02/19/18

Gorilla Tracking: Uganda Vs Rwanda

Uganda and Rwanda feature the three only destinations where mountain gorilla trekking is conducted in the whole world. In Uganda, gorilla trekking is only conducted in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park while in Rwanda it is carried out in the Volcanoes National Park. The two are considerably the best areas when it comes to mountain gorilla safaris in Africa. The other destination is the Virunga National Park in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). However, both destinations require a strong 4×4 car with some experience of off-road driving. If you make your own arrangements to the gorillas, you are advised to hire a 4×4 car with driver in Kampala or Kigali for a safe and successfully gorilla safari. Note that, this must be a 4×4 Car such as Land cruiser Prado, Rav4, Nissan safari, Nissan Patrol and others.

Gorillas in Bwindi National Park

A face to face encounter with these apes in the wild is such a magical experience that you can find anywhere in the world, not even in the zoo except only in the thick tropical rain forests of Africa. Whereas gorilla trekking has been described as a lifetime experience, most tourists still wonder or do not know which destination to visit for their safaris. Others ask is gorilla trekking in Uganda better than Rwanda. Depending on what your interests are but you can visit one or even both as each destination comes with unique encounters beyond mountain gorillas. With this, below are some of the factors that can guide you while selecting which destination you want to visit for mountain gorilla trekking.

Considering the cost of gorilla permits, both Uganda and Rwanda a permit is a must to have for this lifetime experience. However, the difference comes on the cost of a permit. In Uganda, gorilla permits are sold at $600 per person for foreign non residents, $500 for foreign residents and shs.250000 for East Africans. While in Rwanda permits are issued out at $1500 per tourist. But the visitor experiences thereafter are equally exhilarating. A permit at hand allows you to track one habituated gorilla family.

Uganda is known to offer refuge to the largest number of mountain gorillas compared to the rest of destinations. About 480 individuals thrive within Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park. These also feature over 16 habituated gorilla groups that have been set for visitor experiences and in Rwanda there only ten groups that have been set for gorilla trekking. More gorilla families mean more permits for visitors. Uganda today issues about 128 permits for visitors to track mountain gorillas compared to 80 in Rwanda.

Another difference can also arise especially when it comes to the general gorilla safari plan. For Rwanda, the Volcanoes National Park is situated about 125 kilometers away from Kigali city centre and this makes it one of the most accessible gorilla destinations by road. Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are located far away from Kampala city centre at approximately 527 and 519 kilometers respectively requiring about 9 to 10 hours’ drive.

However, the distances have been reduced by use of direct flights from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield to Kisoro airstrip where visitors can easily connect to the park or their choice. This also means that you need at least 3 days to have a gorilla safari in Uganda and yet Rwanda Volcanoes National Park can be visited within one or two days. The long distant drives to Bwindi or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park come with spectacular scenery especially at the Equator area at Lake Mburo National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park which also come with stunning wildlife species, magnificent terraced mountains with Rivers and much of remoteness.

And this may not be in Rwanda if you are starting your safari from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park. A stopover at Queen Elizabeth National Park for instance allows you to explore its big game which includes the African lions and not to forget the rare tree climbing lions, African elephants, Buffaloes and Leopards as well as several wildlife species that will come your while on wildlife viewing or boat cruise along the Kazinga channel. While a stopover at Lake Mburo National Park comes with views of Rothschild giraffes, topis, buffaloes, impalas, Burchell’s zebras, warthogs, Defassa waterbucks, leopards and many more or alternatively visit Igongo cultural centre for cultural museum which comes with collective tribes of southwestern Uganda, traditional restaurant, cultural village and stunning gardens and many more. And after gorilla trekking, visitors usually complete their safaris at Lake Bunyonyi which features as the second deepest Lake in Africa with all 29 distinct islands that are confined in it. The Lake offers spectacular views of the area as well as distinct birdlife.

Mountain gorilla treks in Rwanda and Uganda begin with morning briefing from park official who takes visitors through how they are supposed to behave while in the forest with gorillas. The difference comes where the morning briefing in Volcanoes National Park is accompanied with a cup of coffee or entertainment from local dances and performances by local people. For Uganda, you have to go for cultural encounter as a different activity to visit the Batwa community. Batwa encounters are exceptionally dramatic experiences one should go for while on gorilla safari in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park or Mgahinga National Park.

In conclusion, mountain gorilla trekking in both Uganda and Rwanda is exceptionally the most thrilling experiences that come once in lifetime. While on safari, you can visit one or both and destination to help you make your own comparison in terms of experiences.

01/18/18

Interesting Facts About Eastern Lowland Gorillas

A trek to see a group of Eastern Lowland gorillas in the jungles of Democratic Republic of Congo is remarkably one of the most thrilling adventures that come once in lifetime. The Eastern Lowland apes belong to one of the 2 (two) sub species of the eastern gorilla which lives within a few remaining tropical rain forests in Africa. It is common compared to other species and it features as one of the largest apes on earth.

Eastern Low Land Gorilla

These remarkable apes thrive mainly around the tropical rain forests of eastern and central Africa together with lowland swamps and secondary forests. They tend to spend much of their time on trees and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, they are mainly found in the dense jungles of Kahuzi Biega National Park and Maiko National Park. They are known to be the 2 (two) distinct sub species of Eastern gorilla that makes up the Eastern Lowland (scientifically known as ‘Grauer’) and the rare mountain gorillas. The only slight difference lies in their physical appearance, the two species are also distinct from each other in terms of population.

The Eastern Lowland gorillas feature among the large primates, a family that comprises of gorillas, orang utans, humans and chimpanzees. They come with unique characteristics that make their survival in the forest a bit simpler including their opposable thumbs that come in handy when they are peeling fruits.

The Eastern Lowland gorillas are herbivorous. They depend on leaves, plants, stems, nuts and berries plus termites, ants, insects and at times small wildlife species like lizards and rodents. These rare species also tend to use basic tools in the natural habitat especially when it comes to gathering food stuff. Given their huge sizes, these primates have few real predators in the wild except the large cat family especially the leopards and the crocodiles. Habitat loss features as the major threat to the survival of these primates in the wild due to continued deforestation as well as hunting by humans. Most of the areas around their habitat territories have also been characterized by insecurities that in most cases come together with poaching.

They live in families of about 5 to 30 or beyond with a silverback gorilla or an alpha male being their dominant leader whose responsibilities are largely dependent on protecting the rest of the members in the family and also mate with females. Given habitat loss and continued poaching, these unique apes have become the endangered species with less than 5000 that are left on earth today.

They make new nests each day just like mountain gorillas and the babies can share with their mothers till they reach 3 years and above. The males weigh up to 250 kilograms and they can stand up to 2 meters tall.
Like mountain gorilla trekking, visitors on lowland gorilla trekking are also given only an hour to be with the apes, explore them while they feed and play with their babies. To track these primates, you can visit Kahuzi Biega National Park which is situated around Kivu province in the north or through the Ruzizi 1 border to the southwestern side of Rwanda.

In conclusion, for absolute great ape experiences never miss to pay a visit to Democratic Republic of Congo where you explore more about the eastern lowland and mountain gorillas. The country is located in central Africa with many UNESCO world Heritage sites such as Virunga National Park, Salonga National Park and Okapi Wildlife reserve among others. You can combine other adventures within Congo or even Uganda and Rwanda with gorilla safaris and you will have the most wonderful experiences of lifetime.

04/13/17

First Time Gorilla Trekking Experience in Africa

When my two daughters came back from college with good grades, they decide to have a Sabbath from school life. The young one decided to visit his father in Holland since it has been long without her seeing him. I was happy for her since the two’s relationship was on a rock. I supported her and she travelled to Holland. Then the old daughter told me that she wanted to try out something new in life and we brain stormed about what she wanted to engage in and she found something nature based as the best option.

After, she chose taking a wildlife safari to see animals in the wild in Africa. She decided to go for a gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda. She told me it was something she wanted to do for a long time. Many of her colleagues at school were talking about Rwanda as the best gorilla trekking destination in Africa. She really had a good time at this safari as it changed her entire life. She came back with brand new vast ideas and experience of conserving nature. You could really see it in her face that she was euphoric of nature and wildlife. She became a naturalist from that time.

While in Rwanda, she came up close with mountain gorillas and got connected to them. She took fantastic photos of these huge beasts and they look so beautiful when you look at them. She told me Africa is the future of the world since the world is on the campaign to preserve and conserve the environment in its natural state. It is Africa that has maintained its natural state. She told me she had a cultural encounter with the people of Rwanda around volcanoes national park that is the Iby’iwacu cultural village. This was an epic hell of an experience as she engaged in local activities like bricklaying and also preparation of some local food. She also visited the local herb pharmacy in this village and the herbs really worked for these people. The people of the village were so authentic and darling to the people who visited them.

She said Rwanda has a good climate. Every day is a sunny day and if you are sun bathing person, then this would be your dream destination. The people in Kigali city were also full of life and love and she said that it became her second home. She is even looking forward to travel to Rwanda again. I also got envious about her experience, I must go to Rwanda to watch the mountain gorillas in their natural environment. I cannot wait to see these beasts in their wildness.

11/21/16

Rwanda safari – Visit Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu is the largest water body in Rwanda. Lake Kivu has the most attractive scenary with fascenating shores. Lake Kivu takes up about half of Rwanda’s western border. There are three main towns along the lakeshore – Cyangugu in the south, Kibuye in the middle and Gisenyi further north.

lake-kivu

There are three towns on the shore like Gisenyi, in the north, was a colonial beach resort of note. Its waterfront area is lined with fading old mansions and a few old hotels plus the international standard Lake Kivu Serena Hotel. All overlooking a lovely sandy beach complete with a laid-back beach bar.

In the south, there are Kibuye is yet another probably the prettiest of the towns. If you’re visiting in August, you may catch thousands of kites here on their annual migration. The Bethanie Guesthouse and the Moriah Hill Resort both have beautifully locations on overlooking the lake. From here you can take boat trips on Lake Kivu to nearby islands: Napoleon’ Island with its’ colony of fruit bats and Amahoro Island (aptly known as one bar island as all it has on it is one bar.

At the southern end of the lake, Cyangugu (pronounced ‘Shangugu’) is an old border town whose fading façades tell of its past as a vital trading gateway. Here the Hotel du Lac is a delightfully old, reliable-but-slightly-shady institution, with a bar/restaurant where you’re guaranteed to find some offbeat characters. A more savory option is the Peace Guesthouse.

The real joy of this area is driving between the towns. The unpaved road gently curves back and forth as it weaves through hills and mountains beside the lake from Gisenyi to Cyangugu. Eucalyptus trees line the road, while every corner of the hills is terraced with bananas. Villagers smile and wave; you’ll end up with hands tired from waving, and feel like royalty at the end of the trip! Because of that, a wide variety of Rwanda holiday packages include at least one night in Gisenyi on the shores of Lake Kivu to experience the beauty of the place.

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.

03/18/15

Africa Gorilla Safari to Bwindi National Park

What to know about Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is situated in southwestern region of Uganda. The park lies on the margin of the Rift Valley and also located along the border of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo near to the Congo’s well-known Virunga National Park. The park covers an estimated are of 331 square kilometers (128 sq mi) of Impenetrable forest jungle and has both lowland forest and montane forest accessible only on foot. The bio-diversified park is house to the world’s endangered species of the mountain gorillas and hence the reason as to why many tourists undertake gorilla trekking safaris to Uganda to have face to face encounter with these primates.deep-in-africa
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was gazetted as a National Park in the year 1991 and in the year 1994, it was announced a Natural World Heritage site by UNESCO due to its beautiful natural vegetation . The well-known Bwindi National park is covered by one of the Pearl of Africa Uganda’s oldest forest that has been in existence for over 25,000 years and the park sits at an Altitude of 1,160m – 2,607m above sea level.

Bwindi Impenetrable forest is one of the forests with abundant ecosystems in the whole of African Continent and the park is diversified with various species. Therefore sparing time to visit this nature gifted national park will avail client with opportunity to enjoy the views of various tourism resources. The park acts as home for some 120 individual species of mammals including several primate species such as gorillas, baboons and chimpanzee, 348 bird species as well as 220 species of butterflies, and 27 species of frogs, geckos , chameleons, plus various endangered species such as mountain gorillas. According to the way natural resources are distributed in the Impenetrable forest, Bwindi forest is the most endowed forest in the whole of East African region. The remarkable forest is composed of more than 1,000 beautiful flowering plant species and this includes even the 163 tree species as well as the estimated 104 fern species. The low altitude northern part of the park is blessed with the rare species of the Guinea-Congolian Flora and also some unique species which are recognized worldwide as endangered species i.e. Brazzeia longipedicellata and brown mahogany.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is very remarkable water catchment area because much of the park’s rain fall creates streams and the forest has calm dense network of water streams. This makes the forest to be the source of various rivers that mainly flow into the low altitude northern, southern and western parts of the park. The notable rivers that originate from the park are Ivi, Ishasha river, as well as River Munyaga and Ihihizo river and these prominent rivers in the area with the park flow direct to Lake Edward were they pour there water.

The park is covered with rare vegetation type which is afromontane unique in the whole of African continent and hence the only way of exploring this unique vegetation is by confirming gorilla trekking safari to Uganda. The park is located at point of conjunction between the mountain forests and the plains and in the park there is varying difference between low-altitude to high altitude primary forests in the park. Bwindi Impenetrable National park is a sanctuary for colobus monkeys as well as chimpanzees and various birds’ species fir instance hornbills, turacos among others.

The popularly known Bwindi Impenetrable forest park is home to an estimated total population of a round 440 individual member mountain gorillas also known as Gorilla beringei beringei. The total number of the mountain gorillas surviving in park constitutes almost half of the total population of mountain gorillas surviving in the whole world and the rest of the other half of the surviving mountain gorillas are protected in the neighboring parks of Virunga national park in Congo and Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, thus enabling tourists enjoy multiple gorilla treks in one Africa gorilla safari package combining the 3 countries. Such trips reward them with memorable adventure experience deep in the heart of Africa. Taking tour and safari to this park will enable one not to regret but to appreciate that Uganda is the pearl of Africa.

01/24/15

5 Day Rwanda Chimps and Gorilla Safari

5 Day (4 Nights) Gorillas and Chimp Trekking Tour in Rwanda
Safari Overview
The 5 day Rwanda gorillas and chimpanzee tour offers a great opportunity to see the mountain gorillas in the wild bamboos of Volcanoes National Park and chimpanzees in the mountainous Nyungwe National Park. The 5 day Rwanda gorilla tour package further offers a great opportunity to track 2 different gorilla families on different days, in other words, you will enjoy 2 gorilla treks. Other tour activities include genocide memorial tours, community walks and canopy walk or colobus monkey tracking. Transport will be provided in a comfortable 4×4 safari vehicle, wit a professional / experienced tour guide. Accommodation will be offered in 3 levels namely; budget / basic lodges, Mid range / deluxe lodges and Luxury / High-End Lodges. Below is the detailed day by Itinerary;

Day 1: Arrival – Transfer to Nyungwe Forest (Home of Chimpanzees and other primates)

Upon arrival at Kigali Airport, your driver / guide will be waiting for you, lunch in Kigali and then transfer you to Nyungwe forest National Park which is made up of a variety of habitats including montane forests, bamboos, grasslands, and swamps. This is a home to 13 primate species such as Chimpanzees, endangered Golden monkeys, Blue Monkeys, colobus, red tailed monkeys and grey checked mangabeys. There are also about 300 bird species. Relax in the evening as we wait for dinner and Overnight at dinner and overnight at Gisakura Guest House, Nyungwe Forest Lodge, Peace Guest House OR Nyungwe Hill Top View Hotel

Day 2: Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest

Breakfast and go for chimpanzee briefing and thereafter, enter Nyungwe forest in the company of ranger guides in search for colonies of Chimpanzees and many monkey species plus beautiful forest birds among others. Return to your lodge as on previous day.

Day 3: Drive to Volcanoes National Park (home of Mountain gorillas)

After breakfast, we shall transfer to Parc National des Volcans; the home to Mountain Gorillas. The journey will take us via Lake Kivu where we shall be rewarded with the beautiful scenic view. We shall have lunch en route and then proceed with the journey to Volcanoes National park for dinner and overnight at Kinigi guest House, Muhabura Hotel, Virunga Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge OR Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge.

Day 4: First Gorilla trek in Volcanoes National Park

Have an early morning breakfast and get ready for today’s life time event of gorilla tracking. You will assemble at the park headquarters with packed lunch, have a briefing about the Dos and Don’ts while with gorillas. Depending on the level of fitness, you may be asked to choose the group you wish to trek and the closest being about 2 hours or even a couple of minutes from the park boundary. The trek is quite strenuous, so you should be able to hike for 2-8 hours on steep and slippery mountain trails. Descend to the lodge for relaxation as you wait for dinner and overnight at your lodge as on day three.

Day 5: Second Gorilla trek, Kigali city trip – Late departure

Like the previous day, we shall assemble at the briefing point and then proceed to track Gorillas. On this day, we may decide to track the same gorilla group like yesterday or choose to visit another gorilla family. This will help us make comparison between the Gorilla groups. We shall enjoy the view, take photos or films and then return to the Lodge for late lunch and there after, transfer to Kigali to visit the Gisozi genocide memorial site, Local art and craft shops, do last minute shopping and then, transfer to Kigali Airport for your flight back home. This marks the end of the 5 day Rwanda gorilla safari and primates tour.

End of the trip

11/1/14

Mountain gorilla population rise to 880

KAMPALA, Uganda – Despite conflicts and unrests in surrounding regions that potentially threaten mountain gorillas, results from the 2011 census has found that the mountain gorilla population in Uganda has risen. According to the 2011 census conducted in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda, confirms a minimum population of 400 individuals, up from 302 in 2006.

It should be noted this is a critically endangered species, visited by many tourists from allover the world for Uganda and Rwanda gorilla safaris and holiday. The total population of Mountain gorillas in the world now stands at a minimum of 880. The official result was released today (13th Nov 2012) by the Uganda Minister for Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities Hon. Maria Mutagamba alongside representatives of the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

gorilla-population-increaseThe increase in the Bwindi gorilla population since the last census is attributed to both population growth and improved censusing techniques of these rare and elusive apes. Despite mountain gorillas being among the most studied of the great apes, these latest results demonstrate the challenges of wildlife censusing. We continue to perfect these methods in order to improve our mountain gorilla conservation efforts in the future, said Craig Sholley, mountain gorilla expert and vice president for philanthropy and marketing at African Wildlife Foundation (AWF).

In this latest census of mountain gorillas in Uganda, teams systematically moved through the impenetrable forests of Bwindi National Park not once, but twice, looking for and documenting mountain gorilla night nests, and collecting fecal samples for genetic analysis. The first sweep was conducted with a small team from February 28 to September. 2, 2011; the second sweep was carried out with multiple teams from September. 10th to November. 3, 2011. With the genetic analysis, scientists were able to determine how many unique groups and individuals were found by the field census teams through both sweeps, in what is referred to as a modified mark recapture method.

In short, both sweeps of Bwindi forest enabled census teams to find more gorillas than a single sweep would have. Furthermore, it is likely that some gorillas were missed by field census teams in the 2006 census of mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest. But all signs are that this population of mountain gorillas is indeed growing and this is a great hope for sustainable gorilla tourism development. Many visitors to Africa want to include Uganda gorilla safaris in their holiday packages.

The newly applied methods of censusing give us the clearest image of the status of mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park that we have yet had,” explained Maryke Gray, a census researcher with the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), a coalition of AWF, Fauna and Flora International, and World Wide Fund for Nature. “Even with evolving census methods, the results indicate this population has indeed grown over the last 5 years, and that is according to Augustin Basabose, Virunga Heartland director for AWF and interim director of IGCP,

The mountain gorilla is the only great ape whose population is increasing despite continuous pressure on its habitat. This positive trend is due to the strong collaboration among the three countries where mountain gorillas live and the collective efforts on the ground by park staff, surrounding communities and local government, and non-governmental organizations.”

Mountain gorillas live in social groups and the census results indicate the 400 mountain gorillas in Bwindi Park form 36 distinct social groups and 16 solitary males. Ten of these social groups are habituated to human presence tourist on gorilla safaris or research and included, at the time of the census, 168 mountain gorillas, or 42% of the Bwindi population. Of the 880 mountain gorillas now thought to remain in the world, 400 were confirmed in this Bwindi census and 480 were confirmed by a census in the Virunga Massif in 2010.

While Sarambwe Nature Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a protected area continuous with Bwindi and therefore potential habitat for mountain gorillas, was initially going to be included in the census, it was not possible to do so due to political insecurity in that area.

The 2011 gorilla census in Bwindi forest was conducted by the Uganda Wildlife Authority with support from l’Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). The census was also supported by AWF through IGCP, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Conservation Through Public Health, the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, the Institute for Tropical Forest Conservation, and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. 

Great thanks to all partners in the conservation of Mountain gorillas in Africa, including neighboring communities to Bwindi national park (Gorilla habitat) where all gorilla safari activities are conducted.

10/30/14

Bill Gates Supports Gorilla Conservation

According to All Africa news of 4th Aug 2010, one of the world’s richest people, Bill Gates was in Uganda for his second gorilla tracking Uganda adventure in the Impenetrable forests of Bwindi Gorilla Park. It was reported that Bill Gates and his wife Mellinda Gates were in Uganda from August 9 to 12, 2012. Mountain gorillas are critically endangered with only 720 left world wide and these are inhabited in Virunga mountains, share between Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

In Bwindi National park where Bill Gates was, there about 360 gorillas which is half of the world’s total population. The other half is shared between Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Gorilla Tracking is rapidly growing in Uganda and Rwanda. However, DR Congo is facing some challenges of political unrests of Bosco Ntaganda rebels in Virunga National Park.

Bill Gates is popular for being one of the richest people in the world and the Co-founder and the current chairman of Microsoft.  On all his visits of Uganda gorillas, he has done a great effort of funding the protection of the endangered species. Early before his arrival and the wife, there was an advance team in Kisoro district near bwindi National park to prepare where these guests were expected to launch their gorilla trekking safari.

This 56 year world entrepreneur was last in Uganda on gorilla trek in 2004. Then, he came back in August 2012 for another gorilla trek. UWA official in Kisoro who preferred anonymity declined to divulge more details about the visit of Bill and Mellinda Gates in Bwindi National Park, Uganda. Also known as the Pearl of Africa, Uganda is so beautiful with many tourist attractions. The country first opened up its doors to tourists for Bwindi Gorilla Trekking in April 1993. Since then, Uganda tourism industry has been substantially boosted by annual revenue from the national park tucked away in south western Uganda.

The success of Uganda tourism is supported by not only mountain gorillas but also by over 10 National Parks and wildgame reserves. Among these include Murchison Falls National park (The biggest), Queen Elizabeth National park, Kibale Primates Forest, Semilik National Park, Mount Rwenzori N.P, Mgahinga, Mount. Elgon, Kidepo Valley and Lake Mburo National Parks and many wildlife reserves. These boost a number of tourism activities such as wildgame viewing safaris, fantastic boat cruise, chimpanzees and other primate tracking, forest walk, mountain climbing, community tours and many others.
For more information about Uganda tours and gorilla trekking tours.

10/21/14

Gorilla Valley Lodge Rates, Bwindi Forest in Uganda

Gorilla Valley Lodge- Bwindi Gorilla forest-Uganda

gorilla-valley-campGorilla Valley Lodge is strategically located in the Southern edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park on a hill near Rushaga, close to Rushaga Uganda Wildlife station. This is one of the Lodges with excellent services provided to all visitors.

The Lodge has 12 excellent rooms with spacious private bathrooms, Toilets, Dining/Waiting area beautifully situated in lowland evergreen Forest allowing breathtaking views of the African Eden, rich with wildlife and at a close distance the majestic Virunga Volcanoes.

Every room has been lovingly furnished with twin beds and decorated in a modern retro style to suit the eco system. Bwindi impenetrable National park holds the country’s tourism sector by hosting the chief tourist attraction of Uganda- Mountain Gorillas. To that note therefore, there is no doubt, Gorilla Valley accommodates a large number of visitors.

Gorilla Valley Lodge is a slice of wilderness paradise far from the madding crowd; a place of renewal and reconnection with the natural world. And trust, one could never get closer to Bwindi! While at the Lodge, lucky visitors can be visited by the gentle giants of the forest- Gorillas and can be seen at your veranda while seated in your chair taking tea.

On the highest part of the hill is the location of the main building with restaurant and bar. From here the view is amazing! In our lounge you can relax by the fire but you can also make yourself comfortable on the veranda. In the restaurant we offer the best of two worlds: an international buffet prepared by the professional Ugandan chef.

beds-gorilla-valleyActivities while at Gorilla Valley lodge include, Gorilla trekking, Nature walks to water falls, birding in forest, cultural exploration in the Batwa community, Biking through Bwindi community, chilling off and Gorilla Habituations.

Proposed Itinerary for 3 day Uganda gorilla safari with 2 nights at Gorilla Valley Camp/lodge

Day One: Transfer to Bwindi National Park

Breakfast at your hotel around Kampala or Entebbe, leave by 8:00AM to western Uganda with a stop over at the Equator for photographs, en-route lunch in Mbarara Town, dinner and overnight stay at Gorilla Valley Lodge in southern Bwindi National Park

Day Two: Mountain Gorilla Tracking Adventure

Heavy breakfast followed by briefing from the park headquarters about mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park, the trek is quite strenuous and takes between 2-7 hours in the forest. This will depend on how the gorillas move in their natural habitat as they search for food. The evening can be for community walk or forest walk, or drive to Lake Bunyonyi.

Day Three: Departure

Breakfast and drive back to Kampala / Entebbe Airport (8 to 10 hours drive). Or we can cross the boarder to Kigali International Airport in Rwanda, this is only 3 to 4 hours drive. This marks the end of your safari.

gorilla-valllye-lodgeCost of the 3 day gorilla safari with 2 nights at Gorilla Valley Camp

This will cost 1095 US Dollars, based on 2 persons and it includes a gorilla permit per person (600 US dollars each), private transport from Kampala and back, en-route meals and bottled mineral water for refreshment, 2 night accommodation at Gorilla Valley Lodge with meals, services of a professional English speaking driver / tour guide. Excluded are flights, accommodation in Kampala and other personal expenses like tips for staff. If you are on tight budget, you can choose not to book a guided trip and take a self drive safari to Bwindi forest to see the gorillas. In this case, you can rent a 4×4 car in Kampala cheaply from tour operators on Kampala from US$40 per day (Toyota Rav 4) and US$70 per day Toyota Prado. For more information about escorted and self drive safaris, send an email to info@cheapgorillasafaris.com.