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Travel Lecture: Nick Zoa Talks Safari

"Safari" one of the most evocative words in the English language. In Swahili, it means simply "journey." But to anyone visiting Kenya's national parks, it means wildebeests fording a river full of crocodiles, a herd of elephants marching towards a water hole, a mother rhinoceros making threatening glances as she protects her young one, five hundred pink flamingos poised one-legged in a salty blue lake, lions stalking their prey through the savannah grass, and vultures and hyenas circling impatiently for their share of the feast.

A trip into the wild is the primary reason why most visitors come to East Africa. Although Kenya may not be the cheapest destination for wildlife safaris, its diversity of habitats, cultures and attractions makes it one of the best places for your safari. Kenya's travel industry is well developed. Hundreds of tour companies compete to take tourists to the remotest areas with a minimum of 

Once known as "The Pearl of Africa," Uganda has, over the last 50 years, suffered the notoriety of rule by Idi Amin, of economic collapse, and of systematic human rights abuses. Yet today, Uganda is an economic success story, and a symbol of a more vibrant, successful Africa.

Like Kenya, Uganda has the Big Five (lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos and rhinos) and makes an exciting alternate destination for your African safari. Unlike Kenya, Uganda also offers a chance to see Mountain Gorillas. About half of our planet's remaining Mountain Gorillas -- of which there are only about 800 -- live in two national parks in southwestern Uganda. Trekking through impenetrable forests to find a family of gorillas munching lazily on native plants is an experience of a lifetime -- and perhaps not an experience that will be available for many more generations.

It's been 23 years since the civil war and genocide that devastated "The Land of a Thousand Hills." Rwanda has come a long way since then. Rwanda has a stable government, good roads, a developing tourist industry, mountains full of rare flora and fauna, and welcoming hospitality.

Like Uganda, Rwanda has mountain gorillas. Rwanda's Volcano National Park was where Dian Fossey, author of Gorillas in the Mist spent 18 years studying these beautiful creatures. Rwanda's forested volcanoes also host the rare Golden Monkeys.

Nick Zoa has travelled throughout Africa, most recently Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Come to Nick's travel talk to learn how to get the most out of your safari or wildlife adventure.

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