Hiking the Mountains of the Moon

Described as being perhaps the toughest hiking challenge in East Africa, Uganda‘s Rwenzori Mountains require above-average fitness and stamina. Now National Geographic has named the Rwenzoris one of the top 15 hikes in the world. The magic of the Rwenzori’s snow-capped peaks, glaciers, and vegetation zones has long inspired mankind’s spirit of adventure. The first well-documented sighting of the Rwenzoris by Europeans was made by Sir Henry Stanley in 1876. Prior to this it was incorrectly rumored that the source of the Nile came from the “The Mountains of the Moon.”

However, “Rwenzori,” is derived from a local name meaning “Hill of Rain,” which is a more accurate description of this mountain range that receives approximately 98-118 inches of rainfall annually. As a result, the Rwenzoris have a unique ecosystem with several vegetative zones and numerous endemic species of gigantic plants. The park also supports an impressive number of mammals, including elephant, cats, chimpanzee, giant forest hog, and many shyer species of antelope, as well as a diverse and colorful variety of birds. A variety of hiking/trekking options are available in this stunning mountain range from one to nine days.

Featured Lodge: Mwagusi Safari Camp, Tanzania

Mwagusi Safari Camp offers its guests a unique and comfortable tented safari experience. Almost all of the camp is built from natural materials such as grass thatch, timber, drift wood, stones and reeds, allowing the camp to be in perfect balance and harmony with its surroundings. And what surroundings! Mwagusi Safari Camp is a gateway to the incomparable Ruaha National Park, which has been dubbed the undiscovered gem of Tanzania and is often called “Tanzania’s best kept secret.” Situated far off the beaten track, away from crazy camera clicking crowds, this rough tract of wilderness pulsates the real energy of an Africa long forgotten. Visitors come to Ruaha to enjoy the dramatic landscapes and abundance of wildlife, with well-maintained roads and few visitors, which all work to make Ruaha the perfect safari holiday destination.

While at Mwagusi Safari Camp, your “banda” (meaning “temporary shelter”) will consist of a large spacious tent sheltered by a cooling thatch roof and set on a polished red floor. Each banda has en-suite facilities with flushing toilet, an unlimited supply of hot water, shower, sink, shelving, a large mirror and good night-time lighting. Built using stones, driftwood and bones, the bathroom is an area of interesting, unique and original design. Thick, comfortable towels and locally-produced clove soap are provided.

An efficient same-day laundry service that is free of charge is offered. The tented living area includes dressing table and mirror, trunk for storage, comfortable beds with high-density mattresses, safari style chairs and bedside tables for nighttime reading. All the “bandas” are built into the sandy banks of the Mwagusi River providing their own private and secluded view. Each has large covered verandah, with a comfortable cushioned seating area and swinging hammock, making this the perfect place to relax and view the passing wildlife.

Flexibility is key at Mwagusi and you can choose the time and length of your game drives (from a 6 hour early morning drive, other shorter 2-3 hour drives or a full-day drive with picnic lunch). You will be accompanied by one of our excellent and knowledgeable guides and an experienced driver.

Our vehicles are specially adapted open sided 4WD vehicles each with comfortable seats and high shade awning to enable one to stand and still be in the shade whilst game viewing. Each vehicle is equipped with reference books, beanbags for photography, drinks and all the necessities for a day in the bush. All vehicles carry radios for communication with the camp.

Bonobos, Our Altruistic Cousins

We’ve long looked to chimpanzees and gorillas, our closest primate relatives, for insights into human culture and behavior. And sometimes the information aren’t always flattering, for they have similar capacities for war and violence. Now a new study suggests that the bonobo may provide some clues to humankind’s altruistic tendencies. Read more.

You Are What Your … Family Eats?

We all know that our families affect our choices throughout our lives, but how about the way you eat? A new study reports that chimpanzees, long admired for their use of tools in procuring food, have preferences based on their family groups. Like father like son … or perhaps like alpha male and alpha female? Read more.

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