Kizigo West Game Reserve

Kizigo West Game Reserve was established in 1982 and sprawls near the Rungwe Mpera Concession hence offering an extensive ecosystem in which to manage and hunt. Extending for about 4000 square kilometers (400,000 hectares), Kizigo West Game Reserve is found within Manyoni in Singida region and is also adjacent to Muhesi Game Reserve, part of the greater Ruaha Ecosystem.

General Climate and Vegetation of Kizigo West Game Reserve
There are two main seasons (rainy and wet), the long rains begin from March to May and the short rains from October to November while the dry season ranges from June to September and December to February. Anyone that visits this site will concur that the dry season is perfect for game viewing while the wet season is ideal for birding much as roads become muddy and literally impassable, thus 4X4 vehicles are recommended.

The Reserve is characterized by an extraordinary Itigi thicket and Miombo woodland forest that is scattered through the open savannah plains but there are also scattered water holes, rocky outcrops, riverine valleys and springs.

Wildlife species within Kizigo West Game Reserve

Kizigo West Game is popular for its beautiful appearance as well as abundant wildlife species, particularly the big maned lions and outstanding populations of the Sable and Roan antelopes.  Other animals to expect here include bushbucks, Grysbok, common duikers, greater kudus, warthogs, Oribis, baboons, giraffes, Lichtenstein Hartebeest, Dik-dik, leopards, zebras, impalas, buffaloes, elands, Klipspringer, Reedbucks, Roan antelopes and many others.

Things to do within Kizigo West Game Reserve

The main activities conducted within this exceptional Game Reserve are game viewing and nature walks where antelopes, leopards and lions are mainly spotted as well as hunting. The best time for hunting is from July to October, and is also ideal for game viewing. Much as the best time for visiting the Reserve is the dry season, tourists who visit during the rainy season also achieve remarkable safari experiences.

Where to Stay

The best accommodation facility within Kizigo West Reserve is the Kilumbi Camp found at the heart of the Reserve allowing guests to enjoy the captivating views of the vast plains but also the wildlife species that roam around the Camp. However, Camping is also available within the designated Campsites allowing visitors to experience the wilderness in a different way.

How to Get There

This Game Reserve is found within Manyoni in Singida region (at the central circuit of Tanzania tourism) and can be reached by both road using 4WD Vehicles and air where chartered flights with light crafts can be organized from Arusha (travel time being at least 2 hours) and Dar es Salaam (travel time being from 2-2.25 hours).

 

Tips On How To Set Up A Campsite?

Are you planning to travel to Uganda for camping adventures and you do not know how to set up your campsite? Whereas most campers may take setting up a campsite as very challenging, the latter may not be true if you are keen enough. Camping is entirely celebrating the outdoors, spending time at close range with nature. However, to come up with a perfect home away from the usual, you have to plan for it adequately and the tips provided below can be of great value to you.

  • Choose a perfect site

If you are thinking of undertaking a self drive and camping safari in Uganda, first look out for gently sloping land and bear in mind about water drainage. Getting a leveled area makes it simpler for you to prepare food and set up a tent on flat ground and at end of it all; you will enjoy comfortable night stay. You may also prefer areas with some trees for you to have a shade and the trees can act best as wind breakers, however, you have to be keen on the falling branches and ensure that your tent is set at a distance. Also consider the direction of sun rise while setting up a camp for you to enjoy the warmth of the morning sun rise while in the jungle and do not forget to bear in mind the wind effects

  • Established campsites

Selecting the best camping site at already established campground is simpler as you can just pull your trailer up to any of the designated campsites. You can also opt for walk in sites within the easy walking distances of the campsite road or parking lot. Regardless of any site that you will opt for, the site should be gently sloping for you to set up a shelter and fire ring. Most of the already set up campground feature amenities such as picnic tables, restrooms and at times water pumps within reach from the campsite.

  • Tent and food set up

Tents play a big role and it can be used beyond sleeping. They can be used as areas for storing unpacked equipment and help in offering shelter especially with bad weather conditions. Preparing food around the fire is ideally the most captivating experience of a lifetime but keep this in mind. Always prepare your food downwind, after you are done, all the extra food should be kept at least 200 feet from the camp, stored in a bear bag and hung about 10 to 20 feet up in a tree. The bags are usually designed to hang food out of reach of wildlife.

  • Disposal set up

The bathroom area should be set up no less than 200 feet off the camp. Ensure that you spare an area for trash as this will help you when cleaning the area at the end of your vacation.

  • Campfire set up

While setting up a camp fire, be aware of wind direction and protection. Keep a 15 foot radius clear of wood to prevent unintentional fires. After you have successfully established your campsite, you can now freely relax and chill in your camp.

  • Besides the carrying the tent, make sure that you have a tarp shelter

This can serve another significant purpose while you are on camping safari and a well strung tarp makes adequate room for your camp and you will have comfortable camping experience. Tarp shelter can serve as the central gathering area, the kitchen, the front porch, garage, shade or lounge.

From the discussion above, setting up a campsite can be simpler as it comes with experience. The entire process involves learning something new about what works best for you every time you make up your campsite. Camping safaris are the most exceptional experiences that offer you a chance to interact closely with nature. By paying maximum attention and setting up the best camp site will reward you and the rest of campers with amazing experiences of lifetime.

Top Things to Do in Bwindi National Park

Tourist Activities Conducted Within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Gorilla National Park is one of the must-visit destinations by majority of tourists that visit Uganda, mainly because it is a haven to more than 480 of the critically endangered Mountain gorillas that are found in only three countries in the whole World-Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo as well as Uganda. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was established in 1991 and is surprisingly the only place in Africa where Mountain gorillas and Chimpanzees can be found.

Interestingly, most tourists know Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for only gorilla tracking but there is more to this destination than meets the eye. Did you know you can actually also enjoy bird watching, nature walks/Hiking, the Batwa cultural experience, mountain biking and the Gorilla Habituation Experience?

It is the only place you will enjoy this unforgettable experience in a lifetime. Some of the attractions to expect here include over 1000 flora species including 160 tree species and 100 fern species, about 120 mammal species such as Forest elephants, primates like Red-tailed monkeys, chimpanzees, Mountain gorillas, Vervet monkeys, Olive baboons, L’Hoests monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, forest buffaloes, Duikers,  bushbucks, serval cats and the giant forest hogs among others.

If you are a birder, then this is real Paradise with over 340 species of birds like the handsome francolin, Chestnut-throated Apalis, the Rwenzori Batis, African green broadbill, mountain-masked Apalis, white-browed Crombec, the yellow-faced woodland warbler and the white-tailed flycatcher.

Provided are the detailed activities tourists can actually relish when they visit this wonderful destination;

  • Gorilla Trekking

Gorilla trekking is and will always be the number one activity in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is undeniably the number one reason why tourists visit the country. This destination offers a phenomenal backdrop for this exceptional activity and there are 11 habituated gorilla families distributed across the four sectors-Rushaga, Buhoma, Ruhija and Nkuringo thus only 88 permits are available per day.

  • Gorilla Habituation Experience

You can enjoy Gorilla trekking from all the four National Parks where the Mountain gorillas are found but the Gorilla Habituation Experience can only be enjoyed from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park whereby instead of the usual one hour offered during gorilla trekking, tourists get up to four hours to spend with a gorilla family still undergoing habituation. Currently, only two groups (in the southern sectors of Nkuringo and Rushaga) can be visited for this experience and costs only $1500 per person.

  • The Batwa Cultural Experience (Cultural Encounters)

The Batwa pygmies were the first inhabitants of the Park and lived in the forest as hunter-gatherers. Much as they lived in the forest for many years, these people left small ecological footprint on the area and lived in harmony with nature but after it was gazetted into a National Park in 1991, they were displaced to the edges of the Park with no representation, no voice but living as beggars and squatters. Visiting the Park will therefore introduce you to some of the ancient ways like making bamboo bowls, building if grass-thatched huts, harvesting honey, making fire by rubbing sticks and use of trees and plants for herbal medicine among others.

Also, tourists can participate in a three-hour cultural walk through Buhoma villages and learn some of the cultures and customs of the people such as demonstrations of making local crafts such as baskets. Also see how local produce is harvested, food is prepared traditionally (with firewood) and also visit the local schools in the area.

  • Bird watching

There are over 350 species of birds that call Bwindi Impenetrable National Park home, making bird watching one of the must-do activities in the Park. Some of the lovable species of birds in the Park include Ruwenzori Batis, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Chestnut-throated Apalises, White-tailed fly-catcher, Shelley’s Crimson-wing, Mountain Greenbul, Handsome Francolin, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Green Tinkerbird and the White-browed Crombec among others.

  • Nature walks/hiking

There are 12 hiking trails in the Park lasting from one day or longer ones lasting several days and require you to spend overnights. Some of the trails include the Muyanga waterfalls walk, Muzubijiro loop, the Rushura Hill walk, the Ivi River walk, the Buhoma-Nkuringo and the Habinyanja (Railegh) Trail rewarding tourists with the views of different primates, waterfalls, mountains and the beautiful bird species such as the African black ducks, Pel’s fishing owls, Rwenzori Batis and black bee-eaters among others.

  • Mountain biking

Biking is mainly conducted within Buhoma sector by the Ride 4 a Woman, a community support group that also offers bikes for rent also guides tourists within and around the Park. The guides take you through different landscapes, the village and into the Forest through different trails such as the Ivy River Trail and most rides last 3 hours or longer depending on the trail used.

Mount Longonot National Park Kenya

If you are nature lovers and you are looking for that most splendid safari destination to spend your weekend getaway in Kenya, then Longonot National Park should be a must to include in your travel plan. Longonot National Park is located in Lake Naivasha, approximately 100 kilometers away from Nairobi capital city about 2 (two) hours’ drive and this also makes it one of the most accessible destinations. For visitors who are looking for stopover areas while on safari to Maasai Mara National Reserve, Longonot National Park should be a must to include in your bucket list. This park was named after Olo Nong’ot a Maasai word that means the mountains with countless spurs.

It covers an area of about 52 square kilometers and mainly refuges Mount Longonot that stretches up to 2776 meters and has rugged Crater at its edge thus providing the most remarkable views of the park and the surrounding areas. There are numerous trails some of which include a 3.1 kilometer trail that extends from national park entry point to the Crater edge and then continues to 7.2 kilometers’ long trail. The entire loop covers 13.5 kilometers to and from the park’s gate takes visitors four to five hours including stopovers. There is a gate standing at altitude 2150 meters and the peak at 2780 meters. This inactive volcano stands at 1000 meters above the hot valley floor and it featured 400,000 years back. It experienced its last eruption around 1860s. While on hiking safari at this park, you will have the most stunning views of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha, Hell’s Gate National Park and others. And for interested hikers, never miss to pack your hiking boots-light weight and offer support to your ankles while hiking, sunscreen, binoculars, a camera, a hat, energy giving snacks, sunglasses, bottle of drinking water and others.

This park is also famous for its remarkable savanna ecosystem that comprises of giraffes, zebras, lions, leopards, buffaloes, baboons, hartebeests, grant’s and Thomson gazelles, elands, impalas and other amazing antelope families. Over 427 bird species also thrive within this park and this makes it one of the best and important bird areas in Kenya.

Getting to Mount Longonot National Park

Longonot National Park can be reached by road on a tarmac route from Nairobi through Naivasha town and then you connect to the park via the old Naivasha-Nairobi route using a motorbike taxi or land cruiser up to the gate. The park entry fees range from KSH 350 for adult citizen, KSH 250 for children, KSH 600 for East African resident adult, KSH 300 for East African resident children, $26 for non resident adult and lastly 417 for non resident children.

What to do in Mount Longonot National Park

The notable activities for visitors to participate while on safari in Mount Longonot National Park include hiking adventures, game viewing, rock climbing and many more.

Where to stay in Mount Longonot National Park

Longonot National Park doesn’t have accommodation except Olongonot campsite that lies inside the park. The other accommodation for visitors is found within Lake Naivasha and they include Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge, Enashipai Lodge and others.

In conclusion, for visitors who are interested in unusual hiking adventures, wildlife encounters, scenic views Mount Longonot National Park is undeniably one of the most outstanding destinations that shouldn’t miss out in your bucket list.

Tips to Save Money on Gorilla Tour

Tips On Saving For Your Next Gorilla Tour in Uganda

If you have ever had a trip to Uganda, you will concur that gorilla trekking is the most adventurous and fulfilling safari activity but also the most expensive. However, did you know you can actually save a lot of money on that Uganda wildlife and gorilla tour that appears expensive to undertake? Well, it is not rocket science but just a matter of following the following workable and proven tips;

  • Give your expected budget to the tour operator you intend to book with

Much as most tourists are always hesitant to give their target budget for the whole safari to the tour operator, it is sometimes important if you wish to save some money on your gorilla trekking safari. This allows the booking agent to look for the best deals especially when it comes to transport and Safari Lodges/Safari camps/Hotels at the budget you have given thus allowing you to save.

  • Plan in advance

It is obvious that last minute bookings can lead to booking for more costly accommodation facilities and the safari as a whole because demand certainly exceeds supply; hence it pays to book in advance. Most tour operators have long standing relationships with good Lodges, meaning with that, a facility can be booked on your behalf in advance.

  • Conduct the safari during the low season

Much as the discounted gorilla permits for low season (April, May and November) were scrapped off (by the end of 2017), some Safari Lodges  still offer discounted rates for rooms hence you can be able to save on your gorilla tour in Uganda.

  • Plan how you will travel around the country

If you find a cheaper means of transport to travel within the country, there are high chances that you will save a lot of money while on your gorilla tracking adventure. Possible means to move around Uganda include public means, whereby, you can connect from one destination to another by Buses. For example, you can use a bus from Kampala to Kisoro near bwindi gorilla national park and Mgahinga national park. Alternatively, you can cheaply rent a 4×4 car like Toyota Rav4, Nissan xtrail or Toyota Prado and drive your own gorilla adventure to the gorilla parks.

  • Long stay rates

Someone who spends more nights in one Hotel or safari lodge is likely to spend lesser money than someone who spends nights in two or three different hotels because in most cases, you may end up paying three instead of four nights spent. Surprisingly, most of these deals are not indicated on the Hotel websites thus it would be good to ask the tour operators.

  • Target specific Brand name

Just like you always pay more money for a particular brand of shoes or jeans, the same applies to the Safari Lodges thus tour operators always know good places at relatively lower rates.

  • Book with one Tour Company

This usually applies to Companies that also own Hotels/Safari Lodges because there are chances that companies having three or more accommodation facilities can offers discounted rates for longer stays at their facilities.

  • Travel in a group

Another important tip for saving during your gorilla safari is by traveling as a group with friends or family members, especially when it comes to transportation around the country or spending overnights at a Safari Lodge.

  • Mix up some of the Accommodation Facilities

We all like the best products but sometimes you may not enough money to spend nights from certain Safari Lodges, thus you can always mix the facilities up by getting the expensive an cheap ones during the safari. Also, being cheap doesn’t mean that they are of poor quality or not nice but you will be surprised that cheap accommodation facilities offer comfortable facilities.

  • Keep watch on your Traveling

In most cases, if you intend to explore many destinations in the country, you might end up spending a lot for the flight costs and other additional costs for transfers to and from Entebbe International Airport thus you would rather land at Kigali International Airport and proceed for gorilla trekking within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park because it tends to be shorts and more convenient than Entebbe Airport. With this, you will be able to save a lot of money during your gorilla tour in Africa.

Wanale Ridge and Water falls

The Magnificent Wanale Ridge and Waterfalls

The Eastern region is one of the most endowed places in Uganda much as most of its attractions are not known and others are not explored at all. This region is where you will find the Mount Elgon National Park, Sipi Falls, Mabira and Busitema Forests, Tororo Rock, Nyero Rock Paintings and now the breathtaking Wanale Ridge and waterfalls also found in the same area.

Located at about 6 kilometers from Mbale Town, this wonderful waterfall is where water cascades over 2092 meters (6864 feet) down the sheer cliff rock wall into a deep valley. The most interesting thing of visiting this ridge and waterfall is that you can get the chance of exploring the Sipi waterfalls located at just a few kilometers away. Any tourist visiting Mbale District will be able to see this towering Hill with its stunning appearance from within and a distance (in the neighboring districts), thus making it a wonderful attraction and anyone that ascends to its peak will agree that it is exhilarating.

Wanale is said to be named after one of the sons of Masaba, the ancestor of the people of Bugisu and is also through to be the origin of Nabarwa, the Kalenjin woman who persuaded the Bamasaba to get circumcised before getting married. Also, the Nkokonjeru name that Semei Kakungulu’s people used to refer that the mountain came from the legend of Wanale, son of Masaba who reared only white chicken and it is also said that Wanale lived on top of the Mountain.

There are also several Caves beneath the Mountain much as most people only know one. When you hike through a trail at the western edges of the ridge, you will be led to the Khaukha Cave to discover some of the mysteries and hidden meanings to its calligraphic wording on the wall. Legends have it that the Cave has an ill-omened water streams referred as “Mwausa”.

The Wanale Ridge is undeniably one of the most stunning sights to behold and when you stand at the edge of the cliff with a rocky formation surface that is large enough to carry a while school, you will be rewarded with phenomenal views like never seen before. With four jaw-dropping waterfalls flowing from each corner of the ridge, it extends across and covers large portions of Bugisu land. Anyone that hikes this area can’t help but jump into the natural Jacuzzi-like River after reaching the peaks of Wanale Mountain/ridge while others will stare at the areas below and around with awe, thus making it a moment to remember. The most visible waterfall from the cliff is Namatsyo waterfall that falls/drops at several meters from the mountaintop over 2092 meters (6864 feet) down the bluff cliff rock into the valley.

How to Reach Wanale Ridge and waterfalls

This site is found within Mbale District, but when you reach the Town, you will proceed for 28 kilometers (18 miles) to Wanale’s Base taking about 30-45 minutes by a taxi or personal car. You will take a left turn after Mbale High Court and proceed with the road that goes down to Busamaga Primary School, where you will take a right turn to Bumboi Road for 15 to 20 minutes.

Kihingami Wetlands Sanctuary

Kihingami Wetlands Sanctuary is a Community-Based Project found close to the lush Kibale Tropical rainforest, within Sebitoli area. Established with the help of Fort Portal’s Kabarole Tours, this ecotourism site definitely preserves a beautiful 13 square kilometer valley that would have otherwise been encroached by the surrounding tea Plantations.

Even with its small size, a number of bird species (totaling to over 230 species) that been recorded within this wetland Sanctuary and some of them include the white-spotted flufftail and the Jameson’s wattle-eye. This Wetlands Sanctuary also offers tourists with perfect chances of seeing extraordinary primate species especially the Red Colobus monkeys as well as other mammals such as the spotted-necked otters.

Things to do within Kihingami Wetlands Sanctuary

Activities to enjoy within Kihingami Wetlands Sanctuary include guided forest walks (charged only Shs 25,000 per person). The local guides are trained by the Kabarole Tours based in Fortportal (initiators of the Project). These walks sometimes lead tourists through parts of the surrounding villages and their farmlands at the edge of the Forest and the woodlands that cross the Swamp area.

Bird watching (at also Shs 25,000) is conducted within the patches of the Kibale Forest and offer chances of seeing several species of birds such as Luhder’s Bush-shrike, Western Citril, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Red-bellied Paradise-flycatcher, Holub’s Golden Weaver, Violet-backed Starling, Western Nicator, Great Blue Turaco, Grey-winged Robin-chat, Green-headed Sunbird, Grey-headed Nigrita, Common Waxbills, Red-headed Bluebill, black crowned night heron, White-spotted Flufftail, African Blue Flycatcher, Brimstone Canary and many others.

When you cross over the lush swamp and through the Papyrus vegetation, you will encounter the Dusky long-tailed cuckoo, the white-winged warblers, Black-faced Rufous warblers, the Masked Apalis and Lizard buzzards among others. If you leave the swamp and walk back through the verdant tea plantation that is bordered by some trees, you will encounter the collared sunbirds, green-throated sunbirds and the Olive-bellied sunbirds as well as the long-crested Eagles among others.

Tea plantation and factory tours (costing Shs 25,000 per person).

There is a tea plantation around the wetland Sanctuary and tourists can always tour to see how tea is harvested and also drop by the factory to see how the leaves are processed into the fine product that we always enjoy.

Besides that, Kihingami Wetlands Sanctuary is a wonderful site for butterfly watching due to the numerous beautiful species of butterflies found in the area.

How to Access Kihingami Wetland Sanctuary

This wetland Sanctuary is situated at about 15 kilometers East of Fortportal Town, just before reaching the Sebitoli section of Kibale Forest National Park.

Therefore, Kihingami wetland Sanctuary is a site where the open canopy and wetland species of birds and butterflies can be spotted alongside majority of the same species inhabiting the surrounding Kibale Forest National Park. There are several species of birds and butterflies worth exploring during tours in the area.