Category Archives: Tourist Attractions in Uganda

Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National park lies in the rugged, semi-arid valleys between Uganda’s borders with Sudan and Kenya. The park is situated in Kaabong District in the north eastern part of Uganda .The park is located in an estimated distance of 520 kilometers by road from Kampala and 220kilometres by road from Moroto town. The wonderful park was gazetted as a national park in the year 1962 and it has a profusion of big game and hosts over 77 mammal species as well as around 475 bird species.
Kidepo Valley National Park covers an approximated area of 1,442 square kilometers (557 sq mi) and the national park lies in the Karamoja region in northeast Uganda. Kidepo is rugged savannah is dominated by the 2,750 meters (9,020 ft) Mount Morungole and transected by the Kidepo and Narus rivers.
Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park, but the few who make the long journey north through the wild frontier region of Karamoja would agree that it is also the most magnificent, for Kidepo ranks among Africa’s finest wildernesses. From Apoka, in the heart of the park, a savannah landscape extends far beyond the gazetted area, towards horizons outlined by distant mountain ranges.
In 1958, before the park was gazzetted as game reserve, the area was first occupied with the Dodoth pastoralists and Ik farmers who depended on the area’s natural resources. The park was later on gazzetted in the year 1962 to help protect the animals from hunting and to prevent further clearing of bush for tsetse fly-control. The first Chief Warden of the National Park was Ian Ross, a Briton. In 1972 Paul Ssali, a Ugandan, replaced him.
During the dry season, the only permanent water in the park is found in wetlands and remnant pools in the broad Narus Valley near Apoka. These seasonal oases, combined with the open, savannah terrain, make the Narus Valley the park’s prime game viewing location.

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The Primary grasses in the Narus Valley are the shorter red oat grass and taller bunchy Guinea grass and fine thatching grass. Common trees in the drier areas are red thorn acacias, desert dates, and to a lesser extent drumstick trees. The iconic sausage trees and fan palms line the water courses. Euphorbia candelabrum and the shorter monkey bread (or camel’s foot) and Buffalo thorn trees are also found.[8]
Perennial water makes River Kidepo an oasis in the semi-desert which hosts over 86 mammal species including lion, cheetah, leopard, bat-eared fox, giraffe as well as almost 500 bird species.

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Wildlife and Birding

Wildlife-The Park contains one of the most exciting faunas of any Ugandan national park. Along with the neighboring Karamoja region, it houses many species found nowhere else in Uganda, including the greater and lesser kudu, eland and cheetah. Carnivores here include the lion, leopard, spotted hyena and black-backed and side-striped jackals. Other large species regularly seen here are elephant, Burchell’s zebra, bushpig, warthog, Rothschild’s giraffe, Cape buffalo, bushbuck, bushduiker, Defassa waterbuck, Bohor reedbuck, Jackson’s hartebeest and oribi.
Birds-The Park boasts an extensive bird list of around 475 species, making it second only in Uganda to Queen Elizabeth National Park. A few species of note are the Ostrich, Kori Bustard and Karamoja Apalis. Kidepo is notable for its birds of prey. Of the 56 species recorded, 14 – including Verreaux’s Eagle, Egyptian Vulture and Pygmy Falcon – are believed to be endemic to the Kidepo and Karamoja region. There has, however, been no

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Apoka Tourism Centre-Overlooking the game-rich Narus Valley and home to an upmarket lodge and simple UWA-run cottages, Apoka is the park’s tourism hub. Ranger guides are stationed at Apoka to escort tourists on game drives and walks. For those without their own transport, park trucks can be hired. There is a craft shop with books and souvenirs; bottled water, sodas and alcoholic beverages can also be purchased here. Food is cooked on request and cooking gas and utensils can be hired by individuals who wish to cook for themselves.

Narus Valley-Narus Valley is rolling, grassland plain enclosed by distant mountains. The valley has permanent water, and for much of the year the park’s wildlife congregates here. Thus, the area is well provided with game tracks, with four loop circuits exploring the valley around Apoka. Many creatures such as lions, Jackson’s hartebeest, buffaloes, giraffes, oribis and reedbucks can be seen in the valley. Less commonly seen are cheetahs and leopards. The Narus dam and the water hole near the Tourism Centre are perfect observation points for game, especially during the dry season. At the southern end of the Katurum loop, Katurum kopje (the site of a derelict lodge) is an attractive destination with superb views north across the valley towards the Morungule mountain range.

Kidepo Valley and Kanangorok Hot Springs

For most of the year, a lack of surface water means that little wildlife is found in Kidepo Valley, though it is still worth the drive to visit the dry Kidepo River to stroll along its 50m wide bed of white sand between banks covered with borassus palms. Kidepo means to pick from below and the valley was visited by people coming to gather fallen borassus fruit for fermenting to make palm beer. The Kanangorok Hot Springs lie 11km beyond the Kidepo River on the Sudan border. This is a glorious place to sit and view the mountains beyond the frontier.

Mount Morungule

Mount Morungole stands at 2,750m and is crossed by the Kidepo and Narus Rivers that nourish the park’s wildlife and this natural habitat as a whole. The Morungole Range marks the southern boundary of the park and rises from the plains a few kilometers northeast of Apoka. This region can be explored on foot with a ranger. The mountain slopes are home to the IK people, the smallest ethnic group in Uganda, with their own unique culture.

Namamukweny Valley

Namamukweny is a Napore word meaning a place with no birds or a lonely place with few people – though regarding the birds, quite the opposite is true! The valley is inhabited by a large number of bird species such as the Eastern Paradise Whydah, White-crested Turaco, Common Bulbul, Abyssinian Roller and Green Wood Hoopoe among others. It is located in the north-west of the park and can be accessed by car or on foot.
Lomej Hills-The Lomej Hills are a short drive from the headquarters. They are a good viewing point for birds and wildlife, including the mountain reedbuck.

Beyond Apoka
Lonyili Mountain

Lying between Kitgum and the Sudan border, Lonyili Mountain is largely covered in montane forest and home to primates such as colobus monkeys. Due to poor conditions in this area the road is currently out of use. There are plans to repair it – you are strongly advised to contact UWA for updates before embarking on your journey to the mountain.

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Game Viewing

The park harbors a great diversity of animal species than other parks. Of the 80 species of mammals listed in 1971, 28 were not known to occur in any other Ugandan park. Among the Carnivore species unique to Kidepo and only Karamoja region include the bat-eared fox, striped hyena, aardwolf, caracal, cheetah and hunting dog. Kidepo suffered the with poachers during the Amin era, and is still recovering from years of poaching that left some game herds depleted. Striped Hyena, Lesser Kudu, Grant’s Gazelle and Beisa Oryx have not been seen at all in recent times and are presumed to be locally extinct. Elephant, burchell’s zebra, bush pig, warthog, rothschild giraffe, cape buffalo, eland, bush buck, bush duskier, defassa water buck, bohor reed buck, jackson’s hartbeest and oribi are some of the other large game herds as well as; lion,zebra, leopard, Buffalo,several small cats, Kangoni, spotted hyena, black-backed jackal and side-striped jackal-commonly seen. Five species of primate are found in the park- the Kavirondo bush baby being endemic. Oribis is abundant in the Narus Valley, whilst the dry thorn thickets in the north are home to Guenther’s Dik. Senegal Galago may be found in the rest camp at night and the common White-tailed Mongoose but are more likely to be found on a night drive. Kidepo also has a very rich and diverse reptile fauna.

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You have high chances of viewing tree climbing lions, that always sits on rock just as you enter the Apoka park headquarter or on sauces trees along Narus valley.

Hiking/Nature Walks in Kidepo Valley

The Lomej Mountains can be reached on foot in four hours, the hike starts at 7am. Shorter guided walks of around two hours can be taken through the Narus Valley extending over a 5km radius from Apoka Tourism Centre.

Visitors can also wander along the splendid Kidepo River Valley between banks of attractive borassus palm forest. Namamkweny Valley can be reached in one hour from Apoka. Visitors can also meet members of the IK tribe during prearranged hikes to the Morungole Mountains outside the park

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Birding in Kidepo Valley

Apoka Rest Camp is a great spot to begin your Kidepo birding experience. Birding can also be done on the fringes of the Narus and Namamukweny Valleys. Among the birds seen are the Abyssinian Roller, Purple Heron, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill and Clapperton’s Francolin, which is found only in Kidepo. The activity can be arranged both in the morning and evening.

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Kidepo Valley National Park can be connected to from the following originating areas;

The roads to Kidepo are in bad state especially in rainy seasons which requires 4×4 wheel drive in good mechanical conditions.
Kidepo can also be accessed by Air. Scheduled flights are operated by aero link to Kidepo from Entebbe International Airport. Other charter carriers offer the Air transfer on demand for either Entebbe or Kajjansi to Kidepo.
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Apoka Safari lodge.

Apoka Safari lodge is an upmarket accommodation establishment in Kidepo Valley National Park. It is a luxury setting in the remote wilderness of Kidepo located on a picturesque kopje overseeing the Narus River valley the epicenter of the park’s game viewing. It comprises of ten distinct cottages that are self-contained with inbuilt bath facilities and a terrace to chill at. These cottages are also ideal for honeymooners on Uganda tour. The lodge has a rock swimming pool making it unique. The lodge also has a restaurant and bar.

Apoka Rest Camp
This is a budget facility with sixteen self-contained chalets and a hostel consisting of fourteen Bandas each having 2 beds; the Bandas are actually not self-contained. The facility has a camping ground where the visitors can coordinate their camping arrangements thus carrying own tent and other camping gear is advisable. Guests are recommended to carry enough food as well as drinks to last them throughout their stay within the park. Cooking on this Uganda safari may be arranged with the camp staff.

Kakine Self-catering Campsite.
It’s located over a small distance from Apoka. This campsite is a budget facility has firewood and clean drinking water. It offers self-catering services.

Accommodation around Kidepo Valley National Park.

Nga Moru Wilderness Camp.
Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp is located on a hill top offering impressive sights across the Narus Valley along with savannah plains that stretch up to the towering Morungole Mountains. It has two self-contained cabanas. And each cabana can house up to four single beds. Three safari tents with a thatched roof are available to provide a cozy relaxing atmosphere with the capacity of two occupants. The tents are self-contained with basic units.
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Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth national park is situated in south western part of Uganda; spanning the districts of Bushenyi, Kasese, Rukungiri and Kamwenge, the park is situated at an estimated distance of 417  kilometers about 7-8 by road from Uganda’s Capital city Kampala driving on the south western direction. The nearby town of Kasese district is found outside the northeastern corner of the park. The park lies at the estimated Latitude of:-0.2000; Longitude: 30.0000.

Queen Elizabeth is the second largest protected area in Uganda and it covers an estimated area of 1,978 square kilometers (764 sq mi), of the total area occupied by the park, 50% of the park’s land are found in Bushenyi district, an estimated 17% of the park areas are positioned in Kasese and 33% of the protected area land lies in prominent Rukungiri Districts. The Queen Elizabeth park area stretches from Uganda’s Lake George found in the northeast part of the park to Lake Edward located in the southwest direction, and it also includes the magnificent Kazinga Channel that links the two lakes of Lake George to Lake Edward.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most popular game reserve for Uganda safaris and certainly one most scenic. It stretches from the crater-dotted foothills of the Rwenzori range in the north, along the shores of Lake Edward to the remote Ishasha River in the south, incorporating a wide variety of habitats that range from savanna and wetlands to gallery and lowland forest. This remarkable diversity is reflected in its bird list of over 600 species, the largest of any protected area in Africa

Queen Elizabeth National Park is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds.

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Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob.

The dramatic scenery is largely due to mountains beyond the park boundary. The park itself lies on the rift valley floor where it rises 480m from 910m at the Kazinga Channel to 1390m in the Explosion Crater field. The low altitude and its location directly on the equator mean that temperatures can be warm, rising from a mean minimum of 18oC to a mean maximum of 28oC. The park receives up to 1250mm of rain, mostly during March-May and September-November.

The park is known for its volcanic features, comprising volcanic cones and deep craters, many with crater lakes such as Lake Katwe where salt is mined. The national park has Maramagambo Forest and neighbors with Kigezi and Kyambura Game Reserves, Kibale National Park plus the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Kasese lying on its north-western wing

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Flora and fauna as tourist attractions in Queen Elizabeth national Park

Big Game –The Fifty-seven vegetation types  that have been identified  and summarized as just five vegetation zones  of forest; grassland; bushy grassland; Acacia woodland and lakeshore/swamp vegetation act as natural habitat to 95 species of mammals. The park has the most surprisingly record of  protecting 5000 hippos , 2500 elephants and over 10,000 individual buffalos. These species of wildlife grazers are mushrooming in the park’s grasslands vegetation and shorelines and hence making the park Uganda’s most popular tourist destination that guarantees visitors on Uganda Safaris sights and views of some of Africa’s most popular species of wildlife. The magical experience one can get from hearing the roaring sound of the elephants surviving around Queen’s crater-filled valleys is big reward for any traveller who books safaris to Uganda.

Big Cats- the Park has range of Big Cats such as lion described as a large -solitary cat dotted with black spots, the Leopards, Serval, Civet, and Genal Cats. Lions are distributed in all the parts of the park; however the most well-known and unique are the tree-climbing lions in the southern part of the Ishasha sector, these rare lions are only two populations in the whole of Africa and they prefer staying in the branches of the fig trees.  The species of the Solitary leopards found in this protected area are only active at night and hence can be easily watched during the night hour game drives. The other smaller members of the cat family are also nocturnal species and hence night game drives are recommendable for any visitor interested in the views of these stunning wildlife species.

Primates-The varied habitats of Queen Elizabeth support the survival of estimated ten individual species of primates including the chimpanzees. The other interesting primate species include Vervet monkeys, decorated species of the white and-black colobus monkeys which can be easily spotted and sighted in the trees. The oldest primate species in the park is the stubborn baboons which tend to grab tourist’s food from the vehicles if the car widows.

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 Birds- The popular Queen Elizabeth is one of the best national parks in Uganda with various bird species .The various habitats that include the savanna vegetation to wetlands as well as lowland forests vegetation favor the survival of distinct bird species. The park now boasts of over 612 different bird species making it the only park with the largest number of recorded bird list than any other protected areas of the whole region of East Africa. The highest number of the birds species recorded in this prominent birding area is considered as famous and popular unique birds of East Africa region and   hence making them must watch for all birdwatchers spending their birding safaris in Africa.

In African protected areas, the park’s impressive bird list is exceeded only by the neighboring Virunga National Park. To name but a few key species: martial eagle, black-rumped buttonquail, African skimmer, Chapin’s flycatcher, pink-backed pelicans, white-winged warbler, papyrus gonolek, papyrus canary, corncrake, lesser and greater flamingo, and shoebill stork.

Mweya Peninsula-The peninsula is the hub for tourism activity and accommodation in the central section of the park. A nature walk with a ranger guide enables you to explore remoter parts of the peninsula. This and other activities can be arranged from Mweya Information Centre. The facility overlooks the scenic Katwe Bay of Lake Edward and contains a souvenir shop and exhibits that describe the national park and its rift valley.

Kasenyi Plain-The plain situated north of the Kazinga Channel is the primary game viewing area. The areas is connected by network of tracks which make it easy to find unique wildlife species like elephants, buffalo and other animals in the mosaic of grassland thickets that cover the North Kazinga area near Mweya. However lion are most reliably sighted on the open Kasenyi plain east of the Kasese road where they prey on a large population of Uganda kob. Game drives are most rewarding in early morning and late afternoon. A ranger guide is recommended to help you make the most of your experience.

Katwe-The Katwe Salt Lake is home to Uganda’s oldest industry where traditional salt mining has been practiced since the 16th century. The neighboring Lake Munyanyange is a bird sanctuary, as well as a migratory location for the lesser flamingo from August to November.

Katwe Exploration Crater-The cluster of extinct volcanoes north of Mweya Safari Lodge can be explored by the winding 27km Crater Drive between the Main and Equator Gates. This provides superb views into numerous craters, some filled by lovely lakes, as well as towards the Rwenzori and across the rift valley floor.

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The Equator and the Queen’s Pavilion-The point where the equator crosses the Kasese road is marked by two concrete circles which provide a popular photo stop. The Queen’s Pavilion stands nearby at the northern entrance to the Crater Drive. A temporary shelter at this site hosted H.M. Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1954; a permanent pavilion was built in 1959 for a visit by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. This was restored for a second visit by the Duke of Edinburgh in 2007. A new information Centre on the site include internet facilities and a coffee shop.

Kyambura Wildlife Reserve- Located to the East of Kyambura Gorge, the reserve protects the south-eastern banks of the Kazinga Channel and consists of four crater lakes, where thousands greater and lesser flamingoes ,water  bird species like the great egret can be easily observed.

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Kazinga Channel-The 40km-long channel that connects Lake George to Lake Edward provides the park’s prime wildlife spectacle. Its shoreline attracts large numbers of birds, mammals and reptiles year round. These can be seen from two covered launches, Topi and Simba that cruise between Mweya Jetty and the channel’s entrance into Lake Edward. The launches run at 15.00 and 17.00. Additional voyages run at 11.00 and 13.00 subject to demand.

Maramagambo Forest- Buzzing with primates, including chimpanzees, baboons and several monkey species, the forest is one of Uganda’s largest tracts of tropical forest. Maramagambo is notable for its primate and bird populations like the rare Forest Flycatcher, White-naped Pigeon and the striking Rwenzori Turaco. One can also visit the ‘cormorant house’, a large tree that has been turned white by the birds that roost here at night.

The shady forest also conceals crater lakes and a “Bat Cave” with a specially constructed viewing room.. Trails explore the forest around Lake Nyamusingire. Wildlife sightings vary from day to day, but guaranteed events include the Bat Cave (with a resident, bat-hungry python), and the copper-rich Blue Lake.

Ishasha Sector-This remote southern region enjoys fewer visitors than the north, but those who venture this far may be rewarded with sightings of Ishasha’s most famous residents – the tree climbing lions – lounging in the branches while keeping a close eye on herds of Uganda kob. It is also home to many buffalo and elephants as well as the rare shoebill.
Ishasha is also a convenient region to pass through on the way to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Kyambura Gorge– The gorge is best known for its resident chimpanzees – some of which are habituated and can be tracked through the forest with trained UWA guides. Habituated chimpanzees live in the 100m deep gorge carved by the Kyambura River as it flows across the rift valley floor towards the Kazinga Channel. Guided walks to search for them start at Kyambura’s Fig Tree Camp at 08.00 and 14.00. The 3km road to the gorge is clearly signposted to help direct the visitors’ right from the highway to the George.

Caves in Queen Elizabeth-Tucked beneath the shady canopy of the Maramagambo Forest are the “Bat Cave”. The cave has a viewing room built through funding from the Center for Disease Control in which visitors can observe the bats as well as the pythons that live alongside them… did you know that these serpents live amongst their prey?!

For a more cultural cave experience, how about a trip to the historic cave at Nyanz’ibiri community, where a local guide will explain to you how it was once used for offering sacrifices and cleansing misfortunes… and as a hiding place during Uganda’s rule by Idi Amin.

OTher Tourist attractins in Queen Elizabeth national Park

Maramagambo Forest

Maramagambo Forest is one of the largest forests in Uganda. It is of medium altitude, moist and semi-deciduous, – there are not many forests left of this specification anymore. There are many walks which can be taken through this lush green forest and it is recommended that a UWA ranger guides on. One of the most popular walks is to Maramagambo bat caves where thousands of fruit bats roost every day. The walks are easy and on well-defined paths.

Visit to the Crater Lakes

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Katwe Crater Lakes are a cluster of ten crater lakes formed from extinct volcanoes. The lakes are situated north of Mweya Safari Lodge and can be explored down the winding 27km Crater Drive. These lakes offer stunning scenery and breathtaking views across Queen Elizabeth National Park and also on a clear day the neighbouring mountains of Congo. Some of the lakes are filled with water and provide ample opportunity to observe animals coming down to the water’s edge to drink.

Visit to the Salt Plains and Fishing Villages

Katwe Salt Lake is home to Uganda’s oldest industry. Here salt is mined in the traditional manner and the salt ore looks the same as it did in the 14th century. The salt mine has been portioned and distributed to different tribes in Uganda according to their traditional cultural expectations. Visit one of the local fishing villages and learn what is involved in the day to day life within Ugandan fishing community.

Cultural Encounters in Queen Elizabeth

Leopard Village-Leopard Village is a community-run, socio-economic development initiative that promotes cultural and wildlife conservation through ecotourism. Located near the village of Muhokya, Leopard Village sits on 3 acres bordering the northern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Visitors can tour replicas of the traditional huts of the Banyabindi, Bakonzo, and Basongora ethnic groups, watch traditional song and dance performances, and purchase handicrafts made by local communities.

Longer visits can include conversations with community members about the challenges and opportunities they face living next to the park, visits to local schools, and discussions about traditional village life and solutions for human-wildlife conflict. We can work with tour groups to create a customized program.

Leopard Village is a partnership between the local communities of Muhokya, Kahendero and Hamukungu, and the Uganda Carnivore Program, with support from zoos in the United States and Germany. All fees and donations go directly to community development, conservation and education projects, and to the individual artists. By supporting Leopard Village tourist and cultural activities, you will be assisting in the conservation of the area’s wildlife and supporting sustainable development in the local communities.

Kikorongo Women Community

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Culturalenconter-2Kikorongo means Too Much Sunshine in the local language of Lukonzo – but the heat of the African plains has not diminished the energy of the Kikorongo Equator Cultural Performers! This vibrant performance, which takes place at lodges around the park, is a wonderful glimpse of life in Kikorongo, with dance, drama, music and fire-making. While a local interpreter explains the significance of the performances, you can sit back and watch village life unfold in front of you.

Kikorongo’s African ArtCraft Workshops teach guests how to weave baskets and bowls using natural fibers – it´s not as easy as the teachers make it look! They also demonstrate how to recycle magazines into colorful paper beads, which can be made into unique necklaces. If your own craft skills are not up to scratch, beautiful items made by the women´s group, such as baskets, bowls, purses and woven belts, are available to purchase.

Katwe Tourism Information Centre (KATIC)

This unusual lake is far too salty to support much wildlife – though since the 16th Century it has ensured the survival of the Katwe villagers, who spend their days under the equatorial sun, walking the network of paths that cross-cross the lake and harvesting salt from its milky waters.

Katwe Salt Lake Tour gives a unique insight into the fascinating yet tough process of salt mining, as well as providing an alternative income for Katwe. See villagers at work on the lake, cross the mud walkways and enter a traditional grass hut. You will also pass the nearby bird sanctuary lake, home to thousands of birds, including flamingoes from October to May. A bird watching boardwalk will be ready in 2012.

During Katwe Village Walk, visitors are welcomed to a traditional homestead. Cooking demonstrations introduce the region’s cuisine, and there is also a trip to the local school.

Nyanz’ibiri Cave Community

Stretch your legs after long game drives with scenic walks around a slice of Ugandan paradise, at this community site known as The Cave. Admire panoramic views of volcanic crater lakes to a soundtrack of crested cranes and eagles. Paddle a canoe, hike to the Transparent Lake, spot eight species of forest primates, or just stop and smell the local flowers – this is the place to come to truly get away from it all!

Local attractions include a historic cave and Cultural Museum – a perfectly preserved Banyaruguru hut, filled with valued local artifacts that were once the tools of everyday life.

This community run establishment also offers three, fully furnished private bandas and a campsite. All visitors are invited to use our restaurant and bar, and enjoy our evening traditional dance performances. A generous portion of your activity and accommodation fees go directly to community development, conservation and educational projects.

Agro-Tour Walk

The sweeping Kichwamba Escarpment makes up the eastern wall of the Western Rift Valley. This 2-3 hour trail begins in rural Kataara Village with a hike through the farms of the escarpment in the cool morning or early evening. Your expert local guide will point out beautiful bird species, exotic and medicinal plants and sites of cultural importance, as well as explaining local farming methods.

Visitors will also learn about the enduring challenge of human-animal conflicts in the area, and will tour the beehives that are used to divert destructive elephants away from community crops on the park border. Interested clients will even have the chance to try their hand at honey harvesting.

After enjoying the peace of the endless savannah and the shade of the trees, visitors hike back up the escarpment and can return to their lodges.

Hiking/Nature Walks in Queen Elizabeth

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Nature walks can be done in the savannah and woodland vegetation’s found in the Mweya Peninsular. At the southern end of the park, visitors can enjoy an easy stroll along the Ishasha River, where they can spot a variety of forest and savanna bird and mammal species as well as having a unique opportunity on this walk to get extremely close to hippos on foot, while remaining perfectly safe on the raised bank above the river.

Wildlife Research Tours in Queen Elizabeth

Experimental tours inside-For visitors who yearn to get up close to wild African fauna, a research trip is a rewarding adventure. This new and unique experience allows visitors to actively participate in monitoring some of the exotic birds and mammals that fill the park, using locator devices and learn habituation calls, as well as monitoring weather, surroundings and behavior. The results are added to researchers’ databases, contributing valuable information to the overall understanding of wildlife ecology – and helping to conserve this wonderful ecosystem.

The experiential tourism activities currently available are Mongoose Tracking, Lion Tracking, Hippo Census, and Bird Counts. The number of people on each outing is limited in order to reduce stress on the animals and to increase the quality of the experience for visitors.

Experiential tours lasts between one and three hours. They usually take place in the early morning or evening, or occasionally at night. All activities must be booked through the Visitor Information Centre in Mweya at least 24 hours in advance.
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Bird Watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Bird watching activities are some of the highly rewarding activities enjoyed by visitors on Uganda safaris to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park’s great variety of habitats supports the survival of over 600 bird species which cannot be found anywhere in East African national parks. The park’s confluence of savanna and forest, linking to the expansive forests of the DR Congo allow visitors to spot East and Central African bird species.

The main camp at Mweya is attractively positioned with fine views of the Rwenzori Mountains number of widespread bush species may be seen in the vicinity of the airstrip watch for African Mourning Dove, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Swamp Fly-catcher, Grey-capped Warbler, The Beautiful Black-headed Gonolek, Red-chested sunbird, Slender-billed, Yellow-backed and Lesser Masked Weavers, Pin-tailed Whydah,and brimstone Canary, Gabon and Slender-tailed Nightjars, are fairly common along the airstrip.

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The Kazinga channel is a magnet for water birds a launch cruise reveals species such as; Great-white and Pink-backed Pelicans, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Common Squaco Heron, African open-billed Strok, White-faced Whistling and Knob-billed Ducks, African Fish Eagle, Black Crake, African Jacana, Water Thick-knee, Spur-winged and African Wattled Plovers, Malachite and Pied kingfishers, Swamp flycatchers and Yellow backed Weavers are all common and conspicious. Numbers of migrants peak in Febuary and March and are nothing short of spectacular with hundreds of thousands of White-winged Terns hovering over the water, millions of common sand Martins and Yellow -wagtails roosting in reed-beds and lesser numbers of palaeartic waders such as the Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpipers, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Marsh, common and Wood sandpipers, Spotted Redshank and common Greenshank feeding along the marshy fringes. A number of national rarities have been recorded from the hippo wallows along the channel including Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Northern Pochard, Mongolian Plover and Jack Snipe. Hundreds of African Skimmers may be seen roosting on sandbars near the entrance to Lake Edward but are migrants from southern tropics and usually present only from December to May. The Kazinga channel may also be viewed from the Katunguru Bridge on the main Mbarara-Kasese road where Pelicans, Terns, Greater Swamp and winged Warblers, Winding and Carruther’s Cisticolas and Papyrus Gonolek may be seen.

Game Drives

Described as Uganda’s safari destination, Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park are most rewarding .These can be done in the two areas i.e. the Channel Drive Circuit and the Kasenyi Plains.

The Kasenyi Plains are the most famous game driving area in Queen Elizabeth national park. The plains which extend towards Lake George offer a typical African Savannah type of vegetation. These rolling plains support large number of wildlife grazers which cannot be sighted anywhere else in Queen Elizabeth National Park. A game drive in this particular area offers a unique selection of wild animals. According to the guides, it is said to be the most reliable place in Uganda to see lions. This section of the park alongside the wonderful variety of game and predator species boosts an interesting selection of grassland birds, including grey-crowned crane, red-throated spurfowl and yellow-throated long claw.

The Channel Drive Circuit follows the northern shore of the Kazinga Channel, the roads wind between tangled thickets interspersed with the cactus like euphorbia trees. The most regular wildlife species which can be easily encountered in this area are the warthog, bushbuck, waterbuck, elephants, hippos and frequently lions. Leopards are also a common sight in this section of the park and due to them being unusually habituated; they provide a rare opportunity to get up close and personal to these magnificent animals. This is also one of the few places in Africa where the rare giant forest hog is regularly seen during daylight hours.

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Chimpanzee Trekking in Kyambura Gorge

Kyambura Gorge is situated on the eastern side of Queen Elizabeth National Park, it straddles a distance of about 16km and at its deepest it is 100m deep. The Kyambura River is responsible for creating the magnificent steep Kyambura Gorge. The gorge emerges from between savannah grassland and has a riverine virgin forest that transits to papyrus swamps towards Kazinga Channel. Kyambura Gorge is home to habituated chimpanzees, many other primates and a huge variety of both forest and plains bird species. The best time to trek the chimpanzees is in the morning, trekking is also available in the afternoon but this time slot may be more undesirable due to the likelihood of increased temperatures. Trekking chimpanzees at Kyambura Gorge is considered to be slightly harder than at Kibale Forest National Park. The trails are maintained and once inside the Gorge the inclinations are relatively easy going, however, the climb back out of the Gorge can be extremely difficult if you are not prepared.

Chimp tracking trekking experience at Kyambura Gorge is more than discovering chimpanzees in their natural environment: it teaches visitors about the ecosystems of Kyambura Gorge’s atmospheric “underground” rainforest, including vegetation types; bird identification and behavior; and chimp and monkey ecology.

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Launch Trip

The launch trip along the Kazinga Channel is one of the most famous tourism activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It offers an interesting opportunity for visitors on safari tour to Queen to sit back, relax and enjoy the fresh river breeze whilst having account of   large selection of wildlife. The ranges of wildlife species which can be easily seen on launch trip include the elephants, buffalo, waterbuck and Ugandan Kob. Large breeding pods of hippos are also seen on a daily basis. On occasion tourists will also encounter the giant forest hog, leopard and lion. The water birds in the area are plentiful, in particular, water thickknee, yellow-billed stork, various plovers, white pink-backed Pelicans and white-bellied cormorants.

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Queen Elizabeth National Park can be accessed most easily from Kampala. The tarmac road from Kampala via Mbarara town and Bushenyi leads to the center of the park, passing just 22 km from Mweya Peninsula, the main tourism hub. Approaching the park from the south via Mbarara covers a distance of 420km while the north through Fort Portal covers a total of 410 km.

En-route to the park, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy short detours to Lake Mburo National Park, Rwenzori Mountains and Kibale National Park, renowned for its chimpanzee tracking.
The park can also be accessed from the south from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

By Air travel-Charter flights can be arranged to existing airstrips of Kasese, Mweya and Ishasha.

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Mweya Safari Lodge-Luxury
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The Lodge is located on a peninsula within the heart of the Queen Elizabeth National Park and surrounded by the magical Rwenzori Mountains dubbed the ‘Mountains of the Moon,

Mweya Safari Lodge offers visitors a spectacular experience of luxury in the wilderness areas of Queen Elizabeth National park.

At Mweya Safari Lodge, accommodations are offered in the 32 Standard Rooms and 12 Deluxe Rooms with Air-conditioning as well as in the 2 Suites. For visitors interested in staying in the cottages, they are given chance to choose from the luxurious Presidential Cottages, Queens cottages to two family cottages and Luxury tents, two standard tents.

The facilities in the lodge range from Swimming Pool, Restaurant & Cuisine, and The Business Centre to the Gift Shop which sells gifts, handcraft, and other local products, Conference Facilities among others facilities

Each room at Mweya Safari Lodge has a breathtaking view of the Kazinga channel. One can watch the forest hogs grazing on the grassland vegetation of Queen Elizabeth National park, as well as the odd curious hippo. The cuisine served in the safari lodge is of the highest quality, presents a range of exquisite Continental, Indian and International cuisine.

The Mweya Health Club and spa offers treatments to revitalize you after a long day out in the game park. With an abundance of game, and some of the best bird watching in Africa, Mweya Safari Lodge is the perfect place to start your journey of discovery.

The Lodge offers a range of tourist’s activities to tourists who spend their Uganda holiday safari while staying at the lodge. The range of activities includes the game drives, Adventurous launch trip on the Kazinga Channel and chimpanzees trekking in the famous Kyambura gorge.

Accommodation rates

Room Type Bed &Breakfast Full Board
Single $167 $187
Double $291 $332
Standard double/tent $333 $374
Deluxe per room $333 $374
Double per room $369 $410
Suite per room $369 $410
Royal cottage $618 $700

Kyambura Gorge Lodge – Luxury Lodge in Queen Elizabeth Park
kyambura-gorge-lodge

Kyambura safari Lodge is an eco-lodge situated on the eastern edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park, in the western part of the great East African Rift valley. The place has spectacular views over the national park and the Rwenzori Mountains.

Accommodation in the Lodge is provided in seven spacious and tastefully designed self-contained grass-thatched cottages, with bath tabs/showers, running hot and cold water, with 220v electricity and a private wooden balcony perched over Queen Elizabeth wildlife Park.

The facilities and services offered at Kyambura game lodge include services in the Restaurant and Bar where both Local and International cuisine are served to the guest,

The restaurant and the lounge/bar/fireplace are opened towards a sundowner deck overlooking the park for relaxation in the evenings while winding up the day’s activities. The kitchen features international and local cuisine, several-course meals are mainly prepared with organic vegetables from our own garden and served by our friendly and professionally trained staff.

Swimming pool where visitors can experience swimming activities at any time they fell like. Privates’ balcony is available in each and every room and hence visitors can enjoy the views of the wonderful surrounding of the lodge. Hot and cold running water are connected each and every room of the lodge.

The major Tour activities visitors can enjoy while at Kyambura Game Lodge include the exclusive Game drives through well-organized tracks in Queen Elizabeth wildlife Park, Fantastic Launch cruise on the Kazinga Channel ,Wild Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura Gorge, Walks in the world famous Kyambura Gorge, Forest walks into Maramagambo Forest and Excellent bird watching, Community, village and crater walks.

Accommodation rates

Room Type Low season High season
Single $100(B/B) $133 (FB) $144(B/B) $177 (FB)
Double $166(B/B) $233(FB) $244(B/B) $310(FB)

Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge-Mid-Range

The lodge is conveniently located close to the chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge as to the prime game viewing areas in the park and it forms an excellent base for visitor’s exploration
In the heart of Queen Elizabeth National Park and overlooking Kazinga Channel, The Bush Lodge offers a unique safari experience. The coming and going of game witnessed from the terrace of visitor’s room, hippos lingering in the shallow waters of Kazinga channel, or a lion’s roar while seated at the campfire.
The lodge currently consists of 6 self-contained units which are spaciously placed between the indigenous bushes. Built along ecological principals the accommodation blends seamlessly with the surrounding landscape
The rooms are stilted buildings on wooden platforms and are made from a fine combination of canvas and local materials. Huge windows allow visitors to fully absorb the environment and to feel one with nature.

Each and Every room in the lodge is comfortably equipped and has its own private ensuite bathroom with an eco-toilet and an outside shower where 2 showerheads allow couples to take their starlit shower together.
Dining is given great importance at The Bush Lodge and our excellent cuisine is matched by an impeccable service. The restaurant is a safari inspired concept of an open tent which lit with romantic light transforms it into a charming setting to end a perfect day.

Jacana Eco Lodge-Mid-Range
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Jacana Eco lodge is located in the heart of Queen Elizabeth National Park. It’s nestled a Jacana Safari Lodge in the periphery of Uganda’s biggest Crater Lake with a 3 house lodge.

Jacana Eco Lodge Accommodation is offered in the lodge’s seven luxury chalets with unique theme of their own running showers and flushing toilets, furnished rooms, enclosed veranda with large panoramic windows which visitors to view the park while in the lodge.

Jacana Eco Lodge facilities include huge fireplace located in the lounge area dining room and the main bar. The others Bars include  Tembo Bar, Fish Eagle Bar and a jetty Jacana Lodge Queen Elizabeth and hence it’s up to tourists spending night at the lodge to select which bar they can enjoy drink.

The Restaurant serves both international and local foods and the food served is prepared by experienced chef. The lodge also has lodge identified as the great Virunga Lounge.

Simba Safari Camp-Budget
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Simba Safari Camp is a budget safari accommodation situated on the border of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Here you will find a variety of comfortable and affordable guest rooms, dormitory rooms and a well-established campsite with safari tents or space to pitch your own.

Perched on a hill, the camp offers spectacular views of Lake George, Lake Kikorongo and the classic African savannah plains stretching to the distant horizon. It is the closest accommodation for game drives in the Kasenyi plains, and elephants and buffalo can even be viewed from the camp.

Delicious meals are served at lodge’s open air restaurant, to give you a taste of real African cuisine. Guests can also choose a wake-up call with fresh tea or coffee served on their verandas. Whether you wish to go on a game drive, join a boat safari on the Kazinga Channel or go in search of the chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge, Simba Safari Camp is the perfect base for your adventure!

Lodge Amenities include; Restaurant and bar, Lounge with DSTV, Solar power, On-site wildlife view in, the camp has 4WD safari vehicle which can be hired for game drives or transfers to the Park

Simba Safari Camp offers eight twin rooms and one triple room. All have ensuite bathrooms with flushing toilets and solar heated water. Private verandas are ideal spots to relax. The family cottage sleeps up to five, with two bedrooms and an additional bed in the lounge.  The four dormitory rooms each have five or six bunk beds with mosquito nets and shared showers and toilet blocks.

Activities at the Lodge, Cultural performances by Kikorongo Women’s Group, Day trips to Katwe Salt Lake and village, Game drives in the Kasenyi Plains and Mweya Peninsula, Kazinga Channel boat safari, Chimp tracking at Kyambura Wildlife Reserve and Exploration of the crater lakes.

Responsible Travel Most staff is from local communities, and much of our fresh fruits and vegetables are purchased from their gardens. We host cultural performances and craft workshops at the Camp by Kikorongo Women’s Community. We have solar-powered lighting and solar hot water.

The rates charged by the camp site are showed below.

Room Type B&B F/B
Single Room $55 $88
Twin Room $78 $144
Triple Room $117 $217
Family Cottage $117 $320

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Murchision Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park formerly known as Kabalega National Park a name it inherited from one of the former kings of Bunyoro Kingdom is Uganda’s largest protected area covering an area of 3,840 square kilometers.

Located in North western part of Uganda, Murchison Falls was first gazetted in 1926 as a game reserve and later graduating to Uganda’s first National Park in 1952. It protects so many wildlife and is home to approximately 76 species of mammals and about 451 species of birds including the rare shoebill stock that can be spotted in the delta region.

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Murchison Falls is the name that was given to the point at which the world’s longest river, the river Nile, is channeled through a narrow gorge within the Rift Valley, descending almost 50 meters below. Sir Roderick Murchison (1851–1853), was President of the Royal Geographical Society, which was the catalyst for many explorations within ‘colonial’ Africa, most notably the search for the source of the river Nile.

The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, the centerpiece of the park and the final event in an 80km stretch of rapids. The mighty cascade drains the last of the river’s energy, transforming it into a broad, placid stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor into Lake Albert. This stretch of river provides one of Uganda’s most remarkable wildlife spectacles. Regular visitors to the riverbanks include elephants, giraffes and buffaloes; while hippos, Nile crocodiles and aquatic birds are permanent residents.

Murchison Falls Conservation Area comprises of Murchison Falls National Park, Bugungu and Karuma Falls Wildlife Reserves. This is where the Nile explodes through a narrow gorge and cascades down to become a placid river whose banks are thronged with hippos and crocodiles, waterbucks and buffaloes. The vegetation is characterized by savannah, riverine forest and woodland. Wildlife includes lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees, and many bird species.

The park which hosts around 76 mammal species and an estimate of 451 bird species is the only park in Uganda that has the potential to contain all the big five animal species. These big five include the Lion (King of the Jungle), Buffalos, African elephants, leopards and these can be easily found in the northern part of the park especially above the Nile. The world endangered white Rhinos that were bit extinguished are now being recovered and protected in the Rhino sanctuary located south of the Murchison Falls National Park.

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Wildlife as a tourist attraction in Murchison falls national park

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The diverse habitat ranging from woodland, wetland, savannah as well as tropical forest act as home to 76 species of mammals including four of the “Big Five”, with huge herds of buffaloes and elephants, well-camouflaged leopards and a healthy population of lions. It is also known for its giraffes; in Uganda these can only be viewed here and in Kidepo Valley. Other species viewed regularly along the game tracks include Jackson’s hartebeest, bushbucks, Uganda kob, waterbucks and warthogs. Resident crocodiles and hippos as well as other, visiting wildlife are found along the river.

Primates as a tourist attraction in Murchison falls national park

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Olive baboons are common along the roadsides – be sure to keep car windows and doors shut if you don’t want to lose your lunch, Blue and red-tailed monkeys and black-and-white colobus can be found in the forested sectors. The savanna-dwelling patas monkey is only found here and in Kidepo Valley National Park. Around 800 chimpanzees live in the Kaniyo Pabidi and Budongo Forests.

Birds- as a tourist attraction in Murchison falls national park

The varied habitats of Uganda’s largest park make it home to a variety of birds with 451 species recorded. The list includes the rare Shoebill Stork species most found in the delta area of the park, the Goliath Heron – the largest heron in the world and pairs of elegant Grey Crowned Cranes – Uganda’s national bird. Also seen along the banks of the Nile are the Blue-headed Coucal, Swamp Flycatcher, Squacco Heron, African Jacana, Sandpipers, Denham’s Bustard, Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill, Black-billed Barbet, Black-headed Gonolek, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Piapiac, Silverbird, Weaver Birds, Pied, Giant and Malachite Kingfishers, Red-throated Bee-eater, White-browed Sparrow Weaver, Speckle-fronted Weaver and African Quail-Finch.

Murchison Falls- as a tourist attraction in Murchison falls national park

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Murchison Falls is characterized by eternal war between rock and water. The waters violently compress through a narrow gorge, spraying misty droplets along their wake over a 50m radius. This creates a permanent rainbow over the battlefield and causes a continuous roar. From Baker Point on the southern side, you can also view the Nile splitting into the smaller Uhuru Falls, created in 1962 when the river burst its banks.

River Nile-A boat ride along the Nile to the foot of Murchison Falls is a rewarding experience for nature lovers, as the northern bank teems with a variety of mammals, birds and reptiles. Guided nature walks along both the north and south banks are another refreshing activity, and sport fishing is also possible here.

Nile-Lake Albert Delta-This wide, calm stretch of water, where the tranquil Victoria Nile flows into Lake Albert, is a key area for bird watchers. Its papyrus-lined banks are bursting with birdlife, including Goliath Herons, Great Egrets, and African Fish Eagles. The most sought-after species here is the rare Shoebill.

Karuma falls-These are located in Chobe, in the northeastern sector of the park. These roaring waterfalls on the Victoria Nile are made up of a series of natural rock formations which cause the waters to ripple and give them a white, foamy appearance. It is an ideal area for sport fishing.

Budongo Forest- as a tourist attraction in Murchison falls national park

budongo-forest

Budongo Forest, which is contiguous with the Kaniyo Pabidi Forest, lies south west of the Murchison Falls Conservation Area. Budongo is astonishingly biodiverse, with 24 mammal species, over 360 birds, 289 butterflies and 465 plants. All the forest’s tree species are on display along the “Royal Mile”, a beautiful stretch of road highly regarded for its bird watching. Budongo is also known for its primate population, which includes around 800 chimpanzees. Forest walks are possible at Busingiro Ecotourism Site on the Masindi-Bugungu route to Murchison Falls National Park.

Kaniyo Pabidi Forest-In the south of Murchison Falls Conservation Area, this forest ecosystem contains black-and-white colobus and blue monkeys, olive baboons, and a habituated chimp group which can be tracked. Elephants, buffalos, lions and leopards are also frequent visitors. Many forest birds can be viewed here, including the chocolate-backed kingfisher, white-thighed hornbill and Puvel’s illadopsis which is found nowhere else in East Africa.

Rabongo Forest-Surrounded by savanna and covering just 4km2, Rabongo Forest is considered a birders’ paradise because of the endangered species found here. Rabongo is ideal for educational tours as it provides opportunities to identify animals, birds, medicinal plants and trees. For relaxation, visitors can camp and enjoy picnics by the Wairingo River.

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Game Drives in Murchison Falls-
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A game drive around the Buligi game tracks on the northern bank with a trained ranger guide is a fantastic way to see and photograph the wide range of animals in the Nile Valley. Visitors will marvel at herds of buffalos, dozens of elephants, warthogs and towering giraffes, along with bushbucks, reedbuck, duikers, kobs, oribi and the unusual-looking hartebeest. Your guide will have a good idea where the lions are hiding, and you may even spot a leopard at dusk.

The early morning game drives which set off at 6:30am are done in Buligi game tracks which stretch between the Victoria and Albert Niles. The 120-170km in length game trucks, take tourists through open savannah grassland, woodland, acacia and riverine vegetation which support variety of wildlife grazers like Jackson’s hartebeest, bushbucks, Uganda kob, waterbucks and warthogs Giraffes, lions, elephants, among others. Most of the park’s game can be viewed here, especially during early morning and early evening tours.

Birding in Murchison Falls-
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Both the game drives and the launch trips offer an opportunity for one to come across distinct birdlife, including savannah forest birds, water birds and Albertine Rift endemics. The commonest species found in the plains include the Marabou Stork, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Secretary Birds, Black-bellied Bustards, Open-billed Storks and Widow Bird.

Closer to the river where there are more thickets and woodlands, the commonest bird varieties include the Swallow-tailed and Red-throated Bee-eaters – particularly in the Nyamusika Cliffs; Woodland, Pied, Giant and Malachite Kingfishers; Francolin; Hornbills, Grey heron; Hamerkop; Shrikes; Flycatchers; Cuckoos; Woodpeckers; Crombecs and Warblers. The riverbanks are also home to ducks, geese, stilts and plovers. The park’s main birding attraction is the Shoebill, best sighted in the dry season from January-March.

Cultural Encounters in Murchison Falls

Mubako Cultural Campfire Performances-The remote community of Mubako is located beside the sprawling savannah of Murchison Falls National Park. The village is a cluster of traditional thatched huts around a clearing, where villagers gather to escape the midday sun under the shade of a large tree.

Mubako’s small craft shop sells carved wooden sculptures and hand-woven items made by community members. At dusk, the local cultural groups perform vibrant songs and dances around the campfires of local lodges, accompanied by the beautiful sound of the adungu. Originating from this region, this instrument is made of cowhide and twine, and the harmonies of the various-sized adungus against the backdrop of a Nile sunset are magical.

There are few economic opportunities in this region and the climate makes farming hard, but with the money generated through tourism, the community can buy produce from local markets, pay school fees and support a nursery for 90 children.

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Boomu Women’s Group-The subsistence farmers from the villages of Kihaguzi and Kigaragara in Uganda’s dry northern region had little produce left over to sell, so in 1999 the Boomu Women´s Group was formed, with the aim of reducing poverty and malnutrition, and providing an income for the members to be able to pay their children´s school fees. What began as a craft group has evolved into a wonderful community tourism project, with traditional accommodation, a restaurant, unique guided tours and a well-tended garden.

The scenic village tour reveals the features of everyday rural life, as well as explaining the hardships facing the community. Your guide will show you various crops as well as taking you to visit the village blacksmith. Storytellers share tales about customs and the local way of life, and a visit to the nursery, a cooking demonstration or a basket weaving class can be arranged on request.

Hiking and Nature Walks in Murchison Falls-The vast landscapes and varied scenery of Murchison Falls National Park and the surrounding Conservation Area can be explored on foot. Trails through Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo Forests provide sightings of many primates and birds, while around the Nile-Lake Albert Delta, two- to four-hour guided swamp walks offer possible sightings of the Shoebill when the water level is low. After an afternoon boating upriver, you can also hike 45 minutes through woodland to the top of Murchison Falls for a completely different experience of this magnificent waterfall.

This is an experience that brings all the senses into play: watch waves of white water tumble hypnotically through this six-meter chasm, listen to the roar, taste the spray on your face and feel the rock shake beneath your feet. Sheer sensory overload! If you don’t fancy the trek to the top, stop off at the north bank during your game drive, and walk down a set of steps to stand within meters of the rapids.

Birders and nature lovers can enjoy short treks starting from Sambiya River Lodge or Mubako Junction, both on the south bank, or a walk along the north bank from Paraa, passing the Emmy River. All walks last from one and a half to two hours.

Launch Trips in Murchison Falls-
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One of the highlights of a visit to Murchison falls national park is the launch trip from Paraa to the foot of Murchison Falls. The launch trip upstream from Paraa presents an astonishing display of wildlife and culminates with the memorable frontal view of the falls. The launch which departs at 9am and 2pm daily, takes visitors close to different wildlife species like Hippos, crocodiles, elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks and birds like: Herons, Cormorants, Ducks, Bee-eaters, Fish Eagles, Kingfishers, and the rare Shoebill. The trip from Paraa to the Falls and back takes about three hours. A boat trip to the Delta where the Victoria Nile engorges into the Lake Albert leads through papyrus swamps takes about 4-5 hours and you will see a similar variety of animals and birds.

Recommended for birders is a morning cruise downstream to the Nile-Lake Albert Delta, providing the best chance in Africa of sighting the elusive Shoebill. This four- to five-hour return voyage also offers an account of elusive wildlife species like hippos, elephants and many birds.

Sport Fishing in Murchison Falls
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The banks of the Nile below Murchison Falls provides exciting challenges to anglers. Living within strong currents and highly oxygenated water is the Nile perch. There is chance to land a massive catch – the record is 108kg.

Fishing is permitted in designated sites and places and prior booking is recommended. Interested sport anglers are urged to bring their own equipment and secure a permit from UWA.

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A number of routes can be used to reach the Nile at Paraa at the heart of the Murchison Falls Conservation Area. The river is crossed here using a vehicle ferry which runs at roughly hourly intervals throughout the day.

Southern Entrance Gates.

Two southerly approaches to Paraa lead out of Masindi town, which is a 4 hour drive (305km) from Kampala. Along the way to Masindi is the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary – home to the only wild rhinos in Uganda. You can track them on foot and support this important initiative to reintroduce rhinos to protected areas. The main route from Masindi enters the Conservation Area through Kichumbanyobo Gate to pass through Kaniyo Pabidi Forest to Paraa (85km).

A longer but more scenic alternative runs for 135km from Masindi to the park’s Bugungu gate, the route includes a passage through Budongo Forest and a memorable descent of the rift valley escarpment with views across Lake Albert towards the mountains of the Congo.

Northern Entrance Gates

Murchison Falls National Park can also be entered via the Chobe, Wankwar, Mubako and Tangi gates north of the Nile. These are reached from the Kampala-Pakwach Road which crosses the Nile at Karuma Falls Bridge in the northeastern corner of the park, 260km from Kampala. These gates are convenient for visitor travelling to/from Gulu town and Kidepo Valley National Park.

By Air. Pakuba Airfield, 19km from North Paraa, can be reached using chartered aircraft from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield near Kampala. Other airfields in the park include: Chobe to the East, and Bugungu – near Murchison Falls-to the south.

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Chobe Safari Lodge-Luxury
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Chobe Safari Lodge is situated in Murchison Falls National Park in the north western Uganda and its Five Star lodge providing world class accommodation services to tourists on their safaris to Murchison Falls National Park.

The lodge offers opportunities for visitors to have breathtaking panoramic views, accompanied with the nice sounds of the River Nile’s prominent rapids, set the scene for an adventure that will impress even the most discerning visitors. Chobe Safari Lodge provides a rare opportunity to visitors mainly to sample the wildlife as well as the endangered bird species, the diverse beautiful flora and fauna.

The Lodge offers different amenities to different travellers on their Uganda safari destination of Murchison falls National park and among the important amenities include Restaurant/bar with TVs, Swimming pool, Travel desk Children´s play area, Gift shop, On-site wildlife, Solar water heater, Generator for electricity in mornings and evening, Telescope for stargazing and 4×4 vehicle to rent for game drives.

The lodge offers accommodation in the different lodge rooms which range from 16 standard Rooms all positioned in the main building block. The interior avails an atmosphere of being on safari, yet more importantly having that modern touch that gets one back to modernization or civilization which is currently vital. Each standard room have additional features like En-suite private bathroom, Ceiling fan, Hair driers as well as Private balcony which has  a best view of the river Nile.

The lodge also has a total of three suites which are all located in the main building block. The built in way that favour traveller s that travels with their families and also travellers who wish to stay in rooms with enough space.

Besides the other types of rooms visitors can also use the 7 deluxe tents situated a short walking distance from the main lodge building. The lodge has deluxe tents which are for the discerning guest who wants a little more exclusivity to make your trip an unforgettable one. The interiors are more spacious and the furnishings are more suited to the ‘luxury safari’ experience. The views from the balconies are unparalleled; watch the mesmerizing sunset over the river’s waters in the evening or marvel at the twilight skies.

Interested visitors have chance to select from 8 standard tents situated a short walk able distance from the main lodge building.  These tents offer perfect accommodation to those specific travellers interested in a more authentic ‘safari’ experience.

The lodge also organizes various activities for the tourists and this range from the Safari adventurers like participating in the launch cruise in the waters of the Victoria Nile. For Birders the lodge offers guided nature walks around the two banks of the river where the visitors can enjoy the views of various bird life.

The present of lush green gardens in the lodge and experienced staff to prepare weddings, the lodge also provides options for visitors have their wedding ceremonies at the lodge. Besides the ones mention the lodge also offers Conferences and group retreats among others.

As well as Sustainability tourism is concerned, Chobe Lodge be works with the surrounding communities to develop complimentary tourism activities that express local Ugandan culture and enrich the tourists’ experience. The Lodge also supports Local Craft Shop as well as local Community Dancers and also employs a high number of people from the surrounding areas.

Accommodation Rates

Room Type B/B F/B
Single $154 $175
Double per room $275 $316
Suite per room $333 $374
Nile suite $435 $476
Florence house $500 $582
Presidential cottage $680 $761

Paraa Safari Lodge- Luxury.
paara-safari-lodge

Established in the year 1954, Paraa Safari Lodge located in Murchison Falls National Park, on the banks of the mighty world’s longest River Nile.

There is a choice of fine dining, and the Explorer’s bar is the ideal watering hole after a day of wildlife discovery in Murchison Falls National Park. The luxurious pool overlooks the winding Set in an area of landscaped gardens, the safari décor of the lodge still reflects the bygone era of early explorers, enshrined with a modern touch.

Enjoy a variety of excursions and activities; from exhilarating Safari drives to boat trips along the River Nile, ending at the foot of Murchison Falls. For the more adventurous, one can trek up to the top of the falls and marvel at the views through the mist. A variety of ecosystems and an impressive 451 species of birds awaits you here…

Paraa safari Lodge offers different world class Amenities and these ranges from Restaurant and bar, the lodge has best menu of local and international specialties produced by lodge experienced chefs. The Captain’s Table restaurant is located on the upper floor in what was one of the lodge’s main halls before it was renovated. One can choose to eat inside or outside on the balcony (which boasts a sweeping view of the River Nile). Special barbecues and traditional dancers make a Saturday evening at Paraa Safari Lodge an occasion to remember.

Conference facility. For corporate occasions or for those who like to mix pleasure with business, Paraa Safari Lodge can provide a conference room and facilities to cater for your conferencing/meeting needs.

Business Service Centre with Internet access the Business Service Centre is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week. It meets all the needs of the traveling business executive and includes 24-hour Internet access as well as printing facilities.

Gift Shop- it indulge in getting your loved ones a present from the pearl of Africa, the lodge gift shop sells local East African crafts and souvenirs such as guidebooks, clothing, an

Swimming Pool – the lodge has one of the best pools which can used by visitors to cool themselves off after a long day out in the bush, the swimming pool at Paraa Safari Lodge even has a pool bar – come sip a cocktail in the water while overlooking the River Nile below at sunset.  The other facilities include the Fireplace, Laundry service and On-site wildlife viewing.

The lodge provides accommodation to guest in its different rooms and the description of the rooms is given below;

Each of the 54 rooms is a haven of style and serenity, complete with balcony and private bathroom. All rooms have fans and hot water.

Suites also have air conditioning, mini bars and panoramic windows.

In addition, the Queen’s Cottage has a sunken bath, king-size master bedroom, twin room (both with en suite bathrooms), living/dining room, mini bar and air conditioning.

The luxurious lodge in the Murchison Falls Park also organizes different activities and these include Chimpanzee Tracking, Game Drive Birding and Nature Walks as well as Boat ride to Murchison Falls Fishing Boat trip to the Nile Delta

The Paraa Safari Lodge supports and operates with the help of the local and surrounding communities. Most of the staff at the lodge are local residents helping to create authentic Ugandan surroundings with the comforts of home.

On side of the responsible travel again, Nightly dancers from Mubako community arrive to show off their moves and display the local culture and heritage.

The lodge also sources fruit from the surrounding communities and this is done in order to give market to the communities’ products.

Accommodation Rates

Room Type B/B F/B
Single $161 $182
Double $250 $291
Suite $324 $365
Single(Standard Room) $208 $228
Double (Standard Room) $298 $339
Deluxe (Single ) $187 $208
Deluxe(Double) $276 $317

Murchison River Lodge-Mid-Range
murchison-river-lodge

Murchison River Lodge sits on the southern bank of the River Nile overlooking Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park. In beautiful surroundings and they offer comfortable and relaxing mid-range accommodation to suit all budgets in attractive thatched cottages, thatched safari tents and simple camping tents in our shaded and well positioned campsite.

The lodge offers accommodation services in the 4 thatched cottages that are spacious and comfortable with attractive furnishing making each one unique. They are open plan with a double bed upstairs on a mezzanine floor and two single beds, including en-suite, downstairs. Their wide verandas overlook the bush and have a sofa and hammock allowing you to sit back, lie back and enjoy the view – especially the birdlife. Our thatched cottages are perfect for families (if necessary we can add two extra children’s beds) or a maximum of 4 adults who know each other well.

The cottages are equipped with solar lights, bed linen, towels, mosquito nets, en-suite toilet and shower, solar hot water, plus a child’s stair gate. They do not have fans or air conditioning. In the evening the pathways are lit with lanterns and our security staff will be happy to guide you from the restaurant to your accommodation, should you require an escort. All visitors staying in the lodge are allowed to enjoy the services of the beautiful swimming pool located in the lodge.

The thatched safari tents in the lodge have been placed on level ground amongst the bush and towards the River Nile. These furnished tents have an outside area with safari chairs and table – the perfect spot to enjoy the cooler part of the day. Four of the safari tents are twin shared whilst two more can include a third bed if necessary. As some of these tents are located near the water, we are unable to provide permanent flushing toilets, however each tent is self-contained with its own private chemical toilet and bush shower.

Beneath our large thatched roof is an open-sided restaurant, bar and terrace from where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the River Nile and Murchison Falls National Park. From this wonderful vantage point we often see elephants, hippo and bush buck.

Accommodation Rates.

Room Type Rates in USD
Thatched cottage(Single) $175
Thatched cottage(Double) $130pp
Extra person $100
Thatched safari tents(Single) $130
Thatched Safari tents(Double) $100pp
Comfortable Camping(Single) $75
Comfortable Camping(Double) $65

Sambiya River Lodge-Mid-Range

sambiya-river-lodge
The lodge is situated just 15 minutes from the top of the magnificent Murchison Falls; Sambiya River Lodge is the perfect location for those who want to experience the tranquility of Uganda. The Lodge’s unique charm is in the atmosphere of intimacy provided to the guests. Our 36 cottages and bandas are tucked away beneath the trees of our beautiful tropical garden, which also contains a small children’s play area and a pool.

The lodge offers personalized wildlife safaris, fishing excursions, birding walks and trips to Murchison Falls to suit each of our guests’ unique tastes. Sambiya River Lodge is the perfect place to relax between adventures and also watch a spectacular African sunrise with fresh coffee or tea on visitor’s cottage verandah as well as a cool off in the pool after a day full of activities, enjoy excellent meals and sundowners around the Lodge bar or sip after dinner drinks by the camp fire.

Sambiya allows you to relax in luxury whilst experiencing the sights and sounds of Africa.

Lodge Amenities, Lodge amenities, Restaurant and bar with TVs, Swimming pool, Travel desk, Gift shop, On-site wildlife viewing in the surrounding gardens, Solar water heater, Electricity in the mornings and evening

Room scattered around the peaceful gardens, Sambiya has 26 individual and family thatched cottages with en suite bathrooms, fans, screened doors and windows, mosquito nets, and a veranda to relax and enjoy the commanding views of quintessential Africa.

Ten basic bandas are also available for guest accommodation, including one en suite banda and nine with shared bathroom facilities. Bandas have fans, screened doors and windows and mosquito nets.

The activities at the Lodge include exclusive Game drives – we have our own vehicle, Trips to the top of the fall, Nile boat rides to the bottom of the fall – with the option of hiking to the top

Bird watching and the Hiking and trekking, including walking safaris, Chimp tracking and forest walks in Kaniyo Pabidi Forest, Fishing – check out our “Hall of Fame” board to see what has been caught!

Responsible Travel Sambiya was designed as a small eco-lodge. Most of the trees in the concession area were undisturbed and consequently the site is very ‘green ‘It was built with materials from the area, Sambiya Lodge has solar heated hot water, Local crafts from Anaka Women’s Group are sold in the Lodge Gift Shop

Red Chilli Rest Camp-Budget
red-chilli-rest-camp

Red Chilli Rest Camp is the only budget accommodation located inside Murchison Falls National Park and it’s the best place to meet like-minded travellers; begin your thrilling safari; or take a launch trip to the Falls , the Nile River boat dock is right on our doorstep. The camp’s open-sided restaurant offers great views across the river and is a great place to relax with a chilled beer or a good book after a dusty day on safari. The camp also has a bonfire most evenings, and campers with their own cooking equipment are encouraged to use the barbecue area.

All bandas the lodge have mosquito nets, electric lights, fans, linen and towels. Furnished safari tents have linen but no towels, and the tents are treated with mosquito repellent. As there is no electricity, paraffin lamps are supplied. at night
The Lodge Amenities include Restaurant and bar (open until midnight), Outdoor seating areas,Bonfire, Barbecue area (equipment not provided) ,Power points for charging laptops and phones, On-site wildlife viewing, Camping area for up to 100 guests (tents not provided),Electricity is available from 9am until midnight.

The lodge organizes different activities to tourist who spend the night in the camp and among these activities include wildlife viewing in the Murchison falls national park, nature walks, community walks among others.

Accommodation rates

Room Type Rates in USD
Self-camping $7
Twin tent $30
Twin Banda $35
Twin S/C Banda $50
Family Banda $85

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Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is Uganda’s smallest national park located in the southwestern corner of Uganda in Kisoro district.  The park is situated in the great Virunga ranges shared between three neighboring countries of Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic republic of Congo.

Bestriding on the northern slopes of the three northernmost Virunga Volcanoes namely; Mt. Muhavura (4,127 m), Mt. Gahinga (3,474 m), and Mt. Sabinyo (3,645 m), Mgahinga National Park was gazetted in 1991 to protect the species of the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, and it is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey.

mgahinga-np

Spanning on 33.7 sq. km of protected land, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park sits high in the clouds, at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m. The Gorilla Park consists of the partly forested slopes of three extinct volcanoes and has greatest biological importance because throughout the climatic changes of the Pleistocene ice ages, the Virunga Mountains strategically situated in the park provided a refuge for mountain plants and animals, which moved up or down the slopes as climate became warmer or cooler.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the parks in Uganda with an exceptional diversity of habitats, ranging from Afro-montane vegetation; plentiful bamboo vegetation to Lobelia Haegenia which supports the survival of at least 39 species of mammal and 79 birds found in the park. The Larger mammals supported natural diverse habitat includes elephant, leopard, buffalo and bush pig but these are rarely seen. The famous ape species supported by the habitat involve the mountain gorilla and the less famous but equally rare and deserving of protection is the golden monkey which is found only in the Virungas and in one other forest in Rwanda. Notable bird species include the Rwenzori turaco, crowned hornbill, black kite and crowned crane.

Mgahinga’s slopes are covered with a series of distinct altitudinal bands of vegetation. The lowest zone is an area of grass and bush which was formerly encroached and cleared by farmers and is now regenerating. Undisturbed vegetation starts with montane woodland, followed by the bamboo zone, montane forest and the Ericaceous zone which contains giant tree heathers. The sequence culminates with the spectacular alpine zone which occurs only on East African Mountains above 3000m and includes bizarre giant forms of lobelia and groundsel.

mgahinga-wildlife

The park contains at least 39 species of mammal and 79 birds. Larger mammals include elephant, leopard, buffalo and bush pig but these are rarely seen. Mgahinga’s most famous resident is the mountain gorilla. Less famous but equally rare and deserving of protection is the golden monkey which is found only in the Virungas and in one other forest in Rwanda. Notable bird species include the Rwenzori turaco, crowned hornbill, black kite and crowned crane

Besides being important for animal and plant life, the park also has a huge cultural valve particularly for the indigenous pygmies (Batwa) and the Bafumbira local people who live near the park. The Batwa local people who are hunter-gatherers were the forest’s “first Inhabitants”, and their traditional knowledge of their hidden aspects remains unrivalled.

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Mountain Gorillas as a tourist attractions in Mgahinga Gorilla national park

Mgahinga is home to the habituated Nyakagezi gorilla group – a fairly nomadic bunch that has been known to cross the border into Rwanda and the Congo. The family includes the lead silverback Bugingo who is around 50 years old and father to most of the group; his silverback sons, Mark and Marfia; and two blackbacks, Rukundo and Ndungutse, who love to pose and play in the trees. The two females, Nshuti and Nyiramwiza, both have babies Furraha and Nkanda respectively. Out of the twelve habituated gorilla groups, eleven are found in Bwindi and only one is found in Mgahinga Gorilla Park.

Characteristics of Mountain Gorillas in Mgahinga.

Gorillas display many human-like behaviors and emotions, such as laughter and sadness. They even make their own tools to help them survive in the forest. In fact, gorillas share 98.3% of their genetic code with humans, making them our closest cousins after chimpanzees and bonobos. Physically the fur of the mountain gorilla is often thicker and longer than of other gorilla species, enables them to live in colder temperatures. The gorilla is massive, with a short, thick trunk and broad chest and shoulders. Its eyes and ears are dwarfed by its large head and hairless, shiny black muzzle. Older males develop a crown of muscle and hair that makes the head look even longer. The arms are longer than the stubby legs. The fully adult male mountain gorilla is twice as large as the female.

silverback-gorilla-in-mgahinga

Adult males are called silverbacks because a saddle of gray or silver-colored hair develops on their backs with age. The hair on their backs is shorter than on most other body parts, and their arm hair is especially long. Fully erect, males reach 1.9 m (6 ft. 3 in) in height, with an arm span of 2.3 m (7 ft. 7 in) and weigh 220 kg

The mountain gorilla inhabits the cloud forests and of the Virunga Volcanoes, ranging in an altitude from 2,200–4,300 meters (7,200–14,100 ft.). Most are found on the slopes of three of the dormant volcanoes: Karisimbi, Mikeno, and Visoke. The vegetation is very dense at the bottom of the mountains, becoming sparser at higher elevations, and the forests where the mountain gorilla lives are often cloudy, misty and cold.

The mountain gorilla is primarily an herbivore; the majority of its diet is composed of the leaves, shoots and stems (85.8%) of 142 plant species. It also feeds on bark (6.9%), roots (3.3%), flowers (2.3%), and fruit (1.7%), as well as small invertebrates. (0.1%). Adult males can eat up to 34 kilograms of vegetation a day, while a female can eat as much as 18 kilograms.

The mountain gorilla is highly social and lives in relatively stable, cohesive groups held together by long-term bonds between adult males and females. Relationships among females are relatively weak. These groups are nonterritorial; the silverback generally defends his group rather than his territory. In the Virunga mountain gorillas, the average length of tenure for a dominant silverback is 4.7 years .61% of groups are composed of one adult male and a number of females and 36% contain more than one adult male. The remaining gorillas are either lone males or exclusively male groups, usually made up of one mature male and a few younger males Group sizes vary from five to thirty, with an average of ten individuals. A typical group contains: one dominant silverback, who is the group’s undisputed leader; another subordinate silverback (usually a younger brother, half-brother, or even an adult son of the dominant silverback); one or two black backs, who act as sentries; three to four sexually mature females, who are ordinarily bonded to the dominant silverback for life; and from three to six juveniles and infants.

The gorilla is shy and retiring rather than ferocious and treacherous. It usually seeks no trouble unless harassed but will valiantly defend its family group if threatened. Family groups are close-knit and may have up to 30 members, but even if smaller, the group usually consists of at least one older male, one or more females and a few juveniles.
Gorillas have strong attachments to members of their own group and even when groups meet and mingle and then subsequently part, each animal tends to remain with its respective unit. An adult male called a silverback named for the silvery gray hairs on its back normally leads each group, serving as its chief protector and defender. Gorillas continually wander through their home ranges of 10 to 15 square miles, feeding and resting throughout the day. Because gorillas are nomadic, they build new nests each day at dusk, constructing them of bent branches in a tree or of grasses on the ground.
A group’s hierarchy, ritualized behavior and bluff charges between males prevent conflict among and between groups. Gorillas scream, grab foliage and stuff it in their mouths, stand erect on their hind legs, tear up and throw plants, drum on the chest with hands or fists, stamp their feet, strike the ground with the palms of their hands and gallop in a mock attack on all fours.

gorilla-families-in-mgahinga

In terms of reproduction, Mountain gorillas have a slow rate of reproduction. Females give birth for the first time at about age 10 and will have more offspring every three or four years. A male begins to breed between 12 and 15 years, when he is in charge of his own group. Able to conceive for only about three days each month, the female produces a single young.
Newborn gorillas are weak and tiny, weighing in at about 4 pounds. Their movements are as awkward as those of human infants, but their development is roughly twice as fast. At 3 or 4 months, the gorilla infant can sit upright and can stand with support soon after. It suckles regularly for about a year and is gradually weaned at about 31/2 years, when it becomes more independent.

Though strong and powerful, gorillas are generally gentle and shy. Severe is rare in stable groups, but when two mountain gorilla groups meet, the two silverbacks can sometimes engage in a fight to the death, using their canines to cause deep, gaping injuries. The entire sequence has nine steps: (1) progressively quickening hooting, (2) symbolic feeding, (3) rising bipedally, (4) throwing vegetation, (5) chest-beating with cupped hands, (6) one leg kick, (7) sideways running, two-legged to four-legged, (8) slapping and tearing vegetation, and (9) thumping the ground with palms to end display.

Bird Species in Mgahinga Gorilla national park

The varied habitats of Uganda’s smallest park make it home to a variety of birds with 179-184 species recorded. The list includes the Ibis, Pin-tailed Whydah, Speckled Mouse bird, Stone Chat, Grey-capped Warbler, Wax Bills, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Fire finch, White-napped Raven, Black Kite, Rwenzori Turaco, Blue-headed Coucal, Paradise Fly-catcher, Rwenzori Batis, Double-collared Sunbird, and Rwenzori Nightjar.

Caves as an attraction in Mgahinga Gorilla national park

Some of the steep mountain slopes contain caves formed by lava tubes, one of them being the famous Garama Cave located near the park headquarters. This is a sacred place for the Batwa, and during the Batwa Trail you can discover how it was used as a shelter during battles and as a place to store looted treasures.

Cultural Encounter in Mgahinga Gorilla national park

The Batwa Trail-, Mgahinga’s dense forests were home to the indigenous Batwa: hunter-gatherers and fierce warriors who depended on the forest for shelter, food and medicine.

When the national park was established, the Batwa were evicted from the forest and abandoned their low-impact, nomadic lifestyle. The only time they are permitted to re-enter their cherished forest is as tour guides on the Batwa Trail, on which visitors will discover the magic of the Batwa’s ancient home while enjoying nature walks and learning about the cultural heritage.

The Batwa Trail leads from the base of Muhuvura to Garama Cave. This walk is conducted by Batwa guides who provide insights into their traditional forest life and culture.

batwa-trail-mgahinga-uganda-safari

During Batwa trail tour, the Batwa demonstrate hunting techniques, gather honey, point out medicinal plants and demonstrate how to make bamboo cups. Guests are invited to the sacred Garama Cave, once a refuge for the Batwa, where the women of the community perform a sorrowful song which echoes eerily around the depths of the dark cave, and leaves guests with a moving sense of the richness of this fading culture.

Note: this tour involves hiking at an altitude of around 2,500m for at least 4-5 hours and hence it takes half day or whole day to explore the Batwa trial experience.

What to Bring

Packed lunch and plenty of drinking water

Good hiking shoes or boots, sun screen and a hat

The weather varies greatly at this altitude – we recommend bringing layers, including a waterproof jacket

Tips for the guides and performers

Guide lines to follow when exploring the Batwa Trail.

Switch off your flashlight in the Ngarama Cave, as ghostly singing begins to echo in the pitch darkness.

Watch your Batwa guides create fire to smoke out bees

See a traditional Batwa grass hut – quick to build and to demolish which was essential for this nomadic culture

Enjoy the lively dance at the cave´s entrance as the Batwa women sing a traditional song to welcome their guests

Walk through the pristine Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, with spectacular views of the

batwa-garama-caves

Cave Exploration .The Garama cave is 342 meters long and 14 meters deep several years ago, this cave was inhabited by the pygmy Batwa people whom warriors attacked their neighboring communities, but in the present-day it is inhabited by bats. The distance from the park headquarters to this cave entrance, is approximately 3km, and the guide will give history to visitors how these Batwa survived and even made attacks basing from this cave.
There is a viewing platform 800m from the Park’s gate. Immediately visitors reach at it, they’ll be paid back with splendid views of the Park as well as its surrounding and activity is free of charge since it does not need a guide. Additional information regarding this spot can be obtained from the display panels found at the hill-point.

Golden Monkey as a tourist attractions in Mgahinga Gorilla national park

It’s  a species of Old World monkey found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, including four national parks: Mgahinga, in south-west Uganda; Volcanoes, in north-west Rwanda; and Virunga and Kahuzi-Biéga, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. It is restricted to highland forest, especially near bamboo.

This species was previously thought to be a subspecies of the blue monkey and the two are similar overall, but the golden monkey has a golden-orange patch on the upper flanks and back. Not much is known about the golden monkey’s behavior. It lives in social groups of up to 30 individuals. Its diet consists mainly of young bamboo leaves, fruits, bamboo branch lets, bamboo shoots, invertebrates, flowers, and shrubs. However, the golden monkey is an opportunistic feeder and diet can easily be influenced by the availability of fruit.  Due to the gradual destruction of their habitat and recent wars in their limited habitat, the golden monkey is listed as endangered on the IUCN and therefore called the endangered species.

golden-monkey-mgahinga
Due to its diet the golden monkey prefers a habitat with abundant fruit and bamboo. The golden monkey will move in between areas depending on the season. During the season where ripe fruit is available they will remain in those areas. When the rainy season begins this causes bamboo shooting to occur and the golden monkeys are found more in these areas. Studies have found that if there is an area consisting of mixed fruit and bamboo, the monkeys will tend to frequent that area more than an area of just bamboo. One study reported that golden monkeys are most frequently seen in forests with bamboo, and this may suggest that this is one of the major preferences of the species.

The endangered golden monkey is endemic to the Albertine Rift, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offers a rare chance to track these striking creatures, high in the dense bamboo forests on the Gahinga trail. There is an estimated 3000-4000 individual in the Virunga area which 42-60 are habituated in Mgahinga.

The Park’s varied medicinal plants and fascinating Ngarama Cave can be explored with a Batwa guide – this tribe of hunter-gatherers was the region’s original inhabitants, and their ancient knowledge of the forest remains unrivalled. When you visit this important park, the guide will know which areas are most frequented by each species of animal.

Other Wildlife as an attractions in Mgahinga gorilla national park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has 76 identified mammal species, although they are difficult to glimpse in the wild forest vegetation. They include giant forest hogs, bush pigs, forest buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks, golden cats, side striped jackals, black fronted duikers and South African porcupines.

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The Virunga Volcanoes as a tourist attraction in Mgahinga gorilla national park

Mgahinga has three volcanic peaks, Muhubura (4127m), Sabyinyo (3669m) and Mgahinga (3474m). These can all be climbed. Though no specialist equipment is required, a reasonable level of fitness is necessary if you intend to enjoy the experience.

The names of the three peaks come to life in translation. Muhabura means ’the guide’ and its towering cone is a prominent landmark. During the 19th Century its crater still glowed to provide a natural lighthouse for travellers. The rim of the older Sabyinyo has weathered into a ring of stubby peaks, earning it the title ‘Old Man’s Teeth’. These imposing cones overshadow the stumpy Mt. Mgahinga which is named for the local practice of tidying the volcanic rocks that clutter farmland into ‘small piles of stones’ – or gahingas.

virunga-volcanoes

Muhavura volcano dubbed Volcan Muhabura is an extinct volcano at the easternmost end of the Virunga Mountains in east central Africa. It lies northeast of Lake Kivu on the border between Uganda and Rwanda. It is more than 13,500 ft. high, and its crater contains a lake. The volcano forms part of the Virunga National Park that rises to 4127 m at the NE end of the Virunga Range. It is a relatively youthful stratovolcano with a small 40-m-wide lake in its summit crater. The 3474-m-high Gahinga (Mgahinga) volcano is joined to Muhavura on the west by a broad saddle. The two volcanoes have produced basanitic-to-trachyandesitic lavas. A small parasitic crater has been recently active, but the age of the latest eruption of Muhavura is not known. It has a crystal clear crater lake about 36m wide at its summit. The top commands panoramic views far into Uganda, Rwanda and along the length of the Virunga chain.

Mount Gahinga (3,474m) is the smallest of the Virunga volcanoes. It is named after the local practice of tidying the volcanic debris that clutters local farmland into neat cairns – or Gahinga.  Its swamp-filled crater is around 180m wide.

Sabinyo also called Volcan Sabinyo, is an extinct volcano (3,505 m) in the Virunga Mountains of east-central Africa. It lies northeast of Lake Kivu and south-southeast of Rutshuru, Congo (Kinshasa). Its summit marks the junction of the Congo (Kinshasa)–Rwanda–Uganda borders. It forms part of the Virunga National Park, which is the home of the mountain gorilla. Sabinyo which also means old man’s teeth is a reference to its jagged summit which is dissected by deep gorges and ravines. The countries that share the Virungas – Uganda, Rwanda and the DR Congo – meet on the highest of Sabinyo’s stumpy peaks.  This volcano offers 3 challenging peaks to climb. A climb up the mountain takes one up a ridge along the eastern side of the climb peak 1. If you are to continue, the climb peak 11 involves walking as ridge with breath- taking drops into gorges of Rwanda and Uganda. Finally, the hike up to the peak 11 is steep with several ladders and mush scrambling. You are guaranteed to get your hands dirty en-route to peak 111. Once on top, you will be in Rwanda, DRC and Uganda at the same time. The journey takes about 8hrs round to cover the 14km stretch.

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Volcano Climbing as a tourist activity in Mgahinga Gorilla national park

Mt. Sabyinyo (366m) dubbed ‘Old man’s teeth’ like an old man, time has eroded Mt. Sabyinyo’s crown. This volcano offers 3 challenging peaks to climb. A climb up the mountain takes one up a ridge along the eastern side of the climb to peak. If you are to continue, the climb to the peak 11 involves walking a ridge with breath-taking drops into gorges of Rwanda and Uganda, a dual experience you will achieve here. Finally, the hike up to the peak 111 is steep with several ladders and mush scrambling. You are guaranteed to get your hands dirty en-route to peak111! Once on top, you will be in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, what a triple experience this is!!! The journey takes about eight hours round trip to cover the 14km stretch.

Mt. Gahinga (3474m)-On your way to the park, look out for small piles of stones in the garden fields. The local people call such a pile a ‘Gahinga’. Mount Gahinga is quite bigger than the average ‘gahinga’ but sitting next to Mount Muhavura does make it look small. A hike, which takes you about, six hours round trip, goes through a good example of a pure Bamboo forest. Gahinga once had a Crater Lake on top but time has changed it into a Lush swamp. Distance to the swamp is 8km.

Mt. Muhavura (4127m) – ‘The Guide’-Seen from all over Kisoro, this volcano acts as a guide. The typical cone-shaped Mountain provides some of the best views in the country. Much of the climb passes a rocky surface covered by grasses and small shrubs. Once at the top, hikers are rewarded with the view of the Virunga volcanoes, Lake Edward in queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi and the peaks of Rwenzori Mountain. The hike takes approximately 8 hours round trip covering 12km.You are advised to camp at the Muhavura base camp the night before the site has no facilities so you need a tent, water, food and sleeping gear.

Birding in Mgahinga as a tourist activity in Mgahinga Gorilla national park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is blessed with a unique bird fauna; 79 bird species have thus far been recorded within the park, including several species endemic to the East Congo Montane region. For the Virunga Conservation Area as a whole, over 295 species in the Virungas are endemic to the Albertine Rift Afromontane region representing 59% of the total of known endemic species.
birding-mgahinga

The three to four hour Gorge Trail between Gahinga and Sabinyo provides a spectacular sightings of the Dusky turtle Dove, Cape Robin-chat, Kivu-ground Thrush, Olive Thrush, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bronze Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Rwenzori Batis, Black-headed Waxbill and Streaky Seedeater.

Other good birding areas in the park are at the bamboo belt at about 2,500m above sea level, and the tall montane forest at 2,660m. The Rwenzori Turaco is mostly sighted at around 2,700m. Along the Uganda-Congo border and on level ground, the Chubb’s Cisticola, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Banded Prinia and Doherty’s Bush-shrike are vocal yet inconspicuous inhabitants of the tangled vegetation at the forest’s edge.

Golden Monkey Trekking

The endangered golden monkey is endemic to the Albertine Rift, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offers a rare chance to track these striking creatures, high in the dense bamboo forests on the Gahinga trail. There is an estimated 3000-4000 individual in the Virunga area which 42-60 are habituated in Mgahinga.

golden-monkey-trekkng-mgahinga

Hike through stunning bamboo forests to see this attractive and endangered primate. The golden monkey track is a gentle steep but an interesting two-hour trek through former farmland to the forest full of bamboos. On bright daylight, visitors are likely to view the Virunga Volcano range and come across buffalo and duiker.

Note that, the process of trekking golden Monkey in Mgahinga is the same as Mountain gorilla trekking hence the same rules apply to all the two activities.

Hiking and Nature Walks in Mgahinga Gorilla

A hike through the forest to the deep Sabinyo Gorge – a massive gash in the flank of Mount Sabinyo – provides good birding opportunities and the chance to find the Rwenzori Turaco. This walk takes four hours, and passes through the Rugezi Swamp which is fantastic for bird watchers.

naturewalk-hiking-mgahinga

The walk to the Congo border transcends through different vegetation zones. Hikers can sight the calderas on top of the Gisozi hill, look out for Kisoro and Bunagana towns and be captivated by Lake Mutanda.

The golden monkey track is a gentle steep but an interesting two-hour trek through former farmland to the bamboo forest. On a clear day, you may view the Virunga Volcano range and come across buffalo and duiker.

Mountain Gorilla Tracking

With a diverse collection of tourism activities, gorilla tracking stands out to be the leading activity at Mgahinga Gorilla national park and 75% of Mgahinga’s visitors come to view the primates. With Uganda left with about 400 mountain gorillas, the park is one of the two places where a visitor is guaranteed to have a glance at the endangered species. It is the best point to trek the Nyakagezi gorilla group which frequently moves adjacent in the forests of Conga and Rwanda. The other park where gorillas are found is Bwindi Impenetrable and these two parks are near each other making it possible for one to trek through both of them on most of Uganda safaris.

Where Gorilla trekking starts from.

Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga  starts from Ntebeko Entrance gate at around 8:00am in the morning daily taking between  2- 8hours.It is done under the direction of a well-trained guide who explains the gorillas’ behaviors along the way . A visitor is expected to budget for his/her time well while with a gorilla family since the maximum time allowed to spend with them is one hour.

How gorilla trekking is done

The most thrilling tourist activity in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park starts by trekkers reporting to the Park Headquarters to meet their experienced ranger guides for the day.

The ranger guides will brief trekkers about the etiquettes to follow when trekking the mountain gorillas in the hilly -forested areas of Mgahinga national park.

After briefing, experienced guides will lead the trekkers to trail heads to start an early morning trek into the dense rain forest on the mountain slopes. The journey, through dense foliage and up steep climbs, is abundantly rewarded with the lifetime experience of viewing mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

When trekkers get close to the apes, they are allocated one hour to spend with the mountain gorillas. During this time, trekkers have an opportunity to view the magnificent apes, sharing in their daily lives and experiencing their day-to-day activities.

After the one hour, return to your to the starting point and drive back to accommodation and, if time allows, take a guided afternoon forest or community walk. Please note: tracking may be fairly strenuous with treks lasting between 2-8hours depending on the movement of the apes. Also note that mountain gorillas are wild animals and, as such, sightings cannot be guaranteed. However viewing success rates are over 90%.

Gorilla trekking Rules

Before departing on your gorilla trekking or gorilla tracking tour

A maximum number of 8 visitors may trek to visit one habituated mountain gorillas group per day. This minimizes behavioral disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases.

Always wash your hands before you go gorilla trekking.

gorilla-trekking-in-mgahinga

On the way to the gorillas

Please always keep your voices low. You will also be able to observe the great bird life and other wildlife in the forest.

DO NOT leave rubbish in the park. Whatever you bring into the forest on your gorilla safari should be carried back out with you.

You will be taken to where the guides have observed the Mountain Gorillas the day before.

From there you will follow the gorilla’s trail. Look out for the gorillas’ nesting sites along the way!

As you approach the mountain gorillas, the guides will alert you.

When you are with the gorillas

A 7 meter (21 feet) distance from the gorillas should be observed at all times. The further back you are, the more relaxed the group will be.

You must stay in a tight group when you are near the gorillas.

Keep your voices down at all times but feel free to ask your ranger guide questions.

Do not smoke, drink or eat when you are near the gorillas. Eating or drinking will inevitably increase the risk of morsels of food or droplets of drink being left behind. Even the tiniest leftovers could increase the risk of transmission of disease to the gorillas.

Move slowly and carefully. Do not point or wave your arms.

Do not touch the gorillas. They are wild animals.

Occasionally the gorillas charge. Don’t panic. Follow your ranger guide’s example: crouch down slowly, do not look the gorillas directly in the eyes; wait for the animals to pass. Do not attempt to run away.

Your subjects are black animals in dim light so use the right camera settings. Flash photography is not permitted under any circumstances.

The maximum time you can spend with these wonderful animals is one hour. However, if the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide may decide to finish the visit early. This is for your safety and for the safety of the gorillas.

After the visit, you are bound to be excited! But please keep your voices down until you are 200 meters away from the gorillas.

Gorilla trekking General Health Rules

Remember that mountain gorillas are very susceptible to human diseases. The following rules are ways to minimize the risk your visit might pose to the mountain gorillas

Respect the limits imposed on the daily number of visitors allowed with the mountain gorillas. These limits minimize the risk of disease transmission and stress to the group.

If you are feeling ill, or you are carrying a contagious disease, volunteer to stay behind. An alternate gorilla trekking opportunity will be arranged for you, or you will be refunded the cost of your gorilla permit.

If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the gorillas, please turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order to minimize the spread of bacteria or viruses.

Always stay 7 meters (21 feet) away from the gorillas. This is to protect them from catching human diseases.

Do not leave any rubbish (such as food wrappers or drink bottles) in the park; foreign items can harbour diseases or other contaminants.

If you need to go to the toilet while in the forest, please ask the ranger guide to dig you a hole. Make sure the hole is 30 cm deep. Please ensure the hole is filled after you are finished.

What to bring on your gorilla trekking safari

Wear comfortable hiking shoes with good traction, suitable for climbing steep muddy slopes.

Carry a packed lunch and plenty of drinking water.

The weather can be unpredictable so carry rain gear, sunscreen lotion and a hat.

Pack insect repellent.

Bring binoculars – or hire a pair from the Uganda Wildlife Authority office in the park.

Bring spare batteries and an extra memory card for your digital camera. Using your camera flashlight is prohibited. If you are photographing using film, we recommend using 400-800 ASA film.

How to get Gorilla Permit for Mgahinga Gorilla Park.

A gorilla permit is a document issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority in Uganda to enable you trek mountain gorillas in Mgahinga. A permit allows you to view gorillas for only one hour but the trekking itself can take you between 2-8 hours when searching for the mountain gorillas in the ancient Impenetrable forest.

Note that, you need one to trek mountain gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Usually you have to obtain a gorilla permit several months in advance.

We always advise at least 5 months in advance or prior to your visit. While booking a gorilla tour, always pay your gorilla permit fee in advance to enable us acquire it for you. Gorilla trekking is guaranteed when you acquire a permit.

They are very competitive and scarce most especially during peak seasons. Sometimes gorilla tracking permits get sold out four months in advance.

Gorilla permit costs USD 600 per day per person. You can get the permits in Kampala -the capital City of Uganda at the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) headquarters. We do organize and book gorilla permits for our clients at no extra costs provided you book a full safari with us.

Please contact us with date/month and year when you want to trek gorillas in Mgahinga, we will then check availability of gorilla permits and inform you. Once you have transferred your funds on to our account, we will pre purchase your permits and send you scanned copies. To help us do this, you need to send us your passport details which are needed by Uganda Wildlife Authority in order to print and issue your gorilla permits.

When to go for gorilla tracking in Mgahinga Gorilla national park

The best time to visit the place for tracking is during the two dry seasons when the park is easily accessed. It is during this time that the thick forests can be penetrated easily and when the paths are not as muddy as it is in the rainy season. The two dry Seasons best for Gorilla Safari are; mid-December to end of February and June to October. However, gorilla tracking tourism is possible throughout the year.

Volcano Climbing

Mt. Sabyinyo (366m) dubbed ‘Old man’s teeth’ like an old man, time has eroded Mt. Sabyinyo’s crown. This volcano offers 3 challenging peaks to climb. A climb up the mountain takes one up a ridge along the eastern side of the climb to peak. If you are to continue, the climb to the peak 11 involves walking a ridge with breath-taking drops into gorges of Rwanda and Uganda, a dual experience you will achieve here. Finally, the hike up to the peak 111 is steep with several ladders and mush scrambling. You are guaranteed to get your hands dirty en-route to peak111! Once on top, you will be in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, what a triple experience this is!!! The journey takes about eight hours round trip to cover the 14km stretch.

volcano-climbing

Mt. Gahinga (3474m)-On your way to the park, look out for small piles of stones in the garden fields. The local people call such a pile a ‘Gahinga’. Mount Gahinga is quite bigger than the average ‘gahinga’ but sitting next to Mount Muhavura does make it look small. A hike, which takes you about, six hours round trip, goes through a good example of a pure Bamboo forest. Gahinga once had a Crater Lake on top but time has changed it into a Lush swamp. Distance to the swamp is 8km.

Mt. Muhavura (4127m) – ‘The Guide’-Seen from all over Kisoro, this volcano acts as a guide. The typical cone-shaped Mountain provides some of the best views in the country. Much of the climb passes a rocky surface covered by grasses and small shrubs. Once at the top, hikers are rewarded with the view of the Virunga volcanoes, Lake Edward in queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi and the peaks of Rwenzori Mountain. The hike takes approximately 8 hours round trip covering 12km.You are advised to camp at the Muhavura base camp the night before the site has no facilities so you need a tent, water, food and sleeping gear.
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The park lies in the south-western corner of Uganda, 540km from Kampala.

By road, one can access the park by use of a car from Kampala via Kabale to Kisoro. This journey takes about 9-10 hours.

By air, one can board a plane from Entebbe to Kisoro Airstrip which is near the park. This is the quickest mode of access and it takes about 1 hour. There are daily scheduled flights which must be booked long in advance with your local Uganda safari operator.

maps-mghahinga

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Mount Gahinga Safari Lodge (Volcanoes) – Luxury
mount-gahinga-safari-lodge

Mt. Gahinga Safari Lodge is situated at the foot of the Virunga chain at Uganda’s smallest park Mgahinga Gorilla Park. Rounded by Mounts Sabinyo, Gahinga and Muhuvura, this unique lodge has stunning scenery around it and its nine Banda huts. Every room’s design is got from ancient traditional Batwa culture paired with world class comfort and beautiful garden with rustic styles setting.
The lodge is the best place to relax yourself after your Uganda adventure and what makes it different from others is that it has a massage room, warming open fireplace where visitors can chill in the evening hours, delicious three course meals and blissful views of the mighty volcanic peaks, this lodge is a wonderful place to recuperate after your Ugandan adventures.
Guests are guaranteed a great night’s sleep in the comfortable separate cabins, surrounded by nice-looking terraces and gardens to make the most of the views and native birds and butterflies.
The Lodge provides number of Amenities and these include; Restaurant and bar, Open fireplace, Laundry service, On-site wildlife viewing, Outdoor sitting area for bird watching, surrounded by wild plants, A sunroom facing the volcanoes and Solar power. The Lodge’s room description is that it has eight attractive bandas which are nestled in the wild gardens at the foot of the Virunga Volcanoes.
All bandas have their own specific seating area with even privates’ bathroom, composting toilets and bush showers.
Lighting is solar powered, making them extremely environmentally friendly. Mountain Gahinga Safari Lodge has a variety of activities to Guest as seen below. Guests can spend the day climbing the Muhavura Volcano. (Elevation 4137 m). Guests can take part in a full day Batwa pygmy experience. This cultural walk begins at the base camp, which is located almost 30 minutes from the lodge. Members of the Batwa community and Ugandan Wildlife Authority guides help take to take visitors through the dense forest and educate visitors on the Batwa ways of life. You will see traditional dwellings, shoot with bows and arrows, learn about medicinal and edible plants, and visit the Garama Cave for a song and dance performance.

While at this lodge, guests can spend their day climbing the Gahinga Volcano. (Elevation 3473 m)  A hike, which takes you about 6 hours round trip, goes through a good example of a pure bamboo forest. Gahinga once had a crater lake on top but time has changed it into a lush swamp.

Accommodation rates

High Season Low Season
Single $401 Single$354
Double $330pp Double $295pp

Kisoro Tourist Hotel -Luxury
tourist-hotel-kisoro

Kisoro Tourist Hotel is situated in Kisoro town just 14 kms to the park main gate. It is the best option for anyone visiting the southwest part of Uganda, on the way to Rwanda, Congo and Mgahinga and Bwindi for gorilla tracking.

The hotel boasts a strategic location which is at the foothills of Mount Muhavura, and guests can enjoy a good panoramic view of the nearby mountains and volcanoes along the borders with Rwanda and the Congo.

While at the lodge, one can enjoy the warm atmosphere of the lounge provided by a true fireplace. When visitors get done with their daily activities in the nearby area, they can relax with a romantic massage done by well trained workers and also steam bath. The hotel has one of the best restaurants recognized in country for the high-standard food preparation in both traditional and international dishes.

The hotel provides the following amenities on-site are; On-site restaurant, Tour/Travel desk, Conference Facilities, Internet Access, Gift shop, On-site Bar, Fitness Room/Gym, Laundry/Dry Cleaning, Library/Reading Area. The hotel rooms also have TV-Cable/Satellite were visitors can watch international and local updates, The TV can get Local Stations clearly, Fans, Hot water, Private Bathroom are also provided to ensure that visitor get better stay.

The table shows the prices charged by Hotel for both Bed and Breakfast and Full Board.

Room Type Bed and Breakfast Half Board Full Board
single USD 60 USD70 USD80
Double USD75 USD95 USD115
Triple USD135 USD165 USD1195

Kisoro Travelers’ Rest Hotel –Mid-Range
travellers-rest-hotel

Travellers Rest Hotel is a colonial-style hotel located just 14km from Mgahinga Gorilla National Park outside Kisoro Town, in the extreme southwestern part of Uganda, providing a perfect point for trips into Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. When the visitor is just entering, he or she is welcomed by the ibis typical sound. The wonderful-green surrounding garden is the home of various birds species. When the guest is just seated on the terrace he is paid by nice smell of the sweet perfume from the honeysuckle, and in the cool evenings one can experience a warm atmosphere which is provided by the fireplace in the lounge, surrounded by unusual African artifacts and a huge collection of Congolese masks.
The surrounding landscape, dominated by the peaks of the Massifs of Virunga Volcanoes has very interesting beauty. The volcanoes offer spectacular views of the Rift Valley and the emerald-green Lake Mutanda in the distance.

In the sixties the famous American ‘gorilla-woman’ Dian Fossey visited Travellers Rest many, many times to do paperwork, relax or meet people. Fossey said of the hotel: “It was my second home.”

The Lodge Amenities in this precious hotel are; Restaurant,, Travel desk, Bikes to rent, Lounge area with fireplace, bar and large meeting table Internet access, Massages, Laundry service, Gift Shop, Enclosed garden, Huge selection of Congolese masks

All the Spotless private rooms lead out onto the pleasant garden and have private bathrooms with hot water. Available rooms include single, twin, double, triple and a suite.

The activities organized by the hotel are, Paying visits to the a local primary school where the deaf children study from and here willing guests are welcomed to make donations, also the hotel organizes traditional performances done by the local orphan group and some of the activities also include having cycle ride to lake Mutanda, visiting the local market mainly on market days, Batwa Forest Trail through the National Park among others.
Most of food prepared by the rest Hotel is sourced from Kisoro market, which is supplied by the local Bafumbira and Bakiga communities. The hotel staffs are mostly from Kisoro. Staff training and career development of the staff members is of great importance to the Hotel management.

Prices

Room Type Room Only Half Board Full Board
Single USD70 USD85 USD95
Double/twin USD80 USD110 USD130
Extra bed USD25 USD40 USD50

Amajambere Iwacu Camp –Budget.
amajambere-iwacu-camp

The Community Camp is situated by the entrance to Mgahinga National Park and is only 12 km from the southwestern town of Kisoro near the Rwandan border.

At the camp, visitors can enjoy the magnificent views of the famous Virunga Volcanoes and take part in monkey trekking. The camp is built at a best beginning point for golden monkey trekking through the national park.

The following Amenities are provide to the clients at the Camp

Camping facilities and 4 bandas, Spacious gathering shelter with indoor and outdoor dining

Well-stocked canteen serving beers, sodas, snacks and basic essentials and Restaurant serving typical Ugandan meals

The camp has variety of Rooms and this means that Guests can choose between bandas, dormitories or campsites. It has a large area for camping as well as five well-built bandas, which too serve as dormitories and they provide accommodation facilities for back packers, students.

Amajambere Iwacu Camp has a lot of activities provided to Guest and among these involve , Guided walks through the village and to a nearby lava tubes ,caves and Crater Lake. Traditional performances in form of cultural dances which are organized by the local women’s group and the Batwa people and Guided climbs of the Virunga volcanoe as well as having community walk.

RATES BED ONLY BED AND BREAKFAST FULL BOARD
Double $40 $50 $80
Twin $30 $40 $70
Dormitory $10 $15 $30
Cam( ten provided) $10 $15 $30
Self-camping $5 $10 $25

 

Nkuringo Safari Lodge -Budget

Travel to Kisoro and discover the rustic Nkuringo Safari Lodge. This magical paradise on the shores of Lake Mutanda overlooks the magnificent Virunga Volcanoes. Here you can experience the best of both worlds the modern

The lodge is one two levels. The main Lodge n the lower level is designed with tradition at its heart. A combination of local stone and hard wood structures creates a warm environment for the chilly evening on the lake. The top desk area commands sensation views of the Virunga Volcanoes and Lake Mutanda. Here you will find restaurant and bar where you relax next to warm fire. The lower desk is predominantly used during the day for early breakfast lunch buffets. There is Lounge, bookshop and well stoked library which provides plenty of reading materials foe lazy afternoon at the lodge.

The lodge offers accommodation to all budgets travelers and has seven well sited selfcontained tented rooms – These self-contained tents are built on the shores of the lake. They are constructed with a permanent stone bathroom at the rear and raised-decking supporting the vast tent in front. Each tent has its own private front porch where guests may spend a quiet evening.

The lodge organizes different activities for the Guests and among these includes the Sun Downer Cruise. A small pontoon boat that takes guests on sun downer cruises around the islands located on the lake. The guides and drivers are well acquainted with the local bird species in the district and have vast knowledge of the local traditions in the area and the other activity prepared by the lodge is

Lake Canoe Safari – Canadian style canoes takes up to 4 guests and a guide on tours of the lake shores. One of the most unique ways of viewing birds in the region.

Golden Monkey Guest House -Budget
golden-monkey-guest-hotel

The Guest House is ranked among the best Budget lodges in Kisoro town and it is a home away from home. They also offer a wide range of delicious food menu with meat and vegetarian options. The Guest House offers a wide range of accommodation options ranging from single and double, self-contained rooms to dormitories. Visitor’s choice of accommodation should be dictated by visitor’s personal travel budget but also guest’s own interests to give guest a total relaxation and peace of mind to make guest feel at home.

Golden Monkey guest house provides an excellent base for trekking the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi, Golden monkeys and volcano hiking at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. They also arrange canoe trekking trips to the beautiful lake Mutanda, which is just an hour away on foot. Community activities like market visit or village walk can be arranged.

Golden Monkey Guest House can be accessed by Road, Travel from Kampala crossing the Equator through Mbarara – Kabale onto Kisoro. Golden monkey Guest house is behind the Uganda wildlife information office in Kisoro town and well sign posted. And our newly open Rafiki guesthouse is along Bunagana road a few meters next to the famous Travelers Hotel
By Road: Travel from Kigali to Cyanika Boarder then proceed onto Kisoro town
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Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is a compact gem, perfectly suited close to the highway that connects Kampala to the parks of western Uganda. The Park is an exceptional protected area; every part of it is alive with diverse and colorful features. It consists of an expansive area of wetland and also natures various mammal species and birds found nowhere else in Uganda. Its unique landscape characterized by rolling hills and idyllic lake shores has a miscellaneous mosaic of natural habitats; seasonal and permanent swamps, forest galleries, Savannah grassland as well as   rich acacia-woodland and grassy valleys which all undergird a wide range of wildlife.

In spite of the fact that Lake Mburo National Park is small, only 370km², in juxtaposition to other protected national parks in Uganda, it has an aggregate total of five lakes that lie within the park borders. The five lakes together with the other nine form an expansive lakes and wetland areas acting as natural habitat to unique wildlife and birdlife species. In addition, it’s small size also comprises of green hillsides, bushy thickets, rocky outcrops, open and wooded savannahs, lush forests, all of which form an disputable natural home to an amazing variety of fauna and flora.

lake-mburo-np

The great diversity of natural habitat in the park is enhanced by the presence of unique wildlife species like the impala, eland and klipspringer. It is also home to the largest population of zebra in Uganda estimated at about 5,000 and probably contains the highest concentration of leopard found anywhere in Uganda. Buffalo, waterbuck, topi and warthog are also very common. Reedbuck and oribi can also be spotted in the open valleys of the park. Hyena, genet, bush pigs and white tailed mongoose are often seen on night game drives.  The park’s diverse habitat favors the survival of around 350 bird species. These include the Red-faced Barbet, only seen in Lake Mburo, the endemic African Finfoot and the rare Shoebill. Other key species are the Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Saddle-billed Stork, Brown-chested Lapwing, African-wattled Lapwing, Carruther’s Cisticola, Tabora among others.

In terms of climate, Lake Mburo National Park is strategically suited in a rain shadow between Lake Victoria and the famous Mountains of the Moon-Rwenzori Mountain, and receives an average of 800 mm of rainfall annually. Being close to the equator, the rainfall pattern is bimodal, with the long rains occurring from March to June, and the short rains from September to December. The rains are rather erratic and unpredictable, but most rain tends to fall in April and November.

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Wildlife as a tourist attraction in Lake Mburo national park
wildlife-at-lake-mburo

Lake Mburo’s miscellaneous habitats support the living of an approximated total number of 68 mammal species. The unique wildlife mainly found in this park than other protected parks of Uganda include the species of impala, Burchell’s zebra,eland. The other famous wildlife species in the park involve the warthog, oribi, buffalo, Defassa reedbuck and waterbuck. The park also houses some few species of the hyena and Leopard but these are not easily seen. Lake Mburo waters are natural home to the crocodile as well as over 300 hippos which are water inhabitants and of recent some lions have been seen roaming in the park territories.

Birds-as a tourist attraction in Lake Mburo national park
birds-lake-mburo

The famous Lake Mburo is birding destination in Uganda and the park boasts of an approximated number of 350 bird species. Among these include the rare species of the Red-faced Barbet, which is only resident of Lake Mburo national park, the other endemic species include the African Finfoot , the species of the rare Shoebill which occupies the wide swampy areas of the park. Other key bird species commonly watched in the park include the Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Brown-chested Lapwing, Saddle-billed Stork as well as the African-wattled Lapwing, Carruther’s Cisticola, Long-tailed Cisticola as well as the African Scops and White-winged Warbler, Owl plus the species of Abyssinian Ground Hornbill.

The rare acacia woodland bird species which are easily sighted and well represented in the park territories include the Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-rumped Tinker bird, Blue-breasted Kingfisher among others.

Lake Mburo as a tourist attraction in Lake Mburo national park
lake-mburo

Lake Mburo is a natural habitat and haven for distinctive species of fauna and flora. The bank of the lake is teemed and full of unique wildlife species and bird’s species. The permanent residents and occupants of this lake are the species of the Crocodiles as well as large numbers of hippopotami and sometimes buffalos come to drink water in the lake especially during the dry season. The wide-range of different bird species which are residents of Lake Mburo includes Pied Kingfishers, Malachite Kingfishers as well as the Rufous Long-tailed Starlings, African Fish Eagles and Hammerkops plus the Blue-headed Weavers, rare Shoebills, Cormorants, Green-necked Doves, Herons, Pelicans.

Rwonyo Rest Camp-Rwonyo is the center for tourism activities in the park. It is the where most of the tourism activities begin form ,for instance nature hikes, game drives ,quad biking, and forest walks. There is also a small shop selling handcrafts and books.

Rubanga Forest-Though small, this tract of forest suited on the western side of Lake Mburo offers a taste of tropical high forest with a closed canopy and a viewing platform for visitors. It is habitat to variety of forest birds; the regularly seen bird species include, Green Pigeon, Narina Trogon, the Harrier Hawk, Grey-backed Cameroptera and Double-toothed Barbet. Rubanga can be explored with a ranger guide.

Ankole Cultural Centre -The Banyakole community living in the areas adjacent to Lake Mburo National Park have created the ‘Ankole Cultural Centre’ to highlight the customs and history of their kingdom. The Cultural Centre is positioned few kilometres outside the park near the Sanga gate. A visit to the Centre will introduce you to the traditional culture of the area and the local way of life. Typical village houses can be visited and Ankole guides will explain their people’s history and lifestyle. Distinctive Ankole handmade crafts can be purchased as souvenirs.

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Birding in Lake Mburo National Park
birding-mburo

With an estimated number of 350 bird species, Lake Mburo is safe birding heaven in Uganda. The best birding spots in the park include the swampy valleys of Warukiri and Miriti, and the roadsides between Rwonyo camp and the jetty. There are also ideally-situated viewing platforms at the salt lick, in Miriti Valley, and in Rubanga Forest. Species which can be observed at these locations include the Coqui Francolin, rare Shoebill stork ,Rufous-bellied Heron, Bateleur, Grey Crowned Crane, Black-bellied Bustard, Brown-chested Lapwing, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Brown Parrot, Red-headed Lovebird, Ross’s Turaco, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Green Wood-hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, White-headed Barbet, Red-faced Barbet, Nubian Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Long-tailed Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis, White-winged Tit and Finfoot among others.

Rubanga Forest can be visited using a vehicle or on foot. This is a real draw for keen birders, and prior arrangement should be made with the warden. The rare Red-faced Barbet – only seen in Lake Mburo National Park.

Game Drives in Lake Mburo
game-driving-mburo

The best way to explore the park is by undertaking game drive through a well-connected game tracks found in the eastern part of the Lake Mburo National Park. The interesting early morning drive takes you through a variety of beautiful landscape features such as the prominent acacia woodland which acts as habitat to different wildlife, wetlands vegetation and areas which are home to distinctive wild life and bird species, grassy hillsides as well as rock outcrops and seasonally flooded valley floors. The appropriate time of carrying out game drivers in the park is during early morning as well as late in the afternoon. Guided night drives can be done and this can enable one to watch some nocturnal animal species and birds and this usually starts at 6:30-7:00pm and it takes roughly 2 to 3 hours.

Hiking and Nature Walks in Lake Mburo

One of the most fascinating and unique activities in Lake Mburo National Park are Hiking and Nature walks. The whole park is open to visitors who would wish to explore the park. These are done with direction of experienced guide who usually accompanies the hikers. At Rwonyo, a guided walk leads to a salt lick where many animals are attracted to the salty rocks.

naturewalks-mburo-np

Nature Walks carried out on the western part of the lake begin at 7am and take two hours. At this time of day, one can have an encounter with the hyenas returning to their dens and hippos retreat back to the lake. Hikes through the woodland provide an opportunity to sight forest birds and mammals, while the nature walk or hike organized to the top of the hill rewards visitors with a spectacular view of 9 of the region’s 14 lakes. Visitors interested in these walkers should book in advance and the most frequented place for nature walks and birding is Rubanga Forest, Horseback safaris in Lake Mburo -Horseback safaris are an exciting way to view wildlife, including eland and buffalo. Also commonly sighted are warthog, topi, impala, duiker, bushbuck, waterbuck and zebra. The four-hour hacks take visitors up to hilltop viewpoints with the option of bush breakfasts or sundowners. This activity is arranged at Mihingo Lodge.

Launch Trips in Lake Mburo
lake-mburo-boat-cruise
The wildlife-rich eastern banks of Lake Mburo can be explored during a tranquil two-hour boat voyage. Keep an eye out for crocodiles, buffaloes and hippos as well as colorful Kingfishers, magnificent Fish Eagles, Hammerkops and their enormous nests and even the prehistoric-looking Shoebill. Voyages depart from Rwonyo jetty every two hours (subject to demand) starting at 8am.

Horseback safaris
horseback-muhingo-lodge
Horse safaris are an awesome way to enjoy the views of the wildlife around Lake Mburo. Without the noise of an engine you can hear so much more and you really feel part of nature. Riding a horse means you often get the chance to see the more timid animals. If you are very lucky you may encounter the eland and buffalo wildlife species. You may see a combination of different wild game like warthog, duiker, topi, impala, waterbuck, bushbuck, and zebra. Of course the time of year and the weather do affect the number and variety of animals that you see, as the animals graze where the grass is the most delicious. Watching animals from a horse is so peaceful and a totally different experience from being on a game drive; zebras come towards you to check out the strange relative without stripes. Even the eland that are usually very shy, look curiously at the horses without running away, but keep their distance.

Sport Fishing in Lake Mburo

Lake Mburo contains around six species of fish, with tilapia being the most common. The designated fishing spot is at Mazinga; visitors planning to fish here should carry their own equipment and obtain a permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority

Cultural tour to Ankole Cultural Centre
cultural-tour-to-ankole-cultural-centre
The Banyakole community surrounding Lake Mburo National Park have created the ‘Ankole Cultural Centre’ to highlight the customs and history of their kingdom. The Cultural Centre is situated just outside the park near the Sanga gate. A visit to the Centre will introduce you to the traditional culture of the area and the local way of life. Typical village houses can be visited and Ankole guides will explain their people’s history and lifestyle. Distinctive Ankole handmade crafts can be purchased as souvenirs.
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[restab title=”How to access Lake Mburo national park”]

Lake Mburo National Park lies between Masaka and Mbarara in western Uganda, 240kms about 3-4hours drive from Kampala.

Two gates enter the park from the Mbarara road: approaching from Kampala, the turning to Nshara Gate is 13kms past Lyantonde while the junction for Sanga Gate is at Sanga trading Centre, 27km past Lyantonde. Both junctions are clearly signposted.
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Mihingo Lodge -Luxury
mihingo-lodge

Mihingo Lodge is a wonderful, peaceful and an exclusive lodge located just adjacent to the famous Lake Mburo National Park. It has total of ten rooms and these are permanently constructed on wooden platforms with stilts. The roofs of the lodge are covered by a thatched roof. The temporally placed comfortable and spacious tent in the thatched roof is availed with en-suite bathrooms full of attractive views and sights.

Each and every luxury tented room of the lodge is built on the Lodge’s private piece of land and these offers the visitors an opportunity to enjoy the serene calm environment in complete solitude. Placed in varied settings, some rooms are situated in a forest, some with a lake view, and some on rocky outcrops.

The main dining area in the lodge is a big thatched structure constructed out of rocks and the wood of dead weathered olive trees which were got on land plus native grasses. Below the dining area, there is beautiful swimming pool that extends out from the permanent rocks and tends to disappear into the vast landscape beyond.

In the Lodge’s dining and pool area, visitors can freely have the beautiful sights and views of a westward positioned valley and its stunning, attractive, magnificent evening sunsets over the wonderful Lake Mburo National Park.

Aside from lounging by the pool, enjoying the sounds of nature, or watching nearby wildlife, guests can also avail themselves of the numerous activities offered by Lake Mburo National Park and Mihingo Lodge. Diversions include boat trips on Lake Mburo, savannah walks, game drives in Lake Mburo National Park, and horseback safaris.

In terms of responsible travel, Mihingo Lodge is an environmentally friendly accommodation and the buildings are built in such a way that it melt into the rocky outcrops and savannah landscape around them. Electricity as well as hot water, and water pumps are powered by the help of solar energy and there is a natural water catchment system to take advantage of the rains.

Accommodation Rates:

Room Type  Rates for Residents Rates for Non-Residents
Single $175 $281
Double $135 $195
Extra Bed $81 $148.20
Child:3-12 $54

Matana Tented Camp-Luxury

Situated high up on a hillside off the main route to the park headquarters is this tented camp with views stretching far and wide. Each of the 9 tents is on private decks with spectacular view and caters for two people. They have their own bathroom area with hot “bush” showers provided, eco-friendly toilet systems and a dressing area. A central area provides dining and bar facilities.

Lighting is by solar power. Meals are generally of a high standard with several courses for most.

Lake Mburo Mantana Tented Camp provides guests with the perfect combination of seclusion and exclusivity in enchanting surroundings.

The rooms all offer great views out over acacia woodland and the lake below. The large ‘Larsen-style’ tents are simple but comfortably furnished with an en-suite bathroom.

The rooms do not have running water but hot and cold water is provided in flasks next to the wash-basins and hot water is always available for a bucket shower. The dining and bar area is a large open-sided tent and you can enjoy your pre- or post-dinner drinks in the chairs set around the camp-fire every evening.

Accommodation Rates

Room Types East African Residents Non-Residents
Single $245 $250
Double $330 $330

 

Arcadia Cottages Mburo-Mid-Range
arcadia-cottages-mburo

Arcadia Cottages is located  just 2km from the park headquarters at Rwonyo, It’s  an ideal base point from which visitors can base to explore the park on a game drive, spot crocodiles and hippos on the launch trip or really get close to nature on a guided walking safari.

The cottages are built on stilts and have clear views of the surrounding national park. The lake can be viewed while guests dine at the restaurant. Hippo’s that live in the lake walk up to the

The lodge offers the accommodation in the eight self-contained cottages which are arranged around a central lodge building; guests can enjoy the tasty of different dishes served in the lodge restaurant or relax and take in the stunning view from the lodge’s newly built deck.  In the evenings, guests can wind down from a long day’s safari around the lodge’s open fire, sipping a cold drink from the bar while enjoying the views and sights of impala, warthog and the occasional hippos.

Accommodation rates;

Accommodation Rates

Room Type B$B H/B F/B
Single $115 $130 $145
Double $225 $245 $265
Twin $225 $245 $265
Family $425 $455 $485
Triple $330 $355 $440

Eagle`s Nest-Budget

This budget accommodation facility is Located on a high hill bordering Lake Mburo National Park, this tented camp has not only one of the best views in Uganda; it is also offers the ultimate African canvas experience.

Eagles Nest consists of 12 safari tents with verandas overlooking Lake Mburo National Park. Each room has two separate beds and is decorated nice. The bathrooms offer the real African bush experience: we fill your shower upon request and we invented a new toilet system.

For dinner, visitors chill in a wood fire that is prepared each and every evening and the lodge offers real African experience.

Accommodation rates:

Room type B&B HB FB
Tent single 60 72 82
Tent double 70 95 115
Extra bed 30 42 52

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Kidepo Valley National park

Strategically situated in the rugged, semi-arid valleys of the remote Karamoja region on the extreme border with Sudan and Kenya, Kidepo Valley is Uganda’s most splendid national park, for it ranks among Africa’s finest Wildernesses. The Park was Gazetted as a national park in 1962, it has a profusion of big game and hosts over 77 mammal species as well as around 475 bird species.

Spanning on 1,442square kilometers of land, Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park and its seclusion lends the park a certain air of peace and tranquility in which to enjoy its majestic scenery. Kidepo’s exorbitant vistas, largely unrestrained by woodland and forest, are the sequel of the open tree savannah habitat that covers the largest portion of the park. Hill top areas of the park have been occupied by dry mountain forest while some watercourses support Acacia forests. Many of the hilltops are capped by rock kopjes which provide habitats for klipspringer and give panoramic 360 degrees views.

wildlife-at-kidepo-np

The park has arguably the most diverse fauna of any park in Uganda.With over 77 species of mammal, several of which are restricted to the Kidepo and Karamoja region, the park also has circumscribed carnivores such as the bat-eared fox, cheetah, striped hyena as well as caracal and aardwolf. Other carnivores accommodated in the park area are lion, leopard side-striped jackal, spotted hyena, and black-backed. The rarely ungulates species include the lesser and greater kudu, chandlers Mountain reedbuck, klipspringer and Guenther’s dikdik among others. Other large ungulates include elephant, Rothschild’s giraffe, Burchell’s zebra, bush pig, warthog, Capped buffalo, eland, bushbuck, hartebeest and oribi, Defassa waterbuck, Bohor reedbuck, Jsckson’s hartebeest and oribi. Five pronounced primate species are recorded in the park including the endemic Kavirondo bush baby.

The park has unique record of 475 bird species, making it second only in Uganda to Queen Elizabeth National Park. A few species of note, at least in Ugandan standards include the Ostrich, Kori Bustard and Karamoja Apalis, secretary bird, carmine, little green and red-throated bee eater, Abyssinian scimitarbill, yellow-billed and Jackson’s hornbills and the Karamoja apalis. Kidepo is also notable for its birds of prey. Of the 56 species recorded, 14, including Verreaux’s eagle, Egyptian vulture and pygmy falcon, are believed to be endemic to the Kidepo and Karamoja region.

birds-in-kidepo-valley

The park has a semi-arid climate with one long rainy season which runs from February to June and short rains last from September to December, leaving just three dry months. The rains are rather erratic, though the wettest months are usually April and November. July and August are the hottest months. The average temperature is 27.5°C with daily variations from 21.5°C to 34°C. The valley of the Narus River in the south of the park receives some 89mm of rain per year while just 635mm of rain per year falls in the Kidepo valley to the north. Both rivers are seasonal, and dwindle and disappear in the dry season. During these months, the only water source in the park is situated in remnant pools and wetlands along the southern Narus valley near Apoka and as a result, wildlife is concentrated in this area. This concentration, amalgamated with the valley’s open, savanna habitat, makes it the park’s prime game viewing location. Indeed it is possible to sight a wide range of fauna simply by scanning the valley with binoculars from the comfort of the Apoka lodge.

The park is surrounded by Karamojong and Masai people who are pastoralists survive on nomadic life style entirely depending on Cattle. However, these are adapting slowly to changes to their traditional way of life. Interested tourist may be able to explore Karamajong manyattas (homesteads) to see traditional customs, spears, stools, head dresses and knives, bows as well as jewelry.

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[restab title=”Tourists Attractions in Kidepo Valley national park” active=”active”]
Wildlife
wildlife-at-kidepo-np

The park contains one of the most exciting faunas of any Ugandan national park. Along with the neighboring Karamoja region, it houses many species found nowhere else in Uganda, including the greater and lesser kudu, eland and cheetah. With over 77mammal species, Kidepo’s wildlife includes 28 that are found in any other Ugandan National park. Amongst these include the circumscribed carnivores such as the bat-eared fox, cheetah, striped hyena as well as caracal and aardwolf. Other carnivores accommodated in the park area are lion, leopard side-striped jackal, spotted hyena, and black-backed. The rarely ungulates species include the lesser and greater kudu, chandlers Mountain reedbuck, klipspringer and Guenther’s dikdik among others. Other large ungulates include elephant, Rothschild’s giraffe, Burchell’s zebra, bush pig, warthog, Capped buffalo, eland, bushbuck, hartebeest and oribi, Defassa waterbuck, Bohor reedbuck, Jsckson’s hartebeest and oribi. Five pronounced primate species are recorded in the park including the endemic Kavirondo bush baby.

Apoka Tourism Centre

Overlooking the game-rich Narus Valley and home to an upmarket lodge and simple UWA-run cottages, Apoka is the park’s tourism hub. Ranger guides are stationed at Apoka to escort tourists on game drives and walks. For those without their own transport, park trucks can be hired. There is a craft shop with books and souvenirs; bottled water, sodas and alcoholic beverages can also be purchased here. Food is cooked on request and cooking gas and utensils can be hired by individuals who wish to cook for themselves.

Narus Valley

Narus Valley is a rolling, grassland plain enclosed by distant mountains. The valley has permanent water, and for much of the year the park’s wildlife congregates here. Thus, the area is well provided with game tracks, with four loop circuits exploring the valley around Apoka. Many creatures such as lions, Jackson’s hartebeest, buffaloes, giraffes, oribis and reedbucks can be seen in the valley. Less commonly seen are cheetahs and leopards. The Narus dam and the water hole near the Tourism Centre are perfect observation points for game, especially during the dry season. At the southern end of the Katurum loop, Katurum kopje (the site of a derelict lodge) is an attractive destination with superb views north across the valley towards the Morungule mountain range.

Birdlife
birds-kidepo-np

The park boasts an abroad bird list of around 475 species, making it second only in Uganda to Queen Elizabeth National Park. A few species of note, at least in Ugandan standards include the Ostrich, Kori Bustard and Karamoja Apalis, secretary bird, carmine, little green and red-throated bee eater, Abyssinian scimitarbill, yellow-billed and Jackson’s hornbills and the Karamoja apalis. Kidepo is also notable for its birds of prey. Of the 56 species recorded, 14, including Verreaux’s eagle, Egyptian vulture and pygmy falcon, are believed to be endemic to the Kidepo and Karamoja region.

Mount Morungule

Mount Morungole straddles at 2,750m and is traversed by the Kidepo and Narus Rivers that nourish the park’s wildlife and this natural habitat as a whole. The Morungole Range marks the southern boundary of the park and rises from the plains a few kilometers northeast of Apoka. This region can be explored on foot with a ranger. The mountain slopes are home to the IK people, the smallest ethnic group in Uganda, with their own unique culture.

Namamukweny Valley

Namamukweny is a Napore word literally meaning a place with no birds or a lonely place with few people – though regarding the birds, quite the opposite is true! The valley is inhabited by a large number of bird species such as the Eastern Paradise Whydah, White-crested Turaco, Common Bulbul, Abyssinian Roller and Green Wood Hoopoe among others. It is located in the north-west of the park and can be accessed by car or on foot.

Kidepo Valley and Kanangorok Hot Springs
kidepo-valley-and-kanangorok-hot-springs

For most of the year, a lack of surface water means that little wildlife is found in Kidepo Valley, though it is still worth the drive to visit the dry Kidepo River to stroll along its 50m wide bed of white sand between banks covered with borassus palms. Kidepo means to pick from below and the valley was visited by people coming to gather fallen borassus fruit for fermenting to make palm beer.

Kanangorok  meaning “the place of black stones” in the local language, are a small collection of natural hot springs located near the South Sudan border in Kidepo Valley, about 40km from Apoka Camp and 11km beyond the Kidepo River on the Sudan border. Locally called “Maji Moto” (which translates “Magic Water”) they are the only hot springs in Karamoja region. The natives hold an interesting myth about the formation of the springs and believe the hot springs produce magic water that can heal skin diseases such as scabies.

Taking tour to the hot springs leads you through the two main biomes of the park: savanna/acacia grassland of the Narus Valley turning into a semi-arid short grass area of the Kidepo Valley. The famous Kidepo Valley sand river is especially a huge highlight. There is a lots of possible wildlife sightings along the way including Zebras, Elephants, Giraffes, Cheetah, Lions, Ostrich and Kudus. While at the springs one can enjoy picnics and breakfast just next to the springs.

Lomej Hills

The Lomej Hills are a short drive from the headquarters. They are a good viewing point for birds and wildlife, including the mountain reedbuck.

Lonyili Mountain

The mountain is lying between Kitgum and the Sudan border, Lonyili Mountain is largely covered in montane forest and home to primates such as colobus monkeys.

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Game Drives
game-driving-kidepo

Games drives are mostly done along the Narus Valley as most of the game congregates here for it is the only area with water during the lengthy dry spell. The area is well optimized with trucks for ease of navigation and game viewing at close encounter. The Katurum kopje provides superb views north across the valley towards the Morungole Mountains. The Kidepo Valley is also great for game drives especially for the sand bed experience during the dry season.

Game drives along the Narus Valley are highly rewarding early in the mornings and late afternoon – 6am and 4pm. You are advised to use a ranger at all times; they will help you spot some of the park’s lions that may be sitting on the valley’s various rocks. Other wildlife includes elephants, leopard, bush duiker, jackal, bushbuck, bush pig, Kavirondo bush baby, buffalo and much more.

Bird Watching

Kidepo national park is safe haven for birds in Uganda safaris. The Park Headquarters and famous Apoka Rest Camp overlooking the swallow, southern Narus Valley is a perfect spot to start your Kidepo birding experience. The attractive Silverbird and small bands of Yellow-billed Shrike frequent the thorn trees around camp, as do a number of other widespread species such as Vinaceous Dove, Hoopoe, Nubian Woodpecker, Mosque Swallow, Ruppell’s and Superb Starlings, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Little Weaver and Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu. A small permanent water hole at the edge of camp attracts swallows and a variety of seedeaters including Yellow-rumped Seedeater and is visited at night by Four-banded Sandgrouse, Elephant, Buffalo and occasionally Lion. Clapperton’s Francolin, Black Coucal, African Moustached and Broad-tailed Warblers, Marsh Tchagra and Crimson-rumped Waxbill may be seen in the rank grass along the normally dry stream bed adjacent to camp or along the track to Apoka lodge

Hiking and Scenery viewing
hiking-kidepo-np
Hiking can be made on Lamoj Mountains situated few kilometers from the Park Headquarters. Visitors can also go to view the fabulous Kidepo River Valley dominated by Borassus palm forest; it has a large flatbed that is dry for most of the year. From Kidepo Valley, you may also visit the Kanangorok Hot Springs, which are situated only 11 km from Kidepo river valley. The mountain and Savannah scenery of the park is fantastic. The Narus valley is situated in the South West of the park; the rough Napore-Nyagia mountain range forms its western frontier. Separating it from the Kidepo Valley in the northeast, are the Natira and Lokayot Hills. To the north in the Sudan are the Lotukei Mountains and the Morungole range marks the southern edge of the park.

Mountain Hiking

The hike on Mountain Morungole is an exciting activity leading to the Ik people. The great Morungole expedition which involves a day’s hike through varying vegetation and rocky mountain terrain commanding spectacular views of Kidepo Valley National Park. The hike shall reward you with dances from the Ik people, their lifestyles, and unique settlements and also learn about their unique migration history.

The Lomej Mountains can be reached on foot in four hours, the hike starts at 7am. Shorter guided walks of around two hours can be taken through the Narus Valley extending over a 5km radius from Apoka Tourism Centre.

Nature Walks
nature-walk-kidepo-np

Nature walks are done during any time of the day. One of the good spots is around Apoka camp; it offers an opportunity to encounter game like Zebras, and Reedbuck. Another good and established spot is the eastern Kakine circuit, especially very early morning. Lots of wildlife are within 50-70meters range. The Rionomoe hill trail too is an established nature trail and offers views of the lower side of the Narus Valley.

Cultural and Community Walks

Among the Kidepo local community tours includes visiting the Karamajong who have such unique lifestyle and traditions. The Karamojong are traditionally cattle raiders and hunters and thrive on raiding cattle from their neighboring tribes. To the Karamajong, all cattle is theirs by right. However through community conservation and education, they are gradually changing most of their ruthless ways. Communities near the park stage cultural dances and performances. Dances like Emuya of the Naporre and Nyangia, Larakaraka and Apiti dances of the Acholi are common and worth seeing or participate in if you so wish.

Cultural visits and community walk to the Karamajong manyattas (homesteads) can offer you chance to see kraals local communities’ livestock, traditional costume, stools, spears headdress, knives, bows, arrows and jewellery.
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The park can be reached by both road and air. Driving is rewarding, as much of Karamoja, like Kidepo itself, is a vast and unspoiled wilderness. However, road conditions are sometimes poor and a 4WD vehicle is essential.

There are four possible routes by road as listed below. Optimum driving times are given

Routes passing west of Lake Kyoga through Acholiland

  • Kampala – Karuma – Gulu – Kitgum – Kidepo = 571km (10 hours)
  • Kampala – Karuma – Lira – Kotido – Kaabong – Kidepo = 705km (12 hours)

Routes passing east of Lake Kyoga through Karamoja

  • Kampala – Mbale – Sironko – Moroto – Kotido – Kaabong – Kidepo = 740km (12 hours)
  • Kampala – Mbale – Soroti – Moroto – Kotido – Kabong – Kidepo = 792km (13 hours)

The most usual route passes through Gulu and Kitgum Ideally, travellers should plan to stay overnight in one of these towns or at Chobe, near Karuma in Murchison Falls National Park.

Visitors should note that the road mainly in use from Kotido to Kaabong passes via Kanawat not via Losilang as indicated on most maps.

Prospective visitors should contact us to obtain up-to-date advice about road conditions and identify the preferred route, particularly if considering an approach through Karamoja.

Charter flights to Kidepo may be arranged from Kampala (Kajjansi), Kampala Aeroclub, or Entebbe with Eagle Aviation. Flights take about two hours.

kidepo-national-park-map
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There are few safari lodges or hotels where one can stay and have a decent meal while n his or her Uganda safari tour to Kidepo. The recommended lodges include,

Apoka Safari Lodge-Luxury
apokasafari-lodge

Apoka Safari Lode is luxury lodge positioned on splendid kopje overlooking the Narus River valley in the remote and Magnificent Kidepo Valley National Park. Apoka contains ten separate cottages, each self-contained and including indoor showers and outdoor bathtubs, as well as a veranda for relaxing and enjoying the view. The other feature found in the rooms include the Big hand-hewn beds with soft duvets  with mosquito nets, hand-woven woolen carpets, extra-large plush towels, over-sized dressing gowns .The lodge’s cottages are suitable for  visitors on honeymoon safaris to Uganda. The rooms have been built in the way that they offer comfort and memorable experience to the visitors on Uganda safaris.

The lodge had a swimming pool which has been carved out of the big rock and it’s the kind of pool that makes you want to jump in, splashing and yelling, feeling like a kid again.

At Apoka, everything is capacious and handmade by local craftsmen.

Apoka is the best lodge you can base to explore the unique wilderness of Kidepo national park. The lodge organizes activities such as Cultural tour to the Karamojong villages to learn about their traditional way of life, Enjoy a sundowner in the arms of a massive fig tree, Game drives  to watch a breeding herd of elephant frolicking in the mud among others.

Accommodation rates

Room Type Rates
Single $160
Double $120pp
Kids $60pp

 

 

Nga’moru Wilderness Camp-Mid-Range

Nga’Moru Camp is situated on the border of the Kidepo Valley National Park, only 4kms from the Katarum Gate. Located on a hill, Nga’Moru camp offers spectacular views of the Narus Valley and the savannah plains stretching all the way to the Morungole Mountains. Elephant, Hyenas, Waterbuck, Zebra and Lion are frequent visitors to the Camp

The lodge has comfortable accommodation in the lodge’s Safari Tents and in Cabanas.  The lodge’s has 2 “Cabanas” each with its own unique and private view of the Kidepo Valley National Park. The Cabanas can accommodate 1 to 4 single beds.

Nga ‘Moru Camp site contains 3 Safari Tents each with its own unique and private view of the Kidepo Valley National Park. Tents can accommodate 1 or 2 single beds.

Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp is the best lodge to stay while exploring the beautiful Narus Valley or the Kidepo Valley with its Hot Springs or local Karamajong Manyatta.

Accommodation Rates:

Room Type Rates in USD
Single -Both Cabanas &Tents $160
Double –Both Cabanas &Tents $120pp
Children-Both Cabanas &Tents $60pp

Apoka Rest Camp-Budget
apoka-rest-camp

Apoka Rest Camp is basic/budget facility that offers wonderful budget facilities and services to budget travellers on Uganda Safari tours to Kidepo National Park. The lodge has sixteen self-contained chalets and Fourteen Bandas each having 2 beds. The Bandas are actually not self-contained. For those interested in camping, you are encouraged to carry your own tent along with other camping gear.
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Kibale National Park

Kibale National park dubbed the world’s primate Capital is located in the two districts of Kabarole and Kamwenge in western part of Uganda. The park covers an approximated area of about 795km and it’s acknowledged to have one of Uganda’s most gorgeous tropical forests.

Spanning on 795 square kilometers of land, Kibale National Park was established in 1993 to help protect and conserve the vast area of natural forest that was earlier on managed and protected as a logged Forest Reserve. The park is the only one in east Africa that has both montane and lowland forests.

Kibale national park was established to help protect and conserve the extensive area of natural forest that was earlier on managed and protected as a logged Forest Reserve. The park is the only one Left Park in the whole of east Africa that has both montane and lowland forests. It’s also considered to the only park in Uganda the pearl of Africa that has the loveliest as well most varied tracts of tropical forest in the whole country. Kibale Forest is covered with vast interspersed of the patches of grassland and the swamps which mainly cover the largest parts of the northern and central parts of the Kibale national park on a raised plateau.

kibale-forest-np

The alluring and exotic natural environment of  Kibale  forest national park houses about  375 birds species, 4 wild felids as well as 13 famous species of primates, a total of at least 70 individual species of mammals and a total of 351 tree species. The most common species of the 13 primates include the charming endangered Chimpanzees and the most common but precious ecosystem in the park is moist evergreen as well as the semi-deciduous forest which characterize Kibale forests. The new exotic tree species that were reintroduced to the forest include the eucalyptus and pines species. Due to the park’s being eco-diversified and location of Makerere University Biological Field Station, its research site for all the researchers in the African continent

Kibale forest national park is located in an area inhabited by mainly two tribes identified as the Batooro who occupy the largest area and Bakiga who are the minority. The two tribes mainly depend on the park to extract some useful resources and among these include timber for construction purposes, some plant life as source of food, local herbs for curing diseases, among other resources and this done with permission from Uganda Wild life authority the bode responsible for protecting and managing national parks in the country Uganda.

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Flora as a tourist attraction in Kibale National park
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Kibale’s diverse altitude supports distinctive forms of natural habitat, ranging from moist evergreen forest (wet tropical forest) on the Fort Portal plateau, through moist semi deciduous (dry tropical forest) to woodland and savanna on the rift valley floor.

In the central part of the park in Kanyanchu area, the high forest contains a combination of evergreen and deciduous trees with the evergreen plant life species occupying the largest area. Trees rise to over 55m and display a semi-closed canopy of arranged tree crowns. The undergrowth is scarce with shade tolerant shrubs, herbs, a variety of broad leaved forest grasses and ferns, 351 tree species have been recorded in the park.

Fauna as a tourist attraction in Kibale National park
The diversity and density of primates in Kibale is the highest in Africa. The most famous of its 13 species is the chimpanzee, our closest relative, Kibale’s 1450 chimpanzee represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate. Kibale is also home to the rare I’Hoest’s monkey and East Africa’s largest population of the threatened red colobus monkey. Other primates include the black and white colobus, blue monkey, grey cheeked mangabey, red tailed monkey, olive baboon, bush baby and potto.

Other Wildlife as a tourist attractions in Kibale National park–
wildlife-at-kibale-np

Though Kibale is famous for its varied  primate species, the natural habitat in the park also house an estimated  70 mammal species and these are thriving in the highly endowed perimeters of the park .The park has the  ground-dwelling animals but these are rarely seen in the dense ever green  forests of Kibale national park. Among the other species which can be easily encountered in the park include the approximated number of 500elephants that are reported to be living in the forest park, other mammal species involve the buffalos, bush pigs species, warthogs, leopards, duikers and golden cat .The rare species that may be only sighted by keen observers include the reptiles, amphibians and also the colorful variety of 250 individual species of butterflies.

Bird species as a tourist attractions in Kibale National park
birds-kibale

The park boasts of more than 375 birds species and these include the 6 birds species  that are endemic to the Albertine Rift region, namely black-capped apalis, blue-headed sunbird, collared apalis, dusky crimson-wing, purple-breasted sunbird, and red-faced woodland warbler. Other Kibale species include the African pitta, green breasted pitta, black bee-eater, yellow spotted nicator, yellow rumped tinker bird, little greenbul, black-eared ground thrush, brown-chested alethe, blue-breasted kingfisher, Abyssinian gound-thrush, and the crowned eagle.

Kanyanchu River Camp as a tourist attraction in Kibale National park

Kanyanchu area is located in the central part of bio-diversified Kibale national park and it’s the main trailhead for the park’s popular interesting forest walks. The major attraction in this area is the habituated chimpanzees which can be trekked in the dense rainforest. Chimpanzee populations have been habituated in this area since 1991 and the opportunities of setting eyes to the Chimpanzees in the Kanyanchu area are high almost 95%.

Local people as a tourist attraction in Kibale National park
cultural-encounter-kibale

The people living around the park are mainly Batoro and Bakiga. The Batoro are indigenous to the area while the Bakiga are immigrants from the densily populated southwestern part of Uganda. The Batoro take pride in the cultural heritage of the Toro Kingdom, a scion of the ancient kingdoms of Africa’s Great Lakes region. The Omukama (King) and the kingdom embody the traditional and cultural values of the Batoro. The Bakiga immigrants still maintain their tradition and culture as expressed in their folklore, dance, and language.

The park plays an important role in the lives of the local people who enjoy a variety of benefits from the forest. The forest provides them with many traditional forest products such as wild

Sebitoli Forest Camp as a tourist attraction in Kibale National park

This is described as Kibale’s secondary tourism Centre. It’s found in the north of the forest and it offers opportunities for visitors to encounter primate’s species like the red colobus, blue monkeys, white-and-black colobus and vervet monkeys. It’s the best place to view a variety of aquatic species as well as the forest and savannah birds’ .Above all is the opportunity to enjoy views and sights of the Mpanga River.

Areas of Interest outside the Park
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
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Bigodi is the only Sanctuary in the park that is diversified with variety of beautiful scenery and of eco-system; the impressive wetland is safe haven for bird loves. It houses an approximated number of 138 bird species. Situated outside the park in Magombe Swamp, Bidogo wetland is home  to around eight individual species of primates and these include the white-and-black colobus, grey-cheeked mangabey  ,the  red-tailed and East African’s threaten species of the L’Hoest’s and blue monkeys and the olive baboons. Bushbucks and mongooses can also be sighted in the sanctuary. The sanctuary was gazzatted to help of preserve the threatened environmental features and the wetland resources. The wetland Sanctuary is managed and preserved with the local community around the park and the revenue generated from tourists is used to fund community development projects.

Being birding destination in Kibale, the wetland has nature guided walks and the viewing platforms that allow bird watchers to enjoy the elusive sights and views of the unique bird species housed in the park.

 Kihingami Wetland
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This is situated near Sebitoli in the northern part of Kibale and it’s a community-run project that offers the best bird watching point in kibble national park. The wetland offers visitors chance to visit the local tea estates and the factory. A nature walk that originates from this wetland leads tourists to watch the primates’ species such as the white-and black colobus , the red colobus and red-tailed monkeys. The other animals which can be spotted in this wet land include the otters, bushbucks and mongooses.

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Primate Walk and Chimpanzee Tracking

Kibale Forest is habitat to 13 primate species and a guided forest trek can be taken in search of one of the most popular primate species in the world’s primate Capital.  This highly rewarding activities in Kibale start from the Kanyanchu Visitor Centre at 08.00 and 15.00 and lasts 2-3 hours. Out of 9 diurnal primates namely L’Hoest’s , vervet, red-tailed, greycheeked manabey,  blue monkeys, red colobus, black and white colobus, olive baboon, Chimpanzees are the most sought after by visitors, Although chimp sightings are not guaranteed, the odds are good with the chance of encountering them standing at  .Whilst trekking in the depths of the lush green forest, you will be entertained by the bird song and can expect to see at least 5 or 6 other types of primate, most probably the grey-cheeked managebey and the red-tailed monkey.

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Chimpanzee tracking process

This involves travelling to National Park Headquarters to meet your guides for early morning briefing about the do’s and don’ts when trekking the Chimps.

Experienced guides and trackers will accompany group of eight trekkers on an early morning trek into the forest to trek the wild chimpanzees as well as several other species of primates in their natural habitat.

You be allocated one hour to be with these charming and very social apes, sharing in their daily lives and experiencing their day-to-day activities. Chimpanzees, our closest cousins, are extremely endangered with only an estimated 5000 remaining in Uganda.

After the one hour, trekkers will return to the starting point and hence the end of the activity.

Please note: tracking may be fairly strenuous as the chimpanzees are highly mobile as they search for food throughout the forest. Also, chimpanzees are wild animals and, as such, sightings cannot be guaranteed. However viewing success rates are over 80%.

Chimpanzee tracking regulations

For visitor’s safety and the protection of Kibale’s chimpanzees, Visitors are requested to observe the following points:

Visitor should keep a distance of 8 metres between him or her with the chimps.

Visitors who are sick are requested not to enter the forest because when one is sick and he or she enters the forests, it puts the chimps at risk of contracting disease.

Tourists are not allowed to eat near the chimps.

Children of 12 years and below are not permitted to view the chimps for safety reasons.

Do not enter the forest without a park guide.

If you need to defecate, do so off the trail and bury waste and toilet paper in a hole 30 cm deep.

Do not scare or attempt to provoke the chimps.

Flash photography is strictly forbidden.

Follow the instructions of your guide.

Please remember that Kibale is not a zoo but a natural tropical rainforest. Sightings of chimpanzee and other primates depend on several factors, such as time of the day, fruit availability, weather, and how quiet your group is.

What to bring

Carry warm clothing and rain gear as the mornings and evenings can be cold and wet, especially during the peak rainy seasons. Wear enclosed shoes and remember to bring a camera, binoculars, wildlife guidebooks, hat, and mosquito/insect repellent.

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

This is a life time and almost incredible experience for aspiring researchers and chimp lovers. The activity involves staying with the chimps all day. Having the time to really connect with the group and learn about their different characters and habits. This experience offers a real chance to develop fieldwork skills and learn about behavioral research about Chimpanzees.

Birding in Kibale forest

Kibale national park is birding destination in Uganda and the park boast of an estimated number of more than 375 Bird species which can be watched in the various parts of the park. Bird watching tours in the park mainly starts at 7am at Kanyanchu which is located in the Centre of the park but visitors interested in bird watching are requested to book in advance.

The rare species of birds which can be viewed in the park include the Papyrus Gonolek that can be easily found in the wetlands of the park, White-winged Warbler as well as the White-collared Olive back and Papyrus Canary.

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One of the recommendable bird watching areas in the park include the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary which is situated just small distance outside the park, .The wetland is home to roughly 138 bird species and these can be easily seen by the visitors participating in guided walks along the trails developed in the wetland and also other visitors can use the viewing plat forms set in the broad walking trails to enjoy the sights and sounds of the various bird species found this area. The various bird species which bird lovers can have chance to enjoy their sounds and watch their bright shining colours include the  White-spotted Fluff tail, Brown-backed Scrub-robin ,Yellow-spotted Barbet, Black Bishop as well as  Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet plus the rare White-breasted Negrofinch , unique Western Nicator, Grey-winged Robin-chat, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Superb Sunbird, Black-crowned Waxbill, Bocage’s and Bush-shrike among other interesting bird species..

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

This small, but impressive wetland sanctuary protects the Magombe swamp and is an important contribution to Ugandan conservation. It is run by Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED) and all the money raised from tourism is used in community projects in Bigodi. The trail developed in the Sanctuary offers one of the best guided bird trails in East Africa and gives walkers the attractive prospect of seeing various different primate species in just a few hours. The swamps are a haven for a huge number of bird and butterfly species and so ornithologists will be in great delight as they trek through the rich swamplands accompanied by the great diversity of sights and sounds of the beaked and tuneful residents. Visitors can also expect to see at least 5 to 6 of the different primate species which reside in Kibale Forest National Park.

Cultural Encounters in Kibale

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Kibale Association for Rural Environment Development (KAFRED) is a community-based organization which promotes local livelihoods and biodiversity conservation through ecotourism. This famous association in Kibale National Park offers visitors unique cultural encounters and this starts in form of nature walks.

During the nature walk, a local guide will takes you along the boardwalk through the Magombe swamp wetlands. You are likely to see wildlife at close-hand, including several of the 200 species of birds, eight varieties of primates and numerous butterflies, along with unusual swamp vegetation.

The daily life of the Batooro can be discovered during the village walks. The tour stops by the village’s primary school, church, and traditional healer. You will learn about the role of women in the village and traditional ceremonies, and the history of Bigodi is told through the story of the “Village of Two Tribes”, describing when the indigenous Batooro were joined by migrating Bakiga from southwestern Uganda in the 1950s.

Income from this activity is invested in education, health, sanitation and improving the livelihood of local residents. It is also used to help raise awareness of the value of biodiversity through music, dance, and drama performances at local schools. In 2010, KAFRED they won the prestigious UNDP’s Equator Initiative Award.

Hiking/Nature Walks in Kibale

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When chimpanzees and other forest residents rest up at dusk, a nighttime shift of rarely seen creatures becomes active. Night walks though the darkened forest use powerful torches to seek nocturnal creatures such as the potto, bushbaby, nightjar, cricket and tree hyrax, with its chilling shriek, as well as the occasional civet or serval cat. Night walks leave the camp at 7.30pm and last between one and a half and two hours.

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Kibale National Park is located in western Uganda, 26km south-east of Fort Portal town. Kanyanchu River Camp, the primary centre for tourism activities, can be reached from Kampala either from the north, via Mubende and Fort Portal, or the south through Mbarara and Kamwenge.

Kampala via Mubende to Fort portal (300km) link to Kanyanchu (36km). The northern approach is shorter and quicker, with a 300km tarmac road running to Fort Portal followed by 36km on murram to Kanyanchu. Sebitoli Forest Camp, a secondary tourism centre, is even easier to reach. This stands directly on the Kampala road, 16km before Fort Portal. Public transport runs throughout the day between Kampala and Fort Portal (passing Sebitoli) and Fort Portal and Kamwenge (passing Kanyanchu).

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Primate Lodge-Luxury
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Primate Lodge in Kibale is a fashionable Eco-lodge located within Kibale National park. It’s enclosed by a flourishing tropical forest that is a habitat to many different species of primates for instance the chimpanzees. It’s secretly sheltered in the rainforest and forms one of the lodges that offer a really dependable jungle familiarity.

Primate lodge Kibale has accommodation for all visitors ranging from luxury, cottages as well as tents. This lodge gives a chance to take your time in the morning and first have breakfast and later on plan for the day and how you are going to track the chimpanzees without much trouble.

The lodge has about 8 lavish safari tents, wooden platform with a thatched roof that tends to match well with the environment. The verandahs on each tent offer a beautiful view of the enclosed forest. The inside of the lodge is designed with an African style with beautiful beds. The bathrooms and toilets have a natural touch of the environment made out of local stones, wall paintings as well as bamboo.

It has about 7 friendly cottages which are secretly located in the forest. The rooms are big with double beds, a sitting room with an African design and standard en suite bathrooms and toilets.

Another exciting adventure is the sky tree house, it has a bedroom with other facilities that can enable you enjoy a night there. It’s suited at a 10 minutes’ walk from the major lodge and hence making it a perfect viewing point for Elephant especially at night.

The restaurant at the lodge serves both Local and International foods with hospital waitresses. Next to the restaurant is a fully stocked bar with a beautiful scenic view of the forest.

Lounge area at the lounge has well designed chairs; soft cushions along with sofas that will make you enjoy the red-tailed monkeys in the forest.

Cultural dancing is usually enjoyed around the camp fire and late in the night, you will experience the great sounds of the forest as well as the winding forest elephants.

Tourist Activities include chimp tracking, Forest walk, bird watching, Bigodi village walk discovery of the crater Lakes, Cultural heritage, Hike at the slopes of Rwenzori along with the Nature trail. Enjoy a tour To Uganda’s national parks.

Chimps’ Nest –Mid-Range
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Chimps’ Nest is located at Kanyanchu one of the best viewing points of Kibale Forest .Its positioned on the  way to Bigondi Village, the site of the lodge was carefully chosen, as it commands the view of Kibale National park forest and Rwenzori Mountains, the portal peaks,

It’s located just a 15 minutes’ drive from Kanyanchu the focal point of UWA for chimp tracking as well as other activities in the park. The accommodation is up to standard with beautiful self-contained cottages, tree house in addition to family cottages. The restaurants serves local food sourced from the local markets. From the lodge’s cozy restaurant on top of the hill, everybody will have a splendid view of Chimp’s Nest

All the cottages of the lodge are situated on a hill, with a private and splendid view of Kibale Forest and the Rwenzori Mountains. From your private balcony you can enjoy the wildlife, with the surrounding sounds of birds, monkeys, chimps, and elephants.

The bathroom is outside. It is completely closed off but has an open roof. Your privacy is guaranteed so you can have the ultimate experience of freedom in the middle of nature.

The family cottage is built near the restaurant, on a hill. This place is ideal for people with children or for people who want to be near the restaurant.  Just like all the other cottages, this cottage has a lot of privacy and is in the bush, surrounded by various colourful birds and wildlife.The cottage holds two bedrooms with flexible beds which can be either twins or doubles. There is space for one extra bed each bedroom. There is a lockable door in between the two rooms.

Tourist Activities which are organized in the lodge include, Chimp tracking, Cultural heritage, Natural trail, Forest walk, Hikes at the slopes of Mount Rwenzori and Bigodi Village walk along with the discovery of the crater Lakes.

Accommodation rates:

Room Type High Season (B$B) Low Season(B/B)
Double cottages $96 $77
Twin cottages $96 $77
Single cottage $72 $58
Double tree house $152 $122
Twin tree house $152 $122
Single tree house BB $120 $96
Family cottage max. 4 $172 $138
Extra person  Bed only $16 $13
Budget room  Bed only $20 $16

Kibale Forest Camp-Mid-Range
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Kibale Forest Camp is situated in a patch of indigenous forest, just outside Kibale Forest National Park. It borders Bigodi swamp and is located on a mere 4 km from the starting point of chimpanzee tracking. The camp is a renowned birding paradise, not only frequented by our human visitors, but also by the black and white colobus, the red colobus, the red tailed monkey, the bleu monkey and the grey cheeked mangabey.

The complex is beautiful wooden with a grass thatched roof which blends perfectly in the forest surroundings. The open construction permits our visitors to fully enjoy the beauty of this magical place.

Due to the remote location of the camp, they work with set menus: delicious 2 course lunches and fine 4 course dinners. If you have any dietary requirements or allergies, it is wise to inform them at your earliest convenience. The well maintained campsite of Kibale Forest Camp is a little green gem. Bordering the swamp and set in lush surroundings. It is the place to unwind and come one with Nature. The sanitary facilities consist of 2 hot showers and 2 flushing

Kibale Forest Camp consists of 10 African safari style tents, comfortably furnished with twin or double beds. Each unit has its own private ensuite bathroom with a flush toilet, a dressing room and a hot water shower. Seated from your own verandah, the red or black and white colobus can often be observed in the dense camp surrounding.

Kibale Forest Camp offers a more budget option in the form of non-self-contained tents. The lazy camping product offered by the lodge consists of a basic camping tent furnished with 2 single beds and a solar lantern. No need to bring your own linen as all bedding and towels are provided. The tents share a communal ablution blocks with hot showers and flushing toilets.

The campsite bar and restaurant are situated in a beautiful wooden grass-thatched building. The open structure blends perfectly in the surroundings and overlooks a lush colourful garden. It is in this cozy restaurant that your breakfast, delicious 2 course lunches and 4 course dinners will be served. Due to logistic reasons (quality products are difficult to het in the area and come from Kampala)

Accommodation rates:

Room Type B&B HB FB
Single(Safari tent) $75 $90 $100
Double(Safari tent) $95 $125 $145
Extra Bed $25 $40 $50
Single (Lazy camping) $25 $40 $50
Double(Lazy camping) $40 $70 $90
Camping $15 $30 $40

Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse and campsite-Budget

Located inside Kibale National Park and only 23 Km from Fort Portal town, Chimpanzee Forest Guest house is basic accommodation facility in Kibale. The Guesthouse sits on 100 acres of manicured lawns, beautiful gardens, tea plantations, pasture and indigenous forest and hence offers the point sit for scenery viwing.

Owned and operated by a Ugandan family, Chimpanzee Forest Guest house was originally established in the 1950s, during Uganda’s colonial period, by the British District Commissioner and has been wonderfully cared for and maintained ever since. Guests can relax in a comfortably furnished lounge which features an excellent collection of colonial African literature dating back to the 1800’s.

Accommodation outside of the main house is offered in either a large twin bedded self-contained banda over-looking Lake Nyabikere or in a choice of three self-contained cottages with views of Kibale Forest National Park. You may also camp on flat grassy sites away from the house with shade. The eats served in the lodge ranges from delicious hot meals; cold drinks; freshly baked bread to seasonal home grown fruits and vegetables; pancake breakfasts and percolated coffee.

Accommodation in the Guest house Rates (VAT Exclusive)

Room type B$B F/B
Cottage double Ushs260,000/= Ushs360,000/=
Cottage single Ushs160,000/= Ushs220,000/=
additional Person Ushs120,000/= Ushs160,000/=
Children 4 – 8 y Ushs 80,000/= Ushs110,000/=

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Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park dubbed the safe haven for mountain gorillas in Uganda is located in southwestern Uganda in East Africa. The park is part of the ancient Bwindi Impenetrable Forest that is situated along the Democratic Republic of Congo border next to the Virunga National Park and on the edge of the Albertine Rift.

Spanning on a 331 square kilometers of jungle forests ,Bwindi Impenetrable National Park derived its name from a local kikyiga word “Omubwindi and as the world suggests, the forest is almost impassable and the oldest, un spoilt tropical forest dating back 25,000 years ago. The Impenetrable Forest, as it’s also known, is one of Africa’s most ancient habitats, since it thrived right through the last Ice Age (12,000 to 18,000 years ago) when most of Africa’s other forests disappeared. In conjunction with the altitude span (1160m to 2607m) this antiquity has produced in an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, even by normal rainforest standards. And we do mean rainforest; up to 2.5m of rain falls here annually.

Historically, in 1932, what are now the northern and southern sectors of the Bwindi forest were gazetted as Kasatora and Kayonza Crown Forest Reserves respectively, covering a total area of 20,700ha. Later, in 1948, the two reserves were combined and extended into the Impenetrable Central Crown Forest Reserve covering 29,800ha. Two local forest reserves were then incorporated into the central reserve in 1961, increasing the gazetted area to 32,080ha. In the same year, the entire reserve was gazetted as an animal sanctuary in an effort to grant additional protection for the mountain gorillas. Bwindi was finally upgraded to a national park in 1991, along with the creation of two other mountain national parks in Uganda: Rwenzori Mountains and Mgahinga Gorilla.

Straddling in the Kigezi Highlands of south-west Uganda, adjacent to the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is characterized by steep hills and narrow valleys with a general incline from the north and west to the south-western corner. The park constitutes an important water catchment area serving the surrounding densely populated agricultural land and is one of the few large expanses of forest in East Africa where lowland and montane vegetation communities meet. Three major tributaries of the lshasha River drain into Lake Edward to the north, and the Ndego, Kanyamwabo and Shongi rivers flow southwards towards Lake Mutanda.

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Due to its diverse habitats ranging from 1,160 to 2,706 m in altitude, location at the intersection of the Albertine, Congo Basin and Eastern Africa ecological zones, and probable role as a Pleistocene refugium, Bwindi is the most important area in Uganda for species due to an exceptional diversity that includes many Albertine Rift endemics. This forest is believed to be a mere remnant of a very large forest which once covered much of western Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The property has the highest diversity of tree species -over 200 species including 10 endemics and ferns -some 104 species in East Africa, and maybe the most important forest in Africa for montane forest butterflies with 202 species including eight Albertine endemics. The forest is very significant as a home to almost half of the population about 400 of the critically endangered mountain gorilla. With over 347 species of forest birds recorded in the Park, at least 70 out of 78 montane forest bird species occurring in the Albertine Rift region are found in the forest, and 22 of the 36 endemics. Overall, Bwindi hosts numerous globally threatened species including high-profile mammals such as mountain gorilla, chimpanzee, l’Hoest’s monkey and African elephant; birds such as African green broadbill, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Turner’s Eremomela, Chapin’s flycatcher and Shelley’s crimson-wing; and butterflies such as African giant swallowtail and Cream-banded swallowtail.

According to the latest mountain gorilla census, it was established that half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas live in Bwindi. The number mountain gorillas has been estimated to be 820 individuals and out of this, 400 hundred are in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Bwindi Impenetrable National Park remains the only park in the whole world where mountain gorillas co-exist with wild chimpanzees although there is no trekking chimps since no community has been habituated.

Bwindi lies in one of the country’s most densely populated rural areas in different locations around the forest. Approximately 10,000 families belonging to the Bachiga, Bafumbira and Barwanda (all Bantu) peoples cultivate the land immediately surrounding the park.

The Park boundary is clearly delineated with planted trees and concrete pillars as markers along areas where rivers do not form the boundary. This clear boundary line has mostly stopped encroachment by the local communities, although with increasing population, agricultural encroachment will remain a potential threat. However, community participation programmes have enabled the neighbouring communities to derive various benefits from ecotourism and regulated plant resource use which significantly contributes to improving their livelihoods. There are no commercial activities inside the property other than ecotourism. Bwindi shares a common border with the small (c. 900 ha) protected Sarambwe forest in DRC, into which the gorillas and other species enter at times
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Mountain Gorillas as a tourist attraction in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park

Mountain Gorillas are the main tourist’s attraction in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The park is inhabited by an estimated population of about 400 individual mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), which makes up almost half of all the remaining mountain gorillas in the world living in the wild. The other half of the mountain gorilla population is housed in the nearby Virunga Mountains covering three national parks of Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda, Volcanoes in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Congo. A 2011 census of the mountain gorilla population in the park showed that its numbers had increased modestly from an estimated 300 individuals in 1997 to 320 individuals in 2002 to 340 individuals in 2006 to 400 in 2011.

Research shows that Mountain gorillas in Bwindi mainly feed on fruit than that of the Virunga population, and also Bwindi gorillas including the Silverback tend to climb trees to feed on foliage, fruits, and epiphytes. In some months, Bwindi gorilla diet is very similar to that of Bwindi chimpanzees. It was also found that Bwindi gorillas travel further per day than Virunga gorillas and hence this makes mountain gorilla activities in Bwindi hectic but highly rewarding. In addition, Bwindi gorillas are much more likely to build their nests in trees, nearly always in alchornea floribunda, a small understory tree.

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In Bwindi national park, mountain gorillas are habituated in four main regions within the park and these regions include Buhoma region which is the first region where gorillas were first habituated and opened into tourists by the year 1993, Nkuringo region, Rushaga and Ruhija regions. All of Bwindi’s habituated gorillas are known individually by the rangers and have been given names in order to identify them. The males can weigh more than 500lb and some silverbacks exceed 6ft.

Currently Bwindi has 11 habituated gorilla families and one group that is only available for research. These include Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura, Bitukura, Oruzogo, Nkuringo, Nshongi, Mishaya, Kahungye, Bweza, Busingye and the research group Kyaguriro.

Before embarking on your Gorilla Safari to Bwindi, we kindly encourage you to learn more about these incredible creatures and read interesting facts about the various gorilla families. However, keep in mind that the mountain gorillas are wild animals and details such as the group size, location in the forest and leading silverback might change without notice.

Birds as a tourist attraction in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park

Bwindi offers some of the finest montane forest bird watching in Africa, and is an un missable destination for any birder visiting Uganda. There are an estimated 350 bird species with 23 endemic to the Albertine Rift and 14 recorded nowhere else in Uganda. Globally threatened species such as African Green Broadbill and Shelley’s Crimsonwing are also found here. Other birds include the Handsome Francolin; Black-billed Turaco; African Broadbill; Black and Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters; Western Green Tinkerbird; Purple-breasted, Blue-headed and Regal Sunbirds; Short-tailed and Black-faced Rufous Warblers; Mountain-masked and Collared Apalis; Mountain and Yellow-streaked Greenbuls; and Many-colored Bush-Shrike, among others.

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Cultural Encounter as a tourist attraction in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park

This is mainly done by visitors in the evenings; you can participate in captivating traditional performances presented by Women’s groups, village walks, blacksmith visits, and craft shops. Proceeds from these go directly to improve the welfare of families around the park. The activity allows you to explore the unique cultures of the local Bakiga and Batwa communities who are the traditional inhabitants of the areas covered famous Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park. The highly educative, memorable cultural tours in Bwindi can take you through various community groups such as;

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Buhoma Community Tours / Mukono Development Association-The association is which is strategically located opposite the stunning hillsides of Bwindi Impenetrable forest, with mist swirling over the summits, is a truly dramatic setting for your cultural tour. The three-hour village walk begins with a visit to the handcraft shop which sells handmade artifacts such as fabrics, beeswax candles and wood carvings, all produced by talented local craftsmen and women. The tour allows you to enjoy the wonderful performances in form of songs; dance presented by the neighboring Batwa community. You will also meet the traditional healer who treats the sick with medicinal plants, and the teachers and pupils of the local primary school. Finally, you can learn how bananas are used to make juice. Note that Proceeds from the tour will be used to support community development projects such as a secondary school, maize mill and microfinance circle, and the Batwa receive all proceeds from their performances.

Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF)-This is set in a lush hillside bordering Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with dramatic views towards Congo. Nkuringo is a wonderful place to visit for those who want both a cultural experience and beautiful scenery.A visit to Nicholas the blacksmith rewinds time to the Stone Age with the sound of sheepskin bellows spewing air into a charcoal-fired furnace, from which Nicholas hooks out red hot metal and hammers it into tools; from knives to machetes. Sesilia welcomes you into her home – a series of traditional huts housing a millet-grinding stone, cooking pots and apparatus for distilling local waragi banana gin. Pena is the village´s traditional healer who uses native plants to make tea, ointments and herbal powders that cure a range of ailments.

NCCDF supports local artisans and the local Batwa community through its crafts shop. They train orphans who perform at a nearby lodge, and can make arrangements for visitors to sponsor them.

Buniga Forest Nature Walk-The walk gives you the opportunity to discover the gorgeous hidden treasures of Buniga Forest and among the treasures include the diverse flora and fauna on the forest trail. The activity is done under the guidance of expert regional guides who afford you excellent understanding of nature’s system at the forest and surrounding areas.

Buniga Forest Reserve is one of the three remaining pocket forests adjacent to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Due to the increased encroachment on the forest and associated loss of biodiversity and other forest resources, the trail was created by Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF) to protect the forest and manage it for ecotourism activities. As well as protecting this precious forest, proceeds from the tour also benefit surrounding communities, and encourage them to actively participate in its conservation.

Nkuringo Cultural Centre (NCC)-Cultural encounter with this prominent cultural association gives you the opportunity to learn a new skill during your trip to Uganda. After participating in long day activities such as tracking gorillas or bird watching, you can visit the Nkuringo Cultural Centre to enjoy one of fascinating cultural evening workshops. While at the site, you have the choice to choose which activity to learn. The range of activities include African cooking, traditional weaving, or – for those who are feeling a little more energetic- dancing and drumming workshops are available.

You can also decide to take one of highly interesting village walks during the day to meet the residents, learn about life in Rubuguri and participate in a crafts demonstration. You will then visit the primary school to watch this region´s most famous cultural attraction – the dynamic Kiga dance. The best dancers are said to be those who make the earth shake so don’t miss the experience.

What is important to know is that, NCC creates employment opportunities for local residents and a percentage of profits are used for community projects such as IT classes and a stage and costumes for local dance groups. Therefore, you visit to the cultural Centre will allow the locals to earn living.

Nyundo Community Eco-Trails-Nyundo’s residents were firsthand witnesses to climate change. They cultivated crops on the hillsides bordering Bwindi Impenetrable forest, but noticed erosion, changing rain patterns and the disappearance of the characteristic mist. Ultimately, their crops began to fail. The community decided to protect the land and allow the forest to grow back, and now the trees, the rains and the mist have all returned.

Nyundo Community Eco Trails were developed by community members as a sustainable alternative to agriculture, poaching and logging; providing both an income and an incentive to conserve the forest.

On King Bakyara’s Waterfall Trail, enjoy spectacular scenery surrounding a waterfall where only kings may bathe! Visit a blacksmith, a local banana beer distillery, a beekeeper, a cattle farm and a banana plantation.

During the Traditional Skills Trail, learn about millet-bread preparation, yoghurt making and craft making. Visit a traditional birth attendant and traditional homesteads, and meet the friendly villagers.

Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH)-Conservation through Public Health is a grassroots organization that has improved the health of wildlife, livestock and some of the poorest people in Africa. In Buhoma, visitors can take a tour of the Gorilla Health Centre to learn about their health and how diseases are transmitted between wild animals and livestock, as well as other conservation issues addressed by CTPH.

Tour the Village Aquaponics project where you will learn about sustainable methods of farming fish, which is then sold to local lodges. If booked in advance, CTPH staff can also offer presentations on conservation issues in Bwindi and guided tours of local communities to demonstrate how improving the health and livelihoods of people and their livestock supports the conservation of gorillas.

Lodging is available at the Gorilla Conservation Camp; all fees support the work of CTPH. There are also volunteer opportunities and working holidays which contribute directly to all these activities.

Rubuguri Village Walk (NCC)-This can be reached by rustic roads clinging to steep hillsides, this small community makes up for its isolation with the warm welcome of its inhabitants. The Village Walk takes you past a swamp to a small homestead, where you will have the chance to meet the residents and learn about life in Rubuguri, as well as participate in a crafts demonstration. You will then visit the lively St Peter´s Primary school to meet the pupils and teachers, and to watch this region´s most famous cultural attraction – the dynamic Kiga dance. The best dancers are said to be those who make the earth shake – and as the barefooted students leap several feet into the air to the rhythm of joyful songs you will be able to decide for yourself if they achieve their goal.

Other Forest Species

There are least 120 mammal species living in the forest, making Bwindi second only in mammal numbers to the vast Queen Elizabeth National Park. The eleven primate species found here include black-and-white colobus and L’Hoest’s monkeys, baboons and chimps. There are also forest elephants and several species of antelopes. Of Bwindi’s 200 butterfly species, 42 are endemic to the Albertine Rift.
wildlife-at-bwindi
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[restab title=”Tourist Activities in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park”]

Birding as a tourist acivity in Bwindi forest national park

Bwindi Impenetrable forest is dubbed Bird watchers safe haven in Uganda. The park holds  350 bird species and houses  90% of all Albertine rift Endemics such as; the Short-tailed Warbler, Rusty-faced woodland Warbler, Bar-tailed Trogon, Gruer’s Rush Warbler, Wilcock’s Honey-guide, Yellow-eyed black Fly-catcher, Kivu Ground Thrush, Dusky Crimson Wing, White-tailed Blue Monarch among others, difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa. An experienced bird watcher can identify up to 100 species in single day especially in the bird endowed areas of   Ruhija and Buhoma.
birds-in-bwindi

Birding activities mainly done early morning in the park take place along the main trail, such as the Buhoma Waterfall Trail and along the bamboo zone and Mubwindi Swamp trail in Ruhija region.

Mountain Biking as a tourist activity in Bwindi forest national park

Mountain biking in Bwindi follows a well-maintained trail from the park headquarters at Buhoma to the Ivi River. Along this 13km trail you may see wildlife such as bushbucks, black-and-white colobus and red-tailed monkeys. The six-seven hour round trip departs in the morning, and is organized by Buhoma Community Rest Camp under the “Ride for a Woman “community development initiative.

mountain-biking-bwindi

Mountain Gorillas Trekking

The Mountain Gorillas are the star attraction in Bwindi and these have been habituated since April 1993.Spaning in an area of 321kms of forested land, Bwindi is divided into four gorilla tracking sectors including Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors. In each of these gorillas trekking sectors, gorilla trekking starts as early as 7:30 when the trekkers report to the head Quarters for early morning briefing by the UWA rangers about the etiquettes to follow while trekking the mountain gorillas in the stunning Impenetrable forest.

gorilla-trekking-in-bwindi

 Buhoma sector. This famous sector in Bwindi is positioned on the northwest part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the district of Kanungu. Buhoma region is well known by tourists because it was the first region where mountain gorillas in Uganda where first habituated and opened to be visited by tourists in the year 1993 .The region has three gorilla groups that can be trekked by the tourist  and among these includes the oldest gorilla group that was first habituated in this region i.e. Mubare gorilla group Mubare Group- which received its first tourists in the year 1993.This first gorilla troop in Bwindi  had  at first 18 members, however the group has lost its members reducing it to only 5 individual gorilla members which can be trekked by visitors on Uganda gorilla safaris.

The second gorilla group in this region is the Habinyanja Group that was habituated in the year 1997 and managed to receive its first time visitors in the year 1999 .The group has total number 17 individual members and these include the two silver backs that lead the group.

Rushegura Group is the third habituated gorilla group in Buhoma. This particular group was habituated in the year 2000 and received its first tourists in the year 2002.  Currently it’s the biggest group with 19 individual members including one silver back within the Buhoma trekking region of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park.

Besides gorilla trekking , Buhome sector is also prominent sector where other highly rewarding hiking and nature walks have been developed including; the Munyanga River Trails in the valley of Buhoma- which is a short walk for viewing birds and primates along the forest edge. The waterfall trail which passes beneath tree ferns, epiphytic ferns as well as orchids to visit three dazzling waterfalls. The Rushura Hill Trail, Muzabajiro Loop Trail and the River Ivi Trail, of which the latter follows an old road through the forest, emerging near Nkuringo on the southern edge of the impenetrable forest. The Buhoma community walk and cultural performances which takes up to three hours visiting a typical homestead, the traditional healer and a banana beer brewery is organized by the local community. Within Buhoma one can also enjoy the Batwa cultural experience that has been developed of recent to enable tourists explore the interesting lift style of the Batwa community.

Buhoma region of Bwindi Impenetrable National park has various lodges and these involve luxury, mid -range and Budget accommodations for instance Luxury lodges are Buhoma Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp and Mahogany Springs. Mid-range properties such as Engagi Lodge, Silverback Lodge and budget accommodation such as Buhoma Community rest camp and Bwindi View Lodge.

 Nkuringo sector – It is one of the popular gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi and it’s franked on the southwest side of the Bwindi forest. This exceptional sector lies near  Buhoma region at an estimated distance of about10km from Buhoma through the ancient Impenetrable forest .Visit to the sector roughly takes visitors  4 hours walk. Due to the hilly nature of the land scape in Bwindi, connecting by car from Buhoma to Nkuringo takes about 7 to 8 hours’ drive.

The habituated Gorilla Group that can be trekked here includes the Nkuringo Gorilla group has 19 mountain gorillas. Trekking this particular gorilla in Bwindi offers tourists an exciting but challenging experience because the activity takes you through steep hilly forest side of Bwindi.

Besides gorilla trekking, there are other opportunities for you to discover the Bakiga culture through village walks, and here visitors can have cultural encounter filed with vibrant dance performances and cultural workshops organized by community groups at Nkuringo Cultural Centre.

 Ruhija sector –Dubbed safe haven for birders in Bwindi because of its abundant birdlife, Ruhija sector is one of the best gorilla trekking regions in Bwindi. Spanning on the most remote areas in Bwindi, The region is positioned on the eastern side of the park but sitting on top of the hill at an estimated height of 2,345m.Ruhija region is habitant to almost three Gorilla groups’ such as the Bitukura gorilla group, Kyaguriro and Oruzoojo Gorilla groups. The region is Uganda’s trekking trail located at highest altitude and it’s one of the only two regions in the park where elephants reside.

The six-hour bamboo trail in this region takes visitors to Rwamunyoni Peak (2,607m,) which is the highest point in the whole of the Bwindi Impenetrable National park and its recommendable region for bird watching activities. The other interesting bit to bird lovers is the three-hour trail which descends to Mubwindi swamp where the rare endemic African Broadbill species can be easily seen.

Rushaga Sector .It is situated in the southeast of the Bwindi and it was opened for gorilla tourism in the year 2009 and positioned in Kisoro district. There are three Gorilla groups which can trekked in this area i.e. Nshongi Gorilla group, Mishaya and Busingye, Kahungye. The trail in this area takes you into the Centre of the ancient Impenetrable forest straight to the south part of the park. It lies between Kabale and Nkuringo for those coming from either Ruhija or Kampala. Rushaga regions as well as the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are located at highest point in terms of altitude. The region is mainly occupied by high hills and this has resulted to subdivisions and separations of different habituated mountain gorillas in this area because the different groups have ended up occupying separate hills found in the region.

Due to the presence of many hills in the region, gorilla trekking is bit hectic because it involves hiking hills when searching for mountain gorillas. However tourists who participate in gorilla trekking in this region are highly rewarded with great scenic views and sights of the Virunga Massifs both in Uganda and Rwanda. In addition to memorable gorilla trekking in this sector, you will also have the opportunity to enjoy views of Lake Mutanda Uganda’s only lava damned lake franked in southwestern parts of the country.

How to trek the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi

For Potential travellers planning to do a mountain gorilla safari in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable forest, the following briefing information applies, according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority‘s ‘Gorilla Trekking Rules:

Gorilla Permits in Uganda.

You need gorilla permit to trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Usually you have to obtain a gorilla permit several months in advance. We always advise at least 5 months in advance or prior to your visit. While booking a gorilla tour, always pay your gorilla permit fee in advance to enable us acquire it for you. Gorilla trekking is guaranteed when you acquire a permit. They are very competitive and scarce most especially during peak seasons. Sometimes gorilla tracking permits get sold out four months in advance.

A gorilla permit is a document issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority in Uganda to enable you trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi. A permit allows you to view gorillas for only one hour but the trekking itself can take you between 2-8 hours when searching for the mountain gorillas in the ancient Impenetrable forest.

Gorilla permit costs USD 600 per day per person. You can get the permits in Kampala -the capital City of Uganda at the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) headquarters. We do organize and book gorilla permits for our clients at no extra costs provided you book a full safari with us.

You need to mind about the gorilla permit you will be holding as it will determine the Region in which you will trek gorillas and the lodge/accommodation. Bwindi Impenetrable forest National Park has several sections and thus each section/region has its own gorilla families and accommodation properties.

Please contact us with date/month and year when you want to trek gorillas in Bwindi, we will then check availability of gorilla permits and inform you. Once you have transferred your funds on to our account, we will pre purchase your permits and send you scanned copies. To help us do this, you need to send us your passport details which are needed by Uganda Wildlife Authority in order to print and issue your gorilla permits.

Before departing on your gorilla trekking or gorilla tracking tour

A maximum number of 8 visitors may trek to visit one habituated mountain gorillas group per day. This minimizes behavioral disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases.

Always wash your hands before you go gorilla trekking.

bwindi-gorilla-trekking

On the way to the gorillas

Please always keep your voices low. You will also be able to observe the great bird life and other wildlife in the forest.

DO NOT leave rubbish in the park. Whatever you bring into the forest on your gorilla safari should be carried back out with you.

You will be taken to where the guides have observed the Mountain Gorillas the day before.

From there you will follow the gorilla’s trail. Look out for the gorillas’ nesting sites along the way!

As you approach the mountain gorillas, the guides will alert you.

When you are with the gorillas

A 7 meter (21 feet) distance from the gorillas should be observed at all times. The further back you are, the more relaxed the group will be.

You must stay in a tight group when you are near the gorillas.

Keep your voices down at all times but feel free to ask your ranger guide questions.

Do not smoke, drink or eat when you are near the gorillas. Eating or drinking will inevitably increase the risk of morsels of food or droplets of drink being left behind. Even the tiniest leftovers could increase the risk of transmission of disease to the gorillas.

Move slowly and carefully. Do not point or wave your arms.

Do not touch the gorillas. They are wild animals.

Occasionally the gorillas charge. Don’t panic. Follow your ranger guide’s example: crouch down slowly, do not look the gorillas directly in the eyes; wait for the animals to pass. Do not attempt to run away.

Your subjects are black animals in dim light so use the right camera settings. Flash photography is not permitted under any circumstances.

The maximum time you can spend with these wonderful animals is one hour. However, if the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide may decide to finish the visit early. This is for your safety and for the safety of the gorillas.

After the visit, you are bound to be excited! But please keep your voices down until you are 200 meters away from the gorillas.

Gorilla trekking General Health Rules

Remember that mountain gorillas are very susceptible to human diseases. The following rules are ways to minimize the risk your visit might pose to the mountain gorillas

Respect the limits imposed on the daily number of visitors allowed with the mountain gorillas. These limits minimize the risk of disease transmission and stress to the group.

If you are feeling ill, or you are carrying a contagious disease, volunteer to stay behind. An alternate gorilla trekking opportunity will be arranged for you, or you will be refunded the cost of your gorilla permit.

If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the gorillas, please turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order to minimize the spread of bacteria or viruses.

Always stay 7 meters (21 feet) away from the gorillas. This is to protect them from catching human diseases.

Do not leave any rubbish (such as food wrappers or drink bottles) in the park; foreign items can harbour diseases or other contaminants.

If you need to go to the toilet while in the forest, please ask the ranger guide to dig you a hole. Make sure the hole is 30 cm deep. Please ensure the hole is filled after you are finished.

What to bring on your gorilla trekking safari

Wear comfortable hiking shoes with good traction, suitable for climbing steep muddy slopes.

Carry a packed lunch and plenty of drinking water.

The weather can be unpredictable so carry rain gear, sunscreen lotion and a hat.

Wear or pack insect repellent.

Bring binoculars – or hire a pair from the Uganda Wildlife Authority office in the park.

Bring spare batteries and an extra memory card for your digital camera. Using your camera flashlight is prohibited. If you are photographing using film, we recommend using 400-800 ASA film.

When to trek the Gorillas.

Although tracking mountain gorillas can be conducted all year round in Bwindi, the majority of tourists to Bwindi prefer visiting from June to September as well as from December up to February. You can visit Bwindi at any time of the year, the low season calls for cheaper gorilla permit price.
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[restab title=”How to get to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park”]

Bwindi can be accessed either by air from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip or by road from Kampala.

From Entebbe, there are scheduled flights to Kihihi which is close to the northern sector of Bwindi and also flights to Kisoro which is close to the Southern sector of Bwindi. Flights to Kisoro only leave in the morning while Kihihi has both morning and afternoon departures from Entebbe. You can also do charter flights from Kajjansi Airstrip to either Kisoro or Kihihi.

By road, there are alternatives that include;

Kampala-Kabale-Kanungu-Buhoma which follows a tarmac highway until Kabale for about 414km spending about 6-8 hrs and then connect on a murram road through Kanungu and Kanyantorogo for about 120km to Buhoma. For the latter route, it is highly recommended to have a 4WD vehicle and this journey can take about 4-5 hrs.

Kampala-Kabale-Ruhija-Buhoma which follows the same route as the above first option except the Kabale-Ruhija-Buhoma section is about 95km on a murram road and can take about 3-4 hrs also highly recommended to have a 4WD vehicle.

Kampala-Kabale-Nkuringo also follows the same as the above routes to Kabale and an additional 105km about 4-5 hrs drive on a mountainous murram road to Nkuringo from Kabale. Some people prefer spending a night in Kisoro which is about 80km from Kabale and in the morning proceed to Nkuringo for gorilla tracking.

Kampala-Ntungamo-Rukungiri-Kihihi-Buhoma is regarded as the quickest and most direct of all the routes from Kampala and follows a tarmac rout to Rukungiri about 390km followed by murram roads to Buhoma for about 82km.

There is also a route that goes through Queen Elizabeth National Park via Kihihi and to Buhoma passing through the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park famed for the tree climbing lions. Sometimes this route is not favoured because of the bridge which keeps on breaking down.

bwindi-national-park-map

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[restab title=”Accommodation in Bwindi”]

Nkuringo Bwindi sub sector is part of the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This part is the habitat to Nkuringo gorilla family. Close to it is Rushaga subsector which is also close to this Nkuringo family. In its vicinity are gorilla families like Nshongi Gorilla group, Kahungye gorilla family, Mishaya gorilla group, Busingye group and Bweza gorilla family. This sector can be accessed when you drive from Kampala- Mbarara-Kabale-Lake Bunyonyi-Kisoro-Rubuguri- NKuringo.

For Fly in Gorilla safari holidays, this sector can be accessed from Entebbe to Kisoro Air strip

Clouds lodge-Luxury
clouds-mountain-lodge-accommodation-on-a-uaganda-safari

Clouds lodge is a super luxury lodge in the southern sector of Bwindi National Park. The lodge overlooks the prehistoric Bwindi Forest and it has eight spacious en suite natural stone rooms including a two room family unit.
Its lounge has very comfortable chairs that provide you with absolute comfort to relax after gorilla trekking. The lodge has a large reception area, gift shop and bar and six fireplaces located throughout the building to keep guests warm on chilly nights.
The lodge’s garden area is a wonderful and comfortable place for guests to relax after a strenuous day of gorilla tracking.

Guests at Clouds stay in their own cottage.  Built out of local volcanic stones, every cottage has a large sitting room with fireplace, vast overstuffed armchairs, and hand-woven carpets. Each individual cottage features the work of one of Uganda’s most respected artists (we call them the ‘Clouds 9’)  Their work has been so highly regarded by guests that they have commissioned their own pieces and now the work of these artists graces the walls of homes and offices in New York, Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles, and London.

The main lodge feels like someplace else – soaring ceilings, massive exposed wooden beams, big picture windows with endless views of treetops, volcanoes and mountains. It feels like a ski chalet in the Alps. Or a stone palace in the Rocky Mountains. But with the gentle and warm welcome, the quiet dedication of the personal butlers and the smiles on the faces of virtually all the staff, this can only be in Uganda.

Accommodation Rates

Room Type Low Season High Season East Africans
Single USD$430 USD$663 USD$455
Double USD$306 USD$472 USD$324pp

Kisoro Tourist Hotel -Luxury
tourist-hotel-kisoro-accommodation-on-safari-to-uganda

Kisoro Tourist Hotel in Kisoro south western Uganda is the best option for anyone visiting the southwest of Uganda, on the way to Rwanda, Congo and Bwind.

The hotel boasts a strategic location which is at the foothills of Mount Muhavura, and guests can enjoy a good panoramic view of the nearby mountains and volcanoes along the borders with Rwanda and the Congo.

Kisoro Tourist Hotel is one of the most pleasant and comfortable hotels at a budget tariff price and offers best accommodation facilities in their self-contained rooms.

Enjoy the warm atmosphere of the lounge provided by a true fireplace. When visitors get done with their daily activities in the nearby area, they can relax with a romantic massage done by well trained workers and also steam bath. The hotel has one of the best restaurants recognized in country for the high-standard food preparation in both traditional and international dishes.

The hotel provides the following amenities on-site are; On-site restaurant, Tour/Travel desk, Conference Facilities, Internet Access, Gift shop, On-site Bar, Fitness Room/Gym, Laundry/Dry Cleaning, Library/Reading Area. The hotel rooms also have TV-Cable/Satellite were visitors can watch international and local updates, The TV can get Local Stations clearly, Fans, Hot water, Private Bathroom are also provided to ensure that visitor get better stay.

Due to the need to protect the environment and giving back to the local communities, the hotel organizes different responsible tourism activities such as;

The women´s dance group performances are organized by the hotel in order to have massages that raise awareness about how the environment can be protected and also through the drama performances, the young people in the community are encouraged to stop illegal activities such as poaching wild animals in the park.

The profits earned by the women dance’s groups are used to purchase a piece of land, which they planing to build more accommodations for the guests. The hotel also provides assistance to AIDs awareness campaigns in local schools and focus on stopping young people from involving in the acts that may lead them to contract AIDS.

The hotel also has a craft shop at the hotel Centre and host cultural dances where community members can perform.  These offerings help raise money for the surrounding communities.

The table shows the prices charged by Hotel for both Bed and Breakfast and Full Board.

Room Type Bed and Breakfast Half Board Full Board
single USD 60 USD70 USD80
Double USD75 USD95 USD115
Triple USD135 USD165 USD1195

Kisoro Travelers’ Rest Hotel –Mid-Range
travellers-rest-hotel-accomodation-in-bwindi

Travellers Rest Hotel is a colonial-style hotel located just 14km from Mgahinga Gorilla National Park outside Kisoro Town, in the extreme southwestern part of Uganda, providing a perfect point for trips into Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. When the visitor is just entering, he or she is welcomed by the ibis typical sound. The wonderful-green surrounding garden is a natural home of various birds species. When the guest is just seated on the terrace he or she is paid by nice smell of the sweet perfume from the honeysuckle. In the cool evenings, one can experience a warm atmosphere which is provided by the fireplace in the lounge, surrounded by unusual African artifacts and a huge collection of Congolese masks.
The surrounding landscape, dominated by the peaks of the Massifs of Virunga Volcanoes Have got very interesting beauty which is eye catching to each and every traveller. The volcanoes offer spectacular views of the Rift Valley and the emerald-green Lake Mutanda in the distance.
The Lodge Amenities in this precious hotel are; Restaurant,, Travel desk, Bikes to rent, Lounge area with fireplace, bar and large meeting table Internet access, Massages, Laundry service, Gift Shop, Enclosed garden, Huge selection of Congolese masks

All the Spotless private rooms lead out onto the pleasant garden and have private bathrooms with hot water. Available rooms include single, twin, double, triple and a suite.

The activities organized by the hotel are, Paying visits to the a local primary school where the deaf children study from and here willing guests are welcomed to make donations, also the hotel organizes traditional performances done by the local orphan group and some of the activities also include having cycle ride to lake Mutanda, visiting the local market mainly on market days, Batwa Forest Trail through the National Park among others.
Most of food prepared by the rest Hotel is sourced from Kisoro market, which is supplied by the local Bafumbira and Bakiga communities. The hotel staffs are mostly from Kisoro. Staff training and career development of the staff members is of great importance to the Hotel management.

PRICES

Room Type Room Only Half Board Full Board
Single USD70 USD85 USD95
Double/twin USD80 USD110 USD130
Extra bed USD25 USD40 USD50

Nkuringo Gorilla Camp
nkuringo-gorilla-camp-accommodation-in-bwindi-uganda

Nkuringo gorilla camp is placed on the Nteko ridge in the southern sector of Bwindi National park. It is in the Nkuringo sub sector of Bwindi National park. The camp enjoys a magnificent view of Mountain Gahinga, Muhabura and Sabyinyo in Rwanda. It is strategically placed closer to the starting point of tracking Nkuringo Gorilla Family.

The lodge has 2 cottages with en suite facilities and 6 terrace rooms each with a window overlooking the mighty Bwindi Forest. The Camp also has a camping area with shared facilities. Its compound is also a haven for other primates like black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, grey checked mangabey, L’hoest, baboons and several others. Several bird species also roam around the lodge premises.

While Uganda is lovely, Nkuringo is “an oasis paradise” – especially the site of the Camp. The Gorilla trekking is phenomenal.

People who stay here simply rave about the location.  There is a hike here to the top of the world and look into the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The great campsite which offers all commodities to be very comfortable at literally 5 minutes walking distance from the Nkuringo gorilla park entrance. The campsite offers all the comfort you are willing to pay for. It has great food, comfortable and very clean rooms.  The staff is extremely helpful. The campsite is on the edge of the Nkuringo community which you will want to visit and interact with its people.

You can also be able to visit the school and speak to some community children.  You can play football with the boys from the local village (very authentic experience) and then enjoy the songs of the local children all looking over gorgeous valleys and mountains. In the evenings, the staff is excellent and jolly hosts and the conversations around the campfire are memorable.

The most interesting part bit of the lodge is that, its budget, except for two handcrafted cottages that are a recent addition.  The cottages also have a stunning view and you can sit on your porch and take in the peaceful quiet of the area only to be broken by the sounds of birds or the wind gently caressing the trees.
Buhoma sector is part of the Northern Bwindi forest block where mountain gorillas reside. Families that are found in Buhoma include Rushegura gorilla family, Habinyanja gorilla group and Mubare gorilla family.

Each of these families can easily be accessed when you spend a night or more at the various lodges that are located in this sector. It is advisable for visitors to know the gorilla group they intend to trek so as to determine where to spend the night to avoid long hour drives early in the morning to the briefing point.
Buhoma sector of Bwindi can be accessed from Kampala/ Entebbe-Rukungiri-Kihihi-Butogota-Buhoma
For Fly in Gorilla safari holidays, this sector can be accessed from Entebbe to Kihihi Air strip or Kayonza Air strip

Mahogany Springs Bwindi- Luxury.

mahogany-springs-camp-accommodation-in-bwindi-np

Mahogany Springs lodge is located close to Munyanga River overlooking Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The lodge provides privacy as well as serenity mixed with optimal comfort in an exclusive setting. The lodge is one of the most luxurious accommodations places in the whole of East Africa and visitors staying in this lodge make them gain un comparable experience.

All the rooms in the accommodation facility are suites and most of the rooms are superior suites and there is only one presidential suite which contains two ensuite bedrooms, hence making it a very ideal place for people travelling with their families.

The superior suites of the lodge are all spacious and big enough, built with large glass doors which take one onto a balcony that offers relaxing and beautiful views of the surrounding. All the room used for sleeping have mosquito nets around their beds and the big spacious ensuite bathroom containing shower is present. The main lodge building on its upper sides contains a thatched roof as well as a large terrace where visitors are served with breakfast, and a dining room with fireplaces.

There is also a gift shop located within the lodge area and the lounge area equipped with a library of books which can be read by visitors on their free time, The other interesting things include a portable DVD players as well as a DVD library plus board games which can be utilized or watched by guest in order to enhance their experience.

The lodge serves clients with menu containing a la carte and during afternoon times tea with freshly baked cakes and pastries is served to visitors especially after one getting involved in hectic activity of trekking the gorillas.

Despite of the fact that the lodge offers lodging facilities and amenities, it also organizes excursion for visitors to visit local communities and also do chimpanzee trekking. The various tours organized in the lodge include nature walks, guided bird walks as well as visits to the lodge’s vegetable garden.

Buhoma Lodge –Luxury.

buhoma-safari-lodge-accommodation-in-bwindi-np

The lodge is located in Buhoma sector, at the entrance to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The lodge is the main unique and world class accommodation facility in the Buhoma sector and its proudly standing above the forest canopy, the Lodge’s cabins offers spectacular as well as uninterrupted views and sights of the of beautiful Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, habitat of the world’s endangered species of the mountain gorilla.

Buhoma Lodge’s raised lounge area containing bar and dining facilities, provide visitors with a comfortable surroundings to share the day’s activities and experiences with each other around the fireplaces, which is set to add warmth to the cool evenings.

Meals are freshly prepared with many local ingredients, offering a balance of international as well as locally flavored cuisine with meals being of several courses. The Lodge bar has a selection of all local as well as imported beverages.

The wonderful service which is memorable is offered by the friendly local staffs who attend to visitors in professional manner. Hot beverages are also served to visitor direct on their respective cottages with an early morning wake up calls as required, this is done to allow visitor to wake early to gently enjoy the nice morning sounds of the impenetrable forest.

Buhoma Lodge offers number of amenities in the elevated lounge room with fireplace and these include Restaurant and bar, Recharging facilities for cameras, phones, Massage room, and Safe deposit boxes.

The lodge facility boasts of eight comfortable cottages that are carefully well built, each with its own separate verandah which allows visitor to enjoy beautiful views of the Impenetrable forest canopy of the National Park. Inside the lodge cottages visitors will find comfortable beds and a well-appointed en suite bathroom with flushing toilet and a hot shower and some rooms have bathtubs.

The lodge organizes various activities or tourist and among these activities includes Buhoma Village Walk where visitors are taken to nearby community areas to enjoy the wonderful traditional performance performed by the Batwa .One can also pay visit to local primary school as well as visiting a traditional healer and the village walks usually take 3 hours.

Beside village walks the lodge also makes arrangements for visitors to enjoy the Nyundo Community Eco Trails which leads them to a waterfall found within the area and also other travellers join locals to learn traditional skills. This usually take an estimate of two 2 hours,

In terms of responsible Travel, the lodge was built using local sustainable as well as natural materials where possible. This has tried to help the local communities because building materials were supplies by the locals.

The Staff working in the accommodation facility are generally got from the local community and the trained on site to see that they meet the standards of world class staffs working in the hotel industry.

Accommodation Rates

Room Type Rates in USD
Single $445
Double $330pp
Children 50% of adult rates between ages 5-12 years
Under 5 years, sharing with adults Free of charge

Engagi Lodge: Mid-Range

engagi-lodge-accommodation-in-bwindi-np-uganda

The lodge is located in a vast tract of land which is adjecent to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, and runs from the main Buhoma road down to the Munyaga River.

The structure of the lodge is built using mainly local materials which are sourced from the local areas. The main lodge building is partitioned into three parts i.e. Rock bar, the restaurants as well as a large wooden verandah with unique platform which can be used by visitors for viewing the beautiful surrounding.

The lodge is composed of   just 8 en-suite cottages which are evenly spaced out and hidden in the foliage.  Each cottage is provided with double or twin beds and they are complete with hot water bottles, a bathroom with flushing toilets, cold and hot running water.  All the cottages have private verandas where one can comfortably enjoy their morning tea or coffee as they marvel out over the forest canopy.

The lodge’s structure is big enough to cater for large number travels and those in need of banqueting tables. It also allows smaller member groups to spread out in the different areas for privacy.

The Engagi lodge is open ended at the front, offering panoramic views of the wonderful Bwindi National Park.

The kitchen in the lodge has been constructed some few meters away from the lodge in order to offer guest with good convenient atmosphere which is private. The kitchen prepares a variety of three course meals and also other requirements like vegetarians and Vegans are prepared by the lodge chefs.

Solar power is the main source of Electricity and also there is a backup generator. Hot water in the lodge is supplied by wood burning boilers.

Guests sleeping in this lodge can also enjoy various private walking trails which are developed around the lodge and down to the river.  They also have chances to enjoy visiting a number of operating tea farms located inside the site and maintained by local’s people.

 Silverback Lodge –Mid-Range
silverback-lodge-accommodation-in-uganda

Silverback Lodge is positioned on high area overlooking Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The view offered by the lodge is absolutely attractive and it’s the best lodge for any visitor wishing to enjoy Apès-trekking cocktails. Silverback Lodge is just located at an estimated workable distance of 5 minutes from the national park with extensive views of the valley as well as the forests surrounding the lodge.

The lodge offers opportunities for visitors to enjoy Bird watching as well as primate viewing especially on the front door of visitor’s rooms in the lodge.

The lodge which is managed by Marasa Africa Accommodations in Uganda has 12 rooms and these provide visitors an eco-style living especially when under taking gorilla safari holiday in Uganda.

The beautiful lodge is located in the famous Buhoma sector which is just few meters away from the Park Headquarters for Mountain Gorilla trekking.

The Lodge is decorated with beautiful architectural design which is depicting an image of all Geo-Lodges in Uganda which are now famous in the country.

The lodge rooms are built next to each other and well designed using the local materials like the forest vines as well as sisal rope plus purple slate stone. Each room in the lodge facility has an ensuite bathroom full of hot water showers and each and very private veranda of the lodge rooms offer best options where clients can enjoy views of the forest and clouds that drift by in the valley.

There is also a large garden area full of green vegetation where visitors can relax and refresh especially during the evening hours. It is a well-planned lodge where visitors can enjoy both their respective rooms and the stunning surroundings.

Above all there is a friendly and very helpful staff that is trained to offer world class services to visitors. The interesting staff ensures that the visitors stay at the lodge is the best and he or she receives a wonderful experience on his Uganda gorilla safari.

The restaurant in the lodge has unique and very creative menus that are prepared by the experienced Chef for suit the visitors taste. Dishes served in the lodge are both local and international menus,

The snack bar is well stocked and in a comfortable setting which is perfect for sharing the day’s adventures of gorilla-trekking, primate watching and bird viewing.

Silverback Lodge, Bwindi -2015 Nightly Rates

Peak Season Rates Single Double
Bed & Breakfast USD 224 300
Full Board USD 248 348
Low Season Rates Single Double
Bed & Breakfast USD 187 237
Full Board USD 211 285

 

Buhoma Community Rest Camp – Budget
buhoma-community-rest-camp-accommodation-in-uganda

Buhoma Community Rest Camp (BCRC) was built in the year 1993 by Buhoma Community Development Association and it’s the main source of funding to the Association activities since its inception in 1993. The accommodation facility spanning at the extremity of Bwindi Impenetrable national park was built with aim of offering quality lodging services and facilities to travellers on their gorilla trekking safaris in Bwindi.

The accommodation facilities are offered to visitors by the six Well-built bandas that are decorated with an African traditional and Architectural local Design .The Bandas are also built by use of the local Materials and each room is well furnished. The bandas range from 4 – 6 bed basing on the Banda’s Size and visitor’s need.

The campsite also has well organized and open ground where visitors can enjoy Camping activities near the Edge of the beautiful Impenetrable Forests. In addition, the campsite has Mini Bar with all local and some international drinks & Restaurant which serves both African traditional cuisines mainly Ugandan and Western Cuisines.

The lodging facility also has a local craft and Arts Center were locally made crafts are sold and therefore visitors can buy these locally made products which range from the hand woven bags to more interesting sculptures as well as baskets made from local materials.

The community campsite also organizes or makes arrangement for tourists to have cultural encounter with the local community through Local cultural Dance & Drama groups which the lodge tends to invite to entertain the visitors.

The facility also enables its visitors to have Cultural walk to tour the Batwa communities (Pygmies) who are the traditional inhabitants of the Bwindi impenetrable forests.

Buhoma Community Rest Camp Rates

Accommodation Full Board Single Full Board Double BB per person
BB per person US$80 US$40 US$60
Non Self-contained US$65 US$80 US$50
Dormitory US$40 US$20
camping US$10

Eco-marvels Gorilla Resort- Budget

The Resort is located in Kitahurira which is close to Buhoma and Ruhija and this makes it to be the best Suitable accommodation place for those trekking the Oruzogo as well as Habinyanja gorilla families

Eco marvels Gorilla Resort Bwindi has self-contained executive bandas as well as camping facilities. The resort has been carefully designed to integrate the natural environment which provides luxury hospitality to all guests.
The Resort accommodation is well equipped with comfortable beds and furniture. All beds are designed purposely to ensure that visitors get the maximum comfort. It has 24 hours solar power running. No detail has been overlooked in the refurbishment of this magnificent place.
Meals of choice are provided on advance indication of visitor’s choice of cuisine.

Ruhija sector of Bwindi National Park is placed in the North Eastern part of Bwindi. From Buhoma Headquarters, this the drive to this part may take 2 hours to the starting point of gorilla trekking. Ruhija part is home to gorilla families like Bitukura group, Oruzogo gorilla family and Nyakagezi gorilla family which is open for research purpose but when the demand is so high, it may be opened for tourism. This sector can also be accessed when one spends a night in Buhoma sector too.

On the road, this sector can be accessed from Kampala-Rukungiri-Kihihi-Kanungu-Ruhija
some of the accommodations in Ruhija sector include:

Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge-Luxury
ruhija-gorilla-safari-lodge-accommodation-in-uganda

The safari lodge is positioned in the middle of the jungle Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and it is widely considered as one of the most beautiful, hospitable as well as comfortable lodges one should opted to stay before and when participating in Uganda’s premier Gorilla safaris.

The lodge has carefully designed rooms to blend the natural environment which provides luxury and hospitality.

Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge offers superb chalet accommodation, fine dining, an abundance of indoor and outdoor activities, a well-stocked bar, Wine Cellar, Free wifi Internet Connection, DSTV, Hair dryer, Gift Shop with the Best Unique Gifts, Tea and Coffee making Facilities, traditional entertainment, a mini library with magazines and books about the beautiful continent of Africa and furthermore, we accept major credit cards.

This lodge is a unique luxury hotel and the finest choice for both upper class and medium class.

Gorilla Mist Camp-Mid-range
gorilla-mist-camp-accommodation-in-uganda
Gorilla Mist Camp is privately operated and locally owned located accommodation facility located in Kabale district  just 55km of travel from kabale town on a murrum bumpy road the wooden gate “Ndego gate” that opens up to the forest drive.

The unique Luxury Camp is facility for upper class travellers and moment visitor reaches the gate of the Camp, he or she is welcomed with breath taking scenery of the forest were the lodge is located. The camp’s location in the quiet environment makes it home but away from usually home. The location of the lodge offers an opportunity where one is entertained by different melodies of birds. The surrounding atmosphere is very charming, calm and friendly which favors travellers interested in escaping from the city noise.

Gorilla mist camp is described as place of unfathomable natural beauty that is composed of unique natural formations, culture and colorful history as well as exciting recreation opportunities.

All the buildings of the Campsite are connected with electric lighting and there are various camping grounds for those with their own equipment to camp. Cold beers and sodas are available with local produce used to provide visitors meals. The Camp has been carefully and well designed to integrate the natural environment which offers luxury hospitality to all guests.

The tents are well equipped with comfortable beds and furniture. All beds are designed purposely to ensure that visitors receive the comfort they deserve. The bathrooms are fitted with hot as well as cold showers and bath tubs. For visitors searching for luxury accommodation, Gorilla Mist Camp provides the modern rooms all of which are self-contained. Running hot water available on tap in the self-contained units. Visitors can decide to take their meals in the Lodge dining area.

Accommodation Type Bed and Breakfast Full Board
Single $120 $160
Twin/double per room $180 $260
Extra Bed $75 $100

Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort Campsite-Budget
ruhija-gorilla-friends-resort-campsite-acccommodation-on-a-uganda-safari

The Resort campsite is Located in Ruhija Village just adjacent to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and less than 1 km from the gorillas’ natural habitat.
The community members of Katojo Parish, Kabale District created the Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort in July 2008 to support the community’s income by providing tourists with affordable accommodation and access to the region’s incredible gorilla population and other wildlife.

The Lodge Amenities offered to clients include Restaurant which serves both local and some international dishes, Tour desk which provides information about tourists’ attractions and other relevant information needed by the traveller, Laundry, Bar the is full of local and some international wines,.

The lodge has Gift shop where travellers can accesses various gifts thy can take to their home countries as proof that one had his holiday in the pearl of Africa Uganda. Onsite wildlife viewing can also be done by visitors on the lodges viewing verandas.

The entire lodge Rooms have the following amenities Fireplace, Fans as well as Self-catering and Hot water plus Private bathrooms

The activities at the Lodge that visitor can enjoy include Hiking and trekking in dense forests of Bwindi, Bird watching, Village walks mainly to the Batwa communities, Having cultural encounters through  Cultural performances Craft and curio markets ,Wildlife viewing

In terms of responsible Travel, the lodge takes measures to separate waste, as well as use of water and electricity at the lodge.  The lodge has information displayed at the lodge about the use of water.

The supports local schools and health care facilities, and work to make their activities environmentally sustainable.

The lodge staff are hired from the local community and provided with on-the-job training, and encouraged to pursue further studies.

We purchase locally grown food, artisanal crafts, fabric, lodge decor, and furniture from the local community.

Gorilla Safari Lodge-Luxury
gorilla-safari-lodge-accommodation-in-a-uganda-safari

Gorilla Safari Lodge is a luxurious lodge located in Nshongi area tucked away at the boundary line of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest which is home of the endangered mountain gorilla in the pearl of Africa Uganda. It is the ideal base from which one can easily trek the Nshongi group of Gorillas, which is the biggest group ever habituated in Bwindi National park.

The lodge offers accommodations in eight en suite cabins with individual verandahs allowing exclusive views towards the pristine tropical rain forest. The restaurant, bar, and comfortable lounge at the main lodge have large windows to allow guests to enjoy most of the views – and a fireplace to take the chill off the misty mountain air.

The Lodge Amenities include a Restaurant and bar which serves both local and international dishes, Tour desk which provides travel information to the clients, On-site wildlife viewing, and Gift shop selling local crafts as well as Laundry service, and Camp fire

Reached by walkways along the hillside, these elegantly designed bandas offer comfort, style and privacy. All bandas have en suite bathrooms with hot showers and flush toilets, private verandahs and fireplaces for the refreshing mountain evenings. Suites and family cottages have seating areas by the fireplace.

The rooms which are available in the lodge include three double bandas, three suites as well as double bandas with seating area, Two family cottages with two twin rooms and lastly One twin banda are the rooms which be booked by any visitor wishing to stay in this lodge.

The activities at the Lodge include Gorilla Trekking, Community Walks as well as Guided Forest Walks and Bird watching, Waterfall tour in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Volunteer Opportunities is can be explored by the visitors.

For the case of responsible Travel, Many vegetables served in the restaurant are sourced from community gardens and this is done as way of creating market for the local products.

The Lodge started several vegetable gardens and has supplied seedlings – so that even during low season the community has a source of income.

They work with the International Gorilla Conservation Programme and the local community in workshops.

Local crafts are sold at the Lodge and all profits are returned to the artists who make the local craft products using local materials.

Lodge rates are showed in the table below.

Room Type Rates
Double banda $300 US per room full board
Suite $350 US per room full board
Family cottages $500 US per cottage full board
Twin banda $300 US per banda full board
Single guest $200 US full board

Nshongi Camp-Mid-range
nshongi-camp-budget-accommodation-in-bwindi-np

The lodge is just a few minutes’ walk to the Ugandan Wildlife Service hut of Rushaga, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the starting point of the Gorilla tracking.

It is the ideal base from which to trek the Nshongi group of Gorillas -the largest group of gorillas in Bwindi and the Nkuringo group which is a few minutes’ drive away.

The camp has only three traditional Bandas and its perfect place for those who desire to be connected to nature

They serve 3 meals course, and a lunch box for your tracking. Hot coffee, tea, and drinks are always available.

While at the lodge, you can also easily visit the Batwa and Bafumbira communities staying in the nearby villages and have an experience with their culture as they perform the gorilla dances for you.

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