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.
In today’s world you can’t very safe, particularly when travelling. Regardless of where you come from or No matter who you are, the risk may even now hide around the corner. Here are prudent steps you can take to stay safer on a trip when travelling alone.
Firstly, you should not get attracted to cheap travel packages and discounts. Make sure you book your accommodation and travel tickets through a trusted and dependable travel company. Still you can request references from friends and also check on the travel agent you’re hopping to use on the trusted review websites like TripAdviser, Safaribooking.com and others.
It’s also advisable to move with some small sharp things like small blades, a pair of scissors, cutters and a paper spray can also be helpful for self deface. If you have a larger plan or travelling around the world alone, some basic self defense training can also be helpful and strongly recommended.
In every country across the world, there some different theft prone areas and it’s strongly recommended that you get search for information about the area you’re going to travel to and avoid such places. And also avoid moving with valuable things like earrings, gold necklace, mobile phones and other things when travelling around these are because they can attract thieves. You can get all information about the place from the local people, your hotel staff and even from local travel agents.
Always try to travel by a hired vehicle from a trusted car rental company and immediately share all the information about your travel, the travel company you used, the registration plate of the vehicle and the name and mobile number of your drive with the trusted friends.
Try as much as you can to avoid meandering in unknown or shady streets even in the broad day light, let alone at the evening hours regardless of the possibility that you have a company of some people. Follow your instinct to spot these areas from the tourist friendly hangouts.
It’s also advisable that you share the details of the local travel agent you used, the room number and other information about the accommodation you used before settling in and also don’t forget to ask the name and mobile number of your the local travel agent for emergency.
It’s also highly recommended that you don’t trust strangers who appear to be good to you, like those giving free food, free ride to your destination because these people can be pretending when they want to do something dangerous to you. So you should avoid free things from strangers when you’re on a trip more especially in a foreign country.
When going to another destination, always make sure you book pickup direct from your hotel from the hotel shuttles or from the trusted local travel agent and also you make sure you book accommodation for your next destination in advance to avoid roaming around looking for accommodation at arrival
You should also always be Alert. Whenever outside, look at people without flinching while walking and avoid being excessively dependent on your Smartphone as it reduce your readiness in case of emergencies and its self attract thieves. Walk into the nearest shopping mall or café in case you’re confused for directions.
Gorilla Forest Camp; The Top Notch Lodge In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is about 530 km from Kampala which takes between 8 to 10 hours’ drive to complete the journey. This puts the tourists taking a Uganda safari to see gorillas at a point where they will have to spend an overnight near the park to go gorilla trekking next day morning and then plan the return journey the day that follows. Even if they opt to fly, the gorilla trekking encounter starts at 8am and no flight that arrives in Bwindi before that time. This means that you ares till required to spend a night around the park.
Spending an overnight in Bwindi is something the tourists to Uganda for gorilla tracking in Bwindi forest always take key note of. This comes with the lodge selection which is also influenced by the level of travel budget. The Gorilla Sanctuary, also known as Gorilla Forest Camp is located in the Buhoma Area which is the daring region for gorilla trekking activity and it is re-known as the pioneer region of this activity in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, thus most travellers planning to do a gorilla safari to Uganda tend to opt for it though the competition for gorilla permits tend to leave out the majority.
Located at close distance from the Buhoma Park entrance inside the Impenetrable Forest, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp offers top notch overnight accommodation to upmarket world travelers. Its Accommodation is offered in a range of eight luxury tents which are very spacious and stylish with each tent having two queen sized beds, in supplement to the warm beds, the rooms feature huge bathtub looking into the impenetrable forest ideal for soaking the tired muscles after a daylong gorilla tracking experience.
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp has impressive forest views and an ample open place and a lounge in a very calm environment only interrupted by the songs of birds and mountain gorillas that occasional visit to the lodge.
Planning a flying Gorilla Safari and stay at Gorilla Sanctuary
You need 3 days and 2 nights to complete a 3 days Uganda gorilla safari with a single gorilla trek. If you need more than one trek, then you need more than 3 days, for example, some tourists want to do 2 gorilla treks, we call it double gorilla tracking, where you visit two different gorilla groups. Below is a typical 3 day flying gorilla safari to see gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable forest and and stay for 2 nights at Gorilla Forest Camp.
Organizing a Gorilla Tracking Tour – Initial States
If you want to see the gorillas in the wild (In their natural habitat), it means you must fly to Africa, the only place one can see the mountain gorillas in the wild. According to the gorilla census 2011, there are only 880 mountain gorillas left in the whole world, and this population is found in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. However, gorilla tourism in DR Congo is less developed due to political instabilities.
As you plan a holiday to see gorillas in the wild in Bwindi forest, start with identifying your intended travel dates. After that, then check for availability of International Flights from your home country to Entebbe International Airport. If the flights available fit your intended travel dates, please go ahead and make tentative booking.
The next step is to check for availability of gorilla trekking permits through local Travel Agents / Tour Operators or you can inquire and book direct through Uganda Wildlife Authority in Kampala. If you happen to find gorilla permits available on your preferred dates, please go a head and confirm your flights. In case you happen to find no permits, better you find alternative dates. The demand for gorilla permits is very high throughout the year. One is thus advised to book early at least 2 months in advance. Further more, you should get availability of rooms at Gorilla Forest camp in Buhoma area of Bwindi Impenetrable forest.
If you find no space, there are other gorilla trekking lodges around Buhoma such as Mahogany Springs Lodge, Buhome Lodge, Gorilla Resort and Bwindi Forest Lodge among others. Then you must book a regional flight in advance from Entebbe Airport to Kihihi Airstrip, and there must be arrangements for transfer by road from Kihihi Airstrip to Gorilla Forest lodge. We have both daily scheduled and private charter flights operating along this route. Scheduled daily flights are offered by Aerolink Uganda Limited, while Private Charters are offered by Kampala Aero Club and Eagle Air. Tour Operators can help you will all arrangements like booking permits, accommodation and flights.
At this moment, we assume that all bookings are confirmed and it,s time to fly to Entebbe International Airport. If you booked through a local tour company, you will find a representative from that company waiting for you at the airport. Usually they carry a placard bearing your name. To get this, you should inform the Agent about your arrival date, time and flight number. Local based safari companies usually offer free airport transfers to guests, or at a subsidized cost.
If you made private arrangements without involving a tour company, then you need to organize for airport transfer to your pre-booked hotel around Entebbe International Airport. Depending on the flight you booked, get ready to fly from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Kihihi Airstrip in Western part of Uganda. It is less than 60 minutes flight. At Kihihi Airstrip, you will find a safari vehicle awaiting for you, and then drive for 90 minutes to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, arrive in time for lunch at Gorilla Sanctuary, relax in our cottages as we wait for evening entertainment from the Batwa people (Local community). Gorilla Forest camp is some times visited by mountain gorillas.
The next day is for gorilla tracking adventure, get up early for heavy breakfast walk to the park headquarters for a briefing about the trek. You will be divided into groups of 8 persons maximum and assigned to a gorilla group. Start a guided walk in accompaniment of armed rangers, trackers and park guides. Depending on the movement of the gorillas in the forest, the trek can take between 1 and 7 hours. Its quiet strenuous and a certain level of fitness is advised. Sight and stay with gorillas is one hour, take photos and videos with gorillas. You will be receiving advise and guidance from the guide in the whole process. After the trek, descend to the base, have lunch and take a forest walk if interested. Dinner and overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp.
This is the 3rd day and your last day in Bwindi Impenetrable forest. Have breakfast and hit the road back to Kihihi Airstrip, then get a plane to Entebbe International Airport for your onward flight or for lunch and dinner at your hotel around Entebbe or Kampala.
Dreaming of setting sail on your ultimate journey and escaping the rigors of urban life is something that only becomes reality if you’re able to make sacrifices in your day-to-day life. Having the ability to meticulously plan for such a trip can be the difference between actually living your dream or it merely being a pipe dream.
Whether you’re a single traveler or traveling with a multitude of people, the likelihood is, such a life-changing experience to witness the gorillas in the midst, going on safari or seeing the Golden Monkeys of Central Africa first hand, will cost a significant amount. And only through saving vast amounts of money will you be able to make a trip such as this reality.
Luckily, with the vast amount of people now traveling to Africa to witness such amazing creatures as our beloved apes comes with useful blogs such as our own Lifted Gorilla that helps provide newbie travelers with a vast array of useful information to source when planning for a trip of a lifetime.
Here are some of our tips that you should consider when planning your trip to Africa.
Research what injections you’ll need
The current health situation is Africa has been well documented by the world’s media, so you must ensure that you have had all the correct vaccinations before you leave your destination to travel to Africa. There is a plethora of resource available to find out which vaccinations you should be having but websites such as GoAfrica will provide you with the recommended injections you’ll need from your doctor before departure.
Pack a suitable camera
It might seem a little trivial but having your camera and sufficient battery replacements on your long treks will help you capture all the best moments on photo that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Don’t fall foul of failing to take a good camera with you on trips, and definitely don’t rely on devices with poor quality batteries such as the iPhone models.
Like many third-world continents, when traveling to Africa, it’s imperative that you have full travel insurance that will cover all of your belongings in case of theft. The likelihood is that you will be staying in very secure resorts but the dangers don’t just lie at the resorts. Misplaced baggage at airports is also still a probable possibility, so make sure to insure your belongings for the entire duration of your traveling.
Avoid budget airlines
Although budget travel is something that we all try to take advantage of, it’s not always all it’s made out to be. Parking4Less, a UK-based company, blogged in 2013 that a well-known budget airline decreased its baggage allowance by 37% without telling customers to try and increase profit margins. Budget airlines have been well documented for trying to increase their meager profit margins, so if you’re using internal airlines throughout your traveling of Africa, make sure to always check the small print.
It’s also worth taking notice of the baggage allowances of all the budget airlines if you do wish to use internal flights in Africa. Just like the aforementioned European-based budget airlines, African carriers may also have some obscure hidden travel charges.
Pack the bare necessities
Regardless of however long you are traveling, it’s best to travel as light as possible. You’re likely to be lugging your backpack around frequently so make sure you have a couple of changes of clothes, and due to the climate the majority should be lightweight.
Hopefully, some of these tips will come in handy when you venture out on your dream journey. Feel free to leave some of the tips you have learned below. And we hope you enjoy your trip to Africa.
Recommended Places to Visit in Africa
Africa is big and attracts many tourists from different parts of the world. However note that, some parts of Africa are not safe for travelling. You are advised to seek advise from your embassy or travel agent before visit some parts of Africa. Among the risky places to visit in Africa include Somalia, South Sudan, Libya, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe among others. CNN points out 26 of the most stunning spots to visit in Africa.
And among these include the great wildebeest migration in East Africa taking place in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and Kenya’s Masai Mara National Park, the table mountain in south Africa, Djmaa el Fna in Morocco, Sossusvlei Dunes in Namibia and endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda. Tracking the rare mountain gorillas is only done in Uganda and Rwanda, these are the only places in the world where you can see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat and it attracts thousands of tourists into Eastern Africa. Great hikers prefer to trek the gorillas more than once in both destinations, for instance, the 18 day African gorilla safari in Rwanda and Uganda offers you a great opportunity to explore the hidden treasures of both destinations on a single tour package, including wild animals, birds, scenery, culture and others.
To those we limited time in Africa, and what to take part in gorilla tracking, there are shorter gorilla trekking packages such as the 3 days Bwindi gorilla tour where you can actively participate and add it to your African safari package. Whether you are visiting South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania or Namibia, you can easily connect to the Uganda or Rwanda for a short gorilla tracking package because, there are daily flights to these destinations. You can check on https://www.kenya-airways.com for details.
Other spots you must see in Africa include Victoria falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe, Namibian Spitzkoppe, Sahara Dunes in Morocco, Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the Nyika Plateau National Park – the largest in Malawi, the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana, the Draa Valley in Morocco, Sphinx in Egypt, Mount Mulanje in Malawi, Rising safaris in Kenya (East Africa), Wonders of the Nile in Egypt, Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique, Nxia Pan National Park in Botswana, the Nyiragongo active Volcano in DR Congo and Mount Kilimanjaro among others.
Here, scholars should clearly give the similarities and differences between the two experiences. Let us take case studies of Uganda and Rwanda – both countries are endowed with both mountain Gorillas and Golden monkeys.
In Uganda, Golden Monkeys are found in Mgahinga National Park situated in Kisoro district near the boarder of Uganda- Rwanda in Virunga crescent. Like in Rwanda, golden monkey tracking in Mgahinga National Park rewards visitors the view of some virunga ranges ling Gahinga among others. Therefore, the trek enable tourists take wonderful photographs of the amazing relief, golden monkeys and Mountain Gorillas. Golden monkey trekking in Uganda’s Mgahinga is done through tropical forest while in Rwanda, it is done in Bamboo forest – thus visitors are advised to visit both parks.
In Rwanda, Golden monkey trekking is done in Volcanoes National Park- 2 hours drive from Kigali (the capital city of Rwanda). The journey to the park rewards the visitors the view of the wonderful virunga ranges like sabyinyo volcano, Karisimbi, Visoke, Gahinga among others. Bamboo forest in Volcanoes National park is also worth seeing. The difference between Uganda Golden Monkey trekking is that encountering in Volcanoes bamboo forest is much easier or less strenuous that Mgahinga’ s tropical forest.
Both Rwanda and Uganda are gifted by Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park and Bwindi impenetrable Forest respectively. The difference is that Uganda has more gorillas than Rwanda and trekking in Uganda is much hectic than in Rwanda. Uganda Mountain Gorillas are found in impenetrable forest unlike in the bamboo forest of Rwanda.
In terms of accessibility, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is reached after 3 hours drive from Kigali- the capital city of Rwanda while Uganda’s Bwindi is reached after 8 hours drive from Kampala- the capital city of Uganda.
Below are the similarities between Golden Monkey and Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda:
Both experiences are done after briefing – 30 minutes briefing is done in the morning by the wildlife officials (rangers) who then led the groups to meet the apes.
In both experiences, trekkers are equipped by the rules and regulations to be followed at the encounter of the primates (gorillas or Golden monkeys).
Both Golden monkeys and gorillas are habituated by the researchers before exposed to be officially visited or offered for official tourism activities.
In both, a maximum of eight people are allowed to visit each Gorilla or Golden monkey trekking.
Both experiences are conducted in the morning hours – 7:00 am after briefing.
Golden Monkey and Gorilla trekking takes place in forest and the primates are found in their nature habitat or nature environment.
Both experiences are conducted in gazetted place known as national parks – heritage sites.
Both primates are shy are trekking experiences are enjoyable/ exciting/ amazing and memorable.
Differences between Gorilla and Golden monkey trekking are as well discussed below:
Gorillas are huge than Golden Monkeys in size and a male Gorillas are huger than female one.
Golden monkeys are more active and can climb high up the trees making it hard to take their clear photos thus trekkers are advised to set their cameras – ever ready to take quick snaps. Gorillas are slow in climbing thus giving trekkers chance to take clear photos and films.
Tracking Gorillas is much expensive than Golden monkey trekking. Each Gorilla permit in Rwanda is sold at US$ 750 and Uganda’s permit at US$ 600 each compared to US$ 100 for Golden Monkey trekking in Rwanda and US$ 50 for each Uganda Golden Monkey tracking permit. That also shows that taking a Rwanda gorilla safari is much expensive than a Uganda gorilla safari basing on the prices of permits for gorillas and golden monkeys.
Previous trekkers testify that Gorilla trekking is much interesting than Golden monkey trekking despite the fact that Gorilla permits are more expensive than Golden monkeys’
Mountain trekking experience last for long compared to Golden Monkey- the former take approximately 2-6 hours well as Golden Monkeys 2-4 hours or less.
When planning for the great African safari plan for the gorilla trekking experience. This is an expensive activity and may cause someone to think “should I do it”. Yes, absolutely. Two treks if possible. Both of our treks were very different, but also amazing. We did intermediate treks…about 2 hours of steady walking, and a good deal of uphill. They don’t traverse much. Having the porter carry your pack is a huge help, but remember to tip at the end…it typically isn’t part of their fee.
We booked an 8 day Uganda safari package with 2 gorilla treks and other activities like wildlife viewing, chimpanzee tracking, boat cruise, community tours, and mountain gorilla trekking was outstanding. You arrive at 7am and wait to be assigned the group you are to go gorilla trekking with. It’s all very efficient and informative. You meet the two rangers who will escort you and they tell you about the gorilla group you will see, what to expect and to do. Then you drive to the spot you will be hiking from.
The lengths of hikes vary and we asked for and got two of the shorter ones. The hiking is very leisurely and you can also hire porters to carry your stuff. Do this. It’s only $10 dollars and it’s worth it. You will also get a gorilla carved stick to hike with. Our hike was through potatoes fields, over the volcanic rock wall and through some jungle.
The next minute you are told to stop and leave everything behind but your camera. And then you are in the bushes with the gorillas!!! They are sometimes as close as a meter and they don’t seem bothered at all with us. They eat, and play and sleep. It’s unbelievable. You do not need to drag a massive zoom with because they are right next to you. In fact even our cellphones got great videos. You have an hour to observe and take pictures. The time speeds past and even though this is an expensive experience you will not be disappointed.
We were back at park headquarters the following day to meet our guide for our trek to Dian Fossey’s grave. This is a steep hike through jungle (about 100 minutes) to 3,200 meters but well worth it and completed the whole gorilla experience. It was wonderful to walk in the footsteps of this amazing lady and contemplate her invaluable work during 18 years living with the mountain gorillas.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is located in southwestern part of Uganda on the edge of the western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley, along the Democratic Republic of Congo border next to the Virunga National Park. It is also located about 530km from Uganda.
The national park comprises of about 321 sq km of think jungle forests and contains both montane and lowland forest and is accessible only on foot. This park is partitioned into four gorilla tracking sectors including Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors;
The Buhoma was the first to be established for gorilla trekking and is the most famous of all the four sectors in Bwindi Forest. It is also at this sector where other natural walks take place like; Munyanga River Trails in the valley of Buhoma, which is a short stroll for watching birds and primates along the forest edge, the waterfall trail which passes beneath tree ferns, epiphytic plants and also orchids to visit three stunning waterfalls, there is also Rushura Hill Trail, Muzabajiro Loop Trail and the River Ivi Trail of which the last fallows an old raod the forest, emerging near Nkuringo on the southern edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The Buhoma community walk and culture exhibitions which takes up to three hours visiting the local homestead, the traditional healer and a banana beer brewery is organized by the local community. Of late, the Batwa cultural experience has been established in this sector of the park. Gorilla groups / families in this sector incorporate; Rushegura, Mubare and Habinyanja.
The Nkuringo sector which was established near to the Buhoma sector is approximately 10km from Buhoma despite the fact that this distance is by the think jungle and a stroll through the forest takes about 4 hours. Connecting by vehicle from the two areas takes around 7 to 8 hours. Villages at Nkuringo sector also organize a community walk that visits a traditional healer, rural homestead, blacksmith and brewers. Nkuringo gorilla family is the only gorilla group in this sector.
The Ruhija sector which is popular for its variety bird species on top of the mountain gorillas is considered as the most remote sector of all the four. There is a three hour trek to visit the Mubwindi swamp which hosts a variety of bird species and is a perfect sector for bird lovers. The mountain gorilla families found in Ruhija sector includes; Ruhija, Bitukura and Kyaguriro.
The Rushaga sector which hosts the highest number of gorilla groups which include Mishaya, Nshongi, Kahungye, and Busingye. It is located between Kabale and Nkuringo from either Ruhija or Kampala.
Bwindi Forest National Park can be accessed either by air from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip or by road from Kampala.
From Entebbe International Airport, there are scheduled flights to Kihihi which is near the northern part of Bwindi Forest and there are also flights to Kisoro which is near the Southern sector of park. Flights to Kisoro only leave in the morning while Kihihi has both morning and afternoon departure from Entebbe Airport. You can also do charter flights from Kajjansi Airstrip to either Kisoro or Kihihi.
The main tourist activity in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is; Gorilla trekking limited to a maximum of 8 tourists per a particular gorilla family per day – Gorilla permits must be booked in advance since they are on a very high demand all year round. You can do this by contacting Uganda wildlife Authority (UWA) or by contacting any Uganda local tour operator for advise. There are many tour companies in the country which offers affordable and cheap gorilla tours in Bwindi Forest and can also help you book a gorilla permit like; African Jungle Adventures Ltd, Gorilla Expedition Ltd, Able Safaris Ltd, Acacia Safaris, Across Africa Holidays Ltd, Adrift – The Adventure Company, Adventure Natural African Safaris (U) Ltd, Adventure Vacation Safaris Ltd, Afri Tours And Travel Ltd, Africa Adventure Safaris, Africa’s Great Exploration Safaris, African Adventure Travelers, African Big Five Safaris, African Pearl Safaris, African White Rhino Safaris among others.
Guided forest walks, bird watching tours and other primates watching are also done in this park. There is also other interesting tour activity (Batwa Pygmies) whereby recently the Batwa Cultural Experience was introduced.
At the point when to go & What to Expect
Uganda is suitable for travel at any time of the year and it is sunny most of the year with temperatures seldom rising over 29 degrees. The average yearly temperature is around 26 degrees Celsius.
For a gorilla tour in Bwindi forest, you have to be fairly physically fit, equipped for the humid, muddy conditions of a rainforest hike, and healthy because it is quite tiresome but interesting. You won’t be allowed to go gorilla trekking in Uganda if you have a cold or similar illness because mountain gorillas are vulnerable to numerous human diseases. The region’s mid-December to February and June to September dry seasons are the best time to go gorilla trekking in Uganda however you can still expect a tough day on foot: it’s in some cases humid, wet and sloppy with steep slops and tangled vegetation. Never the less, the possibilities of finding gorilla groups are often around 95%.
When a habituated gorilla group has been found by your tour guide, you can settle down for 60 minutes to take photos and watch them as they feed and groom while their babies tumble about the undergrowth – all under the watchful gaze of the great silverback male. Sitting just a couple of meters from a gorilla and looking its soft brown eyes is a memorable experience.
Golden monkeys are one of the rare primate species that attract tourists into Uganda and Rwanda. Many so many luxury and budget Uganda safari package combing other tourist activities with golden monkey tracking. In Uganda, golden monkeys are found in Mgahinga National park which is located at Uganda – Rwanda boarder. They are exciting apes and their trekking is memorable. Many tourists prefer visiting this park to kill two birds by one stone, in other wards, track Gorillas and golden monkeys. It should be noted that, Nyakagezi gorilla group in Mgahinga forest is mobile and its trekking is unpredictable but in case of failure to meet them, visitors can at least enjoy the view of the golden monkeys.
In Rwanda, the golden monkeys are found in volcanoes National park found in the northern region of Rwanda- Ruhengeri area. Golden monkey trekking is another highlight activity in the park and they are found in the bamboo vegetation towards the base of the volcanoes and have overcome their initial shyness to accept their daily visit by researchers and tourists. The park is amazing as not only enable visitors enjoy gorilla and golden monkey tracking but also rewards the view of the mighty Virunga ranges.
The Golden Monkey is a local subspecies of the widespread Sykes Monkey, also known as the “Blue Monkey” and is endemic to the high altitude forests of the Volcanoes National Park area. The monkeys are playful and inquisitive and often spend their time leaping from bamboo branches or frolicking on the forest floor.
The park host two habituated groups of Golden Monkey, one group comprises around 80 – 100 members and has its home at the foot of Mountain Sabyinyo. Like mountain Gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking are also conducted in the morning hours and briefing is a must before trekking and visitors are permitted to stay for 1 hour charting with the monkeys.
Unlike gorilla trekking which allow a maximum of eight people visiting each gorilla group, the number of golden monkey trekking is unlimited. Permits can either be arranged in advance or booked at the park headquarters on the morning of the trek.
Golden monkey are very sprightly primate and leap from tree to tree which is really entertaining, if a little difficult to photograph and films! We recommend setting your camera to a fast shutter-speed to allow for low light in the dense undergrowth and to better your chances of capturing the golden monkeys on film!
This is a great way to spend an extra day in the Volcanoes National Park and if you’re interested in wildlife, this is a rare and delightful experience not to be missed!
You can book a cheap gorilla safari in Uganda and combine it with golden monkey tracking in either Uganda or Rwanda with a credible tour company like Lets Go Tours Rwanda or Gorilla expeditions Limited. Depending on your number of days you have, you can add more tourism activities such as wildlife viewing, black and white colobus monkey tracking, fantastic boat cruise, community tours and forest walks among others. This will also be determined by your budget because the more tour activities you have the high the price goes. Contact any of the 2 tour companies above for all your travel needs, or you can search for more travel operators in google.com. For best prices, you can search with words lile “cheap gorilla safaris”, budget gorilla safaris in Uganda” and many others.
Rwanda is one of the safest countries in Africa. Apart from the 1994 Rwanda genocide movement, Rwanda has never engaged in any way and peace is now prevailing. Gorilla tracking is the chief foreign income earner in Rwanda and this can be evidenced by the price of each permit which is sold at US$ 750.
Like in Uganda, a maximum of eight people visit each Gorilla family per day. This justifies the how secure tracking Gorillas is. No single individual enter the forest to meet Gorillas alone unless in groups. In case of failure to raise the group of eight people or at least two people, a sole visitor can be accompanied by ranger guide for safe custody.
Not only briefing visitors, ranger guides also play a role of escorting the visitors through the bamboo forests. They give company and necessary information to the trekkers as they search for Gorillas. R anger guides also predict the location of the gorilla groups according to where they spent last night.
If you follow the rules and guidelines for Gorilla Trekking you will be safe and sound during your time in the park. For your safety and the gorillas you will be visited are habituated Gorillas which means that they are used to the presence of human beings.
Speak quietly while tracking gorillas. In the presence of the gorillas do not move suddenly since that might be interpreted as a threat to them. Do not use flash when taking photos since that will startle the gorillas and if a gorilla begins to charge you, do not run, simply crouch down in a submissive manner and the gorilla will stop and retreat.
Each group of trekkers is escorted by armed guide to ensure safety of all visitors. In case of encountering a dangerous animals like forest lion, forest elephant, forest leopard, Hyena and so on, guards can defend the visitors.
Rangers are knowledgeable about the history, myths and stories about the area, so they predict all dangers in advance and they warn visitors to prevent dangers.
Both Uganda and Rwanda hosts gorillas and share the boundaries and in one east African community- such unite has enhanced tight security and safe custody of Mountain Gorillas.
No insecurity incident has ever happened in Uganda (Bwindi Impenetrable & Mgahinga National Park) and Rwanda (Volcanoes national Park) implying that the forest is safe to walk through.
In case of any suspicion, all security agencies send alerts allover the world through embassies to let visitors either postpone their trips or escorted by the army soldiers to track Gorilla and be back when safe. The army of each country (Rwanda & Uganda) is every ready and quick whenever security is needed. Any one interested in visit Africa for Rwanda or Uganda gorilla safari adventure, stop worrying about the security of the place. You will be very safe. Rwanda and Uganda army have Fighting jets which are quick to silence any unexpected trouble especially when rebels plot malicious attacks. Uganda peoples’ defense force (UPDF) and Rwanda Defense Force (RDF)
Drive your own adventure in Uganda on a self drive holiday at your own pace! This is cheap and offers memorable adventure experience. Drive your self to Bwindi impenetrable national park for mountain gorilla trekking adventure. A 4×4 vehicle is recommended, for example, Toyota Rav4, Land Cruiser, Toyota Surf Hilux, Nissan Patrol and many others. A 4WD vehicle is recommended because of the poor nature of the roads to most of Uganda national parks. For instance, roads to Bwindi impenetrable forest (home of gorillas in Uganda) are very bad with deep holes and huge stone, impassable during rainy season!
If you are 2 people, you can hire Rav 4 in Uganda from USD45 per day. This is very comfortable, strangle and reliable! Leave Kampala early morning and drive westwards via Masaka road. You can have a brief stop at the Equator for photographs, lunch break in Mbarara town. If you have extra days, you can have a game drive in Lake Mburo national park for animals such as Zebras, Obis, Erands, Statungas, Buffaloes and many more including birds. Other activities in Lake Mburo national park include horse riding from Mihingo lodge. Horse riding offers a great opportunity to explore the park’s hidden treasures since there are no dangerous animals in this park. You can also enjoy a nature walk to the salt lick area where many animals gather to lick salt from the soil. There is a raised platform to clear viewing and photographing. This is so amazing and offers life time adventure experience. You can also enjoy a boat ride on Lake Mburo to see several bird species, Hippos, etc. Among the accommodation options in this park include Mihingo lodge, Arcadia cottages, Mantana tented camp, Mburo safari lodge, Rwonyo tents and many hotels / Motels in Mbarara town such as Agip motel and Lake View hotel.
The road distance from Kampala to Lake Mburo national park is about 3-4hours drive, then from Lake Mburo to Mbarara town is about 30 – 50 minutes drive. From Mbarara to Bwindi national park can take between 4-6hours depending to which park of the park you are going to. Expect several stops at beautiful points for observation and photographing since you are on a self drive Uganda holiday. Bwindi national park is located in the Kigezi hills, famously known as the “Switzerland of Africa” due to coldness, characterized winding roads, majestic hills and deep valleys! The scenery is great!
While on your self drive holiday in Uganda to bwindi national park for gorilla tracking, this is important to you; Note that the park has mainly 3 sections and it is very important to consider this when buying gorilla permits. Because each section has different gorilla groups and lodges, you must put this in mind when booking permits and lodges. Below are the sections with their lodges and gorilla groups.
Buhoma section of Bwindi National park
This is located in the north of the park with mainly 3 gorilla groups namely; Mubare group, Habinyanja group and Rushegura group. Among the accommodation options include Mahogany springs lodge, Buhoma lodge, Gorilla Forest camp, Bwindi View bandas, Buhoma community rest camp, Gorilla resort and silverback lodge among others.
Ruhija section of Bwindi National park
This is located 90 minutes drive from Buhoma section. This means you can sleep in Buhoma and track gorillas in Ruhija but this is somehow hectic and you must stat early. Gorilla groups here include Oruzogo, Bitukura and Kyaguriro. Lodges include bakiga lodge, Gorilla mist camp and Gift of Nature lodge among others.
Nkuringo and Rushaga sections
This is found in the southern part of the park. Gorilla groups include Nsongo, Nkuringo, Mishaya, Kahunjye, etc. Lodges include Gorilla safari lodge, Nkuringo gorilla camp, Chameleon hill, Clouds mountain gorilla lodge, Wagtail eco camp, Nshongi gorilla resort, etc
Therefore, as you plan driving your own adventure to go gorilla tracking, consider the gorilla group your going to track before booking accommodation.