The Democratic Republic of Congo is the birthplace for wildlife conservation in Africa, successfully demarcating forested areas as protected parks for more than 100 000 rare gorillas. The addition of a new national park in the Congo offers hope for the future of gorillas.
The Congo’s fifth National Park aims to offer further sanctuary to gorillas, forest elephants, and other threatened wildlife. This is an incredible accomplishment for wildlife conservation in the Congo and around the world as the new Ogooué-Leketi National Park which borders with Gabon’s Batéké Plateau National Park, will collectively offer more than 1 359 080 acres of protected river valleys, forests, and rolling savannahs.
The Ogooué-Leketi National Park will strive to protect critically endangered western lowland gorillas and central chimpanzee, along with forest elephants, forest buffalos, red river hogs, and several species of monkey. The park will also play a vital role in the conservation of bird species. The primary reason that this national park is such a huge win for conservation in the Congo is because the land which now forms part of the national park used to be earmarked by the government for logging companies. Now, these precious ecosystems will be protected for generations to come.
Africa is home to dozens – make that hundreds – of national parks, game reserves and other safari destinations. Every last one of them has something to offer, whether it be a cast of charismatic large mammals dominated by the Big Five, the opportunity to track gorillas or chimpanzees, or more subtle pleasures such as looking for rare birds or colourful butterflies. But for first-time visitors wondering exactly where to go, the highlights below stand out as perhaps the ten best places to visit in Africa.
African Elephants, one of only a handful of keystone species (animals who have a substantial and unique influence over their ecosystem and are considered vital to its health), are remarkable creatures with the innate ability to alter their surrounding environment.
Masai Mara in Kenya is one of the best slices of wildlife tourism in the world. With the improving tourism industry, the destination has much more to offer. Masai Mara Reserve – best known as the departure and arrival point for the annual migration (Great Migration) of millions of wildebeest and antelopes – is the most popular game park in Kenya. It stretches over 200 sq miles of vast grassy plains lying to the southwest of this spectacular East African country.
The more time you spend in the bush, the more you start to pick up on its nuances. You can smell when the air changes – perhaps a leopard has scent-marked on a nearby bush, or a rhino has recently defecated at its midden. You can hear the faintest calling rasp of a leopard in the distance, or distinguish the sound of impala rutting from the herd’s alarm calls. The subtle breaking of branch may give away an elephant, while a huffing snort can alert you to a black rhino. Even the birds’ calls become distinguishable from each other over time.
South Africa is blessed with a wonderful variety of game reserves, wildlife, spectacular scenery and lodge options from five-star luxury to rustic simplicity. This list of the best safari lodges in South Africa features a selection of my favorite lodges in diverse locations and with a variety of styles.
Rolling plains in green and yellow tones with hopping zebras and jumping gazelles. The typical picture that comes to ones mind when talking and thinking about the great Kenya adventure. People fly to Nairobi, almost expecting to see a lion as soon as they exit the plane (which indeed can be seen in the nearby national park). Talking about seeing the big five, living in a jeep and seeing sunset after sunset: the idyllic, typical image of Africa. But oh, there is so much more to discover in this beautiful country! I wouldn’t say that you should skip the safari, but I would recommend spending some days in other cities, places and with several families and people.