Follow Us
Image Alt

Our Journal

East Africa: The Whole Picture


East Africa is often associated with a well known motion picture: “Out of Africa”. This film displays rolling vistas of grasslands and mountains, dotted with a myriad of mammal species, endless plains and a sense of complete wilderness. In real life, this is truly not far from the truth! There are still vast stretches of land that are protected within National Parks such as the Masai Mara and The Serengeti. Besides these areas, there are countless more habitats and reserves to visit such as the Great African Rift Valley and the mountains associated with it. The latter area also contains a huge array of wildlife most definitely worth exploring. On the other hand, the exquisite coastlines and incredibly beautiful island paradises boasting white sand, teeming reefs and eco luxury lodges are another avenue one needs to experience. All of these facets combined make for one epic East African safari experience!

Rwanda, a place which stirs all kinds of emotions. A past genocide crippled the country, it’s people and the environment around it. To comprehend such a reality is challenging, therefore a visit to the genocide museum can help one learn how far this small but courageous country has come since it’s past atrocities. This was an opportunity which we as a team didn’t want to miss and were, without doubt, truly inspired by the story! The fact that Rwanda was was able to pick itself up, open up successful tourism and trade and thrive once again, is a shining beacon to the rest of the world. We came to Rwanda not just for the cultural element, but to see the magnificent yet sadly endangered mountain gorillas made famous by Diane Fossey many years ago. The Volcanoes National Park, part of the Virunga mountain range, was our destination of choice. This is where the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda meet and is home to the majority of the last remaining mountain gorillas alive. The goal was to be up close and personal with these great apes…

Photographs and bloodied passports reflect past atrocities.

We spent the next two days trekking to various areas of the park and visiting different territorial groups. The highlights were definitely some youngsters playing, newborn babies with their mothers and two huge silverbacks displaying and having a heated debate on who was boss. A magical experience in one of the last places on earth to see mountain gorillas!

Crashing through the jungle, braving stinging nettles and fire ants, we made our way to the gorillas.

I see you… a glimpse of our first gorilla.

Dexterous hands and fingers, so human-like.

Incredibly lucky to be this close to a silverback gorilla.

A curious youngster feeding.

A mother cradles her infant with the love and protection only she knows.

A group of youngsters play in amongst us… just keep still!

A stand off between two silverbacks to see who is the ultimate boss.

After having been extremely lucky in and humbled by Rwanda, the team jumped on our private pilates PC12 headed to our next destination – Tanzania and the Lamai Triangle in the Serengeti National Park. Singita Mara River Tented Camp was to be our home here and is located on the northern banks of the world-renowned Mara River in the Lamai Triangle. Lamai covers 98,000 acres of the northern-most tip of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. At this time, the spectacle of the great migration and river crossings were taking place! Sitting on the banks of the Mara River, thrilled to have found a viewing point to watch this famous wildlife event, we now had some perspective of the mammoth task that lay ahead of the herd of a million-strong animals that were on the other side. A mad rush through crocodile-infested waters for much needed grazing in the North was the instinctive driver within the animals. Our timing was perfect and we managed to see a crossing of at least 10 000 animals! A truly unique experience, one which documentaries and even photographs struggle to do justice. The shear mass of animals and the lengths to which they go to to cross, often jumping down impossible drop-offs and swimming directly towards waiting crocodiles… is a breathtaking and intense scene to take in.

The herd on the opposite bank trying top find the confidence and a place to cross the Mara River.

After following the herd on the opposite bank for a few hours, it finally happened. Patience paid off!

A crazy death jump down an vertical bank into the river. A few wildebeest died just from the jump. Quite a tough scene to take in…

Swimming for their lives.

The entire scene: chaos and disaster mixed with triumph and relief.

The aftermath of the crossing, showing the devastation and the consequent clean up crew.

The lions were waiting for their quarry to arrive.

Even a massive giraffe is dwarfed by the expanse of the plains.

Constant companions of the wildebeest, some 200 000 zebra also migrate.

Some feisty elephant youngsters kept us entertained.

A farewell to the Mara River and Singita Lamai.

The team now headed further South to an area known as the Grumeti concession, a huge private area operated by Singita. Singita Serengeti House was our villa for the next three days and was certainly a breathtaking little piece of paradise in an incredible location.  We had been very lucky in seeing the river crossing at Lamai and now, as a result of the wildebeest passing through, the grass of the Grumeti had been flattened making it ideal for game viewing. The latter was also amplified by the fact that the southern Serengeti hosts famous short grass plains and, with both these factors in play, we were not disappointed. We were able to clearly see a multitude of species including cheetah, leopard and lion with a highlight being a cheetah chase and hunt of a Thompson’s gazelle. There was plenty of game to see, including buffalo herds, eland, giraffe, hartebeest, zebra and so much more. Overall, a truly luxurious location with phenomenal game viewing!

Serengeti House. A luxurious villa overlooking the plains of the Grumeti region.

Exploring the concession in search of big cats and plains game.

A large herd of elephants spreads out and walks right past our vehicle.

A lion cub snarls at his sibling…just like humans!

A female cheetah stalks the plains for prey. We saw three different cheetah in the space of three days, something very unique and fortunate for us.

In between our activities, we managed to fit in a awe-inspiring hot air balloon ride. Weather permitting, this is a truly exciting venture not to be missed! Drifting quietly over the expanse of land, we were able to get a true perspective of size and understanding of the staggering amount of animals that roam here. Back at camp we rounded things off with relaxing massages, electric tennis matches, an insightful cooking class and some much needed down time to cap off a truly wonderful last few days.

A young male leopard posed beautifully for us.

A hot air balloon… Drifting over the Grumeti reserve at sunrise is something one will never forget.

The wildebeest herds had moved North to Lamai and into Kenya, but their flattened footpaths remained. Coming to Singita Grumeti just after the migration is a great time as the grass is now short and game viewing phenomenal.

A cooking class at Serengeti house. The objective: make a “samoosa’.

A final sunset to say goodbye to Singita Grumeti. Collen, Jeremiah and Musa (our guides) were legendary!

We finished this East African safari with a last stop at AndBeyond’s Vamizi island. This luxurious eco-resort off the coast of North Eastern Mozambique is situated within a wild and intact ecosystem, one which is truly unique in it’s own sense. With some of the most beautiful diving and snorkelling in the world, exhilirating deep-sea fishing and overall unparalleled tranquility along with astonishing views,Vamizi Island was a truly fantastic place to end our safari!

Welcome to Vamizi!

Fishing the channels and drop offs from Vamizi.

Go fish!

Sunset Gin & Tonics…

Or maybe some wine…

A final drink on the beach, an incredible dinner and then off to bed to fly home the next day.

Our trusty Pilatus PC12 NG. Home time and a farewell to an awesome trip and team!

East Africa, we had explored its mountains, its plains, its coasts and the magnificent wildlife which inhabits these places. Rwanda, Tanzania and Mozambique showed off all of their splendours and we are eternally grateful for this experience. To an amazing safari team, thank you! As always, we cannot wait to see you all again to create more memories together.

Asante Sana, thank you..