Gorilla Trekking Uganda Vs Rwanda

Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda Versus Gorilla Trekking In Uganda

What is gorilla trekking?

The term ‘gorilla trekking’ refers to an activity of moving into the jungles of rain forests on the quest to find a species of gorillas. Gorilla trekking often involves walking long or short distances by a visitor while searching for a particular habituated gorilla family. It is an activity which could last from about 30 minutes to several walking hours depending on the movement of a gorilla group in the Jungle, it also depends on your level of fitness and how fast you can hike. Once a gorilla family of interest is sighted, visitors are then allowed a maximum of one-hour ultimate gorilla experience in the midst of the giant apes.

An overview of gorilla trekking in Rwanda

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is purely a life-changing adventure rewarding visitors with a close encounter to the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Before the trek, a cup of tea or coffee is served to visitors at the park headquarters (Visitors’ information centre) Along with it is a traditional performance which gives guests a good start for their exciting day’s adventure before being briefed by a ranger on how to behave while on the trek. Later on, groups of eight individuals are led through the tracking trails on an adventure to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

Each hiking group is assigned a ranger and two armed guards, accompanied by porters to ensure the guest’s safety from jungle animals such as Elephants. The hiking experience in the search for the mountain gorillas in the Jungle is so interesting and unpredictable since gorillas are free to loam about in their natural habit hence rewarding trekkers with long or short treks depending on the movement of a gorilla family one is meant to track. Once the gorilla family of interest is spotted, visitors enjoy one hour with the gentle apes while they incredibly admire how graceful and peaceful these gentle giants are.

An overview of gorilla trekking in Uganda

Gorilla Family in Volcanoes National Park – Rwanda

The memorable gorilla trekking experience in Uganda begins 8:30 am with guests being briefed about what is expected of them during the tracking experience. Later, visitors grouped into groups of eight where each group is assigned a park ranger. Thereafter, the groups embark on the journey to the tracking trails on a quest to find the rare mountain gorilla species. Gorilla trekking in Uganda (Bwindi National Park) is more strenuous compared to Rwanda and time-taken ranges between 1 – 7 hours depending on the movement of a gorilla family a visitor has planned to track. Once the gorilla family is sighted, visitors are the then allowed a one-hour unforgettable moment with a gorilla group after which they head back to the park.

Differences between Rwanda’s gorilla trekking and Uganda’s gorilla trekking

For quite some time, visitors have wondered whether there exists a difference if a guest chooses tracking gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda. Therefore in this article, I try to draw the difference between gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda as well as what the two countries share in common in terms of gorilla trekking adventures. Here some of the differences between Rwanda’s gorilla trekking and Uganda’s gorilla trekking;

  • Gorilla trekking destinations

Uganda has only two destinations which offer visitors an out of the ordinary gorilla trekking experience. These are mainly Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park located in the southwestern part of Uganda. Rwanda, on the other hand, has only one gorilla trekking destination- Volcanoes national park situated northeast of Rwanda. With reference from the above information, Uganda has more gorilla trekking destinations compared to Rwanda.

  • Cost of Gorilla trekking permits

Rwanda charges a fee of 1500 USD for a visitor interested in tracking gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. This fee includes park entry charges, guiding and a certificate for accomplishing the trek. In Uganda, a gorilla permit costs 700 USD. Looking at the two gorilla permit charges, Rwanda offers quite an expensive gorilla trekking safaris compared to Uganda.

  • Habituated Gorilla families

Rwanda has a total of twelve habituated gorilla families currently that are available for gorilla trekking. These include Igisha, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Amahoro, Agashya, Kwitonda, Umubano, Hirwa, Bwenge, Ugyenda and Muhoza and Susa although one (Hirwa gorilla group) has been a resident in Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda for the past few years.

Gorilla Trekers in Bwindi Forest – Uganda

This is different from Uganda which has a total of 19 habituated gorilla families currently all available for gorilla trekking experiences. These include Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura, Bitukura, Oruzogo, Nkuringo, Mishaya, Kahungye, Bweza, Busingye, Nsongi, Bikyingi, Rwigi, Katwe, Mucunguzi, Bushaho, Mukiza, Kyaguriro for research and Nyakagyezi in Mgahinga gorilla park. Therefore, Uganda has more mountain gorilla groups available for trekking compared to Rwanda.

  • Road distance to gorilla trekking locations

In Uganda, travelling to Bwindi impenetrable national park from Kampala is usually about 450-490km approximately 8 – 10 hours drive by road depending to which gorilla sector you are heading to. Similarly, road distance from Kigali Capital of Rwanda to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is about 170km approximately 4 hours drive. On the other hand, Mgahinga gorilla is 495km from Kampala approximately 10hours drive by road. From Kigali city of Rwanda to Mgahinga gorilla national park is about 131 km approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes.

However, in Rwanda, Volcanoes national park is about 106 km from Kigali close to 2 hours drive on a smooth road from Kigali- Rwanda’s capital. Therefore, it is undeniably true that Rwanda’s gorilla trekking destination is nearer and easily accessible in terms of road distance compared to gorilla trekking destinations in Uganda which may require long hours of driving.

  • After gorilla trekking activities

Visitors to the pearl of Africa (Uganda) get to enjoy a variety of activities after gorilla trekking. These include white water rafting, game drive in different savannah parks such as Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo and Kidepo Valley, birding, boat cruise, hot air balloon trips, cultural tours, chimpanzee trekking, golden monkey tracking, Elgon and Rwenzori mountain climbing, nature walks and so much more.

Visitors to Rwanda on another hand enjoy a few after gorilla trekking activities such as golden monkey trekking, birding, Kigali Genocide memorial museum, canopy walks, chimpanzee trekking and cultural encounters at Ibyiwacu cultural centre. This is different from Uganda where a visitor has a variety of after trekking activities to enjoy. Thus in case, a visitor is interested in exploring more attractions than mountain gorillas, Uganda would be an ideal destination to enjoy this.

According to Mr Philimone, the managing Director of 4×4 Tanzania, he receives many tourists interested in seeing lots of Africa’s wildlife in Tanzania, after which they fly to Rwanda purposely for gorilla tracking experience.

Most importantly, visitors to Rwanda enjoy a traditional performance before gorilla trekking which gives them a good start for their exciting day’s adventure. This is usually during breakfast where they enjoy a cup of coffee along with local music, dance and drama before being briefed by a ranger on how to behave while trekking gorillas. This is different in Uganda where traditional performances are enjoyed often during evening hours around borne fires after trekking usually at an incurred cost. However of recent, only in Ruhija sector, some traditional performances take place at the park headquarters before the actual hike.

Similarities between Rwanda and Uganda’s gorilla trekking

Although gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda has several differences, some features remain similar about the two countries in regard to their trekking adventures. Here are some of those similarities between Rwanda’s and Uganda’s gorilla trekking;

  • Time for an ultimate gorilla experience

Both Rwanda and Uganda reward visitors with a one-hour ultimate experience with the gorillas. This is usually after finding a gorilla group of interest where visitors can observe the gentle apes, take lifetime photographs, learn about their behaviour and head back to the park after this.

  • Gorilla trekking time

Both Rwanda and Uganda gorilla trekking time lasts from 30 minutes to four hours or more depending on the movement of the mountain gorilla group one is tracking. Whether short or long trekking time both countries offer a remarkable gorilla adventure.

  • Recommended age for trekking

In both countries, visitors must be 15 years and above for them to be allowed to go gorilla trekking. This restriction is meant to prevent the spread of diseases especially chickenpox and mumps from gorillas to humans and vice versa. Similarly, persons below the age of 15 are considered unfit to take on the difficulties that may arise during gorilla trekking.

  • Briefing of visitors

In both countries, visitors are first briefed before they embark on the quest to trek gorillas. The activity is mandatory for every visitor who plans to trek gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda. Briefing in both countries is done in the morning hours before embarking on the trek. It is often a caution-guided session given to visitors in preparation of how to behave themselves along the trekking trails and in the midst of the gorillas.

  • Number of Visitors

In both Rwanda and Uganda, only a maximum of eight visitors allowed to trek a gorilla group in a day. This number restricted to only visitors who are free to have around one-to-two porters each to help a guest around with carrying the luggage and whatever one would need during trekking.

  • Distance from the Gorillas

Visitors to both Rwanda and Uganda are advised to always stay 7 meters away from the gorillas while in the midst of the mountain gorillas. This is done to protect mountain gorillas from catching human diseases.

  • Gorilla trekking season

Both Uganda and Rwanda are all year round gorilla trekking destinations. However, the best time to trek mountain gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda is during the dry seasons. This would be during the months of June to August and December to February. This is because during the fore mentioned months, the tracking trails are not very slippery and the gorillas are easy to spot, unlike the rainy season where gorillas tend to take shelter in the forests and are quite hard to spot.

  • Gorilla trekking rules and regulations

Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is governed by a numbers of rules which all visitors ought to abide by. These are usually divided into three sections; before trekking, during trekking and after trekking. The rules in both countries come along with high penalties in case a guest violates them, thus compliance is always encouraged.

  • Number of times a gorilla group can be visited daily

In Rwanda and Uganda, a gorilla group can trek once a day. This is often one set of visitors per gorilla family daily. This is done to minimize behaviour changes of the mountain gorillas as well as to ensure that other habituated mountain gorilla groups are visited.

  • Packing list for gorilla trekking

Both Rwanda and Uganda require guest to be very well prepared for the trekking adventure in order to have an amazing gorilla safari. The packing list in both countries often involves necessary items to ensure a visitor enjoys a great trekking experience. Here is a list containing some of the vital items that visitors need to carry for gorilla trekking in both countries; hiking boots, long-sleeved shirt and trousers, a rain jacket, a backpack, a hat, sunglasses, insect repellant, camera and many others.

In conclusion, the question of whether its Uganda or Rwanda’s gorilla trekking on chooses lies on which form of gorilla safari adventure a visitor is interested in. One needs not to forget that both countries are undoubtedly amazing mountain gorilla destinations which reward guests with exceptional gorilla trekking safaris.

Step by Step: How to Book Gorilla Permits

How To Book A Gorilla Permit

A gorilla permit is an essential tool every visitor should have and it is what lets you visit a habituated gorilla family in Uganda, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Booking a gorilla permit is one important step in planning a gorilla safari in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC.

Mountain gorillas exist in only the three countries (Uganda, Rwanda and the DR Congo) and gorilla permits can be booked through a credible tour company/agency and for this case, simply get in touch with reservation team to assist you secure your gorilla permit while you sit back home. Alternatively, gorilla permits can be booked directly through a respective conservation agencies depending on the country you plan to visit for gorilla safari.

Congo Mountain Gorillas

Gorillas in DR Congo

Respective gorilla destinations issue out gorilla permits to tourists who are above 15 years and each permit lets you visit only one habituated family with only an hour of a magical encounter. In Uganda, gorilla permits can be booked through our reservation team. We are a credible tour company in Uganda offering authentic gorilla trekking experiences and our team is available 24/7 to ensure you make your dream come true. Procedure of booking a gorilla permit in Uganda through a tour operator/company or Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA)-an organ in charge conservation and management of wildlife in and outside protected areas in Uganda.

  • Contact our reservation team or at reservation team at UWA.
  • We shall cross check to find out availability of dates you intend to go trek mountain gorillas.
  • After, we shall get back to you as soon as possible.
  • You will be required to submit your details.
  • A deposit of 30 percent will be required for you to make and the rest can be cleared within 91 days to actual gorilla trek.
  • Payments can effected through account details provided to you by us or the tour operator you choose to deal with or reservation team at the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Once you make payment or deposit, the tour operator secure or book for you the permit.

To book a gorilla permit through tour operator is easier than booking direct with UWA given the tedious process. 80 percent of all the gorilla permits are given to only members of Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) and this means, booking with UWA leaves you with only 20 percent.

How much are gorilla permits?

Between now and 30th June, Uganda issues out gorilla permits at $600 per person-for foreign non-residents, $500-for foreign residents and 250.000 Uganda Shillings for East African residents.

However, effective 1st July, 2020 each gorilla permit in Uganda will be obtained at $700 for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents and 250.000 Uganda shillings for the East African citizens. Obtaining a gorilla permit in Uganda lets you visit gorillas in Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

In Rwanda, gorilla permits are issued out at $1500 per person. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is conducted only in Volcanoes National Park which is set in the Northern Province. To secure your gorilla permit in Rwanda, you can still get in touch with a credible ground tour operator or do so through a reservation team at Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

In the DRC, each gorilla permit is obtainable at $450 per person. Visitors on Congo gorilla safari can go gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park and permits can be booked through a registered tour operator or reserve it through the park authorities. Besides mountain gorilla trekking, DR Congo is known for Eastern lowland gorilla trekking which is conducted in Kahuzi Biega National Park.

When to book a gorilla permit

To book a gorilla permit in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC, you are advised to do so at least 3 to 4 months before the actual tracking date. Usually, other visitors do book permits even a year before the embarking on the actual trip. Please note, gorilla permits are scarce in the months of June, July, August, September and December, January, February. This is because the demand for gorilla permits increases during the peak season.

Choosing the most suitable places to stay for your Gorilla safari

In Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has four sectors where gorilla tracking takes place. There sectors are;

  • Buhoma
  • Ruhija
  • Nkuringo
  • Rushaga

Each of these sectors has different habituated gorilla groups, and each sector has different accommodation options, ranging from basic / budget lodges and campsites to mid-range and luxury lodges.

Gorilla Close Up Lodge

Gorilla Close Up Lodge

Before choosing any accommodation unit, make sure that, that lodge or camp site is located in the sector where your gorilla permit was booked. All sectors are distant from one another, therefore, staying in one sector and tracking gorillas in another sector can ruin your gorilla trekking experience! For example, if you book accommodation in Buhoma sector, with gorilla permit for Ruhija sector, you will be required to wake up early and drive for 90 minutes in the Jungle for your trek. Things become worse if your accommodation is in Buhoma sector and gorilla permits for for Rushaga or Nkuringo sectors, to be honest, you can not make it in time because the journey takes more than 3 hours.

In conclusion, for any plans to visit Uganda, Rwanda or DR Congo for mountain gorilla safaris, please make sure you reserve your gorilla permit early to avoid the last minute disappointments, and be careful while booking your accommodation unit.

Cross River Gorilla Trekking

A side from trekking to see mountain gorillas and the eastern lowland gorillas, Africa also offers you yet another incredible opportunity to catch a glimpse at the cross river gorillas. This category comes with a rare appearance though not very different from the rest of the subspecies.

They have robust and powerful bodies with a bit of elongated head and a pronounced brow ridge. Their skulls on the other hand are shorter than those of the western lowland gorillas scientifically called gorilla gorilla gorilla while their mouths are not very big compared to other subspecies. The teeth, hand and feet are shorter than the western lowland gorillas with broad nose, wide nasal passages, fingers, opposable thumbs. The skeleton of these creatures is sturdy with straighter vertebrae compared to those of humans.

 

Males are taller and heavier than the females and in average; they are 1.65-1.75 meters high and have the weight ranging from 140 to 200 kilograms. Females can even stretch up to 1.40 meters and weigh 100 kilograms. However, all of them feature a dark fur over their bodies apart from the face, hands, feet and ears. The cross river gorillas are a subspecies of the western gorillas and today, about 200 to 300 of them still thrive on earth and this makes them a few most endangered apes in Africa.

Where to see the cross River gorillas?

This particular gorilla species thrives within the mountainous areas around Nigeria and Cameroon just at the top of the Cross River where they derived their name. They range within 7770 square kilometers about twice the size of Rhode Island. This means they are mainly inhabited around the most north and western areas. In Nigeria, you can find them at Afi Mountains, the Cross River National Park and in Cameroon in the Mbe Mountains, Takamanda National Park. Like most primates, the cross river gorillas thrive within the mountainous rain-forest and bamboo forest at elevation of about 1500-3500 meters.

 

Just like other primates, the cross river gorillas are equally threatened by a number of factors that include among others poaching as they are hunted severely, habitat loss due to deforestation, human infectious diseases and others. These types of Great Apes belong to family hominidae and order primates.

 

This subspecies of gorillas are largely herbivores and their diet is dependent on leaves, herbs, vines, tree bark and fruits. They enjoy fruits a lot although these are not available throughout and mostly from August to September and then from November to January. Their intestines are very long and can digest plants perhaps a reason why they have large and rounded abdomen and even bigger than the chest. Besides, they also depend on termites, caterpillars.

 

The cross river gorillas live in families of 2 to 20 members with silver-back being the leader of the group. They construct nests on tree branches for them to rest for the night. In the wet season, they construct nests on top of tree branches and during the dry spell they can make nests even on the ground. Much of their time is spent while eating as way to maintain their sizes and strength and they also groom each other. In terms of reproduction, the cross river gorillas have a gestation period of about 9 months and females can breastfeed and take care of the infants.

 

In conclusion, besides tracking mountain gorillas or the eastern lowland gorillas, you can as well embark on cross river gorilla safari that will reward you with amazing encounters. Amazingly, you can combine both adventures and you will have the best of gorilla experience in Africa.

2 Baby Gorillas Born In Virunga National Park

The birth of two new mountain gorilla babies has brought happiness and also good news in Virunga national park. The birth came from two different gorilla families in Virunga and this brought multiplication of the number to nine new gorilla births this year.

The 19 year old Kayenga mountain gorilla gave birth to a boy baby gorilla, being her third child in the Bageni gorilla family which has 30 members. And the second baby gorilla was given birth by an 8 year old mountain gorilla known as Anangana. This was its first born baby a girl making 11 members in Humba gorilla family.

Virunga national park is found in Democratic Republic of Congo and it is famous for its endangered mountain gorillas. And for the last decade they have played a great role in increasing the overall population which now stands at an estimated 1004 individuals after results were revealed in the recent population survey of mountain gorillas.

Virunga national park is UNESCO world heritage site and Africa’s oldest natural reserve and it is found in one of the most restless area of Democratic Republic of Congo. The country has been deeply affected by the country’s political situation. And earlier this year, 5 park rangers and a driver were killed. Then in

May the park closed its gates from guests until 2019 after three people, a ranger was killed and two British visitors were abducted, but later released unharmed.

The park was established in 1925 during the regime when Democratic Republic of Congo was still a

Belgian colony. Virunga national park is Africa’s most biologically diverse protected area.

This park stretches from the Virunga Mountains in the south to the Ruwenzori Mountains in the north, to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, bordering volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Mgahinga gorilla national Park in Uganda and Rwenzori Mountains.

Besides mountain gorillas, Virunga national park also protects the low land Grauer’s gorillas and the eastern chimpanzees. This makes the park a destination that hosts three big apes.

However, mountain gorillas remain the major attractions in Virunga national park and it is one of the few parks in the world that host these highly endangered gorillas.

Travelers like to trek the gorillas in Virunga because the low prices of permits and the park is not congested compared to other trekking centers like Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park and Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga gorilla national parks. Virunga national park is still fresh for new discoveries since it has not had a lot of tourism activity for a long time making it a perfect place for those who want to relax, research and adventure at the same line.

Besides mountain gorillas, Virunga national park is arguably the most biologically diverse national park in the world, it has a lot more to offer to travelers like a variety of wildlife, lakes, forests, more than 700 bird species and it is also the home of Mountain Nyiragongo, one of the active volcanoes in the world.

Virunga national parks shelters up to 8 habituated gorilla families. The encounter with the gorilla in this park is an excellent and magical experience that brings you close to the rare and gentle primates in their natural habitat.

Virunga national park is also part of the broader Virunga conservation area that stretches from Uganda, Rwanda and D. R. Congo and contains a massif of 8 volcanic mountains and 2 important national parks, Volcanoes national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Rwanda and Uganda respectively.

Book a gorilla safari in Democratic Republic of Congo and grab yourself a chance to get a life time experience with the mountain gorillas in Africa’s largest and oldest national park.

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.

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.

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.

Gorilla Tracking Tops the List of Things to Do in Uganda

Uganda is a proud member of Africa and has a landscape that can truly rejuvenate the spirits of anyone who visit here. It’s beautiful flora and fauna with beautiful scenery of river channels like Katonga and the longest river Nile in Uganda as well as the third largest in world. Both savanna and equatorial rain forests that provide habitat to wide variety of animals and bird species.

Silver back Gorilla in African Jungles

One of the key features of Uganda holiday is the chance to meet the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural setting. The hike to search for the mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park actually an exciting trek in Uganda. However much Bwindi is so impenetrable, there are some motorable tucks, footpath, and even both murram and turmac roads that go through the forests.

Bwindi National Park today has about 14 habituated gorilla groups, available for tourism purposes. We also have one habituated gorilla family in Mgahinga National Park called Nyakagezi, one of the best and easiest groups to track. Gorilla tops the list of Uganda attractions, and most of the visitors to Uganda come for gorilla tracking experience in the two parks mentioned above. Further more, gorilla tracking in Uganda is sometimes combined with Chimpanzee tracking experience in Kibale Forest or Kyambura Gorge or Kanio Pabidi Forest reserved, and a 7 day chimps and gorilla tour conveniently takes you for both Gorillas and Chimpanzees in the Jungle. Along the trek, expect an encounter with other primates suchas Colobus Monkeys, golden monkeys, Olive Baboons, Grey Cheeked Mangabeys, Blue Monkeys, Red Tailed and L’Hoest Monkeys among others.

Whenever you think of the term Safari or get an idea of traveling and touring areas of your interest, the very first visuals that come to your mind is Africa and its exotic wild life. The magnanimous landscapes and geological features.
This can be actually enjoyable especially when you are with a family or friends. There are a multiple of tourism ventures both flora type and fauna as well. If you are free spirited and daring enough to venture out with them, you can truly marvel at the abilities of these amazing creatures that are similar to humans in some levels.

Along with Uganda, you can visit Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania too. As these parts of the world are pretty inexpensive, any one with even a tight budget can enjoy these sights and have a great time. There is a critical assurance that ounce you step in Uganda, it will provide you with the best experience ounce you attempt to tour areas of the south western part of the country. This would be something you are going to truly cherish all throughout your life.

Beautiful life is all about discoveries and once attempt to discover and tour in Uganda, Bwindi impenetrable forest is a comfortable and the best tourist potential place to go to. Mountain Gorillas are some of the rare species in Africa and place that have such animals are actually kept in a cage in a zoo.
This actually makes it so boring when having a view because there is no movement. But this is totally different in Uganda. This safari is enjoyable and fun as well. This is mainly because these gorillas are actually in a mountain that is actually covered with thick rainforest of Kisoro, Kabale and and Kanungu. Definitely one can enjoy drives through those forests and even trek and track them. This is so fun and enjoyable under a guidance of experienced tour guide.

Guidelines to Plan and Book a Tour in Uganda

In whichever event one would want to engage in, he/she has to plan for it. Planning is the act of organizing and putting in place activities and items in order to implement a certain project with an objective of attaining success. Planning also applies when someone is going to for a trip to have a good time with his/her colleagues, family or partner.

Mountain Gorillas in Uganda

Mountain Gorillas in Uganda

It is important to plan for a trip to any tourism destination whether in your home country or foreign one. Trip to a foreign country, one has to spend money on items like air ticket, car hire, accommodation, meals, tour guiding so you have to make a budget on how to spend the money on those facilities.

In most cases people use tour companies to plan for their vacations. The tour companies make an itinerary for the client and come up with the summation of the money one has to pay for a certain trip and how one is going to visit various tourism destinations in a fashioned way to make the experience of the tour so tremendous. The length of the itinerary depends on one’s interests (places you want to see), time and budget. For instance, if one’s interest is mainly gorilla tracking, the suitable package is the 2 nights / 3 day Uganda gorilla tour.

Biking Tours in Uganda and Rwanda

Biking Tours in Uganda and Rwanda

For example, in Uganda tour companies organize trips for wildlife safaris where one is able to view the exotic animals in their natural habitats, city tours around Kampala, excursion to the beach or other interesting places like the source of the Nile, Mabira ecotourism sites to mention but a few.

The tour company makes booking for the accommodation facilities, ground transportation car hire, gorilla permits bookings and entrance fees on behalf of the client. The tour company also advises the client on what to carry on the trip like the clothes, camera, medication and other tourism related equipment.

Uganda Wildlife - Buffaloes

Uganda Wildlife – Buffaloes

The traveler only needs to plan for the days he/she would wish to visit Uganda, the payment for the air transport fares, visa fees and travel insurance and also send the money to the tour company to cater for the itinerary items for the trip as agreed upon making an inquiry for a certain type of the trip.

It is also important to note that one has to plan for the trip earlier than the time he/she is supposed to travel. It should be at six (06) months before making the trip. This gives the traveler time to get the full requirements and resources needed for the trip. In fact, if you plan your trip a year in advance, you have high bargaining power with the travel agency / tour company for the best quote. In other words, you have ample time to contact different tour companies for goo rate.

Tree Climbing Lions in Uganda - Queen Elizabeth

Tree Climbing Lions in Uganda – Queen Elizabeth

However planning for the trip is no longer a complicated thing since the inception of the tour companies that almost make the planning and booking for the various items one is going to engage in, all the traveler needs to do is have the money to cater for the trip.

Best Places to See Chimpanzees in Uganda & Rwanda

Chimp trekking is the second popular activity in Uganda and Rwanda. It is the second thought for activity after Gorilla trekking.

Chimpanzee trekking is cheaper than Gorilla trekking in the two countries but worth undertaking. Rwanda and Uganda are neighbors countries and tourists can easily cross from one country to another to trek chimpanzees among other activity.

NYUNGWE FOREST NATIONAL PARK IN RWANDA

It is the only chimp trekking destination in Rwanda. It is a primate sanctuary because it hosts 13 primates including Chimpanzees, Mona Monkeys, Colobus Monkeys, Ververt Monkeys among others.
Nyungwe is among the virgin tropical forest in East Africa. Chimp trekking in Nyungwe forest stats at around 5am and the finishing time is determined by the movement of the chimps in their natural habitat. Of course there are many other things to do see along the ways, plants, and flowers such as orchids in season, trees and various birds and butterflies.

Nyungwe National Park Rwanda

Nyungwe National Park Rwanda

KIBALE FOREST NATIONAL PARK IN UGANDA

Meeting chimpanzees in Kibale forest is guaranteed. Kibale is a tropical forest situated in the western Uganda (6-7 hours) drive from Kampala. The forest protects more habituated chimpanzees than those in Rwanda’s Nyungwe Park. The forest also hosts exotic birds, countless of butterflies, mammals such as forest elephants, forest buffaloes, a place where while chimpanzee tracking you can also see five or six other species of primates. There is also full day chimpanzee habituation where visitor receive comprehensive study about chimps.

Kibale National Park Chimpanzee

Kibale National Park Chimpanzee

BUDONGO FOREST IN UGANDA

Budongo Forest is part of Murchison falls national Park- in other words, it’s a game reserve. You can even do a one day chimpanzee tracking safari here. Budongo forest is only 3.5hours drive from Kampala and is the nearest of the chimpanzee tracking destination. So while a one day gorilla trekking safari is almost impossible, you can make advance booking at Budongo Eco Lodge.primate

KALINZU FOREST

Chimpanzee trekking – The forest reserve is located in Bushenyi district in the Southwestern part of Uganda near Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Maramagambo forest. There area six different Species of Primates found in Kalinzu Forest Reserve including the Blue Monkeys, Vervet Monkeys, Black and White Colobus Monkeys and Chimpanzees.There area over 220 Chimpanzees, 70 plus chimpanzees have been habituated cna be tracked here at Kalinzu Forest Reserve.That is not all, 262 Butterflies, 97 Moths, Reptiles and Flowers can all be seen here.

KYAMBURA GORGE IN UGANDA

Kyambura Gorge is part of Queen Elizabeth National Park. You can do game drive and chimpanzee trekking in Queen Elizabeth national Park. Kyambura gorge is a home to many other primates like red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, baboons as well as vervet monkeys. Tracking chimpanzees in Kyambura gorge is 3 hours well spent, and the chimpanzee permits here are usually cheaper than those for Kibale forest.

TORO-SEMLIKI IN UGANDA

Toro – Semliki wildlife reserve is situated along Semliki National Park- in other words; it is part of semliki N.P. The chimpanzees are found in the Wildlife Reserve and have been studied for years by researchers from Indiana University – it also one of the lowest price chimpanzee tracking experiences in Uganda. One could easily track Chimpanzees in Kibale Forest -Kalinzu Forest – Kyambura Gorge – and the Toro – Wildlife Reserve in just a few days and never drive any great distances. When it comes to chimpanzee trekking, Uganda is superb in East African community.chimp

All chimpanzee destinations mentioned above can be explored on  guided or self drive trip around Uganda. Self drive trips have become very popular, interesting and good for saving huge money. Contact Rental Cars Uganda for reliable 4wd cars for hire in Kampala and Entebbe Airport.