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Visiting the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Forest

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the best national parks in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa. Located in South Western Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the four conservation areas protecting the endangered mountain gorillas. Gazetted in the 1990s, the park is host to half of the total remaining population of the mountain gorillas. The park provides a thrilling experience of gorilla trekking; a wonderful journey to see the endangered gorillas in the wild. The trek leads you through undulating hills and small-scale farmlands. It provides a memorable experience when you spend time in the jungle viewing varieties of primates, birds and the giant mountain gorillas.

One of the quintessential Uganda experiences is tracking the giant mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and nothing quite prepares you for the first glimpse of black fuzz amidst the dense foliage. The adrenaline kicks in when you’re up close to the imposing figure of a silverback pounding its chest and it’s all very Dian Fossey-like when curious babies peek through leaves and twist, turn and somersault for your entertainment. Gorilla permits will set you back a hefty US$500 but don’t think twice about forking out for this genuine once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Bwindi being a tropical rain forest will also provide an amazing experience to you all nature lovers.

Keep in mind that a portion of the fee goes to the park and gorilla conservation initiatives, helping to ensure these giant mountain gorillas survive. Also experience the beautiful and hospitality of the local community who showcase their culture.

Planning a Visit Bwindi for gorilla trekking? Here are some of themust know things that you should note;

  • In order to track the mountain gorillas, one need to secure gorilla permits. It is advisable to book your gorilla permits at least 3 months before the tour desired tracking date. Remember gorilla permits are available year-round but do sell out fast during the peak season. Many travelers book their permits a year in advance and some even reserve them 2 years before.
  • If you are looking to smooth travel experience, it is advisable to book your trip through a tour operator or travel agency. There are several companies that specialize in organizing gorilla safaris in Uganda and the neighboring countries of Rwanda and Congo (former Zaire). Some of the recommended tour operators include Go Gorilla Trekking, Gorilla Expeditions, Budget Gorilla Safaris and more.
  • When tracking the mountain gorillas, always follow the steps outlined by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, ORTPN or Virunga National Park. These rules are aimed at protecting the mountain gorillas and as well guide the experience of watching the mountain gorillas (Gorilla Tourism) so that it can be a win-win situation.
  • Remember children below 14 years are not allowed to track the mountain gorillas.
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Activities Explore

Exploring Western Uganda: 5 Must See Things!

Known as the mother of the pearl of Africa Uganda, southwestern Uganda has a lot to offer clients not to miss out on for the greater and memorable experience. The region host the most varied circuit anywhere in Africa, studded with national parks and other protected areas shielding a range of habitats that embraces everything from the snow capped glacial peaks. The frosty Afro-alpine moorland to marsh-fringed Rift Valley lakes and forest-swathed volcanoes – not some vast tracts of the archetypal African savannah. The southwest is Uganda’s top wildlife-watching region and one of the world’s best places to spot primates some of which are very rare and not found in many other destinations except the few. The very distinctive features to explore include among others:

The mountain gorillas

Found in the Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park in the Virunga conservation area, mountain gorillas are the best wildlife encounter in the whole world recommended for every traveler looking for a greater and memorable experience. South western Uganda is home to over 480 mountain gorillas in the whole world alongside volcanoes national park in Rwanda and the Virunga national park in the democratic republic of Congo. There are 13habituated gorilla families in Uganda with Bwindi having twelve and 1 in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The gorilla permit is sold at 600usd and travelers to Uganda have the greatest opportunity to see the mountain gorilla due to the available permit as compared to other destinations.

Chimpanzees

These are found in the Kibale forest national park also in south western Uganda. Trekking the chimps started as really as 1993 and is done in Kanyanchu village, the chances of locating them are excellent and the guided walks start at 8am and 2pm and last an average of three hours, depending on various factors. In the process of trekking the chimpanzees, travelers also look out for the black & white colobus, red tailed monkey or the grey cheeked mangabey and the many bird and butterfly species.

Game drives

These are done in the open savannah grasslands f queen Elizabeth national park. Travelers view a wide variety of wild anilams among which includes the elephants, buffalos, waterbucks, impala, Uganda kobs and bush babies. As travelers drive towards the southern section of the park, the ishasha sector, they are blessed to see the rare climbing lions which are not found in any other national park except Manyara in northern Tanzania. This is a real great experience as travelers see the big five as they hunt and graze, it is indeed memorable.

The volcanoes

There are there volcanoes in Mgahinga national park which include Mt Gahinga, Mt Muhabura and Mt Sabyinyo both in south western Uganda. Volcano hike/climb can take up to 8 hours and travelers need to have a clear climbing gear and should be physically fit. Each of these peaks has its own amazing view. No matter which volcano you choose to climb the ascent into the afro montane zone which has plants and vegetation covering you have probably never seen before is exciting and worth the trip and the effort.

Lake Bunyonyi

The second deepest lake in Africa with the depth that vary between 44m (144ft) and 900m (2,952ft), the lake is known as a place of many little birds and it lies in south western Uganda between Kisoro and Kabale close to the border with Rwanda. It is Located at 1,962 m (6,437 ft) above sea level, it is about 25 km (15.5 mi) long and 7 km (1.35 mi) wide.

In conclusion, therefore, southwestern Uganda is the best tourism destination with many natural, cultural and historical features all of which provide a great and memorable experience.

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Activities

Go Chimpanzee Tracking in Uganda

Uganda is the best country in East Africa for observing primates in the world. Though it is most known for hosting travelers looking for gorilla safaris, Uganda is the best known destination for visiting our closest relatives the chimpanzee – with just less than 5,000 Chimpanzees in various forests and National Park. Kibale Forest national park still remains the best chimpanzee home and primate capital in Uganda – you can either partake in;

  • Chimpanzee Trekking–where you view chimpanzees for one hour
  • Chimpanzee Habituation Experience where you spend the whole day with a guide in forest with Chimps
  • Getting involved in habituation process with researchers which take about two years

The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience can be done in Kibale Forest national park all year long and during off-season months at Budongo Forest which is a part of Murchison Falls National Park conservation area.

Poaching in Uganda has been the main hindrance to multiplication of Chimpanzees in the wild and several reports in the media have emerged that these human-like creatures are being hunted by Ugandans for food, something learned from people migrating or fleeing the Democratic Republic of the Congo since in Uganda chimpanzees were never hunted for food. Baby Chimpanzees are also hunted to be sold in the pet trade and in the process other chimpanzees also are harmed – hunting chimpanzees for the pet trade mostly takes place in Congo. Chimpanzees are also often caught in traps and snares meant for other animals such as antelopes. There used to be 10s of thousands of chimpanzees in Uganda – today there just less than 5000 chimpanzees remaining in Uganda’s protected areas.

Only 21 countries in Africa have chimpanzees in the wild and Uganda is the best place in East Africa for chimpanzee tracking in the rain forests of Kibale national park, Budongo game reserve and Kalinju forest reserve where chimps have been extensively habituated however human encroachment on chimpanzee habitats, hunting chimpanzees for meat in West and Central Africa will most likely cut the number of countries in Africa that have chimpanzees in the wild.

Track chimpanzees in Kibale Forest national park–5 hours drive from Kampala which makes it an affordable possibility for two days chimpanzee tracking tour. Enjoy Chimpanzee Tracking, a Forest Walk or Birding Walk at Bigodi swamp sanctuary, Lunch with 2 sodas or one beer and still be back in Kampala after tracking.

Get involved in the most electrifying activities at Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary where feeding and viewing of beautiful chimps can be done concurrently or even make a stop over at Entebbe Zoo for chimpanzee great experiences. Whether you are interested in chimpanzees in captivity or in their natural habitat, Uganda does it all but there is nothing thrilling like tracking chimpanzees in the wild—You have a chance to see them foraging, building nests, attending to their young ones—an experience that cannot be replicated anywhere. Take a chimpanzee Safari to Kibale/Budongo/Kalinju – if you can add a few of your friends or your family to your group – the safari becomes most affordable.

Here is what is involved in a typical chimpanzee Safari to Kibale Forest;

  • Depart Kampala–your lodging at 7:00 am
  • Arrive at park headquarters before midday
  • Lunch at primate Lodge – bottled water in vehicle during drive times
  • Guided Nature or Birding Walk with a Guide.
  • Morning Chimpanzee Tracking with a small group of Participants and Guides 2 – 4 hours
  • Return to Kampala
  • Arrive in Kampala during early evening hours

Enjoy the best chimpanzee safari in Uganda with Africa adventure safaris!

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Activities

Go Birding in Mabira Forest

Mabira Forest Reserve is situated 56 kilometers/35 miles along the Kampala-Jinja highway within Buikwe, Kayunga and Mukono districts and extends for 306 square kilometers (118 square miles/30,600 hectares) which makes it the largest Natural Forest reserve within Central Uganda, and the 6th largest Forest Reserve in Uganda. This forest Reserve is a perfect destination for a short safari like a weekend outing or on a short public holidays.

This Tropical rainforest was established into a Forest Reserve in 1932 by the British Colonial Government making it one of the oldest forest reserves to be gazzeted in the country and is currently managed by the National Forestry Authority (NFA). This Forest Reserve inhabits the gentler areas characterized by several round-topped hills and vast and shallow valleys (where some valleys have papyrus swamps). These exceptional places shelter over 315 bird species including about four of the Afro-tropical Highlands biome species, 74 of the total 144 species of the Guinea-Congo Biome and one specie of the Sudan-Guinea Savannah biome species. While on the 10 kilometers of well maintained trails for birding, you will be able to satisfy your eyes with what this Forest Reserve offers.

While on a birding safari in this Forest reserve, you will encounter at least 200 species of the birds within the area that include the Black and-white Casqued Hornbill, the Red-capped Robin-Chat, the Forest Woodhoopoe, the African Shrike-flycatcher, the Yellow-spotted Barbet,  the African Pied Hornbill, the Yellow White-eye, the Hairy Breasted Barbet, the Speckle-breasted, the Bockages Shrike, the Grey and Cassin’s Honeyguide the Fire-crested Alethe, the Cattle Egret, the White-bellied Kingfisher, the Yellow-billed Barbet, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Sooty Boubou, the Honeyguide Greenbul, the Tambourine Dove, the Buff-spotted Woodpeckers, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Red-tailed Bristlebil, the Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher, the Forest robin, the Purple-throated cuckoo, Hadada Ibis, the Speckled Tinkerbird, the African Harrier Hawk, the Broad-billed Roller, the White-spotted Flufftail, the African Dwarf-kingfisher, the Little Greenbul, the Hammerkop, the Long-crested Eagle, the Marabou Storks, the Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill, the Red-chested Sunbird, the Capuchin Babbler, the Speckled Tinker bird, the Great-Blue Turaco, the Yellow-crested cockatoo, the Pied Crow, the Black Kite, the Green-breasted Pitta, the African Thrush, the Black-and-white Manikin, the Black-shouldered Nightjar, the Brown-eared bulbul, the Shining-blue kingfisher, the Cassin’s Hawk-eagle, the Chestnut Wattle-eye, Sabine’s Spinetail, black-bellied seed cracker, the Open-billed Stork, the Superb Sunbird, Yellow-mantled weaver, Illadopsis, the African Grey Parrot, the guinea fowls, the Grey long-bills the Jameson’s Wattle-eye, the Palmnut Vulture, the Lizard Buzzard, the White-threatened Bee-eater, the Black-headed Weaver, the Cassin hawk eagle, the red headed blue bill, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird, the African Shrike Flycatcher, the Red-headed Malimbe, the Velvet-mantled Drongo, the Yellow long-bills Black-billed Turaco, the Black shouldered Nightjar, the Bronze Manikin, the Grey-green Bush-shrike, the Blue-throated Roller, Afep Pigeon and the Nahan’s Francolin among others. Birding within Mabira Forest Reserve starts from the highway where you will encounter several bird species especially the Great-Blue Turaco and the Pied Crows among others.

In addition to the bird species, this Forest Reserve is a haven to over 23 mammal species including 6 primate species such as the popular Grey-cheeked Mangabey, the Vervet monkeys, Black and white Colobus monkeys, Red-tailed Monkeys and the Black and white Colobus monkeys among others. There are also over 312 tree species including 5 species of International Conservation concern. This makes this forest reserve a perfect place for birding in addition to nature walks, camping and picnic and grey-cheeked mangabey tracking.

In conclusion, Mabira Forest reserve is a must-visit destination for birding with over 315 bird species. When you visit this site, you will be totally amazed by everything it offer to tourists who visit it.