Why visit the Masai Mara

Wherever you go in the Mara, the one certain thing is that you’ll see an astonishing amount of game, often in one place at one time. A visit to the Masai Mara is guaranteed the safari of a lifetime. From the mating habits of lions, to the displaying characteristics of the crowned cranes, to the quirky behaviour of the male wildebeest, to the idiosyncrasies of the local Maasai people… there are so many wonders to take in.

Tanzania Great Migration Experience East Africa Masaai Mara

The area is watered by the luscious tree-lined Mara River and one of its tributaries, the Talek. On the western border is the gracious Oloololo Escarpment, which towers over the reserves highest magnificent concentrations of plains game.Still wondering why you should visit?

Here’s why we think you should add the Masai Mara to your itinerary:
Now more than ever, it has become very accessible with daily flights to various parts of the Mara.
The Maasai Mara is an extremely safe area, especially when travelling alone or with small children. Every few kilometres you will encounter the The Kenya Wildlife Service officers on patrol who protect both wildlife and people.

Witness one of the world’s most spellbinding wildlife movements – the Great Migration. This largest annual movement of over 1.5 million animals is an awe-inspiring spectacle that is incomprehensible unless in person. See video here.

iconic-africa-east-africa-migration-african-luxury-safaris

Hop in a hot air balloon with your significant other and watch over the rolling landscapes and the Mara River. If the views on the ground is breath-taking, imaging seeing the open plains from above. Click here for a sneak peek of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Like all African gems, the Masai Mara offers travellers the opportunity to spot any of the Big Five along with hundreds of other wildlife, birds and insects. A haven of fauna and flora, you can sight all of this in one place. This exquisite ecosystem boasts one of the highest densities of animals in the world with 95 mammal species.


The Masai Mara is a sanctuary for bird-lovers with 570 bird species recorded. Take the time to spot the immeasurable amounts of varying colours, types and sizes.


Take a cultural journey and explore the rugged terrains marked by millions of wildlife with the Masai herdsmen. Watch then graze their cattle alongside the Mara’s predators and prey.


While there are so many life changing things to do and see, the Masai Mara isn’t short of world-class accommodations either! Live in opulence while holding on to that Mara culture that always comes through at one of our exclusive luxury properties. More on which you will find here.

Cape Town Uncovered

Cape Town has something which will appeal to all travellers – from honeymooners and romantics to big families. The multifaceted city caters for the more adventurous, as well as the leisurely who prefer beaches and spas. Without question, Cape Town is one of the world’s most spectacular cities resting against the iconic “New 7 natural wonders of the world” member, Table Mountain.

Here are a few interesting things you might not know about the Mother City:

Affectionately known as the Mother City by locals and travellers, this city’s nickname derives from theGreek word ‘metros’ meaning mother – as it was the first metropolitan city in South Africa according to Selwyn Davidowitz, a recognised Cape Town tour guide.

Another nickname you may have come across while planning your vacation to Cape Town is Cape of Storms. This name was given b the famous explorer Bartholomew Dias because of the unpredictable weather of the Atlantic Ocean that used to render ships and sailors forsaken just off our coast.

Did you know that Cape Town’s 2011 census survey indicated that 43.2% of the Western Cape’s population is 25 years or younger… This city is a hotspot for young solo travellers.

The celebrated and legendary Table Mountain which began forming around 280 million years ago witnesses at least two nuptial services a month! What better way to begin a romantic life with your beloved than overlooking candyfloss-clouds cascading down the mountain side.Did you know that the plateau of Table Mountaispans almost 22 000 hectares and claims more flora than the entire British Isles or New Zealand?

The Cape Floral Kingdom – a UNESCO world heritage site – is home to nearly 7000 indigenous plants such as the peninsula snapdragon.

Cape Town boasts the only tobogganing track in Africa…If you enjoy the thrill of downhill sledging then head 25km out of the city centre for a day of adventure at Cool Runnings.

Cape Town has been named one of this year’s top 10 cities in the world for surfing.

Meeting certain safety, security and cleanliness standards, eight Cape Town beaches have been given Blue Flag awards by the Blue Flag Campaign. These beaches include Clifton, Camps Bay, and Llandudno, as well as Muizenberg and False Bay.

 

Lion’s Head wasn’t name after wild felines roaming the mountain. In fact, around 300 years ago, Dutch settlers named the peak Leeuwen Kop (Lion’s Head) and what’s known as Signal Hill today as Leeuwen Staart (Lion’s Tail) because the two peaks formed what resembled a crouching lion.

The Castle of Good Hope was actually built using stone extracted from Signal Hill.

With an abundance of vineyards, it is undeniable that Cape Town is famous for its beautiful farms and wines – our key export!

For more on where to stay in our exquisite Mother City click here.

 

Getting to know Zambia

Zambia – recently recognised as one of the safest countries in the world – is a landlocked country in southern Africa. Famously sharing the Victoria Falls with Zimbabwe, the Zambian side offers travellers the magnificent Devil’s Pool. Just north of the capital Lusaka, is some of Africa’s finest safari experiences that offer sightings of the Big Five as well as lechwe antelope, impalas, giraffes, zebras, hippos and various birdlife.

Balloon Safaris Zebra Iconic Africa

Besides being celebrated for its Victoria Falls border, Zambia is the land of walking safaris, the Zambezi River, an abundance of wildlife areas, rugged terrains and picturesque wilderness. Truly a country for multigenerational travel, Zambia has unprecedented natural wonders for the adrenaline-seekers and leisurely pastimes for the more timid.

Known for its copious water bodies, Zambia has seventeen Instagram-worthy waterfalls in addition to the ‘Smoke that Thunders’. The more daring can venture in to vast open spaces and remote rural areas in search of an adventure.

Here are our top five spots to add to your Zambian itinerary for a memorable vacation:

Victoria Falls

It is the largest cascade of falling water in the world! Get up close to the rushing water at the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and take your pick from plenty of fun activities nearby or take a walk across the Knife-Edge Bridge.

Lake Tanganyika

It is the second largest lake in eastern Africa, the longest freshwater lake and the second deepest in the world. It also forms part of the border between Tanzania and Zambia.

Zambezi

Feeding life into a diverse set of flora, the ‘Great River’ is the fourth-longest river in Africa and the largest flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa. Voted one of the best white water rivers, thrill seekers can experience white water rafting and canoe safaris here.

Buffalo Walking Safaris Iconic Africa

Kalambo Falls

This world-class 235 metre single sheet drop is located on the border of Zambia and Tanzania at the bottom of Lake Tanganyika. This canopy of water is one of the tallest uninterrupted falls in Africa.

Lake Kariba

Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man-made lake. Head here for mesmerising views of the landscape and sunset or a day of fun outdoor activities such as fishing, boat safaris, water sports and so much more!

Share your spectacular photos of your Zambian adventures with us on Instagram @iconicafrica!

Multigenerational Travel – The Who, What, Where & How

“Family is one of nature’s masterpieces.” George Santayana

Multigenerational travel – a frequent choice among travellers – has grown in popularity over the years. Families no longer focus on collecting things, but prefer accumulating authentic and memorable experiences with three or more generations ranging from infants to great-grandparents. Although traveling with such a diversely-aged group can be daunting, it has become a trend.

With more time and distance between loved ones, families are taking advantage of free time to travel and maximise family time. Each age group instigates a new travel trend – be it adventure, some R&R or personal enrichment. Fortunately, multigenerational travel can accommodate everyone’s travel needs. Appealing to all age groups, each generation can create their own memories while having an authentic experience with the entire family.

What matters is the people you are with; but so does where you go and what you do… so we have put together some multigenerational travel tips for you here:

Before choosing where to go, you need to decide who will be paying. Family vacations include the young and old, immediate family and sometimes close friends. Never assume that you are or aren’t paying. Rather discuss who’s footing what bill before planning the vacation – that way there are no surprises and you can begin to budget.

Determine a budget before you begin putting together an itinerary. Once you’ve established who’s paying for what, you can then decide where you want to go, how much you want to spend and what you would like to do.

One of the main concerns for large families is visiting a destination that works for a diverse group. This is why so many people choose Africa as their top multigenerational travel destination! It can be exhausting trying to appeal to so many age groups on different levels, but it is important that you have a balance of and enough activities – something Africa is not short of. You can accommodate those who prefer scenic game drives and luxurious pampering, adrenaline seekers and young first-timers.

The great thing about Africa is that there doesn’t have to be the debate of visiting an ‘old favourite’ or trying something new. Some families believe that returning to a place they have already been to and enjoyed is the safe choice. However, each country will evoke that special meaning or sentimental value – one of Africa’s great gifts.

Perhaps choose the same time to visit Africa, plan an itinerary that will give you the same experience and choose a new destination.

Decide on which time of the year is most suitable for the age demographics on your trip (as the weather can often determine which activities you can do) and what type of accommodation you are looking for. For larger families, it is ideal to book an entire suite or villa instead of single rooms – especially with young children.

Planning ahead and knowing what each traveller wants out of the trip is the easiest way to put together a vacation that everyone enjoys. By knowing what they hope to see and do is a good way to decide on a location. Africa can often accommodate multiple travel requirements at the same destination. Most countries have an array of landscapes and activities including mountain escapes and seaside living.

Every African country offers the wonders of nature – but southern Africa in particular is home to magnificent wildlife including the Big Five, birdlife and marine life if your family’s ideal holiday includes game drives and safari walks.

Ocean Safaris White Pearl Mozambique

Or come down to Cape Town for the best of both – the mountain and sea. This way you can please everyone with the beach and the bush. This city is ideal for both indoor and outdoor leisure activities such as visiting Table Mountain, sea kayaking or shopping!

Africa is the ideal place to begin a tradition of multigenerational travel – especially with young children. Introduce them to the natural wonders of the world here and give them a new-found love and respect for wildlife, fauna and flora.

Ocean Safaris Mozambique Zanzibar Turtle Iconic Africa

If child friendly accommodation is what you’re worried about, do not fret. Most lodges, reserves and parks host exciting activities and programmes for children under 12. For more on our top family friendly safari destinations click here.

Do not let multigenerational travel frighten you. Planning a family vacation of such magnitude is easy if you plan ahead. Africa offers travellers an overwhelming variety of destinations – each with its own unique culture, cuisine, landscapes and activities. In Africa, you can be amongst the mountains, in rugged terrains or near the ocean at one destination, so tailor your vacation to fulfil everyone’s travel desires!

 

Instagram Takeover by Graham Wood

Here is another wonderful takeover by good friend and legendary wildlife photographer, Graham Wood. Thank you Graham – for sharing these exquisite photographs with us.

Ever alert. // Ingrid Dam Female of @londolozi #londolozi #nikon #wildlifephotography #sabisands

Giants under stormy skies // #capturethewild #nikon #wildlifephotography

Regal King // Mara // #wildlifephotoraphy #nikon

Morning shake // #capturethewild #nikon #wildlifephotography

Hunting in the shadows. #southluangwa #zambia #nikon #leopard #wildlifephotography

Halo of light // Mana Pools.

Emerald Eye // Londolozi // #sabisands #wildlifephotography #nikon

For more of Graham’s breath-taking photographs follow him on Instagram – @grahamwoodphoto.

 

 

 

Londolozi’s Lovely Revamp

Londolozi effortlessly exceeds all expectations of a luxurious, hospitable, wilderness getaway and as you all know – it has a very special place in our hearts! Therefore we are incredibly proud to share with you the most recent updates including the new Varty Camp which reopened its doors to visitors on the 24 March 2018, the introduction of a completely new addition to the Londolozi family – the Londolozi Healing House, which was unveiled in April and the rejuvenation of the famous Private Granite Suites.

Our director John Holley recently returned from Londolozi, and he says“…the new Varty Rooms are exceptional! Light years ahead of the previous rooms and now a greater experience and great value for money.” “They have also made amazing little touches to the Granite Suite and really completed the whole experience.”

With elevated chalets thoughtfully merged into the beautiful riverine forest alongside the Sand River, Varty camp has refurbished the living spaces of each chalet without producing any unnecessary construction. The architectural vision remains conscious of the importance of creating simple, elegant rooms that could be havens for stillness – crafted as spaces for contemplation and where one could find time to enjoy an intangible connection to nature.

Each accommodation emulates Londolozi’s mantra of simplicity, tranquillity, peace, harmony – where guests can create quiet and deep connections with the 6 million acres of wilderness that the camp remain subordinate to.

The refurbishment of the existing chalets has placed the emphasis on outdoor living – still boasting its own private plunge pool and expansive wooden deck, looking out into the riverine bush and the abundant wildlife that roams the riverbed below.

In addition, an outdoor lounge area, outdoor shower and outdoor dining sala have been added to complement the existing symphony between man and nature. The room interiors are dressed in shades of white, grey and oak, whilst wall-to-wall mirrors reflect the riverine forest that surrounds. The footprint of the buildings, the meandering paths and old dolerite stone walls remain unchanged since their original construction, and the authentic look and feel of Varty Camp has not only been maintained but enhanced.

The brand new Healing House at Varty Camp has crafted specific treatments with the combination of bodywork and alternative wellness which offer guests the opportunity for true relaxation that will restore and transform mind, body and soul. The resident Wellness Practitioners and Therapists are trained to facilitate an unprecedented, integrated holistic nature-based experience which is unparalleled in Southern Africa.

And not forgetting Londolozi’s Private Granite Suite that pulsates romance and moulds seamlessly into the surrounding environment. The granite surfaces jutting out in front of your private deck are playgrounds for herds of elephants – so close you could almost touch them.

Set as a refuge in the inner temple of Londolozi’s five camps, the accommodation has been further enhanced by the addition of a sunset river bar and sunken cocktail lounge suspended high above ground. The Private Granite Suites themselves have been refurbished to Londolozi’s highest standards and the décor continues to honour the rooms’ proximity to the river and the daily visits by elephants in front of the camp.

For more on this – one of our most exceptional camps click here.

Sarah’s Review of Marataba

Sarah Evans has recently returned from a wonderful family trip at Marataba – an amazing destination with a backdrop of the exquisite Waterberg Mountains. “Magical” is how she described her trip in one word… here’s more on what she had to say as well as some of her exquisite photos:

If you could describe Marataba to someone who’s never been there what would you say?

“Imagine a classic, high end safari against the majestic backdrop of the Waterberg Mountains, with the added benefit of a river safari, making it reminiscent of being in the Okavango Delta!”

What was your most unforgettable moment?

“Undoubtedly, seeing a mother and daughter lioness pair, with their cubs – the mother had a 6 week old cub, who was very sweet and inquisitive, and the daughter had 3 three month old cubs. We were one of the first guests to see the new cub and it was very special – made all the more special by the fact that it was only ours and one other vehicle at the viewing.

Also, the sundown cruise on Miss Mara was unique and thoroughly enjoyable! The children wouldn’t hesitate to add the few river crossings we did in the vehicle, especially if the water made its way into the foot wells!”

What did you think of the staff at Marataba?

“Fantastic!! Our guide, Darryn, was the perfect guide for a family trip! He was very knowledgeable about the fauna and flora, engaging the children with wonderful stories of his experiences. He was also well suited to dealing with children – he was fun, kind and let them each have a turn as his “assistant” upfront in the passenger seat!

At the camp, we were looked after by Gladys who was wonderful! Always smiling, with a “welcome, thank you”, she attended to our every need.

On the whole, each and every member of staff we had interaction with were friendly and warm, we were made to feel very at home and spoilt.”

What did you love most about the safari experience?

“Being in the bush – it gets me every time! Having grown up in South Africa, with countless visits to camps in and around Kruger, Zimbabwe and Botswana, it feels special every time. Seeing nature as it should be seen – and now, on this particular occasion, introducing our children to that same experience, was very memorable for me.”

What is your favourite animal to see in the wild and why?

“It is hard to choose just one! Honestly, I have enjoyed so many sightings, which haven’t been about the Big Five, and they have been equally special.

If you twisted my arm, I would say seeing lion is always thrilling!”

What would you rate Marataba out of 10 in terms of luxury accommodation?

“9/10.”

If you could describe your trip in one word what would it be?

“Magical!”

Where in Africa would you like to go next?

“I would love to go back to Botswana with the kids, as well as Namibia.”

Thank you so much Sarah for sharing – we hope to be a part of your next African adventure!
If you have visited Marataba, share with us your favourite memory or tag us in your wonderful pictures on Instagram @iconicafrica

Angama Mara in Pictures

Angama Mara is an extraordinary safari lodge resting high up on the Great Rift Valley, overlooking Kenya’s Maasai Mara plains – arguably one of Africa’s loveliest game reserves. The lodge, inspired by the Swahili word for ‘suspended in mid-air’, boasts magnificent views. Floating above the floor of the valley, Angama Mara seems to soar alongside the hot air balloons that sail past the floor-to-ceiling glass fronts every morning. Angama Mara brings guests next-level luxury to the customary safari experience with its excellent cuisine and warm hospitality. The accommodation brings a modern and elegant aesthetic to the rugged bush with its furnishings and amenities.

This intimate, tented mountain-estate is located on the site where scenes from the film Out of Africa were filmed. Angama Mara also offers the most magical view of  the tangerine and rose sunsets every evening. But no amount of adjectives can do justice to how this magnificent accommodation makes you feel. So we have hand-picked some pictures to make you better understand the magnificence of Angama Mara…

Float over the Maasai Mara

Explore the Great Rift Valley

Enjoy an out of Africa picnic

Savour the sensational sunsets

Take in the expansive views

Get up close and personal with the Big Five

Let the wonderful staff entertain you

And so much more… here. 

Property of the Month – Royal Livingstone

This month’s property of the month truly lives up to its name – allowing guests to be immersed in a wonderful royal affair! Named after the gallant explorer, Dr David Livingstone – the legendary pioneer who named Zambia’s iconic waterfall in honour of his queen – the Royal Livingstone Hotel pays tribute to his glorious era, evoking a superb Victorian elegance and boasting an impeccable colonial style. This imperial accommodation will immerse you in the romance and style of a time gone by. Adorned by canopies of Acacia trees, the raw grandeur of the bush fuses with the luxurious opulence the hotel offers. Set along the Zambezi River, perched on the lips of the Victoria Falls, this piece of heaven will take you back in time with its antique décor, personalised service and the deafening roar of the ‘mist that thunders’.

Joyful African Dawn

Begin your day at 06h00 in the Livingstone Lounge as the radiance of the African dawn envelopes you in an embrace of subtle Zambezi mist. The lounge presents history through leather-bound tomes, hand-drawn maps and aged paintings and the outside area is the perfect space to drink a quiet coffee while Zambia wakes.

Languid lazy midday

The boundless manicured gardens, where wild Africa blends into modern comfort are centred on a crystal pool that overlooks the leisurely waters of the Zambezi just as they gather momentum before cascading over the cliffs. Likewise the main terrace, beautifully decorated in dark wood and shades of the Victorian era, offers a gentle space from which to contemplate this astonishing place – especially when some of the hotel’s zebra or giraffe amble by.

Rest for body mind and spirit

If you choose to remain at the Royal Livingstone and absorb the concord of Africa, then a beauty or wellness treatment in the private gazebo overlooking the gently flowing river or in the seclusion of your own room is a brilliant opportunity for mind, body and spirit rejuvenation.

The epic African sunset

The sundecks, suspended out over the river and looking onto the ginger sunset mist, are brilliant places to reflect on the day’s adventures while dusk turns the flowing water from silver-yellow to inky-indigo – the first stars dancing on the rippling surface.

Indulgent evenings

When you arrive back from exploring after sunset, sip a pre-dinner single-malt, cocktail or fine chardonnay in the atmospheric Traveller’s Bar while the piano conjures an atmosphere of bygone pioneering in the evening cool. After your drink, a sublime meal that combines the flavours of Europe, Africa and even India, awaits you in the sumptuous dining room or, under the candle lit boughs of the Monkey Tree.

Natural wonder and epic adventure

The Victoria Falls offers an astonishing number of exciting activities for all ages and all tastes. Royal Livingstone’s superbly staffed and run Activity Desk will recommend combinations of nature, fun and adventure for you – normally no more than 15 minutes away.

Fun Facts About African Wildlife

When on safari you will learn so much about the animals and the bush – here are a few interesting facts to give you a head start.

Marataba Safari Lodge River Cruise

The African Elephant is the world’s largest living land animal. Elephants have the largest brain of any mammal in history. They are extremely protective of their young. Did you know, like humans, elephants undergo menopause.

Walking Safaris Elephant Iconic Africa

Like humans that use GPS, birds use landmarks to navigate long journeys. They can fly thousands of kilometres to find the same roosting spot with no navigational difficulties. Some species of birds make a round-trip journey every year, and use ferromagnetism to detect their orientation with respect to the Earth’s magnetic field. A 2006 study published in Animal Behaviour suggested that pigeons also use familiar landmarks on the ground below to help find their way home.

European Roller Walking Safaris Birds Iconic Africa

Did you know, crocodiles swallow stones to help them swim? Firstly, a crocodile digests everything from turtles, fish and birds to giraffes, buffalo, lions and even other crocodiles. In addition to their diverse appetite, they swallow large stones that stay permanently in their bellies. It’s been suggested these are used as weight stabilisers in diving.

Crocodile Attack Great Migration Angama Mara Tanzanaia Masaai Mara

The giraffe is known for its long neck and slender features. But did you ever consider the difficulties that come with having your head sit 16 feet above your shoulders? The stately giraffe adapted its neck to compete for foliage with other grazers. It compensates for its height with unique blood flow. The giraffe’s heart needs to pump twice as hard to get blood to the brain. It also has a complex blood vessel system that ensures that blood doesn’t rush to the head when bent over. Even more amazing, the giraffe has extremely tight skin in the legs to prevent blood from collecting at the hooves.

Did you know, Africa’s ostrich can kill a grown man with its kick? And one ostrich egg is the same size as 24 chicken eggs.

Vincent van Gogh was not the only one inspired by the night sky. Did you know that dung beetles use the Milky Way to guide them as they roll dung?

Like most cats, lions hate swimming. And keeping in sync with feminism, female lions do almost all of the hunting, and will make up to 20 kills in their lifetime.

Despite its questionable size and weight, the hippopotamus can run really fast reaching speeds of about 32 kilometres (or 20 miles) per hour.

Delight in the sighting of cheetah cubs as only a small proportion actually survive to adulthood – around a shocking 10%.

We hope just these few interesting facts have got you excited to go on safari! Hopefully you can mention one or two of them on a game drive to impress your guide or fellow guests!

The Royal Suite at Royal Malewane

“When you have caught the rhythm of Africa, you find out that it is the same in all her music.” – Karen Blixen

The Royal Malewane is set deep in the Thorny Bush Game Reserve, adjacent to the world famous Kruger National Park. The location of this exclusive, private getaway is ideal for the traveller who seeks luxury accommodation while experiencing the true Africa. Navigate the thick wooded section of the park to meet the rhinos, Cape buffalo and the rest of the Big Five. Accompanying the unmatched game viewing, Royal Malewane is set in a region that has spectacular scenery – resting alongside open plains of red soil that reflect the beautiful cherry-pink sunsets. There is something fundamentally romantic about this lodge – especially the intimate Royal Suite – ideal for a couple’s getaway or a honeymoon safari and certainly fit for a king!

While the lodge keeps the guest numbers small to ensure privacy – the Royal Suite can accommodate up to four people in two en-suite bedrooms. Perfect for two couples or a family vacation, the Royal Suite includes the services of a private chef and butler, private game drives, and four daily massages for the guests. Relax on a colonial style four-poster bed, in front of a lit fireplace at night, in one of the impeccable freestanding bathtubs in an opulent limestone bathroom or on the deck overlooking your private infinity pool. The huge windows ensure panoramic views of the horizon – and perhaps even the giraffes drinking at the lodge’s own private waterhole. You can be on a 24-hour safari from the comfort of your own suite, wooden terrace or elevated walkway.

The Royal Suite is adorned with authentic and opulent décor that transports guests to a time of old world elegance and classic bush style. The Royal Suite is the epitome of luxury accommodation, providing a sanctuary for the senses with both indoor and outdoor luxury. Make the most of the surrounding wild beauty and bask in Africa’s warm sun in complete privacy.

Stay in the Royal Malewane’s Royal Suite for an unforgettable experience. Stimulate your senses with an amazing outdoor shower or unwind in a Victorian bath with indigenous oils inspired by African rituals. The palatial suite is fully air-conditioned, equipped with a mini-bar, antique furniture and unrestricted access to Africa’s Kodak scenery.

Fore more on this Royal Portfolio masterpiece click here.

Gorilla Trekking – All You Need to Know

No wildlife adventure can compete with coming face-to-face with a wild gorilla. This is an endangered species that will certainly take your breath away. Because their numbers are diminishing and because the treks are a highly-restricted activity, encountering wild gorillas is considered to be an unforgettable and essential travel experience. Here are a few things you need to know about gorillas, gorilla trekking and permits:

Tracking take place all year-long, even during Rwanda’s two rainy seasons. Despite muddy trails during, it does not rain all day.

Gorilla Trek Africa Rwanda Iconic Africa 3

 

Children under the age of 15 cannot track mountain gorillas. However, there are special activities offered by the lodge to keep the young ones occupied while the parents trek.

Wear practical clothing for your journey. Often guests are not dressed appropriate for the occasion and it can spoil their day as the focus is shifted from the gorillas to their discomfort. Wear protective clothing to protect you from nettles, thorns and branches. There are not many mosquitoes found on a trek, but there are flies and ants.

Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa Bambo Forest

Make sure you have packed all the necessary gear like rain jackets, snacks and a packed lunch, a walking stick, and water.

Carry your gorilla permit with you as you leave your hotel the morning of your gorilla trek.

Gorilla Treks Rwanda Uganda Iconic Africa

Don’t forget your passport along with your permit and gear as you head to the park for a safety briefing. Your gorilla permits will be crosschecked with your passports to verify that you are the right owner of the permit. Be prepared to begin your journey at any moment after the briefing as there is no certainty about the time you will take to meet your gorilla family.

It may take as little as 30 minutes to find your gorilla family and as long as five to seven hours.

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

You will be put in groups of up to 8 people and each group is assigned one gorilla family to track.

Guests are assigned to a group based on their age and fitness. Older and less fit guests are given the ‘easy to find’ gorilla families to track which usually stay close to the trail heads. If you are unsure about your fitness level, you should let your guide know and can hire a porter at the park gate. The fee is dependent on what he is going to be carrying.

Gorillas Trek Iconic Africa Experiences Graham Wood Golden Monkey

Each group will have a pair of trackers sent out early before your trek to find the location of your specific gorilla family and to consider where they may be headed. Trackers communicate the gorilla family’s movements to the guide so that he can decide on the best route to meet your gorilla family.

The ‘easy-to-find’ gorilla families are not necessarily the better option as the animals may wander in search of food and water. Similarly, those gorilla families allocated to the physically fit guests and regarded as strenuous to track may be found quicker on a particular day.

Rwanda African Luxury Saafari Gorillas

Gorilla Tracking is safe and there have been no issues with security in both Rwanda and Uganda. Trackers are sent out before your trek to search for your group’s gorilla family and assume their movement patterns. The path is decided before you begin the trek. On your gorilla trek, rangers will guide you along with an armed escort.  The reason for such protection is against wild elephants or angry gorillas. The scouts are trained to fire shots into the air first in order to scare away the animals but this is only done on rarest occasions. Guides first ask trekkers to hide and remain quiet until the animal moves on.

Trekkers can follow the gorillas if they are moving but at a recommended distance of no less than 7 metres.

Gorilla Trek Africa Rwanda Iconic Africa 4

Trekkers are advised to stay quiet, and move slowly. Avoid sudden movements and direct eye contact in order to not irritate the gorilla. Lower your gaze to indicate that you are submissive.

Take as many photos as you’d like but remember to remove the flash and sound.

Gorillas Trek Iconic Africa Experiences

Iconic Africa will guide you through the booking process for your gorilla trekking permits. It is a hassle-free process, but should be booked at least ten months in advance as they sell out quickly and there are only a limited amount of permits available.

Do not make the mistake most travellers make – making gorilla trekking an add-on experience. This once-in-a-lifetime experience should not be an afterthought. Avoid hearing that permits are sold out and book yours now!