Lonely Planet put Rwanda’s Akagera National Park in the top ten of New in Travel 2016, its miniguide to the world’s best new places to visit in 2016. The park came in third out of 31 incredible destinations.
In mid-2015, lions were introduced to the park after a 15-year absence from the country. Lonely Planet editor Matt Phillips writes that 2016 will be ideal for watching these magnificent creatures: “Once the pride establishes its stomping grounds sometime in early 2016, it will be easier for safari guides to locate lions for visitors.” And since Rwanda is more well-known for its mountain gorillas than its other safari creatures, crowds at Akagera are unlikely, leading to a wonderful experience out in the wilds.
The primary goal of many safari goers is to see the Big Five African game: leopards, African elephants, Cape buffalos, rhinos and lions.
As rewarding as it is to watch these animals in the wild, you’ll miss out if they’re the only things you look for. Previously on this blog, I’ve written about the rewards of exploring plants, birds, and small creatures such as the Little Five of sub-Saharan Africa.
Namibia’s Skeleton Coast has such a unique desert ecosystem that locals have developed a list of their own Little Five, beautifully photographed in a recent article for Africa Geographic. They include four reptiles and one arachnid: a snake called Peringuey’s adder, the dancing white lady spider, the Namaqua chameleon, the Palmato gecko, and the shovel-snouted lizard.
Read on to find out more about these marvelous creatures!
Palmato gecko have no eyelids, so they keep their eyes moist they lick their eyeballs. Their webbed feet help them scurry over the sand without sinking. During the day, they often hide in the sand to stay cool.
Who doesn’t love baby elephants? Daphne Sheldrick certainly does, and she’s taken her love further than most, becoming the first person to successfully rescue baby African elephants of nursing age who have lost their mothers and raise them to adulthood. One Green Planet recently wrote an illuminating profile of this fascinating 81-year-old woman.
It’s the beginning of a new year and time to look back on the past one. Every year, the World Travel Awards accepts nominations from travelers for the best places to visit around the globe. After voting, two of my favorite destinations came out on top for 2015:
- Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya was named Africa’s Leading National Park
- Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania was named Africa’s Leading Tourist Attraction
Want to learn what all the fuss is about? Read more about one Ujuzi traveler’s hike up Mount Kilimanjaro here. And view pictures from my exploratory safari to the Masai Mara here.
Ready to explore Africa? Contact Ujuzi so we can help!