Crystal Mountains National Park

The crystal mountains National park in Gabon is found in the renowned rocky crystal mountain ranges that stretch form Equatorial Guinea to the valleys on River Ogooue. The mountain slopes are breathtaking scenery as the name resounds…a variety of trees, orchids, lichens, gallery forests and begonias. The high altitude forest reserve is shielded by mist and clouds

Wildlife

Some of the animals in the park include black colobus monkey, forest buffalo, Mandrill, chimpanzees, forest elephants, leopard and western lowland gorillas among others. There are an estimated 48 species of reptiles in the park.

Getting there: the park is a mere 2 or 3 hours drive from Libreville

Tourist Attraction

There is a hydro-electricity dam at Tichimbele is located on the reservoirs of Kinguele and Tchimbele on Mbe river. The station at the dam provides some houses for tourists in the park and facilities for schools and institutions doing research on the different species of plants in the botanical garden

Mount Elgon National Park

MOUNT ELGON NATIONAL PARK

Mount Elgon National Park is located in Eastern Uganda and on the western border of Kenya. It is majorly made up of Mt. Elgon where its name was derived from; the mountain is an extinct volcano and considered to be one of the oldest mountains in East Africa, it’s a large mountain covering 80km in diameter and around 3070m in height, its higher altitude harbors a lot of flora and fauna.

Mount Elgon has 5 major peaks of which Wagagai summit is the highest of them at 4321m above; this makes it the second highest in Uganda after Mt. Rwenzori and the fourth in East Africa. Furthermore, this park is believed to have the largest caldera in the world an interesting feature one would not want to miss visiting while on safari.

It is a habitat to over 300 bird species and other animals such as elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, zebras, blue tailed monkeys, waterbucks among others. Also many plants have it as a habitat which gives it a beautiful scenic appearance especially how the vegetation varies, the vegetation changes with altitude.

Mount Elgon National park is a major water catchment area with around 3000mm of rain fall throughout the year, plants, animals, Ugandans and also Kenyans benefit from this water.

Local people

The major tribes that live around this park are the Bagishu, the Sabiny, and the Ndorobo. They live on the slopes and near the mountain. The Bagishu and the Sabiny are farmers and apart from that they have various customs such as circumcision which is a ceremony done at a certain time in a year to initiate boys to adulthood (this is among the Bagishu) and among the Sabiny it’s both males and females but the circumcision of women is reducing lately due to the many voices that are against it. They carry out different activities like coffee growing among others.

 

When to visit

Basically one of the major activities done in this park is mountain climbing and it can be done anytime throughout the year but it is advisable to climb it during the dry seasons of June to August and December to March. Also climbing this mountain needs when you are at least physically fit.

How to get there

The park can be accessed on road whereby its 235km from Kampala the capital of Uganda, it is a tarmac road that runs through the outskirts of Jinja town, to Mbale town, then continue there are off Mbale –Kapchorwa dirt roads that lead to the various trails of the park.

 

The Trails

There are several trails that lead you to the top of the mountain. Some of them include;

Sasa trail: This route is near Mbale and starts from Budadiri town, as you move along it, you go through the largest coverage of the bamboo forest and the Jackson’s pool. This is the most accessible route since it takes 4 days to hike to the top.

Piswa trail: This is a 7 days journey from Kapkwata and it is a longer route that requires around 7 days to hike, it is started at a higher altitude than Sasa and as you hike through there are nice spots of viewing wildlife.

Sipi trail: To hike here still it takes 7 days and the journey starts a few kilometers away from Sipi falls, while using this trail one of the things you see is the amazing cave in the widespread forest.

What to do (Activities)

Mountain climbing: This is one of the most exciting and adventurous things to, it does not require any special or unique experience to climb as long as you are physically fit and you have a skilled guide who is well informed about the area you are good to go. The park doesn’t have roads like most parks in Uganda so it can be explored on foot for example having hikes or just walks around.

It can be climbed using the above trails, as you climb there are spectacular views of the mountain, changes in vegetation and the low plains. The major destinations are the peak (Wagagai) and the Caldera, but there are other added attractions that are seen along the way such as caves, waterfalls, flora and fauna, lakes, hot springs and many others.

There are local porters that make it simpler for you; they help in carrying your things like food and any other bags, collecting firewood, water, organizing the camp, and also cooking. They are paid basing on how long they are to do the work.

Other things you need while climbing include enough drinking water, snacks, warm clothes, tents, cameras, hats, sunglasses, torches, hats, sturdy shoes, rain coats and guide books.

Bird watching: While in this park most birds are spotted around Kapkwai forest exploration centre in the forest and thick shrubs, the birds that can be seen include; the Chubb’s Cisticola, the Baglafecht weaver, African Blue Fly-catchers, Chin-spot Batis, African Goshawk and many others.

 

Mountain biking: This is another amazing activity where by the mountain biking trails start from the sipi trading centre up to Chema hill in Kapchorwa town, this takes around one hour and a half, it gives you chance to see most spectacular views such as the different waterfalls.

 

Day hiking: While hiking you can follow trails and the hike can be done between 3 and 7km, this gives an unforgettable experience as you will have an opportunity to see various birds, primates like the blue tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, various tree species, waterfalls and caves.

 

Cultural encounters: Bagishu grow a cash crop on the mountain side. Be a part of the local harvesting, roasting and processing of coffee. This coffee is grown on the mountain slopes and it’s called Arabica coffee, a visit to the plantations and the talk you have with the people in charge is something you cannot forget.

 

Nature walks: They can also be done outside the park where by you cannot miss out beautiful sunrise across the karamoja plains, the spectacular sipi falls and other areas.

 

 

 

 

Where to stay (Accommodation)

There are some accommodation facilities provided in the park such as self contained wooden cottages and dormitories at the Forest center at Kapkwai, at the Kapkwata Rest House. Kitchen services whereby you can cook for yourself so in most cases this requires you to buy enough food or you can provide money to buy you food. Other up market and midrange accommodation is found in Mbale and the Sipi area.

 

Also prior bookings for accommodation are highly recommendable since most facilities don’t have many rooms.

There is another option which is camping and this is majorly for those who are to climb to the top of the mountain. There 5 major campsites in the park and are well situated. They are not modern enough so camping materials are required to be carried there and they can be hired through the park office in Mbale district, the equipments include; tents, camp stoves, sleeping bags. Also don’t forget to carry warm coats and sweaters, gloves, rain gears and any other thing you would need.

 

This park covers an area equal to 1279sq km on the border of Uganda and Kenya on the foot slopes of Mount Elgon. On the Kenyan side the park occupies 163sq km while the larger area of the park is found on the Uganda side.

Mount Elgon

This mountain is an extinct volcano on the border of Uganda and Kenya located 140km north of the vast Lake Victoria. It is the fourth largest mountain in Africa standing at 4321m above sea level. in Uganda it is the second highest peak at Wagagai after Margherita on the Rwenzori.

The mountain’s rugged peaks are crowned with a crater lake at the top, waterfalls such as sipi and is an important water catchment for East Africa

The slopes of the mountain are covered in dense montane forests but giant lobelia and groundsel cover the rock on the high altitude. The mountain is a classified bio-diverse region with more than 300  species of exotic plants including the Elgon olive trees.

Wildlife  and Attractions

There are many mammals living in Mount Elgon national Park. Some of the animals in the bamboo forests include White & Black colobus, Blue monkeys, Elephants, buffalo, duiker, hyena, chameleons and others

There are more than 100 species of birds in the park including Turaco, African go shawk, white winged sunbirds, crown hornbill, Jackson’s francolin, lammergeyer, Baglafecht weaver and many others.The Maathai long legged dragon fly was discovered at the mountain slopes and named after the Nobel Prize winner late Wangari Mathaai for her undying efforts on environmental conservation.

Other attractions in the park include Mt Elgon caves, waterfalls, hot springs, rivers, hanging cliffs and many other interesting sights at the peak. Hiking is a favorite adventure on the mountain on two well maintained trails. The entire hiking trail Wagagai Peak takes nearly 4-5 days. Hiking and touring the park is good during the dry season that starts in June to August and later in December to March.

Accommodation

There is basic accommodation and camping at Kapwakwai in the park while a number of campsitesa re located on the five stops on Mt Elgon Hiking trails. Private equipment such as sleeping bags, tents is used on camping adventures

Bale Mountains National Park

The Bale mountains National Park is located next to the Bales Mountain making it one of the top tourist destinations in Ethiopia. It has been on the list of becoming a UNESCO heritage since 2009 because of the unique scenery it gives to all the people who visit the area. The Bale National park has over 1300 species and there are almost 23 of those that are endemic to the Park.

You will need a permit to access the different parts of the park and a tour guide who will take you through the park while explaining all that you will see in the park. The different itineraries that we have for you will enable you to get to the park with everything already settled from transportation, entry tickets to the park, accommodation facilities and food. We help you realize your dreams at a cost that is affordable to everyone.

Tourist attractions in the Bale National Park

There are several attractions in the Bales National Park and most of them are carried out depending on the weather and what the tourist want to do on their visit to the Park. Some of the tourist attractions that are found within the Bales Mountain National Park include the following:

Birding In Bale Mountains

Ethiopia is known to be a top birding destination because of the large number of birds that are found in the different parks and the Bales National Park is one of the top birding spots in the country. There are several birding routes that you can use when you visit the Bale National Park where you will be able to view the various bird species.

  • The first birding route is the Northern route which passes through the Adellay forest. The Adellay forest covers over 42 kilometers squared. The vegetation in the area which act as habitats to the different bird species. Some of the bird species that can be seen in the Bale include the African dusky flycatcher, the black winged lovebird, the Abyssinian catbird, the cinnamon bracken warbler, the mountain thrush, the brown woodland warbler, the Abyssinian slaty catcher, the gold mantled woodpecker and the montane white eye bird.
  • The central plateau can also be used when it comes to birding in the Bales Mountain National Park. The central plateau is surrounded by different ridges and trees which makes it easy to spot the different birds in the park and some of the bird species that can be seen include the common greenshank, the Wattled crane, the common sandpipers, the spot breasted plover, lanner falcon, tawny eagle, peregrine falcon, ringed plover, the augur buzzard, the greater spotted eagle and the black eagle.
  • The northern part of the Bales National Park is located on a hill and it is one of the best places where one can go and see the different birds some of which include the yellow fronted parrot, the cinnamon bracken warbler, the African dusky flycatcher, the black winged lovebird, the Abyssinian catbird, the Abyssinian thrush, the brown woodland warbler and the gold mantled woodpecker.
  • The other route that can be used for birding passes through the grasslands and is known as the Gaysay grasslands that are found near the northern part of the park and it has several bird species that habitate in the grasslands and the wetlands that are in the park. The bird species that you will see when you use this route include brown rumped seedeater, white collared pigeon, Abyssinian longclaw, the little grebe, the Wattled Ibis, the streaky seedeater, breasted plover, the yellow billed waxbill, the chestnut naped francolin, the Ethiopian Cisticola, the white collared pigeon, the rouge’s tail, the common waxbill and the black headed siskin.
  • The Angeso forest is one of the best places to carry out birding from. It is located in the southern part and has numerous bird species that habitate in the area and these include the streaky seed eater, the Tacazze sunbird, the yellow crowned canary, the brown rumped seed eater, the Rouget’s rail, the Malachite sunbird and the chestnut naped francolin.

Hiking through the Bales National Park

Due to the presence of the mountain and the Rift Valley, the Park has several trekking routes that you can use for your trekking. When you look at the different statistics it is believed that 200 people trek through the National Park per year which means it is a top destination for those that love trekking.

The best time to visit the Park and do some trekking is during the dry season because during the wet season the commonly used treks become a bit slippery making it hard for treks to take place. And as you are heading out for trekking, make sure that you carry appropriate clothes and shoes for the trek and you not that you will not be allowed to access any of the routes if you do not have a tour guide with you and a trained armed guide who will give you protection. There are several camos and hotels where you can stay after the trek and these provide good accommodation and food.

Wild animals in Bales National Park

The Bales National Park has a variety of animals that habitate in the park and these can be viewed properly during the dry season. When it comes to the dry season the animals in Bales move around in search of water and food which makes it easy for them to be spotted unlike during the rainy season. Some of the animals that are in Bales National Park include Menelik’s bushbuck, the Ethiopian wolf, Rouget’s rail and many more others. Many people visit the Bale to see the rare Ethiopian wolf which is the only wolf that can be seen on the African continent and the only place to find them is in Ethiopia.

Visiting The Villages, African Cultural Experience

Previously there was a bit of settlement near the national park but at the moment there are permanent villages that surround the Park. Their settlement has led to the reduction of the Park because they keep on encroaching the park and cutting down the trees so that they create room for farming and settlement. This has reduced on the wild life that lives in the park since they no longer have habitats where to stay. This does not mean that the locals living in the villages have a lot to offer from their diverse culture, food and their way of life.

Visit the villages and get to know more about their cultural practices, their local delicious food and enjoy your stay in the evening as you listen to the different stories that are told by the old people in the villages. There are also several shops located in these villages where you can buy the various decorated items that are made by locals and these will act as souvenirs for you and your family.

 

 

Activities that can be carried out in the Bales mountain National Park

Besides other tourist attractions and activities that are carried out within the Bales National park, there are several other activities that you can carry out in the surrounding areas of Bale. The different places that you can visit which are in the same vicinity with the Bales National park include the:

  • The Sof Omar limestone caves

The Sof Omar caves are considered to be the largest Islamic site in Ethiopia. Many people go there to worship and explore them and also get to know more about the caves and get to know more about the caves through the different stories that are told by the tour guides.

  • Explore the great rift valley

The Bales Mountain National Park is located in the Rift valley which gives most people a chance to visit it and enjoy all that the Great Rift Valley has to offer from lakes, rivers, Mountains, wild life and not forgetting the escarpments that provide a good backdrop for photos. And you can also pack a picnic basket which you can enjoy with your family or friends.

How to get to the Park

Different routes can be used to get to the park and see all the wonderful things that it has to offer. The location of the Pak makes it a bit hard to get there but you can either hire out a van to take you there or you can use the easier way of using a tour van which will ensure secure transportation of you and your friends to and from the Park.

A visit to the Bales Mountain National Park will give you a chance to understand more about the biodiversity of Ethiopia where you get to see all the beauty that the country has to offer. The park is not hard to access but note that when you go during the wet season, you will find that the roads are not as passable as they are during the dry season and therefore you need to be careful while driving there.

 

 

Drakensburg Moutains

The Drakensburg Mountains are found in the Kwa Zulu Natal province in South Africa. They are recognized as the highest mountain range in southern Africa. To the Zulu people, it is called Ukhahlamba meaning the Barrier of Spears and to the Afrikaans, it is called The Dragon Mountain. The Drakensberg mountain range stretches the entire length of KwaZulu-Natal’s western boundary into Lesotho for hundreds of miles of high towering cliffs.

The basalt sheer cliffs are snow capped in the winter showing off the scenic peaks that stand at 3,482m above sea level. Several millions of years ago, a volcanic mountain erupted pouring significant lava over a large area of southern African. The highest peak on the mountain is called Thabana Ntlenyana at 3,482m and other notable parks being Mafadi, Mokoaneng, Njesuthi and Champagne Castle to mention but a few. Cathedral peak is popular with hikers on the Drakensburg

The mountain ranges are a spectacular with unique plant species, 119 of them listed as endangered and the others endemic to the mountains’ slopes and the park on the foot hills. The mountain is covered in high alti-montane grasslands, conifers on the lower slopes and riverine bush among other unique flora species.

Wildlife in Drakensburg

The Drakensburg mountain ranges are home to several species of birds and animals living in both the high altitude zones and in the lower mountain foot hills. Some of the wildlife in the mountain includes Klipspringer, eland, mountain reedbuck, white rhino, black wildebeest, grey rhebok, oribi and many other animals that live in the park on the foot hills.

Several birds are endemic to the mountain with endangered species such as mountain pipit, bush blackcap, buff-streaked chat, rudd’s lark, orange breasted rock jumper, yellow breasted pipit and the Drakensburg Siskin. Cape Vulture and Lesser kestrel are the prey birds in the park.

Amphibians are also part of the sight along the river with different frog species within the park.

The spectacular Drakensberg trails need to be treated with caution. The weather can change dramatically from one moment to the next and especially if you are at high altitudes the strong winds, mist, snow and extreme cold can arrive unexpectedly. It is of utmost importance that you complete the rescue register in full at any entrance to a Drakensberg area, even if you are only planning on going for a short stroll.

Attractions in the park

There are several rock paintings by the bush men and Khoi people that lived in the lower mountains several years ago. More than 35,000 paintings are found on rocks and in 500 different caves in the Royal National Park. Some of the caves with incredible paintings include Sebaayeni with 1146 paintings and Ndedema Gorge with more than 3,900 painting in its different caves. The paintings have been flagged as UNESCO World heritage site, the second in Kwa Zulu Natal

Royal Natal National Park is found north of Drakensburg Mountains spreading over peaks such as the Amphitheatre, Mont-aux-Sources, the Sentinel, Inner Tower, eastern Buttress and Devil’s Tooth. The dome of Mont-aux-Sources, which is 3282 metres high, is the source of five major rivers, including the Tugela which plunges 600 metres over the escarpment in a magnificent waterfall. Ukhahlamba Drakensburg Park was listed as a UNESCO world Heritage site covering over 243sq km and is an important ramsar site in the mountains.

Hiking in the Drakensburg Mountains

Although much of the mountains are weathered due to erosion, this has not deterred tourism in the mountains. Drakensberg is however a hikers paradise! Hiking trails go through shaded valleys, lush forests, under shimmering waterfalls and over looming mountains. Some of the interesting places to see and hikes include Devil’s Hoek Valley, Amphitheatre to Cathedral; Mckinley’s Pool, Gudu Falls; The Grotto Mont-Aux-Sources via Basutho Gate and The Chain Ladder, Otto’s Walk & Bushman Paintings, Tugela Gorge and the river plus waterfalls.

The central Drakensberg trails goes over the Blue Pool and Nyosi Grotto, The Cathedral Peak Hike, Ganabu Ridge and Baboon Rock Mlambonja Pass to Twins Cave. All differ in days and scenery. The Southern Drakensberg offers hikes such as Mkomazi Wilderness Area, Kamberg Vergelegen & Sani Pass and Cobham & Garden Castle.

It is an incredible opportunity to hike up a mountain, breathe the crisp clean air, sleep over in the most in a cave or camp out under the star filled sky.

Other activities in the mountain include fishing on the river, walking trails on the lower slopes of the Drakensburg, rock/ice climbing, abseiling, white water rafting and also exploring the mountains on a helicopter ride.

You can as well takes some time off to experience the Zulu People, their cultures and way of life by visiting towns and cities on the slopes of the mountain such as Ulundi the former Zulu capital, Kwa Zulu Natal, coal mining towns of Dundee and Ixop and probably proceed on to neighboring Lesotho capital Maseru

Drakensburg Accommodation

The only road that reaches into the montains is via Sani Pass in South Africa. While there, you don’t have to worry about where you are going to spend the night or have an overnight meal. The are several Drakensburg hotels, guest houses, camping sites, self catering facilities and also safari lodges.

Central Drakensberg is a centre for tourism with resorts, b&bs, hotels, guest houses, self catering establishments, golfing, horse back trails, hiking trails, 4×4 trails and much more. Options include Cathedral peak  hotel, Tugela river lodge, Robin’s guest house, Valemount Country Lodge, Acorn Cottages, Umsuluzi Riverside Luxury lodge, Champagne Castle Hotel, Sani Pass Hotel…the list goes on and on.

Table Mountain National Park (TMNP)

The Table Mountain National Park is found in the south western part of Cape Peninsula from Signal Hill in the north up to Cape Point on the south tip. The park was gazette in 1998 changing its name from Cape Peninsula National park occupying an area close to 221km² of high flora diversity, endemic wildlife and an iconic view of Cape Town that surrounds the park.

Table Mountains

This mountain range occupy much of the park’s area stretching from Signal Hill, Lion’s head, Devil’s Peak, the Twelve Apostles peaks, Orange Kloof and also borders cape Town in the north. This mountain is one of the oldest mountain ranges in southern Africa. The mountain slopes are covered in forest- Cecilia State forest and Newlands Forest. In 2004, the mountains were declared a world heritage site thanks to the Cape Floristic region (amazing botanical region with more than 800 different endangered species of plants) that forms part of the Park’s area on the lower ranges.

Attractions with TMNP

The Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope is one of the most interesting places you can not miss if you are visiting Table Mountains Park. These two historical points mark the boundaries of the park.

The par lies at the heart of the Cape floral kingdom with more than 2,000 endangered plant species endemic to the mountains alone. Part of the park is covered in Afrom-temperate forests, Peninsula Sandstone and Granite Fynbos. The Silver Tree is a locally cultivated tree that grows on Lion’s head.

Boulder’s beach is home to large colonies of African Jackass penguins. Other interesting places to visit include the Table Mountain Cable way from where you have views over Cape town as you launch from Kloof Nek road Cable station to the top of the mountains.

Game viewing

There are several mammals that live in the park including large cats like the Cape Lion, leopard, spotted hyena and Jackal that are the predominantly sighted predators in TMNP. Other animals within the park are African bush elephant, kudu, impala, mountain zebras, black rhino, bontebok, caracal, rock hyrax, cape grysbok, klipspringer and the Himalayan Tahr. The Chacma Baboons occupy the southern parts of the park an incredible site you can not miss when you visit the park.

Activities

Hiking is a great fascination for visitors on the Table Mountain. There are several hiking trails to enjoy. Take your mountain bile to the furthest of the park’s trails and drive through Tokai forest, Silvermine, Kloofnek, Cape of Good Hope and many other scenic trails. Scenic drives may be taken along Boyes Drive, Chapman’s Peak Drive, Victoria Road, the Ou Kaapse Weg, from Simon’s Town to Smitswinkel Bay, from Kommetjie to Scarborough and to Cape Point.  Mountian Climbing and Hand Gliding are also a host in interesting Adventure in the park but you have to make prior booking by telephone.

Fishing, sun bathing, swimming and surfing are part of the very engaging water adventures from the Cape Peninsula. There are tidal swimming pools at Bordijiesrif, Oudekraal and Buffels bay from the Cape of Good Hope. Scuba diving and snorkeling are good at the Cape Peninsula.

Accommodation within TMNP

There are several options for accommodation within TMNP such as self catering tents and camps, cottages and safari lodges. From the Cape of Good Hope are two standard cottages-Eland and Duiker with accommodation fro more than 6 people, a kitchen and warm lounge. There are additional several South Africa Hotels in Cape town, Cape Town safari accommodation, apartments, guesthouses and luxury villas where you can find overnight accommodation and dinner.

Udzungwa Mountains National Park

Udzungwa National Park is another of Tanzania’s national parks from the Eastern Arc Mountains is part of south central Tanzania. The park covers about 1990 sq km on the slopes of Udzungwa Mountains at 250m altitude to 2,500m above sea level on Lohomero Peak.

The park is considered to be another rich eco-system with several unique attributes as those of neighboring Mikumi National Park. Some of the unique plants species in the park include buttresses layers of fungi, lichens, mosses, ferns, forests.

Sanje waterfalls are a prime attraction, plunging 170m in a misty spray over a rock. The beautiful water falls are a fascination for Udzungwa tourists and hikers.  The trail to Mwanihana peak is another challenging hiking trail that lead through sugar estates and into the high plateau- takes about 2 days to reach this peak that ranks as second highest on Udzungwa Mountains

Different primates are commonly seen in the forest while on nature trails and some of them include Sanje crested mangabey and  Iringa red colobus that are endemic to this Tanzania park and found no where else in the world. Other sights within the parks include different species of forest birds, butterflies, insects, amphibians, reptiles and other small mammals.

Getting there

Udzungwa mountains are reached en-route to Mikumi and Ruaha Tanzania parks. The park is 5hours drive from Dar-es-salaam (350km) and 65km south west of Mikumi National park. The best time to visit the park comes around June to October  for the best hiking  experience before the short rains come in to bring the plants to blossom.

Camping is allowed within the park but you are cautioned to take your camping supplies like water, firewood and food. The are two game lodges located near the park gates with comfortable accommodation such as Udzungwa Forest Tented camp.

Mount Longonot National Park

Mount Longonot National Park Kenya is actually 52sq km of rugged landscape with a dormant volcano, savannah plains, steep slopes of the mountain, a crater formed on the formation of the Great Rift Valley, V shaped valleys and a rain forest within the crater basin. The park is about 90km from Nairobi via tarmac road into the Naivasha rift valley province.

Mount Longonot

The mountain is a dormant volcano that occupies much of Longonot National Park in Kenya rising to 2,776m above sea level.  The name comes from the Masai dialect word oloonong’ot which translates for steep ridges. The mountain has a deep crater on top covered in forest of small trees. There are steam vents on the steep crater walls.

Things to do

The mountain and the fringing park to the slopes are under management by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). Major game attractions within the park include elands, buffalos, lions, leopard, bushbucks, zebra, grant gazelle, buffalos, giraffes, baboons and many other animals. Game viewing is good all year round and the beat time to visit is around January to April and later in the year from September to December

The park has frontage view of Lake Naivasha in the south east a few kilometers away thus birding is also another fascination in the park. Hiking and rock climbing is another way to experience Mount Longonot National park. Trails to the crater peak (2780m) normally take up to 5 hours of climbing steep mountain ridges and then reach Longonot Gate standing at 2150m.

Where to stay

Accommodation in Mt. Longonot National park is limited but you can find a wide range of overnight facilities in Naivasha town near the Lake such as luxury hotels, guesthouses, ranch, homestay and cottages. Camping is allowed within the Park but you need to carry supplies such as drinking water, tents, and other picnic items.

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

An African safari tour is not the same without a visit to the famed Mount Kilimanjaro on your East African safari and tour itinerary. Located on the boundary between Kenya and Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro may be the highest mountain within Africa. It comprises a few extinct volcanoes, and facilitates a few distinctive ecosystems; alpine desert, rain forest, glaciers, heath, plus moorland. Kilimanjaro is the highest freestanding mountain in the world, majestic and illuminating the sky of the vast Serengeti plains. Uhuru Peak is the highest peak at 5,895m above sea level and each year invites thousands of enthusiastic tourists and hikers to its solid glaciers and snow capped peaks.

Climbing Kilimanjaro

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro isn’t a piece of cake, the mountain has steep snow inclinations that often make it a problem for climbers. You have be determined and physically fit to reach the roof top of Africa. There are 5 prime trekking routes through the forest and moor land areas before joining the south circuit route Kilimanjaro Machame route, Mount Kilimanjaro Marangu route, Kilimanjaro Climbing Lemosho Route, Kilimanjaro Rongai Route and Climbing Kilimanjaro Umbwe route. All the routes are technical climbs Mount Kilimanjarobut the easier climb get underway on the Marangu route via Rebman glaciers and others on the way to the summit. You have to battle with altitude sickness to get the reward of reaching the peak.

Kilimanjaro trekking is best during the dry seasons precisely January to Mid-March with colder condition and clearer day light and later from June to around October. The mountains are beautiful as many plants and blooming giant heath and lobelia speckle the scenery plus some glaciers melt to bring life to the cold mountain slopes. The rainy season brings heavy downpours and colder temperatures of up 10ºC to the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi making Kilimanjaro trekking quite difficult. December and November are the months to avoid when planning for Kilimanjaro climbs however many tourists visit the park and the mountain slopes during the Christmas and New Year holidays. Kilimanjaro has become a real well-known vacation spot in Disney world. It provides an integrated Harambe Reserve as well as Maharajah Jungle Journey trip within the theme park.

Kilimanjaro National Park

Mountain Kilimanjaro National Park found in the plains below is home to several species of mammals which enjoy the gazetted forest reserve and woodlands at the foot of the mountain. Regular sights include colobus monkeys, olive baboons, civets, leopards, mangoose, servals, herds of elephants, bush pig, Horombo grass mice, honey badger, lion prides and the shy Porcupines.

The distinct eco-system supports plenty of wild birds too and sights here include the noisy turacos, silver cheeked hornbills, long tailed mouse birds, Ruppell’s robin chat, black chested bulbul, streaky seed eaters, white neck ravens, malachite sunbird, and the list goes on, and on. Any birder will be pre-occupied and never bored on a birding trip to the mountain’s fringes.

For the best time and east Africa trekking, you ought to book your Kilimanjaro climb quite early, months before your arrival. There are a number of Kilimanjaro trekking companies that can arrange your trek to Uhuru, Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. Your Kilimanjaro trek will often be coupled with other safari trips and tours to the neighboring Mt. Meru, Kilimanjaro National Park, Arusha national park and other Tanzania safari destinations.

Flights and arrival are either through Arusha or Kilimanjaro International airport from where you can have an awesome aerial view of the majestic extinct volcano. Your safari itinerary and budget often depends on the number of days you’ll be on the hike, other tourist destinations and other personal preferences. Choose the best Tanzania safari and tour operator to handle your safari package.

Mount Elgon national Park Kenya

The park on Mount Elgon in Kenya is located on the north and eastern slopes covering an estimated 196sq km. this park extends deep into the Uganda borders making a free zone for animals to move between the two countries. It was gazetted as a Kenya game park in 1968 is managed by the Kenya Wildlife service.

Mount Elgon is one of the highest peaks in Kenya, second after Mount Kenya. This extinct volcano is located in western Kenya along the border of Uganda and Kenya. One of the scenic features on the mountain is the huge crater on Koitobos peak which is the highest peak on Elgon Kenya. The flat topped basalt peak is majorly covered in montane and bamboo forest, exotic high altitude vegetation such as the giant lobelia, Elgon olive trees and unique plant species to mention a few

Wildlife in the park

The forest reserve makes a major eco-system and habitat for game, birds and the mountain. Some of the wild animals in the park include African elephants often sighted at the salt licks and on animal paths. There are an estimated 230 elephants in Mount Elgon National Park. Other animals include blue monkeys, bush back, duiker, buffalo, white and black colobus monkey, golden cat, the giant forest hog and rare sights of the leopard as well.

More than 200 birds are recorded in the park with regular sights of the Ross Turaco, African crowned eagle, white winged sun birds, lammergeyer, Jackson’s francolin and the red fronted parrot among many others. The Mathaai long legged dragon fly is one endemic species of insect in the park only found in the high altitude zones and forest on the mountain.

Other attractions in the park include the forest covered crater, salt mining cave Kitum-popularly seen with elephants, the waterfall, hot springs, gorges, caves, sharp cliffs and many others. Hiking is one of the adventures on the park besides safari walks, nature walks, horse riding and mountain climbing among others.

Getting there

Mount Elgon is actually more than 130km north of Lake Victoria and is reached from the Uganda and Kenya sides. The road to Kitale is used to access the park in Kenya via either Endebess or the dusty route 15km from Kitale town on the left turn leading to Chorlim gate. Both routes can lead to the park as long as the tourists are with a KWS tour guide. The best time to visit the park is around June to August when the weather is quite dry and a few days of rainfall.

Accommodation

There is no significant accommodation within the park although the KWS runs self catering accommodation options at Koitoboss guesthouse for a capacity of six people and another facility at Kapkuro Banda fro a maximum of 3 people per unit. Both facilities are located down the mountain-from the park gate.

Camping is allowed at designated public campsites at Ringai camp, Nyati camp and Chorlim gate camp. However, tourists or visitors have to carry camping gear and supplies for their period of stay. There is a private camp at Salt lick special campsite with some basic camping facilities.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park

THE RWENZORI MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

The Rwenzori Mountain is the highest peak of the tectonic mountain ranges formed mountain from Uganda’s south western border with DR Congo Also called the mountains of the moon, Rwenzori is 120 kms long and 43 kms wide and includes a fantastic icy world and afro-alpine vegetation.  The peaks lie in misty clouds, snow and glaciers often not seen form a far.

Rwenzori Snow capped Peaks

The mountains rose due to the formation of the East African Rift Valley system, and – unlike other high mountains such as Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya – are not volcanic mountains. The Rwenzori Mountains consists of six snow capped massifs separated with deep gorges; Stanley the highest with 5,109m, Speak at 4,890m, baker at 4,843m, mount Emin, Gessi and Luigi. Margherita peak is the highest peak on Mount Stanley.

Rwenzori mountains National Park

Rwenzori national park is a world heritage site, protected to the unique plants and wildlife that live on the slope of the Rwenzori mountain ranges. Located within the Park is Africa’s third highest mountain – Mount Stanley (5109mtrs). It was named after the famous explorer of the same name who was the first outsider to sight the mountain during his 1887 expedition. The word Ruwenzori means “rain-maker” and the mountains bring an average of over 5 mtrs of rainfall to the area each year. Unfortunately the snow covered peaks and glaciers are rarely visible.

The Park has a large variety of afro-alpine vegetation, including giant lobelias, tropical rainforests, heather and groundsels. There is also the chance to view chimps and other primates, elephant, buffalo, bushbuck, giant forest hog, hyrax, chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, blue monkeys and leopard.

Some of the unique birds found in the region are the Rwenzori Touraco, Francolin, Malachite sunbird, Olive pigeon and White-necked raven.

How to get there

Rukoki Falls, Rwenzori National Park

The park is reached at the trailhead at Nyakalengija, 22km from Kasese, off Fort portal-Kamapla road. At Nyakalengija are park offices from where you’ll pay some small park fees. Charter flights are available from Entebbe and Kampala.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Trekking in these mountains is great for both the experienced mountaineer and the casual hiker, an interesting adventure you can ever think of. The central circuit trail is the popular hiking route normally takes 7 days and 6 nights to get to the peak. Make sure you pack rain gear, a sleeping bag, warm hat, snow goggles, warm socks and gloves, gaiters, walking stick, first aid kit and any other thing you need on a hiking trail.

Porters will be carrying your heavy equipment and food, leaving you with a small pack, rain gear, warm clothes, camera, water and any other light luggage

During the driest periods (July, August & December to February) visitors can take the Central Circuit Trail, which requires 6-7 days and reaches the higher mountains. Bad weather at other times makes these trips impossible, slippery trails, cold weather, steep terrain and high altitude sickness.

The Rwenzori Mountain lie across the western border of Uganda and rise to some height of 5,1OO metres. Listed here are the legendary ‘Mountains from the Moon’, a World Heritage Site – which incomparable, beautiful, mist-shrouded peaks give a unique backdrop to our most magnificent national parks.

Within the center from the range, which boasts Africa’s third greatest mountain, a few of the peaks carry permanent snow and glaciers, as the lower slopes are engrossed in dense forest. Walking trails about the lower slopes don’t demand alpinism experience, even though greater you decide to go the fitter you have to be. Excellent walking routes, such as the Bujuku circuit, are supplied through wonderful and different scenery.

For individuals who wish to chance a climb, several peaks provide challenges that match individuals within the Alps.These fabled mist-covered “Mountains from the Moon,” 120 km long and 48 km wide, were created from the block that was thrust up throughout the advance of the western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley. In the center from the range, you will find six peaks transporting permanent snow, three with glaciers.The greatest of those peaks, and also the third greatest peak in Africa, is Margherita rising 5100 metre above ocean level.

The Rwenzori Mountain tops were gazetted like a National Park in 1991. The Park covers 996 km2 of rugged mountain terrain. Whether or not they are experienced climbers or casual day-walkers, Rwenzori Mountain National Park offers visitors a distinctive connection with an Afro-Montane jungle.

The primary attraction may be the luxuriant plant life found above 3000 m including the giant types of Lobelia, Louise and Groundsel. Rwenzori Mountain National Park can also be the place to find the hyrax, blue monkey, chimpanzee, giant forest hog and several unique bird species like the Rwenzori touraco, the handsome francolin and also the olive pigeon. It is on the slopes of Rwenzori that you’ll find other Uganda National parks such such Bwindi Forest National park that is famous for gorilla trekking and also Mgahinga Gorilla National Park where gorilla find there humble home.

The optimum time for hiking and trekking in Rwenzori is throughout the dry seasons from mid-December towards the finish of March and from June through mid-August.

By Road: From Kampala via Mbarara to Kasese, then continue 18km to Ibanda. Also from Kampala through Fort Portal after which 75km about the Fort Portal/Kasese road south. The Park is 25 km from Kasese. Have a left turn 4 km after departing Kasese about the Kasese-Fort Portal road.

 

Mount Meru Hiking

Mount Meru

This is among Africa’s highest and yet very stunning volcanoes. On its bottom, you will see a variety of more than 450 species of bird plus animals which have turned this into their habitat. baboons, rhinos, duiker ,warthogs, white and black Columbus monkey, elephants as well as buffaloes are the commonest wild animals that you will find on the mountain foothills. You will journey through the montane forest park-land as you head to the summit. This area is a vast moorland as well as heather zone. There is a slender, unfertile ridge that offers splendid views into the Ash Cone that lies numerous thousands of feet below down into the crater and mountain Kilimanjaro in the backdrop as you ascend to the peak.

In addition you will see several flamingos plus other wildlife within the Ngundoto crater as well as the Momella lakes. The scenery is very stunning and worth experiencing! You will be accompanied by a park-guide plus a porter as you attempt to conquer the mountain. Up the mountain you will be accommodated in huts structured in dormitory like form. However you are recommended to carry sleeping bags plus mats to use while in the huts. You also have the option to select to have the overnight at Momella Lodge situated in Arusha Park. The itinerary normally begins with your arrival in a hotel adjacent to Moshi town. While there you will spend the overnight and then have morning breakfast there too.

The next day in the early morning, you will drive to Miriakamba Hut going past the park gate going  through a terrain bursting with wild animals. This Miriakamba Hut is located at 2470 meters high.  While at the hut, you will be able to enjoy sights of the legendary Mount Kilimanjaro. You will go on to the Saddle Hut located is 350 meters higher  and is approximately three hours away.  The next day you can begin the day early to enjoy the breathtaking views along the edge of the crater. You will continue higher to an open ridge which will guide you to the mountain summit. This will be quite a very memorable experience that you can enjoy while in the country. At the summit you will be allowed time to enjoy the beautiful picturesque surrounding before you finally walk back to the Miriakamba Hut and continue out of the  park-gate to Moshi town for an overnight in one of the  hotels in the town.  In the morning you will then depart for your onward journeys. You will spend the night there and leave in the morning.

Fortunately you can book a safari to enjoy an adventurous hike on Mountain Meru through any of the tour companies, tour-agents or tour operators across East Africa who offers these safaris at very affordable prices.  So don’t waste any time today as book yourself any holiday package that will allow you adventure yet another of Africa’s high mountains especially in East Africa.

Mahale Mountains National Park

The most significant tourist attraction in the Mahale Mountains National Park is its resident population of chimpanzees. There are about 800 chimpanzees living inside this park, and close 60 of them have been habituated to receive human visitors. Your safari guide will lead you on a foot expedition along the trails in the forest as you search for them. The Mahale mountain eastern slopes are covered by a savannah and a woodland that are home to such as elephants, lions, wild dogs, roan antelopes, buffaloes in addition to giraffes, however they are hardly ever seen by visitors. On the other hand Warthogs are usually seen walking near the camp.

Wildlife In Mahale

Besides chimpanzees, there are 8 other types of primates that have been documented in this park and on a started visitor, guests may be able to see a minimum of 5 primate species among which are:  vervet monkeys, yellow baboons, red colobus, red-tailed monkeys as well as blue monkeys.

Other species also living inside Mahale National Park include: bushbabies, porcupines, big squirrels, bush pigs among some others. Within the park, leopards have also been recorded although these are pretty challenging to see. Hippos as well as crocodiles may be spotted during your boat trips on River lubulumbu.

in the park there are about 230 species of birds among which are the crested marimba, the crowned eagles, trumpeter hornbills, scaly francolins, blue cheeked bee-eaters, crested guinea fowls as well as the big kingfishers.

The finest time for game viewing

In the dry season that starts in May to the end of October is the best time to tracking chimpanzees. During this season the chimpanzees normally live near the shores of the lake making it much easier to see them. The park remains open all year round however, during the heavy rains; some of the trails are challenging to traverse.

 What to do in Mahale National Park

The park offers thrilling Walking safaris plus boat trips as well as treks to search for the chimpanzee families as well as other primates living inside the park. You can also go swimming, boating, snorkeling, trekking or even  fishing, in addition to visiting the nearby fishing villages particularly  Mwamgongo.

What we recommend

In case you are interested in chimpanzee trekking, this park is the best option during your stay in Tanzania as it will offer you the most rewarding views. So in case you have some spare time, it is worth dropping by the Mahale National Park for a unique enjoyable experience.

The park is well known for having some of the last surviving wild chimpanzees living in their natural environment. You can also remember this park from the remarkable research carried out by Dr. Jane Goodall, who performed an extensive research for about 40 years inside the park. It’s as well a nice opportunity to explore the renowned Lake Tanganyika since the park is found on the shores of this lake. Although this is the smallest national park within Tanzania, it is the sole destination on the planet where you will have guaranteed views of chimpanzee families.

Mahale Mountains National Park

How To Get To Mahale

Mahale Mountains Weather

When To Visit Mahale

Birding in Mahale Mountains

Mount Meru

Hiking Kilimanjaro: Mount Meru Hiking

This is a very striking volcano and ranks as one of Africa’s highest. There are more than 450 bird species on its bottom, as well as animals that have turned it into their home. These animals include, elephants, rhinos, white and black Columbus monkeys, duiker, baboons, warthogs not leaving out buffaloes as the commonest wild animals that one can find at the foothills of the mountain. As you move towards the summit, you will travel through the montane forest park-land and in this area; you will find a large moorland as well as heather zone. Here, there is an infertile hill that is slim and gives you splashy  views into the Ash Cone that lies within a range of so many feet below as you get down into the crater Mountain Kilimanjaro in the scenery as you go up to the peak. Other than that, you will also see a number of flamingoes as well as other wildlife within the Ngundoto crater and the Momella Lakes .It is worth to have a feel of the beautiful landscape. Alongside the porter, you will also be accompanied by a park guide as you try to rout the mountain. Accommodation at the top of the mountain is in form of huts that are constructed like a dormitory. Sleeping bags and mats are a recommendation as they can help you during your sleep time while in the huts.Alternatively; you can choose to spend a night at the Momella Lodge that is located in Arusha Park. Usually when you arrive at the hotel that is nearby to Moshi town, the circuit begins here. You can as well have your breakfast here in the morning when you stay over the night.

Early in the morning on the next day, you are able to drive to Miriakambu hut moving past the park gate and continuing through the fields and exploding with wild animals. At a height of 2470 meters is where this miriakamba hut is situated. On the top of this mountain you are able to see the splendid views of the legendary Mount Kilimanjaro. In about 350 meters high, which can take you about 3 hours to get there is the Saddle hut where you will go. You can take the next day, early in the morning to enjoy the spectacular sight of the crater edge. There is an open hill as you continue higher to the top of the mountain where you will be permitted to view the scenic environment before you eventually get back to the Miriakamba hut and continuing out to the park gate, Moshi town for a stay over at one of the hotels in town. You spend the night here and continue with your journey in the morning. A tour company can help you with arranging and booking your safari for your amazement while hiking on mountain Meru. These can help you get affordable prices. Enjoy your safari to East Africa as you hike one of Africa’s high mountains.

Mt Kenya Vegetation

Mount Kenya

On a Kenya safari, Mount Kenya is one of the most popular destination that dominates the central highlands of Kenya, Standing at 5199m, Mt Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa. The mountain has 3 glaciated peaks; point Lenana at 4,985m reached by anyone who is physical fit, Batian peak at 5,199m and Nelion at 5,88m with technicalities involved in climbing the other peaks.

Mount Kenya hiking routes

Located only 200km from Nairobi, Mt Kenya is accessible by road using buses, taxi and private vehicles. Drive through the towns of Naromoru, Nnayuki and Chogoria. Ech of these towns has a Mt Kenya hiking route that extends deep into the snowy peaks of the mountain. There are three main Mt Kenya trekking routes which are Naromoru Route trek, Sirimon Route hiking and Chogoria Route.

Mt Kenya trekking and hikes on Mount Kenya all have something different to offer. Mount Kenya Naromoru Route is the fastest route to point Lenana but not as scenic as the other two. Mt Kenya Trekking through Chogoria Route hike is the most scenic and Mt Kenya hiking Sirimon Route the most interesting because it is on the drier side of Mount Mount Kenya.

The mountain is one of Kenya’s most visited water drainage areas with several water streams like Sirimon, Nazita, Sagana, Burguret and others streaming from the melting glacier peaks. Tana River and Ewaso N’gwiro River are also part of the water streams coursing in the Mt. Kenya fringes.

When to go

Climbing Mount Kenya is good all year round but look out for the dry season hiking from January and February, also around August and September. You’ll have clearer views of the snow peaks and exotic blooming plants on the slopes especially in the mornings. Heavy rains on the mountain are during March to mid May and lesser on e around October and December.  The nights are quite chilly and frosty with temperatures between 5-15ºC and freezing on the peaks. Mount Kenya hiking is good in the early morning at aroun10h00 when you can catch the rising sun while the afternoon is filled with convectional rains.

Mount Kenya climbing is notably challenging and technical for a few peak climbs besides Lenana. The extinct volcanic plug is surrounded by an abundant wildlife park at its foot, a protected area covering some 800sq km, many cultivated farms at the lower slpes, lush rain forests and many exotic plants like giant lobelias and birds.

Mt Kenya Vegetation

Exotic Plants on Mt Kenya

Some of the animals that inhabit the lush rainforest slopes and park include elephants, buffalos, antelopes, lions, leopards, hyrax and many others.

Mount Kenya hiking safaris include camping on the route camps like Old Moses camp and Shipton Camp located down Sirimon Mt. Kenya hiking route. Other overnight options include Minto’s hut, Chogoria bandas where you’ll be served breakfast, dinerand lunch while doing your hiking expeditions.

Make sure that you pack a sleeping bag, rain jackets, warm clothing, comfortable hiking boots, woolen hat, warm gloves, sunglasses, flashlights and anything you may need on your climbing Mt. Kenya safari. It is unlikely that you’ll find people on your Mt Kenya Hiking if you book around the low season, after the dry season.

Mt Kenya, Africa’s second top peak is known as the domain of Ngai, god of the area Kikuyu tribe. Customarily, all Kikuyu homesteads were definitely designed to face this sacred summit. They refer to it as Kirinyaga, or sometimes place of light.
This mountain can be an awe-inspiring view. Its ragged series of summits are topped with snow, while the slopes are thick with forest. The mountain is best visible in the early morning, when the day’s early lighting shadows the spectacular summit raised over the neighboring plains.
While the 5199 metre high peak is often a difficult specialized climb, the lower peak for Point Lenana (4985m) can be simply hit by every physically fit climber.
This trek can take between 3 and 5 days, via a thrilling realm of jungles, wildlife, special montane vegetation which includes podocarpus and grounsel, and finally the world’s rarest scenery, equatorial snow. Those of you that do not plan to trek high into the Mountain the breezy highlands which surround its root are worthy of a try. The jungles are great for game watching, while you’ll notice crystal clear mountain streams which are abound with Trout.
Major highway access towards Mt Kenya is by way of Nanyuki as well as Naro Moru, either conveniently accessed from Nairobi using bus/matatu or simply private transport. A few trekkers and Climbers reach the Mountain through the small village of Chogoria. You can find an airstrip within Nanyuki, with equally booked as well as hire flights offered.
A lot of safari companies can plan travel from Nairobi and into Mt Kenya. Hotels around Nanyuki and even Naro Moru will organize transport to the gates of Mt Kenya National Park.