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Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park

Located in Eastern Rwanda, Akagera National Park is the only savannah park of Rwanda named after the Akagera River that flows along Rwanda and Tanzania border into Lake Ihema. The vegetation in Akagera National park mainly comprise of woodlands, papyrus, Acacia trees, perches, swamps and some forests. The diverse in vegetation favor the habitation of various birds and wild animals some of which are hardly found else where in the whole world. Akagera Park is one of the top three National parks of Rwanda alongside Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe Forest National Park. Akagera National Park spreads over 1122 square kilometers three quarters of which is filled with a swamp. The Park is managed by African Parks, which is in charge of other 15 parks in Africa.Find about Akagera National park with Africa Adventure Safaris, the leading and trusted travel operator in Rwanda and East Africa

History

Akagera National park was founded in 1934 an opened for travelers on Rwanda safaris. The Belgian government is the one that founded Akagera National Park during their reign in Rwanda. The park was initially home to numerous rhinos with over 50 rhino sin the 1970’s. Unfortunately, these rhinos were all lost to poachers until of recent when the rhinos were reintroduced into the park. More so, 1n 1990, Akagera National Park was housing over 300 lions lost of which were lost in the civil wars of Rwanda. Fortunately, rhinos and lions have been reintroduced back to Akagera National park which makes it home to the big five game.

Top travel activities in Akagera National Park

There are lots of interesting things to see and do in Akagera National Park for a greater experience. The must do travel activities in Akagera National park include:
• Game viewing: This is the top done travel activity in Akagera National park. Most travelers to this park choose game viewing as their top travel activity. Akagera Park is home to the big five game following the reintroduction of lions and rhinos in this park. Guided morning, day and night game drives offer you chance to see numerous wild animals grazing, browsing and hunting in the wilderness.
• Bird Watching: Akagera National Park shelters over 525 bird species, which make it a haven for birders. Guided nature walks to the forested and swampy areas of Akagera National park offer you chance to see numerous bird species some of which are endemic to the albertine region.
• Fishing: Sport fishing on Lake Shakani is a not miss on your Rwanda safari to Akagera National Park
• Boat cruising/Canoeing is yet another interesting activity you ou8ght to enjoy on your safari to Akagera National Park. The cruise offers you scenic views of the lake, wildlife, birds and the neighboring fishing villages

Park entrance fees to Akagera National Park

Basic knowledge on the park entrance fees to Akagera National park is essential for anyone planning a Rwanda safari to this savannah park. Foreign non residents (International travelers) to Akagera National park pay $100, Foreign residents $50, Eat African/Rwandan citizens $16,. The cost is inclusive of Park entrance, conservation fee, self-drive game viewing, rangers fee and the contribution to local people adjacent to Akagera National Park. If you want a professional ranger guide from Akagera National Park for a game drive, you will pay $40 for a full day while half day costs $25. Travelers are reminded to keep safe the receipts given to them upon payment for verification in case they are asked. More so, vehicles into Akagera Park are charged differently from visitors. The entrance fee for vehicles is $10 for Rwandan/East African registered vehicle/minibus while Omni bus/bus. Foreign registered vehicle/minibus (foreign registered &40) , Omni bus/bus, Overland cars $100. The entrance fees for both travelers and vehicles are valid for 24 hours. After this time, the traveler leaves the park or pays again for the next 24 hours.

Best time to visit Akagera National park

Whereas Akagera National park can be visited all year round, some seasons are better than the others. The best season for game viewing in this savannah park is between June to September, which is the busiest of the year. The Park is normally dry and wildlife easily seen in open plains. June to September is best for game viewing and photography with bright skies. Also, there are fewer mosquitos in the dry season, which limit the risk of catching the deadly malaria
which is common in the wet season. However, you can still visit in the wet season between October to May when the scenery is so green and lush with migratory birds available in the park. The bad side of wet season are the heavy rains which can interfere with game drives hence game viewing not as best as in the dry season. In other words, the excellent time to visit Akagera National Park is July, August and September, October, November, December, January and February is good for visiting while March and April is surely not good for mots activities in Akagera National park.

Accommodation in Akagera National Park

For those who want to stay overnight in Akagera National Park, the Park has lots of accommodation facilities available to offer you with excellent food and sleeping services at affordable. Some of the top lodges in Akagera National Park include
1. Ruzizi Tented Camp with nine self co0ntaiend tents
2. Akagera Game Lodge,
3. Karenge Bush camp
4. Magashi Camp
5. Dereva Hotel
The open wilderness of Akagera National Park is also best for camping offering you the wilderness experience.
Conclusively therefore, Akagera National Park offers it all to meet, satisfy and even exceed your travel expectations

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Discounted Uganda Permits

Discounted Uganda Permits

Uganda Wildlife Authority has discounted gorilla permits to trek gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks along with other entrance fees to savannah parks al over the country. The promotional pricing in Uganda is meant to revive and strengthen the tourism industry, which has harshly hit by the deadly corona virus. Tourism in Uganda was closed for close to 7 months since March 2010 to August 2020 in a bid to prevent the spread of corona virus to endangered wildlife. With effect from December to March 2021, Uganda gorilla permits will cost $400 for foreign non residents, $300 for foreign residents and UGX 100,000 for Ugandans and East African citizens. This is a huge drop from the initial $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents and UGX 250,000 for Uganda’s and East African citizens. Travelers are called upon to grab the chance and use this opportunity especially to trek the endangered mountain gorillas at a very low cost. Mountain gorilla trekking is the best wildlife experience yet one the luxury wildlife practice in the world. More so, travelers to Mount Elgon National park and Toro Semliki Valley national park will be allowed free entrance if they have bought gorilla permits.

The discounted offer further applies to those who want to trek the endangered chimpanzees in Kibale forest National Park. Chimpanzee permit costs have been reduced from $200 to $150 for foreign non residents and from $150 to $100 for foreign residents in Uganda.

Discounted Park entrance fees to Uganda
In addition to discounted gorilla and chimpanzee permits, Uganda Wildlife Authority is also offering 50% discount on entrance fees to Kidepo valley National Park, Murchison falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth national Park, Semliki Valley National park, lake Mburo National park, Pian Upe Game reserve, Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve and Katongo Wildlife reserve. This will help travelers to enjoy game viewing in Uganda’s savannah parks normally done with boat cruise on water bodies within the parks.
Promotional prices in Uganda

Africa Adventure safaris helps you to book and reserve discounted offers in Uganda!

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Covid19 Status Report in East Africa

Covid19 Status Report in East Africa

East Africa is now open for international travels. Yes, even amidst the increased positive cases of covid19, all governments have reopened entry for international travels to revive the tourism industry that was hardly hit by the deadly virus. In the early days of 2020, East Arica and whole whole world was struck by the pandemic which spread all through like a wild fire. All countries rushed to restrict travels by closing land borders and international airports in a bid to contain the spread of the virus across countries. Travelers who had initially postponed trips due to travel restrictions are called upon to rebook and travel again. In addition, those who intent to travel in the near future are advised to book now and secure the trips especially in mountain gorilla trekking where permits are on a high demand. However, before booking any safari to Africa, travelers are advised to first check the covid19 status of a specific country to get ready.

Covid19 status in Uganda

As of 23rd, the status of covid19 in Uganda indicate

Confirmed cases (only Ugandans) 6,712

Active cases 1,173

Cumulative Ugandan recoveries 2,788

Contacts listed 38,328

Samples tested 457,128

Contacts completed follow-up 28,437

Contacts under follow-up 9,891

Under quarantine 3,095

Covid19 status in Kenya

37,218 confirmed cases

24,147 recoveries

659 deaths

Covid19 status in Rwanda

4,722 confirmed cases

2,991 recoveries

27 deaths

Covid19 status in the Democratic Republic of Congo

10,537 confirmed cases

10,041 recoveries

271 Deaths

What are the common signs and symptoms of covid19?

Travelers are also reminded to keep checking for the common signs and symptoms of the deadly virus. These include

  1. Fever
  2. Dry cough
  3. Tiredness
  4. Aches and pains
  5. Sore throat
  6. Diarrhea
  7. Headache
  8. Conjunctivitis
  9. Skin rash
  10. Discoloration of fingers
  11. Difficulty in breathing (Shortness of breath)
  12. Chest pain
  13. Loss of speech or movement

How to prevent the spread of Covid19

Whenever traveling or interacting with different people, please take note of the following ways to stop the spread of covid19. These include:

  • Wash hands regularly with soap and running water
  • Sanitize with alcohol based hand rub
  • Wear a mask when in public
  • Keep a distance (At least 4 meters)
  • Do not touch the eyes, nose and mouth
  • Couch in the elbow
  • If fever, cough and high temperatures, seek medical attention

Guide for trekking gorillas amidst covid19

For those visiting to trek gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, take note of the following guidelines:

  1. Keep a distance of 10 meters away from the gorillas
  2. You must test negative for covid19
  3. Carry your gorilla permit
  4. Do not look direct into the eyes of the gorilla
  5. Don’t trek when sick
  6. Do not touch the gorillas
  7. Do not litter in the park
  8. Spend strictly an hour in the presence of the gorillas
  9. Stay within your group

Keep updated on the status of covid19 in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo to ensure safety on your African safari


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Baby Gorilla Born in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Baby Gorilla Born in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is celebrating the birth of a new bay gorilla in Nyakagyezi gorilla family. The new baby was born on 2nd September 2020 and was discovered by park rangers who were checking on the gorillas that morning. Nshuti, the mother of the new baby gorilla was found holding her little one and they were all very fine. Nshuti is locally translated as peaceful in Kinyarwanda language. Nshuti is one of the adult female gorillas in Nyakagyezi gorilla family very humble and welcoming to all visitors. The new baby gorilla has brought the total number of mountain gorillas in Nyakagyezi gorilla family to eight. Similarly, new baby gorillas have been born in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park, the sister park to Mgahinga Forest. The recent gorilla baby boom is in Buhoma sector north of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Africa Adventure safaris offer tailored Uganda gorilla safaris to Mgahinga Gorilla National park.

Nyakagyezi is the one and only gorilla family in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. In 2019, Mgahinga was temporary visited by Rwanda’s Hirwa gorilla family, which stayed in the park for close to 8 months. Travelers would book Hirwa gorilla permits via Uganda Wildlife Authority but the money collected from the sale of permits was shared between Uganda and Rwanda. Apparently, 8 gorilla permits are issued everyday for those who want to visit Nyakagyezi gorilla family. Booking gorilla permits to Nyakagyezi family can be done directly with Uganda Wildlife Authority in Kisoro district. Alternatively, you can book with Africa Adventure Safaris, the number one travel company in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo as confirmed by excellent Trip advisor reviews.

Guide to trekking Nyakagyezi family amidst Corona Virus

While Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is reopened for tourism, travelers are urged to follow the guidelines to ensure their safety and for the endangered gorillas. The guide to trekking Nyakagyezi gorilla family entails:
• Keep a distance of 10 meters away from the endangered gorillas
• Mandatory hand washing with soap and running water
• Mandatory hand sanitizing
• Travelers must have tested negative for corona virus within 72 hours
• Wear face masks
• No visiting gorillas when having any signs of cough and flu
• Avoid direct eye contact with the endangered gorillas
• Do not use flashlight cameras
• Keep your voices low. Do not shout for the gorillas. It threatens them
• Visitors below 15 years are not allowed to trek gorillas
• Do not touch gorillas
• Do not litter in the park. Leave only the footsteps
Conclusively, the birth of new bay gorillas in Nyakagyezi gorilla family is a blessing for tourism in Mgahinga Gorilla National park and Uganda as a whole. Africa Adventure Safaris is at your service for tailor made Uganda gorilla safaris to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.


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New York Times Lists Uganda among the Top 52 Places to Visit in 2020

New York Times Lists Uganda among the Top 52 Places to Visit in 2020

Uganda made it again to the New York Times’ list of the top 52 places to visit in the year 2020. The pearl of Africa was ranked one of the five African countries which the New York Rimes has recommended as must-visit destinations for every traveler in 2020. While explaining why visit Uganda, New York Times described the Pearl of Africa as the Private Capital, home to the highest population of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas hence the best gorilla safari destination in Africa. Mountain gorillas in Uganda live in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National parks both in southwestern Uganda. Also, Uganda is home to over 1000 bird species some of which cannot be found elsewhere in the world. More so the revival of Uganda Airlines has made connectivity to all tourist attractions in the Pearl o Africa quick and simple. Unlike in the past, travelers can now book direct fights from most African countries to Entebbe International airport without making unnecessary stopovers.

Other Countries That Were Listed by New York Times
Besides Uganda, the Pearl of Africa listed other 51 top countries every traveler must visit in 2020. These include among others:
1. Washington
2. The British Virgin Islands
3. Rurrenabaque, Bolivia
4. Greenland
5. Kimberley Region, Australia
6. Paso Robles, California is widely loved by wine lovers
7. Sicily
8. Salzburg, Austria.
9. Richmond
10. Richmond
11. U Street

How were the top 52 must-visit countries selected
For a period of over 4 months, a team of US travel editors, travel professionals, correspondents and contributors analyses all world countries to choose the best ones. Many things such as unique attractions, sustainability, rich history, stability and accessibility were considered. The question was “WHY THIS PLACE THIS YEAR”

About gorilla trekking in Uganda
Gorilla trekking is undeniably the most done tourist activity in the Pearl of Africa. Over 60% of tourist arrivals to Uganda opt to visit mountain gorillas Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks. Interestingly, short time travelers can also trek gorillas by booking Kigali to Bwindi gorilla trekking within the shortest time possible. Fortunately, Uganda gorilla tours cost $700 per permit, which is affordable compared to $1500 in neighboring Rwanda. Alternatively, you can do a gorilla habituation experience, which allows travelers to spend four hours with the gorillas. A habituation permit costs $1500 but the experience achieved is worth it. Uganda gorilla families include Mubare, Habinyanja, Rusehgura, Nkuringo, Katwe, Oruzongo, Busingye, Bitukura, Nshongi, Mishaya, Bweza and Nyakagyezi among others. Each day, a group of eight people visits one gorilla family for an hour’s interaction hence 144 gorilla permits available every day. For purposes of timely planning and gorilla family allocations, gorilla permit booking is recommended at least 6 months in advance.

Tourism growth in Uganda
Over time, the Pearl of Africa has achieved growth in her tourism industry. National parks have registered an increased number of tourist arrivals coming to do and see different treasures after which Uganda was named the Pearl of Africa. In the year 2018, the high number of tourists in Uganda came from Europe. Increased tourist numbers in Uganda were registered from Europe by +13.8%, Asia +10.2%, America at +9.2% and the Middle East at +9.7%. Also, Uganda registered a 6.1% increase in the number of African travelers in the year 2018. The number of international travelers also increased from 1,402,409 in 2017 to 1,506,669 in 2018.

Check the list of the New York Times’ top 52 countries to visit in 2020, pick the country of your choice, go and explore the world with Africa Adventure Safaris.


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Sport Fishing Safaris in Uganda

Sport Fishing Safaris in Uganda

Sportfishing has currently become common on all Uganda safaris. Unlike in the past when sport fishing was rarely heard of in Uganda, the venture has presently become popular and many upcoming travelers ask to add sport fishing on their itineraries. Whereas most safaris to Uganda comprise of gorilla trekking, chimpanzee tours, bird watching, mountaineering and game viewing, sport fishing is yet another exceptional activity that makes your Uganda tour a lifetime experience. Take part in catching the Nile perch, which can weigh u to 100 kilograms, fish along with locals who sing and dance calling the fish to come nearer and have fun. Sportfishing in Uganda is one form of water-based tourism in the pearl of Africa. The activity is done on the rivers and lakes in different parts of the country. Altogether, Uganda is believed to shelter over 360 fish species, which include Nile perch, Tilapia, Catfish, Tigerfish, Ferocious fighter, Lunch fish, and barbell fish among others. Africa adventure safaris bring you the list of top sport fishing in Uganda to ensure you get the very best sportfishing experience in the Pearl of Africa. The top sportfishing destinations in Uganda include:

Lake Victoria
Uganda Fishing Safaris If you want to catch the world’s largest Nile perch, lake Victoria is the best spot for you. Both half and full-day sport fishing excursions are done on Lake Victoria to give travelers the very best sportfishing experience. Sportfishing on lake victoria is done on speed boats of between 18 and 30 feet with twin outboard engines. Travelers going for sport fishing on lake victoria are reminded to carry sunglasses, hats, rain jackets and creams to deal with all weather conditions on the lake. Sportfishing on Lake Victoria costs roughly $125 but the magical feeling is worth the penny. The period between October to March is considered the best time for sport fishing on Lake Victoria.

Bottom of Murchison Falls – Murchison Falls National Park
The bottom of the mighty Murchison falls is yet another sport fishing destination in Uganda. Avid anglers to the bottom of the falls have chances of catching the Nile perch, catfish, Tilapia, Catfish and tiger fish among others. The known points for spot fishing at the bottom of Murchison fall are, near the crocodile pool for the Nile perch and near Nyamusika cliffs for the catfish. Sportfishing at the bottom of Murchison falls is best done in the months of January to March and July to October. The sportfishing permit at the bottom of Murchison falls costs $50 for 1 day and $150 for 4 days. Remember to carry sunglasses, a hat, screen lotion, and insect repellent when going for sport fishing in Murchison Falls National Park.

Lake Mburo – Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo situated within Lake Mburo National park is known to shelter over 6 fish species with tilapia being the commonly caught fish species. Mazinga is the best spot for sport fishing on Lake Mburo and hence the target for all anglers to this small lake. Sportfishing in Lake Mburo complements other tourist activities in the park such as boat cruising, game viewing, bird watching, nature walks milking experience and horseback riding among others. A combination of these makes a complete Uganda safari package to Lake Mburo National Park.

Sipi Falls –Mt Elgon National Park

The three- Sipi waterfalls are also another sport fishing destination in the Pearl of Africa. Sportfishing at Sipi falls takes place at the top of the falls where the angling method with multiple hooks is used to catch numerous fish. Sipi falls are located within Mt Elgon National park and a must-visit on your Uganda safari to eastern Uganda.

Sportfishing Equipment
Various equipments are required to ease sport fishing in all destinations in Uganda. Among the sportfishing equipments every angler must-have for this venture include:
• Line cutter
• Fishing bait
• Fishing Hooks
• Sinkers
• Extra Line
• Fishing floats & stoppers
• Needle Nose pliers
• Bobbers
• Fishing Ledgers
• Sun Screen
• First aid kit
• A couple of lures
• Fishing rods
• Fishing reels

Tips for sport Fishing in Uganda
Africa Adventure Safaris brings you tips for sport fishing in Uganda and Africa as a whole. These include:
1. Always go along with an expert
2. Secure the right boat
3. Have the right equipment’s
4. Avoid seasickness
in general, sport fishing is an exceptional experience you should not miss out in Uganda. Contact Africa Adventure Safaris today, book your sport fishing safari to Lake Victoria, the bottom of Murchison Falls, Lake Mburo and Sipi falls, catch the live Nile perch and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.


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UWA Gives UGX 4.189 Billions to Communities Around Murchison Falls Park

UWA Gives UGX 4.189 Billions to Communities Around Murchison Falls Park

As an initiative to support and appreciate local communities adjacent to National Parks, Uganda Wildlife Authority recently handed over UGX 4,189,834,069 to local communities surrounding Murchison Falls National park. The money was handed over by Professor Ephraim Kamuntu, the minister of tourism, wildlife antiquities at Bulisa district headquarters. This money will be shared between Pakwach, Kiryandongo, Nwoya, Oyam, Bulisa and Masindi districts, which surround Murchison Falls National Park. The money was shared under the revenue sharing scheme that allocates 20% of total tourism revenue aimed at promoting the local livelihood of local people and promotes a positive local attitude, which enhances tourism development and progress. In his speech, Minister Kamuntu thanked locale people who have worked hand in hand with the Uganda Wildlife Authority to promote wildlife conservation in National parks and protected areas all over Uganda. In April 2019, UWA did the same by giving out UGX 4billions to local communities around Mgahinga and Bwindi Forest National parks, homes to the endangered mountain gorillas. Revenue sharing has improved relationships between local people with the Uganda Wildlife Authority team, which has helped to solve human-wildlife conflicts. Among the people who attended this meeting was Residents District Commissioners of the six districts, technical officers, local councils chairpersons, and Chief Administrative officers among others.

Revenue shared is collected from park entrance fees to savannah parks, activities such as launch cruise and game viewing, sell of chimpanzee permits for the chimpanzees and gorilla permits in Mgahinga Gorilla and Bwindi Forest National Park. This money is used to support local projects such as building schools, health centers, water tanks and houses for those relocated to new places for wildlife conservation. Also, local leaders were urged to make sure money is equally distributed for the best of local people and the improvement of local livelihood. On the other hand, local people were asked to support wildlife conservation and help the government to fight against all illegal practices especially poaching and encroachment in National parks.

Benefits of the tourism sector
With no doubt, tourism is currently a major source of revenue for the government of Uganda. Over 50% of Uganda’s foreign exchange earning is from tourism, which has improved the country’s gross domestic product. More so, several employment opportunities such as waiters, waitress, park rangers, local guides, housekeepers, lodge/hotel managers and porters among others have been created for local people. This earns them a living hence improving their standards of living.

About Murchison Falls National park

Murchison Falls

Located in Northwestern Uganda, Murchison Falls is Uganda’s oldest and largest national park spreading over 3,892 square kilometers of land and was established in 1952 a must-visit of all Uganda Safaris. The park comprises of Karuma wildlife reserve, Bugungu wildlife reserve, and Budongo forest. The mighty Murchison falls in the heart of the park is the highlight of Uganda safaris to Northwestern Uganda. Also, Murchison falls national park has a high concentration of wild animals such as African buffalos, giraffes, elephants, lions, waterbucks, warthogs, Elands, Topis, Uganda Kobs, Impalas, chimpanzees, Patas monkeys, olive baboons, and Jackson’s heartbeats among others.

Tourist activities in Murchison Falls National Park
Travelers to Murchison falls national park have an endless list of things to see and do. These include among others:
• Game viewing/ Game driving
• Hike to the top of Murchison Falls
• Launch Cruise to the bottom of the falls
• Bird watching
• Nature walk
• Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo Forest

How to get to Murchison falls National park
Murchison Falls Park can be acceded by road or air transport depending on the client’s budget and available time. The distance from Kampala to Murchison Falls National park is roughly 6 hours drive through Masindi. At times, Travelers stop at Zziwa Rhino sanctuary to make their safari a complete package.

Where to sleep in Murchison Falls National park

Where to sleep in Murchison Falls Park

Chobe Safari Lodge

Wondering where to sleep in Murchison Falls National park? No worries, a variety of lodges and hotels have been built to serve you with first-class food and sleeping services ensuring your comfortable stay in Murchison Falls National Park. The top lodges/safari camps in Murchison Falls National park include Paara Safari Lodge, Sambiya River Lodge, Murchison River Lodge, Pakuba Safari Lodge, Amuka Safari Lodge, Baker’s Lodge, Chobe Safari Lodge and Bwana Tembo Safari Camp among others.

About the power dam project in Murchison falls
Uganda tour operators and visitors have been are still mad at the plans of the government to contract a hydropower dam at Murchison falls. However, Minister Kamuntu comforted people that an environmental impact assessment is being conducted to find out whether dam construction will not affect the waterfalls. Murchison falls will, therefore, stay conserved as the iconic tourist attraction in Murchison Falls National Park and Uganda as a whole.

In general, the sharing of tourism revenue with local communities adjacent to Murchison Falls National park is a good and positive move. Contact Africa Adventure Safaris, book a Uganda safari to Murchison Falls and explore the true African wilderness.


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Tourist Attractions In Western Uganda

Tourist Attractions In Western Uganda

It’s definite that western Uganda outcompetes other regions when it comes to remarkable tourist attractions and activities that offer memorable experiences. It’s evident that over 80% of tourists to Uganda opt for western region to explore the hidden gem. Therefore, any Uganda safari booking without visiting the western region is incomplete and missing. A combination of undulating plains, Great Rift Valley, lakes, rivers, beautiful landscape and a variety of birds, primates and other wild animals offer you a lifetime experience. Western Uganda comprises of six districts, which include Fort portal, Kiruhura, Mbarara, Kasese, and Rubirizi. Top tourist attractions in western Uganda include:

Queen Elizabeth National park
Located along with Fort portal Mpondwe road in Rubirizi district, Queen Elizabeth national park is Uganda’s second-largest national park spreading over 1,978 square kilometers of land. The park is also one of the most visited parks in Uganda known for its high concentration of wild animals. The main activities within Queen Elizabeth National park include game viewing, lion tracking in kasenyi plains, katwe salt mines, Munyanyange crater lake,

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Flamingoes at Lake Munyanyange

nature walks and the famous launch cruise at kazinga channel. Game drive in the park offers you great chance to see numerous animals such as elephants, lion, leopards, waterbucks, warthogs, elands, Uganda kobs, buffalos, Topis, L’Hoest gazelles, hippos, ground, and tree-climbing lions among others. Also, the shores of Kazinga channel shelters numerous birds which include white egrets, saddle billed stork, Africa fish eagle, African kingfisher, Long tailed Cormorants, white winded, swamp nightjar, African morning dove, Little bee eater, and Knob billed ducks among others. Also, trek chimpanzees in Kyambura gorge in the eastern corner of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Accommodation /Lodges in Queen Elizabeth National Park
• Mweya Safari Lodge
• Kasenyi Safari camp
• Katara Lodge
• Engazi Game Lodge
• Park View Lodge
• Kyambura game lodge
• Queen Elizabeth Game lodge
• Pumba safari lodge
• Ihamba lakes Safari Lodge
• Buffalo safari lodge

Kibale Forest National park
Kibale forest is a stretch of lowland and montane forest located in Kabalore district western Uganda. The moist rain forest is home to chimpanzees and other 12 primates including black and white monkeys, L’Hoest Monkeys, Colobus Monkeys, Red tailed Monkeys and blue monkeys among others. The rain forest is therefore, the best place for Uganda primate safaris. Besides primates, Kibale forest shelters numerous terrestrial mammals which include duikers, bush pigs, forest elephants, Giant forest hogs, Bushbucks, African buffalos, and warthogs among others. For birders, Kibale forest shelters over 325 bird species which include black-eared ground thrush, yellow potted nictaor, African Pitta, Blue-breasted kingfisher, African grey parrot, Collared Apalis, Little greenbul, Pigeon, red chested Owlet, Afep Pieon, and little green bull among others. Nature walk within the forest and to Bigodi wetland sanctuary offers you a fresh feeling of the natural environment. Also, spare time to visit Amabare Ganyina Mwiru in fortporal and learn about the historical attachments of these stalagmites and stalactites to the Banyonyoro.
Accommodation/lodges in Kibale Forest National Park
• Primates Lodge
• Crater Safar Lodge
• Rweteera Safari Park
• Ndali Lodge
• Isunga Lodge
• Chimpanzee forest camp
• Kyaninga Lodge

Lake Mburo National Park
Explore Lake Mburo National park located in Kiruhura district, a few kilometers from Mbarara city. A drive to LMburo Park gives you scenic views of the Ankle flat farms with long-horned cows. The park was originally a hunting area, which was transformed into a national park in 1963. Top tourist activities in Lake Mburo national park include a boat cruise, game safaris, night game drives, bird watching, nature walks, Rubanga forest, salt lick, Fishing, milking experience, cycling safaris and horse riding among others. The park has a variety of lodging accommodations, which offer luxury, mid-range and budget food and sleeping services at affordable rates.
Lodges in L Mburo national park include:
• Mihingo Safari Lodge,
• Mburo Safari Lodge,
• Mantana Tented camp
• Arcadia Lodge
• Mpogo Safari lodge
• Rwakobo rock resort
• Rwonyo rest camp

Bwindi Forest National Park
We could not miss out mentioning Bwindi forest national park in southwestern Uganda. Sheltering the highest population of endangered mountain gorillas, Bwindi forest is a must-visit destination in Uganda. Gorilla trekking is undeniably the most done tourist attraction in Uganda, which attract a high number of travelers to Uganda from all parts of the world. Fortunately, Bwindi forest is strategically located in easy connection from Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo & Kibale forest national parks. A gorilla trek in Bwindi can, therefore, be combined by other activities in other western Uganda parks.
Lastly, western Uganda is naturally endowed with exceptional tourist attractions worth visiting. A Uganda safari to kibale forest, Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo, and Bwindi forest national parks offers you a remarkable experience.

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UWA To Fight The Construction Of A Power Dam At Murchison Falls By ERA

UWA To Fight The Construction Of A Power Dam At Murchison Falls By ERA

You must have heard about the proposal to construct a hydropower plant at Murchison falls. The proposal was submitted to the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) on 7th June 2019 by Bonang power project dam at Murchison falls. However, the proposal was bitterly rejected by conservationists, tour operators, nature lovers and the entire tourism fraternity in Uganda. Within 2 weeks after the announcement, over 3000 people have signed the petition against the construction of a hydropower plant at Murchison falls national park. If you haven’t yet, join the petition to save Murchison falls at the verge of destruction. The proposed dam is to be constructed on top of the mighty Murchison falls about 65 kilometers west of the recently constructed 600 MW Karuma Hydropower dam which will be officially commissioned in 2020. The Construction of a dam at Murchison falls was termed as “unthinkable” by Uganda Wildlife Authority and vowed to fight the project. Similarly, part of Bugoma forest home to over 500 chimpanzees is to be destroyed for sugar cane plantation. Situated in the hearty of Murchison falls national park, Murchison falls is one of the natural wonders after Which Uganda was called the “Pearl of Africa”. The falls is undeniably one of the top tourist attractions in the country, a must visit by most travelers on Uganda safari.

Who are the petitioners?
Many people have reacted in resistance to the construction of the power project at Murchison falls. The top petitioners in this are the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA
0, a government body responsible for tourism and wildlife conservation in Uganda together with Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) responsible for tourism product development and marketing in Uganda and lastly the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) which joins together all travel and tour operators in Uganda. These bodies have initiated the campaign (“SAVE MURCHISON FALL”) via social media networks mainly facebook, twitter, watsup, and emails urging lovers of Murchison fall to petition against the hydropower project proposal. Interestingly, the campaign has been welcomed and joined by several people counting to over 25,000 by now.

Why opposed to dam construction
The construction of the Murchison falls dam will definitely shut tourism to the mighty falls. This will limit the number of tourist arrivals to Murchison falls national park since the falls are a major attraction in the park. Also, the construction of a power dam is against the efforts to promote tourism in Uganda. The petition was initiated by Amos Murungi an environmentalist and welcomed by many nature lovers who willingly signed the petition via social media especially watsup, Facebook, Twitter, and email. Murchison falls is one of the target areas where Bonang Power Limited plans to construct hydropower dams. Other areas in Question include Ayago, Uhuru, and Kiba. The construction of a power dam at Murchison Falls will generate 2,550 MW of electricity creating reliable supply to the country and enhancing economic development. Murchison falls is one of the major tourist attractions in Uganda, which attract thousands of travelers to the park. A boat cruise to the bottom of the falls is a must do, a hike to the top of the falls offers visitors spectacular views of the falls and the park while the delta area which forms part of Murchison fails is the best sport for lots of birds and water animals such as hippos, crocodiles, and hippos among others.

About Bonang Power Project
Bonang is a power company that was established in 2014 by tycoon Ernst Moloi with its headquarters in Norway. Some people say that the project has other offices in South Africa but we are not certain. Since its establishment, Bonang has successfully built 2 power dams and the one at Murchison falls will be the 3rd.

About Murchison falls national park
Spreading over 3,893 square kilometers, Murchison falls national park is Uganda’s biggest park located in northwestern Uganda on the shores of Lake Albert. The park was established in 1952 hence Uganda’s oldest national park comprised of Bugungu and Karuma falls and wildlife reserve. The park is named after the mighty Murchison falls in which Nile River squeezes through a 7-meter gorge to fall for 43 meters with a thunderous roar to form the Nile Delta with a permanent rainbow. The vegetation in Murchison falls National Park comprises of main savannahs while woodland and riverine forests cover other areas. These serve as food and habitats for various birds and wild animals. The park is known to have a high concentration of wildlife which includes over 76 mammal species and over 451 birds hence one of the notable birding spots in Uganda. Popular tourist activities in Murchison falls national park include:
• Game Viewing
• Sport fishing
• Hike to the top of Murchison falls
• Bird watching
• Forest walks
• Boat Cruise to the bottom of the falls
In conclusion, the construction of a hydropower project will kill tourism in Murchison falls national park. Join the petition today and save Uganda’s mighty falls for sustainable tourism.

Posted by admin in Blog, Uganda
Uganda Airlines Behind the Schedule for its First Commercial Flight

Uganda Airlines Behind the Schedule for its First Commercial Flight

Uganda airline may not operate its first commercial flight as was scheduled earlier. The national airline was planned to reach the skies in July 2019 but this may not work out due to unfinished tasks. Till now, Uganda Airline has not received its air operator’s certificate (AOC), which permits it to run commercial air transport operations. The certificate is to be issued by the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority once the national carrier meets all standards. The national carrier has so far finished two first phases and is working on accomplishing the third and fourth phases before July 2019. Other requirements include the perfect personnel and other necessary requisites to put a house in order. Uganda airline was revived in April 2019 when it received its first set of 2 Bombardier CRJ planes after several years of non-operating. This gave hope for the revived operations of the country’s national carrier.

What is AOC?
The Air Operators Certificate is an authorization given to an aircraft to operate commercial businesses. The AOC tell details about the aircraft such as airports it flies to and out, the purpose for operating, aircraft type, registration number and the geographic area where the aircraft will cover. Uganda Civil Aviation Authority will permit Uganda airlines to operate when all phases are complete.

What is required to get an Air Operator’s Certificate?
Besides, completing the four phases, an aircraft is required to have some other basics before it’s allowed to the operator for commercial reasons. Among the requirements are personnel (qualified workers), physical assets and a strong system that guarantee the safety of employees and the general public. Without these, an aircraft cannot be given a certificate to operate. Also, the airline is required to acquire a human resource, technical control team, supplier contract negotiations for Operational services, catering and fuel services before it’s allowed to fly into the skies. Uganda airlines is also expected to get a brand for its self, uniform design and also set up permanent commercial offices. More still, the national carrier is required to have a distribution network for all members of the airline association, reservations/ bookings systems, online methods and payment gateways among others. Fortunately, Uganda radio network (URN) confirmed that all requirements are almost done which gives hope for near future operations.

Way forward
The management of Uganda airline has not given up yet on meeting the deadline. For the few remaining days, the ministry is focused on tackling basic requirements. These include hiring a number of service providers to make bookings and handle cargo in Uganda and different travelers destinations. Uganda airlines are currently renting offices but will soon set up permanent offices in Kampala and Entebbe. Marketing strategies such as consigning with travel agents to sell tickets are yet to be complete. Regarding air space rights, Uganda has so far signed bilateral air service agreements with Canada, Israel, and Switzerland. This is a good move so far. The country is still negotiating for air space rights with Oman, Spain, and Qatar, which will be complete soon.

Who are the new board of directors for Uganda airlines?
Just like any business, Uganda airlines have a board of directors running all the operations. These include Ahabwe Perez the minister of State for local government, Benon Kajuna, Godfrey Ssemugooma, Catherine Aside, Rehema Mutazindwa, Charles Hamya, and Aziku Zua. These people are tasked to ensure smooth airline operations and make sure the airline is self-sustainable. The ministry of works and permanent secretary encouraged the board of directors to be efficient without giving any room for incompetence. The board is also tasked to ensure consistent value and quality services avoiding all mistakes that led to the collapse of Uganda airline.

Generally, the revival of Uganda airlines is an achievement for Uganda tourism and travel. The yet to start flights will obviously promote tourism and ease movements to and from the pearl of Africa. Fly with Uganda airlines; get the best services at affordable rates not compromising the value.

Posted by admin in Blog, Uganda
Dark Tourism in Uganda

Dark Tourism in Uganda

Dark tourism refers to trips to sites of the episode of human violence. It is a visit to the sites of murder and places of past horror. For example Visits to the furnaces of Auschwitz, the killing fields of Cambodia, the area surrounding Chernobyl, National September 11th Memorial & Museum and the visit to the Genocide Memorial in Rwanda.

The term Dark Tourism was first used by British scholars John Lennon and Malcolm Foley, when they wrote their book titled ‘Dark Tourism: The Attraction of Death and Disaster’, that was later published in 2000. After a dozen of years, the University of Central Lancashire, located in Northern England, launched the Institute for Dark Tourism Research, a first academic center -of-its-kind headed by Philip Stone, who has a doctorate in Thanatology (the study of death) and previously worked in the tourism industry. Stone describes Dark tourism as commercialization of death.

During July 1861, several sightseers could pack picnic baskets before heading out to witness one of the earlier battles of the American Civil War. What sets Dark Tourism apart as something new, however, is the tourism industry’s packaging and marketing of such places.

Last year on Halloween, The Guardian published an article exploring the growing trend of people visiting murder sites and places of past horror where they mentioned a new tour to the home of 1980s’ California serial killer, Dorothea Puente, who buried her victims in her yard, both front and back.

Of recent, Dark tourism is on a steady rise as nations are going ahead to gazette dark tourism sites to tap the growing influx of travelers across the globe. There are now established locations near the Syrian-Israeli border where visitors gather to glimpse a piece of the action, the killings, and clashes between the two conflicting sides.

Some people have wondered whether dark tourism is really necessary since it may portray a negative image to the community. Could it be that people are making money from the death and suffering of others? which image would it give to the survivors or those who lost their loved ones?.

Such questions need to be addressed such that the community well understands its impact and intention. Dark tourism, like any other tourism product, definitely earns revenue for a country but also helps in benefiting those who are still faced will the effects of the past horror through direct employment as guides as well as revenue sharing from the government. Dark tourism also helps in educating and reminding the people about the past incidences of human torture such that people can guard against similar actions from happening again after understanding their real effect. People may not understand the magnitude and the impact of certain incidences if they are not shown the real effects of that incidence.

Uganda has a number of sites of past human horror which have not been given enough attention. The Luwero triangle massacres of the early 1980s caused by the conflict between Obote’s regime and the NRA rebels, where the government soldiers are alleged to have employed the scorched earth policy and burnt down villages in search for the rebels, is one of the unforgettable sites where thousands were sent to their graves. The skulls were collected and lined along the road for commemoration and this can be well marketed for dark tourism.

The Kibweetere slaughter in Kanungu where a self proclaimed prophet, Joseph Kibweetere locked his followers in a church and sent them a blaze in 2000, is an ideal site for development and marketing as a remarkable dark tourism site. Several sites of human violence in the Northern and Eastern parts of the country emanating from the long conflict between the government and the LRA rebels have been given less attention but could be great dark tourism sites helping the survivors to recover from the tragedies if they are promoted for tourism.

Posted by admin in Blog
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park named among world’s best hiking trails

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park named among world’s best hiking trails

CNN Travel has named Uganda’s mountain gorilla home of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as one of the best hiking trails in the world. Bwindi was placed in number 15 out of the 23 ranked hiking trails.

“Wildlife walks don’t come more fascinating than a trip to Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, where you can get up close and personal with the area’s mountain gorilla population”, read part of the document from CNN Travel about Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Why Bwindi ranks high?

Bwindi impenetrable national park is located in Southwest Uganda and it is home to more than half of the global population of mountain gorillas. Currently, the estimates show that there are about 1000 mountain gorillas in the world and about 600 of them are found in Bwindi. The remaining population of mountain gorillas are found in the 3 national parks within the Virunga Mountains, that is, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in DR Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.

The park is commonly known for breathtaking gorilla safaris and gorilla tours that are arranged for travelers to trek mountain gorillas throughout the year. The rugged and steep terrain of Bwindi coupled with its dense vegetation makes the park one of the most adventurous in the region for hikers.

What to see & do in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Gorilla trekking is the main safari activity in Bwindi. 99 percent of Bwindi visitors come for gorilla trekking though there are other complimentary tour activities like birding in the park. with more than 15 habituated gorilla families available for visitors to track in Bwindi, there are almost 100 percent chances for visitors to meet and interact with their allocated gorilla family/group.

How to go get to Bwindi for a gorilla safari?

Safaris to Bwindi to trek mountain gorillas are usually organized through reliable local tour agents like Gorilla Trek Africa and Africa Adventure Safaris. They will help you to book your gorilla permit which is always done in advance due to limited availability of the permit on the market. Once your permit has been booked, the agent will also help you to book your accommodation and arrange your transport to ensure that you have a successful trip that will last in your memory for a lifetime. They will also brief you on what to pack for your gorilla safari.

How gorillas safaris are organized in Bwindi

Trekking mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable national park is subject to securing a gorilla permit. A gorilla permit to track gorillas in Bwindi is currently sold at $600 per person. Once the permit has been secured, trekkers gather at park headquarters for briefing early morning on the day of trekking. Trekkers are briefed about the dos and don’ts of gorilla tracking and then grouped into groups of 8 trekkers per group. Each group is allocated to track a single gorilla family for a maximum of an hour.

The trek to reach the gorillas in Bwindi can last for 2-6 hours depending on how close or far you find your allocated gorilla group. Trekkers are also assigned a guide who helps them to find the gorillas and also keep reminding them about the dos and the don’ts in the process of trekking.

Once the gorillas are reached, the experience with them is unexplainable, some trekkers even become emotional and shade tears of joy and sympathy as they fall in love with these awesome and great apes. You are allowed to take photos of gorillas as they play, eat and move around though flash cameras are discouraged as well as noise and careless movements. At the lapse of the allowed hour in the presence of gorillas, the guide will tap you that it’s time to go back but experience gathered from being close to the gorillas is a lifetime one.

When to go to Bwindi?

There are both a peak season and a low season in gorilla tracking. The peak season happens between June and September and December to January and that is the best time to trek the mountain gorillas in the jungles of Bwindi. This is a dry season and the hikes are less difficulty compared to the rainy season though it can always anytime in Bwindi.

What else to see in Bwindi?

Although Bwindi may be more known for gorilla safaris, there are several other wildlife species in the park that visitors can see including large mammals like elephants, primates like monkeys and baboons. There are over 23 bird species in Bwindi including Albertine Rift endemics. There are also guided forest walks through the dense rainforest of Bwindi that introduce you to other natural treasures of this magnificent wild.

Posted by admin in Blog, News
Horseback Riding in Uganda

Horseback Riding in Uganda

It’s obvious that trekking mountain gorillas, visiting chimpanzees, bird watching and cultural encounters are the most done wildlife experiences in Uganda. However, the pearl of Africa is much more than that. Horse riding is yet another off beaten way to explore and enjoy the beauty of Uganda. It’s a magical experience, which most travelers have often missed on their Uganda safari. Horse riding is a way of refreshment and is normally done as a complement to other tourism activities in Uganda. Enjoy the unique rides through local villages, tea plantations, valleys, hills, and national parks. Horse riding can be by one traveler or a group of travelers ride at the same speed. First-time riders are taught how to move the horse hence no need for experience. Alternatively, travelers with experience in horse riding can ride together at high speed with plenty of cantering. Interestingly, horses are trained and hence know what to do and when. A simple briefing will help you horse ride with no difficulty.

What is the riding time?

The stretch of riding time is a traveler’s choice depending on his/her time and budget. Riding can be for a short time as 30 minutes to three hours depending on the client. The starting time is 10 am for the morning shift and 2 pm for the afternoon shift. The reason for morning and evening rides is to help travelers enjoy the magical sun down and sunsets respectively.

Where to do horse riding in Uganda

Are you wondering where you can go for horse riding in Uganda? No worries, we bring to places where you can go for horse riding in Uganda. These include among others:

Lake Mburo national park
Horseback riding is the best way to explore and enjoy the beauty and wildlife of Lake Mburo national park. Run by Mihingo lodge, horse riding is one of the exceptional experiences every traveler should miss on his/her Uganda safari to Lake Mburo national park. Here travelers ride through the savannah vegetation of Lake Mburo to explore different spots within the park such as lake Mburo, rivers and swamps and local communities. Riding is for four-five hours rewarding travelers with spectacular views of different wildlife grazing, hunting, and browsing in the park. 6 people are allowed on each trip, which is an opportunity for group travelers to enjoy together. While on your horse riding through lake Mburo expect to see a variety of wild animals, which include zebras. Impalas, common eland, oribis, African buffalo, leopards, waterbucks, warthogs, bush pigs, reedbucks, giraffes, Uganda kobs, jackals, and hippos among others. For birders, expect to see African finfoot, Mosque swallow, Tabora Cisticola, Great painted snipe, Abyssinian ground hornbill, yellow-winged swamp warbler, yellow-rumped tinker bird, papyrus gonolek and shoebill among others.

Source of the Nile
Enjoy exceptional Nile horse riding safaris at affordable rates. Travelers to Jinja have a chance to ride across and to the source of River Nile the longest river in the world. Source of the Nile horse riding starts from the Nile source through local communities and local tea farms for an exceptional experience. In other words, horse riding is one to explore the banks of river Nile, jinja and hills overlooking the Nile river valley.

The cost of horse riding
The cost for horse riding at the source of the Nile is $40 for one hour, $50 for one and a half hours, $60 for an hour and half sunset safari, $60 for 2 hours riding safari and $80 for a three hours ride. The experience and enjoyment are worth the penny.

Tips for horse riding

Travelers going or horse riding safaris are advised to consider the following tips seriously:
• Properly wear the horse riding gear
• Be gentle and free with the reins
• Mount the horse with confidence
• Sit upright and relaxed. Do not sprawl
• Do not hold the saddle horn
• Keep your eyes where you are going
• Take full control of the horse

In general. Horse riding is one of the magical experiences that last for a lifetime. Book a horse riding safari to Uganda, enjoy this exceptional venture at affordable rates with Africa Adventure Safaris your number one travel agent in Uganda and Rwanda.

Posted by admin in Blog, safaris, Uganda
Boat Cruising/Launch Trips In Uganda

Boat Cruising/Launch Trips In Uganda

Do you want to enjoy Uganda beyond seeing mountain gorillas? Boat cruising is yet another exceptional way to relish the splendors of Uganda. In addition to numerous wildlife, the Pearl of Africa is naturally blessed with freshwater lakes and rivers that make your boat cruising dream come true. It’s a magical feeling sailing on top of the calm freshwaters with spectacular views of the surroundings. Also, known as launch trips, boat cruising is normally done as a relief after tiring experiences such as gorilla trekking, mountain climbing, and chimpanzee tours to give travelers a fresh feeling before they return to their homes of origin. To make your Uganda safari complete, we combine our boat trips with other wildlife experiences such as game viewing, gorilla watching, cultural visits, mountain climbing and bird watching among others. The top spots to do boat cruising in Uganda include:

Kazinga channel
Situated in the heart of Queen Elizabeth national park, kazinga channel offers you a memorable boat cruising experience. This 8 meters longs and 40 meters deep channel connects Lake Edward and George in the western rift valley. A boat at cruise at kazinga channel starts at Lake George and ends at lake Edward, making it so interesting. Enjoy the fresh feeling of the water airs plus great views of numerous wildlife such as hippos, crocodiles, elephants, buffalos, and monitoring lizard among others. Besides wildlife, a boat cruise at kazinga is best for birders. Expect to see a variety of bird species such as African kingfisher, Squacco Heron, Long-tailed Cormorants, wattled plovers, yellow-backed weavers, fish eagle, water-thick-knew, Knob-billed ducks, African jacana, white-winged terns, Papyrus Gonolek, squacco heron, malachite, thin-tailed nightjars, black bee-eater, and black ramped buttonquail among others. Also, you will view the nearby fishing villages making your experience memorable indeed. Launch cruises are done two times a day in the morning at 9:00 am and in the afternoon at 2:00 pm lasting for thrVictoria.

Lake Victoria
The largest freshwater body in Africa offers you the best luxury boat cruise trips in Uganda. A boat ride to any of the island on lake victoria mainly Ssese island for the honeymoon, Ngamba Island for chimpanzees and Kalangala Island among others is worth doing. Enjoy sailing on the calm clear waters of lake victoria with clear views of various fishing villages and human activities. Fortunately, speed and engine boat have been introduced on lake Victoria to ease your cruising experience memorable.

Source of the Nile
Imagine cruising right at the source of the longest river in the world. Wow, a boat ride to the source of the Nile is an exceptional feeling that last for a lifetime. Posing your boat at the point where river Nile starts flowing is a magical experience, which thousands of travelers have over time come again and again to experience. Expect to see some birds and animals on the river shores, which make you experience much amazing.

Murchison falls
Cruise to the bottom of the mighty Murchison falls in the heart of Murchison falls national park, Uganda’s largest and oldest national park. Also known as a delta Nile cruise a boat ride to the bottom of Murchison falls make your Uganda safari to Murchison falls an experience to remember. See for yourself how water strongly squeezes through that narrow gorge before pouring down into the devils ‘cauldron forming a rainbow. Also, look out for crocodile, hippos, buffalos, and waterbucks, which are spotted on the riverbanks. For birders, expect to see birds like African Darter, Goliath Heron, secretary bird, black-headed plover, osprey, white-faced whistling duck, veracious dove, rock pratincole, yellow-billed stork, pied kingfisher, long-tailed nightjar, long-toed plover, Malachite Kingfisher, Blue-napped Moosebird, Black-billed Barbet, Abyssinia ground hornbill, piapiac, yellow-fronted tinker bird and White-rumped seedeater among others. Like at kazinga channel, boat trip at Murchison falls are done two times at 9:00 am and 2:00 pm daily lasting for three hours.

Lake Bunyonyi
Found in the extreme end of southwestern Uganda, Lake Bunyonyi is exceptional in its own kind. The small lake (Lake Bunyonyi) is the second deepest lake in Africa after lake Tanganyika and comprise of 29 islands. A boat ride to any of the islands on Lake Bunyonyi is a life-changing experience. Cruise to the punishment island where pregnant unmarried Bakiga girls, would be left to die in isolation and to the Akacuraniko Island believed to have turned upside down. Interestingly, each island on Lake Bunyonyi has a different story that is worth listening. More still, the swampy shores of Lake Bunyonyi house many little birds like the levillant cuckoo, Herons, African Harrier Hawk, the levillant, slender-billed ball fetch, cardinal woodpecker, Herons and African harrier hawk among others.

Tip for boat cruising in Uganda
Travelers intending to do boat cruise in Uganda are reminded to be extra careful and responsible. While on a boat cruise;
• Avoid hanging over the side railings of the boat
• Wear life jackets and keep them on fit to prevent drowning in case of any tragedy
• Avoid boozing and smoking on the boat
• Ensure the boat is balanced both sides, in front and back
• Properly check the boat before the start of the cruise to make sure it’s in a safe state
With a variety of water bodies, the pearl of Africa is undeniably the best place for boat cruising and launch trips. Book a boat trip to the source of the Nile, kazinga channel, Bottom of Murchison falls, lake Victoria and on Lake Bunyonyi for a magical experience.

Posted by admin in Blog, News, Uganda
Tracking Mountain Gorillas in Uganda

Tracking Mountain Gorillas in Uganda

A Uganda gorilla safari leads you to Bwindi Forest National Park in Southwest of the country, a home to more than half of the global population of the endangered mountain gorillas.

Tracking mountain gorillas is the main tourist activity in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BIMP). Gorilla tracking was first established in the park in 1993 at park headquarters at Buhoma, however, today there are several trailheads which host separate gorilla safaris in the park. These include Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga.

Today there are 15 habituated gorilla families that can be tracked in Bwindi, an experience described by many past trackers as the best wildlife encounter in the world. Gorilla safaris are one of the major wildlife highlights of African travel.

No one can fully describe the exhilaration attached to the experience of first setting eyes straight into those of a mountain gorilla. Gorillas are awesome, bulky up to three times of the average man though the shaggily luxuriant coat also adds to their size. Surprisingly gorillas are remarkably peaceful despite their fearsome look.

In fact, tracking mountain gorillas would be considered such a dangerous activity had they possessed the aggressive temperament of the little vervet monkey, baboon or even a human being.

The hard bought gorilla permit ($600 each) allows you to spend one magical hour with the gorillas that can never be erased from your memory. There are two categories of gorilla permits sold at Bwindi. One is the gorilla tracking permit sold at $600 per person that allows you to track gorillas for one hour. The second category is of gorilla habituation permit that is a bit pricy at $1,500 but more rewarding than the former. With the habituation permit, you are taken to take part in the habituation process of a gorillas, a process that is aimed at making gorillas used to people and it lasts for four hours each day.
Note that the above fees include park entry and guiding but not a porter in case you use one.

There are several accommodation facilities around the park to compliment your gorilla safari in Bwindi. The lodges around the park range from budget to luxury, tented camps are also available. All the four sectors where tracking is done have got accommodation around them, it is your choice to pick the category that suits your budget.

Planning your gorilla tracking safari as an independent traveler can be a bit challenging, you don’t need to go through all that hustle. There are several credible tour operators that can help organize for you a memorable gorilla safari this trip for you so that just wait to enjoy your experience without any worries. The operator will help you to make all the necessary arrangements including buying your gorilla tracking permit, booking for your accommodation with meals and arranging your transport.

One major advantage of planning your gorilla tracking trip with a local agent is that gorilla permits are always scarce on the market and they need to be booked in advance. Therefore, the agent will do everything possible to ensure that such permits are obtained once they receive your order.
Unlike in the past when tracking gorillas was limited to only one sector in Bwindi, the introduction of three more tracking sectors in Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga has made securing a permit a bit easier.

In addition to Bwindi, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park at the border with Rwanda is Uganda’s other gorilla safari destination. Mgahinga is known to have one gorilla family, “Nyakagezi” and a lot of golden monkeys. Permits to Mgahinga can be bought from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) office at Kisoro.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is also a unique birding destination with over 23 Albertine Rift Endemics found in her thick forests. Other primates in the park include the black-and-white colobus and L’Hoest monkeys that can be seen during a forest walk. A cultural tour around the park leads you to the Batwa Pygmies who were evicted from the forest after gazetting the area for tourism. The group has amazing cultural activities including their traditional folk songs to crown your gorilla safari experience in style.

Posted by admin in Blog, News
Top things to Avoid on Your Uganda Safari

Top things to Avoid on Your Uganda Safari

Uganda has on several occasions been ranked among the top tourism destinations each traveler must visit before he or she dies. The country is naturally endowed with beautiful sceneries, amazing wildlife, hospitable people, birds, lakes, rivers, and intresting history among others. The combination of these makes a complete Uganda safari package which attracts thousands of travelers from all over the world. Over years Uganda tourism board has registered an increased number of travelers coming for gorilla watching, chimpanzee trekking, bird watching, game viewing and other wildlife experiences rewarding them with lasting memories. Just like traveling to any destination, there are risks involved. In this documentary, we are not talking a boy what to see and do in Uganda but rather the things every traveler must avoid on a Uganda safari to ensure his safety and his/her property. The following are things you must avoid in Uganda.

Avoid self-driving
Much as some travelers opt for self-driving in Uganda, this act is highly discouraged for the first time travelers. If you are visiting Uganda for the very first time, PLEASE get a driver guide to avoid getting lost or bumping into troubles. Many risks including taking wrong routes are likely to happen on a safe drive safari, which can be time wasting and also waste money. Also, Uganda has traffic rules, which every driver must follow to avoid accidents. Also in Uganda, most roads are not well marked which could make a first self-driver get lost in a new environment. Fortunately, Gorilla Trek Africa offers travelers driver guides to take them around making it easy, quick and enjoyable.

Avoid crossing the road anyhow
Whether driving or walking, never cross a Ugandan road anyhow. All people using the road are advised to read carefully and follow the traffic rules to avoid problems. If you are planning to join a road, you are advised to look, right, look left and then cross. Also, travelers walking are advised to consider using a zebra crossing, which is a sign of pedestrians crossing. Even if you are driving on a high way road, avoid over speeding and road traffic rules.

Avoid public transport and use of Boda Bodas
It’s okay to use public means of transport but not for the first time traveler. In most cases, taxi drivers and boda-boda riders take advantage of the first time travelers who do not know exactly where they are going. Also, tourists in public means of transport are overcharged compared to other people in a taxi, which is not fair. Travelers using public transport are advised to first ask other people in the taxi about the actual cost to avoid being cheated. Boda-bodas are so far the quickest means of transport in Uganda but the highest cause of accidents. Travelers are highly discouraged to board any boda-boda they come across since some riders are also robbers.

Avoid clubbing and traveling at night in Uganda
Nightlife and clubbing is one of spending free time in Uganda but highly discouraged for the first time travelers. Clubbing is all about drinking, eating and dancing with people returning home very late or even in the morning. This is not surely good for someone who is not familiar with the environment. First-time travelers are therefore are advised to avoid going into these clubs which are some times are associated with robbery and fighting by this who are drunk. If you decide to go for clubbing, avoid leaving your drinks in the one without anyone attending to it. Also, avoid flashing a large sum of money, which can attract the attention of many people some of whom are thieves. If you have valuables like phones, ATM cards, avoid exposing them.

Avoid foods that might make you sick
For the first time travelers, please avoid foods from street vendors such as Rolex, chapatti, roadside snacks, fast foods and roasted maize among others. Similarly, avoid eating raw uncooked things such as salads; raw cabbages, which can cause stomach upset for those no used to them. For those with buffest in hotels, make sure the food is kept hot to avoid eating cold foods, which are not good for you. Fortunately, some most moderate and upmarket lodges provide bottled water for other clients.

Avoid drinking tap water in Uganda
Travelers are reminded to avoid drinking any water they come across. Avoid drinking water from the tap, wells, ponds, rivers, and lakes since it’s not safe. Before drinking any water, make sure it has treated and boiled to avoid drinking contaminated water. Bottled water is the very recommended water to buy in Uganda especially that one of Rwenzori bottling company.

Avoid leaving valuables/cash in your room
As soon as travelers check into the lodge/hotel, they are advised to keep their property in the safe in their rooms and put their security code that no one knows about. For the rooms, which have no safes, travelers are reminded to keep their valuables especially driving cards, cash, ATM and other travel documents with the front desk that promise to keep them safe. While going into the field for gorilla trekking, game viewing ad forest walks, travelers are advised not to carry any property which can get lost in the jungle or be exposed to harsh weather conditions.

Avoid swimming where not sure
Uganda is undeniably endowed with natural lakes and rivers, which flow in different corners of the country. For that reason, swimming is one of the best activities travelers like to take part in especially during their free times. However, travelers are reminded not to jump onto any water they come across. Some waters are homes to hippos, crocodiles, and others infected with bilharzia. Swimming in Uganda is mostly done at Lake Mutanda and lake Bunyonyi all in southwestern Uganda. Also, travelers are advised to make use of the swimming pools at most lodges.

Avoid getting ill on a safari
Before and during your Uganda safari, travelers are reminded to seek medication to prevent any kind of sickness. As we all know that prevention is better than cure, travelers are advised to go for immunizations, carry insect repellents, eat hot food, swallow anti-viruses and use Sani-wipes to avoid contracting diseases.

We are ever ready to ensure your safety and comfort in the pearl of Africa. Boo your Uganda safari, avoid the above mistakes, enjoy Uganda activities especially gorilla watching and other wildlife experiences at affordable rates.

Posted by admin in Blog, News, Uganda
Ruhija Sector Of Bwindi Forest National Park

Ruhija Sector Of Bwindi Forest National Park

Why Visit Ruhija Sector Of Bwindi Forest National Park
Gorilla tours to Bwindi are done in four sectors that make up Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park. The four gorilla regions are Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija and Nkuringo each of which is exceptional in its own way. In this documentary, we zero down to Ruhija sector and the reasons you should visit it on your gorilla safari in this impenetrable forest. Situated in the Eastern part of the national park, Ruhija is a best sector worth exploring. The exceptions that make Ruhija a best stop for your Uganda gorilla safari include among others:

Mountain gorilla Trekking

Mountain gorillas are a key attraction for all visitors to Ruhija sector. This region is a home to three gorilla families namely, Kyaguliro, Oruzogo and Bitukura all available for trekking every day. Like in other sectors, 8 people visit a gorilla family each day, hence 24-gorilla permits available in Ruhija everyday visit each family in Ruhija region. A traveler has a choice to select which gorilla family he/she wants to trek depending on the availability of permits. Trekkers are reminded to carry the appropriate packing list with hiking shoes, long pants and rain jackets to ease gorilla trekking. A gorilla permit is a must have for everyone going to see mountain gorillas costing $600 for foreign non residents, $500 for foreign residents and 250,000UGX for east African residents. Potters are highly recommended to carry you bag and give support where necessary. Travelers are also given packed lunch since the actual time to send in the forest is unpredictable and changes depending on the toughness of the hikes, location f gorillas and traveler’s physical fitness.

Batwa pygmy encounters
Do not miss out visiting Batwa communities in the boundaries of the forest. Batwa are the indigenous dwellers of Bwindi forest that were evicted to the forest edges in 1991 when gorilla tourism was introduced in the park. An encounter with the Batwa rewards you with an extensive understanding of their traditional forest life, norms, and cultures. Batwa elders guide you into the forest to demonstrate their initial forest practices like hunting, collecting honey, and picking medicinal herbs. Batwa further demonstrate their traditional songs and dances as a form of entertainment to visitors.

Visiting community projects
While in Ruhija, visit and support community based projects owned and run by local people. Different community projects especially crafts, baskets weaving and bee keeping have been established to support local livelihoods. These projects receive tourism funding and are a key source of employment for local people some of whom are former porters. Tourists who visit these projects are given a chance to take part in these activities, which make them feel part of the community, an experience they cannot forget. Tourism projects have been a source of occupation for women, men and youth, earning them a living to improve their standards of living. Local projects also help to generate delicate balance between the environment, wildlife conservation and sustainable development in Ruhija and the whole Bwindi.

Bird watching
For birders, Ruhija is a best spot for bird watching. The region is a home to nearly 23 endemic bird species which include grey bush shrike, starred robin, yellow streaked greenbul, hornbills, Turacos, Dusky Crimson Wing and yellow-eyed black fly-catcher among others. Ruhija is therefore a recognized Important Bird Area (IBA) for its global conservation importance. Travelers are reminded to bring binoculars for easy spotting. Experienced guides help you spot birds and explain the unique features for each spotted bird specie, which make this experience indeed exceptional.

Forest walks
A nature walk through this quite cool impenetrable forest is an experience of its own kind. This walk is a best way to discover the entire gem in the forest, waterfalls, caves and rocks which make it mote beautiful. Expect to meet animals and enjoy the sweet sounds of birds singing up in the trees.

Comfortable lodges
Travelers to Ruhija are assured of comfortable, safe and luxury lodging services at affordable prices. Popular lodge in Ruhija include Bakiga Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Trekkers Tavern lodge and Agandi lodge among others. Professional chefs, waiters, house keepers are available 24 hours to serve you with quality food and sleeping services. Travelers are advised to book for accommodation at least 2 months before travelling for timely preparations.

Cool and conducive weather
The cool stinging breezes that cover up the whole of Ruhija region especially at night make this region exceptional. The extreme but conducive cold weather in Ruhija is attributed to the hilly terrain and dense forests, which make up the region. In the morning hour’s dawn, forest fog stays until 11am good for photography. In the night travelers are given warm water bottles to provide them with some warmth and get away with freezing in the coldness.

In general, Ruhija sector in eastern Bwindi is surely worth visiting. Book a Uganda gorilla safari to Bwindi forest national park, meet the endangered gorillas in their natural habitat and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.

Posted by admin in Blog, News, Uganda
Uganda’s Bird watching safaris

Uganda’s Bird watching safaris

Uganda Birding safaris
Bird watching safaris in Uganda are flourishing with a huge gem of over 1,000 bird species that have attracted attention in recent years. Uganda’s story of bird watching is a bad to good narration. There was always a scuffle between bird watchers and the residents who settled around the birding places. Back then, residents could chase bird watchers with machetes suspecting them to be land grabbers who were trying to inspect and take their land forcefully. However, the continued efforts of several organizations to promote and shape bird watching like the Uganda Bird Guides Club has now helped to turn the Pearl of Africa into an Ornithologist’s dream. The presence of thousands of bird species in Uganda’s variety of rainforests makes the Pearl of Africa one of the bird watching destinations in Africa and the world at large. To ambitious bird watchers, a 14-day itinerary Uganda Birding Tours
allows you to view 450 to 500 species, which is almost half of Uganda’s richness of the booming bird list that stands at 1,080 species. This number makes Uganda to posses about half of the continent’s total bird list that stands at 2,310 species. One of the favorable factors that gifts Uganda with this impressive bird gem is her conducive climate all year round enabling bird bleeding and while attracting migration of hundreds of others from different parts of the continent. On several occasions, bird watching is done as a complement to other tourism activities in Uganda especially gorilla trekking in Mgahinga and Bwindi, game watching, mountaineering and cultural encounters among other activities to make a complete Uganda safari package.

Where to find birds in Uganda

Some of the most experienced bird watchers in Uganda point out some of the best spots for a fruitful bird watching safari in Uganda. These include Mabamba Wetland, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Semuliki Valley in Semuliki national park, Budongo Forest, Mgahinga National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Kibale Forest, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo National park. Others include Kidepo valley national park though not well marketed.

Bird watching experts, The Uganda Bird Guides highly recommend Mabamba Swamp on the edge of Lake Victoria as one of Uganda’s Important Bird Areas (IBA). The site is a home for the elusive Shoebill Storks an endemic for East and Central Africa

Bwindi Impenetrable national park, which is majorly known for incredible gorilla safaris, is another destination recommended to curious birders. The montane forests of the Kigezi highlands offer one of the finest birding in Africa with over 23 Albertine Rift endemics. The species in this bird gem include some that are globally threatened like the African Green Broadbill and Shelly’s Crimson Wing.
Other Uganda’s bird watching spots like Queen Elizabeth national park qualify as top bird watching sites by holding such huge numbers of birds and a great variety of species. The park is the most prevalent of any protected area in Africa with over 600 bird species.

Today’s excellent Uganda birding safari are as a result of the great work done by the birding pioneers of Uganda who were very instrumental in installing this exciting door activity on the Uganda’s itineraries back in the late 1990s. The team took it upon themselves to educate and sensitize both locals and the media on how to conserve and promote birding in Uganda.

The recent International recognitions involving Uganda’s birding effort are clear indicators of a success registered so far in the activity. In October this year Uganda participated and emerge second through the triumph of 23-year-old Ashley Brian Baboineki at the international Youths Birding Competition hosted by Singapore Tourism Board. The competition had 78 participating nations.

Uganda also shined at the Global Big Day in May when 429 bird species where found from across the country by a group of 34 birders that were identified by an experienced network of local guides and the Uganda Tourism Board. Uganda’s impressive numbers put her in the first position in Africa ahead of Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia who were also critical of the success of Africa’s tally.

Uganda’s ambitions to promote birding were also indicated by the formation of the Uganda Women Birders in 2013 to attract more women into birding and nature guiding as a profession. This women club has been growing with time with the assistance from tourism authorities including Uganda Wildlife Authority and Uganda Tourism Board. The club has grown from 5 members to 30 female guides who are recommended for jobs in tour companies as a way of supporting them.

Posted by admin in Blog, News, safaris, Uganda
New Travel Experiences In Kisoro

New Travel Experiences In Kisoro

New Travel Experiences In Kisoro
Kisoro district is indubitably full of wonders, those who have been there before have experienced how charming it feels to stay in kisoro. The region is one of the beautiful places in Uganda blessed with a variety of intriguing features which include the majestic mountain gorillas, Virunga volcanoes, crater lakes (bunyonyi & Mutanda), unique cultures and beautiful flora and fauna which together make your Uganda safari to kisoro an experience for lifetime. The beautiful rolling hills of kigezi region after which Uganda was dubbed the pearl of Africa make it more amazing. The outstanding views of the eight Virunga volcanoes shared by Uganda, Rwanda and democratic republic of Congo make it more amazing. Much as gorilla safaris, golden monkeys, volcano climbing and batwa cultural trail have been a focus for most of the past travelers to Mgahinga, New travel experiences have been introduced to diversify tourism in the region. The new tourism products in kisoro have been introduced b the Mgahinga cultural and crafts center with the support of Uganda tourism board and the government. These new activities will complement the already existing tourism products making your Uganda gorilla safaris to southwestern Uganda a lifetime experience. Among the newly introduced tourism products in kisoro district include:

Mountain biking
Mountain biking is the best way you can explore the entire gem in kisoro region. Great thanks go to ultimate cycling Uganda, which has mapped three biking trails to help travelers visit different sites in kisoro district and the neighboring communities. Each of these trails takes a different routes and directions through local centers, gardens and homes covering different distances. Also, the starting points vary depending on the location of a traveler. The Mgahinga trail stretches 60 kilometers starting from the Mgahinga cultural and crafts Centre. Travelers ride through the gate of Mgahinga gorilla national park as they proceed to Rwanda DR Congo border. On their way back, travelers ride through kisoro town ending their ride at the Mgahinga cultural center.

For those in kabale, the 80-kilometer ichuya trail start from lake bunyonyi via regions of kacyekano, Muko and Ichuya ending at the Churchill point. This trail helps travelers to explore much of Kabale region and all its beauties. Bwindi trail is the longest trail of all the three. The trail start from kabale town through Bwindi forest, Mutanda region ending at Mgahinga gorilla national park. Mountain biking is an opportunity for travelers to encounter local people in their farms, homes as well as exploring other attractions in the region.

Caving
Ngarama cave has been the only visited cave in Mgahinga hence a need for more caving products for travelers. To make it more enjoyable, Mgahinga cultural and Crafts center has packaged two more caves in Mgahinga park to reward travelers with extensive and exceptional caving experience. The newly discovered caves are Sooko cave at the bottom of Mount Mgahinga and Ruhengo cave at the foothill of Mt Sabinyo. Local guides have been trained on how to do it best and have also given the all the necessary requirements such as torches, gumboots and hand gloves to ease caving and ensure memorable experiences. Local guides disclose the secrets about each cave the great role they played in sheltering local people who would seek refugee especially in times of tribal wars. The caves are believed t have existed for thousands of years.

Caldera expeditions
Kisoro region was in the past years affected by volcanic eruptions, which led to the formation of calderas. Among the caldera features in kisoro include volcanic mountains with crater lakes at the top. A hike to any caldera is a memorable experience, which help you appreciate what nature can do. Also, a walk to the summit is an opportunity for travelers to meet new people making your experience more enjoyable.

Churchill point
Do not miss a hike to the Churchill point on top of Kanaaba Mountain in Echuya forest in kisoro. It’s on this hill that Churchill appreciated the beautiful sceneries of Uganda realizing that the country is indeed the pearl of Africa. Churchill point reward travelers with clear views of kigezi rolling hills which stretch to infinity, the green vegetation, natural forest of Bwindi, Virunga volcanoes, the Echuya forest stretching from lake Bunyonyi and all other natural beauties that make south western Uganda indeed the Switzerland of Africa.

Conclusively, kisoro district offers it all you need to meet and exceed your travel needs on a Uganda safari. Enjoy memorable gorilla treks, golden monkey tours, volcano climbing, mountain biking, caving, caldera expeditions and Churchill point rewarding you with memorable experiences in the pearl of Africa.

Posted by admin in Blog, News, safaris, Uganda
Uganda to Celebrate the Debut Gorilla Festival

Uganda to Celebrate the Debut Gorilla Festival

Uganda to Celebrate the Debut Gorilla Festival
For the very first time, Uganda is ready to celebrate a gorilla festival set for 6-8 October in Mgahinga Gorilla national park at the foothill of the Virunga mountain range in kisoro district. The festival is aimed at promoting Uganda gorilla tour packages and disclose the newly produced tourism products in Uganda to the outside world. Mountain gorillas are a key attraction in the festival and some gorilla babies will be named just as the kwita izina ceremony in Rwanda. This is the first time Uganda is openly naming gorillas. Also, the mountain gorilla festival is Uganda’s opportunity to understand and celebrate the value of conserving the critically endangered mountain gorillas. Also, the festival’s main target is to emphasize the risks of the critically endangered mountain gorillas in the Virunga massif shared by Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic republic of Congo. Mgahinga cultural and craft center in cooperation with the Uganda tourism board and Uganda Wildlife Authority are the organizers of this amazing festival. Over 200 people including travelers, conservationists, local people, and other players in the tourism sector are expected to grace this festival.

Rwanda has for the last decades been the only country celebrating the birth of iconic mountain gorillas. This year, Rwanda will celebrate the naming of 18 baby gorillas at the head quarters of Volcanoes National Park a home to the majestic creatures. It’s very crucial for Uganda to celebrate the gorilla festival being a home to over 50% of the world’s surviving mountain gorillas.

Other activities that will take place
The gorilla festival is not only about mountain gorillas but rather a variety of other activities. The attendees will have an opportunity to enjoy and celebrate other activities, which have been introduced in Mgahinga gorilla national park and kisoro district as a whole. The extra activities include among others:

Cycling/Biking
Cycling is one of the new tourism products that have introduced in the Virunga region. Here travelers ride on bicycles through local gardens, plantation and homes. This help travelers to explore local villages and activities which bring in close contact with local people which increase their understanding of local traditions, customs and cultures. Cycling is organized by the ultimate cycling Uganda together with the Uganda cycling federation to reward travelers with extra experiences which make a stay in Mgahinga indeed a life changing experience. At the end of the ride, every participant will plant a tree for the wellbeing of mountain gorillas and local people. Bamboo trees serve as food and habitat for gorillas while local people use them for construction poles, charcoal, firewood and herbs for medicine. Cycling is the most environmental friendly transport, which help in conserving the natural environment leading to sustainable conservation. Tree planting will also help to solve local people’s conflicts with park managers encouraging local support for tourism in the park.

Caving
A safari to Mgahinga gorilla national park without caving is surely incomplete. Ngarama cave is the focus for most caving trips in Mgahinga guided the Batwa during their famous Batwa cultural trail. The cave was initially the place of worship foe batwa pygmies to perform their rituals and offer sacrifices to their gods for prayer and thanks giving. Fortunately, two more caves assessed to be thousands of years old have been discovered in the park but are not yet open to tourism. Local guides have been trained and equipped with all necessary tools to ensure memorable caving experience.

Virunga Volcano Climbing

A hike to the summit of any volcano is an experience you should not miss out. The volcanoes in Mgahinga gorilla national park are Mt Gahinga, Mt Muhabura and Mt sabyinyo. Interestingly, each Volcano is unique on its way hosting an awe-inspiring feature at the summit. Mount Muhabura has a crater lake with crystal clear water; Mgahinga has a crater swamp while Mt sabyinyo summit is shared by Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. This helps travelers to be in three at the same time. Home stays and caldera expeditions are other tourism products that have been introduced in kisoro district.

How much is charged to attend the gorilla festival
Just like other festivals, the Uganda gorilla festival comes with a cost. Each participant will pay ush200, 000 (55$) to allow him/her be part of this three days festival. The fee is an inclusion of meals, tour activities and transport for those traveling from Kampala to kisoro. Those who will sleep over in tents, lodges or hotels will pay extra money for accommodation

In general, Uganda the pearl of Africa is an exceptional destination with diverse tourism activities and attractions. The cou8ntry has 10 national parks, mountains, rivers valleys, forests, and hospitable people, which make Uganda a place to stay.

Posted by admin in Blog, News, Uganda

UTB Asks government to cut Visa Fees

A Uganda tourist entry Visa today cost $100 equivalent to over Shs300,000 charged per tourists from the previous $50 doubled last year, which is actually the most expensive visa fee out of the rest of East Africa. On the other hand the single East African Visa, which grants visitors access to all East African countries including Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda goes for the same amount – $100. This makes destination Uganda a difficult destination to sale, with the unfavorable Visa rates which are too high. Uganda’s high visa fees scare away some tourists, opting to visit other East African countries where it is cheaper. In Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania visa fees is $50 per tourist.

Destination Uganda has so much to offer tourists with a variety of adventure activities which attract tourists to this destination. Uganda’s biggest trade mark is the rare endangered mountain gorillas which can only be found in 2 other destinations in the entire world. At present tourists are looking at Rwanda’s volcanoes national park as a more preferred destination mainly because of ease of access. With just about 2 hours drive from the Kigali international airport, accessing Volcanoes national park is much more convenient for all types of travelers as compared to 8-9 long hours of drive from Kampala or Entebbe international airport. Rwanda is a much easier destination for budget, business travelers with less time.

Uganda still is blessed with numerous unique wildlife which can be seen in the different national parks spread around the country.
Uganda’s neighboring country’s of Kenya and Tanzania offer a more authentic wildlife adventure experience as compared to the experience in Uganda. Still, Uganda’s unique trade mark the mountain gorillas can also be seen in Rwanda, her neighbor.

With Ugandan visa prices being high, Uganda will be missing out on a large number of potential tourists and hence losing foreign exchange and general unemployment for local tour operators.

Posted by admin in africa, Blog, News
World Investors to Boost Conservation Tourism in Uganda

World Investors to Boost Conservation Tourism in Uganda

With a major aim of boosting tourism and wildlife conservation in the country, Uganda for the time hosted the conservation and tourism investment forum on 6th October 2017. The forum was a platform for top government officials, responsible tourism bodies, private investors and all senior business figures from all parts of the world to gather and discuss how best Uganda can be marketed nationally and internationally as well as to attract more private investors and travelers from parts of the world to visit Uganda. It was realized that despite Uganda’s beautiful nature, rift valleys, lakes, rivers, mountains, hospitable people, birds and mostly half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas, the country still receive few travelers as it was expected. Uganda’s government and responsible bodies have therefore realized a need for extensive marketing and private investment so as to boost conservation tourism hence attracting a large number of tourist arrivals into the country. The need to boost tourism and promote wildlife conservation in Uganda was the main reason for the launching of conservation and tourism investment forum by the government and responsible tourism bodies.

While in the meeting, the government of Uganda disclosed tourism to private investment calling upon all private investors and other conservation organizations to support tourism as well as marketing the country o the outside world. The conducive climate and strategic location of Uganda in the heart of East Africa make it a best country to stay.

New marketing strategies were raised especially encouragement of private sector investment as an additional source of capital to complement the traditional sources of conservation capital. It was also an opportunity for the government to market its beauty and all the treasures to lure and attract more investors and tourists to come and explore what Uganda offers ranging from mountain gorillas and much more. Private investors were also called upon to take part in management of protected areas in conjunction with the government and other responsible bodies.

The Uganda Tourism Board enlightened private investors about the importance of natural resource conservation in boosting tourism sector in ten country calling upon all private investors and Non Governmental organization to take part in management of natural resources hence tourism development. Some private investors such as Max Graham the founder of elephant conservation group space for giants welcomed the idea appreciating that Uganda has it all to offer but only lacks extensive marketing and investment. The private investor also confessed that all other private investors have been waiting for government’s invitation for a joint management and marketing of Uganda’s tourism resources.

Private investors were also concerned about Uganda’s political security as well as security of wildlife in respective national parks for the smooth running of tourism activities in all parts of Uganda. In response, the president of Uganda “His excellence Yoweri Kaguta Museveni” assured travelers of a tight security system and a strong army, which has been and will continue to ensure peace in the country ensuring of all investments. Also, the anti poaching measures that were put by the Uganda wildlife authority have increased a population of elephant’s population.

Also, there should be good and easy connectivity to uganda national parks and other tourism spots a cross the country. This therefore calls for extensive investment in maintaining roads connecting to Murchison falls national park and Kibale forest reserve among others. New roads to kidepo valley national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park are under construction assuring investors and traveler’s easy connectivity to all national parks and other tourism spots in all parts of the country.

With the participation of private investors and government authority, Uganda tourism is hoped to boost. The Uganda tourism bard a body responsible for marketing and new product development is assured of great turn up in terms of tourist arrivals into the country. Uganda hopes to receive over million travelers by 2020 based on the 1.3 million travelers that were received in 2016.

Conclusively therefore, all private investors and non-governmental organization are called upon to support tourism conservation in Uganda hence boosting tourism sector.

Posted by admin in Blog, News
Uganda Gorilla Tours

Uganda Gorilla Tours

Uganda Gorilla Tours are the leading tourist activities in Uganda with thousands of travelers flocking Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park each year to trek the mountain gorillas.

Gorilla tours and Gorilla safaris in Uganda take place everyday in Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks, the country’s two homes for mountain gorillas. Both parks are estimated to have a total of about 500 mountain gorillas though majority of these live in Bwindi whose gorilla population accounts for more than half of the global number. Bwindi has got about 15 habituated gorilla families and each family has an average number of about 20-25 mountain gorillas while Mgahinga has got one habituated gorilla family. The rest of the gorillas in Uganda are still non-habituated and therefore cannot be visited by tourists.

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda is done under conservation regulations aimed at protecting mountain gorillas given that they are endangered animals. Some of the key gorilla trekking conservation regulations include limiting the number of visitors per gorilla group per day to 8. Others include include; tourists are restricted to spending only one hour in the presence of gorillas, touching a gorilla or getting near it is prohibited, no making noise in the presence of gorillas, no littering in the gorilla habitat, avoiding direct eye-contact with a gorilla is advised, among others.

To trek mountain gorillas i Uganda, one is required to have a gorilla trekking permit which is sold at $700 per person. Travelers are advised to book their Uganda gorilla trekking permits at least 6 months before their tracking dates. Gorilla permits are always limited on market due to the high demand and the strict gorilla conservation regulations. Booking your gorilla trekking permit in advance allows a local tour agent enough time to process it from the tourism authority and also to arrange all other necessary facilities for the traveler like accommodation and transport in time.

Uganda gorilla safaris are usually supplemented with other wildlife encounters including game viewing in large savannah parks like Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park. Some of the best game species to see in these parks include the Africa “big five” which include lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhinoceros. Other amazing species to be seen in these parks include the endangered Rothschild giraffe, zebra, warthog, antelopes, among others.

Many travellers also combine their Uganda gorilla trekking safaris with another primate visit for chimpanzee tracking. This is always possible since chimpanzee tracking is far cheaper than gorilla trekking and combining the two trips gives a traveler a comprehensive experience of a Uganda primates safari. Chimpanzees are very numerous in number compared to gorillas and they are readily seen in different parts of the country. The major hotspots for seeing chimpanzees in Uganda include Kibale Forest National Park, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park and at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary on Lake Victoria near Entebbe International Airport.

In addition to wildlife encounters, gorilla trekkers in Uganda also enjoy some cultural experiences by visiting some amazing communities after  their gorilla trekking encounters. These include a visit to the Batwa pygmies who live near Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The visit to Batwa not only provides travellers with a unique and amazing cultural experience but also helps to support livelihoods in this community since some of the proceeds from the money paid by tourists are directed towards community development. Some of members in the Batwa community are former poachers who have reformed through training and sensitisation and are now working as tour guides and porters to earn a living.

Posted by admin in Blog, News
Uganda Gorilla Groups

Uganda Gorilla Groups

Gorilla Families in Uganda
Though Uganda is known for sheltering more than half of the World’s remaining mountain gorillas which live in 39 families, it is important to know these groups and their unique characteristics to find out which group suits particular interests. Uganda gorilla tours are in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park situated in south western Uganda.

Of the 39 groups/ families, only 12 are habituated for tourism of which 11 are in Bwindi and one in Mgahinga parks, and then the 13th one for Research in Ruhija area of Bwindi while the rest roam in the wild jungles unfamiliar to human beings. The families sometimes meet with each other and on some occasions, severe fights have broken out leaving some badly injured.

Habituation of Gorillas in Uganda started in 1991 with the Mubare family. Since then, more families have been habituated, totaling to 13 gorillas families including one for research. It is paramount for one to know these groups in detail, where they live, how they behave and what to expect if allocated one or which group to choose in case one is given a chance to choose the group to track. The habituation process usually takes 2 years but some groups took a shorter time to be habituated because of being in close range with the habituated families where rangers and tourists would pass by them often hence becoming familiar to human beings.
gorilla families in Bwindi forest

The question of which gorilla group is best for tracking will always depend on one’s interests as there are no universal standards for measuring good or bad because it lies in the eyes of the beholder. What one person calls good may be bad for another, likewise, one may prefer the group that is closer to the tracking point whereas another may prefer the one that is farther and gives a hiking challenge. On this basis therefore, allow me shade light on these families and you will choose for yourself the one that is best to you.

Mubare Group
This is the oldest group which was first habituated in 1991 and got its first official tourists in 1993. The group was named after Mubare hills where it was first sighted by UWA rangers. The group started with 12 members under the command of great silver back known as ‘Ruhondeza’ which means ‘the one who over sleeps’. Ruhondeza’s great leadership saw the group size expand to 18 individuals in very few years but his over expansionist policy and ambitious character cost him loss of many members in the years that followed. His constant battles with wild groups weakened him later and his protectionism and selfish character made him to kill or exile the upcoming silver backs leaving the family with no back up force for protection. In the year 2009, tragedy struck when the group lost about 3 of its members with one adult dying of a fractured skull leaving behind a little baby that died a few days later and was found on Ruhondeza’s bed.
gorilla families in Bwindi forest

Ruhondeza was attacked in his old age in March 2012 by a wild silver back and was forced into exile in the neighboring village of Rubona though with severe injuries. He lived among the people for a few months and was later found dead in June the same year. He was given a descent burial near UWA headquarters at Buhoma and the function was graced by a number of community residents, UWA officials and many conservationists. He is still hailed as the father of Gorilla tourism in Uganda and at the age of 50 years, he is regarded as the oldest silver back ever known in the country

At his demise, the family disintegrated and his successor, Kanyonyi took over the mantle and has since increased the members from 5 to 8 that live currently and probably still hopes to expand the group size further more. The group is found in Buhoma area and is composed of 9 members with one silver back.
The group is a great priority for most trackers as it roams with in close proximity to the UWA headquarters at Buhoma and is sometimes regarded as easy to track.

Habinyanja Group
This group was first habituated in 1997 and received the first tourists in 1999. The name Habinyanja was derived from a Rukiga word, ‘Nyanja’ which means a ‘water body’ and therefore Habinyanja group got its name from the Swamp in the jungles of Bwindi where the group was first sighted.
gorilla families in Bwindi forest
At the time of habituation, the group had 30 members under the leadership of a silver back known as ‘Mugurusi’, a Rukiga word that means ‘an old man’. At the time of his death, his 3 sons had grown and began a succession dispute over who could claim the father’s throne. The three silver backs were Rwansigazi which means ‘the youthful one’, Mwirima which means ‘darkness’ and Makara which means ‘charcoal’.

After several fights, there was no sole winner and the group remained under the interim leadership of Rwansigazi and Mwirima but the two had several divergent and parallel characters that would not allow them stay together for long. Whereas Rwansigazi wanted to adventure many places in the forest, Mwirima was not different from his father Mugurusi and wanted to remain in a small range. Due to these differences, it was inevitable that the group would split given the fact that it was even very large.

In 2002, Rwansigazi peacefully left together with other family members that liked moving in a wider range leaving Mwirima and the lazy members to form their own family. Rwansigazi’s group retained the name of Habinyanja and Mwirima’s group was named Rushegura. It is important to note that, the two groups continue to crisscross each other even today and no fights have been recorded but rather friendship still reigns between the two families

The group has 18 members including 2 silver backs and is popular for its drama and commotion triggered by constant fights for dominance and family leadership between the two silver backs; Makara and Rwansigazi. It occupies Buhoma area and is somehow strenuous to track as the tourist needs about 3-8 hours.

Rushegura Group
gorilla families in Bwindi forestThe Rushegura group was formed in 2002 when Mwirima and a group of other members parted ways with the Habinyanja group. The group derived its name from the tree species locally known as Ebishegura which was abundant in the group’s home range. The group started with 12 individuals at the time of breakaway but due the good leadership skills of late Mwirima, the family size is now 19 members including one silver back.

The group is a very calm and peaceful family and has now permanently settled in Bwindi though it used to roam across the border with Congo. It is also in the Buhoma area and sometimes shows up in the compound of Gorilla Forest camp. The founding leader of the group passed away this year and the leadership has been taken by an ambitious black back called Kabukojo. Tracking the group is not onerous as it is always not far from Buhoma village.

Bitukura Group
This group was named after River Bitukura that flows in Bwindi forest where the group was first sighted. It was the only gorilla group habituated for tracking in the Ruhija area until when Oruzogo family was habituated and opened for Tourism in 2011.
gorilla families in Bwindi forest

The group was first habituated in July 2007 and officially opened for tourism in October 2008, becoming the easiest group to be habituated in Bwindi. The group was originally having 24 members but with constant disputes, some left the group and joined others. They were however graced by the birth of a new baby in 2013. The group is said to enjoy harmonious living with Kyaguriro group that is meant for research and their close relationship is said to have yielded monthly get-togethers where the two families are seen playing and making fun together.

The group is one of the most peaceful groups in Bwindi and is composed of 14 members including 4 silver backs but no fights have been experienced and the group lives in great harmony with one another which has been attributed to good leadership of Ndahura, the dominant silver back. There are few budget accommodations in this area though one may stay in Buhoma and drive early in the morning for about an hour and a half to track this group.

Mishaya Group
This group occupies the verdant forests of Rushaga in the south eastern part of Bwindi. The group was named after its founder silver back called Mishaya who broke away from Nshongi group in 2010 with other 9 members. The group was officially open for tourism in 2011 hence becoming one of the newest groups for tracking.
gorilla families in Bwindi forest

Mishaya is known as a fighter who often attacks and defends his family against any raiding group. It was from this background, that Mishaya was able to expand the group to 12 members. By 2013, due to loss of members to other groups, Mishaya group had only 7 individuals with one silver back (Mishaya) which is the only adult in the group.

Tracking this group, tourists start their walk from the UWA headquarters at Rushaga or take a 30 minutes drive to the trail head.

Oruzogo Group
The group was opened for tourism in 2011 and is found in Ruhija section of the park. The group is led by the dominant silver back known as Tibirikwata and is popular for its playful and energetic juveniles. The family is composed of 23 members including one silver back and is a favorite for many tourists.

This family can be tracked from Ruhija but needs one to secure accommodation within the area to be able to cope up with the pre-tracking briefing. However, due to limited budget accommodation options, one may as well sleep in Buhoma but has to leave very early at around 5am for an hour’s drive to the park headquarters in Ruhija for pre tracking briefing.

Nshongi Group
This is the group that gave birth to Mishaya group in 2010. Nshongi group was first habituated in 2007 and officially opened for tourism in 2009. By 2009, the group was the largest with 36 members including 4 silver backs and 7 black backs all living harmoniously. In 2010, Mishaya broke away with some members to form his own family leaving Nshongi with 26 members. The group was later split into another group called Bweza with 10 members in 2013 leaving Nshongi with only 18 members.

Nshongi group occupies a large forested area in Rushaga where one is likely to be graced by the sights of other primates. It got its name from the R. Nshongi that flows with in its home range. Nshongi river was named following its dark colour that resembles honey which is called ‘omushongi gwo Bwoki’ in Rukiga.

The Nshongi group has a unique characteristic where by Nshongi, the dominant silver back reigns over silver backs that are older than him which is a rare case among the primates.

Kahungye Group
This group also occupies Rushaga area and was consisting of 27 members with 3 silver backs at the time when it was opened for tourism in 2011. Barely a year later, the group split into two giving birth to Busingye family that too lives in Rushaga.
The group consists of 13 members with 3 silver backs under the leadership of Rumansi and only the silver backs have names.

Busingye Group
This is another splitter group from Kahungye which broke away in 2012. This was a result of the ambitious silver back called Busingye which means ‘peace’. Busingye is not a symbol of his name as he is known for his fights with other gorillas and his raiding character where he forces other groups’ members into his own whenever there is an encounter.
As by the year 2014, the group consists of 9 members with one silver back (Busingye), 3 infants, 2 adult females and 3 juveniles. The group also inhabits Rushaga area with the former groups mentioned.

Nkuringo Group
This group is located in Nkuringo area of Bwindi national park. The group derived its name from the hill where they were first sighted. Nkuringo is a Rukiga word meaning ‘A round hill’. After 2 years of habituation, the family was opened for tourism in 2004. The family was led by a silver back called Nkuringo who passed away in 2008 leaving behind his mature sons; Rafiki and Safari.
Among other reasons for its habituation was because they used to attack peoples gardens, destroying sweet potatoes, and banana gardens. Habituating them was one way of compensating the community through tourism revenue as well as ensuring the Mountain gorilla conservation.

The family is now composed of 19 members with 2 silver backs. After the death of his father, Safari took over the leadership role and in November of 2008, the group was blessed with the birth of twins; Muhozi and Katungi though the latter died of illness after one and a half years. This is the only group in Nkuringo area and is probably the toughest group to track but very rewarding as it requires one to have good stamina to endure the trek.

Bweza Group
This group consists of 7 members with one silver back and is one of the splitter groups of the larger Nshongi group. In 2010, Bweza was among the members that broke away under the leadership of Mishaya to form Mishaya group.

However in 2012, Bweza discovered that his ambitions would not be fulfilled under Mishaya’s rule hence decided to break away with a group of 6 other members to form their own independent group. Despite UWA’s speculation last year that the group would reunite with Mishaya, it has remained independent and is open for tracking in the Rushaga area.

Nyakagezi Group
This group is under the leadership of Mark; a great Silver back who is very adventurous and often leads the group across borders of the 3 countries (Rwanda, Uganda and D R Congo). Since November 2012, the group has tried to remain stable on the Ugandan side and with the birth of a young one in 2013; the hope for their stay has been increased.

The group has 10 members including one silver back and is the only habituated group in Mgahinga Gorilla national park. Tracking this group is uncertain because of their unpredictable character and the permits can only be booked at the park headquarters in Mgahinga after the rangers have sighted where the group is.

Kyaguriro Group
This is the only habituated gorilla group in Uganda reserved for research alone. The group is composed of 15 members and occupies Ruhija area. It is said that the group has been a great ally of Bitukura to the extent that some adolescent females have been reported to leave Bitukura for it.

Those are the Gorilla families so far and the list will always be up dated as new groups come in. I hope with that little information, one will be able to get an insight of the gorilla group he/ she will be allocated.

Posted by admin in Blog, News
Buhoma Sector of Bwindi Forest NP

Buhoma Sector of Bwindi Forest NP

Why trek mountain gorillas in Buhoma sector?
If it were possible, Buhoma sector would undeniably be a first stop for all travelers to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Situated in the northern part of Bwindi in kanungu district, Buhoma sector is an exceptional region of the park. its not surprising that most if not travelers booking gorilla tours in Bwindi first ask whether there is availability in Buhoma. This w has left many people stunned on what makes the sector unique compared to the others sectors namely Rushaga in the south, Ruhija in the east and Nkuringo in the south which are normally asked as the next alternative. Travelers always resort to other sectors after failing to get availability in Buhoma. Also. Gorilla permits in Buhoma are always fully booked by early travelers since gorilla permits are issued on first come first serve basis. Buhoma sector has an interesting history being the first region to be visited by the first group of travelers to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Also, Buhoma is a home to Bwindi’s oldest gorilla family named Mubare which was habituated in 1992. Buhoma has always been outstanding compared to other regions hence a desire for all travelers. Some of the reason why you should trek mountain gorillas in Buhoma include among others:

Ease of access
Regarding access, Buhoma is the easily accessible region in Bwindi forest national park. The sector is roughly 2 hours drive from kabale town via kanungu and 4 hours from ishasha sector south of Queen Elizabeth national park. The ease of access is an added advantage for travelers enabling them to take part in some activities such as the game drives in ishasha, forest walks and community visits in Buhoma unlike other sectors in the far corners of the national park. Those driving direct from Kampala can reach Buhoma by taking Kampala- Masaka-Mbarara-Ntungamo-Rukungiri- Buhoma route. Alternatively, travelers can fly direct to kihihi airstrip and then drive a few kilometers to the park

Gorilla families
Buhoma sector is a home to three gorilla families habituated for trekking. These families also known as groups are Mubare, Habinyajna and Rushegura family. Interestingly, each of these families has a different story. Mubare was the first group habituated in 1992 and hence the oldest family in the park having 9 members. Habinyanja was habituated in 1997 comprised of 17 members and lastly Rushegura family, which was opened for tourism in 2000 having 19 members. Altogether, buhoma. Each day, 24 gorilla permits are available and issued out in Buhoma where of the three gorilla families is visited by 8 people everyday.

Alternative activities
Besides gorilla trekking, Buhoma offers a variety of activities and attractions for travelers. These include a community walk to the adjacent communities of batwa pygmies and Bakiga communities. The batwa demonstrate their forest life to the before they were evicted to the edge of the forest. Also, travelers are allowed to take part in local communities such as digging, preparing local food, baby-sitting, brewing local beers, and collecting fruits among others. also, travelers can do forest walks to different points of the park. Birding watching is also a must do in Buhoma if the safari is to be complete.

A variety of accommodation facilities
If you want to sleep comfortably and eat delicious food, look not further than Buhoma sector. The sector has a variety of luxury, midrange and budget lodges which all serve high quality services. The cost of services vary from lodge to lodge depending on the quality of service but all lodges offer excellent services delivered by professional and experienced staff. Lodges in Buhoma include mahogany springs lodge, Buhoma lodge, Bwindi forest lodge, Bwindi guesthouse, Bwindi view bandas, gorilla forest camp and Bwindi volcano lodge among others. All these lodges have connecting short cuts to the gorilla trekking starting point, which make it easier for travelers to catch up with the pre trekking briefing at the national park head quarters in Buhoma.

In general, a gorilla safari to Buhoma sector is a lifetime experience in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. The ease of access, comfortable lodges and camps and all other activities make Buhoma a best place to trek gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.

Posted by admin in Blog, News, Uganda
Uganda Gorilla Safaris

Uganda Gorilla Safaris

Uganda gorilla safaris lead travellers to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mghahinga Gorilla National Park both in the southwest of the country and Uganda’s two homes of the endangered mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking is Uganda’s leading tourist attraction and also fetches the highest revenue in the  tourism sector which has made it emerge as the country’s leading foreign exchange earner in recent years.

Gorilla tours in Bwindi and Mgahinga are carried out throughout the year though the experience is more attractive during the dry season of June to September and December to February. This is because the conditions for gorilla trekking are more conducive in the dry season given the dense vegetation and the rugged landscape in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda’s major gorilla trekking destination.

Uganda has the majority of the global population of mountain gorillas which is estimated to be around 1,064 individuals according to the latest gorilla census. Majority of Uganda’s mountain gorillas live in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where about 15 gorilla groups have been habituated to be visited by trekkers while Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has one habituated gorilla group.

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park takes place in four different sectors including Ruhija, Rushaga, Buhoma and Nkuringo. The habituated gorilla groups are equally distributed in these sectors and a group of 8 trekkers are allowed to visit a gorilla family in one of these sectors once per day in order to control congestion in the gorilla habitat and preserve their conservation.

Uganda’s gorilla trekking permit which allows you to visit the mountain gorillas is sold at $700 per person for foreign tourists. Travellers are encouraged to book gorilla trekking permit at 6 months in advance due the strict system of their issuance. Gorilla permits are always limited in availability due to the high demand and the need to promote gorilla conservation by limiting human accessibility to them.

A Uganda gorilla safari is usually supplemented with other wildlife tours to give a traveler a complete Uganda safari experience. Amazing wildlife encounters like game drives are arranged in addition to the gorilla safari to give travellers a chance to meet some of Uganda’s best wildlife species in her large savannah parks including the famous Africa “big five.” This includes lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhinoceros which can be found in large reserves like Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Kidepo Valley National Park.

Chimpanzee tracking is another amazing encounter added to gorilla trekking in Uganda. Unlike gorillas, Chimpanzees are evenly distributed in different reserves around the country.  The best chimpanzee tracking spots in Uganda include Kibale Forest National Park, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park and at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary near Entebbe International Airport on Lake Victoria.

One of the most encouraging factor to explore all these wildlife encounters in Uganda in addition to gorilla trekking is that they are all far cheaper than the cost of the gorilla permit, going for an average cost of $200 per person.

Uganda gorilla safaris especially in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are usually concluded with an amazing and relaxing cultural tour to the breathtaking Batwa community. The Batwa live near the gorilla habitat of Bwindi and they are always ready to entertain their visitors with their impressive cultural performances.

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Gorilla tours in Bwindi Forest National park

Gorilla tours in Bwindi Forest National park

Tourism In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is sited in the South Western part of Uganda along the border with Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) next to Virunga National Park in DRC. The park covers a total land area of 331 square kilometers (128 sq comprised of both montane lowland forests and can only be accessed by foot due to the thick forests and the rugged nature of its terrain. Bwindi is also very rich in fauna with over 120 mammal species, of which 10 are primates and more than 45 small mammal. Mountain gorillas are the popular primate species and over 480 gorillas live in this tropical rain forest. The national park is therefore the best place to go for gorilla tours rewarding travelers to spend time with these amazing species. Besides gorillas, Bwindi is a home to some chimpanzees, L’Hoest’s Monkey, African elephant, African green broadbill and Cream-banded swallowtail, black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, vervet, the giant forest hog and small antelopes. Carnivores like side-striped jackal, African golden cat and African civet can also be found in the park. There are also over 350 bird species and more than 200 butterfly species. Various fish species can also be found in the Park’s Rivers and streams.

The park lies at the edge of the up-warped Western Rift Valley in Kigezi Highlands with a very rugged topography accompanied by narrow valleys with a complex network of Rivers along its steep hills. The altitude in the Park Range from 1,190 to 2,607 meters (3,904 to 8,553 ft) above sea level. it is also important to note that over 60% of the park has an elevation of above 2,000 meters (6,600 ft). The national park experiences tropical climate characterized with an annual mean temperature range of 7 to 27 degrees celicious and annual rainfall ranges from 1,400 to 1,900 millimeters. The peak rainfall is received in March to April and September to November.

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park was garzetted in 1991 together with the sister Mgahinga gorilla national park purposely to conserve mountain gorillas and promote gorilla tourism. Uganda Wildlife Authority, a government body in charge of wildlife conservation and Tourism in Uganda, manages all tourism and conservation activities in these parks. The nearest local town to the park is Kabale in the South East, which is 29 kilometers (18 mi) away from the park by road.
Also, Bwindi is a water catchment area with a dense network of water streams from heavy rainfall in the park and because of this, many Rivers have resulted from these streams. The major ones include; Ivi, Munyaga, Ihihizo, Ishasha and Ntengyere Rivers which flow into Lake Edward. Other Rivers from the park flow into Lakes Mutanda and Bunyonyi. Therefore besides tourism, Bwindi is a source of domestic and agricultural water for the local communities adjacent to the park.

In terms of biodiversity, the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is biologically rich. The park has the richest population of trees in East Africa in its Afromontane forests, which is a rare vegetation type in Africa. Over 220 tree species can be found in the park, which makes more than 50% of all Uganda’s tree species. Among these, there is rare white Mahogany threatened plant specie found within the park. The vegetation provides food and habitation to mountain gorillas together with other animals and bird species in the forest.

Gorilla Tours in Bwindi
Gorilla trekking is the main tourist attraction for most if not all travelers to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. The park shelters over 400 mountain gorillas, which have been habituated into 12 gorilla groups available for trekking. Surprisingly, this number makes up almost half of all the mountain gorillas in the world which shows you how the park is hugely blessed with this kind gorillas and hence the best destination for gorilla safaris in the whole world. The rest population of gorillas in the nearby Virunga Mountains of Rwanda’s volcanoes national park and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Virunga national park. Most of Uganda’s gorilla tours are made to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park because of the presence of these numerous mountain gorillas in the park. Away from gorilla trekking, Chimpanzee tracking is also another good tourist attraction at the park. The chimps can also be seen in the nearby neighborhood to those of the gorillas. They also offer an incredible experience to tourists with their human like behaviors.
Monkey watching and bird watching also offer an extra enjoyable experience to tourists after exploring the gorillas and chimps. The park has rare monkey species like the golden monkeys and the red tailed monkeys that are always entertaining tourists with their canning plays and fights. A variety of bird species ranging from small to big can also be watched at the park, which is also a breathtaking moment.

Gorilla permits in Bwindi
All travelers to see gorillas in Bwindi must have valid gorilla permits as a pass to see these gentle giants in their natural habitat. A single gorilla permit in Bwindi costs 600usd and it allows travelers to spend an hour with mountain gorillas. Fortunately, foreign residents pay 500usd while east African residents pay 250000shs which is an added advantage. However, gorilla trekking costs of accommodation and transport to the park are not included in the above gorilla permits. Booking gorilla-tracking permits in advance is very essential as they always have a limited availability. Gorilla trackers are advised to book for permits at least 3 months in advance.

Getting to the park
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park can be accessed by both road and air transport means. By road, Bwindi can be reached via Kampala-Kabale-Kanungu-Buhoma route, which takes 5-6 hours. Another route is that of Kampala-Ntungamo-Rukungiri-Kihihi-Buhoma. This is the easiest and most convenient route and has about 390km in addition to the marram road to Buhoma. By air, travelers can either decide to fly from the main Entebbe airport or from Kajjansi airfield. These flights will lead to one of the three airstrips around the park, which include the tarmac airstrip at Kisoro, Kayonza and Kihihi airstrips.

What to Pack for a gorilla tour in Bwindi
To ensure a successful and enjoyable gorilla safari to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, a ravel must have a fully equipped packing list. Among your list of items you should carry include hiking boots for easy movements, garden gloves to protect your hands during your gorilla tracking adventure, a rain jacket to deal with unpredicted forest rains and sun glasses/hut to protect from direct sunshine. You will also need a long sleeved shirt or blouse together with a pair of jean trousers, which protect from insects like the safari ants that may disturb your gorilla trekking experience. Energy giving snacks and enough drinking water are also recommended to boost you during the exhausting gorilla trekking journey. A pair of binoculars will also help you to view some of the distant species like birds, monkeys, chimps and other primates. Finally you may need to pay a porter to give you a push or a pull during your gorilla trekking as the gorillas may be far.

Accommodation/Where to Stay in Bwindi
A variety of luxury, midrange and budget lodges have been established in tBwindi impenetrable forest national park to service travelers with excellent food and sleeping services. These lodges include Lake Kitanda Bwindi Camp, Volcanoes Bwindi Camp,the Gorilla Resort-Bwindi,Lodges in Bwindi
Mantana Luxury Tented Camp, Gorilla safari lodge, Bakiga lodge, Gorilla mist camp, Mahogany springs lodge, Chameleone hill lodge. All these lodges have experienced staff to welcome and serve travelers any time. The prices charged vary depending on the standard of the lodge (luxury, midrange &luxury) but travelers are assured of quality services.

When to Visit Bwindi Forest National Park
The park is open for wildlife viewing and gorilla safaris throughout the year. However, the best time for a traveler is from June to August and December to February because these are drier months and therefore forest trails are not impassable and slippery.

Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations
At the start of every trekking day, all travelers assemble at the park head quarters for a briefing about trekking rules and regulations. These are to ensure safety of the endangered gorillas and the travelers. The trekking rules and regulations include among others:
Washing hands before you go for Gorilla trekking.

Keep your voices low, by keeping your voices low this enables one to look out for different mammals in the forest, remember it’s a forest which protects and inhabits a number of birds, mammal by lowering your voices you will have a chance to see more of the inhabitants of the forest.

Do not live the Rubbish behind during your trek, the animals might eat the Rubbish and die; always keep all the Rubbish in bags and go back with them.

Always stand 7meters away from the Gorillas; the more you stand back the more relaxed they become to continue with their day to day life, observe them closely as they eat, play, groom each other, display their nests such a beautiful encounter.

Always keep your voices low, however questions are allowed to be asked in case you need to know more.

Stay in tight groups of eight do not move around the Gorillas may take charge, do not look direct in their eyes and do not run away this may increase the risk.

Do not to touch the Gorillas these are ‘wild animals’.

Do not eat, smoke, drink this may live the droppings causing the Gorillas to eat and might lead to transmission of diseases.

Flash Cameras with lights are not allowed during the trek.

The maximum time to spend with the mountain Gorillas is 1 hour. After all that time spent with the mountain Gorillas move 200 meters away and start talking, but in a low voice.
Conclusively therefore, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is a place to visit. Book a Uganda safari to Bwindi, enjoy gorilla trekking and other tourism activities in the park.

Posted by admin in Blog, News, Uganda
Uganda Ranks 5th At ITB Berlin Tourism Expo

Uganda Ranks 5th At ITB Berlin Tourism Expo

Uganda Ranks 5th At ITB Berlin Tourism Expo
A few days after the ITB Berlin tourism expo, Uganda the pearl of Africa comes out as the fifth best world exhibitor winning herself an African category award. This year, Uganda performed excellently (5th) compared to last year when the pearl of Africa came out as the 9th best exhibitor in the African category. Each year, Germany organizes the ITB tourism expo in berlin in which travel operators from the whole world exhibit different tourism products to boost tourism industry and generate increased revenue to respective countries. This year, the expo was for five days running from 7th -11th march 2018 and Ugandans
Displayed their travel products at the Uganda stand in hall 21A/121 which tourism products included mountain gorillas, culture, wildlife, mountains and birds among others.

The expo was officially opened by Dr Angela Merkel a Germany chancellor who revealed the need for sustainable tourism and wildlife conservation in all parts of the world. Similarly, the Germany chancellor exposed the problems associated with tourism over crowding as well as appreciating the benefits of tourism sector to the development of economies as well as improving the standards of living for the people. The exhibition was attended by over 10,000 travel operators from all over the world where as the number of viewers and potential travelers increased to over 109,000 hence a great hope for travel agencies assuring them of raised business. Different companies represented different business such as tourist boards, hotels, car rental companies, system providers and airlines among others. All the arrangements were done by students al the cologne business school in Berlin. The ranking of the best exhibitors was in different categories, which among others included service, design and originality among others.

This year, over 30 travel companies in Uganda in cooperation with the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) a government body responsible for marketing and development of new tourism products in Uganda. Fortunately, Germany the host of the expo ranked 3rd best exhibitor which guarantee Uganda tour operators increased business. The ITB Berlin expo is one of the world’s four major international tourism expos which has supported Uganda tourism and is therefore one of the reasons for the success of tourism in Uganda. Also based
On the success and big turn up in the expo, UTB expect tourism deals worth shs3 billions following the weeklong stay in Berlin. Also, the expo was a platform for Uganda travel operators to meet and interact with other agencies from all over the world hence an opportunity for discussing best strategies of promoting tourism industry.

ITB Berlin is the leading business podium for global tourism, which guarantee travel agencies with over 90% business and effective delivery of excellent services.
At present, tourism has become a major source of revenue for the government of Uganda generating over 50% of the country’s total revenue. Also, tourism is a major source of income for the people of Uganda both directly and indirectly. The sector has employed may people to world as tour guides for gorilla tours and other wildlife safaris, hotel managers, porters, house keepers, waiters and waitresses, tour operators and travel consultants among others. This therefore makes tourism a source of livelihood for the people of Uganda earning them income to improve their standards of living. Tourism earns Uganda over 7 billion shillings to the total gross domestic product (GPD).

According to the Uganda tourism board, tourism has become Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earner edging foreign remittances a few years ago and contributing an excess of shs 7 billion to the gross domestic product of Uganda.
Whereas different countries were recognized for distinctive tourism products, Uganda the peal of Africa was highly recognized for its famous mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga gorilla national parks and other wildlife, hospitable people and other attractions located in different parts of the country.
Conclusively therefore, the pearl of Africa offers it all to meet, satisfy and exceed all travelers expectations. Book a safari to Uganda for mountain gorilla safaris, game viewing, mountain climbing, cultural tours and bird watching rewarding you with a life tie experience.

Posted by admin in Blog, News
Chimpanzee Trekking In Uganda – Primate Trekking

Chimpanzee Trekking In Uganda – Primate Trekking

Chimpanzee Trekking In Uganda
An encounter with chimpanzees in the jungle is undeniably an exceptional experience you must not miss on your Uganda safari. With over 1500 chimpanzees residing in Uganda, the pearl of Africa is the best destination to see and interact with these endangered species. Chimpanzees share 99.8% of human DNA hence the closer relatives to human beings and their human like characters in their social life and responsibilities make them distinct from other primates. Chimpanzee trekking is the second most done activity in Uganda after gorilla safaris in the rain forest of Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga gorilla national park in southwestern Uganda. Just like in gorilla trekking, travelers to see chimpanzees are obliged to follow trekking rules and regulations which among others include keeping a distance of seven meters, speaking at a low tone, and not littering any trash in the chimpanzee habitat. For those interested in chimpanzee trekking, Uganda has various chimpanzee destinations, which among others include:

Kibale forest national park
Shared by kabarole and kamwengye district, kibale forest is a home to the highest population of chimpanzees in Uganda. The tropical rain forest is a home to 13 primates hence the best place e to see and interact with these primates among which are the endangered species. Three chimpanzee communities have been habituated for trekking in kibale and all trekking starts at kanyanchu information center after a briefing. Besides chimpanzees, kibale forest national park is a shelter to Vervet monkeys, Cush babies, Colubus monkeys, Blue monkeys, olive baboons, grey cheeked Mangabey, red tailed monkeys, Pottos, black and white colobuses and L’Hoest monkeys among others. Additionally, kibale offers the exceptional chimpanzee habituation experience, which allow travelers to spend extended time with their close relatives. All travelers must have a valid permit, which costs 150usd for foreign non-residents, 100usd for foreign residents and 100,000ush. On the other hand, a habituation permit is quite expensive costing 200usd for foreign residents, 200usd for foreign residents and 150,000ush for east African residents. Both trekking and habituation are life changing and worth doing.

Kyambura gorge
Also known as the “valley of apes” kyambura gorge is in the eastern section of Queen Elizabeth national park. kyambura gorge is roughly 100 meters deep and home to the great chimpanzees. Interestingly, chimpanzee trekking in kyambura gorge is quite easy and takers limited time to meet these apes unlike in kibale forest national park. Trekking chimpanzees in kyambura also require a permit, which costs 50usd for foreign non-residents, 50usd for foreign residents and 30,000ush for east African residents. Other activities in kyambura gorge include nature walks and bird watching which all make a safari to the gorge an experience for lifetime.

Budongo forest
Budongo forest is a yet a best place for chimpanzees trekking situated in Murchison falls national park. For those who have trekked chimpanzees before, Buongo is ranked the second after Kibale forest in offering memorable chimpanzee trekking experiences. A visit to Budongo forest for chimpanzees is a not miss on your safari to Murchison falls national park and is surely worth doing. A permit of a chimpanzee permit costs 80usd in high season and 75usd in the low season while east African residents pay 40usd. Budongo forest is Uganda’s biggest mahogany forest, which comprise of 465 tree species and is a home to over 24 mammals, 290 butterflies and 140 species of moths. Kaniyo pabidi and Busingiro ecotourism sites are also interesting to visit on your visit o Budongo Forest. Besides chimpanzee trekking, Budongo forest is good for bird watching and nature walks, which make it a best place to visit.

Kalinzu forest
Kalinzu forest is yet another place to see the famous chimpanzees and is visited along with Queen Elizabeth national park. Kalinzu forest compromise of over 414 tree species hosting over 378 bird species among which include black casket, great blue Turaco, sunbirds, and white caskets among others. Also, kalinzu is a home to blue monkeys, black and white colubuses and vervet monkeys among others. You should also expect to see over 250 butterflies, 100 moths and various reptiles and flowers all at your disposal. Chimpanzee trekking in kalinzu is done at a cost of 40usd hence the best option for budget travelers.
Other places to see chimpanzees in Uganda include Kagombe, Itwara, Kasyoha-Kitoma, Otzi, Muhangi and Wambabya all offering you a close encounter with these amazing apes.

How to access the permits
Chimpanzee trekking permits can be booked direct from Uganda wildlife authority (UWA) a responsible government body for tourism and wildlife conservation in Uganda. Alternatively, a traveler can book a permit through any trusted tour operator who offers chimpanzee trekking safaris to kibale forest, Budongo, kyambura and other chimpanzee destinations.

How to dress
Just like mountain gorillas, chimpanzees live in rain forest, which become muddy and slippery especially in rainy seasons. Travelers are therefore reminded to dress in hiking boots for easy movements, hand gloves to grab on forest branches, long sleeved shirts and pants to protect from thorny bushes, hats and sun glasses to deal with direct sun and rain jackets for the unpredictable weather conditions.
In conclusion, chimpanzee trekking is the best wildlife experience you should not miss on your safari to Uganda. Book now and visit any one of chimpanzee destinations and meet face to face with the close relatives to human beings.

Posted by admin in Blog, News, Uganda
How is it Like to Trek Mountain Gorillas?

How is it Like to Trek Mountain Gorillas?

Are you planning a gorilla tour to Uganda, Rwanda or Congo? An encounter with mountain gorillas is an amazing, awesome, magical, unforgettable, humbling, and eye-opening experience every travel should add on his/her travel bucket list. The experience is surely everything that past travelers have adored as wonderful, moving, spell binding and moving bringing you close to these beautiful creatures in their rapidly retreating habitat. Though it’s quite an adventure to bush walk through the jungle while stepping around the tracks of forest elephants a face-to-face encounter with the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas is undeniably an experience of its own kind. Regardless of the strenuous and un predictable hours of wondering in the jungle, the outcome of seeing these magnificent animals make you forget about how difficult it was to get to them. There are no words that can describe fully how it feels like being the gorillas but the experience is an immersive wildlife encounter. Upon the confirmation of your gorilla safaris, the actual day of meeting gorillas finally comes for you to enjoy a glimpse of being so close to the splendid gentle giants in their natural habitats. Gorilla safaris are only done in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in Uganda and the Virunga Massif, which comprise of Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Virunga national park in DRC and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda.

Briefing and allocation of gorilla families
At the start of each trekking day, travelers transfer to the national park headquarters to join others for a briefing about trekking rules and regulations. The briefing id all about safety precautions by the travelers aimed to keeping mountain gorillas health for sustainable tourism. This is done as early as 7:00am to catch up with hiking it before set sets in. Travelers are then divided into groups of eight each of which is allocated to one gorilla family and there the hiking begins.

Hire porters and carry walking stick
Hiking starts right away after the briefing and porters are very invaluable in the hiking session. The porters (former poachers) help in carrying knapsack, provide guidance, support by holding travelers hands in the slippery slopes, which make trekking quite easy for travelers. The terrain comprises of hills, holes and thick vines, small creek and rock bed that make hiking quite difficult hence a need for a porter. Also hiring a porter is an indirect support for the local communities who formerly depended on the forest for a livelihood.

The actual trekking and meeting the gorillas
This entails hiking up and down in search of mountain gorillas and the length of trekking can be as short as 30 minutes to a full day depending on the location of the allocated gorilla family and the speed of their movements. Hiking is very enjoyable and travelers make it easier making sure that all travelers move at the same pace and speed. Rangers are helpful and ensure trekking is done in bits where at some point the “slowest” person leads the whole group and all others travelers move at his/her pace. On reaching the gorillas, travelers keep following the gorillas as they eat, swing from trees, fart and poop requiring them to move at the same pace so as to observe and enjoy all their activities.

How long to be with the gorillas
Though hiking may take several hours, a face-to-face encounter with mountain gorillas lasts for an hour. Travelers should therefore keep keen, calm and steady to utilize this one-hour. This is the time to observe carefully gorillas human like characters such as silverbacks defending family members while female adults nurse the young ones. Remember to remove the flash light form the camera and take as many photographs as possible future reference. Enjoy the company of a 650-pound Silverback escorting his family of wives and babies as gently as possible.

REMINDER:
Carry your Gorilla permits

The permit is expensive but absolutely worth it to protect these brilliant animals and support the local communities. All travelers must have gorilla permits as a pass to see the majestic giants in the jungle. Also travelers are reminded to book for the permits as early as six months before trekking the date for easy planning. The cost of a gorilla permit vary in each country where Rwanda offers the most expensive permits at 1500usd, Uganda at 600usd and DRC at 450usd. Any travel without a permit is not allowed to see the gorillas. A permit allow travelers to spend an hour with the gorillas after which the trekking is declared done.

Follow the rules and regulations
To ensure a successful and peaceful gorilla trekking experience, all travelers are reminded to follow the rules and regulations taught during briefing. These include keeping a distance of seven meters distance a way from the gorillas, keeping low tone, keeping within their groups, and not to litter anything in the forest. Looking direct into the eyes of mountain gorillas is discouraged since it puts them on tension and can therefore behave wild to defend them selves. The reason for the seven-meter distance is to avoid the spread of human wildlife communicable disease, which are harmful to the endangered gorillas and the travelers.

Best time to trek mountain gorillas
Though gorilla trekking can be done all year round, the experience is most enjoyable in the dry season. This is in the months of June, July, August, September, October, December, January and February. During this season the grounds hiking through the dense forest is quite easy with less sliding and muddy grounds unlike in the rainy season where the grounds become extremely muddy and slippery making it hard to hike.

Conclusively therefore, gorilla trekking is a spiritual experience you should not miss, book a gorilla safari now and enjoy a lifetime experience you will live to remember.

Posted by admin in Blog, News, safaris
Wildlife & Beauty  Key to Uganda’s Tourism Sector

Wildlife & Beauty Key to Uganda’s Tourism Sector

It’s undeniable that wildlife and beauty are key features for the success of tourism sector in Uganda. Gifted by nature, the pearl of Africa is blessed with a variety of wildlife and beautiful sceneries where something awaits you in all parts of the country. A combination of wild animals, birds, forest, rivers, lakes, mountains, valleys, and green vegetation make Uganda safaris exceptional travel experiences.Each day that passes, thousands of travelers visit different tourism spots in Uganda among which are national parks, game reserves, cultural and historical sites which reward them with memorable experiences. At the end of the 11 million dollar five year biodiversity project, the US ambassador in Uganda recognized the contribution of wildlife and beauty in boosting Uganda’s tourism sector. Participants also revised new strategies which promise to attract billions ways to the new conservation based tourism. Also, the US ambassador reveled that the 1.3 billion dollar earned from tourism sector depends on its wildlife and natural beauty situated in all parts of the country.

In order to avoid wildlife conflicts in national parks and all protected areas, Uganda government has initiated various community-based projects in local areas adjacent to national parks. The Budongo community group in Budongo forest adjacent to Murchison falls national park is one of the community based projects, which have been put by the government of Uganda. Local people in Murchison falls national park were given 200 beehives as a way to avoid human wildlife conflicts. Similarly, the government plans to add more 800-bee hives after Budongo community project has registered with the government as a cooperative
Looking at Uganda’s wildlife, Uganda is a home to roughly 480 mountain gorillas, which is half of the world’s total population of mountain gorillas. The pearl of Africa is blessed to be one of the three countries which host the critically endangered mountain gorillas along with Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda shelters 13 habituated gorilla families 12 of which reside in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and 1 in Mgahinga gorilla national park all available for trekking. The high number of gorilla families’ which guarantee travelers availability of gorilla permits even for the first time travelers.

Besides mountain gorillas, Uganda is a home to the rare golden monkeys, which live in Mgahinga gorilla national park in southwestern Uganda. Uganda and Rwanda are the only two countries, which shelter the critically endangered golden monkeys in Mghinga and Volcanoes national parks respectively. Fortunately, golden monkeys are trekked at 100usd that is relatively cheaper compared to mountain gorillas at 600usd.

Kibale forest national park is a home to over 1450 chimpanzees, which offer travelers a memorable chimpanzee trekking experience bringing you close to the close relatives of human beings. More still, kibale national park is a home to a variety of baboons, L’Hoest monkeys, black and white colubuses, olive baboons, red tailed monkeys, bush babies, grey-cheeked mangabey and pottos among others hence an added advantage for the travelers. Still in kibale, expect to see forest elephants, duikers, and bush pigs hence traveler’s opportunity to interact with wildlife hence a memorable experience.

Murchison falls and Queen Elizabeth national park are best for wildlife viewing. The two national parks shelter the highest population of wildlife, which are seen browsing and grazing in the open savannah grasslands. Travelers are blessed to have a close look at herds of elephants, lions, buffalos, lions, leopards, giraffes, zebras, impalas, Uganda kobs, waterbucks, warthogs, oribis, Jackson’s heartbeats, hippos and crocodiles among others. Game viewing is a highlight for most if not all travelers coming to Uganda safaris. Besides Murchison falls and Queen Elizabeth, Kidepo valley national park in north Eastern Uganda and Lake Mburo national park in Mbarara district.

Sheltering over 1050 bird species, bird watching is Uganda’s best offer which attract thousands of travelers from all parts of the world. Uganda’s popular birding spots include The popular birding the Mabamba bay wetland sanctuary, kazinga channel in queen Elizabeth national park, Murchison falls national park, semuliki national park, kibale forest national park, Mgahinga gorilla national park, Budongo forest, Lake Mburo and Rwenzori mountains national park. The spied birds include crested francolin, African fish eagle, lilac-breasted roller, rare African fin foot, cheeky bronze tailed sparkling, long eared owl, golden winged sunbird, Archers’ robin –chat, pied kingfisher, black-collared lovebird, Casiin’s spine tail, African dwarf kingfishers, African open-billed stork, and papyrus gonolek among others. Experience birding guides help travelers in spotting different birds while explaining in details the unique characters of each spotted bird.

Uganda is a best mountain climbing destination in Africa being a home to various mountains, which include the famous mount Rwenzori (mountain of the moon), mount Elgon, Mount Gahinga, Mount Muhabura and Mount Sabyinyo. The summit of each volcano provides travelers with beautiful sceneries of the local communities, vegetation, rolling hills hence rewarding travelers with memorable experiences.

Conclusively therefore, visit Uganda the pearl of Africa, enjoy wildlife safaris, bird watching, mountain climbing, gorilla trekking and chimpanzee trekking all rewarding you with a lifetime experience.

Posted by admin in Blog, News, safaris
Nature Walks in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Nature Walks in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Walking or hiking through Mgahinga gorilla forest national park on foot is undeniably the best way to explore and enjoy the treasures that nature offers on your Uganda safari with no limitation. Forest walks also called nature walks or hiking trails entail travelers footing through the forest following different trails depending on the targeted end point. Each trail take you to a certain attraction such as waterfalls, swamps and caves among others just for you to see and enjoy. A forest walk is an opportunity for travelers to listen to the sweet sounds of birds singing up in the tress as well as enjoying the quite cool forest environment. Travelers are also assured of meeting and interacting with various wild animals such as the critically endangered mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, duikers, baboons, elephants, giant forest hogs and bushbucks among others. The choice of which trail to follow therefore depends on the interest of the travelers and the physical fitness reminded that some trails are surely strenuous but the experience is memorable. Hiking trails in Mgahinga gorilla national park include among others:

Sabinyo gorge walk
Forest walks in Mgahinga
This is a 5-6 hours walk meandering in the lower slopes of Mount Sabyinyo taking travelers through different vegetation zones all the way to the gorge. Sabyinyo gorge walk is a very strenuous yet enjoyable hike which reward travelers with spectacular views of the Virunga volcanoes, Bwindi forest, neighboring communities, Mgahinga national park and wildlife in the park. Additionally, the trail is a best birding spot and travelers spot different bird species which include Rwenzori Turaco, white necked raven, ibis, grey capped warbler, waxbills, pin –tailed whydah, paradise flycatcher, yellow vented bulbul, olive pigeon, Rwenzori nightjar, pin tailed whydah, black kite, speckled mouse birds and olive woodpecker among others. The trail starts in the bamboo forests proceeding to the deep forest a habitat for numerous birds and wild animals. Fortunately, ridges have been put to ease the hiking whereas bridges help in crossing over water streams making the experience more enjoyable. Travelers are reminded to carry enough drinking water, hiking boots and energy giving snacks to keep them strong in the tiresome long hike.

Batwa trail
Hiking trails in Mgahinga
Batwa trail is the most interesting trail in Mgahinga national park where Batwa pygmies demonstrate their traditional forest life to the travelers. The trail entails Batwa, the formers dwellers of the forest lead travelers into the forest while singing their traditional dances and songs for entertainment. On reaching the forest, Batwa practice their former activities such as hunting, gathering fruits and collecting honey among others as travelers watch or take part. The Batwa also take travelers to their popular spots such as the Ngarama cave where they used to offer sacrifices to their gods and preforming other rituals. A batwa cultural trail is done at a cost of 80usd which money is used to support the Batwa who were evicted to the edge of the forest when gorilla tourism was introduced in the national park. It’s a half-day interaction with the indigenous forest dwellers, which provide travelers with in depth understanding of the Batwa, their histories and their former forest life.

Border trail
This is a moderate walk to Uganda border with Democratic Republic of Congo done in the lower slopes of Mount Sabyinyo. The trail takes five hours through different vegetation types hence a chance for travelers to meet and interact with wild animals such as golden monkeys, duikers, mountain gorillas and many bird species. While in the trail, travelers can also hike up to the caldera at the top of Gisozi hill which reward you with spectacular views of the Mgahinga gorilla national park, the neighboring Bwindi, Virunga volcanoes and the adjacent communities.

Hiking to the visitors information center
This is the shortest trail just a few minutes from the national park entrance point. Here travelers are introduced to all facts about Mgahinga gorilla national park such as the vegetation zones, wildlife, Virunga volcanoes, batwa pygmies and birdlife in the national park. There are also different symbols at your display as well as various articrafts for sale. Some animals come at the center hence a chance for travelers to see these animals without strenuous hikes. You can also view the Virunga volcanoes mainly Sabyinyo, Bwindi impenetrable forest and the farmlands which all provide you with a memorable experiences.

Besides forest walks, Mgahinga gorilla national park offers much more which include among others:
Mountain gorilla trekking
The national park is a home to Nyakageyzi gorilla family, which is available for trekking. In the past, Nyakagyezi used to cross borders to Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo but has presently settled in Mgahinga for trekking. Just like in the neighboring Bwindi, Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga comes with a cost of 600usd for an interaction of an hour. The family is led by Mark as dominant silverback and comprise of 10 members which include Rukundo, Nshuti, Mutagamba, Bugingo, Nvuyekure, Mathew and mark among others. Fortunately, new babies are being born hence the family expanding day by day.

Golden monkey trekking
Mgahinga Gorilla park
This is yet another interesting activity done in Mgahinga Gorilla national park. The park is one of the two parks sheltering these endangered species along side Volcanoes national park. Golden monkey trekking is a not miss activity done at relatively fair rate 100usd but the experience is memorable. Golden monkeys are lively and playful animals, which are distinguished from other monkey species by a golden fur on the back. Golden monkeys live in large groups of 60-80 members compared to mountain gorillas, which make an encounter with them more interesting and enjoyable.

Hiking the Virunga volcanoes
Mgahinga gorilla national park is a home to three extinct volcanoes, which are Mount Sabyinyo, Mount Gahinga and Mount Muhabura. A hike to the top of any volcano is a great experience, which reward travelers with great views of the neighboring communities, other Virungas in Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo as well as the rain forest of the national park.

Conclusively therefore, visit Mgahinga gorilla national, park, do nature walks, gorilla trekking, Golden monkey trekking and hike the Virunga volcanoes rewarding you with a memorable experience.

Posted by admin in Blog, News, safaris
World Investors to Boost Conservation Tourism in Uganda

World Investors to Boost Conservation Tourism in Uganda

With a major aim of boosting tourism and wildlife conservation in the country, Uganda for the time hosted the conservation and tourism investment forum on 6th October 2017. The forum was a platform for top government officials, responsible tourism bodies, private investors and all senior business figures from all parts of the world to gather and discuss how best Uganda can be marketed nationally and internationally as well as to attract more private investors and travelers from parts of the world to visit Uganda. It was realized that despite Uganda’s beautiful nature, rift valleys, lakes, rivers, mountains, hospitable people, birds and mostly half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas, the country still receive few travelers as it was expected. Uganda’s government and responsible bodies have therefore realized a need for extensive marketing and private investment so as to boost conservation tourism hence attracting a large number of tourist arrivals into the country. The need to boost tourism and promote wildlife conservation in Uganda was the main reason for the launching of conservation and tourism investment forum by the government and responsible tourism bodies.

While in the meeting, the government of Uganda disclosed tourism to private investment calling upon all private investors and other conservation organizations to support tourism as well as marketing the country o the outside world. The conducive climate and strategic location of Uganda in the heart of East Africa make it a best country to stay.

New marketing strategies were raised especially encouragement of private sector investment as an additional source of capital to complement the traditional sources of conservation capital. It was also an opportunity for the government to market its beauty and all the treasures to lure and attract more investors and tourists to come and explore what Uganda offers ranging from mountain gorillas and much more. Private investors were also called upon to take part in management of protected areas in conjunction with the government and other responsible bodies.

The Uganda Tourism Board enlightened private investors about the importance of natural resource conservation in boosting tourism sector in ten country calling upon all private investors and Non Governmental organization to take part in management of natural resources hence tourism development. Some private investors such as Max Graham the founder of elephant conservation group space for giants welcomed the idea appreciating that Uganda has it all to offer but only lacks extensive marketing and investment. The private investor also confessed that all other private investors have been waiting for government’s invitation for a joint management and marketing of Uganda’s tourism resources.

Private investors were also concerned about Uganda’s political security as well as security of wildlife in respective national parks for the smooth running of tourism activities in all parts of Uganda. In response, the president of Uganda “His excellence Yoweri Kaguta Museveni” assured travelers of a tight security system and a strong army, which has been and will continue to ensure peace in the country ensuring of all investments. Also, the anti poaching measures that were put by the Uganda wildlife authority have increased a population of elephant’s population.

Also, there should be good and easy connectivity to uganda national parks and other tourism spots a cross the country. This therefore calls for extensive investment in maintaining roads connecting to Murchison falls national park and Kibale forest reserve among others. New roads to kidepo valley national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park are under construction assuring investors and traveler’s easy connectivity to all national parks and other tourism spots in all parts of the country.

With the participation of private investors and government authority, Uganda tourism is hoped to boost. The Uganda tourism bard a body responsible for marketing and new product development is assured of great turn up in terms of tourist arrivals into the country. Uganda hopes to receive over million travelers by 2020 based on the 1.3 million travelers that were received in 2016.

Conclusively therefore, all private investors and non-governmental organization are called upon to support tourism conservation in Uganda hence boosting tourism sector.

Posted by admin in Blog, News, Uganda
Batwa Community Trails in Bwindi Forest National Park

Batwa Community Trails in Bwindi Forest National Park

Much as Bwindi is widely known for gorilla trekking, a visit to the batwa community is surely a not miss on your gorilla safari to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Batwa community trails are usually done after or before gorilla tour but the experience is worth doing. These Batwa trails lead you to the batwa communities and into their homes bringing you close to these ancient people who for thousands of years co-existed with wild animals in the forests of Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga gorilla national park before the introduction of gorilla tourism and conservation. Though done for a short time, the batwa trails in Bwindi are related to the batwa cultural trail in Mgahinga gorilla national park in which travelers spend the whole day experiencing the batwa’s traditional forest life.

With the introduction of gorilla tourism in in Bwindi, the Batwa were evicted to the forest edges. The batwa community walks in Bwindi take you to batwa local communities where you learn more about their forest life. It’s not just a conventional nature walk but an in-depth interaction which increase an understanding of who the batwa are. You may meet some small groups of batwa during gorilla trekking but a walk out to their homes is an amazing experience.

Who are the batwa?
Batwa pygmies are also known as the “forest keepers” who lived harmoniously with wild animals in the jungle for thousands of years. These people would make small huts made of leaves and tree branches where they would stay comfortably. Batwa pygmies did not do farming but lived a happy life in the forest. However despite their long living and free access to all forest resources, these indigenous people had no legal ownership of the forestland a reason why they were evicted with no compensation. Today, Batwa live in small communities and they welcome travelers in their homes sharing them with detailed information regarding their traditional forest life. Batwa are believed to have loved the forest like their lives and they knew well that God had blessed them with the forest as their own.

These people depended fully on the forest for a livelihood and they would freely roam all over the forest for honey, wild yams, fruits, firewood as well as hunting down small animals on which they survived. Batwa trails in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park are different from the Batwa trail in Mgahinga gorilla national park but both experiences reward you with a memorable experience.

What to expect
Bwindi forest national park
As you travel to batwa communities, expect to meet very short indigenous people from whose eyes you witness true love for the forest especially when they are narrating their eviction from the forest. On reaching their homes, travelers are allowed to take part in traditional activities such as how to make bush fire, preparing local food and traditional dances. All this is done out side the forest unlike in Mgahinga where demonstrate their traditional forest life inside the forest.

Why visit the batwa communities
Bwindi forest national park
Batwa pygmies have an interesting history of how they harmoniously lived together with wild animals in the forest. In trying to adapt to a normal life after their eviction from the forest, batwa have now started different coffee shops where travelers can enjoy coffee as they listen to stories, others make craft products such as baskets, hand bags, hats, bead and mats among others. Travelers are encouraged to buy these products as an indirect support to these less developed people. More still, an interaction with the batwa is a great opportunity to understand in depth their ancient forest life and their co-existence with wild animals.

In conclusion therefore, be part of batwa community trails in Bwindi, meet the indigenous forest people and enjoy a memorable time.

Posted by admin in Blog, Culture, News, Uganda
How is Uganda a Premier Tourism Destination

How is Uganda a Premier Tourism Destination

Gifted by nature, Uganda the pearl of Africa is undeniably a premier tourism destination you must not miss out on your uganda safaris.Blessed from the conducive climate, the rolling hills, hospitable people, a variety of wildlife and bird life in all parts of the country, Uganda offers it all to fulfill and exceed every travelers expectations on a safari. Right from Entebbe international airport, you feel a change. The fresh air and sea breezes from lake victoria along with the beautiful sceneries in the surrounding areas make you feel at home. Whichever part of the country you travel to, something new and unique awaits. All travelers who have ever been on a Uganda safari testify how Uganda is a distinct tourism destination. Looking at tourism and conservation, it has been a success evidenced by an increase in tourist arrivals from 700 in 1986 to 1.3 million travelers in 2016. Besides, progress in Uganda’s tourism is attributed to infrastructural developments, tight security and strong laws that have been put against poaching. The popular reasons why Uganda is a premier tourism destination include among others:

The conducive climate
It’s neither hot nor cold in Uganda but rather a best place to stay with two seasons. The dry season is between the months of June, July, August, September, December and February where as wet season is in March, April, May, and November. Dry season is the best for specific activities such as gorilla trekking and nature walks but all activities can as well be done in all seasons. What is most interesting about Uganda climate is that even after few minutes of down pour, the sun sets in and all the coldness disappears into air. Its interesting that In terms of altitude, Uganda’s lowest point is at 650 meters above the sea level while the highest point is at 5009 meters above the sea level which make the county best for agriculture and related tourism activities mainly agro tourism.

Mountain gorillas
Uganda offers the best wildlife encounter (gorilla trekking” being a home to the highest population of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas. Uganda gorilla safaris entail travelling deep into the tropical rain forests of Bwindi impenetrable; forest and Mgahinga gorilla national park both in southwestern Uganda. Interestingly, an encounter with gorillas in Uganda is quite cheaper at a cost of 600usd for a gorilla permit, which allow travelers to interact with the gentle giants for an hour. In the low season, gorilla passes are discounted to 450usd, which is an added advantage especially for budget travelers. 13 gorilla families have been habituated for trekking in Uganda 12 of which reside in Bwindi and 1 in Mgahinga gorilla national park. Besides gorilla trekking, Uganda is the only place to do gorilla habituation experience done in Rushaga sector of Bwindi national park. The experience allows travelers to take part in training wild gorillas o the presence of people with a group of conservationists, researchers and gorilla doctors. Habituation experience is a whole day encounter with the gentle giants in the wild where travelers spend four hours with the gorillas.

Bird watching
The pearl of Africa is a home to over 1,050 bird species inhabiting the forests, swamps and on the shores of water bodies. The common birding sites in Uganda include Mabamba bay wetland a home to rare species like swamp flycatcher, shoe bill, black kite, black headed heron, papyrus Gonolek, lesser jacana and malachite kingfisher among others. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is a home to over 350 bird species 14 of which are not found else where in the whole country, Murchison falls national park shelters roughly 450 bird species along the Nile river, Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth national park, is a home to slender tailed nightjars, grey headed kingfisher, African skimmer, African mourning dove and the migratory flamingoes at lake Bunyampaka. Birding in Uganda can also be done in Semuliki national park hosting 441 species in the riverine forests, kibale forest national park with over 375 bird species 6 of which are endemic to the albertine rift valley. Other birding sites include Budongo forest, lake Mburo national park and Rwenzori mountains national park. Travelers are assured of seeing different kinds of bird species and in-depth knowledge about each bird specie.

Wildlife viewing
Game viewing in the open savannah grasslands of Uganda is very interesting mostly done in Murchison falls national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, kidepo valley national park and lake Mburo national park. Uganda is rich in biodiversity, which include herds of elephants, buffalos, zebras, hippos, rhinos, lions, leopards, giraffes, warthogs, waterbucks, impalas, Uganda kobs and antelopes among others. Game viewing is done in the morning and evening hours targeting these animals grazing and hunting in the open savannahs. Experienced guides help you in spotting and explaining in details the unique characters about each animal specie in the park.

Cultural trails
Uganda is known for the unique cultures and hospitable people easy to associate with in a short time. The interesting cultural encounters in Uganda are the Batwa cultural trail in Mgahinga gorilla national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Here travelers interact with the traditional forest people who lived in harmony with wild animals in the forest for thousands of years. The Batwa pygmies demonstrate their forest life to the travelers inform of hunting, collecting honey and gathering fruits in the forest expanding travelers understanding of who the actual Batwa are. Besides the Batwa, travelers visit local people in their homes and take part in local activities such as grinding sorghum, preparing local foods, making local breweries and cultivation giving them an experience of the local life.

Mountain climbing
Besides wildlife, birds and hospitable people. Uganda is good for mountain climbing. The hiking spots in Uganda include Rwenzori mountains also known as the mountains of the moon famous for the permanent snow on its highest peak (Margherita). Hiking Rwenzori Mountains can start from either the central circuit or the Mahoma nature trail, which are the main hiking trails to the summit of the mountain. The mountain has three main peaks, which are the highest Margherita at an altitude of 5,109 meters above sea level, Speke at 8,889 meters above sea level and Luigi di Saviola at 4,626 meters above sea level. Other areas where mountaineering can be done are Mt Elgon, and the Virunga volcanoes (Mt Gahinga, Mt Sabyinyo and Mt Muhabura) in Mgahinga gorilla national park. Take part; hike any of the mountains rewarding you with a lifetime experience.

Conclusively therefore, Uganda offers its all that you want on your Uganda safari. Come, explore the pearl of Africa and you will never be the same again.

Posted by admin in Blog, News, Uganda
Forest Walks in Bwindi Forest National Park

Forest Walks in Bwindi Forest National Park

Whether you call it nature walks or forest walks, the experience is all about penetrating the impenetrable forest of Bwindi forest national park by foot. A forest walk in Bwindi unfolds the full package in the park rewarding travelers with an exclusive feeling of a natural virgin forest, sweet melodies of birds singing up in the trees as well a close encounter with wild animals such as mountain gorillas, baboons, vervet monkeys, L’Hoest’s Guenon, nocturnal, duickers, giant forest hogs and bush pigs among others. Though many people to Bwindi take part in gorilla trekking, a few who have spared time to do a forest walk can testify how life changing the experience is. A forest walk is the best way to discover all the hidden treasures in Bwindi, which most clients have often missed out. To keep strong, hikers are reminded to carry enough drinking water, energy giving snacks and soft foods as well as dressing right in hiking boots, hand gloves, huts, long sleeved pants and shirts to deal with unpredictable forest weather. The popular hiking trails in Bwindi Forest National park include:

Munyaga river trail
Forest walks In Bwindi
This is one of the easiest trails in the forest, which last for roughly 2 hours starting at the end of Buhoma road via the Bizinge creek joining to the bank of Munyaga River. The trail is circular in a way that it rotates back to the starting point without necessary turning back. Munyaga river trail is best for birders and is a spot for most birds some of which are endemic to the forest along with a scenic view of river Munyaga which all provide travelers with a memorable experience. This trail can be self-guides due to its nearness and short tie required to reach the end point.

Waterfall trail
This hike takes roughly three hours to reach the waterfall. It was first slashed in 1970 with an intension of transforming it into a main road connecting to Kisoro town but was not accomplished. This trail exposes travelers to secrecies of Bwindi impenetrable forest in form of its natural vegetation, animals and bird life all encountered in the hiking process. Interestingly, the trail crosses river Munyaga three times in the deep forest before travelers reach three adjoin waterfalls.

Rushura hill trail
Bwindi Forest
This is the most strenuous hike in the forest which last for roughly 3 hours to the highest point of Rushura hill at an elevation of 1,915m/6,289ft) above sea level. The trail hikes through the terraced fields and forests and the top of the mountain provide travelers with spectacular views of the western rift valley, the national park, lake Edward, Rwenzori Mountains and the virunga volcanoes. What is interesting about this trail is that it ascends and descends via cultivated fields and new regenerating forest.

Muzabajiro loop trail
This trail is moderate to hike that entail traveler’s crossing over the Muzabijiro creek before ascending via canopy forest to Ruhubra hill.
Muzabajiro loop trail was caught by fire in 1992, which destroyed the then vegetation. However today, lush vines and slippery trunks of dead tress that offer breathtaking views of the national park cover up the trail.

River lvi trail
Forest walks in Bwindi
This trail heads to the southern part of the national park and is mostly used by the local people as they go to local gardens and markets. The trail takes roughly 6 hours in follow of the old road in the forest. In this trail, travelers are assured of encountering a lot that include local people, monkeys, bush pigs, birds and mountain gorillas among others. Hiking in this trail can either start from Nkuringo or Buhoma depending on where travelers are having a accommodation.

Bamboo trail
This trail is situated at the highest point at an elevation of 2,607m/8,550ft above the sea level at Rwamunyo forest taking approximately 6 hours to reach at the end point. The bamboo trail enable travelers to walk through different vegetation types which include bamboo forest, alpine vegetation until when you will the afro montane vegetation which is at the highest point.

Kashasha river trail
The trail stats in Buhoma ending in Nkuringo and takes 5-6hopurs to the end of the trail and is roughly 600 meters above the sea level.
Conclusively therefore, take part in forest nature walks in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park taking you to different tourism spots in the park hence rewarding you with a memorable experience.

Posted by admin in Blog, News, Uganda
One Of Our Staff Treks Mountain Gorillas

One Of Our Staff Treks Mountain Gorillas

It was an amazing experience as one of our staff trekked Mubare gorilla family in Buhoma northern sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Mary Mugisha our internal auditor together with other seven trekkers took part in gorilla trekking of Mubare family the first gorilla group habituated in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Just like in every trekking, Mary and her group spent a magical hour with the gorilla family observing and taking photographs of the unique human like characters of gorilla members within their family.

Uganda gorilla tour

Gorilla trekking permit is a pass to trekking for every trekker accessed at a cost of 600usd and 450usd in the peak and low seasons respectively. For the case of Mary, she paid 150,000ush for the permit since she is a Ugandan citizen and it was a low season.

There are over 480 mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park roughly half of the world’s remaining gorillas. These families are Mubare family, Habiyanja family, Rushegura family, Bitukura family, Nshongi family, Mishaya family, Kahungye family, Busingye family, Bweza family, and Nkuringo families shared in the four sectors of Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo all open to trekkers.

Trekking begins after simple briefing by the park rangers concerning the guidelines while trekking. From there, trekkers hike into the forest and the time to spend there depends on the location of the allocated gorilla family and the speed of their movements.

Besides Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, gorillas can also be trekked in the virunga conservation area comprised of Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda, volcanoes national park in Rwanda and the Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Conclusively therefore, gorilla trekking is a once in lifetime experience that all travelers should not miss out.

Posted by admin in Blog, News

Uganda Tourism Board asks government to cut on Visa Fees so as to attract Tourists

A Uganda tourist entry Visa today cost $100 equivalent to over Shs300,000 charged per tourists from the previous $50 doubled last year, which is actually the most expensive visa fee out of the rest of East Africa. On the other hand the single East African Visa, which grants visitors access to all East African countries including Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda goes for the same amount – $100. This makes destination Uganda a difficult destination to sale, with the unfavorable Visa rates which are too high. Uganda’s high visa fees scare away some tourists, opting to visit other East African countries where it is cheaper. In Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania visa fees is $50 per tourist.

Destination Uganda has so much to offer tourists with a variety of adventure activities which attract tourists to this destination. Uganda’s biggest trade mark is the rare endangered mountain gorillas which can only be found in 2 other destinations in the entire world. At present tourists are looking at Rwanda’s volcanoes national park as a more preferred destination mainly because of ease of access. With just about 2 hours drive from the Kigali international airport, accessing Volcanoes national park is much more convenient for all types of travelers as compared to 8-9 long hours of drive from Kampala or Entebbe international airport. Rwanda is a much easier destination for budget, business travelers with less time.

Uganda still is blessed with numerous unique wildlife which can be seen in the different national parks spread around the country.
Uganda’s neighboring country’s of Kenya and Tanzania offer a more authentic wildlife adventure experience as compared to the experience in Uganda. Still, Uganda’s unique trade mark the mountain gorillas can also be seen in Rwanda, her neighbor.

With Ugandan visa prices being high, Uganda will be missing out on a large number of potential tourists and hence losing foreign exchange and general unemployment for local tour operators.

Posted by admin in Blog, Uganda

Gorillas Watching in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park lies in northern Rwanda and borders Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda. The national park is a haven for the Mountain gorilla – with over 400 of these gentle giants making the park their home. Volcanoes national park is home to ten habituated gorilla families and 8 other groups that are still under research making the entire total of 18 groups.gorilla trek Rwanda
The park is also home to five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains (Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo) which are covered in rainforest and Bamboo.

The park was the base of operations for famed naturalist Dian Fossey. She spent 20 years here living and working with the gorillas and campaigning for their protection. She was murdered here and although her death remains a mystery the likely culprits were the poachers she had fought against for so long. Her life here is immortalized in the film; “Gorillas in the Mist”. It is largely because of her influence and her setting up of the Karisoke Research Centre that saved these gentle giants and today Rwanda is able to receive travelers from all over the world to visit gorillas in Rwanda in the Parc National des Virunga (PNVi).

When coming to Africa for your gorilla tour, plan for at least a 1-4 hour trek through the forest, led by experienced trackers who have spent their entire lives living in or close to the forest. Your trek will be enchanting as you weave through overhanging vines, moss-covered Hagenia trees and giant Lobelias that thrive in the tropical climate. You may spot golden monkeys or see buffalo, bush duiker and a wide variety of bird life. But the high point, of course, one of the greatest wildlife experiences on earth, will be spending an hour with the gentle giant gorillas as they go about their daily life, feeding, playing, resting and raising their young.

From one of these lodges you will launch your hike into the forested slopes in search of one of the gorilla families. Be warned though that gorilla tracking is no walk in the park. You do literally have to track down the gorillas who could have moved a significant distance from the day before. Relatively few permits (80 per day) are issued to see the gorillas and your time with them is restricted to one hour.

Accommodation in the Parc National des Virunga (PNV)

Mountain Gorillas Nest
So close to the entrance of Volcanoes National Park that you can ‘almost’ roll out of bed and onto your gorilla tracking hike, Mountain Gorillas Nest has 40 rooms available and being this close to the park it’s no surprise that most visitors to the gorillas choose to stay at Mountain Gorillas Nest Lodge rather than anywhere else.
Your stay might not be exclusive and romantic but you can share in the joys of seeing the mountain gorillas with your fellow travelers. Built in a grove of trees, the rooms are arranged in a large semi-circle around a central courtyard. The rooms are all en-suite and there is also a spacious restaurant with a large bar. The food is simple, sufficient and electricity is supplied by a generator. The staff here has seen a million visitors head out on gorilla treks, so if you are worried in the slightest simply ask. They also provide morning wake ups so that you don’t miss your gorilla appointment!

Kinigi Guesthouse
In the shadows of the Virunga Volcanoes and right near the entrance of the Volcanoes National Park is the Kinigi Guesthouse. Kinigi Guesthouse has 20 rooms and after the recent renovation they can be said to be comfortable and more than adequate, but one can stop short at calling them luxurious. Run by a local women’s’ co-operative most of the proceeds from your stay here will go into supporting the community. Be warned though that several facilities that one expects to be inclusive are not and you will be asked to make a donation, for instance when you have your laundry done.

There is also a bar and lounge area where you can relax and chat with your fellow gorilla trackers and swap stories about what you saw on your hike. The renovations have brought with them a generator, so all the rooms offer electricity and hot water. While sparsely furnished the rooms are warm and comfortable and if it’s gorillas you are interested in, you won’t mind that this isn’t a luxury lodge!

Virunga Lodge
Boasting one of the most stunning locations anywhere in Africa, the recently opened Virunga Lodge sprawls across a 2,175m hilltop overlooking Lakes Burera and Ruhondo to the southeast. The view is phenomenal with four of the Virunga volcanoes to the northwest and the shimmering waters of the lakes far below. Each of the individual cottages has a verandah with some comfortable seating, because you will be doing quite a bit of just sitting and enjoying the unfolding panorama. The spacious stone and wood chalets are spread out around the hill to allow guests maximum privacy.

Built in an eco-friendly fashion and adhering to eco-guidelines means that the lodge has full electricity supplied by solar panels, but it also means going to the bathroom can be a bit of an adventure. All the toilets operate in a well designed eco-friendly principle and it may require a bit of getting used to, especially the pouring ash down to flush! Friendly staff goes out of their way to make your stay here an enjoyable one. In the mornings they pour piping hot water into your shower (which operates on a ‘bucket’ system) and deliver fresh hot chocolate or percolated coffee depending on your desire.

The main reason to visit this eco-friendly lodge is for the gorillas. Situated just an hour away from the Volcanoes National Park entrance where all gorilla tracking activities leave from guests is woken at 5am for the journey. Once there you will be in the capable hands of trained guides who will lead you out into the jungle in search of a gorilla family. On your return to the lodge you might also want to spend some time in the library reading about the wonders of nature that you have just witnessed!

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
Situated only one kilometer from the edge of Volcanoes National Park in northern Rwanda, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is the newest lodge catering to gorilla seekers. Sister Camp to the popular luxury Governors’ Camp in Kenya’s Masai Mara, the lodge features the same attention to detail, luxurious finishes and well trained staff that the more established Governors is known for.

At 2,150 metres it’s not surprising that all of the separately positioned cottages have spectacular views from their private balconies. At this height it can get quite misty and cool, so the fireplace, warm bedding and warm smiles will all make you feel at home and comfortable. At the main lodge you can relax at the bar or in the dining room, which of course all feature amazing views. For those who are interested there is a community awareness centre where you can find out more about efforts to protect the endangered gorilla as well as socio-economic development efforts since Rwanda’s most recent troubles.

The primary reason to visit this area is of course for the gorillas. Volcanoes National Park is home to some 300 mountain gorillas and there are ten habituated families that you can visit. All hikes leave from the visitors centre which is only a kilometer from the Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge. The price for a gorilla permit is $750 and its very necessary to book ahead of time you expect to travel to Africa for the actual gorilla trek. For any questions and tips for your upcoming rwanda safari, please feel free to contact Africa adventure safaris and our travel consultants will be able to tell you much more about what is required.

Posted by admin in Blog, safaris

Must Watch On A Uganda Wildlife Safari

Uganda is one place on earth where people seeking to see wild animals in the jungle can visit. It’s a landlocked country located in east Africa neighboring Kenya, Rwanda, south Sudan, Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo. The country has a number of tourist attractions and among the most selling and preferred tourism destination. Uganda must be among the must visit tourism destinations just because of her natural beauty and the unique encounters people are likely to have while in the country. The attractions in Uganda cannot be fully exploited in short time and therefore lets look at must watch attractions by tourists on a tip to Uganda.

Primates
Primates are the closest wild animals to human beings having over 98% DNA similar to humans. The major primates in Uganda include the chimpanzees in Kibale forest national park and the mountain gorillas of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga forest national park.

Kibale forest national park has the highest number of chimpanzees in east and central Africa and the best place to go for chimpanzee tracking. There are trails in the park that tourists follow as they track chimpanzees and the tourists interested in getting closer to the chimpanzees can go for the chimpanzee habituation experience where they spend the whole day in the wild learning more about their closest relatives.

The mountain gorillas are the other primates that tourists should not miss meeting while on Uganda wildlife safaris. Mountain gorillas are very endangered species that are only remaining 900 on the planet. Half of the number (over 400) inhabits the jungles of Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla parks and any one visiting any of the two national parks is guaranteed of seeing a mountain gorilla. Best mountain gorilla experiences can be experienced during the dry season and its always the peak season.

The Source Of The Great River Nile
River Nile is the longest river in the world and it starts its journey from lake victoria at Jinja in Uganda. The source of the Nile at Jinja was discovered in the 19th centaury by john Speke a European explorer and since then, the source of the Nile at Jinja became known to many people around the world.

There are boats that always take tourists around the giving them a chance to clearly view the source of the Nile. There are also many craft shops around where one can buy souvenirs for remembrances of their visit to Uganda.

Those interested in exploring lake victoria can also go for boat trips along the lake with sightings of a number of bird species. Adventurous tourists interested in thrilling experiences can explore the source of the Nile in locally made canoes. For remarkable experiences, tourists are advised to visit the source of the Nile in the evening hours in order to get a chance of viewing the sun setting over the Nile.

Other major activities that can be experienced by tourists along the Nile include white water rafting along the rapids in Jinja.

The Big Five Mammals
These mainly include lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and buffaloes that can be seen in the Murchison falls conservation area. Lions, elephants, buffaloes and leopards can be seen within the national park during game drives and boat trips while the rhinos can be seen at the Zziwa rhino sanctuary located in Nakasongola and can be viewed en route to Murchison.

Leopards are nocturnal animals and can be best viewed during night game drives or very early in the morning when they are coming back from their major hunting areas.

There are many other attractions that tourists on Uganda wildlife safaris must not miss some of which include the unique bird species and above all the unique cultural practices by the people.

Posted by admin in Blog, Uganda

Mount Elgon Hiking Safari

Mountain is located in eastern Uganda near the border with Kenya. Standing at a height of 4,321meters above sea level, mount Elgon is the 7th highest mountain on the African continent but with the largest volcanic mountain base worldwide. The mountain is surrounded by unique ecosystems that are homes to a number of wildlife species. Because of this, it was gazetted as a national park to protect and conserve the available natural tourism attractions in has.

The mountain is a dormant volcano that stopped erupting several years ago. It however has very fertile soils that attracted various people around the slopes for agricultural purposes. As one of the leading tourist destinations in Uganda, many tourists visit mount Elgon and they engage in various tourism activities like:

Hiking
Hiking mountain Elgon to its highest point Wagagai is not very easy but it offers great and unforgettable tourism experiences with great views of Mbale the nearby town. The mountain has some of the well-developed hiking trails that a group of tourists can use uphill. While on the mountain hike, there are possibilities of viewing various flora and fauna at the different vegetation layers at certain heights of the mountain.
All those interested in hiking this famous mountain should prepare well and have the necessary equipment like jackets, sleeping bags, tents, raincoats snacks and others. Sweaters are very essential because the top layers have cold temperatures that go below 0 degrees at night.
Hiking mount Elgon enables a tourist view one of the world’s largest calderas.

Birding
While around mount Elgon, tourists can engage in birding tracking some of the beautiful birds in the area. Some of the birds that can be viewed include African blue flycatchers; white chinned prinia, Jackson’s francolin, bronze napped pigeon and many others. Most of the bid species can be viewed around trees or others freely flying in the air.

Cultural visits
The Bagishu communities that have unique African traditional cultures that offer amazing and remarkable experiences to the tourists surround Mount Elgon and therefore any tourist to the area should not miss out an activity by the Bagishu.

The Imbalu initiation ceremony is what makes the Bagishu culture very unique from other Ugandan tribes. The Imbalu initiation ceremony involves circumcising boys to transform them to real men (adulthood). This circumcision is done in the open with many on viewers and the boys being circumcised are not expected to cry or show any sign of fear to prove their braveness and manhood. A visit to the Bagishu also offers great chances of learning the local ways of life especially cooking some unique cuisines especially Kalamalewa (bamboo shoots)

Nature walks and a visit to Sipi falls
Sipi falls are located outside mount Elgon national park but are among the leading tourist attractions in the mount Elgon area. The Sipi has three major falls that pours over 69 meters, 87 meters and 100 meters high cliffs. The falls offer beautiful scenic views especially of the water while viewing it from the back in the cave.

Nature walks can be done around the forests and caves with en route views of a variety of wild life species the mountain has in stock. Those interested can visit the various caves at the mountain base for an overnight adventure.

Getting there
Getting to the mount Elgon area from Kampala takes about a 2-3 hours drive through Jinja to Mbale on a well-developed tarmac. It’s about 235 kilometers from Kampala.

Where to sleep
Mbale town has well developed accommodation facilities that offer standard services to the visitor’s. Examples include Mbale resort hotel, mount Elgon hotel, green gardens, new mount Elgon view hotels and many others. For those interested in sleeping in the national park premises, there are also a number of accommodation facilities that include Kapkwata guesthouse, Suam guest house, Kapkwai forest exploration center bandas, students hostel and campsite, Sasa river camp and many others.

Posted by admin in Blog, Uganda

Uganda’s ample opportunities to grow its Tourism industry

The year 2015 has started in high gear for the tourism industry in Uganda to grow and extend its wings in its expansive tourism market. The country is hosting one of the top American super models and TV host; Marlina Moreno on her tour to the Rwenzori and other tourism sites in Uganda which commenced on 17th of Jan this year.

Her tour is expected to yield into a documentary that will be aired to millions of Americans on her travel platforms like examiner.com, huffingtonpost.com, wheninmanila.com and her travel blog; brunetteabroad.com

This visit comes at an opportune time when Uganda is still dancing the tunes of its success as the a favorite tourism destination ahead of Spain after a successful online poll conducted by the one of the UK’s most popular newspaper the guardian whose website gets an average of over 2,937,070 browsers a day.

The poll was triggered by the President’s speech during the African Tourism Association (ATA) conference which the country hosted last year in November. During his speech, the president rated Uganda ahead of Spain in terms of what the two countries have to offer to tourists.

Upon his speech, the Guardian’s online version initiated a poll question of ‘where would you prefer to go on a holiday?’ Uganda or Spain?’. While answering this poll, 79% of the respondents preferred Uganda, highlighting its beauty, wildlife, scenery, culture, stunning landscape and the hospitality of its people to be the key factors.

Uganda’s tourism victory was a kick start in its new era of tourism road map. Soon after its victory over Spain, the country paid host to the big birding day as they celebrated its 11th anniversary. For the first time in history of this event, the country received 3 international birders.

Tim Appleton, the organizer of the world’s largest bird fair in the UK; Bill Thompson, the editor and co-publisher of Bird Watcher’s Digest, one of North America’s popular birding magazines, and Dominic Mitchell, the founder and managing editor of Europe’s leading monthly magazine; Bird Watch, visited the country and paid glowing tribute to Uganda’s nature.

Uganda’s glory continued to shine when it was ranked among the top 10 tourism destinations on the continent. According to the Madrid-based firm; Bloom Consulting’s 2014/15 Africa rankings released in December last year, Uganda was ranked 8th, with Kenya in the 4th place and Tanzania in the 5th while the list was topped by South Africa after displacing Egypt who had suffered insecurity. It goes without saying that among all these nations, Uganda has not reached its full potential in marketing and therefore only rides on natural beauty.

According to the communications officer, USAID Tourism for Biodiversity program, Abiaz Rwamwiri, Uganda still needs to carry a follow up in a bid to boost its image in the international market. The potential is still unexploited given the country’s natural endowment.

It should be noted that Uganda has always received several accolades but yet continues to register minimal growth in tourist arrivals. In 2011, Uganda was ranked number one tourism destination for 2012 in the world by the largest online travel magazine; the Lonely Planet while Mt Rwenzori was voted among the top 15 hiking places in the world and was the only mountain in Africa the list.

In 2012, the picture of the Ishasha tree-climbing lion was voted the best for 2011 by National Geographic. In the same year, National Geographic named Uganda among the world’s top 20 destinations for tourists in 2013 with Malawi as the only other African country on the list, and where Uganda was described as “Africa’s new frontier.”

CNN’s first list of Africa’s 10 best national parks in 2012 also favored Uganda, ranking Kidepo Valley national park third after renowned and well-marketed Maasai Mara (Kenya), and Botswana’s Central Kalahari game reserve. Another CNN list in 2012 put Uganda in the fourth position among the seven new places ready to be discovered.

Despite all this and more older accolades, the tourism industry remains crawling in its growth which Rwamwiri attributes to lack of follow up. He recalls the visit by the holly wood stars in 2009 during ‘Friend a gorilla’ campaign who had pledged to help in marketing Uganda but years after, the efforts disappeared in thin air because no one followed them up.

Uganda has all it takes to beat its competitors in the tourism market if only they could put the last spark on the already ‘fueled wood’. What the country now needs is vigorous marketing and publicity to make it known in the existing wide market. With the new commitment from government through Uganda Tourism Board and the development of the 5 year tourism master plan, there are hopes that the industry could yield more fruit in the near future.

If the country wakes up to these opportunities and gets resources in place as well as carry an comprehensive follow up of its important guests, the sky will be the only limit for its success in the tourism market.

Posted by admin in Blog

Unveiling the most diversified Ecosystem in Africa; the Virunga Massif

In geology, a massif is a section of a planet’s crust that is demarcated by faults or flexures. It is a topographically high part of the earth’s crust that is bounded by faults and may be shifted by tectonic movements.

The Virunga Massif is an ecologically homogenous afro-montane forest, covering three contiguous national parks in three countries; Parc National des Virunga (PNVi) in the DR Congo, Parc National des Volcans (PNV) in Rwanda and the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (MGNP) in Uganda. This 447 km wide area is one of the two remaining habitats of the highly endangered mountain gorilla as well as many other endemic and endangered species of flora and fauna.

This great ecosystem was named after the Virunga which is an English version for the Kinyarwanda word ibirunga, which means “volcanoes”.
This great massif contains a chain of 8 volcanoes including some of the most active volcanoes on the continent. The volcanoes are covered with an afro-alpine vegetation of tree ferns and Lobelia and their slopes are covered with dense forests.

The volcano chain is the most dominant land feature in this massif with cliffs and steep eroded valleys. There are 8 volcanoes that spread across the 3 countries of Uganda, Rwanda and D R Congo. This Volcano chain is a branch of the Albertine Rift Mountains that border the western arm of the East African rift valley.

Most of these volcanoes are dormant, except Mt. Nyiragongo (3,462 metres) and Mt. Nyamuragira (3,063 metres) both in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mt. Karisimbi is the highest of all the 8 volcanoes at 4,507 metres while Mt. Sabinyo (3,634 metres) is the oldest of the Virunga volcanoes and forms the border of Uganda, Rwanda and D R Congo. Other volcanoes include; Mt Mikeno, Mt Muhabura, Mt Bisoke, and Mt. Gahinga.

The two most active volcanoes on the continent; Mt. Nyiragongo and Mt. Nyamuragira account for two fifth of the continent’s total eruptions and have registered some of the most tragic yet fascinating eruptions in history with some as more recent as 2010 when Nyiragongo erupted and the fluid lava destroyed people and property in the neighboring area of Goma. Nyiragongo is also known for its stunning lava lake which is the largest and most fluid of its kind in the World.

The eroded varies of the Sinda and Ishango regions provide some of the most fascinating panoramas in the region while the diversity of habitat has facilitated the existence of wildlife biodiversity including both savanna and tropical species. The habitats range from swamps and steppes to lava plains and the savannahs on the slopes of volcanoes.

The Virunga massif has one of the highest wildlife diversity and concentration not only on the continent of Africa but the world at large. The massif has the highest concentration of hippos (about 20,000) in its rivers like Rutshuru and Rwindi. Eastern Low land and Mountain gorillas, forest elephants and buffalos as well as several species of antelopes including the endemic Okapi, all live here.

The Virunga massif shelters over 220 mammal species, 706 bird species, 109 reptile species and 78 amphibian species. It is also a refuge for over 22 primate species including 3 of the great apes; mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei), the eastern plain gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) and the eastern chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthi), with a third of the world population of mountain gorillas calling it home and the renown destination for gorilla tracking that is Rwanda Uganda and the Congo.

The bird population in this massif is awesome with both local and migrant species that come from as far as Europe and Americas to breed in this rich ecosystem. It is no wonder that the Virunga Massif has the highest diversity of wildlife on the continent of Africa and the only ecosystem where both sub species of the Eastern Gorilla live.

For the wildlife enthusiasts and researchers, you have no more time to wait, for the Virunga massif lies in wait with plenty to offer in terms of wildlife viewing.

Posted by admin in Blog

Saving Africa’s most endangered carnivore; the Ethiopian Wolf

The Ethiopian wolf scientifically known as Canis simensis is a canid endemic to the Ethiopian Highlands also known as the roof top of Africa. It is similar to the coyote in size and build, and is distinguished by its long and narrow skull, and its red and white fur.

Wolves are said to have not been native to Africa until about 100,000 years ago when the land warmed and relatives of the grey wolf crossed the land bridge from Europe and colonized the Afro-alpine grasslands and heath lands in the horn of Africa. The continent’s new immigrants remained there, refining their skills at hunting rodents on the alpine plateau, developed longer limbs, muzzles and smaller set-apart teeth until they were masters of the Afro-alpine, efficient and lean killing machines of mole rats, grass rats and hyrax.

The Ethiopian wolf is one of only two wolf species living in Africa and is also the rarest and most endangered canid in the world, three times rarer than the panda bear and is regarded as Africa’s most endangered carnivore with less than 500 individuals living in the world today.

According to the founder of the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme and a conservation biologist at the University of Oxford’s WildCRU, Professor Claudio Sillero, the Ethiopian wolves are victims of their own success having evolved to thrive as specialists of the Afro-alpine grassland. However, because of the warming continent, and the pressure of humans, now they are restricted to tiny mountain pockets and the pressure continues to pile up.

The species’ current range is limited to seven isolated mountain ranges at altitudes of 3,000–4,500m, with the overall adult population estimated at 360-440 individuals according to the 2011 estimates and more than half of them in the Bale Mountains.
As in other wolf populations in Americas and Europe, human prevalence remains one of the greatest challenges to the survival of the Ethiopian wolf. This has not just started but can be traced many years back when the first human population crossed into Europe from their cradle land in Ethiopia about 700,000 years ago.

With the discovery of 3.2 million year old hominin fossil named ‘Lucy’, it was confirmed that this northern stretch of the great rift is one of the cradles of humankind. The spread of the human race into Europe could have brought about the change of the environment there due to their activities on the land and later forced the wolves to cross into Africa in search for a new habitat.

Today, Ethiopia is regarded as the country with the fastest population growth rate which intensifies pressure on the wolves’ habitat. Most of the Ethiopians are pastoralists herding several cows, sheep and goats. They also keep dogs to protect their animals from wild predators.

This agricultural and nomadic life is not only a threat in terms of taking up the wolves’ habitat but also spread diseases to the wolves. The dog population in Bale Mountains is overwhelming and has been responsible for the spread of rabies to this a rare wolf which has decimated a big number of its population.

EWCP educates herders about the impact of the virus on themselves and their livestock. Ethiopia has one of the world’s highest casualty rates for rabies in humans, and it also has an economic impact on the population since it costs them losses of their livestock. With partnership from other conservation bodies in the country, EWCP has spear headed the conservation campaign for the rare wolf to stop its possible extinction. They have championed vaccination programs for both domestic dogs and Ethiopian wolves against rabies.

The disease is normally vaccinated against in the interval of 10 years. However, the last attack came after 5 years of vaccination and a big number of this endangered canid died.

Though these Social canids have the ability to reproduce well, with a litter of six or seven puppies being born annually by one wolf, their demise is also very fast. For example, in a good year, the population may grow by 30% but when an epidemic comes, three quarters may be lost hence its rare and endangered status. However, its hope of survival is still in the rim light with the determination and commitment of EWCP to continue vaccinating them against rabies as well as educating the pastoralists on how to respect their habitat and conserve them.

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GORILLA FAMILIES IN RWANDA

As the eyes of the world continue to vehemently venerate seeing the Mountain gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda, it is paramount for them to know the gorilla families they expect to see and their varying characteristics. Rwanda has 10 habituated families for tourism and one for research from which new babies are often named annually during the Kwita Izina ceremony. They include the following;

Titus group
The group Titus was named after the Silver back Titus which was born during the days of Dian Fossey’ research at Karisoke in the gorilla group Dian Fossey was studying. As young gorilla, Titus lost his father, uncle and brother to poachers and he was raised with unrelated male gorillas after his mother and sister joined other groups. Dian Fossey noted that as an infant he seemed “underdeveloped and spindly” and had difficulty breathing, but Titus overcame these difficulties.

Years later, their group was joined by 5 female gorillas and the leader at the time; Beetsme, drove away all the other males except Titus, who was favoured by the dominant female, Papoose. In 1991, at age 17, Titus surprised researchers when he deposed the dominant silver back, Beetsme, in a bloodless coup.

Following the 1991 genocide, most of the researchers left Rwanda and the group was abandoned hence less literature about it.

Titus led the group until 2007 when he started experiencing confrontations from one of his sons; Kuryama who later broke away to form his own group. The period that followed gave Titus a bloody nose as most of the members kept on joining other groups. More anxiety came in with the return of the ‘prodigal son’, Kuryama in 2009.

The ‘gorilla king’ as was commonly known, Titus was found dead in his night nest surrounded by his family members and the doctors declared that he died of a natural causes. At the age of 35 years, Titus was believed to be the most successful gorilla in Rwanda and had more off springs than any other gorilla.

The group as earlier intended, remained entirely dedicated for research but has of recent been allowed for tracking when the permits are overbooked. The group lives in between Karisimbi and Visoke volcanoes.

Susa group (Susa A)
This group is popularly known as the group which was studied by Diana Fossey during her time in Rwanda from 1967 to 1985. It was also the largest group with 42 members before it was split in 2008 to form 2 groups. The breakaway group was later known as Susa B or Karisimbi group. Susa A group is well known for its playful twins of Byishimo & Impano and was named after the Susa River that drains through their home range. The group is composed of 33 members including 2 silverbacks and inhabits the forests on the lower slopes of Mt. Karisimbi.

Karisimbi group (Susa B)
This is sometimes referred to as Susa B and is the group which split from the original Susa in 2008. It is made up of 16 members including 2 silver backs. The group is the hardest to track as it inhabits the upper slopes of Mt. Karisimbi at an altitude of 4507m. The group has established their home high in the upper slopes and is suitable for trackers interested in serious hiking. Tracking this group is sometimes difficult as they go further high though RDB rangers will first locate the group a day before.

Amahoro group
As the name suggests, the group is known for its gentility and tranquility which has caused its silver back Ubumwe to lose some members into another group called Umubano. Amahoro means ‘peace’ and the group has lived to the expectations of her name and is regarded as the most peaceful group. It is composed of 18 members including 2 silver backs and is a bit strenuous to track as one has to endure a hike up Mt. Bisoke slopes where the group established their home.

Umubano group
This group broke away from Ubumwe as a result of constant battles between two silver backs; Charles and Ubumwe with Charles challenging the supremacy of the leader Ubumwe. Charles eventually succeeded in breaking away with some members hence forming Umubano group. The group is composed of 13 members including 2 silver backs and its name means ‘living together’.

Sabyinyo group
This is the easiest group to access and inhabits the gentle slopes between Mt. Sabyinyo and Mt. Gahinga. The group is popular for its giant silver back known as Guhonda which has kept its main challenger, Ryango out of the family to remain as a lonely silver back. The group is composed of 13 members including one silver back after another was exiled from the group. The commander of the group; Guhonda is the largest silver back in the park weighing about 220kg. The group was named after the Sabinyo volcano that means the ‘old man’s teeth’.

13 Group (Agashya group)
This group got its name from the number of individuals (13) at the time of habituation. The group was initially led by a silverback called Nyakarima but was later over thrown by Agashya meaning the ‘ News’ which is now the leader and the family was named after him. The group has since then expanded to now 27 members including one silver back (Agashya). The group occupies the same territory with Sabyinyo group but sometimes Agashya takes the family deeper into the mountain when it senses danger.

Kwitonda group
This is a migrant group from Democratic Republic of Congo which was named after its dominant silver back called Kwitonda which means the ‘Humble one’. Because of its migration background, the group wonders in the lower slopes of Mt. Muhabura and like Karisimbi group, it is onerous to track as it sometimes moves to the upper slopes. The group is composed of 23 members including 4 silver backs.

Hirwa group
This family was formed in 2006 by some members of Sabyinyo group and others from 13 group (Agashya). More gorillas joined in and now the group is composed of 16 members including one silver back. The group derived its name from its formation process that was out of luck. Hirwa means ‘the Lucky one’ and as luck has it, the group got twins in 2011. Hirwa group inhabits the foothills of Mt. Sabyinyo to the side of Mt Gahinga.

Ugenda group
The name ‘Ugenda’ means to be ‘on the move’ or ‘mobile’. The group was named after its unique behavior of roaming from place to place. It consists of 11 members including 2 silver backs and wonders around Karisimbi area hence very difficult to track since it has no particular home.

Bwenge group
Named after its dominant Silver back Bwenge, the group was formed in 2007 after he had left his Natal group and was joined by females from other groups. The group occupies slopes of Karisoke volcano between Karisimbi and Bisoke mountains and had witnessed dark times when its 6 infants died. The group has however recovered and now has 11 members including one silver back. The name Bwenge means ‘Wisdom’ and it is this group that featured in the Movie ‘Gorillas in the Mist’. Tracking this group is not a picnic as it involves some hikes and the track is sometimes muddy and slippery.
With that simple background, you will be able to know what to expect when a gorilla family has been allocated to you for tracking in the Volcanoes National park of Rwanda.

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Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Gorilla trekking is Uganda’s leading tourist attraction with thousands of travellers visiting the country every year for gorilla safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park to see the endangered mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking safaris contribute the highest revenue among all other tourist activities which has subsequently made tourism the leading foreign exchange earner for Uganda in recent years.

Uganda is one of the only 3 countries in the world with mountain gorillas with the other two including Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Rwanda. The three countries share the inter-border conservation region of the Virunga Massif/Virunga Mountains which has 3 national parks that protect mountain gorillas. Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the 3 Virunga Massif parks together with Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in DR Congo. However, majority of Uganda’s mountain gorillas live further north in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which has over 450 mountain gorillas accounting to roughly half of the global population of these large apes estimated at about 1,063 individuals. There are about 15 habituated gorilla groups in Bwindi which have been made available to be visited by tourists while Mgahinga has one recognized habituated gorilla group. Each habituated gorilla group in Bwindi has an average population of about 20-30 mountain gorillas which include both males and females with their young ones and they are all led by one dominant silverback.

Gorilla tours in Bwindi and Mgahinga are arranged according to the gorilla conservation regulations which permit a group of 8 trekkers to visit one gorilla group per day and spending one hour in their presence. The restricted accessibility of humans to mountain gorillas is aimed preserving their conservation status as endangered animals and therefore less interference allows them to thrive in their natural habitat.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda requires travellers to purchase gorilla trekking permits which gives them access to the country’s mountain gorillas. Uganda’s gorilla trekking permit is sold at $700 per person for foreign tourists, a price which was recently upgraded from $600 at which it sold for a long time. Like in other mountain gorilla trekking destinations, Uganda’s gorilla permits are always limited in availability due the high demand and the strict gorilla conservation measures. This is why travellers who want to visit mountain gorillas are encouraged to book for their gorilla permits at least six months in advance. This allows enough time to local tour agents to process these permits with the tourism authority and also arrange other necessary services for the visitor including transport and accommodation.

Along with their gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda, travellers can as well enjoy other amazing wildlife experiences including game viewing, chimpanzee tracking, bird watching, adventure and cultural tours. Many gorilla trekking trips in Uganda are combined with visits to other national parks and communities for these additional experiences to give a traveller a comprehensive Uganda tour experience. The major game viewing reserves in Uganda include Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Lake Mburo National Park among others. Some of the most popular game species to be seen in these parks include lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, giraffe, zebra, antelopes, hippo, rhino, warthog, among others. Chimpanzees and numerous bird species including Rift Valley endemics are also great tourist attractions in Uganda.

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East African Community (EAC) launches its single tourist visa in South Africa.

As Africa’s largest travel and tourism festival commenced on Saturday 10th May 2014 in South Africa’s coastal city of Durban, East African states took its advantage to launch its single tourist visa and market themselves as a single destination.

The new cross-border travel permit was unveiled on Monday the 12th of May by ministers, high commissioners and tourism officials from Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya during the Indaba Annual Travel show in Durban, South Africa according to a statement from the Ministry of East African Community Affairs.
Vincent Karega, the Rwanda High Commissioner to South Africa, said the single tourist visa makes the three countries a competitive tourist destination besides putting the region on the world travel map. He further remarked that it was fortunate for the region that the heads of state for the respective nations recognize tourism is a driver towards economic development.
The East Africa single joint visa covers Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda and took effect in January to help in eliminating the border restrictions and easing the trade and tourism interactions among the 3 nations that have a lot in common.
Uganda’s Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Maria Mutagamba, observed that the visa will provide greater value for tourists and will facilitate the movement of people throughout the Great Rift Valley states that have a lot in common. The minister told the media in Durban that the initiative provides a diverse range of natural and cultural attractions and will help in promoting economic growth through reduction in the costs of doing business hence making the region more competitive.
The introduction of the joint tourist visa is said to have so far boosted regional travel, adding value to the tourism products of the three countries and highlighting the diversity of East Africa. With this new development, the complementarity of East Africa’s tourism products will be taken advantage of. It is now easy for one to start his vacation in Rwanda for gorillas and the genocide monuments, cross to Uganda for gorillas, rafting along the Nile and the strongest waterfalls at Murchison and wildlife in different parks before crossing to Kenya for the great animal migration and coastal life in the same package.
The tourist cross-border visa between Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda now costs $100 compared to the former nationalized charges of $50 for Uganda and Kenya and $30 for Rwanda.
However as we celebrate the single visa development, it is not a guarantee that the three nations will share equally in the travel market. It is quite regrettable that while Rwanda and Kenya inject about $5m each, annually in marketing their tourism industries, Uganda’s budget for this year is only $300,000 allocated to Tourism. This was confirmed by the minister Mutagamba at the Indaba Annual Travel show in Durban when she conceded that less has been done in promoting Uganda’s tourism, a thing she attributes to limited resources that cannot match those of the neighbors.
She however encouraged Ugandans that the ministry is doing everything possible to improve the industry and expressed hope of having an increased fund for marketing tourism within the next few years.

This Africa’s largest travel and tourism festival in Durban was attended by over 20 countries from around the continent which showcased their tourism offers. The indaba festival was not until this year restricted to only southern African countries and was organized by the South African Tourism Board. The event was opened by the South African Tourism Minister, Marthinus Christoffel Johannes van Schalkwyk.

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Tracking the Mountain Gorillas

Tracking the endangered Mountain Gorilla is one of  the Most strenuous yet rewarding safari experiences one can ever have. Though this gentle giant ape is highly venerated, coming in close contact with it is not a picnic but rather a real voyage through the jungle with steep slippery hills and mist covered rain forests.

The mountain Gorilla (Gorilla berengei berengei) is an endangered ape whose population in the world has been estimated to be less than 800 individuals all living in Uganda, Rwanda and D R Congo. They often rotate with in the big chant of forest vegetation that cuts across the boarders of the mentioned 3 countries. From Bwindi and Mgahinga parks to Virunga and then Volcanoes, the last remaining Mountain Gorilla population finds its home.

where to track the Mountain Gorillas from

As mentioned earlier, this man’s evolutionary cousin can be tracked from the 3 countries although most commonly is Uganda and Rwanda since D R Congo is marred by insecurity and several rebel activities that may put the lives of tourist at risk.

A gorilla permit in Rwanda costs 750USD while in Uganda is at 600USD but some times goes down to 350USD in the low season (March-May). Tracking in either of the countries may give more less the same experience and the procedure and rules are the same.

In Rwanda, access to the Volcanoes national park is much easier with a shorter distance unlike the one in Uganda where Bwindi national park has a longer distance from the capital Kampala (about 6-8 hours drive).

Tracking the Gorillas

Accessing the Gorilla permits can be either from a tour operator/ travel agent or directly from the Wild life authority. However the later may be inconveniencing since you need to secure one in advance because the demand is very high and only about 9 groups of 8 individuals are allowed to see the Gorillas per day in Uganda with each group tracking one Gorilla family. This means that you need to secure your permit a month before the date of tracking in order to be on a safer side.

You should come along with tracking gear that may include gum boots, raincoats, jackets, long sleeved shirts/ blouses, and drinking water. Walking sticks are available for purchase as well as porters to help you carry your luggage. Rain may be expected at any time of the day since the area is a typical rainforest.

Tracking the gorillas requires a relatively good  degree of fitness since it involves walking up hills amidst dense shrubs  and cold conditions. Children below 12 years are not eligible for tracking the gorillas and any one with a communicable disease like flu or diarrhea is forbidden from tracking since it posses a threat to the life of a mountain Gorilla.

Tracking starts at 8am after the 7 o’clock briefing by the Senior park officials where you are given rules to follow during tracking and allocated a gorilla family to track . The time one spends on this expeditious activity is not certain since it is dependent on where the gorillas will have spent the previous night. It is normally estimated to be between 2 and 8 hours.

All your struggles and hustles will certainly be soon forgotten when you finally meet face to face with the Mountain Gorillas. You are guaranteed a full hour with them at a distance not closer than 5meters as you observe their feeding habits, grooming the young ones, mating and playing. You are allowed to take photos but with no flash lights.

After tracking, you may take a community tour to the neighboring communities to explore their culture and daily life style. Taste their local dishes, participate in bear brewing and traditional dances which will consummate your safari experience. The encounter with the Mountain Gorilla ranks among the absolute highlights of an African Safari.

Conservation Projects.

An American zoologist Diana Fossey who entered Rwanda in the 1960s studied the Mountain Gorilla life for 18 years and began one of the most remarkable and venerated efforts of saving the life of a mountain Gorilla which she discovered was on verge of extinction. She worked hard to fight poaching of these apes amidst sharp resistance from the illegal traders and poachers who eventually took her life.

At the time of her death in 1985, the world had heard her humanitarian call and began to respond positively by funding conservation projects that later saw the gazetting of the Gorilla national parks in Rwanda and Uganda.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority works hand in hand with the neighboring communities to enhance that the few individuals of this endangered species may survive and recover from the plight of endangerment in the near future. Its upon this basis that the money you pay for the Permit, part of it is used to facilitate conservation efforts and part is given to the communities that were affected in gazetting parks that shelter these apes.

Your gorilla tour in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo is not only a life memorable adventure but also a step towards Mountain Gorilla protection from extinction. Be part of the epic story to save your evolutionary cousin-the Mountain Gorilla.

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Endangered Species day

Every 3rd Friday of May each year, the world commemorates the Endangered species day. This day is aimed at creating awareness about the endangered species and suggesting solutions to be implored to stop poaching and illegal trade of these species and their products that have greatly threatened their existence and heavily reduced their numbers.  This day highlights some of those that are threatened and are at the verge of extinction. The International Union For the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) came up with along list of the animals whose population is on a serious decline and are anticipated to face extinction if measures to protect them are not put in place. The list is termed as the Red list and features an array of animals .

There are more than 2 million animal species living on planet earth according to scientists, but 1000 species are endangered and have been protected in over 3500 protected areas world wide that include; parks, wildlife refugees and other reserves.

This year’s celebration will be on 16th May and is focusing on among others; the Mountain Gorilla which exist only in Uganda, Rwanda and Cong and less than 800 are said to be living in the world. Below are some of the most endangered animals as listed by the All about Wildlife Site

1 Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

This  North American bird is so endangered that it may  actually be extinct

2 Amur Leopard

The world’s rarest cat is critically endangered and Only 40 individuals are estimated to be  left in Russia’s Far East

3 Javan Rhinoceros

No more than 60 of these swamp-dwelling Asian rhinos exist

4 Northern Sportive Lemur

It is the scarcest of Madagascar’s fast-dwindling lemur species

5 Northern Right Whale

Hunted to near extinction, about 350 right whales still swim the Atlantic

6 The Saola—An Asian Unicorn

So rare it is almost mythological, the saola hangs on by its hoof tips in a forest full of poachers’ snares

7 Leather back Sea Turtle

The population of the world’s largest turtle is dropping at an alarming rate

8 Siberian (or Amur) Tiger

The world’s biggest cat weighs as much as 300 kilos (660 pounds) and has been critically threatened for its bones and skins that are believed to have medicinal value in Asia.

9 Chinese Giant Salamander

Humans are eating the world’s largest amphibian into extinction

10 The Little Dodo Bird

Samoa’s little dodo bird is in immanent danger of following the large dodo into extinction.

11 The Mountain Gorilla

Endemic to Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, this  gentle giant ape has been critically endangered that less than 800 individuals survive in the world

12 Sumatran Rhinoceros

This species of Rhinos is the smallest of all and about 275 of them are estimated to be remaining in the world.

The above list is from different sights and it should be noted that the species listed are not in a chronological order. the Endangered species are very many and therefore listing them down according to their degree of endangerment is quite difficult. More of these species and their details, can be found on the links below;

1. http://www.allaboutwildlife.com/ten-most-endangered-animals

2. http://www.iucnredlist.org/

 

 

 


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Uganda’s president orders poachers to be ‘shot on sight’

The president of Uganda during a grand tour to Kidepo National Park – a remote savannah park located along the border with conflict – hit Sudan as well as the northern part of Kenya – said that armed poachers operating in national parks should be ‘shot on sight’ because of the damage they could inflict on tourism to the central African nation, according to his spokesman.
In his words, the president was quoted telling the park security guards “Those with guns who cross to disturb, you should shoot them.”

The president’s spokesman, Tamale Mirudi, confirmed the comments, saying Museveni was “just stressing the importance of security in the national park, preservation of wildlife and the safety of the tourists.” The president supported this saying Uganda tourism can be crippled for years when one traveller is killed in a national park,” he said.
“The president is not saying that all the poachers should be killed on site. What the president is saying is stressing the importance of security in national parks, even if that requires shooting them on site to save the tourism industry in the country,” he added.

Income coming from Uganda tours is estimated to be about 3.7 percent of the country’s GDP, according to World Bank figures, although the sector is seen as ripe for potential growth as would-be visitors look further afield from the more traditional and developed Kenya Safaris or Tanzania.
Museveni is not the first leader in the region to call for a no-nonsense crackdown on poaching. Last year, police and wildlife officers in Tanzania started a crackdown on suspected poachers amid a surge of killings of elephant and rhino in the east African nation, operating under what was reported to be a government-ordered shoot-to-kill policy and making sweeping arrests.

But members of the security forces taking part were accused of numerous killings, incidents of torture and rapes, leading to the operation being halted and the sacking of four top government ministers. Poaching has risen sharply in Africa in recent years, driven by demand from Asia and the Middle East for rhino horns and ivory.

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SINGLE TOURIST VISA FOR EAST AFRICAN TOURISTS

ISSUANCE OF THE SINGLE VISA
Tourists will be granted a single Visa upon application at most of the embassies of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, via the immigration offices of the mentioned countries or online where it is possible.

UNIQUE FEATURES OF THE VISA FROM THE UGANDA, RWANDA AND KENYA VISAS
The visas for most specified countries go for $50 but permit entry only in to that country. The EAC single tourist visa, similar to the Schengen visa for European Union countries will permit tourists to enter any of the 3 counties and travel freely with in the other two without having to pay for another visa.
It will be a multiple-entry visa, and visitors will pay $100 for it. The time-span of stay for which it is issued cannot be pushed, neither is the tourist accepted to work.
What prevents me from using a visa issued by the Rwanda embassy in Washington for a business meeting in Kigali to travel with it to Kenya?
Visas issued for any of the specified countries are only used to travel to that country and not into any other EAC country.

HOW WILL IT WORK WITHOUT BEING STAMPED?
One is required to fill immigration forms where the time span of stay in the neighboring country will be shown and entered in the system.

IS THE VISA MACHINE READABLE?
Apparently the visa is machine readable and will avail the soft ware for personalization of the visa stickers to Kenya and Uganda. The software makes it possible for the 3 countries to access tourist information, data and share fees.

HOW WILL MEMBER STATES ENSURE THAT IT WORKS?
In the first year Rwanda was tasked to set up the visa and implement it initially. Rwanda will avail the information and communication technology software for personalization of the visa stickers to Kenya and Uganda.
The software will be able to permit sharing of information on fees and tourist data and apparently 60,000 visa stickers have been produced and distributed, in equal numbers to the particular high commissions and immigration offices of the three countries.

Visa fee collected will be shared among member states, with the issuing country taking $10 and the remaining $90 shared equally among member states.
The countries can then promote themselves as a single tourist destination like for the coming up March 2014 trade fair in Berlin, the Internationale Tourismus-Börs, the world’s largest tourism trade fair.
Partner states will use the regular logo and particular stands be designed to come out the same, they will have a joint promoting committee. A web portal has therefore been created as that will be hosted by Rwanda and pay for hosting and domain name for the first year. Thereafter, payment shall be on rotational basis.

ISSUES TO BE ADRESSED BY MEMBER STATES TO ENSURE THE VISA IS A SUCCESS

Member states look into other issues like cutting the airfares within the region. For example, it is more costly for a tourist to fly within the three countries than to fly into them from say Britain.
A tourist flying from Britain to Kenya will pay $800, then $400 from Kenya to Uganda, and $300 to Rwanda which is very dear bearing in mind the distances between the East African countries.
To promote itself as a single tourist destination, hotel tariffs need to be such that a five star hotel in Kampala is no different from one in Nairobi or Kigali
There should be standardisation of the hotels to meet the agreed EAC criteria. To promote itself as a single tourist destination, hotel rates need to be such that a five star hotel in Kampala is no different from one in Nairobi or Kigali

Security concerns are a major hindrance to the embracing of a single tourist visa within the region and should be looked in to as an emergency by the partner states.

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13 days Safari with Africa Adventure Safaris

Hello, a few weeks back, we’ve just come back from a 13 days safari in Uganda with Africa Adventure safaris and we thought of sharing some our experience with all of you over there.

First and foremost, never get scared of booking a safari though a tour operator/ agent as long as it is registered with Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO). We are citizens of Sweden and before making a booking with this company, we first contacted several companies which looked as if they where not perfect and good basing on the itineraries and services they where promising to provide. It’s not until we landed on this tour company, it’s looked organized right away from its website and a registered company with AUTO. It was indeed a best option for us, they provided a tailor made 13 days itinerary that suited our very best desires.
They were too kind and experienced in all their arrangements. We made a luxury booking with them and all necessary preparations such as making all the necessary booking, reserving permits among others were before the tour begun plus letting us know all the necessary requirements.
On arrival, we were welcomed by a representative from the company who was not only a driver but also an experienced guide as well. He arrived late evening at Entebbe international airport and transferred to Kampala for an overnight.
It was a nice experience at the accommodation in Kampala with extra-ordinary services, nice rooms and care for visitors. The following day, early in the morning, we left Kampala for our adventurous safari in Uganda. The drive to Murchison falls national park was rewarding with an en route visit to the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary were we got an opportunity of trekking rhinos at a closer range of about 30m from the rhinos. We then proceeded to Murchison falls national park with lunch en route and a remarkable view of people’s homesteads among others.
We arrived early evening with a visit to the top of the falls that exposed us to the Nile water as it was being forced through a narrow gorge.

We spent 2 nights in Murchison falls national park and did several activities to explore the wildlife within the park. Among the activities include a game drive that rewarded us sights of some big five animals including herds of elephants, buffaloes, lions, giraffes, warthogs and many more. We also had a launch cruise along river Nile to the bottom of the falls, this rewarded scenic views of hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes and several water birds.
We then transferred to Kibale forest national park, it was a long drive through the Albertan rift valley with dramatic views of Lake Albert, different land scapes, and mountain of the moon ranges. Kibale forest national park is one of the must visit destinations you should miss while on a visit to Uganda. The park has over 13 primate species which chimp trekking being the main activity in the park.
Trekking chimps was really a rewarding activity in that we met a large group of chimps in just a 1 hour trek, spent time with them while taking memorable photos, enjoying their social behavior as the ranger guide provides detailed information about the chimps. Along the way, we came across other animals including Vervet monkeys, black and white Colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, olive baboons plus some forest birds.
After Kibale, we proceeded to Queen Elizabeth national park for the tree climbing lions in its Ishasha sector, boat cruise along the Kazinga channel and a chance to spot a wide game including the elephants, buffaloes, lions, warthogs, Uganda kobs, bush bucks and many more that made our trip a wonderful one.
From Queen Elizabeth National Park we headed to Bwindi impenetrable National park, a prime destination for the few remaining mountain gorillas. it is quite a long distance from Queen Elizabeth NP to Bwindi, therefore we arrived late in the evening for relaxation and overnight stay. The pack has over 11 habituated gorilla groups. We visited the Rushegura group, it had 17 family members with one silver back, 3 juveniles and other adults. The hike to the gorillas was truly an adventure and a once in a life time experience that one shouldn’t miss.
It’s a gradual hike with break-offs that goes for about 2-8 hours hike depending on the movement of gorillas. Words can’t describe the feelings we felt, during the one hour we spent with the gorillas, it is truly an unforgettable moment that we always will remember.
Still in Bwindi impenetrable National park, we made a visit to the indigenous people of the forest- the Batwa (Pygmy) people that exposed us to their different performances such as the cultural dances, practices of the black smith, way of dressing and also got a chance of exploring more about their unique culture. After all the above visits, we transferred back to Kampala for our departure flight back home. Uganda is really a pearl of Africa and an amazing destination that we would recommend every one for a visit. As a note, we would also recommend everyone to plan his or her Uganda safari through Africa Adventure safaris and wish all those who are about to have their visits to Uganda a wonderful journey.

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What to Expect on a Gorilla trekking Safari to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Uganda is one of the most fascinating destinations with a wide range of tourist attractions distributed in its national parks. Murchison falls National Park, Kibale forest, Semliki, Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi impenetrable national park are some of the destinations found in Uganda but most frequently, tourists visit Bwindi impenetrable forest just because of its critically endangered primate species- the Mountain Gorillas. Most tourists visit Uganda to explore its wildlife but trekking mountain gorillas is one of the most activities on each and every tourist who come to Uganda. This because it gives an incredible views of Mountain gorillas and an outstanding trekking experience offered by the Uganda Wildlife Authority which is worth it.

Our sole purpose for visiting Uganda was to trek gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable forest. Upon arrival, we were picked up by our guide who transferred us to Bwindi impenetrable national park. It was a long drive but rewarding with lots of scenic views en route such as the royal drum makers, banana plantations, the equator where we got a chance of taking memorable photos. We had launch in Kabale and later proceeded to the park arriving in the evening for a check in at our selected accommodation.
The following day after breakfast, we were transferred to the park headquarters early in the morning. Before our gorilla trekking adventure, we where first briefed about the dos and don’ts while with the gorillas. This was followed by the search of the gorillas in the forest. Gorilla trekking is a tough but a rewarding activity which is well managed while making some stopovers plus taking lots of water.
During the trekking, it was a zig-zag hike within the forest upto an altitude of 6000fts which took us three hours to reach the gorillas. We were allowed a maximum of 1 hour to stay with the gorillas, the group had 3 infants who were being given much care from their mums and protection by the silverback. They were all calm and we were able to take memorable photos and videos plus also appreciating the memorable experience of watching gorillas at a closer range.

At the elapse of one hour, we had to return at the park headquarters to pick our trekking certificates, this was followed by a visit to the Batwa (Pygmy) people with an interpreter plus one adult pygmy called James. It is an interesting and incredible walk that takes you through the different practices of the Batwa including their cultural dances, way of preparing food, Lighting fire, blacksmith among others that really makes your trip a wonderful one.

Our trip didn’t stop there but we also visited Queen Elizabeth national park where we enjoyed views of the tree climbing lions at the Ishasha sector, a game drive that exposed us to the different wild animals in the park such as the elephants, buffaloes, Uganda Kobs, warthogs among other wild animals. We also enjoyed a tremendous boat ride on the Kazinga Channel rewarding dramatic sights of hippos, crocodiles and a wide range of water birds. On the fifth day we were transferred back to Entebbe international airport for our departure flight but all in all it was a nice experience and an adventurous tour with Africa Adventure safaris therefore we decided to recommend it to others who wish to visit Uganda and East Africa at large.

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When and Where do I get my Uganda Tourist Visa?

A Ugandan tourist Visa can be easily accessed or got at the point of entrance in the country from the airport – Entebbe International Airport or at the Ugandan border. It is a very simple, reliable and quick process as you are required to fill an entrance form which costs $50 only! It is after acquiring a Ugandan Visa and then allowed into the country – the pearl of Africa, get a chance to visit Uganda wildlife in its finest destinations such as Bwindi impenetrable NP for mountain gorilla tracking, Queen Elizabeth national park as a home to the tree climbing lions, Kibale forest – a home to over 13 primate species and many more.
Is it possible to obtain the Visa at the entrance but not from the Ugandan Embassy in my country of residence?
Yes it’s possible but this will become more time consuming and costly as explained in the points below;

➢ It becomes more costly. The cost of the visa is the same both in Uganda at the entrance and at the embassy in your country of residency but more costs are included in that you will be required to pay for an overnight, postal services to and from your country of residence hence raising the Visa price.
➢ It saves time on arrival in that no time wasted in going to the embassy, filling the forms and then going back to pick up the Visa.
➢ No need of passport photos. It is also one way of saving in that at the entrance of Uganda, no passport photo is required however at any Ugandan embassy, these photos are required hence money is wasted in getting the required photos.
➢ When getting a Ugandan Visa at the entrance of the country, fewer forms i.e. the immigration form is required to be filled which is not the case if done at the embassy.
➢ If at all am rejected? This cannot happen. Ugandan migrations are very friendly, hospitable and polite. All you need to do is presenting your passport, paying a $50 charge, presenting a return ticket and sometimes a Yellow fever certificate.
The immigration process may look to be long instead it moves faster and very quick than how it would have been in your home of residence for example Australia, USA, China among others. The process usually takes 30-60 minutes waiting in a line and on retire, your luggage will just be showing up, hence no time wasted!
East African Tourist Visa: The Tourism industries in the East African countries are greatly diversifying in that since June 2011, the East African countries are planning to have a single tourist Visa that will be used to access all the countries with ease. However this is still under discussions and not yet confirmed by the involved countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi.

Our Thoughts about the Tourism Visas: As resident in Uganda, tourists contribute a lot to the development of our economy. We are grateful to tourists who visit Uganda because every 20 visitors who come to Uganda provide income to the government which is used eradication of poverty in the country.

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Insight on a Tour to Murchison Falls NP from Kampala

A tour to Murchison Falls range from a day trip to over 5 days to explore Murchison Falls National Park. The first day starts with a drive to Murchison falls by 7:30 am and is quite long. Expect to have a stopover at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, where a local ranger takes travelers for a short bush walk to meet rhinos. You will have a chance to see them at a close distance and it very advisable to go see the Rhinos since it is a cheap activity which you may as well do it. If it is a very warm day, just skip the whole thing and save 2 hours. The whole journey to the park takes some 10 hours, so if you don’t like traveling, skip Ziwa and go straight to MFNP through Masindi.
The drive from Masindi takes you crossing the Nile at Karuma Falls, then to the poor town of Pakwach, and to the Northern gate of MFNP and a drive of 25 kilometers from the Park’s gate to Paraa Safari Lodge through the area where they do the game drives, and you will be able to view a number of various animals, including elephants.
The Paraa safari lodge has a look of oldish but with a British style of old elegance. The lodge has excellent services, so are the meals. Nice swimming pool, small gym. Rooms are small, although many of them face the Nile River and the night is pretty cool. Next day early morning after breakfast is time for a 4-hour game drive. Lots of small animals are seen during the drive, many giraffes and elephants and one can spot some lion. It’s always an advantage to have an informative and knowledgeable ranger to guide you for the drive.

In the afternoon the Uganda tour package includes a 1-2 hours boat ride to the River Nile. The boat drive, you can spot many animals, including crocodiles and especially birds and you also get to watch the water falls very closely.
On the third day gives you an opportunity to drive to the top of the Falls. The view from there and of the huge amount of water falling through the narrow crevice is amazing.
From the Falls to Kampala it is about 5-6 hours to Kampala.

Articles offering an insight to travelers hopping to go to Murchison Falls national park on their Uganda safari. Offering you tips on what to expect while there –

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Uganda Tourism vs Funding from the Government

Report from the Uganda tourism minister Maria Mutagamba urged the new management of the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) to find other means of funding methods to promote the Perl of Africa as an attractive tourism destination.
The minister further noted that the new board comes at a time when government funding to the sector is low and hence insufficiently funded by the government. The budget for 2012/13 was reduced from sh2.0b to sh1.4b. Comparing the strategic plan funding requirement for 2012/13 of sh19.2b, the board has a funding gap of sh17b this year.

The speech was made during the swearing in of the new board at the UTB offices in Kampala. The minister advised the board to consider exploring the implementation of the tourism development levy provided for under the Uganda Tourism Act 2008.

“The delay in actualizing of the tourism development levy has made it difficult for the sector to rise alternative funding. Preliminary estimates show that $9m (about sh23b) could be raised annually from the levy,” Mutagamba noted. James Tumusiime, the new board chairman, promised that the board will do everything in its power to see that the mission achieved and improved in the Ugandan tourism industry is realized. In his speech, he further noted that the Ugandan tourism industry earns $800m (about sh2trilion) annually compared to $500m (about sh1.3trillion) from coffee despite the low level of funding to the sector.
Tumusiime also pledged to strengthen the human resource capacity of the board, strengthen linkages between UTB and its strategic partners and lobby the Government for increased funding.

Other board members who attended the ceremony include, Tom Wasswa, representing Civil Aviation Authority, Edith Kasajja, representing National Planning Authority, Lilly Ajarova, the executive director Chimpanzee Wildlife Conservation Trust at Ngamba Island and Ismail Sekandi, represents hoteliers.

Others present were, Amos Wekesa, representing Uganda tour operators, Roger Wamara, a sales manager Qatar Airways, Dr. Andrew Seguya, the executive director Uganda Wildlife Authority, Michael Aliyo, from board of trustees of Uganda Wildlife Authority, Vivian Lyazi, representing the tourism ministry and Cuthbert Baguma, the UTB executive director and secretary to the board.

Baguma said the board will focus on promoting tourism products and the development of a sustainable and competitive tourism sector.

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Gorilla Evaluation

The aggregate planet residents of mountain gorillas has climbed to 880, as per evaluation information discharged by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

The planet’s residents of mountain gorillas has expanded by more than 10% in two years, new enumeration figures show.

An overview did in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable national park and discharged by the Ugandan Wildlife Authority has discovered that amounts of the basically jeopardized species, Gorilla beringei beringei, have climbed from an expected 786 in 2010 to 880 today.

Threats to the mountain gorilla – incorporating war, living space devastation and ailment – were once thought to be so severe that the species could end up being terminated by the closure of the 20th century, yet the population has expanded fundamentally in the final 30 years.

Drew McVey, species programme supervisor at WWF-UK, who upheld the evaluation as a component of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, stated he accepted the last expand was because of protection enterprises that had efficaciously captivated the nearby neighborhood.

“Mountain gorillas have just survived due to protection. Ensured zones are preferable supervised and resourced over they have ever been, and our work is a considerable measure more cross-slicing to address threats -we don’t only work with the creatures in the national parks, and yet with the individuals.”

McVey stated preservation now adjusted species survival against the necessities of an inconceivably abject zone with elevated people forces, for instance, handling the misfortune of gorilla living space because of the illicit accumulation of kindling by giving the group access to elective vigor sources.

Mountain gorillas, a subspecies of the Eastern marsh gorilla, exist in mountain forests in just two areas on the planet – Bwindi in south-west Uganda and the Virunga Massif, an extent of terminated volcanoes that fringe the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Rwanda.

As per the enumeration report, there are more than 400 mountain gorillas in Bwindi, living in 36 notable social assemblies, with 16 singular males. Ten of the aforementioned social gatherings are usual to human presence for either tourism or research. A 2010 review included 480 individuals in Virunga Massif.

“Gorillas are moderate raisers,” McVey stated. “Besides we’re very awed with what amount of the residents has expanded.”

Anyhow McVey stated this ought not be perused as a mark that the battle to safeguard the species is over. “Mountain gorillas are just discovered in secured ranges, and outside the aforementioned ranges there are more than 600 individuals for every square kilometre, so there is enormous force to secure their environment and pay their way. We haven’t got everything right yet, however its essential we press on to continue working and expand this victory.”

The amount of mountain gorillas has expanded from the 2010 gauge of 786 after a number in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable national Park.
The most amazing ebb and flow threats to mountain gorillas are trap in chasing catches, ailment exchange from people, and environment clearing for agribusiness and settlement.

“Gorillas have generally the same DNA as us, and people can transmit anything from a common cold to ebola. Gorilla citizenries are extraordinarily delicate and touchy to earthy change. There are just two populations, so any woe could effectively wipe out a whole inhabitants present,” stated McVey.

The prospect of oil investigation in Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga national park by petroleum associations has moreover gotten a foundation for concern.

“More individuals in Virunga would imaginable expedite an expansion in deforestation, wrongful chasing and more catches in the forests,” stated David Greer, WWF’s African awesome primate programme boss. No less than seven Virunga mountain gorillas have been gotten in catches not long from now and two did not survive. The gorilla residents remains delicate and could effectively slip into decay if preservation administration was to be dismissed in the hunt for oil cash by elites.”

The amount of mountain gorillas declined breathtakingly throughout the 1960s, stabilized throughout the 1970s and began to expand in the 1980s. Political precariousness and war averted a complete evaluation until 1989, when it was uncovered that there were 620 population.

The war in Rwanda in the early 1990s and years of civil unrest in the DRC prompted poaching and pulverization of gorilla environment and made study and preservation work troublesome and perilous. Since 1996, 140 Virunga officers have been murdered in the line of calling, incorporating one in May.

Numerous mountain gorillas have gotten acclimated to human presence and are a major visitor draw. In 2009 Virunga national park – home to the greatest mountain gorilla people – appropriated 550 guests. In the not so distant future guests were extrapolated to arrive at 6,000.

“The sum of income and vocations that gorillas create is so vital for the aforementioned regions that are so wildly downtrodden,” McVey stated. “Individuals truly see gorillas as significant for the national and nearby economies, and an allotment of this backtracks to preservation ventures and the neighborhood group.”

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Scientists Discover Intelligent Ugandan Chimp

A group of German scientists have hailed a cheeky Ugandan chimpanzee called Natasha as a “genius” who is “intellectually closer to humans than most apes.”

According to findings published online by The Sun, a UK-based newspaper yesterday, Natasha, who lives in Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary on Lake Victoria, can communicate with people and manipulate them.

The 22-year-old demands extra food by clapping at caretakers during feeding time. She also gets her fun by playfully beckoning people to fling food her way, then spraying them with water.

Dr Joshua Rukundo, the sanctuary’s operations director, confirmed that a group of scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Germany was at the sanctuary and carried out a study on selected chimpanzees five years ago.

“Natasha is definitely among the most intelligent chimpanzees you will ever find,” said Dr Rukundo, who also doubles as the veterinary doctor at the sanctuary.

A group of German scientists have hailed a cheeky Ugandan chimpanzee called Natasha as a “genius” who is “intellectually closer to humans than most apes.”

According to findings published online by The Sun, a UK-based newspaper yesterday, Natasha, who lives in Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary on Lake Victoria, can communicate with people and manipulate them.

The 22-year-old demands extra food by clapping at caretakers during feeding time. She also gets her fun by playfully beckoning people to fling food her way, then spraying them with water.

Dr Joshua Rukundo, the sanctuary’s operations director, confirmed that a group of scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Germany was at the sanctuary and carried out a study on selected chimpanzees five years ago.

“Natasha is definitely among the most intelligent chimpanzees you will ever find,” said Dr Rukundo, who also doubles as the veterinary doctor at the sanctuary.

Sandra,

Africa Jungle tours

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A WAR MUSEUM OPENED IN KITGUM – Uganda

A war museum was opened in Kitgum to serve as a memorial centre so that no other war can happen in the future. The centre provides historical information about the Lord’s Resistance Army revolution in northern Uganda which happened for over 20 years. The Uganda Law Commission chairman, Prof. Joseph Kakooza, said the centre has all the information about the wars that occurred in the northern part of Uganda and other areas of the country since 1962.he said all these wars happened because there was greed for power and prosperity and pleaded for all leaders to stop violence and try to find long-lasting peace.

The memorial centre is worth more than sh500m which was sent by USAID through the Northern Uganda Transition Initiative and it was implemented by Makerere University’s Refugee Law Project.

The war museum has also art pieces about the war, an information centre with a projector where visitors can watch related to war information. This tourist site has been added among the Uganda tourist attractions.

Kenneth Oketta, the prime minister of Ker Kwaro Acholi, the Acholi cultural institution, said the centre will keep although the centre will protect features of the Acholi culture and also help , it will also help in change and relocation centre.

Sandra,

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UWA Commissions Community Projects In Kisoro

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) along with the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) and the local communities has commissioned a number of projects in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks aimed at promoting the conservation the of the critically endanger mountain gorillas and gorilla tourism. Among the projects commissioned are the new Nkuringo Patrol post along with the Visitor Information centre and three rain water harvesting tanks in Mgahinga Protected Area.

The Nkuringo patrol post worth 138,000,000/= was constructed with support from Arcus Foundation, HD Willis and the Uganda Wildlife Authority. According to the IGCP Communications officer, Anna Behm Masozera, IGCP raised the funds for construction from Arcus Foundation and HD Willis in partnership with UWA.

UWA’s acting Executive Director, Dr. Andrew Ggunga Seguya flanked by the Director Conservation Mr. John Makombo and the IGCP officials commissioned the projects a fortnight ago .The rain water harvesting tanks are expected to reduce the pressure from the communities on the national park.

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Mountain Gorilla Population Up In Virunga Massif-2010 Census

Ever since the last census taken to in 2006, a new census was taken recently and it was discovered that the population of critically endangered mountain gorillas living in Africa’s Virunga Massif has grown by 26.3% to approximately 480 individuals in the past seven years according to the newly released results of the 2010 mountain gorilla census.

The last mountain gorilla census of the Virunga region in 2003 estimated a total of 380 animals. The Virunga Massif encompasses national parks in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC. Some 302 additional mountain gorillas live in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which was not included in this year’s census.

The Virunga Massif mountain gorilla census was conducted by the protected area authorities in three countries: L’Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature, the Rwanda Development Board, and the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

The census was supported by the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (a coalition of the African Wildlife Foundation, World Wide Fund for Nature, and Fauna & Flora International), the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, and the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project. The census was funded by WWF-Sweden, Fair Play Foundation, and the Netherlands Directorate General for International Cooperation (DGIS) through the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration.

During the census, six teams comprised of 72 people from DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda systematically walked over 1,000 km throughout the entire range and meticulously documented fresh signs of mountain gorilla groups. Genetic analysis of fecal samples collected during the census have identified and corrected for any double-counting of individuals or groups, ensuring the most accurate estimate for the population. Fecal samples were also collected for a comprehensive health screen of the population. Further details and results of the health screen, population structure, genetic composition, mountain gorilla distribution, population dynamics, and human disturbance will be available when the full report is complete in 2011.

According to a statement from the Wildlife agencies of Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo, the annual growth rate of the gorilla population was estimated at 3.7%.The census team encountered a total of 480 mountain gorilla individuals in 36 groups and 14 solitary silverbacks (adult males) in the Virunga Massif. Of the 480 gorillas, 352 (73%) were habituated, three were solitary males and 128 individuals un habituated. A total of 117 lived in un habituated groups while 11 solitary males had not been habituated.

An earlier census in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National park in 2006 estimated the mountain gorilla population at 340.

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