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Meet the Gorillas & Chimpanzees in Uganda

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Bwindi Mountain Gorillas

As far as tourism is concerned, whenever one hears Uganda, what comes in any foreigners mind is the primate excursions that are always carried out in this country. And not only that, but what also rings a bell to them is the gorilla tracking as well as chimpanzee trekking. However, there are distinctive features that separate these two primates in the way they are tracked and how best one can prepare for both to have an ultimate experience.

Where they are both found in Uganda;

Chimpanzees in Uganda are located in different places but habituated chimpanzees only exist in Kibale National Park located in western Uganda, Kyambura Gorge located in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kalinzu forest located closer to Queen Elizabeth National Park and Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls National Park located in Northern Uganda. We also have orphaned chimpanzees in Ngamba Island which is approximately 23 km in Lake Victoria and can be accessed by boats.

On the other hand, habituated gorillas are found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. According to the 2013 mountain gorilla census, it was discovered that Bwindi Impenetrable National park has almost half the number of mountain gorillas in the whole while the other population of gorillas are in the Virunga Ranges shared between Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic republic of Congo. Today Bwindi is one of the most popular parks for gorilla safaris on the African continent.

Gorilla and chimp trekking experience compared

When compared, gorilla tracking is a more organized activity both in Uganda and Rwanda and chances of seeing gorillas is above 90%. This is because gorillas live in families each headed by a dominant silver back. In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the activity is so organized in such a way that early in the morning, there is an advanced team that goes to the forest to look for where the gorillas would have slept and once they find them, then they communicate to the park head quarters to inform the guides where gorillas are. It’s from here that tourists plus their guide will start the trek to look for gorillas starting from where they slept the previous night until they find them. Once they have found them, they are given one hour to observe and take photographs.

Chimpanzee trekking on the other hand is not as organized as gorilla trekking and chances are high in Kibale National Park and Budongo forest to other places such as Kyambura Gorge and Kalinzu forest. The same process of having an advanced team applies to chimps but chimpanzees on the other hand live in communities of around 100 individuals or more and during the day, these communities breakup into small parties to reduce on food competition. Each party is therefore tracked by 6 people. Once you have found the chimpanzees, you are allowed only one hour to view and photograph them.

Family composition

A family of habituated gorillas is trekked by a maximum of 8 people in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga while Chimpanzee parties in Kibale National Park is restricted to only 6 people. While a habituated gorilla family can only be seen by a maximum of 8 people PER DAY, chimpanzee parties are trekked twice in a day (morning and afternoon). Taking a close look at chimp trekking in Kibale National Park, a maximum of 18 people do trek chimps both in the morning and in the afternoon. It is arranged in such a way that each chimpanzee party is trekked by 6 people thus 3 parties for 18 people. The fact that chimpanzees keep on breaking into small parties and regrouping, at a given point, you might find yourselves trekking the same party (18 people) they can join together. This tends to cause confusion amongst tourists if not briefed very well. This sometimes leads to congestion and kills the whole Eco- experience as expected by clients. Mountain gorillas tend to be on ground in most cases and depending on the height of the vegetation, they are better seen compared to chimpanzees which are in most cases up in the trees (Not all the time though as so many people have found them on ground).

What to pack for gorilla or chimp trekking

Both gorilla and chimp trekking requires one to have hiking boots, garden gloves, long sleeved trousers and shirts, rain jackets, sun glasses, huts, a hiking stick and some energy giving foods to give you that extra strength when needed. You might not need a porter for chimp trekking in Kibale but we highly recommend one for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for your gorilla trek.

Gorilla and Chimp permits

In Uganda, you require a permit to either trek gorillas or chimpanzees. Gorilla tracking permit for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park costs USD600.00 which normally goes down from that in low seasons (Feb-may) to the tune of USD350.00. enabling you to save USD150.00. The above includes trekking gorillas, a guide for the trek and park entrance fees. Chimpanzee trekking permits in Uganda vary according to where you will be trekking them. In Kibale, a permit is USD150 while in Kyambura is at USD50.00 per person and includes guide, park entrance and viewing chimps.

Distances compared

Gorilla trekking is done in Bwindi and Mgahinga and they are approximately 8-9 hours from Kampala while driving and it also depends on which side of Bwindi you are going to. If you are flying, then it might take you around about one and half hours to Bwindi or Kisoro. Kibale National Park is about 5-6 hours from Kampala; Kyambura Gorge is approximately 7-8 hours drive from Kampala while Budongo is also approximately 5-6 hours drive to northern Uganda.

Explore Bwindi, the Mountain Gorillas’ Paradise

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Located in South Western Uganda, Bwindi is one of the best hotspots for adventure travel in Africa. This renonowned impenetrable forest is home to nearly half of the remaining total population of the majestic mountain gorillas. Gazetted as a national park in the 1990s, these mist covered hills intertwined with large plains blanketed are the best destination where travelers go for gorilla trekking in Africa. Join us on a journey and explore one of Uganda’s oldest tropical forest that has survived through the last ice age for about 25000 years.

About the Forest
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park covers an area of about 327 sq km. Characterized by tangled vegetation draped over a deeply fissured landscape of steep slippery hills, the forest is home to incredible wildlife though it is most renowned for hosting the endangered mountain gorillas. The park’s highest altitude is at 2,607m above sea level (southern part) and the lowest at1,160m above sea level in the northern part.

This thick impenetrable forest was first gazetted as two crown forest reserves one being Kayonza and another being Kasatora in 1932. The two forest reserves were later combined in 1942 to form the Impenetrable Central crown forest. In 1964, the reserve was designated as an animal sanctuary to boost the protection of mountain gorillas and was renamed Impenetrable Central Forest reserve. In 1966, two other forest reserves became part of the main reserve, increasing its area to almost 321 square kilometers (124 sq mi) and was managed as both a game sanctuary and a forest reserve.

In 1991, the Central forest reserve was turned into a national park and named Bwindi Impenetrable National park. Gorilla tracking became a tourist activity in April 1993 with one habituated gorilla family of Mubare but since then other 8 groups have been habituated for tracking including Rushegura, Kyaguriro, Oruzogo, Habinyanja, Nshongi, Bitukura, Nkuringo as well as Kahungye groups.

The park was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1994 because of its rich biodiversity which includes a variety of threatened and endangered species on the IUCN’s red list.

Things to See in Bwindi Forest
The park’s rich biodiversity includes about 120 mammal species of which 10 are primate species, and 45 are small mammals and is believed to be one of East Africa’s richest faunal communities. The park also has a long list of birds, about 350 species including the Albertine rift endemics, 310 species of butterflies, 51 reptiles, 88 moths and 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos and many endangered species.

The park is believed to have one of East Africa’s richest flora that includes over 1000 flowering plant species including 200 species of trees and 104 species of ferns. The northern (low altitude) sector is rich in species of the Guineo-Congolian flora. These include two species internationally recognized as endangered, the Brown mahogany and Brazzeia longipedicellata. This rich flora has been a result of the forest’s location being at the meeting point of the plain and mountain forests producing the afromontane vegetation that is rare in Africa. The area harbors a high population of endemic species of the Albertine Rift.

Bwindi is the remaining home to some of the globally threatened species that include, high-profile mammals such as mountain gorilla, chimpanzee, l’Hoest’s monkey, the giant forest hogand African elephant; birds such as African green broadbill, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Turner’s Eremomela, Chapin’s flycatcher and Shelley’s crimson-wing; butterflies such as African giant swallowtail and Cream-banded swallowtail; carnivores like the side-striped jackal, African golden cat and African civet.

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Forest
The park’s most popular specie is the Endangered Mountain Gorilla believed to be man’s evolutionary cousin and the largest ape in the world. Bwindi shelters almost half of these gentle apes whose population in the world is estimated at about 750 individuals and their existence and survival is endemic to Bwindi and Mgahinga in Uganda, Virunga area in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Volcanoes in Rwanda. It is believed that Bwindi Forest shelters a population of about 340 gorillas according to the Gorilla census in 2006. The reduction in number of this critically endangered species is attributed to habitat loss and poaching by human beings.

Also present in this thick forest are 10 species of primates 7 of which are diurnal. They include common chimpanzee, L’Hoest’s monkey, black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, vervets, blue monkey and olive baboon.

Would you like to go gorilla trekking in Uganda? Join us at Go Gorilla Trekking as you embark on one of the most rewarding and highly sought after African safari. Trek our cousins and take a look at other wildlife species in the Pearl of Africa and East Africa at large. You will be able to assess the evolution theory of mankind as you take a glance at the 13 primate species in this magnificent country including our closest cousin the chimpanzee.

Wildlife Photography Safaris in Uganda

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Uganda a block of East Africa hosts an incredible variety of habitats and wildlife. The conservation of these habitats into National Parks and Wildlife Reserves is the cornerstone for wildlife viewing. One of the most important geographical features of the region is the Great Rift Valley. The large depressions within the Rift Valley fed by streams have become great Lakes, around which many species of wildlife can be found.

They include several National Parks and Wildlife Reserves and concentrate on different aspects of wildlife observation. Some Uganda safari packages focus on a particular interest or activity like bird watching, primate viewing. Some safari guidelines bases on national Parks are too often selected for quantity of animals, certainty and ease of viewing on the game drives. Some National Parks became so popular that they are overcrowded with too many minibuses and jeeps getting careless and scaring animals. Animals move around, seasons change weather varies. There is no way of knowing what each day will bring and there is no guarantee that you’ll see absolutely everything you are after, but most safaris give an amazing wildlife experience!

The long stay is an important aspect, the more time you have to go on safari the more you will see! The chosen travel style will also greatly enhance your wildlife experience; Camping safari will offer you a different experience than lodge safari a part from Katara lodge in queen which provide wildlife view verandah. The game drives are the most common way to observe African wildlife and for most visitors the backbone of their safari. Game drives should be undertaken in a customized 4 x 4 drive vehicle with a driver-guide who has experience and knowledge of the area.

The game drives can be organized at any time of the day but you will have the best chances to encounter wildlife in the early morning and late afternoon. It is cooler and animals are then most active. A first-time visitor will want to see plenty of game, mainly large animals. Although the major animals are important, we advise not to get too caught up with ‘Big Five’ fever, the African wilderness has so much more to offer, especially its incredible bird-life, smaller mammals, primates, reptiles, trees and other plants… If you are receptive to learn about the different aspects of nature and conservation your trip will be much more meaningful and pleasurable.

Top 10 Beautiful and Breathtaking Places in Uganda

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10 Incredible Things to do in Uganda Off the Beaten Path

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Looking for unusual adventure activities to engage in during your holiday in Uganda? Here are 10 incredible things to do while on safari in Uganda;

Visit the Top of the Falls

Once described as the most spectacular thing to happen to the Nile along its 6700km length, the 50m wide Victoria Nile is squeezed here through a 7m gap in the rock and crashes through this narrow gorge with unbelievable power. The 45m waterfall was featured in the Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart film The African Queen. Murchison was even stronger back then, but in 1962 massive floods cut a second channel creating the smaller Uhuru Falls 200m to the north. There’s a beautiful walking trail from the top down to the river, and the upper stretch of this path offers views of Uhuru Falls, which a boat trip will not bring you close enough to to appreciate. Though it’s straight forward, a ranger guide is required. If you take the launch trip, the captain will let you off at the trailhead and a ranger will meet you there. The boat can then pick you up later if there’s an afternoon launch, or you can prearrange a car to take you out. This is also a good way for campers to get to the campsite at the top of the falls before returning to Paraa the next morning. The hike takes about 45 minutes from the bottom.

Visit the Ndere troupe

If you are interested in traditional dance and music, try to catch a dinner-theater performance of the Ndere Troupe at Ndere Centre. It presents dances from many of Uganda’s tribal groups with high-energy shows taking place in a 700-seat amphitheatre on Sundays at 6pm and Wednesday at 7pm. On Fridays it’s afro-jazz from 7pm. Dinner is optional. It is one of the best places to learn more about the culture of Uganda and is particularly famous for its rich and elaborate music and dance shows and traditions.

Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi translates to the ‘place of many little birds’ and that is as good a description as you can expect. This beautiful lake is by far the prettiest lake in Uganda. Its shore presents terraced hillsides and 29 islands, reminding travelers of certain parts in Nepal. Lake Bunyonyi is truly a magical destination, particularly during the morning hours as you see the mist rising off its serene waters. Are you looking to a budget safari in Uganda? Lake Bunyonyi is one of the best destinations where you can spend less and stay more within Uganda.

Kampala city Tour

Kampala city ensures that visitors get a proper introduction to the country. Kampala is quite safe (unlike its eastern neighbor) and presents a number of sights and attractions that are good enough to keep visitors occupied right through the acclimation period. The ideal way to explore Kampala is through a walking tour. These tours let you take a glimpse into the local lifestyle as you wander around those lively streets, marvel at the unique architecture and spend time in those busy markets. Some of the top attractions you are likely to come across in your walking tours include Kampala Hindu Temple, Lubiri Palace, Uganda National Mosque and the Nakasero Market, Rubaga and Namirembe cathedrals.

Visit the Ssese Islands

The Ssese Islands consists of 84 islands in the north-western section of Lake Victoria. Many of the Ssese Islands are un-inhabited; you can only find a few fishermen there. Forests and swamps on the Ssese Islands are therefore ideal for birding Safaris. The wildlife you expect to find on the islands includes hippos, crocodile, waterbuck, sitatunga, antelope, chimpanzees and monkeys. The islands can be reached by a nine-hour steamer trip from Port Bell or a 45-minute ferry trip from Bukakata. Visitors wanting to escape the hustle bustle of Ugandan cities find Ssese Islands to offer some much-needed respite. The slow-paced lifestyle makes the island an ideal retreat for leading a relaxed lifestyle and those breathtaking white-sand beaches present outstanding sunbathing opportunities. The lack of permanent settlements means that the area is largely unspoiled. Most travelers restrict themselves to the Buggala Island, the most accessible Ssese Island, but those who dare to venture out to the Banda Island or Bukasa, can enjoy secluded surroundings and even better sights.

Game and bird viewing                                     

Game viewing is the most popular tourist activity in Uganda. Wild animals like lions, buffaloes, Leopards, giraffes, antelopes, elephants are common in Uganda’s ten national parks normally refered to as the big 5. Uganda is one of only ten countries where it is possible to visit endangered gorillas.

Mountain gorillas are Uganda’s prime tourist attraction. The majority of these are found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park with a few in Mgahinga both in southwestern Uganda. In Bwindi, visitors have been allowed to view the mountain gorillas since April 1993. The development of gorilla tourism and the habituation of gorillas to humans, is proceeding very carefully because of the dangers to gorillas, such as contracting human diseases.

Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to the tree climbing lions. Lions do not normally climb trees, except when chased by another lion group or wild buffalo. However the tree climbing lions found in Queen Elizabeth National Park intentionally climb trees and rest in the afternoon when the sun is high. This is a truly unique phenomenon.

Boating and Water Sports

With its great location in the African Great Lakes region, Uganda has a variety of water bodies that are popular spots for tourism as soon as you visit Uganda. White water rafting and kayaking are popular activities on the rapids at the source of the Nile found in Jinja. Boat cruises are commonly done on Lake Victoria, Lake Mburo, Lake Bunyonyi, Kazinga channel, Murchsion falls and River Nile. This is a perfect way of exploring the buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles and a wide variety of bird species that inhabit the banks of these water bodies. Sport fishing is another favorite tourist activity. Fish like the Nile perch, and tilapia can be caught in designated areas of Lake Mburo and the banks of the Nile. Canoeing can also be done at Lake Bunyonyi.

Hiking and Mountain Climbing

Uganda has many opportunities for mountain climbing, hiking and nature walks. The Rwenzori Mountains, which are found at the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo include the snowcapped Margherita Peak, the highest Mountain range in Africa and also one of the highest peaks. Mgahinga National Park also has the three peaks, Mount Gahinga, Mount Sabinyo and Mount Muhavura. Mount Elgon is found in Eastern Uganda can be used also for hiking and climbing. It has one of the largest calderas in the world.

Luxury Car Hire in Uganda

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Luxury Car Hire in Uganda

Transport is one of the key factors for every successful and enjoyable safari. Comfortable and safe means of transport is all you need on your safari to Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Booking and hiring a luxury fleet for a solo traveler, family and a group of friends is all you need to do to ensure a memorable safari. Luxury vehicle offer cars with a higher quality equipment, incentive driving experience by putting together the coddling interior comfort and polished performance, more precise construction comfort, higher design, technologically innovative modern and also offers extravagant living.

More so, the Luxury cars are mainly perfect for official and elegant events with in Kampala City and other towns in Uganda. We organize affordable and dependable luxury car rentals in Uganda and these include Benz, Jaguar, Limousine, Range rover, BMW, Toyota Cygnus, Land cruiser V8 and VX, GX, Hammer, Mercedes S-Class and others.

Planning a Wedding?

A wedding is special occasion that requires a lot of money and a good planning, from the decorations and dressing to meals and drinks thus a lot is involved leading to wedding day. However among the most important items like on the list is transportation for couple from church to reception and back home. Arriving at the reception in luxury cars like Mercedes Benz or limousine will give your guests a good impression and shows your class.

It’s advisable to rent wedding cars that suit the theme of the occasion, so book with us and get trusted and reliable cars. We offer cars each with a professional chauffeur at affordable rates and conditions. Our chauffeurs are very well trained, licensed with adequate knowledge about most of the destination in and around Kampala thus you will be assured of quality and timely service on your wedding day.  Wedding cars for hire include Mercedes Benz, Range Rover Sport, Jaguar vehicles, Land cruiser Prado, Limousines and sport Motor bikes for bridal escorts.

Looking to Transporting Cargo?

Our cargo cars have open and covered car transport and the covered car transport offer a secure, sheltered and dedicated encircled transportation service to clients. Whether you want to ship a car, SUV, motorcycle, truck or any other vehicle, we have reputable and insured car shipping company for all your car shipping needs.  We transport your cargo, from and to all around Uganda and Rwanda at your convenience, just get in touch with us and we shall be right at your door step, with a preferred type of vehicle. The cargo vehicles include Trucks, Lorries, Canter, Man diesel cargo car, Scania, Double cabin pickups, among many others.

Luxury Cars for Safaris

Are you planning to go on a luxury safari in Uganda? There are several options for luxury car hire in Uganda. The most known rental car is an extended safari land cruiser that you can use to enjoy unrivaled game viewing in the different national parks in Uganda. You can hire a Toyota Safari Land Cruiser from as low as USD180/Day for a five seater and USD250 per day for a luxurious 8 seater from selected car rental agencies listed on this website.

All About 3rd June Uganda Martyrs Day

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Uganda Martyrs Day

Uganda is not only known about wildlife tourism but also has religious events that bring together people from the whole world. The pilgrimage to the Uganda martyrs shrine in Namugongo is one such events that have made Uganda known to the whole world. Every year of 3rd June, all businesses in Namugongo are put on as Christians from all parts of the world gather for the annual prayer session. The celebrations are dedicated to honoring the Catholic and Anglican converts who were executed for their faith between 1885 and 1887 at the orders of Kabaka Mwanga for their faith.

Their killing by Kabaka Mwanga II, the king of Buganda was during the three-way religious struggle for political influence at the Buganda Royal Court. These Martyrs basically belonged to two religious groups that included 23 Anglicans and 22 Catholics that had converted to Christianity after abandoning the traditional beliefs. Following their killing, the English Church Missionary Society used the deaths of Anglicans to enlist wider public support for the British acquisition of Uganda for the Empire. The Catholic Church also beatified the 22 catholic martyrs of its faith in 1920 and canonized them later in 1964.

Uganda Martyrs Shrine

This great religious event has attracted many people worldwide with pilgrims coming in from almost all countries around the world. The day receives a big gathering in Uganda as people flock to Namugongo, a place about 15km from the city center along Kampala- Jinja highway. The start of the pilgrimage to Namugongo has its history way back in 1920 when Rev. Fr. Stephen Walters, a Mill Hill Missionary Priest organized a pilgrimage to Namugongo to honor the newly blessed martyrs that had been beatified. After this a Dutch priest who was the based at Nsambya walked with a group of Christians to Namugongo and celebrated holy mass at the spot where Charles Lwanga was martyred. He erected a cross at this spot after the mass, which marked the beginning of pilgrimage to Namugongo.

Martyr’s day is full of prayers, confessions, testimonies, deliverance as well as entertainment. Different choirs have trained to sing and dance for the guests, this keeps people happy and lively throughout.

Today the pilgrimage to Namugongo means much more to the locals than just remembering the martyrs. The event has moved from an emotional faith (religious ceremony) to also commercial, social and entertainment aspects. Business oriented Ugandans have used the event as an avenue to make money and they sell all sorts of products to the pilgrims. The list of the sold items is dominated by beverages, other soft drinks and eats. Entertainers who are also in most cases marketing various products and services also arrange different stands with musical instruments airing out some of the popular local music to accompany the adverts. Namugongo also became a famous spot for pork lovers, as the delicacy is the main type of meat all over the area. In other wards, martyrs day is a source of income for local people. It’s the major source of market for local products such as soap, sugar, food, drinks, snacks and other necessities. Businesses people are assured of ready market at quite higher prices.

People are assured of peace and order during this event. The Uganda people’s defense force (UPDF) and the Uganda police have deployed army men and police to ensure safety of people and their properties. Therefore, come be part of the Uganda martyrs day, pray, confess, testify, get delivered and celebrate the lives of Christian converts who sacrificed to die for the word of God to spread and reach many people in all parts of the world. It is really a day to celebrate in Uganda on every 3rd June.

The Imbalu: The Bagishu Circumcision Ceremony

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Imbalu Ceremony

Have you ever heard about the Imbalu ceremony? It is found in Mbale among the Bamasaba also known as Bagishu people. There are lots of interesting facts that you probably might not have known about this ritual but you can get to know more about it when you visit the Pearl of Africa. Imbalu is the Bagishu ritual of male circumcision whereby the foreskin of the penis is severed, as a way of clearing a cultural debt. It is a practice where every male among the Bagishu has to go through.

The Bagisu live in Eastern Uganda and settled in the districts of Mbale, Sironko, Bududa, Manafwa, and Bulambuli. This community is very closely related to the Bukusu from western Kenya and both tribes speak a dialect, referred to as Lumasaba. This language is understandable to both communities. The Imbalu event thus unites all Lumasaba-speaking people.

The Imbalu Tradition is a ritual of passing from boyhood to manhood. Fulfilling the ritual is believed to appease the gods, simply because the blood which is shed in the process is a sacrifice to them. For this reason, it is carried out following some specific procedures and this has been practiced from one generation to another. Any male among the Bagishu who has not been circumcised is referred to as a coward.

Bamasaaba Imbalu

The major event is held at the Mutoto Grounds in Bulambuli district. At these grounds stand eight grass-thatched houses representing every county in the Bugisu sub-region. It is here that the Umukuuta, the Cultural head of the Bamasaba, presides over the ceremony, which happens once every two years in the month of August.

The event is carried out amidst locals as they crowd streets and roads while playing Kadodi, an ecstatic music made by beating several kinds of drums and other musical instruments. During this time, the boys going to get circumcised, also referred to as candidates take the lead, dancing to the music as they prepare themselves to face the knife. They are smeared with cassava floor mixed with cow dung and are accompanied by fellow tribesmen as they move door-to-door collecting presents for the candidates.

In preparation for the surgeon’s knife, the candidates are given a herb called Intinyi to make them brave as this is one of the attributes which they are supposed to exhibit as they pass to manhood. The entire process of cutting takes 10-30 seconds. During this event, ambushes are laid out on men who have been dodging circumcision and these are humiliated and forcefully circumcised. The men are usually reported by their wives or relatives.

In the past, surgeons used the same blade on all the candidates, putting them at risk of infection. However, this has since changed and they have been trained and advised to take measures to ensure the safety of candidates and they now use different blades for each candidate.

Would you like to experience the Imbalu Initiation Ceremony?
The Imbalu is celebrated every even year. You can book a cultural tour with one of the local operators listed on this website.

Kampala City Festival

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Kampala City Festival

One of East Africa’s biggest street parties is held every year in the first week of October with floats and performers celebrating Ugandan culture. Traditional and contemporary art, fashion and music are all showcased over multiple stages. Kampala City Festival provides a platform to celebrate a lot about Kampala and many facts which define Kampala apart from other cities. The Kampala City Festival has become a household name and part of Uganda’s national calendar during independence celebrations. The festival has been evolving over the years from a small City event in 2011 to a much bigger regional activity.

It’s a highly anticipated moment for people to share, learn and network while acting as an economic engine for companies, organizations and small businesses to flourish. With Kampala in a constant state of change and regeneration, the festival projects the image of the City as a happy, cultural and warm place to be while promoting positive change to its public realm.

Kampala City Carnival

During this event, Kampala becomes animated with flamboyant sights, vibrant sounds & lively rhythms in concert with an array of floats winding through the streets with dancers on show as they spin, whirl & twirl to mesmeric beats of celebration along the festival route.

Unlike the past festivals, the 2018 experience will present an unprecedented dimension in the history of the festival characterized by fresh additions like the International Zone and a pre-festival Concert all packaged under the theme, ‘Revel Diversity’ celebrating who Ugandans are and the facets that uniquely depict their profusion of brilliant culture and social life.

For this year, the Festival will consist of a programme of over 50 events and activities that cross the worlds of business, fashion, art and culture, entertainment, technology, industry, contemporary, pop and other creative displays. The route is longer stretching from Kololo Air strip to Kampala road with over six stages for different performances. It is a Black Yellow Red affair in Kampala city festival. The entrance is absolutely free as long as you are interested in attending.

How to Avoid Accidents While Driving a Rental Car

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Taking a self guided tour in a new destination like Uganda is ideally interesting and adventurous but requires you to be keen and extra careful while on road trip. The road conditions in Uganda may not be of European standard and adequate knowledge is required if you are planning to drive on Uganda’s roads and also observe traffic rules and regulations at all times. With many accidents and damages being reported on Ugandan road, it is important to pay attention to some of the things that may lead to such nasty incidents. Here are some useful tips in which you can reduce the rate at which they happen and that said, we have provided some of the tips below;

Do not over speed on Road

The recommended speed limit for you to drive in Uganda is 80 kilometers per hour while you are on highways, 50 kilometers per hours in urban areas and less while you are in national parks as well as other protected areas where safaris are conducted each day. Make sure that you pay maximum attention to road signs where speed limits are provided. Over speeding isn’t safe and it features as one of the main causes of road accidents Africa and the world at large. When you in a high gear, you won’t be in position to control the car and at the end of it, you will cause road accidents.

Never Drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs

Alcohol and drugs cause brain impairment and you end up losing sense of judgment especially when it comes to controlling the car. Make sure that you drive when you have not taken any alcohol to allow your brain function well while on road trip. You can bump into a sharp corner abruptly and when you are drunk, you won’t be in position to turn and this may lead into road accidents.

Be Focused while Driving

Try as much as you can not to do anything which takes your attention off the road for instance avoid using gadgets such as telephone or computer as well as grooming as commonly done by lovers. This is risking your life on the road and at end, you will bump into another car or road users which may cost you.

Do not overtake in a corner

Whereas overtaking is a common practice, it is advisable that you do not do it while in a corner. There are sharp corners and another car might be also coming from ahead of you and you will end up crashing on one another. In most cases, you will come across most of black points marked on the road and if you want to overtake, make sure that you first reach to clear road and alert the car ahead of you that you intend to overtake.

Don’t drive for longer hours

Long distant driving is characterized by fatigue and it can lead to loss of focus and in most cases you can sleep off while on steering wheel. It is recommended that you first drive for short distance and have a rest prior proceeding.

As well, we do not recommend you to embark on your trip at night whether you are first time travelers or repeat visitors in Uganda. Given the kind of road conditions in this country, driving at night may not be safe for you.

Check the car rental thoroughly

Prior embarking on your actual trip to Uganda’s remotest protected areas for your vacation, make sure that the car that you intend to use is thoroughly checked both its physical and mechanical conditions. Ensure that all the fluids such as oil hydraulics, water and fuel are at their perfect level and also check if the brakes, transmission box and lights. If the rented car is not in its better state, higher chances are, it can break down at anytime when you are still on a self drive holiday in Uganda and this can spoil all your plans.

In conclusion, there are very many ways that can help you avoid road accidents and damages and with the above listed tips, we believe that you will have the most enjoyable road trip with our self drive cars in Uganda.

20 Reasons Why I Love Uganda

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I Love Uganda

Uganda’s natural sheer beauty and hospitality makes it stand out from the crowd to be the pearl of Africa, everything about Uganda is exceptional good, the country is safe from civil unrests unlike the neighbors which give more peace of mind and comfort to visit Uganda. Here are more reasons why I love Uganda

  • Home to endangered mountain gorillas.

Uganda is not an ordinary destination. It is one of the only three countries where mountain gorillas live in the whole world. Of the estimated 1000 mountain gorillas left in the whole world, about 420 mountain gorillas call Uganda their mother land! You can visit these amazing rare apes on an organized gorilla safari to Bwindi forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park in south western Uganda.

  • Hospitable people

Uganda takes the crown of being hospitable and loyal, their friendliness and warm smile is welcoming and they care so much to help. A Ugandan will never bypass without a greeting or uttering a word like “Gyebaleko” literally meaning well done.

  • Favorable climate

The equator cuts through Uganda, leaving the country with a good climate.in Uganda even if rains, there will be sunshine shortly and the temperatures are cool and conducive too.

  • Fresh food

Uganda has fertile soils and tropical rain fall, fresh vegetable and fruits are a guarantee. Enjoy the local dishes too like oluwombo, grasshoppers, Rolex a delicacy on the street market

  • Birding destination

The pearl of Africa has a record of 1,008 bird species at different transitional locations including endangered species and the rift valley endemics. Some of the bird species include the rare shoe bill stork, grey crowned crane, African grey parrot, Great blue turaco, Ross’s turaco, Eastern grey plantain-eater, African emerald cuckoo, Coucals. For the bird lovers you have all the reasons to love Uganda.

  • Ease access

Uganda is a land locked country connected to the World through a number of International Airlines which ease travel means, you can alternatively arrive among other east African countries and cross borders by road transport for another experience.

  • Plenty of wild life

Up to 10% of Uganda’s total land is covered by national parks and game reserves where you will find the big five mammals like lions, leopards, buffalos, elephants, rhinos. Other wildlife includes giraffes, jackals, warthogs, chimps, mountain gorillas, primates and birds.

  • Home of primates

Uganda has over 5000 total number of primates and over 10 species these include; chimps, l’hoest monkeys, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, patas monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, golden monkeys, olive baboon and many others.

  • Political stability

Uganda is enjoying time of peace and people are liberal respecting each other, this gives tourist much comfort to come explore Uganda.

  • Gifts of nature

By nature Uganda is gifted look at the snowcapped mountain Rwenzori, lakes and rivers, hot springs in kitagata and water falls like sipi falls, Murchison falls to mention but a few.

  • Adrenaline adventures

The source of the Nile originates in Uganda flowing to Egypt up to Mediterranean Sea. At the source of the Nile is where your adrenaline goes high with it’s a grade 5 white water rafting and bungee jumping. While here you can also enjoy other activities like quad biking, horse riding and mountain biking.

  • Cultural diversity

There are more than 50 ethnic tribes in Uganda from the East, North, West and South. You will also find more than 50 spoken languages offering authentic enjoyable experiences.

Mountains

Test your hiking skills with Uganda’s mountains. Rwenzori Mountain is the highest mountain with its highest peak at margarita. You can also hike Mount Elgon, one of the oldest volcanic mountains with its highest peak at wagagai.

  • Forest

For the love of botany, Uganda has numerous forests like Mabira forest, Kariju forest, Budogo forest, 1,000 flowering plant species and almost 200 different types of trees. The forests are diverse and you will also find primates and different bird species.

  • Affordable costs of living

Among all the east African countries, Uganda is considered to be the cheapest in terms of cost of living. Food is plenty and cheap, houses for rent are cheaper compared to the neighboring countries.

  • Source of Lake Victoria

The largest water body in Africa is in Uganda with so many islands for a get a way, sand beaches to relax on the fresh cool breeze from the lake.

  • Cheap means of transport

In Uganda you can never get stranded on the road, cheap means of transport less 1 dollar shilling will take you to your nearest destination. Bodabodas are also quick means of transport at rush hour during jam. Remember to wear your helmet!

  • Coffee

Uganda grows some of the best coffee in the world – you can testify to this once you visit and taste it.

  • Safaris

Uganda offers the best safari game drives in its national parks like Queen Elizabeth national park, Murchison national park, Kidepo national park where you will stop amazing wild life in the savannah wood lands.

  • Kampala city

Kampala city is relatively calm and being the capital city you will find a lot to explore. These include temples, cathedrals, markets, galleries, areas of historical significance, and museums. You can also enjoy many different markets selling a variety of produce, clothing, and crafts.

Oh Uganda! 15 Great Reasons to Visit the Pearl of Africa

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Uganda is one of the best travel destinations in East Africa. There are many reasons why you must visit the pearl of Africa. Some of these are explained below as follows.

1. The people of Uganda

The people are some of the world’s population that has gone through very bad experiences most especially that of Idi Amin Dada, violence and many of them sought refuge in the nearby countries. The people of Uganda didn’t give up even though they went through a lot of harassment. The people have gone back to work to rebuild their nation and have remained the friendliest and most welcoming people on the continent of Africa, and most probably in the world. The people of Uganda love visitors and they love to sing and dance for them to make them appreciate. It makes no sense to visit a place, admire its animals and landscape and not take the time to know the people who own the place. Take time to know the Ugandans.

2. The old kingdoms

Before the colonial masters took over Africa, there were kingdoms in most of the nations that were well functional in the role of governing people and also helping in maintaining culture. Some of the monarchies were so powerful and well administered that even the colonialists wisely thought to work alongside rather than against them. Uganda had 4 kingdoms by 1992, this included; the Buganda, Toro, Busoga and Bunyoro Kitara. These kingdoms have got kings who are the leaders of the kingdoms. The kingdoms are fully recognized by the law of the land and do assist the central government as they yield political influence on the people. a visit to these palaces will give you the insight to the past lives of the Uganda people before and after the colonial era. the Baganda had the burial grounds of their kings renovated not so long ago and this should make for an interesting visit. The Pearl has many facets that make it all the more valuable.

3. Amazing Rivers, waterfalls and the Lakes

The longest river in the world, the Nile is fed by Lake Victoria, the largest freshwater lake in Africa, and second largest in the world. The river snakes its way 6000 km north wards to empty itself into the Mediterranean Sea at the Nile delta in Egypt. Lake Victoria is a mini ocean in this land locked country with the beautiful beaches, palm trees under whose shade you may take a cool drink as you take in the activities on the lake as the breeze and breaking waves soothe you most likely into a nap.  There are also excursions available out on the lake to some 84 of the most idyllic islands that make up the Ssese Islands archipelago.  Most of these islands are well-inhabited and lie in the north-west of the lake. The Nile starts its northward bound trip at the Rippon falls in Jinja, a sight which has won Uganda a prestigious accolade for being voted one of the wonders of the world. The Nile offers water sports like rafting, fishing, kayaking, and many great adventures.

Murchison falls, Rippon falls, Sipi falls, Bujagali falls and Owen falls are a few of the more than 10 waterfalls to be found throughout Uganda with its many rivers and the inland lakes. Other than the mother of all lakes, Lake Victoria, the Pearl of Africa is dotted with many beautiful lakes like jewels on the crown of this beautiful land to include Lake Albert, Lake George, Lake Edward, Lake Buhera, Lake Bujuku, Lake Bugondo, Lake Bunyonyi, and Lake Bisina.

4. Agriculture of the country

Many of the people are not aware that the pearl of Africa goes by many names, another one being the banana republic. This name has nothing to do with the type of government that rules the country, but rather the country’s ability to grow lots of bananas among the foods. In case you are known as a health conscious person, taking care of your caloric intake, as you should, then Uganda, with here many fresh fruits is the place to visit. Uganda is blessed with lots of fruits including; Mangoes, papaya, jack fruits, oranges and many more. Plantains or bananas or matooke in the local lingua are among Uganda’s top cash food crops with cassava, millet, sorghum, maize, beans, sweet potatoes, and groundnuts. Uganda’s export earners in Agriculture are tobacco, cotton, tea and coffee. In fact, both varieties of coffee beans, the Robusta and Arabica, are grown here. Incidentally, the Arabica variety was introduced in Uganda in the 1900s, but the Robusta is an indigenous plant. According to Africa Big Five Safaris, “Coffee tours are organized through guides with knowledge of coffee farming, processing, and roasting,” while talking about Arabica coffee grown on the slopes of Mount Elgon.

5. Lots of Wildlife

The pearl of Africa is a unique country and due to its abundant rains and tropical climate, tracks of land easily can turn into the impenetrable forests. Nature decided to reward Uganda a healthy dose of the African elephant with its high appetite and huge need for water daily. As the big animals trek the Savannah grasslands looking for foliage, they effectively keep the land from being overgrown with trees and shrubs. It is here where you will find the king of the jungle lounging in the shade while his cousin, the leopard, will be up to the tree, both waiting for the unsuspecting zebra, antelope, or wildebeest that will be dinner.  In the 1970s, the rhino was becoming virtually extinct in Uganda due to indiscriminate poaching. The effort to reintroduce the animal in the country since 2001 has seen the population grow to 20 white rhinos with the most recent addition having been born at the Ziwa Sanctuary in August 2017. The most dangerous of all mammals, the Cape buffalo, is also to be found here where it finds lots of grass to graze on. The many waterways, including the Nile River, are habitations of the hippo, which you would most likely mistake for small islands on the river if you are not familiar with their habits of submerging the head, legs, and torso underwater and only leaving the back exposed.  The crocodiles are in abundance and so are the many species of primates. Heading this primate list is the largest concentration of mountain gorillas in the world and the sister chimpanzees. Giraffes, gazelles, and loads of other animals populate the Savannah and forests of the Pearl of Africa.

6. Birds

Uganda is also blessed with variety of birds. Are you interested in bird watching, Uganda has got over 1000 varieties of birds. The grey crown-crested crane has been the emblem on the Ugandan flag well over a century, having been selected by Sir Frederick Jackson, the then governor of the Ugandan British Protectorate in 1893. This beautiful bird stands more than 3 feet with long black legs and a neck that competes with its slender legs for length. On its head, it proudly wears a fringe of pearl grey feathers. The three colours of the Ugandan flag, Yellow, Black and Red, make up the colors of the crested crane’s head.

What makes Uganda a paradise for birding is the diverse climatic conditions from dry savannah to tropical rain forests. The European birds and the native birds live together during migration seasons and share the beautiful environment. You can also catch the Barn Swallow and European Bee-eater, two European birds that love visiting Uganda regularly. At Mabamba Wetland Bay, you will find the Shoebill Stork, the Saddle Billed Stork while the Goliath Heron and African Grey Parrot can be sighted in the Murchison Falls National Park. The Standard Winged Nightjar loves to come out and feast on the white ants, which appear in plenty in the Teso region when it is warm or, as they say in Uganda, during the white ants season.

7. The mountains of Uganda

With the mountains of the moon and the Blue Mountains, Uganda is blessed with Best Mountain in Africa. The country has got over 15 mountains that offer different flora and fauna and amazing trekking safaris. The tallest mountain in Uganda is the snow capped mount Stanley, standing at 16762 feet above sea level. Mount Stanley is one peak along the Rwenzori ranges in the southwest of Uganda. From Lichen to Bamboo forests, from the rare moon striped mouse to otter shrew, and anything in between, is the goodies hidden within the mountain. Mountains include; Stanley, Speke, at a height of 16,043 feet (4,890 meters). It is also within the Rwenzori range, and here you will find leopards, antelopes, chimpanzees, and elephants among other smaller animal species.

Mount Rwenzori also known as the mountains of the moon and is the longest mountain range in Africa and is found at the border of Uganda and DRC. The mountain has got four peaks apart from Stanley and Speke, these include; Mount Emin, Gessi, Luigi di savoia. Many people enjoy hiking the mountain range and experiencing the different kinds of vegetation as they go up the icy peaks. They are also a great place for bird-viewing. Mount Elgon at the border of Uganda and Kenya is also an extinct volcano whose highest peak is named Wagagai and is on Uganda side. The mountain is famous for climbing, hiking and mounteering.

8. The Rain forest of Uganda

Due to its tropical climate and rains in most parts of the country, the country has forests that are home to variety of animals, birds, reptiles and insects, not to mention the many plant species. Though most of the original or primary forests have been lost over the years through deforestation, encroachment of farmlands and growth of towns and villages, there is still a good area under forest cover that is worth a visit. One of the reasons why people love visiting Uganda is to go on a mountain gorilla trek. This is the main destination for those raring to go on a gorilla trek in Uganda. you will also get a bonus of meeting other members of the primate family that are added to the 345 mammals that are found in Ugandan forests, 500 plant species, tens of amphibians, more than 1000 birds and 160 reptiles.

9. The climate of Uganda

Uganda’s longest border is the lake on one side followed by a range of mountains that almost surround this land locked country. The climate is mostly tropical with temperatures ranging from 21-25 degrees celicus, but of course, would be much cooler in the mountains with the top of Mount Elgon often covered with snow. A small part in the north is dry while the rest of the country receives annual rain fall in the region of 1000m to 2000mm. the climate of Uganda is so perfect that one would feel like it’s a holiday each and every day.

10. Safety and Security

‘The political climate in the country is so stable since democracy was restored in the 1980s. Other than the war with the lord’s Resistance Army that lasted almost 20 years, the country has been politically stable. This stability has enabled the nation to recover and grow economically as well as democratically. There have been a few discontent voices in the opposition, but they have not seemed to shake the stability and steady progress of Uganda and Ugandans. A special tourism police unit has been created specifically to protect tourists. “They are there for your safety and wellbeing.  They even protect tourists from fraudulent, fake tour operators as arrests of them recently shows.

11. The availability of the accommodation;

There is no one who starts on a journey into the unknown without making arrangements of where they will stay. As you promise to visit Uganda, you will find a lot of accommodation options online; you can make a choice based on your pocket and the area you will be visiting. These are classified based on budget, moderate and  up market or luxury.

The 5 Best Outdoor Adventure Activities in Uganda

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Many people want vacations where you eat, drink and relax, and other times they look for a little more adventure to challenge their life. Uganda is a place where you can find both and summers are great time to visit though it has a lot to offer year round. While on a Uganda safari you can find out why natural beauty is magical. If you an adventure seeker, here are the top 10 things to do in Uganda.

1. White Water Rafting

The River Nile has many rapid waterfalls with stunning views, rapids that make water spot a great amazing adventure in Uganda. If you’re looking for a perfect day trip on the Nile, White Water Rafting is something that can’t disappoint.  To do rafting in Uganda make sure you spend your previous night in either Kampala or Jinja.The adventure kicks off in the morning around 9.00am and ends at 4pm. Dress in light clothes, carry enough sun cream, no need to have hiking boots ,sandles can do. Join others on the journey to explore the Nile beauty. You don’t have to be experienced to enjoy the activity but you should be brave and ready to face the fast moving rapids of different falls.

2. Bungee Jumping

When you go rafting don’t forget to experience Bungee Jumping in Jinja a famous adventure capital of Uganda. All you need is a minimum of two days  to experience the Nile historical resources which include source of the Nile, Bujagali falls, Itanda falls, Kalagala falls and the styled Indian buildings .Just to take you back Bungee jumping and White water rafting at the 5 grade rapids of the Nile is another unforgettable in Uganda.

3. Mountaineering

Mountaineering is a top rewarding adventure enjoyed in Mount Elgon and Mount Rwenzori the famed World Heritage Sites offering opportunity to see nature at its best. Be the one to witness the wonderful views of rainforests, bamboo forests, alpine vegetation and clouds in close range. Trekking Rwenzori and Elgon is incredible and unique because of you feel, see and relax in nature. The ascending bit will put a smile on your face passing through various vegetation, valleys, and glaciers.

4. Gorilla Trekking

Uganda also known as the pearl of Africa has many incredible tour adventures but gorilla trekking is one of the most loved and outstanding forest jungle experience you can never find anywhere other than Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. I believe no adventure seeker can miss to track mountain gorillas in either Bwindi impenetrable forest or Mgahinga National Park. The time is now to grab the opportunity of spending time with endangered mountain gorillas and live with happy wildlife memories that last for life. Uganda’s prime tourists attraction “Mountain Gorillas “ are trekked daily Monday –Sunday  in groups of eight  and tourists must follow the gorilla trekking rules and regulations for safety purposes. Pack right and dress right for the trek as advised by gorilla trekking specialist. Being fit is a must because the activity is quite challenging.

5. Hiking

Hiking might not be the main tourist attraction for travelers to Uganda but it’s still one of the best way to experience the beauty of landscape, birds, animals and people. While mountain Ruwenzori fame for best hiking trails, there are so many others worth to be explored including Sipi Falls, Mgahinga national park Volcanoes, Lake Bunyonyi islands, Mountain Elgon etc.

Finding the Gorillas in the Tropical Rain Forests of Uganda

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The endangered gorillas are one of the most sought after animals in this world by nature lovers. There are two species of gorillas and four subspecies of gorillas that is the western gorillas comprising of west lowland gorillas and the cross river gorillas and the eastern gorillas comprising of mountain gorillas and the eastern lowland gorillas. The gorillas are endangered species of animals in that in the near future if not conserved and protected, they may get extinct in the near future. The gorillas belong to the ape family where mankind falls. These animals have a 98 DNA similarity with mankind as their respiratory, nervous and immune systems are the same. These are one of our closest cousins.  The gorillas always inhabit in cool and forested areas. Uganda is one of the countries with the best habitats for the gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forests and Virunga massif.

In the tropical rain forests in the Kigezi region southwest of Uganda, there exists one of the subspecies of gorillas the mountain gorillas. These subspecies of gorillas are only found in Uganda, Rwanda and dr. Congo. The mountain gorillas get the name from the location of their habitats. The mountain gorillas live in the very dense tropical rain forests in the highlands of East Central Africa.  The mountain gorillas are only about 900 individuals in the world and being share by the three East Central Africa and Uganda shelters a half of the total population about 480 individuals. The mountain gorillas in Uganda were protected and gazzatted in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park in the kigezi region. These two national parks where created to protect the gorillas that were decreasing drastically due to loss of habitats, poaching, disease and the civil war in Congo. In these tow national park is where the gorillas re monitored and protected by a national body of Uganda Wildlife Authority.  The national parks are open to the public to visit the mountain gorillas in the wild. Some families of the mountain gorillas in these parks were habituated where by the tourists can come and hang out with them. In Bwindi impenetrable national park there are 12 families available for gorilla trekking and two for gorilla habituation and in Mgahinga there is one family available for gorilla trekking.

Gorilla trekking is the common main activity taken by tourist to watch the gorillas in the wild. It involves hiking the tropical rain forests of Uganda in search of the gorillas. This takes 2-8 hours to find the gorillas as these huge primates are nomadic animals that never stay in one place for a day. The tourist under the guidance of the patron walk on the steep trail following the previous foot prints to track the gorillas.

When the gorillas are met, the trackers have rules to follow like staying a 7 meter gap, keeping their voices low and also putting off their camera flashes. The tourist interact with the gorillas for one hours as they observe the gorillas communicating, playing with their young ones and also observe how they relate amongst them and their relating is so intriguing as you might find their humans.

Trekking in these tropical rain forest of Uganda as you search for the gorillas is always a very captivating experience, an experience you can never forget in your entire life as the gorillas are a beauty to watch and interact with.

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