Africa Gorilla Trips – Uganda Rwanda Gorilla Tourism

Gorilla tracking is being promoted among all these three countries where gorillas are tracked year in year out. Gorilla trekking become popular in Congo by the late 1960s and by 1978 gorilla tourism was also being promoted in Rwanda with wonderful results on the local economy and by 1980s gorilla tourism become an important source of revenue for Rwanda and gorilla become a symbol of national pride. In 1990s Uganda became the leading popular country for encountering gorillas due to political instabilities countered the neighboring countries that are Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Gorilla tourism today stands at a turning point especially in Uganda and Rwanda.

On The Trek in Search for Mountain Gorillas

All the three countries where the remaining gorillas live have a history of instability that makes it herd for international conservation organizations to operate with any certainty. However the international gorilla conservation programme (IGCP) and the Dian Fossy Gorilla foundation (DFGF) have tried to promote sustainable agricultural and tourism practices and encourage the active participation of local communities in conservation and this has played a large part in ensuring the gorilla survival during unstable times.

Uganda and Rwanda are ensured safe countries for gorilla tracking, stability is now paramount and gorillas can be tracked at any time depending on the traveler’s interest and time of traveling. Gorilla permits are at a very high demand in both countries and they are issued on first come first served basis so it’s advised to book your permit in advance at least 2-4 month prior to your safari. Gorilla permits in Uganda are issued at a price of US$600 per person per tracking in both Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga gorilla national park and in Rwanda, gorilla permits are issued at a price of US$ 750 per person per tracking.. The rates are for foreign non residents. There is a discount for East African Residents and foreigners leaving in East Africa with work permits.

silverback-gorilla

Tracking begins early in the morning after reporting at the park headquarters for a short briefing about gorilla tracking and also assigned to the ranger guide to lead you to the jungle. Gorilla tracking in both countries is strictly one hour and you are not allowed to use a flash camera in taking photos as this may scare away these giants and they can also charge on you. Gorilla visit is now considered the major highlight of many travelers who make it to these countries and it is considered a breathtaking memorable activity that can’t be missed, In order to let the local communities save these creatures a fee is left to the local communities around the different National Parks where gorilla tourism takes place. In Uganda, mountain gorilla tracking takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National park. Rwanda gorilla tours on the other hand are conducted in the magnificent Volcanoes national park, that a French man calls “Parc National des Volcans”. However, gorilla tourism in Virunga National Park in DR Congo is currently hindered by political instabilities and the destination is considered NOT safe to travelers.

 

Uganda safari Experience with my Parents

If you’ve not yet traveled the world there is some thing you’re missing. This time my parents took me for a real safari as they promised me. All along they’ve been taking me to zoos but this time round I got that chance to see wildlife in their natural habitat. I went on a safari with my parents and I do believe that this is the best vacation I have ever taken in my life time. Sure, I have a whole lifetime of vacations ahead of me but I cannot even imagine something comparing to the experiences I had on this one. We got a plane which took us to Entebbe international airport where I was surprised by the hospitable people right from the time we landed on the Ugandan soil up to the park. We latter received by our tour guide who welcomed us and briefed us a bout the whole safari, he latter transferred us to our accommodation which we booked for the night; we enjoyed both local and international food.

The following day we started the real safari when the guide took us to the southwestern part of the country to Queen Elizabeth national park with a fantastic view throughout. The park is gifted by a wide biodiversity of animal species ranging from the big five to small mammals have never seen in my life grazing just meters from me like the herds elephants, giant forest hog, buffaloes, warthogs, bush buck, lion, leopard and chimpanzee up close in thick forest, indeed this was a grate moment seeing all these species in their national environment in a tourist vehicle was a breathtaking moment in life I will never forget. We also went to Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda all I saw was just amazing.

The parks were so nice with a variety of wildlife. I never would have thought that I would get to see African wildlife so up close in a close distance. In fact it was thrilling and owe- inspiring to see the land and the animals that live there. I am a child and a teenager. Like other kids of my age I thought my summer would be wasted hanging around my parents in a foreign country. I figured I would make the best of the vacation, but my dad was right. This was simply spectacular! I had so much to tell my friends when I got back and there were no good words to truly describe the experiences I had in Africa. Certainly it will remain the best safari for ever I have to go back to Uganda safari vacation for more experience and this time I won’t miss out gorilla tracking.

 

Climbing Mount Elgon – Uganda Safari

wagagai summitMount Elgon is an extinct shield volcano located on the border of Uganda and Kenya, north of Kisumu and west of Kitale in Mbale district, mountain Elgon is among the most interesting and amazing tourist destinations in the country where visitors can enjoy a breathtaking moments. The mountain has various caves each with its own historical background and it also gives the best environment for finding about the real cultural background of the Bagisu people who stay around and on its slops.

With mountain climbing safaris to Uganda getting to be more popular nowadays compared to the past, you can’t talk about the best destinations in Uganda for the activity and you forget mountain Elgon. Actually, many travelers prefer this mountain to others as a result of the additional tourism activity one enjoy after an interesting hike like cultural walk in the Basoga community, nature walk, bird watching among others. Sipi Falls on the mountain are amazing which are definitely worth to view.

Mount Elgon has the biggest base in Africa and this dormant volcano has become one of the best tourist destinations in Uganda. A climb to Wagagi (the highest peak) is a memorable experience and one gets at the top, he/she can have an excellent wide view the Uganda and the neighboring Kenya. Because Mount Elgon is located on the border of Uganda and Kenya, a tourist can have a great opportunity of having a view of Kenya’s eye-catching green-covered highlands and vegetations. With little known about this adventurous mountain, the local Bagisu people who stay around it say that there is more than tourism about it and according to them the mountain is attached to their culture as their ancestors used it as a weapon in times of war. They constructed caves which were used as hiding places away from the enemies during the war times. Some even stayed in the caves as their permanent home. This is why the Bagisu ancestors decided to name it “Mt. Masaba”.

Depending on the tourists’ wish, mountain climbing on Mount Elgon can be adjusted and more interesting and adventurous tourist activity can be included. It can also be extended to Kenya and really some tourists find it better to first have a hike at the mountain before continuing to their Kenya wildlife watching safaris or Uganda gorilla tours in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The Success Of Rwanda Gorilla Tourism – How It Started?

The mountain gorillas of the Virungas are highly endangered African ape subspecies, with a total estimated population of 880 existing only in the Virunga Conservation Area shared amongst the 3 Africa countries of Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.

African mountain gorillas distribution in the Virunga Volcanic mountain ranges is limited to an approximate area of 447 km2, which encompasses the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in south western Uganda, the Parc National des Volcans of Rwanda and the Mikeno sector of the Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 Map Showing the Distribution of Mountain Gorillas in Africa

mountain-gorilla-distribution-map

Volcanoes National Park comprises of about 160 km2 of montane forest which, until Rwanda’s independence in 1962, was part of Africa’s first national park (the Parc National Albert). This was created in 1925 with an intention of protecting the great apes.

Safari packages are organized to see wild mountain gorilla groups since 1955 with the first attempts at habituation for this purpose occurring as early as 1966. Today, gorilla tourism is Rwanda’s number one foreign exchange earner, and very many tour and travel companies in Kampala and Kigali are organizing different gorilla safaris in Rwanda and Uganda. However, gorilla tourism in DRC is hindered by some political unrest, but sometimes tourists go there and enjoy the trek in DR Congo.

The number of visitors per gorilla group is limited to 8 persons per day as a way to conserve their habitat.

Virunga’s first official mountain gorilla tourism program was launched in 1979 by Bill Webber and

Amy Vedder. This was funded by conservation organizations such as African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), World Wide Fund for Nature and Fauna among others.

This Mountain Gorilla Project aimed at enforcing anti-poaching and education programs as well as providing the Rwandan government and park authorities an incentive to conserve the mountain gorilla habitat, promoting sustainable tourism and generating local employment in tourism industry.

This program later-on evolved into today’s International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP), responsible to protecting this endangered specie and its habitat.

Two wild gorilla families were at first habituated for tourism purposes (gorilla tracking), and the number of visitors per day was limited to 8 persons (in a group) per day, and the length of stay was limited to 60 minutes (Maximum). The combination of quality control and international interest in Dian Fossey’s highly publicized mountain gorilla studies resulted increased number of tourists to Rwanda to see gorillas in the wild throughout the 1980s, peaking close to 70.000 in 1989.

The presence of mountain gorilla tourism attracted almost 22.000 tourists into Rwanda to its 3 national parks of Nyungwe forest, Akagera and Volcanoes National Park in 1990.

This trend was encouraging as the world was seriously picking interest in gorilla tours in Rwanda. However in 1994, Rwanda gorilla tourism collapsed because of the genocide. The parks were closed until 1999. Tourist arrivals have rebounded from 417 park visit that year 1999 to almost 20.000 tourists in the year 2008, of which 17.000 came purposely to see the critically endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National park.

The high seasons for Rwanda gorilla tourism are between June and September, Mid December to Mid march. The demand for gorilla permits is high in such seasons and they are sold out quickly most of the time. Low seasons are from Mid March to May, October up to Mid December.

Tanzania to deploy army to save African wildlife

President Jakaya Kikwete has announced stern measure, including deployment of the army, to redress the killing of elephants and rhino coupled with illegal export of logs which have now reached an alarming level.

Speaking at a sideline meeting for Heads of State and Government organized by President Ondimba Omar Bongo of Gabon and the Government of Germany at the UN Headquarters in New York on Thursday evening, President Kikwete said the army will have to be deployed to spearhead control measures to save the wildlife and forests.

Among other issues on the agenda, the meeting focused on ways to stop serious interference with the wildlife and control the destruction of forests for conservation of the environment.

“The Tourism sector which contributes 17 per cent to the National Gross Product (NGP) hiring more than 300,000 people has been targeted by ill-intentioned people. Additional protective measures must be put in place to avert the threat,” the president said.

Clarifying on the seriousness of the matter, President Kikwete said in 1960, for example, Tanzania had 350,000 elephants but the number decreased to 110,000 by 2009.

According to the statement issued by the Directorate of Communication at the State House, the country registered about 700 rhinos in 1974 but the number has declined to below 100 due to poaching.

“Between 1980 and 1990 we (Tanzania) had deployed the army to help stop poaching along the animal corridors. The situation improved dramatically but in the last four years the situation has worsened. For example, between 2010 and July 2013, more than 1,386 elephants were killed in Tanzania,” he explained.

Additional measures taken to control poaching, said the president, included review of policies, legislations and regulations guiding the wildlife. Also the country ratified various international treaties related to protection of the wildlife and natural vegetation.

Commenting on confiscation of weapons from poachers, Mr. Kikwete said some arrests had also been made such that between 2010 and 2013, a total of 5,189 poachers were arrested in addition to 1,952 guns impounded.

“A total of 3,788 tusks weighing at 10,756 kilogrammes were impounded. I have issued instructions to the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) to take action and we will see the difference soon,” he said.

It was explained that the sector required more labour force at least 4,800 new employees at the moment to help intensify control measures, even if it means hiring 500 people annually. More funds will also be secured for the purpose.

At least more than US Dollar 19.4 million will be needed for the purpose, in addition to US Dollar 30 million for purchase of the necessary work equipment and construction of headquarters.

African Primates Tracking Tips – Uganda and Rwanda

Among the most popular primates visited by tourists in Uganda and Rwanda are the Chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys as well as golden monkeys. Our focus today is on Golden monkey tracking in Uganda and Rwanda. The swift monkeys keep themselves busy by pulling faces, grooming each other and flying between tree branches. Currently, they are only found in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo, volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Gishwati forest and Nyungwe forests.

It is amazing that Gorillas and golden monkeys freely move between the three countries without visas. This golden monkey trek gives one a chance to see the apes in action, petting and having a siesta. According to researcher Sandra E. Gray, their groups are single male multi-family, meaning there are only one resident male and several adult females, plus young ones of varying ages.

However, for reinforcement, between three and 11 outside males are accepted to join the group temporarily during the breeding season. For monkeys, communication is done fluently by vocal sounds, sign language and facial expressions. Grey says these have not yet been comprehensively studied and only the most obvious gestures are understood to any degree. Monkeys eat 33 record plant species, including fruits and flowers.

Their menu also comprises small invertebrates and bamboo leaves, which make up the bulk of the diet. The habitat of golden monkeys is in the evergreen semi-deciduous and bamboo forests. Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) directorate of conservation has now completed the process of habituating a family of golden monkeys for experiential tourism.

This is as a strategy meant to diversify tourism activities. Tacking takes place strictly in the mornings and afternoons within a 23– 50 hectare area to maximize the experience. “The fee is US dollars 50, inclusive of the park entry fees. The maximum number per visiting group per day will be six,” Ingrid Nyonza Nyakabwa, the Uganda Wildlife Authority marketing manager, says. “You will not have any regrets.

Golden monkey tracking in Rwanda takes place in Volcanoes National park, famously known for mountain gorilla tracking adventures. A 3 days tour package is recommended to see Rwanda gorillas and golden monkeys in Volcanoes national park.

The Uhuru falls overshadowed the mighty Murchison Falls

Uhuru falls were formed due to heavy rainfall received in 1962 which flooded the Murchison falls forcing it to form attributary known as Uhuru Falls.

Since then, the falls has created a spectacular view and are often are referred to as twin falls. Henry Buzu, a guide within the park, says the falls have been an attraction since they were formed and maintained their water volume.

Buzu says he cannot explain why the falls were formed in the same year the country gained its independence from Great Britain and little research has been conducted on them. Buzu, however, says the falls is facing destruction because of the power dams being constructed along the Nile.

The guide says four years ago, the Uhuru Falls disappeared during the construction of Bujagali dam.  Unfortunately, the Uhuru falls has been destructed by karuma dam construction, aimed at increase the level of electricity produced in Uganda.

School trips to Historical, culture and art monuments in Kampala and Kigali

As the unique countries in Africa, and one of the cultural countries, Uganda and Rwanda hub with history that can fill the itinerary of school trips focusing on many subjects. And one of the hubs of East African economics and culture.

While exploring the famous cultural sites about the history of the Buganda kingdom, one cannot ignore the city’s wonderful array of museums and collections of art. The Uganda Museum of Arts and crafts, The Kasubi Tombs, Makerere art gallery and more are great places to visit to get a sense of the art and art history of the pearl of Africa.

The Uganda museum has existed for quite long with art collections and exhibits ranging from region to region, the museum currently habit all regions art works. School trips taking in the museum are especially exciting since all information about Uganda’s culture is provided at all these historical sites. So on your cultural tour in Uganda a stopover at these and other cultural site is vital to experience artistic disciplines.

It is also interesting to incorporate the cultural tour with the religious sites in Uganda like the Namugongo shrine the remembrance home for the heroes that were massacred during the regime of the late King Mwanga of Buganda, Baha’i temple, Namirembe and Lubaga cathedrals and much more vital to students from primary to institutions of higher learning. Uganda Cultural and art monuments are not only visited by students but also foreign non residents while on their Uganda safari. These are normally visited at the beginning or at  the end of the Uganda safari package.

Kigali Rwanda on the other hand has a number of genocide memorial sites / museums reserved to show the further generations about the demerits of the genocide.  Many people were massacred and this is a scenario no one would love to see again in the country. Among the genocide sites around Kigali Include Gisozi genocide museum, Camp Kigali, Nyamta church, Ntarama Church, etc. Other historical include the first house, Kigali Museum and Nyanza Kings palace among others. Those are some of the historical, cultural and art monuments to visit before or after your gorilla trek in Rwanda or Uganda.

Experience Africa and stay at the African safari lodges

A cup of steaming hot African tea (spice with ginger) on arrival is a most welcome start of the stay at the lodge. Check in requires, like everywhere in Rwanda, to fill out forms and have one’s passport copied, but was generally swift and accomplished without any complications.

The rooms, or rather cottages, are spread generously across the sprawling gardens of the lodge and when walking out of the main building the Sabyinyo volcano is the main feature to look at.

Do not be fooled by the numbers showing the way to your cottage … in my case the number was only found at the cottage itself, but not on the signs along the way, so if in doubt ask one of the staff how to find your bearings.

The rooms were very large, leaving space for some more furniture perhaps but there were easy chairs available as well as a coffee table. The coffee maker needs one to read the instructions carefully and instead of a fancy appliance a simple kettle would perhaps do better.

A small fire place, where a wood fire is lit in the late afternoon, looks good but is woefully inadequate to actually heat up the place, and the nights tend to get cold, so be sure you ask for spare blankets and hot water bottles from the reception.

The equally large sized bathroom was simple in its layout, an open shower area, no curtain, a loo and a basin, hot water yes but entirely over sized or else rather under furnished. Bring indoor slippers on the trip here because the floors are cold and using the available flip flops is not every one’s cup of tea.

The only meal I had at the lodge was breakfast as I skipped dinner in the evening, and that was adequate with cereals, juices, fruits, pastries and a cooking station where eggs were prepared to order.

The staffs were friendly throughout, answered my endless questions, that is after all what scribes do when on location somewhere and were swift to arrange for more teabags in my room, a pot of cold milk included. A nice touch is the cleaning of the hiking boots when returning from the gorilla tracking, at no cost that is, and slippers are at the ready near the entrance to the lobby where one can take the boots off, get into the slippers and then walk to the cottage.

The owners, 3B Hotels, have other properties across Rwanda too, like the flame tree village though their assertion to be the ‘finest chain of hotels in Rwanda’ really puts ambition before reality. Overall not bad, and if had the facility I would give the place 8/10 for a rating because it is better than average but below the ‘very good’ mark. All rooms are in fact cottages, generously spaced apart in the extensive gardens. Visit www.junglesafarisuganda.com for more information about Uganda safaris and gorilla treks in Rwanda as well as different African lodges.

Discover why International Tourists go on Uganda Safaris

uganda gorilla safari
You should go on Uganda safari and see the great things this country has for you. Uganda offers astonishing sights which are available for you to see and experience. What’s more you don’t just see and experience, you can additionally bring them with you in form of film and photographs or picture.

You have the chance to take many photos as you like for purposes of souvenirs in future. You see, you will have such a gorgeous experience, to the point that you will like this chance of keeping such vital proof of your safari.

You will have the opportunity to go out into the wild and see places untouched by human activities and emerging technology. This will unquestionably ensure you learn things you never could have known. You will get an opportunity to see many different wild animals, creatures you’ve just seen in travel magazines and TV. Once you’re down in Uganda, you won’t have enough of the country that you will keep coming and coming!
Take an extraordinary Adventure vacation to Uganda

Is it accurate to say that you are searching for an extraordinary experience that will give you the opportunity to see stunning animals up close and personal? At that point quit searching and book a Uganda safari! With a Uganda safari, you get to go into the jungle and savanna plains to observe and study wild animals.

There are some safari packages you can choose from all of which are exciting and will give you a decent experience, one that is truly extraordinary! You can go for gorillas and chimpanzees tracking, mountain climbing, caving, bird watching, white water rafting, in addition to boat cruise.

You can additionally go into the wilderness and see different games only just of metres away. See animals like; buffalos, gorillas, chimps, white and black colobus monkey, golden monkey, lions, elephants, rhinos, entraps, Zebras, Leopards in the wild and experience something you’ve never imagined. To have an experience that will give you memories to last a lifetime, book yourself a Uganda safari promptly! By Jean