Gorilla trekking tips in Africa

gorilla trekking tipsOn my first gorilla trekking in Africa in 2013, I felt as if I had been invited to a reunion of distant, hairy relatives. When I first saw the gorillas I took photos for a while, but then put my camera away so I could just watch. I stood mere feet from these powerful animals and they calmly let me be a part of their world. No glass, no bars, no rumbling safari car engine, no squinting through binoculars. Just humans and gorillas together in the forest.

Anyone going on safari in East Africa should consider adding on a few days to see the mountain gorillas in nearby Rwanda, Uganda, or the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain gorilla tracking is the main feature in all Rwanda and Uganda safaris. Gorilla trekking requires more active participation than traditional safaris, so it’s important to plan ahead so you are prepared for the challenge. Once you book a tour (I recommend Volcanoes Safaris for trekking in Rwanda and Uganda) here are some important points to keep in mind:

Dress for success

I have seen gorilla trackers tourists dressed in all kinds of outfits, from young women in skinny jeans and tennis shoes to well-heeled adventurers decked out in North Face gear that would rival anything you’d see at Mt. Everest base camp. Personally, I think you need to be prepared for muddy trails and changeable weather, but it’s not necessary to spend a fortune to be prepared.

Here’s what I recommend. On top, wear layers. Start with a shirt made of a synthetic material that dries quickly. I usually spend most of the trek up the mountain in a t-shirt as it can get quite warm and muggy in the forest. I usually add a fleece layer when the group stops and I start cooling down. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a third rain layer. Rainstorms can happen at any time in the forest, and it’s no fun, not to mention dangerous, to be cold and wet for hours. You can bring a waterproof rain jacket, but a cheap poncho will also work.

On the bottom I wear long pants, also made of a synthetic material. Between the potential for cold weather and the stinging nettle plants of the forest, wearing shorts is an invitation for misery. Some trekkers also bring waterproof pants to wear on top of regular pants, but I usually don’t unless it’s the peak of the rainy season in April and May.

Wear proper footwear

Boots that fit above the ankle are a must. You’ll probably walk through ankle-deep mud at certain points, and sometimes even knee-deep mud that threatens to suck the boots right off your feet. Because of this, you should wear gators over your boots that go up to the knee. When I trek, I go like the locals and wear knee-high rubber willies with treads on the bottom. I’m guaranteed to stay dry up to knees and the boots can be quickly cleaned and dried out for the next day. I wear SmartWool socks underneath.

Pack enough food and water

There’s no place to buy food and water once you get to the national parks so make sure you have at least a liter of water and some snacks to pack with you. Some treks last well into the afternoon, so I try to bring some energy bars and fruit to keep me going. Volcanoes Safaris’ lodges provide packed lunches for trekkers but it’s always nice to have a few favorite snacks from home in case you’re a picky eater.

Speak up about your trekking preferences

When you arrive at park headquarters on the morning of your trek, the national park guides will assign you to a gorilla group. Technically, it’s not possible to book permits for a specific gorilla group. However, it is important to let your tour company representative know your fitness level, so they can work with the guides to assign you to group that will be within your ability to reach. Some groups are known for ranging far afield while others stay closer to the park boundaries or even go outside of the park. However, all groups move in search of food so there’s no guarantee that one group will be easier to reach than another. On certain days when fewer tourists are trekking than usual, you may be able to request specific groups. Closer groups with new babies tend to be the most popular. It’s hard to pick which groups are the “best” because they are all different and group size and composition changes from one year to the next. Every gorilla trek I’ve been on has been unique and revealed a new facet of mountain gorilla behavior.

Make sure your camera is forest ready

I’ll offer more specific photography tips in a later blog, but here are the basics: Flash photography is not allowed as it disturbs the gorillas so make sure you have your camera manual with you so you know how to disable the automatic flash and automatic focus light functions. Photographs of gorillas in the low forest light often turn out dark due to underexposure. To avoid this, I tend to shoot at ISO 1250 or higher when in the forest. These days, newer models of both point-and-shoot and DSLR camera can handle relatively high ISOs without adding too much noise. No matter what kind of camera you bring, make sure you keep it in a waterproof bag (a large Ziploc will do) to avoid getting the camera wet. I’ve seen way too many nice cameras destroyed by African rainstorms.

The price for a Rwandan mountain gorilla trekking permit is $750, $ 500 dollars for Uganda and $ 400 dollars for the Democratic republic of Congo, so book your gorilla safari with travel specialists for an agent to handle the paperwork for you.)

For more information about Uganda Rwanda trips and tips, contact Jungle Safaris Uganda Limited on Email: info@junglesafarisuganda.com / Tel: +256772561508

Travel Alert: U.S. State department encouraged citizens to avoid Russia

department-of-stateThe State Department of the United States of America has issued a travel alarm for all Americans wanting to travel Russia. The State Department has prompted U.S. natives in Russia to be alert aimed the potential for increase public demonstrations and hostile to American actions in Russia in connection with Russian activities in the Crimea.

According to the reports, the State Department said that United States citizens acknowledging travel to Russia ought to assess their personal security in light of political tensions and the likelihood of viciousness or anti U.S. actions directed against American or interests.

For U.S. natives who are living in Russia, the U.S. officials also encourage to keep away from all open demonstrations and any huge swarms and public gathering that lack enhanced security measures.

Travel to Africa and meet the mountain Gorillas in the Mist

When you are planning to travel to Africa for your safari or business issue, Uganda, Rwanda and Congo are the best destinations that you would not to miss on your travel in Africa. These 3 regions have got the great apes of the world and these mountain gorillas. Uganda and Rwanda gorilla tours can be booked through African Jungle Adventures Limited, the No.1 gorilla tour company in Africa.

During my travel to Africa last year 2013 in July, I went to Kenya for 3 days in Masai Mara National Park for wildlife safari to mainly spot the 5 big cats of Africa and other wildlife species, and this one I contacted African Jungle Adventures who recommended me to the Kenyan tour operator partner and my safari was luxury but the price I got from the operator I was not sure whether I will get what expect but when I arrived in Kenya they picked from the airport but the comfortable safari jeep which gave an impression of the lodges that I was going to stay and thereafter we drove to the lodge and it was 5 star lodge.

gorilla-tours-rwandaThen, the following my professional English speaking guide, Makau early in the morning arrived at the lodge to pick me and already I was done with my breakfast and then I had to board the jeep and transfer to the park and as we traveling Makau was not guiding but extremely educating me more about Kenya which was much amazing. Then, upon arrival at this park I started spotting various wildlife species and the big cats of Africa were close to our jeep and I took unforgettable photos.

As soon, as finished this unforgettable wildlife safari in Kenya my experienced guide Makau transferred me to the Jomo Kenyatta airport to embark Kenya Airways to Uganda and upon arrival at Entebbe international airport our guide Paul was at arrival point to pick us and dropped us at hotel in Kampala.

Then, early in the morning Steve and my guide Paul came to hotel and meet me for orientation before my safari, thereafter my guide Paul drove me to Kibale Forest National Park where I had my chimpanzee trekking and the spotting of other primates, during my stay at this forest I stayed at Kyaninga lodge with the spacious view of the nearby Crater Lakes and this can be viewed while in your room or at the verdant trail of the lodge.

After the chimpanzee trekking we transferred to Bwindi impenetrable national park where I had the gorilla trekking and when we entered the forest and show the mountain gorillas on their turf and their conditions? It was simply an amazing, once in a lifetime experience. The trek was hard though. The family that we visited was the Rushegura group and our information said, “to reach the Rushegura one must endure a fairly steep climb” and they weren’t kidding. However, turning that last corner and seeing a gorilla sitting right in front of us, banished all the difficulties of the climb. There was one baby in the group and multiple silverbacks so we saw all sizes. This group is known as a gentle, peaceful group and they were that. Such a beautiful sight for my visit to Africa!

Namibia awarded for conservation effort

Namibia has, for the second time, received the global gift to the Earth Award from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for its unprecedented protection effort and strengthening of its rural people.

The award was presented to Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba throughout the official opening event of the tenth Adventure Travel World Summit in Windhoek on Saturday.

Namibia is the first nation to incorporate the protection of its environment in the constitution when the first four conservation regions were structured. It was likewise in that year when, in distinguishment of its innovative legislation power that was developed over its environment, Founding President Sam Nujoma was given the Gift to the Earth in October 1998.

The nation now gloats of over 79 conservancies covering 19.5% of its land. The nation likewise boasts of the biggest free-meandering population of rhinos on the world and predators, for example cheetahs, leopards and lions have increased in numbers as a consequence of communal conservancy.

Pohamba, who expressed his gratitude for the accolade, said the world’s attention was presently kept tabs on what Namibia offers, not just regarding its extraordinary wildlife and scene, however in preservation strategies and successes.

 “Namibia’s Constitution plots the protection of our environment. One of our auspicious protection efforts is the establishment of our conservancies to protect our wildlife, to minimize human-wildlife conflict and likewise to derive benefits from our tourism sector,” he said.

Pohamba likewise said the fact that the nation had been chosen and recognized for its conservation efforts for the second time is something Namibians ought to be pleased with.

Chief Emeka Anyaoku of Nigeria, who presented the gift to Pohamba, said Namibia’s success story on protection is one that numerous countries should learn from and that the nation’s award in shared preservation serves as a worldwide model.

 “I have been to numerous nations around the world; however I find Namibia’s protection truly astounding. The ideas and principle behind Namibia’s communal conservancy movement are presently contemplated by over 20 nations from Africa, Asia, and the Americas with a perspective to similarly devolve environmental management responsibility and the benefit from wildlife and tourism to rural communities,” he said.

Travel tips: how to pick the best group tour

Most of us only get a few weeks of holiday each year. When time is of the essence, it can feel good to delegate all the travel planning to someone else. Slow, independent journeys will, of course, always be the cheapest form of traveling, but they’re not entirely practical if you don’t want to quit your job and hit the road for an unspecified amount of time. Recent years have seen a marked rise in the group tour phenomenon. Fuelled by increasingly busy lifestyles, and a growing interest in emerging destinations once considered the sole terrain of hardened backpackers, the market for group tourism has expanded rapidly and many travel agents in Kampala and now organsing groups Uganda gorilla safaris and wildlife tour packages.

Today an ever-growing number of tour companies offer a portfolio of trips in nations from Uganda to Rwanda. With so many brands now competing for your tourism dollar, choosing a good value tour has become nearly as complicated as planning your own adventure. You’ve picked up the brochures. You have scanned through the websites. But how do you cut through the advertising gloss of smiling, sun-kissed travelers posing in front of exotic backgrounds to really find out which tour operator offers the best deals and excellent tours to Rwanda or any country of your choice?

There is no point trying to choose between a 30-day bus trip, a hop-on, hop-off bus tour, and a small group adventure tour operator who utilizes some public transport. Settle on the type of tour you want before anything else. If you’re using a travel agent to book, don’t go in without having done some prior research. One of the main reasons people end up on a tour they dislike is because they’ve been sold a tour that’s wrong for them. All the big travel agencies have agreements with one or two tourism operators to push their tours above any other option.

Don’t be bullied into buying the one your travel agent suggests first. Once you’ve decided on the type of tour you’d like, check the fine print. Even if three different operators run similar looking tours that seem to include the same sights and activities but differ in price, it doesn’t mean the cheapest choice is the best value.

There will be differences reflected in the price. One may provide a sleeper berth on an overnight train, and the other may only include a seat. Are there local guides included at the major sights on all the tours, or does one just provide entry fees? If this kind of scrimping is worth the saving for you, go for the cheapest. But do your homework first so you know what you’re paying (and not paying) for.

Cheapest on paper isn’t always best on the road

Don’t mistake trips labeled ‘budget’, ‘backpacker’ or ‘basic’ as automatically better value than that tour company’s standard trips. These ‘cheaper’ versions are sometimes used as a ploy to capture more of the traveler market. Look closely and you may find that the standard trip offers better value. If you’re counting your pennies, the cheaper trip can seem to yield a very decent saving.

Take into account that these budget versions might involve not only much simpler accommodation and transport, but also fail to include much in the way of sights and activities. The tour operators spin this fact by saying less inclusions give you the freedom to choose what you spend your money on. The question you’ve got to ask yourself is, for example, would you go to nice hotel room all day, you might end up spending more money fleshing out a budget than you would on the same company’s standard trip, as the cost of the tour hasn’t been reduced enough realistically to cover what is excluded.

To save extra cash, don’t book any pre-and-post-trip accommodation or airport transfers through your tour company. It’s always cheaper to book additional accommodation independently, either through a hotel directly or by using an accommodation booking website. The same goes for airport transfers. Private taxi transfers booked through your tour company will be less than a regular airport taxi, or an airport shuttle service. Of course, a pre-booked private taxi transfer gives you peace of mind on arrival so if you judge this to be good value then go for it.

Flying into the Butterfly World – Uganda Safaris

Flying into the Butterfly WorldReally shuddering butterflies with their stunning move are part of the menu for nature lovers. With swaggering grace and jerky flights, they decorate the forested Serenade Eco Resort Beach on Lake Victoria. Butterflies are part of the long record that makes Uganda the Pearl of Africa. With 518 recorded species, Uganda is home to about 75% of the African butterfly species.

With testing kisses, they suck nectar from the wild blossoms. Their vibrating wings create merry tunes as their predators slinking in the thick jungle salivate.

In spite of the fact that ravishing and harmless, butterflies have numerous nature foes. They are preyed by birds, reptiles, insects and ants while their eggs are consumed by bugs, hover flies and birds like songbirds. Their hatchlings are gobbled by fowls. Butterflies which make it to adulthood are killed by predators, disease and bad climate. Small butterflies live for three weeks while the life span of bigger ones is double that of small ones.

Feeding habits

Interestingly, butterflies never consume all their lives. Those which don’t need sustenance incubate from pupa, which has a good amount of energy reserves in form of fat. They use the fat all their grown-up lives.

On the other hand, most butterflies do take some salts, sugars and liquids. Some, such as the swallowtails, usually visit blooms to get nectar and others look for urea from animal waste. Some males are sometimes seen on dump grounds near streams extracting salts, particularly, sodium from the drying mud. This sort of conduct is called mud.

With rainbow colours, they reduce a figure of small angle from paradise, however don’t be tooled: some butterflies are natural drunkards. The drunkard family of butterflies hails from the charaxes genus. They like the juice from rotting fruits that is alcoholic. Most times, they take excessively, get smashed and fail to fly and get vulnerable to predators. Luckily, some of them are harmful, while others generate horrible chemicals that keep predators at inlet.

Most toxic butterflies fly gradually with confidence, while those which are not mimic the poisonous ones in their movement. The impostors are usually black and white and orange.

Butterflies, together with moths, are insects that belong to the Lepidoptera order. Butterflies have substantial wings covered by small scales. They are a paramount link in the natural way of life. Some butterfly species are specific in their eating regimen, consuming particular plants. This makes them vital for research and protection studies. Subsequently they are progressively drawing in special voyagers to Uganda, with a big number of them doing research on these beautiful insects.

Butterflies help researchers to study what happens in their territory. The presence of a specific butterfly indicates that their nourishment plant is available.

In Uganda, Mabira Forest has the most astounding number of butterflies with 250 species, 45 charaxes and 55% of the nation’s swallowtails. Most African butterfly species are forest dwellers and Mabira is an old tropical forest, therefore the enormous amounts of these insects. Other protected zones rich in butterflies are Kibale Forest and Bwindi National Parks, which are additionally extraordinarily forested. Outside of national parks, Serenade Eco Resort, with its old forest and exotic flowers, abounds with numerous types of butterflies 12 hours a day.

Ambassador Ibrahim Mukiibi, the proprietor of Serenade, says he has been rationing his 18 acre forest for about 30 years. It is only 35 minutes by boat from Ggaba landing site and is home to primates, giant lizards, medicinal plants and over 130 species of both water and forest birds. The sheer number of butterflies is an indicator of the rich biodiversity in the private forest.

Butterflies are colourful insects and are not bugs to farmers. Their colours and designs contrast relying upon the season. They are darker throughout cool times and lighter throughout hot seasons.

They are cold blooded insects. They have to warm themselves in the sun with wings open before they can fly. Around night time, they sleep underneath leaves frequently in big communities to avoid predators. Some butterflies are transitory and move in substantial numbers over long distances to colonize new territories while abandoning ineffective habitats.

Confronted with such a variety of dangers to their lives, butterflies have acclimates some survival tricks. They fly in jerky patterns, making it hard for predators to hit the target. Some disguise with the encompassing vegetation.

Some butterflies have false eyes on their wings to befuddle birds, giving them a chance to ambush from the wrong end to enable escape, yet with broken wings. Butterflies with punctured or broken wings are survivors of these attacks.

How to have a Successful and an Interesting Uganda Safari

Gorilla Expedition Ltd and African Jungle Adventures Ltd are the leading tour companies in Uganda ready to offers travel services to you. They offers different tour activities like Uganda Gorilla Trekking Safaris, Wildlife tours, cultural safaris and many other activities to all national parks, game reserves and other safari destinations in the country.

Travelling and Positive Attitude Boosts Your Health and Happiness

gorillas-bwindi-forest-national-parkWhile arranging to begin your Uganda safari for great gorilla trekking safaris, it is important that you study key life goals. All we require in our lives is to be Healthy, Wealthy and Happy. Each of us obviously realizes that an ideal balance of these three elements will ensure us a great durable life. We additionally know beyond any doubt what we should do or not do to achieve these fundamental goals. It is now realized that voyaging and having an uplifting attitude in life makes us healthier and more blissful.

A few months back I read an article by Andrew Hough (telegraph.co.uk; March, 2011) reading that as per later scientific proof individuals who are blissful and positive about life live longer. The contention is that a health life is about good eating habits as well as uplifting state of mind towards most of our life experiences. Personally I do not think this makes any news because on the grounds that we know all that and this knowledge has been around for a long time but let me know if you do not agree with me.

My greatest concern however is: if we know what we should do or not do in order to be healthy, wealthy and happy and thereby live a long life, why is the larger part of people on this universe not HEALTHY, not WEALTHY and not HAPPY?!!

Somebody may say they would prefer not to live a long life and thusly Health, Wealth and Happiness is not extremely critical to them. I don’t subscribe to such a contention yet my possible guess is that they have a certain human weakness that limits them from doing what they know or they don’t put in action the knowledge that might empower them to be Healthy, Wealthy and Happy.

ugandaluxurysafari.com shows this issue of the human weakness that denies us of the energy to initiate action on our rich knowledge with a specific end goal to be Healthy, Wealthy and Happy. I significantly want you sees on what you think about to be the greatest obstacle to the fundamental human desire to be Healthy, Wealthy and Happy (visit ugandaluxurysafari.com).

Flight makes Emergency Landing at Egypt Airport

airplaneA flight from Britain conveys 262 travelers on board made an emergency landing at Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh Airport. Consistent with reports, the flight encountered an engine problem constraining the pilot to make an emergency landing. Nobody was harmed and the travelers left the flight in normally.

The leader of the Egyptian airports company told journalists that the flight needed to land after a problem with one of the plane’s engines.

Because of some unforced error in communication with the Egypt official, the flight that made emergency landing was accounted for as Airbus A380. However, later updates show that the flight was Airbus A30.

Roatan demonstrates global leadership in sustainability

roatanROATAN, HONDURAS – The island of Roatan is the first tourism destination in Honduras to complete a comprehensive 360-degree assessment and action plan for destination-level sustainability.

The long-term viability of Roatan’s tourism sector is of critical importance to the economic health of Honduras. The idyllic island, renowned for its top diving sites and diverse marine biodiversity, as well as its rich Caribbean culture, draws 55 percent of the 1.8 million annual international arrivals to Honduras. It also generates a significant share of the overall contribution of tourism to GDP which is estimated at 5.8 percent.

The Rapid Sustainable Destination Diagnostic was carried out by the Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative in close collaboration with leading global non-profit Sustainable Travel International, Honduras’ Ministry of Tourism, and Roatán’s local Geotourism Council. The diagnostic process evaluated Roatán’s performance on five key pillars of sustainability, which include sustainable tourism planning and governance, economic linkages, preservation of cultural heritage, social and community issues, and environmental protection.

The results of the destination diagnostic indicate that Roatán is making progress on destination management issues, and highlight the priority areas for the travel and tourism sector to focus on moving forward.

“Roatan ranked highly on the issue of visitor management planning and monitoring, which recognizes the local conservation community’s efforts to minimize tourism’s footprint by promoting environmental practices among tour operators, tour guides and tourists,” said Seleni Matus, Sustainable Travel International’s Vice President of Latin American and the Caribbean, who conducted the assessment. “At the same time, there is an urgent need to establish in situ destination management, incorporate native island culture more deeply as part of Roatán’s tourism product, and tackle waste management and water conservation issues.”

In response to the diagnostic results, more than 50 leaders and leading organizations from the government, private sector and civil society joined forces to define a visionary yet practical roadmap, which will address the critical sustainability issues facing Roatán. The resulting action plan is built around three key initiatives:

  • Establishment of a destination management organization (DMO) for the Bay Islands, which includes Roatán, Guanaja and Utila;
  • Preservation of native island culture through an inventory of tangible and intangible local, traditional and cultural knowledge, as well as the establishment of a permanent Cultural Marketplace for the promotion of intangible cultural heritage; and
  • Development of a destination-level action plan for waste management and water conservation.

Destination stakeholders have also formed Working Groups to help bring these three initiatives to life in the near-term.

“This is an important step for Roatan and Honduras,” said Syntia Solomon Bennett, Honduras’ Vice Minister of Tourism. “These efforts will help put our tourism industry on a sustainable trajectory, and the process will serve as a model to replicate in other tourism destinations in Honduras.”

This project was made possible through the generous support of The Summit Foundation and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd’s Ocean Fund.

Roatan joins the ranks of a growing number of tourism destinations that recognize the potential of sustainable destination management to drive economic growth and inclusive development.

Bollywood superstar to take Sydney by storm

ParamasataSYDNEY – Destination New South Wales, the New South Wales (NSW) Government’s heading tourism and major events agency, announced they have protected Bollywood legend Shahrukh Khan to visit Sydney in October as part of the fourth annual Parramasala Festival in Parramatta.

Shahrukh Khan, known as SRK and dubbed the ‘King of Bollywood’, will headline a two hour Indian variety show of music, dance and comedy – Temptation Reloaded as part of the cerebration. The visit was secured by the NSW Government as a Sydney-exclusive event.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Office Sandra Chipchase said, “Parramasala is a key arts and cultural event on the NSW Annual Events Calendar and brings some of the world’s best artists to Western Sydney. We are thrilled to welcome Shahrukh Khan to Sydney and Parramatta for the event and invite him to experience the very best of what Sydney and NSW have offer while he’s here.” said Ms Chipchase.

SRK has featured in 75 films and has more than four million Twitter followers and is one of the most popular and influential Bollywood actors. His show will attract an audience not only of Indian origin, but will also appeal to his fans overseas including Fiji, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.

“We are expecting SRK and the Temptation Reloaded show to attract significant international visitors to Sydney and more than 5,000 people from around Australia.”

“Temptation Reloaded offers a unique cultural experience and it is a great event for Western Sydney with many hotels and restaurants expected to reap the tourism rewards,” Ms Chipchase added.

SRK will be invited to experience some of Sydney and NSW’s most iconic experiences city including climbing the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge; meeting a kangaroo and koala bear at Taronga Zoo; dining on a Snow Egg at Quay restaurant as featured in MasterChef Australia; visiting the luxury Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa in the Blue Mountains region, one-hour from Sydney; and the Bradman Cricket Museum in the Southern Highlands, one-hour South of Sydney.

Earlier this year, SRK topped the Forbes India Celebrity 100 list after earning US$37.7 million in 2012.  He has also been awarded one of India’s highest civilian awards, the Padma Shri, for his contribution to Indian cinema.