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Guide to Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

A life-changing experience! This is what most tourists say after they visit the mountain gorillas in Uganda. We totally agree since we spend many days in a year taking tourists to see gorillas each day is exciting, and discoveries happen all the time. But doing so involves an Indiana Jones-style journey into the depths of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park and Mgahinga National Park.

The jungle is a seemingly everlasting thicket of tangled emerald green with no street signs, walking trails, or Google Maps voice directions. To find the gorillas’ nest, you must get up early and, with the protection of park rangers, religiously follow the footsteps of a local tracker. The tracker uses a machete to clear a path through the jungle, detecting and tracking gorilla trail from the last spot where a gorilla group was seen. These traces can include hand and footprints, bent vegetation, remains of plants the gorillas have eaten, and other signs. Every tiny detail is investigated as the trackers determine the gorillas’ direction.

The hike up or down the mountain slopes that tourists take to get to the mountain gorillas is an exciting experience in itself because it brings you to one of the most beautiful places on earth. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the few remaining tropical mountain forests located on the Albertine Rift edge.

Go Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to almost half of the world’s population of the mountain gorillas. Bwindi Forest hosts a population of over 320 mountain gorillas with 116 gorillas already  habituated. On a hike within the forest you can see other primates that live in the park.

The park is inhabited by about 500 mountain gorillas, known as the Bwindi population, which makes up about half of all the mountain gorillas in the world. The rest of the worldwide mountain gorilla population is in the nearby Virunga Mountains shared between Uganda’s Mgahinga National Park, DR Congo’s Virunga National Park and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.

With four trail-heads spread over the edges of Bwindi Impenetrable NP (Buhoma, Rushaga, Nkuringo & Ruhija), make sure you pick the right one that will be gentle on your physical fitness and great for forest lodging. The walk to reach a gorilla group can take from one to several hours, but no matter how long it is, the result is always amazing.

It’s not possible to predict how far the gorillas have moved from the previous day or what direction they’ve taken, so patience is definitely a good state of mind while following trackers at this time. But sooner or later, they will find the group they are seeking.

Gorilla tracking is one of the most interesting activities that makes a complete tourism package in Uganda. Gorilla tracking is so challenging, adventurous through rewarding. It is carried out  in two national parks; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park that is located in the South Western part of Uganda and Mghinga Gorilla National Park. These national parks constitute of more than a half of mountain gorillas in the whole world.Gorilla tracking is conducted in the morning hours. For one to engage in this activity, you must posses a gorilla permit. Therefore it is advisable to book a gorilla permit in advance given that gorilla permits sell out first.’

The gorilla trekking permit

Because Bwindi and Mgahinga are protected environments, the local governments introduced trekking permits to control tourists flocking the destination. This serves to maintain the natural habitat and avoid the gorillas becoming overexposed to humans and continue funding the gorilla conservation efforts.

This has made the demand for gorilla permits higher than the supply. Tourists are flooding to this part of the continent to get a piece of the action, don’t be the last one. It is advisable to book your gorilla trekking safari well in advance so that you can secure the slots in time.

With just about 19 habituated gorilla groups in Bwindi available for tourism, 8 permits are issued for each gorilla group per day, making it just about 152 permits issued out for Bwindi gorilla trekking per day. Will you get yours when you need it? Luckily enough, our local partners deal with the permits, so you won’t have to.

A Uganda gorilla permit costs US$700 per person since July 2020. It is issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) at face value, and when you book a gorilla trip, you get the permit processed for free, and you find the original with your tour manager.

Planning a Gorilla Trek

The following should be considered when preparing for the gorilla trek in Uganda or Rwanda.

Packing List

Things to Pack include the following

  • Solid walking shoes,
  • Rain gear
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Binoculars
  • A camera a

To protect gorillas and visitors, the following should adhered to when planning a gorilla trek;

  • No one with a communicable disease such as flu is allowed to visit the mountain gorillas
  • Do not  surround the mountain gorillas but remain in a tight group
  • Leave a distance at least 5 meters between you and the mountain gorillas
  • If the gorillas approach you, move back ward slowly

Explore Uganda with a Self-drive Car

Self Drive in Uganda

Have you ever thought of coming to the Pearl of Africa? If yes its very better to explore Uganda on self drive. Uganda is known as one of the best safari destination in the world due to its tourist attraction some of which are not seen elsewhere in the world. Whenever Uganda is mentioned, many people’s mind rush to the endangered mountain gorillas. It is true Uganda is blessed among the three countries in the world to host these endangered mountain gorillas. Other two destinations where mountain gorillas can be found are Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. However Uganda is known as the leading gorilla safari destination as it hosts almost a half of the giant mountain gorillas. Over 480 mountain gorillas live in Uganda shared by Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla national park. Although many travelers prefer tracking in Bwindi Forest since Mgahinga gorillas tend to migrate to the neighboring countries that’s Rwanda and the DRC in search for new adventure.

Driving to this park is just about 501 km (8-9 hrs.), but with yourself drive car this is very easy as you won’t feel a long drive, you will be in position to stop at any interesting place like at the equator crossing for snacks and photography, you can as well stop at Mpambire a local drum making place and other locally made items, if interested you can buy yourself the locally made items, after here, you can make another stopover at Mbarara for lunch either at Agip Motel or in any of your choice restaurant ,from here drive with good views and interesting landscape and rolling green hills up to the park overnight stay at your choice accommodation.

In the next day you catch up with the most gorilla safaris adventure in the rain tropical forest of Bwindi impenetrable national park, the one hour you are allowed with these rarely seen giants is a magical experience as you will enjoy watching them doing their daily activities as well as taking photos. This is just a few on what you can enjoy on a Uganda safari with your car hire from Uganda self-drive.

From Bwindi impenetrable national park you can easily cross to Queen Elizabeth National Park just about 3-4 hours passing through the Ishasha side a famous place for the rare tree climbing lions, you will enjoy watching them sited on frig trees or tree blanches and also upon your arrival at the park game drive is superb as you will be in position to watch games like buffaloes, elephant, various species of antelopes, warthogs among others , other activities at the park include launch trip and chimpanzee tracking. From here depending on your safari, connecting to Kibale forest national park is a walkover, Kibale is a gifted park with over 13 species of primates couple with chimpanzee the most close relative of man, other primate species you will enjoy to see include the black and white colobus monkey, baboons, civet monkey just to mention but a few. Other activities to enjoy at kibale include nature walk, birding, among others.

Other interesting places to explore on a Uganda safari with a self-drive car include;

Murchison falls national park in the north eastern side of Uganda, here you will go for a game drive to see games like giraffe, buffaloes, elephant, antelope species, among others, launch cruise along the Nile river is also superb, enjoy the top of the falls which is a fantastic view among others activities you will be interested in like chimpanzee tracking in Budongo forest.

Why don’t you also explore the un touched unique features in Kidepo national park, its located in the remote northern part of Uganda but with the courtesy of our good and comfortable cars you can still reach this part of Uganda with a lot easy., at here you will go for cultural encounter with the local people, it’s really a very interesting activity leaning more about the life style of the African people also game drives is fantastic, going to kidepo you are recommended to use a 4WD since the park is located far way in the northern part of Uganda.

White water rafting is another adventurous activity you won’t love to miss when on a self-drive safari to Uganda it’s one of its kind go Jinja in the eastern side of Uganda’s about 4 hours from Kampala Uganda’s capital and its largest city. Rush and book with us through info@ugandaselfdrive.com.

5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Bwindi National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Bwindi national park is a true rain forest found in the western side of Uganda. Tourism in this forest is based on gorilla tracking; slightly half of the mountain gorillas reside here. An estimation of 280-320 individuals living in 15 troops. Given the focus on gorillas, it came as a surprise that Bwindi harbors at least 92 mammal species.

The list consists of small mammals such as rodents, bats. But it does include eleven types of primates including a healthy chimpanzee population and five varieties of monkeys most visible is the blue monkey, black and white colobus. Of so called big five, only elephants are present a herd of 30 animals in the south eastern part of the park which is of no more than academic interest to tourists.

The park is also blessed with 345 confirmed and five unconfirmed species of birds, a high figure when compared to other national parks. Of the particular interest to birders are the 23 species endemics to the Albertine Rift and at least 14 species recorded now where elsewhere, among them the African green broadbill, white tailed blue fly catcher, brown-necked parrot and others. Among the most interesting and colorful birds that are likely to be seen by casual visitors are the harrier hawk, mountain buzzard, olive pigeon, white-headed wood hoopoe and any number of confusingly similar and greenbuls.

The famous and known Bwindi Impenetrable Forest can be accessed by either a flight or by road. When one uses chartered flight, you board an Aero link chartered plane from Entebbe in Kajjansi and then locate to an air strip in either Kasese or Kihihi from where a vehicle picks you and drives you to your hotel .Yet by road, it is a distance of 414 km from Kampala to Kabale on bitumen surface and takes 6-7 hours. An additional 120km from Kabale to Buhoma Park Headquarters via Kanungu and Kanyantoroogo on murram surface takes 3-4 hours and many require a 4WD vehicle. Kabale-Ruhija-Buhoma is 95 kilometers and takes 3-4 hours. This road is not frequently used by the public. A 4WD is recommended.

5 Reasons Why You Should Bwindi


Bwindi is the most safe location for gorilla trekking in Africa. This is largely attributed to the peace and stability that Uganda attained the past 30 years. The last known chaos reported in Bwindi was the 1999 Attack on Tourists by the Intarahamwe Rebels from Rwanda. These rebels were followed and wiped out of Uganda by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces. Since then the country upped its security and Bwindi is the most safe location for gorilla trips.

World Heritage Site

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a World UNESCO world heritage site


Bwindi Is the Most Affordable location where you can enjoy Gorilla Tours in the World. The park offers gorilla permits at USD600 per permit. This is very low if compared with the USD1500 charged for gorilla tracking in the Volcanoes National Park.

Lots of Additional Attractions Await You

There are lots of additional attractions in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. These include the wild chimpanzees, another resident ape in the forest, water falls, birds and lots of mammals.During your visit in Bwindi, you can engage in lots of experiences including gorilla trekking, bird watching, nature walks etc.

Gorilla Habituation

Bwindi is the only national park that offers gorilla habituation experience. You can go an experience that involves you following the mountain gorillas for up to 4 hours within the Rushaga Sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

With all the above things noted about Bwindi national park, make gorilla trekking in Uganda to be the best destination for the activity of gorilla trekking. So if a willing or interested in making a gorilla trek in Uganda.

5 Unforgettable Wildlife Safari Experiences in Uganda

Mgahinga Gorilla of Western Uganda

There are lots of safari experiences that you can enjoy in Uganda. Some of these are rare experiences that you will not find elsewhere in the world. If you are looking to exploring our amazing country, here are the best 5 wildlife safari experiences that you should not miss while on holiday in Uganda;

1. Gorilla Trekking

Uganda is one of only three countries in Africa where mountain gorillas still move freely. There are about 880 mountain gorillas in the whole world and half of them are found in Uganda in the national parks of Bwindi and Mgahinga Park. These mountain gorillas are not found anywhere else in the world, except the neighboring areas of Parc de Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and Virunga National Park in Congo. This largest primate in the world is not found in any Zoo but only in the heart of Africa. Uganda is a home to over half of the Mountain Gorillas in the world with 480. Gorilla tracking is Uganda’s number one attraction and the major activity carried out in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and this is one of the reasons it was named among the top 5 tourist destination 2017 by CNN.

Many people are interested in tracking the habituated families of the gorillas in the four sectors of Buhoma and Nkuringo being the best interesting gorilla tracking area, Ruhija and Rushaga spending 1 or 4 hours with a Mountain Gorilla Family and these sectors are found in the Bwindi Impenetrable forest. All families have unique behaviors and characteristics, if you have enough time and resources you can track more than one group during your gorilla safari. Under Mgahinga, there is only one group of Gorillas (Nyakagezi group). The tracking starts in the morning with well- informed and knowledgeable professional guides or park rangers to provide information to the trackers. You can also spend 4 hours with a gorilla family on an all-day trek during the Gorilla Habituation Experience costing 1,500 USD.

A maximum of 8 people is allowed to track each gorilla family at any given time in order to conserve their natural habitat and keep them safe from infections. The duration of the trek depends on the family allocated in each sector. Tracking requires a permit to each person interested in the activity. Permits are purchased from Uganda Wildlife Authority and a prior booking is highly recommended before the tracking day, each permit costs $600. The activity requires physical fitness since it is a bit tiresome when moving in the forest, steep slopes and valleys. More so, the length of tracking depends on the Mountain Gorillas’ location simply because they always move in search for food like any other living mammals.

Equipment needed for tracking include; light clothes, water proof cameras, packed lunch, enough drinking water, surgical masks for wearing while in the presence of gorillas. While participating in this activity in the forest, you will hear the sound of birds, monkeys and other mammals.

2. Bird Watching

With the thick rain forests, Uganda as a pearl of Africa has been regarded as the birders’ paradise due to its increasing list of bird species. Almost in every Uganda’s tourism destination is fully occupied with different bird species. The country boasts of over 1037 bird recorded species, about 60 % of the total bird species on the African Continent. These include both tropical and savanna species with the former reaching their eastern limit of their territory. Some of these species are migratory only coming to Uganda to breed and then go back later after breeding for example the grey headed gull. If you are interested in bird watching, you are recommended to surely travel with your camera and Binoculars because you might find out new species to add on your birds list. Some of the most exciting bird spots include Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Queen Elizabeth National Park with the highest number of birds for any single destination on the continent; about 607 recorded bird species.

Other destinations include; Kibale Forest National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, game reserves, Mabira Forest, Mabamba swamp, Botanical gardens in Entebbe and so many other places across the country including sanctuaries.

3. Lion Tracking

In Uganda, lions are mainly found in Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park. These animals are quite sensitive to the environment. The warming world has made the ground a little hotter and therefore uncomfortable for the lions which spend a lot of time resting thus climbing up and resting in the branches helps them cool off. In an area of low prey density, lions can range within 40 sq km and where the animals of prey are even fewer; the lions can expand their territorial range as big as 400 sq km.

Through the use of radio tracking devices, lions are followed every day; like today, yesterday and tomorrow. This helps to know where every other group is located with respect to the distance from the community land where they can face challenges. The collars have batteries and are electronically configured to certain frequencies with which the park rangers use the GPS system to track the lions.

Lion tracking is not like any other game viewing activity; it’s a research. So for the research to go on right, a limited number of participants are permitted to engage in the lion tracking in Queen Elizabeth national park. Also a limited number helps to heighten your experience during the lion tracking activity. As a small group, you can all get a chance to capture clear pictures. Every participant can get a chance to see the lion before it gets scared away by a lot of noise from the many excited tourists, if at all they could be allowed.

The Lion Tracking is either done in the morning or afternoon and can last between 1 hour to four hours per session. The researchers monitor lions that were put on radio-collars and monitor their movements, territories, risky encounters, and, particularly, their incursions into conflict hot zones where they face the danger of meeting up with people and their livestock.

During the process of tracking, the number of these mammals being tracked can grow without prior warning, mainly resulting from an individual or several lions joining the former group. It is therefore advisable to first note the number of lions being tracked to avoid being confused with the new ones joining the group.

Lion tracking Research is limited to a few number of tourists hence one has to book in advance so as to participate in this exceptional experience in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The cost of Lion tracking permit is $150 and space is always limited because you will be heading with the Researchers on a game drive.

4. Rhino Tracking

There are two types of Rhinos in Uganda that is the Black and White Rhinos. The white rhinos are not surely white and neither are black rhinos really black. Two Rhinos are found in the Entebbe Zoo and the rest are under the protected area of the Ugandan wild life Authority that is; the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary being watched all day every day. The sanctuary ensures that the second largest land mammals are protected very well.

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is a large sprawling wildlife reserve on the way to Murchison Falls National Park.  Here you can trek Rhinos on foot and get close up for some great photo opportunities as you are accompanied by Rangers who can take you on this unique trek but give your insight into the daily lives of the Rhinos. The Sanctuary is a conservation and Preservation Project with the intent of restocking Murchison Falls National Park with them.

From the big 5, Rhinos mourn for the death of their family member. On top of all, Rhinos have poor vision and will sometimes attack trees and rocks by accident. However, their hearing and sense of smell are excellent. Their head is the heaviest part on their body that is why they eat only short grass. Their skin is 3 inches thick. They have a small family known as a ‘crash’. They consume up to 150 kilo per day and drink 60 to 80 liters of water in order to sustain their three tone weight.

5. Cheetah Safaris

The cheetahs are one of the rare animals that can hardly be seen in any national park but in Uganda, in the most remote national park that can’t easily be accessed either that is Kidepo National Park. The Cheetahs are elusive animals that belong to the cat family and frequent sighting is expected to boost the popularity of Kidepo as a true part of the remaining wilderness globally. Cheetahs are among the key tourist attraction but they are also categorized among the endangered species.

Some years ago there were a lot of fears that the cheetahs might have been extinct from kidepo valley national park but reports have it that they are spotted in the park though not very oftenly. There were reports from the Uganda wildlife that there about only 20 cheetahs in Kidepo valley national park. therefore something must be done to protect them and their habitat to avoid more extinction there are several non government organizations implementing conservation programs to reduce the poaching activities and over use of animal habitats the best time for viewing cheetahs and other big cats is before sunrise and at sunsets.

It can reach speeds of 70 mph. Unlike other cats, the cheetah has a leaner body, longer legs, and has been referred to as the “greyhound” of the cats. It is not an aggressive animal, using flight versus fight. With its weak jaws and small teeth, the price it paid for speed, it cannot fight larger predators to protect its kills or young.

Sightings that have increased every now and then have hope to wildlife conservation that the situation is not as it was thought, with the cheetah number in Uganda currently estimated at 20. It is becoming common to encounter cheetahs. In December of 2018, tourists encountered 6 cheetahs.

Exploring the Magical Kingdom of the Mountain Gorillas

Bwindi Ancient Rain Forest

About 1004 mountain gorillas are in the world according to the concluded mountain gorillas census in the Virunga massif. Mountain gorillas are listed as the critically endangered species on the IUCN Red list only found in the tropical rain forests which includes Bwindi forest national park, Mgahinga national park in the foot hills of Virunga ranges, volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Congo. Following their extinction due to poaching, habitat loss, civil wars  many conservationist came up to their survival like Dian Fossey who studied  and lived with them for 18 years in the volcanoes until she brought them to the plight of international recognition. It is noted by the time of her death she had done a great work and the mountain gorillas had increased in number to about 250 mountain gorillas in the volcanoes national park.

In Uganda, gorilla tourism and conservation began in 1993 with one habituated gorilla family in Buhoma after evicting the Batwa in 1991 who lived in the forest for years with the mountain gorillas causing habitat loss and transmitting diseases to the apes.

Thanks to the conservation efforts the mountain gorillas are registering an increase in number and expanding their kingdom, several mountain gorillas are habituated and can be explored in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC.

In Uganda you will find mountain gorillas in Bwindi Forest which is a home to over 400 mountain gorillas with 16 habituated gorilla families. The first gorilla family to be habituated in Bwindi was Mubare in Buhoma and so far several have been habituated including Kyaguliro, Kahungye, Bweza, Rushegura, Mishaya, Busigye, Nkuringo, Oruzongo, Bitukura, Bikingi, Bushaho and the recent added habituated gorilla families Christmas and Katwe. The dense tropical forest is not only home to mountain gorillas but other wild life species like red tailed monkeys, forest elephants and bird species.

Mgahinga is yet another gorilla destination in Uganda with one habituated gorilla family, Nyakagezi spanning in the foot hills of Virunga ranges.

Volcanoes national park in Rwanda is reported to have more than 200 mountain gorillas. There are ten habituated gorilla families open for tracking. While virunga national park has 6 habituated gorilla families but due to civil and political unrest in Congo the gorilla tourism is on and off.

Cost of gorilla permits

Gorilla permits in Uganda are at 600 and 1500 dollars for gorilla tracking and gorilla habituation respectively, only 96 permits are issued per day per gorilla family, therefore permits need to be booked in advance not to miss out on this expedition.

In Rwanda a gorilla Permit is relatively priced at 1500 dollar and only 80 permits are issued per day, whereas Congo a gorilla permit is at 400 dollars.

How to get there

In Uganda, the travel time from Entebbe Airport to Bwindi takes approximately 9 to 10 hours by car however there are also charter flights available and will take about 1.5 hours

By contrast you can arrive in Kigali about 2 to 3 hrs drive to Bwindi or Mgahinga and explore the mountain gorillas. This proves to be the shortest route and an alternative to cut on the long distance journey.

In Rwanda the airport is within the city and about 2 hrs drive form the airport to volcanoes national park.

In Congo, the only alternative is to arrive in Kigali and transfer to Congo through Goma border.


The experience of exploring the three magical kingdoms is definitely not the same from price of gorilla permits, distance.

In Uganda , the rain forest has steep slopes, thick vegetation that you to go through the running water falls in such of the mountain gorillas makes it tough to hike  where as  in Rwanda due to the rainforest vegetation being thinner allows easier viewing and hiking however you require physical fitness.

Gorilla trekking is a magical encounter and should be highly thought of when a planning a safari, the feeling of finally meeting them in their natural environment runs to the tears of joy forgetting the hustle of hiking through slippery forest.

5 Religious Sites to Visit in Kampala

Kampala City Guide

Uganda is a country of the faithfuls! No wonder it is one of the few African countries that has the highest number of martyrs who died for their faith! Would you like to take a religious tour and see some of the highlights of the country? Here are the the 5 best religious sites to visit in Kampala, the Pearl of Africa.

Visit the Bahai Temple

Bahai Temple of Kampala

There are thousands of people in Uganda that practice the Bahai faith and there are only seven Bahai temples in the world. One of these temples is located on the outskirts of Kampala, on top of one of Kampala hills. You can walk through the beautiful gardens or get a short tour and information about the Bahai faith and other related information. It’s a very peaceful and serene environment with great views. Just pay a visit as long as you are in Kampala.

Saint Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe

The Saint Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe is another place of worship with a great view of the city of Kampala. Being the oldest cathedral in the city, Namirembe Cathedral is the regional cathedral of the Church of Uganda. The current building, which was constructed using bricks, is the fifth to be built, as previous structures were ruined. It is almost 100 years old and is held to be one of the most noteworthy places of worship in Africa.

Rubaga Cathedral (Saint Mary’s Cathedral)

There are many cathedrals and other places of worship in Kampala, and at least one is always included in visitors’ itinerary of things to do in Kampala. Rubaga Cathedral is located on one of Kampala’s original hills, Lubaga. It’s the base of the Catholic Church in Uganda. The Cathedral was built in the early 20th century, on land donated by the King of Buganda to missionaries and a Bishop. The views from the cathedral are amazing; the cathedral’s exterior and the building itself are very grand and well built. There’s also a statue of St. Mary in the front and a memorial to the first African Catholic bishop in Uganda.

Uganda National Mosque (the Gaddafi Mosque)

This mosque provides one of the best views of Kampala and is located on top of Kampala Hill. The building is huge and beautifully constructed with a winding staircase that brings you to the top of the prayer tower. It’s the biggest mosque in Kampala, accommodating up to 35,000 people in its main seating area, gallery and terrace. Visitors are allowed to tour and photograph the building. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi contracted to have it built and then gifted it to Uganda for use by the Muslims. The mosque was originally named after Gaddafi but was changed to Uganda National Mosque after his death.

Would you like to explore these amazing sites? Why not hire a car on self drive in Uganda and venture on your own through these historical sites.

A Visit to the Gorillas in Bwindi Forest

Bwindi Mountain Gorillas

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is one of the best parks in Africa. Located in South Western Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the four conservation areas protecting the endangered mountain gorillas. Gazetted in the 1990s, the park is host to half of the total remaining population of the mountain gorillas. The park provides a thrilling experience of gorilla trekking; a wonderful journey to see the endangered gorillas in the wild. The trek leads you through undulating hills and small-scale farmlands. It provides a memorable experience when you spend time in the jungle viewing varieties of primates, birds and the giant mountain gorillas.

One of the quintessential Uganda experiences is tracking the giant mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and nothing quite prepares you for the first glimpse of black fuzz amidst the dense foliage. The adrenaline kicks in when you’re up close to the imposing figure of a silver back pounding its chest and it’s all very Dian Fossey-like when curious babies peek through leaves and twist, turn and somersault for your entertainment. Gorilla permits will set you back a hefty US$700 but don’t think twice about forking out for this genuine once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Bwindi being a tropical rain forest will also provide an amazing experience to you all nature lovers.

Keep in mind that a portion of the fee goes to the park and gorilla conservation initiatives, helping to ensure these giant mountain gorillas survive. Also experience the beautiful and hospitality of the local community who showcase their culture.

Planning a Visit to the Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

  • In order to track the mountain gorillas, one need to secure gorilla permits. It is advisable to book your gorilla permits at least 3 months before tour desired tracking date. Remember gorilla permits are available year round but do sell out fast during the peak season. Many travelers book their permits a year in advance and some even reserve them 2 years before.
  • If you are looking to  a smooth travel experience, it is advisable to book your trip through a tour operator or travel agency. There are several companies that specialize in organizing gorilla safaris in Uganda and the neighboring countries of Rwanda and Congo (former Zaire). Some of the recommended tour operators include Go Gorilla Trekking, Gorilla Expeditions, Budget Gorilla Safaris and more.
  • When tracking the mountain gorillas, always follow the steps outlined by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, ORTPN or Virunga National Park. These rules are aimed at protecting the mountain gorillas and as well guide the experience of watching the mountain gorillas (Gorilla Tourism) so that it can be a win-win situation.
  • Remember children below 14 years are not allowed to track the mountain gorillas.

Best Places to See Gorillas & Chimpanzees

Mountain Gorillas in the Volcanoes

Uganda and Rwanda are the top destinations for mountain gorilla tracking and chimpanzee watching in Africa. Many tour operators and travel experts in Uganda or Rwanda offer tailor made tours in both countries.

There are a multitude of gorilla tracking tours but also design a mix of tour itinerary cutting across multiple interesting attractions in across both countries. Common safari trips take you to most visited parks including Bwindi forest, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Mgahinga National park, Kibale forest, Volcanoes national park and Nyungwe forest national park .The above parks offer excellent primate safari viewing platform leaving every traveler satisfied and happy.

However, tourists to the Rwandan Volcanoes and Mgahinga National Park get a chance to track the rare golden monkeys, spotted hyena, buffaloes, elephants and more not forgetting the different bird species. Today the wealth of tour adventures in both Uganda and Rwanda attract many tourists daily ready to discover the ultimate attractions of the region. All trips short or long create captivating memories that encourage more travel and demand for all tourist attractions and everything within the hospitality industry. As it’s known that tourists to Uganda and Rwanda come to trek chimps, gorillas and view wildlife. Though those interested in culture and history visit different cultural villages,projects and genocide sites that take a keen look into the country’s history.

Believe me or not Uganda and Rwanda safaris stay in memory forever and many travelers across the world have just started to know how amazing and great the two countries are. All tour packages are available year round and are customized to your specific needs. Also tour prices are very affordable and pocket friendly adjusted to individual budgets. Don’t hold your dream trip because you feel the money you have is too small for it at least there is something for everyone. Those on tight budgets can go in for short trips and still fulfill their travel dreams.

All you need to do is talking to your expert and clarifying your interest. The Backpacking option has always been the best for tight budget travelers and many tourists testify with inspiring return trip memories. Tour operators have first-hand knowledge and experience with all the destinations featured in different tour packages on their company websites. There are a many great tour operators in budget, midrange and luxury tour arrangements and turn every travel dream into memories.

All private, budget and group tours are organized depending on seasons and demand. Each holiday becomes complete when tourists confirm bookings and demand remains steep. Trip confirmations are made with a 50% total trip cost deposit and a confirmation of the tourist’s air ticket for scheduled particular dates of travel.

  • Sometimes tour agents request for passport details of travelers in order to verify the client’s true identity. It’s a common scenario to those on gorilla tracking tours either in Uganda or Rwanda.
  • Payment methods of trips are by credit card, master card, and debit card though some prefer using bank wire transfer system. However, even cash payments are allowed for travelers ready and able to visit their trip planner’s office.
  • Online website payment system has also made travel in East Africa easy because travelers just make payments any time from any corner of the world and later notify their trip planner.

But remember there are many scams online so first make good research about a particular trip planer before sending them money or any personal information. It’s time to plan ahead for next year’s great gorilla tracking tours in either Uganda or Rwanda.

Sip Nature’s Beauty at Sipi Falls

Sipi Falls of Eastern Uganda

The interesting difference between Sipi and Murchison Falls, in my opinion, is that of the two, Sipi is more accurately named. The thing about Murchison Falls is that the water there just doesn’t fall. It fights, froths, and foams its way through the rocks.

At Sipi, however, the water really does fall. The flow never touches the cliff at all, but simply drops, in a lacy, diaphanous veil, to crash into the pool at bottom, creating a constant fine mist in the process. It’s a beautiful, elegant ballerina, stretching top to toe a slender 100 meters; Murchison by comparison is a stocy, meaty beast, more awe-inspiring than mesmerizing.

And should you decide to visit this delicate aquatic ballerina, you could do worse than stay at the quaint and comfortable Lacam Lodge, along the road, from Mbale to Kapchorwa. The Lodge, constructed on the slopping cliff, is moderately-priced, with a relaxed wooden bar, and lots and lots of steps (which is good for the knees, but very bad if you need the toilet at 3:00am)

There are two main reasons why this place is so good, the first of which is the food. The quality is pretty good- I particularly enjoyed my honey pancake, though it would have gone down better hot- but the quantity is the real bonus, if eating is what you like to do. It’s the sort of place one would got to if one had just wandered out of the Sahara, where you could walk in on Monday rake-thin, and walk out on Tuesday heavy as a hippo.

On Sunday morning for breakfast, I was served up pineapple and banana for starters, then toast as a second course, and finally bacon, eggs, and sausage as the grand finale. I could quite happily have shared the meal between another two people and still left the table feeling satisfied.

The second reason for choosing Lacam is that it’s very convenient for abseiling, the location of which is only a five-minute walk from the lodge. Organized by a company inexplicably known as “Rob’s Rolling Rock”, I never saw Rob, or any rolling rocks – this is a must-do for those visiting the falls. You lower yourself rather scarily backwards over the 100-meter drop, suspended by a couple of ropes, and then basically lower yourself down by feeding one of your ropes through the harness.

The feeling about half-way to the bottom, when you look all around you and are basically hanging in mid-air, is particularly memorable. Intelligently, the site for the abseiling is also quite close to the falls themselves; not quite close enough for them to make you wet, but close enough. If you’re feeling energetic, you can also, from the base of Sipi, go on a three-hour or so tour of two other falls upstream – similar in appearance to Sipi- and “the cave”.

This last is a big fat cavern in the mountain, which is apparently filled with bats; however, you need to take your torch in there to see them, and do take one yourself. Guides, mine included, sometimes forget to bring a light themselves, which can be a bit of a pain.

Just the same, this place is still one of the best experiences I have had in Uganda, mainly because the abseiling and three-hour country trek appealed to my energetic side. Be warned of a couple of things though: the abseiling co, have not, as yet, got gloves as part of their kit, which can result in nasty burns as the rope zips through your palms. Second, don’t expect to be able to watch the falls as you eat your dinner, they are only visible from one point at the lodge, so they are usually heard, rather than seen.

The Ssese Islands, a Place to Go and Relax anytime of the Year

Ssese Islands

Journey to the Kalagala Island
Boarding a ferry at Nakiwongo, Entebbe, enjoying a 3:30 hour’s cruise to the Ssese Islands (made of 84 islands) one of uganda’s islands full of beautiful green environment with fresh air and white sand beaches.
The hours on the ferry seemed shorter as one could be taken away by the nice breezes on the ferry.

Maybe brief about where and what time to board a ferry.
Nakiwongo is about 2km from Kitolo, Entebbe town and fee for the ferry is 10,000 shs (2nd class) and 14,000shs (1st class).  The ferry leaves at exactly 2:00pm so you MUST be there atleast 30minutes before departure.
Oooh incase you want more adventure, you can drive upto Masaka – Bukakata (about 145 – 165Km) and take the 4pm ferry. Though to be in Kalalagala will take you around 40-50minutes.

Staying at the Island
Ssese Island is rapidly growing with a number of mushrooming beautiful resort beaches at very much affordable cost.  Truth be told, Uganda is a leading country with very much hospitable, welcoming and friendly people and this was very much shown at the Island. I was well received and taken to my resort where I was to camp for 2 nights.

The place I did stay in (Mirembe Resort Beach) had beautiful natural surroundings that were full of sounds of different species that made sweet melodies all night.
After refreshing myself I immediately embarked on my personal favorite meal that is Matooke, a WHOLE BIG FISH that was served with salads. I could not resist taking it with a cold beer (just one by the way!!). This gave me a feel of relaxation, stress free, away from my computer, phones and ofcourse the noise in the city.

Nature or Forest walks
My next day was more adventurous, fun and a lot to learn from. I did request the people at the resort to help me get someone who could show me around the island. And guess what ………… after a few minutes I was introduced to a very knowledgeable tour guide TOMSON.

We started our journey from the Fishing village then headed for the forest. It’s a very beautiful think green forest with a variety of different tree species, lots birds of different species (African Fish Eagle), small insects…….. oooh yes the red aunties couldn’t miss the party (ofcourse a few managed to bite me) but  I could care less …………. I was enjoying.

The seasonal streams that are only created usually after rainy season could not stop to amaze me. The forest we did move in occupies around 3 square miles ofcourse with few patches of squatters mainly palm tree and small scale farmers.

My nature walk did end in the uphill side where the kalagala town is located. It is still very much quiet town with bodabodas (motorcyclists) being the mojor transport within the island. I moved around for about 4hours, it was worth it. You can imagine I did not even cover quarter of the island. Tomson told me I could only do that if we actually included driving around. So just imagine what you can do if you had a car!

Sunday morning was time to pack my bags and head back home on an 8:00am cruise. It was worth it and tell you what I have come back home as very changed and much focused person. As a Ugandan, am so glad I did that tour.
So any day you very like getting out town and you are looking for a place to go to, The Ssese Islands will be a good choice.

Oooh do not forget to bring me a BIG FISH on your way back to Kampala……… hahahahahha!

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