Hot-air ballooning Trip in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Peaceful and serene, hot-air ballooning is a wonderful adventure in Uganda. From the thrill of watching the balloon inflate, and the imperceptible lift-off, to the gentle descents with the pilot skimming the treetops one moment then sending you soaring heavenwards the next. And the sensational views are unforgettable!

Recently introduced Hot-air balloon rides in Queen Elizabeth national park offer safe adventures. Commercial hot-air ballooning in Uganda is controlled by the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, and each operator must be registered as a non-scheduled airline, have a valid pilot’s license, operating certificate and public liability insurance and is held to regular airworthiness checks. As a passenger, you need to be fit enough to stand for the duration of the flight (at least 50 minutes), climb in and out of the basket and be at least 1.2m (4 ft) tall so you can see over the rim. Air temperature and stability dictate that almost all balloon flights start before sunrise, and the flight path of every excursion depends on the direction of the wind and the weather.

In Queen Elizabeth National park, take a flight over the crater lakes, or over Kazinga channel, with views of the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains. In the park, a mix of savannah grassland and woodland offer a rare and exquisite sight. In the Katwe crater region, drift over the salt pans and spectacular landscapes—spot the game from air.

Bungee jump on World’s longest River Nile

The Nile river bungee jumping adds a whole new dimension to sightseeing on this famous river. Bridging the gap between adventure and sightseeing tourism, it allows visitors to enjoy one of its most famous landmarks like never before. River Nile bungee jumping will have you falling heads over heels for this river in no time. Leap over the source of the Nile from one of the most spectacular bungee jumping sites in the world. We specialize in tandem jumps, water touches and full-moon jumps

The Nile bungee jump is one of several adventure activities now on offer and is one of the most exciting ways to see world’s biggest river. Based on River Nile cliff and a major Jinja attraction – the new activities are fast changing the way visitors experience the River. For a start, you now have the most awesome view of the Nile from the top of the cliff. Other Nile adventure experience includes the white water rafting, Kayaking and jetting.

Travel tips & planning info

Who to contact

ADRIFT Adventure Co.
Plot 14, York Terrace,
Kololo, Kampala-Uganda

E-mail:     raft [at] adrift [dot] ug
Telephone:     +256-(0) 312 237 438
Mobile:     +256 (0) 772 237 438

Postal Address:
P.O. Box 7681
Kampala

How to get here

If you’re driving, from Kampala take the Jinja highway to Jinja town that is approximately 80km from Uganda’s capital city-Kampala.

Tours to do

Evening source of the River Nile tours

What will it cost?

  • Bungee Jump  –  $ 115
  • Raft / Bungee Combo
    • $ 195 – Full day rafting – can only be done over 2 days!
    • $ 185 – Half day rafting

 

Length of stay

Half-day to full day

What to pack

Plenty of sunscreen, a hat and lots of courage!

Where to stay

For something a little different, try and book in to one of the many charming Bed and Breakfast in the area.

What to eat

Try traditional African cuisine at venues across Jinja town or international cuisine from up market restaurants.

 

Gorilla Trekking Code of Conduct

About Gorilla Trekking

Mountain gorilla trekking is ranked amongst the world’s top adventurous activities, only done in East and Central Africa. This is the only place in the world where one can travel to and see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Gorilla Census report of 2011 showed that, there are only 880 mountain gorillas left in the whole world, found in the Virunga volcanic mountain ranges shared among Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. Out of 880, Uganda has about 440, which is almost half of it. This means that, like cross river gorillas (250 – 300 remaining), mountain gorillas are also critically endangered. And the number of visitors par day is limited to 8 people visiting each gorilla group. The limit aims at protecting these gentle giants through conserving their environment. You need a gorilla permit that acts as permission to participate in a guided forest to search for gorillas. A gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda costs US dollars 750 each, US dollars 600 in Uganda and US dollars 500 in DR Congo. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda takes place in Volcanoes National Park with currently over 10 gorilla groups, and in Uganda, gorilla tracking takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with currently 12 gorilla groups and 1 gorilla group in Mgahnga National Park. Gorilla Trekking in DR Congo’s Virunga National Park is not well developed due to some political unrests in the region but its one of the perfect destinations to see gorillas in the wild with big gorilla groups and silverbacks and babies.

How to behave on the way to trek Gorillas:

Always follow the instructions from the ranger guides while on the way to search for mountain Gorillas. Rangers may instruct you to follow a certain route, keeping quiet, keep close and so on, and please obey.

If you have any transmitted or contiguous disease like cold, dysentery, skin disease, cough and so on. Please remain behind and wait for you’re refunded according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority refund regulations or you can decide to reschedule the tracking date to meet gorillas after recovery.

Only 8 visitors or trackers are allowed to visit each gorilla group since a large group can stress the gorillas. In a Small group, the gorillas are comfortable and relaxed with there visitors’ presence.

It is advisable to wash your hands with detergent so that you do not carry any germs to the field which may spread diseases to the gorillas. They are highly susceptible to human diseases.

Avoid dumping any rubbish on the way because the gorillas can easily pick it and eat it. This also spoils the environment.

Since gorillas are mobile in their nature environment, you are expected to endure the difficulties in trying to meet them. The ranger guide will guide you following the trails to the area they were last seen the previous day. In case they moved, you are requested to be patient as you search since these are free animals in there natural habitat.

Set your cameras in advance – avoid flash cameras to avoid stressing the Gorillas. You need to be patient and wait to take out your cameras until advised to do so. He has to first observe there mood before you can take any action.

Don’t forget extra batteries and insect repellent while going on a gorilla trek in Africa.

Kampala Serena Hotel

Kampala Serena Hotel is the Hotel on World standards – it is a 5 star Hotel situated in the heart of Kampala amidst 7.2 acres of landscaped grounds and water gardens. An oasis of cool and green, encircled by the seven hills of Kampala, this 152-room world-class hotel is the focal point of national, regional, business, political and social life. It is one of the perfect places to stay while in Uganda (Kampala) for a holiday with your family, or on a business trip.

Kampala Serena Hotel provides an international conference center, a garden auditorium, a roof-top terrace, a rock-sculptured pool terrace, three restaurants, two bars and the Moorish palace of the ‘Maisha Mind Body and Spirit Spa.

kampala_serena_hotel_poolside

Location of Kampala Serena Hotel: The Hotel is found on Kintu Road, on Nakasero Hill, one of the most exclusive, upscale neighborhoods in Kampala. Kampala serena Hotel is found 40 km from Entebbe International Airport.

High end rooms with AC, satellite TV, Wi-Fi and voice-mail.

Services offered at Kampala Serena Hotel include:

Bambara Residents’ Lounge with Bedouin Terrace, The Lakes, all-day brasserie, The Mist, cocktail bar,   The Explorer, Italian bistro, The Pearl of Africa, fine-dining experience, The Sesse Pool Terrace bar and café, Panoramic roof terrace for private cocktails and social events, Garden auditorium, Extensive swimming pool area with rock-built waterfall, The Maisha Mind Body and Spirit Spa, Running track in the grounds and golf course (nearby), Hair and beauty salon, International Conference Centre to seat 1,500, VIP entrance, helipad, dedicated car park, full security, Wide range of incentives options, Business Centre, travel desk, taxi and limousine service, Wedding planning service, Gift Shop, news-stand and travel requisites kiosk.

In Uganda, we also have another 5 Star Lake Victoria Serena Hotel located in Kigo along Entebbe Road in a very quiet environment, also good for relaxation at very affordable prices.

Everything on a Uganda Tour is Unique and Amazing

Have you ever thought of traveling top a destination where everything that comes to your eyes is totally amazing and new? Well, a visit to Uganda is a sure deal of this astounding experience particularly for first time visitors. This may sound crazy to you however the truth of the matter is that the nature which waits to be explored by you in this “Pearl of Africa” is magnificent.

The fact is that Uganda is among the leading tourism destination in Africa and its amazing nature is the main reasons as to why the nation has constantly attracted many tourists from different parts of the world.

Among the nature wonders you will see while visiting Uganda is the variety of wildlife including even those which can only be found in Uganda. A drive through some national parks in the country is an exciting experience as you see a group of different animals as they roam about the whole national park searching and water. Your safari to Uganda will also become more interesting when you move on foot through some of the thick tropical rainforests and encountering some animals and other nature wonders.

Gorilla tracking is another stunning tour activity you should not miss on your excursion to Uganda just because it’s among the memorable activity you will enjoy in Uganda. Spending some quality time with the rare and endangered mountain gorillas is a memorable experience as you get the chance to discover how they spend their lives and how they associate with humans. Take clear photographs with them and also play with some friendly primates. A gorilla safari to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is enough particularly for those interested on watching these rare primates. The national park has 12 gorilla families which can be visit and these are all around gazetted for easy access.

Apart from mountain gorillas in Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, there are also other primates a tourist can track like the chimpanzees, barbet monkeys and others. In the mean time as you track the primates, you may encounter some people in the impenetrable forest of Bwindi called the Batwa. These are cultured people who live in the forest. One fascinating thing about them is that regardless of their pygmie-nature, they are able to hunt for food in the forests and also find shelter. Get an opportunity of meeting them in the forests and sharing some memorial moments together.

Other exciting activities one can enjoy on a Uganda safari incorporate, bird watching, mountain climbing, city visits, nature strolls, sport angling, boat cruise, wildlife watching, guided nature walks and many others.

Rwanda the Home Of Mighty African Mountain Gorillas

Rwanda is blessed with many wildlife diversity and bird species which form its core products. The country has beautiful scenery making it known as the country of a thousand hills and with hospitable people which has attracted a lot of safaris to Rwanda. The glory of this country is seen in her mountain gorillas. Rwanda is a home for one of the unique group of primates (the endangered mountain gorillas) found in only three countries (Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo) in the world and as a result as led to many safari visits in Rwanda.

Mountain gorillas are critically endangered animals out listed by IUCN. The primates live in the rainforest Volcanoes National Park, located 90 minutes drive from Kigali the capital city of Rwanda. Volcanoes National park is shared by Mgahinga national park in Uganda and Virunga National park in Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain gorillas mostly feed on fresh leaves, shoots, fruits, and piths but they do not take water on daily basis because of the food they eat which contains a lot water and moisture.

These Apes are the largest primate species having about 98% of Human DNA making them the closest relatives of Humans and the Chimpanzees. Thus making them one of the tourism attractions you don’t want to miss seeing while on your safari in Rwanda. This specie of critically endangered Mountain gorillas live in groups headed by one leader called silverback. Silver back guards the group against any danger and threats from other animals. He protects the group even with his own life which reflects the nature of man. Mountain gorillas offer the best safaris experiences while on your safaris to Rwanda and Uganda as well as other East African Countries. Many writers contend that, a safari in Africa is only complete when you visit mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, in the true African wilderness, deep in the heart of Africa.

Gorilla-tracking-Volcanoes
Gorilla safaris in Rwanda are best conducted in Volcanoes national park and for Uganda is best done in Bwindi impenetrable national park. Uganda also has another group of mountain gorillas known as “Nyakagezi gorilla group” found in Mgahinga National Park. However, this group is not yet stable as it sometimes crosses the boarder to Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, simply because they do not need visas. Gorilla trekking safaris also offer tourists with the additional opportunity to spot different bird species, other animals and other primates like the golden monkeys and the silver monkeys.

To enjoy gorilla trekking, you are required to assemble at the park headquarters in Kinigi before 7:30am for a briefing about this activity. This means you should sleep in lodges around the park a night before the trek. Among the accommodation options around Volcanoes National Park include Sabyinyo Silverback lodge, Virunga lodge, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Hotel La Palme and Kinigi Guest House among others.

However, if you stay in Kigali and interested in tracking gorillas the same day, you need to leave Kigali in the morning at 4:30am, it takes 2 hours drive. However, this is high risk because there is one route  to the park and in case you find it blocked by mud slides or fallen trees, you won’t have any other option and you are likely to miss the trek, yet, no refund for gorilla permits that costs US$750. At the end of the trek, each tourist who participated is rewarded with a certificate to confirm that he / she successfully participated in this life time adventure activity.

The main Challenges of Uganda Tourism Industry

Broken but rapidly improving road system, the other is the absence of a grading system for accommodation facilities, which leaves little room for decision for the sophisticated tourists. Likewise, an absence of a functional training facility for tour and travel industry has hampered interest. There is additionally absence of basic maps and legitimate signage.

What is the Biggest Missing Link?
The biggest missing connection is absence of marketing of the tourism richness. “Sadly we have not positioned ourselves well,” says Wekesa.

A Kenyan editor with the Standard newspaper described as of late the days when Uhuru Kenyatta (now Kenyan president) was a senior official in the Kenyan tourism industry.
Kenyatta left nothing to risk in guaranteeing there is a wholesome marketing package to such an extent that the entire group of media from Kenya might go with the marketing team to top tourism exhibitions, for example the World Tourism Market in London. In these meetings, tourism Kenya officials might have a marketing budget, however year on, the arrival figures continue to swell.

Uganda receives in the over of 300,000 tourists yearly going by national parks and game reserves, of which 80,000 are foreigners. The figures might be bigger, as per analysts, if there is marketing and investment in the line facilities. “We have not marketed adventure tourism, which is the where the money really is,” said Wekesa.

Local Tourism
Until later endeavors by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the development of local tourism has been wanting with packages mainly focused to foreign tourists.

Tony Ofungi, a private tour and travel operator, affirms that even private tour operators have not kept tabs on making domestic tourism handlers.

Wekesa advises that the worth chain must likewise be generally considered by the Government. “Between Entebbe and Kampala, there is nowhere to stop and purchase crafts for instance, yet when people travel, their capability to use is much higher.

Uganda Safaris: You can book memorable short safaris in Uganda like a 3 days gorilla safari, 3 days chimps tracking and many others with African Jungle Adventures Ltd and Gorilla Expeditions Ltd the heading tour companies operating in Uganda and Rwanda.

Akagera National Park in Rwanda

Akagera National Park is one the most popular safari destinations in Africa. A wide variety of Rwanda safari packages organized by tour operators to explore this park’s hidden treasures on game drives, boat ride and nature walks. The park could scarcely be more different in mood to the breezy cultivated hills that characterize much of Rwanda. Dominated scenically by the labyrinth of swamps and lakes that follow the meandering course of the Akagera River, the most remote source of the Nile, this is an archetypal African savannah landscape of tangled acacia woodland interspersed with open grassland.

antelop

Akagera is, above all, big game country! Herds of elephant and buffalo emerge from the woodland to drink at the lakes, while lucky visitors might stumble across a spotted hyena or even a stray lion.

Giraffe and zebra amble through the savannah, and more than a dozen types of antelope inhabit the park, most commonly the handsome chestnut-coated impala, but also the diminutive oribi and secretive bushbuck, as well as the ungainly tsessebe and the world’s largest antelope, the statuesque cape eland.

The most common tourist activities in the park include:

Birding trips in Akagera National park

The park hosts over 525 bird species- this is one of the birding sanctuary. Akagera is indisputably the best place in Rwanda to find savannah birds and raptors. It is also well stocked with water loving birds living amongst the swamps.

Game drives in Akagera National Park

These include nights and day game viewing safaris. Night game drives gives opportunities to spot nocturnal like leopards and so on. Day time game drives enables visitors view animals like Elephants, buffaloes, warthogs, waterbucks, common or cape eland, roan antelope, hippopotamuses , sitatunga, burchell’s zebras, orive common baboons, giraffes, crocodiles, little bee eaters, open billed stock, marabou stock   black headed gonolek, robin charts among others.

Fishing on lake ihema and lake Shakani is yet another amazing experience when visit Akagera National park.

Boat tours on Lake Ihema

It is a must experience if you visit Akagera National park. Boat trips are operated by Akagera Safari Lodge and Rwanda Tourism office. While on the boat, expect to see water loving birds and animals like hippos, crocodiles among others.

Who will save the African Endangered species

African elephants roaming, TanzaniaA recent report published in the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal showed that around 100,000 elephants were killed in the last four years internationally.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimated that the elephant population over the African continent had dropped from 550,000 in 2006 to 470,000 in 2013. It had been caused by mainly poaching and environmental degradation.

Luckily, statistics from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) shows that elephant population for Queen Elizabeth Protected Area has continuously increased from 400 in 1988 to 2,959 in 2010, while in the same period in Murchison Falls Protected Area, the large mammals have too increased from 201 in 1995, to 904 in the same period.

In the same period, the number Buffaloes has increased from 2,477 to 9,192, that of giraffes from 153 to 930 and Hartebeests from 2,431 to 3,589 because of several factors, incorporating stability in the nation, strict conservation measures and general awareness among the population.

These wildlife crimes not only threaten the presence of different species and the tourism industry, additionally national security as gangs and other terrorist organizations use this as an avenue to get funding to facilitate their activities.
And indeed expected illicit wildlife products worth more than Shs5 billion was seized a year ago, according to the Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities minister, Ms Maria Mutagamba.

Speaking at the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in Botswana’s northeastern town of Kasane, Ms Mutagamba said illicit killing of elephants and its trade has derailed the continent’s tourism industry, which of later, is ending up being a backbone of foreign exchange earnings for most African countries.

Uganda’s tourism industry contributed 7.9% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product in 2013 translating into Sh5.5 trillion and created over 500,000 employments. In spite of this contribution, the industry got just near to Sh800 million as its investment in the same Financial Year.

“In only one year, we have seized more than two tons of Ivory [estimated to be worth about Shs2.2 billion], 30 Rhino horns and around two tons of Pangolin scales [worth over Shs2.9 billion] at Entebbe International Airport. We are resolved to make it increasingly hard for wildlife traffickers to use Uganda as a transit nation,” Ms Mutagamba said.

Uganda is not just a transit area for the valuable wildlife products however it has excessively encountered the same crimes.

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) executive director Andrew Seguya, who was part of Minister Mutagamba’s contingent, said Uganda has been successful in capturing consignments of wildlife contraband because of surveillance.

“We have created intelligence service of over 80 officers and a plenty of informers” across border points and around game reserves and national parks

However, there is more that needs to be done to stamp out the vice, he said. As indicated by Ms Mutagamba, Uganda has encountered several difficulties in the management of the national ivory stockpile to the extent that around 1.2 tons of ivory was lost in 2014.

A year ago, a review by UWA found that 1,300 kilograms of ivory worth $1.1m (about Shs3b) was missing, hence attracting the attention of President Museveni, who asked the Inspector General of Government to investigate the matter. The IGG’s report is yet to be released.

Early this month, China, the world’s biggest ivory importer, forced a one-year ban on ivory carving imports. Ivory is a highly prized item in markets, for example, Malaysia and China as it is an indication of prestige and riches. From ivory, magnificent sculptures are made. With the increase in incomes by the Chinese, the demand for ivory has increased in the previous years, leading to the killing of many African elephants.

Ms. Mutagambwa said Uganda will keep on using the accredited forensic laboratories in USA and South Africa to focus in ascertaining the origin of seized ivory and rhino horns. She however said “Uganda welcomes the foundation of the new forensic laboratory in Nairobi and we will certainly make use of it,”

At the same meeting, Minister Mutagambwa accepted to join the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI), however asked subsidizing that will empower the impllementation of the African Elephant Action Plan. Botswana President, Lt Gen Khama Ian Khama, said wildlife poaching and trafficking had indeed reached unmatched levels all through the world, particularly with endangered species.

Mgahinga Gorilla safari in Uganda – Nyakagezi Group

GO GORILLA TREKKING IN MGAHINGA NATIONAL PARK – NYAKAGEZI GORILLA GROUP IN UGANDA
Nyakagezi Gorilla family is the only one inhabited in Mgahinga National Park – the group is tracked amidst Virunga ranges: Gahinga, Muhavura and Sabinyo Volcanoes. Therefore some level of fitness is highly needed – this is one of the best view points for wonderful photography.
Nyakagezi gorilla family is one of the un reliable group due to its seasonal mobility – it some times cross to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park or Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park. If found in the park, Nyakagezi gorilla group is easiest to track given the fact that it prefers a narrow home range for feeding, nesting, relaxing and recreation.
It is unbelievable that Nyakagezi group is composed of three silver backs that stay harmoniously in one group, 2 adult females, 2 black backs and 2 infants.

The family is led by Silverback Mark assisted by Mafia, Ndungutse and Bugingo. Rukundo is the sole Black back, Nshuti an adult female plus two babies namely Nshuti baby and Fred. Fred was named so in 2010 when a veterinary doctor, Fred, attached to Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project worked hard to save it from a life threatening wire snare.

Nyakagzi is the only gorilla group which is habituated for tourism – others are reserved for the researchers. For more information, it is estimated that Mgahinga national park is hosts a total of 80 mountain gorillas. It is unfortunate that the only habituated becomes unreliable. Their recent arrival in the park before the holiday season shows a perfect sense of timing, as it will increase the amount of permits available in the park for this busy period!

Gorilla tracking is only one of the many activities that you can enjoy from Volcanoes’ Mount Gahinga Lodge in Mgahinga National Park. The park, because of its varied habitats, is indeed famous for birding with about 180 birds species recorded. The area is also renowned for tracking the endangered golden monkeys. These striking creatures, endemic to the Albertine Rift, can be found high in the dense bamboo forests on the Gahinga trail. Finally while on a gorilla safari in Africa, guests can meet the Batwa Pygmies, widely regarded to be the oldest surviving peoples of central Africa. For thousands of years they have survived in the dark forests of the African Great Lakes region and over generations built up a symbiotic relationship with their natural home in which skills were passed down throughout their history.

Uganda’s smallest and probably most scenic National Park is situated in the extreme South-Western corner of the Country, forming part of a large conservation area that straddles political boundaries to include Parc de Volcanoes in Rwanda and Parc de Virungas in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Three extinct Volcanoes, part of the spectacular Virunga range, lie within the boundaries of the Ugandan portion of this biologically rich area.

Herbivores animals in Uganda

Herbivores are animals which feed only on plant materials. They have typically flat teeth and mouthparts that are modified to grinding grasses, tree bark and other tough materials. Uganda contains different types of herbivores animals which attracts safaris to Uganda.

In these national parks, herbivores are the commonest seen by tourists on Uganda safari parks and this includes

Elephants. They are the largest on land mammal in the world. Safaris to Uganda’s National parks offer clients the chance to see this mammal. Uganda safari parks are homes to the African elephant specie and the African bush elephants which can be sighted in Murchison falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National park and Kidepo valley National park. African forest elephants are found in Kibale national park, Rwenzori mountains national Park and Bwindi national Park.

Giraffes are the tallest mammal on land consisting of attractive long neck and colorful skin. Safaris in Uganda offer an opportunity to see the giraffe family. Uganda has the exclusive giraffe species known as Rothschild giraffes only found in Murchison Falls National Park and Kidepo National Park

Antelope family in Uganda is the majority wildlife species comprising of 29 species with the eland the world’s largest species. Most Uganda’s national parks are homes to a number of these antelopes. Game drives in both Murchison falls and Kidepo National Park provides clients on Uganda Safari the greatest opportunity to see these animals which includes, African buffaloes, Oribi, Burchell’s zebras, waterbucks, Uganda Kobs, , hartebeest, Topi, Impalas, among others.

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