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, August 5, 2014

Information on Optional Tourist Activities in Southern Bwindi, Kisoro, Mgahinga, Lake Mutanda, Batwa and Nkuringo

INFORMATION ON ACTIVITIES IN KISORO; BATWA TRAIL, GARAMA CAVE, SABINYO GORGE, LAKE MUTANDA, MT MGAHINGA
Kisoro is home is the main base for gorilla trekking in South Western Uganda and in neighbouring Rwanda. However, Kisoro doesn't only offer gorilla trekking: its beautiful surroundings offer an opportunity to undertake several different interesting activities, either individually or in groups. Below is a description of some of these activities.

Viewpoint
Just above Ntebeko Gate is a small platform offering a magnificent view of Magahinga National Park and the surrounding area. To the south the three volcanoes, to the north miles of small gardens, Lake Mutanda and the hills of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. To the west a great view of the Western Rift valley in Congo.
Difficulty: easy; walking time: 30 min; distance 1km

Garama Cave
Almost 100 years ago there was a conflict between the Batwa (pygmies) and the Bantu population. The Batwa lived in the forests and the Bantu had their gardens and villages. The Batwa raided the Bantu in their villages and disappeared in the forests. The Bantu had no idea that there was a very large cave in the forest where the Batwa were hiding. Garama cave is 342 meters long and today it is only home to bats. During the visit the guide will tell you more about Garama Cave and the history and the life of the Batwa.
Difficulty: easy; walking time: 3 hrs; distance 4 km. NB: bring a torch!

Mount Magahinga
Around 58% of Magahinga National Park is covered with bamboo forest, a delicacy for the Gorillas and the Golden Monkeys. The walk to the top of the Mgahinga Volcano takes us through a very nice example of pure natural bamboo forest. This walk offers a good chance to see the rare Golden Monkey and Bushbucks. At the top (3474m) you will find a good view and a lush swamp in the crater.
Difficulty: moderate; walking time: 6 hrs; distance 6 km; elevation gain: 1100 m.

Sabinyo Gorge
This walk takes us through the lush vegetation in the gorge of the Sabinyo. It is moist with a dense vegetation. A small river at the bottom of the gorge is responsible for creating this paradise over time. At the end of the walk is a small but nice waterfall and a very good view of all the peaks. A good place for lunch! The gorge is a good place for seeing birds, especially the Ruwenzori Turacoo. Golden Monkeys and Duikers can also be spotted.
Difficulty: moderate; walking time: 4 hrs; distance 6 km; elevation gain: very little.
NB: bring good walking shoes!

Mount Sabinyo
Mount Sabinyo is the oldest of the three volcanoes, quite eroded and that is why it has its name, which means: "teeth of the old man"! This volcano has three challenging peaks. The trail takes you up a ridge along the eastern side to Peak 1. If you wish to continue, the climb to Peak 2 involves walking a ridge with breathtaking drops into the gorges of Rwanda and Uganda. Finally, the hike up to Peak 3 is steep with several ladders and much scrambling. On top of peak 3 (3669m) you will be in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo at the same time! The Sabinyo hike takes you through all different vegetation belts, and you have good chances of seeing Golden Monkeys, Duiker, Rwenzori Turacos and Sunbirds.
Difficulty: you have to be fit! walking time: 8 hrs; distance 14 km; elevation gain: 1300 m.
NB: bring good walking shoes!

Border Trail
This hike takes you first toward Sabinyo. The trail climbs up the base of Sabinyo for a while through fine montane forest before turning towards Congo. Along the way you will get a great view of Sabinyo's gorge and peaks. Upon reaching Congo you cut back along the international border. The return leg to park head quarters is a great section for birding. The two rest huts along the way are good places for a break. Look closely for the Golden Monkeys and signs of elephants.
Difficulty: moderate; walking time: 8 hrs; distance 10 km; elevation gain: very little.
NB: bring good walking shoes!

Free Birding
Yes, free birding along the edge of the park is now available on request. The guides are very happy to take you out from 5-6 pm if you book by 10 am that morning. Birds that can be seen: Ibis, Whydah, Speckled Moosebird, Fire Finch, Stonechat, Grey Capped Warbler, Waxbills and Yellow-Vented Bulbul.
NB: bring your binoculars!

Village Walk
Walk with a local guide or on your own through the gardens and villages of the Bufumbira and Bakiga tribes. On your way you will learn a lot about how the people live and work. Often there is the possibility to eat at a local place or sometimes with a family. Other walks take us over the hills to Lake Mutanda and there you can go with a dugout canoe to Python Island and see birds near a swamp.
Difficulty: moderate; walking time: 3-5 hrs; distance 3-8 km; elevation gain: very little.

Batwa Trail
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.