04/23/18

5 Tips to Plan a Gorilla Trip By Independently

How To Plan A Gorilla Trip By Yourself / Independently

Rwanda and Uganda are one of the three countries in the while World to undertake gorilla safaris (the other is Democratic Republic of Congo) but if you ever make up your mind to undertake the trip from this remarkable country, make sure to plan by yourself / independently because it is cheaper than doing it through the tour operator because most of them charge a commission. Therefore if you plan for Uganda safaris and tours by yourself, you will save a lot of money and yet it is very cumbersome and involves a lot of legwork.

Gorilla trekking within Rwanda is more expensive than it is within the other mentioned countries because permits cost $1500 per person while in Uganda it is $600 yet in the Democratic Republic of Congo it costs $400 but if you plan the safari by yourself, there are high chances that you will save more money if you plan or book for it independently.

Nonetheless, booking a gorilla safari by yourself depends on the period of time you will be spending within the gorilla destination in that if you have less time (1-3 days), you are advised to use the services of tour operators while if you are spending more days (6-10) days, it is advisable to plan or book for it by yourself. Therefore, the following are the important tips to allow you plan for the gorilla trekking safari in Uganda or Rwanda independently;

Do some Research (Gather enough Information) on the price of gorilla permits and pay in advance

The first step of undertaking a gorilla safari is by first inquiring on the availability of gorilla permits because this is your ticket to participating in this activity. This information can be accessed from the website of Rwanda Development Board, sending an email to reservation@rwandatourism.com or calling the reservation office on +252 57 65 14. For Uganda permits, information is available at Uganda Wildlife Authority (info@ugandawildlife.org, Telephone: +256 414 355000 and +256 312 355000). After being sure that permits are available for the date you wished to track the gorillas, book by paying 30% and this should be done at least 6 months in advance due to the high demand for the activity. Permits currently cost $1500 per person in Rwanda and US$600 per person in Uganda, paid in Bank or by cash and can be obtained from the RDB / UWA Head offices. The balance for gorilla permits is paid 3 months to the tracking date.

Get convenient transport means to the Gorilla detonations

In Rwanda, there are usually several local bus companies with comfortable buses leaving Kigali City for Ruhengeri and there is particularly a bus station in Nyabugogo where tickets can be booked charging from 2000 to 3000 francs per person and the journey takes at least 2 hours. Because the buses just stop at Ruhengeri, you will need to get private transport means (300 to 500 francs) especially special hire vehicles to Kinigi Park Headquarters lasting 20 to 30 minutes.

In Uganda, there are many bus companies from Kampala to Kisoro where you can easily connect to Mgahinga national park and Southern Bwindi National park. The journey is approximately 10 hours and charges between 25.000 and 35.000 Uganda Shillings. From the bus station, you can connect to your pre-booked hotel or to the gorilla park by private car hire.

Booking for a place of Stay

Intending gorilla trekkers are always advised to book for accommodation within or near the Park Headquarters and not very far away from the gorilla trekking starting point. Just like the gorilla permits, tourists are advised to deposit for the room in advance to avoid disappointment, then complete on the day of checking in. There are many gorilla safari Lodges within all gorilla parks in Rwanda and Uganda. In Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, Kinigi Guest Guest House is highly recommended because it is opposite the park Headquarters, less than 5 minutes walk to the headquarters.

Pack the right items

Any tourist planning to track the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park and Bwindi or Mgahinga National Parks needs to be prepared for life in the jungles-extreme coldness, dense vegetation and slippery/muddy ground during the rainy season. Therefore, make sure you don’t leave out the long sleeved shirts, long trousers, rain jacket, snacks, bottled water, waterproof hiking boots, hut, non-flash camera, binoculars, cotton socks, heavy sweater, gardening gloves and a backpack among others.

Self drive Rental and Camping

If you are a family, a group of friends or a couple planning a gorilla trip independently, you can save a lot of money when you rent a car without driver and drive your own adventure. Here, you share the cost of transport, fuel and accommodation. In other words, its cheaper to travel in group than sole. Please note, it must be a 4×4 car, and these are available from US$40 per day, for instance, Toyota Rav4, Land cruiser, Mini-vans, Prado, Suzuki Escudo, Honda CRV and many others.

Additionally, some car rental agencies rent out  cars with a full camping gear, thus saving money on accommodations. A full camping gear is from US$5 per day and it includes a water proof tent (some times roof top tent), sleeping bags, mattress, camper table, chairs, kitchen ware, crockery, cooler box, storage box, jerrycan, lam and torch.

With the tips above, it is very possible to plan for a gorilla trip by yourself with enough information and booking for permits in advance, getting convenient transport means to from the airport to the gorilla parks, booking for a place of Stay and Packing the right items.

10/28/14

10 Day Best of Uganda and Rwanda Gorilla Safari

Safari Overview

The 10 day Uganda Rwanda combined safari takes you to Kibale National Park for half day chimpanzee tracking or full day chimpanzee habituation experience, then game viewing drive and boat cruise in Queen Elizabeth national park, tree climbing lion spotting in Ishasha sector and mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable Forest in Uganda and in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, not forgetting community tours genocide memorial sites like Gisozi, Nyamata and Ntarama Churches. Below is a detailed day by day itinerary;

Day One: Transfer to Murchison falls national Park

Upon your arrival at Entebbe international airport, meet our English speaking professional tour guide. Transfer to northern Uganda via Luwero, Nakasongola highway, en-route visit to Ziwa rhino sanctuary for Rhino tracking, lunch in Masindi town, later drive via the Budongo forest to the park and visit the top of the falls, and at this point you can experience the Nile forces its way through a gap in the rocks, only 7 meters (23 ft) wide, and tumbles 43 meters (141 ft), then flows westward into Lake Albert. The outlet of Lake Victoria sends around 300 cubic meters per second (11,000 ft³/s) of water over the falls, squeezed into a gorge less than ten meters (30 ft) wide. Dinner and overnight at Paraa safari lodge, Nile safari lodge, Chobe safari lodge, Sambiya River lodge, Fort Murchison Lodge, Murchison River lodge and Red chilli rest camp.

Day Two: Game viewing drive in Murchison Falls and Boat cruise

Dawn game drive (after a cup of coffee / tea) to spot the wildlife species which are nocturnal and those spend much of their time in jungles like the lions. This activity will expose you to variety of wildlife and birds like some big five like lions, elephants, buffalos, giraffes other animals like water bucks, bush bucks, leopards, warthogs, topi, oribi, vultures, sparrows, wagtails, swallows, egrets, doves among others respectively. Return to lodge for full breakfast and lunch, afternoon prepare for a fantastic boat cruise on a Nile cruise for game viewing at close quarters; this is a paradise for hippos and crocodiles. There are also a variety of birds like Herons, King Fishers, Skimmers, Fish eagle and the rare shoe bill. Return to lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day Three: Murchison Falls to Kibale Forest

Breakfast and depart for Kibale National Park as you enjoy en-route game drive to spot little wildlife along the murram road. This is a7hrs drive so we shall have our lunch en-route in Fort portal town. Dinner and overnight at mountain of the moon, Ndali lodge, Kyaninga lodge, Primate Lodge, Kibale Forest Camp or Chimpanzee guest house.

Day Four: Chimpanzee trekking or Habituation Experience

Early morning breakfast, after for briefing from the park officials. Then enter into the forest block to trek the chimps in their leisure time swinging in the tree branches. This adventure not only expose you to chimps but also to others primates, birds, butterflies and plant species. Animals like white and black Columbus, velvet monkeys, red tailed monkeys and manageably can be spotted. Return to lodge for refreshment and lunch-Drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park where you will arrive in early evening with your en-route game drive and head to your lodge for check in at Mweya safari lodge or Katara lodge, Enganzi lodge, Buffalo safari Resort or Bush Lodge. Meal plan: Full-Board

Day Five: Game drive and Kazinga channel boat cruise

Dawn game drive to spot quite variety of wildlife like some of the big five that include the lions, elephants, buffaloes, Leopards, other animals include warthogs, water bucks, bush bucks, oribi, topi, heart beasts among others. Return to lodge for lunch, afternoon take boat cruise along the River. This cruise is much awesome because it passes through the concentration of the wildlife animals like Hippos, huge Nile crocodiles and many elephants / Buffaloes see basking along the showers, and about 600 bird species. Return to lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day Six: Transfer to Bwindi National Park

Breakfast and transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with en-route game drive through the ishasha sector, a home for tree climbing lions. Have en-route lunch, dinner and overnight at Gorilla forest camp, Ruhija gorilla lodge, Mahogany springs, Gorilla safari lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Gift of Nature Lodge, Buhoma lodge, Buhoma community rest camp, Gorilla Valley Lodge.

Day Seven: Gorilla tracking in Bwindi National Park

Heavy breakfast, after prepare for briefing from the park officials. After enter into the jungle to search the shy mountain gorillas in their real habitat, when you encounter the great apes relax and experience them for your one hour entitled to spend viewing their life style. This experience can take 2-7hrs depending on their movement in this tropical forest. Evening drive to Lake Bunyonyi the Switzerland of Africa that offers variety of birds and good scenic view environs with our dinner and overnight at Heritage lodge, Arcadia cottages, bird nest resort or Bunyonyi Overland resort.

Day Eight: Cross the Border to Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Breakfast and take a canoe or boat trip to different Islands on Lake Bunyonyi, including the Batwa people (Pygmies), return to lodge for refreshment and lunch. After drive to volcanoes national park, dinner and overnight at Mountain Gorilla view lodge / Kinigi guest house / Le bamboo gorilla lodge or Hotel Muhabura.

Day Nine: Second gorilla trek – Volcanoes National Park

Heavy breakfast and after drive to Kinigi park headquarters, here you will receive briefing from park officials after enter into the jungle to search for the gentle giants. You are ideally advised to come with requirements like trekking shoes, hut, sun screen, rain gears, packed lunch and bottled water, insect repellent, standard cameras. When you meet these apes relax and enjoy your one hour permitted close up. Return to your lodge and if interested, we take a community tour, dinner and overnight with the community or at your lodge as on Day 8.

Day Ten: Genocide memorial tour in Kigali, Departure

Today after breakfast embark our safari vehicle and transfer to Kigali, visit Gisozi genocide museum, local art and craft shops, Nyamata and Ntarama churches/genocide sites, later transfer to airport to board your flight back home. This marks the end of our 10 day gorilla safari in Rwanda and Uganda with Gorilla Expeditions Limited. For more of such trips, click here

End of the 10 day Uganda Rwanda combined safari

10/13/14

12 Day Uganda wildlife, Gorillas & Birding Safari Adventure

Safari Overview
This tour package takes you to all Uganda’s most popular tourist destinations for true African wilderness, to start with Murchison Falls National Park, then Kibale Forest, Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for mountain gorilla tracking and Lake Mburo National Park among others. Various tourist activities will include Chimpanzee trekking and Bigodi swamp walk, game drives, forest walk and fantastic boat cruise among others.

Detailed Itinerary for 12 Day Uganda safari adventure

Day 1: Arrival in Uganda – Entebbe International Airport

Meet one of our company representatives upon arrival at Entebbe airport, and transfer to Kampala for dinner and overnight at Hotel Ruch, Buziga Country Resort, Cassia Lodge Buziga or Kampala Lodge among others

Day 2: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park Via Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary

After your breakfast, embark on the journey north-west through the famous Luwero Triangle and, travel to Masindi via Ziwa Rhino Project. En route visit to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for Rhino tracking, lunch and drive to Murchison falls, dinner and overnight and dinner at Murchison River Lodge/ Shoebill camp site/ Red chilli Rest Camp.

Day 3: Game Drive and Boat Cruise to the Bottom of the fall

Begin the day with a cup of African Coffee / tea. Thereafter, start a game drive in search for animals such as Elephants, African Lions, Cape buffalo, Rothschild’s giraffe, hartebeest, Waterbuck, Oribi, Bushbuck, Bohor reedbuck, hyena and if you are lucky, the leopard.

Return to the hotel/lodge for late breakfast and lunch as you prepare for the boat cruise upstream the calm Victoria Nile to the base of the falls stopping just tens of meters from the “Devil’s Cauldron”. En-route, marvel at the toothsome hippos, crocodiles and over this 17m stretch you may see elephants, waterbucks, Uganda Kobs and crocodiles.

This area also hosts many bird species like Goliath heron, Egyptian goose, pelican bee-eater, kingfisher, hornbill, cormorant and the rare shoebill stork. There you leave the boat and start your – quite heavy – hike to the Top of the Falls (approx. 1 hour).

Meet where the world’s longest river explodes violently through a narrow cleft in the Rift Valley escarpment to plunge into a frothing pool 43m below. Your safari guide/ driver will be waiting to bring you back to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 4: Connect to Kibale National Park, Home to 13 primate species

After breakfast, embark on a 7 hours drive south via Hoima to Fort Portal through verdant countryside and past traditional homesteads and farms along Albertine Rift escarpments. Fort-Portal rests in the shadow of the fabled Mountains of the Moon. Have dinner and overnight at Mountains of the moon/Chimp Nest Lodge / Chimpanzee guest house or Kyaninga Lodge.

Day 5: Chimpanzee Tracking or Habituation Experience

After early breakfast, report at Kanyanchu Tourist Centre for briefing and set out to track chimpanzee in the forest. Chances of viewing the chimpanzees are over 90%. Kibale National Park is one of the beautiful and stunning forests in the Uganda. It is home to our closest living relatives the endangered Chimpanzee, the threatened Red colobus monkey and the rare L’Hoest’s monkey. The forest also boasts of having one of the highest diversity and density of primates in Africa totaling 13 species including the Black and white colobus, Blue monkey, Grey-cheeked mangabey, Red tailed monkey and Bush babies and Pottos.

After lunch, visit Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary from where you will take on a guided walk around the Swamp that will provide you with the opportunity to see a wide range of flora and fauna. View a variety of colorful butterflies, birds and other insects.

Chimpanzee habituation experience takes full day while chimpanzee tracking takes just half day.

Day 6: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park

After breakfast, transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park viewing the mystical Rwenzori Mountain ranges for much of the journey. Check in at your lodge as you wait for your lunch. After lunch, take on an afternoon boat cuise along Kazinga Channel, one that joins Lakes Edward and George. The cruise is a wonderful way to view hippo, buffalos, Kob and among others and a spectacular bird watching on the water bank. Many who experience the launch cruise consider it the high light of their entire African safari, dinner and overnight at Mweya safari lodge / Mweya Hostels / Enganzi Lodge / Simba Safari Camp / Twin Lake safari lodge.

Day 7: Queen Elizabeth National Park Exploration

After breakfast, move with your packed lunch for the morning game drive to catch-up with the early risers and predators returning to their hideouts. Expect to meet the grazing Hippos, Elephants, and Lions, spotted Hyenas, bush buck, water buck, stripped jackal, comical warthogs and the elusive leopard. Proceed to Maramagambo forest. Many surprises await you here for example pythons are often observed in the crevices of the bat cave floor using the bats as a source of food. The cave is near a picturesque formerly Blue lake and Hunters cave. You may also see forest birds such as bat hawks, brown eared woodpecker and other primates.

Alternatively; we can take an afternoon forest walk in Kyambura gorge for Chimpanzee tracking adventure. Return for dinner and overnight stay your lodge as on day six.

Day 8: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Breakfast and proceed to Ishasha sector to encounter the climbing lions in southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Lunch in Ishasha and connect to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

The journey takes about 4 hours but driving through interesting features, arriving in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park by late afternoon or early evening. The park is home for the rare mountain gorillas plus other primates like the blue and red tailed monkeys. The forest itself is lush, green and there are streams running through it. Dinner and overnight stay at Mahogany Springs Lodge/ Gorilla Mist Camp/ Wagtail Eco Safari/Gift of Nature Lodge / Bakiga lodge

Day 9: Gorilla Trekking Adventure

After breakfast, get briefing from the ranger guides and thereafter, set off early with guides to trek the gorillas. The thrill of encountering gorillas will erase the difficulties you went through in trying to find them. However, it is wise to carry packed lunch and mineral water, tracking gears among others. Each gorilla safari encounter is different and has its own rewards, but you are likely to enjoy the close view of adults feeding, grooming and resting as the youngsters frolic and swing from vines in a delightfully playful display.

Time permitting; spend the afternoon on a community foot tour to explore the life style of the people living in the nearby communities, or we can drive to the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi. Return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 10: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park

After breakfast, drive to Lake Mburo National park for a game drive. The park is renowned for zebras, impalas, buffaloes, hippos, topi and elands including the rare shoebill, crested crane, pelicans, fish eagle, heron and many water birds. Have dinner and overnight at Mihingo Safari Lodge / Arcadia Cottages/ Mantana Tented Camp / Lake Mburo safari lodge.

Day 11: Lake Mburo wildlife Exploration

Morning game drive in the Park which is an extension of the Tanzanian Plains with big herds of Zebra, Impala, Eland , Warthogs ,buffalo and other savannah species. For birders, this is one of the best places to find African Fin foot, Papyrus, Bush Shrike among others. The evening is spent on an evening boat cruise amidst the Hippos is amazing and relaxing at the Lodge observing game moving in the park. Time permitting; we can take a nature walk to the salt lick area where animals gather to lick salt from the soil, Dinner and overnight at your lodge.

Day 12: Return to Kampala/Entebbe -Departure

Breakfast and drive back to Kampala with en-route visit to Igongo Cultural village to explore and learn the Bahima and Ankole culture, a place where the future meets the past. Stop at the equator for photographs, arrive to Kampala/Entebbe by afternoon to catch up your evening flight back home.

10/10/14

8 Day Affordable Uganda Safari to See Gorillas & Big 5 Animals in Africa

Safari Overview
Uganda is the only country in the world where one can track gorillas in the wild and see the Big 5 animals in Africa (Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo). Explore Uganda on a 10 day affordable Uganda safari adventure to see the mountain gorillas in the misty jungles of Bwindi national Park, chimpanzees and other Uganda wildlife among others. Other activities include community tours, forest walks, bird watching, boat cruise and photographing among others.

Detailed day by day itinerary

Day One: Arrival in Uganda (Entebbe International Airport, EBB)

Welcome to Uganda!! Upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport, you will be warmly welcomed by your tour guide (our company representative), then transfer to our Hotel in Entebbe or Kampala for a welcome meal / dinner, briefing from your tour guide about the tour, overnight at Cassia Lodge / Hotel Ruch / Buziga Country Resort.

Day Two: Transfer to Bwindi National Park (8-10hrs).

Your professional tour guide will meet you at the hotel and set off for Bwindi national park. The journey goes through many small towns, villages and road side markets that offer a chance for photographing, en-route stop at the equator for more photographs, lunch in Mbarara town at Agip Motel, arrive at your lodge in Bwindi National Park by early evening for dinner and overnight; Gorilla Mist Camp / Wagtail Eco Safari Camp / Gift of Nature Lodge / Silverback Lodge / Mahogany Springs Lodge, etc

Day Three: Mountain Gorilla Trekking Adventure

Heavy breakfast followed by an assembly at the park headquarters (with bottled mineral water) for more briefing about gorilla tracking. The trek takes between 1-7hrs before meeting these gentle Giants camouflaged in thick vegetation. You will be allowed to stay with the Giants for a maximum of 60 minutes, after which get back to the lodge for late lunch. Time permitting, we shall take a community walk to nearby Batwa people (Pygmies), we can get entertained in local music, dance and drama, dinner and overnight at your lodge on Day 2.

Day Four: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth Wildlife Park

Morning breakfast at the lodge, followed by a scenic drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park, the journey goes through small trading centers in rural areas of Uganda. We shall have a wonderful game drive in the Ishasha sector, famous for tree climbing lions alongside other wild animals like Elephants, Buffaloes, Warthogs and several antelope species. Arrive to the lodge by late afternoon; relax as we wait for dinner and overnight. Mweya safari lodge, Enganzi Lodge, King Fisher lodge, Bush Lodge, Hippo hill camp, etc

Day Five: Game drive and a fantastic Boat cruise

A cup of tea will be followed by a fantastic game drive to catch up with early raisers and predators returning to their hide-outs. Expect an encounter with wild animals such as the Africa Lion, Elephants, Buffaloes, Warthogs, Baboons and sometimes leopards among others. Return to the lodge for late breakfast, relax as you wait for lunch, after which, you embark on a fantastic boat cruise on Kazinga channel, famous for the highest concentration of Hippos in Africa with Huge Nile crocodiles, Elephants and Buffaloes seen basking along the shores. Return to the lodge in sunset, dinner and overnight.

Day Six: Nature walk and chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge

Breakfast followed by a nature walk to Maramagambo forest. Expect an encounter with primates like colobus monkeys, olive baboons, Giant forest hogs and many others. We shall have lunch on the Captains table floating on Lake Nyamusingire, Jacana safari lodge. You can choose to relax in the afternoon, or gather your strength to for wild chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura gorge, or we can take an evening game drive for more wild animals. Dinner and overnight.

Day Seven: Transfer to Kibale National Park, Habituation experience

Breakfast followed another game drive through Queen Elizabeth National Park as we transfer to Kibale National Park, a home to 13 primate species that include Chimpanzees, Red-tailed Monkeys, L’hoest’s monkeys, Giant forest hog, colobus monkeys, blue monkeys and many others, with about 350 bird species. Here you also find mammals like forest elephants. Get ready for Chimpanzee tracking after lunch, dinner and overnight at Kibale Primate Lodge / Chimp nest lodge / Chimpanzee guest house / Kyaninga Lodge, Ndali Lodge.
Alternatively, we can have full day chimpanzee habituation experience in Kibale forest.

Day Eight: Transfer to Murchison Falls National park

Breakfast at the lodge / hotel, then hit the road to Murchison falls national park, we shall have lunch in Hoima Town, proceed via the beautiful Butia Escarpments, arrive to the park by late afternoon, then take a visit to the top of the falls where the River forces its self through a narrow gorge 7 meters wide, flowing down 45meters. The scenery here is so wonderful.  Dinner and overnight at Paraa safari lodge / Murchison Lodge / Red Chilli Rest Camp / Shoebill Camp site, etc

Day Nine: Game drive and boat cruise to the bottom of the falls

Breakfast at the lodge followed a fantastic game drive in search for a wide variety of animals such as the lions, leopard, Giraffes, Buffaloes, elephants and many antelopes. Return to the lodge and relax as we wait for lunch. Then embark on a fantastic boat cruise to the bottom of the falls. Here we can have a nature walk to the top of the falls, expect to see elephants and Buffaloes drinking water on the shores, huge crocodiles, Hippos and over 300 bird species. Return to the Lodge in sunset for dinner and overnight.

Day Ten: Departure

Breakfast at the lodge, followed by transfer back to Kampala with enroute visit to Ziwa rhino sanctuary for Rhino tracking, the journey to Kampala is a 4-5hrs drive and we shall be in Kampala by later afternoon. Depending on our departure flight schedule, you will be transferred to Entebbe Airport or stay to your hotel for dinner and overnight.

END OF THE TOUR