01/18/20

Chimps & Other Primates Tours in Rwanda

Chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda is done in Nyungwe National park located in the southwestern part of Rwanda bordered by Burundi in the south and Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west.

Nyungwe National park covers an area of 970 square kilometres with a rain forest, bamboo, grassland and swamps kind of vegetation which inhabits 13 primate species including over 400 chimpanzees, L’Hoest’s monkeys, colubus monkeys, velvet monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, olive baboon, silver monkeys among others.

Nyungwe National park can be accessed from Kigali-Nyanza-Huye then finally to Nyungwe, the distance may take 5-6 hours drive. It can also be accessed by air to Kanombe airport using the services of Akagera aviation.

Where chimpanzee trekking is done in Nyungwe National park?

Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe National park is carried out in Cyamudongo area and others in Uwinka area of Nyungwe forest and all with about 400 chimpanzees.

  • Cyamudongo forest

Cyamudongo forest is a small forest with only 19 square kilometres but the best home for chimpanzee trekking than any other part in Nyungwe forest. It was connected to Nyungwe forest but after it was destroyed and became isolated but still part of Nyungwe.

Cyamudongo forest is home to a big group of chimpanzees and many other primates like L’Hoest’s monkeys, Rwenzori colubus monkeys, velvet monkeys, several bird species, butterfly species and many endemic species of flora and fauna. It is also unique for other plant species like Orchid blue chertiae which is not found elsewhere in Nyungwe.

Chimpanzee trekking can also be done around Uwinka area because there is a group near Uwinka reception centre with over 40 individuals in the group and quite difficult to trek.

Other places to see Chimpanzees in Rwanda

Besides Nyungwe National park being the well-known destination for chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda, chimpanzees can also be viewed and trekked from Gishwati Mukura National park, the newest Rwanda tour destination located in the western side of the country. Gishwati Mukuru National park is home to several habituated chimpanzees just in case one misses permits for Nyungwe National park.

Chimpanzee tracking experience

Chimpanzee tracking is an exciting experience that involves travellers to move through the forests in search of the habituated chimpanzees in their natural habitats. Chimpanzees are popular primates that attract tourists to Rwanda just like the Gorillas in Volcanoes National park in northwestern Rwanda.

Chimpanzee trekking is a park activity that involves following trails after early morning briefing by the ranger guides on the dos and don’ts of chimpanzee trekking. Follow trails with the rangers as you head to the forests in search for the chimpanzee in their natural environment, on the encounter with the chimpanzees, you are required to view the chimpanzees, watch their behaviours, feeding, take pictures and videos in only one hour and vacate the forest. This marks the breathtaking and unforgettable memorial experience for the visitors.

When to go chimps trekking?

Chimpanzees are normally seen early in the morning meaning you have to wake up early in the morning by 6:30 visitors should be at the park headquarters.

Chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda can also be done in the months of January, February, June, July, August, September and December because these are dry months, also known as the peak season. They experience little or no rainfall making the trekking areas less slippery and reachable during the trekking time.

Rwanda Chimpanzee trekking fees

Foreign non-residents pay 90 US dollars

Foreign residents pay 60 US dollars

Rwandans pay 5000 Rwf

Students who are foreign residents pay 30 US dollars

Rwandan students who are citizens pay 2500 Rwf

East Africa community foreign residents pay 60 US dollars

Nationals from the East African community pay 10 US dollars

East Africa community students pay 5 US dollars

Chimpanzee trekking rules and regulations

Keep a distance of 8 meters from the presence of chimpanzees, however much habituated they are, chimpanzees are wild animals and can be dangerous when you come close to them.

Trekkers above the age of 15 years are allowed to trek the chimpanzees because young people normally have infectious diseases that can be transferred to chimpanzees.

Do not trek chimpanzees when you have a cold or cough because the chimpanzees easily get affected.

Do not eat and drink while with the chimpanzees.

The visitors should keep their voices low when trekking chimpanzees because the noise scares them away and other wild animals and miss a chance of encountering with them.

Chimpanzee trekking only allows a maximum of 6 members per chimpanzee group every day.

Do not use flash cameras while taking pictures and videos because they destruct the chimpanzees making them charge.

Do not litter rubbish and leftovers in the forests which makes the chimpanzees sick.

What to carry for chimpanzee trekking?

Some of the elements required when going for chimpanzee trekking include;

  • Trousers and long-sleeved shirts/blouses

Wear the long-sleeved shirt to protect you from the strong shrubs as you move through the forest in search of the chimpanzees.

  • Hiking boots

Help to ease the movement of trekkers especially in the muddy and slippery areas.

  • Rain jacket

Travellers are always advised to carry a rain jacket going to trek chimpanzees just in case of rain.

Garden gloves help to protect you from the harsh trees and insect bites as you hike through the hard trails.

Wear a hut to protect you from the direct sun and in case of rain.

Carry cameras to take pictures and videos of the chimpanzees in their natural inhabits.

Carry extra lenses and batteries in case the batteries of the camera are finished to continue taking the memorable pictures with chimpanzees.

Other things to do in Nyungwe National Park

Besides chimps tracking, Nyungwe national park has more to offer to tourists, and these include;

  • Birding:

The park has over 300 bird species and among the frequently spotted species include White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Rwenzori Nightjar, the Handsome Francolin, Kivu Ground Thrush, Great blue and Rwenzori Turaco, Dwarf Honeyguide, the Red- Throated Alethe, and montane Double Collared Sun.

  • Canopy walk:

This was introduced in 2010, and its the only one we have in East Africa! It is a 90 meters long walk on top of Nyungwe Jungle, extremely interesting and rewards you with a face to face interaction with many bird species, primates and butterflies. To take part in the Canopy walk adventure, you are required to pay US$60 for foreign non-residents!

  • Black and White Colobus monkey tracking:

Nyungwe National Park has large troops of Black and white colobus monkeys, ranging between 400 and 600 individuals. It’s another amazing experience in Nyungwe Jungle! To take part in colobus monkey tracking, you are required to pay US$60 for foreign non-residents!

  • Guided Forest walk:

There are many hiking trails in Nyungwe National park. Choose one in your ability to hike! Some of them include Isumo Waterfall Trail, Bigugu Trail, Ngabwe Trail, Kamiranzovu Marsh Trail, and Igishigishigi Trail among others.

  • Community Tours:

Tourist can visit local communities surrounding Nyungwe National Park, visit them in their fields, homesteads or coffee plantations. You can take part in local activities such as milking cows, harvesting coffee and digging among others.

01/14/20

All About Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda

Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda

In the whole world, there are over 1000 habituated mountain gorillas and these are found in only three countries in the world, Bwindi Impenetrable National park and Mgahinga National park in southwestern Uganda, Volcanoes National park in northwestern Rwanda and Virunga National park in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rwanda has become the most visited country for gorilla trekking and other primate species like golden monkeys.

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is carried out in Volcanoes National park in the northwestern part of the country also part of the eight Virunga Mountains. The Virunga Mountains include Karisimbi, Sabinyo, Muhabura, Bisoke, Gahinga, Nyiragongo, Mikeno and Nyamuragira Mountains.

Volcanoes National park is located in Musanze former Ruhengeri, 110 km approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes from Kigali airport. The park borders Virunga National park in Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga National park in southwestern Uganda.

Volcanoes National park is also well known as the base for the female American conservationist Dian Fossey who played a big role in the protection of mountain gorillas, Dian Fossey had research centred called Karisoke between the mountains of Karisimbi and Bisoke where she was later buried after being killed by angry poachers on 26th December 1985.

Volcanoes National park covers an area of 160 square kilometres with bamboo and rain forest type of vegetation that harbours the endangered mountain gorillas, besides the huge population of mountain gorillas, Volcanoes National park also harbours golden monkeys, primate species, bird species among others.

Gorilla trekking is currently the most captivating activity in Rwanda with currently 10 gorilla families habituated for trekking and 8 gorilla permits allocated to every group making the availability of 80 permits every day. The gorilla groups were 11 in number but the one group called Hirwa migrated to southwestern Uganda in Mgahinga National park.

Each gorilla group is unique in its own way, be it character, size, and each group is led by a huge silverback or silverbacks. Below are the gorilla groups in Rwanda;

  • Susa family

Susa family normally referred to susa A is the oldest and biggest gorilla group in Rwanda with over 29 members, 3 silverbacks and 2 twins. Susa family was the gorilla group that Dian Fossey studied while she was at Karisoke research centre between mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke before she was killed by the angry poachers.

Susa family deprived its name from river susa that flow through where the group inhabits.

Susa group is normally the hardest group to trek because they tend to move high in the mountains making it so hard for the trekkers to reach them.

Susa gorilla group is commonly known for its twins born to impano and byishimo.

  • Kwitonda family

Kwitonda family is the second biggest gorilla group with about 28 members.

Kwitonda stays in the areas between mount Sabinyo and Mount Gahinga and the most popular group for tourists to visit.

The gorilla group deprived its name from the silverback that came from the Democratic Republic of Congo due to the pressure from others gorilla families and formed a one kwitonda, later was taken over by the young silverback Akarevuro, but later kwitonda was found dead at the age of 40 and was known for his humble character. It leaves in the slopes of Mount Muhabura.

  • Sabinyo family

Sabinyo family currently has 13 members and 2 silverbacks living in the slopes of Mount Sabinyo. The group came into existence after the death of a dominant silverback where the family split from “amavubi” a Kinyarwanda word meaning wasps and formed another gorilla family and changed the name to Sabinyo family.

Sabinyo family was led by the dominant silverback which was the oldest, strongest and biggest compared to other silverbacks.

This group is well known for its giant silverback known as the Guhonda which is the biggest silverback in the park.

  • Karisimbi family

Karisimbi family is initially called Susa B because it separated itself from the Susa family with 15 members with 1 silverback called Nyagakangaga, the group stays in the slopes of Mount Karisimbi the highest mountain in the Virunga ranges.

The Karisimbi family is also a hard group to trek because it stays in the high mountains of karisimbi with 4507 meters above sea level.

For the trekkers who want to test their physical fitness, they are recommended to visit the Karisimbi gorilla family.

  • Amahoro family

Amahoro is a Kinyarwanda word meaning peace, therefore the group is characterized by its humble and peaceful characters. The family stays in the slopes of mountain Bisoke with 17 members including the Ubumwe the head silverback. Ubumwe is a Kinyarwanda word meaning togetherness.

Amahoro family is also a hard to trek group because of the terrain of the land in which they stay which can be so hard to climb.

Trekkers humble and peaceful in character are recommended to visit the Amahoro family.

  • Umubano family

Umubano family was formed from Amahoro family after silverback Charles and Ubumwe had endless battles, Charles was forced to break off and formed his own group and named it Umubano.

Umubano family has 13 members and 2 silverbacks, they stay in the same area with Amahoro family.

  • Agashya family

Agashya family was initially called group family but recently changed its name to Agashya family. Its name was got from the 13 members of the family that it had.

The family was led by the dominant silverback known as Nyakarima who was later overthrown by a silverback called Agashya. The name Agashya means News, and the group was named after the silverback Agashya.

The family has 27 members and 1 silverback also staying in the slopes of Mount Sabinyo.

  • Ugenda family

Ugenda family is made up of 11 members and 2 silverbacks, the name “Ugenda” means mobile which relatively describes the group’s behaviour.

Ugenda family is always moving, they have never settled in one place. The family inhabits in the slopes of mount Bisoke.

  • Bwenge family

Bwenge family comprises of 11 members with 1 silverback. Bwenge literally means wisdom in English, Bwenge left his group and was joined by other female members then later formed its group and was named Bwenge. Bwenge family stays in the slopes of Mount Bisoke

  • Titus family

Titus family was named after the silverback, Titus, was born during times of Dian Fossey when she was still conducting her research at Karisoke Research Centre. The whole of Titus family was killed by poachers and Titus was the only one that managed to survive the poachers. Titus formed his group and named it Titus.

Currently, Titus family resides in the slopes of Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke.

Gorilla trekking experience in Rwanda

Gorilla trekking all starts with travellers arrive at Volcanoes National park’s headquarters at Kinigi in Musanze for briefing at 6:30 am by the ranger guides on the rules and regulations guiding gorilla trekking.

At exactly 7am, the visitor joins other trekkers to search for the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural environment after being allocated the gorilla groups to trek.

Some groups may be near and others may be far which may require some physical fitness to hike to reach them. Some travellers may take hours to find them and others may take a few hours to find them depending on which gorilla group you are allocated to.

There are always higher chances of spotting mountain gorillas, rangers are sent in the forest very early in the morning to find out where they made their nests the previous night and they are able to communicate with the ranger guides that are directing the trekkers so as to find the gorillas easily.

The hiking process passing through the in passable trails of the park and climbing since Volcanoes National park is situated in the Virunga regions, the experience is rewarded when you encounter with the gorillas and you will forget all you went through to reach them.

Travellers are entitled to only one hour in the presence of mountain gorillas and you can leave the forest.

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is managed by Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and all payments are made from RDB offices in Kigali town.

Gorilla trekking permits

Gorilla trekking permits are acquired from Rwanda Development Board, each permit costs 1500 US dollars for all, foreign nonresidents, foreign residents and East African residents.

The Rwanda gorilla trekking permits are so expensive compared to Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo gorilla permits as a way of conserving the mountain gorillas. Since gorilla trekking permit is expensive, the gorillas are visited by not more than 80 people on a daily basis hence protecting their natural environment.

The permits being on higher demand, visitors are advised to book their permits at least 3 months in advance.

Rules and regulations for gorilla trekking

  • Only 8 members are allowed to visit a certain gorilla group which limits the number of visitors that may transfer diseases to the primates.
  • Always wash hands before heading out to these endangered species.
  • Do not go on a gorilla safari with cough, flu or any contagious disease that may be transferred to the gorillas.
  • Do not leave rubbish in the forests like leftovers, empty water bottles which may cause gorillas to catch diseases.
  • Always keep your voices low when searching for the gorillas and when in their presence to avoid scaring them away.
  • Keep 7 meters away when with the mountain gorillas because when visitors come close to the gorillas they can easily charge.
  • Do not eat and drink in the presences of gorillas.
  • Flash photography is not allowed when taking pictures and videos of the gorilla which may destruct their peace and cause them to charge.
  • Always turn away from the gorillas when you feel the urge to cough or sneeze to avoid spreading diseases to the gorillas.

Gorilla trekking gears

Wear long trousers and long shirts/blouses to protect you from the harsh branches in the forests.

Hiking boots

Gardening gloves

Rain jacket

Wear a hat

Warm sweaters

Insect repellant

06/13/19

Endangered Gorillas

Why The Mountain Gorillas Are Endangered Species In The World

Have you ever imagined why mountain gorillas feature as the most critically endangered species in the world? With fewer than 1000 individuals that are left in the world today, the rare mountain gorillas are listed under IUCN Red book as the critically endangered Apes in the world and their survival on earth is at risk of extinction

They are scientifically known as gorilla beringei beringei, a subspec of Eastern gorilla which is only thriving within the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park in South-western part of Uganda; the Virunga National Park in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the Volcanoes National Park in Northwestern Rwanda, the only destinations for mountain gorilla safaris in the world, and there are a million reasons why these rare apes are listed as the most critically endangered species on today and among many include the following;

  • Habitat loss
Cutting down forests for Timber, Settlement & Agriculture

Cutting down forests for Timber, Settlement & Agriculture

Like most wildlife species that thrive on earth today, the mountain gorillas are also interfaced with habitat loss. Most of the areas where these unique creatures thrive are highly populated and their habitats are often deforested and replaced with agricultural farms, firewood, building materials as well as for human settlements.
The other factor is traditional medicine as most of the body parts of these endangered apes are highly used as charms by most of the traditional healers and this also has become a threat to their survival on earth.
However, many International and region organizations such as International Gorilla Conservation Program, Africa Wildlife Foundation, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Friend a Gorilla, Uganda Wildlife Authority and many others are jointly protecting the gorilla habitat through a number of ways such as; sensitizing the local community about the value of gorillas to their community, relocating them from gorilla habitat and compensations for destroyed property by gorillas.

  • Illegal hunting (poaching)
Poarchers Carrying a Mountain Gorilla in DR Congo

Poachers Carrying a Mountain Gorilla in DR Congo

This is another severe threat to the survival of these rare apes. Since 1902, mountain gorillas have been hunted for various reasons including food up to date. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, most of the people poach these rare species mainly for their meat.

Others poach these Great apes for sport and not to leave out the illegal exotic pet trade poses another threat where babies are captured and sold. Whereas most of the traps are set to catch the small animals like antelopes, in the course of the day the mountain gorillas also get entangled in these wire snares.
However still, through the sensitization of the local communities about their benefits from gorilla tourism, illegal poaching is controlled in “some gorilla parks”.

For example, we ex-poachers employed as Porters, and park rangers. Additionally, there is a percentage of the revenues rewarded to the local communities through infrastructures development such as rural electrification, provision of piped water, medical centers and scholastic materials among others. Through such measures, we have hope for a steady increase in the mountain gorilla population in Africa!

  • Political unrest

Besides habitat loss and poaching, the country’s political insecurity also proves to be a severe threat. Civil wars come with diverse effects which include habitat loss and illegal hunting and all these make the lives of these rare apes hard while in their natural habitat.

  • Oil and gas exploration

This also proves a severe threat to the thriving of these Great apes. The European oil and gas companies have been granted exploration concessions in the Virunga National Park where more than 200 individuals of these large primates thrive in the Democratic Congo Republic. Whereas the habitat isn’t within an oil concession, the development in the protected area could negatively inflict on the wildlife’s security. This is happening in other national parks in Uganda such as Murchison Falls where oil and gas exploration has affected a huge number of animals

  • Human infectious diseases

Mountain gorillas share about 95% of their DNA with humans and this means that they are very susceptible to human infectious diseases. They already have severe disease effects to overcome and the further threat of human diseases especially flue and cold can cost their lives. The first time exposure to these diseases can cost their population in the habitat.

However, we have gorilla doctors in all parks to engage any disease outbreak in the gorilla community!

In conclusion, mountain gorillas have a slow reproduction rate and yet also they are most threatened apes in the world today. There is a need for collaborative effort to conserve these critically endangered primates on earth so as to help increase their number in the wild.

These endangered apes can be saved by selling out gorilla trekking permits to generate more money that can help to support environmental programs like conserving and protection of mountain gorillas, sensitizing the local communities about gorilla tourism, and provide alternative sources of income for local residents around the parks.

11/27/18

What to do in Pemba Island – Tanzania

Are you looking for that one destination with fun activities to excite you? If this is what you have always dreamt to have while on safari in Africa then Pemba Island has got it all for you. It is that one area you need not to miss to visit if you are looking for lifetime experiences and among the many exciting activities for you to engage in this area include;

Pay a visit to the ZSTC Clove oil distillery
If there is something that Pemba is more popular of, then it is its clove industry and this distillery is one place where clove stems can be changed into an essential oil. This distillery is run by the Zanzibar State Trading Corporation. It lies within the suburb of Machomane approximately a kilometer north of the town center and east of the main route.

Snorkeling and diving
These are some of the top list adventures that this island is famous for. They are conducted along the Tanzania coast line and the island is bordered by most of the coral reefs. Between the island and mainland Tanzania, there are Pemba channel shelves with a depth of about 2000 meters. This island is also popular for its sea fish species that include among others whales, barracuda, tuna and sharks. The area is an ideal play site for experienced divers.

Explore Misali Island
This area can be visited by use of boat from Wesha although it is also easier for one to take excursions via travel agencies or hotels. This forms part of the Pemba Conservation Area and spans to cover the western coast of Pemba. Note that all snorkelers, divers have to pay for admission fee. While inside this area, you will be surrounded by crystal waters and beautiful coral reefs and this makes is the best for diving experiences in east Africa.

Kidike flying fox sanctuary
This lies close to Kangagani approximately two kilometers east of the new primary road just between Chake-Chake and Wete. This sanctuary offers refuge to most of the wildlife species with its major highlight being the stunning colony of Pemba flying foxes, a huge bat indigenous

Visit Ngezi forest reserve
In the northeastern side of Pemba, you will be welcomed by the think and beautiful Ngezi that is one of the left areas of the native forests which formerly was covered by the island and it is near the rainforest. This sanctuary is preserved by a 1476 hectare reserve and its forest is full of vines with most of the vervet monkeys. There are also 2 nature trails that take you via the forest with off trail walks which is ideal for nature lovers and birders can also take the easier route to spot out most of the endemic Pemba scops owl or embark on a bat watching walk.

The Pemba channel conservation area
Accessing this area also requires you to pay entry fees and you can plan your tour with recognized tour operator. A visit to this conservancy area rewards with amazing sights at variety of wildlife species and several natural attractions.

Explore Pemba museum
Just a few hours, you set off to explore more about the Pemba Island’s history at its museum. This museum features a well-organized and showcases the island’s history. The museum features a 18th Omani fort that is believed to have been constructed on the ruins of 16th century Portuguese garrison.

Other significant areas for you to explore in Pemba Island include the Chwaka ruins that comes with 2 sites-the Mazrui tombs which dates 17th century and Haruni site, the Ras Kigomasha Lighthouse, ruins in Chake-Chake, Mkame Ndume ruins, Spice farm and rainforest and many more.

10/23/18

Places to see Lions and Antelopes in Uganda

Where To See Antelopes In Uganda

Are antelopes some of a few most interesting wildlife species that you would like to see while on a game safari in Uganda and you do not know where to go? When it comes to African safaris, Uganda is undeniably one of the beautiful countries which are endowed with a number of wildlife species. If you are interested in a more exciting safari then don’t miss to catch a glimpse at variety of playful antelope families while on your game drive.

In Africa, they come in large numbers and in East Africa alone is comprised of over 20 to 30 different species of these spectacular mammal species and they thrive mostly in most of the savanna grassland. Over 29 species of these live in Uganda’s national parks and reserves. They include the greater Kudus, elands, Jackson’s hartebeest, semi aquatic sitatunga, Grant’s gazelle, Uganda Kob, Topis, Oribis and many more. These amazing mammal species largely thrive in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Semuliki Valley National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Lake Mburo National Park and others. They also exist in countries like South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe and others.

Antelopes are largely herbivores, meaning they depend on grass and they graze just like cattle and they love very succulent leaves. They mate any time provided they are in maturity stage and generally, their gestation period ranges from 7 to 9 months. They are easily sighted in groups of over 500 individuals.

They interact using various gestures and vocalization mostly when they are in danger times. Lions, cheetahs, hyenas, wild dogs and others are some of the predators. The Jackson’s hartebeests are highly endemic to Uganda as well as the semi aquatic sitatunga antelopes which feature splayed hooves that enable them to thrive in papyrus areas and they are mostly found in Kalangala Island.

Some of these mammal species are also found in forests, woodlands, bushes and they are ruminants. They are fast wild animals with long strides they make with their long, slender and yet powerful legs. However, they use senses as a way for them to avoid predators and they can detect danger even at night. Besides, they use these senses to interact with each other whereas most of them depend on their large population where adults encircle their young ones as a way to guard them against predators and others trust their legs.

Their lifespan in the wild isn’t known a fact that when they grow, the less speed they become to escape from enemies and in captivity, they can reach 20 years. They also come in a pelage with thick coat of short fur, different shades of brown and white or pale under bodies. Whereas others posses patches like topis which have purple patches, eland have small patches in the knees and there are two different types of elands-the giant and common eland. Giant elands are the biggest followed by the common ones.

Uganda Kobs on other hand are the commonly sighted antelope family and the Kudus are mostly found in woodland. Other antelope species include the sable and they are a few largest in African continent and Nyala mainly thrive in the thick bush mostly along the riverine areas. In order for you to see antelopes in Uganda, you can embark on a game drive or nature walk in the popular national parks.

Therefore, antelopes are among a few most magnificent wildlife species that are worth catching a glimpse while you are on a game safari in Uganda. They are mainly spotted in the vast savanna grassland protected areas.

Where to See Lions in Uganda?

If you are planning to go for a game drive while on safari in Uganda and you are interested in a big game then lions are among a few most amazing creatures that you shouldn’t miss to catch a glimpse. They are popularly called the Kings of the jungles and the fiercest carnivores in the savanna grassland protected areas. Uganda is generally endowed with breathtaking scenery and its vegetation cover is splendid with wide distribution of different kinds of forests, savanna vegetation. These varied habitats offer refuge to these amazing creatures and they can be spotted in protected areas like;

Murchison Falls National Park the only national park which lies in northwestern Uganda and it features not just as the largest but also the most popular safari destination in the country. It comprises of stunning savanna grasslands with beautiful Borassus palm trees and they favor wildlife safaris. You can catch a glimpse at lions at this park while on game safari in Murchison Falls National Park especially in the northern part which is famous for diverse wildlife species. You can embark on early morning game drive or evening game drive. Interestingly, you can incorporate lion tracking with Murchison falls exploration or visit Ziwa sanctuary where you will track rhinos to make a complete list of the big five game.

Kidepo Valley National Park lies in the northeastern side of Uganda and it is one of the few protected areas that are ideal for game drives. This park is splendid expanding to border between Uganda and South Sudan and it is one of the rugged areas with spectacular landscapes, wetlands and savanna plains. While on a game drive, you will catch a glimpse at these amazing creatures as they relax on rocks as they sun bath or on the ground under the tree shades in the middle of savanna grass. Kidepo Valley National Park was recently featured as one of the untouched natural wonders and in 2015; it was ranked the third best safari destination in Africa by CNN.

Queen Elizabeth National Park, this is largely famous for its unique tree climbing lions at Ishasha area. They are usually sighted on fig trees and you catch a glimpse at them while on game drive through the designated lion tracking trails. Besides, there are lions at Kasenyi sector, northern side of Queen Elizabeth National Park and they are not the tree climbing ones. Along this track, you will spot most of them as they roam during your game drive. Game drives are conducted in the morning, afternoon and at night.

You can pay a visit to Lake Mburo National Park or Semuliki Wildlife Reserve and you will have a chance to sight some lions.

In conclusion therefore, lions have become the most sought after species by most visitors on African safari and in Uganda in particular, you can catch a glimpse at them while on game drive. However, they are among the most threatened species in the wild and this means that there is need to ensure that they are well protected.

09/23/18

Chimpanzee Tourism Can Earn Uganda Fortune

When it comes to Uganda safaris, chimpanzee trekking should be one a must for you to include in your travel plan. This primate adventure is undeniably one of the most sought after experiences that you shouldn’t miss while you are on safari in Uganda.

Like mountain gorillas, thousands of visitors travel to Africa to catch a glimpse at the magnificent chimpanzees thus making it one of the most valuable activities to national economies, Uganda inclusive a fact that today, it features as the major foreign exchange earner. As a result, Uganda’s tourism industry generated about 1.35 billion dollars and this represents over 23.5% of the total exports.

In 2015, more than 1.7 million visitor arrivals were recorded and out of this, 1.3 million approximately 75% were tourists arrivals. Interestingly, tourist arrivals have been on increase from 1.15 million tourists which were registered in 2011 up to about 1.5 million visitors in 2017. Whereas chimpanzee tracking is rare, it equally offers the most amazing and breathtaking experiences for visitors on Uganda safari.

Uganda, boasts of over 5,000 chimpanzees which makes it one of the most leading destination with largest number of these intelligent creatures. They are widely distributed in various parts of the country and among many include Kibale National park, Budongo forest in Murchison Falls National Park, Kyambura gorge and Kalinzu forest reserve in Queen Elizabeth National Park and not to forget Uganda Wildlife Education Centre and Ngamba chimpanzee sanctuary. Like any primate adventure, chimpanzee trekking in Uganda still faces a number of challenges but it still features as one of a few most exciting experience that you shouldn’t miss out while on Uganda safari.

Like any primate adventure, chimpanzee trekking in Uganda equally requires a permit and they come in different amounts depending on which destination you will be. If you are interested in trekking chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, you will pay $150 [per person, $80 for those of you will pay a visit to Budongo Forest for chimpanzee trekking, $50 per visitor for those of you are interested in exploring these amazing creatures in Kyambura Gorge.

In order for Uganda to be part of beneficiary in this lifetime primate adventure, there is need for all local communities and other stakeholders in Africa to engage in mostly nature-friendly tourism programs and ensure that these primates are properly conserved and protected. Regardless of conservation efforts, these primates still face main challenges especially habitat encroachment by humans and this has impacted a lot on their numbers in the wild today. Other threats include spread of human infectious diseases, poaching and others.

In conclusion, chimpanzee trekking is remarkably one of the most sought after experiences in Uganda. However, there is need for collective efforts among all stake holder to ensure that chimpanzees are well conserved and protected which at end, will boast on tourism sector.

06/19/18

How To Access Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park?

There is nothing more stressing than getting lost while on your way to your dream destination. Imagine you are on self drive safari or even guided tour to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and along the way you drive for kilometers off road and only to be told that you got lost. Not only can this be a waste of time but also a waste of money a fact that fuel will be consumed to return to the right route.

Bear in mind that there is no one who is perfect on the road so, if you are planning to spend your next vacation in the splendid Bwindi National Park, there is need for you to be well versed with different routes. This park is located in southwestern Uganda and it is about 8 to 10 hours’ drive from Kampala which also 46 kilometers from Entebbe International Airport that is a major entry point to Uganda. If you are planning to spend a holiday in this park, you will need at least 3 days and more a fact that you will spend an entire day driving from Kampala and the next day will be for you to engage in various activities at the park.

However, if you are from the neighboring Rwanda, 2 days are enough to get to Bwindi and take park in the gorilla safari adventure. This route is from Kigali Airport to Kisoro town through Cyanika boarder or Kabale town through Gatuna boarder.

Bwindi National Park can be reached by road and air. If you opt to drive, you will choose among the many routes that take you up to the park. If you are at Queen Elizabeth National Park for a tour, you can drive from Mweya to Bwindi approximately 160 kilometers’ drive and you will spend at least three to four hours driving. Equally, you can start your safari from Kampala to Kabale via Kanungu to Buhoma area and this is tarmac route and covers over 414 kilometers.

The other route also starts from Kampala to Ntungamo to Rukungiri and then to Buhoma area approximately 390 kilometers’ drive on tarmac and 82 kilometers on murram route. You may as well as set off from Kampala to Kabale to Ruhija to Buhoma about 95 kilometers and the other begins from Kampala to Kabale to Nkuringo sector.

Alternatively, you can use a bus from Kampala to Butogota where you will rent a taxi that will connect you to Buhoma sector. However, you won’t find a public transport means at Nkuringo but there are some cars for you to rent around Kisoro and Kabale towns. But to be on safer side, it is better that you plan your vacation with a recognized travel agent which is well versed with routes and attractions for you to enjoy along the way.

For those of you who have short time in Uganda, then a flight is the best option for you. You can take a flight from Entebbe International Airport and Kajjansi Airfield and then land in Kisoro or at Kayonza airstrip if you are to track gorillas in Buhoma area.

If you are tracking gorillas in Southern Bwindi National Park (Nkuringo or Rushaga sectors), then you fly to Kisoro airstrip. Aerolink Uganda offers daily scheduled flights from Entebbe International airport to different airstrips in Uganda such as Kihihi, Kisoro, Pakuba, Apoka and Bugungu among others. There are also charter flights offered by Kampala aero club.

06/11/18

Top Hiking trails in Uganda

Hiking is a typical adventure experience in Uganda that is quite unique & interesting for anyone to get involved while on a vacation.

  • Hiking to Margherita Peak.

Mountain Rwenzori is a world heritage site that otters the opportunity to see nature and its best. Due to its numerous peaks with the highest peak at 5,109 meters which is Margherita.

Margherita is the highest peak of mountain Rwenzori. It’s the third highest mountain in the whole of Africa. It has a unique, fantastic and a true beauty that offers unremarkable hiking experience in Uganda with clear view of eastern DR Congo when on top.

Margherita is the third highest peak in the whole of African and the highest in Uganda; its real beauty with the climb up through Kilembe route, the forest ,valleys and the diversity of flora and fauna gives a tourist unforgettable experience.

Hiking is one of the best activities that Margherita offers to all the visitors who are interested in testing their physical fitness.

Hiking to Margherita peak take a couple of days, between 7-9 days according to the physique and speed of the hikers. Though the hike involves unique activities like walking through the forest, climbing the rocks, viewing birds and the animals that can be spotted within the Montane forests, for pleasure and exercise, starting from Kilembe up to the top of Mt. Stanley where the highest peak Margherita can be sighted.

Hiking Mountain Rwenzori down slopes via Bwamba pass inBundibugyo. Before a road was built in 1938 to link fort portal with the remote town of Bundibugyo, local people followed the most direct route between these settlements -a tough 1500m high trek over steep north Rwenzori ridge, known as the Bwamba pass. The Abanya Rwenzori community group leads the hikers over the mountain through isolated mountain villages to visit the bamboo forest and enjoy superb rift valley views.

  • Hiking on Mount Elgon.

Mt. Elgon lies at an altitude of over 4000m above sea level with the largest volcanic base in the world. Located on the Uganda-Kenya border it is also the premier and largest solitary, volcanic mountain in East Africa. Its vast form, 80km in diameter, rises more than 3,000m above the neighboring plains. The mountain’s cool heights offer respite from the hot plains below, with the higher altitudes providing a safe haven for the growth of flora and fauna.

This conservation area is a habitat of over 300 species of birds, including the endangered Lammergeyer, mammals including Small antelopes, forest elephants,monkeys and buffaloes which dwell on the mountainside.

A hike on Mt. Elgon’s deserted moorlands discloses a magnificent and un-clustered wilderness without the summit-oriented approach common to many mountains: the ultimate goal on reaching the top of Mt. Elgon is not the final ascent to the 4321 m Wagagai Peak, but the descent into the vast 40 km² caldera.

  • Hiking in Semuliki valley

In Semuliki national park there are 3 hiking trails, Kirumia trail and this runs through the heart of the forest to Semuliki river and this one is really perfect for birders, red monkey trail goes to the park’s eastern border and in this place your assured to view the rare deBrazza’s monkey, Sempaya trails and in this trail u will view the male hot springs and female hot spring, dominated by boiling geyser. Eggs and Matooke (green plantain) can be cooked in these boiling waters and enjoyed by hungry hikers.

  • Hiking Muhabura Mountain.

This is an extinct volcano found in Kisoro, and one of the Virunga Mountains, lying across the border between Rwanda and Uganda. It’s the third (3rd) highest mountain of the eight major mountains in the Virunga ranges reaching up to 4,127m (13,540 feet).

Hiking Mt Muhabura in the south western Uganda is so adventurous and the place is worthwhile visiting to enjoy such amazing hike on this mountain. It feels great walking through the beautiful varying terrains that often looks like a desert, viewing at the open slopes; you see a beautiful cover of thick shrubs and thickets of a broad spinned of evergreen plants.

  • Other hiking opportunities in Uganda’s national parks.

Hiking in Lake Mburo national park is at Rwonyo, a trail leading to salt lick where many animals are attracted to salty rocks.

Walk on the western side of the lake, and encounter hyenas returning to their dens and hippo retreating to the lake. Hikes via the woodland in Lake Mburo gives you a chance to sight birds, mammals, and walking to the top of the hill rewards hikers with a spectacular view of the region’s 14 lakes.

Hiking through the jungles of Mgahinga Gorilla Park to the low Mount Sabinyo gorge-a heavy gash on the side of mount Sabinyo, gives excellent birding opportunities and the chance to find the rare Rwenzori turaco. Trekkers can sight the calderas on top of the Gisozi hill, look out for Kisoro, Bunagana town and be captivated by Lake Mutanda.

Hiking through woodland to the top of Murchison falls is completely different experience of this magnificent waterfall. This is an experience that brings all the sense into play; waves of white water fall hypnotically through this 6 meter gap, listen to loud sound, taste the spray on your face and feel the rock shake beneath your feet.

Hiking on Mweya peninsular offers savannah and woodland with beautiful views and bold warthogs. On the southern end of park, hikers can enjoy an easy stroll along Ishashaa river, where they can spot a variety of forest and savanna bird and mammal species as well as having a unique opportunity on this hike to get extremely close to hippos on foot, while remaining safe on the raised bank above the river.

05/6/15

Lakes of Uganda

Uganda known as the home of lakes consists of several lakes which are of great importance to the country and is bringing many tourists to Uganda. The country is blessed with 27 lakes among which include major lakes namely;

Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria is the largest fresh water lake in Africa and second largest in the world. The lake overlooks the southern border of the country with 18 beautiful islands. This lake act has a mean of transport between Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. There are several activities done around the lake which are great attraction for tourists for Uganda holidays. This include cannoning, finishing, bird watching, swimming among others.

lakegeorge

Lake George

Lake Edward and Lake George

These two lakes are placed on the western rift valley escarpment. The lakes are joined by Kazinga Channel, one of the highlights of a wildlife safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Kazinga channel has the heaviest population of hippos in Africa with a great number of colorful birds. Boat ride to Kazinga channel provide tourists with a beautiful memory of Uganda holiday.

Lake Kyoga

Lake Kyoga is Uganda’s shallow lake. Victoria Nile runs through it on its way from Lake Victoria to Lake Albert. The lake has exciting attraction for tourists found at Kavule. Lake Kyoga can be found near Budongo Forest in Murchison falls national park. Tourists can therefore have the chance to enjoy the beauty of the lake and also track chimpanzees in Budongo forest thus killing two birds with one stone.

Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi is the second deepest lake in Africa and bilharzia free making it the safest for swimming with no dangerous animals in it. The lake comprises of several beautiful islands with beautiful sandy beaches that attract many tourists into the country.

04/22/15

Uganda – Best Honey Moon Destination in Africa

Whether you are looking for a romantic honeymoon location or combining some relaxation with a safari holiday, Uganda, the ‘Land of Smiles’ is ideal. Ssese Islands are an archipelago of eighty-four islands in the northwestern part of Lake Victoria in Uganda, the second-largest freshwater lake in the world. The largest island in the archipelago is called Bugala Island and its major town is called Kalangala. The 84-forested island of the Ssese Group, float like green jewels on the waters of Lake Victoria, located 55km from Entebbe, this is one of Uganda’s greatest natural gifts waiting for you to be discovered.

Just a couple of hours flying time from Kampala, the capital city of Uganda are the gateway to the Ssese islands Archipelago offering stunning Uganda beach holidays. These clusters of islands are some of the most stunningly romantic in Africa, with luxurious beach front lodges, ideal for a relaxing beach holiday or after a safari holiday in the same country. Experience some fantastic cruise in Uganda, the vibrant colors and the wide array of fish species is superb. There are many resorts which offer swimming and boat rides in Kampala.

Here are some of our ideas for a Uganda beach holiday:
Ssese Archipelago –islands, the best known being Bulago where you can relax on pristine sandy beaches, experience big game fishing or watch water.
■ Superb swimming and boat riding off the Islands or the migratory path of the majestic water birds
■ The freshest Tilapia fish served with spicy chips at a beach front table
■ Experience a luxury resort hotel on the shores of Ssese Islands with powdery white beaches, and freshwater lakes.
■ Enjoy an exhilarating wildlife safari in the Queen Elizabeth National Park before flying to Entebbe for a luxury beach break on the shores of Ssese Island.
■ Visit the vast Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary, with stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife.
Visit anytime of the year, except during rainy seasons especially April – May and September – November and while you are in and around Ssese islands, sport fishing, bird watching, monkey and marine life viewing, are all activities and discoveries, one can make.

Additionally, Uganda is a home to half of the world’s last remaining population of the mountain gorillas and these are found in Bwindi impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park located in south western Uganda. This is the most popular attraction in Uganda and many tourists fly into the country for mountain gorilla trekking, thus making Uganda, one of Africa’s unique tourist destination for honeymooners.

Another factor that makes Uganda a perfect honeymoon destination in Africa is white water rafting on the mighty river Nile in Jinja. Other activities recommended for honeymooners around here include Bungee Jumping, Horse Riding and Quad Biking among others. The place offers a life time adventure experience.

Further more, Uganda is a home to 13 primate species, regarded to be one of the highest concentration in Africa. Therefore, if you choose to take your honeymoon holiday to Uganda, you will enjoy chimpanzee tracking and / or habituation experience in Kibale National Park, Kanio Pabidi Forest reserve in Kibale national Park, Karinzu forest reserve and Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Among other primates to see while on your honeymoon safari in Uganda include Golden Monkeys, Black and White Colobus Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, Red Tailed Monkeys, Grey Checked Mangabeys and Olive Baboons among others. Spice up your honeymoon package in Uganda (Africa) with chimps trekking and habituation Experience.

Still further, Uganda is gifted by Nature, with over 1000 bird species, some of which are endemic to this area and can NOT be found anywhere in Africa. We have both residents and migrant bird species. Therefore, Uganda is a birders’ paradise.

Among other attractions that can make your honeymoon memorable are the Unique cultures, friendly people, big game drivers in search for the Big 5 animals like Buffaloes, Elephants, Lions, Rhino and Leopard, as well as fantastic boat cruise among others.

Contact us any time you plane a honeymoon holiday in Uganda. We can create a Ugandan holiday or honeymoon just for you. We have many years’ of experience in designing holidays in Uganda. Let us help you plan your next trip to Uganda, tailor-made to suit your interests and your budget.