Enjoy Game Viewing in Uganda

Night game drives are so important to the safari tourists who come to Uganda to enjoy wildlife tours; these can be carried out in two national parks of the country. These were launched by Uganda Wildlife Authority and the main aim of the initiative was to enhance visitor’s experience at the park for a unique and wonderful game drive. This move of the night game drives will help in generating revenue to the government and also help in enabling the safari tourists to view rare nocturnal wildlife species which are had to see during the day game drives.

The initiative was embraced by King of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, Solomon Iguru as a sign of acceptance and he also experienced a long awaited programme. The cars to carry out night game drives were bought and they are expected to carry a maximum of 8 visitors. The cars are also open roofed and covered to provide protection to the tourists who engage in the activity. The activity is also expected to extend many other national parks including; Kidepo National park and Lake Mburo National Park.

During the night life game drive, the tourists are able to view many animals including; the antelopes, elephants, wild rats, elephants, kobs, buffalos and many other mammals which are found within the park, there are also many other animals which can be spotted during the drive and these include; leopards, hyenas, civerts, porcupines, hippos, bush babies, reptiles and the night jars. These have greatly made the safaris in Uganda more interesting hence increasing revenues.

The safari tourists will also experience a magnificent sun downer before driven to the designated view or the picnic points. These game drives also start 8:00pm and expected to end at 10pm. Bookings of these night game drives can be done at UWA headquarters and the park offices. The fees for the night game drives cost $40 and $30 for the day game drives.

 

Taking a Self Drive Tour in Rwanda

We’ve just returned from Rwanda for an 8 day self drive trip with Rwanda self drive .We drafted our itinerary by ourselves and put all our interests, we hired a rav 4 4×4 with a top up. Rwanda Self drive answered all our questions and advised us on the roads and other tourism information.

After our initial inquiry given to them about what we wanted from our trip, it became obvious that we should entrust it all to them. We weren’t let down. Everything ran seamlessly. We were picked up at the airport and handed car keys to us, vouchers for hotels and attractions booked on our behalf, and any other necessary paperwork and even more interesting information.

On day 2, we got a way on a very good time. The itinerary was packed full of incidental interesting things to do alongside the main events and attractions, All were advised by Mbaziira a tour guide from Rwanda self drive.

There one things I would recommend to any one organizing a self drive safari. To get up early and hit the road as soon as possible in the morning. Even with early starts, some evenings we were getting to the hotel at 8pm or a little later. We only scratched the surface. We could probably do another trip of similar distance right around Rwanda and see a whole new set of things and experience an entirely different Rwanda again. When we do, and it is a when, not an if, we will definitely book our trip with Rwanda Self drive .

self drive Rental cars in Rwanda are available to travelers who are above 18 years of age and hold a international or international drivers license, You must also have a credit visa card with which you can make your withdraws from many banks branches widely spread in Kigali which can issue out cash at your convenient time.

Rwanda Self drive discourages you to avoid taking short cut routes especially during rainy seasons. Avoid under estimating the distance at the expense of relying on Google maps, the distance may look small in terms of Kms to cover without considering the current state of the road conditions. Self drive Rwanda hires 4×4 vehicles which are good especially with bad roads or in rainy season. Always keep your mobile cell phone fully charged just in case of the emergencies, you can be reached its much easier if you have a local mobile network just for communication simplicity.

Rwanda Self drive offer guests who wish to travel unguided on a self-drive basis an enjoyable alternative. It is very important that such a trip is planned carefully and that the subsequent self-drive itinerary be easy in its execution. We assist with all aspects surrounding your Rwanda self-drive tour, including car rental, accommodation, reservations etc. One of our representatives will meet you at the airport and discuss the entire route of your self-drive tour with you.

Rwanda is a well-developed country with good road infrastructure. When traveling in Rwanda, shops, banks and other necessary services are readily available. Credit cards are accepted, you should, always have some cash in the local currency with you, as it might come in handy at some places. A self drive tour in Rwanda can be enjoyed in most regions and destinations of the country. Kigali city tour, volcano national park, Akagera national park, Nyungwe national, Lake Kivu and for business.

In addition to Rwanda Self-Drive tours and Safaris, we are also able to assist with African self-drive holidays in neighboring countries like Uganda, Burundi and others. It is very important that clients understand the distances and conditions involved. It is also very important that you realize shops, gas stations and other necessary services are often great distances apart and that you will need to carry everything you might need with you. It is important when planning a self-drive 4×4 adventure to be experienced in handling a 4×4 vehicle and to be prepared for any possible emergency, as these routes often traverse extremely remote areas.

Self-drive tours are an increasingly popular means of travelling around Rwanda, self-drive holidays offer independence and flexible travel with the assurance that your accommodation, route and facilities have been tried and tested. As an alternative to scheduled tours, self-drive tours liberate you from rigid itineraries, allowing you to experience the natural splendor of Rwanda at your own pace.

Much of Rwanda has a decent road network and boasts diverse topography, climate, culture and wildlife. Self-drive packages are an excellent way to experience this region of Africa. Our travel consultants can advise you on routes or help you put together a suitable travel package and self-drive safari that incorporates your interests and tastes, giving you the freedom to discover the many wonders on Rwanda the land of a thousand hills at a pace that suits you. Just send an email or a phone call everything will go as expected.

Self driving in Rwanda

-The minimum driving age is 18 years in categories A and B and 20 years in categories C,D,E and F

-International driving permits is acceptable and can be used in one year, after you should apply for a Rwandan driver license.

-Drunk drivers are fined and jailed for 24 hours. The legal blood alcohol level is 0.08%

– seat belts are required for all car occupants

-Third party is required

-The speed limit in towns is 40km/h and in provinces is 60km/h

-Using phones while driving is prohibited unless phones which are equipped with hand free kit.

Meet the Gorillas & Chimpanzees in Uganda

As far as tourism is concerned, whenever one hears Uganda, what comes in any foreigners mind is the primate excursions that are always carried out in this country. And not only that, but what also rings a bell to them is the gorilla tracking as well as chimpanzee trekking. However, there are distinctive features that separate these two primates in the way they are tracked and how best one can prepare for both to have an ultimate experience.

Where they are both found in Uganda;

Chimpanzees in Uganda are located in different places but habituated chimpanzees only exist in Kibale National Park located in western Uganda, Kyambura Gorge located in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kalinzu forest located closer to Queen Elizabeth National Park and Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls National Park located in Northern Uganda. We also have orphaned chimpanzees in Ngamba Island which is approximately 23 km in Lake Victoria and can be accessed by boats.

On the other hand, habituated gorillas are found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. According to the 2013 mountain gorilla census, it was discovered that Bwindi Impenetrable National park has almost half the number of mountain gorillas in the whole while the other population of gorillas are in the Virunga Ranges shared between Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic republic of Congo. Today Bwindi is one of the most popular parks for gorilla safaris on the African continent.

Gorilla and chimp trekking experience compared

When compared, gorilla tracking is a more organized activity both in Uganda and Rwanda and chances of seeing gorillas is above 90%. This is because gorillas live in families each headed by a dominant silver back. In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the activity is so organized in such a way that early in the morning, there is an advanced team that goes to the forest to look for where the gorillas would have slept and once they find them, then they communicate to the park head quarters to inform the guides where gorillas are. It’s from here that tourists plus their guide will start the trek to look for gorillas starting from where they slept the previous night until they find them. Once they have found them, they are given one hour to observe and take photographs.

Chimpanzee trekking on the other hand is not as organized as gorilla trekking and chances are high in Kibale National Park and Budongo forest to other places such as Kyambura Gorge and Kalinzu forest. The same process of having an advanced team applies to chimps but chimpanzees on the other hand live in communities of around 100 individuals or more and during the day, these communities breakup into small parties to reduce on food competition. Each party is therefore tracked by 6 people. Once you have found the chimpanzees, you are allowed only one hour to view and photograph them.

Family composition

A family of habituated gorillas is trekked by a maximum of 8 people in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga while Chimpanzee parties in Kibale National Park is restricted to only 6 people. While a habituated gorilla family can only be seen by a maximum of 8 people PER DAY, chimpanzee parties are trekked twice in a day (morning and afternoon). Taking a close look at chimp trekking in Kibale National Park, a maximum of 18 people do trek chimps both in the morning and in the afternoon. It is arranged in such a way that each chimpanzee party is trekked by 6 people thus 3 parties for 18 people. The fact that chimpanzees keep on breaking into small parties and regrouping, at a given point, you might find yourselves trekking the same party (18 people) they can join together. This tends to cause confusion amongst tourists if not briefed very well. This sometimes leads to congestion and kills the whole Eco- experience as expected by clients. Mountain gorillas tend to be on ground in most cases and depending on the height of the vegetation, they are better seen compared to chimpanzees which are in most cases up in the trees (Not all the time though as so many people have found them on ground).

What to pack for gorilla or chimp trekking

Both gorilla and chimp trekking requires one to have hiking boots, garden gloves, long sleeved trousers and shirts, rain jackets, sun glasses, huts, a hiking stick and some energy giving foods to give you that extra strength when needed. You might not need a porter for chimp trekking in Kibale but we highly recommend one for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for your gorilla trek.

Gorilla and Chimp permits

In Uganda, you require a permit to either trek gorillas or chimpanzees. Gorilla tracking permit for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park costs USD600.00 which normally goes down from that in low seasons (Feb-may) to the tune of USD350.00. enabling you to save USD150.00. The above includes trekking gorillas, a guide for the trek and park entrance fees. Chimpanzee trekking permits in Uganda vary according to where you will be trekking them. In Kibale, a permit is USD150 while in Kyambura is at USD50.00 per person and includes guide, park entrance and viewing chimps.

Distances compared

Gorilla trekking is done in Bwindi and Mgahinga and they are approximately 8-9 hours from Kampala while driving and it also depends on which side of Bwindi you are going to. If you are flying, then it might take you around about one and half hours to Bwindi or Kisoro. Kibale National Park is about 5-6 hours from Kampala; Kyambura Gorge is approximately 7-8 hours drive from Kampala while Budongo is also approximately 5-6 hours drive to northern Uganda.

Rent a Car for Self Drive in Uganda

After being voted “the best travel destination to visit in 2012″, Uganda is currently receiving an enormous number of tourist arrivals. From gorilla safaris to chimpanzee trekking adventures, many tour packages are on sale being offered by many tour operators and travel agents. With the verdant rainforests that are home to the rare mountain gorillas, thousands of chimpanzees, monkeys as we;; as the interesting wildlife in the Savanna Parks, Uganda Safaris offers one-of-a-kind experience to all those who venture to this wondrous haven that was named the Pearl of Africa by the Sir Winston Churchill, one of the past adventure travelers who visited Uganda in 1902.

What kind of adventure would you like to try out in 2015? Could it be a  high adventure that you seek or deep relaxation. The Pearl of Africa, one of the most beautiful country on the African Continent provides boundless excitement and ultimate pleasure for the vacation of a lifetime.

As more tourists visit Uganda, many travelers are looking for both guided and self drive tour packages so that they can adventure through the Pearl of Africa. From those looking to gorilla watching in the remote southern part of Uganda to those seeking for road trips through various parks, a lot of options are available for travelers!

While traveling in Uganda can be both challenging and fun, one need to organize his or her holiday in time. One of the best ways to enjoy your adventure is to hire a car in Uganda and travel at your convenience! Car Rental Services are available in Kampala and can even be booked online. From small vehicles to 4X4 Safari Vehicle Rentals many cars are available at many car rental companies such as Car Rental Uganda to any traveler interested in taking a self drive vacation that will allow you and your family or friends at the same time to discover the country in so many exciting ways.

How much time it really takes you to travel in the country, really depends on the road conditions, traffic and the weather. Traveling in the dry season is preferable as unpaved roads tend to get washed away during the rainy season. Given the nature of road conditions, tourists looking to self drive options in Uganda should consider great caution and respect for road signs on Ugandan roads. Those who know defensive driving will find less problems given the way the local drivers behave on the road.

Over the past 20 years, Uganda  has tried to develop an excellent transportation system. As the sector grows, more and better service providers are joining the industry and today we can say that the country has good private transport agencies that can offer a good service!

Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

During my leave I decided to go for a gorilla tour in Africa together with my family we decided to travel with a group we worked with at an orphanage in the capital Kigali City, to visit the rare mountain gorillas that live in the Virunga National Park, which borders The Congo and Uganda in central and East Africa.

The sceneries along this two-hour drive northwards to volcanoes national park in Ruhengeri are spectacular, the two lanes Road (built by the Chinese) kept on going higher with the abundance of green foliage that simmered before our eyes. Perhaps this gives Rwanda its name “Land of a thousand Hills” But even that lovely assault on the senses didn’t prepare us for what was to come.

We were stunned to sleep in Gorilla Nest Lodge, just outside the Volcanoes National Park. Imagine a luxury hotel, superbly crafted from local stone, wood and bamboo, tucked into the jungle at the bottom of a blue-green volcanic range.

Top that off with beautiful spacious rooms, fine dining and friendly service from people that speak English, French, Swahili and Kinyarwanda (the national language) and you have a virtual Shangri-la in the middle of Africa.

Finding the Family

Following such a peaceful night stay we were driven to the Volcanoes Park entrance by 7:00am local time and met our guide, Fidel, who has worked as a park ranger-guide for a period of fourteen years. He briefed us about how a gorilla safari in in Rwanda is conducted and informed us that we would be walking for about three hours to find the family group we were assigned to observe.

We set out for our Rwanda gorilla trek, eight in all and made our way into the thick forest up the hillside past planted fields and traditional mud huts; over the stone wall, which was built by villagers (who were paid by the government) to keep out elephants and buffalo and to delineate the park boundary.

We were well prepared for what is usually a muddy and wet misty experience into the Jungle (with our boots, raincoats and packed Lunch), but were lucky and blessed with sunny weather and Climate and above all a clear trail.

Our guide

We were lucky to have such a resourceful guide, as we continued with this Gorilla Safari into the forest, Fidel told us that the dominant male in that family group (the Silverback) is called “The President”. He said if there is no dominant male in the group, then a female takes up the responsibility as the leader.

Just Like Us

Male gorillas turn adults and attain silverbacks at the age of 10years,” Fidel said quietly. “From eight years on females are called adults because they can have babies. Gorillas can live up to forty years. Gestation period for pregnancy is about eight to nine months.

“Female Gorillas usually live longer than males. They are vegetarians. They sleep, play, socialize and eat just like us. Perhaps this is why they are termed as our closest cousins. Their DNA is ninety-seven percent the same as humans.”

He suddenly held up his hand and whispered, “straight ahead.” We heard the sound of twigs breaking and grunting noises before we could see anything.

Our guide gently pushed aside some bamboo sticks and my wife was staring face to face with a 500-pound silverback ten feet in front of her who was contently sitting down to lunch on some freshly stripped morsels of bamboo leaves. She froze, as we lined up alongside her; our mouths agape at the spectacle.

The thriller

Shortly a number of females alongside their toddlers and a newborn joined the silverback. We enjoyed as we watched the children play, climb tree branches and being pulled back to their mothers when they got too far away or too close to the spectators.

We were deep in thought. Imagine we were the ones with the camera equipment, but if the gorillas could take our picture, they would probably be laughing hysterically at images of our grinning stupefied faces.

As required, we left the gorilla family after an hour’s viewing and made our way back down the mountain. We were in such awe that there was little conversation probably meditating how thrilling the Rwanda gorilla tour is.

Everyone come to understand that the $750.00 per person we had paid for permits to see the gorillas were the best money we had ever spent. The funds from the Rwanda gorilla trips permits help the rangers protect the gorillas, continue research like Dian fossey research Centre which located in this park, also provide funds for the surrounding communities to build schools, health clinics and crafts centers.

Positive Support

Rwanda is becoming increasingly noticed worldwide for its environmental policies, gender equality, stable government, family life and breathtaking beauty. Positive internal and international support for infrastructure, education, investment, security and eco-tourism have made it assessable, affordable and one of the safest destinations for adults and children in Africa as well as travelers who enjoy Rwanda safari trips to see the beauty of this central and East African tiny Nation.

After the breathtaking moment with the mountain Gorillas you can spice up your Rwanda safari with Kigali City tour which enables you see the National Museum to learn about the cultural history of Rwanda. Pay tribute to Rwanda Genocide victims by visiting Kigali Genocide memorial centre or other Genocide memorial sites in other districts. For other stunning wildlife arrange with your tour company to visit Nyungwe forest national park and Akagera National park as well.

Quck Tips to Traveling Rwanda

  • The cheaper flights from London to Rwanda are via Kenya or via Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Their largely spoken national language is Kinyarwanda, but many people also speak English, Swahili or French and there is a big push for everyone to learn English language.
  • Immunization certificate or immunization cards are required.
  • Currency is the Rwandan franc which equals about 550 francs to every US dollar.

Save Your Money on Your Rental Car

Many people approach Car Rental as a lowest-price-possible contest rather than to concentrate on the value of the deal they eventually would get, in terms of what type of car, whether it has air conditioning and automatic gear shifting functionalities as well as the type of service they are buying.

The fact is, Car Rental in both developed and developing countries has now become a very competitive activity yet rates differences for comparable quality and services are relatively small, sometimes as small as $10 to $20 in developed countries and $45 to $120 in developing African countries like Uganda where cars are scarce. On our recent travel to Uganda, we tried out our look and looked for the best deals on car rental in Uganda and indeed am now acquainted with more ways on how to get the best and save on your next trip. After contacting various car rental agencies, we zeroed down with CarRentalUganda.com, a well established agency and here are the tips on how to how to save on your next trip;

  • Use the internet – It is advisable to book your rental car early enough on most parts of Africa. The quick way to start on your process is by using Google and look out for possible car rental agencies. Though most car rental agencies are offline we had luck and we found out about 10 agencies and they really offered great deals.
  • Look out for discount coupons – this is hard! we only found CarHireUganda.com to be with coupons that can be used to save a few dollars from 1 – 5. Remember these are many beers that you can save. You can find the coupons here http://www.carhireuganda.com/specials.html
  • Buy Gas from major urban areas – It is is advised to buy plenty of gas in urban areas. The more you travel into remote areas, the more expensive prices you will find at the gas stations.
  • Unlimited Mileage – Always ask your agents whether they can get you a car on unlimited mileage. This will help you save more if compared with limited mileage.
  • Make sure that you get a fully inclusive price for your rental car. In Uganda most agencies, their rental fees are all inclusive except fuel. Always look out for that deal! Remember your rental price may not include drop charges for remote destinations and gasoline.
  • Avoid Late Returns – Like everywhere else, in Africa you should also get ready to pay the late return charges in case you returned the car late after the agreed upon time.

Nobody likes to pay higher prices more than supposed to do, thus you are recommended to first shop around, browse the internet and check the various rates available at different car hire companies, or even Internet at comparison sites can simplify the task. Make sure you compare apples to apples and not apples to pears.

Gorilla Tracking in Uganda Vs Rwanda

Many travelers are always faced with the problem of choosing which country to visit to see the endangered mountain gorillas in the wild. Mountain gorillas are found in 3 countries in Africa; Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. However there are the 2 countries that are considered to be the best places for gorilla trekking; Uganda or Rwanda.

Cost:

Gorilla permits in Rwanda have recently (as of 2014) increased to $750 per person. They are $600 per person in Uganda. The permit gets you an hour of time spent with the gorillas with an 8 person group. If you buck at the price think of it this way. You are contributing to the preservation of gorillas and as a “thank you” you get to spend an hour with them. Remember only 80 people a day get to see them and their habitat is very fragile. Every time you walk through the forest you are leaving a footprint.

Ease of Access: Rwanda provides the easiest access to gorilla trekking so it is your best option if you are combining it with a safari to Kenya or Tanzania or if you only have a few days. The town of Ruhengeri, the jumping off point for gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park, is only a few hours’ drive on excellent roads from the capital (and its international airport) Kigali. Seeing gorillas in Uganda is more of a process and involves an 8-10 hour drive from the international airport in Entebbe. I recommend making Uganda a full 8-day trip with stops along the way instead of just a place to see gorillas whereas you could see gorillas in Rwanda in just a few days.

Trekking Difficulty

Seeing mountain gorillas can involve 2-4 hours of hiking to find them. In both Uganda and Rwanda this is going to be a long day and the hikes can vary quite a bit depending on where the animals spent the night and which troop you are seeing. That being said, the general experience is that treks in Rwanda are slightly easier while those in Uganda are slightly more strenuous. Again there are no guarantees either way. I have friends who hiked for three hours in Rwanda before finding a troop while my group came across a troop in just over an hour in Uganda. For more information about what to expect (and what to bring) on the day of the trek click here.

Don’t underestimate the tiring effects of being at high altitude. Trekking takes place 8000-10,000 feet above sea level, not high enough for altitude sickness but high enough to knock the breath out of anybody, no matter how fit, who has just flown in from a low altitude. For this reason, visitors who are spending a while in Rwanda might think seriously about leaving their gorilla tracking until they have been in the country a week or so, and are better acclimatized (most of Rwanda lies at about 5000 feet). Likewise, if you are coming from elsewhere in Africa try to plan your itinerary so that you spend your last pre-trek days at medium to high altitude. For example if you are flying in from Kenya, a few days in Nairobi (7500 feet) or even the Masai Mara (5200 feet) would be far better preparation than time at the coast.

Better Gorillas: There is no difference. There are 10 habituated troops in Rwanda and 8 in Uganda and they can move freely between the countries so this really doesn’t need to be a consideration. The gorilla trekking system is similar in all countries and because gorillas are followed on a daily basis, a sighting in all the locations is virtually guaranteed.

So here’s what I would say it comes down to: If you have time and are not looking to do a traditional savannah safari, Uganda is a great option. It is a fabulous country and you can easily spend 8-10 days there.

If you are in a rush and/or are adding gorilla trekking to a larger safari then you will want to go on a Rwanda gorilla safari which can easily range from a day trip, 2, 3 or 4+ days!

Where to Stay

In terms of accommodation, each country offers great places to stay. Here are a few of our recommendations:

Rwanda

My favorite luxury accommodation is Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge because it is high up on hill, has great views, cozy rooms with fireplaces and amazing service. I have also visited Virunga Lodge which is a beautiful eco-lodge but an hour’s drive from the trek starting point. When you already have to be up and ready at 6am adding an hour drive to that is not insignificant. For a medium budget the best choice is Mountain Gorilla Lodge. It does not claim to be more than it is but it very convenient and the rooms are quite spacious. For the more modest budget Le Bamboo was perfectly comfortable.

Uganda

For Uganda my favorite option is Buhoma Lodge. It is an eco-lodge with a rustic, comfortable feel and is one of two properties actually inside Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The lodge is set into a hill with beautiful views of the forest. Probably the most luxurious option in the Bwindi area is Gorilla Forest Camp but this is not one of my favorites because it is quite dark but it is well-designed and has great service. For a modest budget Traveler’s Rest in Kisoro has simple, comfortable rooms and was a frequent stop for Diane Fossey when she traveled through Uganda. It is about an hour’s drive from the Bwindi park gate.

Mountain Gorillas:

Been there done that…If you are an experienced Africa traveler and you are looking for a unique and seriously off-the-beaten path experience, then tracking western lowland gorillas in the Republic of Congo might be the perfect adventure for you. Whatever country you choose gorilla trekking is guaranteed to be a moving and life-changing experience.

Inside Uganda – Discover the Pearl of Africa

Uganda, sometimes referred to as the Pearl of Africa is a country which is gifted by nature and is a landlocked African country. It occupies about 236,000 square miles which almost the size of Oregon in the United States of America. The Pearl of Africa lies across the equator and by the northwest shores of Lake Victoria. Our neighbors are Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

The country is best known for its unique wildlife in national parks and interesting tourism facilities that have continuously attracted thousands of travelers who take safaris in Uganda– exploring different regions. The pearl of Africa is a home of the Rift western rift valley with unique and interesting features. These include mountain Ruwenzori, Kyambura George amongst which are found in Uganda’s biggest savannah national park. The most fascinating and curious attraction in Uganda are the endangered Mountain gorillas found in Bwindi impenetrable park and Mgahinga gorilla parks.

In the far East of the country, sits mount which is an extinct volcano. This gigantic milestone starts the border with neighboring Kenya. It is protected within a national park popular with mountain climbers. Just outside the park, some of the world’s finest coffee is grown. In the South Western part of Mountain Elgon in Jinja, there are head waters Southwest of Mount Elgon and near the town of Jinja there are headwaters of River Nile. The river originates from Lake Victoria which is Africa’s largest lake. It lies within the proximity of Central region where Uganda’s capital –Kampala is found. The river cuts the pearl of Africa in two flows. One is towards Sudan and the other towards Egypt and ultimately to the Mediterranean Sea. Along this mighty river, water sports like white water rafting is carried on. As the Nile River gains speed from the source, it discharges over the mighty Murchison falls, which is protected in a national park of the same name.

Moving towards the west, away from Kampala city-Uganda’s capital, the land gradually rises from Lake Victoria’s basin. As you move this side, papyrus swamps tend to turn into savannahs grasslands. As you get close to the heart of the cattle in the country, Lake Mburo National park is found. It provides a habitat for diversity of browsing animals including the Zebra, Buffalo, and gazelle. In the west of the park, grasses give way to forests as the land rises up the escarpment of the rift valley. Intersecting the cliff; it is a rapid descent to the valley floor below, Uganda’s lowest point in elevation. The Rift Valley’s dry, hot grasslands contain Uganda’s largest populations of lions and elephants. Just east of the Ruwenzori Mountains is Kibale National Park, a forest with Africa’s greatest diversity of primates.

In the North East of the country, there is Murchison falls national park sometimes referred to as Kabalega National park. It the largest protected in Uganda covering about 3840 square kilometers. The name was given to the point which the world’s longest river, the Nile is channeled through a narrow gorge. In the park, you will find all the big five animals including Buffalos, elephants, leopards, Lions and the Rhinos in the Northern part of the park above the Nile river.

People and culture of Uganda

The pearl of Africa is a home of a number of ethnic groups. The country has a very rich and cultural diversity. Cultural practices and Ethnicity accompany the life style of every ethnic group and act as unique tourism attractions. There has been a history of ethnically- based discrimination promoted by the governments that divert resources to the resolution of the problems.

The population of Uganda is composed of diverse ethnic varying groups with varying customs and norms. They have played a major role in shapping the behaviors and ways of life of the people of Uganda. In most parts of the country, traditional values have changed due to integration of the people as a result of migration and intermarriages. The outstanding cultural groupings in the country include the Baganda, Basoga, Batoro and Itesot. These are predominantly headed by traditional kings and are not politically elected. A number of languages are spoken though the official language is English and Swahili.

Rwanda Gorilla Safaris

Rwanda is also known as Republic of Rwanda. It is located a few south of the Equator. It is bordered by countries such as Uganda, Tanzania, Congo and Burundi. The capital of Rwanda is Kigali. A Rwanda safari is very famous among the tourists who visit Rwanda. This is the best way to experience scenic beauty of Rwanda. If you’re thinking about going on a Rwanda safari, then you will find there are many options available for you to choose from.

One of the most popular tours is one where you watch gorillas out in the wild in their own natural habitat. Rwanda safari is the most captivating safari one can experience in their life time in the great country of Africa. It is the precious homeland of one of the most endangered species in the world, the mountain gorillas. Rwanda is also called as the Land of a thousand hills!

A gorilla safari which enables you to sit with a wonderful gorilla for sometime can become the best highlight for any trip to Africa. Given the opportunity to trek the endangered Mountain Gorilla, and there is no doubt to have a direct encounter with these great apes. In order to participate in a gorilla trek, viewing permits must be obtained in advance, and they are extremely limited in number, so advance booking is essential to ensure permits can be obtained. The mountain gorilla is perhaps the World’s most endangered ape, with approximately 700 animals, and they are only found in small portions of protected afro-montane forests in north-west Rwanda, south-west Uganda and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Gorilla trekking is tightly controlled and regulated for the safety of the visitor and importantly for the safety of the Mountain Gorillas. A maximum of 8 visitors may visit a group of habituated Gorillas on any given day; this minimizes behavioral disturbance and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases. When you go on this type of tour you will get the chance to see different groups of gorillas that are extremely rare. The skilled guide will teach you all about the different kinds of gorillas and what is unique about the jungle they are in. Whether you are on a three day, five day, or two week safari, you will not be staying close to the gorillas. The animals are always moving so they must be tracked.

Once found a tourist can only get as close as twenty feet and can only take photos without flash.There are safaris available for all types of different budgets, so everyone can find one they can afford to go on! One can also visit many cultural centres, genocide memorial and the beautiful twin lakes of Ruhundo, Bulero and the great Nyungwe Forest National Park. You can view the grand herds of buffalos and elephants in the wonderful Akagera National Park.

Explore Bwindi, the Mountain Gorillas’ Paradise

Located in South Western Uganda, Bwindi is one of the best hotspots for adventure travel in Africa. This renonowned impenetrable forest is home to nearly half of the remaining total population of the majestic mountain gorillas. Gazetted as a national park in the 1990s, these mist covered hills intertwined with large plains blanketed are the best destination to go gorilla trekking in Africa. Join us on a journey and explore one of Uganda’s oldest tropical forest that has survived through the last ice age for about 25000 years.

About the Forest

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park covers an area of about 327 sq km. Characterized by tangled vegetation draped over a deeply fissured landscape of steep slippery hills, the forest is home to incredible wildlife though it is most renowned for hosting the endangered mountain gorillas. The park’s highest altitude is at 2,607m above sea level (southern part) and the lowest at1,160m above sea level in the northern part.

This thick impenetrable forest was first gazetted as two crown forest reserves one being Kayonza and another being Kasatora in 1932. The two forest reserves were later combined in 1942 to form the Impenetrable Central crown forest. In 1964, the reserve was designated as an animal sanctuary to boost the protection of mountain gorillas and was renamed Impenetrable Central Forest reserve. In 1966, two other forest reserves became part of the main reserve, increasing its area to almost 321 square kilometers (124 sq mi) and was managed as both a game sanctuary and a forest reserve.

In 1991, the Central forest reserve was turned into a national park and named Bwindi Impenetrable National park. Gorilla tracking became a tourist activity in April 1993 with one habituated gorilla family of Mubare but since then other 8 groups have been habituated for tracking including Rushegura, Kyaguriro, Oruzogo, Habinyanja, Nshongi, Bitukura, Nkuringo as well as Kahungye groups.

The park was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1994 because of its rich biodiversity which includes a variety of threatened and endangered species on the IUCN’s red list.

Things to See in Bwindi Forest

The park’s rich biodiversity includes about 120 mammal species of which 10 are primate species, and 45 are small mammals and is believed to be one of East Africa’s richest faunal communities. The park also has a long list of birds, about 350 species including the Albertine rift endemics, 310 species of butterflies, 51 reptiles, 88 moths and 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos and many endangered species.

The park is believed to have one of East Africa’s richest flora that includes over 1000 flowering plant species including 200 species of trees and 104 species of ferns. The northern (low altitude) sector is rich in species of the Guineo-Congolian flora. These include two species internationally recognized as endangered, the Brown mahogany and Brazzeia longipedicellata. This rich flora has been a result of the forest’s location being at the meeting point of the plain and mountain forests producing the afromontane vegetation that is rare in Africa. The area harbors a high population of endemic species of the Albertine Rift.

Bwindi is the remaining home to some of the globally threatened species that include, high-profile mammals such as mountain gorilla, chimpanzee, l’Hoest’s monkey, the giant forest hogand African elephant; birds such as African green broadbill, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Turner’s Eremomela, Chapin’s flycatcher and Shelley’s crimson-wing; butterflies such as African giant swallowtail and Cream-banded swallowtail; carnivores like the side-striped jackal, African golden cat and African civet.

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Forest

The park’s most popular specie is the Endangered Mountain Gorilla believed to be man’s evolutionary cousin and the largest ape in the world. Bwindi shelters almost half of these gentle apes whose population in the world is estimated at about 750 individuals and their existence and survival is endemic to Bwindi and Mgahinga in Uganda, Virunga area in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Volcanoes in Rwanda. It is believed that Bwindi Forest shelters a population of about 340 gorillas according to the Gorilla census in 2006. The reduction in number of this critically endangered species is attributed to habitat loss and poaching by human beings.

Also present in this thick forest are 10 species of primates 7 of which are diurnal. They include common chimpanzee, L’Hoest’s monkey, black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, vervets, blue monkey and olive baboon.

Would you like to go gorilla trekking in Uganda? Join us at Go Gorilla Trekking as you embark on one of the most rewarding and highly sought after African safari. Trek our cousins and take a look at other wildlife species in the Pearl of Africa and East Africa at large. You will be able to assess the evolution theory of mankind as you take a glance at the 13 primate species in this magnificent country including our closest cousin the chimpanzee.