal, Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay, Phillipines’ El Nido, New Zealand’s Rotorua, Australia’s Kata Tjuta, The Maldives among others.

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Destinations

Exploring Carthage: An Urban Delight in Tunisia

Carthage Tunisia has an enviable location. Carthage Tunisia is situated on a peninsula, which is in the shape of an arrow. The city of Carthage served as an important city during Roman times. It became a focal point of early Christianity. Ruins of Carthage can be viewed from Tunis, which is situated in present-day Tunisia.

Carthage Tunisia is not a sacred destination. It has a paucity of surviving temples. Ancient Carthage has played the role of a pagan city, a primary center of Christianity, and the abode of Tertullian and St Cyprian.

Carthage Tunisia previously served as a trading town for Phoenicians. The Romans conquered and destroyed Carthage during the Punic Wars. In BC 44, Julius Caesar created a Roman city in Carthage. It became a central port in the Mediterranean region. Nearly 300,000 individuals inhabited the city during the 3rd century. During this time, Carthage was second only to Rome.

Carthage became a sort of a magnet for trade, foreign visitors, and refugees. Carthage was deeply attached to the culture and civic life of Rome. Many gods were worshipped in Carthage. Tanit and Ba’al Hammon are the most important ones. The priests of Carthage did not sport a beard, unlike the inhabitants. The city saw various rituals and rites, such as rhythmic dancing. These rituals have been derived from Phoenician customs. Goddess Astarte was extremely popular during early time. Several gods were worshipped from neighboring Greece and Egypt.

A Christian community flourished in Carthage Tunisia in AD 200. Tertullian wrote largely for a pagan audience in AD 197. He claimed that Christians have occupied all places amongst you. Carthage held a council of nearly 70 bishops. The Council at Carthage confirmed the Biblical canon for the Church in the west.

Donatist Schism symbolized a major rift in the Christianity of Northern Africa. It was born in AD 312. It officially ended in the Gargilian Baths in AD 411. It drew the attention of St Augustine of Hippo and other prominent theologians.

Vandals occupied the city during the 5th century. However, major portions of the city were still under barbarian rule. Numerous public structures fell into utter ruin. Several church buildings, private homes, and baths were renovated and adorned with beautiful mosaics and sculpture.

The economy of Carthage collapsed in AD 650 while its harbors were rendered useless. Arabs captured the city in AD 698. Carthage Tunisia presently is home to only ruins.

Theatres, villas, baths, and temples, belonging to the Roman era, are Carthage’s primary attractions. The ruins of the amphitheatre and the thermal Antonine Baths are the highlights of the region. They are amongst the largest baths constructed by the Romans.

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Cities Destinations

The Super Swanky City of Monte Carlo – Monaco

Think of Monaco, and there the vision of some of the most luxurious havens of sea; the exorbitantly priced yachts illuminating the crystal shores of the Monte Carlo are etched. The image stands vivid on the mind of the traveler who likes to travel, but with a generous dash of class and a hint of luxury.

The bling bling of some of the greatest luck testing weakness centers of Casino and the extremely pulsating gaming rooms make way for the Grand Casino in the Monte Carlo.

A celebrity hub that Monaco is, the glitters and gold sparkling, makes it a destination of uber locale immersed in opulence and bang on self indulgence. It is no shame to pamper yourself at Monte Carlo as a pure hedonist sans any guilt who gambles like a bad man with super style and super duper swank. Feel like a celebrity as the greatly armed police force here along with special discreet bank transaction facilities, would quite tip one as some of the grand detective flicks!

As one passes through the very famous Golden Square, alternatively called the quartier in Monte Carlo, it is very easy to be spell bound under the magnificence of some of the very plush hotels, exquisite boutiques and some culinary delightful eateries and restaurants. The Hotel De Paris is one such enchanting encounter while at the Golden Square.

However to be experiencing the authentic vibe of Monte Carlo and to gear up on some quick gambling, the conditions apply barrier to be 21 years old beckons. So, the role-play of a spy dude at a plush Casino in this posh vicinity does come with an age requisite!

Amidst the other great offerings at Monte Carlo, how can the mention of Japanese Gardens be left behind? With the sea clashing its waves on the shores that are right in front of the gardens, it makes for a well deserved visit. Don’t forget the very attractive and an absolute delight among the kiddy crowds; the National Museum of Dolls and Clockwork Exhibits of the Yesteryear is a place where the memories of childhood rewind as the dolls unwind to the sounds of chime that at bring back the days of innocence and gushing nostalgia.

Also, the area of Moneghetti offers great attractions of Observatory Caves and Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology and the Exotic Garden is what makes Monaco all the more enchanting.

After a range of quirky museums, how can Monaco not be called as the shopping district? The term Shopaholic turns into Shopaholistic! Nowhere else can shopping be such a weakness. The place as it is snob on moolah command, the best deal is to window shop! The Condamine Market is a great bazaar situated close to the shopping districts of Rue Princesse Caroline and Rue Grimaldi, which can be a mecca for those who really have a weakness for shopping.

Monte Carlo has an unmatched cultural legacy that is evident on the face of the city, which can only be experienced. All in all, a great location who prefer to trot the urban way!

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Travel Planner

Planning a Gorilla Tour

A gorilla tour is one of the most exciting expedition a traveler can ever take on. A gorilla safari involves tracking the gorillas in their habitats which is a very adventurous and demanding tourism activity. With lots of work to be done in gorilla trekking, a gorilla tour needs some planning in order to enjoyable and a memorable one.

Below are tips on planning a gorilla tour;

Always plan your gorilla trek in advance; gorilla tracking in Uganda is known to be one of the best tourist activities in Africa and you need to plan it in advance. You need to start planning at least six months in advance; this is because there are many things you need to consider if you want to have a successful gorilla tour in Africa;

You decide on which country to trek; Uganda or Rwanda

You require making a decision on which country to visit. Mountain gorillas can be viewed in Rwanda, Uganda and DRC. Unluckily, there is some insecurity in the DRC and as such we don’t recommend tourists to trek gorillas in Congo until further notes. The mountain gorillas in Uganda are in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park while those in Rwanda are found in Volcanoes national Park. One gorilla family is found in Mgahinga National park which is also part of the Virunga ranges shared between Uganda, Rwanda and Congo; this group keeps migrating to and from Uganda to Rwanda.

Bwindi impenetrable national park has got 12 gorilla families that are located in different regions of the forest and this means that you need to be careful when buying the permits. You can as well choose to visit both countries and compare the two experiences or trek in one country. When you make your decision about where to trek the mountain gorillas from, always contact a tour operator to book for you a permit.

Buying your gorilla permit; you will automatically need a gorilla permit for a given day in a known national park in either Uganda or Rwanda for you to be able to trek the mountain gorillas. You can as well contact your tour operator in Uganda to get you a gorilla permit. You also need to contact a tour operator who is a member of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO). The will check and advise you on availability got the gorilla permits leaving you to make a decision on your own.

Once you buy the gorilla permits, you are well to go. With in Uganda, the gorilla permits are issued out by Uganda Wildlife Authority through the registered tour operators on a first come first serve basis. In order to keep away from shortage of gorilla permits, organize this in advance. There is a likelihood of booking a gorilla permit by you however its better using a tour operator since Uganda wildlife Authority is so slow at returning calls as well as responding to emails.

More so, the gorilla permit you are holding will determine the accommodation to be booked for you among many other factors. You need to create your interest first and in case you need a simple trek, then it’s better to book permits for either Ruhija or Buhoma. In case youneed a more challenging trek, you can go for Rushaga region or Nkuringo. With the problem in altitude, then you should avoid the southern sector of Bwindi forest since it has the highest altitudinal point. For more information, contact your operator before you make any decisions.

Which of Bwindi Region are You Trekking?

Gorillas permit allocation in Uganda is based on regions. These regions with gorilla families in Bwindi impenetrable national Park are alienated by long distances. Buhoma region is situated in the north of Bwindi and this is home to three gorilla families’ namely; Mubare, Rushegura and Habinyanja. Ruhija region is located in the east of Bwindi with three gorilla families like Bitukura, Oruzongo and Kyaguriro. Rushaga sector located in the south is home to five gorilla families including Kahungwe, Mishaya, Nshongi, Bweza and Busingye while Nkuringo region located in the south has Nkuringo gorilla family.

About Transport and accommodation;

So when you have finally decided on which side of Bwindi to trek. It’s better to seek advice from the operator as they know better which sides will suite your interest. Now it’s time to book your accommodation as well as transport. Let your tour operator know the level of accommodation and type of vehicle you would like to use. There are many accommodation options in all regions of the bank so it’s up to you to choose budget, moderate or high end. This also applies to transport. You might choose to travel in a safari vans, land cruisers or land rovers depending on your budget. With in Uganda, there are daily scheduled flights to Bwindi so in case you prefer flying to save on time then, you will need to contact your tour operator to book you on these scheduled flights to Bwindi.

Knowing about the gorilla trekking rules and regulations;

These are endangered species and according to 2013 census, only 800 individuals are remaining in the world. Your visit to these primates should not reduce their numbers but should instead increase on it. Always ask your tour operator to send you gorilla trekking rules and regulations and how to conduct yourself while you are with these great apes. The basic things you need to know are; each of the gorilla family is visited by a maximum of eight people per day for one hour. You are also supposed to leave at least seven (7m) between you and the gorillas. Avoid eye contact with the mountain gorillas and always turn off your flash while taking photos. Always try to listen and follow what your guide will tell you while trekking.

What to pack for your gorilla trek;

The mountain gorillas in Bwindi live in thick forests and in an area that is dominated by steep hills and because of this thickness and terrain in the forest, you need to prepare what to wear. Below are some of the need wear for the trek; hiking boots, long sleeved trousers and shirts. You need garden gloves since some shrubs and climbing plants can itch you. Long socks, insect repellent, camera, a hut, sun glasses are highly recommended plus energy giving food.

Best time to trek gorillas; when planning a gorilla safari, you must know the best time to trek the gorillas in Uganda. While gorillas in Uganda can be trekked throughout the whole year, drier months of June, July, August and September are always preferred. Throughout these months, there is less rain and chances are that the trek will be easy since the trails will be less slippery as well. The months of April, May and November are the wettest months and clients avoid them.

The porters and walking sticks;

These are the best companies you can ever have on your gorilla trek. You will need a walking stick to help you trek those steep hills. The walking sticks are offered by most lodges and if the lodge can’t provide, then the porters can provide them at a cost of $10-$15. In case you have a less fit client, we advise that you take a porter with you who will give you a push or a pull when the going gets tough. He/she will carry your back pack and stay with you throughout the trek.

How is gorilla trekking like?

This whole process starts with you waking up to prepare yourself. Get to dress accordingly and then go to the restaurant for an early breakfast and pick up your packed lunch as well as the walking sticks. Make sure you have all that you will need to have your gorilla trek. After breakfast and mostly depending on the facility where you spent a night from, you might drive or walk to the pack head quarters for registration and allocation of gorilla families depending on your wellbeing and bodily fitness. Some of the lodges are closer to the park head quarters while others are not so always take care of this before making decision.

You will be divided into groups of eight people per gorilla family and after briefing; each group is given a guide, a ranger and a tourism police officer who has to ensure that you are safe while trekking the mountain gorillas. You need to know that Bwindi is home to un habituated chimps, forest buffaloes and elephants among other wild animals. The police men and the rangers are in place to scare away any of these animals in case they come closer. You will walk or drive to the starting point as each gorilla family has many starting points depending on its movements within its territory.

Also note that mountain gorillas are not defensive but they tend to stay in a given dimensional area. From the starting point, you will start your trek which might take 30 minutes to 6 hours and once you glance these gorillas, you will then be given one hour to spend with them as take photos before returning back to the park head quarters. At the head quarters, each of you will be given a certificate of recognition of your contribution to the conservation of the gorillas.

Combining gorilla tracking and other excursions; Uganda as well as Rwanda has got a lot to offer apart from gorillas, you might choose to visit the source of the Nile, do chimpanzee trekking, visit Queen Elizabeth National park, enjoy adventurous tourism like white water rafting and bungee jumping etc. Rwanda has got a visit to Dian fossey tomb, do golden monkey trekking, visit the genocide memorial site, and many more. It’s always advisable to combine a gorilla safari with any of the above activities to have the best experience in both Uganda and Rwanda.

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Destinations

Wanderlust at Zanzibar Just Gets Better and Better

A town dwindled in time; is that Zanzibar? A paradise whose beauty is unmarred; is that Zanzibar? A cultural epicenter, is that Zanzibar? To each his own as the saying goes. The scenic and picturesque beaches of Zanzibar, with the local guys fluttering around making a friendly flash; to the modesty of outlandish yet so eccentric towns can be true only to this amazing locale.

Set away from the shoreline of the Tanzanian borders, Zanzibar treasures a cluster of pictorial islands including the Pemba Island, the Zanzibar Island which is referred to as Unguja among the local crowds. The territory of Zanzibar includes some more little islands that together contribute to the enchanting splendors the place has to offer.

Zanzibar is not only a serene destination by its ethereal beauty, but can also be confirmed to be a peace-loving territory. To support the statement, this place makes way into the fact file for having fought the shortest spanned war to happen on these grounds ever to be recorded in history. The battle lasted thirty-eight minutes before surrendering to the rival British force. Wonder, if the troops forgot to carry their arms, mesmerized by the sheer magnificence of the place!

Religiosity and Beyond

The enigmatic mosques in Zanzibar make it clear that the most widely practiced religion over here in Islam. Influences of the Arab and African cultures, gives this place a quaint vibe. The other religions practiced in Zanzibar are Christianity and even Hinduism. The religion of Hinduism is the most widely religion practiced in the Asian country of India. Mixed influences of such varied and diversely rich places is what makes Zanzibar so different from the others.

Zanzibar Soaked in the Enigma of the Bygone Era

Walk through the meandering paths, lively market place, divinity stirred in the air by the presence of some of the most exquisite mosques. The beauty of these structures transcends the boundaries of religion and soaks one in the unanimity of mystical spirituality, regardless of where they come from.

The contrast of the bustling streets against the backdrop of such tranquil structures is what earns Zanzibar a peculiar feel, unparalleled by any other place.

The art of Zanzibar is vivid on the architectural elements. The door of ancient Arab houses feature great aesthetic sense from the way carvings are done on the wooden doors. The art on the door itself is a metaphor into the gateway of Zanzibar’s cultural grandeur.

The Stone City is a UNESCO declared world-heritage site. However, when visiting most people tend to be under the impression of visiting a museum of a place or alike, which should not be how it is. The place is comprised of real people, with real houses that till date mark the grandeur of the past, though in a faded manner. The traces of legacy of the Arabian culture that confluence with the blend of the Africans with added influences of the Indian and Moorish backgrounds; a stroll down the Stone Town can definitely be a melting pot of history, cultures and beyond. The winding streets of Stone Town band in the circles of nostalgia that give the Stone Town its unique feel. With shopping destinations galore and architectural amazement of stemming from the timelessness of the past history; there’s certainly a whole new different life waiting for you out there.

Next is the buzzing market place of the Spice Island was a hub on the spice trail commerce in the past. The spice tour is not just an amazing spectacle but an aromatic journey to the only place where the most priced spice of saffron grows. From passing by the ginger, cardamom, licorice and other exotic plantations, this tour will be remembered for a long time. The dunk of so many aromas against a picturesque old town is definitely very nostalgic.

For nature lovers and outdoor enthusiast, is the exciting Jozani forests. Home to the Red Colobus species of monkeys, they make a great host and also your picture-perfect-partner. Not at all camera conscious, the fun with them ends no soon. Coming to the Jozani Forest and not visiting the enticing mangrove forests is a big no-no! Also, the Zanzibar Butterfly Center is a kiddy retreat where kids and adults can spectacle some of the most pretty butterflies. It indeed is a magical experience to see such awfully beautiful butterflies buzzing around.

You can stop, and so can’t Zanzibar with its umpteen options. The House of Wonders and the Arab Fort as well as the Slave Market is an experience of its kind. However, a piece of advice in the areas of Kenyatta and Shangani Road of maintaining a straight NO to many more than keen cab drivers to offer a ride or the many spice tour agents can help you a great deal and can be avoided.

With all the adventure and getting around, it surely is time to hear the cries of the belly. If you’re the cuisine sampler sort and like to go unique on the palette then go ahead and get yourself treated with the local style dining experience at the Forodhani Gardens. With the most inexpensive cuisine delight consisting of tasty crab pincers and calamari steaks, one must definitely savor the specialty of the sugar cane juice over here. After the gulp down session, there are many gift bazaars just down the road. Pick up a souvenir, but remember bargain is a part of the travel spirit. So go ahead and pick your steal deal.

From the share of fun on the land, don’t miss out on the aquatic delights that the picturesque East Beaches have in line to offer. The scuba diving experience is an amazing tete-a-tete with the marine creatures. Take up the Kimikazi Dolphin Tour and be ready to thrill at the amazing sights. The Knedwa Beach is another place of unending fun. Take the traditional dhow ride and experience Zanzibar like never before.

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Experiences

10 Most Exciting Things to Do in Rwanda

Each year comes with its own travel demands and so is 2019 and it is every visitors’ dream to take part in that exceptional safari experience that leaves lasting memories in them. For unique experiences, Rwanda is that one African safari destination you need to consider a must to explore this year. With a lot more that waits for you to explore, a visit to Rwanda gets you the best of African safari experiences. In other words, everyone has something to take part. A visit to this magical landlocked country takes you through its varied ecosystems, abundant wildlife, majestic volcanoes or its pristine national parks and above all, distinct safari activities.

Astonishing things to not to miss out while on Rwanda safari

Gorilla trekking

A Rwanda safari is only considered complete when you include gorilla trekking in your bucket list adventure. With only 3 countries where you can catch a glimpse at mountain gorillas, a visit to Rwanda remarkably gets you that opportunity to trek to see these unique creatures in their natural habitat. Currently, these primate species are fewer than 1004 and they thrive within Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park is the only option available for you to make your dream come true. This park lies suitably in the northwest about 2 to 3 hours’ drive off Kigali capital and its closeness to city center; even visitors with limited time are covered. Gorilla treks in Volcanoes National Park may last you about 3 to 6 hours although this may also depend on a number of factors including your hiking speed, nature of habitat and location of gorillas.

However, like other adventures, gorilla trekking in Rwanda equally comes at a cost and in order for you to take place in this thrilling primate adventure; you need $1500 to help you secure a permit. Gorilla permits in Rwanda can be obtained through a reliable tour operator or reservation department at Rwanda Development Board (RDB). To be on a safer side, make sure that you secure your permit early enough at least 3 months prior actual trek. Remember that demand for permits is high and only 1 permit gets you a chance to track 1 habituated family in a group of 8 visitors.

Chimpanzee tracking

Besides thrilling gorilla adventures, a visit to Rwanda equally takes you through exciting chimpanzee tracking. This is another bucket list primate adventure if you plan to visit Rwanda soon. Chimpanzee treks in Rwanda are perfectly done within the lust rainforest of Nyungwe Forest National Park. There are 3 reception centers within this park and they include Uwinka, Gisakura or Kitabi. This primate experience takes you through habituated chimpanzee groups in Nyungwe forest national parks. One group is found within the park and the other is within Cyamudongo forest. The other option is Gishwati Mukura National Park. Remarkably, this primate experience also gets you the best sights at other creatures including L’Hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, grey cheeked mangabeys, Den’t monkeys, red tailed monkeys, olive baboons, vervet monkeys and many more. Chimpanzee permits in Nyungwe Forest National Park costs $100 per visitor.

Canopy walk

Within Nyungwe Forest National Park, visitors on Rwanda safari have a chance to take part in canopy walk. This is by far, the rarest experience and in East Africa it is first of its kind. Canopy walk in this park takes you through 200 meters walk and you will spend at least 2 hours. It always starts at Uwinka visitor center and comes with exciting sights at distinct species including primates, birds and magical views at the Ishuno waterfalls. You need $60 to take part in this experience.

Bird watching

Rwanda boasts of its diverse Important Bird Areas each of which reward you with distinct sights at varied bird species. A birding tour in Rwanda takes you through tourist sites such as Nyungwe Forest National Park which hosts over 310 bird species. While on bird tour in this park, you have a chance to spot out birds like pockefellers’s sunbird, Chapin’s flycatchers, the Great Blue Turaco, the Grauer’s rush warbler, red collared mountain babbler, white tailed fly catcher, blue headed and regal sunbird, Congo bay owlet and purple throated.

Volcano hike

5 of 8 Virunga Volcanoes are confined within Rwanda Volcanoes National Park and they include Karisimbi, Bisoke, Sabyinyo, Muhabura and Gahinga and this makes Rwanda among a few most remarkable sites for hiking adventures. Hiking experiences in Rwanda take you through Sabyinyo but Uganda side, Karisimbi Volcano, Bisoke.

Wildlife viewing

For most visitors, a trip to Rwanda is mainly focused on gorilla trekking but in real sense, you have a lot more besides mountain gorillas. Think about the big game and several of savanna grassland dwellers and think of Akagera National Park! Rwanda is an ideal destination for you to view elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, lions, leopards, elands, hippos, crocodiles, zebras, klipspringer, Oribis and others as well as several bird species including terrestrial and water birds. You can catch a glimpse at these varied species while on a game drive or boat cruise mostly hippos and crocodiles as well as water birds

Mountain biking

There are many cycling trails set for mountain biking in Rwanda and they include Congo trail. These trails come with campsites along the way for adventure seekers to relax from and there are many well-trained guides to take you through.

Para motoring

Para motoring is so far the newest adventure and while on Rwanda safari, count it a must to take part. In East Africa, it is a first of its kind and it takes you through Rubavu, Karongi, Nyungwe Forest National Park or Huye town.

Cultural experience with Intore dancers

The word Intore means dance of the heroes and indeed a cultural trip here rewards you with amazingly exciting and unique tradition this country boasts of. The dancers in this troupe are very skilled and professional.

Explore more about the 1994 Rwanda genocide

Rwanda is known for its past and for visitors who are interested in dark tourism, a visit to any of genocide sites is worth. The notable sites to explore include Kigali genocide site, Murambi genocide memorial site, Nyamata genocide memorial center, Nyanza and many others.

You may also take part in golden monkey tracking; pay a visit to King’s palace museum, visiting the red rocks Rwanda and many more.

 

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Animals

5 African Animals in Rapid Decline

A number of Africa’s most famous, beloved and beautiful species are in rapid decline. 

It is often shouted from the rooftops those animals that are listed as endangered or only have limited numbers left, and rightly so. However there are other species whose numbers, although appearing great in number, are fast being depleted. The population numbers of the ten animals and birds listed below are decreasing at a rapid rate and while they may not have the least numbers to top the “10 most endangered species list”, they are certainly facing population crashes with little hope predicted for the future.

1. Western lowland gorilla

The population of the magnificent Western lowland gorilla has seen a rapid decline which can be attributed to high levels of commercial hunting and the devastating Ebola virus. The population has quickly gone from absolute abundance to a decline of more than 60% in the past twenty years and with gorilla reproductive rates being extremely slow, there is little hope for recovery. Despite a large portion of the population living within protected areas, poaching poses a serious threat to the species. To add to the problem, experts suggest that within the next 20 to 30 years habitat loss will also pose a greater threat due to use of land for agriculture, timber extraction and mining.

2. Black Rhino

Throughout most of the 20th century, the black rhino boasted the largest population numbers of all the world’s rhinos with estimations lying at about 850 000 individuals. However by 1960 only about 100 000 individuals remained due to land clearances for human settlement and farming, large-scale poaching and relentless hunting of the species and between 1960 and 1995 the population decreased by a dramatic 95.6%. While numbers are steadily on the increase today, current estimations are still 90% lower than three generations ago with one of four sub-species now considered extinct.

3. African wild dog

African wild dogs have disappeared from much of their former range in recent years and a current population estimate lies at just 6 600, with only 1 400 mature individuals. Populations are declining due to human encroachment and the resultant habitat fragmentation, plus direct persecution and infectious disease carried by domestic dogs. This human conflict is unlikely to be reversible and in fact is no doubt going to increase in the coming years. As the African wild dog is known to roam large territories, only a few reserves are able to provide protection for the species. The African wild dog is virtually eradicated from North and West Africa, and greatly reduced populations remain in Central Africa and North-east Africa.

4. African lion

While these magnificent beasts once roamed large tracts of Africa and beyond, populations have crashed dramatically to an estimated 450 000 in the 1940s and less than 20 000 animals today. Extensive trophy hunting, persecution in defense of life and livestock, prey base depletion, habitat loss and isolated breeding populations place increasingly downward pressure on populations. Though a lot has been done to protect the lions, there is need to protect these predators in communities where national parks are sorrounded by the pastoralists.

Would you like to see the tree climbing lions in Africa? Why not book a safari to Uganda and get to see these unusual creatures hanging up in the fig trees of Ishasha in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

5. African Elephant

Though there is still a good number of elephants in south and East Africa, elephant are threatened by the booming ivory trade in Asia. Elephants are becoming threatened with increased poaching in several countries including Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Sudan, DR Congo and Uganda. When it comes to war torn areas like South Sudan and DR Congo, the  numbers of elephants are plummeted to a degree that if nothing done, these animals are becoming extinct in a few years.

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Destinations

Great Escape to Gaborone, Botswana

Regarded as one of Africa’s fast-paced developing cities; Gaborone is an electrifying and lively place to be in. Nestled between the hills of Kgale and Oddi on the banks of the sparkling Notwane River that falls towards the southern-east region of Botswana which is about fifteen kilometers away from Tlokweng – a border point in the South African region.

Called by the locals as ‘Gabs’, the place has lots to offer to the tourist coming in, and would certainly have umpteen activities to indulge in. Wondering, where does the fun begin in Gaborone? Well here are some of the many places you could be visiting. Get ready to jet set off!

The Hilly High-Points of Gaborone

If you find yourself fitting the bill of more of an adventure enthusiast, then certainly Kgale Hill should be the place for you. Popular as being one of the largest hills in the whole of Botswana, the hill ascends to a height of approximately about a hundred meters. Also, a great location to spectacle some of the greatest views of Garborone from the top of the hill, the surrounding areas can also be seen from atop. However, be careful of the baboons that populate the hill, so taking necessary precaution well before hand would be advisable. Keep a track of your path as one goes hiking, because there are no guides that can be found. So, if it motivates you enough, have your efforts up this way.

Gaming Away to Glory

As, in the city, you can find some good gaming centers. So, gaming enthusiasts can definitely have something to look forward to. There are 2 great gaming reserves popular in the Gaborone.

Mokolodi

Mokolodi is certainly a very famous hot-spot for many people coming in. The key attraction at the Mokolodi is the opportunity to pet the infamous and cruel creature called cheetah. Isn’t that amazing? To some extent even frightening? Well, nothing really to worry of, as the animals are well-tamed. One can also find wart hogs, elephants, hippopotamus, the striped zebras and so much more. The presence of guides who are pleased to assist one, makes it easy about what to do and how to go about.

Gaborone Gaming Reserve

Not as big as the former counterpart of Mokolodi, the Gaborone Game Reserve boasts a variety of species of animals and birds that were not to be found earlier, but have recently been added. People can choose to drive around if they have their own vehicle. One can find different species of animals like the different sort of birds, wild boars, kudus, monkeys, wart hogs and more.

The Culinary Safari

Come to Gaborone and not sample some of the mouth-smacking cuisines of Botswana? Doesn’t quite complete the deal! Here are some of the eateries to look forward to, while visiting.

The very popular Café Dijo

Offering variety of amenities with the dining experience, visitors can access complimentary high speed internet, and sample some of the very tasty dishes that Café Dijo offers on the menu. The café can be seen well visited by tourists and alike.

Nando’s Chicken Delight

Nando’s Chicken calls out all chicken lovers for being the internationally renowned joints for spicy and delicious tasting chicken. Nando’s can be spotted in all the leading malls.

Buy a Pie

Pie Time is undoubtedly the bestest places to savor amazing pies. The dough is stuffed with mouth watering meat and veggies that taste wonderful. Teem it up with your favorite dip, and you’re all sorted.

There are many more great eateries worth stepping in, including the Irish Pub, Bull and Bash, the Lizzard Lounge, Fashion Lounge and also News Café. Have your pick and sample some of the most delightful dishes.

Fun and Frolic at Gaborone never dies out. Get ready to enjoy this very unique and very beautiful place.

Categories
Animals

The Congo Okapi Antelope: Interesting Things to Know

Ever thought of catching a glimpse at that one unique creature on earth but you do not know which one exactly? Well, if this has always been your dream then it is a high time you achieved it. Okapis are a few rarest wild creatures that you need to consider a must to strike your eyes at while on safari in Africa. These unique mammal creatures are at times popular as forest giraffes a unique species which doesn’t really look like giraffe. It has long tongue though its body has a horse and the legs feature stripes like those of zebras. The males feature 2 small horns on the head which are also covered by the skin. They fall under Giraffidae family making them relatives of giraffes.

In terms size, they are approximately 1.5 meters tall while females are a bit heavier with about 495 to 770 Ibs. Males weigh between 200 and 300 kilograms. These unique creatures thrive within the dense tropical rain forest of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and mostly within the Ituri forest. They are solitary and territorial, featuring scent glands on their feet which spread sticky, tar like territory markings to alert others of their territory. The males equally mark territories with urine and on unusual occasions, they eat together but in small groups. It is during this time that they groom each other and play together. In the afternoon and evening, they become more active spending more time while in search for what to eat. They follow different paths.

They are mainly herbivores depending mainly on vegetation. They can get the top of the trees using their tongues and capable of pulling it down then feed on leaves. They mainly eat twigs, fruits, buds and other vegetation which do exist within the rainforests. Clay equally makes part of their diet as it is source of minerals and salt which they don’t get from vegetation. One okapi can feed between 20 and 27 kilograms of vegetation every day. While drinking water, they spread their legs on the ground to get firm.

Females give birth to only 1 baby at a time and this is after a gestation period of about 14 to 16 months. The young one of Okapi is known as calf and it can stretch about 80 centimeters tall when they are born weighing approximately 16 kilograms. They can walk after like half an hour after birth but don’t defecate till they are around 4 to 8 weeks. They reach their maturity at 2-3 years and have life span of about 20 to 30 years.

These mammal creatures are listed by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as endangered species and their population has continued decreasing in the wild due to a number of factors. Most of them are hunted for meat-one factor which leading to their continued decline in the wild today. However, they range between altitude 500 and 1500 meters and mainly endemic to the tropical rainforests of the DR Congo mostly in Okapi Wildlife Reserve, some parts of Maiko National Park and many other areas.

Categories
Destinations Guides

Guide to Visiting Seychelles

Michel Earnesto has a crooked smile, accentuated by plenty of missing teeth, and squints at me through the early morning sunshine as I examine one of his jars of homemade chilli sauce. “This will put hair on da chest and fire in da belly,” he says with a grin. I look down at the jar – which once held confiture de mûre. Now it is home to a bright red sauce filled with thick slices of menacing looking red and green chilies. However, curiosity wins over culinary fear and I fish out a few rupees with intrepidation.

This is the colorful, bustling Sir Selwyn Clarke Market in the heart of Victoria, the sleepy capital of the Seychelles. The market is a hive of activity despite the early hour; fishermen and middle men yell out prices for fresh tuna and colorful reef fish in Seselwa Creole, a local language that resembles mumbled French. In the vegetable aisles, plump elderly women, dressed in brightly colored sun dresses and straw hats, gossip behind tables packed with vibrantly yellow lady finger bananas (one of 30 varieties in the Seychelles), cracked coconuts and brick-sized mangoes.

I take my finds – Michel’s fearsome-looking salsa, a bag of local vanilla tea, and some cinnamon bark wrapped in yesterday’s Nation newspaper – and head to the more touristy corner. Here a few European travelers barter for bottles of vanilla essence and coconut oil, sachets of nutmeg, and the odd carved and polished coco de mer nut.

It’s a fitting national icon for this tiny Indian Ocean republic. Plenty of people have heard of this rare, Herculean-sized nut, which only grew on two tiny isles before conservation efforts lead to larger plantations further afield. For hundreds of years, before the Seychelles were even discovered, people believed the world’s largest seed came from a magical underwater tree, washing up on the beaches of the nearby Maldives and Mauritius. But ask people what to do with it, even in the Seychelles (it’s used in Chinese medicine but little else) and no one’s quite sure. Ask people where the Seychelles is, and what it’s like, and apart from famously beautiful beaches, the answers are pretty much the same.

An archipelago nation of 115 islands, many of which are little more than granite teeth lunging from azure seas, the Seychelles is a curious place. It’s had both French and British occupation, hopeful plantation owners trying, and failing, freed slaves given a new – if not isolated – home in paradise, and pirates living on its islands and anchored in its deserted coves (even today treasure hunters scour the northern beaches of the main island of Mahe for the treasure of feared pirate Olivier Le Vasseur, said to be valued at US$500 million).

Consequently, Seychelloise are the ultimate blend of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Their language may sound French but there is a replica of Big Ben that holds prime real estate in the centre of Victoria’s first traffic light-controlled intersection (there are now two). In the markets, stall holders are every shade between black and white, and blonde hair is as common as black, blue eyes as common as brown.

George, a mountain of a man, and my driver and guide from Select Seychelles, the island’s top concierge service, meets me outside Victoria’s garden-wreathed high court and we walk down the high street and past the Pirate’s Arms, a more modern day icon and one of the capital’s two tiny casinos. Punters are stacked around tables in its rustic seafood restaurant on the ground floor, sipping the local Seybrew and dining on Creole dishes. There are few tourists about, not only because the Icelandic volcano has stopped many European travelers from making it to their holiday in the sun, but also because so many that do arrive head straight for the resorts scattered across Mahe and beyond.

Tourism is one of the few industries thriving in the Seychelles. With only enough agriculture to sustain its own population of 85,000, it is resorts like Ephelia, which opened in February, that inject precious hard currency into the economy.

At Ephelia Resort, the landscaping is still growing in, but already the four beaches, including two of the best stretches of coastline on Mahe, are filled with sun-bathing guests. Families cluster around the resort’s numerous swimming pools or wade out into the shallows of South Beach looking for crabs, while couples snorkel and kayak off North Beach, a popular spot for luxury yachts.

Ephelia Resort is sprawling and modern and luxurious, but isolated; although its development has met the strictest ecological provisions (a large and fragile mangrove forest runs through its centre), and its guests have everything from palatial pool villas to a state-of-the-art spa village on hand, they have little interaction with the local culture and its people.

After a day exploring the resort’s extensive coastline, and a head-to-toe massage in the spa village, I join other guests sipping local Takamaka Bay rum and star gazing, serenaded by waves of jazz saxophone from the main cocktail bar.

It’s another early start and George and I make our way back across Mahe’s mountainous spine to Victoria, via the San Souci road, one of two mountain passes and by far the more picturesque. From the summit, the view down the coastline is jaw-dropping. Ephelia looks tiny, the sea beyond unfathomable.

We continue winding our way down towards the capital, passing a handful of soldiers who have just finished a shift protecting the president at his mountainside home. Until the Seychelles fell under one party rule in a 1977 coup, the nation didn’t even have armed forces and now that democracy has returned, the 450-strong force spend most of their time chasing illegal fishing and the odd modern day pirate.

The ports of Victoria are small but busy. Almost everything, from food to building supplies and even labor, has to be imported. The harbor is dotted with everything from a restored sailing ship called Sea Pearl, which offers island cruises, through to modern deep sea fishing boats which catch tuna, to be canned at the local cannery, one of the biggest employers in town.

I board a speed boat for the hour trip to North Island, northwest of Mahe. The general manager of North Island, which is owned and operated by Wilderness Safaris, has come along to greet me. He’s tanned and dressed in light-weight cotton, like a nonchalant millionaire – certainly a sign of things to come.

We make good time, passing million dollar homes on the northwest coast of Mahe, before cutting across the sea towards the tiny dog bone-shaped island. Flying fish and black-naped terns glide alongside the boat, and in the distance Silhouette, the third largest island in the archipelago, towers out of the ocean, its slopes brutally steep, its peaks reaching into a halo of low-lying cloud.