Category Archives: Africa

Elephant Updates! New Baby Calf arrives

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Now it’s time for Elephant Updates!

Elephant arrives at Ithumba, Kenya with her new calf

We recently heard from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where they welcomed two adorable elephants! Wild-living orphan Loijuk arrived with her new calf, Lili, in tow. 

Loijuk with Nannies Ithumbah and Naserian and baby Lili

As reported by the team at Sheldrick:

She was bursting with pride and very eager to introduce her to everyone (particularly Head Keeper Benjamin). Lili is the 31st known wild-born baby — and a testament to the Trust’s success in its 40+ years of rescuing, raising, and reintegrating orphaned elephants.
Things have really come full circle for Loijuk, who was orphaned 13 years ago. The Trust raised her, and she eventually transitioned to the wild, where she is now starting her own family. Loijuk was named after a dam near where she was rescued during a severe drought.
With plentiful rains, however, the dam becomes abloom with water lilies. For that reason, Lili feels like a very fitting name for her daughter. Moments like these showcase the multi-generational impact of the Orphans’ Project — and we’re so excited to watch this little family continue to blossom.
More news on their website. 
Baby Lili

More Elephant Pictures from Christina & John’s Kenya Safari

Christina and John recently traveled to Kenya with a small group, as they do 1-2 times a year. They stayed at the Ithumba Hills Elephant Camp.
Some photos and stories from that trip:  

First photo is Tuckwell, an elephant sponsored by one of our clients, Virginia B.:

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At the main watering hole at the Stockade this morning there was a herd of wild elephants mostly bulls. However, this little 3 month old [below] was with them, tried to nurse from two of the females (neither the mother because they had clearly not given birth) and the the bulls. Our guide Benjamin called Kenyan wildlife with information and Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi made the decision made to separate the infant and bring it into a pen.

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They skillfully did this. It was mad and very hungry but at Ithumba [Camp Tsavo, an Eco-Lodge Safari at Sheldrick], they do not have the formula for infants. No one had any idea of the fate of the mother but she was certainly not around. The helicopter was still on the ground after yesterday’s emergency so we understand that the infant was tranquilized and flown to Voi, a camp about 70km away where the right formula was available.

Our charter flight to NBO was at 10am so we will have to watch Sheldrick’s website to see how this all turns out. We all want to adopt this little survivor!

Two amazing incidents we are lucky  and privileged to have witnessed

Planning an Africa safari to see more lovely elephants up close?

Book your trip with one of our agents. We organize all your travel from start to finish so you don’t have to worry. 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

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Safari Vets Help an Elephant with an Arrow

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Christina and John are currently in Kenya on their annual guiding trip.

In their most recent email, they share with us an experience witnessing emergency medical aid for a local elephant in Ithumba Hills, Kenya. 

Though the situation was quite serious, the elephant survived and hopefully will live for many years thanks to the care and professionalism that day.

*Warning, some of the photos may be a bit graphic for viewers. 

Elephant bull shot with a poisoned arrow

Yesterday evening at Ithumba, our guide Benjamin pointed out a huge wild elephant bull who had a serious injury to his right rump thigh area and back leg, which were badly inflamed.

He told us the Rangers had been looking for this elephant for 2 weeks, knowing it had been shot from a tree with a poisoned arrow.

He called the rangers who all headed to the watering hole around 11am, hoping the bull would show up. They had the helicopter with two vets from Ranger headquarters waiting to dart him for medical aid.

The bull shows up to the watering hole

The bull showed up! With all the elephant orphans safe and far, the helicopter pilot darted the injured bull. He stayed upright for about 5+ minutes before going down very close to our parked vehicles.

The team whips up into action

Then the action started! We were allowed to leave our vehicles and get ver close to observe. It was a gruesome task. The arrow was very deep with much tissue damage, but eventually, all was cleaned out.  They packed the deep wound with green clay. We were then told to get back into our vehicles because the elephant would come around very quickly – which he did.

Something you see only on TV 😌! It was an incredible experience to witness this from start to finish – altogether about 90 minutes.

Gruesome but awe-inspiring.

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Travel News: Europe Reaches Peak Temperatures

Europe reaches peak temperatures

The countries of Austria / Belgium / Czech Republic / Denmark / France / Germany / Hungary / Luxembourg / Netherlands / Switzerland / United Kingdom / Italy are expected to experience high temperatures as a heat wave sweeps across Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Temperatures are expected to rise to 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) from central France to northern Spain, while temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius and above are expected across other European countries. Authorities have issued alerts across Western Europe and implemented measures, such as opening fountains, pools and mist machines, and limiting the circulation of vehicles in larger cities, as a means to combat the rise in temperatures. Bus and train operations in several countries have been disrupted due to malfunctioning air conditioning and due to the temperatures of the train tracks. Officials have warned of continued transportation disruptions and asked people to stay hydrated and avoid getting overheated. Hot air moving north from Africa caused the heat wave and is expected to continue to cause above average temperatures until 30 June.

Virgin Trains Break Ground On Orlando Track Expansion

Orlando Sentinal reports Virgin Trains, formerly Brightline, broke ground Monday to expand passenger rail service to Orlando in a $4bn effort, the nation’s largest privately funded infrastructure project. This will serve to transport travelers, including cruisers, between Orlando International Airport and South Florida. ‘Connecting Orlando and Miami, two of our nation’s greatest cities, will provide tremendous economic and environmental benefits that will be an asset to Florida for generations,’ Virgin Trains President Patrick Goddard said at a commemorative ceremony. Goddard noted the service will ‘effortlessly connect the “Tourism Capital of the World” to the “Cruise Capital of the World.”‘ Virgin Trains’ Virgin MiamiCentral hub is located near PortMiami, and the Miami-Dade County Commission is deliberating the feasibility of a station directly at PortMiami.

JetBlue Can Now Expand Europe Long-Haul Strategy With Airbus XLR Order

Skift reports JetBlue Airways’ European strategy became clearer when the airline committed to an airplane capable of flying not only from the US East Coast to London or Dublin but also from Boston and New York to south, central, and northern Europe. JetBlue became the third US carrier to say it plans to fly Airbus’ newest narrowbody jet, the A321XLR. Airbus introduced the single-aisle airplane, which should fly as far as 4,700 nautical miles,last week at the Paris Air Show. American Airlines committed to 50 earlier in the week, while Frontier Airlines said it would take 18. In April JetBlue announced it would fly from its Boston and New York focus cities to London by 2021. But JetBlue didn’t say where else in Europe it might fly, likely because it didn’t have the right aircraft for Continental Europe. For London JetBlue had committed to the A321LR, which has a 600-mile range gap compared to its XLR cousin. JetBlue said it will take 13 A321XLRs, with first delivery in 2023.

Emirates Is First Major Airline To Launch Basic Business Class Fare

Skift reports Emirates has fired the first salvo in the unbundling of business class fares. Now you can buy just the seat, with none of the other trimmings that travelers are used to with top-tier carriers. It’s a brilliant and pragmatic strategy, one that gives more choice to travelers. The tension will now be maintaining that great luxury brand halo and still letting the premium cabins do the marketing hard yards for the carrier. The airline industry has seen a lot in terms of unbundling of economy fares. For better or for worse, that segment of the market now has a ton of options for consumers. As Skift forecasted in our 2019 Megatrend that premium mediocre has gone mainstream, travel companies, hotels, tour operators, and yes, airlines too, are increasingly looking for new ways to sell average products at luxury prices. You can buy a deeply discounted, basic economy fare that doesn’t include any overhead space, or, if you want more perks, you can pay incrementally more for priority boarding and civil treatment. The same currently cannot be said for business class. Typically you’re all-in on the fare, sometimes as much as $7,000 from New York to Paris. In some cases it comes standard with extras, like chauffeur service and lounge access, and in other cases it comes with a sad meal in a preflight lounge and a non fully flat bed.

Tim Clark, CEO of Emirates, told Skift when asked of the prospect of discounting business class: “You might just say, ‘OK, I’ll give you a special price, just for the [business-class] bed. I won’t give you the incentives. I won’t give you ground. You’ll get the business product in the air only, and that’s it.’ No chauffeur drive, no business-class lounge, no expedited [security] search. No uplifting your baggage allowance, et cetera. You just pay for the bed. I’ll give you a price for that. Maybe, if you’ve got business class seats going begging, that’s the easy way to go, rather than create a completely new product, which is going to upend the distribution systems, upend service delivery, and upend the logistical management on the operational side.” Emirates has rolled out what they hinted at two years ago. With a new slate of fares, dubbed “special fares,” customers are essentially just buying the seat. There’s no lounge access (unless you qualify with status), there’s no chauffeur-driven car, there’s only selecting a seat when check-in opens, and predictably, there is reduced mileage earning. Not only has Emirates rolled out this basic business-class seat but in 2020 the airline will also launch premium economy, thereby offering two different stepping stones for flyers ready to upgrade. Emirates is testing out the special fares on select routes and appears to be rolling them out slowly.

Passport Agency Boosts Minimum Routine Application Wait Time By 50%
WaPo reports just after news broke about the possibility of longer lines at airport security checkpoints, information now emerges about longer waits for international travelers before they get to the airport. The State Department’s Passport Services agency has increased the processing time for routine service to six to eight weeks. Until May 31, the interval between application and delivery was four to six weeks, meaning the new timeline is a 50% increase for the minimum wait. For those who can’t wait, expedited service is available at a cost. “Customers who need their passports more urgently than our routine processing time allows may request expedited service for an additional $60,” said a State Department official who requested anonymity. “For expedited service, processing time remains two to three weeks door-to-door.” Once they get inside the airport door, international and domestic passengers could face longer security lines. Earlier this week we reported that the Trump administration requested a 2.5 percent increase in airport checkpoint screeners for fiscal 2020 but expects a 4.5 percent increase in airline passengers. That’s a recipe for long lines. The department official declined to answer several basic questions about the longer wait, including the reasons for it. But the department did provide information indicating short staffing is the cause. In each of the past two years, more than 21 million passports and passport cards were delivered, “all-time record numbers,” according to the State Department. About 18.6 million applications are expected this fiscal year. In fiscal 2018, 137.5 million citizens had valid passports, representing a growth of almost 100 percent over the past decade. “To address high passport workload levels this summer,” he said, “the Department is leveraging all available resources to ensure processing times do not rise further and that they return to lower levels by September.” Leveraging includes temporarily assigning employees to assist with increased demand and setting up two satellite passport units with employees from other parts of the department.

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Travel News: Iceland, Jerusalem, Kilimanjaro

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Jerusalem’s Old City Now Accessible For Wheelchair Users 

Jerusalem’s Old City is many things: sacred to three major faiths, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and now, wheelchair accessible. After a decade of work that involved multiple private and public organizations in Israel, the city unveiled a comprehensive effort to make the Old City’s narrow alleyways and steep inclines more friendly to visitors and locals with mobility issues. The city is home to several of the world’s most sacred religious sites, namely the Western Wall, Temple Mount and Church of the Holy Sepulchre. As a result, Jerusalem is high on the bucket list for many of the world’s faithful. A representative for the Ministry of Tourism said that 85% of visitors to Israel spend time in Jerusalem during their trip. Now, travelers to Jerusalem will be able to download an app, Accessible JLM, that outlines the most accessible routes around the city to plan their travel in real time. There are also physical accessibility maps posted around the city.

World Unites To Fight Against Cable Car On Mount Kilimanjaro 

ETN reports thousands of people across the globe have come together protesting against the potential building of a controversial cable car on Mount Kilimanjaro, a World’s Heritage Site. In March 2019 Tanzania’s deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Constantine Kanyasu announced plans to install a cable car on Africa’s highest mountain, as a strategy to attract more visitors and boost tourism numbers. The cable car would be aimed primarily at facilitating visits among older tourists, who may not physically fit enough to climb the mountain, which, at its peak, stands 5,895 meters tall. Instead of the familiar views of snow and ice, this cable car would offer a day trip safari with a bird’s eye view, contrary to the eight-day hiking trip. But reaction has been swift, with an online petition against the project on the key World heritage site, attracting nearly 400,000 protesters around the World who ask the Tanzania to keep Mount Kilimanjaro ‘cable car-free’. Online petition points out the economic impact to about 250,000 local porters who rely on tourism activities on Mount Kilimanjaro alone, for their livelihood. Kilimanjaro is one of Tanzania’s major tourist attractions, drawing 50,000 climbers and earning the country $55 million annually.

Six Senses Hotels Unveils Iceland Property

Open Jaw reports with Iceland enjoying clean air, sustainable energy and high national happiness, it is no surprise that Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas is daydreaming about the country of fire and ice for its next development: Six Senses Össurá Valley. It will be a hub for people passionate about nature, wellness and adventure by day, and indulgent dining, comfortable beds and perhaps a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis by night. The rugged south-eastern coast of Viking country has an expansive and diverse natural environment. From glacier tongues, craggy volcanoes, ice-filled lagoons and geothermal lakes to untouched highlands and long black beaches; many of these natural wonders have become famed for their beauty and are visited throughout the year (via the single ring road). This is the mythical setting for Six Senses Össurá Valley, 4,000 acres (1,619 hectares) of privately-owned land in Svínhólar near Lóni. The flatland at the southern end is adjacent to the Lón Lagoon, which is separated from the North Atlantic Ocean by a beautiful black sand beach. This is the biggest gathering space for swans in the country and Six Senses will be involved in monitoring and protecting this Icelandic population. The first phase of the project will see the opening of a 70-guestroom resort and private cottages dotted on the surrounding land serving as an icon for sustainable living. Built using renewable and locally-sourced materials and adhering to high standards of energy and water efficiency, guest accommodation and residences will tread lightly on the earth while providing an uncompromising level of space and comfort.

Air Canada Named Best Airline In North America

Open Jaw reports this is the third consecutive year the airline has been chosen and recognized for the world’s Best Business Class Lounge Dining, Best Airline Staff in Canada, Best Business Class in North America and Best Airline Cabin Cleanliness in North America at the 2019 Skytrax World Airline Awards. It is the eighth time in the past 10 years the carrier was selected as the Best in North America by the World Airline Awards, which are based on passenger satisfaction surveys of more than 21 million global travelers.

Emirates Is First Major Airline To Launch Basic Business Class Fare

Emirates has fired the first salvo in the unbundling of business class fares. Now you can buy just the seat, with none of the other trimmings that travelers are used to with top-tier carriers. It’s a brilliant and pragmatic strategy, one that gives more choice to travelers. The tension will now be maintaining that great luxury brand halo and still letting the premium cabins do the marketing hard yards for the carrier. The airline industry has seen a lot in terms of unbundling of economy fares. For better or for worse, that segment of the market now has a ton of options for consumers. As Skift forecasted in our 2019 Megatrend that premium mediocre has gone mainstream, travel companies, hotels, tour operators, and yes, airlines too, are increasingly looking for new ways to sell average products at luxury prices. You can buy a deeply discounted, basic economy fare that doesn’t include any overhead space, or, if you want more perks, you can pay incrementally more for priority board​ing and civil treatment.

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TRAVEL NEWS: AIRBUS CELEBRATES 50 YEARS


Swimmer Killed By Shark In Hawaii’s First Fatal Attack In 4 Years
Associated Press reports sharks can be dangerous, but a fatal shark attack is still a rarity. Over Memorial Day weekend, Hawaii saw its first shark death in four years when a man from California was attacked while swimming off the coast in Maui. According to reporting by The Associated Press, Thomas Smiley, a 65-year-old man who was a frequent visitor to the islands, was attacked by a shark on Saturday in the waters of Maui’s Ka’anapali Beach Park area. Smiley was swimming approximately 60 yards off the shore when he was pulled under, according to witness testimony given to the Maui police. A witness said that when rescuers pulled Smiley to the shore, he was missing a leg and died at the scene. Witness Allison Keller recounted the events to Hawaii News Now, “As we got closer, I saw some blood on his stomach and then I got looking a little bit more, and his wrist – it looked like the skin on his wrist was just torn off,” Keller said. “And then I got looking closer, and his entire left leg from his knee down was just missing.” The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and lifeguards searched for a shark, but were unsuccessful. The last fatal shark attack in Hawaii was in 2015, when a snorkeler off Maui was killed.

US Airlines Commit To UN Carbon Emissions Cap

Travelmole reports that even though the Trump administration pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, almost all US airlines have voluntarily agreed to follow its reduced carbon emissions guidelines. They will adhere to the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), limits on emissions which caps them at 2020 levels. Compliancy is governed by the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization. Airlines agreeing to the scheme include mainline carriers Alaska Airlines, American, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, and United Airlines. Regional carriers like Piedmont and Republic will also participate. The US pull-out from the agreement was announced in 2017 and takes effect from 2020. Aviation is one of the biggest emitters of carbon and the CORSIA scheme is expected to be mandatory after 2027. ICAO will set an official emissions cap based on 2020 emissions data. The Paris agreement calls for ‘each country to determine, plan, and regularly report on the contribution that it undertakes to mitigate global warming.’

Disney Cruise Line Updates Navigator Mobile App To Ease Passenger Experience

Disney Cruise Line’s Navigator app has been updated to include new features, allowing more cruise planning to take place within the app itself. The Navigator app, which was mainly an organizational tool without any substantial action capabilities, will now allow cruisers to make payments, access online check-in and research and book all cruise activities, from dining reservations to spa services. Booking capabilities will be enabled once a passenger is within 130 days of their cruise. All of the Navigator app’s previous features will continue to be available. These include the pre-sailing “Countdown to Your Cruise” clock as well as a list of character meet-and-greet times, activities, dinner menus and ship maps. You can also still bookmark your favorites for easy reference and send free text messages to other people on the same ship via the app’s onboard chat feature. The app is free to download and available to cruisers on all four Disney ships. Before using your phone onboard, make sure to research your options to ensure maximum utility and minimal fees while cruising.

Americans Now Have Shorter Waits At British Airports
The UK now allows arriving US citizens to use ePassport gates for faster entry. At London airports last summer, international passengers waited in hours-long passport control lines to enter and exit the country. The lines were almost as bad as what foreign travelers must now endure at US airports. Last fall, the UK government said it would open up ePassport readers at its ports of entry to citizens of several more countries, including the US and that change has taken effect, making for speedier entry at major airports. The srvice is free, no extra fees are required. Previously, the ePassport gates were available only for UK and EU citizens. In addition to US citizens, the gates can now be used by citizens of Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and New Zealand, all considered to be low-risk nations. (That’s about 10 million travelers per year.) The gates can be used by travelers age 18 and over who have a biometric or “chipped” passport (and travelers age 12 to 17 accompanying them). According to the U.K. government, “ePassport gates use facial recognition technology to compare the passenger’s face to the digital image recorded in their passport. The system is monitored by Border Force officers and anyone rejected by the gates will be sent to an alternative channel to have their passport checked.” The gates are in use at 14 U.K. ports of entry including major airports as well as the Eurostar high-speed rail terminals at Paris and Brussels.

New Proposed EU Aviation Fuel Tax Will Send Airfares Soaring

Travelwirenews reports the European Commission is considering aviation fuel tax that is supposed to reduce carbon emissions by 11% and have a “negligible” impact on jobs and the economy. But experts say that it will have far-reaching effects. According to a leaked EC report, taxing aviation kerosene sold in Europe would cut aviation emissions by 16.4 million metric tons of CO2 a year. It said that applying a tax of €330 per 1,000 liters of kerosene (which is the EU’s minimum excise duty rate for the fuel) would result in a ticket price increase of 10% and an 11% decrease in passenger numbers. It would also lead to an 11% fall in carbon emissions. Imposing the tax could certainly lead to a reduction of flights that will result in cuts of airlines’ staff, said Elmar Giemulla, a leading expert on air and traffic law at Berlin University of Technology’s Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He said that nobody, however, could calculate the exact numbers, saying “that’s just speculation.” Airlines are very sensitive to fuel price because it affects their entire operation, explained another aviation security expert Jacques Astre. He said that the level of the tax increase will indicate “whether they increase ticket prices which falls on the customers and will affect passenger transportation in terms of numbers.” “So, it really depends on how high the tax is because it has a far-reaching effect, not just on the airlines directly but on passengers as well,” Astre explained.

Vegas Escapes: New hotels, New team, New Stadium
LA Times reports Resorts World, which features two 60-story hotel towers, takes shape in Las Vegas. It will have more than 3,200 hotel rooms when it opens toward the end of 2020. That means there will be more to do and see in Vegas than ever. It’s not as though that’s not consistently true in many smaller or less visible ways. In the city that never sleeps, never even thinks of snoozing, we have new shows (think action and immersion), new attractions for adults and kids (and adults who act like kids), a new look coming soon to Fremont Street, and new discoveries on the Colorado River. Top it all off with the news of the return of free parking, plus Chris Erskine’s report on Nevada’s Electric Highway, and it’s Vegas for the win.

Airbus Celebrates 50 Years

Airlineratings reports Airbus has launched a global campaign celebrating the company’s 50 year anniversary, showcasing key moments of pioneering progress throughout the past five decades. The campaign began by marking 50 years since the French Minister of Transport, Jean Chamant and the German Minister of Economic Affairs, Karl Schiller, signed an agreement at the 1969 Paris Air Show for the joint-development of the A300 aircraft, a first European twin-aisle twin-engine jet for medium-haul air travel. Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus said: “Airbus’ story is one of ambition and progress, and has been a showcase of European integration. Over five decades, we have brought together civil and defense aviation businesses from throughout the continent. For 50 years, we have pioneered many firsts through our passion and innovation, transforming the industry and helping to move society forward. Airbus is a story of incredible men and women, a story of great achievements in the past and, above all, in the future.”

American Airlines Is Latest To Turn To Innovative Solutions For Overbooking

Dallas News reports ahead of an anticipated record summer travel season, American Airlines became the most recent company to implement technologythat could create smoother experiences at boarding time for travelers in an era where overbooking of flights remains inevitable. An update to the American Airlines app this month allows fliers to instantaneously volunteer to be bumped from oversold flights, and reap the benefits, before they even leave for the airport. “This helps our team members at the gate who are already having to deal with an oversold flight,” a spokesperson for American Airlines said. The app provides employees at the gate with a list of people willing to take another flight, which could simplify the boarding process.

Tanzanian government bans plastic bags
As of 01 June 2019, all plastic carrier bags, regardless of their thickness, will be prohibited from import, export, manufacture, sale, storage, supply, or use in Mainland Tanzania.

We advise all of our clients to avoid the use of plastic carrier bags either in their suitcase, or as part of their hand luggage when visiting Tanzania. A special desk will be assigned at all entry points for the surrender of plastic carrier bags brought into Tanzania.

You CAN however still being Ziploc bags for your toiletries.

January Makamba, Tanzania’s environment minister, posted in a statement on Twitter: “Plastics carrier items known as “ziploc bags” that are specifically used to carry toiletries will be permitted as they are expected to remain in the permanent possession of visitors and are not expected to be disposed in the country.

Do check in the Tanzania government website for further details on what is permissible.

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Lake Mburo & Mihingo Lodge in Uganda with Africa Wild Explorations

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Sadly, Nancy’s trip to Uganda has come to a close – but we’re not finished with her trip yet on the blog!

She’s seen gorillas, monkeys, birds of every feather–and enjoyed fantastic lodges to tuck in at night. Her activity-rich itinerary was planned by the excellent tour operator, Africa Wild Explorations. 

For her last full day in Uganda, Nancy spent a day at Lake Mburo National Park, with a night at Mihingo Lodge.

Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is located in southwestern Uganda, about 150 miles from Kampala. A safari will introduce you to local zebras, hippos, impalas, warthog, buffalo, jackal, leopard and over 300 of bird species! At 370 sq km, it may be the smallest park in Uganda, but within its borders it contains a whopping five lakes, as well as dry hillsides, savannah, forest, and wetlands where you’ll find thousands of birds. One of the most curious features is the salt lick, salty soil waterholes that draw in animals that you’ll find nowhere else in Uganda, such as the eland, impala and klipspringer. It’s also to the largest population of zebra (5,000) in the country!

Mihingo Lodge

Located about a 5-hour drive from Entebbe and within the park, the Mihingo Lodge is compiled of 12 permanent, tented cottages designed to make guests feel right at home. Each room has its own character, but all offer luxury furnishings, privacy, and stunning views. The lodge is privately owned by a couple in Kampala, and has been designed to blend in with the environment seamlessly. The managers are themselves a delightful and welcoming couple–he from Scotland, she from South Africa.

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Photo of Nancy’s Cottage

As Nancy reports, she was in the #10 Impala Cottage, about 7-minute walk from the lodge. Pictured here is the Impala, which overlooks a salt lick. At one point, there was a family of warthogs grazing between the cottage and the salt lick.

Bathrooms are located down the hallway outside the entrance door, with a curtain across the entrance and a rainshower shower. In a curtained-off section sits the toilet. If you lean forward, you can look into your bedroom!

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Photo from Nancy

Among the excellent activities in Lake Mburo National Park, Mihingo Lodge offers horseback safaris, walking safaris, hippo boat trips and night game drives. You can even try your hand out at tennis or simply watch bushbabies from below the bar.

Check out more beautiful photos of the lodge and the surrounding area here on Flickr.

 

A short film on the conservation and community efforts supported by Mihingo Lodge:

The environmental and community side of Mihingo Lodge produced by the Green Living Project.

We look forward to more photos and stories from Nancy about Uganda. Check back on the blog before long for those– 😉

For more adventures and vacation packages to Uganda or other African countries, contact Willamette Intl Travel expert travel agents at 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com. 

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Mountain Gorilla Tracking in Uganda with Africa Wild Explorations

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Mountain Gorilla Tracking: An Overview

The highlight of any wilderness visit to Uganda is obviously the mountain gorillas. Visitors from all over the globe flock to Uganda and Rwanda to see these majestic creatures.

WIT Agent Nancy has been traveling in Queen Elizabeth Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. We look forward to her feedback and photos of firsthand tracking!

The images below of the mountain gorillas have been provided by Abiaz Rwamwiri, Managing Director of Africa Wild Explorations!

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Best Time to Go

Tracking gorillas can be conducted year-round, but the damp seasons of spring make the rainforest only pleasant in winter and summer. The high season to catch a glimpse of gorillas are December to February, then June to September.

All about Permits

The Uganda Wildlife Authority sells 96 gorilla permits per day for Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park.

Africa Wild Explorations organizes gorilla permits to that our guests don’t miss the once in a lifetime opportunity to track them. In some cases, certain permits are purchased upwards of 1-2 years in advance!

What to Wear?

As with any jungle expedition, clothing can make or break your trip! Dress in warm layers. 

Remember to carry a rain jacket, waterproof tracking shoes / walking boots, light outdoor trousers, and long-sleeved shirts.

You’ll need a medium backpack to carry drinking water and lunchbox during gorilla tracking.

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So what are Mountain Gorillas?—the Deets

Endangered Mountain Gorillas native to East Africa are found nowhere else on the planet, not even in zoos. They can’t survive in confined areas, which makes them quite a rare sight to behold! Altogether there are upwards close to 800 mountain gorillas remaining the world. Half of them on in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and many are located in Mgahinga Gorilla Park.

The first known European encounter was in 1902, when one German Captain von Berenge was climbing Mount Sabinyo. At around 9,300-ft altitude, his band spotted a group of Mountain Gorillas—much larger than the apes they were accustomed to seeing. They were hunted for sport for a few decades until preservation efforts were established. Gradually tourist infrastructure sprang up to support visitors who wanted to admire these huge beasts up close.

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Male gorillas can grow up to 6 ft tall, with a weight around 350-500 lbs and arm length of around 7 feet. Typically their hair is dark than their lowland counterparts, as they keep to colder climates. As they mature, a strip of hair on their backs turns silver, hence their popular moniker Silverbacks. These majestic creatures can live around 40-50 years, keeping to close-knit, nomadic groups and feeding on seasonal flowers, roots, fruits and shoots. Their tribes range from 2 to 30-40, but mostly found in groups of 10.

Unfortunately, Mountain Gorillas are severely endangered due to human encroachment. Though poachers are no longer a threat, at least in Uganda, diseases and environmental damage still threaten overall health and wellness of these groups.

Did you know…

Mountain Gorillas and humans share around 98% of the same genetic makeup?

They can communicate with a series of roars, grunts and shouts. Researchers have documented around 25 distinct sounds.

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