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.

Comparing Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda

gorilla-trekking-adventureGorilla trekking activities in Uganda and Rwanda are carried out in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Volcanoes National Park respectively. Only 8 people can visit a given gorilla group for every day. In Uganda, so far 19 gorilla groups have been habituated in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, and so can have 152 persons tracking mountain gorillas on any day.

Rwanda can likewise take 80 persons for every day. All else being equivalent, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park has a slight edge over the rest since its gorillas are the most wholly habituated, and they are regularly found in bamboo than the thick forest which makes photographing easier.

The main challenge with gorilla trekking in Rwanda is positively the cost of the gorilla tracking permits at US$1500 contrasted with Uganda’s US$700 for every gorilla permit. In any case, Rwanda’s pride is in the ability for one to do the gorilla trek even in one day and fly back home which is difficult for Uganda.

Volcanoes National Park is found 116km from Kigali and can be driven in only 2 hours. Then again, Bwindi Forest National Park is located 500km from Kampala / Entebbe International Airport and a drive can take over 8-10hours. In that sense, you will spend no less than 3 days for your gorilla trek in Uganda; Day 1 for travelling to Bwindi, day 2 for gorilla trek and Day 3 for driving back to Kampala or Entebbe Airport. In the event that a tour operator is making you a safari package, they ought most likely need to consider this expense and incorporate it in your tour cost.

Nonetheless, the long drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is very charming with extraordinary views all through like the Equator, Lake Mburo National Park (for some Queen Elizabeth National Park with plenteous wildlife), terraced mountains with streaming rivers, and a lot if rural Africa. This is not so really the case for the drive from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park.

Some voyagers have likewise decided on flying over from Entebbe airport to Kihihi and Kisoro airstrips on the edges of Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla parks. It is only 45 to 60 minutes of flight. A round trip ticket costs about US$250 with Aero Link Uganda. In that case, you will need to organize your transfer from the airstrip to your booked accommodation in Bwindi Forest National Park, and back also. (Talk with our preferred agents for support to arrange this please).

You will absolutely need to spend more on transport and time to track the mountain gorillas in Uganda than it’s for Rwanda despite the fact that this cost is compensated for by a cheaper gorilla trekking permit.

Besides, some areas of the roads to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park are not so comfortable to drive on yet in the case of Rwanda, you drive on smooth tarmac at least up to the Volcanoes National Park head office.  Also, however, the road heading from Volcanoes National Park office to the gorilla trekking start points must be accessed with a raised 4×4 vehicle, preferably Land Cruiser, Land Rover, Nissan Safari or Patrol and Rav4.

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.

Prices of Gorilla Permits 2020/ 2022

Gorilla Permit Prices In Uganda, Rwanda And Democratic Congo Republic

Gorilla permit prices in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) vary significantly. Each country has it’s set price for gorilla trekking permits. However, the three countries are the only three in the world where you can trek mountain gorillas which today remain fewer than 1063. Obtaining a gorilla permit lets you trek habituated gorilla family in the respective country’s gorilla parks. A gorilla permit is one essential document every visitor needs to have when it comes to gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo.

Mountain gorillas exist only in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Southwestern Uganda; Volcanoes National Park in Northwestern Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in Eastern DR Congo. For any plans to trek mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo, it is advisable that you reserve your permit at least 2-4 months or even a year prior embarking on the actual trek.

Gorillas in the Jungle

Gorillas in the Jungle

Gorilla permit prices in Uganda

Gorilla permit prices in Uganda as for January to 30th June 2020 range as follows; $600 for foreign non-residents, $500 for foreign residents, Uganda shillings 250000 for East African citizens. From 1st July 2020-2022, Uganda will be issuing its gorilla trekking permits at $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 foreign residents and Uganda shillings 250000 for the East African citizens.

However, for visitors who may wish to enhance on their gorilla experience, they can opt for gorilla habituation experience and each gorilla habituation permit for this adventure costs $1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 for foreign residents and Uganda shillings 750000 for the East African citizens.

Gorilla permits in Uganda are obtainable in two ways. You can book a gorilla permit in Uganda through reservation team of your travel agency or tour operator, or reservation team at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) an organ that conserves and manages wildlife in and outside Uganda’s protected areas, and also in charge issuing out gorilla trekking permits to visitors. Please note, only persons above 15 years are considered eligible to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo.

Gorilla permits in Uganda can be obtained at least 2-4 months or a year before you set off for actual gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Gorilla treks in Uganda are only conducted in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. These protected areas are set in Southwestern Uganda about 9-10 hours’ drive from Entebbe or Kampala, and 4-5 hours from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Gorilla permit prices in Rwanda

Gorilla permits in Rwanda are obtainable at $1500 per person. Rwanda increased the price of its gorilla trekking permits from $750 to $1500 which applies to all visitors on Rwanda gorilla safari to Volcanoes National Park where gorilla trekking is conducted in the Land of a Thousand Hills.

Like Uganda, gorilla permits in Rwanda can be secured through your travel agent or tour operator offering excellent gorilla safari experiences. Alternatively, visitors can reserve their gorilla permits directly through reservation team at Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is done only in Volcanoes National Park which is situated in northwestern part of the country. It currently consists of 10 habituated gorilla groups; Ugenda, Karisimbi, Agashya, Bwenge, Umubano, Amahoro, Kwitonda, Susa A, Sabyinyo and Hirwa.

Gorilla permit prices in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo issues out its gorilla permits at $450 per person. You can reserve your gorilla permit in the DR Congo through your tour operator or travel agent, or directly through the park authorities and Virunga Foundation.  Booking gorilla permit in DR Congo allows you to visit the mountain gorillas in the magnificent Virunga National Park in the East and Eastern Lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park.

Gorilla Trekking Congo

Gorilla Trekking Congo

What are the requirements for booking gorilla permits in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo?

To book a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo, you should be 15 years and above. Booking gorilla permits also depends on the availability of the dates you wish to trek mountain gorillas or Eastern Lowland gorillas in DR Congo. You need a valid passport which you will be required to present to the respective park authorities before setting to search for mountain gorillas.

The details on the passport should tally or match with those of the gorilla permit. To reserve your gorilla permit, you are required to effect payment depending on the bank details submitted to you by the tour operator you are dealing with, or reservation team at respective conservation organs in gorilla destination you plan to visit.

What is included in your gorilla permit price in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo

Gorilla permit prices in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo include park entrance fees, service of the park rangers and guides. Please make sure you reserve your permit early before the actual trek to avoid any disappointment.

Additionally, the activity is done only in the morning in all destinations, start with a briefing from the park officials about gorilla trekking experience in the Jungle. The briefing starts at 7.30 am, therefore, one must spend the first night near the park headquarters, there are many accommodation options around each gorilla park. Don’t forget to carry some packed lunch or snacks and bottled mineral water for refreshment.

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.

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.

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.

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