06/4/20

Top 6 East African Adventures

Top 6 Things to Do in East Africa in 2021

The combined East African safari adventure including Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania offer plenty of activities and attractions for a lifetime adventure experience. Safaris to East Africa are basically designed to make your encounter in the region of Africa memorable.

East Africa is part of the African continent which comprises of 5 countries including Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi and each country with different activities and attractions that you can enjoy on your adventure holiday.

East Africa’s destinations offer a variety of safari attractions including wild places, physical features, water bodies, birds, primates like mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, Golden Monkeys and Vervet monkeys among others depending on what the traveller wants to enjoy in East Africa.

6. Climb mountain Rwenzori to Margarita peak

Mountain Rwenzori is the highest block mountain in Uganda and third highest in Africa after Mountain Kilimanjaro and Mountain Kenya. Mountain Rwenzori is located in western Uganda on the Uganda -Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border spanning the districts of Kasese, Kabarole and Bundibugyo.

Mountain Rwenzori is a UNESCO heritage protected by mountain Rwenzori National park managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority, it is also known as “the mountains of the moon” due to the 6 mountain ranges on it including mountain Stanley with the highest peak Margarita, mountain Baker, mountain Gessi, mountain Emin, Mountain Speke and mountain Luigi di savoia.

Rwenzori trekking is an ideal safari activity during your adventure safari in East Africa, as you move up to snowcapped margarita peak the highest peak of 5,109 meters above sea level which offers you the ultimate hiking adventure.

Over 7500 travellers each year visit mountain Rwenzori to explore the highest peak margarita, which can be done either in the shortest hiking trip of 4 days mountaineering or longest hiking trip of 7 days mountaineering which can be complemented with gorilla trekking, wildlife tours, birding among others.

Rwenzori Mountain is a world heritage site that heritage that offers the opportunity to see nature at its best. The plants vary from tropical rain forests, bamboo forest, montane vegetation and the scenery is truly fascinating. Snow and glaciers and the special and breathtaking experience when you go higher to the mountain.

Go to the Rwenzori mountaineering services headquarters where you will be briefed about the whole hike, start the hike from Nyakalengija through Bakonzo settlements on mountain Rwenzori National park gate where you get registered before entering the park. You start the trail trek through the thick tropical with dense bushes.

The bush is home to various animals like elephants, chimpanzees, monkeys like L’Hoests, black and white, duiker, three-horned chameleon among other that you watch on your way to climb mountain Rwenzori

5. Go gorilla trekking in Uganda

Uganda is the famous destination in the world for gorilla trekking in Africa and the whole because of the highest population of mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas are found only in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic of Congo in the whole world.

In Uganda gorilla trekking is done in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National park located in southwestern Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable National park is home to over 500 mountain gorillas half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas which attracts a big number of travellers each year to Uganda.

Gorilla trekking is done in the 4 sectors in Bwindi impenetrable National park with 18 gorilla families in Buhoma sector in the northern part, Ruhija in the eastern part, Rushaga and Nkuringo in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National park and Mgahinga National park with 1 gorilla family, making it 19 habituated gorilla families for trekking in Uganda.

Experience the breathtaking and memorable experience of gorilla trekking as you encounter the endangered species physically in their natural habitats. Enjoy 1 hour in the presence of the mountain gorillas for observations and photography then return back.

The gorilla trekking destinations of Bwindi impenetrable National park and Mgahinga National park can be accessed by air transport means from Entebbe airport to Kihihi airstrip and Kisoro airstrip then drive to the trekking sector. Bwindi and Mgahinga National parks can also be accessed by road transport in 4×4 wheel vehicle with a guide or on a self-drive for 8-9 hours drive and 9-19 hours drive respectively from Entebbe airport via Masaka-Mbarara Ntungamo Kabale to Kanungu and Kisoro.  Due to clear signage on the roads to Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla parks, even travellers on self-drive safaris in Uganda can easily make it to the park without much hustle.

4. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is done in Volcanoes National park in the north-west of Rwanda in Musanze district formally known as Ruhengeri. It is approximately 2-3 hours drive from Kigali airport to Volcanoes National park.

Volcanoes National park covers an area of 160 square kilometres consisting of a tropical forest, bamboo forest, shrubs and so on that shelters mountain gorillas, many bird species and other wild animals. Volcanoes National park consists of 10 habituated gorilla families that are tracked throughout the year, though the most recommended time for trekking is in the months of January, February, June, July, August and December when there is little rainfall and the roads are less slippery.

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda all starts with briefing in the morning by the ranger guides on the rules and regulations of trekking gorillas and group allocation then later head out to the forest to search for the gorillas in their natural habitats. A maximum of 1 hour is allowed in the presence of the mountain gorillas to learn about their characters, physical appearances and takes photos and videos with them.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda currently costs 600 US dollars for foreign nonresidents, 500 US dollars for foreign residents and 250,000 Ugandan shillings for East African residents but starting 1st July gorilla trekking will cost 700 and 600 US dollars for foreign non-residents and foreign residents respectively.

However, you can also check-in at Kigali airport and trek mountain gorillas in Uganda.

3. The great wilderness migration (Masai-Mara and Serengeti National parks)

The great wilderness migration is the largest mass movement of the wild mammals from the plains of Serengeti National park in Tanzania crossing through Mara River to Masai-Mara National park in Kenya. The major animals crossing here are the wildebeests, Zebras, Elands, Gazelle which are always stalked by the lions, crocodiles, hyenas which are ready to eat them.

The great wilderness migration is an amazing adventurous experience which allows you see hundreds and thousands of wildebeests accompanied by herds of zebras, buffaloes, impalas, giraffes to look for food and water during the dry seasons depending on where they are.

During this great journey, the wild animals walk over 1000 kilometres where they attempt to avoid predation from the lions, cheetahs, hyenas and crocodiles in the rivers, diseases among others but over 250,000 animals die during this yearly circle and thus referred to as the great migration to those that survive during the migration.

However, the movement of the wildebeests is hard to understand because they cover huge areas but you can plan your trip to see them by finding out where they will be at each month of the year. Enjoy the great wildebeest migration that happens all year around and with each circle offering a unique wild life experience.

It is a great spectacular nature safari option to travellers who love nature and wild life that can be done on your adventure holiday in East Africa.

2. White water rafting in Uganda

White water rafting is one of the best things to do in Uganda, it is done on River Nile in Jinja on Kayunga road at Kalagala falls. Jinja is located in the south-east of Uganda approximately 87km from Kampala on the shores of Lake Victoria near to the source of the Nile.

White water rafting can also be done on Murchison falls in Murchison falls National park located in the north-west of Uganda.

The powerful volume of water creates horrible rapids that provide unforgettable rafting experience. There are over 4 companies offering day trips and then night camping and meals. White water rafting is done guided by the safety team just in case of an accident.

Each person is given a paddle and the guide keeps instructing you on how best to use it to enjoy the activity and to ensure you are safe. There is different grading of the rapids ranging from 1-5 where you choose to go in the middle of the falls up to the grade of your choice.

1. Ngorongoro crater exploration

The Ngorongoro crater is the world’s largest volcanic caldera with a diameter of about 18km covering an area of 260 square kilometres. Ngorongoro was once a mountain as high as Kilimanjaro Mountain and about many years ago it blew its self to bits covering Serengeti in ash and a crater formed in the mountain forming the Ngorongoro crater.

Ngorongoro crater in the Ngorongoro conservation area in north Tanzania is the most known and visited with the highest concentration of big five game including elephants, lions, leopards, buffalos, Rhinos and other wild animals like zebras, wildebeests, cheetahs, flamingos among others which are seen down on the plains of the crater.

There are over 400 bird species that are found here including water birds like storks, herons, cranes, savannah birds like ostrich and kori bustard, forest birds like turacos, hornbills and prey birds like eagles, vultures among others.

You can as well do game drives in the Ngorongoro crater while on your safari in Tanzania because it is allowed unlike walking safaris are not allowed in the crater. At the top of the crater, there is a terrace offering one of the most panoramic and breathtaking views of the Ngorongoro conservation area.

There is no recommended period to visit the crater because the animals do not leave the caldera and can be spotted at any time of the year.

Therefore East Africa safari on your adventure holidays in Uganda, Rwanda Kenya and Tanzania rewards you with breathtaking and memorable experiences.

03/24/20

Explore Uganda in 12 Days

Tips to enjoy 12 Days in Uganda – Guided or Self-Drive Tour

Uganda is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa, it receives millions of tourists every year to different national parks for different tour activities.

Because Uganda has over 10 national parks and game reserves, a few days tour package may not allow fully explore what this “Pearl of Africa” has to offer.

A trip of 10 to 12 days is long enough for you to visit all Uganda’s most popular and interesting destinations such as; the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga for gorilla tracking experience, Kidepo Valley National Park, Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls for savannah game viewing experience and birding, Rwenzori mountain hiking, local community and cultural tours among others.

To book a Uganda safari, you must do it early enough for best deals on accommodations, car rentals and airfares. And some activities like gorilla tracking are on high demand throughout the year, you are thus advised to book your gorilla trekking permits in advance before they are sold out. Chimps and gorilla permits can be booked through tour operators or Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Follow the link below for a details plan for a proposed 12 day Uganda safari with recommended hotels, lodges and campsites for budget, mid-range and luxury travellers.

Best Uganda Safari

The tour can be taken at any time of the year.

 

03/22/20

14 Day Uganda Tour, Sample Itinerary

Tips for a successful Two Weeks Safari in Uganda

Uganda is popularly known as the true “Pearl of Africa”, regarded to be one of the best safari destinations in Africa!

To start with, Uganda is a landlocked country, located in East Africa, boarded by Kenya in the East, DR Congo in the West, Tanzania in the south and the South-Sudan Republic in the north. The country is famous for inhabiting half of the world’s last remaining population of the critically endangered mountain gorillas.

Shoebill: Birding Safari in Uganda

Shoebill: Birding Safari in Uganda

Uganda is gifted by nature, with beautiful savannah national parks, game reserves, beautiful mountains, snow-capped Mount Rwenzori, impenetrable forests such as Bwindi and Mgahinga where we find the endangered mountain gorillas.

Planning a safari in Uganda, there are many tourists activities to do as a tourist basing on your interests, time and budget and among the tourist activities in Uganda include the following;

Gorilla Trekking

Uganda is among the safest gorilla safari destinations in Africa. With half of the world’s mountain-gorilla population, Uganda currently has close to 20 habituated gorilla groups in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks. Gorilla trekking is one of the most popular tourists activities in Uganda, and almost 90% of the safari packages include gorilla trekking experience besides other tour activities such as game viewing, mountain climbing and cultural encounters.

To go gorilla trekking in Uganda, one is required to book a gorilla permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority or tour operators at US$700 each, and bookings must be done in advance because they are on high demand throughout the year!

Baby Gorilla Swinging on Tree in the Jungle

Baby Gorilla Swinging on Tree in the Jungle

Game Viewing

Game viewing safaris are conducted in savannah national parks such as Kidepo Valley National Park, Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth and Lake Mburo National Park among others. A 4×4 safari vehicle with a pop-up roof is highly recommended, together with a professional ranger guide obtained from the Park headquarters. The pop-up roof offers you an excellent opportunity for game viewing and photographing.

Pop-up Land cruisers for game viewing

Pop-up Land cruisers for game viewing

Mountain climbing

You can climb Mount Rwenzori, Elgon, Muhabura, Moroto, Molungore in Kidepo, Kaguru rock and many others.

Boat Cruise

Enjoy a fantastic boat cruise along the Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth N.P, Lake Mburo and River Nile while on a safari in Uganda. Its another chance to explore more of aquatic mammals, reptiles and birds.

Karamajongo Cultural Encounters

Karamajongo Cultural Encounters

Cultural encounter

Uganda is endowed with a diversity of cultures, such as the Batwa trail, Batwa experience, Bagishu cultures and Karamajonjs in Norther Uganda among others.

Here is a sample Itinerary for 14 days Uganda safari where you will experience all the tourists’ activities above.

14 Day Gorillas and Wildlife

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.