Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tourism Visa fees for foreigner residents in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya Waived

Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda have waived visa fees for foreign residents to allow easy access to the region’s diverse tourism experience.

According to Yamina Karitanyi, the Rwanda Development Board’s Head of Department for Tourism and Conservation, the waiver was agreed on under the Northern Corridor Integration projects initiative.

Known as the East Africa Tourist Visa (EATV), foreign residents nolonger have to pay the $100 fee for the visa that is valid for 90 days effective December 15, 2014.

Karitanyi, said the waiver on the single East Africa Tourist Visa was the next step in consolidating and enriching the region’s tourism potential.

“We are approaching the rest of the world as a unified and rich tourist destination with varied experiences for travellers. We are also positioning East Africa’s tourism assets collectively as part of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects,” Karitanyi said at the weekend.

She added that joint marketing programmes will be carried out annually and will cover road shows such as the International Tourism Board (ITB) and World Travel Market (WTM) in 2015.

She pointed out that going forward, the partner states will lobby for a single stand during international tourism marketing events.

Outlining the modalities of implementation, Karitanyi said eligible foreign residents shall be issued with inter state pass on exiting the host state and visitor’s pass endorsed in their passports on arrival by presenting valid work/resident permits.

Other immigration procedures and regulations will, however, be maintained.

In preparing for the joint marketing programmes, she noted that the partner states were already gearing up the teams involved by conducting destination training workshops and disseminating information on the use of national identity cards, student/voters cards and the East Africa Tourist Visa.

Uganda Tourism Board’s Chief Executive Officer Stephen Asiimwe, said the development will bring exponential benefits to foreign residents living in the region.

“Our countries have a rich tourist menu on offer; from serene beaches, to pristine wildlife and nature, exquisite reserves, to hospitable people. It is the place to visit. Our products are inexhaustible and this waiver offers our region the best place to live and work. We encourage this community to be a part of the endless discovery, encounter and adventure of the best tourism episode of Africa at the least affordable price,” Asiimwe said.

“We encourage the private sector to take advantage of this opportunity to offer unbeatable packages while maximising win-win offers.”

According to Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Managing Director, Muriithi Ndegwa, this gives an opportunity to foreign residents in the three Partner States to explore the immense diversity of wildlife, landscapes, culture, and heritage, among other renowned attractions either for weekend gateways, corporate retreats or annual family holidays.

The just concluded 8th Northern Corridor Integration Summit attended by Presidents; Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Paul Kagame, and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, held in Nairobi last week, also directed Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure to convene a meeting of Airline Industry stakeholders and finalise negotiations on the 5th Freedom Traffic Rights on Entebbe-Nairobi-Juba-Nairobi meant to address outstanding issues to reduce the cost of air travel in the region and report to the next Summit that will be held in Kigali.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rwanda now screening visitors from USA, Spain too for Ebola

Rwanda now screening visitors from USA, Spain too for Ebola

The Rwanda ministry of Health has issued health safety guidelines to incoming passengers from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, USA and Spain or traveled to those countries in the last 22 days.

The passengers are to call a toll free line (114) on a daily basis to report about their health status for the duration of their stay in the country or for 21 days if they are to stay longer.

Spain recorded deaths of two missionary priests who separately contracted Ebola in Sierra Leona and Liberia. However the Spanish nursing assistant who worked on them successfully recovered from the virus.

USA has recorded one death, two confirmed infections of two nurses while more than 100 are being tracked.

More than 45,000 have died of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria (yesterday declared Ebola-free).

1653489_1025784260781817_3608005608726140779_n

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Press Release: Health Status of Uganda Regarding Marbug Virus, Ebola

Press Release
October 15th, 2014
Health Status of Uganda


Uganda Tourism Board informs all visitors, travellers and tourists, domestic and international that the Health status of the country is okay contrary to some media reports.
On 28th September 2014, one case of the Marburg hemorrhagic fever was reported and the people closest to this individual were immediately quarantined. Results after screening them confirmed negative of the Marburg virus and they still remain under the watch of health professionals.

As a country, we pride in the safety of all our visitors, tourists and nationals both in safety and health issues. To this effect, the Ministry of Health has urged members of the public to avoid unnecessary body contact such as handshakes.

We further wish to reiterate that Uganda is Ebola-free and to-date not a single case has been reported within our borders.

Whereas we pledge to keep all our visitors and travelers informed about the situation in the country, we also urge the media to report accurately and encourage visitors to come to our country.

Uganda Tourism Board
Plot 42, Windsor Crescent, Kololo
Tel: 0414 342 196/7 or Fax: 0414 342 188
E: utb@tourismuganda.info

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Construction of Uganda Martyrs Museum Commences

The construction of Uganda Martyrs Museum in Namugongo yesterday picked steam with Uganda president Yoder Muse Venice donating shs.410m during a special service for fundraising and laying its foundation stone. 

The shs 36bn multipurpose complex Museveni was told, is expected to be built in phases with its tentative completion date being late 2018. 

The site upon which the museum is being built is the place where 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic martyrs were burnt to death in 1886 on the orders of Kabaka Manga the then king of Buganda kingdom the biggest tribe in Uganda. 

The leadership of the church of Uganda hope the complex will help add value to a historical site that annually draws thousands of pilgrims and tourists to Uganda on account of its significance to the Christian faith. The Martyrs Day is celebrated every June 3, at the shrine. 

Drawing parallels between history of Uganda martyrs and Ugandan's struggle to free their country from fangs of tyranny, a jovial Museveni lacing his speech with biblical verses, said "the culture of heroism and martyrdom is part of Uganda's history. 
"Bazillion Okello confronted some peasants in Luwero and gave them a condition to either reveal where the rebels were or face death. They chose to die although they knew where the rebels were hiding, " Museveni said.

"So, Uganda's heroes, just like the Martyrs died for a noble cause for which we remember them every year." 

Museveni, who had carried along shs 40m in cash, increased his pledge to shs 400m with the balance of shs 360m to be paid this week. 

Museveni also auctioned a portrait of Petero Kisosonkole - the landlord who donated 48 acres of the land where the museum is being built - at shs 65m, with himself forking out shs 10m for it.

In order to raise the tourism potential of the museum and the annual Uganda Martyrs fete in Namugongo, Museveni promised that the road from Kireka to Namugongo will soon be revamped with public walkways. 

Earlier, the archbishop of Uganda,the Most Reverend Stanley Ntagali led the service graced by Vice President, Edward Ssekandi, the Catholic Bishop of Kampala Diocese,  Dr. Cipriano Kizito Lwanga and the top echelon of the Anglican Church in Uganda. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2014 Africa Ebola Spread– Are travellers to Uganda, Rwanda Affected?

We understand that there is concern over the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and we would like to reassure everyone  that to date there have been no reported cases of Ebola in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania,  Botswana, South Africa or Zambia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states: 'The risk of a tourist or businessman/woman becoming infected with Ebola virus during a visit to the affected areas and developing disease after returning is extremely low, even if the visit included travel to the local areas from which primary cases have been reported. Transmission requires direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected living or dead persons or animal, all unlikely exposures for the average traveler’s.'

The WHO is also taking stringent measures in asking countries affected by Ebola to conduct exit screenings of people leaving at international airports, seaports and major land crossings in order to prevent the virus spreading. The Government of Kenya has further decided to temporarily suspend entry into Kenya of passengers travelling from and through the affected West African countries.

ebola-outbreak-africa-2014-map

See more details at http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/resources/distribution-map-guinea-outbreak.html

The map above is a cartographer's representation highlighting the vastness of Africa in comparison to other countries. This will help you to better visualize the distance between the affected Ebola areas and our camps and lodges.

Ebola Spread in 2014
In March hospital staff alerted Guinea's Ministry of Health and then the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, (MSF). They reported a mysterious disease in the south-eastern regions of Gueckedou, Macenta, Nzerekore, and Kissidougou.

It caused fever, diarrhoea and vomiting. It also had a high death rate. Of the first 86 cases, 59 people died.

The WHO later confirmed the disease as Ebola.

The disease spreads

Gueckedou is a major regional trading centre and by the end of March, Ebola had crossed the border into Liberia and it was confirmed in Sierra Leone during May.

In June, MSF described the Ebola outbreak as out of control.

Nigeria had its first case of the disease in July and in the same month two leading doctors died from Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

We will update you accordingly should this position change.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Habinyanja Gorillas Family Gets New Baby

BWINDI MOUNTAIN GORILLAS POPULATION INCREASES, NEW BORN BABY MOUNTAIN GORILLA FOR HABINYANJA GROUP!

new-born-mountain-gorilla-bwindi-habinyanja

It was one of those very best moments everyone and every family would cherish! A NEW BORN JOINING FAMILY!

An adult mountain gorilla female Nyamuhango(meaning the giant) of Habinyanja mountain gorilla family in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda gave birth to a a bouncing baby.

Both the mother and the baby, (and silverback dad?) are visibly healthy.

the-habinyanja-adult-female-mountain-gorilla-giving-birth-bwindi-ugandaA recently released report by the Uganda Minister for Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (2012), the new census reveals a minimum population of 400 gorillas, up from 302 animals in 2006. The census was conducted by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). The increase can be attributed in part to improved methodology, but also reflects real population growth.

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.

In the late 1950s, WCS field biologist Dr. George Schaller conducted the first ecological study of mountain gorillas, estimating the total population at that time to be 450 individuals. The Virunga Volcano gorillas were made world-famous by Dr. Dian Fossey’s long-term gorilla study in the 1970s and 80s, a period during which the gorilla population declined dramatically as a result of poaching and habitat loss. In 1979, WCS conservationists Drs. Bill Weber and Amy Vedder helped establish the Mountain Gorilla Project—forerunner of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) —that combined pioneering ecotourism and education programs, with a more traditional anti-poaching effort.

WCS continues to protect mountain gorillas through applied research on key conservation challenges, and by providing support for the national protected area authorities and the Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation (ITFC) in Uganda.

Gorilla Tour Packages
2 days Gorilla tracking Rwanda
3 days Uganda Gorilla tour
3 day Gorilla tracking Rwanda
4 days Rwanda Gorillas, golden monkeys trek Tour
Uganda 4 days Gorilla tracking tour with Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Uganda 5 days Gorilla tracking tour with Wildlife Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park
5 days Uganda Gorillas, Chimps Tour
5 days Gorillas trek Rwanda and Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda
5 days Rwanda, Uganda Gorillas
6 Days Gorilla Trek tour, Kibale Chimps tracking, Wildlife BIG 5 Safaris in Queen Elizabeth National
6 days gorilla tracking, wildlife safari
7 days Rwanda, Uganda Gorillas, Chimps trek Safari
7 days Uganda tour and holiday to Murchison Falls, mountain gorillas, Chimpanzees in Kibale Forest and Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable
7 days Gorillas, chimpanzee, wildlife 
7 days Uganda Gorilla Safaris
8 days Uganda Gorilla Game safari
9 days Gorillas, primates wildlife
All Inclusive 12 days Uganda Safari
14 days Uganda Rwanda Safari

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Batwa Trail in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Batwa Trail is a community based tour product developed by the Batwa community near Bwindi in conjunction with the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Pearls of Uganda an NGO:-

 It starts at the base of Mt Muhavura at 8.00 am and finishes by 3-4 pm. You'll need walking shoes, hat, and raingear, and a packed lunch with sufficient drinks.

 The Batwa Trail runs across the lower slopes of the Muhavura and Gahinga volcanoes in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The forest is home to a variety of wildlife but the Batwa Trail is far from being a conventional nature walk. With the help of Batwa guides, you'll see the forest as a larder, pharmacy, builder's yard, tool kit and, above all a home. Along the trail, you'll fire a bow and arrow, check hives for wild honey, help repair a Batwa shelter, harvest plants for medicine and food, light a fire without a matches, listen to legends and learn about Batwa traditions.

 The highlight of the trail is a descent into the Garama cave, a 200m-long lava tube beneath Mt. gahinga. The Batwa are famed for their music and dance and their historic, subterranean council chamber in Garama Cave provides the setting for an unforgettable performance.

 The Batwa trail is celebration of the forest culture of the "'first people." It is impossible, however, to ignore the fact that Batwa life has greatly changed. The day's events conclude with a discussion about the Batwa's current situation; how it can be improved; and progress to date towards doing so.

To visit the Batwa while tracking the gorillas of Bwindi please visit www.trekgorillatours.com/uganda-4-days-gorilla-tour-batwa-pygmies-visit-bwindi.html

Monday, June 23, 2014

Rwanda’s Kwita Izina (Mountain Gorilla Naming) Ceremony for July 01, 2014

Rwanda will celebrate the birth of 18 baby gorillas at the 10th anniversary of Kwita Izina, the annual gorilla naming ceremony. The event will take place in Kinigi, Musanze on 1 July 2014. This year’s theme is ‘A Decade: Conserving-Empowering-Growing’.

“On this occasion, we will not only celebrate the birth of one of the world’s most endangered species but also the efforts of individuals, organisations and nations involved in the preservation of these rare animals,”

Rwanda’s community led conservation efforts have led to a 26.3% growth in the population of gorillas since 2003 and Kwita Izina has been key to this success. This is also thanks to the Government of Rwanda which has ensured tourism flourishes in a secure and enabling environment.”

Early this year, Kwita Izina won second prize in the UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance. The Rwanda Development Board recognises enhanced national conservation practices and community ownership of projects around the Volcanoes National Park that have seen beneficiaries empowered and their lives improved.

Rwanda’s tourism sector has also been growing remarkably. In 2013, Rwanda hosted 1,137,000 visitors who generated $294m, up from $62m in 2000. This increase is attributed to Rwanda’s attractiveness as a travel destination, new airline routes, especially in West Africa, spearheaded by our national carrier RwandAir, an increase in unique experiences for tourists and the county’s stability and welcoming visa policies.

Kwita Izina will be marked by a series of activities starting with the launch of Basumba Primary School in Bigogwe, Nyabihu District on 26 June 2014. The school of six classrooms has been built with funds from the Shared Revenue Scheme which gives 5% of tourism profits from National Parks back to the communities surrounding the gorilla habitat. This launch will be followed by a mix of conservation, business, cultural and entertainment activities.

Kwita Izina is inspired by the ancient Rwandan tradition of naming babies soon after they are born. In the nine years since the event was established, 161 mountain gorillas have been named in a celebration of nature and the communities who protect the magnificent animals.

Kwita Izina Activities:

26 June: Official launch of Basumba Primary School in Bigogwe, Nyabihu District. The school of six classrooms has been built with funding from the Shared Revenue Scheme. It will enable over 380 children to easily access education facilities.

28 June: Global Umuganda. Participants will have an opportunity to participate in the Global Umuganda. The community work reflects on the culture and commitment of Rwandans to clean and conserve the environment.

28 June: B2B meetings, Serena Hotel, Kigali: This platform will provide an opportunity for local tourism operators to showcase Rwanda tourism experiences to domestic, regional and international markets.

29-30 June: Gorilla Conservation and Community Exhibition at Musanze Stadium. The aim of the exhibition is to showcase what has been achieved in conservation and community empowerment through the 5% revenue sharing scheme.

30 June: Igitaramo (Community Party) in Kinigi is a night of cultural immersion with performances from local dance troupes and musicians.

1 July: Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony at Volcanoes National Park

Key Tourism and Hospitality Facts and Figures:

Rwanda has three National Parks: Akagera National Park, Nyungwe National Park and Volcano National Park.
Rwanda has many unique tourist attractions including the mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, eco-tourism, heritage & leisure experiences.
Rwanda is becoming increasingly attractive for Conference Tourism (MICE); recently hosting the African Development Bank meetings and will host the World Export Development Forum in September, among other events.
In 2010, Rwanda hosted 666,000 visitors who generated US$ 200M - a 14% increase from 2009. In 2013, Rwanda hosted 1,137,000 visitors who generated $294m, up from $62m in 2000.
Tourism receipts are expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 25% until 2017 (EDPRS 2 targets).

Rwanda has over 380 accommodation establishments and approx. 6,500 accommodation rooms. Upper range occupancy rate is 70%, with foreigners accounting for 97% of beds availed.
The rapid growth of RwandAir in addition to other airlines serving Kigali such as KLM, SN Brussels, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines allow for easy access to the country from all over the world.

For gorilla permits availability for other months, most certainly the dates are available but please contact us to confirm before you go ahead with your flights bookings.

In case you want gorilla tracking in Uganda, kindly drop us an email (info@gorillasandwildlifesafaris.com and gorillasandwildlifesafari@gmail.com) and we will let you know of the possibilities.

Rwanda and Uganda Gorilla Treks: Tracking Gorillas and Chimps across Uganda and Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable, Kibale National Park


4 days Uganda+ Rwanda Gorilla
This is a 4 day safari which starts and ends in Kigali- Rwanda with 2 gorilla permits (for Parc Nationale des Volcanoes and Bwindi in Uganda) included in the. Having a chance to see some of the last remaining 840 mountain gorillas in the world is a wonderful experience. It offers you an opportunity to track gorillas two times.


5 Days of Rwanda Uganda gorillas, primates with Golden Monkeys Tracking trekking Rwanda
T
his is a 4 day safari which starts and ends in Kigali- Rwanda. One gorilla permit for Parc Nationale des Volcanoes is included in the cost but the other gorilla trackings require other permits to be paid at time of booking. Having a chance to see some of the last remaining 700 mountain gorillas in the world is a wonderful experience. It offers you an opportunity to track gorillas two times. Parc Nationale des Volcanoes in Rwanda has five habituated gorilla families and tracking most groups in the afro-montane forest usually takes a few hours. You can also climb a volcano, visit the remains of Dian Fossey's grave or visit the endangered golden monkey.


5 days Uganda+ Rwanda Gorillas
with gorilla treks in Volcanoes National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The tour starts  and ends in Uganda. You can choose to track golden monkeys instead of doing a second gorilla trek in Rwanda.


5 days Rwanda+ Uganda Gorilla tracking tour
This is a 5 day safari which starts and ends in Kigali- Rwanda with 2 gorilla permits (for Parc Nationale des Volcanoes and Bwindi in Uganda) included in the. Having a chance to see some of the last remaining 700 mountain gorillas in the world is a wonderful experience. It offers you an opportunity to track gorillas two times and thus have a totally different experience with two different gorilla families each in a very unique habitat.


5 days Gorillas trek Rwanda and Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda
This is a 5 day safari which starts and ends in Kigali- Rwanda. One gorilla permit for Parc Nationale des Volcanoes is included in the cost but the other gorilla trackings require other permits to be paid at time of booking. Having a chance to see some of the last remaining 700 mountain gorillas in the world is a wonderful experience. It offers you an opportunity to track gorillas two times. Parc Nationale des Volcanoes in Rwanda has five habituated gorilla families and tracking most groups in the afro-montane forest usually takes a few hours. You can also climb a volcano, visit the remains of Dian Fossey's grave or visit the endangered golden monkey.
Queen Elizabeth National Park to see wildlife like lions, leopard, elephants, hippos, buffalo plus over 500 bird species.


5-day Uganda Rwanda gorillas tracking safari + Lake Bunyonyi Canoe Trek
with gorilla treks in Volcanoes National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The tour starts  and ends in Uganda or Rwanda. You can choose to track golden monkeys instead of doing a second gorilla trek in Rwanda.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Gorilla tracking or Trekking permits availability for your 2014 gorilla tour in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park

As of today, in Rwanda, you can only get gorilla tracking permits on only 9 days in August 2014: August 1,2, 20-23, 28, 29, 31.

For July 1-2, 4,7,9,10,13,14, 16-18, 20-21,23, 29-31

For September 13-09, 14, 17, 20-26, 29-30

In case your preferred dates are not available in Rwanda you can always do start your tour in Rwanda’s Kigali Airport, track the gorillas in Uganda (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park) and then finish at Kigali Airport. Just drop us an email (info@gorillasandwildlifesafaris.com and gorillasandwildlifesafari@gmail.com) . Please note that all gorilla tours options for Uganda can also start from Kigali and all gorilla trek tour options for Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park can also start from Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport.

For gorilla permits availability for other months, most certainly the dates are available but please contact us to confirm before you go ahead with your flights bookings.

In case you want gorilla tracking in Uganda, kindly drop us an email (info@gorillasandwildlifesafaris.com and gorillasandwildlifesafari@gmail.com) and we will let you know of the possibilities.

Rwanda and Uganda Gorilla Treks: Tracking Gorillas and Chimps across Uganda and Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable, Kibale National Park


4 days Uganda+ Rwanda Gorilla
This is a 4 day safari which starts and ends in Kigali- Rwanda with 2 gorilla permits (for Parc Nationale des Volcanoes and Bwindi in Uganda) included in the. Having a chance to see some of the last remaining 840 mountain gorillas in the world is a wonderful experience. It offers you an opportunity to track gorillas two times.


5 Days of Rwanda Uganda gorillas, primates with Golden Monkeys Tracking trekking Rwanda
T
his is a 4 day safari which starts and ends in Kigali- Rwanda. One gorilla permit for Parc Nationale des Volcanoes is included in the cost but the other gorilla trackings require other permits to be paid at time of booking. Having a chance to see some of the last remaining 700 mountain gorillas in the world is a wonderful experience. It offers you an opportunity to track gorillas two times. Parc Nationale des Volcanoes in Rwanda has five habituated gorilla families and tracking most groups in the afro-montane forest usually takes a few hours. You can also climb a volcano, visit the remains of Dian Fossey's grave or visit the endangered golden monkey.


5 days Uganda+ Rwanda Gorillas
with gorilla treks in Volcanoes National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The tour starts  and ends in Uganda. You can choose to track golden monkeys instead of doing a second gorilla trek in Rwanda.


5 days Rwanda+ Uganda Gorilla tracking tour
This is a 5 day safari which starts and ends in Kigali- Rwanda with 2 gorilla permits (for Parc Nationale des Volcanoes and Bwindi in Uganda) included in the. Having a chance to see some of the last remaining 700 mountain gorillas in the world is a wonderful experience. It offers you an opportunity to track gorillas two times and thus have a totally different experience with two different gorilla families each in a very unique habitat.


5 days Gorillas trek Rwanda and Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda
This is a 5 day safari which starts and ends in Kigali- Rwanda. One gorilla permit for Parc Nationale des Volcanoes is included in the cost but the other gorilla trackings require other permits to be paid at time of booking. Having a chance to see some of the last remaining 700 mountain gorillas in the world is a wonderful experience. It offers you an opportunity to track gorillas two times. Parc Nationale des Volcanoes in Rwanda has five habituated gorilla families and tracking most groups in the afro-montane forest usually takes a few hours. You can also climb a volcano, visit the remains of Dian Fossey's grave or visit the endangered golden monkey.
Queen Elizabeth National Park to see wildlife like lions, leopard, elephants, hippos, buffalo plus over 500 bird species.


5-day Uganda Rwanda gorillas tracking safari + Lake Bunyonyi Canoe Trek
with gorilla treks in Volcanoes National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The tour starts  and ends in Uganda or Rwanda. You can choose to track golden monkeys instead of doing a second gorilla trek in Rwanda.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My mountain Uganda gorilla tracking experience in Bwindi's Oruzogo gorilla family


Tracking Gorillas in Bwindi's Oruzogo Gorilla Family

Gorilla Trekking remains one of the most magical and rewarding wildlife experiences in the natural world, one that I know is high on the wish list of Uganda's tourists. An estimated 800 mountain gorillas are remaining on earth, approximately 480 of which reside in Bwindi National Park.

Some background information abour Oruzogo Gorilla Family
Gorilla trek safari at only $730 at www.gorillasandwildlifesafaris.com
Oruzogo mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Oruzogo gorilla group is located in Ruhija together with Bitukura,and Kyaguriro (which is the gorilla family dedicated purely for research). This gorilla family can be trekked from Buhoma or Ruhija. The group consists of 16 individuals including 1 dominant silverback (named Tibirikwata)  and two babies that were recently born.  Although the sex of the two babies is yet to be established, the proud mothers are the cute adult females Birungi and Mutesi.  The new babies join the posse of other infants Buchura and Kanywani who is Kakobe’s baby.
Naming all the 16 individuals save for the three infants who are currently known by their mothers’ identities like Mutesi baby or Birungi baby was completed before it was availed for tracking in 2012.
Other individuals in the group include Busungu(Meaning short tampered),Kashundwe, Nyakiina,Kaganga (the giant one),Otaka,Bwoba(the coward) Karimi (tongue) Kiromba, KLatooto (the small one) Kanywani(meaning friendly,Kakobe who looks like a monkey and Buchura referring to the youngest or last born before the two newest babies came forth.

My unforgettable experience tracking these gentle giants
I had a unique opportunity to join a UWA team visiting the newly habituated Oruzogo gorilla family.
On my big day, I was up at 6:30AM to join the UWA team into the forest. Bwindi is nicknamed the 'impenetrable forest', and I've got to say that it's easy to see why; at times it was literally impossible to make your way through the vegetation, even with the trackers carving a path for us with their machetes.
Black-and-white colobus monkeys,
one of the 10 primate species in Bwindi -

Heavy rains, and dying plants nourish this dense forest, but the benign gentleness of the morning and gently stirring grass and vines along the trails cunningly hide the never-ending dramas of the impenetrable forest. In this very small forest (330sqkm) over 350 bird species occur, as well as 120 mammal species (including 10 primates) and a staggering 1000 different plant species.
Occasionally we'd tromp through an ant colony; they'd march right up my shoes and socks, under my trousers, and make their way up to my boxer shorts before biting.


After about three hours of pushing through this thick vegetation on steep terrain, we still seemed to be nowhere near any gorillas. But finally we came to a flat, open area in the jungle, about 5m in diameter. "This is where the gorillas slept last night," the tracker told us. We all studied the area with a new interest and excitement. I noticed eight distinct impressions in the leaves - nests made by massive creatures.
A mountain gorilla resting in trees of Bwindi 
- www.gorillasandwildlifesafaris.com
 Then we came into a slight opening, suddenly I heard branches to my immediate right snap as if a tree was falling, and a very big rumbling noise beyond anything I had ever experienced! And then there was this smell, like a pungent body odor worse than that of a human who hasn't bathed in a month. It was then whispered that we were among the gorillas. I strained my eyes towards the shaking shrub as I held firmly onto my walking stick. There was nothing to see but the "raspberry bushes" in the gloom. Another glimpse, and then appeared a couple of square inches of black fur. It looked like being a big deal! This was it! Gradually things improved. We got a glimpse of a female with a baby balanced on her back. Finally we got ourselves near the silverback seated immersed in bushes pluck-eating branches of berries. Suddenly our luck dramatically changed, the silverback started moving further away, ignorantly exposing himself the more.
Get Help organizing/ booking your gorilla trek, buying gorilla permits in Uganda and Rwanda

The mountain gorilla - such a deserving name for this huge giant! In my whole life, I'd never seen this legendary species! Oh. This was a lifetime experience. No matter how much you watch mountain gorillas on television or even try hard to imagine what meeting them might actually be like, nothing can quite prepare you for this 1-on-1 encounter.
Then, all too soon, we were told it was time up (an hour being the limit for gorilla visits). We withdrew to make our way back. I was pretty content with what I'd seen.
Taken as a day it ranked strenuous, but one of those that make being born and living seem fully worthwhile.

Have you been to tracking the gorillas? What's your experience?
Are you planning to track the mountain gorillas and need assistance from a local tour operator based in Uganda and Rwanda? Please contact us or see some suggested packages below for a fast and efficient service.

Ivan
                                                                                 More tours here >>>


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

UGANDA MINISTRY ESTABLISHES TOURISM STOPOVERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities is setting up tourism stopovers to provide uniform information about the country. The centres will provide washrooms and information board about a particular region and centres of attraction in that region.

The process includes profiling the area and providing all the necessary tourism information to the tourists.Four centres are already running. They are; Muko along the Kabale-Kisoro highway, Kafu in Masindi off Gulu highway, Corner Kamdin in Oyam district and Busitema.

Jimmy Kigozi, a Senior Tourism Officer at the Ministry of Tourism, says the plan so far has four stopovers. He says they have so far profiled Muko and Kafu, and plan to profile Corner Kamdin and Busitema soon. Other sites will be profiled in due course.

The setup will be jointly monitored by officials from the Tourism Development department of the Tourism Ministry as well as physical planners from the Ministry of Lands.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

RELIEF AS UGANDA GORILLA PERMITS GO ONLINE

All Gorilla permits will now be displayed online, but the viewing, bookings and sale of the online Gorilla permits will only be by locally registered tour operators.

The debate on putting Uganda gorilla permits was back in the media last month in which Uganda wildlife Authority Executive Director Dr Andrew Seguya was cited blaming the Minister of Tourism for causing the delay of operationalization. While addressing Members of the Uganda Parliament in Queen Elizabeth national Park, the executive director blamed the minister for suspending putting gorilla permits online pending investigations. He said that because of this, Uganda Wildlife Authority has lost of 20 billion shillings in unsold gorilla permits. He further mentioned that tourists don’t know where to find gorilla permits and that he wanted to break the monopoly of Uganda Tour Operators who often charge a price more than that of Uganda Wildlife Authority.

In response to this issue at hand , all Gorilla permits will be displayed online, but the viewing,bookings and sale of the online Gorilla permits will only be by locally registered tour operators.
The Minister of Tourism,Hon.Dr. Maria Mutagamba has made this directive in a letter dated 13th,March,2014 and titled “Operationalization of the online gorilla permits” which she has addressed to the UWA E.D, Chairman AUTO and Chairman UTA.


The squabble between the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (Auto) and Uganda Wildlife Authority began at the AUTO AGM in July 2013. Tour operators were concerned that putting gorilla trekking permits online for booking could put them out of business because it exposes them to international competition, where foreign travel companies could directly buy gorilla permits from UWA instead of going through them.
This good news as a result of the tireless efforts of the Executive of AUTO and its entire membership demand that all tour operators in Uganda heave a sigh of relief and pray that there is no turn of events.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

6 Things you must not miss on Lake Mburo National Park Safari

is a compact gem, located conveniently close to the highway that connects Kampala to the parks of western Uganda (about 4 hours driving from Kampala). It is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks and underlain by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years. This 260km2 park’s precarious past has seen wildlife virtually eliminated several times: firstly in the various attempts to rid the region of tsetse flies, then to make way for ranches, and finally as a result of subsistence poaching. 20% of the park’s areas is a wetland.

1. Wildlife

The park’s varied habitants support 68 mammal species. Rarities include impala, which in Uganda only lives in Lake Mburo , and Burchell’s zebra and eland which are only found here and in Kidepo.
Other species include warthog, buffalo, oribi, Defessa waterbuck and reedbuck. Leopard and hyena are also present while the crocodile and over 300 hippos are found in the lake.
Previously extinct in the park, lions have been recently sighted.

zebra_lake_mburo
Burchell’s zebra

several antelopes species inhabit Lake Mburo National Park Leopard sighting in Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda

2. Birding

crested crane
The Crested Crane, Uganda’s national symbol

Lake Mburo National Park is home to 315 bird species. These include the red-face barbet, only seen in , Africa finfoot, the rarely seen shoebill stork, Papyrus yellow warbler, Saddle-billed stork, brown-chested lapwing, African-wattled lapwing, Carruther’s Cisticola, Tabora (long-tailed) Cisticola, African ScopsOwl, Abyssinian Ground Horbill, and White-winged Warbler.

Acacia woodland bird species are especially well represented, while forest species may be found in rubanga Forest. These include Blue-breasted kingfisher, Hairly-breasted Barbet and Yellow-rumped tinkerbird, among others.

The best birding spots in are the swampy valley of Warukiri; the road between the camp and Rwonyo jetty; and the viewing platform which overlooks the salt lick. Rubanga forest can be visited on foot by prior arrangement with the warden – this is a real draw for keen birders. Rare species such as the African Finfoot and Red-faced Barbet -  only seen in Lake Mburo National Park – are two of the forest’s featured species.

3. The launch trip on Lake Mburo

338314_487067517979256_1907589884_o
Hippos

326860_462747217077953_439717885_o
Nile crocodile

The wildlife-rich eastern banks of Lake Mburo can be explored during tranquil two-hour noat voyage. Keep an eye out for crocodiles, buffalo, and hippos as well as colorfull kingfishers, magnificent fish eagles, hammerkops and their enormous nests and even bizarre-looking shoebill.

4. Hiking and Nature Walks

Unusually, the whole park is open to walkers as long as they are accompanied by a ranger guide. At Rwonyo, a guided walk leads to the salt lick where many animals are attracted to the salty rocks. Walks on the western side of the lake and take two hours. At this time of the day, you may encounter hyenas returning to their dens and hippos retreating to the lakes.

5. Horseback safaris

Horseback safaris are an exciting way to view wildlife including elland and buffalo. Also commonly sighted are warthog, topi, impala, dukier, bushback, waterbuck and zebra. The four-hour hacks take visitors up to the hilltop viewpoints with the option of bush breakfasts or sundowners.

6. Sport Fishing

Lake Mburo contains around six species of fish, with tilapia being the the most common. The designated fishing spot is at Mazinga. Visitors planning to fish here should carry their own equipment and obtain a permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Aside fro  the abundance of wildlife, the best thing about this little park is the peace by the lake. For the entire stay in the park, you will experience numerous uninterrupted sightings of wildlife and yet have the opportunity to relax by the calm lakes.

 

Safari Packages to Lake Mburo National Park

 

 

 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Rwanda’s Mountain Gorilla Naming Ceremony (Kwita Izina) set for Awards

Rwanda’s annual Kwita Izina, which invlolves the Rwandan tradition of having the community and invited guests name the baby Mountain Gorillas, will join two other projects for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Ulysses Award.

The finals are set for Madrid, Spain on January 22nd. This was announced by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) after a list of the finalists were published at the end of last year.

“We are so grateful for this chance to participate in the finals of innovative projects by UNWTO,” Valentine Rugwabiza, the RDB Chief Executive Officer said.

He said this was a global recognition of the efforts by Rwanda in innovative, community focused and sustainable tourism.

Kwita Izina was launched in 2005 and has so far seen 173 baby gorillas named by different people who include the Rwandan President Paul Kagame, the First Lady Jeanette Kagame, various Hollywood stars, renowned journalists, tourism personalities, conservationists among others.

Such an event is in line with creating and raising awareness for the conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas. At the same time Rwandan tourist attractions and destinations are promoted, particularly for the community surrounding the Volcanoes National Park where the gorillas live.
“Rwanda is on the right track of developing tourism and RDB will continue forming a basis for continued positioning of the country as a high end destination that puts first sustainable tourism development which integrates both biodiversity and the community development,” the Head of Tourism and Conservation at RDB, Rica Rwigaba, said.
She said this was a great opportunity to market Rwanda even more widely in the tourism industry.

During the forthcoming 10th edition of Kwita Izina later this year, it is anticipated that the event will get increased publicity due to UN-WTO recognition.

To date, the event has raised Rwf586,838,751, (about $978,065) for community development as part of the RDB’s tourism revenue sharing scheme.
it has evolved from a one day celebration to weeks and this mainly benefits the surrounding community.

Since 2003 UNWTO awards for excellence and Innovation in Tourism have honored tourism initiatives that contribute to advanced tourism through knowledge and innovation in line with principles of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

This event has again increased on revenue got from tourism and therefore this is why it is crucial to be developed even more.

Meanwhile according to UNWTO, compared to the same period in 2012, international tourist arrivals grew 5 percent in the first nine months of 2013, UNWTO’s latest ‘UNWTO World Tourism Barometer’ shows that destinations around the world welcomed a record 845 million overnight visitors in the first nine months of this year. That’s 41 million more overnight visitors than the first nine months of 2012.

Growth was especially strong in Europe and Asia Pacific, where international tourists numbers rose 6 percent.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Uganda National Museum–A Forgotten Rich Cultural heritage?

The museum, which occupies 3.359 hectares (approximately 13 acres), located on Plot 5, Kira road in Kamwokya, is in dire need of a facelift. Although it is evident that the exterior recently got a fresh brush of paint, a number of things need to be fixed. For instance, the benches in the garden are dilapidated, while the parking yard needs to be widened and repaved.

The museum was founded in 1908 and has exhibits and artifacts of traditional culture, archeology, history and science. It has various interesting sections riddled with artifacts that bring to life the different historical aspects of our society. For instance, in the Stone Age section, one is able to observe physical tools used by Stone Age people. These tools include stones, bones and wood used for cutting, scrapping and chipping, and how they evolved into the modern tools that Ugandans use today, or used in the recent past.

One is also able to see how we evolved from our ancestors, from the pre-historic period through the history of apes and how they evolved into humans. The story is told by the displayed pictures, as well as real tools and bones or skulls that make the history we learn in school seem more real.

Uganda’s multicultural and colourful past comes alive as one tours the History and Iron Age displays depicting the traditional ways of life in different kingdoms, tribes and communities of Uganda. Here one finds striking displays of traditional clothing (mostly bark cloth and animal skin), headdress, hairdressing, as well as hunting, the history of transportation, fishing, agriculture, war, religion, and how our ancestors spent their free time (traditional recreation).

Also of interest is the display that describes how justice was dispensed in Uganda many years ago. With no penal code, police force or criminal investigations department as they exist today, how did people in earlier days know/prove who had committed which crime and what punishment fitted him/her? One would be able to learn that the Madi and Lugbara used divine pots to assess the innocence of the accused.

However, despite this rich cultural heritage value, government believes that the museum has become a liability, having failed to generate any meaningful revenue. A trade centre in the same place, government feels, would perform much better. Yet government must also take part of the blame, having continually underfunded the museum. For instance, for the 2011/2012 financial year, it was allocated a mere Shs 50 million, money that certainly is not enough to meet its needs.

Over the years, the management of the museum has tried to come up with innovative ways to circumvent the funding crisis. It has, for instance, leased part of its land to the Uganda Wildlife Authority, which has established offices and to private developers like Ibamba restaurant. However, sources told us that the museum has no direct control over the resources generated from these ventures.

Management also introduced entry charges to boost the facility’s income. Until the early 2000s, Ugandans visiting the museum were not charged but, today, adults pay Shs 1,000 to enter and children, Shs 500. The entry fees for foreigners are Shs 3,000 for adults and Shs 1,500 for children. Visitors carrying still and video cameras pay an additional Shs 5,000 and Shs 20,000 respectively.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

NEW WATER VESSEL PLYS BETWEEN ENTEBBE AND KALANGALA

Uganda Tour operators and tourists can now heave a sigh of relief after the introduction of MV-MOSES which is to provide transport to Kalangala ssese islands from nakiwogo Entebbe as the MV Kalangala undergoes a total overhaul in Mwanza.

According to a reliable source, each person boarding is charged Uganda Shillings 15000. The departure time from Entebbe time: 10:00am
Arrival time at ssese islands. 12:00.
Departure time from Ssese Islands: 3:00pm
Arrival time at Entebbe. 5:00pm.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Uganda Wildlife Authority New Card System a “Huge Success”

Uganda Wildlife Authority’s newly introduced Visitor card system has reportedly been a huge success making the authority save lots of money. Recently UWA decided to gradually change from  issuing paper entry permits and gorilla permits to plastic cards which act like ATM cards. The cards are loaded with a certain amount of money which the visitor can spend on any activity in the parks.

Jossy Muhangi, the acting Public Relations Manager Uganda Wildlife Authority says the Wildlife Card has been a huge success. He says they expect to roll out the wildlife card to cover all parks across the country, after the successful pilot project in Mgahinga Park last year.

The wildlife card system allows UWA to capture the details of the activities a tourist intends to carry out in the park after payment. On arrival, the card is loaded on a computer to check the details, after which the visitor is granted permission to proceed with his intended activities. Muhangi says with the card in place, those who used to dupe tourists into paying extra money cannot now succeed. He says criminals who forge UWA receipts and other documents can now easily be detected.

Muhangi says the system will also protect both tourists and wildlife officials from criminals who have been targeting with hopes of getting cash.

Muhangi says once paid, the card entitles a tourist to all the activities they have paid for. He says a visitor who wants to increase the number of activities within the park pays additional money to park officials who in turn will load all the details onto the card so that the visitor can enjoy his or her preferences.