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.

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

06/11/18

Ruzizi River in Rwanda

The beauty of Rwanda is not only mountain gorillas, the big five animals, antelopes and bird species but also the numerous water resources including Lakes, Rivers and waterfalls that have remained unexplored because few tourists know about them. If you ask anyone to mention some of the common rivers in Rwanda, you will surprisingly not hear about the Rusizi River yet it’s one of the most beautiful water resources in the country.

This 117-kilometer long River is sometimes spelled “Rusizi” and flows from Lake Kivu to Lake Tanganyika in Central Africa while descending from about 1500 meters/4900 feet above sea level to only 770 meters/2530 feet above sea level over its length. The river drains across three countries-the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda but its source is in Lake Kivu and mouth in Lake Tanganyika. The most perpendicular bank of the River occurs over the first 40 kilometers (25 miles) where hydroelectric dams were constructed. When getting closer to the mouth, the Ruzizi Plains (the floor of the western Rift Valley are surrounded by gentle hills making the river to flow into Lake Tanganyika through a narrow delta with one or two tinny channels breaking off from the main channel. The Ruzizi River has several tributaries that include Rubyiro, Luvungi, Muhira, Nyakagunda, Ruhwa, Kaburantwa, Nyamagana, Mpanda, Kagunuzi and many others.

Formed about 10,000 years ago through volcanism that led to continental rifting and creating of Virunga Mountains, the Rusizi River is considered a young river. The Virunga Mountains blocked part of Lake Kivu’s outlet to the watershed of River Nile, hence forcing the Lake to overflow southwards down Ruzizi and the watershed of the Congo River. Along its course, the river forms the border between Rwanda on the East with Democratic Republic of Congo on the west but as it continues downstream, it also forms part of the boundary between Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo and its lowermost part flows completely within Burundi.

To the west, the magnificent Fizi Baraka Mountains stand over the river while the Bridge of Concord, Burundi’s longest and widest Bridge crosses the River close to its mouth.

Flora and Fauna within and around Ruzizi River

Ruzizi is not just a river as you may see it but an important habitat to the prominent, notorious and widely publicized man-eating crocodile known as “Gustave” that usually wanders around the banks of the river as well as the northern shores of Lake Tanganyika. This giant savage is said to be about 6 meters (20 feet) long and reportedly weighs over 900 kilometers (2000 pounds). In the 1950s, the banks of this River were inhabited by common warthogs, buffaloes and elephants but today, there are only Nile crocodiles and Hippos.

The lower banks of the main river and its tributaries are covered by reed swamps and there are riparian swamps of about 3 kilometers wide are found near the mouth while further from the river, there are grasslands especially in the lower river valley. The general vegetation of the River basin is mostly savannah grassland with scattered acacia, eucalyptus and oil palm. Ruzizi River is only 353 kilometers from Kigali City (Rwanda’s Capital).

06/9/18

What to see and do in Akagera national park?

Situated in the Eastern province of Rwanda, Akagera national park is Rwanda’s hidden jewel, which reward travelers with a huge chance to experience wildlife from very close by. Covered with beautiful green savannah grasses, a safari to Akagera national park is an exceptional experience which reward travelers with the most beautiful and heart-warming experience of meeting and interacting with a variety of wildlife and birdlife. Despite its small size Akageranational park offers it all to meet and exceed every travelers expectations. The national park was named after river Akagera that flow in the heart of the park.  Despite the less visits to Akagera compared to other savannah national parks in the neighboring countries, a safari to Akagera national park is unique is an exceptional experience.

  •  Game viewing

Interestingly, Akagera national park is now a home for the big give game hence the best spot for game viewing. A game drive in the open savannah reward you with spectacular views elephants, lions, rhinos, buffalos, Leopards, giraffes, Topis, bushbucks, Topis, Zebras, Defessa waterbucks, baboons, Vervet monkeys, giraffes, oribis, roan antelopes, sables, reedbucks and kobs among others browsing and hunting before going to rest. The best time for game driving is early morning hors to catch u with early risers and early evening before animals for rest in the night. Interestingly, night game drives are also done in Akagera national parkproviding travelersachance to see nocturnal animals such as bush babies, bat eared fox, wolves among others as well as enjoying nightlife in the wild.

  • Bird watching

Besides wildlife, Akagera national park isa best spot for bird watching. The national park is a home to over 520 bird species some of which are endemic to the area hence a golden opportunity for travelers to see theserare bird species. Expect to see white-collared Oliveback, red faced barbet, Sousa’s shrike, Black headed Gonalek papyrus canary, Serinus koleinsis, saddle-billed stork, Fork railed drangoross’s turaco, African fish eagle, herons, Egrets, Crested barbet, open billed stork Marabou storks, Robinchat, African fish eagle. Birds are mostly seen in the swamps, forest areas and on the shores of lake ihema especially during a boat cruise. Travelers are reminded to come along with binoculars, which help to spot birds even a far distance.

  • Camping

Camping is yet another interesting activity donein Akagera national park and it is one of the unique activities that make the national park exceptional worth visiting. In camping, tents are built in a certain place for travelers to enjoy a night in the middle of the bush providing them with a closer encounter with wild animals and is a best way to explore all that Akagera offers. Presently, three campsites, which are Shakani Akagera campsite on the shores of lake shakani, Mutamba akagera campsite and Muyumba campsite at the ridge.

  • Boat cruising

Done on lake ihema, boat cruising is a not miss on your safari to Akagera national park. The ride at the lake rewardyou with great views of hippos, buffalos, crocodiles on the shores which experience cannot be got else where in Akagera national park. Additionally, expect to see a variety of birds such as shoebill stork, fly egrets and red-billed stork among otters. More still, a boat cruise provide you with a fresh feeling of  fresh airs as well as spectacular views of the neighboring communities. Boat cruising is mostly done in the afternoon hence a best way to relax and chill.

  • Sport fishing

Sport fishing is one of the interesting games done in Akagera national park. Travelers take part in a“catch and release fishinggame’, which is surely enjoyable. Sport fishing is doneon lake shakani and lake ihema at a cost of 20$ for the people who help in fishing. Travelers go along with other fishermen who use different fishingmethods such as hooking, gill nesting, spearing andshooting method, cast net method, scoop net method and lampara method are used to catch fish by different people of different occasions. As part of the experience, travelers are expected to catch a live fish and release it back into the water.

  • Cultural encounters

Since Akagera national park is managed in partnership with the local communities, travelers are blessed to meet andinteract with local people. It’sinteresting that some part of the national parkwas dedicated to local people who do their cattle grazing which feed with other wild animals. Travelers take part in cattle grazing, milking and other local activities such as milk preservation, as well as make milk products such as ghee, butter and yogurt among others. This make the feel as part of the local community providing them with extensive understanding of how community traditions and norms.

Book a safari to Akagera national park, take part in the activities, see all attractions rewarding you with a life changing experience.

04/23/18

5 Tips to Plan a Gorilla Trip By Independently

How To Plan A Gorilla Trip By Yourself / Independently

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

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

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

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

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

Get convenient transport means to the Gorilla detonations

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

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

Booking for a place of Stay

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

Pack the right items

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

Self drive Rental and Camping

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

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

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

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.

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