Guest Traveller Adrian Duncan wears many hats at the moment. He is a full-time Myotherapist, part-time photographer, and tour host with Two’s a Crowd Travel, and co-owner and developer of the travel blog www.allabroad.com.au. Adrian loves a beer and a laugh and is still smiling from Richmond’s amazing AFL Grand Final win last year. “Go Tiges!” he says. In his story for Journeys To Come this week, Adrian takes us to East Africa and finds that the process of writing about his trip just makes him want to be back there again…
One of my favourite locations is East Africa (actually, anywhere in Africa really). What’s not to love? The wildlife, the people, the amazing landscapes, the most striking sunsets, and the luxurious resorts. Just writing this makes me want to be back there.
In 2016, I travelled for 15 days through Kenya with a five-day add-on to Uganda to trek to see the Gorillas. I was hosting a tour for Two’s a Crowd (a travel company based in South Yarra that caters to the needs of solo travellers) and we engaged RAW Africa eco tours in Kenya – a company started by Melburnian Brooke Squires, who has worked with Rhinos at Melbourne Zoo and around the world for many years.
It was a unique itinerary that encompassed luxury resorts in the Masai Mara, camping under the stars in Mt Kenya, and a rainforest in Uganda. We also stayed at Il Ngwesi, a beautiful resort in the Mt Kenya region that is run and staffed by local Masai villagers (it is also where Prince William and Kate stayed for a couple of nights on their honeymoon – but hey who’s name dropping).
It really was a tour that ticked all the boxes (well nearly, see below) – wildlife (including all the ‘big 5’ and gorillas in Uganda), trips to local “authentic” Masai villages, time to relax by the pool, forest walks… it had it all.
When people ask me, “Where should I travel next?”, I am constantly recommending Kenya and Uganda. I can’t wait to get back to Kenya and Uganda (add to that a return to Tanzania and Rwanda and hopefully my first trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo – for a few nights camping on the rim of an active volcano, and more gorilla trekking).
Adrian’s Top Five Travel Tips For East Africa:
- Do some research on all you want to see and do. East Africa has some amazing coastal areas as well – Zanzibar (Tanzania) and Mombasa (Kenya). Or perhaps some Mountaineering – look to Mt Kenya and Kilimanjaro (at 5800m it’s not for the faint-hearted). It’s a long way there so work out what you want to do while there.
- Be aware of your fitness capabilities. Some of the treks to the Gorillas can be quite arduous. We were going to trek to the gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest (it’s pretty much as the name suggests) but, after some consultation, we opted for Mgahinga National Park. While this involved a longer drive from our lodge, it was a shorter and easier walk to see the gorillas – a much better outcome for some of our older guests.
- You can never have enough time in the Masai Mara (well, that’s my opinion anyway). The ‘Mara’ is the best game driving I have done to date.
- Factor in chill time. Some of the lodges are just spectacular, so make sure you have some time to relax by the pool. After all, you are on holiday.
- Different National Parks offer different wildlife viewing experiences and also different landscapes and environments. The Masai Mara is a largely flat grassland, and Amboseli is a dry landscape, known for its large herds of elephant and spectacular views of Kilimanjaro. So, again think about what animals you really want to see and what landscapes appeal to you and discuss this with your travel agent and/or tour company before you book.
You can follow Adrian’s travels on Instagram and Twitter via @allabroadau
Main pic: Swimming hole in Ngare Ndara forest, Mt Kenya.
All photography by Adrian Duncan.