I met the Sorrento Travel & Cruise Group in Johannesburg at 5.00am on a cold morning to connect with a flight to Kigali in Rwanda. Our goal was to see the gorillas in the Virunga National Park, a drive of around 4 hours north of Kigali. The next day we were off to the misty mountains of Dian Fossey fame. The national park is nestled in the mountains with Uganda, the Congo and Rwanda for borders.
At dawn the following day dividing into 2 groups we set off to see the gorillas of the Virunga Mountains. There are approximately 1000 gorillas left in Africa and hopes and anticipation were high. Our rangers walked with us assisting when necessary. One group had a shorter walk with the gorillas coming to them. The other group had a longer harder walk in.
Joy, laughter, silence, amazement, surprise and reverence struck both groups when they sat for over an hour to view and interact (from a distance) with these magnificent creatures. Mind you that did not stop one gorilla coming up and pushing tour member Deidre in the back. The Silver Back “Dad” was amazing however the mother and newly born baby was the highlight.
Setting off for the Gorilla Trek – photograph by Liz Bentley
Mother and baby – photography by Mike Lyons
We returned to Kigali visiting the Genocide Museum and next day left for East Africa. We stopped in Nairobi to visit the Daphne Sheldrick Elehpant Orphanage ( it was a shambles and no one thought it was worth the visit), the famous Rothschild Giraffe at Giraffe Manor and then Karen Blixen’s House in the Ngong Hills. The traffic in Nairobi is total out of control and if you can bypass Nairobi – do so.
Following the animal migration we flew to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania for our journey to the Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti and Maasai Mara National Parks. Ngorongoro Crater was fabulous – we saw it all! Every animal that one would wish and our accommodation at Lemala Camp under stunning acacia trees was fabulous.
Di Lyons with a
Rothchilds Giraffe. Photograph Liz Bentley
After a long day travelling the Serengeti which seem to stretch for ever ended up in camp on the Mara River. It was here we saw the big wildebeest herds with zebras
amongst them all in line, walking up and down the river looking for a place to cross. We waited for for 3 days wathcing these mighty herds – but it didn’t happen! The balloon flight over the
Serengeti was stunning as was the champagne breakfast. On to the Maasai Mara and Nalepo Camp and the tour guide Shiv. Definitely one of the highlights of the tour – his knowledge is incredible and his sense of humour fabulous. The food, the camp,the animals just everything was just perfect.
Goodbye to Kenya and hello to Zanzibar. Totally different and spectacular in a different way. We relaxed in the sunshine visiting the Spice Farms and walked through Stone Town before flying home.
A fabulous group to take away – thank you for being such an amazing group. Liz Bentley.