Friday, September 18, 2015

Original Safari

For millions of years, bipedal  hominids inhabited the region known today as East Africa, in particular the Great Rift Valley. With its rugged terrain and rich savannas teaming with proteinaceous wildlife, it’s easy to see why. 

Then, 60,000 years ago, stressed by climate change, our human ancestors migrated out of Africa, leaving a handful of fellow humans behind. And for countless generations this wild wonderland remained in equilibrium with its inhabitants. 

But over the past 50 years, as East Africa’s human population has quadrupled, its wildernesses have been encroached and its wildlife populations significantly depleted. Sadly, it is inevitable that within the next two generations this wild wonderland will all but perish. 

That is, unless East Africa’s wildlife authorities can earn enough money from their protected areas to maintain them.

Accordingly, I will be leading an exclusive eco-tour through East Africa’s Great Rift Valley, tailor-made for the discerning traveler who wishes to experience this wonderland before it vanishes (and possibly save it). Together we will trek the rain forests of the Western Rift in search of Great Apes, explore the savannas of the Eastern Rift to spot the Big Five, and then take to the wide open beaches of the Swahili Coast to fully unwind. 

Along the way, I will introduce you to a handful of the many tribes who occupy the region: the Bakiga, Banyankole, Bambuti, Baganda, Masai, and Coastal Arabs. You will get a chance to learn their language, customs and views. They have lived in the region for centuries without bringing about its destruction, and may have something to teach us about wildlife protection.

As executive director of the Gorilla Organization (formerly the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund UK), I helped design and implement an award-winning community-based conservation program for the protection of endangered mountain gorillas, whose habitats are surrounded by dense farming communities. 

Meeting that challenge, and living and working for most of my life in and around the Rift Valley, has afforded me an in-depth understanding of the future of Africa’s wildlife.

Hence, my desire to return again and again…Come, sooth your soul, join me on a relaxing two-week safari to the cradle of humanity: East Africa’s teeming game parks. Your eyes will be opened and your view of Africa altered forever. 

Sipping drinks by the campfire under a crystalline clear night sky, exchanging bush tales, reliving the origins of language and storytelling, it is easy to imagine your worries fading away to nothing. Hakuna matata!

East Africa, Original Safari
Oct 8 to Oct 21, 2016

Thu, Oct 6 - Sat, Oct 8
International air transfers to Entebbe International Airport (EBB), Uganda.

Day 1 - Sat, Oct 8
Transfer by road (1 hr) to Kampala, tour of Kasubi Tombs and Wakaliwood Studios. Overnight at Art Safari: a gathering of the tribes

Day 2 - Sun, Oct 9
Transfer by boat (90 min) to Bulago Island for candlelit dinner at the equator, overlooking Lake Victoria. Overnight at One Minutes South

Day 3 - Mon, Oct 10 
Transfer by boat (30 min) to Entebbe, then by road (6 hrs) to Kibale Forest NP. Overnight at Primates Lodge

Day 4 - Tue, Oct 11: 
Chimp trekking in Kibale. Transfer by road (4 hrs) to Kyambura Gorge. Overnight at Kyambura Gorge Lodge

Day 5 - Wed, Oct 12: 
Transfer by road (2 hrs) to Ishasha, game drive to view tree-climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth NP, then transfer by road (2 hrs) to Bwindi Impenetrable NP. Overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp

Day 6 - Thu, Oct 13: 

Day 7 - Fri, Oct 14: 
Early morning transfer by air (90 min) to Entebbe, then (1 hr) to Nairobi, then (1 hr) to Malindi (KQ 411: 10:05 EBB 11:15 NBO; JX 8681: 12:40 NBO 13:50 MYD). Overnight at Driftwood Beach Club

Days 8, 9 & 10 - Sat, Oct 15 to Mon, Oct 17: 
Relaxing on the beach and/or fishing, kite-surfing, snorkeling, et al in the Malindi Watamu Marine NP. Transfer by road (45 min each way) to the Lost City of Gede. Overnight at Driftwood Beach Club

Day 11 - Tue, Oct 18: 
Transfer by road (3 hrs) to Tsavo East NP. Overnight at Satao Tented Camp

Day 12  - Wed, Oct 19: 
Game viewing in Tsavo. Overnight at Satao Tented Camp

Day 13  - Thu, Oct 20: 
Game viewing in Tsavo. Overnight at Satao Tented Camp

Day 14  - Fri, Oct 21: 
Transfer by road (6 hrs) to Nairobi, then home by air.

Fri, Oct 21 to Sun, Oct 23: 
International air transfers from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) Nairobi, Kenya

To book your place on this magical mystery safari, 
call or email
Greg Cummings 
+1 (347) 463-5042

Friday, June 19, 2015

Couples Mountain Gorilla Safari

5 nights in Uganda and Rwanda - Mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable and Volcanoes national parks - staying in luxury safari lodges, traveling by private plane and 4x4 safari vehicle
Day 1: Arrive Entebbe International Airport, UGANDARelax on the shores of Lake Victoria, the world’s largest tropical lake. Entebbe is a sleepy, green lakeside town with astounding bird life. Stroll down to the Entebbe Wildlife Education Centre to catch a glimpse of the faun you will see on your safari.

Dinner under the light of lanterns at the romantic Jahaza Grill, located on a bluff, at the edge of a forest, overlooking the tranquil lakeshore and surrounded by primates and birds. Overnight at Lake Victoria Serena Resort.

© Michael Kobold
Day 2: Transfer (1 ½ hrs) by private air charter to Kisoro, then (1 ½ hrs) by road to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, on the steep, rain-soaked slopes of the Bufumbira Mountains. Bwindi, an impervious canopy extending over high ridges and steep valleys ranging between 2,600 and 1,160 metres above sea level and covering an area 327 square kilometres in size - much larger if you iron it - provides habitat for some 120 species of mammals, 346 species of birds, 202 species of butterflies, 163 species of trees, 100 species of ferns, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, and geckos. Afternoon birding walk near the edge of the forest. Overnight at Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge.

Day 3: Morning gorilla trek to of Nkuringo Group. The habituation of Nkuringo began in 1996 and opened for tourism in April 2004. The group is comprised of sixteen gorillas and ranges the Kashasha river valley below the Nteko ridges. Trekking is downhill from the lodge. You start from much higher up than where the gorillas range and typically find them foraging in the valley in the buffer zone next to the forest. Overnight at Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge.

Day 4: Transfer (1 ½ hrs) by road to Kisoro. Take the Batwa Trail through Mgahinga National Park. In 1991 these ancient forests and mountains were gazetted as a national park, and the indigenous Batwa people where turfed out of their traditional home in the forest. Since that time they have been marginalized. The Batwa Trail allows them to return to their beloved forest and show others how they once lived.The walk culminates at Garama Cave, the former residence of the King of the Batwa People. In the past, no outsider was allowed to enter, but you have been granted special permission. As you enter, darkness embraces you and you hear the mournful chants of Batwa women, lamenting the loss of their beloved forest. A light comes on in the cave and you see them dancing, with the words pouring forth like tears - a truly moving experience.

Lunch at the Traveller's Rest, the oldest gorilla lodge in the region and the place where Dian Fossey stayed when she first arrived in Africa. Afternoon transfer (1 ½ hrs, including border formalities) by car across the Ugandan frontier to Kinigi, Rwanda. Overnight at Virunga Lodge.

Day 5: Another Mountain Gorilla Day! After early breakfast, transfer (40 min) by car to park HQ to register and receive a briefing from the guides (30 min), then transfer (30 min) by car to the edge of the Volcanoes National Park , one of the three national parks straddling the Virunga volcanoes: Mgahinga in Uganda; Volcanoes in Rwanda; and Virunga in the Congo. It helps to be moderately fit as your gorilla trek begins at altitude, but the park guards will proceed at a leisurely pace, and continue as gradually and steadily as you wish to go. 

The fur of the Mountain gorilla, often thicker and longer than that of other gorilla species, enables them to live in colder temperatures. Gorillas can be identified by nose prints unique to each individual. Males usually weigh twice as much as the females, and this subspecies is on average the largest of all gorillas. Adult males have more pronounced bony crests on the top and back of their skulls, giving their heads a more conical shape. These crests anchor the powerful masseter muscles, which attach to the lower jaw (mandible). Adult females also have these crests, but they are less pronounced. Like all gorillas they feature dark brown eyes framed by a black ring around the iris.

After your trek, surrounded by breathtaking views of the Virungas, while still wonderstruck from your wild encounter with the rare Mountain gorilla, you’ll enjoy a gourmet picnic at the park boundary.  Overnight at Virunga Lodge. 

Day 6: Morning Golden monkey trekking in Volcano National Park. The golden monkey (Cercopithecus kandti) is found only in Nyungwe Forest and the Virunga volcanoes. This intriguing primate is restricted to highland forest, especially near bamboo. Not much is known about the golden monkey's behavior. It lives in social groups of up to 30 individuals. Its diet consists mainly of leaves and fruit, though it is also thought to eat insects. 

Transfer (2 hrs) by road to Kigali. Depart Kigali International Airport, RWANDA.


© Michael Kobold

Ideal for couples with a yearning to go somewhere wild together... This amazing deal includes private plane charter, vehicle and driver, two mountain gorilla treks, and two nights each at the best gorilla lodges: Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge and Virunga Safari Lodge. Don't miss your chance to meet mountain gorillas up close and personal. 
Book now! Call +256 779 829 967 or email

$7,790 per couple, based on 2 couples sharing double rooms

€5,890 per couple, based on 2 couples sharing double rooms
€7,990 for one couple

£4,990 per couple, based on 2 couples sharing double rooms
£6,090 for one couple

International flights - into Entebbe and out of Kigali - not included