02/7/22

Tips to Get Filming Permits in Uganda

How to Get Filming Permits In Uganda

Are you interested in filming or photography in Uganda and you aren’t sure of how you can get a permit? Here is how you can get filming permits in Uganda. Uganda has positioned itself as one of the top filming locations in Africa. It is a naturally endowed destination from nature to unique cultures.

Regardless of your filming interests in Uganda, film crews or production companies must obtain valid filming permits. These are obtainable through a reliable tour operator on ground. Among the filming permits, you should have on a filming trip in Uganda include filming permits, media cards, location permits, security, equipment bond, and permits. Processing some of these items takes time and can be stressful that is why we encourage you to get in touch with our team of experts.

All film crews or production companies on filming tour in Uganda National Parks and Wildlife Reserve are required to show relevant filming permits. If you are visiting National Parks or Wildlife Reserves in Uganda, film crews or production companies can apply for filming permits from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) or via the approved local agency/tour company.

The 2nd stage for visitors interested in wildlife photography or wildlife filming includes initiating discussion with filmmakers or photographers in order to agree on activities. After, the application letter will be required of photographers or filmmakers to be submitted addressed to;

  • Uganda Wildlife Authority
  • Communications Manager at UWA headquarters
  • Plot 7, Kira Road, Kamwokya
  • O. Box 3530 Kampala, Uganda

UWA will acknowledge receipt of all applications and this will be within 24 hours and not beyond 48hrs. You are advised to submit your application 3 weeks before the actual date of photography or filming.

All film applications shall be assessed carefully while ensuring that filmmakers achieve their filming objectives in Uganda.

UWA will issue filming permits to film crews or filmmakers planning to go engage in filming activities in the parks or reserves. This is done while observing the recommended number of filming standards or terms and conditions.

The synopsis should accompany the applications for photography or filming. It should be noted that filming fees exclude park entrance fees, camping.

The essential documents for applying for filming permits in Uganda include a valid passport, filming license, filming pass, filming equipment details, refile details, application form, script and synopsis/storyboard, a formal letter of application.

Who should go filming in Uganda?

Filming in Uganda is open to all foreigners and residents of Uganda. He or she should have valid filming permits or licenses. Foreigners are also required to present tourist visas.

Filming fees

Filming charges differ significantly as follows; less than half an hour= shs. 30,000. 30-60 minutes fees to be paid shs. 40,000; 60-90 minutes 50,000 shillings, over 90 minutes 70,000 shillings. Gorilla permit filming costs USD4200, chimpanzee permit filming costs USD1050.

Cost of media card/press accreditations

If you plan to stay for 30 days, expect to pay US Dollars 175 per person, 6months stay US Dollars 225 and 2 years stay filming media cards cost USD325 per person. All media cards are issued by Uganda Media Council. Press accreditations or media cards are issued to individuals or film crew members after they have filled the form G. The form G should be accompanied by a recent passport-sized photo, scanned passport, or bios page, and processing the cards can take 2 to 3 working days.

Other significant filming services offered by Crystal Fixers Uganda Ltd include location scouting, kit clearance services, crew accommodation, means of transportation to and from filming location, film crew security, and others. There are several amazing things to film in Uganda from wildlife to culture.

01/4/22

Is gorilla trekking experience worth the money?

Is gorilla trekking experience worth the money? Yes, gorilla trekking experience in Africa is absolutely worth the money or cost. To most tourists who have taken part and time to participate in gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, they have described this primate adventure as a priceless experience, magical, thrilling, lifetime or life-changing experience.

Regardless of the high costs, the strenuous hikes, and the long time spent searching for mountain gorillas, gorilla tours in Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R. Congo still stand out as Africa’s best wildlife experiences worth taking part in. To some travelers who have not been on gorilla safaris in Africa, they have raised countless questions such as ‘Is gorilla trekking experience worth the money?

Gorilla trekking in Africa is an outstanding wildlife experience any traveler shouldn’t miss out. Tourists on gorilla safari experience that actual magical feeling of being in the African jungles and the opportunity to have a face-to-face with massive gorillas- witnessing how these unique creatures are so close to humans. There are only 4 National Parks in the world to visit to see mountain gorillas- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park for tourists on gorilla safari in Uganda.

Volcanoes National Park is the only Rwanda National Park to visit to see gorillas when you visit Rwanda. Lastly, Virunga National Park in D.R. Congo also protects some of the world’s impressive creatures. Visiting any of these 4 National Parks for gorilla trekking guarantees you an authentic experience and value for your money.

Understanding the worthiness of gorilla trekking experience

Gorilla trekking permits

The cost of gorilla trekking permits does vary from one gorilla destination to another with Uganda presently issuing her gorilla permits to eligible gorilla trekkers at USD700 per person (for Foreign Non-Residents), US$600 (for Foreign Residents), and 250,000 Uganda Shillings (per citizen in East Africa Community). In Rwanda, gorilla trekking permits are available for booking by persons above 15 years at USD1500 per tourist on Rwanda gorilla safari. Unlike Uganda and Rwanda, the D.R. Congo issues out gorilla trekking permits at only USD450 per visitor per day.

The cost of a gorilla permit includes a long list of things such as the cost for gorilla protection and conservation considering the fact that these are endangered species, research activities, paying for staff (guides, trackers & other park officials)/scientists/conservationists/vet doctors involved in the day to day monitoring and other conservation activities. Besides, a portion of what tourists on a gorilla safari pay for gorilla permits is given back to local communities to finance most of the local projects.

Time spent with gorillas- is it really worth it?

There is only one (1) hour the park official allows tourists to spend with a habituated family of gorillas in the wild. A number of things are done during the one hour including taking pictures, learning in-depth about how gorillas behave as explained by an experienced park guide and others. Viewing gorillas is strictly for one hour and this is done to help reduce any chance of spreading infectious human diseases such as measles, colds, flu, cough to these endangered species. Note, mountain gorillas have up to 98% DNA similar to that of humans making them very susceptible to most infectious diseases.

Gorilla trekking permits- Uganda

Foreign non-residents on Uganda gorilla safari can book for gorilla permits at US$700, Foreign residents US$600, and citizens in East Africa UGX250,000. This makes Uganda a budget-friendly gorilla destination in Africa.

Rwanda gorilla permit prices

To trek mountain gorillas in Rwanda, gorilla permits are a must to carry and each permit costs US$1500 per person. This is obtainable via a ground tour operator or direct with Rwanda Development Board- booking permits in Rwanda or Uganda should be done early before the actual date of visiting any of the destinations for gorilla trekking.

Congo gorilla permit prices

D.R. Congo home to both Eastern Lowland gorillas and Mountain gorillas is open for gorilla safaris. It is low-cost gorilla destination with permits costing up to US$450 per person per day.

Number of trekkers per gorilla family

A maximum of 8 visitors are accepted to participate in gorilla trekking adventures in Uganda, Rwanda or DRC. Finding a gorilla family all requires some physical wellness since it all involves hiking through the forest for some good hours about 2-6.

Where can I go to enjoy the gorilla trekking experience?

There are only 4 outstanding places to enjoy a close encounter with mountain gorillas in the wild. They include two parks in Uganda- Mgahinga Gorilla National Park & Bwindi Impenetrable National Park; in Rwanda, the one place to see gorillas is only Volcanoes National Park while visitors on Congo safaris can visit the Virunga National Park. Besides gorilla tracking, there is a number of other tourists activities to do while on a wildlife safari in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo.

Is gorilla trekking adventure safe?

Yes, gorilla trekking is one of the very few safest adventure experiences Africa has to offer the world. During all gorilla trekking exercises, visitors are accompanied by armed park guides who lead to and from the search to see mountain gorillas. However, Uganda and Rwanda are currently the two places notably safer and secure for this life-changing experience since Congo is still recovering from the long insecurities.

What to carry for gorilla trekking 2022?

With coronavirus at hand, the need to protect mountain gorillas is high. Besides observing the set gorilla rules, there is a need to also pack well starting with hand sanitizer, at least 2 masks, a negative PCR test certificate, long pants, insect repellents, gardening gloves, sturdy hiking boots, camera free from a flashlight, daypack, long-sleeved shirt, snacks.

When to go gorilla trekking?

Gorilla trekking is an open safari activity all year-round. But, the dry season is noted for its favorable trekking conditions since it is when there are low or no rains experienced in most of the habitats. When does the dry season occur in Uganda, Rwanda or D.R. Congo? There are 2 drier spells or seasons that occur each year and they are experienced from June, July, August to September or December, January, February.

12/31/21

Volcano Hiking In The Virunga Conservation Area

Volcano hiking in the Virunga Conservation Area: The Virunga Conservation Area (VCA) is also most famous as the Virunga Massif, an area shared by 3 countries- Uganda, Rwanda and D.R. Congo. The VCA covers 3 National Parks of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Virunga National Park in the D.R. Congo and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

The Virunga Region/Massif is composed of 8 volcanoes and they are distributed in the 3 African states- Uganda, Rwanda and D.R. Congo. Volcano hiking in the Virunga Conservation Area offers enthusiastic hikers a great opportunity to climb through any of the 8 chain volcanoes. Two of the 8 Virunga Volcanoes are still active (Mt. Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira in Congo), while 6 are inactive.Gorilla Trekking Africa

Virunga Conservation Area is famous for its distinct tourist attraction sites and other than a chain of 8 mountains, the area is known for rare golden monkeys and endangered mountain gorillas. There are many reasons why tourists confine to Virunga Conservation Area including gorilla trekking, volcano hiking, golden monkey tracking, birding, and others. Virunga region also features unique Albertine bird species that thrive within the Virunga protected areas such as Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Virunga National Park, and Volcanoes National Park.

The 8 Virunga Mountains include Mount Nyiragongo, Mikeno, Nyamuragira volcanoes all set in the D.R. Congo. Mount Karisimbi, Mount Bisoke is found at the border of D.R. Congo and Rwanda; Mt. Muhabura, Mount Gahinga, Mount Sabyinyo are set at the border of Uganda and Rwanda.

  • Mount Nyiragongo (3470m)
  • Mount Nyamuragira (3058m)
  • Mount Bisoke or Visoke (3711m)
  • Mount Mikeno (4427m)
  • Mount Gahinga (3474m)
  • Mount Sabinyo (3645m)
  • Mount Muhabura (4127m)
  • Mount Karisimbi (4507m)

 

  • Mount Muhabura (4127m)

Lying at the border between Uganda and Rwanda, Mount Muhabura is the 3rd highest volcano in the Virunga region. The beautiful volcanic mountain features steep slopes and hiking to its summits requires some level of stamina. At the summits 4127m, hikers have an excellent view of other Virunga volcanoes, surrounding Lakes such as the Twin Lakes- Lake Ruhondo and Lake Burera.

  • Mount Karisimbi

Mount Karisimbi (4507m) is the tallest of all the 8 Virunga Volcanoes in the Virunga Conservation Area. Rising up to 4507m, Karisimbi Volcano is an amazing spot for hikers on Rwanda safaris and takes hikers about 2 days or more to have full exploration on this scenic volcano. At the summits of Mt. Karisimbi, visitors get to enjoy mesmerizing views of the world’s powerful volcano- Nyiragongo volcano mountain. The best time to enjoy hiking through Mount Karisimbi is during the dry season- June, July, August.

  • Mt. Nyiragongo

Found in the D.R. Congo, Mount Nyiragongo (3470m) is notably one of the world’s most active volcanoes. This Virunga volcano mountain has experienced multiple eruptions with the most recent one recorded in May 2021. The volcano boasts of one of the world’s largest Crater/Lava Lake, offering an unforgettable view of it that glows at night with smoky/fire-like fumes.

  • Mount Nyamuragira

Mt. Nyamuragira is arguably Africa’s most active volcano with a record of several volcanic actions. Nyamuragira volcano is 3058m and it is set within the D.R. Congo.

  • Sabyinyo volcano

Mount Sabyinyo (3645m) straddles within 3 countries- Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo. The word “Sabinyo” is translated as an Old Man’s teeth considering its indented summit. Mt. Sabyinyo features a lush forest in the surroundings and while on a hike, there is also a possibility to keep an eye on distinct Albertine birds.

  • Gahinga (3474m)

Mount Gahinga 3474m is one of the amazing hiking spots in the Virunga Conservation Area. The volcano mountain features distinct volcanic caves, unique vegetation cover and it is a dormant volcano. It takes hikers just a day to hike Mount Gahinga.

  • Mount Bisoke/Visoke (3711m)

Mount Bisoke also known as Visoke volcano is famous for its beautiful Crater Lake on its summit. The volcano features distinct vegetation zones including bamboo forests and montane vegetation.

  • Mount Mikeno

Found within the D.R. Congo, Mount Mikeno is one of the dormant volcanoes in the Virunga Conservation Area. The volcano rises 4427m and it is the 2nd tallest volcano in the Virunga region. It features very steep slopes and offers the most challenging hiking experiences.

When to go for volcano hiking in the Virunga Conservation Area

Volcano hiking in the Virunga Conservation Area is perfectly done during the dry season of the year. The 2 dry seasons experienced in VCA run from June to September/December till February. The two drier seasons are record low rainfall with the ground kept relatively drier making hiking the volcanoes easier.

What to carry for volcano hiking in the Virunga Conservation Area?

The important items to carry for a volcano hiking adventure in the Virunga Area include sturdy hiking boots, a camera, a daypack (waterproof), comfortable clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses, snacks, plenty of drinking water, and more.

05/4/21

Gorilla Trekking Experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Baby Gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Waking up early in the morning to go to the park headquarters in Bwindi National Park for gorilla trekking was one of the dreams that I had for many years. I had been saving money for this safari lastly the chance crossed my direction. I was one of the lucky visitors who got a gorilla trekking permit to Rushegura gorilla group which is one of three gorilla families in Buhoma region of Bwindi Forest National Park.

Several times, I had been attempting to secure a gorilla permit for myself however since gorilla trekking is the highlight of any safari to Uganda, this makes Gorilla permits to be on high demand, the dates of my trip were always fully booked or the accommodation was not available for me to stay at. I never lost hope until I was advised by a friend that I book through a local tour company. Since I wanted to go self-drive on my safari, I decided to inquire from Safari Car Rental Uganda Ltd for the availability of rental cars and after booking my safari vehicle I then requested them to at least book for me a gorilla permit and Joseph who was handling me was happy to help me book a gorilla permit and he did it free of charge.

After securing my rental vehicle, in 2 days the rental agency sent me a scanned copy of the receipt of the gorilla permits meaning they had already booked the gorilla trekking permit for me and the last thing that was remaining is me to fly into the country and start my self-drive gorilla trekking safari in Uganda.

On the day of the arrival at the Entebbe International Airport, I found when an agent from a car rental agency already waiting for me and he helped me carry the bags to the car then he briefed me about the vehicle, I did the inspection of the car and then lastly I had to sign the car rental contract and from there I drove direct to the southwestern part of the country to Bwindi Forest National Park the trip which took me about 8 hours drive. From the airport, I transferred directly to Buhoma Community Rest Camp which was already booked in advance by the car rental agency. upon my arrival at the lodge, I was warmly welcomed by the lodge manager who offered a drink, a brief talk about the lodge and its services. I was really impressed. I don’t know whether it was anxiety or excitement that kept me conscious all night long but as I recollect, my dreams were filled with meeting with the mountain gorillas the following day.

Silverback Gorilla Bwindi Forest – Uganda

Very early in the morning, I woke up for a heavy breakfast which was served at the common lounge area. Then I got my packed lunch boxes for the day because the time of our return was unpredictable and depends on the movement of mountain gorillas in search of food.

Then with all my trekking gears I entered my vehicle and drove to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park headquarters where I found other people who were also going for gorilla trekking. We got a short briefing about the rules and regulations to fall when we are in the jungle with mountain gorillas from the park ranger and later in the company of our ranger 8 of us walked into the thick jungle to search for the mountain gorillas. Mr. Mutebire our ranger guide clarified that mountain gorillas search for food throughout the day so we need to follow their path. He included that despite the fact that gorillas are huge in size, they eat foliage only and bamboo is their delicacy.

Birds in the forest kept us entertained due to the fact that the park is home to over 350 different species of birds the guide told us and the monkey hopped from one branch to another. As we walked, our guide stopped us and reminded us to lower our voices because we were getting closer to the gorillas. They are very sensitive to intruders explained Mutebire. At this time, I felt quick ice running through my body to the feet but I was still eager to see the gorillas. We had them grumbling and finally got into an open space where they had been feed the entire day. I have traveled to Africa for several safaris but to be honest, this was an excellent encounter that I wished to share with all readers.

Encounter with the rare and endangered mountain gorillas in Bwindi Forest

We were also advised to put our mobile phones into silent mode and even to put the flashlight off on our camera, then we were given a maximum of one hour to spend with the mountain gorillas and we took as many photos as we wanted and even recorded videos of the young playing on branches of trees.

The gorilla group we tracked was well organized with the females taking care of the babies, the young playing from the vines and as we kept gaping, the male silverback emerged from its hiding. He was tall, huge, and dark and looked defensive. He continued watching his family and pouncing at the young ones. We took various photographs and after an hour, we needed to leave their presence but all of us were still in need of watching them. For sure I will push and save for another gorilla trekking safari in Uganda.

03/19/21

Gorilla Permit Cancellation Policy In Uganda

Gorilla tracking is Uganda’s leading and most fascinating travel activity in the pearl of Africa.

Uganda is home to the largest population of mountain Gorillas in the world with more than half of their entire population. The mountain Gorillas are habituated and made used to the presence of human beings in their different groups.

It is important to note that since the Gorillas live in a government protected area, you will need to acquire a permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority to be able to rack them in Bwindi Jungle and Mgahinga National Parks. The Gorilla permit therefore becomes an authorization for you to meet these forest giants for the time agreed.

Over 19 habituated gorilla families live in the Bwindi impenetrable forest and one Gorilla group lives in the Mgahinga gorilla Park in the neighboring district. This brings the total number of gorilla groups to 20 attracting thousands of travelers from all over the globe daily. You must be wondering what happens in case you book and you change your mind on the agreed date and you are unable to track the gorillas or you want to reschedule.

Uganda Wildlife Authority has a policy that guides cancellations for gorillas that guides them. And here are some of the terms and conditions that guide the decision to cancel or change your tracking dates.

In case you are unable to track because of illness after arriving, 50% of the permit cost will be refunded to them. The warden in charge at the park will have to provide evidence that the visitors was not feeling well and could not track the Gorillas.

Travelers who cancel their plans in a period of 90 days are refunded with 75% of the permit cost. Canceling between 45 to 90 days means a 50% refund and below hat period you will be refunded 25% and no refund for cancellation in the last one week of 7 days.

Gorilla Habituation in Bwindi National Park

Gorilla Habituation in Bwindi National Park

Cost of The Gorilla Permit

A gorilla permit costs 700USD per permit in Uganda for Nonresidents, 600 for foreign residents and 250,000Ugx for East African citizens. These prices changed recently in July for conservation purposes of the most endangered apes in the high mountains of Kigezi. Uganda is apparently the best place to go gorilla trekking in Africa since it has the highest number of Gorilla families giving you high chances of meeting the Gorillas. Gorilla habituation is another activity that requires all participants to have gorilla permits, a permit for gorilla habituation in Uganda s is at 1500USD per permit and the guests will be allowed to spend 4 hours with the Gorillas participating in the habituation of these gentle giants.

Where/When to get Gorilla permits in Uganda

Gorilla permits are issued by only the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the government body that runs all protected areas in Uganda. The permits can be acquired through any trusted local tour operator or directly from UWA reservations through their contacts. We however recommend booking through your local Ugandan travel agency to make the process less stressing as you think about coming to Uganda. Gorillas can be visited anytime all year round in Uganda. The permits are always available since the weather favors the activity all the time.

Chance of Meeting the Gorillas in the Jungle

So many travelers keep wondering on the chance of them meeting the Gorillas in the forest since they are wild and keep moving from one point to another to feed. The park has trackers that move to the forest before the guests are led into this thick vegetation in search for the Gorilla. The trackers follow the Gorillas starting from the point where they spent the previous night. Once they get to where the Gorilla family is, they use radio call to connect to the team leading the guests to the exact point where the Gorillas are.

Some of the Gorilla families are found to live near the park headquarters and are easy to track by the visitors.

Minimum Age for tracking the Gorillas

Tracking Gorillas is for adults of 15 years and above. The argument here is that kids of 14 years and below may not be in position to make proper judgement on what to do when a mountain gorilla comes close to them. Children may run away, cry or scream loud when a gorilla gets closer to them. An exception to this is when the child’s birthday turning 15 is the tracking date and/or if the parents prove to the authorities that their child is mature enough to behave before the wild animals. The parent is then asked to sign an agreement to take responsibility of anything that may happen during the tracking.

Access to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla Park

Being tropical rain-forests, access to both parks is some times impossible without a 4×4 vehicle. Rain is expected at any time in the gorilla habitats and neighboring areas, and the roads are in terrible state. Like in any other national parks in East Africa, a successful safari requires a strong 4×4 car, and among the models recommended or guided or self drive safari in East Africa include Toyota Prado, Land cruiser V8, VX, GX, Nissan Patrol and many others.

03/2/21

Gorilla Tour cost inclusions and Exclusions

Inclusions in a gorilla safari cost

It’s wise to understand the inclusions and exclusions in a gorilla tour cost before confirming any trip.  What is excluded and included in a gorilla tour quite is one of the frequently asked questions by most travelers booking gorilla safaris in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. Upon any confirmation of any gorilla safari package, a traveler is given a quote by the contacted travel operator. With no doubt, a gorilla tour quote is often expensive compared to other wildlife experiences.  In most cases, the total cost of a gorilla safari is normally huge compared to other wildlife experiences but the thrilling feeling that comes with a close encounter with gorillas is worth the penny. African Jungle Adventures brings you detailed inclusions and exclusions of gorilla tour cost in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo,

Gorilla safari in Mgahinga National park Uganda

Gorilla safari in Mgahinga National park Uganda

  • Mountain gorilla permit

The number one inclusion in your gorilla safari cost is the gorilla permit. Depending on which country you will be trekking gorillas from, you must have a gorilla permit to allow you visit and interact with these endangered species. In Rwanda, a single gorilla permit cots $1500 paid by all travelers while in Congo, a gorilla permit costs $450 for foreigners and $400 for nationals. In Uganda, a single gorilla permit costs $700 for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents and UGX 250,000 for Ugandans and east African citizens. Upon booking, travel operators must ensure gorilla permits are available on a travelers desired date.

  • Park Entrance Fees

More so, your gorilla safari quite entails park entrance fee to the respective gorilla park. Unlike in savannah parks where travelers are asked to pay park entrance fees, clients visiting gorilla parks are not asked to pay entrance fees. The entrance fees to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks is inclusive in the gorilla safari quote.

  • Conservation fee

Your gorilla safari quote will also entail conservation fee in the respective gorilla national park. The conservation fee is majorly to facilitate personnel who ensure the well-being of the endangered mountain gorillas in the jungle. These people include the gorilla doctors, conservationists, park rangers, tourism police and park wardens who together ensure safety and well-being of the endangered mountain gorillas hence promoting sustainable gorilla safaris in Africa.

  • Full-time English speaking guide

Upon your arrival, you will be welcomed by a professional driver guide from African Jungle Adventures. A traveler will not pay the driver guide unless if he or she wants to tip. Therefore, the driver guide will be paid by the company part of the money paid by a client. A driver guide is given a daily allowance depending on the number of days on a trip. The amount of a driver guide’s allowance varies between companies.

  • Accommodation and meals

Unless you are doing a private tour or self drive in Uganda, your safari quote also entails accommodation and meals throughout the trip. Various budget, midrange and luxury lodges and hotels have been established in all gorilla national parks in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. If you book through African Jungle Adventures, we reserve the best accommodation services for you at negotiated prices. The cost of accommodation services depends on the standard on the lodge and the quality of services offered. However, travelers are assured that both categories of gorilla lodges in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo offer excellent food and sleeping services.

Bisate Lodge Rwanda

Bisate Lodge – Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

  • Transport to and from the airport

Your gorilla safari quote also entails transport to and from the airport or the hotel. The driver guide will pick you up on the starting day and drop you off at the end of the tour without asking you for transport money. We guarantee you safe and comfortable transfers in our 4X4 safari vehicle.

Other inclusions in a gorilla safari quote include miscellaneous, bottled drinking water and government taxes.

Exclusions in a gorilla tour cost

The following are exclusions in your gorilla safari cost in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These include:

  • International flights and Visa fees

The cost of your international flight to your desired gorilla country is not inclusive in the permit cost. You will therefore pay for your flight separately in addition to your gorilla sari quote. Similarly, travelers pay for their Visa fees in the respective countries. If you are visiting East Africa, applying for an East African Visa which allow you to move freely in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo is best option.

  • Alcoholic beverages

Premium and alcoholic beverages are also not inclusive in your gorilla safari quote. Travelers are only served with soft drinks free of charge to accompany food in all lodges and hotels. Travelers are therefore reminded to bring extra income for the alcoholic beverages in case they want to take some.

  • Driver/guide tip

Tips are also not inclusive in your gorilla safari quote. Whereas its not mandatory, tipping on a safari is highly recommended. The amount to tip is the choice of a traveler depending on the quality of services he/she will have received from the driver guide. Tipping is a sign of appreciation which encourage service providers in this case driver guide to work harder and better.

  • Porter’s fee

If you hire a porter, you will pay him/her separate from the gorilla tour quote. Porters are local people who help to carry traveler’s baggage to and from gorilla trekking, Hiring a porter costs between $15 to $20 dollars for a full day.

  • Extra activities not in the itinerary

A traveler will also pay for any extra activity he/she adds in the itinerary.

Conclusively therefore, in-depth understanding of gorilla safari inclusions and exclusions is advisable for all travelers visiting for gorilla safaris in Africa.

08/13/20

Cheap Gorilla Safaris

Cheap Gorilla Safaris In Uganda

Gorilla trekking is Uganda’s leading tourism icon, even though the country has on its national emblems the grey crowned crane and the Kobs, none of these are major tourism icons in Uganda. This raises a serious question; if gorillas are such a major tourism icon in Uganda, why don’t they feature among Uganda’s national emblems?

Gorilla trekking has only become popular after 1992 when most of the gorilla national parks in Uganda were officially gazetted as National parks. These are Mgahinga gorilla national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. To compensate for the mountain gorillas being one of the things that define Uganda, the mountain gorillas feature on a 50,000 Uganda shillings note.

What is a Gorilla Safari?

A gorilla safari is any journey that has gorilla trekking featuring in its itinerary. It is very common to see itineraries such as 3-day gorilla trekking safari in Uganda or Rwanda, 10 days gorilla safari, and a lot of that kind. However, this is never to imply that you spend all the days on your itinerary gorilla trekking rather, you having a 3 day or 10-day itinerary featuring gorilla trekking.

Where to go gorilla trekking?

There are several gorilla trekking locations on the African continent but there are popularly three countries that are mostly known for gorilla trekking; Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda and Rwanda are home to the few remaining endangered mountain gorillas while the Democratic Republic of Congo hosts western lowland gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas, and the endangered mountain gorillas.

Gorilla trekking is still possible in the Democratic Republic of Congo however it is apparently organized under the Virunga Foundation. Without Virunga foundation, you cannot go gorilla trekking in the Democratic Republic of Congo until otherwise. However, regardless of all these hurdles, the Democratic Republic of Congo gorilla trekking permits are still cheaper than Uganda and Rwanda combined.

A gorilla permit in Uganda is US$700 for foreign non-residents and US$600 for foreign residents while Rwanda gorilla permits go for US$1500 throughout the year. This puts Uganda at the frontline in case you are considering a budget or a cheap gorilla safari in Africa.

Uganda Vs Rwanda Vs Congo

Uganda is preferred for Budget or cheap gorilla safaris; Rwanda is preferred for luxury gorilla safaris, while the Democratic Republic of Congo is preferred for true African encounter gorilla trekking experience. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the road network will be a serious issue while this might not be the most prevailing issue for Uganda and Rwanda.

How to book a cheap Gorilla Safari In Uganda?

There are mainly three things that define a gorilla safari; accommodation, transport, and meals. These three items determine whether you will have a shoe-string, budget, midrange, or luxurious gorilla safari in Uganda. Visit Uganda safari lodges for more about safari lodges in Uganda

In regards to cheap gorilla safaris, below are some of the things to put in perspective for a cheap gorilla safari in Uganda;

  • You must be specific on your budget-cap when planning your cheap gorilla safari with any tour operator. Please note, both midrange and budget gorilla safaris can be classified as cheap gorilla safaris in Uganda
  • Consider the low season months. These include; October, November, April, and May. Although the gorilla permit rates will not change, you will have an opportunity for huge discounts on accommodation in the low seasons. This will also apply to transport discounts which will help you to greatly reduce your gorilla trekking expenditure.
  • Choose the right tour operator; the tour operator you choose has a lot to do with how much your gorilla safari will cost. In order to have a cheap gorilla safari, consider the relatively small tour operators. They are often cheaper than the fully established tour operators. However, you should beware of the challenges that come with using non-established tour operators.
  • In regards to transport; there are mainly two transport options for a cheap gorilla safari in Uganda, Motorcycle gorilla trekking adventures (please note; this is not to imply that you go gorilla trekking on a motorcycle rather the means of transport you use to get o the park) or safari car gorilla trekking experience. Sometimes motorcycle adventures might be more costly compared to safari car-based adventures.

 

 

 

08/1/20

Top Five Incredible Places To Visit In East Africa 2021/2022

East Africa is a region with a diversity of unmissable places to visit endowed with fabulous things to see. Visiting East Africa is therefore a better way to marvel at the vast incredible plains of the savannah beaming with abundant wildlife, scenic views of mountain ranges, wafer falls, and many more. Here are the five incredible places to visit while in East Africa;

5. Masai Mara Kenya

Masai Mara is without doubt one of Africa’s most famous safari destination. The game reserve is 1510sq km with breathtaking vistas, abundant wildlife, and endless plains. This large game reserve is situated in Narok County in southwestern Kenya along the Tanzanian border with Serengeti national park. Masai Mara is renowned for its exceptional populations of lion, leopards, cheetahs, and elephants.

Masai Mara is popular for the annual migration of the wildebeest, zebra, Thompson’s gazelle, and other antelope species every year from Serengeti in what is termed the ‘great migration’. The reserve beams with incredible wildlife including the big cats, big five, antelopes, and over 450 bird species.

Masai Mara has a number of exclusive attractions which visitors view while at the reserve including Ol kinyei conservancy with its unspoiled terrain rolling with hills, swamps, streams among others. Mara triangle found along Mara River favors plenty of wildlife acting as an open door for both entrance and exit of the wildebeest migration. Mara Triangle is one of the richest locations at Masai Mara offering the best experiential game drives at the reserve.

Other attractions at the reserve include Lemek Conservancy, Olare Orok Conservancy, Mara North conservancy, Mara River, and Ol Choro Oiroua.

Visitors at the reserve enjoy unforgettable experiences which include: Game drive, Sky diving, balloon trip, Fly camping, walking safari, picnic view, cultural tour, horseback safari, seeing the wildebeest migration, and many others. It is from these unforgettable experiences that visitors travel far and wide to this land of spectacular wildlife viewing.

4. Serengeti National Park Tanzania

Located in northern Tanzania, Serengeti national park is one of the best-known wildlife sanctuaries in the world covering an area of 14763 sq km. The park has the greatest concentration of plains game in Africa as well as home to the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth- the great migration of wildebeest and zebra. Aside from the wildebeest and zebra, Serengeti national park is home to other impressive wildlife including lion, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, and birds. The park also beams with elusive wild game species especially the black rhino and bat-eared fox which are frequently viewed while on safari in Tanzania.

Serengeti national park can be divided into three parts:

  • The central part (Seronera Valley) also called Serengeti, renowned as the land of endless plains.
  • The second part- the western corridor is marked by Grumeti River has more forests and dense bush.
  • The third and last part is the north (Lobo area) which meets with Kenya’s Masai Mara and is the least visited section while on safari to the park.

Similarly, Serengeti national park is blessed with a variety of attractions including wildlife, bird species, wildebeest migration, Grumeti River, Seronera River valley, Olduvai Gorge, Moru Kopjes, Retina Hippo pool, and many others.

Once a visitor gets to Serengeti national park, there are a number of activities that make his or her trip memorable. Some of these interesting activities include game drives one of the fabulous opportunities to view the game and its wonders. The great experience of Serengeti can be fully executed through several game drives that take a visitor close to the gates of nature, viewing animals and other wildlife at the different sections of Serengeti national park. Game drives at the park are subdivided into four major forms:

Morning game drives are the most common and most rewarding at the Serengeti national park. At this time, most of the animals are lively and active, especially during the dry season.  The early morning drives are well stocked with true African wilderness experiences. The big cats sunbathing and mission hunting is very incredible.

The afternoon game drive usually done after lunch is the second form of the game drive often done during transit on the first day when transferring from Arusha to Serengeti via Ngorongoro. It is the best en-route game drive at the park. Sometimes, this game drive is not rewarding with big cats as compared to the morning because during this time they are already hiding and taking shelter due to the hot sun.

Full day game drive is the third form of game drive which rewards visitors with the feeling of excitement towards the beauty at the park with a lot of animals to be seen like lions, wildebeest, giraffes, buffaloes and many more.

Night game drives although not common can be arranged at the park request but come with extra fees. They are a great adventure for viewing nocturnal animals at the national park. Nocturnal animals Serengeti National Park includes cats (Leopards, Lions, etc), Birds like nightjar, wood owls among others.

Access to the park and during game drives requires a strong 4×4 car, preferable Land cruiser, Nissan, or Land Rover. Some tracks are almost impassable during the rainy season and some areas flood. If you choose to self-drive in Tanzania, there are many car rental companies in Arusha, Dar-es-salaam, Mwanza, and Moshi where you can rent a strong 4×4 land cruiser to self-drive in Serengeti National Park. Such companies include 4×4 Tanzania, First Car Rental, Road Trip Africa, and many others.

Other activities include; bird watching, hot air balloon safari, historical site seeing, wildebeest migration viewing, cultural encounters among others. With so many truly spectacular natural wonders within relatively close proximity, it is no surprise that Tanzania’s Serengeti national park is such a popular first-time safari destination in East Africa.

3. Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Situated in the land of a thousand hills, Volcanoes national park is located in northwestern Rwanda covering an area of 160 sq km. With surrounding views of volcanic peaks, the park is an ideal destination for luxurious gorilla safaris alongside other wildlife species. Volcanoes national park is home to mountain gorilla an iconic endangered species, golden monkeys, spotted hyena, buffaloes, black-fronted duiker, bushbuck, and about 178 bird species.

The park is home to 10 habituated gorilla families which can be tracked by interested visitors to the park. Volcanoes national park rewards visitors with a number of activities to the park ranging from mountain gorilla trekking, to golden monkey tracking, hiking, cultural tours, nature walks, and many more.

The park has elusive attractions located both inside the park and around such as Mount Bisoke, Mount Karisimbi, Musanze caves, Dian Fossey grave site, twin lakes, Iby’Iwacu cultural village, and many others. Amidst all these attractions, visitors to the park believe that coming face to face with a great silverback is truly one of the most exciting wildlife experiences on earth which in my opinion each visitor ought to experience in East Africa.

2. Kidepo Valley National Park

Lying in the rugged, semi-arid valleys, is Kidepo valley national park between Uganda’s border with South Sudan and Kenya. Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park but also the most magnificent teeming with Africa’s finest wilderness. From Apoka, in the heart of the park, a savannah landscape extends far beyond the gazetted area towards horizons outlined by distant mountain ranges.

The park contains one of the most exciting faunas of any Ugandan national park. It contains many species including the greater and lesser kudu, eland, cheetah, lion, leopard, spotted hyena, elephants, Burchell’s zebra, bush duiker, Defassa waterbuck, bush pig, Kavirondo and an extensive list of around 475 bird species.

Kidepo valley national park has a number of areas of interest such as; Apoka tourism centre, Narus valley, Kidepo valley, and Kanangorok hot springs, Mount Morungule, Namamukweny valley, Lamoj hills, Lonyili mountain, and Matheniko Bokora reserve.

The park boasts several activities such as game drive, birding, nature walks and cultural encounters. Travel to this off-the-beaten-path destination in Uganda to enjoy excellent photographic opportunities as well as viewing the most exclusive wild game.

1. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The Bwindi impenetrable national park lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the rift valley. This impenetrable forest which dates back over 25000 years contains almost 400 species of plants and protects an estimated 400 mountain gorillas. The region also provides shelter to a further 120 mammals, including several primate species such as forest baboons, forest chimpanzees. Other animals include forest elephants, forest antelopes, and around 350 species of birds. The neighboring towns have an impressive array of luxury lodges, rustic Bandas, campsites, restaurants craft stalls, and guiding services.

The park has several areas of interest such as the Buhoma sector, Nkuringo sector, Rushaga sector, and Ruhija sector which are trailheads for gorilla tracking at Bwindi impenetrable national park. Nyundo north of Buhoma on the Congo border offers wonderful guided hikes along the hill crests and rivers to discover waterfalls, glorious views, and the traditional lifestyle of the Kigezi people.

The major activity at the park is gorilla trekking which takes place in the four sectors fore-mentioned starting at 8:30 am daily. Visitors embark on a forest trek lasting a few hours up to a full day depending on the location of the gorillas. Tours are limited to a maximum of eight people and visitors spend a maximum of one hour in the company of gorillas.

Other activities at Bwindi impenetrable national park include; birding, nature walks, mountain biking, and cultural tours. The chance to sight half of the world’s mountain gorillas makes viewing exciting and trekkers have splendid photographic moments at Bwindi.

In conclusion, with the above five incredible places, each visitor is in a position to enjoy legendary safaris across frontiers. However, note, for those going for self-drive adventures, access to all those parks requires a strong 4×4 vehicle because some areas are inaccessible especially in the wet season.

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.