African Photography Blog

Rwanda: A Great Destination for Primate Safaris

No Comments in Activities

Rwanda: A Great Destination for Primate Safaris

Many people around the world would like to have fun with their family as it is always euphoric to watch your loved smiles and enjoy themselves. There are very many place in this wonderful world to hang out with a family like beaches, resort hotels and recreation centers but these have always been visited by families and too much of everything can with boredom and in the less fun. Nowadays safari trips have become the buzzing travel idea for every family.

Safari trips to Africa to see the exotic animals and also feel the love from the mother of hospitality is always very interesting and exciting. Africa has very many safari trip places for familes but none beats Rwanda.  Rwanda is some country located in the east of Africa and it is one of the smallest African countries however, Rwanda might be small in size but very large in biodiversity and this why it is one of the top tourism destinations in Africa as scores of travelers come to Rwanda to have a good time.

Rwanda is known to the land of a thousand hills and in those numerous hills there are hidden natural treasures from the climate, wildlife, natural physical wonders to the traditional culture that every man would have to see before he/she retires to his/her permanent bed.  These attractions can best be encountered with your loved ones in order to have a memorable moment.

Here are some of the top attractions and places a family can enjoy while on a primate safari in Rwanda:

The mountain gorillas at volcanoes national park

Mountain gorillas are one of the four subspecies of gorillas. Gorillas are one of the great apes that belong to the same classification as man. These animals are referred to as one of the closest cousins of mankind with a 95% DNA similarity. These are very interesting to watch them in their natural environment as they display very intriguing traits and the onlooker might think these are humans. Many people who have watched these animals have been left buzzing and they have considered gorilla trekking as one of the best experience they have ever had in their entire lives. Rwanda is one of those few countries with the mountain gorillas. The mountain gorillas are endangered species of animals with a small population of about 900 individuals left in the world. Rwanda has a third of this population of 320 mountain gorillas. The gorillas in Rwanda inhabit at volcanoes national park in the northeast of the country. It takes travelers 2 hours to reach the national park from Kigali the capital of Rwanda. Come to Rwanda with your family to enjoy the mountain gorillas in their natural setting as they are very many lodges to stay and dine in with family while doing a gorilla trekking safari. Note that gorillas are tracked by people above the age of 16 years since the tracking require immerse physicality to do it.

In addition to the gorillas, volcanoes national park has the Diana Fossey tombs and the Karisoke research centre. This is the centre which gives a traveler the full details of the history of gorillas in Rwanda and Diana Fossey was a female primatologist that fought tooth and nail to save the gorillas from being hunted down by the natives and other groups in the 1940s. So it is worth to visit those two memorable places.

Still at volcanoes national park there are golden monkeys at its basement. These are very unique monkeys with a glittering golden colour at their back which looks so beautiful to watch. Apart from their beauty, these monkeys are also very playful and interesting to watch as they jump from one canopy to another.

Rwanda also has very many cultural sites and historical for the family to enjoy namely the Kigali genocide memorial, Nyamata powerful church, the presidential palace, the market place, the parliament and the Kigali convention building. These wonderful great places give travelers a profound insight of Rwanda’s rich history and culture. These can be experience while the family takes a Kigali city tour. What is more interesting about visiting these places in Kigali, the family is able to also dine in one of the finest restaurants in the country.

The 13 different species of primates at Nyungwe Forest National Park;

Rwanda has is also known as the capital of primates as it is only of the places with the highest concentration of common primates with a whooping number of 13 species namely chimpanzees, blue monkeys, red tailed monkey, black and white colobus and grey cheeked mangabey to mention but a few. These beautiful and interesting small primates are found in Nyungwe national park, a montane forest found in the southwest of Rwanda at the border of Burundi and Rwanda.   These primates are very incredible to watch especially the chimpanzees which also belong to the ape world. The chimpanzees are the closest relatives of mankind with a 98.8% DNA similarity and therefore watching the chimpanzees in their wild always leaves the trekker so much mesmerized due to their intelligence.  Chimpanzee trekking is next to gorilla trekking experience in terms of rewarding the visitors. A family will always enjoy the experience with the chimpanzees and the different species of monkeys because they are very playful and lovely animals to watch in the wild.

The big mammals at Akagera national park

Rwanda is less known for having the big common wild animals but these do exist in Rwanda at Akagera national park in southeast of the country. National park is the most visited place by families due to the presence of these common animals. On a game drive around the park, the tourists have an opportunity to see animals like the elephants, giraffes, errands, antelopes, zebra and a small number of lion that were recently introduced in the park. The history normally known as the behind scenes is an awesome scheme for the visitors.

A picnic at Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu is most serene water body in Rwanda and a picnic here is always an amazing experience for a family where they can engage in swimming, sunbathing, playing beach sports and also a boat ride. A day at this epic lake always makes the family bond and at the same time unwinds off the normal stress the usual family environment brings. In the evening of the day, the family can always rest at Kigali Serena hotel which is by the lake. This is a five star accommodation facility where a family can always have the best treat of the night.

With a Rwanda, a family have a variety of attractions to enjoy as these can be blended all together for every family member with different interests to enjoy his/her trip in the country.

No Comments in Tips

Tips for Mountain Gorilla Photography

Photography during gorilla safaris in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is what leaves trekkers filled with lots of lasting memories. Imagine paying a visit to Uganda, Rwanda or DRC for gorilla trekking and you return with no pictures to show your family members or friends. To have the best of your mountain gorilla trekking adventure, make sure you have a good camera with no flashlight ready for photo shooting in the wild. Capturing pictures of mountain gorillas in the wild is of no doubt a life-changing experience.

Mountain gorillas live only in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The two protected areas are set in Southwestern Uganda and hosts over half of all 1063 mountain gorillas which still thrive today in the world. In Rwanda, treks to view mountain gorillas takes place in Volcanoes National Park and in the DRC, visit the Virunga National Park.

Best tips for mountain gorilla photography

Set your camera before setting off for actual trek to view mountain gorillas. Your camera should be set in TV model and adjusted to the best shutter speed for lighting conditions that you will be taking photos of mountain gorillas. Amazingly, the camera settings can easily be adjusted depending on the available light. This may also help prevent blurring photos thus a great chance for you to take the best photos.

To take excellent photos of mountain gorillas, make sure you are using a standard point and shoot camera. However, make sure that your camera is fully charged.

Position yourself well

Once you bump into a gorilla family, make sure that you position yourself appropriately, hold the camera in one position as you observe the best position of mountain gorillas for clear photo shots. While on a trek to see mountain gorillas, bear in mind that all the 8 trekkers will be struggling to take clear pictures. Therefore, find the best position to stand so as to have excellent pictures.

Look around in the neighborhood

While everyone focuses on the first seen gorillas, try to look around in the nearby spot for other gorillas joining the group members. Each gorilla family is composed of 30 members and they include infants, females, males.

Exercise patience

Whereas visitors are given only one hour to take pictures and learn in depth about the behavior of mountain gorillas, try to be patient. The position you will be or the mountain gorillas are may not bring a clear picture and that is why you need to be patient a little. There is a saying patience pains but pays therefore don’t be on a hurry as a better reward may bypass you.

Have protective gear and make the best use of telephoto lens

When planning for gorilla trekking safari, please don’t leave out protective gear for your camera. This is to help safe it from bad weather especially when it rains. You will need plastic shower caps and rain jackets to help protect you in case of down pour. Note, Volcanoes National Park, Mgahinga National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Virunga National Park are largely tropical rainforest protected areas. Given the nature of these creatures’ habitat, you have to be prepared with rain gear for safety of your gargets.

In summary, photography is one remarkable thing that makes up part of your gorilla trekking experience in Volcanoes National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Virunga National Park or even when you embark on Eastern Lowland gorilla trekking adventure in Kahuzi Biega National Park in the DR Congo.

No Comments in Nature

Meet the Primates of Rwanda

Rwanda a small land locked in east Africa is blessed with a number of wildlife species that inhabit the jungles of the major Virunga volcanoes in the northwestern part of the country as well as in the forested areas of Nyungwe and Gishwati Mukura. Some of the unique wildlife species Rwanda has to offer are primates and are animal species a tourist on a Rwanda safari should not miss tracking while on a tour or safari in this beautiful country.

The major primates in Rwanda include the following;

The Chimpanzees

A large population of these can be found in Nyungwe forest located in southwestern Rwanda. Over 98% DNA of these wild animals is similar to humans, which explains why most of their characteristics are almost the same as for humans. They mainly feed on fruits, leaves, shoots and other edibles that the forests provide. Chimpanzees live in groups but are very mobile as they usually move from one place to another in search for food.

Chimpanzees of Nyungwe Forest

To enjoy more of the chimpanzees in Rwanda, just prepare and head for chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe forest national park. Nyungwe forest national park is the only place in Rwanda where tourists can enjoy chimpanzee tracking. There are trails in the forest that tourists under the guidance of guides follow to discover more about their closest relative. The good news is that chimps in Nyungwe forest can be tracked at anytime of the year.

Monkeys

These are very common and easily sighted. Important to note is that there are different categories of monkeys in Rwanda and the major examples include l’hoest monkeys, vervet monkeys, colobus monkeys, golden monkeys, owl faced monkeys and blue tailed monkeys. Most of these can be got in Nyungwe forest national park except for the golden. The golden monkeys inhabit the jungles of volcanoes national park and can be viewed by tourists on mountain gorilla treks. Just like chimpanzees, monkeys can also be tracked at any time of the year and tracking them gives tourists an opportunity to experience the real African jungle.

Monkeys can also be tracked in the newly established national park – Gishwati Mukura also located in the western part of Rwanda.

Baboons

These are other unique primates one can encounter while in the land of a thousand hills. To differ from monkeys, baboons predominantly live on land/ground and have a muzzle similar to that of a dog which is not the case with monkeys. Baboons in Rwanda can be viewed in the major savanna areas especially in Akagera national park that is located in northeastern Rwanda and the only savanna park in the country.

Baboons of Rwanda

Tourists on game drives can see them as they move from one place to another. Just like monkeys, baboons also live in groups and very dangerous incase any predator tries to attack their young ones since they can fight to death. Baboons are very unique and anyone interested in primate tracking in Rwanda should not leave the country before seeing them.

Mountain Gorillas

They are among the rare primate species on earth and are presently remaining in only three countries in the world Rwanda inclusive. Mountain gorillas in Rwanda can be got volcanoes national park located in the northwestern part of Rwanda. They live in the forested mountains of Karisimbi, Mikeno and Bisoke and Rwanda in general has 10 habituated mountain gorilla families however 7 of them are the ones that are usually trekked by tourists.

Rwanda Gorilla

Trekking the mountain gorillas starts very early in the morning and only 8 tourists are allowed to trek one mountain gorilla family a day. Mountain gorilla encounters are very unique and unforgettable which explains why a number of tourists from different parts of the country go to Rwanda to be part of the wonderful experience.

 

No Comments in Wildlife

Cheetah Family – A Day in the Life of the Fastest Cats

In February, I was able to spend 10 days at Little Kwara Camp, one of Kwando Safaris lodges in the nothern Okavango Delta. On the fringes of the world’s largest inland delta, this concession is a diverse area of woodland, open floodplains and deep lagoons. Game viewing is excellent, with Kwando’s strong focus on tracking and predator viewing.

A cheetah family had been resident on the Tsum Tsum plains for around 15 months when we found them on my second morning. I had see this female 2 years previously, and shortly afterwards she lost her week old cubs. This time, she has been far more successful and proving an excellent mother.

On this particular day, we would watch the family from sunrise, through 5 unsuccessful hunts to finally catching an impala.
Before sunrise, we found the the six cheetah moving through the long grass at ‘last mbala’ on the Tsum Tsum plains.
The cubs provided plenty of entertainment for us guests, though were a clear distraction for their mother. By this point, they had already disrupted two hunts. It is common to find Cheetah climbing fallen tree like this one, it gives them a vantage point across the plains to look for prey.
The mother heading out with intent with two cubs close behind.

Tsum Tsum is classic Okavango terrain. An old floodplain, it is dotted with small islands and open grasslands, bordered by woodlands. During the high water levels of the Okavango flood, this area could well be underwater.
Having rested and moved a couple of times, the overcast and rainy conditions provided the cheetah with the perfect conditions to continue hunting through the heat of the day. Moving across the floodplains, the cheetah started to approach a herd of impala. They got more than bargained for, with a troop of baboons also spreadout among the same herd.

With their excellent vision, the baboons quickly sent out an alarm call to foil the stalk. Three large male baboons took exception to the the cheetah and agressively chased the family. One of the young males tried to show his dominance towards them, though as you can see in the two images below, was soon running to avoid them.

Over 9 hours since we first spotted these Cheetah, they were able to successfully catch an impala. Leaving the cubs hiding in the thickets, the mother moved inbetween a zebra herd a burst into a small open area. Falling into a small channel, the impala was an easy target. Not wanting to disturb the hunt, we were unable to get into position to get any images from the hunt.

No Comments in Destinations

Best 10 Picturesque Sights in Uganda

Are you looking to taking a photo safari in Uganda? This relatively small country is indeed the pearl of Africa given its favorable climate, scenic sites, hospitable people, unique animals and birds. Not only suitable climate, Uganda also has the best sight for photographs and among them are:

Lake Victoria – it is the largest fresh water Lake in East Africa. The lake is endowed with many sand beaches, Islands, tributaries, birds, water Lizards and so on. Ngamba Island is among the best birding sight on Lake Victoria with over 50 bird species alongside orphaned Chimpanzees. Visit the Island to take a life time photographs!!

Kazinga Channel – It connects Lake Gorge and Edward- it is a haven for water loving birds like crocodiles, Hippos, Elephants, Buffaloes and more than 49 bird species.  Kazinga Channel is situated in Mweya Peninsular of Queen Elizabeth National Park, it is well known for hosting a variety of wildlife. Take photos from the entry of the park to Kazinga Channel… Expect to take photos you won’t take anywhere else.

Lake Bunyonyi – it is a birds’ sanctuary where we find foreign migrant and indigenous birds. Hire a canoe to explore the hidden treasure on this Lake. Lake Bunyonyi is a must visit to all birders who visit Uganda!! Lake Bunyonyi its self is beautiful dotted with more than five small Islands. Go visit this lake and enjoy picnic lunch on the Island with breath taking view of a variety of birds, nearby small Islands among others.

Mountain Rwenzori

It is also known as the Mountains of the moon and the highest in Uganda. On most times especially early morning, you can’t see the peaks of the mountain due to moisture that hinders visibility. Photographers are advised to take photos when the mountain is covered by moisture and when it is clear.

Rwenzori Mountains

On clear days, you can clearly see the foothills of Mountain Rwenzori and some peaks. The equatorial snow peaks include the third highest point in Africa, while the lower slopes are blanketed in moorland, bamboo and rich, moist montane forest.  Huge tree-heathers and colorful mosses are draped across the mountainside with giant lobelias and “everlasting flowers”, creating an enchanting, fairytale scene.

Kampala city – Kampala is the capital city of Uganda with many wonderful sights for clear and memorable Photos. The best sights for photos in Kampala include Kabaka’s Lake – the largest Man Made Lake In Africa, Kasubi Tombs- the burial place for former Buganda Kings, Uganda Museum – contains a well-captioned ethnographic collection covering clothing, hunting, agriculture, medicine, religion and recreation, as well as archaeological and natural-history displays. More sights include market places, Theatres, night clubs and worshipping centers among others.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park 

This is the most popular destination in Uganda. It is a home of almost the remnant population of the rare endangered mountain gorillas in the whole world. It is situated in far south western Uganda and well known for protecting the world’s remaining Mountain Gorillas. Currently, the park conducts daily gorilla trekking and 14 habituated Gorilla Groups are visited. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a must visit for all primatologists on study tour and bloggers on business trips. The park is among the world heritage sites and everyone is welcomed to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Bwindi Forest

Kibale National Park

This is one of the best destination for primate safaris in Uganda. This forest park is a home to chimpanzees and thirteen other species of primates.  It is situated in Kibale District (5-6 hours drive from Kampala/ Entebbe Airport). The park offers the best Chimpanzee trekking safari experiences to travelers looking to ape watching in Uganda. A trip to this scenic side of Uganda will reward you with great scenic views of the Crater Valley Region. This picturesque side of Uganda is frequented by travelers and it is rated among the most rewarding destinations for photo safaris.

Kibale Forest Safari

Other chimpanzee trekking destinations include Budongo Forest, Kyambura Gorge and Toro- Semliki Game reserve. The visit will not only reward you the view of chimpanzees but also take memorable photos.

Mountain Elgon – it is the largest Volcanic Mountain Uganda. It is situated at Uganda – Kenya Border and believed to be the oldest extinct Volcano in East Africa. The mountain’s highest point, named “Wagagai”, is located entirely within Uganda.

 

No Comments in Tips

8 African Safari Photography Tips

Taking perfect photos, both for personal memories and for sharing with friends and family, is a top priority for many travelers on an African safari. However, good wildlife photography requires specialized equipment and a little more knowledge than an average “selfie”.

There is always something unique about being in Africa’s wilderness; so much that most travelers are enticed to grab their cameras and capture marvelous moments of beauty and charm. Be it a gorilla safari in Uganda’s Bwindi national park or Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park, a cultural safari in the Karamoja region of Uganda or a wildlife holiday in Kenya’s Maasai Mara or Serengeti national parks.

Being an awe-inspiring journey with so much to see and take in, a safari in Africa will ultimately lead you to take as many pictures as possible so as to relive the memories in the African jungle when finally back home. The only challenge is to know when to put down the camera and just experience the moment or snap it to keep for years.

The fact that safari trips in Africa offer exciting opportunities to behold incredible wildlife and once in a lifetime views, it is important to carry a camera to snap the moments and perhaps document your trip. However, for only the trotters that would want to take better pictures on their next African adventures, this is the most appropriate piece you can ever read.

While point-and-shoot cameras and the new mirror-less wonders are great for travel shots, most wildlife encounters will require the longer lenses and the fast and accurate focusing power of a DSLR. Here are some tips to consider before you choose a camera and head out on safari.

  1. Get the right gear.
    You need the ultimate equipment to have your best wildlife shots. Despite improvements in the compact camera market, DSLRs are still king when it comes to top-class wildlife photography. Generally, the lenses are more important than the camera, and if you’re invested in good glass, you can get fantastic results with even an entry level DSLR.The best wildlife lenses are fast, heavy and of course expensive. If you want the best, get the fastest lenses possible, those with the widest maximum aperture, often ft2.8 that will let in the most light and allow you to use faster shutter to avoid blurry photographs. Image stabilization is also a great feature for wildlife work.In terms of focal length, a good 70-200mm with some wider lenses to capture people and landscapes will cover most situations. You can add a “converter” to lengthen the reach of your 70-200mm or choose a longer zoom (for example a 100-400mm) for those situations when you need more reach. Longer lenses are great for birds or shy animals that keep their distance.The perfect lenses for such purposes are long primes such as 300mm to 500mm fixed lenses, but these huge expensive, and unwieldy behemoths are only for those truly committed to their craft.
  2. Light is key, make use of it.
    Before any capture, always take light into consideration to see whether the direction where the light comes from doesn’t affect the quality of the shot. Lighting can make or break the shot, so photographers should never go wrong on it.
  3. Take as much shots as possible.
    Impressive wildlife photography does not only focus on the big five, also capturing smaller animals like birds and insects can be interesting. Most men behind cameras on wildlife safaris in Africa ignore the surrounding environment, but the incredible African landscapes can make eye catching varied shots.
  4. Patience and practice.
    These are the two golden rules of photography, it’s all about timing, knowing when to wait and when to exactly take the shot. Photographers can even wait for the best shots for hours. And before embarking on any African trip, practice photographing moving objects to perfect your skills as you wait upon the right photo opportunity in the jungle.
  5. Try different angles for better shots.
    For perfect pictures showing all the desired features, one should try wider and closer angles to see which one best captures the mood of the scene. Capture animals in action, maybe cheetahs running after their prey, lion cubs playing with each other or zebras grazing in the savanna plains in the national parks of Africa.
  6. Try to shoot at dusk or dawn.
    These are the best times for outdoor photography because this is when the light is at its best, giving much more contrast to add to the picture. This is also the most appropriate time to find the wildlife before they go to hide away from the midday hot sunshine.
  7. Work with the environment.
    A lot of people are always trying to find that clean picture environment where there are no branches in the way, no leaves and no shadows. It is of course true that the crystal clear image where the subject is bathed in perfect light are the images where one screams a “halleluliah” to the heavens, but more often the conditions are not all that great.More often it is the imperfections that are the things that make an image beautiful. Shadows are to animals what mascara is to models. Dust and rain create atmosphere. It is the branches and the leaves, the glare and the dust that often give the emotions to an image. Why not play around with them a little more?
  8. Photoshop or light room your images.
    Truthfully writing, most of the online images today are enhanced through editing on Photoshop or Light room. Some pictures would be spoilt by the lighting or shutter speed of the camera yet they would be beautiful to behold, Photoshop can enhance the brightness and other elements. Just simply make a world of difference in your wildlife photography.Most importantly, have fun. Enjoy the precious time in the magical Africa and make the best out of it. You are here to experience what can’t be understood about Africa except through personal ventures, so don’t let photography over control you.

Given these tips, now you can undertake an African safari, together with your camera and be sure to return home with an incredible collection of pictures for your personal memories as well as family and friends.

No Comments in Activities

11 Things to Do in Uganda

Gorilla tracking

The Impenetrable Forest is home to more than half of the world’s remaining endangered Mountain Gorillas. You absolutely must go to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and do the gorilla tracking. Spending an hour with a gorilla troop is possibly one of the most memorable and amazing experiences in life.

A trip to Uganda’s Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga National Park guarantees a visitor a chance to meet these elegant apes in their natural habitats. You might be wondering why gorilla tracking is more successful during the dry seasons but the answer is that it is during this period that the parks are accessible with less mud. The primates can also be seen easily during the dry seasons as they freely roam about the whole park in search for water and food.

Gorillas are endangered creatures and the only way of helping them to survive is to get involved! A gorilla permit is not cheap but the experience is worth every penny. By purchasing one you will be contributing to the survival of these marvelous primates and the conservation of their rain forest home.

Bird watching

Uganda being a pearl of Africa has been regarded as the birders’ paradise due to its increasing list of bird species. Almost in every Uganda’s tourism destination is fully occupied with different bird species. The country boasts of over 1037 bird recorded species, about 60 % of the total bird species on the African Continent. These include both tropical and savanna species with the former reaching their eastern limit of their territory. Some of these species are migratory only coming to Uganda to breed and then go back later after breeding; a live example is of the grey headed gull. If you are interested in bird watching, you are recommended to surely travel with your camera and Binoculars because you might find out new species to add on your birds list. Some of the most exciting bird spots include Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Queen Elizabeth National Park with the highest number of birds for any single destination on the continent; about 607 recorded bird species.

Chimpanzee Tracking

Although the gorilla trek has to be the main highlight but when it comes to outstanding moments, the chimp trek is the best of them. Kibale National Park has the biggest population of chimps on earth and is the best place to observe them. Uganda boasts of the highest density of primates in the whole world, with habituated Chimpanzee visible in dense tropical rain forests. The chimp trek is a fantastic experience and is quite different from the gorilla trek as it involves being very vigilant and fast to understand where the chimps are and how to find them.

Explore the river Nile

Visit the town of Jinja and find the glorious river which flows through eleven countries. It is the longest river in the world and you will encounter it few more times during your Uganda travel. If you like adrenaline water sport, don’t miss out on the white water rafting in Jinja or see its rich animal life on its shores in the Murchison Falls National Park.

River Nile in Uganda offers great opportunities for white water rafting and bungee jumping. Lakes, waterfalls, channels; the water element is prevalent in the Ugandan landscape which even features the source of the mighty Nile.

Wildlife or game viewing

Game viewing has put Uganda on the world scene. With over 1500 mammal species in the country, many visitors are attracted to come and look at them in their natural homes. A game drive in some of the country’s national parks is a lifetime experience which guarantees you a chance to see numerous wild animals like, lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, kobs, zebras, antelopes and many more. These animals are easily seen during the dry season as they converge around water points to sip some for cooling their bodies. It is a wonderful experience to view some herbivorous wild animals grazing in the magnificent green plains.

The most popular and visited national parks for wild game safaris in Uganda is Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley and Queen Elizabeth. If you prefer less visited places, don’t miss out on the Kidepo national park. It is far northeast and just below the Sudan border. Seeing all the animals in their natural inhabitant is one of the best experiences of the Uganda travel.

Rhinos tracking in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Despite the fact that you cannot find Rhinos in Uganda’s National Parks, you have another alternative to find them in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, where 15 white rhinos are living in a big fenced area. The area is unfortunately behind the fence in order to protect them from the wild hunters which killed many rhinos in the country during 1982. Almost 20 years went by, before Uganda got its first male and female couple from Kenya again. From then, the Uganda Wild Authority started a breading program in which they want to revive the white rhinos in Uganda again. When they become many again, they will be released in the wilderness.

Mountain hiking in Uganda

Uganda offers some of the most challenging and thrilling hiking adventures in the world. Taste your physical fitness as you try out on Mountain Rwenzori to reach its snow cape (summit). It is a great opportunity to view a snow covered summit near the equator. You can also have a hike to mountain Elgon the largest extinct volcanic base in the world. Rwenzori Mountains provides the most challenging mountain experience. Mount Elgon is an affordable option and ideal for a casual climber. You can also explore and try to climb the 3 volcanoes in Uganda such as Mountain Muhavura, Mountain Sabinyo and Mountain Mgahinga. The south western part of the country has volcanoes like Mgahinga which are also good for hiking.

Cross the Equator

Traveling around Uganda will serve you with crossing the famous Equator line. If you are time limited, choose the more touristic circle on the east side. If you have enough time, rather go to the west side, as there are no shops, no tourists and no people. You can easily have the famous circle only for yourself and make many photos while you have one foot in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern.

Visit the Ngamba Island

The Ngamba Island is seated on 100 acres of land. It was set up by the Born Free Foundation (UK), International Fund for Animal Welfare (USA), the Jane Goodall Institute (Germany and Uganda), The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre Trust (UWECT) and the Zoological Board of New South Wales (Australia) to offer a secure home to orphaned chimps whose return to their natural habitat is not possible while educating the public about these animal species and the importance of conserving the fragile forest habitat. Ninety eight out of the 100 island acres are forested and separated from the area of the visitor by an electric fence. The island is a home to 40 orphaned chimpanzees which are an endangered species found in forests and 20 of which have been brought to the island from when the sanctuary opened.

Have a relaxation on Beaches

As a pearl of Africa, Uganda has many wonderful attractions that push visitors to its shores each year. This land-locked country has many wonderful beaches, 80% of which can be found in the Entebbe area with Clean, beautiful white-sand, sunrises and remarkable rare birds species. At these Beaches, Ugandans and visitors to Uganda spend a lot of quality time with their families and friends enjoying themselves. These beaches tend to attract big crowds on weekends and public holidays.  The main attractions at the beaches include swimming and eating the whole tilapia fish. Examples of beaches are, Munyonyo, Lutembe, lido, imperial beaches to mention but a few.

Exploring Bwindi Forest: Mountain Gorillas, Chimpanzees & the Batwa

Have you ever heard about the origins of the mighty King Kong? These fearsome great apes are only found in the Bwindi and Virunga mountains of Africa. The largest population of the mountain gorillas lives in Bwindi Impenetrable national park, a national park in South Western Uganda, a small country in East Africa.

Today Bwindi is one of the most popular safari parks to visit in East Africa. Located a few kilometres from the Virungas, Bwindi Forest is an amazing home to the mountain gorillas. According to the 2012 Gorilla Census,  there are over 400 mountain gorillas living within the impenetrable Forest.

Bwindi is the most popular place for gorilla trekking expeditions in Africa. The park attracts thousands of travelers who visit Africa to see the endangered mountain gorillas. Over the past 20 years, many tourists have traveled to East Africa to see these amazing creatures surviving only in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Though most renowned for mountain gorillas, the Bwindi Forest has also got other wildlife species which include; forest elephants, lions, monkeys, bird species and many more.

Bwindi Forest

Many tourists who come for gorilla safaris to Uganda opt for different trips ranging from 3 Days to 3 Weeks adventures that include several adventures including game viewing in Uganda’s savanna parks, chimpanzee tracking, golden monkey tracking, bird watching, nature trekking etc. If you are looking for a trip that involves multiple gorilla tracking, a 4 Days Bwindi Gorilla Safari or a 5 Days Gorilla Safari is the best trip for you!

If you are on budget or with less time,  enjoy the 3 days Bwindi Gorilla Safari into the impenetrable rain forest.

How a Gorilla Trek is Organised

Day one is always involved with a long drive to Bwindi Forest. Tourists are picked from Entebbe Airport and transferred to Bwindi impenetrable national park via Masaka – Mbarara Highway. You will enjoy the scenic drive as you traverse the forests and the vegetation zones along the way. Along the way have a stopover at the Equator in order to enjoy the photos and the experiments. You will also buy some crafts since they are displayed everywhere. The guide will drive take you to an African restaurant where you will enjoy lunch with many different types of food. Later on you will proceed to the park where you will arrive in the evening. Check in at the lodge where you will have your dinner and overnight as you prepare for gorilla tracking the next day.

The second day, is always the day to track the endangered mountain gorillas within an allocated gorilla group. After an early morning breakfast leave the lodge with packed lunch and later proceed to the forest were you will start your search for the rare and endangered mountain gorillas. The trek normally takes a period ranging from 30 minutes to a full day hike looking for the gorillas. Be prepared and physically fit given that  the search for the mountain gorillas within the forest takes you up through various hills and valleys. Once these primates are found, you will be given one hour to watch these unique gorillas. You have the chance to take photographs! During the hike, you have a chance to see other animals that include; elephants, monkeys birds,. You will later return to the lodge for a late lunch or take a community walk where you will visit the neighbouring local communities in Bwindi. The Batwa Experience is one of the most popular community tour taking you into the community of the Batwa people, short pygmy people who used to live with the gorillas in the impanetrable forest. You will enjoy their traditional dances and cultures during this tour! In the evening, you will return to the lodge for dinner and an overnight.

On this third day after breakfast , you will check out from the lodge, you will transfer with your packed lunch. During the drive back, enjoy the scenic views as you travel. You can have a stopover at Mpambire drum makers where you will have some experiments about the making of the drums. Later proceed to Kampala where you will be taken to the airport for your departure flight or transferred to the hotel for your overnight and dinner.

Exploring Nyungwe Primates Forest

The popular Nyungwe Forest is a true rain forest in South Western Rwanda. It is most famous for hosting chimpanzees, our closest cousins. This tropical rain forest occupies 1,015 sq. kilometers and adjoins the Kibira National Park of Burundi forming a large contagious forest.

The park typically receives an excess of 2, 000 mm of precipitation annually.

Nyungwe Forest is a prime destination for primate safaris in Africa. The park protects 13 primate species that can be easily seen within the park. Chimpanzees are the most sought after animals in the park and the park hosts about 500 – 1000 individuals.  The monkey population is also high including the acrobatic Rwenzori colobus and the localized L’Hoest’s monkey. Nyungwe also a suitable destination to birders, botanists and walkers with about 130km walking trails as well as boasting as the region’s only suspended canopy walk area.

Chimpanzee Tracking

This renowned tropical rain forest is one of the few places where you can see chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Chimpanzees can easily be tracked at any time.

Nyungwe Chimpanzee

Located in South Rwanda, this is one of the oldest forests in Africa, which is one of the reason it boasts such a high level of diversity. Scientific opinion is that Nyungwe, along with other forests of the Albertine Rift, was largely unaffected by the drying up of the lowland areas during the last ice age, and thus become a refuge for forest plants and animals which have subsequently recolonised areas such as the Congo Basin.

One of the central planks in ORTPN’s tourism – diversification programme is Nyungwe National Park, 980 square kilometers of hilly jungle cloaked terrain in the country’s South – West, o the boarder with Burundi and the DRC, and surely one of the undiscovered gems of African environmental tourism.

Nyugwe Canopy Walk

Ranging between 1,600 and 2,950 meters in altitude, the park is contiguous with Kibira National Park in Burundi, together with the two protected areas form the largest block of forest in East Africa. Nyungwe was originally set aside as a reserve in 1933, which although relatively effective, still saw it lose about 20 per cent as its area by 1984, when a coordinated forest-protection plan was implemented. It was elevated to national park status in March 2004 and is famously known now for primates trekking in Rwanda.

No Comments in Destinations

5 Best Reasons Why You Should Visit Uganda

When it comes to safaris in Africa, most tourists are left to think a number of things and may lure or discourage them from realizing their dreams. However, if you have always dreamt of that one country that rewards travel endeavors with life time experiences then you need not to look any further than Uganda. There are a million reasons why you this incredible country should be a must in your bucket list and among others include;

Its spectacular scenery

Uganda has for long been described as the Pearl of Africa for many reasons. It is that one country where you will find all what African continent has in offer. Its most alluring nature is what makes it one of the most sought after safari destinations in the world and while on your safari, don’t miss to explore most of its wildlife species that thrive in 10 of its spectacular national parks (Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Mgahinga National Park, Kibale National Park, Semuliki Valley National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Mount Elgon National Park and The Rwenzori Mountains National Park). These splendid wilderness areas feature a wide range of wildlife right from the big game-the African elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards plus several savanna grassland species, birds, primates including the rare mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, golden monkeys a mention but a few and not to forget spectacular water bodies including Lakes like Lake Victoria the world’s renowned fresh water Lake with the splendid Ssese Islands where over 84 islands all confined, Lake Bunyonyi-one of the world’s deepest Lakes, rivers especially the source of the mighty River Nile, tropical rainforests and distinct vegetation zones all of which feature as a few most exceptional attractions on their own and inhabit a number of wildlife for you to explore while on your safari in Uganda. If you are looking for unusual experiences then this is the best choice you can make in life and you won’t regret after.

Uganda is a multi cultural country

Besides the unique national parks, Uganda is popular for its diverse ethnic groups each offering unique cultural experiences. Lake Kyoga make up the northern border area for the Bantu speaking group and this includes the Baganda and many other tribes. As you head to the north, you will find the Acholi and Lango; to the east you will find the Iteso and the Karamojong, Bagishu around the Mount Elgon slopes and the Ankole group in western region. Due to diversity in cultures, over 40 languages are spoken in Uganda however, English is the official language and others speak Kiswahili while others speak Luganda. Each tribal group presents unique cultural and traditional practices and Uganda is popular for its unique cultural experiences. While on cultural safari, don’t miss the thrilling dances, music performance from the Batwa pygmies, Bakiga, Baganda or pay a visit to Ndere cultural centre for variety of cultural dances and performances or taste the local dish.

Gorilla haven

When it comes to Uganda safaris, gorilla trekking is undeniably one of the most sought after experiences by most tourists. Over 480 mountain gorillas call this spectacular country their home and unlike other gorilla destinations, gorilla trekking in Uganda is conducted in two national parks-Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park all in southwestern part of the country. A face to face encounter with these dramatic creatures in the wild is such a magical experience that comes once in a lifetime. To be part of this lifetime adventure, you only need $600 to secure your permit and your dreams would have been achieved.

Eco tourism experiences

With eco-tourism, you get opportunity to enjoy untapped destinations that still offer fresh experiences. While on safari in Uganda, this should be one of the experiences that you shouldn’t miss out. It takes you through a number of activities among others include community walks, nature guided walks, birding, forest walks, mountain gorilla trekking, wildlife viewing, chimpanzee trekking, primate watching, scenic viewing a mention but a few. The major destinations for you to realize this kind of experience in Uganda include the 10 national parks, wildlife reserves, community wetlands, forest reserves, cultural centers and many others.

Uganda is the most hospitable nation

Imagine a destination where nationals are not welcoming and full of arrogant people, will you even enjoy your vacation probably you won’t. However, Uganda is that one country in Africa with warm welcoming and hospitable people and you will certainly enjoy your holiday with them. You will free interact with your guides, local residents and even make some purchase for their locally made products in most of their eco-tourism enterprises while on safari in one of the national parks.

In conclusion, there are a million reasons why Uganda should be a must for you to visit and with a few that have been listed above, we believe that you will have memorable experiences while on your safari in Africa. Enjoy your holiday with us!