Uganda Congo: Lake Albert Wilderness

The name Lake Albert inevitably inspires visions of the Africa of the explorer days, when lakes, rivers and mountains were named after royalty, days when the mere mention of such names brought about, almost at once, the desire to equally explore and venture in to the great unknown and the fear of travelling to places which in those days were still blanks on many maps

.Uganda - Lake Albert c

Lake Albert – also Albert Nyanza and formerly Lake Mobutu Sese Seko – is one of the African Great Lakes. It is Africa’s seventh-largest lake, and the world’s twenty-seventh largest lake by volume on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

First seen by any European explorer it was Samuel Baker in 1864, who promptly named the lake after Prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria. The colonial powers, Belgium on the Congo side and Britain on the Ugandan side, were swift to see the potential the lake offered vis a vis transport and in particular the British colonies and protectorates in Africa, from Egypt over the Sudan, Uganda and beyond to Southern Africa, were keen to see all of their holdings linked, along the Nile and across the lakes with steamers and other boats.

This lake, since post-independence jointly ‘owned’ by Uganda and Congo DR, was at a certain time even known as Lake Mobutu Sese Seko, for some years named after the strongman who ruled Zaire with an iron fist, the name of the lake gone much sooner than the owner of the name himself, like the passing clouds of history.

Some 160 kilometres long and up to 30 kilometres wide is Albert the first of many lakes along the Albertine Graben, the western part of the Great African Rift Valley. It is here that the Victoria Nile, after passing through Murchisons’ Falls National Park and flowing into the lake at the very northern end, turns into the Albert Nile. Again it is a short-lived name though as upon reaching the border with South Sudan at Nimule the name of the river once more changes, this time to Bahr-el-Jebel, the Arabic word for the White Nile. At the southern end of the lake it is the Semliki River which empties into Lake Albert, which also along some stretches forms the border between the two countries.

Rich in fish this was of old the main wealth of the area, feeding the people living along its shores and when road transport became more widely available, the catches were sent to the urban centres to feed the ever hungry towns and cities.

In fact, when driving today from Kampala to Hoima, the old wealth of the country side is still there for the travelers to see and appreciate – agriculture, dairy farming and ranching, in addition of which commercial woodlots have been grown over the past decades to provide for building timber and firewood. The main food crops farmed are matooke, millet, cassava, yams but there are also cash crops grown like cotton, coffee and tobacco.

Beyond those visible ‘assets’ though, hidden deep underground, are the new riches found after oil exploration companies struck the black gold, crude oil, in such quantities that at least 3 billion barrels can eventually be pumped to the surface, changing the economic outlook of Uganda, and especially along the Lake Albert shores, forever.

It comes as no surprise therefore that from Hoima, which is also the seat of the Bunyoro Kingdom, a brand new highway, call the oil road by the locals who live along its route, has been built to open up the access to the lake and the drilling sites, where well after well is being sunk, ready to begin pumping when the required infrastructure like a refinery and a pipeline network, have been put into place.

Uganda - Bunyoro Coat of Arms Bunyoro Coat of Arms and official flag

Talking about the Bunyoro Kingdom, one of several restored in 1993. Once one of the most powerful kingdoms in Africa, its history dates back to the 13th century and it survived, albeit today in a much smaller shape than in the olden days, the colonialists, the regime of Milton Obote who abolished the kingdoms in 1967 and is today a treasured cultural institution, with HRH Solomon Iguru the First, the 27th ‘Omukama’ or king in the local Bunyoro language.

For the spirited and sustained resistance against the British rule was part of the kingdom’s land given to other, more compliant kingdoms, Buganda and Toro, and while thankfully no territorial disputes have remained active today, were such acts by the colonial rulers never forgotten by the people of Bunyoro.

With much of the oil wealth found on the kingdom’s land, are negotiations going on to get a percentage of the proceeds from the oil in order to allow the kingdom’s own government, installed by the king, to embark on development projects and help the kingdom’s subjects to create wealth and find prosperity.

Kingdom tourism is yet to be fully developed but plans are afoot to create regional tourism clusters and visiting the main sites and monuments, palaces and cultural hotspots of the kingdom will in years to come no doubt become magnets for tourists who, after or before visiting the national parks and game reserves in the wider area, will want to stop at and learn about the ancient cultures, rituals and customs and perhaps understand better, that Africa never was a dark continent but one with kingdoms and chiefdoms way before the first Europeans began to ‘explore’ the interior with the intention to grab Africa’s riches and subjugate the continent’s people.

Tourists already frequent the Murchisons Falls National Park and as the road network is getting better in Western Uganda, will more and more safari vehicles traverse the kingdom when leaving that park at Masindi and then proceeding on via Hoima to Fort Portal, the Rwenzori Mountains, Kibale National Park, the Toro Semliki Game Reserve and Queen Elizabeth National Park, where on entry one crosses the equator from the Northern to the Southern hemisphere.

But in between, just an hour’s drive from Hoima courtesy of the new highway, can one find access to the shores of Lake Albert and the two adjoining wildlife areas of Kaiso Tonya and Kabwoya. Foreign tourists have already taken to these lesser known reserves and the locals too will sooner or later discover new spots for spending a weekend or a couple of days away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

When one looks at familiar travel patterns of Ugandans and Uganda’s expatriate community, presently only a handful of destinations stands out, such as the upper Nile valley from Jinja downriver for adventure and leisure activities, the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, the only place in the country were rhinos can be found in the wild, gorilla tracking in Bwindi and of course Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls national parks. They will maybe even have heard of Mt. Elgon and Sipi Falls, of Lake Mburo and perhaps even Kidepo or following a series of feature articles a year ago about hiking and canoeing in Uganda’s South West from Kabale to Kisoro and on to Nkuringo with Lake Mutanda in between. But who can honestly say they would know, off hand, where the Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve is located, how to get there and where to stay.

Uganda, beyond the 10 national parks, also features a number of game, wildlife and community reserves, many of which have their own charm, some with endemic birdlife and others, like Kabwoya, with that very unique setting. A recent visit to the Lake Albert Safari Lodge, which is set literally at the end of Uganda, allowed some insights into what has been happening there since the lodge was opened in 2007 at which time the reserve was literally bare of game and, apart from the spectacular setting of the lodge on top of the cliffs over Lake Albert there was little reason to travel there.

Uganda kobs

Introduce Bruce Martin, a key figure in building the MTN mast network across Uganda, who discovered the location many years earlier and decided to have a go at building and managing a lodge in conjunction with also taking on the responsibility of looking after the reserve and most important, restocking it with game.

Many I spoke with over the past days, including staff of the former Game Department and of Uganda National Parks, before the two were merged to form the Uganda Wildlife Authority, confirmed that Kabwoya was for all purposes gone as a game rich area and among those considered for possible degazetting, to make land available for grazing cattle and goats or find suitable crops to grow to spur agricultural production beyond subsistence farming.

When Bruce however entered the scene, degazetting was quickly off the table and in a deal with the local community, a crucial element to ensure long term sustainability and the Uganda Wildlife Authority it was agreed that he could build a lodge and begin the restocking of game with added numbers brought in from other parks to allow for a faster reproduction rate of the species previously found there.

Today, the reserve is teeming with thousands of kobs, often seen in very large congregations and making for those experiences of a life time when the game drive vehicle approaches, comes slowly to a halt, the kobs all eying it and its occupants leaning out over the roof hatch. The tension can be felt in the kobs, their ears quivering, before suddenly on turns to dash away, leading hundreds of others as their hoofs begin to drum the soil, have birds fly out of the high grass and from the thickets and soon get joined by duikers, bush- and waterbuck, other commonly found species in the reserve.

Uganda - Lake Albert b

Buffalo numbers too have gone up and seeing thirty, fourty and even more at a go is no longer a rare occurances.

Warthog families roam freely and there is evidence of leopards again, as after all they can find prey with ease and no longer need to feed on the goats kept at the fishing villages which are right down at the shore of the lake.

Official records show that Kabwoya today is home to about 460 species of birds and many can be seen even with the untrained eye, from colourful sunbirds and bee eaters over the ground hornbills to many birds of prey.

The Lake Albert Safari Lodge comprises 12 cottages but more are planned to cater for growing demand, which are all set in a line along the top of the cliff offering spectacular views across the lake into the Blue Mountains of the Congo, unless haze obscures the sight across the water.

It is the quiet setting of the cottages along the cliff which lets one hear the surf crashing into the beach 70 metres below as the silence of the night begins to settle in, only disrupted by the sound of crickets, perhaps some frogs, a few night birds and the wind rustling the leaves of the trees. In the morning, before dawn, it is the sound of the birds which is most noticeable, as one after the other they begin to make themselves heard, a sure sign that the night is about to be over, and it is time to get ready for the day as nature already does outside. Both sunset and sunrise are magic times of day in the African wilderness when the first and the last rays of the sun give that mellow glow to the surroundings, before at dusk night settles in to reveal a stunning star studded sky above or else see the sun rising as if pulled up on a string – once over the horizon she rises fast and the light spiel is just what photographers are looking for to capture their favourite scenes in different light settings across the day. The rooms are simply furnished, with twin or double beds and in some cases with a third bed in the room, mosquito netting protecting all of them for an undisturbed sleep. The rooms are lit using inverter batteries and hot water comes from solar water heaters using renewable energy sources wherever possible.

Uganda - Lake Albert a

The main building, like the cottages under thatch, houses the main bar, the restaurant, a very comfortable lounge with free Wifi – bring your own USB modem to provide connectivity in the cottages or else use SIM card based smart phones or tablets to stay connected from there – and opens into a small garden where a pool is found, sunbeds and all, again just metres away from the 70 metres high cliffs.

The lodge also has a small meeting room in an adjoining building including an outlook lounge on the upper floor, which equally invites for just reading a book or gazing into the distance.

When asked during one meal how I liked the food I had to give them the thumbs up sign as speaking with a full mouth would hardly have been in order, though dining is very informal and guests can sit around a large communal table or else opt for some of the smaller ones if they prefer to just keep to themselves. Breakfast is served by order, Marmite, honey, jam and marmalade readily available on the buffet where tea, coffee and even hot chocolate can be brewed, the fruits are found and where large mugs made me smile, a better choice than those small fancy schmanzy cups otherwise put on the table which are empty after the second gulp of that important hot morning beverage of one’s choice. Lunch is very informal, taken either on a dining room table or else carried out to the pool or eaten from a plate while lounging in one of the sofas surfing the net or uploading pictures to show distant friends what they missed when they declined to come along for the trip.

Uganda - Lake Albert sunset over the reserve as seen from one of the main buildings

Dinner however is a sit down affair, and three courses are served every day, soup, main course and a dessert, with the dress code being very informal as it should be. The service was swift, even at the one night when the lodge was fully booked, and a well-stocked bar and the availability of a decent selection of wines made every dinner an occasion of sorts. Tales of the day are traded over dinner, perhaps the latest news watched on the flatscreen TV before going to the table discussed or simply life anecdotes exchanged as the guests tuck into the tasty meals. No one tries to copy Michelin star rated food but guests can look forward to well-cooked and presented home cooked meals, which still the hunger one develops during a day out in the bush.

Talking bush, the range of activities on offer at the Lake Albert Safari Lodge include horse riding, with a trained guide of course, walks across the reserve in the company of a guide and an armed ranger, visits by foot or car to the fishing villages at the lake shore, day and night game drives and, last but not least, bush dinners which are arranged on request. Starting with a sundowner guests can enjoy the sunset over the lake before sitting down to eat with candles and storm lamps providing illumination while a camp fire crackles not far away, ready to have the guest gather around it for post dinner drinks before making their way back to the lodge again.

I know, the next question will be how to get there and how long it takes, now that I have hopefully whet the appetite of readers to follow my footsteps and plan for a visit themselves.

A brand new super highway, as far as Uganda has such super highways, is in the final stages of completion, leading from the town of Hoima, also the seat of the Bunyoro Kingdom, to the village of Kaiso, and some of the locals have aptly titled it the oil road, but more about that in a more extensive follow up feature, which will also look in greater detail at Lake Albert itself, the adjoining Kaiso Tonya Wildlife Reserve and the unfolding activities of the oil concessionaires getting ready to begin pumping the black gold from deep underground. The new stretch of road makes the trip from Hoima itself to the lodge take just over 1 hours while the overall journey time from the capital Kampala was 4 ½ hours, give a little if traffic leading to the outskirts of the city is heavy.

Uganda - Lake Albert d

The added option to get to Kabwoya and the Lake Albert Safari Lodge is by air into a murram airstrip of some 1.000+ metres length located not too far from the lodge, requiring, depending on aircraft type, just over an hour’s flight from Kajjansi or Entebbe.

Located in between Murchisons Falls National Park and the parks around Fort Portal, Kibaale, Rwenzori and Semliki does Kabwoya and the Lake Albert Safari Lodge today make for a perfect stop over point, some 3 ½ hours’ drive from Murchisons, about the same to Fort Portal and around 5 ½ hours to the slightly more distant Queen Elizabeth. Yet, going by my own experience, and given the solitude found at the reserve with only the other guests out on game drives, many might feel regret to have spent only one night ‘in transit’ – my advice would be two nights at least and better three, to fully experience what safaris in the old days must have been like. There may be no lions, elephant, giraffes or zebra in the reserve but what is there is worth watching all the same, away from the crowds and away from those well beaten paths the Ugandan expatriate community seem to follow, making a visit truly special and unique.

eTN Prof. Wolfgang Thome – http://www.eturbonews.com/51133/uganda-congo-tourism-lake-albert-wilderness-brought-within-reach

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Spotting the Spotted

Wild Life - Zambia - Luangwa - Leopard

The leopard (Panthera pardus) is a member of the Felidae family with a wide range in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa, West Asia, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia to Siberia. It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List because it is declining in large parts of its range due to habitat loss and fragmentation, and hunting for trade and pest control. It is regionally extinct in Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait, Syria, Libya and Tunisia.[1]

The leopard /ˈlɛpərd/ is the smallest of the four “big cats” in the genus Panthera. Compared to other members of the Felidae, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. Both leopards and jaguars that are melanistic are known as black panthers.

The species’ success in the wild is in part due to its opportunistic hunting behavior, its adaptability to habitats, its ability to run at speeds approaching 58 kilometres per hour (36 mph), its unequaled ability to climb trees even when carrying a heavy carcass,[2] and its notorious ability for stealth. The leopard consumes virtually any animal that it can hunt down and catch. Its habitat ranges from rainforest to desert terrains.

Leopards show a great diversity in coat color and rosettes patterns. In general, the coat color varies from pale yellow to deep gold or tawny, and is patterned with black rosettes. The head, lower limbs and belly are spotted with solid black. Coat color and patterning are broadly associated with habitat type. Their rosettes are circular in East Africa but tend to be squarer in southern Africa and larger in Asian populations. Their yellow coat tends to be more pale and cream colored in desert populations, more gray in colder climates, and of a darker golden hue in rainforest habitats. Overall, the fur under the belly tends to be lighter coloured and of a softer, downy type. Solid black spots in place of open rosettes are generally seen along the face, limbs and underbelly.[3]

Leopards are agile and stealthy predators. Although they are smaller than other members of the Panthera genus, they are able to take large prey due to their massive skulls that facilitate powerful jaw muscles. Head and body length is usually between 90 and 165 cm (35 and 65 in). The tail reaches 60 to 110 cm (24 to 43 in) long, around the same length as the tiger‘s tail and relatively the longest tail in the Panthera genus (though snow leopards and the much smaller marbled cats are relatively longer tailed).[4][5] Shoulder height is from 45 to 80 cm (18 to 31 in). The muscles attached to the scapula are exceptionally strong, which enhance their ability to climb trees. They are very diverse in size. Males are about 30% larger than females, weighing 30 to 91 kg (66 to 201 lb) compared to 23 to 60 kg (51 to 132 lb) for females. Large males of up to 91 kg (201 lb) have been documented in Kruger National Park in South Africa; however, males in South Africa’s coastal mountains average 31 kg (68 lb) and the females from the desert-edge in Somalia average 23 to 27 kg (51 to 60 lb). This wide variation in size is thought to result from the quality and availability of prey found in each habitat. The most diminutive leopard subspecies overall is the Arabian leopard (P. p. nimr), from deserts of the Middle East, with adult females of this race weighing as little as 17 kg (37 lb).[6]

Other large subspecies, in which males weigh up to 91 kg (201 lb), are the Sri Lankan leopard (P. p. kotiya) and the Anatolian leopard (P. p. tulliana). Such larger leopards tend to be found in areas which lack tigers and lions, thus putting the leopard at the top of the food chain with no competitive restriction from large prey items.[7] The largest verified leopards weighed 96.5 kg (213 lb) and can reach 190 cm (75 in) in head-and-body length. Larger sizes have been reported but are generally considered unreliable.[5][8] The leopard’s body is comparatively long, and its legs are short.[9]

Leopards may sometimes be confused with two other large spotted cats, the cheetah, with which it may co-exist in Africa, and the jaguar, a neotropical species that it does not naturally co-exist with. However, the patterns of spots in each are different: the cheetah has simple black spots, evenly spread; the jaguar has small spots inside the polygonal rosettes; while the leopard normally has rounder, smaller rosettes than those of the jaguar. The cheetah has longer legs and a thinner build that makes it look more streamlined and taller but less powerfully built than the leopard. The jaguar is more similar in build to the leopard but is generally larger in size and has a more muscular, bulky appearance.[10]

Spotting the Leopards:

India:

Rajasthan:

Far from the madding crowd of tourists and safari canters, this is an unchartered leopard terrain, unknown even to the locals. A few dry, parched parched zones of Rajasthan have become thriving spots for leopard sightings. The journey starts from Taalvraksh (arriving from Delhi), which is just 20 kilometers from Sariska Tiger Sanctuary in Rajasthan. Thanks to the territorial tiffs with tigers, a small area of dense forest with little water available, the leopards have found a haven for themselves.

 David Attenborough in his book The Life of Mammals speaks about the village of Siana in Jalandar District bordering the Thar Desert. The rocky desert hills of Siana are home to a wide range of wildlife including leopards, such as chinkaras, striped hyenas, desert fox, civet and other jungle cats. Stay in Siana is made comfortable with farm stays serving farm grown food, jungle safaris, village tours showing live carvings of handicrafts by local carpenters.

 Bera, near Jawai Bandh in western part of Rajasthan, is a large reservoir abuzz with flamingos, geese, cranes, and other migratory birds. Bera is filled with leopards camouflaged amidst huge rocks, numbers larger than Taalvraksh. Travellers have a choice of camps, some luxurious enough to offer private viewing decks. Experienced guides are around to help tourists track wildlife.

 Best time to visit the place is in the winter when the gorgeous beasts come out to bask in the winter sun.

  SL - Leopard a

Karnataka:

The iconic image of a leopard resting on a silent tea branch that we often see in magazines probably depicts the life style of leopards residing besides the Kabini River that snakes through The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The Kabini Forest Reserve is the abodes of a wide range of wildlife, especially the leopards. One of the uniqueness of this reserve is the co-residence of three predators – leopards, tigers, and dholes (Indian wild dogs). The leopards spend larger part of their life here on trees, coming down only to hunt. They are so strongly camouflaged on the tea trees that it is not easy to spot them until one gets closer. Taking a boat safari of the reserve, one can spot Asiatic elephants, Indian bison (gaur) spotted deer, and wild boar.

 Best time to visit is between October and May.

 Wild Life - Kabini - Leopard a

Madya Pradesh

Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book the forest of Mowgli Land in Pench is immortalized. The state’s southern boundary with Maharastra features the Pench National Park that is famed for Royal Bengal Tigers, though sighting a leopard in this jungle is the best in the nation. The park is also well known for bird watching with over 200 species including the barbets, wagtails, and blue kingfishers.

 Also located in Madya Pradesh is the relatively new and lesser known Satpura Tiger Reserve. It is not uncommon for the tiger enthusiasts venturing into the forest see leopards too. The reserve is unique in it’s offering walking and kayaking safaris. The forest clad hills also heavily sought out by nature lovers for the stunning sceneries it offers.

 Best time to visit is between November and June.

    Wild Life - Kabini - Leopard  

Jammu and Kashmir:

Snow leopards love their cool habitat up into the Himalayas that they are not at all easy to spot other than their mating season. Wildlife protectionists have formed a few organisations with the core intent of protecting them. They promote and organise ecotourism with active participation of local community. Apart from helping to track the snow leopards, the local community also offers their homes to the tourists to stay and eat.

 Best time to visit is February and March, their mating season.

  Snow Leopard

Sri Lanka

Southern Province:

Covering an area of 979 sq kilometers of dense forest, the Yala National Park is one of the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. This park is attributed to house the densest leopard population in the world. The park is also known for the Asiatic elephants, sloth bears, crocodiles and many other species of wild life. But among the glorious spectacle of wildlife, you’d also witness the tell-tale signs of a lost but then a thriving civilization, dating back to the glory days of Sri Lankan Kings..  The Monastic settlement of Sithulpawwa, an important pilgrim site, is said to have housed 12,000 inhabitants seeking solace, some 2000 years ago.  The restored rock Temple, among a series of well-preserved ancient temples offers a glimpse into a glittering past.  What is today a pristine wildlife kingdom, Yala was home to a  hundreds of tanks, most in dilapidated state today, are testimony to an agri-based civilization.  The large, thriving tanks now provide a lifeline to the animal kingdom, especially during dry season.

Wild Life - SL - Yala National Park - Leopard 

Zambia

Mambwe

Occupying more than 9,000 sq kilometers is the South Luangwa National Park  Sighting leopards in this park is not a tall order at all. The concentration of animals around the Luangwa River, and its oxbow lagoons, is among the most intense in Africa. The changing seasons add to the Park’s richness, ranging from; dry, bare bushveld in the winter, to a lush, green wonderland in the summer months. There are 60 different animal species and over 400 different bird species in South Luangwa National Park. The only notable exception is the rhino, sadly poached to extinction. With about 400 of Zambia’s 732 species of birds appearing in the Park, including 39 birds of prey and 47 migrant species, there is plenty for the birdwatcher to spot, whatever the season.

 Wild Life - Zambia - Luangwa - Leopard a

Botswana

Kgalagadi South

Kgalagadi Gemsbok National Park spreads across Botswana and Namibia encompassing a landmass of about 10,000 sq kiometers. This park is estimated to have roughly 2000 cheetahs, 450 lions and about 150 leopards. This park covers several different countries, making up an area of about 2,5 million square kilometers. There are some places in the park where the sand is as deep as 100 meters. One of the greatest attractions of the park is its stunning variety of mammals. Large herds of springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest, eland, kudu, wildebeest, grey duiker, steenbok, brown hyena, cape, bat-eared fox, meerkat, yellow and slender mongoose to name some.

 There are over 264 bird species that have been recorded in the Gemsbok National Park. Weavers are common with as many as 300 birds using one nest, each pair living in an individual chamber. Some weaver’s nests are the size of small rooms and probably weigh more than a ton. They last as long as the tree that they are built in, and get added to and repaired each year. This is one of the most favored places in southern Africa for raptors, as 52 species have been observed in the Gemsbok National Park.

 Wild Life - Kgalagadi - Cheetah


References:

Monsoon Options – Frolic Waterfalls

Falls - Athirappaly Falls - Trissur Falls - Dudhsagar Falls - Goa Falls - Hogenakkal Falls - Kaveri Falls - Jog Falls - Sagara

Nature has innumerable ways of exciting human moods. Water when in movement is believed to calm our minds infusing the charms of tranquility, such of which only nature by divine design could impart. While it is part of their lives for those fortunate people who live within these premises, it is passionately calming experience for the city dwellers. The charms of frolicking waters are at it’s best when the rivers are deluged by the monsoon rains.

While some waterfalls are safe to indulge in, others are best cherished from safe distances. Camping and picnic are well worth options to experience nature to the utmost.

Athirappilly Falls, Kerala State
Referred by local community as the “Niagra of india”, the Athirappilly in Thrissur is this panoramic falls that stretches across 330 feet in width. Chalakudy River feeds the falls that is just about 80 feet high. Surrounded by dense richness of wild nature, it is a hub active wild life, well patronized by trekkers and bird watchers. These forests are home to endangered hornbill storks and a host of many other exotic birds. Athirapilly Falls come of their own when the Chalakudy river swells with monsoon rains.

Hogenaikal Falls, Tamil Nadu State
Leading to these falls, the feeder river Kaveri flows through a forest that breeds herbs with medicinal properties, collecting their medicinal values in it’s waters. It is therefore believed that immersing in these falls is a healthy experience. Apart from these medicinal immersions, the Hogenaikal Falls is patronized by coracle riders, thus claiming to offer one of the most immersive experiences than other waterfalls in India. Hogenaikal Falls is just about 150 kilometers from Bangalore.

Jog Falls, Karnataka State
Nestled within the dense Sagara forests in Karnataka, the Jog Falls is a stunning feature of nature that are created by Sharavati river by cascading in four distinct tumbles – Raja (King), Rani (Queen), Rover, and Roicket. This grand waterfalls, hurling down from a height of 829 feet, is the second highest plunge waterfalls in India forming a spectacular sight by the virtue of it’s just sheer volume of waters. The majestic nature of the falls could be felt from it’s sound that could be heard long before reaching the spot. Fierce torrents plunging off red-brown rocks of sandstone, generates thick layers of cloud and fog generating a sight that is simply magnificent. Swimming is not safe and hence is prohibited. The Jog Falls is a 340 kilometers’ drive from Bangalore along picturesque landscapes.

Dudhsagar Falls, Goa State
Monsoon enlivens the inherent beauty of Goa to it’e limits. Far from the beaches and all the other attractions, the forested hinterland of Goa literally comes alive during the monsoon. One of these is the Dudhjsagar Falls. The frothy appearance of the water when it plummets from an ear splitting height of 1,017 feet has earned it’s name Dughsagar, which translates to mean milky ocean. Forming a part of Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary, the site attracts trekkers who attempt to conquer the challenging terrain to reach the head of the Dhudhsagar Falls. This very popular off the beaten track attraction is about 60 kilometers from Panaji.

The Violet Grace

The Violet Grace

At The Violet Grace we understand a holiday to be a well earned get away time, that is passionately looked forward to by every single holiday maker.  Holiday achieves many intentions:  reassures crucial relationships, offers quality family time, and it helps to rejuvenate spent energies vital to lead a smarter life thereafter.  A well planned and well organised holiday can do just that.

As a boutique agency we stay close to our guests and understand their individual holiday needs to tailor make a package that is as personal as themselves.  At The Violet Grace this becomes possible with the knowledge and experience that we have aquired directly from the industry itself.  

The tourism industry has developed, through every passing year, to be more and more sophisticated in all it’s spheres.  This provides an opportunity, when understood and utilised appropriately, to have a holiday that is well worth every penny spent on it.  It is  not necessary anymore to have a generalised holiday, forcing the holiday maker to cut corners in order to fit into a less flexible package.

At The Violet Grace therefore, you could discuss your holiday in depth before you make the final buy.

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