Best 5 Tanzania Parks to Explore on a Self-drive
Tanzania is East African giant in a lot of considerations right from politics, economy, and trading and also well in the travel section. A self-drive likewise to the fully guided trip in Tanzania exposes you to that unique features that the country has only signified itself to offer. By size Tanzania is a bigger country, times 4 Uganda to get the real size of the country, so when opting for a self-drive drive trip here, it mean you must be ready to take on drives.
Tanzania has a list of over 50 national parks and game reserves which are scattered across the country. These parks has significantly positioned Tanzania as the best safari destination in African offering such great and unique wild encounters of which some can be even encountered elsewhere in the world.
However, among the many were making a selection five super national parks. These parks has unique and varying experience. So, when you going for a self-drive to Tanzania you can consider among these and make your own travel plan.
The Serengeti National Park
The Africa’s top safari destination, the Serengeti National Park is Tanzania’s second largest park 5,700 square miles. The park was exclusively reserved for wildlife since 1951 and the heart of a vast ecosystem with much greater dimensions. Any safari to this majestic Serengeti is always comes combining the protected site of Ngorongoro, the Maswa Game Reserve, the controlled areas of Grumeti and Ikorongo, the Kenyan nature reserve of Masai Mara and the controlled area of Loliondo (up to Lake Natron).
The 11,583 square miles controlled in such a way as to ensure that human activities remain compatible with the welfare of the wildlife. The conservation effort in this immense territory is mainly to preserve the presence of migratory routes involving hundreds of thousands of zebras and wildebeest. The park is mainly known as visited for the famous dramatic wildebeest migration where about 2.5 million wildebeests, gazelles, zebras, and cross from the plain of Serengeti to the plain of Masai Mara.
The Serengeti National Park is Africa’s most rewarding park with varieties of wildlife encounters. And when opting for a self-drive here, you just need to have that safari customized land cruiser which can maneuver al road terrains of the Serengeti.
One of the remarkable destinations to take a self-drive in East Africa. Ngorongoro Crater is the largest crater in the world, and is a safe haven for a remarkable self-drive assortment of wildlife. Because the Ngorongoro Crater is one of the worlds’ natural remnants site was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1980. A huge crater that acts like a vast natural zoo.
Three million years ago, a major eruption devastated the Ngorongoro volcano and the collapse of the cone left the largest caldera in the world – a staggering 12 miles in diameter. Surveying this site is a truly awe-inspiring feeling, one that grows with the discovery of more and more African species of flora and fauna as you approach the bottom of the crater.
The reserve contains other less impressive but equally admirable extinct volcanoes as well as two outstanding paleontological sites in Olduvai and Laetoli.
Kilimanjaro National Park
Nothing rewards than taking an adventure to Kilimanjaro National Park. The self-drive means taking such a great reward and hiking to the top of Africa. Also called ‘roof of Africa’, Kilimanjaro is the Africa’s highest peak. The large village of Moshi, located at the foot of Kilimanjaro and not far from Mount Meru, is often used as a starting point when climbing to the summit of Kili or exploring the splendor of Tanzania’s north. While its main charm lies in its African authenticity touched with Asian influences, it is also known for the quality of its coffee plantations Kilimanjaro being one of Tanzania’s main coffee growing regions. This is a must visit when taking this self-guided esteemed drive and one of the best national parks in Tanzania.
Lake Manyara National Park
This is an outsized lake accommodating exceptional wildlife, thousands of birds and primary forest. The Manyara National Park encompasses the northern half of the lake and its western shore, which ends a few miles from the escarpment. The detached eyesight of flocks of birds on the hazy horizon is unforgettable. Among these include; Herons, egrets, ospreys, ibis, pelicans, jacanas and plovers are just some among the 380 species recorded.
A drive through the deluxe shrubbery replies visitors as they enter the park. Consider this watch where towering trees take advantage of the rich volcanic soil and porous rocks help underground streams reach the roots. Those lucky enough might even see baboons gathered in troops of between 30 and 100.
A self-drive in Tanzania’s Lake Manyara National Park rewards of awesome sights of impalas, giraffes, buffaloes and zebras. The park is as well famous for hosting the special tree climbing lions. The park rewards with a lot of programs among are the wild boat ride which is very unique in Tanzania parks, game drives etc.
Tarangire National Park
Experience the dry savannah landscapes, baobab forests, these have harbored elephant herds in the Tarangire National Park. Tarangire National Park is a quiet, wooded savannah, where a rich variety of thriving fauna including tree climbing lions can be spotted from open vehicles. Taking a self-guided drive through the park will expose you to these unique African bush elephants, plains zebras, Masai giraffes, impalas, blue wildebeest, buffaloes, bush pigs, common elands, common waterbucks.
For birder’s, when traveled along with your well lensed cameras, there are a lot of birds that can also be found on many of the wetter banks of the Tarangire River. Keep an eye out for brilliantly colored parakeets known as lovebirds. Termite mounds are very common in Africa and abandoned mounds are often used for shelter by dwarf mongooses. In the north of Tarangire National Park, the majestic baobab trees are among the finest examples of this species anywhere.
Car Rental Across East Africa
Most car rental services are not limited to only Uganda. It is possible to rent a car in Uganda and then self-drive in Countries like Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. There is also an option of going with a driver and visit Uganda’s neighboring countries.
Rent a car and visit what Uganda can offer and then cross the Border to the neighboring countries. Uganda has Bwindi Impenetrable national park, Murchison falls national park, Lake Mburo National park, Semliki National park, Queen Elizabeth National park, Mt Elgon National park, Mt Rwenzori National park, Kibale National park, Mgahinga national park and Kidepo valley national park.
On the long rental, you can explore all the above and then cross the border to Rwanda, In the land of a thousand hills, visit, Volcano National park, Nyungwe National park and Akagera National park. There are many activities you can explore in those parks
In Kenya you can drive yourself in the destinations like Tsavo East National park, Tsavo west National park, Masai Mara, Nairobi National park, Lake Nakuru National park, Amboseli National park, Mount Kenya National park, Hells Gate National park and many other attractions in the country.
Continue driving and visit Tanzania. Once you rent the car with us, we shall brief you on how to drive in those countries and giving you necessary paper work for the car to cross. In this country, Visit Serengeti National park,Tarangire National park, Arusha national park, Lake Manyara National park, Mikumi National park, Gombe National park, Mahale National park, Katavi National park and Mount Kilimanjaro National park.
If you do not prefer to drive yourself, rent a car and driver with us. Our Driver guides know East African countries and the roads to each of the attractions. Just have fun by sitting and enjoy what the countries have to offer.
Do not worry about accommodations, the countries have different levels of lodges and hotels in the Destinations, Raging from Budget to Luxury. Just let us know what you prefer and we shall advise accordingly.
You can start with any of the country whether Uganda, Kenya or Tanzania. Our driver can deliver the car to where you prefer to start from or he can pick it from where you can drop it. In case you prefer to go with a driver, he can find you at an agreed place or country.
There are some Countries where we rent cars with driver, For instance driving to Burundi, DRC Congo, you will need a driver to visit those mentioned countries. We have good cars that can take you safely to your desired destinations. Not all roads are paved in those destinations but our cars can manage the roads.
You can decide to go with a rooftop tent or ground tent or you can go and sleep in lodges or hotels. Some clients can decide to sometimes sleep in tents and then some other days in hotels and lodges. For instance in big cities like Kampala or Nairobi, you may sleep in Accommodation.
Our services are good and affordable; we shall rent you a car of your choice and also give you required information to where you will be travelling to.
Top Places to Explore by Rental Car in Kenya
Kenya is ranked among the top Africa safari destination due it’s richness in tourist attractions that range from wildlife, culture to landscapes and water bodies all of which contribute highly to the success of tourism in Kenya.
Being a very large tourist destination, Kenya is one of the best places to embark on a self-drive safari or guided road trip and much as the latter is a much safer and comfortable option, driving yourself offers you all the freedom and privacy you want adding spice to the road adventure.
If it’s your first time visiting and would love to self-drive Kenya alone, a s couple, a group of friends or family, we suggest you try out this self-drive itinerary for a full feel of some of the country’s best attractions.
The capital city of Kenya is the perfect base for all safaris in Kenya, a place buzzing with local and international businesses. Top places to visit include the Nairobi national park, Giraffe center, Karen Blixen museum, Bomas of Kenya, Maasai market to mention but a few. You can also do some shopping before you exit the city or spend the night out mingling with the locals.
Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is just a 10 minutes’ drive from the center of Nairobi with only a fence separating the park’s wildlife from the metropolis. Nairobi’s skyscrapers can be seen from the park. Despite its proximity to the city and the relative small size of the park, Nairobi National Park boasts a large and varied wildlife population. Migrating wildebeest and zebra gather in the park during the dry season, and it is one of Kenya’s most successful rhinoceros sanctuaries.
Malindi provides a very nice introduction to the coastal tourist attractions in Kenya with its extensive coral reefs and beautiful beaches. There are surfing, snorkeling, deep-sea fishing and other water sports. The Malindi Marine National Park is protected and has fine beaches clear water and very colorful fish. Malindi is served with a domestic airport and a highway between Mombasa and Lamu.
Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second-highest in Africa, after Kilimanjaro. The mountain offers a beautiful sight. Its series of peaks are crowned with snow, and its slopes are covered with forest. The 5199 meter (17,057 ft) high summit is a difficult technical climb, several lowers peaks however are an easy destination for any fit trekker.
Samburu National Reserve
Samburu National Reserve is a very peaceful national park in Northern Kenya. It attracts wildlife because of the Uaso Nyiro River that runs through it and the mixture of forest and grassland vegetation. All three big cats, lion, cheetah and leopard, can be found here, as well as elephants, buffalo and hippos. The Uaso Nyiro River contains large numbers of Nile crocodile.
Hell’s Gate National Park
Hell’s Gate National Park is a tiny park named after a narrow break in the cliffs, once a tributary of a prehistoric lake that fed early humans in the Rift Valley. It is unique among Kenya’s wildlife parks, as you are allowed to walk or cycle without a guide. There’s dramatic scenery, with steep cliffs, gorges and basalt columns. The national park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, though many are few in number. Examples of little seen wildlife include lions, leopards, and cheetahs.
Lamu Island is a part of Kenya’s Lamu Archipelago, and has managed to stay unspoiled and untouched by the mass tourism that has hit much of Kenya’s coastline. As the oldest living town in Kenya, Lamu Town has retained all the charm and character built up over centuries. There are no roads on Lamu Island, just alleyways and footpaths, and therefore, there are few motorized vehicles on the island. Residents move about on foot or by boat, and donkeys are used to transport goods and materials.
Tsavo National Park
Tsavo is the largest national park in Kenya and one of the largest in the world. Due to its size the park was divided into Tsavo West and Tsavo East. The Tsavo West has spectacular scenery with a rolling volcanic landscape while Tsavo East has more open savannah than its western sibling. Tsavo National Park is the ideal destination in Kenya for people who seek solitude and privacy as well as the chance to explore the wilderness.
Lake Nakuru is a very shallow lake in central Kenya. The lake’s abundance of algae attracts vast quantities of lesser flamingos, sometimes more than one million at once. Often called the greatest bird spectacle on earth, the flamingos are one of Kenya’s top attractions. Sadly, in recent years the number of flamingos at Lake Nakuru has been decreasing, due to environmental degradation and pollution.
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is a relatively small park located close to the Tanzania border at the foot of Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. The park is famous for being the best place in Africa to get close to free-ranging elephants. Other attractions of the Amboseli National Park include opportunities to meet the Maasai people and spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Masai Mara National Reserve
The Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the top tourist attractions in Kenya and the country’s most popular game park. Each year the Masai Mara National Reserve is visited by thousands of tourists who come here to watch the exceptional population of game and the annual migration of zebra and wildebeest. The “Great Migration” takes place every year from July to October when millions of wildebeest and zebra migrate from the Serengeti in Tanzania.
We believe that driving yourself at your own pace is the best way for a true Kenya safari adventure. If you are looking to hire a car in Kenya to explore this beautiful country, you have come to the right place. Kenya car rental is the best recognised car company in Kenya.Read More
Things Not to Do with a Rental Car in Kenya
Renting a car is such a common part of the travel experience that you’d think the process would be straightforward and transparent yet somehow it is anything but. Many travelers aren’t sure how to rent a car without making a few common mistakes.
Do I need to buy additional insurance? What about paying to refuel the car? I hear horror stories about phony damage claims; should I be worried? No one is around to inspect the car with me; is that OK? Can I drive into another country? Do I need all the extras they offer me at the rental counter? These questions come up pretty much every time someone rents a car. Again, anything but straightforward.
Among all your options, there are some things you don’t need to do, or even should not do, when renting a car in Kenya;
Read carefully the car rental agreement
Before you sign a contract, read it thoroughly. If you don’t understand something, just ask for explanation. This is a hackneyed advice, but still useful.
The advertised price is not always the final one
It is a favourite trick of many rental companies to advertise a car rental just for less money. The price usually includes the renting only and forgets about taxes, fees or insurance. What seemed to be a very advantageous price at first becomes eventually an extremely disadvantageous one.
Mileage may be limited
Some car rental companies limit the distance that can be driven. You’ll have to pay a lot more for exceeding the limit.
Where you can drive the borrowed car?
Rental conditions at some car rental companies clearly indicate where you can drive the car. Usually, it is forbidden to cross borders to other countries (Sudan, Congo). Offered cars usually have a built-in GPS locator hidden inside and you’ll be most certainly fined for infringement of this condition.
Buy fuel at the gas station
Refuel the car somewhere close to the renting company before you return it. You can still arrive with an empty tank but buying gas from the renting company is much more expensive.
You’ll pay a penalty for returning the car late
If you don’t manage to return the car on time, you’ll pay an extra fee for the next day.
Second and third driver at extra cost
If you’re planning a long trip with more than one driver, be sure to mention him/her in the contract. The fee for an extra driver per day. I recommend paying the fee since problems caused by the unveiling of this fraud are not worth the price.
Are you travelling with a baby?
If a child of less than two years of age travels with you, don’t forget about the child seat. In most of the states there is a law according to which children under the age of 12 have to sit on the back seat
Not inspecting the car upon departure
Another potentially huge mistake that you can make at the car rental company is not to inspect the rented car before hitting the road. You should always check the vehicle for any signs of internal or external damages before leaving the car rental company. Look for any signs of potential problems busted headlights, loose bumpers, visible scratches, strange noises, etc.
You can even take some photos or a video inspection of the vehicle so you can easily make a “before-after” comparison upon returning the rented car. Otherwise, you might end up responsible for all the damages found upon returning the car (including damages you didn’t necessarily make) and the car rental company will charge you for that.
Ignoring Potential Offers for Upgrades
In the past, I’ve recommended reserving a low-priced car and then inquiring about upgrades at the rental desk. This works best at busy times when the garage is running low on its cheapest vehicles, and may offer you free or very affordable upgrades to a larger car class due to inventory management issues.
In most cases, the desk agent has considerable discretion in setting upgrade rates, so if he or she asks if you are interested in a larger car, respond that it depends on the price; you might find yourself in a bigger and better car at minimal additional cost.
Your Credit Card Covers the Rest
Anything your own car insurance does not cover, it is likely that your credit card will. In some cases the credit card coverage is as good as or better than your auto insurance; in others it is intended to be secondary insurance to help cover anything your auto insurance does not.
Of course, you will need to pay for your car rental using that card; just having a qualifying credit card does not give you any protection.
And then there’s the thing you do not want to do at all, ever. To save you some time, money (and trouble), we’ve made a list of things not to do when renting a car. Contact Kenya car rental to avoid all the above mistakes.Read More
Combine Gorilla Trekking with Tanzania Wildlife Safari
Affordable upper mid-range and luxury safari in Tanzania and Uganda combined for your to get the best wildlife experiences gorillas and Serengeti, gorillas, and Ngorongoro, gorillas and Ngorongoro, gorillas and Kilimanjaro, and several other options. These Tanzania Uganda safaris can start and end in either country. The following Uganda Tanzania tour itineraries are some of the most liked but we can always do tailor-made options for you to enjoy your trip.
Uganda Gorilla Tours from Arusha Tanzania
A Uganda gorilla tour from Arusha Tanzania- It is very possible from today that Primate Safari Experiences organizes the gorilla tours from Arusha to Mgahinga or Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park. Arusha is found in Tanzania and is a tourism hub when to come to tourism in Tanzania. Most of the visitors who are on a vacation in Tanzania stay or land in Arusha for safari game drive. Tanzania is famous for the big give safaris which are conducted in Serengeti and Ngorongoro National Park. Still most of the tourists especially those who are adventurous do visit Tanzania to climb Mountain Kilimanjaro and mountain Meru. In case you’re a tourist visiting Tanzania and you’re in Arusha you can now move to Uganda and see the gorillas basing from Arusha.
Uganda is the top destination for gorilla trekking both in East Africa and Africa at large. Uganda is one of the smallest countries located in eastern Africa and has got the highest number of mountain gorillas in the whole world and the gorillas stay in two national parks of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Therefore while in Arusha or Tanzania you can follow the following steps to come to Uganda and see mountain gorillas.
Uganda gorilla tours by air from Arusha
Because it is a long-distance from Tanzania Arusha to Uganda and then connects to Bwindi or Mgahinga National park for Gorilla tours, it is recommended that you book a flight that will fly you to Kigali international airport in Rwanda or Entebbe International Airport in Uganda. There are daily scheduled flights from Kilimanjaro airport in Arusha then to Entebbe which you can use for your flight.
The flight from Kilimanjaro airport will take approximately one hour to reach Entebbe international airport and once you have landed at Entebbe or Kigali International Airport from Kilimanjaro Arusha, you can again opt to fly to Bwindi or Mgahinga to engage in gorilla tracking. We shall handle all the internal flights and airport transfers as well as road transfers to and from Bwindi or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
At Africa adventure vacations we recommend our visitors for Uganda gorilla trekking tours from Arusha to contact either Uganda airlines, Rwanda Air, Air Tanzania, Kenya Airways, or Precision Air since these are famous airlines that operate within this region and can offer you the best offers when it comes to flying from Tanzania to Kigali or Entebbe International Airports for gorilla safaris. In case you need more information on how you can best move from Arusha Tanzania to Uganda to see the gorillas just contact Africa Adventure Vacations.
Uganda gorilla tours by road from Arusha
Budget travelers or tourists in Arusha but with intention of seeing gorillas in Uganda have also an opportunity to travel to Uganda on budget using the rod transport. Visitors can travel by road from Arusha then connect to Nairobi and Kampala to Mgahinga or Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park for your gorilla trekking safari.
There different bus companies that operate daily from Arusha to Nairobi and then from Nairobi to Kampala Uganda. At Africa Adventure Vacations once you contact us, we shall book you a seat in one of the buses with availability on this route.
Buses are comfortably provided they operate on long routes, for those from Nairobi, you will be able to have a glimpse at Masai in Namanga, and the great East African arm of the Rift valley in Kenya. Book with us and enjoy the gorilla safari holiday from Arusha to Uganda.
Gorilla permits for your gorilla tours from Arusha Tanzania
Immediately you think of taking a gorilla safari from Arusha Tanzania to Uganda, you need to think of a gorilla trekking permit because no one can see the gorillas without a gorilla trekking permit. At Africa adventure vacations, we make sure that we book for you the gorilla permit for your Uganda gorilla trekking tours and once contact that you want to see gorillas in Bwindi or Mgahinga national park from Arusha.
we shall check for the availability of the gorilla trekking permit depending on your dates you intent to travel to see gorillas in Uganda, then once there is availability, we shall book and reserve the gorilla permit as we wait for you to make payment and the moment you make payment, then we shall secure your gorilla trekking permit from Uganda wildlife authority and send you the scanned copies of the gorilla permit bearing your details on the passport.
Visitors traveling by bus from Arusha Tanzania, our well professional tour driver will pick you from Kampala and then you start driving to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The drive from Kampala to Bwindi takes some time approximately 9 hours but you will make several stopovers including the equators for taking photographs and then a drive to Mbarara for lunch as you see the prominent long-horned cattle as you approach Mbarara city.
From Mbarara city, you will then proceed to Bwindi or Mgahinga National Park. Visitors can as well enjoy domestic flights from Entebbe to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park or Mgahinga Gorilla national park by using airstrips of Kisoro and Kihihi where our driver will pick you to offer you the best transfer.
The cost of a single gorilla permit in Uganda is 700 per person. However, gorilla permits do vary in price according to the country. Permits in Rwanda are the most expensive at US$1,500 and DRC has the cheapest permits at US$400. A gorilla habituation experience permit in Uganda costs US$1,500 per person.Read More
Diani Beach: A Perfect Romantic Honeymoon Destination
Organizing weddings can be very exhausting both physically and mentally. For that, love birds deserve a honeymoon in a peaceful setting with elements that help one recharge their batteries. Diani is one such place. It is a coastal reef where the majestic Indian Ocean meets the land of warrior nomads. This 10 kilometer resort found roughly 30 kilometers South of Mombasa is famed for two things:
- For emerging as the Best Beach Destination of 2014 as awarded by World Travel Awards.
- For having white sand and lush greenery.
Here are things to do at this heaven among havens
Breakfast by the Beach
A great honeymoon day starts with a healthy breakfast in a dreamy setting. You can start your day by waking up to a morning feast at the beach as the sun arises from the horizon. The tickling sensation of waves lapping your toes will leave you laughing senseless. Spending time here is a great way to fill your lungs with oceanic freshness, as the breeze sweeps away your worries. If you love keeping fit, you could welcome the new dawn by jogging along the beach. It’s a guaranteed way of seeing the different marine species before they are swept off shore by the caretakers.
Take advantage of Diani’s all year friendly weather to pursue Kayaking, skiing, kite surfing or stand up paddling. Most of these adventures do not require swimming lessons or prior experience. Most Hotels along the coast organize them for guests at a fee. As expected, this could cost just a little more compared to if you hired them directly from the service providers. However, it’s wiser to let them take charge. They know the agencies with the most dependable options. Hakuna Matata, if you prefer to organize the excursion by yourself, an hour’s excursion of either of the mentioned activities ranges roughly between $10-$50. This is dependent on the agency you’ll contract and the tourism season.
Glass boat tour
If you desire for a National Geographic moment, a visit of the ocean in boats with glass bottoms will light up your world. The water is clear for much of the year. This allows unlimited views of the marine life at the oceans floor/reef (unless the boat has algae underneath). Due to effects of refraction, you are bound to think most of the creatures are right underneath the boat. It is until you take a dip that you’ll realize they are yards away. The Excursion costs an average of $15.
Visit to monkey sanctuary
Usually when I see “Conservancy”, I think tourist trap. Colubus conservancy is certainly not one. It is a very lovely place tucked in the coastal forest. This place is a research base, information centre and primate rescue facility. It is a small conservatory, but well maintained and unique. It offers guided Eco-tours. During the tour, one gets to see vervets, sykes and baboons as they jump from one branch to another like Spiderman. The birds that take shelter under her towering canopies are so beautiful and the scenery is so peaceful. Chances are high you’ll come across staff at work, caring for injured monkeys or doing research. They are open from 8am-50pm all week except for Sundays.
The tour costs 250 Kenyan shillings, 100 Kenyan shillings for adults and children between 6 and 11 respectively. It is free for Children under 6.
Duruma village tour
The best way to immerse one’s self in local cultures of Diani is by mingling with the Duruma, one of the nine tribes that complete Mijikenda chiefdom. Many from this tribe of farmers offer homestay experiences tailored to treat tourists to a mix of their Arabic and Swahili cultures. One such is Bakari, a tour guide who is informative and answers questions comprehensively. Experiences at his homestead range from learning how Durum local foods are prepared to learning traditions that spice up their marriages. You can also join his wife and daughters in the garden as they tend to it. The experience is usually crowned with a great array of dances with stories that go with them. It is very entertaining cultural show.
Exploring Baobab trees
Naturally, one would expect a tree’s root to be tacked in the ground and its foliage up in the air. However when you look at a baobab tree, the reverse is true. It looks like it grew upside down. What’s more, there are countless of them in Diani. Taking a picture by them doesn’t come at any cost. While at it, you could join hands with three friends and try to hug one of them. Chances are high you will be only hug half of it. It is that big, with a whooping height ranging from 16 to 98 ft and a circumference over 40 meters wide.
What particularly fascinates me the most about this wonder plant is its ability to store up to 120,000 liters of water in their trunks!
Food: Sampling coconut and sea food
Exquisite, exquisite, exquisite!!! The array of sea food that this town has to offer cannot be missed. The crabs are so fresh and literally melt in your mouth. The oysters and lobsters too don’t disappoint. Most eateries present these foods in a way—that overwhelms you even for one who is not a big fan of sea food. They (sea food) are so beautiful that you would feel guilty watching them disappear off your platter for burial in your stomach.
The weird thing about this town is that seafood served at the shacks is much tastier than the ones served in star hotels. The only silly thing that lets them down is the dessert they complement meals with. It is usually items that taste a bit old and dry.
That said; this did not spoil my overall experience as they had fresh coconut juice as a substitute. I haven’t yet gotten over its cream-like texture and a massive flavor like a cocktail of fresh pineapple and apple.
Snorkeling at Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park
During my previous snorkeling excursion at Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park in 2006, I didn’t get to see much. The ocean was rough. Accordingly, I didn’t expect any wow moments when I took another two hours south of Diani to get to it last October. Things were different this time. There were lots of new companies offering the excursion for as low as $50 per person for a three hours excursion. That aside, there were lots of dolphins in sight, but certainly not as many as the fish species, sea turtles and whales. I didn’t get their names right though. I guess I got so carried away by the simplicity of the local boat we used for the expedition and forgot to pay attention to anything else.
From afar, they looked like a small ship belonging to pirates. It seemed built of tough and resilient silver that can counter any storm or any bullets fired at it. On the inside though, it was basic. Except for its floor which was made of hard wood, the rest of the parts were a patch up of frail materials like mats and soft wood. For East African Nationals, entrance fee to the park is KSH 215 for adults and KSH125 for children, For residents it is KSH300 for adults and KSH 170 for children and lastly $17 and $13 for foreign travellers who don’t stay in Kenya. Budget snorkeling excursions cost roughly $30 per person.
You don’t need to rob a bank in order to afford a happy stay in Diani. Yes it is true most of the tour operators mostly target middle range and high end tourists, but there is also a niche that targets budget travellers. For instance, there are over 20 guesthouses in town that offer comfortable accommodation for as a little as $20.
Thanks to its location along the Equator, Diani is humid for much of the year. It’s longest rainy season is in April and May. In June, the rains are on and off and thus nothing to worry about if this is the only time you can visit the beach destination. On the other hand, its highest average temperature is 32 degree Celsius during the days in January and February. The coolest months are June, July and August with an average day temperature of 27 degrees Celsius.
Where to buy crafts
If you want a wide variety of crafts at affordable prices, the roadside stalls are worth a visit. They are make-shift in nature and thus operate mostly at day time.
How to get there
By Air: Diani is served by a small airstrip called Ukunda. Air Kenya offers daily flights to there from National. A round trip costs roughly $290.Read More
Renting a Car in Rwanda: Important Things to Consider
Hiring a car for your holiday in Rwanda? Getting a Rwanda car rental is a significant factor that makes traveler’s vacation complete. It can save you a lot from spending on the taxi or unpredictable schedules from public means. However, renting a car can be tedious process whether you are a first-time visitor or even repeat traveler on Rwanda tour. You need to keep a few things in mind when looking to hire in order to get the best deals around town.
Below are the things that you need to put in mind before renting a car.
Company’s terms & conditions
Before the client and the car service provider sign any deal, the client is supposed to read each of the detailed terms of the car rental company and carefully comprehend it with best language possible. The guest ought to make sure that he/she is fairly charged and all other expenses that will be incurred must be explained and put in to the pricing package to come up with a final total. This is vital because it will help the client from incurring extra charges that may arouse from other unknown expenses.
Like many other reservations, including; plane reservations, as well as dinner reservations or they may be reservations about decision, the early you act, and the higher the chances that you will get what you want at the best rates.
If you enroll in a loyalty program, this means that when you rent a vehicle on an occasional basis, you will in return realize big dividends by enrolling in the preferred customer program or within the loyalty based plan that is offered by car rental agencies. Here the rewards consist of the free upgrades, free days and the lower rates.
This means comparing prices and searching for the discounts or the special offers that can bring savings with the low or special rates or the reduced prices on the upgrades. While talking to the agent, don’t hesitate to ask about the unadvertised discounts since many sites have got their own specials available.
In any country you visit, when hiring a car it’s important to inquire the fuel policies, because car rental companies in Rwanda have different policies in relation to re-filling. In Rwanda, some companies include the fuel expenses in the total charge whereas other companies don’t include it, however, most companies deliver the car with quarter tank and you have to return it with same amount of fuel as you received the car, and no refund for unused fuel.
Knowing the fuel filling policies helps in case of self-fueling and; aspects such as the prevailing fuel prices per liter, to help in calculating the distance to be traveled while exploring Rwanda and sum up the total amount needed for the car hire. This is the best way to budget for the money that will be used on hiring the car.
You should be very careful with the prepaying of gas, in case you are to return the vehicle with a full gas tank, remember to fill it yourself just before you bring it in. making payments to the company to do it can result in charges that are more that the cost of gas, this might also result into a big charge if the car has a large gas tank.
International Border Crossing
Always be aware of the limitations in case you are cross international borders, some of the companies don’t allow their rental cars to cross international boarder or there are also required conditions that must be followed and met and seem very expensive. Before taking the rental car, check with the agent, and also obtain written approvals.
Always reserve the smallest vehicle possible, this is one of the easiest way to get yourself a large car at a lower rate. There are numerous car types like land cruisers, Rav4s, super customs, jeeps, among others that are perfect for exploring Rwanda.
Be sure with the liability waiver, you should always check with the insurance agent to check if your personal automobile policy also covers car rentals. More so in case you are paying with your credit card, it may provide the needed insurance policy and don’t assume that if you are not covered, you will need the agency‘s policy. Many countries in Africa have different insurance covers on accidents, likewise in Rwanda; car rental companies have different insurance covers on different phenomena, like accidents, fire, third party, etc.
Clients should be aware that all damages that will be incurred while travelling are covered by the insurance paid for and few liabilities that will not be much draining in to the clients expenses. The most vital thing is, as you choose a car hire company; go for the one that has comprehensive insurance cover for all its vehicles.
Always pay attention during the pre-rental inspection, this will help you much since many rental companies can be so picky when it comes to damage and when you returning the car, make sure to review the inspection and also make the car rental agent notice the damage you spot there and then. This is your best form of protection.
End ever to check the different clubs, groups, and organizations to which you belong- many of these have good and special arrangements for car hiring in order to provide good discounts for the members.
Family Car Rental
In case you are traveling with family, make sure that you rent a car that will seat each and every one. You can choose a car with plenty of room for passengers as well as the luggage. Also make sure that the family member who is to drive the rental car is listed on the agreement.
Car Rental Agreement
Car hiring is not so complicated, but it can be so tricky if you are not so familiar with it and you enter into a contract unprepared. You can use these suggestions as a basic guide and you will then drive with a good bargain.
Self-driving or Guided tour
Car hire in Rwanda is a big experience on its own, and self-driving is the best option to explore the land of thousand hills, primates including the mountain gorillas and cultures. There are numerous car types like land cruisers, Rav4s, super customs, jeeps, among others that are perfect for exploring Rwanda.
What’s most interesting and exciting about car hiring in Rwanda is that there is freedom of touring the country at the visitors own pace and on a cheaper cost compared to public transport especially when travelling with a family and luggage.
Guided tours means hiring a car with a driver who has knowledge about the destinations you are going to travel in Rwanda.
Rwanda is an amazingly beautiful country and if you are visiting the greeneries outside the city, it is best visited by car. There are other options to travel around too, but having a car will give you the freedom and space to enjoy the country at your own pace and time with your own planned itinerary.Read More
Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Rwanda in 2022
Anyone interested in having a complete holiday, Rwanda is the ideal place to be. This is a country that has almost everything in the cabin that the holiday maker needs to make his/her holiday a thrilling one. Rwanda has something to offer when it comes to a lively tour.
- It has very nice hangouts that are exquisite and exciting. It has a range of cafeteria where visitors can grab a bite and also take a cup of coffee around. The most common ones are café neo, la brioche, Ogopogo, papyrus in Kigali, and Thai jazz, Bakini tam tam in Gisenyi and many more.
- There are also night clubs to blow your mind and groove to good music both African and western. Some of these clubs include Le must, planet club, new Cadillac.
- In Northern Rwanda, there is also a very popular beach at Lake Kivu where the travelers have a picnic, sunbath and swim. These mass tourist sites make the traveler to forget about their worries and have fun in Rwanda to the fullest.
Rwanda has a lot to offer to travelers that are interested in ecotourism with 3 national parks, variety of ecotourism sites including historical and cultural sites that are also in presence. These three national parks have different wildlife to offer and while on a Rwanda Safari. Its national parks offer a complete ecosafari to a wildlife enthusiast.
Meet the Mountain Gorillas
In the northern part of Rwanda lies the Volcanoes National Park (PNV) a popular national park in Rwanda. This world known park is located in Musanze (former Ruhengeri district) in the northeastern part of Rwanda. This is the home to the mountain gorillas and the unique golden monkeys. Mountain gorillas are one of the most tracked animals in their natural environment in the world and at the visitor’s encounter; he/she is assured of an exhilarating experience. The golden monkeys at the base of volcanoes national park are a nutrient to the eye sight as they are sparkling to watch with their playful character and beautiful color on the bodies.
Meet the Wild Chimpanzees
There is also Nyungwe Forest National Park in the northwest which is the home to 13 different species of primates but the most notable ones are the chimpanzees which can act as a substitute if the visitor misses out on gorilla tracking. They give the visitor almost the same experience as the gorillas since they also belong to the ape world, the closest cousins of mankind but only that the chimpanzee live on trees and are fast in their movements so it makes their tracking not more satisfying as the gorillas that live on the ground and also slow in the movement.
See the Big Game in Savanna Parks
This country also has a savanna national game park in which is the oldest park in Rwanda. On the game drive in this wonderful park, one gets an opportunity to see giraffes, buffaloes, elephants, elands and antelopes. The lion was recently introduced and the rhinos are in contention. This is park gives visitors a rare sight of common exotic animals in their natural setting. It also has another experience of behind scenes whereby visitors are walked through background and development of the national park since its inception.
With tourist attractions, there are must be amenities in place that make the safari a complete holiday package and this is not much of a problem in Rwanda as it has wonderful accommodation settings nearby its major tourist sites so a visitor can never fail to get where to stay while on his/her safari. The transport structure is also well streamed for the traveler as they are very many tours and travel companies offering 4×4 car rental services complementary to safari holiday packages and also the roads in Rwanda are in good shape.
With all that straight up a Rwanda safari is a complete thrilling holiday package for any visitor around the globe.Read More
Going on a Safari in East Africa
Any tour around the world can be a sweet one but one has to make it enjoyable by himself. One would ask how he/she can make the tour sweet by himself. Yeah! It’s true you can. First you have to identify your interests. For example are you interested in nature, sports or amusements? If nature, then what activities or attractions can sparkle your mind to say that you really have to go to that destination!
Normally people would love to see what they have never seen before. In this case everyone would love to watch and interact with wildlife because they are never seen in our day today life. There are lots of adventurous trips one can take like gorilla treks and chimpanzee tracking safaris where one will be able to interact with one of human’s closest relatives. These are found in Rwanda, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and some other tropical rain forest regions. These are very rare primates that cannot be found anywhere in the world. So it is a pleasure and an honour to watch them.
You can also opt to watch other wild flora and fauna from national parks like Queen Elizabeth national park, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Murchison Falls National Park and many more. In these game reserves you will be able to see animals like tree climbing lions, elephants, antelopes, rhinos, monkeys, giraffes and lots of bird species. It is not a guarantee that you will view these animals like in the zoo but you will see them in their natural habitats. You will see them running and moving around hunt for their prey and some looking for survival. You will also see lots of bird species around water bodies in the parks, flying in the sky, on trees and some on animals. There are other activities that can be taken from these national parks like launch cruise on River Nile in Murchison national park. While also taking a tour you can be able to interact with local people by taking a village walk as you can be embraced with traditional dance and also shopping from craft shops.
One can also take self drive safari in Uganda as one will go to a destination or tour around the country by himself in a 4×4 vehicle of his/her choice. You can do it with your family. You can be given an assistant to help you in navigation or you can use maps. This can be enjoyable as you can take a ride by yourself through the pearl of Africa as you will be able to view great landscapes embroiled with green vegetation cover
One can also go for other tourism activities like whitewater rafting at Itanda falls, bungee jumping, mountain hiking, boat ride and many more these can make your tour in Uganda and Rwanda so sweet.
These tours can be complemented with first class accommodation facilities that are found in the areas as they offer a range of services like comfortable bedding like single, double, deluxe and executive rooms. They also have nice cuisines with African and continental dishes.
With the entire above activities one can really have a sweet tour with their families and friends!
It can be a vacation you will never forget in your life and better to know the activities that best interest you before taking a step to book your safari.Read More
Top 10 Places to Explore on a Road Trip in Uganda
Taking a self drive tour in Uganda is one the ideal choices for traversing this pearl of Africa on a road trip. Today many travelers visit Uganda for road trips. However, the country has an extensive wide variety of places that can be visited. Given that most visitors to Uganda look for wildlife and primates that are fairly distributed throughout the country, here are the top places to visit in Uganda including various national parks and game reserves. There are a variety of activities that one can indulge into when in these national parks. Below is the highlight of some of these national parks;
- Bwindi impenetrable national park
The famed Bwindi Impenetrable Forest lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. This forest protects to a higher degree half of the remaining mountain gorillas in Uganda. In addition, it is very famous for mountain gorilla safari trekking or tracking. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rain forests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 320 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups, which can be tracked. It also harbors several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. There are around 350 species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics
Some of the most prominent activities carried out in this national park include:
- Gorilla tracking
- Bird watching
- Plant and tree species
- Nature walks
- Village tours
2. Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park is perhaps the largest park in Uganda which is named after the Murchison falls where the mighty river Nile bangs through a narrow gorge flowing down to be converted into a placid river whose banks are thronged with hippos, water bucks, crocodiles, and buffaloes. The flora and Fauna at Murchison is characterized by Savannah, riverine forest and wood land. Uganda Wildlife Safari at Murchison falls national park includes, elephants, lions, leopard, giraffes, buffaloes, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees, and many bird species including the rare shoebill. So after securing your hired car from a reputable around the country, please make some endeavors and visit this park for such an adventure. Several activities are carried out in this national park which include the following;
- Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest
- Ferry crossing
- Hiking the top of the falls
- Bird watching
- Game drive
- Boat ride
- Delta viewing
- Plant and tree species
- Nature walks
3. Queen Elizabeth national park
This is also another destination that you need to explore on yourself drive vacation in Uganda. Queen Elizabeth national park along with Kyambura and Kigezi wildlife resource brings together the most diverse ecosystem in Africa. Thousands of hippos populate these water shores. Open Savannah dotted with acacia and euphobia trees provide habitat for leopards, elephants, lions, Uganda Safari kobs, in addition to big herds of buffaloes. The park also harbors primate species, ten in number which include chimpanzees and monkeys. Waterbucks, giant forest hog, topi, hyenas, and crocodiles are among the many animals distinguished frequently in Queen Elizabeth national park. There are several activities that are carried out in this national park which include the following;
- Bird watching
- Game drive
- Boat ride
- Village walks
- Plant and tree species
- Nature walks
4. Kibale forest national park
Kibale is one in all the most attractive national parks in Uganda with tropical rainforest, and a multiplicity of animals. Kibale Forest harbors the principal figure of chimpanzees and more than 1,450 are protected inside the park. At Kanyanchu, a community chimpanzee has been habituated for 16 years. This gives tourists a chance to see the great apes in their natural environment at these exclusive Uganda safaris. Threatened red colobus monkeys and the rare I’hoesti monkey are found in the park. At The same time the forest has one of the highest diversity and density of primates in Africa .When in Kibale forest, one carries out a multitude of activities which include;
- Chimpanzee tracking
- Nature walk
- Bird watching
- Primates viewing
- Village tours
- Plant species
5. Lake Mburo national park
Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda’s smallest national park, was designated in 1982, and is situated in Kiruhura district of Western Uganda. It is the only park that contains an entire lake. The attractive acacia-dotted savanna is home to huge herds of impala, as well as uncommon topi, eland, klipspringer and other antelope. Other animals found in the park include Zebras, buffaloes, while birds include Crested Francolin, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Barefaced Go-away bird, Greenwood Hoopoe, Lilac-breasted, Hornbill, Nubian Woodpecker, Trilling Cisticola, bee-eaters and the cheeky bronze-tailed starling, as well as the majestic crowned crane etc.Several activities are carried out in this national park which include the following;
- Game drive
- Bird watching
- Boat ride
- Plant species
- Nature walks
- Village tours
6. Mount Rwenzori national park
Rwenzori is the highest mountain in Uganda, and the first foreigner to climb it was an Italian, a hundred years back. It was in 1906 when Luigi Amadeodi Savoy duke of the Abruzzi climbed to the top of the mountain and last year 2006 the Ugandans and Italians celebrated the hundred years since the first foreigner reached on top of Mt. Rwenzori.A trip into the Rwenzoris is an exhilarating and rewarding experience but one, which must be well planned. The key to an enjoyable visit is to be prepared! The central hike circuit takes six nights or seven days and reaches an altitude of 14,000ft.(4,267m) above the sea level. The conditions on the mountain are a challenge to even an experienced hiker. This park also hosts 70 mammals and 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics, as well as some of the world’s rarest vegetation When in this national park, several activities are enjoyed such as;
- Hiking to the top of the mountain
- Nature walks
- Village tours
- Mountaineering and hiking
- Bird watching
7. Mgahinga gorilla national park
Mgahinga gorilla national park is the smallest park in the country. It is about 38 sq km. Though it is very important as it is one of the two parks in Uganda that are habitat for the endangered mountain gorillas. Mgahinga gorilla national park is situated in south western Uganda, in Kisoro district. This park was gazetted in 1999 and is part of the virunga conservation area. This park adjoins Rwanda’s volcano, and the democratic republic of Congo’s virunga national parks. Mgahinga gorilla national park experiences two wet seasons in the year that is February to May, and September to December. Several activities are enjoyed during one’s stay in this national park namely;
- Gorilla tracking
- Pygmy tribe tour
- Golden monkey tracking
- Visiting caves
- Game drive
- Bird watching
8. Lake Bunyonyi
Lake Bunyonyi literally meaning the place of many little birds lies in the western part of Uganda between the towns of Kisoro and Kibale that are situated closely to the border of Rwanda. This is the second deepest lake in Africa whose depth is rumoured to be over 144ft.It is considered to be the only lake free from bilharzias and totally safe for swimming. This lake boasts of over 29 islands that are snaking in nature along the Ugandan landscape. These islands are of different shapes and sizes surrounded by a ring of terraced farms. The most prominent of all these islands is Akampene island commonly referred to as the punishment island where the Bakiga tribe used to dump any girl that got pregnant before marriage. She would be dumped on this island with a single stick to die of starvation and hunger or drown in the waters if at all she tries swimming to the main land.So you need to go and have a glance at this magnificent lake especially on your self drive vacation in Uganda
There are a variety of activities that one will indulge during his/her visit to lake Bunyonyi amongst which will include the following;
- Relaxation on the lake shores
- Bird watching
- Mountain biking
- Boat rides and canoeing
- Nature walks and hiking
- Village visits
9. Mabamba swamp
Uganda is one of the countries that are widely endowed with all kinds of birds around the globe. These birds include both resident and non resident birds.However, this country has several birding destinations but non beats the endowment and population of birds found in Mabamba swamp.
Mabamba swamp is approximately 50 km south of Kampala, this large wetland is the nearest bird watching site on the shores of Lake Victoria. It is the home of the rare Shoebill that is not found everywhere but you will never miss it here after failing in all other places.
Other special bird species resident in this swamp include the Papyrus gonolek, lesser Jacana, Pigeon, grey rumped swallow, pygmy Kingfisher, slender billed weaver, blue-breasted Kingfisher, Lizard Buzzard, Spur- winged Goose, long toed Lapwing and White winged black Terns- European migrant birds and others.So for bird lovers,this is the right place for you on your car hiring safari in Uganda.Read More