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