Thursday, September 17, 2015

Kalinzu Forest Reserve–A Natural Forest beaming with Chimps, Primates, butterflies, rear birds, etc

Essentially an eastern extension of the Maramagambo Forest, the 137km² Kalinzu Forest Reserve is traversed by a number of scenic trails along the ridges and valleys of the Rift Valley Escarpment, offering views of the Rwenzoris, Lake Edward and the Kazinga Channel. kalinzu forest chimpanzee
The Forest is famous for 414 Species of Trees and Shrubs including the Ficus, Prunus Africana, the Stroboia, and Parinari among others.
In addition to an alluring variety of forest birds, Kalinzu protects six diurnal primate species: chimpanzees, olive baboon, black and white Colobus and red-tailed, blue and L’Hoest monkey, as well as the rare pygmy antelope. Nocturnal primates such as potto, and two varieties of galago can be sought on night walks, when you are also likely to hear the eerie shrieking of the tree hyrax.
The 2001 Primate Census put the total number of Chimpanzees in the Reserve at approximately 240. However, only two Groups of about 70 can be accessed by both Researchers and Tourists.
The Forest also harbours 378 Species of Birds such as the Great Blue Turaco, Black and White Casket, Cuckoos and Sunbirds.
Other varieties of Species include 262 Butterflies, 97 Moths, Reptiles and Flowers.
Because of its proximity to the Queen Elizabeth National Park, the Forest Reserve occasionally provides refuge to Savannah Grassland Species such as the Duikers, Leopards and Wild Pigs.
Tourist Activities in Kalinzu Forest
Tourist activities in the Reserve include
· Chimps tracking allowing 4 visitors per day at US Dollars 50 per person..
· Forest Walks,
· Conservation Education,
· Birding,
· Butterfly Identification,
· and small Mammal viewing.
How to Get to Kalinzu
Kalinzu Forest Reserve is located in Bushenyi District in western Uganda. It is approximately 375 km. (six hours drive) from the Capital City of Kampala. Because of the Albertine Terrain with old logging and winding roads, a four – wheel drive vehicle is recommended.
Accommodation while at Kalinzu
Accommodation in the Reserve is still informal with only a do-it- yourself Camping Site at the Forest Station at Nkombe. Visitors are advised to carry their own Tents. Visitors can also seek modest accommodation in Bushenyi/Ishaka Townships.
For Reservations, please contact the Range Manager on Tel: 256-41-0772 458389

Related posts

Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzees and the River of the Bl...

 Why You Must Visit Bigodi Wetland, Kibale and Fort... 

What to expect from a safari to Kibale National Pa... 

Kalinzu Forest Reserve–A Natural Forest beaming with Chimps, Primates, butterflies, rear birds, etc

Special Tours to See chimpanzees, Gorillas and other Primates

3 Days Chimps Tracking tour in Kibale National Park

Rwanda chimpanzees tour- 4 days

5 Days Gorilla Tracking and Chimps Tour in Uganda

5 Days Gorilla Tracking and Chimps Tour in Rwanda

Gorillas, chimpanzee, wildlife - 7 days

12 Days Primates (chimps, gorillas, monkeys) tour in Uganda

9 days Primates and Wildlife tour in Uganda

1 Day Ngamba Island Chimps tour

Tours to Kalinzu
Contact us if you would like us to include Kalinzu Forest on your tour program, or if you would like any more information about visiting Kalinzu Forest Reserve.
Tours to nearby places
3 days Queen Elizabeth National Park Tour
5 days: Uganda Kibale Forest and Queen Elizabeth N.Park safari with Chimpanzee tracking, primate walks, and Game drives.
Accommodation and Lodging near Kalinzu Forest Reserve
Kyambura Game Lodge
Kyambura Game Lodge Queen Elizabeth National Park
This eco-lodge is perched above the Kyambura Gorge at the edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.
Learn more >>

Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge
Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge
Located close to as well the chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge as to the prime game viewing areas in the park, it forms an excellent base for your exploration
Learn more >>

Mweya Safari Lodge
Beautifull Photo of Mweya Safari Lodge Uganda
One of the most beautifully situated lodges in Uganda, facing the bank of Kazinga Channel which routinely attracts large herds of buffalo, elephant, and incredible views of the "Mountains of the Moon" - the Rwenzoris. Learn more >>

Jacana Lodge
Beautifull Photo of Jacana Lodge Uganda
in the center of Queen Elizabeth National Park, a fifteen minute drive from the main road, but the scenery is nice. The lodge is on a beautiful lake in the forest. Many monkeys, some hippo-sounds at night. Learn more >>

Katara Lodge
Katara Lodge Queen Elizabeth National Park
Katara lodge is a little way out of Queen Elizabeth National Park and in a small village but with fabulous views from the lodge (about 30mins from the main game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park). Learn more >>

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Uganda Wildlife Authority opens up road to King Rwenzururu's burial site

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has embarked on a programme to open a road that leads to the first king of the Rwenzururu Kingdom in the Rwenzori Mountains.
Late Isaya Mukirania Kyibanzanga I, who led the Bakonzo and the Bamba in a rebellion in 1961 against Toro Kingdom died in 1966. He was buried at the peak of the hill- Bulemba in the steep mountains of Rwenzori in Ihandiro sub - county in Kasese District.

"We are working with the local communities to construct a road so that tourists can reach Bulemba and see where the first king of the Bakonzo was buried," Frederick Kiiza, the Rwenzori Mountains National Park chief warden, said.
UWA has so far constructed a modern hut at Bulemba,  about 500m below the Isaya Mukirania Kyibanzanga's grave and a rest camp along the foot path to the tomb.

The Ihandiro sub - county chairperson, Fenhansi Baluku, confirmed that UWA had already released some money for clearing the bush that had grown on the Murushenga-Kibigha road that leads to Bulemba.

Murushenga-Kibigha road was first made between 1959 and 1960 by the Canadians who owned Kirembe Copper mines to extend the mining to Kigombya in the mountains.
Baluku told a gathering who trekked to Bulemba, 30 km from Bwera town in Bukonzo West, that clearing of the bush had already started to pave way for re - excavating the road.

Officiating at the celebrations that were held under the theme, "Exploring and Sustaining tourism potential in the Rwenzori Mountains," the speaker of the Rwenzururu Kingdom, Enock Muhindo called on the youth to respond positively to what had led the Bakonzo and Bamba to wage rebellion.
He reminded the Rwenzururu subjects that after the demise of Kyibanzanga I, his first born son, Charles Wesley Mumbere Iremangoma, took over the kingdom and on August 15, 1981 declared the end of the war of violence.

Muhindo also advised the Rwenzururu youth to cooperate with fellow youth in Toro Kingdom.

"We must work together to bring peace in the Rwenzori region and live in harmony with other cultural institutions because we cannot develop in isolation, "he stressed.  An American tourist , Lauren Burton, one of those who trekked to Bulemba to attend the celebrations, said: "I have enjoyed being here.  The Rwenzori Mountains are beautiful from every corner. "

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Bwindi Habituates 2 more gorilla families for Tourism

Two new groups of mountain gorillas are being habituated for tourism and research in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

The groups, named Bushaho and Bikingi, are named for their home ranges and contain some individuals from previously habituated groups. Both groups are led by former Nkuringo group silverbacks, Bahati and Bikingi.

There are 8 babies between these two groups (6 in Bikingi and 2 in Bushaho)! The groups are being habituated for tourism, yes.

Habituation allows veterinarians to visit the groups regularly and closely monitor them for any sign of illness or injury - and intervene to save a life when it is necessary. It also allows the rangers to monitor the group on a daily basis - and for instance, report a gorilla who has become caught in a poacher's snare so that veterinarians can intervene and administer the necessary treatment immediately.

When combined with the estimated 480 gorillas inhabiting the Virunga Volcanoes to the south (the only other location where mountain gorillas exist) , the world’s population of mountain gorilla now stands at 880. The mountain gorillas of Bwindi and the Virungas are the only gorilla populations known to be increasing; all other populations are thought to be in decline due to hunting and habitat loss.

The rise in mountain gorilla populations also indicates the success of a continued collaboration between the Uganda Wildlife Authority with the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB); the Virunga Mountains lie on the borders of three countries, requiring the participation of agencies from Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda for effective monitoring and enforcement. Bwindi, however, is located in Uganda, but in the spirit of regional collaboration, the ICCN and RDB sent support teams for the 2011 Bwindi census effort.

Although far fewer in number than their western relatives, mountain gorillas have had a profound effect on both the public and the naturalists who have encountered them. While collecting specimens in Africa for the American Museum of Natural History in the early 20th Century, U.S. explorer Carl Akeley became concerned about the future of the mountain gorilla, helping to establish Africa’s first national park—now Virunga National Park—in 1925 to protect the gorillas.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

New Mountain Gorillas Census set for September 2015

A new census for Mountain Gorillas is set for September 2015 in the Great Virunga Massif is set for September, 2015, the Greater Virunga Trans boundary Collaboration- GVTC has said.
The massif includes Uganda's Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park, Virunga National Park in DR Congo and the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

The last mountain gorillas census was conducted in September 2011 and its results indicated a 3.2% increase in gorilla population (to a total of about 880 in the wild) in the Greater Virunga the previous ones  having been conducted in 2006, 2002 and 1997. All other censuses before have taken place in a duration spacing of five years apart.

This census is aimed at estimating the current gorilla numbers of Uganda’s BINP, document information on illegal activities, the gorillas distribution and compile information on other mammals in the ecosystem.

The organizations involved in the planning and eventual implementation of the activity include Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Greater Virunga Trans boundary Collaborative Secretariat (GTVCS), the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature, the Rwanda Development Board, local governments and the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Conservation Through Public Health, the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund – International and us, the Institute for Tropical Forest Conservation.

James Byamukama, the Programme Manager at GVTC says the exercise, which should have started earlier, was delayed by the insecurity in DR Congo.  He however adds that they are set to conduct the census in September starting in Virunga National Park.
Byamukama says with the census, the collaboration will be able to plan for future conservation efforts and the emerging trends of threats to gorilla population. Periodic censuses of endangered populations of high-profile species including gorillas help conservationists to understand their population dynamics assess the success of conservation programmes aimed at ensuring their survival

Blogger Tags:
, and to ensure that they receive continued attention from the global conservation community.

The method of use in this census will be the sweep method as well as fecal samples collected for generic analysis.  In the sweep method, teams traverse each marked sector of the park in a zigzag manner. They look for fresh gorilla trails till their nests are found and counted.  The estimates are made based on nests encountered in the due course of the census. The estimates are made based on nests encountered in the due course of the census. In great apes mammals, research has proven that the sweeping has been the most efficient method to date unlike the transect,experts assert.
In a preparatory census meeting of the stakeholders recently in Kabale, UWA’s Senior Monitoring and Research co-coordinator, Mr. Aggrey Rwesiba stated how important this exercise is to Uganda Wildlife Authority. He noted that the census provided vital information for establishing best management strategies that could be applied at both local and global scales to conserve the mountain Gorilla population. He accordingly  stressed that the census was an important index for the different stakeholders on the effectiveness of their work towards conserving the mountain gorillas.

Unlike other censuses done before in Bwindi, generic analysis where the fecal samples will be analyzed to minimize error and ascertain more accurate figures of the gorillas. It is estimated that a distance of not less than 600km will be covered by various teams to be involved in the census around the entire. Many staff from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has already committed themselves to be part of this historical event of counting gorillas and preparation are in a high notch. The vegetation and terrain of Bwindi forest make it uniquely different from that Virungas. This makes the census more challenging as well as exciting, something to look forward to. 
The Conservation Area Manager of Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Area, Mr. Pontius Ezuma has committed resources such as standby vehicles for the field teams and security all through the census exercise. In his own admission, he expects a rigorous time ahead thus the need to adequately prepare since the exercise has to be accommodated with many routine activities in park.
In the census carried out in Bwindi population in was carried out in 2002,  results showed that the population had increased since the previous census in 1997 by approximately 7%, to 320 individuals according to McNeilage and others 2006 while the Virunga population currently numbers around 380 gorillas . Another census of the Bwindi gorilla population was carried out between April and June 2006 to determine the population's total size and structure, its distribution across Bwindi, and the potential impact of human disturbance on the population.
The results at the time showed show that the 5 habituated groups in Bwindi contained a total of 76 individuals at the time of the census. In addition to these, 25 unhabituated groups were found, containing 227 individuals along with 11 lone silverback males, giving a total uncorrected population count of 314 individuals.

Though gorillas have few natural predators, they are endangered due to the loss of habitat and forest clearing. They also fall victim to hunting for the wildlife trade, and through accidental snaring by poachers who are targeting antelopes for meat. Diseases that affect humans also pose a threat to apes and can spread quickly in such small populations.

Friday, July 24, 2015

British Airways suspends Heathrow–Entebbe route flights

British Airways (BA) final flights to and from Entebbe airport to London Heathrow will be on October 2 and October 3, 2015 respectively as the company suspends all its services.

BA says after a review of its flight schedules, Heathrow-Entebbe route was not considered commercially viable.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Comparing Gorilla Trekking Tours In 2015 : Uganda Vs Rwanda – Compare prices, tracking experience, hardness,etc

Comparison of 2015 Gorilla Tracking in Uganda and Uganda – Which is the best place to do a gorilla trek – Uganda or Rwanda? Which is more viable or cheaper: Bwindi or Volcanoes National Park, Which is more easy to access, Is tracking Rwanda better than Uganda?
rwanda mountain gorillasCall it gorilla trekking or tracking or whatever, but it’s one of those really thrilling, lifetime experiences you should take time for before you leave planet earth. 
The exhilaration attached to the first setting eyes on a wild mountain gorilla is difficult to describe. Yet in the same sense, that magical one hour spent with the gorillas does not come cheaply considering that a permit goes for US$750 in Rwanda and $600 in Uganda – but it is unusual to find someone who regretted the financial outlay.
Mountain gorillas live in families similar to those of humans. Although the current mountain gorilla population is about 840, gorilla tracking can only be done on the habituated mountain gorilla families. 10 of the habituated families live in Rwanda’s Volcanoes NP, another 1 on in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable NP, 1 in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and 1 in D.R.Congo’s Virunga NP.
A maximum of 8 persons can visit a given gorilla family per day.
All else being equal, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park has a slight edge over the rest because its gorillas are the most wholly habituated, and they are often found in bamboo than the dense forest which makes photographing easier.

The major challenge with tracking gorillas in Rwanda is certainly the price of the gorilla permit at US$750 compared to Uganda’s US$600 per permit. However, Rwanda’s pride is in the ability for one to do the gorilla trek even in one day and fly back home which is impossible for Uganda. Volcanoes National Park is located 116 km from Kigali and can be driven in just 2 hours. On the other hand, Bwindi is located 500 km from Kampala/ Entebbe Airport and a drive can take 8 hours plus. In that sense, you will spend at least 3 days for your gorilla trek tour – one travelling to Bwindi, another doing the gorilla trek, and the other driving back to Kampala/Entebbe. If a tour operator is making you a tour package, they shall definitely have to consider this cost and include it in your tour cost.
With the on coming of daily scheduled flights to Bwindi, operators now can have 3 days flying packages to  Bwindi.
In real practice though, the one-day gorilla trek tour is not recommended because of the pressure it exerts on the trekker. For those limited on time, we would suggest the 2-days gorillas package.
However, the long drive to Bwindi is quite enchanting with great sceneries all through like the Equator, Lake Mburo National Park ( for some Queen Elizabeth National Park with abundant wildlife), terraced mountains with flowing rivers, and a lot of rural Africa. This is not so really the case for the drive from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park.
You will certainly need spend more on transport and time to track the mountain gorillas in Uganda than it’s for Rwanda although this cost is compensated for by a cheaper gorilla permit.
Besides, some sections of the roads to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are not so comfortable to drive on yet in the case of Rwanda, you drive on smooth tarmac at least up to the Volcanoes National Park head office. Not to mention though, the roads leading from Volcanoes park office to the gorilla trek trail-heads can only be accessed with a raised 4x4 vehicle.
Comparison of The Gorilla Trekking ExperienceA tree climbing lion perched in a fig in Queen Elizabeth Natonal Park along the way to Bwindi
Rwanda-SACOLA-traditional-dancers-perfom-before-gorilla-trackingIn general, the experience can only be different due to the way a particular gorilla family behaves in front of the trackers, how long and tough one has to track before reaching the gorillas and the way the park staff conduct the exercise. Personally, I found the Rwanda gorilla tracking package more charming that the Ugandan one on the tracking day. Should we say that this’ because of the gorilla permit price difference? Anyways, on your gorilla tracking day in Rwanda, you will definitely get more than that. At about 7:00 AM, tea/ coffee dispensers with cups are laid for visitors going for the trek. You are free to take as much as you wish. As visitors are enjoying the tea/ coffee, they are entertained by the lively traditional dance troupe (SACOLA Traditional Dancers) who bring on a wholesome Rwanda traditional cultural experience all visitors enjoy.

Of course you can get this in Uganda in evenings (at a fee) from the various traditional cultural groups that are near the park. However, the drive from Kampala to Bwindi is a very fabulous one traversing at least another national park (either Kibale or Queen Elizabeth National Park famous for tree climbing lions and many other big mammals, or Lake Mburo National Park) and not to miss- the Equator. In a way, even before you arrive Bwindi you have had a bit of the ‘Pearl of Africa’ as is fondly known. To many, driving along paved eucalyptus avenues to the gorillas in not the best deal. Indeed many to purchase tour packages combining both Rwanda and Uganda, first doing Gorillas in Rwanda and then crossing to Uganda to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park for the BIG 5 safaris and chimpanzee tracking among other tours.
Lets compare the tour costs in general.
Because of the long drive one endures from Kampala to Bwindi, the general cost is increased (even when you travel by public buses). It even increases more because you have to travel 2 days (to and from Bwindi). However, the increased cost is countered by the low cost gorilla permit of US$600 ($350 in April and May, November 2015). A low budget 3 days gorilla trek tour in Uganda goes for about $1250 (with gorilla permit, accommodation, and transport). The two days Rwanda gorilla trek costs about $1220 ( with gorilla permit, accommodation, and transport) and a three days Rwanda gorilla tracking tour costs is about $1280 (with gorilla permit, accommodation, and transport) . Costs samples got from Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris website effective Jan 2015.
Other things in addition to the actual gorilla tracking
Lastly, if you are not travelling just to see the mountain gorilla, and you want to include other activities in your visit, Rwanda may not be the best choice. Many tourists have continually had to cross to Uganda after their Rwanda gorilla trek to tour other reserves like Queen Elizabeth National Parks so endowed with abundant wildlife one cannot see in Rwanda. This is why probably folks continue enduring the long drives to Bwindi yet there is an easy way out.
At the end of the day – the ultimate jury are those who are looking as to which country to visit in order to track Gorillas – it is not Rwanda, not Uganda, not the Democratic Republic of Congo but where their pockets and hearts choose. If you precisely want the mountain gorillas and nothing else, go for a one-day gorilla trek but if you are a one who wants it and all of it, go for the long drive – you won’t regret…

Have you been on a gorilla trek in Rwanda or Uganda? What was your experience? What have you had about tracking gorillas in Rwanda Vs Uganda? Let me hear you views.
Uganda Cuts Gorilla Trek Permit Prices to $350
Mountain Gorillas Aside, Why Does Earth need Bwindi so badly?
Bwindi Mountain gorilla with baby gorilla - Ugana

Thursday, July 16, 2015

When is the Best time for gorilla trekking/ tracking in Rwanda and Uganda?

When is the best time to visit/ track or trek the gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda? Which months should one try to avoid, which months are the best for gorilla trekking?
rwanda uganda gorilla bwindi tracking trek tour
While tracking or trekking mountain gorillas can be done any time of the year in either countries where (mountain gorillas are found i.e Rwanda and Uganda), because of the relatively wetter/ rainy seasons in the mountain gorilla inhabited national parks, many tourists often prefer the months from June to September and then December, January and February.
In Rwanda, the first rains start coming in late February through March, April and May and so many tourists try to avoid these months for fear of getting muddy and all wet while tracking the gorillas. However, during these months, because of the rains there's plenty of gorilla food down slope and it's much colder on the upper slopes. So the mountain gorillas keep on the lower slopes where they find it warmer and get food easily. So if you track the gorillas during these months, most likely your trek won't be a long one - many trackers find the gorillas after 2 hours hike and by 2PM are back.
The same applies to Uganda although the rains there come in March, April and May. Of course the  Undeniably the rains (not always heavy though) make it rather harder to trek the steep terrains. Even then, the rain only comes for like 1-2 hours in like every 2-3 days and the sun comes out. We have noticed that even in the so-called drier months, the rain will often come in.

This seasonality of gorilla trackers can also be attributed to the weather seasons in the visitors’ home country and the nature of their jobs. When it summer for example in Europe, numbers of gorilla trek visitors increase and the gorilla trackers numbers dip when it’s winter.
However, there are other gorilla trekkers who often take advantage of the seasonal discounts on mountain gorilla tracking permits. Recently for example, the Uganda Wildlife Authority discounted the gorilla permits by 30% for non-resident foreigners. A gorilla permit in Uganda costs $350 for the months of  November 2015. The rest of time it is at 600$ . Several accommodation and lodging facilities in mountain gorilla inhabited areas will also make discounts on their rates during these same months.

Whatsoever the case and explanation may be, experience shows that mountain gorilla trekking can be done any time of the year and you will most likely get the same the same experience.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking Tour Packages in Rwanda and Uganda
3 days Uganda Gorilla tour
4 days Chimps and Gorilla Tour  -
3 day Gorilla tracking Rwanda with tour price
5 days Uganda Gorillas and Queen Elizabeth Wildlife Safari
5 days Gorillas trek Rwanda and Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda
5 days Rwanda, Uganda Gorillas
6 days gorilla tracking, wildlife safari
14 days Uganda Rwanda Safari
7 days Uganda Gorilla Safaris
9 days Gorillas, primates wildlife
8 days Uganda Gorilla Game safari

7 days Gorillas, chimpanzee, wildlife -

Related articles:
Uganda Cuts Gorilla Trek Permit Prices to $350

Bwenge Family – A mountain gorilla group in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

13 Group (aka Agasha Group) Gorilla Family in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park

Karisimbi Gorilla Family (Susa-B gorilla group) of Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Sabyinyo Gorilla Group–A mountain gorilla family from Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Amahoro Gorilla Group – A mountain gorilla family of Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Kwitonda Family–A mountain gorilla group in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Susa Group (Susa A Family) - Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Who Needs and How to Apply for Rwanda Visa– Tourist Visa Entry Requirements

All you need to know about Golden Monkey Tracking in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda