Archive for the ‘safari’ Category

Cost of a Gorilla Permit in Uganda

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

A gorilla permit is a special pass that allows you to visit the gorillas in their natural habitat. The gorilla permits of Uganda are sold from Uganda Wildlife Authority Headquarters. They are sold for a particular date and location on the basis of first come first serve. Gorilla trekking is conducted in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The cost of a gorilla permit in Uganda is known to be quite friendly to visitors.

cost of a gorilla permit in Uganda

A gorilla permit costs Six Hundred USA Dollars ($600) for Foreign Non Residents, Five Hundred Dollars (USD 500) for Foreign Residents and Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Uganda Shillings (250,000UGX) for Ugandans.

However, Uganda Wildlife Authority sometimes offers gorilla permits discounts for promotional purposes like in the previous years they would discount gorilla permits and sale them for Four hundred and Fifty USA Dollars only in the low season months of April, May and November but this may end this year 2017.

Below are some of the most popular Uganda Gorilla Trekking Safaris

3 Days Gorilla Trekking Uganda Via Rwanda
Our 3 days Gorillas to Uganda via Kigali Rwanda is new blend for visitors that wish to arrive via Kigali Rwanda and they wish to track Uganda Gorillas in Bwindi. For accessibility reasons arriving via Rwanda in to Bwindi is much easier and cheaper tracking Uganda Gorillas (USD 600.00) as opposed to Rwanda Gorillas (US$ 1,500).

Bwindi gorilla trekking safari 3 days: APS EXPG3 Express Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and birding.

3 Days Flying Gorilla Adventure: African Pearl Safaris presents to you our 3 days flying Safari to the land of Gorillas, with the recent introduction of Aerolink Uganda. Accessibility to Bwindi is made easier just in 2 hours you are in Bwindi the home of Gorilla.

4 Days Flying Gorilla Habituation Experience Bwindi
Our latest Flying Gorilla Habituation Experience Bwindi gives you the very best of ease to enjoy trekking Gorillas in Bwindi. The Flying Gorilla Habituation experience in Bwindi give you up to 4 hours interacting with the great Mountain Gorillas unlike other Gorilla trekking safaris that give you an hour meeting, this one gives you a more rewarding experience.

4 Days Lake Mburo and Bwindi Gorillas: Our very new product developed for visitors that wish to have a relaxed Gorilla Safari experience combined with an excursion to Lake Mburo National Park.

4 Days, 2 Times Gorilla Tour Bwindi Visitors have now the best opportunity to track and visit Gorillas 2 times. Have the rarest Gorilla encounter in just 4 days. Different families will be arranged for your comparison experiences. See their uniqueness in family composition, how they live and adapt to their environment.

5 Days Bwindi Ultimate Flying Gorilla Adventure
Our 5 days Gorilla Trekking Flying Safari to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is now the most rated safari experience in Uganda. You are guaranteed of Gorilla Trekking experience, Take a walk or a hike to Mayaga Falls one of the excellent guided walk in Bwindi.

Kyaninga Lodge, The Ultimate Comfort.

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

Kyaninga Lodge is set in Western Uganda’s district of Fort Portal. It is set against a stunning backdrop of Lake Kyaninga and the legendary Mountains of the Moon. There are nine exclusive cottages each branching out via wooden walkways made from hand carved logs, superb dining, and in a good distance from each other thus ensuring privacy of all its guests. The cottages are very spacious, with double or twin beds fitted with mosquito nets.

Kyaninga Lodge

Kyaninga Lodge

The view from the lodge shifts and changes constantly thanks to the combination of the Rwenzori Mountains ranges and the deep water of the lake Kyaninga. On a clear day the mountain ranges are very visible, sometimes they are covered by cloud; in the early morning, mist lies in the valleys and this gives you a wonderful and magnificent views. At times the crater is also completely covered with mist. All cottages face the Crater Lake and have en-suite bathrooms that boast of marble countertop basins set atop crafted Elgon olive pedestals, claw footed freestanding baths, and glass-walled showers.

With modern solar power, you are well equipped with hot water and power charging points in the main building and cottages. The Wi-Fi works well in the main lodge building and each room has an umbrella that you can use when moving between your room and the main building. There are comfortable seating areas as well as raised galleries for a more private view, which are not only perfect for some outdoor games, but also to absorb the absolute magnitude of the Lake itself. On checking in, clients are provided with nifty little mobile phones to be used in case of room service. These make communication between clients and staff at the main building quick and smooth.

At the lounge and dining place mouth watering meals awaits you. The menu is based on classical European cuisines that are and tweaked to make use of local ingredients, many of which are handpicked from Kyaninga Lodge’s own garden or the neighboring markets. Clients can relax at the Lounge, swimming pool, the fully stocked bar or at the balcony of their cottages. The bar also works as a crafts shop with unique high quality crafts like truck bottle holders and many more. The proceeds go to Kyaninga Child Development Centre, to change the lives of disabled children in Uganda.

While at the lodge one can do lots of activities like; chimpanzee tracking, crater rim walk, swimming in the lodge pool or Lake Kyaninga, birdwatching, village and cultural walks, visit Fort Portal and its surrounding forest walk around the crater, play tennis from the only Uganda’s lawn tennis court and many other games.

Kyaninga Lodge is close to 4 National Parks ie Kibale, Semliki, Rwenzori Mountain and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Kibale Forest National Park is the closest with less than an hour’s drive away, visit it for chimpanzees, birding and other primates. Kyaninga Lodge is also about two hours’ drive from Queen Elizabeth National Park, the best known area in Uganda for safaris and one of the most bio diverse reserves in the world. You can also visit Semliki Game Reserve and national parks for hot springs, a boat cruise on Lake Albert and many other activities.

Lion Tracking Experience in Uganda

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Lion tracking experience in Uganda is an activity where tourists go out with researchers of The Uganda Carnivore Program (UCP) to search for lions. UCP began as the Uganda Large Predator Project in the 1990s when the Director of Uganda’s Institute of Ecology became concerned that the canine distemper virus epidemic that was decimating predators in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park would affect the predators in Uganda. While lions in Uganda were dying, research showed that they did not have canine distemper but were instead being poisoned. It was then decided that consistent monitoring and research of the predators’ population should continue. The program was once active in many of Uganda’s national parks, but at the moment, occurs primarily in the northern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The Uganda Carnivore Project does research on Lions and other predators like leopards and hyenas and other wildlife in the northern sector of Queen Elizabeth. UCP closely collaborates with the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Makerere University. They use radio-collars and sometimes cameras hidden in the predators’ dens to monitor them.

Lion Tracking Experience in Uganda

Uganda Wildlife Authority allowed UCP to provide guided Lion tracking and nocturnal tours to selected group of tourists. We usually recommend Lion Tracking Experience to tourists who are keen to see lions, learn more about them and university students and researchers. This could be you joining the lovely team of researchers from UPC on their daily routine work of locating and monitoring these predators. This activity is usually done away from the gazette tracks used by tourists (off-tracks) up-to the communities and near the boundaries of Queen Elizabeth Park. The Lion Tracking Experience in Uganda is either done in the morning or afternoon and can last between 1 hour to four hours per session. The researchers monitor lions that were put on radio-collars and monitor their movements, territories, risky encounters, and, particularly, their incursions into conflict “hot zones”, where they face the danger of meeting up with people and their livestock.

This is the only chance one can ever get be near lions in wild and learn the habits of the Lions of Uganda in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Lions are normally very difficult to find in this bushy landscape, so knowing where they are ahead of time greatly increases the chance that local guides can find lions for visitors. Many tourists feel they have fulfilled a game drive after encountering with lions and without them the game drive is regarded as good as nothing. So be sure to encounter lions and learn more about them. There is a limited number of tourists allowed to participate in the Lion Tracking Experience per day per and per session in order to reduce stress on the animals.

While on Lion tracking experience in Uganda, you will study more about lions like their lifespan, how far do they move in a day, how big are their home ranges, more about lion biology. The proceeds from this Lion Tracking Experience are used to supplement the limited funding for the programs of UCP which include purchase of radio-collars, monitoring of predators and community based education among others. The findings are added to the databases of the researchers, hence contributing very important information to the general understanding of Africa’s wildlife ecology in particular that in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and assisting to conserve this amazing ecosystem. Book Lion Tracking Experience with African Pearl Safaris.

Hiking The Virunga Volcanoes in Uganda

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

There are three Virunga Volcano mountains in Uganda namely; Mount Sabinyo, Muhabura and Gahinga. They are all found in the Southwestern district of Kisoro near the borders of Uganda and Rwanda. All the three of the volcanoes are a day’s hike and there is no accommodation on the summit. Hiking the Virunga Volcanoes in Uganda requires tourists to pay for hiking, and then will set off in the morning with your ranger guides, packed lunch, drinking water and porters. These hikes are not overcrowded like in other parks or hikes.

hiking the Virunga volcanoes in Uganda

MOUNT SABINYO

Mount Sabinyo seats on the border of 3 countries of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is one of the numerous rolling volcanoes which make up the Virunga ranges and stands at 3645m. While standing on top of Mount Sabinyo you are actually in the 3 countries of Uganda, DR Congo and Rwanda at the same time (This only happens here)with the best view of all the Virunga ranges.

“Sabinyo” is a local term which means “old man’s teeth” in reference to the Mt. Sabinyo’s distinct summit with peaks which look like an old man’s spaced teeth. The terrain on the slopes of Mount Sabinyo is extremely rugged with many sharp ridges and craters thus making its hike a strenuous one. The hike is done in 1 day and takes about 8 hours (4 hours to the summit and 4 hours back) or more depending on the fitness, speed of the clients and the weather conditions. The only trail that leads you to the top of Mount Sabinyo is found in Uganda where they have managed to improvise handmade ladders for climbers on the very steep sections. Hiking activity sets off from the park office after meeting with and briefing by the ranger guide. Walking sticks are provided for free meanwhile the porters are available for hire. You go through vegetation ranges from the bamboo zone between 2400 – 2800m, this is also habitat for the Golden Monkeys which you are chanced at seeing. Other big wildlife in the park includes Buffaloes, Elephants and Mountain Gorillas but are rarely seen on the trail. Between 2800 – 3200m is a beautiful forest patch of Hagenia Hypericum, over 3200 is that Sub-alpine zone that has fewer trees. This is also territory of the famous Rwenzori Turaco, a stunning bird which is also endemic to the Albertine rift region. At the summit you hike to each of the three summits and get the chance to be at the meeting point of all the countries, and enjoy the best views of all!

Mount Muhabura Hike

Mount Muhabura also known as Muhavura is located in southwestern Uganda, Kisoro district and marks the border between Uganda and Rwanda. At a height of 4,127, mount Muhabura is the 3rd tallest peak in the Virungas. When at its peak a tourist can have clear views of other five peaks of the Virungas, a view of different lakes like Edward, George, Burera, Kidaho, Lake Bunyonyi and the blue roof of Nyagahinga, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and the Rwenzori ranges on the side of Uganda and a view of the major peaks in the Virungas. Mt Muhabura is also the most easterly volcano in the Virunga ranges. There is a crater lake near the summit and the vegetation is usually drier than in other areas of the Volcanoes National Park, with giant heather thriving on the volcano’s slopes.

The name Muhavura means sentinel in Kinyarwanda (the local dialect) and its typically shaped silhouette can be seen from many parts of the country. Hiking Mt. Muhabura also takes a full day getting to the top and coming back and the tourist needs to be physically fit. The hike is physically demanding, the slopes are very steep, muddy and slippery, the high altitudes and mist make it more draining. The mountain is also surrounded by small crater lakes, thick equatorial rain forests and rain can fall at anytime of the day.

Hiking starts very early in the morning at the foothills through the various trails uphill with a lot of sights and sounds from nature’s unique wildlife species. It also takes about 8-9 hours. For greater tourist experiences, tourists are advised to hike this mountain during the months of December, January, May, June and September with minimal amounts of rainfall.

Mount Gahinga

It’s located in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park located in southwestern Uganda near the border with Rwanda. Gahinga means a pile of stones and you will find many piles of stones in the gardens and farms below Mount Gahinga that the people clear from their fields and put into piles at the edge of their fields. It is the lowest among the virungas standing at about 3,474m/11,464ft above sea level. It has 3 dormant volcanoes which can all be climbed. Its slopes are covered with dense bamboo rain forests that are homes to one of Uganda’s mountain gorilla family the Nyakagezi. The jungles of Gahinga also have many primates especially monkeys, black fronted duikers, serval cats, bush bucks, chameleons and many Albertine bird species. The hike lasts for about 6 hours depending on the physical abilities of the hikers. The trails to the summit are narrow and muddy with very dense vegetation thus making it also a tough hike. Some trails go through small streams. It is the easiest to climb because of its long stretches of bamboo forest thus making it friendly to go through, with less ladders to climb and short as compared to Sabinyo and Muhabura. On top you will be welcomed by a marshy crater surrounded by beautiful plants like the giant lobelias and giant groundsel.

In addition to the 3 hikes clients can combine hiking the Virunga Volcanoes in Uganda with Gorilla tours in Mgahinga National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Rwanda. Alternatively clients can go for golden monkeys tracking, Birding and the Batwa heritage experience.

What to bring when hiking the Virunga Volcanoes in Uganda

Rain gear( like rain coat, water proof pants), hiking shoes, stocking hat for warmth, Garden gloves for cold weather at the top, Long-sleeved shirt and trouser to protect from itchy plants, Lunch, snacks and drinking water, sweaters etc. You can hire a porter at a reasonable price to help you carry your back pack, or to carry you when things get tough. Walking sticks are provided free of charge.

Budongo Forest and its hidden beauty

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Budongo Forest is found Uganda, in Masindi district and in the boundaries of Murchison Falls National Park which is North West of Kampala. The Budongo Forest is a moist, semi-deciduous tropical rain forest located at the top of the Albertine Rift, situated between 1° 37 N – 2° 03 N and 31° 22 – 31° 46 E. It is classified as a Central Forest Reserve and comprises 435 km² of continuous forest cover, which is large by Ugandan standards. It covers a total of 435sq km of mostly forest woodland, savanna and river line swamps. The forest is drained by four small rivers -Sonso, Waisoke, Wake and Bubwa which drain their waters into Lake Albert.

Bodongo Forest

The forest reserve is divided into three important eco-systems particularly formed to protect the chimpanzees and endemic species within the reserve. It is actually said by many that Budongo Forest is the best place for chimpanzee tracking in Uganda. Sonso, located on the banks of river Sonso and near a former saw mill is the most important part of the reserve home to some 53 groups of chimpanzees that are not visited by tourists.

The forest is the second most important in Uganda (after Semliki National Park, IBA UG009) for species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome, and the list of such species will probably continue to grow. Muscicapa sethsmithi, only known from Budongo in Uganda, used to be common in mature forest, but is now extremely hard to find. Illadopsis puveli, a recent addition, is not known elsewhere in East Africa. Other species such as Ceratogymna fistulator, Smithornis rufolateralis, Ixonotus guttatus, Neafrapus cassini, Sylvietta denti, Batis ituriensis and Zoothera camaronensis are known from few other forests in the country. Other rare species in Budongo Forest include Pitta reichenowi and Parmoptila woodhousei, both with multiple recent records. Aside from the two biomes under which the site qualifies as an IBA, species restricted to other biomes also occur, including seven from the Afrotropical Highlands biome. All these make Budongo Forest one of the finest bird watching destinations in East Africa.

There are also mammals like chimpanzees which are the main tourist attraction in the forest reserve beside the gigantic mahogany tree species. More than 600 of these primates are found in Budongo forest and are protected by the local administration of Budongo Conservation Field Station (BCFS). Other animals in the forest include duikers, forest pigs.

Much of the land around Budongo Forest is under cultivation with houses, villages, schools and markets. The Nyabyeya Forest College is nearby as is the Nyabyeya Trading Estate. To the west down the escarpment are Biso and Butiaba and the fishing villages along the beautiful Lake Albert and to the north is the Murchison Falls National Park. There are also numerous strips of river banks forest, perhaps some 100 km in total, forming arms of forest that stretch out into the surrounding areas, mainly sugar cane plantations and other cropland. The forest is of a medium altitude (average 1,100m). The land slopes from southeast to northwest, and its four main rivers, the Waisoke, the Sonso, the Kamirambwa and the Siba, flow towards the northwest towards the Albertine Rift.

Activities in Budongo Forest are many and these include:

Chimpanzee Trekking:

This is the main activity done at the Kaniyo Pabidi Reserve. There are two sessions of visiting the chimps morning and afternoon per day. You will walk into the forest between 2 – 5hours in search for the chimpanzees and once you find them you view them for 1 hour and head back out of the forest. The morning session starts at 8am while the afternoon session starts at 2pm and clients will go with experienced guides. While tracking chimpanzees clients can be also sight other animals like blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, olive baboons. You will also see oldest mahogany trees in East Africa. Prices for chimpanzee tracking per permit are USD 95 in the high season and USD 85 in the low season.

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience:

Here clients enter the forest to meet chimpanzees before they wake up, follow them in their daily activities as they feed and move from one place to another as you learn about their way of life. The time spent with the chimpanzees here is very long (Full day) as opposed to the one hour of viewing in chimpanzee tracking. So be ready to enjoy with your packed lunch, camera as you will shoot many photographs and videos. Chimpanzee habituation is aimed at helping chimpanzees get used to human presence and our behaviors. Still clients go with experienced guides who will be carrying out their daily program of habituating chimpanzees. The unfortunate bit of this activity is that it’s not done all year through and it is not available during the months of July, August and September. The cost for Chimpanzee habituation is USD 160 per person per day.

Birding

Budongo Forest is truly a paradise for bird watchers with over 360 species of birds. The forest is home to the rare Puvel’s illadopses which is an endemic species to Budongo forest. Accompanied by a guide you will follow the trails and look out for different types of birds. Bird watching safaris are available for a half or full day and guided by keen birders. Birding mainly takes place at the famous ‘Royal Mile’ and you will sight birds like Paradise Flycatcher, the rare Puvel’s illadopses, Sabine’s spine tail, Cassins spine tail, Pygmy crakes, Kingfishers( Chocolate backed, blue breasted, dwarf), White spotted fluff Tail, Ituri Batis, Pulvus Illadopsis, Brown twin Spot, Cameroon Somber, Cassins hawk Eagle, Crowned Eagle, Yellow crested Woodpecker, Forest Robin, Little green Sunbird, Grey headed Sunbird.

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