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Making Dreams Come True in Kenya

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Amboseli Safari

My dream of living in Africa and the creation of Our Eyes on Africa started with my first trip to the continent in the late nineties, back in our student years when basic backpacking was the way to do it. This was when I fell totally in love with Africa, her vast landscapes and wilderness areas, the simple but extremely warm people I met and, of course, the wildlife.

Since then I’ve kept coming back to Africa, year after year until one day, whilst traveling to the Maasai Mara in Kenya, I sat next to a Maasai boy. He asked me where I was going and I simply told him that I was heading for the Masai Mara Great Migration and I showed him the little dot I’d drawn on the map in my Lonely Planet guide. We spoke for a while  about my trip and, as the conversation went on, the little boy came to realise that I was somewhat unprepared, having no accommodation booked, nor car arranged for my journey. The only thing I had was my little tent and a dream to see the great wildebeest migration and meet some Maasai people.

I guess he must have either liked me or he felt very sorry for how under-prepared I was, because he invited me to his Maasai home in the Mara. I was delighted!  To stay with a Maasai family was an experience few people are fortunate enough to have. So after a full day’s travel on a dusty road that was full of potholes, we reached the village.

Tanzania Safari

The little Maasai village was situated just at the bottom of the majestic Siria escarpments, well known for being a spot where one can experience the best views of the Mara and Serengeti. The place was buzzing with cattle and playful kids, whilst the colourful Maasai people hurried to the warmth and comfort of their homes as the evening drew in.

The family gave us a warm welcome with big white smiles.

After a week of herding cattle amongst wildlife, exchanging endless camp fire stories in the evenings, going to sleep listening to hyenas and lions talking, I knew that this was the place I wanted to be; it felt like my home.

Just before I had to leave, the boy’s father turned to me and said:” I see you love this place. Why don’t you come back and build a camp… you are complaining that there isn’t one and I have plenty of land you can use…”

And so I did. Five months later I booked a one way ticket and returned back to this same village with a clear path ahead of me. Together with my good friend who is now my loving husband we set out to make our dreams come true, living in Africa and sharing the experience with others.

We were in our late twenties at the time, we were brave and made the bold move to quit our jobs, sell all of our belongings in Slovenia, where we are both originally from and head to Africa to start our safari business.

I was fortunate to have met such wonderful people on my previous trip, as we were again warmly welcomed at the village. We were even giving a traditional Masai naming ceremony a few days after our arrival.

True to his words, our Masai father showed us the extent of his vast lands and generously asked us to choose a location for our house, anywhere! The father was one of the wisest and kindest men we had ever met. He would talk to his entire family every evening, teaching them valuable lessons about life through allegorical good night stories. He was indeed a very respected chief in the Masai community with five wives and many children and we felt lucky to know him.

We stayed in the village of his first wife, where he spent most of his nights and we could not be more fortunate to be with this family, they took care of us and guided us in our new world, teaching us all about Masai culture and how to coexistence with the wildlife. We would eat, walk, river shower like Masai for more than half a year. Got married like Masai too.

About Eyes on Africa

Eyes on Africa is a family run business with more than 16 years of experience and with the personal touch. We cover Kenya and Tanzania with private, responsible and affordable safari holidays. Respected as a professional safari operator in East Africa. We are big enough to rely on, but small enough to care. Living and working every day in Africa means that our finger is directly on the pulse of the continent. This ensures you receive the best Africa has to offer.

How to Get the Best from Your Tanzania Safari

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Tanzania Safari

Tanzania has three main safari areas, the Northern and Southern Circuits, and Western Tanzania. Travelling between each is a challenge, so most visitors tend to stick with just one. Containing the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania’s Northern Circuit is decidedly the headline act. This is where you’ll find both the most prolific wildlife (aka “game”) and serial crowds. Travel to whichever Serengeti corner the spectacular Great Migration currently occupies, and 4×4 vehicles will generally be bumper-to-bumper.

If you’ll happily swap a few animal sightings for extra tranquility and authenticity, head south. The massive main parks here, Selous and Ruaha, are untamed, multi-dimensional expanses where tree-clogged waterways give way to parched plains. You have to work harder to see wildlife, but spying other humans is also rare.

The still-wilder west offers equally good game (including the Mahale Mountains’ chimpanzees) blended with serious remoteness. Parks like Katavi are the preserve of long-term Tanzania safari junkies seeking a new fix.

Consider The Following Tips;

  1. Choose the Right Time to Visit

Research the best time to visit Tanzania for primate safaris. Different seasons may offer different opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Peak seasons often coincide with the dry months, as wildlife tends to concentrate around water sources.

  1. Select the Right Safari Package

Choose a safari package that includes primate experiences. Look for tours that specifically highlight chimpanzee or gorilla trekking in addition to traditional game drives.

  1. Research National Parks and Reserves

Tanzania is home to various national parks and reserves that offer primate safaris. Research parks like Gombe Stream National Park or Mahale Mountains National Park for chimpanzee trekking.

For gorilla trekking, consider combining your Tanzania safari with a visit to neighboring countries like Rwanda or Uganda.

  1. Work with Reputable Tour Operators

Choose a reputable tour operator that specializes in primate safaris. Ensure they have experienced guides and a good track record of providing quality wildlife experiences.

  1. Prepare for Physical Activity

Primate trekking can involve some physical exertion. Make sure you’re in good health and physically prepared for activities like trekking through forests and up hills to reach primate habitats.

  1. Get the Necessary Permits

Obtain the required permits for primate trekking in advance. Permits are often limited and should be secured well ahead of your travel dates.

  1. Pack Appropriate Gear

Pack suitable clothing and gear for primate safaris. This may include sturdy hiking boots, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, a hat, and insect repellent.

Consider bringing a good pair of binoculars and a camera with a zoom lens to capture memorable moments.

  1. Follow Ethical Wildlife Viewing Practices

Adhere to ethical guidelines for wildlife viewing. Maintain a respectful distance from the primates, avoid direct eye contact, and follow the guidance of your guides.

  1. Combine Primate Safaris with Traditional Game Drives

While focusing on primate experiences, consider combining your safari with traditional game drives to witness a diverse range of wildlife in Tanzania.

  1. Immerse Yourself in the Local Culture

Take time to learn about the local culture and communities surrounding the primate habitats. This adds a rich dimension to your safari experience.

  1. Stay Informed About Conservation Efforts

Stay informed about conservation efforts in the area and consider supporting organizations that work towards the protection of primates and their habitats.

Below are some of the Attractions in Tanzania That Attract Tourists

Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti National Park is a wide treeless endless savannah plain where 2 million animals live or pass through in quest of new grasses. It is best known for the yearly wildebeest migration, you’ll also view the Big Five animals like lions, elephants, leopards, black rhino, and buffalo, and nearly 500 bird species in the Serengeti.

Every year, tens of thousands of tourists visit the Serengeti. The months of December through June are ideal for animal watching in Serengeti National Park. The rainy season lasts from March to May, and the coldest months are from June to October.

Hike Mount Kilimanjaro

Hiking up Kilimanjaro means going from the heat of the equator to the frigid cold of the arctic in just six to eight days. Kilimanjaro is a microcosm of many of the world’s habitats and climates. Trekkers climb through five climatic zones as they ascend 5895 meters. Climatic zones are defined as regions with generally consistent temperature and precipitation. The first 1800 meters of the mountain was once dense with forests but is now cultivated with plantations and pastures in this area of heavy rainfall and rich volcanic soils.

Mount Kilimanjaro can be climbed at any time of year; however, the peak season is from late June to October, when it is dry.

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park is the largest national park in Tanzania; the park has the highest concentration of wildlife in Tanzania, Ruaha National Park inhabits about 10% of the world’s lion population, the park has a concentration of elephants, herds of buffalo and gazelles, there are more than 574 bird species namely Crested Barbet, pale-billed hornbill, racket-tailed, Dickinson kestrel among others.

River Ruaha is the main source of water to wildlife in the Park. Other animals that inhabit the park include leopard, zebra, giraffe, lesser kudu, greater kudu, wild dogs, black-jackal, hyena, waterbuck, bushbuck, impala, and Hartebeest. The Park is one of the least busy places to visit in Tanzania. Kindly contact us for more info about Safaris in Tanzania.

Lake Manyara National Park

The landscape of Lake Manyara National Park includes forest, woodland, grasslands, and wetlands. Lake Manyara Park’s main attraction is its enormous population of elephants, tree-climbing lions, and hippos, which may be seen at a much closer range than in other parks.

Water covers two-thirds of the park about 230 km2 – Lake Manyara, at certain times of the year, is home to thousands of flamingos as well as other diverse bird life namely Narina trogon, crowned hornbill, Schalow’s turaco, emerald cuckoo, crowned eagle, silvery checked hornbill, knob-billed duck, winged goose, Hottentot teal, red-billed duck, scary francolin, great flamingo, lesser flamingo, mourning collared dove, red-eyed dove, ring-necked dove, laughing dove, African jacana, black-winged stilt, water thick-knee, African palm-swift, little swift, glossy ibis, African sacred ibis, white-backed vulture, bateleur, black chested snake eagle, hadada ibis, African spoonbill, striped kingfisher, little bee-eater, greater honeyguide, red-backed shrike, northern fiscal, pied crow, willow warbler among others.

Mafia Island

Divers and snorkelers worldwide visit Mafia Island to explore the undersea world protected by the Mafia Island Marine Park. Although the best months for diving are October to March, the best months for weather on Mafia Island are May to October. March and April are rainy.

Mafia Island Marine Park contains coral gardens, a diverse fish population, and a laid-back diving ambiance. There are several bird species and over 400 fish species can be found in the area. Mafia Island is also a traditional breeding place for critically endangered green turtles.

Mafia is also a popular destination for deep-sea fishing, particularly for tuna, marlin, sailfish, and other large game fish. 

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area, located between the Serengeti and Lake Manyara, is home to the iconic volcanic Ngorongoro Crater and is one of Tanzania’s most popular wildlife viewing places. This massive volcanic crater offers a constant supply of water, attracting thousands of species that stay in the area instead of moving to search for water.

Visitors come here mostly to see huge animals and birds. Thousands of animals may be seen on the crater floor, including lions, elephants, rhinos, Thomson’s gazelles, and buffaloes, but wildebeests and zebras account for more than half of the animals that live in the Ngorongoro Crater.

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is an excellent place to see animals. It is preferable to visit during the dry season, which lasts from July to September when the animals congregate along the river.

Tarangire National Park boasts one of the biggest concentrations of migratory animals throughout the dry season. The lagoons in Tarangire National Park are filled with wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest, and eland.

The park is also well-known for its big elephant population and the baobab trees that dot the grassland landscape. Tarangire National Park is ideal for bird watching, with over 300 species recorded namely superb starling, lilac-breasted roller, yellow-billed stork, African hoopoe, open billed stork, ostrich, black-necked weaver, yellow-necked spur-fowl, woodland kingfisher, black-headed heron, pygmy falcon, African marsh harrier, white-faced whistling duck, red-billed hornbill, northern white-crowned shrike among others.

Zanzibar

Zanzibar, commonly known as Unguja, is a popular tourist destination in Tanzania noted for its magnificent beaches. This island is part of the Zanzibar Island chain, which includes the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba. It features some of the best beaches in the world.

The surf changes depending on which side of the island you’re on, but tourists can expect smooth white beach and crystal shallow water, as well as traditional boats lining the beachfront.

Stone Town, Zanzibar’s medieval city is famed for its old Arabian mansions, narrow alleyways, and bustling port.

Conclusion

A vibrant and beautiful country with exceptional parks and reserves, Tanzania is blessed with the winning combination of unparalleled game viewing and dazzling tropical beaches. Contact Primate Safari Experiences for more information about exploring Tanzania and making your trip a memorable one.

5 Things to See in Tampa Bay

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Tampa Bay

If you’re headed on your way to Tampa Bay, you’re in for a treat. From the unique architecture of the historic Tampa Bay Hotel to the beautiful gulf coast sunsets, this tropical Florida city has all manner of attractions, activities and events. A Tampa family vacation is the perfect way to spend your valuable vacation time.

Tropical plants fill the local area with rich colors and floral scents. Glittering canals and inter-coastal waterways can be found all along the coast, the perfect way to spend a day seeing the local wildlife, including dolphins and  manatees.

Florida is one of the world’s top destination spots, and Tampa Bay personifies that tradition, making it an ideal vacation destination. Places to see in Tampa Bay include theme parks such as Busch Gardens (where you can find the famous Sheikra Roller Coaster), the national award-winning Lowry Park Zoo, some of the country’s top beaches, and professional sports teams such as the Tampa Rays baseball team all add to the number of things to see and do.

If you’re seeking something more culture or arts related you can catch a presentation at Ruth Eckerd Hall, which showcases everything from dramatic productions to operas to musicals to concerts and even Cirque de Olay.

Tampa is also recognized for its large variety of multinational restaurants, where you can enjoy everything from seafood to steaks in addition to a variety of culturally based eateries such as Ethiopian. Tampa’s nightlife is equally diverse, with plenty of dance clubs and martini bars where you can mix and mingle and dance the night away.

If golf is your thing, you need look no further. There are dozens of golf courses in Tampa, some of them world famous and the site of PGA tournaments. Or maybe the water calls to you. From boating down a peaceful river to deep sea fishing in the Gulf, to just enjoying the sun on the beach, Tampa has anything you could be looking for.

What about a cruise trip? Just jump on a cruise ship departing from the Port of Tampa. It’s an easy and enjoyable trip to exotic destinations such as Cozumel, Key West and the Caymans. So start putting together your own Tampa vacation package. You’ll find that no other Florida destination comes close to offering the satisfaction Tampa Bay’s natural beauty and man-made attractions.

Honeymoon Ideas for 2023 Travelers

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Honeymoon in Africa

If you’re a couple who gets bored lying on the beach and you want to make the most of your honeymoon time with a once-in-a-lifetime experience, there are plenty of great options for you.

Do you like soft adventure (for instance going on an African safari, going on a road trip or heading off-the-beaten-track) or are you adrenalin junkies looking for heart-pumping thrills (like bungee-jumping and trekking through the jungle or diving with the whales)? Here are some of the great ideas on how you can plan and enjoy a memorable honeymoon holiday away from home;

Go on an African Safari

If the thrill of seeing animals in the wild is what you’re after, then head to South Africa, Botswana, Kenya or Tanzania on safari. One of the most stunning places to see a wide range of African wildlife is the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania – you feel like you have stepped into a Hollywood movie set, with elephants, hippos, zebras, lions, wildebeest, flamingoes and many more all co-existing in this beautiful World Heritage site.

Swimming with Humpbacks in Tonga

Imagine swimming with whales among the beautiful tropical islands of Vava’u Tonga. The South Pacific humpback whales migrate from their feeding grounds in the Antarctic to the warm northern islands of Tonga each year to mate and give birth. They stay in the area for about 15 weeks (early July – late October) before their 8,000km swim back to the southern oceans of Antarctica for the summer months.

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Uganda safaris offer a greater diversity of wildlife, people and landscapes than any other African destination, placing Uganda safaris amongst the richest experiences Africa has to offer.

Uganda is at the crossroads where the West African jungles meet the East African savannahs and thus home to quickly varying landscapes: semi-deserts in the northeast, lush lowlands fringing the shores of Lake Victoria, and the mountain rain forests of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and the Rwenzoris (the Mountains of the Moon) in the southwest.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a magnificent verdant swathe across the steep ridges of the Albertine Rift Valley – one of the few in Africa to have flourished throughout the last Ice Age – is home to roughly half of the world’s mountain gorillas. Dinner and overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp or Buhoma Community Camp.

After an early breakfast, you will gather at the park headquarters for a briefing prior to the gorilla tracking activity. Together with a knowledgeable guide, you will head off into the thick rainforest forest to track these gentle giants. The time taken to search for these apes takes from between 1 hour to an entire day. This is because the gorillas do not stay in one place for very long. The gorilla trek involves moving up and down a steep mountainous terrain hence you need to be physically fit. Once you look into the eyes of these gentle giants, you will forget your aching limbs as this is a once in a lifetime experience! Later you may opt to have a Village walk around the Buhoma Community.

Hiking in Bhutan

Along the lofty ridges of the Himalayas lies the Kingdom of Bhutan, a place that has remained blissfully untouched by the rest of the world. Bhutan’s people are gracious, the culture is rich, and spirituality is prevalent. Every visitor to Bhutan feels giddy and lightheaded. It might be love but it’s probably the altitude – 20,000 foot peaks are a dime a dozen in this tiny Himalayan kingdom.

Whether you are looking for a one day hike or gruelling 31 day adventure, trekking in Bhutan is unlike anywhere else in the Himalayas.  Pristine mountain lakes, imposing glaciers, and some of the world’s most endangered animals await you in the mountainous ampitheatre of the Himalayas.

Elephant Safari in Thailand

It’s the “regal arrival” option at Anantara Golden Triangle that really lets your fellow travellers know that this is no ordinary vacation. Guests who choose this option arrive via long tailed boat and elephant ride to be toasted on arrival with champagne. The three day elephant safari brings you closer to nature and teaches you how to be a mahout (elephant driver).

Take a ride to the top of a nearby mountain for sunset cocktails and dinner overlooking Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and the Mekong River. Staff can also arrange a private breakfast in one of the nearby 600 year old temples.

Exploring the Ruins in Cambodia

Thailand and Indonesia certainly are obvious tourist destinations, but what about Cambodia?

Make your way to Siem Reap for a truly unique experience where you can explore the twelfth-century ruins of Angkor Wat, which is the largest religious monument in the world. The best time to visit the temple is at sunrise, where you can photograph the ruins with the sun coming up behind.

There is a myriad of Hindu temples with impressive towers and sculptures located in the middle of the jungle.  The include the Bayon temple with its mysterious faces, and the Ta Prohm temple, entangled by the jungle.  You can either immerse yourselves in the grandeur of the temples on your own, or hire a guide to learn about the sites’ amazing history and be shown the most remote temples while hiking in the thick forest. After a long day of jaw-dropping scenery, enjoy a relaxing time at one of Siem Reap’s luxurious hotels and have dinner and drinks at one of the numerous restaurants in town.  After all, a beer only costs $1 while a cocktail is just $3!

Explore Maui: Tour, Shop, Explore and Dine!

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Explore Maui

Maui is a true island paradise. Famous for its miles of beautiful soft sandy beaches and its warm and welcoming inhabitants, it is absolutely no wonder that the island has been given the title of ‘Best Island’ for a total of seventeen years by readers of the luxury travel Conde Nast Traveller magazine. Visitors to the island return year after year and find that they make friends easily there. Once visited, the beauty of Maui is never forgotten.

There are so many facets to and aspects of this beautiful island which the visitor will grow to love so very easily. Ask any individual and they will have their own different answer with regards to what it is that they love about the island of Maui. Perhaps it is the gorgeous beaches of Kaanapali, the beautiful seaside shops selling trinkets and colorful local jewellery or if hiking and walking is more your thing then a visit to the majestically beautiful Haleakala National Park will be right up your street.

Of course as with any beautiful and exclusive island there is a plethora of excellent golf courses along with so many beautiful and upmarket hotels. However if you want a real taste of island life then this can be found around any corner.
Nature lovers will not be disappointed either as they witness the many thousands of humpback whales which migrate to the clear waters of Maui each and every year.

There are many beautiful towns and places on Maui. In the east lies the beautiful and unspoiled town of Hana. Getting to the place is a little ‘different’. Although the road from Kahului is only 52 miles long, the actual drive can take up to four hours due to the one track roads and incredible views too! Along this beautiful journey you will be faced with so many images of paradise from beautiful seascapes to glittering waterfalls. Best to leave lots of time for your journey then. You have been warned!

There are many places of interest to visit in Hana such as the beautiful St. Sophia’s Church. There are also many and varied souvenir and knick knack stores which are tons of fun to browse. Choose from some amazing beaches – the black sandy one at the Waianapanapa State Park, the Hamoa Beach or the Hana Beach Park. Hana also boasts the largest Hawaiian temple in the whole state which is situated within the tropical botanical Kanahu Gardens.

Maui is one of nature’s rare jewels and it would be impossible to list all the places of interest on the island in just one article. Make time in your itinery to visit the Pools of Oheo and Kaanapali Beach which once held the title of the best beach in America. No matter where you go on the island, you are sure to love it!

The Beaches of Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica

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Beaches of Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo is one of the most popular destinations for travelers who come to know Costa Rica , which is that it is like Manuel Antonio to the coast peaceful, Puerto Viejo and the beaches are a natural paradise, this time on the Caribbean shore of the country.

Near Puerto Viejo is really a extensive and kilometer coastal area from the very town of P ort Viejo to Manzanillo , where one area starts even wildest beaches and wild nature. The just under 15 miles between the two populations are themselves the reason to bring-is there.

Starting with Puerto Viejo , note that it is the resort of the area and therefore is full of bars, hotels and restaurants . It is a very frequented by backpackers and surfers place enjoys rockin overnight. It is the perfect choice for those seeking a place lively and crowded.

Later is Playa Cocles , ideal for practitioners surf because it has big waves almost daily you get started in this water sport. Similarly, there are areas where the difficulty of the waves make the beach also an ideal place for the more experienced. Being so close to Puerto Viejo, is also a party destination and in which there are also all kinds of services.

Following this direction, we find Playa Chiquita, an area sheltered from strong currents and which enjoy the typical postcard Caribbean beach. The coconut palms and turquoise sea come in an extremely beautiful and paradise combination. This is an area with some hotels and scattered in the distance, on the main road, so it is a very quiet and ideal for those who want to unwind shelters.

The next beach is Playa Punta Uva , but large heavy waves of Cocles. This is one of the most beautiful of the entire journey as it combines the best of all of the above: large enough to feel alone, and sufficiently protected from the sea so that the waters are calm. It is a very quiet and with little accommodation instead. The restaurants are scarce so you have to buy food at a supermarket in the road if you want to spend the day here.

Finally, before reaching Manzanillo , Playa Grande is , a vast white sand beach and turquoise waters and is a little more brave but does not reach the point of Playa Cocles. Its vastness make it a perfect beach for those who want to forget the world and find a place to be alone.

Manzanillo is a much smaller town than Puerto Viejo and unlike it, mostly concentrated in the national tourism weekends visiting the area. Therefore, the experience is much more native . However, does not have much tourist infrastructure beyond some good and cheap restaurants and a small pension.

However, the area is ideal to discover for a few days and able to decide for yourself which of their favorite beaches. Moreover, doing so is easy: first, there is obviously the possibility of walking through the beaches that separate the miles between them and on the other hand, there is a bus that continually unites Puerto Viejo with Manzanillo stopping at every beach (Manzanillo Limon-bus route).

Whichever option that you choose to discover Puerto Viejo, do not even think to forget the sunscreen, bathing suit and towel. sure you’ll love it. 

Exploring South East Asia Depth

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South East Asia

Many travelers are reluctant to visit South East Asia because of gangs of hoodlums governing most of the cities and crowded places and target foreigners. Complaints of humidity and ‘abnormal’ weather temperatures come next. Yet, this common stereotyping has not hindered others to try the region out. In fact, those who have gone there have even expressed utmost gratitude to seeing heaven up close. Well, if you think this sound far fetched and exaggerated, why not try it for yourself?

And while you are at it, why not also try these places Sinclair James International Travel and Tours, a trusted Australian traveling partner, has made some good reviews out of?

Nogas Island, Antique, Philippines

Albeit a little farther from the ports of Manila, the country’s capital, and a two-hour bus ride away from the airport of Iloilo, the province of Antique is a lush nature reserve which promises haven for those who spent hours looking for a place to reprieve. Nogas Island is itself enchanted which silences visitors while taking a 15-minute boat ride for fear of getting sucked by some unknown creatures lurking in underwater volcano below. As of the record, no one dares make a sound before reaching the shore. If this in itself is not thrilling enough, I don’t know what is.

Shodoshima, Japan

Foreigners rarely travel the roads to these lush olive groves, hot springs and wild monkeys. The 817-meter Mount Hoshigajo-san, which translates as “Mount Kingdom of Stars,” is an excellent vantage point for Shodoshima’s scenic landscape, including the famous Kankakei and Choshi-kei valleys. The island’s many hot springs provides reprieve for tired feet after a long day of country rambling.

Son Doong Cave, Vietnam

Perhaps the largest cave in the world so far (it is yet being tested by experts), Son Doong Cave is more than 200m high, 150m wide and 5km long. The cave has its own river, jungle and climate. It is located in the heart of Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province. The cave has only been open to public for 4 years since it was discovered by a British traveler in 2010.

Haputale, Sri Lanka

The misty Haputale is a wonder at dawn like any other hidden mountain secrets in the world. An experiencing worth the thrill are the shrill cries of Tamils selling English vegetables every morning. You will definitely find remnants of Sri Lanka’s British legacy in numerous plantations around town.

Visit Beautiful Ontario

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Ontario has the highest population of all Canadian provinces and it is also one of the largest in terms of land. Here you can visit the Canadian capital of Ottawa as well as the ever-popular city of Toronto. The region sees thousands of tourists arriving each week with many of them heading for one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations – Niagara Falls. You will find most of the population living in the south of the province while the north is very sparsely populated. Part of the province can also be found within the Arctic Circle. English is the main language although there are some French speakers still living in the region.

The Golden Horseshoe is one of the wealthiest areas of the province. Here you can find the cities which are filled with cultural attractions, lively nightlife and great shopping facilities. For something a little quieter you could spend time in the eastern part of Ontario where there are lakes and forests – perfect for hiking. This section is also home to the city of Ottawa as well as a variety of towns which have changed little over the last couple of hundred years. In the south-western region you will come across farms and villages and in the central region of Ontario you will quickly discover why it has earned the nickname of ‘cottage country’.

With several major cities you will also find several major airports and flights arrive in Ontario from all over the world. You can then take regional flights to some of the smaller airports. As the province is linked to the US it is also possible to cross the border by car if you prefer. If you want to spend time exploring areas outside of the cities then a hire car is a must. Public transport within the cities is fine.

The region has several historical forts and buildings and one that is a must for history enthusiasts is Old Fort William which can be found in Thunder Bay. Here you can often see historical re-enactments. You can also take a trip to see the various lighthouses along the coastline of Lake Huron. While in the city of Toronto a trip to the CN Tower is also essential as the views from here are spectacular.

Many tourists come to the region for the hiking and areas such as the Sleeping Giant near Thunder Bay are among the best routes. You can take a boat trip to see the shipwrecks at the Fathom Five National Marine Park, but the more adventurous could spend some time diving to see them. Camping is a popular pastime both with tourists and locals and there are many sites including those at the Bruce Peninsula National Park.

If you are looking for a traditional beach holiday then this is perhaps not the best destination, although there are some great beaches in the region. You can try Wasaga Beach or Grand Bend which can be found in the south west of the province. You could also try the beaches within the Lake Superior or Charleston Lake parks, so on warm days you can still soak up the sun.

The area also has plenty of wineries and breweries which do tours for the public. The ‘Wine Road’ near Niagara is a great route to follow and in downtown areas of Toronto or Kitchener there are some craft breweries. If you are travelling with a group you can often get a discount if you book together. The wine industry in Canada is still in its infancy but you can pick up a bargain bottle or two while you are travelling around. You can also give one of the brew pubs a try. These are establishments where the beer is brewed onsite and designed to complement the dishes served in the restaurant.

As the province is home to some of the larger cities in the country you will find more internationally branded hotels here and higher standards of luxury. However, as you travel further out of the cities the accommodation becomes a little more traditional in the form of hostels and inns. Most of these are independent and family-run, so you can find a comfortable place to stay at a good rate. In the more remote regions the accommodation is likely to be fairly basic.

Ontario is perfect both for those who are looking for a city break and those who want to spend some time in the great outdoors. Whichever you choose, the region has something to offer.

Tracking Primates in the Wild

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Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale

Africa offers a diversity of primate safaris with the chance to track endangered mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. Call it a chimpanzee, or chimp, is the common name for one of the two ape species. Four subspecies of chimpanzee exist across Africa; Western, Central, Eastern and Nigerian. The second species in the Pan genus is the Bonobo but there are no subspecies of Bonobo.

Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of the Congo offer a great deal of primate diversity, and you can even see rare species such as colobus and golden monkeys in certain areas. These countries also boast unique crater lakes, rivers and waterfalls so that visitors don’t just have to keep an eye out for primates when they’re trekking.

Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees are classified as great apes and share 98% of our genes. Prominent characteristics include long arms, opposable thumbs, a black/brownish fur and bare skin on their face, palms, ears and soles of the feet. Highly sociable primates they move in flexible groups of between 15-80 individuals with one dominant male, and communicate through a series of screams, pant hoots, squeaks and barks. Movement during the day is often on the ground and can either be bipedally (upright) or knuckle walking. They are larger than you might think, with males weighing up to 70 kilos, reaching a height of up to 1.7 metres when standing upright.

On the other hand, chimpanzee trekking is better in Kibale National Park, Kyambura Gorge, and Kalinzu Forest Reserve in Uganda, or Nyungwe Forest National Park in Rwanda, which has elevated walking canopies that are 800 metres from the ground in sections.

Chimpanzee tracking / chimpanzee habituation

Chimpanzees can also be tracked in Tanzania and Uganda, and combined with popular gorilla tracking safaris.People come to Uganda for the Mountain gorillas and chimpanzee tracking.It is one thing to spend an hour with the chimpanzees of Uganda it is another experience to be with them all day long.There are about 4950 chimpanzees within Uganda; Kibale Forest alone has the most with about 1500 Chimpanzees. Most visitors visit the chimpanzees much like the Mountain Gorillas for one hour there is however another option that allows you to be with chimpanzees all day long in the forests of Budongo or Kibale Forest. It is the habituation experience all day with chimpanzees in their natural setting.

Chimpanzee tracking is where by a trekker goes to the forest to view the already habituated chimpanzees. The habituated chimpanzees are normally confined in one area and are not aggressive and stubborn. They are friendly.
Chimpanzee tracking can take 1-3 hours.It’s not only chimpanzees you will see on this habituation experience. You will see a host of other things. In Kibale forest for example; you will see elephants, buffaloes, bush pigs, various bird species-the forest has 350 different bird species, and about 12 other kinds of primates. The beauty and richness of the forest is seen in the exotic plants, trees, and butterflies. It is simply amazing. And you need to keep your eyes wide open so you do not miss anything.Kibale forest is the best place to track and habituate chimps in Uganda.

The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience is not for the faint of heart it means an early breakfast, a packed lunch and you are off before dawn breaks into the forest. You meet your guide and walk to where the chimpanzees built nests the night before. Dawn is just breaking and the chimpanzee community you are going to be with the rest of the day is rising from their sleep.

The full-day Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) works with a chimp community which is undergoing habituation. Early visitors can watch chimps leaving their overnight nests between 6:00 – 6:30am before feeding, copulating, hunting, breastfeeding, resting, patrolling and displaying until it is time to build new nests around 7pm.

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience entails getting the chimpanzees used to the presence of humans (to remove the fear of humans from the group), a process that takes up to two years and today you are part of that process by your all day presence in the forest. Years ago, it used to be that you had a 20% chance of seeing chimpanzees in the wild, today because of the habituation process that has increased to over 90%. Your day will be full, your camera will fill up with quality pictures of the chimpanzees and you will get to learn to identify them as individuals by their markings, sometimes scars and other unique features that make them stand apart from rest. The day ends as the chimpanzees climb into their newly built nests for the evening and you head back to your lodging for the evening.

A chimpanzee safari can be hard work, sometimes lasting up to 9 hours (return trip) through unpredictable terrain, but it is worth it.Chimpanzees share a whopping 98 per cent of our genetic blueprint, and when watching them, their facial expressions, gestures and use of tools ensure that we know it.

Trek through lush forests in search of chimpanzees full of excitement and anticipation, armed with respect for the guides that know the environment and chimpanzee families like the back of their hand and equipped with your newfound knowledge, hear these excitable primates before you see them, their pant-hoots travelling deep through the forest. Following the calls, enter their world and begin your journey. Scrambling over rocks and hiking the steep paths, you feel the chimps are almost laughing affectionately at the contrast between your efforts to follow them through the undergrowth and how easily they traverse this terrain.”

Chimpanzee tracking in Rwanda

The mountainous rain forests of Nyungwe National Park in southwest Rwanda are home to approx. 500 chimpanzees and 12 other species of primate including the Colobus and Vervet monkey. The walking and hiking here is excellent, with rich flora and fauna and spectacular views. You may witness young chimps playing; adults feeding high up in the fig trees; others swinging effortlessly between the vines. Once you have found a chimpanzee community, you will have one magical hour to enjoy the company of these fascinating primates. This is a true adventure.

Gorilla trekking

Gorilla trekking can be done in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and in Virunga National Park in the DRC. All of these parks are within the great Albertine region, and each has various trekking stations as well as a number of gorilla families. For those looking for shorter trips, a Rwanda gorilla safari can be the best option while for those looking to more experiences like a gorilla trip combines with a traditional wildlife safari, Uganda is the best option to choose.

Searching for primates always involves quite a hike, and all treks start early in the morning after a briefing from the park rangers on how to behave with the apes. It is therefore, important to be in relatively fit and good health before tracking primates.

The dry season is arguably the best time for all primate safaris in Africa as the ground can be muddy and slippery during the rainy season. The periods from June to October and from December to March are the best months, and also the peak periods, which is why advanced bookings are important.

Golden monkey trekking

In East Africa, golden monkeys reside in Uganda and Rwanda and if one wants to trek them, he/she will have to go to volcanoes National in Rwanda or  Mgahinga National Park in Uganda where gold meets silver to give you an everlasting safari experience.

Golden monkey trekking in Volcanoes National Park begins at 7:00am just like gorilla trekking and in Uganda; it starts at 8:00am. One is supposed to be at the park headquarters for briefing about the park while with golden monkeys and thereafter, they trek into the forest to look for them.Golden monkey trekking is a one hour activity. Once you have found the golden monkeys, you will be allowed just one hour to observe their behavior, take photographs and then return back to your lodge.

The price of a permit in Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park), a permit to trek golden monkeys costs USD100 (2016) and USD50 in Uganda (Mgahinga National Park). This included, park fees, services of a ranger guide, and spending one hour with habituated golden monkeys. Golden monkey permits can be booked in advance or on ground since there is no limit on the people to trek them. Age limit for those interested in trekking golden monkeys is 12 years much as it is not as strict as gorilla trekking.

Exploring Northern Peru

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Northern Peru

Peru’s north coast could well be described as the Egypt of South America. This is a region of numerous monumental ruins, built by the many highly skilled pre-Inca cultures that once thrived here.

The ground-breaking discovery at Caral is now open to visitors. Not far from Trujillo, Chan Chán was the capital of the Chimú Kingdom; its crumbling remains still represent the largest adobe city in the world. The Huaca de la Luna and the Huaca Cao Viejo of the Moche Empire are revealing fabulous, multicoloured friezes of gods from the first millennium AD. Further north, near Chiclayo, the adobe brick pyramids of Túcume, Sipán and Sicán rise massively from the coastal plains. The wealth from some of their tombs is now displayed in state-of-the-art museums.

But it’s not all pyramids and royal tombs. The elegant city of Trujillo is one of the finest examples of colonial architecture in the country. There are charming towns, such as Huanchaco, with its bizarre-looking reed fishing rafts, and Chulucanas, with its famous pottery. Up and down the coast the seafood is wonderful and the hospitality unrivalled. In addition, the northern seaboard enjoys a rain-free climate all year and has Peru’s finest beaches for bathing and surfing. Around Tumbes, the most northerly regional capital, four reserves protect mangroves, equatorial dry forest and tropical forest, each with its share of endangered species. Some of Footprint’s top picks:

Caral

This site may be the oldest city in South America.

Sechín

The 500 monoliths here depict a gruesome battle in graphic detail.

Trujillo

The city’s mansions, with their elaborately carved wooden balconies, are among the finest in Peru.

Huanchaco

Hang out with other travellers at this appealing surfing village.

El Brujo

This ancient complex was a ceremonial centre for up to 10 cultures.

Lambayeque and Ferreñafe

These colonial towns are a good base for exploring the surrounding sites.

Northern beaches

Enjoy some of the best surf and warmest water in Peru.

Tumbes’ natural parks and reserves

Four protected natural areas are home to unique ecosystems.

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