Category: uganda-tourism

Exploring the Karuma Falls in Uganda

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The famous Karma Falls are located on the eastern direction of the Murchison Fall National Park which is the prominent largest national park which is drawing the attention of different travellers to visit Uganda. The wonderful landscape of Murchison falls park which is surrounding the stunning Karuma falls offers the best habitat in which different wildlife such as antelopes ,buffaloes, species of birds as well as the lions, plus even the baboons, monkeys, as well as elephants plus the Uganda Kobs not forgetting the species of Giraffes and Hartebeest. The park is also famous for chimps tracking and habituation experience in Kanio Pabidi forest reserve.

Karuma Falls Bridge
Karuma Falls Bridge

The varied attractive wildlife, birds, around the falls offer different chances for visitors to enjoy the sights of different bird species, also enjoy wild game viewing, Nature walks around the banks of the falls and at the end of the day visitor’s experience goes beyond exploring the falls.

The stunning Karuma falls were named depending on the on the powerful spirit that used to disorganize stones and separate the Victoria waters which were rapidly running with roaming sound. Karuma fall is one the icon attractions attracting various tourists mainly due to its location in the waters of the largest lake in Uganda.

karuma falls view from the bridge
karuma falls view from the bridge

Karuma provides travellers to explore the footsteps that were stepped by the first European explorer John Speke who is identified to have toured the magnificent falls during the time he was exploring the pearl of Africa in search for the source of the great world’s longest River Nile.

The Karuma falls are one of the traditional falls in the country Uganda and therefore visitor to Uganda ought to explore the falls. The Karuma falls are home to the important Power Station located at Karuma which is said to be 750 Megawatts hydropower development project that was implemented by partnership between foreign partners alongside the government of Republic of Uganda.karuma-project

The Karuma falls have an interesting history which is deserve to be explored and the history roots back during the time of political instability that was caused by the activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, the area around the falls was used as hiding place by the rebels and they could base in that falls to attack the people, buses, trucks that were moving in both directions.

The falls offer fantastic view and may travelers to northern Uganda make a stop over for photographs of these fantastic falls.

About the Author: Jack is a Ugandan travel writer based in Kampala, also works as a safari consultant of 4×4 Uganda, the leading car rental company in East Africa. This company offers serviced like hotel bookings, gorilla permits bookings, 4×4 self drive car rental in Uganda and Rwanda as well as free travel advise to tourists. The company is legally registered, as associate member of conservation organisations such as Nature Uganda, Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO), Uganda Tourism Board, Friend a Gorilla, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP) among others.

A Day With Gorillas in Uganda – Kahungye group

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It is a Saturday morning 20th June 2015, we are at Wagtail Eco Camp, southern Bwindi National Park, a home to almost half of the only World’s remaining population of mountain gorillas in the wild. I and my wife, are getting ready for our gorilla trekking adventure. The day has started well with heavy breakfast, but we are unlucky that it’s raining here on addition to the usual coldness. However, rain is not a threat to us because we came well equipped with rain jackets and water proof hiking boots.kanama-mountain-gorilla

It is time now to board our 4×4 Land Cruiser to the park headquarters for briefing about gorilla tracking activity. The drive is so adventurous, the area is very hilly, has beautiful views, characterized by majestic hills and deep valleys. In case a driver does a mistake, the car can roll up to the bottom of the valley, for sure, no one can survive. We took very beautiful photos of the scenery yesterday because the weather is so clear. Today, its misty, we can not take clear photos.

We have arrived at the park headquarters, Its a short drive from Wagtail Eco Camp, took us less than 25 minutes. A 4 x 4 vehicle is recommended because the road is very bad, impassable when it rains. We are now waiting for other tourists to arrive at the park headquarters. At this point, there about four (04) gorilla families namely; Kahungye, Nshongi, Businjye and Mishaya. By 8:00am, we are divided into groups of 8 persons and allocated to different gorilla groups. In our group, we are going to visit Kahungye gorilla family. We are in a briefing about this group and gorilla trekking activity. Am hiring a porter for my wife only, am physically fit, and do not need a porter. The porter is carrying our small bag containing our items like Insect repellent, extra batteries for our cameras, drinking water and snacks. I only need a walking stick and I have bought one at US$5.

4x4 Vehicle Recommended
4×4 Vehicle Recommended

We start the trek in search for mountain gorillas, we are escorted and guided by park guides, they are so knowledgeable, we are firing them questions about gorillas and other wildlife in Bwindi National park and they are making our trek enjoyable and informative. We are accompanied by armed rangers, the trek is quiet strenuous, we are going through steep and slippery jungle grounds, so far we have hiked for 2 hours with stopovers for some of our friends to rest. Finally we have met a Silverback gorilla named as Gwigi eating leaves. Gwigi is moving around in thick vegetation, we are following his path, at some point we block his way and charges, we take submissive positions as advised by the guide (Squat and face down) while others attempt to run away. Oh My God this is amazing! Taking submissive position is a sign to the silverback that he is the king, he is in charge of that territory. We are having fun with the gorillas, we are taking fantastic photos and videos. However, we are warned NOT to use flash while taking photos. Gwigi is eating, others are playing with and young ones swinging on trees. We have only 60 minutes with the gorillas. Sadly we have to walk back to our base, we are awarded our certificates, then we embark on our vehicle back to our lodge. Descending is less strenuous and takes less than an hour. We arrive at the camp, Lunch is ready, we have to relax and take a community walk in the evening.

About Kahungye Gorilla Group

According to our park guide, Kahungye Gorilla group is one of the recently habituated Gorilla groups in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. Habituation is the process by which primates are adapted to human beings or the process by which Gorillas are made familiar to man- this is done to ease trekking hence promoting Gorilla tourism in Uganda.

Kahungye Gorilla group has more than 13 members. The group was opened for tourism on October 2011 after habituation process and is one of the newest groups in the Park found in the Rushaga sector close to the Nshongi family and Mishaya gorilla group.

The group conflicts started after just one year leading to splitting, creating a new family that is called Busingye. The group is active and led by the dominant silverback Gwigi, which means “door” in the local language.

Lodges around Southern Bwindi National Park

As you plan to take a gorilla safari in Uganda, choosing the right accommodation is very important. This depends on your interests and budget. There are so many gorilla trekking lodges in Rushaga sector ranging from budget to deluxe and luxury eco lodges. Among these include Chameleon Hill Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla lodge, Nshongi Gorilla Resort, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Rushaga gorilla camp, not forgetting Wagtail Eco Camp where we stayed. There are also other accommodation options in nearby towns of Kisoro and Kabale. It can take about 90 minutes from these towns to the park headquarters. Therefore, you must start early at around 5:00am if you sleep in Kisoro or Kabale towns.

What you need to know when going on a gorilla trek in Uganda

First of all you need a gorilla permit that acts as permission for one to participate in this activity. The cost of gorilla trekking permits in Uganda varies depending on nationality and season. For instance, foreign non residents pay US$600 per permit, while Foreign East Africa residents pay US$475, and Ugandans pay UGX250000. In low seasons (April, May and November), there is a discount on gorilla permits where foreigners pay US$350 only. However, you need to contact your travel agent about availability of this promotion. Uganda gorilla trekking permits can be booked through credible travel agents like African Jungle Adventures Limited, African Adventures Safaris, Gorilla trek Africa, Gorilla Expeditions, Abacus vacations, Active African vacations, Prime Uganda safaris and Go Gorilla Trekking among others. You can also book direct through Uganda Wildlife Authority offices located on Plot 7 Kira Road, Kamwokya, P.O. BOX 3530, Kampala, Uganda, Telephone:+256 414 355000, +256 312 355000,
Fax: +256 414 346 291, Email: info@ugandawildlife.org.

About Uganda tourism:

Uganda is a country endowed with lots of tourist attractions stocked in National Parks like Mountain Elgon National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Kibale National Park, Mountain Rwenzori National Park, Murchison falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Semliki National Park and above all Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (the home of mountain Gorillas). *Drainage features include Lake Victoria, Lake Albert, Lake Kyoga, Lake Gorge & Edward among others.

Relief features like Mountain Elgon, Mountain Rwenzori, Kigezi Hills among others. Valleys like East African Rift valley (western arm), Victoria basin and so on.

Golden Monkeys in Uganda and Rwanda

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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.

golden-monkey-eatingThe 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.

Uganda is a Great Safari Destination Visit

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Uganda has a lot of unique places to visit, but none of them are like the Uganda Safari or even close to them. If you want to travel to a place full of wonder that has a lot of things that you’ve never seen before; then travel to Uganda and you will have a very unique trip.

On a Uganda safari you don’t have to worry about getting bored, you will be able to have a great time the whole time you’re inside of it. The safari is full of great wildlife, cultural visit and it has a lot of plants that you can’t see anywhere else. Going inside of the Uganda is a great way to experience something you’ve never experienced before. There is nothing like it in the world, and it’s something you can take a tour of and experience for yourself if you want to.

Close to an Adventure
When it comes to a safari like a Uganda Safari I will have to say that is probably the closest thing to an adventure in this world. Also I don’t have to mention that it would be so fun for someone like me from a small town to go on something like a Uganda Safari. You see I have really never been on an adventure such as a vacation and have wanted to do this one day. I almost have the means to make this adventure possible but, it will all depend on a couple of factors in the end. I cannot wait to see what the Uganda Safari will be like when I arrive. I once knew someone who went on a similar safari and they told me that they had so much fun that it was not even funny. All in all, I am so very close to an adventure which I have been looking for.

When you’re organizing your Uganda safari itinerary, do not forget to include the visit Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for a gorilla tour. This gorilla safari gives you an opportunity to penetrate deep into the thick jungle to track the most important, rare and endangered mountain gorillas in Bwindi Forest.

The Top Interesting Tourist Attractions and Activities in Uganda

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Uganda is a landlocked nation found in the Eastern part of Africa bordered by different countries in all directions like; Kenya in the east, South Sudan in the North, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the west, Rwanda in the southwest and Tanzania in the southern direction. Additionally, Uganda is well known for its rich wildlife life which attracts more thousands of international tourists every year. Before starting your Uganda safaris, you need to pass through the several wildlife parks and a vast land of different types of animals.

National Parks
On your safari in Uganda, you will unquestionably pass through different national parks. These national parks host different tourist attractions and activities like; gorilla trekking, chimps tracking, wildlife viewing, and many others. Uganda has 10 national parks and 13 wildlife reserves. Anyhow all national parks have no any similarity to each other too. So during your Uganda safari, you will enjoy with the most extreme clarity, since you know that Uganda is a landlocked with Kenya border. Therefore most of the wildlife relocates from the Kenya doorway because it is unavoidable for the tourists from seeing the sight of the Kenyan wildlife in Uganda floor. Since, the national parks in Uganda are well organized, so you can enjoy it to a full amount.

Among all national parks, Queen Elizabeth National Park is the most popular one in Uganda and other national parks include; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is famous for gorilla safaris, Kibale Forest National Park which is also well known for its 13 species of primate including the rare Chimpanzees, there is also Kidepo Valley National Park, Murchison Falls National, Semuliki National Park, Mount Elgon National Park and many others.

Game Viewing
When you are on the Uganda gorilla safaris, you will presumably realize it is the most interesting safari since it involves entering deep in the forest in search for rare and endangered mountain gorillas in their nature habitat. Gorilla watching activity in Uganda is done in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. In game watching, you will able to see and interact with different animals in Uganda national parks like; leopards, buffalos, antelopes, kobs, bushbabys, warthogs, elephants and many others animals. If you’re lucky enough, you will be able to see the tree climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Water Sports
As Uganda is strategically located in the African Great Lakes Region, so you can expect a lot of the water bodies there. So, you will find a plenty of water sports opportunities in Uganda. In these water bodies, you will choose type of water sports according to your interest. You can also enjoy white water rafting on River Nile, you can also do boat cruise on any lake in Uganda. Since, it is a life time experience; you can also explore the other water animals like crocodiles and hippos in the Great Lake Region.

Hiking
There are several mountains in Uganda where you can enjoy the hiking experience like Mount Elgon, Mountain Rwenzori, Mount Mgahinga, among others. Therefore, on your Uganda safari, do not forget to include mountain hiking experience; it is also an amazing experience.

Rippin through the Nile for adventurous tourism in Uganda

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The source of the Nile is one of the most spectacular white-water rafting destinations in the world attracts many tourists in Uganda! The source of River Nile is one of the major component in many Uganda safari packages.

White water rafting on the Nile is one adventure that needs the bravery of a lion, I was happy to be among the daredevils who have ticked white-water rafting off my bucket list.

An early morning drive from Kampala to Jinja, arranged by Adrift, took us to the camp base by River Nile. Close to 30 tourists, mainly from Australia, Turkey and India joined us.

white_water_raftingAs we happily took in the enchanting view of the scenic river, we had a healthy breakfast which aroused our appetite for the adventure.

Greg, an administrator with Adrift, said though no one has ever lost their life while rafting on the Nile, the risk could not be eliminated from the adventure. He implored us to abide by the safety precautions.

However, he was quick to drown our worries, assuring us that a team of over 10 professional rescuers would be on hand throughout the ride.

My team of five was led by Sadulu Khadir, a rafting coach. We were strapped with life jackets and kayak helmets. We had to leave our shoes, watches, phones and cameras behind to avoid damage or loss during the adventure. Armed with kayak paddles, we jumped into an inflatable raft, ready to beat the hell out of the rapids — or so we thought.

First, Khadir coached us on rowing techniques and sitting postures needed to contain both the polite and the ugly that would come our way. Then he ordered us to dive into the river to hone our survival skills.

For those of us who knew nothing about swimming, it was like Khadir was commanding us to commit suicide. I looked him in the eye, hoping he was joking. But he returned the hard stare, and showed no signs of relenting or engaging in any small talk.

Stuck between tough choices, I jumped into the river. Shockingly, it turned out to be the sweetest surprise of the morning, for the life jackets did what they do best.

Floating on my back in the blissfully cool water was great. It was the closest I had coming to swimming all my life. He then ‘rescued’ us and took us back into the raft. It was time to paddle towards the fun-filled hell that awaited us. We rowed, along with tones of support around us, including safety kayakers and a rescue boat nearby.

After a lot of paddling over a flat stretch of the river, we reached the mouth of the first rapid, dubbed grade three, the third most aggressive rapid. Its nerve wrecking roars left my chest thudding with terror and when the foaming waves came into view, the terror came alive.

Fortunately, Khadir was such a fantastic coach. He kept calm, making us feel that he was in control. Alas! No sooner had we struck the edge of the two feet deep rapid than the boat got hooked onto a flat rock. The gushing water flogged us angrily as it forced its way downstream.

To crash through the explosive rapid, towards the calmer stretch downstream, it took team work to bounce the raft back and forth before it was dislodged. It was too soon to celebrate, for a few meters ahead was a much more terrifying challenge — a grade five rapid. The closer we got, the more it looked like a starving lion ready to rip us apart.

It exploded powerfully, flipping our raft upside down. Only three of us escaped being buried under the raft, in the choppy waters. I was vertically flashed onto the rocky edge, where I hit my head. But thanks to the helmet, my skull was protected.

Nonetheless, I could not whine because I knew my suffering was nothing compared to what the folks under the boat were going through. After seconds of waiting for them to swim out in vain, a wave of panic ran through me.

It was a relief when Khadir jumped onto one of the corners of the boat and grabbed a rope to flip it back into position. It was then that the buried folks popped out their heads, struggling to catch their breaths.

Flustered, we finally hauled ourselves back into the boat, with the help of the day’s hero — Khadir.

Once inside, the fright changed to incredulous happiness. “That was close!” Excitement bubbled inside everyone. The water was calm for a while, giving a chance for the fright to ebb slowly while we enjoyed the view of floating plants, the small forested islands and the various birds.

In between them were small rapids which were a piece of cake to manoeuvre, the type of cake you can stuff in your mouth and swallow without chewing. With the sun becoming hotter by the hour and our earlier fears long extinguished, we felt free to dive into the water for leisurely cooling dips.

Mother of rapids

But there was one more giant to overcome. We still had to face the most inviting but deadliest rapid — the grade six rapid. But we had to dodge the worst part of it, so we paddled to the left bank and got off.

We then walked for five minutes on land as Khadir tactfully steered the empty boat on a calmer side to the nearest safe point, where we jumped aboard. We then dared the safer part of this rapid with towering waves, but thankfully, did not flip.

We paddled to the finish point at the foot of Adrift’s second camp base. I could not help but wish I had gone for the full-day rafting as it entails thundering through eight rapids, unlike the half-day which has only four rapids. I also wished I had some champagne to toast to the sweet victory we claimed. These activities can be conducted either before or after your wildlife safari or mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park in Uganda.