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

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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

Separation among Gorillas

What causes separation amongst Gorillas? Why can a gorilla family split?
The information below was compiled by a gorilla researcher known as Michelle, conducted her research with assistance from a group of researchers about the life of mountain gorillas. Mechelle is a senior consultant about Rwanda tours especially about visiting mountain gorillas and Chimpanzees. Her report revealed that gorillas are one of the most feared animals in the world, thanks to movies like King Kong and Congo. While it is true that they are large, powerful creatures, they are also gentle and affectionate.

Mountain gorillas are easygoing vegetarians who lead a peaceful, playful life. Large males patiently allow young gorillas to climb all over them without a murmur of protest, and they are not aggressive toward humans unless they are threatened.

Gorillas stay and move together as a family. Gorilla families are mostly led by a mature male known as silverback. Silverbacks are entitled to safe guard the entire group/ family. However, on rare cases, the female can take control f the group when a silverback has fallen/ died – but this can be for a short period of time until another silverback succeed and take responsibilities of its predecessor.gorilla-trek

The Gorilla family can split due to constant disagreements amongst group member – this can be accompanied by fights, quarrels among others. In such situations, some members can decide to form anew group or join another group where they can be secure.

Gorilla groups can split due to constant threats from predators like leopards, lions, and python among others. In the process, some gorillas can leave the insecure place to a safer area hence separation.

Scarcity of food and water – some Gorillas can decide to leave the group to another area with plenty of food. It should be noted that Gorillas are vegetarians so, the feed on fruits, leaves, backs of trees, shouts among others.
Out break of diseases like Ebola, in a given place may force gorillas to move away and in the process, some gorillas may not turn to their original groups but instead join other groups of form new groups.

Out break of pests like mosquitoes, tsetse flies among others. It can force gorillas leave for another area. In the process, some gorillas may leave the group forever.

Power struggles – desire to take control of the group by different male Gorillas – it can cause splitting of the group into new groups under different authorities and control.

Death of a group member – gorillas can walk away from a place their member has died from to anew place but in the process, some gorillas can join other groups.

Poaching or Killing of Gorillas – illegal hunting and killing of gorillas can disorganize the original family set up. In the process of running away for their lives, they may fail to unite again.

Harsh weather like too much rainfall or much sunshine may disorganize the Gorillas’ family set up leading to their separation.

Growth and development – it is a norm that most of the male gorillas form their groups at the maturity level. Like boys at home when they grow mature – most of them leave their fathers’ families and form theirs.

The role of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in Tourism Sector

Uganda is a paradise of wild animals, birds, drainage and beautiful topography. The logoUganda Wildlife Authority is one of the governing bodies that regulate wildlife conservation in Uganda. This agency was established in 1996 after the merger of the Uganda National Parks and the Game Department, and the enactment of the Uganda Wildlife Statute, which became an Act in 2000.

Uganda Wildlife Authority is mandated to supervise and control all wildlife activities with in the protected areas like National Park and Reserves – plus those in unprotected areas. In other words, all wildlife in Uganda whether in your home belongs and managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and they can take it any time.
Uganda Wildlife Authority is entitled to fight against poaching – illegal killing or hunting of wildlife and whoever caught is taken to court – serious penalty is given to whoever caught in an offense. Strict control of wildlife poaching is aimed at preserving the countries wealth.

Uganda Wildlife Authority’s role in managing the country’s tourism industry and attracting investors to the sector has been a significant one.

It also manages five community wildlife management areas and 13 wildlife sanctuaries. The challenges facing the management and conservation of wildlife and biodiversity in Uganda are myriad, and they include poaching, competition in the regional tourism market, human wildlife conflict and wildlife crimes.

game-drive-vehicle

Game drive Car for Uganda Wildlife Authority

Uganda Wildlife Authority offers employment to the jobless Ugandans – this aimed at upgrading the standards of Ugandans. One of the strategies to stop poaching is by employing the people around the wildlife reserves – this is aimed at engaging them to fight against poaching.

Uganda Wildlife Authority manages Uganda’s ten national Parks and twelve game reserves. Uganda’s national Park includes Kidepo Valley, Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo National park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Semliki National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, Mountain Rwenzori, Mgahinga National Park and Mountain Elgon National Park.

To ensure that the integrity of the reserved areas is properly maintained – constant patrolling is done to secure wildlife.

rangers

Uganda Wildlife Authority Rangers

To identify areas which should be designated and gazetted as protected areas so as to ensure adequate protection of Uganda’s major eco-system, nature habitat and biodiversity.

Explore the possibilities of increasing benefits to local communities living within or adjacent to protected areas.
To exploit wildlife potentials to generate revenue for individuals and government.

Ensuring timely and appropriate response to reported problem animals, in collaboration with the concerned communities and respective local authorities.

Enhancing economic benefits from wildlife management through promotion of tourism.
Implementing relevant international treaties, conventions, agreements or other arrangements to which Uganda is a party.

The are many Uganda and Rwanda safari companies affiliated to Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA and among these we have safari companies Like Abacus vacations, Volcanoes safaris, African Jungle Adventures, Thousand Hills, Primate safaris, Africa adventure Safaris, gorilla Trek Africa and many more. You will ask your self why and how Rwanda safari companies can be affiliated to Uganda Wildlife Authority?! The reason is simple, it is because these 2 countries are near to each other, and they are the only 2 safe homes of mountain gorillas in the world. Therefore, Uganda safari companies freely operate in Rwanda, likewise, Rwanda safari companies freely operate in Uganda. And many tourists love a combination of gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda.

Gorilla Behaviors in The Wild Jungles of Rwanda & Uganda

Mountain gorilla is one of the endangered species at risk of extinction in Africa. According to the gorilla census of 2011, globally there are approximately 880 individuals. Half of this population is found in the Virunga mass of volcanic mountain ranges shared by Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park), Uganda (Mgahinga National Park) and Democratic Republic of Congo (Virunga National Park). The rest of the population is found in the impenetrable forests of Bwindi National Park in south western Uganda.

The fact that mountain gorillas are at risk of extinction, Uganda and Rwanda receive huge numbers of tourists from different parts of the globe to come and witness the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. After seeing gorillas in the zoo in your home country, you will definitely be impressed to save money to see their behavior in their natural setting.

Gorillas in the Mist - Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Gorillas in the Mist – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Because this specie is at risk of extinction, their habitat must be protected from degradation.Therefore, the number of visitors is limited per day only 8 persons for each gorilla group. You must book in advance and get your gorilla permit reserved. Bookings can be made through Travel Agents, Tour Operators or direct with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

Gorilla Behaviors

Gorillas stay in groups known as troops that generally consist of 1 to 4 adult males (called silverbacks), some juvenile males (called black-backs), several adult females and young. Amazing is that the oldest and strongest adult male silverback leads the troop. The silverback keeping a watchful eye over his troop and defends in time of trouble.

Before reproduction, adolescent females transfer to another troop at around eight years of age. Generally the first troop a female reproduces will become her permanent family.
The early arrivals receive the benefits of high ranking than the late arrivals in the troop. For example the early arrival benefit from staying near the Silverback for protection. It is for this reason that females most often join a lone silverback or a newly formed troop rather than a long-established one.
An adolescent male most separate from his parental group due to lack of breeding opportunity – the dominant silverback takes advantage of mating females for reproduction.

The Gorilla groups usually range from 2 to 12 individuals with 9 being the average. If a troop consists of multiple silverbacks they are usually the sons of the dominant adult male silverback. It should also be noted that the largest group can raise 16 members. Responsible bodies like Uganda Wildlife Authority for Uganda and Rwanda Development Board for Rwanda habituate gorilla groups for tourism purposes  and make then get used to people without affecting their natural setting. The process continues and new gorilla families are formed and habituated for tourism purposes.

Uganda currently has up to 14 gorilla group habituated for tourism purposes namely; Nkuringo, Nshongi, Oruzogo group, Habinyanja, Bitukura group, Mubare group, Kahunjye, Mishaya, Kyaguriro, Businje, Bushabo and Bikingi, not forgetting Nyakagezi group, the only one found in Mgahinga National park. Gorilla trekking tours in Uganda are based on the groups above. Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park on the other hand are currently based on 10 habituated gorilla families namely; Hirwa group, Susa, Ugenda, Umubano, Ntambara, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Kwitonda, Amahoro and Group 13. These are found in Volcanoes National Park. For Democratic Republic of Congo, little information is available about the current status for gorilla tourism due to political unrest. Few people can now risk their life to DR congo for gorilla tracking in Virunga National Park. Those who make to Virunga reveal that Congo gorillas are the best, gorilla groups have many members, silverbacks and juveniles as well as babies. The country is now secure but some embassies warn their people against traveling to DR Congo.

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Eyes of the Gorilla

Gorilla social behaviors

Silverbacks are mostly aggressive than other group members to ensure the group safety and maintenance of the leadership privileges.

Adult females are not bonded to one another and usually compete to groom and stay close to the silverback. Mothers are closely bonded to their offspring for the first three years of life.

Gorillas will give each other nose-to-nose greetings and gestures of reassurance such as embracing or touching.

Gorillas spend about 14 hours feeding and foraging and about 10 hours resting every day.
Gorillas move about 400-1,000 meters (0.24-0.60 mi) per day which is about 88-219 miles per year.
Feeding/foraging activity peaks during the first three to four hours of the day. Then there is usually an extended rest period during midday until mid-late afternoon at which point feeding/foraging activity resumes.

On daily basis, Gorillas construct nests to sleep in at the end of the day. They gather vegetation around them in trees or on the ground.

Gorillas most walk on four-foot. The walk derived its name because they walk on their knuckles, not on their palms.

Gorillas usually travel only about 0.5 to 1 km (0.3 to 0.6 mi) per day when there is ample food supply, since they have a slow pace and relatively large body size which makes it difficult to travel extensively.
It is extremely rare that gorillas would compete for food, Mothers and older siblings also help protect the young, Gorilla mothers will often enlist the help of older siblings to help care for and protect their young.

Getting to the Gorillas

Before confirming your safari in Rwanda, you must know how to get there especially to International travelers. After getting into Rwanda, your journey to the mountain gorillas starts there. Rwanda is accessible through Kanombe International Airport on the Suburbs of Kigali capital. From here, it is only 90 minutes drive to Volcanoes national park, a home to mountain gorilla in Rwanda.

Uganda is accessed through Entebbe International Airport. From here to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National parks takes between 8 and 10 hours drive. The 2 gorilla destinations in Uganda can be accessed from Rwanda (Kanombe airport), then cross international boarder of Cyanika or Gatuna, taking between 4 and 5 hours drive.

Gorilla Trekking Packing List / What to carry? What to Wear?

– Long Pants
– Long Sleeved Shirts / Blouse
– Garden Gloves
– Insect repellent
– A hat
– Sun Glasses
– Hiking Boots (water proof highly recommended)
– Bottled Mineral water for refreshment
– Some Snacks / Biscuits
– Extra Batteries for your Cameras

Note that gorilla tracking starts early in the morning every day and only one shift, not like chimpanzees where we have a morning and afternoon shift. You must be at the park headquarters by 7:30am for a briefing about the activity and group allocation.

Rwanda Gorilla safari a Lifetime Gift for my Son

I wanted to surprise my newly college graduated son with a lifetime gift, a vacation abroad, what I really knew he wanted! However, when I asked him where he wanted to travel, he told me to choose someplace less traveled, unique, and something he would never have the chance to do ever again. Boy, did this put some pressure on me!

I began to search online for various interesting travel destinations and vacations in the world for him, when I landed on a website offering Rwanda gorilla safaris. I thought I had definitely found the vacation of a lifetime for him! There were so many different ones to choose from, which made it even more difficult, but I found one I thought he would enjoy, and I bought him two spots in the safari, one for him and whoever else he felt like taking. In a strange twist of events, he ended up taking his younger sister! This was such a gift for both of them, and I know they both loved it!

I sent an email to Gorilla Expeditions Ltd a local tour and travel company operating in Rwanda and I was surprised when they immediately replied me. I communicated with a tour consultant called Joan and she gave us all details needed to do gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park and among the different sample itineraries she gave me, I talked to my son and we choose a 5 day golden monkey and gorilla tracking safari. Joan also advised us to book gorilla tracking permits in advance because they are on high demand.

golden-monkey-trackingAll of us were eager to know what really gorilla trekking means and it was on July 24th, 2014 the day when we had to leave London and travel to Kigali Rwanda. Upon our arrival at Kigali International Airport, we was warmly welcomed by Wabwire Jackson a tour guide from Gorilla Expeditions Ltd and after we transferred to Kigali for breakfast and thereafter we made our way to a place called Ruhengeri found at the foothills of the mighty Volcanoes National Park. This was the place where Dian Fossey the famous American primatologist amazed the world with her research of the magnificent mountain gorillas of Rwanda. We enjoyed lunch, dinner and overnight at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge a first class luxury comfortable lodge in the foothills of the Virunga Mountains.

On the next day, we enjoyed early morning breakfast at the lodge and as a worm up for our gorilla trek; we participated in the tracking of the rare and endangered golden monkeys in the park. These primates are unique in the Volcanoes National Park, where there is a group numbering around forty. Little is known about these wonderful monkeys and experts are only recently able to collect the basic details about their routines and ways of life. They can be very hard to spot. With our professional local tour guide and trackers we searched for them in the bushes of bamboo where they like to spend most of their time. The experience was so interesting and after we returned to the lodge for relaxation as we waited for dinner and overnight.

rwanda-mountain-gorillaOn the third day, we had breakfast and transfer to the park headquarters with our packed lunch for briefing and after we were accompanied by a ranger guide and tracker and penetrated deep into the jungle in search for the magnificent mountain gorillas. We tracked for 5 hours and we were allowed a maximum of one hour to spend with our allocated gorilla family. To find our gorilla group the tour guide will lead us to where the gorillas were located on the previous day and then we tracked them through the forest. The territory in the jungle was very rough and we were very prepared for rain, mud and giant stinging nettles – long trousers, gloves and a waterproof coat because Joan briefed us well. After our trek and humbled by this amazing experience we transferred back to the lodge for late lunch, dinner and overnight.

Our last day in Rwanda, very early in the morning we had breakfast and hit the road back to Kigali and we enjoyed a short Kigali city tour and then after we was transferred to Kigali International Airport to board our flight back home. We really had a memorable safari in Rwanda with a dependable tour company.

Lifestyle of Mountain Gorillas in Africa

Mountain Gorillas can be tracked in the south western part of Uganda in the national parks of Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga national park, then in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda as well as Virunga National Park in DR congo. The life type of these rare apes is very interesting and therefore becomes must to each and very traveller interested in knowing much about the gorillas to book a gorilla trekking safari in Africaafrican-gorillas

Mountain gorillas in Africa live in groups consisting of rough estimate of 8 to 35 individual members. The interest aspect is that each and every group has leader called silverback and the silverback is accompanied by various females who are also followed by their young ones. Due to the factor that the endangered mountain gorillas can only be found in the three countries i.e. Uganda, Rwanda and Congo in the whole world, visitors therefore have one option to book gorilla safaris in Africa and this will enable them to have one magical hour of interaction with the mountain gorillas and hence making each other to study lifestyle of gorillas.

In Uganda an ordinary day in the life of the rare mountain gorilla begins at 6 am when the sun is setting off. The mountain gorillas wake up early morning and start to gather food and mostly the mountain gorillas spend an estimate of 30% moving to look for food and roughly spend 40% resting and 30% traveling. Unlike other primates, mountain gorillas mainly live on the ground and they usually move a distance not more than one kilometer each and every day beyond their home boundaries which is range of 20 square kilometers.

Taking gorilla trekking safari in Africa will enable visitor know that Mountain Gorillas are vegetarians, because their diet mainly is composed of leaves, roots, stems as well as pith of herbs, shrubs and also some fruits. However they also feed on the ants, insects but rarely. The afternoon’s times of the mountain gorilla is mostly spent as the resting and playing time. This last activity which ends the day of mountain gorilla is very important to gorillas mostly to the young ones as its determining factor for integration into the group.

In the general life style of gorillas, hierarchy is respected and significant ant within the gorilla group. The silver back who is the leader of the group like father in human beings, he enjoys the most respected rank and also the females’ adults have authority over the younger ones. In relation to other animals, male gorillas gain high rank depending on their size. Usually male silver back gorilla weighs an estimated weight of 200kgs and always reach 1.7 meter when they happen to stand upright.
The reproduction process of gorilla is very slow and this is the cause reduced numbers of world populations of the mountain gorillas. Gestation period is mainly 8.5 months and usually the female gorillas give birth to their babies once after each and every four years. When the baby of gorilla is born it usually weighs 2.5 kgs which is roughly half the exert weigh of the human baby.

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