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Rhino Tracking in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary – Uganda

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Visiting Rhinos by foot in Uganda is one of the compelling “added to the list” rhino tracking en-route the most bio-diverse and largest national park in Uganda – The Murchison Falls National Park. Rhinos in the country were wiped out in 1991 when the only surviving Black Rhino was poached up-north of Uganda in a remote wildlife reserve of Kidepo Valley National Park.

Right now Rhinos can only be found in the Uganda Wildlife Education Center UWEC) found in Entebbe and too at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongora as it were. The sanctuary being located on the highway to the Murchison falls National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park, has give the satisfactory stop and chance for tourists to Kidepo Valley National Park or Murchison Falls National Park to en-route track the rhinos before they proceed. The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is found 7kms off the Kampala-Gulu Highway to the sanctuary headquarters and gives an awesome chance to tourists to encounter one of the Big 5.

Getting There
The sanctuary is found in around 180 kilometer by road north of Kampala the capital of Uganda, its located in Nakasongola district in Kafu River Basin it is possible to use a rental car from Kampala. In spite of the fact that most tourists visit the sanctuary in guided tours, it can also be visit by self driver tourists by hiring a car in Kampala. In case you are on self drive tour or road trip in Uganda, you can hire a vehicle in Kampala from one of the many car rental agencies in the country and head north to visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for rhino tracking.

The re-introduction of Rhinos in Uganda is now in 3 phases to later have these endangered animals fully in the Uganda wildlife parks. Managed by NGO – The Rhino Fund Uganda is a non-profit organization that initially introduces two Rhinos in the UWEC and later extended by obtaining a 70squar kilometers land in Nakasongola district 180kms from Kampala.

Right now the organization is on second phase of breeding rhinos and is pleased to have 11 new born in the sanctuary after 25 years. The first Rhino was introduced from The United States and later got another from Kenya and guess what? The off spring was named after the president of America with a Kenyan background OBAMA. The other groups were obtained from South Africa and Kenya again which right now make 14 rhinos in this sanctuary and have lost only one young rhino since the breeding season. The Last stage will be the re-introduction of these rhinoceros into their natural habitats which are Uganda’s National Parks like Kidepo Valley National Park, Murchison Falls Nation Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and others.

In spite of the fact that the loss of natural habitats still remains an issue and viewed as a threat, poaching is the main threat of these animals conservation in most African nations and East Asia. Rhino poaching is fueled by the high demand of rhino horn in china and Vietnam as a traditional medicine and consequently the Locals are utilized and paid much money to get hold of these Rhino horn. It is not a surprise that the rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary are monitored 24-7 with armed guards around them.

A day visit at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary starts with payment of the $45 at the headquarters and later doled out a ranger guide who will brief you about all the history of the sanctuary and even the rules you have to fallow when you with the rhinos and later take you into the jungle to track rhinos. You advised to carry water proof boots goes with a reason that the sanctuary lies in an extension of a swamp and sometimes these rhinos are close water sources. And always you are required to drive two or three kilometers within the sanctuary before you start tracking on foot.

Rhino tracking activity always take from 40minutes to 1hour and takes you through the rich green canopies and acacia dotted trees that would expect you to carry Insect repellents and sunglasses. In case you to spend a more days here, there are other activities you can enjoy in the sanctuary including, night nature walk with a chance to spotting leopards, the shoebill canoe ride and also bird watching with the sanctuary.
To put it clear most of the money paid is for the protection of the Rhinos and community development projects.

Hiking Sipi Falls in Eastern Uganda

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Sipi Falls is a series of three waterfalls the district of Kapchorwa, northeast of Sironko and Mbale in the eastern part of the country. The waterfalls are found on the edge of Mount Elgon National Park close to the Kenyan border.

In most cases the falls is the starting point of most hikes up Mt. Elgon. The most famous route begins in Budadiri and takes after the Sasa trail to the summit and afterward dives down the Sipi trail again into the Sipi Falls. Climbs around the falls offer amazing views of Lake Kyoga, the Karamoja plains and the slops of Mt. Elgon.

This trip to Sipi Falls you will need a long weekend. You’ll see absolutely new human and physical geography, and it really gets cold at night! You will have to book your accommodation in advance before you travel. My best budget accommodation in the area is The Crow’s Nest. Be that as it may, I generally remain at Lacam Lodge, the strong mid-range option. Its calm, has perfect multi-course meals, and sits ideal over the main water fall.

On Friday you will have to leave Kampala at around midday in case you’re on self drive trip and in case you going to use public transport, you will need to put in Bus Park at around mid morning and board YY coaches, they leave Kampala almost every hour to all places of the country. The buses are comfortable and they have Wi-Fi. They park in Qualicel Bus Terminal in Kampala city center. The drive from Kampala to Mbale is approximately. Once you will reach in Mbale town you board a Taxi to Kapchorwa and from there it’s about 1 hour drive, Sipi Falls. All lodgings are signposted of the main road and are easy to find. There’s hardly any going ahead in Sipi, so you’ll likely have dinner and drinks at your lodge. In case you reach in the afternoon, it’s absolutely worth a walk.

Saturday: Ask the reception at any lodge where you spent the night and they organize a half or full day climb through the falls. Nor are more than a scramble, and you don’t need to be fit, yet you do need to organize a packed lunch in case you choose a full day option. Need somewhat more thrill? Get some information about the abseiling. Appreciate an evening with drinks and astonishing sunset over the valley below.

Sunday: Coffee tour. Still you can ask at the reception how to can enjoy a coffee tour, Sipi Falls area is the main coffee producing area in the country. Starbucks sells it. Here you will get a chance to go through the whole process of making coffee from garden to cup. You even get the opportunity to grind your own beans toward the end. In case you’re a coffee drinker, don’t leave this place without buying espresso beans. After you return to the lodge for lunch and then hit the road back to Kampala.

Why Hire a self drive car in Uganda with Rental Cars Uganda Ltd

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It’s Fun: Is about fun. It is about explore any destination you want, when you want with those that you love. That moment when you’re behind the wheel driving yourself around the country and visiting any place at any time.

Standard daily charges: Our daily car hiring cost is all inclusive. (There is NO HIDDEN CHARGES). Quoted costs are inclusive of all government taxes. Once you pay for your vehicle, you just wait and pick it then drive to anywhere you want.

Unlimited Mileage: Unless when you hire the car for some hours and when the quote is includes fuel that is only when we limit you on the kilometers you drive. But if you’re hiring the car for a minimum of one day we give unlimited mileage this gives chances of unlimited discovery of the country at no additional cost.

No Drop off Charges. We don’t charge extra costs for pick up and drop off and you can drop the car at anywhere and it will be our responsibility to pick it. In most cases drop off and pick up is done at the airport or at the hotel even at your place of residence. You will not add on extra money paying tax to take you back home because we will pick the car at your home and even on the first day we will bring the car to you.

Safety and Security: When you hire a vehicle with Rental Cars Uganda Ltd, you’re assured that you got a perfect car which is well serviced and in a good working condition. All our vehicles before we give it to the client, it is subjected to intensive check to guarantee that tyres are of the right trend, all car electronics including tracking system, car alarm and central local system are working. We guarantee that the lights are set perfectly and working. Every single rental auto accompany save wheel. So we ensure that your safe on the road and we also offer 24/7 assistance.

True serenity – All our vehicles come with a comprehensive insurance subsequently you are guaranteed that in case of an accident and damage to third party you are secured. However please keep to the speed limits as you are not ensured of survival in case of an accident. Comprehensive insurance takes care of the passengers in the vehicle yet not the driver.

Continuity in case of major break downs, we will send you another vehicle in the shortest time possible. You simply have to call our office tell us about the problem and if the problem is minor we can just send a mechanic and or we can direct you to the nearing garage and all the money you use will be refunded to you on the last day.
Flexibility – You can change your rental arrangement in the middle the rental. For example you can extend your rental by just calling and informing us earlier like one day before the last day.

One Way Rental/ Rent Here Leave It there: You should not be worried of where to drop the car in case you choose to change your drop off location, we can pick the car anywhere at no extra cost. For example, you can hire a car in Kampala and drop off in Mbarara or Katuna boarder in case you want to cross and continue to another country, you can even pick the vehicle at the airport and drop it off at your hotel. And even when you want to cross the border and enter another country with our vehicle, we can give you its papers and cross without any extra charges.

For all information about car hiring cars in Uganda and some neighboring countries, you can read more on our website www.rentalcarsuganda.com or contact our experienced and knowledgeable information team on info@rentalcasuganda.com OR Call the office on +256392000835.

Rwanda Tourism Stakeholders Convey Thanks for Lion Pride

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lionToday, will all the required arrangements placed in Akagera National Pak in the eastern part of Rwanda along the Tanzanian boarder. Next month eight lions from Kenya are going to be introduced to this country to restore the world of lion ‘King of the Jungle’ in the country.

Previously the lion populations inside and in areas surrounding the park where eliminated by cattle keepers attempting to protect their animals together with villagers scared of raids, poaching, frequently using poison and imposing a harsh death on these big cats.

African Parks has improved the electric fence on Akagera National Park through adding on it height and also adding a base element to guarantee that the lions won’t be able to jump over the fence or try to crawl below it.

The return of these lions next month will offer visitors with the extra amazing attraction of being able to see at least 4 of the big 5 in the country with only the Rhino missing from the listing.

Local partners in the Rwanda tourism industry in the Kigali passed on their thanks that the Kenyan Government which has authorized the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) to deliver the pride lions into Rwanda. They crediting this to the solid and friendly relationship between these two nations, that alongside Uganda a year prior shaped the “Coalition of the Willing” joined by common objectives to improve infrastructure, support trade, as well as collaborate closely on several other sectors such as security cooperation.

Rwanda Showcases Tourism Perks in Holland

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Rwanda participated in the annual Vakantiebeurs in Utrecht-Netherlands last week.

According to the chief officer of Rwanda Development Board Belise Kariza, Vakantiebeurs 2016 offered a good platform to inform both the Dutch clients and the travel sector that Rwanda has more unique attractions to offer visitors beyond the famed mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park.

The occasion goes about as a meeting point for international tourism marketing agencies, promoters and guests searching for interesting destinations to go to.

Aside from Embassy staff others at the Rwanda stand included Amahoro Tours, Mountain Gorilla Safaris, Great Seasons Hotel, African Jungle Adventures Ltd, Lets Go Travel Rwanda, and Wildlife Tours Rwanda.

Kariza said leisure has been a main factor for the development of tourism industry in Rwanda
“This year we have set a more emphasis on adventure tourism with offered safari packages including nature trails, water activities, people to people, recreational – fun moments and sports, for example, trekking, climbing and biking,” she said.

Rwanda likewise showcased a daily presentation and dance in one of the halls to all tourists.

The nation is advertised its Meetings Incentives Conference and Exhibitions/Events (MICE) capacity, alongside other tourism perspectives, capitalizing on safety, developed infrastructure, accessibility and new competitors in the hotel industry.

These incorporate such names as Marriott, Radisson Blu, Radisson by Park Inn, Sheraton, Golden Tulip, Kempinski and Zinc and many others.

“We are likewise getting ready to host the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) from October 5-6 2016”, Kariza said.

Rwanda’s tourism industry is a main foreign income earner for the nation

Don’t Miss the mountain Gorillas with amazing Golden Monkeys

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Just Go! We went twice – two days in a row. We feel as if we own part of Rwanda for what we paid. The two experiences were very different. The first day we hiked for about 1.5 hours which seemed perfect. When we met the gorillas we were on a slope of plants that were hard to stand on – we kept slipping down between the branches.

golden-monkey-rwandaThe gorillas came very close to us – one even pushed me aside to get past with her baby. It wasn’t scary. Guides were great. The second day we were in a bamboo forest and the gorillas came swinging down to greet us. They were very active and playful – more so than the other group. The second day the walk was shorter – maybe 45 minutes. Again the guides were wonderful. It is quite an adventure and you bond with your group and guides. The encounter with the gorillas is unforgettable.

The golden monkey (Cercopithecuskandti) is 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 (Cercopithecusmitis), 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 behaviour. It lives in social groups of up to 30 individuals. Its diet consists mainly of leaves and fruit, though it is also thought to eat insects.

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 Red List

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 golden monkey can travel in various group sizes, and have been seen in small groups of three up to large groups of 62 monkeys. The groups that are found at higher elevations tend to be smaller. The golden monkey will often return to one of several different sleeping areas after a day of feeding. The monkeys often sleep in small subgroups of four, at the top of bamboo plants. They will often use a dense bamboo plant, or a combination of several bamboo plants that weave together to make a sufficient foundation for sleep. The golden monkey will often feed near the sleeping area and return to this same sleeping location day after day.

Further more, while on our gorilla safari in Uganda or Rwanda, we learnt it from the rangers that a golden monkey has a diet that consists primarily 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. During seasons where ripe fruit is available, the golden monkey tends to feed more on fruit. The golden monkey may also feed on various flowers and shrubs when they are available. The most frequent invertebrate eaten is the pupae of lepidopterist larvae picked from leaves. Bamboo tends to be the most frequently eaten because it is often more available year round.

The golden monkey is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. Certain activities may threaten the conservation of the golden monkey. Illegal activities that harm the ecosystem such as tree extraction and bamboo removal are serious threats. Some research indicates that tree removal poses a more serious risk. This park not only offers these 2 great primates there are other more resources offered like the Dian Fossey center where Dian Fossey a primatologist was buried after losing life by her agitating the right of gorillas and the hunters killed her. For more information about primates in Rwanda / Uganda, log-on to http://www.rwandagorillasafaris.com.

Five travel photography essentials that won’t weigh you down

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Some of your best travel pictures will be off the cuff, spontaneous affairs, but taking a few basic pieces of kit – like a tripod, zoom lens, polarizer and Gorilla Pod grip – can ensure you’re ready to make the most of a golden opportunity. Here’s a round-up of the best photography kit to sling in your day pack.

1. Compact cameras

Don’t listen to the old school purists – these days getting the shot is more important than the pedigree of camera you use, be it an iPhone or handy compact. Some photo opps require a quick draw, and SLRs (though professional) can be clunky and awkward to locate in an instant. By the time you’ve screwed on the right lens, your chosen subject has moved on.

This shot was taken in the Greek Islands with a Panasonic Lumix compact camera. With Zakynthos receding in the distance, there was a perfect blue sky garlanded with a low belt of clouds, and a rich navy sea contrasting with the crow-black garb of an orthodox priest and nun. To achieve this picture I quickly reeled off three or four shots with an ISO setting of 200 to compensate for the brilliance of the rising sun, using a shutter speed of about 1/400th of a second. Once I returned to the UK I cropped the shot slightly on my Mac to personalize the two central figures.

2. Mini-tripod

For close-ups that require steadiness beyond the capability of a human hand a tripod is your best friend. This shot of freshly caught octopus on Nisyros captures the essence of the Greek Islands: fishing and the sea. The close-up catches the alien succulence of the tentacles by using the bracketing function on my Nikon D3100, which takes several shots of the same subject using different camera settings. I’ve concentrated the focus on just the right side of the frame to make it more interesting. The tentacles weren’t going anywhere so I had plenty of time to frame the shot with a fine focus and used the timer function so the camera wouldn’t shake when I pressed the button. Portable and lightweight, for long exposures at night or in low light conditions or finely detailed shots like this, a tripod is essential.

3. Watch the magic

Don’t underestimate the power of the humble wristwatch – it enables you to time your activity to coincide with the day’s optimum lighting. Pictures taken just after dawn, before the sun starts to dominate the sky and over-expose everything in its glare, capture subjects in a softer light, coating buildings in amber hues and deepening an image with contrasting shadows. Nature provides the photographer with a second opportunity to catch something they didn’t manage to get out of bed for in the form of a ‘magic hour’ before dusk. Light at this time of the day is often honey-tinted, lengthening shadows and adding texture. Sea glare from overhead sunlight, as in this shot of Lake Malawi, is also not a problem as the light of the sun in early morning and the magic hour is horizontally angled. So set your alarm or be prepared to wait for the late afternoon sun to achieve shots you’ll be proud of in years to come.

4. Zoom lens & SLR polarizer

Photographers tell you to beware working with two things: kids and animals. Both are prone to moving impulsively and have better things to do than play to your lens. This shot – taken on a beach close to where Richard Burton filmed Night of The Iguana – includes both. The iguana was being allowed a dip by its owner, while the little girl, my splash of background colour, was busy with her bucket. I waited for the two to converge and, in order not to spook the iguana, used a zoom lens fixed low to the ground on a tripod. This allowed me to go right up close to catch its beautiful scales. If your zoom has an image stabilization or vibration reduction switch, make sure it’s on, and for animal shots with a zoom always employ a tripod.

My other essential piece of kit in this shot is a polarizer. Costing around US$45, this essential bit of kit screws on to your SLR lens and does a great job of nullifying sun glare on objects, reflections and water, and deepening colours, particularly blues. The brilliance of the Mexican sky here is thanks to the polarizer, plus its colour-saturating effect on the vivid orange of the girl’s bucket. It was shot around midday and the polarizer allowed me to enhance the blue of the sky and deepen the contrast with the colour of the lizard, as well as add sharpness to its scales.

5. Multi-shot mode and Gorilla Pod grip

Any compact or SLR camera worth its salt will have a ‘sports’ mode or multi-shot feature. The former allows you to shoot with a fast film speed to capture quick moving subjects that would otherwise be blurred, while the latter lets you take a few pictures per second, thus maximizing your chances of getting a decent one. The shot below was taken in the ancient city of Luang Prabang in Laos. The temple and the boy playing with a rattan football was taken using a Gorilla Pod about US$20) attached to a low-lying frangipani branch. The light was fading so I whacked up the film speed on my compact, and used multi-shot mode to get a sense of the ball in motion.

Gorilla News: About Gorillas in Africa

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Toward the end of November, bamboo in the lower areas of Volcanoes National Park began to diminish, indicating the end of the current bamboo season, so the gorilla groups monitored by the Fossey Fund made fewer treks out of the park to get this favored food. However, there was still a lot of activity among the groups, including a major interaction between two groups and a medical intervention to help an ailing female gorilla, in cooperation with veterinarians from the Gorilla Doctors and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), which oversees park management.

Intense interaction leads to more transfers

In early December, our trackers found evidence of a major interaction between Isabukuru’s group and Gushimira’s group, and witnessed many of the resulting events. The initial interaction was judged to have been very intense, taking place overnight and leaving two of the silverbacks, Gushimira and Kubaha (who is in Isabukuru’s group), with injuries. The next morning when our trackers arrived, they could see that two females had transferred to Isabukuru’s group. Displays continued for many hours, with Gushimira clearly avoiding Isabukuru, and the two females trying to follow Gushimira’s trail but being stopped by Isabukuru and Kubaha standing in front.

With this latest transfer, there are now four females who have recently transferred to Isabukuru’s group, confirming it as the most successful group among those we currently monitor. Its male-female ratio is impressive, with nine females and only one other silverback, Kubaha. We have since observed frequent physical fights between Isabukuru and Kubaha and are very curious to see how the group will adjust with the two new females. We suspect that silverback Kubaha, who has been peripheral and subordinate since the group was formed in 2007, is gaining confidence and challenging Isabukuru for access to the females.

Medical intervention helps female gorilla

On Nov. 20, our trackers reported that 8-year-old female gorilla Izihirwa (from Musilikale’s group) was very weak, not feeding and staying on her night nest. A medical intervention was organized, with veterinarians from Gorilla Doctors and RDB, along with a select group of experienced Fossey Fund trackers and researchers and scientists.

When the team arrived, Izihirwa hid in a dense bamboo patch and stayed there for several hours. The team then decided to intervene, even though visibility was poor in all respects as it was also rainy and dark. The anesthetization and exam process went well, and Izihirwa was given antibiotics and fluids. Blood and other routine samples were obtained for later analysis.

Silverback Musilikale acted tough during the intervention. He charged and screamed at our trackers the whole time, but they did a great job chasing him away. When Izihirwa woke up from the anesthesia, staff moved away to avoid stressing her further. Her group was nearby.

The next morning she was still weak, but clearly improved. She ate a bit and her stomach seemed to be half full. In subsequent days she still seemed weak but trackers and medical staff agreed that no further intervention was warranted. The Gorilla Doctors’ analysis concluded that Izihirwa probably had a bacterial infection, of unknown origin.

Bwindi hospital puts food on the table of undernourished Batwa

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Bwindi Community Hospital, register mothers and immunize children during a community outreach

As part of its annual series, Ugandans Making a Difference, New Vision will, until October 3, publish articles on individuals and organizations that have dedicated their efforts to fighting malnutrition in the country. The articles will highlight the causes, discuss solutions and recognize the efforts of those working to avert the problem that affects up to 54% of children under the age of 18 years in Uganda

Agnes Kacho comes from Kengoma village, about eight hours’ walk from Bwindi. At 16 months, she was brought to Bwindi Community Hospital (BCH) with muscle wasting. She weighed 4.7kg, less than half the normal weight of a child her age. Kacho’s body had wounds and abscesses from injections. She was assessed by a team of health workers at the hospital and diagnosed with severe malnutrition, tuberculosis and HIV.

Her mother, who is also HIV-positive, was only 18 years old and had been abandoned by her husband and family members. “We had no hope for survival, but the health workers did all they could to restore our health. They fed us and, indeed, I realized it was lack of food that was going to kill us.” Today Kacho’s wounds have healed and she has gained weight. Mother and daughter were discharged after seven weeks. “The medical team still visits us every month on an outreach site near our home for regular checkup of TB and HIV.

They also give us food. They set up for me a small garden where I was taught how to grow vegetables and fruits and life will never be the same. We are happy the disease was detected early and we were given free drugs and food at the hospital,” Kacho’s mother who preferred anonymity explains. Like Kacho, many people in Bwindi are battling with malnutrition and HIV. Bwindi is a home to some of the poorest, marginalized ethnic groups of the world – the Batwa. They were displaced from Bwindi impenetrable forest when it was gazetted as a national park to protect the endangered mountain gorillas, up to today, Bwindi Impenetrable National park is the world’s Number one destination for gorilla tours and safaris.

The average family in Bwindi has seven children and lives on less than a dollar a day. Bwindi Community Hospital is a community-based organization operating in Buhoma at the peripheral of Bwindi Impenetrable Rainforest in south-western Uganda. It serves three sub counties of Kayonza, Mpungu and Kanyantogoro and almost all the villages around Kanungu. The hospital serves the most under-privileged population in the area.

The Batwa, a traditional hunter-gather community in Bwindi, are some of the most vulnerable groups in the country. They live in scattered settlements, and with particular health needs, including severe malnutrition. We trained village health promoters (VHP) in different activities for every one of the 200 villages in Bwindi.

They started teaching and screening the residents on behalf of the hospital,” Robert Kamugisha, the head of nursing and midwifery explains. “We discovered over 10% of the children were malnourished.” In Uganda, about 250,000 children under the age of five suffer severe acute malnutrition. About 360 children below five years die daily and nutrition interventions can save at least 120 children.

A mother with a malnourished child talks to Kamugisha

Other measures

“We had to find ways of preventing malnutrition. We started by teaching households how to grow food and prepare balanced meals,” Kamugisha explains. He adds that the VHPs take records of all the children in the villages; they visit and keep checking on them every three months.

Those with severe malnutrition are referred to the hospital for special care. With the high rate of referrals, in 2008, the hospital started a child health and nutrition unit to handle the children. The unit provides fortified milk for severely malnourished children for the first three weeks before they start eating foods that boost their immunity.

The milk is from the cows and goats that were given to the hospital under the 3H Rotary grant. During this period, cooking sessions are held at the hospital and parents are taught how to prepare a balanced diet. Grace Byarukunda was displaced from her home to give way to the establishment of the park.

Together with her son, Byarukunda is benefiting from the hospital’s nutrition programme. “Since we were displaced from our home in the forest, I have never seen my husband, I was left with no home, no land and no relative,” Byarukunda recalls. She says she had a two year- old boy, and due to lack of food they became sickly.

Community involvement

The community health team visits the areas around the hospital three days a week to teach people the importance of proper nutrition and how to achieve it. The community team and the village health promoters form the core of the BCH prevention strategy in combating preventable diseases and malnutrition in the area.

The hospital team also trained parish child protection committees in Bujengwe, Ngaara, Muramba, Mpungu, Buremba and Mukono parishes and 60 children’s rights advocates were trained.

These are charged with the responsibility of identifying children whose rights are abused, making reports and reporting to the BCH and all other authorities. “Many of the malnourished children were also found to have suffered some form of physical abusem, while others were neglected.

To a large extent, malnutrition and child abuse are linked and should be fought together,” Kamugisha says. The hospital also has specialist clinics every week for children with long-term illnesses. “We work with health organizations like Organization Useful Rehabilitation Service (OURS) and Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda (CoRSU), which offer additional services such as physical rehabilitation and repair of congenital defects,” Kamugisha says. He adds that every month they see more than 500 children at the outpatient department and admit more than 100.

Sustainability

Joseline Ninsiima, the BCH communications officer, says outside the ward, the hospital has a children’s play area, a kitchen and a demonstration garden. “Our staffs organize practical cooking sessions with the mothers of the admitted children every week. These are always preceded by singing and dancing,” she says.

Children who were previously admitted with severe malnutrition are followed-up after every two weeks to assess their nutritional status. Since hunger was the major cause of malnutrition, BCH patterned with St Francis Hospital Mutolere and Sustain for Life to develop and implement a comprehensive organic agriculture project.

Their purpose was to feed patients and staff and train vulnerable community members, especially the Batwa, in sustainable agriculture. We train communities in sustainable agricultural and low-cost farming practices, nutrition, sanitation and income-generation,” says Barungi Mutahunga, the executive director of the hospital.

The hospital provided over 10 acres of land where local people are trained in vegetable growing over the first three years. The project is to benefit over 5,000 patients and hospital staff and over 8,000 Batwa in the neighboring communities. BCH is working closely with the community members and Batwa leaders to ensure the success of the project as a model for future interventions.

The hospital, together with the WASH project, also introduced a radio programme to sensitize school children and parents on sanitation by setting up water facilities in homes. “We are happy that the levels of malnutrition in Bwindi have reduced drastically from 10% to 4%. Our target is to eliminate malnutrition from Bwindi and the neighboring areas of Kanungu,” Kamugisha says.

To visit the batwa people, you can book a memorable Uganda gorilla safari to Bwindi national park with an extra day with Batwa people. We call this The Batwa Experience in Buhoma, or The batwa Trail in Mgahinga Gorilla park.

Wildlife Watching Adventure in Uganda – Africa

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murchison-wildlife-ugandaUganda is a must visit destination in Africa for anybody interested in wildlife watching. The Big Five that refers to buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and rhino and the term comes from the wild animals considered most dangerous to hunt can be seen. The most interesting here is photographing them in their natural habitat. In case you’re searching for an interesting and a memorable wildlife tour, you can choose to visit almost all Uganda’s national parks, but Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Parks remains a notorious tourism draw card to Big Four. You can see white rhinos in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary by self drive / guided drives / guided strolls. But have it in mind that, you are not middle of a national geographic documentary. You may well see all the Big Five or you may not, despite the fact that your chances of see them are high. Drive slowly, stop at waterholes, listen for the warning calls of birds, watch when other vehicles stop, and always keep your eyes open.

Get ready to be awed. To see a leopard snoozing in the branch of a tree, spotting a white rhino half hidden in thick bushes at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, finding a pride of lions in the shade after a kill, or viewing a large hard of elephants or buffalos move soundlessly across the road – these are all precious minutes. Never forget that you’re dealing with wild animals, and that you’re in their territory. There are rules of engagement relating to safaris in Uganda. Read your guidebook carefully and heed the words of your ranger at all times. When you’ve done activities, now is the ideal time to ‘sweat the primates and learn about wondrous animals like gorillas, chimpanzee and monkeys.

No tour to Uganda is complete without the visit to Murchison Falls National Park’s wonderful waterfalls. Murchison Falls is one of Uganda’s most interesting waterfalls and it lies within the Panorama Route, where you can visit some of the very best natural attractions in the region, including the giraffes, elephants, and chimpanzees.

Game watching drives in open 4WD safari vehicles, offer magnificent wild-and-bird life viewing. Many people claim game drives in Uganda are the best in all of east Africa because of the quality of wildlife, the ability to drive off road, exclusivity with few other vehicles, and also the ability to offer night nature strolls in some of the national parks in the country.

Safaris and game viewing in Uganda are as up-close and as wild as it gets. Go on a game watching drive, nature walk, or even a horse ride safari, for an authentic, even memorable wildlife adventure. Enjoy a walking safari – not for the faint hearted however an exhilarating experience. In the hands of a experience and stilled tour guide, you’ll see nature in close-up, and may, if you’re fortunate, get thrillingly close wild animals.

Search for lions and leopards stalking their prey or simply lazing around in the shade in the Kasenyi landing site in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Steer clear of charging buffalo in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and wonder about hippos, while keeping an eye out for crocodiles, along the Kazinga channel. Admire Uganda’s remaining white rhinos, carefully protected from poachers, at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongola. Visit Bwindi impenetrable National Park and enjoy a memorable gorilla tour. Remote and all most unexplored, the park is a refuge both for wild animals and the country’s few remaining Batwa pygmies.