NC Zoo Director to Host Exclusive Ugandan VisitPosted on 06/04/12
Asheboro, NC - The North Carolina Zoological Society is now accepting applications and reservations for a two-week adventure to Uganda, East Africa, Feb. 23-March 8, 2013, hosted by N.C. Zoo Director Dr. David Jones and Zoo Curator of Conservation and Research Rich Bergl.
The trip is one of three upcoming luxurious Platinum-Level Society travel adventures. Others will include an Arctic adventure in August 2012 and a trek to Brazil in 2013.
There will be a trip preview June 16 at 2:30 at the zoo's Stedman Education Center. Those wishing to attend are asked to call Jayne Owen Parker at 336-879-7272 or email her at [email protected].
After guests arrive in Uganda, the trip will be led by professional naturalist, Albert Mitcho Karisa, one of the most knowledgeable and experienced guides currently leading tours in East Africa. Always ready to pass on his knowledge in combination with a vibrant sense of humor, Karisa makes learning about the animals, environment and culture an especially fun experience for travelers. A native of Rwanda, he has led trips to Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Congo, Morocco and France.
The first day in Africa includes an overnight at the Serena Lake Victoria Hotel. Then it's on to the Kibale Forest area and the Lake Victoria Basin, passing through beautiful agricultural countryside where every fruit and vegetable imaginable is grown. From there, it's on to tropical rainforests that are home to herds of migrating forest elephants--the largest population of this subspecies in Uganda. Kibale's claim to fame however, is that it's home to one of the highest primate densities in the world.
Lake Kyaninga and the legendary Mountains of the Moon beyond are the next stops.
Guests will spend Days 5 & 6 in the enchantment of Kibale Forest National Park, with ancient trees reaching 180 feet in height. Here guests will experience the extraordinary diversity of a tropical rainforest. The stars of the park are the 325 tropical-bird species and the primates.
Days 7 & 8 take guests on a trek to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda's second largest national park at 764 square miles. The journey offers a panoramic view over rolling, cultivated countryside and a gentle descent into the great African Rift Valley. It's two full days of wildlife viewing that include hippopotamus, lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, Uganda kob, topi, bushbuck, waterbuck, rare giant forest hog, aardvark, porcupine, pangolin, bush pig, warthog, hyena, civet and abundant birdlife.
Queen Elizabeth N.P. is a classified Important Bird Area and has 568 of Uganda's 1,017 species of birds (more than a quarter of Africa's bird species), more than any other park in Africa. This leg will also include a two-hour boat trip on the Kazinga Channel and Lake Edward to view some of the largest concentration of hippo in the world--reported to be about 30,000. Nile crocodile, African rock python, monitor lizard and snakes can also be sighted, along with excellent birding opportunities.
On Days 9, 10 & 11, guests will pass through the scenic area known as the Switzerland of East Africa en route to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to look for the elusive tree-climbing lions. Bwindi is a true African jungle. The highlight of the park is it's endangered mountain gorillas. The park was the base for gorilla researcher Dian Fossey until her death in 1985. There will be an opportunity for one trek per guest to view the mountain gorillas.
On Day 12, guests will make the scenic drive to Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda's fourth national park and home to huge herds of impala, as well as the uncommon topi, eland, klipspringer and other antelope. Zebra and buffalo also graze these peaceful acres. At the lake there are hippo and crocodile and a wonderful diversity of birds.
Optional pre-extension trips include Murchison Falls, Kenya and the Maasai Mara.
Before coming to the NC Zoo in 1994, Dr. Jones worked with the Zoological Society of London for 25 years in a number of different capacities, including its chief executive officer. He is former chairman of one of the world's oldest conservation organizations, and former chairman of the Conservation Committee of the World Wildlife Fund in the United Kingdom.
Bergl has been involved with wildlife conservation in Africa for over a decade. and holds a Ph.D. in biological anthropology from the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology.
The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment & Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary; Beverly Eaves Perdue, Governor.