Africa is way too big and way too diverse to be thought of as one giant savanna (ala The Lion King). And even in that movie, Simba didn’t have to stray too far to find some pretty spectacular jungle scenery. If you move inland from the tourist hotspots of Kenya and Tanzania, a different continent begins to emerge. The country becomes more mountainous, more rugged. And only here, in the mist-covered hills of Uganda and Rwanda, will you see one of the rarest species on the planet: the African mountain gorilla.
The scars of the past still exist in Rwanda, but they’re fading fast. Since the genocide in 1994, this little country has changed in a big way. While its people are the ones spearheading this revival, thanks also have to go to the mountain gorillas that live in the shadow of the Virunga Mountains. The gorilla trek through dense vegetation and bamboo forests can be challenging, but we’ve yet to meet a traveller who said it wasn’t 100 per cent worth it.
Despite a turbulent history, Uganda is one of the safest places to travel in Africa, not to mention being chock full of superlatives. It’s home to the continent’s tallest mountain range, its biggest lake and a source of its longest river, the Nile – not to mention housing half the remaining mountain gorillas in the world. Obviously tracking these animals through the mists of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the country’s big drawcard, but you can also catch the Big Five in the little known Lake Mburo National Park. Kenya who?