Packing List for Camping Safari in Uganda

Are you planning to go for camping but you do not know which items to carry? Camping safaris have remarkably become one of the most sought after experiences by most travelers on safari in Uganda. With camping safaris, visitors come very close to African wilderness. Camping tours in Uganda are one of the adventurous experiences that give you opportunity to explore most of the country’s stunning national parks and other tourist sites. Most of these tourist sites are well preserved and conserved campsites free from wildlife raids and destruction. If you are looking for the most successful budget camping safari, it is highly recommended to rent a car in Uganda with camping gear from credible car rental agency. There are key equipment that you have to put into consideration as can be seen below;

Tent

When it comes to camping safaris, tents should be considered. Camping tents give temporary shelter for visitors while on safari. Try to check out how most tourists are traveling and know the size of tents you feel will help while on safari. They range from one sleeper to as many as 10. A sleeping tent saves visitors from hush weather especially rains and a lot of sunshine visitors can just be in a mobile house compared to setting up a tree branch as shelter. Find out from a car hire agency that you are dealing with more on the sleeping tents and their capacity. You can choose between normal tents and Roof Top Tents. Additionally, a tent comes with camper chairs and table for maximum comfort on your safari.

Camper Tent

Bedding supplies

Even when you have a tent as shelter, you won’t sleep on a tough and rough surface, request for a provision of a simple camping mattress and if it is possible to carry your personal sleeping bags for safety and pillow to have a comfortable night sleep. Sleeping materials are of great value, you wouldn’t need to get up with a cold after an entire night with no warm bedding or painful muscles after sleeping on tough and hard ground. A full camping gear includes bedding supplies like Mattresses, Sleeping bags and Pillows but some tourists may prefer carrying their own sleeping bags.

Kitchen Ware and Cutlery

When you are packing for your camping safari in Uganda, make sure you have cups, spoons, focks, plates, chopping board, storage box and cooking materials especially saucepans, frying pan, gas cylinder / stove, otherwise you will end up hungry or even spend more than what you thought on food in restaurants. You need a handful items to assist you, simple cups and may be cooler box to keep the drinks cold. In case you are interested in a barbeque set, then let the company know about it earlier.

First aid

There is no one who knows more about your life than you. Your health and safety should come on top and this means you need a first aid along with you. Note that setting into the wilderness involves meeting insects that can bite, bruises, snakes bite, mosquitoes, cut out of falling sticks and others. Items in first aid kit come with blades, cotton wool, gauze and clean wipes.

Food and water supplies

Prior staging a camping site, ensure that you have adequate food in stock for the number of visitors who are going to camp and water supply. Most camping sites are in remote places with no shops for you to purchase any food stuffs and this means you have to get what can take you throughout your camping experience in the destination. Water supply at your campsite is also vital whether you are near to a river, lake or constructed water supply point.
With the above camping items we believe that you will have a wonderful camping experience. Uganda has several camping grounds for you to set your tent and you enjoy African wilderness at a close range.

Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony

Whereas humans are identified and distinguished by their names, symbols, cultural and traditions, there is a need to recognize some of our closet relatives with names. In African traditions, it is at that moment that fire-place gathering that warmth and wisdom, families and societies get together and common values are passed onto future generations. This same manner can be sighted with the Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony in Rwanda where hundreds of Rwandans, regional and international tourists converge each year to what is described as a “united community” to demonstrate the shared values specifically on conservation of our close relatives-the critically endangered mountain gorillas. It is during this kind of special event that conservation meets sustainable tourism. This remarkable event gives some direction and guidance in Rwanda’s tourism sector and the Great Lakes Region at large.

Gorilla trekking is described as a lifetime experience and it is through this exceptional annual event that different societies from across the world meet to reflect on efforts that Rwandan government has put to save them from extinction. This event is one way to promote sustainability and also give a highlight of conservation values to the adjacent local community members.  Usually, the feeling of ownership and pride in our own natural resources lies in hearts of few people and this explains why stories of wildlife tourism in Africa is the most painful flashback especially with the way poaching and habitat loss have become the order of the day in African continent. Currently, there are fewer than 900 individuals of rare mountain gorillas that are left on earth and only thrive in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Kwita Izina annual gorilla ceremony is an event that covers largely our shared humanity and not just a specific group of individuals in the society. This is the rarest events in primate life as stories and traditions are transferred from one generation to another and specifically on the ecosystems and wildlife given the fact that we have a lot in common. The Kwita Izina event attracts many people from across the world who come to witness when the newly born mountain gorillas are given names and last year alone, over 500 international visitors and 20000 local residents attended this special event of lifetime. This practice acts as one way through conservationists can spread the message that these newly born creatures are not just statistics but they are also primates with an identity, history and part of a family group.

On 1st September, 2017, Kwita Izina event was held marking its 13th edition of annual gorilla naming ceremony in Rwanda. This was conducted under the theme “Conservation and sustainable tourism, a foundation for future generations” that entails Rwanda’s focus on boosting awareness on sustainably maintaining biodiversity. The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) also targeted to promote domestic tourism where persons (Rwandans) who were born on 4th July and they are above 15 years were given a chance to win a $1500 gorilla trekking permit to track gorillas in Volcanoes National Park by November. This covered the dates when Rwanda was liberated as it coincided with a day when conservation struggle began. The (RDB) carried out a rottery draw to choose the lucky 100 winners.

In the past, the Kwita Izina ceremonies only involved naming a baby mountain gorilla, but for 1st September 2017, all the 4 adult female mountain gorillas and a family were named including all the 14 infants. The Kwita Izina event began around 2005 and since then more than 239 babies have been given identities. This year, the event began on 23rd June with several community activities that are estimated to cost Rwf 137 million and its climax reached with the major event in Kinigi area-Musanze district on 1st September. There was also a two day conservation and tourism exhibition between 27th and 28th August; the conversation on conservation that every year attracts the leading experts to deliberate Africa’s common conservation challenges was conducted from 28th to 29th August 2017 and then followed by a fascinating gala dinner on August 26th.

Other activities included launching the 2 primary schools of Akagera Primary School in Rwimbogo area, Gatsibo district and Rugera Primary School near Nyungwe Forest National Park in Rusizi district on 29th June. Gihorwe health centre near the Volcanoes National Park, Kabatwa cell-Nyabihu district will also be launched on 17th August.

In conclusion, the Kwita Izina gorilla ceremony is a Rwanda’s remarkable gorilla naming tradition that takes place each year. It is an important event in that it creates an understanding among various stakeholders on the role and value of conserving these critically endangered apes in the wild.

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.

Gorillas in Uganda: Amazing African Apes

In Dec 2016, I boarded a plane to Uganda with the aim of encountering Mountain Gorillas. I had already booked my Gorilla permit in advance with a local tour Company based in Kampala. I had booked a three days trip to Bwindi Impenetrable forest and on 20th December 2016, I landed at Entebbe International Airport at 11:15am on Ethiopian Airline.

Reaching there, I was welcomed by Kelly, the safari guide/ driver from the company I booked with. He briefed me and thereafter, transferred me to Kampala Serena Hotel for lunch. Being Japanese, I was given Asian meal which I liked so much – feeling at home. After a delicious meal, I asked my guide to drive me to the home of the Ndere troupe to have a relaxed evening with cultural music, dance and drama.
I enjoyed cultural music, dance and drama accompanied by the sounds from local music instruments. Later, we return to my Hotel for dinner and overnight.
At around 8:30am the next day, we started our journey to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Home of Mountain Gorillas in Uganda).

It was a long journey to the park – approximately 8hours drive. On the way we had a stopover at Agip Motel in Mbarara for lunch and then proceed to Chameleon Hill Lodge in Nkuringo sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. We reached the lodge at 5pm for relaxation as we wait for dinner and overnight.


The next day morning after breakfast, I went to the park headquarter for briefing about the dos and don’ts while with Gorillas. During briefing, we were told that a maximum of eight people visit each gorilla group and only one gorilla group (Nkuringo) is trekked in Nkuringo section.
During briefing, the rangers told us not to be so close to Gorillas for health reasons, No making noise amidst gorillas, No dumping rubbish in the park, a void flashing cameras, Clothes with shouting colors among others.
At around 8:30am, we were escorted by the rangers through the impenetrable forest while searching for the gentle giants. Oh! I was filled with happiness at my first sight to the gorillas. We wound them feeding, Gorilla mothers breast feeding. Young ones being carried by their mother and so on.
We were given only one hour to view Gorillas and take photos but one hour was worth the amount I paid! And I didn’t find much hardship since we found the group after 90 minutes walk.

View of Bwindi National Park – Home of Gorilas

After Gorilla trekking, I returned to my lodge for lunch and then we cross to Rwanda through Gatuna boarder- proceed to Kigali Airport for my flight back home and this marked the end of my gorilla safari, my next destination was Masai mara National Park in kenya and Northern Tanzania section (Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara and Olduvai Gorge).

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.

Characteristics S Of Baby Gorillas

gorilla-twins

Picture of baby Gorillas (Twins)

The mountain gorilla is one of Africa’s most endangered species of animals, with fewer than 900 individuals left in the whole world (Gorilla census report 2011). Half of this poulation is found in the Virunga ranges, a chain of volcanic mountains shared by Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park), Uganda (Mgahinga National Park) and Democratic Republic of Congo (Virunga National Park).

The gorills multiply slowly and their gestation period is about 37 weeks. It is difficult to tell if a female gorilla is pregnant since her stomach is large to begin with (for food digestion). However, some females have swollen knuckles temporarily during pregnancy. Gorillas have large round stomachs which makes. When they give birth, they take care of their young ones. They live in groups / families headed by the male silverback. Taking a Uganda gorilla safari in Bwindi National Park or Rwanda gorilla trek in Volcanoes national park offers you a agreat opportunity to safely watch these gentle giants in their natural habitat, and the baby gorilla are most enjoyable! Below are the characteristic of baby gorillas;

A baby gorilla behaves just like human baby. Baby Gorillas cling on their mothers, horse around their father -make a mess with their food, yet still like their mother’s milk the best.

The genetic similarity between humans and apes is at a remarkable 98-99%. Some allegations claim that baby gorillas learn faster that their counter human babies.

The Gorilla gestation period is 8.5 months which is very near to that of human being of 9 month.
Gorilla mothers usually wait three to four years between births because that’s how long infants stay with them – Smart move. They also only have about three babies in their lifetime. Gorilla females mature at 10–12 years; that’s when puberty kicks in for girls; male apes and boys hit it at 11–13 years.

New born baby weighs 3-4 pounds as compared to 6-8 pounds of human baby.

Baby Gorillas are nursed up to 2.5 years just like human beings.

Baby Gorillas are out much earlier than human babies. They crawl at about two months while the latter only sit upright at around six months.

Baby Gorillas walk before nine months old. At the early stage, baby gorillas move faster. But until then, similar to human babies, they try to cling to their mothers as much as they can. Gorilla babies learn to grasp their mother’s fur to ride on their backs at the age of four months and seem to have a blast doing it. They stay there and even eat and sleep on their mother’s back.

Once weaned, baby gorillas leave their mothers sleeping nests and construct their own.
Baby Gorilla starts communicating at early stage. They communicate via an intricate system of sounds and gestures – a clue as to how early humans may have communicated.

Like human babies, baby gorillas have 5 toes on each foot and 5 fingers on each hand.

Our Charismas Trip to Murchison Falls National Park

wildlife-murchison-falls-ugandaI had worked for 6 years as the head of IT department in a Tour and Travel Company called African Jungle Adventures LTD and I never got a chance to travel and tour different place of my country till in November 2015 when we decided to organize a trip to the southwestern part of Uganda to Murchison Falls National Park. The company offered 70% of what everything needed for our trip and it gave us a vehicle with fuel and also catered for our accommodation in the park.

We set starting date of our departure on 24th / December/ 2015 and we wanted to spend the Christmas in Murchison Falls National park. At around 08:30AM the entire IT department gathered at the office and we transferred to the west and at around 10:15AM will pass the famed Luwero Triangle. This place shows the remains of the guerilla war of the 1980s that lead the NRM government into power. From there we continued and got en-route stop at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary where we participated in rhino tracking expedition and then lunch. Then after we continued to Murchison Falls and visit the top of the falls for a wonderful scenic view of the Nile as it squeezes itself through the narrow gorge. We took some photography of the breathtaking Victoria Nile that plunges itself down the high cliff. After that amazing experience we transferred to Sambiya River Lodge for dinner and overnight.

The second day on 25th was the most interesting day of our trip as we wakeup early in the morning and transferred to the Northern part of the park for a morning game drive. Here we got a great opportunity of seeing the early risers as they emerge from there night hide outs. During this drive we got a chance of seeing different wild animals like; lions, leopards, giraffes, water bucks, elephants, hippos, bush bucks, to mention but a few. Then after we returned to the lodge for late day breakfast and head down for a boat cruise this gave us a chance of seeing more animals as they gather down at the Nile banks. Schools of hippos spill up the water forming a fountain and crocodiles busk in the sun with there mouth open. We enjoyed the cool breeze as you sail on the Nile water and then returned to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

On 26th waked up very early in the morning for breakfast and we transferred back to Kampala with en-route lunch in Luwero reaching Kampala in the evening.

It was really an amazing trip and now we are organizing to visit Queen Elizabeth national park the Uganda’s most visited park.

The Batwa Group Of People In Uganda

The Twa or Batwa are pygmy people who have lived in the Albertine Rift Valley region since immemorial time. They are great story tellers and dancers. The Batwa are nicknamed as the “keepers of the forest” because they spend most of their time in the forest. In Uganda, Batwa have their origin in the impenetrable forests of Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga which is dating back nearly 60,000 years, making them one of the oldest groups of people inhabiting the earth. Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga National Park are best two Uganda safari destinations famous for gorilla tracking, Batwa Experience and Batwa trail. Traditionally, the Batwa are hunter and fruit gatherers for survival.

The Batwa people are also found in Rwanda, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. However, to conserve the forests, the Batwa were removed from the forest and given no compensation, making them like refugees. They have relocated in areas far from the forests and many of them have found new sources of income as others became destitute. By the year 2000, the number of Batwa was about 80.000 people distributed in different countries.

batwa-making-fire

Traditional way of making fire by the Batwa

It is unfortunate that the Batwa have little access to formal education and their communities have limited representation in local and national government. The following Batwa cultural activities are true cultural experiences which link conservation and development as an eco-tourist project.

The Twa Cultural Experience in Bwindi Forest, south western Uganda:

The Batwa Cultural Experience is a 100 acre forested site next to Bwindi Forest in Uganda, the best destination for gorilla trekking in the world! This is an ecotourist site created by the Batwa Development Program (BDP), a registered organization founded primarily by donations of Kellermann Foundation. The project was created with the objective to educate the children and to sensitize the world to the rich cultural heritage and traditions of the Batwa. Moreover, it generates income through ecotourism activities.

Traditionally, batwa people have unique performance in music, dance and drama which is enjoyed by tourists who visit Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks for gorilla trekking safaris. We have what we call “The Batwa Experience” in Bwindi and the “Batwa Trail” in Mgahinga National Park where you spend a day with the Batwa people, learning more about their cultures and historical ways of life.

The Batwa or Twa trail of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda:
Mgahinga National Park is found in the far south western Uganda at the boarder of Uganda and Rwanda.

Batwa Lived in Nests

Batwa Lived in Nests

The Batwa Trail runs across the lower slopes of the two volcanoes Muhavura and Gahinga, a forest containing rich biodiversity including the endangered mountain gorillas. Led by local Batwa guides, visitors experience the forest through the unique perspective of the Batwa. Moreover, this activity has relaunched the small and little known Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, which is only 33.7 square kilometers (and therefore the presence of gorillas cannot be stable in this small area).

During cultural encounter tour, the Batwa demonstrate hunting techniques; gather honey; point out medicinal plants and demonstrate bamboo cups. Guests are finally invited to the sacred Ngarama Cave, a 200 meter-long lava tube beneath Mountain Gahinga that was once home to the Batwa King, where the women of the community perform a sorrowful song which echoes eerily around the depths of the dark cave, and leaves guests with a striking and moving sense of the richness of this fading culture. This is truly a unique experience for visitors to learn about the traditional culture of the indigenous people.

Gorilla and Wildlife Tourism in Virunga gives new hope to DR. Congo

After several years of political instability and civil war that killed more than six million people and a long history of corruption, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is not on numerous travelers’ list.

Be that as it may, there is currently one good reason behind why they may be more interested. Virunga National Park, the Africa’s oldest national park in the eastern part of the country bordering Uganda and Rwanda, reopened this year after the year ended.

It is a mysterious destination, 3,000 square miles of snow-topped mountains, active volcanoes, glaciers, luxurious mountain forest and savannahs. Yet another fight is presently playing around here, one in the between integrity and greed.

The rangers in the park are fighting to protect the world’s endangered and rare primates – mountain gorillas who live here – from both poachers and the threat of British oil company SOCO International. Despite of the fact that Virunga National Park is protected under the Congolese and International law as a UNESCO world heritage site, The FTSE 250 Company had been planning to explore for oil inside the park.

In the newly released documentary called Virunga, which tells the story of trust in the district and the 381 rangers who work to secure this large and biodiversity habitat.

Also, it is the improvement of tourism in the national park could save the day. Regardless of the British Foreign Office still warming against travel to eastern Congo, it appears to be numerous tourists are realizing that it is safe to visit Virunga.

Since Virunga National Park reopened in January, after being closed for a year, accommodation in the park has been full to capacity, with travelers visiting the southern sector of the park to see the critically endangered mountain gorillas, a hugely diverse range of other species, and awe inspiring landscapes – including amazing views of the world’s largest lava lake.
Consider the development of tourism in the neighboring countries of Uganda and Rwanda, and its benefit to the recovery of the economy there, and the possibility of eastern DR. Congo tourism doesn’t seem unrealistic. Uganda and Rwanda estimate to receive about $15m every year from gorilla permits. Virunga National Park could generate as much revenue from its tourist attractions.

To get to Virunga National Park, most visitors fly into Kigali International Airport in Rwanda, and then take a three-hour taxi ride to the border crossing at Gisenyi. The national park offers safe transportation to its head offices in Rumangabo, where Mikeno Lodge offers 12 luxury cottages. The tour incorporates fabulous Nyiragongo volcanoes, where trekkers can likewise camp in the collection of 12 shelters on the summit of Mount Nyiragongo, next to the lava lake.

Simply outside the Virunga National Park boundary is Bukima Tented Camp, one of the major starting points for gorilla treks in Virunga, with six luxury tents and views of 4,437m Mount Mikeno. A shared tent is $325 every night B&B, while doubles at Mikeno Lodge are US$325. A permit to hike at Nyiragongo, incorporating accommodation in huts, costs $255.

It may be luxurious, yet visiting Virunga National Park will help save mountain gorillas, and is a statement of backing for the honorable rangers who have lost many of their colleagues lately, battling on the front line of conservation to protect an asset for their nation, as well as for rest of humanity.

• For further information on the park, including a list of recommended tour operators, see visitvirunga.org

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