Categories
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.

Categories
Experiences Explore

Driving Around the Big Bend in Western Uganda

Our car shuddered to a standstill beside a wooden sign on a deserted western region part of Uganda road. “This is fountain of the pearl of Africa”, I read as I stepped from the car into the shimmering mid day heat. We’d been heading through Queen Elizabeth National Park towards the Uganda-Rwanda border, to a town called Kisoro which boasted of a very conducive climate for a night. Unfortunately as we rounded a bend I was faced with a rock slide in progress and totally misjudged the clearance of my rented car from Uganda Self Drive, a reputable car renting company in Uganda opting to try and drive over the bouncing debris. There were a series of sickening thuds and bangs which caused my partner and I to cringe, and the car to grind to a standstill after around a hundred yards, with an alarming flow of unidentified liquid pouring onto the road surface.

We both looked under the car at the damage, then at each other then down the long straight road ahead of us. On average we’d been passing another vehicle about every half an hour and we were around an hour’s drive from our isolated hotel. Around ten miles back down the road, we’d passed a small garage at a cross roads, with a sign which read ‘this shop protected by a sawed off shot gun 3 days per week. You guess which days’. We’d also seen a hand painted sign pointing to the hills reading ‘Ghost Town Road’. That was the only sign of life and it looked like we could be waiting for some time to be rescued.

After about 20 minutes, with my partner berating me for my lack of driving judgment as we sat in the now roasting car, the air conditioner having failed with the engine, I notice a speck on the horizon, tailed by a large dust cloud.”Told you we wouldn’t wait long”, I said, trying to sound optimistic. It took around 10 minutes before I noticed that I had to do some thing very fast. I reached for my mobile phone, called the car rental company from which we had hired the car. This company is so generous that it contacted it’s area agent and with in a blink of an eye a rescue car was at our footsteps and we were 0ffered another car and off we proceeded with our journey.

Eventually we arrived Kabale town which is at the border of these two countries for at least a night before embarking on our journey. Reclaimed by a hardy bunch of artists, musicians, loners and eccentrics. Today, Kabale boasts a couple of eating options, some shops and lodgings and as we trudged, sweating into town we were greeted by the site of a graveyard with tumbledown tombstones, a few scattered dwellings in various states of disrepair…and the Starlight Theatre. An incongruous sight in this far flung corner of western Uganda, the Starlight had once provided entertainment for the miners and their families. Now it had been converted into the Ghost town’s only bar, and its appearance was so unexpected I almost expected it to fade, mirage like, from view as we approached.

There are some meals that stick in your memory. Sometimes because of their quality, but often because you were so hungry that whatever you ate would seem like a sumptuous banquet. Similarly with drinks. On an occasion where your mouth is parched and dry and you feel that you’ve perspired every last bead of sweat from your body, an ice cold beer can live as long in the memory as a bottle of the finest champagne. And so it was with the icy bottle of Shiner Bock which I threw down in one gulp in that strange little bar.

The room was populated by a number of bewhiskered characters who all looked strangely similar to the mailman… in fact one of them was the mailman! He raised an arm in greeting, while some of his drinking buddies glanced in our direction but barely raised a bushy eyebrow. It seemed that two sweaty, red faced, stranded travelers stumbling into their local bar was a regular occurrence. We sank a couple more cold beers and began to consider how we’d get back to the hotel to await delivery of the replacement car. It seemed that no one was making a water run that day so we headed back to the Main Road and continued with our journey to Rwanda the land of a thousand hills. After crossing the Rwandan border everything turned different.

Categories
Explore

Romance on the Nile

Picture this: You and your loved one cruising down the majestic Nile River, sipping on an ice-cold cocktail, gazing and enjoying the staggering natural beauty all around you. An impossible dream? Not if you spend your holiday at the enchanting Murchison Falls National Park, North Western Uganda. An experience you’ll never forget.

Fall in love all over again in Murchison falls. As far as romantic backdrops go, they don’t come any more spectacular than this. Everything about this huge natural national park seems to provide a thrilling accompaniment to a romantic holiday.

This is the largest park in Uganda, covering over 4000 sq. km, and is one of the most spectacular parks in all of Africa. Renowned for its scenic beauty and the spectacular falls from which it gets its name, Murchison Falls NP supports an abundance of flora and fauna to delight the visitor. From rolling savannah and tall grasslands to thick bush and woodlands, the diversity of this park never ceases to amaze visitors and residents alike. The magnificent Murchison Falls thunders from a height of 43 meters, catching and refracting the sunlight in a never ending kaleidoscope of prismatic patterns.

The wildlife variety is amazing and can be enjoyed by taking game drives and enjoying a leisurely 3hour cruise on the Nile, viewing the animals on the banks as they come to quench their thirst. For your cultural experience you will have the delight of visiting the local community groups like the Boomu Women’s group, Asera Azola Women’s group and the Kafalo Association. Marvel at the beautiful crafts they make and you can have a chance of purchasing souvenirs for your friends and family back home.

To the avid birdwatcher the thrill of seeking out some of the 424 species identified in the park is unmatched. Try out your fishing skills by waiting patiently above and below the falls, for 20-100 kg Nile Perch. Other game fish found in the Nile include Barbel, Electric Catfish and Tiger fish. While on the delightful game drives, Cape
buffalo, Rothschild’s giraffe, Uganda kob, hartebeest and waterbuck are commonly seen. You may also spot oribi, bushbuck, Bohor reedbuck, the shy sitatunga, bush duiker, warthog and bushpig. Large carnivores found in the park include lion, leopard and spotted hyena. Chimpanzees and olive baboons head the list of six species of primates found in the park. Crocodile and hippo will be seen along the banks of the Nile. Some of the more common birds that can be seen include Goliath heron, Egyptian geese, pelican, bee-eaters, kingfishers, hornbill, cormorant, saddle-bill stork and the rare Shoebill stork. A boat cruise to the delta is a highlight for the avid birdwatcher.

The accommodation is as lavish as the park. Two luxury safari lodges are perched atop a gorge, towering above the mighty Nile River, an economy/budget lodge is also available. There numerous places where you can pitch your own tent and enjoy the mystery and excitement of spending a night in the wild Africa. Also a budget campsite is available. One of the things you’ll definitely enjoy is relaxing on the verandah, sipping cocktails while drinking in the panoramic sights and the atmospheric sounds of the authentic Africa.

Savor the exquisitely prepared lunches and candle lit dinners over a cool glass of wine, or leap at a chance to taste the flavors of a bush dinner. Pool side BBQs and buffets complete the menu of mouth watering ways to eat and be merry at Murchison falls NP, before retiring to bed, anticipating the beauty the morning brings.

Categories
Explore

5 Great Places to Enjoy Nature Walks & Hikes in Uganda

Do you love nature? Uganda is incredibly the loveliest destination for you discover the best nature walk experiences. Small as it is, but it is the most endowed country in Africa with the most magnificent tropical rain forests that offer authentic African experiences on nature walks. For ecotourists, visiting Uganda is worthy for you to explore the untouched forest reserves in Uganda as you catch a glimpse of Africa’s biodiversity. They include the following:

Mabira Forest:

This lies 54 kilometers from Kampala and 20 kilometers from Jinja and its trails are majorly located along Jinja – Kampala highway. Mabira forest center is located along the boundary of Najjembe village about 500 meters north. The tourism project this spectacular forest started in 1995 with a view of promoting sustainable revenue from the forest by creating an educational resource and recreational resource for Ugandans and other residents. There are various extensive trails that have been set for tourists experiences in the forest. There is a 25 kilometer bike trail that connects the forest to the surrounding sugar and tea plantations. The popular activities that tourists participate in the forest include nature walks, birding, cycle trails, mountain biking and others can choose to relax in the while enjoying the picnic lunch at the forest centre.

Budongo Forest:

This remarkable forest lies in Northwestern Uganda just 3-4 hours as you travel to Murchison Falls National Park for your wildlife safaris. For those who are interested in nature walk experiences in this incredible forest, there are several nature trails within the forest which provides tourists opportunity to explore numerous Apes like chimpanzees, red and black colobus, monkeys and others. There are also several tree species that are of significance to scientists and researchers. As well, tourists can enjoy several forest birds like white thighed horn bill together with puvel’s illadopsis species. Budongo is the largest forest reserve that offers tourists opportunity to explore its mahogany and iron forest trees in only two sectors of Kaniyo padidi and Busingiro ecotourism site which is the main tourist site in the forest.

Mpanga Forest Reserve:

For eco-tourists, Mpanga Forest Reserve can be the best place for you to realize your dreams. It is located 37 kilometers from the city western Uganda. For those traveling for gorilla trekking experiences in Bwindi, Mpanga forest is an added opportunity for you to enjoy nature walk experiences. There are many trails that have been set for you to explore incredible bird species, monkeys as well as other spectacular forest species.

Kibale Forest reserve:

This is one of the most incredible tropical rain forests with spectacular biodiversity. It forms the magnificent Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda. It is a renowned park with the biggest population of endangered chimpanzees together with threatened red colobus monkey and unique L’Hoests monkeys. It is credited for its 13 primate species that are all ingrained within its jungles including the black and white colobus monkeys, blue and grey checked mangabey, red tailed monkeys, bush babies and pottos. There are also more than 325 bird species which includes yellow spotted nicator, yellow rumped tinker bird, little green bull, breasted pitta, the African pitta and black bee eater. There are also numerous magnificent mammals like elephants, buffaloes, bush pigs, duikers and bats. For those who will be keen enough, they can sight at forest reptiles and amphibians and various beautiful butterflies. There are more than 250 tree species and over 1500 chimpanzees. Your nature will start at Kanyanchu visitor center.

In conclusion, Uganda is rich in forest reserves that offer tourists opportunity to explore the country’s untouched forest species. These forest reserves are the main habitats for various forest species that are worthy exploring while in a safari in Uganda. Enjoy your nature walks in Uganda’s dense forests.