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    Rwanda situated in East Africa is bordered by Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south and Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills”, Rwanda’s sweeping landscape is made up of volcanoes, tea plantations and rolling hills, densely populated with lush vegetation and thick rain forests. With three national parks, a thriving capital city, spectacular mountain scenery and diverse wildlife, Rwanda has plenty to offer visitors.

    The Volcanoes National Park in the north-west of the country is the most renowned of Rwanda’s three parks, famed for its resident mountain gorillas. One-third of the Gorillas can be found here, where visitors can enjoy the rare opportunity of tracking mountain gorillas through bamboo forests along the Virunga Mountains. Although Gorilla trekking is the main attraction, there are plenty of other primate tracking opportunities while on holiday in Rwanda.

    The climate in Rwanda is temperate. There are two rainy seasons from February to April and November to January, whilst in the mountains it is possible to experience snow and frost.

    Travelling to and from the region is accessed via the main airport, Kigali International Airport, located 10 km East of the centre of town. Kigali currently receives direct flights from Nairobi, Entebbe, Brussels, Amsterdam, Dar es Salaam, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Doha, Dubai and most recently 4 flights weekly into London, Gatwick.

    Whilst visiting, not to be missed are some the most popular tourist sites - The Kigali Genocide Memorial and Inema Art Centre; National Museum of Rwanda; Volcanoes National Park; Akagera National Park; Nyungwe Forest National Park; and the Nyamata and Ntarama Churches.

    Interesting facts:

    • Plastic bags are outlawed in Rwanda due to the impact on the environment.

    • In fact, they are so concerned about cleanliness that in Kigali it is compulsory for all residents to help clean their community on the last Saturday of each month!

    • The official languages of Rwanda are French, English, Kinyarwanda and Kiswahili.

    • From rural villages to the national parliament, women hold two-thirds of the seats, women in Rwanda are leading the rebuilding of their country. In the aftermath of the devastating 1994 Genocide, the challenge of creating a lasting peace depended greatly on the actions of women, who were the majority of survivors.

    • A dramatic improvement in healthcare delivery and health outcomes has seen life expectancy in Rwanda rise by 10 years in the last decade.

    • You can start a business in 48 hours in Rwanda. It takes 11.1 days on average in OECD high income countries.

    • Rwanda is leading Africa’s digital revolution. The Smart Kigali initiative aims to create access to free wireless internet on public buses, in hospitals, taxi parks, commercial buildings and restaurants, while a partnership with Korea Telecom is creating access to 4G for 95% of the population.

  • Odzala, A Green Lung of the Earth
    Odzala, A Green Lung of the Earth
    Congo-Brazzaville is a green treasure of pure nature. The Congo Basin is home to the second largest rainforest in the world and is where the Odzala-Kokoua National Park is located. This park helps protect one of the most beautiful and intact rainforests on our planet where more than 500 different wildlife species are at home, in addition to thousands of plants. One important fact not known to many is that the Odzala also helps safeguard the very air that we breathe, and plays a role in ensuring the survival of life on earth.

    Odzala-Kokoua lies in the North-West of the Republic Congo-Brazzaville. It is larger than the Bahamas, Jamaica or Puerto Rico, or the same size as three and a half thousand soccer fields! The region has been a National Park since 1935, making Odzala a senior member within the protected areas in Africa and one of the oldest national parks on the continent.

    A distinctive feature of Odzala is the bais. Like islands these clearings lie in the middle of an ocean of trees: marshy areas typically between one and ten hectares in size. Even the shiest inhabitants of Odzala come here to drink. Gorillas and forest elephants leave the protection of the forest in search of the precious minerals and salts contained in the bais soils.

    This vast, wild region holds globally significant populations of Western Lowland Gorilla and Forest Elephant as well as a plethora of other species: 430 bird species and more than 100 mammal species. It has the highest number (11) of diurnal primates for any forest block in central Africa, as well as central Africa’s highest density of Chimpanzees.

    Other species include Forest Buffalo, Leopard, Bongo, Giant Forest Hog and Hippo. Clouds of spectacular butterflies are characteristic of the region. The trees are spectacular and delicate orchids cling to the branches, while the forest floor is littered with an incredible array of pods, fruits, flowers and fungi.

    A visit to Odzala is enjoyable any time of year. June through September and December through February are the driest periods. During these periods the air can be relatively hazy and the humidity is lower, but rainfall during these times can still occur and be quite variable. During the wetter months, tropical rainstorms contrast with sustained periods of clear blue skies and beautiful limpid light for photography.

    The Mathews Forest, dubbed a ‘biological bonanza’ by the BBC, is one of the great stretches of Kenyan forest wildernesses.  Scientists call this mountain forest a ‘sky island’, which rises up out of the surrounding sea of arid lowlands, to an altitude of 2200 metres. This ancient mountain forest is a stronghold for a wide range of plant and wildlife species, such as Melanistic leopard, also known as the black panther, lion, forest elephant and antelopes, buffalo, the rare De Brazza monkey, Colobus monkey, greater kudu, waterbuck, giant forest hog as well as Africa’s endangered wild dog.

    Over 200 bird species have been counted in the area, together with more than 150 species of butterflies, representing more than twice the amount of butterfly species found in the UK. Stretching for 150km, the mountains are covered in a 300km2 dense indigenous forest interspersed with giant cedars and a rare species of ancient cycad, one of the oldest plant types on the planet, endemic to the Mathews forests.

    The real attraction of this remote area is its striking beauty and the opportunity to explore the forest on foot in complete privacy as well as to experience unique social interactions with the local Samburu and Ndorobo people.

    To the south of the Mathews Mountains lie the Sarara Plains, approximately 75,000 hectares, home to the Samburu tribe’s people, who are a group of semi-nomadic pastoralists who have for long shown tolerance for the wildlife that co-exists alongside their cattle.

    Kitich Camp is a truly remote and private location in a stunning forest glade on the upper slopes of the Mathews Mountains.  At night, the atmosphere is magical, and the glade is lit for guests to observe the cautious trail of nocturnal visitors, including Melanistic (black-coated) leopard, elephant, bushbuck, and buffalo – all of which come to drink and hunt by the river.

    With just six tents situated under a dense tree canopy, overlooking the stunning Ngeng River, this camp is a low-key classic. At Kitich, the lodge provides old fashioned safari comforts, including soft & fresh linen, comfortable double beds, iced drinks, and gracious dining – all in a wonderfully peaceful setting.

    Night Game Viewing: Being a forest camp, and in the style of “Tree Tops”, the cosy lounge overlooks the floodlit open river glade, and at night guests can watch elephant, buffalo, bushbuck and occasionally leopard emerge from the forest at night to drink from the river, or dig for natural salts.

    Guided Walks: Taking advantage of the pristine wilderness, Kitich Camp avoids traditional game drives, instead encouraging guests to explore these wild environs on foot, guided by the “masters of the forest”, the Ndorobo Samburu guides.

    Swimming in Rock Pools: With crystal clear cool waters, flowing out of a spring in the mountains, enjoy swimming with nature in this magical forest paradise.

    Cultural Visits: The people of Kitich and their families within the village of Ngalai are a colourful, traditional, gentle and friendly people whose only interaction with the wider world is with the guests from Kitich.

    Guests are hosted by the local people when they stay at Kitich, but guests are also welcome to drive down and visit the market and school in the village. (School visits entail a donation).

    Guides: The guides at Kitich Camp are Ndorobo / Samburu, a semi-nomadic pastoralist community closely related to the Masai. Originally hunters, and sought after for their tracking and bush skills, some joined the Kenya Wildlife Service as trackers, before returning to Kitich. The guides at Kitich are the masters of the forest, they know the trails intimately, and can almost sense wildlife before any of the most proficient guides are aware of an animal presence. These are a gentle, happy and colourful people, who love their “work” of sharing the secrets of the forests with guests.

    Conservation: Kitich Camp is situated in the 800,000 acre Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy established in 1995 by the local communities to promote wildlife conservation and socio-economic development through sustainable utilization of natural resources. The conservancy is facilitated by the Northern Rangeland Trust (NRT), who provide capacity building at grassroots level to empower elected community trustees to effectively manage their own conservancy, increase security for wildlife, protect natural resources, resolve grazing conflicts and establish sustainable enterprises. Kitich is a key tourism partner for Namunyak, employing 80% of its staff from the surrounding communities and paying conservation fees coll ected from guests on a US$40 per person per night basis. 60% of this income is used to fund community development, while 40% is used to fund annual operations costs of Namunyak.

    Sustainable tourism: Kitich Camp has been awarded “Gold Level” by the internationally recognised Ecotourism Kenya in recognition of its high level of environmental responsibility. The camp achieves environmental best practice by combining old fashioned safari camp know-how with latest technology, relying entirely on solar power and using only LED lighting. Rubbish is responsibly disposed of or recycled. Glass is separated and sold to the recycling plant ‘Central Glass’ in Nairobi.

    “The Mathews Range… rises from the arid brown plains of northern Kenya like a green tropical island” – BBC

    Saruni Samburu is located at the heart of the Kalama Community Wildlife Conservancy, about 7 km from the Northern border of the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya. It also borders Ngutuk Ongiron to the west, Namunyak Community Conservation Trust to the north and Sera Community Wildlife Conservation to the north east.

    Saruni Samburu’s six luxury eco-chic villas are open and spacious, heralding spectacular views over Kalama Conservancy and Mount Kenya. As the only lodge in over 200,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness teeming with wildlife to explore exclusively, and guided by Samburu warriors passionate about their land and culture, the safari experience at Saruni Samburu is intimate and truly exceptional.

    About Kalama: Kalama lies in an area of 95,000 hectares of Girgir Group Ranch in Samburu land, west of Archer's Post. With a population of only 2,000, the main livelihood in the area is livestock, mostly camels and goats. Kalama members have coexisted with the Samburu National Reserve for over 40 years, sharing revenues and wildlife. The absence of fences makes it one of the few places left that allows for the free movement of wildlife across a vast area.

    Indigenous Guides: At Saruni Samburu they are proud of their guides and trackers. They belong to the Kalama community and know intimately the land and the animals, the weather and the roads, the people and the natural elements. Being on safari with a Samburu professional guide means that you will not only encounter more animals, but you will learn how to read the book of nature through their eyes. It's the beginning of a friendship that, for many of their guests, lasts well beyond the duration of the safari.

    To walk with the Samburu warriors in the African bush is a fantastic experience and you will learn how they use the environment and about their traditions and their existence.

    Guests visit a genuine Samburu village called Kiltimany and because the local people are neighbours and friends, it’s a privilege to share moments of their life. They are the ancient custodians of the land that share with you, and as an integral part of the Saruni Samburu experience you will see how they live, how they protect the environment and in what ways they differ from other African tribes. Be prepared for the Samburu to ask you questions too as they will be curious about you and your lifestyle!

    Tracking the Black Rhino with the Samburu: In February 2017, Saruni expanded its luxury collection of lodges and tented camps with the opening of ‘Saruni Rhino’. Located in Sera Community Conservancy, the camp offers the first rhino tracking experience in East Africa: an amazing walking safari that provides a uniquely thrilling adventure, but also allows our guests to actively contribute to the protection of this iconic species.

    This ‘thrill-of-a-lifetime’ experience is a walking safari tracking black rhino on foot, accompanied by an expert Saruni guide and a highly-trained Sera Community Conservancy ranger, equipped with a transmitter correlating to the GPS whereabouts of the 11 rhinos throughout the 54,000 hectares-large sanctuary. The vast rhino sanctuary has been fenced in what is one of the most advanced conservation projects in Kenya. Operational only throughout certain hours of the day for maximum protection, the use of the transmitter allows us to game drive our guests a tracking distance away from the nearest rhino, leaving the vehicle and continuing on foot (very lightly to not give away our presence) to metres from the grazing rhino. The tension is palpable as you come across the rhino in such close proximity for the first time; heart beating, pulse racing, curiosity and excitement mounting – it doesn’t get more thrilling than this!
  • The Londolozi photographic Safari:
    The Londolozi photographic Safari:

    The Londolozi photographic Safari:

    The Londolozi photographic safari is where ancient wisdom, modern technology and nature converge.  Londolozi has long been recognised as a superb location for wildlife photography, specialising in the big cats. Incredible light, diverse scenery and a plethora of African wildlife set the stage for unsurpassed photographic theatre.  The Londolozi Photographic Studio is very popular with the guests, who are able to direct and produce their own creative work. With tuition from a qualified ‘Light Room’ instructor, you can spend time between game drives editing and printing your best safari shots.

    Rent Photographic Equipment: The Photographic Studio also offers guests the chance to rent a multitude of professional level photographic bodies, lenses and accessories. Gone are the days of lugging heavy camera gear around the world. Now it’s as simple as pre-booking your gear and finding it ready for use upon your arrival at the lodge.  First-time photographers can also try out the latest telephoto lens and body setups by requesting the equipment at the lodge. If you want to capture a close-up of a leopard in a tree, a fish eagle in flight or zebras grooming each other, the photographic studio has the right lens to get you the perfect shot.

    The Photographic Studio: Londolozi’s guests are warmly invited to visit their onsite Photographic Studio, where they offer one-on-one post-production tuition and the opportunity to print images on wide-format canvas.

    Londolozi Photographic Studio at a Glance

    • Open from 10:00am-4:00pm daily (booking required)

    • All photographic equipment rentals can be pre-ordered and will be waiting in your suite upon arrival

    • Edit your images on the latest widescreen retina display iMacs using Light room CC

    • Print your personal images onto wide-format canvasses.

    The Private Vehicle:  A private safari vehicle can be reserved for individuals and families. A dedicated ranger and tracker team will focus on tailoring the safari experience around the guest’s specific needs and interests (e.g. birding, botany, big cats, etc.). This is ideal for experienced safari-goers or those who enjoy a little more privacy.


    • One morning and one afternoon game drive per day

    • A dedicated ranger and tracker team

    The Complete Photographic Experience:  While most of the rangers have a natural flair for photography, several Londolozi rangers are highly regarded photographers in their own right. For this safari option, we will pair you with one of these ‘photographic rangers’ and also bring in a professional photographic guide to be your private instructor. Your guide will assist you both in the field and in post-processing and editing.


    • A private safari vehicle customised for a photographic experience

    • A professional photographic guide with specialist wildlife knowledge

    • A dedicated ranger and tracker team focused on getting you into the best photographic positions possible

    • Full access to the Londolozi media centre for post-processing and editing. Two small canvasses (24cm x 36cm) are included and extra printing can be done at an additional cost

    *The photographic safari experience is limited to four guests per vehicle and a minimum of two nights.

    This safari type should be booked prior to arrival.

  • Jaci’s Photographic Safaris
    Jaci’s Photographic Safaris
    The Jaci’s Lodges photographic safari options guarantee an encounter with some of the most sought-after wildlife subjects. The newly opened “Terrapin Hide” provides incredible water level photographic opportunities, combined with our Daily Photographic Safaris with our photographic field guides, use of professional level DSLR cameras and telephoto lenses, complimented with custom built Gimpro game viewer arms & single/double pano heads you can be assured of access to state of the art specialised equipment and expert tuition to compliment your wildlife photography skills.

    The Jaci’s specialised Photographic safari experience allows for total flexibility, whether you are looking for a set departure photographic safari, an expert led group photographic experience/safari or if you prefer to do things yourself on our daily guided Photographic Safaris, the choice is yours to make – depending on your personal requirements.

    Access to the Terrapin Hide is 24 hours per day, through an underground/water tunnel, complete with red LED interior lights, spotlights & radio to order that all important morning coffee or well-earned G & T!

    So whether you choose join a Daily Photographic Safari or to skip game drive & spend time in the Terrapin Hide – the choice is yours to make. You can stay up late to view the nocturnal animals coming for a drink or capture the star-filled night sky, at the Terrapin Hide, its convenient accessibility will allow you to do just that! With the Terrapin Hide facing West, you are guaranteed soft morning light, and those warm, dusty, backlit silhouettes in the late afternoon, that you see in publications and could previously only dream of!
  • Hartley’s top destinations in Africa for birding safaris
    Hartley’s top destinations in Africa for birding safaris

    Bird watching holidays in Africa are unique, with around 2300 bird species found in Africa, you'll be kept busy almost every moment of your birding holiday. The standard of guiding is superb throughout the continent and you can be sure of a great experience. There are scheduled birding safari departures to specific destinations, but private custom bird watching tours are also available.

    From Zambia with over 400 species of bird occurring in The Luangwa Valley, this is a stunning destination for any ornithologist. One of the top raptor spotting destinations in Africa is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, shared between Botswana and South Africa.

    Large populations of both Lesser and Greater flamingos breed in some of the Rift Valley Lakes, particularly Lake Nakuru in Kenya. The Rift valley also forms a “flyway’ for many species of migrant moving from southern Africa to Western Asia and eastern Europe.

    In central Africa the Albertine Rift Valley of Rwanda and Uganda offers specialist tropical birds with many endemics. Uganda alone has a national checklist of more than 1000 species. “Special sightings” include the Ruwenzori Apalis, Ruwenzori Turaco and the Green-breasted Pitta. Uganda is also a good place to look for the enigmatic Shoebill.

    Madagascar is another birding hotspot – of the approximately 290 species recorded on the island just over 100 are endemic – in other words they are found nowhere else on earth.

    Further places to explore would be The Bale Mountains in Ethiopia; Mana Pools in Zimbabwe, the Cape Coastal areas, the Kwa Zulu Natal reserves and the Kruger National Park in South Africa, the Okavango Delta in Botswana and Etosha in Namibia to name a few.

    When should we go birding?

    The best time to see birds in Southern Africa is between November and March. These countries are all excellent destinations with many birding Safaris available: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi.

    In East Africa, the best time to go birding is January - March. Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia are all very popular birding destinations during these seasons.

    West Africa offers a huge and exciting variety of birds and the best time to visit Cameroon, the Gambia and other destinations is during the European winter from November to March.

    How to get a good bird’s eye view:

    There are two elements essential to the enjoyment of any African birding safari – plenty of birds, and excellent guiding.  When asked by guests, what is needed for birding, a simple answer is a good pair of binoculars, a sun hat and a notebook if required.

    More than anything you will need a good pair of bins / binos or for the uninitiated binoculars, as well as a bird field guide specific to your safari area.  Every naturalist using binoculars has an opinion on magnification, and there is never a shortage of advice as to what constitutes the best magnification for safari goers and birding.  Taken from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology here are 6 steps to choosing the correct binoculars

    • For almost any bird that crosses your path, a good pair of binoculars will show you fine details, make colours pop out of shadows, and improve your chance of identifying what you’ve seen. For most bird watchers, binoculars soon become almost an extension of their bodies.

    • Decide on your price range. Top-of-the-line binoculars give you a pristine image in a comfortable, durable package. Lower price ranges also offer some great options, thanks to technological advances in the last decade.

    • Pick a magnification. Deciding between 8x and 10x binoculars is a personal choice. In general 10x are better at distance birding. But it usually also means a narrower field of view, a slightly darker image in low light, and more noticeable hand-shake. An 8x gives you a smaller image that’s wider, brighter, and easier for finding and following birds. Test a lot of models. No two birders look through binoculars exactly the same way. Size of hands, shape of face, how you focus, how you carry the bins when you’re not using them—all matter. So pick up as many pairs as you can to get a feel for what suits you.

    • Look for bright, crisp, true colour. Image quality has an overriding importance. How bright are the bins? How sharp? How true are the colours? How well do they resolve details in a backlit image? Most optics stores are better lit than your average forest—find somewhere dark to compare low-light performance. In our ratings, pay special attention to the Clarity/Crispness score to decide on image quality. Note that because of poor image quality, we don’t recommend any compact-style binoculars with objective lenses smaller than about 30 mm.

    • Check the eye relief. Most binoculars have eyecups that retract to accommodate eyeglass wearers or extend to provide shading for those without. Look for durable, multi-adjustable eyecups. If you wear glasses, adjust the eyecups to their minimum position and make sure there’s enough eye relief—you shouldn’t see black rings around the image.

    Review additional features and warranties. Pay attention to field of view and close focus, two measures that affect how much you’ll see. Also pay attention to durability, waterproofing, and warranty—many major optics companies now offer excellent warranties.

    Recommended Birding books:

    • Birds of Southern Africa by Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey, and Warwick Tarboton:  This is a truly excellent bird identification guide. The illustrations are on par with the great Sibley guide of North America and they depict a range of plumage variations (such as differences in gender, age, or region.) This comprehensive list includes each of the 900 plus species which occur in Southern Africa.

    • Collins Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa:  The Collins Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa is an excellent book if you are visiting any of the countries in this this spectacular birding region, including Kenya and Tanzania.

    • Newman’s Birds of Southern Africa:  The eighth edition of this popular Southern African birding book has been updated to incorporate the information obtained since the previous edition relating to the birds of the region. 

    • Sasol Birds of Southern Africa:  The book features an advanced technique for improved field identification, and an extensive taxonomy featuring corrected misidentifications and recorded species splits that have occurred since the previous edition.

    • Birds of East Africa is the classic, indispensable field guide by Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe covering the birds of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.

    • Beat about the Bush: This African birding book by Trevor Carnaby is the latest in the excellent ‘Beat About The Bush’ series in which the most common and interesting questions about the bush are answered, the kind of questions that a safari guide is often asked.

  • Green season Birding Safari in Zambia
    Green season Birding Safari in Zambia

    The green season months are the most exciting for birding in Zambia. The migrants are present and many local birds are in full breeding plumage and are singing. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded in South Luangwa National Park and some of the highlights include Western Banded Snake Eagle, Lilian's Lovebird, Collared Palm Thrush and the stunning Fire-crowned Bishop in its summer finery.

    In addition to the regular game drives birding guests will also venture out on foot specifically listening for bird calls. There will be an emphasis on exploring the wide variety of different habitats to be found in the Luangwa Valley.

    As well as mixed riverine woodland with its lagoons and backwaters you will visit mopane forests home to species like the Arnot's Chat and Racket-Tailed Roller which will not be seen elsewhere. One day will be spent driving across the Park to the Mchinga Escarpment (weather and roads allowing!). You will drive through brachystegia and other woodlands until you reach the escarpment to look for Pale-Billed Hornbills and other very rare Luangwa sightings.

    The birding guides offer an unequalled knowledge of Luangwa's birdlife and there is always an opportunity for guests not only to see many new species but also to learn a lot about the physiology, behaviour and distribution of birds.

    Choose from either a family Lodge or the luxury of Chinzombo for this adventure.

    Day 1

    Meet your designated representative in Lusaka Airport where you will be escorted to your connecting flight to Mfuwe, your gateway to the South Luangwa National Park. This flight takes just over an hour. On arrival at Mfuwe Airport, you will be transported to Chinzombo, where you can settle into your chalet. This afternoon after an excellent afternoon tea, you will participate in your first game viewing activity, exploring the surrounding area on the back of a 4X4 vehicle with an expert birding guide.

    Days 2 -7

    Over the course of the week there is the opportunity to go on an all-day drive, allowing you the chance to explore deeply into the Park. Taking a picnic lunch with you, lunch can be set up in the shade of a gorgeous old tree, with the sounds of the bush and the birds a symphony in the background. On other days, you will set off early to catch the morning light and enjoy afternoon/evening drives where you’ll get to see magnificent skyscapes and sunsets, a wealth of migratory birds, lions and leopards on the hunt and occasional dramatic tropical downpours.

    Day 8

    This morning you will enjoy one final hearty breakfast at your camp, and then make your way to Mfuwe Airport for your domestic flight back to Lusaka.

    Best for: Those interested in seeing migrant bird species and breeding plumage; the budget conscious traveller who want great value and stunning photography opportunities

    Included: This safari is sold on a fully inclusive basis with: accommodation, all meals, standard bar drinks, laundry, Mfuwe Airport transfers to/from our camps, inter-camp transfers and two guided safaris per day.

    Please click here to contact one of our consultants to assist you with a comprehensive itinerary

  • Birding on Rubondo Island National Park, Tanzania
    Birding on Rubondo Island National Park, Tanzania

    Lying in the southwestern corner of Lake Victoria, the whole of Rubondo Island is given over to conservation. It is Africa’s largest island national park (26 kilometres long and varying from 3 to 10 kilometres wide). Over three-quarters of its 25 000 hectares are blanketed in untouched equatorial forest – an unusual protected habitat for Africa’s wildlife.

    It’s a rare privilege to set foot on Rubondo. Bar a handful of park wardens, wildlife researchers and camp staff, the island is uninhabited by humans and has been set aside as a refuge for threatened chimpanzees, families of elephant and the shy sitatunga antelope. The surrounding waters of Lake Victoria are a crucial breeding ground for tilapia and the enormous Nile perch. This unique corner of Africa is a sanctuary to be enjoyed by only a handful of fortunate – and intrepid – travellers.

    The camp – the only lodgings on this verdant island – immerses you in this lush and unspoilt ecosystem. From its lakefront location to the eco-friendly design of the eight fabulous cottages, the camp offers unrivalled access to this one-of-a-kind destination, where elephant roams wild, colourful birds and butterflies flit through the pristine indigenous rainforest and the waters teem with hippo, crocodile and the iconic Nile perch.

    Birding Itinerary

    East Africa’s birdlife is quite simply stunning and very plentiful. This itinerary will take you through vibrant swamps and mighty rivers to discover the water birds before moving to the higher altitude of the Upper Rift Valley and then to the rolling grasslands of the Serengeti. Explore the lakeshore of Rubondo Island, an ornithologist’s dream, before ending in Ruaha to view both northern and southern species in the same area.

    Itinerary offers:

    • View the pelicans and pink-hued flamingo of Lake Manyara

    • From November to March spot the rare Eleonora’s falcon in Ruaha

    • Tick off both water and forest dwelling species at Rubondo Island

    Days 1 & 2: Rivertrees Country Inn, Arusha

    Once an old coffee estate, Rivertrees is now a charming country inn nestled in abundant foliage with the Usa River flowing by. Set in the foothills of Mt Meru, conveniently close to Kilimanjaro International Airport and a short drive to Arusha, its location proffers a wealth of natural wonders to explore. 

    Activities: Game drives; Canoeing; Mountain biking; Cultural & community visits.

    Days 3 & 4: Oliver’s Camp, Tarangire National Park

    Discover Tarangire, a park with over 500 recorded species of birdlife. With varied habitats ranging from vibrant swamps to rolling grasslands and acacia woodlands there is a bird diversity to match, and ashy starlings and yellow-collared lovebirds, endemic to Tanzania, can both be found here.

    Activities: Game drives; walking safaris; Fly camping

    Day 5: Serena Manyara, Lake Manyara National Park

    Stop off at Lake Manyara, a water-birdlover’s paradise that’s home to herons, egrets, storks and spoonbills. And of course the elegant pink flamingo that congregate around the shores of the shallow, alkaline lake of the same name, alongside huge populations of pelicans.

    Activities: Game drives; Boating; Cultural & community visits

    Day 6: Plantation Lodge, Ngorongoro Conservation Area

    With easy access to the world-famous Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Plantation Lodge is a wonderful base from which to discover the birds of the Upper Rift Valley. The tropical gardens around the lodge also attract colourful birds and butterflies for some viewing closer to home.

    Activities: Game drives; Cultural & community visits

    Days 7 – 8: Dunia Camp, Central Serengeti

    Explore the heart of the Serengeti from Dunia, a tranquil tented camp with expansive views of the pristine wilderness. With a varied habitat of grasslands dotted with acacia groves and the vast granite protrusions, the Moru Kopjes, the resident birdlife is superb and sightings spectacular.

    Activities: Game drives; Balloon safaris; The Great Migration (May/June and November/December)

    Days 9 – 11: Rubondo Island Camp, Rubondo Island, Lake Victoria

    Explore Africa’s largest island National Park, Rubondo, and the phenomenal birdlife hiding in the equatorial forest and lakeshore papyrus. Over 400 endemic and migratory species have been recorded on its shores, and darters, cormorants, egrets and pied kingfisher are common.

    Activities: Game drives; Forest walks & hikes; Canoeing & boating; Fishing

    Day 12: Onsea House, Arusha

    Just outside Arusha on the drive from Kilimanjaro Airport is Onsea House. Owner-managed and run, the house has an intimate and friendly feel. Add to this the superb staff and a reputation for culinary excellence and Onsea House is a wonderful place to spend your first night in Tanzania.

    Days 13 – 14: Kwihala Camp, Ruaha National Park

    The last stop is the iconic Ruaha, a park with 580 species of recorded birds and an interesting mix of northern and southern species. Of note are the substantial populations of black-collared lovebirds and ashy starlings as well as a number of water birds on the banks of the great Ruaha River.

    Activities: Game drives; walking safaris

    Cost: From US$ 11 042.00per person sharing

    Please click here to contact one of our consultants to assist you

    with a comprehensive itinerary including flights and transfers

  • A unique coastal birding hotspot, South Africa
    A unique coastal birding hotspot, South Africa

    One of Hartley’s favourite destinations is a luxury eco-reserve close to the Southern tip of Africa tucked between mountains, forest and sea.  With 118 different bird species, Grootbos is uniquely positioned to offer both avid birders and curious novices a rich and varied birding experience. Glimpse the vivid orange of a Sunbird’s breast, see a Cape Sugarbird sipping on nectar or spot a rare Black Harrier.

    Cool Afromontane forests, the rocky coastline and serene estuaries provide a magnificent backdrop to our birding outings. Our experienced guides will share fascinating facts while helping you spot rare and endemic birds feeding and breeding in these different ecosystems.

    What’s on offer?

    • A dedicated birding tour, walk a short trail or simply spot birds from your suite.

    • Look out for the Black Harrier, Knysna Woodpecker, Southern Tchagra and Cape Rock Thrush.

    • Upated bird lists and bird books are available.

    Standard 3 nights Package

    Day 1 - Overview

    After a celebratory drink on arrival, enjoy a delicious lunch either in our restaurant or on the deck outside. After lunch, check in to your suite and make yourself comfortable before taking a trip to the pristine nearby Walker Bay beach, where dramatic rock formations and a vivid blue ocean provide the perfect backdrop to your historical cave tour. Back at Grootbos, enjoy the most decadent six-course dinner paired with award-winning local wines.

    Day 2 - Overview

    Enjoy breakfast in our restaurant or on the outside deck, before gearing yourself up for a morning of adventure. Experience the adrenalin rush of a personal encounter with a great white shark during a once-in-a-lifetime shark cage diving excursion. Alternatively, experience the Marine Big 5 first hand on a boat based trip when you spot whales, sharks, penguins, dolphins and seals. In the afternoon, embark on a horseback adventure through the reserve before ending your day with another sumptuous six-course dinner.

    Day 3 - Overview

    Explore the unique Cape Floral Kingdom on a revitalising 4x4 tour through the reserve as you soak up the fresh air and natural beauty that surrounds you. During the trip, our specialised guides will tell you facts about this rare flora in ways that will amaze and fascinate you. After lunch, learn more about our Green Futures and Growing the Future Colleges which help with the upliftment of local communities. After a busy morning, relax with a full body massage in our Forest Spa, surrounded by ancient Milkwood trees. End the day off with another six-course dinner and retire to your suite sun-kissed and sated.

    Day 4 - Overview

    On your last morning at Grootbos, join one of our guides on an early morning walk through the magical Milkwood forest as the dappled light and gnarled ancient branches create a mysterious setting. After a final breakfast in our restaurant, depart Grootbos with a host of memories you won’t soon forget.

    Cost: From R 9100.00 per night per 2 adults sharing in a luxury suite

    These rates include luxury 5 star accommodation ; full English breakfasts,3 course lunches and 6 course dinners; guided walks and hikes;  nature, marine & coastal drives; horse-riding; and a variety of land-based guided adventures.

    Please click here to contact one of our consultants to assist you

    with a comprehensive itinerary including flights and transfers

SATSA No. 207

Hartley’s Safaris is registered with Southern Africa Tourism Association Registration number 207.


Hartley’s Safaris
South Africa (Pty) Ltd
Reg no: 2001/006019/07
United Kingdom
Copyright © 2016 Hartley's Safaris SA

Okavango Explorations (UK) Ltd
T/A Hartleys Safaris
Registered in England No. 2348880
Copyright © 2016 Hartley's Safaris UK

SATSA No. 207

The air holidays and flights shown are ATOL Protected by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Our ATOL number is ATOL 3958. Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website.

Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected.

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