World-renowned for its captivating wildlife pageants and timeless scenery, Africa represents the quintessential natural history experience. Among the most impressive of the continent's innumerable wildlife spectacles are: the migration of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest; a marvelous array of carnivores—lions, cheetahs, and leopards; a mind-boggling diversity of hoofed animals—oryx, giraffe, zebra, kudu, impala, gazelle, buffalo, and many others; and a fascinating selection of primates, including gorillas and chimpanzees. Landmarks of romance and lore, such as Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti, and Lake Victoria headline the continent's most legendary destinations.
Complementing its reputation for incomparable mega-fauna, Africa is equally endowed with wonderful birdlife. From flamingoes and eagles to ostriches and turacos, the birds are often surprisingly abundant, tame, and easy to see. In many areas it is not unusual to record more than 100 species in a day. Such striking birds as guineafowl, kingfishers, rollers, bee-eaters, hornbills, barbets, bushshrikes, starlings, sunbirds, and finches are common and often seen. Africa has an especially rich diversity of raptors, including such magnificent species as Bataleur, Martial Eagle, and Secretary-bird, in addition to an extensive list of falcons, buzzards, eagles, and goshawks. Finally, its waterbird spectacles are among the world's finest, with wetlands across the continent supporting immense numbers of pelicans, storks, herons, waterfowl, and shorebirds.
Our focus on Africa is directed primarily at East Africa and Southern Africa, where the best mammal-viewing and birding are found. With a well-deserved reputation for top birding and game-viewing, outstanding parks, superb tourist facilities, and excellent field guides, our tours to these regions provide African trips of a lifetime. Our Northern Tanzania tour consistently ranks among the most popular of any we offer. Here, in the shadow of Kilimanjaro, exists the greatest wildlife show on earth. Participants experience world-class exotic birding amid a million calving wildebeest. Daily birding extravaganzas reveal an abundance of highly-sought big game including elephant, giraffe, zebra, lion, leopard, and cheetah. Our tours also include visits to the country's best known national parks, preserves, and other famous locations—Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Manyara, and Tarangire national parks; Lake Victoria; and Olduvai Gorge.
The Kenya Bird and Wildlife Safari provides another "Ultimate Africa" experience. Participants on this tour regularly record the "Big Five" in addition to over 500 species of birds. Spectacular wildlife viewing at the country’s best parks and preserves promise memories for a lifetime. Such destinations as Hell’s Gate, Samburu/Buffalo Springs, Lake Nakuru, and Kakamega Forest support breathtaking collections of birds.
From the source of the White Nile on Lake Victoria to the snow-capped Ruwenzori Range to the extensive savannas around the awe-inspiring Murchison Falls, Uganda is an equatorial country of astonishing contrasts. Among its incredible birdlist of over 1,000 species, many highly sought-after birds, such as the unique Shoebill and numerous spectacular endemics of the Albertine Rift Valley, are regularly seen on our tours. In addition to trip lists in excess of 500 species of birds and a wide range of mammals, a trip highlight is a trek for mountain gorillas amid the montane forests of the Virunga volcanoes.
From the spectacular scenery of the Cape coastline to the high mountains of the landlocked kingdom of Lesotho, from the lush bush of coastal Zululand to the grasslands of the interior, South Africa is a country of diverse landscapes and birdlife. South Africa has more endemic birds than any African country, and possesses an excellent infra-structure with good roads and parks. Our tour is scheduled for the southern springtime, the best time of year for birding the entire country. Many birds are nesting, the intra-African migrants are arriving on their breeding grounds, and the Cape is especially beautiful with wildflowers at this season. We should find almost 450 species of birds, including almost 100 of the regional endemics, plus many favorite African birds and mammals.
Namibia, Botswana, Zambia—a taste of Africa in three countries! Experience a spectacular tour with superb game- and bird-viewing in some of Africa's special wild places, from the vastness of Etosha to the beautiful waterways of the Okavango, from the game-rich woodlands of Moremi to the mighty Victoria Falls, there is something for everyone! Etosha National Park in Namibia has the greatest waterhole shows in the world, as a wonderful array of animals—lion, zebra, springbok, and kudu, among many others—and birds come to drink. Elephants are common, visits from black rhinos and cheetahs still occur, and the birdlife includes such species as Secretary-bird, Martial Eagle, Lanner Falcon, Blue Crane, and Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, plus many endemics. All of these countries boast excellent lodges and parks.
Madagascar is a fascinating and unique island-country featuring a huge variety of endemic birds, reptiles, mammals, plants, and some of the world’s most critically threatened habitats. The lemurs are the most famous of Madagascar's wildlife. Primitive primates, ranging in size from tiny mouse lemurs to the child-size Indri, are appealing animals found throughout the forests. Our tour visits several major lemur reserves, and we will see many of the surviving 52 species. Six families of birds are endemic to the Madagascar region—the Mesites, Ground-Rollers, Cuckoo-Rollers, Asities, Madagascar Warblers, and Vangas—and we should see representatives of each. An endemic subfamily of large cuckoos, the Couas, forms an important section of the avifauna. We usually encounter 100 or more of the 130 endemics and near-endemics. And the flora of Madagascar is surprisingly rich with over 1,000 species of orchids and many other spectacular flowers gracing its landscapes.
On VENT tours to Africa you get it all—birds, wildlife, scenery—the total Africa experience.