Several years ago I was asked who I would most like to spend an evening with and my reply was easy – Sir David Attenborough. Having grown up in the late 1950s/early 60s watching all of his fantastic wildlife television programmes, my favourite has to be his fabulous encounter with the mountain gorillas in Rwanda.
Now Ramblers Worldwide Holidays, the company that has been pioneering guided walking holidays across the globe for the past 70 years, has recently added a 15-night trek, combining Uganda and Rwanda in the heart of Africa, to their exciting list of places to visit.
Departing this year on 5 December, the journey begins in Uganda, where the East African savannah meets the West African jungle, home to climbing lions, chimpanzees and mountain gorillas.
After that you cross the border into Rwanda – the aptly named Land of a Thousand Hills – where you can enjoy a country teeming with wildlife and a wonderful array of bird species.
Other highlights will include: the Nyungwe forest, its capital Kigali with its moving genocide museum, plus the opportunity to view mountain gorillas in the Bwindi National Park at close quarters for an additional supplement.
Prices are from £3,799 per person includes return flights, transfers, full board accommodation (apart from two lunches), all excursions, game drives, entrance fees and the services of a dedicated tour leader. Details at www.ramblersholidays.co.uk/page/land-of-a-thousand-hills
And if that were not enough, the company is also offering a spectacular 18-day journey of exploration through Zimbabwe which is making a comeback as a major tourist destination.
It begins in the Eastern Highlands – a walker’s paradise with enormous granite domes, lush vegetation, waterfalls and streams while the highlights include the Nyanga National Park, the Honde Valley and the Vumba Mountains.
The adventure continues to Great Zimbabwe where one encounters the impressive ruins of the largest stone built structure south of the Sahara; the Matobo Hills – an extraordinary display of granite hills where Cecil John Rhodes is buried; the Hwange National Park with one of the largest elephant populations in the world; the Victoria Falls – one of the ‘seven natural wonders of the world’ and boat trips on the Zambesi.
Prices from £3,999 per person includes return flights, transfers, half board accommodation plus six lunches, local guides, all excursion fees and game drives and the services of a dedicated tour leader with departures from 23 April 2016. Details at www.ramblersholidays.co.uk/page/highlights-of-zimbabwe
And if you still want to be in Africa but have less time and a smaller budget, the RWH experts are offering a five day holiday exploring the magical sights, sounds and tastes of the vibrant Marrakech in Morocco.
Highlights include souks; minarets; ancient ramparts; dazzling arrays of spices and exotic delights; the spectacular Atlas Mountains; the tranquil Majorelle Gardens; Berber Museum; Marrakech’s traditional bath houses and the famous La Mamouria Hotel – a firm favourite of Sir Winston Churchill.
Prices on this trip are £799 per person includes return flights, transfers, half-board accommodation and the services of a dedicated tour leader with departures from 16 November 2015. Details at www.ramblersholidays.co.uk/page/the-moorish-trail
> Ramblers Worldwide Holidays has produced a short video explaining its ethos and motivation in not just providing the finest range of walking holidays but also supporting a number of charities throughout the world. See it at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=44AONObBnjI
Unlike many tour operators Ramblers Worldwide Holidays have their own Charitable Trust through which the profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking related or environmental conservation projects. These include the Youth Hostel Association, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and the Ramblers, showing that the company’s efforts are acknowledged by everyone across the age range from youth to maturity.