Here’s part II of contributing writer Robert Waite’s riveting account from his trip to Rwanda, following up on his previous post about tracking endangered mountain gorillas in that tiny central African country.
In this post, Bob and his wife, Karen, discover a national park teeming with wildlife (including amorous hippos), a sobering genocide museum, an oddly shaped palace, a “killer” lake, and the “joys” of experiencing a “Rwandan massage.”
By Robert Waite
Kigali, Rwanda – Most people, if they are aware of Rwanda at all, likely only know two things: 1) It is an excellent place to observe the mountain gorilla in its natural habitat and, 2) The country experienced a horrific genocide in the 1990’s. The former inspired the film “Gorillas in the Mist”; the latter, “Hotel Rwanda”. Neither movie had a happy ending.… Continue reading
In this guest post about unforgettable encounters with endangered mountain gorillas in the tiny African nation of Rwanda, contributing writer Robert Waite also provides an update on the status of the gorillas in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic — and sees hope for optimism.
In his next post, Bob will detail the rest of his trip to Rwanda, a nation that endured a devastating genocide in the 1990’s and has now become one of Africa’s success stories.
By Robert Waite
Ruhengeri, Rwanda – As devastating as COVID-19 is to human populations, the consequences could be equally adverse for rhinos, elephants, gorillas and other sub-Saharan wildlife.
With flights suspended, borders closed and organized tours cancelled or indefinitely postponed, the region’s national parks and game reserves are struggling to protect animals that, at the… Continue reading
As a follow-up to our recent post “5 Great Reasons to Take an African Safari,” we bring you this offer from Kenya Airways:
A free safari with the Nairobi National Park Stopover Package!
Yes, passengers traveling on Kenya Airways flight 101 from London’s Heathrow Airport to Nairobi and transiting to one of seven other East African destinations can spend a long layover looking for wild animals rather than vegetating in Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport waiting for their onward flight.
Animals you might see include rhinos, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hippos, hyenas, buffaloes, giraffes and birds (with over 400 bird species recorded).
If you have at least six hours to kill between flights, and book the arrangements in advance, you’ll be:
* Met on arrival at the transit terminal by the “KQ Karibu” hospitality team
* Fast-tracked through immigration using your granted eVisa
* Transferred… Continue reading
Today’s guest post by Stuart Cooke of Northern Ireland hooked me with his first great reason to take an African safari: “Africa is Incredible.”
I couldn’t agree more. My first experience visiting the “Third World” was decades ago in Africa. I was traveling there for six weeks on assignment for a news service I worked for, and was supposed to be writing political stories.
I did manage to pound some out, but my heart wasn’t in it.
I quickly discovered that I wanted to see and experience as much of Kenya, Tanzania, and other countries as I could. So I rode trains to Lake Victoria and Zambia, flew to Zanzibar, feasted on Indian food in Nairobi, spent a few idyllic days on the Indian Ocean… Continue reading
The other day I received a press release promoting what sounded like a wonderful five-star hotel in an exotic location, said to be the finest accommodation in its city.
Along with various five-star amenities such as a state-of-the-art spa and gym, six restaurants including one with panoramic views, tennis courts, and indoor pool, it promised to serve as a base for tourists exploring UNESCO World Heritage sites, taking river cruises, visiting museums, and marveling at spectacular evening performances.
The only potential downside? The name says it all: it’s the Corinthia Hotel Khartoum, serving the capital of Sudan, a nation wracked by terrorist violence and crime in recent years, including reported attacks against Westerners in Khartoum itself.
The U.S. State Department doesn’t mince words: if you plan to travel to Sudan, the department warns in an extraordinary… Continue reading
If you’ve been following the news out of Zimbabwe of late, you know that the country’s long-time president, Robert Mugabe, may finally be nearing the end of his repressive regime.
Mugabe, now age 93, has been placed under mostly house arrest by the country’s military, who have denied that they are engaged in an actual coup — a good public relations move, but probably not very reflective of reality.
The idea seems to be to head off Mugabe’s much younger wife, Grace, from succeeding her husband as head of state. Mugabe’s own political party, ZANU-PF, has withdrawn its support for him, and he now finds himself without any real authority.
Under Mugabe, who came to power in 1980 after leading the resistance to Ian Smith’s white nationalist regime in what was previously Rhodesia, much of Zimbabwe had… Continue reading
Our family has long tried to celebrate milestone birthdays and anniversaries with a major trip.
I won’t specify which birthdays or anniversaries, but these celebratory trips have taken us to Paris, Alaska, Norway, Greece, and Antarctica, among other far-flung destinations.
Sometimes you just need a good excuse to travel. (Other times, not — whatever works.)
So I was intrigued to come across this list of suggested milestone birthday celebratory trips from the folks at Wilderness Travel, which has been taking adventurous travelers to remote regions of the globe since 1978. (It was named AFAR Magazine’s World’s Best Tour Operator for 2017.)
Baby boomers have… Continue reading
A few months ago I attended a stamp and coin show in Tucson and was disappointed to see that most of the displays were devoted to coins, not stamps.
And I became almost morose while chatting with some of the few stamp dealers there (all of whom were baby boomers, by the way). They each told the same story: in their experience, at least, stamp collecting is a dying hobby. Many of their items had been marked down for faster sale.
As a boy growing up in Indiana, I became a fervent stamp collector while still in grade school.
While I collected stamps from all over the world, including the U.S., I especially liked the issues of British and French colonies — not because I romanticized colonization (I didn’t know its moral implications at the time), but because they beautifully depicted far-away, exotic places that, quite simply, made me… Continue reading
Note: This is the first in an occasional series of “chance encounters” with famous people while traveling.
It was May 1977, and I was sitting at an outdoor table in the Thorn Tree Cafe of Nairobi, Kenya’s, New Stanley Hotel, nursing a Tusker beer and alternating glances between the local paper (“Saboteurs Hit Uganda!” blared one headline) and the other patrons.
I chuckled at some members of the well-heeled safari set sipping bubbly at a nearby table, looking slightly ridiculous in their pith helmets and bush jackets.
But I have to admit, I was a bit envious of them. I was on my first overseas reporting assignment for a news service I was working for at the time, and, after several days of frustration, the stories just weren’t materializing — in truth, I didn’t know what I… Continue reading
In recognition of Global Wellness Day — June 11 this year — I thought it would be apropos to mention a few of the more unusual ways to promote health while traveling. As a baby boomer, I’m prone to the usual stiff joints and other nagging ailments, and love the idea of medical tourism, even if it’s mostly an excuse to go somewhere exotic.
- Water-based Meditation.
While I don’t practice meditation, I have a few good friends who do, and they always seem focused and calm. Does meditation have this effect, or are naturally calm and focused people drawn to meditation?
I don’t know, but I do know I could use a little more calmness and focus in my life, and I love being on water, so maybe I’ll try:
The Mekong Spa at Belmond… Continue reading