Wildlife and Nature – Game drives and Sightseeing
The geography of East Africa is often stunning and scenic. Shaped by global plate tectonic forces that have created the East African Rift, East Africa is the site of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, the two tallest peaks in Africa. It also includes the world’s second largest freshwater lake Lake Victoria, and the world’s second deepest lake Lake Tanganyika.
The climate of East Africa is rather a typical of equatorial regions. Because of a combination of the region’s generally high altitude and the rain shadow of the westerly monsoon winds created by the Rwenzori Mountains and Ethiopian Highlands, East Africa is surprisingly cool and dry for its latitude.
Gorilla trekking adventures
Gorilla tracking is usually an unforgettable experience which more than repays the effort needed to reach Uganda/Rwanda/DRC and to track the gorillas. Gorillas can be safely tracked in Bwindi national park, Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda and Parc nationale des Volcans in Rwanda. Bwindi has seven habituated gorilla groups that are tracked by tourists. Gorilla trekking is the most sold out tourist activity in Uganda and Rwanda; it is usually advisabke to reserve your gorilla tracking permit early enough before gorilla permits sell out. Gorilla tracking can be challenging and you need to be reasonably fit. Registration and briefing at Buhoma park office and Nkuringo commences at 07:45 hours tracking states at 8:30 hours local Uganda time and can last from a few hours to the whole day depending on movements of the gorillas that day.
East Africa (Uganda noted) falls at the confluence of a number of regional centers of endemism or biomes in Central Africa, each with characteristic avifauna. From the source of the Nile on Lake Victoria to the snow-capped Rwenzori range, the montane forests of volcanoes to the semi-arid plains of Karamoja, Uganda is an equatorial country of astonishing contrast.
About 10% of the world bird list have been seen in Uganda and Rwanda including the highly sought after shoebill bird, albertine rift endemics and papyrus endemics. Henceforth bird watching has become an attractive tourist activity in this region; especially Uganda and Rwanda. Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda has a bird list of 611 species.
There is undoubtedly no other area in Africa that can match Uganda’s astounding diversity of habitats (despite the fact that there are no coastal habitats). This richness is reflected in the burgeoning bird list of over 1,000 species, representing more than half of the bird species found in the whole of Africa, over 10% of the world bird list! Imagine 5 biomes in an area of 236,040 sq kms!
White Water Rafting
White water rafting is mainly done on the River Nile in Jinja. The fairly constant water temperatures (20?C – 30?C) and the constant gravity flow of the river makes white water rafting possible all year round. Prior experience is not necessary and the activity is 99% safe for all ages.
For families, a float trip in which you do not participate in the active rowing of the boat is available. If you go rafting you can do half-day, full-day or – for the more adventurous – two-day trips. Full-day trips take you through the most challenging of the rapids, including the Grade Five at the “Bad Place” and Bujagali Falls.
The action is always complemented by unlimited drinks, mouthwatering meals and great fun. Rafting on the Nile continues to be a world-class experience and an icon of Uganda’s tourism.
Culture and History
East Africa has been continually inhabited by human beings for thousands, if not millions, of years. History details a legacy of kingdoms and trade networks throughout the region bordering the Indian Ocean. The label East Africa can be applied to a number of countries, including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. Some lists also name Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, Seychelles and Comoros as East African countries.
Vasco da Gama and the Portuguese were the first Europeans to explore East Africa. Slave trade began in 1450 and ended in 1850. British, French, Dutch, German and Arab also sent explorers and settlers. German colonies transferred to British rule at the end of World War I. As the people clambered for independence, strong leaders emerged from the population to lead their countries in the early days, including James Nyerere, Tanzania or Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya. Idi Amin, of Uganda, was noted for many human rights violations and corruption. The struggle of East African nations from colonies to independent countries is marked by determination, strife and strong leadership.