A week in the Peruvian jungle

Cruising up the Tambopata River in Peru - photo by Rob McFarland

Cruising up the Tambopata River in Peru – photo by Rob McFarland

Traveller, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – Nov 16, 2019

I’ve decided I’ll call it Mothy McMothface. Apparently, if I find a new species of moth at this light trap deep in the Peruvian jungle, I can name it. I approach the illuminated white sheet with my jam jar feeling quietly confident. Since Rainforest Expeditions started this program two years ago, they’ve discovered 29 new species, including 12 species of moth. I later find out that all new names have to be sanctioned by the project’s scientists so I suspect I’ll have to settle for something more venerable – Sir David McAttenmoth perhaps?

This “citizen science” program is available at Refugio Amazonas, one of three lodges Rainforest Expeditions operates on the Tambopata River in southeast Peru. All are buried in thick jungle with no road access, which means everything (including guests) has to be ferried in and out by boat.

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Mountain gorilla trek in Rwanda

Gorillas in Virunga Massif in Rwanda - photo by Rob McFarland

Gorillas in Virunga Massif in Rwanda – photo by Rob McFarland

Traveller, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – Apr 14, 2018

Mr D holds up his hand and we all shuffle to a stop. “They’re in the next clearing,” he whispers. “Take off your rucksacks. Only cameras and phones from now on.”

A crackle of anticipation passes through the group. Heartbeats quicken; mouths go dry. “Everyone ready? Remember, if you are gentle, they will be gentle. OK, follow me.”

Two trackers with machine guns step aside and we creep in single file through the dense undergrowth. Mr D announces our impending arrival with a series of shrieks and low-pitched grunts. We enter a small clearing and there, less than four metres away, is a 150-kilogram silverback mountain gorilla.

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Wildlife spotting in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

Elephants in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda - photo by Rob McFarland

Elephants in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda – photo by Rob McFarland

Traveller, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – Jan 6, 2018

Book a trip to Uganda and most people will assume you’re going to see the mountain gorillas. It’s one of only three places in the world where you can visit them in the wild (the others being Rwanda and the Congo). And while it’s one of the most memorable wildlife encounters you’ll ever have, Uganda has a lot more to offer nature enthusiasts. The country also has the infamous Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo), 10 species of primates and more than a thousand varieties of birds.

Of Uganda’s 10 national parks, the most visited is Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP), a 1978-square-kilometre wildlife wonderland in the west of the country. Thanks to a volcanic landscape that includes savannahs, forests and wetlands, the park is home to an astonishing array of animal and bird life. It’s also home to humans, too. It’s one of the few national parks to have communities living inside its boundaries. All of which means there’s an unusually diverse range of ways to experience it. Here are some of the best.

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