Spend a full day with Chimpanzees in African Jungle

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Tourists can spend the entire day with the 1,500 chimpanzees and 12 different species of primates there. The Chex (Chimpanzee Habituation Experience) package includes seeing chimpanzees that are in the process of being acquainted with the vicinity of people.
As per sources from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the habituation process takes about two years. As tourism switches attractions, one can now be part of that process for one important day in the forest. Chances of seeing chimpanzees in the later past, stood at 20%, yet it has shot to 90% because of the habituation process.

Destined there?
An early breakfast and packed lunch might as well set you off for the chimpanzee tracking that start before day break softens up the forest. A park guide takes you on the strolls and can even shows to you where a chimpanzee built a night the prior night. The park guides identify the chimpanzee family to be gone by for the rest of the day.
If you have a Polaroid, you will be encouraged to keep the flash off when shooting. The treat is a charming experience. Prepare however for the rough and tough as you need to stalk them fast enough to keep them in sight. Chimps live in family of 10 to 100 members. They babysit one another’s young, kiss, groom each other and even hold hands. The young chimps come to be independent at the age of four.

Nonetheless, they could be aggressive and unsociable, if exasperates. Despite the fact that they spend some time on the ground, they feed sustain and do make their sleeping nests up in the trees. Their diet contains leaves, seeds, fruits and flowers. Each one of them has a physical identity. They too have scars obtained from their battles fought in life.

The forest usually transforms into a show of loud gasp hoots in the morning and the mood dims when they are nesting at night. Their dramatic days end with them climbing into their homes for the night. The Chex packages likewise permits tourists to go with researchers and habituation team to interact with the chimpanzees throughout their every day activities. Tourists may come across the chimps de-settling (in their nocturnal nests) between 5:30am and 6:30am until they make new nests for the night, around 7:00pm.

The perfect time to go for CHEX
The habituation experience is best in the months of March, April, May and November, when there is less sightseer congestion. In a small group (a ranger plus a maximum of four people), you get much closer to the chimps than throughout chimp tracking in bigger groups. The experience costs $220 (sh572,000) for foreign non-residents, $150 (sh390,000) for foreign residents and $70 (sh182,000) for East Africans.

Gorilla Habituation Experience in Uganda

In Uganda, there is a new tourism activity known as as Gorilla habituation. Currently, there are 3 gorilla families available for habituation experience in the southern sector known as Rushaga, and a maximum of 4 persons allowed on each gorilla group per day. In this case, you can book a 7 day gorilla safari package and do chimpanzee tracking and habituation experience in Kibale Forest, mountain gorilla tracking and habituation experience in southern Bwindi National park, its really a life time experience deep into the true African wilderness.

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.

Most Endangered Animals in Africa

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Africa has a variety of amazing wildlife and some of which can not be found anywhere else in the world. Tragically human ravenousness is driving some species of animals in this large species to the edge of extinction. We can even now see some endangered and critically endangered species when you travel to Africa.

Several African Governments where these endangered and critically endangered species of animals live are finding a way to save them and their habitat.

Take a look at most endangered animals in Africa as of 2015, as indicated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Riverine Rabbit
riverine-rabbitRiverine Rabbits are the most endangered species in Africa and are found in parts of South Africa and it is believed that there are only 250 animals remaining in the world today. Hating, accidental deaths and habitat loss are the main threats.

Northern White Rhino (critically endangered since 1996)
Numerous wildlife specialists believe that this subspecies of white rhinoceros will get to be wiped out before the end of the next decade. Just five northern white rhinos are alive today. The northern white rhino formerly found over parts of northwestern Uganda, northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Lake Chad, southern South Sudan and eastern part of Central African Republic.

Mountain Gorillas
Mountain gorillas are smallest population of subspecies of the eastern gorilla—is part in two and different people have debated about whether they might be two separate subspecies. More than half live in the Virunga Mountains, a range of extinct volcanoes that fringe the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. The rest is found in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. Currently there are around 880 mountain gorillas in the wild. Hunting, habitat loss and human diseases have pushed these animals towards the edge of extinction and it so extreme that it was once thought the species may be terminated before the end of the twentieth century.

Black Rhinos
The black rhinoceros is a species of rhinoceros, found in the eastern and southern countries Africa including Kenya, Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. Although the rhinoceros is referred to as black, its colors vary from brown to grey.

There are over 4,900 black rhinos in the world today. In Africa, Poaching and habitat loss are threatening their very existence.

Ethiopian Wolf
This elegant, long-legged wolf is only found in the mountains of Ethiopia, today you won’t find more than 500 of these animals. Rabies, loss of their habitat, shooting, road killings and climate warming are pushing these animals to the edge of extinction.

If these creatures get to be terminated, it will be an irretrievable loss to the whole world and a disgrace on humankind. If you find any suspicious activity, which you think might hurt these magnificent creatures it will be wise to report to the authorities.

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

What do Gorillas Eat?

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Items eaten by Gorillas

Gorillas are herbivores – they do not eat meat though some people thing they can eat small animals but this is not true. Gorillas spend most of their day time feeding on vegetation – The type of foods that they will mainly consume really depends in the region in which the gorillas live.

Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National park Rwanda
Mountain Gorillas feeding – Volcanoes National park Rwanda

The following are some of the items on which Gorillas feed

In times of scarcity, gorillas can eat insects like white ants and termites – being intelligent; gorillas are capable of using tools like sticks to scoop termites from the ant hills or the ground.

Gorillas feed on fruits like passion fruits, jack fruits, mangoes, oranges among others. Such fruits contain vitamins which do well in the bodies of Gorillas.

They also feed on plant leaves – green leaves contain chlorophyll which promotes anti bodies hence fighting diseases. Green leaves contain food values that fight against diseases.

Gorillas feed on food stuffs like bananas, cassava, sweet potatoes among others. Such food stuffs are eaten raw – they are nutritious. The gorillas have sharp teeth that splits food into pieces – then swallowed after serious chewing.

Gorillas also feed on flowers – some flowers contain sugar content that attract gorillas chew them. Flowers contain nectar juice containing food values that attract Gorillas to spend time chewing them.

Gorillas also feed on Carrots and other sorted food like water melon, raw cassava among others. Sorted food is applied to Gorillas in the Zoo – in other words, Gorillas under control – not in natural environment.

Water helps them quench their thirsty – Gorillas drink water from lakes, rivers, water falls, pond among others – like human beings, Gorillas consume a lot of water in dry season than in wet season.

Gorillas eat stems of plants – the back skin from plants, feed by Gorillas.

The apes also feed on nuts – by the use of sticks to scoop them from the ground and they are more interested in Ground nuts and some other stems.

Gorillas also feed on twigs and shoots of plans – swigs are your tree branches and shoots are the young plant leaves which are have just come out.

A Beginner’s Guide: Traveling to Africa

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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.guide-to-africa

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

Gentle Giants – Mountain Gorillas in Africa

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.

Travel Insurance

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. budget-airlines-africaParking4Less, 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.

Wildebeests Migration-Tanzania
Wildebeests Migration-Tanzania

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.

Aerial View - Victoria Falls, Zambia
Aerial View – Victoria Falls, Zambia

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.

3 Day Rwanda Safari Review – Gorilla Tracking

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With my husband, our dream was to take a Rwanda safari and see the mountain gorillas in the wild jungles of Africa in Volcanoes National Park! We had several trips into the dark continent in countries like South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Egypt and Kenya. This year, we had our summer holiday in Tanzania. While in Arusha, my wife brought the idea of visiting the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. Though we did had not booked gorilla permits in advance, we inquired different tour companies in Kigali including Rwanda development Board and we were so lucky that, Gorilla Expeditions ltd had gorilla permits on re-sell.

A Juvenile in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
A Juvenile in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

They had received cancellations and therefore, we had to buy those 2 permits. We therefore had a 3 day Rwanda safari to see gorillas and golden monkeys in Parc National Des Volcans. We booked a flight from Kilimanjaro to Kigali by Rwanda Air (www.rwandair.com). We arrived in Kigali by 17:00 hrs. The Staff of Gorilla expeditions was already waiting for us at the airport, we immediately transferred to Volcanoes national park and stayed at Muhabura hotel.

Rwanda Air - Kigali International Airport
Rwanda Air – Kigali International Airport

The next day we got up early, had heavy breakfast at Hotel Muhabura in Ruhengeri, then we drove for about 20 minutes to the park headquarters at Kinigi. Here we found very many tourists from different countries, we interacted with them with free tea and coffee served at the headquarters. We were divided into groups of 8 persons maximum and allocated to different gorilla groups.

For us we were allocated to Hirwa gorilla group, we were briefed about this gorilla group and the trek in general. Later on we boarded our safari vehicle to the trekking start point. We are accompanied by park guides and rangers with guns just in case of any animals that may want to attack us such as forest elephants.Gorilla-filming

It took us about 3 hours to meet Hirwa gorilla group, we were given one hour to stay with gorillas, we took photos and videos. This was highlight of our safari in East Africa. We wanted to do another gorilla trek the next day but there were not gorilla permits available. We decided to return next year and this time we shall combine Uganda and Rwanda. In the evening, we took a community walk through Musanze town and we found out that the Rwanda people are so friendly, lovely and hospitable. Dinner and overnight stay at Hotel Muhabura.

On day 3, our departure flight was scheduled at 18:05hrs, we had ample time to go for golden monkey tracking, we came back early by mid day, we had lunch in Ruhengeri and later drove fro 90 minutes to Kigali, we visit Gisozi genocide memorial museum, later we transferred to Kigali International airport for our scheduled departure flight. This marks the end of our Gorilla safari in Rwanda.

Gentle Giants in their Natural Habitat
Gentle Giants in their Natural Habitat

Some advise to everyone visiting East Africa for wildlife and beach holidays, never miss gorilla tracking activity in either Uganda or Rwanda. It’s such amazing experience to interact with the mountain gorillas in the wild. The experience is totally different from that of Zoo. Just an hour with the gorillas offers lifetime memories. However, you are advised to book your gorilla permits in advance because their demand is very high in both countries. Visit rwandasafarigorilla.com for details and more safari packages.

Many stray animals returned to Akagera Park-Rwanda

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The installation of electronic fence around Akagera National Park has helped to control animals from escaping.

According to local leaders and Rwanda Development Board, the animals which had initially been left out of the fence have been menacing villages. According to nearby residents, the animals have been threats to the people. A few days ago a stray buffalo killed a peasant on his way to routine farming activities.

The Akagera Management Company Started an operation to send back the escaped animals inside in order to protect people’s crops.

“We sent back 20 buffaloes on Tuesday, totaling to 358 so far…inevitably, hundreds of animals remained behind the fence. There are several Zebras and other small animals that we will continue to push back to the park,” said Mutanga.

He went ahead to warn residents to be careful, while moving along the borders of the park, until all animals are pushed inside the park fence. “The operation may go as far as next year…this is when we can declare the whole stretch along the park safe. Until then, people should be careful and alert authorities whenever they see the animals moving out side the park.”

Leonard Karinganire, a resident of the area, however complained that the operation to rid the population of the animals was too slow.

Akagera national Park hosts a variety of animals and most likely by many tourists. Morning and afternoon game drives are done along side other activities. This wildlife national park protects the largest stock of animals in Rwanda.

You can extend your stay in Rwanda to Volcanoes national park for a 2 days gorilla tour that offers an adventure experience for life time. For details about Rwanda gorilla tours and safaris click here.

Amazing Gorilla experience in Africa

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For several times I have been reading about Africa and quite five years I have been reading about Africa and my emphasis has been on countries like South Africa, Zambia, Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya and my interest on these countries I have been for whole along planning to go and see the big cats and other wildlife, but later on read about the wild beet migration between Kenya (Masai Mara national park) and Tanzania (Serengeti National Park) and started to save my money before I contact any travel company in these countries to arrange for such amazing expedition in East and Southern Africa.

gorilla-trekkingThen as I went on researching about travelling to Africa, I came across Rwanda and Uganda and the first thing to know on these 2 countries is the mountain gorillas that can not be found anywhere else in Africa apart from Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rwanda is much known for the mountain gorilla safaris in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, and the 3 day gorilla safari Rwanda package is the top selling to most tour operators, because it offers extra opportunities to track the rare golden monkeys or climb mount Bisoke and visit Gisozi genocide memorial museum in Kigali. the country is famously known as the land of thousand hills which attracts very many international tourists to Rwanda.

Uganda on the other hand is much known for inhabiting half of the remaining world population of the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, water falls, big game viewing includes cats and the Big five African Animals, sightseeing and then the amazing culture of the several regions, but nothing is much interesting than the Batwa culture who were once forest dwellers in the Virunga.

When my sister who was volunteering with Peace Corps in Uganda and Rwanda returned back home I had to much interact with her consulting her about Rwanda and Uganda, and she told about these countries and by the time she left for other African country Tanzania for her work she had already inspired me to travel to Africa and that is Uganda and Rwanda.

With my first visit to Africa, I traveled to Tanzania to visit my sister and I spent 3 month in Tanzania where I visited parks like Serengeti National Park, Olduvai Gorge, Ngorongoro Conservation Area that is regarded to be the world’s 8th wonder, Tarangire National Park and Zanzibar. From here then I started with her to plan our gorilla safari in Rwanda and Uganda, and on my search who would arrange the best safari I met African Jungle Adventures online and started to arrange a 10 day safari package combining Uganda and Rwanda, and it was based on Mid-range lodges / deluxe lodges and comfortable 4×4 safari jeep. Then in the due process Steve sent us a detailed tour itinerary / travel program and quotation and it was finally fitting in our budget and we went ahead to confirm the safari and Steve advised us to pay first only money for gorilla permits and then pay cash upon arrival, and this built trust between us and the this service provider and therefore for genuine service I highly recommend everyone to travel with this company. They have their main offices in Kampala (Uganda Capital) and a sales office in Kigali, the Capital city of Rwanda.

Then upon our arrival at Kanombe International Airport, we meet our guide Emma and then transferred us to Chez Lando Hotel in Kigali where we had our overnight stay, and then the following day we went to Volcanoes National park Rwanda, a home to mountain gorillas in Africa. The park is located about 2 hours drive from Kigali city. At first we visited Gisozi genocide memorial museum in Kigali, lunch at Kanakazana, later we hit the road north words to Parc National Des Volcans. Apart from gorilla trekking, another specific interest we had was to visit the Dian Fossey Center at Karisoke, once a great primatologist who advocated for the survival of the mountain gorillas in the mist. Much of her work can be seen in the movie known as “Gorillas in the Mist”. Dian Fossey spend here close to 20 years studying and habituating the mountain gorillas. However, she was murdered by poachers in 1985. She is always remembered and her grave site is visited by many tourists from different parts of the world. We also had to track the rare golden monkeys, also found in this park.

Then, after being filled with such experience, we crossed to Uganda through Cyanika boarder to southern Bwindi National Park. This park today inhabits 14 habituated gorilla families available for tourism purposes. We arrived and checked in Lake Mutanda Resort with a fantastic view of the lake, after which we took a fantastic boat ride to some islands on this lake. The following day, we spent the whole day with the Batwa once forest dwellers participating in their cultural performances and then evening we relaxed at the shores of this volcanic Lake.

The next day, we went for the amazing gorilla trekking experience on the Uganda side, we would do this in Rwanda but gorilla trekking in Rwanda a permit cost $ 750 dollars compared to Uganda where the permit cost $ 600 dollars for foreign non residents and it is much interesting that after this experience, you are awarded gorilla certificate for surviving the trek. It also acts as a souvenir! We tracked Nkuringo gorilla group, very amazing experience but you must be physically fit to make it. You are also advised to hire a porter for only US$15. Hiring a porter is direct creation of employment opportunities and a big support to the conservation of mountain gorillas because, some porters were once poachers.

From Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, we connected to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The southern sector of this park is so amazing with tree climbing lions. Though I had seen them in Tanzania, It was great exciting to see them again in Ishasha sector of this park in Uganda. Here we also so other animals and we had a fantastic boat cruise a long the Kazinga Channel that connects Lake Edward and George. Bird life is prolific with over 600 species, mammals like Elephants and buffaloes seen drinking water in the shores, marine wildlife like Nile crocodiles and Hippos also seen basking along the shores. Here we stayed at Mweya safari lodge. Our trip ended with Chimpanzee habituation experience in Kibale National park and white water rafting and Bungee jumping in Jinja.

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.