Photography

Dramatic Decrease of Grauer Gorillas in DR Congo

Dramatic Decrease of Grauer Gorillas in DR Congo

The gray gorillas live in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo – an area where there has been war between different rebel groups and the Congolese army for 20 years.

Since that time, efficient conservation work is only possible in some areas or only temporarily. In regional surveys, it has already been shown that the animal world has suffered greatly under this extreme situation, especially the large mammals.

Now, a team of researchers, led by WCS and FFI, have published a report on a population survey of the entire Grauer gorilla population: Status of Gray’s Gorilla and Chimpanzees in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. They come to a frightening result: there are probably only about 3800 gray gorillas (the estimate ranges from 1280 to 9050 individuals). This means that their stock has decreased by almost 80% within 20 years.

We have always supported projects for the protection of the gray gorillas, but this has been particularly difficult in the last 20 years, as all organizations have identified and some have withdrawn from this area. But we will continue to do all we can to improve the protection of the gorillas in cooperation with other organizations.

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Africa Holidays in July; Destinations & Recommendations

Africa Holidays in July; Destinations & Recommendations

A holiday in July is ideal, as in many countries the summer attracts, whereby the selection of destinations is enormous. Adventure, nature exploration, Culture and heritage, Jungle Safaris, sea or urban treks among others.

Africa Holidays in July – Travel Destinations and Recommendations for the most beautiful summer holidays

July is associated with summer holidays and many people plan vacations in other countries with their families. The swimming pools are full of people sunbathing on their towels or taking a few rounds in the water. Bathing lakes are also very popular in July as they promise an ensemble of barbecues, swimming, cozy evenings with friends and nature.  What is the best time to travel as the weeks when you do not have to go to school, college or work?

The wishes, how the journey should be designed, can be quite different. Adventure, safaris, nature, activities and sports or rather well-planned city tours or even beach vacations?

Jaguar in African Jungle Quenching Its Thirst

Jaguar in African Jungle Quenching Its Thirst

In the case of wildlife safari, you will get the right offer for the perfect summer holiday in Africa. Here you will find travel tips and recommendations to Africa for all travelers who prefer long journeys for their July holidays.

Your holiday fever has been woken up and you want to find your dream safari in Africa as soon as possible? Our blog contribution provides you with a lot of information on suitable African travel destinations in July. Your holiday in July can be planned with toddler or your family, with your partner or a group of friends. There is plenty to do and see in Africa.

Best African Destinations for a holiday in July

If you want to learn new landscapes and take safaris in the true African wilderness, African continent is the right place to go. A South Africa trip is good for safaris due to the dwindling vegetation, so you do not need to be afraid not to see the animals or miss them. Although South Africa is popular as a tourist destination in July, this month is not the best time for Cape Town and therefore also for the Garden Route. However, you should visit the well-known Kruger National Park, the Tafelberg and the Kariega Game Reserve during excursions, as you will have unique sights. Together with other holidaymakers, you will be able to experience what you are looking for, which is why safaris are unique and anchored in the memory.

Pride of Lions in Kruger National Park - South Africa

Pride of Lions in Kruger National Park – South Africa

Should you or one of your fellow travelers be sensitive to cold, do not necessarily go to the Drakensberge in July. At night it is very cold because of the mountains. The same is true with the Cederbergs. For longer hikes, however, these places are a good choice, even if it can come to snowfall, because in South Africa in July winter prevails. The temperatures depend on the individual regions, during the day it is around 15 ° C in Cape Town, in Johannesburg 17.5 ° C and in Durban temperatures rise to 22 ° C. Especially during the night, it becomes very cold, which should be taken into account during your travel plans.

In Namibia, July is dry, the temperatures of the day are very pleasant at 20 to 25 degrees, only at night the temperatures drop to the freezing point. That’s why you should think of warm clothes, at best fleece. A holiday in Namibia in July has other attractions besides the famous attractions such as the Etosha National Park and the capital Windhoek. In the south you will find, for example, the Ai-Ais, the hot springs, which are sure to be a special feast for the eyes. Also one of the national monuments, the Köcherbaumwald, is worthwhile if you want to see next to such an impressive plant, which can be up to 9 meters high.

Game safari in Etosha National Park

Game safari in Etosha National Park

Also, a Zimbabwe trip or a trip to Botswana for a July holiday are popular destinations in July for a safari vacation. In Zimbabwe you will experience the dry season this month and the precipitation rate is very low, which in turn favors safaris. The temperatures are at a pleasant 23 ° C, which is why July is also the best time for Zimbabwe. In Botswana it is even colder, during the day about 20 ° C, and at night it freaks very frequently. July is a good month in Botswana for fishing, watching wild – for example in the Kalahari Game Reserve – and also bird watching are piling up. This is due to the fact that many animals enter the Okavango Delta through the Okavango flood. The so-called Tuli-Block is very scenic and allows many beautiful panoramic views.

Okavambo Aerial View

Okavambo Aerial View

The best time to travel for a gorilla trek in Uganda and Rwanda is the July. On your trip in Uganda and / or Rwanda, you can expect temperatures between 16 and 27 degrees, and therefore good conditions for safaris and explorations. Gorilla tracking in Rwanda takes place in Volcanoes National Park and in Uganda, gorilla tourism is done in Mgahinga Gorilla National park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Mountain Gorilla in the Misty Jungles of Uganda and Rwanda

Mountain Gorilla in the Misty Jungles of Uganda and Rwanda

Other attractions in Uganda include the Lake Mburo National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth and Kibale Forest among others. Also Uganda’s capital Kampala, Semilik, Rwenzori Mountains and the Ziwa Rhinoceros protected area are well-known tourist spots.
Author; Paul Basudde

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History and Future of Gorilla Tourism in Africa

History and Future of Gorilla Tourism in Africa

The almost extinct mountain gorillas are a rarity on earth and have become with the years to a real tourist attraction of East Africa. Every year, numerous tourists travel to Uganda and Rwanda to experience the mountain gorillas up close.

The history of gorilla tourism in Africa

Over the last 100 years, many people and groups have worked together to secure the survival of the mountain gorillas in the jungle forests of Africa. Its history dates back to 1902, when Robert Von Beringe, a German captain and the first European, observed the mountain gorillas on the Sabinyo volcano, which lies between Uganda and Rwanda.

In 1925 the American naturalist Carl Akeley convinced his Majesty Albert the King of Belgium to found the Albert National Park, the first national park in Africa. The borders of the national park were extended in 1929. In 1959, George Schaller, an American zoologist, conducted a fundamental study on the gorillas in the Albert National Park.gorilla

1960s – Habituation of the Gorillas to Humans

After the independence of the colony Belgian Congo in 1960 (which later became the name Zaire), the volcano national park was divided into the volcano national park in Rwanda and the national park Virunga in the DR Congo. In 1967, the American zoologist Dian Fossey carried out her first long-term study on the wild gorillas in the volcanoes national park, and thus the habituation of the gorillas began the presence of the people. In 1973, the National Tourism and Development Office of the National Park was set up in Rwanda, which introduced new laws regarding national parks and the hunting of wild animals. As a participant of group or individual trips to Rwanda, you can encounter the fascinating animals during a gorilla trekking on a Rwanda voyage.

1970s – Fight Against Poachers

During the period between 1970 and 1980 the focus was on the fight against poaching. The emphasis was placed on how to reduce the game dairies and control the spread of traps and wireworms to protect the gorillas. Above all, the killing of the Silverback Digit and five other gorillas within a short period of time in the volcanic national park in 1978 was the worst moment ever and led to international concern about the survival of the gorillas. The grave of Digit is still visited in the old Karisoke Research Center near the tomb of Dian Fossey.

The first attempt to connect gorilla protection and tourism was made in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park in 1973 and here we have low-land gorillas. The park was first published in the Amtsblatt in 1970 and in 1975 it was extended to 6000 square kilometers. The first gorilla trekking was carried out in 1973, but later they were suspended because there was not enough study and experience on the impact of human gorilla contacts and because the “gorilla rules” were not yet clear.

Digit and Dian Fossey Tombs near Karisoke Research Center

Digit and Dian Fossey Tombs near Karisoke Research Center

The mountain gorilla project of 1979 was a turning point in the history of gorilla protection. This resulted in a convention between the Government of Rwanda and a consortium of several private animal and nature conservation organizations, including the African Wildlife Leadership Foundation (AWLF), WWF and FFPS (Fauna and Flora Preservation Society).

The idea was to introduce gorilla tourism and education as the main means of anti-poaching efforts to achieve better gorilla protection. The possibility of opening up new tourism-based jobs and increasing revenues would have had to change local and national political attitudes in favor of the gorillas.

Two groups of gorillas near Karisoke (Groups 11 and 13) were selected to perform an exercise of “habituation” so that they could be opened to tourist activities. Other families were excluded because of the aggressiveness of some gorillas against humans or because they were too far from the starting point of the trekking. Group 11 had a very quiet silverback called Stilgar, and in the group there were four young animals. The first experimental trek started in October 1979 with some residents from Kigali. The first foreign tourists who visited the gorillas were Europeans, who traveled in November 1979 with Trans-Africa Overlanders.

The first visits were limited to six persons per family, and the time was also limited to an hour, as the attitude of the Silverbacks would be reversed in opposition to a long visit. The price of the visit was 20 USD per trek. It is precisely this “gorilla trekking” which created the conditions for the so-called “gorilla rules“, in other words, what humans should or should not do when they meet the gorillas in their habitat; And this came as a reflection of the reactions of the gorillas to the visits of the people.

Park Ranger holding Poachers' Snares used to Trap Gorillas

Park Ranger holding Poachers’ Snares used to Trap Gorillas

The visitor stream to the volcano national park soon contributed to improving the accommodation conditions in Ruhengeri and creating new jobs as patrolling guards and trekking guides in the national park. Today, many people travel in the country “the thousand hills” to experience the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

The 1980s – The Death of Dian Fossey

On December 27, 1985, Dian Fossey was killed in her hut at Karisoke Research Center. Her death is still a mystery. She was buried in Karisoke next to her beloved figure in a cemetery, which she laid out for the gorillas. After their death, the counting of the mountain gorillas began in 1989 and it was found that there were about 324 gorillas in the Virunga protected area and 320 in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest area, a total of 644 mountain gorillas.

1990s – Civil war in Rwanda

In 1992 the male silver back named Mrithi was killed by “Group 13” (one of the accustomed families). In 1994 the civil war broke out in Rwanda and as a result almost 18 to 22 miners were killed during the war. There is another sad part of the genocide story in Rwanda from 1994: the genocide regarding the mountain gorillas and the end of gorilla tourism.
It was only in 1999 that the Volcanoes National Park was reopened by the Rwandan Tourist Board and National Parks (ORTPN). The price for the gorilla tracking was 250 USD. Later it was raised to 360 USD and in 2006/2007 the gorilla trekking already cost 500 USD.

On October 17, 2002, mountain gorillas Conservation Fund held the 100th anniversary since the discovery and identification of the Mountain gorillas in Rwanda, and in 2004 Keesling won an award from the British Airways for its efforts to protect the gorilla world-wide.banner4

In 2012, there were nine Gorilla families in the volcano national park in Rwanda that can be visited by gorilla tourists, and since 1 June the price for access to the gorilla area is 750 USD. In any case, these high income from gorilla tourism could not be foreseen a decade ago. In addition, there is much more potential from the investment in gorilla tourism back to the conservation of gorillas.

The history of gorilla tourism begins in Uganda, when Bwindi became a national park in 1991. In the 1970s, Uganda experienced a terrible delay in the development of tourism because tourism was banned and national parks were declared hunting areas by the Idi Amin dictator. In this period, no preservation of the gorillas was possible. In the 1980s the country was in the civil war. It was only in 1986 that the National Resistance Army won the battle for power in Kampala. A few years later, after restoring the rule of law and reconstructing the state’s public institutions, Uganda was ready at the beginning of the nineties to restore relations with the other countries where gorillas were discovered.gorilla-agashya

The first step in Uganda was the habituation of the Mubare family in Buhoma sector in which the Silberback Ruhondeza showed good reactions in contact with the people and therefore stimulated the development of gorilla tourism. The Mubare family has been accessible to tourists since 1993. Since then, tourists visit Bwindi National Park for mountain gorilla tracking experience.

In 2004 there were already four gorilla families who could be visited on a group trip through Uganda – Mubare, Rushagura, Habinyanja and Nkuringo. The approval for the gorilla trekking cost 360 USD.

In 2012, there were nine gorilla families in the Bwindi National Park, accustomed to the opening of two new trekking points in Ruhija (in the central area of Bwindi) and in Rushaga (in the south-east part of Bwindi). The permits for gorilla tracking on an individual journey through Uganda are sold for the price of 600 USD.
By: Paul Basudde

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Top 10 Expectations on Rwanda Safari

Top 10 Expectations on Rwanda Safari

Rwanda is one of the top tourist destinations in Africa, is a small land locked country, located in East Africa, famously known to inhabit the endangered mountain gorillas and the 1994 genocide. Below are the top places you should never miss on your vacation into the heart of Africa (Rwanda).

Mountain Gorillas in the Mist

Rwanda is one of the 3 countries in the world where one can go and see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. The gorillas live in the misty mountainous jungles of Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest as well as Mgahinga National Park in South Western Uganda. Seeing the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat rewards you with a lifetime adventure experience! Rwanda today has 10 habituated gorilla groups and each gorilla group is visited by a maximum of 8 persons per day. This means, a total of 80 gorilla permits is available per day, and you must book in advance because the demand for permits is very high through-out the year.

Baby Mountain Gorilla in the Jungle

Baby Mountain Gorilla in the Jungle

National Treasures

Stop in at the Butare National Museum, considered one of the best museums in East Africa. Featuring traditional housing, musical instruments, tribal art and other artifacts. The museum rewards visitors a great grounding in Rwandan history and culture.

Genocide Memorial Museum

After the 1994 genocide in Rwanda where about 1.000.000.00 perished, several places were gazetted into genocide memorial museums, and these attract many tourists from all-over the world; these include Gisozi Museum in Kigali, Murambi Technical School, Bisesero Genocide museum, Nyamata and Ntarama Churches among others.

Gisozi Genocide memorial Site Kigali

Gisozi Genocide memorial Site Kigali

Chill out Lakeside

Enjoy the serenity and beauty of Lake Kivu, a fresh water lake with fine sandy beaches in Western Rwanda. It is a good place to relax after a long day of gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park. Lake Kivu is surrounded by beatiful lodges, resorts and hotels such as Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, Palm Resort Hotel, Hotel Paradise Marahide and Stipp Hotel among others.Apart from sun and sand bathing, you can take a boat ride around the lake to visit the hot springs and coffee Island.

Beautiful Lake Kivu - Rwanda

Beautiful Lake Kivu – Rwanda

Monkey magic

Have fun finding habituated chimpanzees in the wild, Olive baboons and other primate species in the trees of the Nyungwe National Park. The dense rain forest terrain offers the perfect environment for these amazing creatures to live in.

Home Sweet Home

Enjoy the true hospitality of local people while spending time with them and take park in daily activities such as Local beer brewing from bananas, home cooking and harvesting among others, stay with them whole day and night, share stories, something you just can’t get when staying at a hotel.

Lake Kivu Serena Hotel Rwanda

Lake Kivu Serena Hotel Rwanda

To Market

Strolling through the markets of Kigali is a great way to get acquainted with this up-and-coming city. Buy some trinkets or fresh produce, chat with locals and watch market-life in action.

Beach Bliss

Visit Gisenyi town, a home to un-spoilt beaches where you will have to fight for a spot to laze on them.

Small Town Charm

Known as the gateway town to the gorillas, Ruhengeri town offers a change of pace to the crowds of Kigali. Be touched by the warmth and sincerity of the local people while staying in this town of about 80,000 people.

Ruhengeri - Musanze town

Ruhengeri – Musanze town

Feel the Beat

Enjoy local cultural Music, Dance and Drama. You are free to take part the dance. Take a walk around Kigali Streets, explore Kigali at Night! Amazing and life time experience!

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Rwanda Today- True Tourism facts

Rwanda Today- True Tourism facts

When I and my colleague visited Rwanda for the first time I didn’t expect what really experienced. Before I visited Rwanda I had this negative perception about Rwanda because of the bad vibe from the media. When one spoke about Rwanda what came into my mind was an area full of tsetse flies, genocide scars, poverty and bushes all over the country. But that is not the truth Rwanda turns out to be a country of peaceful people, a drastically growing national in terms of infrastructure and a wealth of natural biodiversity. We had a 2 day gorilla safari in Rwanda and it was incredibly appealing and very pleasing.gorillas

As I touched in Rwanda we first took a Kigali city tour as I visited the genocide memorial centre and almost my eyes got teary as there are heartbreaking photos and remains of genocide of 1994, we also went to the national museum as I got to know more about the Rwanda’s history and tradition. In the evening, we also had a nice local meal and moved around looking at the modern architecture in Kigali.

Early in the morning we headed to the northern part of Rwanda at volcanoes national park. This is where we rediscovered serene nature that is the mountain gorillas and the other biodiversity around. We reached the park at around 7:30 pm then we went for briefing with other tourists who we found at the park. Then we were briefed about the gorilla trekking then we headed to the forested jungles of Virunga ranges with the gorilla patron and our porter who carried our belongings since gorilla trekking is a challenging activity as it takes awhile to reach the gorillas. While we searched for the gorillas we were able to see lots of bird species and also some monkeys and other primates on the canopies of trees.

Local Markets

Local Markets

As we reached the gorillas, I got some goose bumps as I could not believe it that I was seeing a gorilla physically. The gorillas were in a group of 6 and this was led by the silverback the father of the family. We took pictures of gorillas, saw them move around looking for trees branches, leaves and other fruits to feed their young ones. It was really an incredibly meaningful and exciting hour that we spent with gorillas.

I had a wonderful safari in Rwanda as I had a good time with mans closest living relative. I got to know that there are very many creatures in the world that man must see before he/she dies. I felt like I achieved something after tracking the gorilla. I fell in love with nature and animals as it is really exciting to watch in its serene form.

Cultural Tours Rwanda

Cultural Tours Rwanda

Generally, the country is very beautiful, the local people are so friendly, welcoming and love tourists. Rwanda is a must visit when traveling to Africa. The Country is very safe, and attracts many tourists for gorilla tracking, Chimpanzee tracking, Canopy walk, Bird watching, Historical and cultural museums as well as other primates tracking among others.

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