From squeeze holes in caves thousands of years old to barbeques aboard a Sese canoe, Hollie M’gog suggests some exciting adventures you may not have considered yet.
Get a hold of Kenya’s own travelling telescope team and find out where they may be and if you can join. Then have a full afternoon nap so you can stay up all night long! Be prepared to be taken on a flight through the heavens via storytelling, galaxy reading and star naming. Chu is the man to contact: travellingtelescope.co.uk.
Tip: The crew can be hired privately.
Brave bats and owls and tunnel deep into thousand-year-old lava tunnels and caves in the Suswa region near Mt. Longonot or coral caves in Kilifi. Pack your torches, a glow-in-the-dark volleyball and a ball of string (just in case!) There are caverns as big as a ballroom, squeeze holes, multiple layers of floors and a wonderful smell! Plan your trip: cavinginkenya.com.
Tip: Caving can be dangerous so hire a guide for this one!
It’s a two-day hike up and down a mountain you may never have heard of and see views over a reserve few know the name of. The adventurous can do some bouldering and scrambling while the rest can lie back with gin and tonics and a sunset of glorious ochre. Pian Upe (a national reserve managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority) has some small and basic self-catering bandas that you can base from before and after the climb: www.kara-tunga.com
Tip: You can do this without a guide but hiring one brings income to a part of Uganda that needs it, so be thoughtful.
A Mongolian BBQ on the Mvule Boat
A full day of genuine relaxation on a Sese Canoe across several bays on Lake Victoria. The boat leaves Jinja and can be privately hired or you can jump aboard and meet the day’s boat buddies. There are Canadian canoes to paddle, SUPs to balance upon, a headland hill to climb and look down on this Queen of boats and a Mongolian BBQ to feast upon. Book your float: themvuleboat.com.
Tip: All activities depend on how daring you are. If you want to leap from the highest point of the boat into the warm Victoria waters then go for it!
Birding in Semuliki
It might not be a true wilderness but the orchestra of bird calls is enchanting. This part of the Albertine Rift offers forest birds and hot springs, boat trips on the Semuliki River delta… it is where the central Africa bird species meet the East African.
Tip: You can just arrive here and plan activities day-by-day.
Canopy Capering in Nungwe
Birds and butterflies, canopy walks and waterfalls, perhaps even a shy chimpanzee or three! There are golden monkeys and the birds will flash colour between the slanting forest sun rays. It might be wet so bring your raincoat and prepare to hike any of the ten or more forest trails nyungweforest.com.
Tip: Guides and accommodation can be organised on arrival.
The Big Hike
If you want an epic walk but don’t want to be too far from civilisation then the Congo-Nile trail may just be for you. A ten day walk or a five day cycle, 230 km of culture, expansive views of Lake Kivu, the sun on your shoulders, the wind at your back and the warm heart of a special people by your side. You can camp, homestay or splash out on lodges, guesthouses and hotels along the way. rwandatourism.com.
Tip: You don’t need a guide for this exciting adventure.
The Kilwa Kisiwani ruins lie on ‘the island of the fish’ just off Tanzania and were perhaps part of a great empire. The Great Mosque has sixteen domes, arches and pillars and a history to delve deep into. Legends say that an empire was established on the island by a Persian prince who bought Kilwa Kisiwani from a local king. Payment was enough cloth to circle the island. The prince then destroyed a bridge that connected the island to mainland Tanzania.
Tip: Register for a permit to visit the island at the local antiquities office then take a dhow there.
Kitulo Plateau Flowers
Bustani ya Mungu (The Garden of God) the Serengeti of flowers! How can one not feel the draw to this incredible plateau? Surrounded by rugged peaks and montane grasslands, orchids, redhot pokers, aloes, giant lobelias, lilies, proteas and daisies … and stepping daintily amongst this floral splendour are mountain reedbuck and eland while blue swallows, butterflies, lizards and chameleons add diversity and colour. Many companies offer trips to Kitulo Plateau so have a search.
Catch The Big One
Rubondo Island has the best for all budgets from a top lodge to a TANAPA camping ground. The island is home to a family of chimpanzees, buffalo, elephant and colobus and grey parrots cavort in glee. The big draw is however Nile Perch fishing, question being can you take the strain and how big can you go…. 70, 80, 120kg? Enjoy the lake and mind the crocodiles! The park itself: www.tanzaniaparks.go.tz.
Tip: If you have your own boat and transport then you can head over to the island yourself, if not, contact Asilia Africa.