Well, the last few months have been a bit of a roller-coaster from a possible travel point of view. We went from being determined to not go again to possibly doing an epic Spine of Africa road-trip to finally settling on something a little more modest. This will be my tenth safari to Africa and, as always and despite the hard work that the last trip involved, I am really looking forward to it.
|Preliminary Route and Location Map|
Our usual group of four is down to three for this trip, Elizabeth deciding to stay behind for this one, leaving myself, Fred and Chris to travel out and join Emmy, our driver and guide, who is coming over from Uganda to look after us. Fred is doing a sterling job of organisation as usual, co-ordinating with local assistance to get us the best deals at the best locations.
We're going to start with a couple of firsts. It will be my first time flying out of Heathrow. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad one, but the times of all the flights mean that we won't have an overnight in either direction, having night flights for the long-hauls instead.
Secondly, as the map shows, we are flying direct to Kigali in Rwanda. Another country to tick off on my list. We're not just using it as a drop-in point, we are going to spend a few days in Akagera National Park on the way home.
Anyway, here's the provisional itinerary (and it may be subject to minor changes.
- February 14th - Fly from The Isle of Man to London then overnight to Rwanda.
A long flight, but we can sleep through it and be fairly fresh for a moderate drive to our first destination.
- February 15th - Drive from Kigali to Burigi-Chato National Park in Tanzania.
It's a fairly newly gazetted national park, but it will be well worth the visit. Sitatunga antelopes and Shoebill are high on my list of things to see here.
We'll move on to have a couple of nights out on Rubondo Island. The whole island is a nature reserve famed for its primates and birds.
- February 21st - Sandmark Hotel on Speke Gulf
Plenty to see and do on the shore of Lake Victoria for a couple of nights to break up the drive.
- February 23rd - Serengeti to Ikoma
We drive east into the vastness of the Serengeti. I've been to Seronera briefly before, but it will be nice to go back, even if we are just passing through on the way a little further north to Ikoma. Lots of big game to be seen, but plenty of birds as well.
- February 26th - Mwitongo Lodge, Butiama
We drive north to Butiama through the Grumeti Game Reserve. From Butiama we can explore the mouth of the Mara river and the hopefully bird-filled papyrus beds to be found there.
- February 29th - Speke Bay Lodge
Hopefully time to get out on the water and explore the birdlife of the vastness of Lake Victoria. Plenty of game-viewing excursions to be had as well.
- March 3rd - The Drive Back
We haven't settled on an overnight location on the long drive back just yet, but we'll find something.
- March 4th - Akagera
Five days in the National Park at two different location should give us plenty of opportunity to see the big five and lots of other game. There are lakes to be explored as well.
- March 9th - Kigali and Home
Return to Kigali for our overnight flight back to Heathrow.
- March 10th - Home
Chris leaves us at Heathrow and we fly back to the Island.