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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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How to Get the Best of a Uganda Self Drive Safari

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In the world of traveling and adventuring, there is nothing and memorable like the visit and exploring a foreign country on self-drive in a rented car. Many car rental companies in Uganda offer cars for self-drive in Uganda when they are already designed for wildlife parks in the country. These cars are 4×4 because the road in some destinations are in bad conditions and can only be passable in a 4×4 vehicle. Many of their cars are in good conditions and simple cars that can be operated by a driver with less skilled because they offer all the types of cars. Below are the most important rules to follow when using self-drive in any destination in Uganda

Always keep enough distance from the animals; driving near the wild animals is so dangerous. The animals like the elephants, buffaloes, Rhinos, and the lions charge at the vehicles or any outside interruptions. It’s strongly advisable to keep about 100m away from such animals in wildlife parks for your safety and the successful trip.

Always keep a low speed; there is no need of rushing when driving in a wildlife park or in any other place and there is nothing good that comes with driving fast but only problems. You can even miss out on the great opportunities of seeing some of the wildlife and another thing, the speed limit with in the national park is 40 kms/hour and since the animals have got the full right of the way, so in case you find the animals sleeping in the road you have to stop the engine and wait for them. What you have to do is enjoy your trip is to drive slowly and take off the engine and make the most of your photo moment.

Always avoid hooting inside the park; this is prohibited by Uganda Wildlife Authority or as one of the rules, this is unacceptable conduct in the park. Hooting drives off the animals and these run deep in the park where they can’t easily be seen. For purposes of conservation for future generation, always avoid hooting whenever driving in the national park.

Always stay in the car; when you’re in the game reserves, getting out of the vehicle when you are in the middle of the park doesn’t guarantee your safety or the insurance of your life. Respect the animals and stay in the vehicles unless it’s a gazzetted area and allowed to explore out of your vehicle. It’s also recommended that you watch the animals through the open roof of the vehicles or through the windows of the car for safety reasons.

Always stop the car engine, this is so important for the best views of wildlife in the park, because you will not interrupt the animals with the car engine sound. You can do this in case you are sure of your vehicle to kindle fast when need emerges.

Always follow the rest and ask where necessary; Many tourists on self-drive in Uganda are not familiar with the tracks in the parks. However there is always an alternative of finding wildlife or special sports for wildlife watching, follow other safari vehicles where they go to and take the same route or always ask, there are many rangers who are ready to help you in the national parks.

How to Choose A Tour Company For Your Uganda Travels

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Choosing the right travel company is one of the ways of ensuring a successful Uganda safari. This is because you will be coordinating with the travel company and its staff to help you create a Uganda Safari experience that meets your expectations. This company that you have chosen will have to arrange logistical details, such as transportation to, from and within a selected destination; your accommodation and meals.

The company should be a licensed Ugandan tour operator. Remember there are more than 500 safari companies confined in Uganda and fewer than 200 of them are registered members of AUTO. With many tour operators simply putting logos of Uganda organizations claiming to be members with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), it is important to check the list of tour operators listed on the AUTO website. A member of AUTO works with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to market the gorilla trekking permits. It is also important to use a local tour operator registered as business in the country and licensed by established agencies such as the Uganda Tourism Board and the Ministry of Tourism.

Form of payment

Tour operators offer different ways of payments. It is common to transfer money via Bank Wire Transfers. With improving online transaction usage, credit cards are becoming usable in Uganda. PayPal payments are of limited usage given that Uganda paypal users cannot receive money via the system. Please note that if you are making a wire transfer, it is important to send the payment directly to a business account and not personal account. Travelers are advised not to send money through western union or money gram given that many fake impostors can use such services to scam travelers. Avoid sending credit card details to tour company through email given that most agencies use online credit card processing agents such as PesaPal, Xpress Pay etc. Cash is also allowed in most tour companies.

Compare the prices of tour operators

The cost for Ugandan safaris varies from company to company. Therefore before making your choice make sure that you take comparison and weigh which one offers the best prices with the best services, especially in areas of tourism activities, lodges, safari cars to mention but a few.

Also note that the different elements included in the tour package. Some companies also rate safari lodges differently.

Quick Response

Communication between client and tour operator is very vital for feedback. Most travelers who have never been to Uganda will have several questions requiring urgent answers especially on lodge description, tourism activities, insights, offers and many more. Usually, do not consider that a tour company with lowest cost isn’t that the best for your safari, you need a company that pays attention to details, replies visitors questions, and also understand the mindset of the visitor. In most cases tour operators focus on selling a safari and forget interacting with the clients.

Research the company’s Reputation

Always remember that there’s a risk when sending money to the safari company check their reputation before any transactions. Therefore, make sure that the safari company is recognizable by the government of that particular country. You might even face problems with your travel insurance if the tour operator is not registered. Registration also protects your money against disasters, as either your safari company or the government will reimburse back for example in the case of bankruptcy. You could also look for the memberships of safari associations. These memberships don’t necessarily guarantee the reputation, but the lack of them could indicate something. A reliable safari company should have an address in that country as well as stable ownership. Answering actively and profoundly to your questions gives proof of their level of customer service, which might guarantee the best possible experiences on a safari. This can also be based on social media platforms like Google+, twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest. Active social media plat forms indicate that the company still exists and fully operating.

Activeness of the company

Before submitting your bookings, make sure that you check how often the tour company carries out safaris with in the country. This can be determined by checking out some reviews on trip advisers or from the past clients who received services from the same tour operator. If you put this into consideration, you will be able to tell if the tour operator is reliable and trust worthy.

Period in operation

Check to see how long the company has been operating. You will want to find a company that has a solid track record of providing excellent safaris, and the length of time that they have been in business is a good indicator of this. They will also be happy to work alongside you to create the safari of your dreams, and will do everything they can to ensure that you will have the best experience possible.

Finally, properly evaluate and compare travel programs. Ask your representative to review the itinerary with you day by day: How much travel time is involved getting from point A to point B? How many people will be in your group? Will you have direct access to wildlife areas? What specific accommodations and vehicles should you expect.

Best 5 National Parks to Go Camping in Uganda

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Uganda is exceptionally the best site that you need to pay a visit if you are planning to undertake an independent camping adventure in Africa. Camping in national parks is so exciting however, let it stay in your minds that you are not supposed to start moving anywhere you feel like going while in the wild. Wild animals cannot read signs that show the campsite and are more likely to wonder around both day and night. Make sure you look round constantly and be aware of what is around you. At night make sure you have a sufficient flashlight and extra batteries so that you can check what is around you before moving very far from the vehicle. The following are the best national parks to go camping in Uganda.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the most popular of all Uganda’s national parks. Home to almost half of the world’s remaining population of the mountain gorillas, Bwindi is a place to visit if you are go gorilla tracking in Uganda. Though gorilla tracking doesn’t come cheaply, you can plan a budget camping safari in Uganda. You can book gorilla permits for this thrilling primate safari experience with one of the local tour operators listed on this website or book a fully inclusive camping safari in Uganda.

Murchison Falls National Park

Camping around the campsites, is the perfect way for you to interact with the community members and also have a hand in most of tourist local traditions and practices like craft making and food preparation and then connect for wilderness activities in Murchison Falls National Park. Boomu Women’s Group Campsite is one of the camping sites in Murchison Falls National Park located near Budongo Forest Reserve. It serves best for independent camping adventure undertakers on Uganda safaris.

Red Chili Rest Camp is located within Murchison Falls National Park in the southern back of the River Nile, approximately 500 meters off the Paraa ferry. A bonfire is lit most evening provided the weather allows for full safari experience. The camp offers mid budget accommodation in the park in well furnished safari tents and bandas with public or private bathrooms and the only camping facilities with up to date showers, toilets, cooking area and security lighting.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National ParkQueen Elizabeth National Park is set in western Uganda about 5-6 hours’ drive from Kampala. It is named after the former Queen Elizabeth the second of England. Queen Elizabeth National Park was established in 1954 to offer refuge to its diverse wildlife species including the unique tree climbing lions, elephants, hippos, crocodiles, over 620 birds including pelicans, shoebill, bee-eaters and others; leopards, chimpanzees, lions, buffaloes and others. The activities to enjoy while on safari at Queen Elizabeth National Park include game drive (game viewing at Queen Elizabeth National Park is ideal along Kasenyi and Ishasha area), boat or launch cruise, bird watching, chimpanzee tracking, chimpanzee tracking, nature walks and others.

Simba Safari Camp is one of the most popular camps in Queen Elizabeth National Park and it is located on top of the hill that over views Lake Kikorongo. The site offers the best panoramic views beyond the park’s open savanna plains plus wildlife species and Lakes especially Lake George and the renowned Kazinga Channel. It is also strategically located along the Kasenyi plains, on the edge of Lake George which is the most famous mating ground for Uganda Kobs making it the best wildlife spotting site in the park.

The camp is also next to other areas in the northern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park for instance the Mweya Peninsula and the Kazinga Channel that allow you to also undertake a boat cruise, close range game viewing and birding. Visitors can also engage in guided chimpanzee trekking around the Kyambura Gorge. This camp comes with nine twin or double rooms and two triple rooms all en-suite, two family cottages each with two bedrooms, living room, one additional bed and a shared bathroom for all and three dormitory rooms with 3, 5 and 10 double-decker beds all with a common bathroom facilities and a private campsite but you will need your personal camping gear.

In the southern Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park on River Ntungwe is Ishasha Wilderness Camp. It offers visitors on self drive adventure with authentic African experiences. Camping around this camp offers you opportunity to spot out the unique tree climbing lions as well as buffaloes, elephants, black and white colobus monkeys and many more.

Kidepo Valley National Park

Apoka Rest Camp lies North of Uganda and consists of 16 (sixteen) self contained cabins and a hostel that comprise of 14 (fourteen) bandas and each of them have two beds for budget travelers. The camp is located in Kidepo National Park but you are advised to come along with your personal tents and other necessary camping gadgets, adequate food as well as drinks, meaning you will have a chance to make camping ground for yourself. The bandas offer budget prices and they comprise of toiletries. These bandas comes with outstanding views of the open savanna in Kidepo Valley National Park. This park is perfect for wildlife viewing, birding, guided nature walks as well as community visits especially to Karamojong Manyatta house.

Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Uganda

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Uganda is situated in East Africa and it is best described as the pearl of Africa for many reasons. It is in Uganda that you can find all that Africa has in offer to the world. Below are some of the unique attractions to explore in Uganda

Mountain gorilla trekking

Uganda is a home to a section of mountain gorillas that today remain not more than 1004 in the world and only thrive in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This makes Uganda one of the best destinations for you to embark on a trek to view mountain gorillas in the wild. In Uganda, gorilla treks are conducted in only Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park. To trek to view mountain gorillas in Uganda, you need $600 to help you obtain gorilla permit that will allow you track only one habituated family.

Big game and other wildlife

Uganda is a home to diverse wildlife including the big game for instance African elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, leopards, lions plus tree climbing lions, giraffes, zebras, hippos, crocodiles, over 1080 bird species and others. To catch a glimpse at these diverse wildlife species, you can embark on a game drive, hot air balloon or boat ride to see mostly water species.

Mountains

If you are interested in hiking/mountaineering, Uganda has you covered. The incredible mountains to hike through while on Uganda safari include Gahinga, Sabyinyo and Muhabura volcanoes in Mgahinga National Park; the Rwenzori Mountains, Mount Elgon in Mount Elgon National Park and many others. You can book a Rwenzori Trekking Tour with one of the tour operators listed here.

National parks

Uganda is a home to ten national parks each of which inhabits distinct or offer unique experiences making them a few most exceptional tourist sites. They include Murchison Falls National Park is set in northwestern Uganda and remarkably the largest of all the ten national parks in this magical country. It spans up to 3840 square kilometers and inhabits variety of wildlife including leopards, lions, elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, over 451 bird species, chimpanzees, crocodiles, giraffes, warthogs, hippos and others; Queen Elizabeth National Park a home to African elephants, lions plus the rare tree climbing lions, leopards, several antelopes, over 620 bird species. Other parks include Kidepo National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Semuliki National Park, Mount Elgon National Park, Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Kibale National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park.

Lake Bunyonyi

Best described as the place of many little birds, Lake Bunyonyi is undoubtedly that one most magical tourist site Uganda in offer for the world. It is one of the deepest lakes in Africa with about 29 magical islands widely distributed.

River Nile

The River Nile is one of the magical places to visit in Uganda. A visit to Nile River in Uganda allows you to take part in numerous activities including sport fishing, boat tours, kayaking, bungee jumping, white water rafting-one of the most lovely water sports offered at the source of the Nile and others. River Nile is one of the longest rivers in the world with length of about 6695km. It flows through several African countries including DR Congo, Sudan, Tanzania, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt and Rwanda.

Waterfalls

Uganda features a number of magical waterfalls that you need to explore while on African safari. The notable waterfalls to visit in Uganda include Murchison Falls which is found in Murchison Falls National Park-it is remarkably one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world; Ssezibwa Falls in Mukono which about 30kms drive on Jinja highway.

Other tourist attractions include historical and cultural sites such as the Kampala Hindu Temple, Lubiri Palace, Kasubi tomb site, Ndere cultural center, Uganda museum, monuments, Uganda martyrs shrine and many others.

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.

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