06/13/19

The Ugly 5 Game

Have you ever heard about the ugliest wild animals? Besides the famous f big 5 animals, Africa is remarkably a destination of natural wonders as visitors also have the opportunity to spot out its ugliest wildlife species while on their safaris. For travelers who are planning their safaris to Africa, there is more than enjoying the big five game in most of Africa’s savannah grassland. We have provided a list of ugliest wildlife for you to spot in addition to the big five;

  • The Marabou stork

This features frizzy hair protrudes from a speckled pink scalp, large black wings that fold inwards as it stalks, hunched forward, via grass, fleshy throat swinging from one side to the other. Also known as Leptoptilos crumenifer, Marabou stork largely exists in the south of Sahara-wet and semi-arid areas. Marabou storks are scavengers.

While with this remarkable bird, you will be able to sight them roaming along the periphery while waiting for the pieces of carrion the vultures discard. Whereas they like the flesh of dead wildlife species, these unique birds also depend on anything small enough for them to swallow and not to forget the rubbish dumps. In Uganda, they are commonly spotted around Kampala and some of the national parks.

  • Vulture

The Cape vulture is an endemic bird to Southern Africa, and recently it featured in the list of endangered species. It is scientifically known as gyps coprotheres and it lays one egg per year, and they normally high up on cliff faces. This bird is highly threatened by the electric cables and pylons, the shrinking foraging habitat and terrifying, poisoning.

  • Warthog

This wildlife species is a bristly haired wild pig. It is also called Phacochoerus Africanus lingering around vast sub-Saharan Africa. It features antenna like tail pointing skyward, rough name flowing behind it and adult warthog can pick up a fair amount of speed where need be. Their tufts of spiky hair, prominent snouts, vicious tusks, prominent snouts, and facial wattles and they are largely sighted around the grassland.

  • Wildebeest

This feature the long nose, high shoulders, thick neck, skinny legs, narrow scraggly beard, and hips. Also known as Connochaetes, the wildebeests are from the same family as cattle, antelopes, and sheep and mostly sighted around the savanna.

  • Hyena

This species is linked to African myth and folklore, the hyena’s reputation as a backstabbing opportunist often gets him a bad rap. It features slopping and short hind legs and features the negative image of a permanently skulking species. It depends on scavenge rather than hunting and it features the strongest jaws.

In conclusion, the little five animals are stunning on their own. Whereas they seem common, sighting them on Africa jungles rewards visitors with amazing experiences of a lifetime.

06/13/19

Endangered Gorillas

Why The Mountain Gorillas Are Endangered Species In The World

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

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

  • Habitat loss

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

  • Illegal hunting (poaching)

This is another severe threat to the survival of these rare apes. Since 1902, mountain gorillas have been hunted for various reasons including food up to date. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, most of the people poach these rare species mainly for their meat.
Others poach these Great apes for sport and not to leave out the illegal exotic pet trade poses another threat where babies are captured and sold. Whereas most of the traps are set to catch the small animals like antelopes, in the course of the day the mountain gorillas also get entangled in these wire snares.
However still, through the sensitization of the local communities about their benefits from gorilla tourism, illegal poaching is controlled in “some gorilla parks”. For example, we ex-poachers employed as Porters, and park rangers. Additionally, there is a percentage of the revenues rewarded to the local communities through infrastructures development such as rural electrification, provision of piped water, medical centers and scholastic materials among others. Through such measures, we have hope for a steady increase in the mountain gorilla population in Africa!

  • Political unrest

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

  • Oil and gas exploration

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

  • Human infectious diseases

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

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

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

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

11/27/18

What to do in Pemba Island – Tanzania

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10/23/18

Places to see Lions and Antelopes in Uganda

Where To See Antelopes In Uganda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where to See Lions in Uganda?

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

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

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

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

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

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

09/23/18

Chimpanzee Tourism Can Earn Uganda Fortune

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

06/19/18

How To Access Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

06/11/18

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).

06/11/18

Top Hiking trails in Uganda

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

  • Hiking to Margherita Peak.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Hiking on Mount Elgon.

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

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

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

  • Hiking in Semuliki valley

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

  • Hiking Muhabura Mountain.

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

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

  • Other hiking opportunities in Uganda’s national parks.

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

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

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

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

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

06/10/18

Closure of Tourism in Virunga National Park Congo 2018

Virunga national park has for years been battling with political strife and civil insurgencies and hostility from resident rebel groups in the forest. However with the recent peace and calmness in the region, tourism had gradually picked up and the park was flourishing once again in many years. However the kidnappings of May 11th posed yet another great state of insecurity towards travelers as never before, making it the first ever direct attack targeting the tourists.

Virunga National Park

In a similar manner, 6 park rangers were robbed of their lives while on duty in the park’s most remote section when they fell in an ambush of purported militia rebels, known as Mai Mai who are known to reside in this forest.

The park authorities have then considered suspending and halting all tourism activities in Virunga national park following the 11th May kidnap of 2 British tourists, driver and the park ranger who was later killed.

The Virunga park authorities announced the indefinite suspension 3 days later after release of the tourists on 15th May 2018; however reports on when the park will reopen are still undisclosed as security conditions still remain fragile.

The kidnaps took place on Friday 11th May 2018 in the Nyiragongo territory, north of Goma and the female ranger aged 25 was shot and she died shortly after admission in a nearby hospital.

The U.S State Department listed D.R. Congo at Level 3 on their four – level travel advisory list, advising American travelers to “reconsider travel” to the central African country due to “crime and civil unrest”.

Gorilla Family Virunga Park

All travelers who had booked their trips to Virunga national park are urged to get in touch with their booking agents and discuss alternative journey or cancellation will full refund. Many travel agencies have already offered refunds to clients who considered cancellation, while others are offering alternative trips to the neighboring Uganda and Rwanda for gorilla trekking and wildlife tours.

This unexpected closure removes Virunga conservation area, one of Africa’s premier and oldest treasures from the travelers’ list. In 2014, its southern section was the first to be reopened to travelers, however security has never been fully guaranteed as rebels have continuously showed up on different occasions.

Groups of armed militia known as Mai-Mai still operate in the park’s interior, exploiting its water bodies, forests, and wildlife. Five rangers and their driver were killed in a single attack by these militia groups earlier this year in April.

Virunga National Park, also known as Parc national des Virunga is a popular protected area and Africa’s oldest and largest national park, which covers 3,000 miles, located in the Virunga region and home to an extended chain of 8 mountains spanning Uganda, Rwanda and D.R. Congo. This park is a significant conservation area which shelters more than a quarter of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas and the eastern lowland gorillas, buffaloes, elephants and abundant bird-life.

Sliverback Gorilla in Virunga Park – DRC

Virunga national park has seen a rise in her visitor population since 2004, and for 4 years since it was reopened the numbers have been growing magically from almost none to 100,000 last year.

As a result, the park now funds its annual running costs typically from tourism revenues which amount to $10m and this covers 6 aircraft, a rapid-reaction force, 800 rangers, intelligence operation, 24 hour operation Centre and canine unit.

Travel risks in Virunga national park.

In the recent past, Virunga national park had gained significant popularity and stability, but resistance and threats posed majorly by poachers and militia groups whose target are park rangers have failed to seize.

For the last 20 years, a total 170 rangers have lost their lives in the hands of either militia groups or by poachers.

Currently, poachers are still active in the park, charcoal industry who felly trees and those interested in oil exploration.

Travelers remain vulnerable if moving without escorted transportation in region of Goma and other parts of Eastern D.R. Congo and the “risk of injury and kidnap as a result of armed groups and criminal activity remains high”.

06/10/18

F.A.Q: Self Drive Rentals In Uganda

The Frequently Asked Questions About Self Drive Rentals In Uganda

A self drive safari also famous as self guided safari is a remarkable road trip that involves some one to hire a vehicle to help him or her transverse through Uganda’s roads on own his or her own without any guide but with a GPS and  may be guide/travel books / Maps. The freedom and privacy the self drive safari gives visitors is exceptionally one of the remarkable adventures that come once in a lifetime. This gives opportunity for you catch a glimpse of abundant wildlife and indigenous tribes within a shortest time possible. They range from the rare mountain gorillas, the big five game to the stunning tropical rain forests, landscapes and several water bodies, and if you are adventure enthusiasts and nature lover, Uganda is such a remarkable destination that is worthy visiting. Prior planning a self drive tour in Uganda, we have listed a number of questions that commonly asked by various visitors in their initial planning states;

 How old do I need to be to hire a vehicle in Uganda?
Provided that you are above 20 years with a valid driving license /permit, you are free to rent a car for self drive trip in Uganda. At least have about four years driving experience in case you need to get on the road on self drive to catch a glimpse of many tourist attractions in the country.

How do I book a vehicle?
Booking a car in Uganda can be done through online by filling in the short form or simply send an email directly and the other alternative is for you to book by visiting the company’s office itself.

What is the cheapest vehicle for self drive in Uganda?

A self drive safari in Uganda is best when you take a 4×4 safari vehicle that can navigate through the terrains and all kind weather conditions in the remotest areas where most attractions are found in the country. You can make your choice along Land Cruiser Prado, Safari Land Cruiser, Toyota Rav4, Nissan Patrol, Super Custom and Safari Minivan.

Why go on self drive trip in Uganda?

A self drive tour in Uganda gives visitors that total freedom, flexibility and convenience to make any decision on where they want to visit and what they wish to view and explore at their own time.

Can I pre book or book a car up on arrival?

By pre booking a vehicle for safari you stand to get some benefit of purchasing power. Rates for self drive car hires are minimal and fit within the visitors pocket range. It is better to pre-book in advance to avoid disappointments at the last day.

Do I need an international driving permit?

An international driving permit is a proof that you have a valid license in your home country at the date of issue of the IDP. This should come along domestic driver’s license.

Do I require any travel insurance?

You need to take travel insurance and it better for safari holidays in Uganda. This will cover issues of accidents or theft of the cars.

Where do I pick up the rental car?

Visitors can pick a car rental at agency offices, airport or any other specific place that will be agreed upon booking. A driver and representative from car hire company will deliver the vehicle within the shortest time possible and once you land in, you simply walk in and you will be handed over the keys to start your ride.

Can I drop off the vehicle at different location?

Yes, you can drop the car to another location but must be agreed on with the car rental company, and some times, this happens at a fee. For example, if you started your trip in Kampala and you want to drop the car in Mbarara, you will be charged for fuel and driver to return the car to Kampala. This fee is negotiable between the hirer and car rental agency.

What car hire fuel types are there?

We have petrol and diesel fueled vehicles and you choose the one which is best for you. The rates also differ based on the fuel type.

What is the fuel policy for hiring the vehicle in Uganda?

Most car rental agencies like 4×4 Uganda Ltd and Rental Cars Uganda Ltd offer quarter tank vehicles and expect it to be returned to us in the same way and if the vehicle is brought back when it is less than quater tank, you will incur an extra cost to repay for the missing fuel capacity. And there is no refund for unused fuel. Self drive cars offered depending on unlimited mileage meaning that you visit the area provided you incur the cost of fueling the car yourself.

What if I brought back the vehicle late?

In case you brought the vehicle some hours late on the last day, you won’t be charged by most car rental companies in Uganda but in case you make a mistake of bringing it a day after, then expect an extra cost for the similar amount that you paid each day. We encourage our visitors to always contact our reservations group and let them aware about your interest the number of car hire days as you may even get some discount on it.

In conclusion, when it comes to car hire services for self drive safaris in Uganda, we offer variety of cars within visitors travel interest and we able to respond to any other inquiries a visitors would like to get clarification. Enjoy your trip.