9 reasons you should trek mountain gorillas in Uganda
There are only three mountain gorilla trekking destinations in the world. These include Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with Uganda as the most popular and home to over half of the world’s Mountain gorillas. Over years, it has been recorded that majority of Uganda’s tourists would like to include gorilla trekking in their tour packages, besides other thrilling activities. Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park, both located far in the south western part near the Uganda-Rwanda border. Gorilla trekking is conducted all year around but the best time is in the months of June, July, August, September and December. This is because of the less rains thus the park is drier and easier to take on the challenging the terrain.
Most tourists get hard times when trying to figure out which of these countries is ideal for gorilla trekking and below are the reasons you should choose Uganda as your best gorilla trekking destination.
- MORE AFFORDABLE PERMITS IN UGANDA
Gorilla trekking permits in Uganda are only US $700 and UG shillings 250,000 for foreigners and East Africans per day respectively, as compared to neighboring Rwanda which charges US $1,500 per day. There is definitely a difference of about US $800 saved, and this gives chance for more activities to be included in the tour package. This factor has largely been one of the reasons tourists trek the endangered species in Uganda, as the budget tourists also have the opportunity to participate in the trekking.
- HIGHER CHANCES OF SIGHTING THE MOUNTAIN GORILLAS IN UGANDA
There are five gorilla trekking sectors in Uganda, four of them are found in Bwindi impenetrable national park namely; Buhoma sector, Ruhija sector, Rushanga sector, and Nkuringo sector and one other found in Mgahinga national park (Nyakagezi sector). The sectors in Bwindi have fifteen families and two other families are found in Mgahinga thus a guarantee of sighting the mountain gorillas during a trek. However, tourists are encouraged to purchase the permits early enough probably 3 months prior to your arrival since their availability is limited and are served on first come- first serve basis.
- CHANCE TO ENCOUNTER OTHER PRIMATES
Gorilla trekking in Uganda also gives chance to see a variety of other primates in the forests for instance, you could see the L’hoest monkeys, grey-cheeked monkeys, blue monkeys and golden monkeys comically hopping on the trees and enjoying their natural habitat. One could also choose to further track chimpanzees in Kibale national park which is also located in the vicinity of these parks to enhance the whole experience. Besides the primates, there are various bird species, plant species, butterflies and cold but serene environment to enjoy as you trek the terrain.
- GORILLA HABITUATION IN UGANDA
This is an opportunity to the tourists who prefer spending more time with the mountain gorillas and lasts up to 4 hours as compared to gorilla trekking where tourists are only given 1 hour to spend time viewing and enjoying gorilla interactions. A habituation permit is US $1,500 per day and per person, which is worth if compared to Rwanda’s US $1,500 for only gorilla tracking. Gorilla habituation experience gives tourists the opportunity to have an in-depth understanding of gorilla behavior and lifestyle. Note that among the three gorilla tracking destinations in the world, Uganda is the only destination that offers gorilla habituation experience.
- VARIETY OF OTHER SAFARI ACTIVITIES
Uganda, apart from Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park has other 8 national parks and 13 game reserves, which offer game drives, boat cruises, cultural experiences and so many other activities. Bwindi national park in particular has Batwa cultural tours that are usually offered after a gorilla tracking experience. The batwa community also known as batwa pygmies, consists of native and traditional group of people who have lived in this forest for their lifetime. They are believed to be the most primitive tribe in Uganda and therefore, a visit to their community exposes tourists to their lifestyle, traditional practices, any many more to discover.
About 10 hours drive from Entebbe international airport to Bwindi national park in south western Uganda gives chance to tourists to view the breathtaking sceneries of rolling hills and valleys, banana and tea plantations along the roads, make stopovers and enjoy the road side fruits sold by local vendors.
Other national parks in Uganda can be included in the tour packages so that tourists can make stop overs and enjoy the diverse tour activities before they finally track the mountain gorillas. This can be either on the way to or from Bwindi impenetrable national park. For instance, they can track the tree climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth national park, wildlife viewing on horse backs in Lake Mburo national park, and so on.
- ENCOURAGES CONSERVATION AND ENHANCE HOUSEHOLD INCOMES
Trekking gorillas in Uganda is a great opportunity of conserving and fighting destruction of habitat since it’s the major threat to the mountain gorillas. The local people in this area sometimes encroach the forests to create more land for settlement and farming therefore, trekkers are encouraged to support the communities by buying locally made crafts, hire porters to help during the treks and also participate in coffee processing activities done within the communities. The locals thereafter use the money collected to enhance their living standards.
- IT IS AN ADVENTUROUS ACTIVITY
Gorilla trekking is extensively adventurous activity and therefore, tourists who love more challenging activities can include gorilla tracking to their tour packages. Trekking the Ugandan terrain and penetrating through the impenetrable forest is quite challenging but much easier as compared to Rwanda and where need be, porters are usually available to offer help to extremely tired trekkers. Other adventurous activities to look forward to in Uganda include abseiling at Sipi falls, white water rafting, tubing on the Nile and many more.
- UGANDA IS A PEACEFUL COUNTRY
Uganda over years has been a relatively peaceful and politically stable country hence creating a conducive environment for tourists who visit the country. Uganda Wildlife Authority has also deployed game rangers in the national parks who ensure safety and security of tourists during their visits.
- AVAILABILITY OF A RANGE OF ACCOMMODATION FACILITIES
Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park are surrounded by various lodges ranging from budget to luxury, strategically located in areas that give breathtaking views. The staff at these lodges are professional, hospitable and offer quality services. These lodges also offer a variety of continental foods and local foods therefore a variety to choose from. The lodge policies are convenient and easy to adhere to, thus enhancing your safari in Uganda.
In conclusion, many tourists have chosen Uganda as the best gorilla trekking destination and some have gone ahead to recommend or make return visits so as to have another round of experiencing the beauty of Uganda.
For memorable, exceptional and affordable Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda, book with us at www.dalinksafaris.com. We offer quality services, that exceed expectations, we pride in client satisfaction.
Top 5 fascinating islands to visit in Uganda
Uganda, besides national parks, cities and other natural tour sites; is gifted with over 90 beautiful islands that are located on various lakes all over the country. These islands are characterized by melodious chants of birds, breathtaking views, cool forests, sandy beaches for sun bathing and a bunch of activities to explore which include birding, sunset cruises, camping, fishing and nature walks, thus a perfect vacation spot for holiday makers. Some of them also have cultural beliefs and stories attached to them, therefore offering cultural experiences to tourists.
On the other hand, these islands also have very cozy, luxurious and yet affordable hotels located along the lake shores giving you a beach view to wake up to every morning. They offer exceptional services, variety of cuisines, fruits and cocktails to enhance your stay.
The following are the top 5 fascinating islands to consider when choosing a vacation destination in Uganda.
1. Ssese Islands
Ssese islands is an archipelago of 84 islands located on the north western part of Lake Victoria, and undoubtedly a gem that is worth exploring after an adrenaline packed safari in Uganda. It has been named as one of the best places to relax and unwind, as you enjoy the sandy beaches, and amazing sceneries especially during a sunset cruise on the lake. This island is also known for inhabiting variety of bird species, palm trees and fruits such as bananas, avocado, watermelons, pineapples and others.
To get to Ssese island from Kampala or Entebbe international airport, you need to board a public taxi or commercial motorcycles commonly known as Boda boda, or alternatively one can drive to Nakiwogo landing site where you will find MV Kalangala that leaves daily at 2pm and charges about Ugx.15,000 or US $5. The ferry takes about 3 hours to get the island and it offers both first- and second-class tickets. Surely, a visit to Ssese island is worth it, especially as a way to end a safari or for couples on honeymoon.
2. Ngamba island
Ngamba island also known as chimp island, is located about 23km from mainland of Entebbe town and it covers an area of about 100 acres with almost 95 acres covered by rain forest. This island is popularly known for the chimpanzee sanctuary that was founded in 1998 and is a home to 49 orphaned and confiscated chimps that are rescued from illegal pet and bush meat trade. Besides the chimpanzees, the island is a habitant for other wildlife species such as bats, spiders, butterflies, and a variety of bird species. Activities that can be done on a visit to Ngamba island include fishing, sunset walks, boat cruises, and of course chimp habituation. Just like other islands, Ngamba island offers an amazing scenery for sunrise and sunset viewing.
3. Bunyonyi Islands
Bunyonyi islands is found on Lake Bunyonyi in south western Uganda, in districts of Kibale and Kisoro, and also not far away from Rwanda. It is an archipelago of 29 islands surrounded by terraced rolling hills that give a beautiful, amazing and breathtaking sceneries to view. One of the most famous islands is Akampene famously known as punishment island. The Bakiga back in the days, believed that sex before marriage was forbidden and girls who would get pregnant before marriage, would be banished to the island to either starve to death or until any interested man paid bride price. These islands are also referred to as a “a place of many birds”, with over 200 bird species that have been recorded in the Bunyonyi area over years.
4. Samuka Island
Samuka island is located one and a half hours and 9km offshore Lake Victoria in Jinja district, and it is a perfect holiday spot for concluding a jinja trip or any other Ugandan tours. This island boasts of tranquility and peace that they offer to its visitors during their stays at Samuka island retreat; which does not only offer room accommodation but also camping. The island has over 50 bird species, sandy beaches that are great for sun bathing, beach games and photography moments. A visit to this island will leave you thinking of how beautiful Uganda is, besides its wildlife and culture. Events such as team building, weddings, corporate events, and other kind of parties can be held on this island as well. To access Samuka island, you can use a boat from Masese and Jinja sailing club or one can hire a corporate cruise at ‘Rumours the getaway’ to the island.
5. Lunkulu Island
This island is not as famous as the others but it is a hidden gem worth visiting. It is 60km from Jinja and 42km from Kampala off Katosi-Mukono road. Lunkulu island was occupied by Bayimba in November 2017 and sits on 100 acres covered majorly by a forest. This forest inhabits various bird species and monkeys such as red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked monkeys, mangabeys and colobus monkeys. It also offers a serene, calm, unique and memorable tourism experience. This island is majorly known for the Annual Bayimba international festival that happens every august and is usually open to everyone. This 4-days festival is a fun-filled event that offers music, dance, poetry, comedy, film fashion, exhibition and company to attendees. Check out their website for details about this year’s event www.bayimbafestival.com
For memorable, exciting and lifetime experiences at any of these islands, inquire and book you Uganda safari with www.dalinksafaris.com , we organize and deliver quality tour services to our clients.
Top 7 must visit tourist destinations in Uganda
There are so many tourist destinations in Uganda for those planning to visit. Uganda is also referred to as the Pearl of Africa, by Winston Churchill, one of the country’s earliest tourists in 1907. His personal opinion was that Uganda is ecologically a model country and can barely be compared to any other African country in the context of nature and beauty.
With over 30 different ingenious languages spoken, Uganda is considered the most ethnically diverse country in Africa.
The following are some of the tourist sites that you must not miss during your visit to Uganda.
1. Kampala City
Kampala is the capital city of Uganda, commonly known as a city that never sleeps. The city’s name means “that is of the impala”. Kampala region was originally reserved as a hunting region due to its ever-present supply of impalas- a type of antelope.
Kampala city is characterized by busy markets like the City’s Owino market said to be the largest in both central and East Africa. Owino Market is a must-do experience when visiting Uganda because here you get to browse the different market items like the Ugandan art crafts, clothes, grocery, among others.
There is much more than Kampala offers than the impressive Owino market experience. The beautiful temples, cathedrals, art galleries, and museums include the popular Uganda National Museum, the magnificent Bars, clubs, and restaurants, and the different night-glowing hills that Kampala city sits on.
2. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Just like the name states “Bwindi impenetrable”, this park is located within one of Africa’s oldest and rich forests that inhabit almost half of the world’s endangered mountain Gorillas. The park also has recorded over 350 bird species, 200 tree species, 1 20 mammals, and various butterfly and moth species.
Bwindi Impenetrable National park is located in southwestern Uganda, in Kisoro district accessible throughout the year.
The highlight of visiting this park is tracking the rare Mountain gorillas. A total number of fifteen Gorilla groups have been habituated since 1 993 and are tracked every year by tourists.
Gorilla tracking can last from 6 hours up to a whole day depending on how far the group has moved. Gorilla tracking permits must be purchased in advance due to high demand by tourists. Da Link safaris designs well planned Gorilla tracking tour packages customized to make the experience even more memorable
3. Sipi falls
Sipi Falls is a popular site located in eastern Uganda in the district of Kapchorwa and on the slopes of Mount Elgon National Park.
It is a series of three waterfalls that offer very striking scenery from any point of view.
Sipi Falls is a nice place to relax and literally chill. Its geographical location away from the hustle and noise of the towns and cities makes it an explicit destination.
While at Sipi falls, one can participate in various activities such as abseiling, hiking to the falls, cave exploration, cultural experience, sunset, and sunrise walks, to mention but a few.
4. Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison falls National park is the largest and one of the oldest national parks in Uganda gazetted in 1926. It is located in the northwestern parts of Uganda famously known for its tremendous ear-splitting waterfalls busting through the narrow gullies with very high escarpments, not forgetting the different wildlife species such as elephants, lions, leopards, buffalos, giraffes, among others. A hike to the top of the falls, boat cruise to the bottom of the falls will highlight your visit to this park.
Bird watching in this park will give you chance to sight both land and aquatic bird species as over 450 bird species have been recorded over years. The rare shoebill is usually sighted along the Nile delta.
Other activities in this park include game drives, sport fishing, not forgetting a visit to Ziwa Rhino sanctuary a few kilometers away from the park.
5. Jinja City
Jinja is a famous colonial industrial town located in the Eastern part of Uganda. It is the home of the popular Basoga people.
Jinja city is internationally known as the birthplace of River Nile-the longest river in the world.
Jinja’s gift of River Nile comes with a series of other impressive natural phenomena like the steep cliffs along the river, the heart-throbbing rapid waterfalls, and a beautiful landscape to view. Tourism activities in Jinja include bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, whitewater tubing, mountain biking, quad-biking, boat cruise along the Nile, zip-lining, among others.
6. The equator
It’s not wise enough to talk about Uganda without mentioning the equator. Uganda is blessed to be among the few countries in the world where the equator passes. This offers you a chance to be in two hemispheres at the same time.
The equator landmark is located along Kampala-Masaka road, a highway to other fascinating tourist sites like Queen Elizabeth National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in western Uganda. Therefore, an experience of the equator can be treated as a stopover activity while heading for other richly endowed sites as mentioned above.
The equator landmark in Uganda grants you an opportunity to take memorable photos standing right in the center of the imaginary latitude line cutting across the world.
7. Ziwa rhino sanctuary
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is located about 1 00 miles north of Kampala in Nakasongola district, on Kampala- Gulu highway, 5km before turning to Masindi.
This is a home for the rare southern white rhino which is the 3rd largest land mammal after the African and Asian elephants.
These Rhinos being herbivorous, contribute much to the ecosystem and the survival of many other branches of nature however, due to the destructive nature of humans, they became extinct in Uganda by 1982. These Rhinos are also called the square-lipped rhinoceros and they are known to be quite sociable, the reason they can be tracked on foot by tourists with the help of tour guides.
Ziwa Rhino sanctuary was established in 2005 to reintroduce the southern white rhinoceros to Uganda with a longtime obligation to build a sustainable rhinoceros’ population.
In a nutshell, tourism in Uganda is mainly focused on Uganda’s nature and wildlife and the above are some of the destinations you should look forward to visiting while in the Pearl of Africa. However, there are a lot more breathtaking places you can visit while in Uganda.
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