Rent A Car In Uganda : Have A Self Drive Safari In The Country.

Hiring a car in Uganda with an ambition of touring the country independently is a tremendous vacation medley especially for families with children. Below you’ll find information as to why you should opt to hire or rent a car in Uganda on self drive basis than being escorted on your vacation since it is easy to commute between major towns and more.

Why Rent a Car in Uganda?

Renting a car means you can be more elastic with your travel plans. You can stop at places you didn’t know that they existed in Uganda, filled with farfetched beauty and you can also make a quick withdrawal if a destination isn’t quite what you expected. It’ll also save you money since you will save the money which you would have spent on the guide/driver. Renting a small car (Rav4) with full insurance will cost around 50USD per day [the insurance is meant only for the car].

Uganda is among the few African countries with roads which are well maintained, though at certain instances you need a 4WD vehicle. Gas (petrol) is readily available at reasonable intervals along the roads and most of gas stations are open 24hrs.

A variety of excellent accommodation can be found throughout the country and there’s plenty of opportunity to camp at well maintained sites. You’ll find car rental companies represented in every major town, so you don’t have to backtrack if you don’t want to. With affordable domestic flights you can easily fly in and around the country.

People who are planning to spend more than just a few weeks driving around Uganda may be better off actually buying a car and then selling it back. Drive Africa has a guaranteed buyback program that will give you a good start on your research into this option.

There are several companies that specialize in organizing self-drive itineraries. But none has so far surpassed 4X4 Uganda Car Hire. They will book your accommodation for you, and usually you will have a choice as to what type of accommodation you would like. They meet and greet at the airport and facilitate you getting your rental car, they’ll provide route maps and other useful information. This is a good option if you don’t have the time to research your itinerary yourself. It’s also a good idea to book your accommodation in advance especially during the months of December and January.

There are various tips that one ought to abide by when self driving in Uganda in order to have an accident free and non hazardous drive around the country and below are the most striking ones; Navigate South Africa’s roads safely.

Driving is on the left hand side of the road in Uganda (so cars are right hand drive)

Seat belts must be worn by every car occupant but much emphasis is majorly put on front seat passengers

No cell phone use is allowed while driving

Average speeds are 35mph (60km/h) in built up areas, 75 mph (120 km/h) on the open roads and  40 km/hr in national parks.

All road signs are in English

All distances are in km’s

A traffic light is called a “robot”

Always lock your car when you park it and never leave valuables in the car as they can entice passers onto vandalizing your car.

Car guards will pop up to help keep your parked car safe, a tip of a few dollars is much welcome is expected

Keep your windows up and doors locked when you stop at a traffic light, especially in towns and cities and street children can prove to be a menace.

You’ll need a valid driver’s license if your license is not in English, you will need to get an International drivers license

You have to have had a driver’s license for 5 years to rent a car in South Africa

Avoid driving at night if you can and please don’t drink and drive

 

Experience Rwanda on a Self Drive Tour

You can easily experience Rwanda with a self drive car from one of the reputable agencies in Rwanda. There are lots of options for self drive in Rwanda that can be tailored to your requirements and interests. We arrange your rental car, 4×4 hire, pre-book your accommodation and provide you with directions so you can sit back and enjoy your African holiday without having to worry about any administration. Our experienced team of travel consultants is happy to help you modify a self-drive holiday to accommodate your preferences or requirements and our itineraries can be extended or shortened to suit you arrival and departure dates.

Self drive Rwanda has in depth industry knowledge and a wealth of first hand travel experience. Rwanda is our backyard and each part of your self-drive itinerary has been specifically chosen for its attractive combination of charm and quality at a reasonable price. Our trained team of travel consultants can assist in tailoring your perfect African Safari Holidays where independent mobility presents an ever-changing landscape of scenery and experiences.

With its first world infrastructure and clearly sign-posted roads, Rwanda is a comfortable and safe holiday option for self drive tours. It is also important to note that most of the country is covered by cell phone reception so communication is no problem. Rwanda has something for everyone.

Self drive Rwanda can create various self drive holiday package options where we book your accommodation, arrange your car hire and provide you with directions before you set out on your adventures. The whole idea is to take the hassle out of your holiday and to make your stay one to remember.

hire with Rwanda self drive

Rwanda has some of the most magnificent landscapes which are unique and the country has good roads with many tourism attractions like National parks including Volcanoes National Park which is known for the endangered mountain gorillas. Rwanda Self drive is an excellent option for large families, solo travellers, couples, not only is it more affordable, but it also offers the most excellent services.

self-drive tour holidays

Some people like to wander at will, exploring new places every day. Some enjoy a trip without no worries about making hotel reservations as they travel. And then other people like a trip where they do not need to drive. It is up to you. However, if this is your first visit to Rwanda do consider hiring a car with the driver guide as an introduction to the country before heading out on your own. Explore Rwanda with Rwanda self drive you will never regret.

Travelling in the developing countries like Rwanda, it is necessary to have at least a rough itinerary in mind before you set off. This will allow you to check out likely travel times, potential delays, whether there will be somewhere to stay each night etc. Its all too easy in African countries to find that journey times takes much longer than you anticipated , especially in rainy season meaning you run out of time and don’t get to visit all the places you were aiming for.

When planning for self drive trip in African countries, you change plans following pre-trip research which has revealed that it would be impossible to cover the distance You had planned in the time available. Enough research is necessary before setting off for your journey to a void being stack in the field or in the Villages.

moving with cash and cards

In case you plan to travel in less developed countries, you need to consider how you’ll pay for things on your travels. In many African Countries, you are un able to pay for things like petrol, hotels and meals by credit card. Also don’t assume that ATM Cash dispensers will work. Usually make sure you carry enough local currency to cover necessities for at least a couple of days. Again carry large denomination US dollars or Euros which can be changed in emergencies. This will save you from panicking that the near by ATM machine in the next dusty town won’t be functioning.

Spread out your foreign currency. Don’t put it in one place, put some in your bag, in a non obvious place like your wash bag or in a shoe, and the majority in a hiding place such as money belt with a zipped compartment. Carry some small denomination local currency notes separate to the bulk of your local cash.When paying for some thing, use the small denomination that you put near and a void showing off your full wealthy. make sure you always have enough cash to cover you until the next town where you’re sure there will be a bank and/ or a couple of ATM s.

driving in different countries

In Africa some countries, use right hand side and others use left hand side of driving.Currently around 66% of the worlds population live in countries which drive on the right side of the road, usually (but not always) in vehicles with the drivers seat on the left.

There are 76 countries, territories and dependencies which drive on the left.There are numerous theories as to why some countries drive on the left and some on the right. Though no one knows the exact reasons for sure, it seems likely that travelling on the left of the road became the obvious choice in ancient times.Rwanda uses right hand side of driving and Uganda uses left hand of driving. Therefore, when you hire with self drive Rwanda make sure you have an international driving permit and ready to keep right.

driving in rwanda

In Rwanda, main Roads are in a surprisingly ‘not too bad’ condition.When you leave the main roads, conditions become a bit different, particularly in the rainy season of March-July and September-November. Since some times rain is un predictable, 4×4 wheel drive is necessary for safaris and self drive tours.You should also avoid driving out of the main towns at night as it is un safe to drive at night in a foreign country. Take care after dark within cities, avoiding small roads and areas where other traffic is light. Expect plenty of army/police road blocks which may involve a vehicle search.

before you confirm

You need to decide whether self drive is for you, or whether you’re going to go for a fully guided safari experience with a driver. The benefits of having a guide are really around that person’s experience and knowledge of the bush and the specific area they’re operating in. That’s why when planning for a safari in Rwanda book with self drive Rwanda which is known to provide good services with experienced guides.

Our guides can also provide you with a lot of detail on all tourism destinations in Rwanda, and many will be in contact with other guides so can be updated on where particular wildlife has been spotted. This will make your trip a memorable.

Another thing to do is to research on the particular area you’ll be visiting. You need to do that before you even consider renting a vehicle as requirements can vary greatly between countries and even between National Parks within countries. For instance, Check the availability and the requirements for the destinations, like for the case of Gorilla tracking in Rwanda, you need to be free of any diseases which can be transferred to the apes and you need to be physically feet.

Do a lot of readings before you begin to make reservations. Bear in mind that conditions will vary a lot between wet and dry seasons too. Visit travel forums like lonely planet, trip advisor and get enough information. There are also some good independent sites providing advice on most safari areas in Africa.

Before setting off for your journey, always confirm the car rental booking again. Drop an email to your contact and re-confirm the date and time they’ll be dropping the car off, the total price, the car rental insurance terms and how you’ll be paying them. Also ask if they can provide a contact number for you to call in case of any problem. Make sure you read carefully the rules and regulation of the car hire.

Discover Uganda’s Mountain Gorillas

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to track mountain gorillas? Few wildlife-spotting experiences are comparable to tracking mountain gorillas. With movement, behaviour and physical characteristics that at times seem unbelievably close to our own, this endangered species is a joy to see living in the wild. Due to how few mountain gorillas are left across the entire planet, Uganda ranks as one of the very best places to see them; indeed, it houses approximately half of the world’s population.

Incredibly, this is concentrated in just one of Uganda’s 20 nature parks and reserves – Bwindi National Park. The rarity of both the animal and the experience make mountain gorillas the best-known reason to visit Uganda, however, you will concur with me that there is a lot to see in Uganda than the gorillas.

Uganda is a wealth of natural attractions and its astonishing array of wildlife today and the purpose of this Account is to highlight some of the key factors that portray Uganda as the number one tourist destination in the region and such key areas include; where to go, what to see, how to have the best experience – and what tracking mountain gorillas is really like.

“There’s only one place in Uganda to see the mountain gorilla, and that’s Bwindi National park. This Unesco World Heritage Site is situated in the west of the country on the edge of the Great Rift Valley. Remarkably, with its approximately 320 mountain gorillas, it is home to roughly half the species’ entire population.

The park has four main areas where travelers go for gorilla safaris in Bwindi: Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo. Home to the bulk of the park’s accommodation and certainly the easiest from which to track mountain gorillas, Buhoma is the focal point. This section of the reserve houses three habituated gorilla groups and they are comfortable with human proximity.

Explaining how the tracking works, you usually go out in groups of eight tourists, trekking for between one and six hours to find the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. What’s particularly exciting is that all visits are unique.

It’s very variable what kind of sighting you’re going to get. You can’t tell. Sometimes the group is moving through the forest, so you follow them as they move. And sometimes they’re just in one place. Sometimes you’re in a bit of a clearing, which is really good for photography, and sometimes you’re underneath the forest canopy, so it can be quite dark and groups will usually have one silverback male, and a number of females and babies.

You are allowed to stay with the gorillas, watching them play, eat, swing through the trees or simply sit for an hour – an unforgettable and moving experience. Of course, actually getting to them is something of an experience in itself, involving treks through dense rainforest. For the most part you will travel along paths, these tend to undulate and be quite uneven underfoot. In some instances, your scout may need to forge a fresh path through the foliage using a machete, imbuing the experience with an even more adventurous hue.

It is normally advisable that you discuss your level of fitness and mobility with the park headquarters, so they can place you on the most appropriate trek. Indeed, provided they have sufficient notice of special conditions, such as wheelchair use, they can accommodate virtually anyone, making the rare and wonderful experience of gorilla trekking tremendously accessible.

You will find a similar flexibility awaits you when it comes to accommodation. Buhoma offers everything from four and five-star lodges to tented camps, so you can select something that best suits you. Wherever you decide to stay, don’t forget that there is more to see here than mountain gorillas alone. The park’s boundaries have more than 100 species of mammal and over 300 birds species within them, including Albertine Rift endemics, which can only be found in this particular part of Uganda.

Part of what makes Uganda such a wonderful place for wildlife spotting is its incredible array of national parks and reserves, which shelter an even greater array of animals; everything from baboons and buffalos to giraffes and antelope can be seen in this exciting country.

How to Save Gas on a Self Drive in Uganda

Usually searching and finding a great deal on Uganda car hire is an easy way, just getting into the google search engine and type any of your preferred key words like car rental Uganda, car hire Uganda or self drive in Uganda. whichever your purpose maybe, Google will bring you number of many car rental agencies and you will easily connect with them until you are behind the wheels for your trip. But the real question lies on getting a good deal and on how much you save on the gas.

Many of the car rental agencies usually give out suv cars and at max the Toyota landcruisers or maybe the vans for the self drive. The (RAV 4) Recreational Active vehicles are the most common self drive cars offered for self drive. These cars hold a 60litre tank which full tank will take you about 650-700kms depending on the nature of driving and terrain. To make a good deal out of your car rental as far as gas is concerned, some things have to be noted and followed before you set off for your adventure/trip.

Tank fill up. If you intend to travel many mile or kilometres in and around Uganda, its always advisable to fill up tank at any petro station you come across. Keeping the tank full gives you the clear distance coverage to wherever you go. During acceleration with few gas, the engine struggles with the few remaining gas to get it going and there by consuming a lot.

Filling up at approved fuel stations. Fuel stations around the country have different prices displayed on the sales boards. Usually fuel stations in towns and cities seem to be cheaper than upcountry stations. It is advisable to fill up at each town you come across. The difference in the 100ug sh or more in the prices per litre will save you a big on the fuel budget.

Acceleration. The nature of driving will determine the amount of gas consumed. Always consider average acceleration that wont leave your car rental struggling for the gas fueled up. The average acceleration will take you an average distance at an average gas consumption. Over accerelation actually leaves your car overworked and using unnecessary gas. This will make a good deal for your car rental on self drive adventure trip.

Air condition. Switching on the air condition actually increases the work load for the engine. The more the engine is loaded, the more energy it requires to keep it running. Therefore the gas consumption will increase equivalently. It is recommended to use the air condition where necessary like in dusty places and turn it off when clear. A little mirrors down will give you a more comfortability and still save you lots of gas.

Luggage.A very recommendable idea to avoid carrying a lot of luggage in the car boot.The more the vehicle is packed up, the more the gas it uses. Pack what is necessary and if you are going for a camping trip, avoid stocking up lots of food in the car and buy in the markets and groceries anywhere around the country. This all will make your self drive gas saving a deal.

Rack. Avoiding a car rack on top of your car rental vehicle is a good idea to save gas on your trip. The car rack on your vehicle exerts a lot of pressure and drags the car down. That in turn creates more frictional pull between the tyres and the road. A more resistance in movement is created and thgis requires more acceleration to maintain the speed. This in all increases the gas consumption. So doing away with the rack will do you a great deal with gas consumption.

Engine check. Most of the cars bought in Uganda and hired out by many car rental agencies for self drive are usually used cars bought from japan. They are in good working conditions and almost look new. It is however to keep a check on the engine every morning, the engine oil and water levels in the radiator. When the water levels are down, the car works a lot on gas energy and this requires lots of gas. Low water and engine oil levels could make the car to heat up and that’s more gas consumption.

Tyre pressure. It is a very recommended idea to always check the tyre pressure of your car rental. Usually balancing 40-45 front and behind respectively, will create an average friction for easy acceleration. The less the pressure in the car tires, the more friction on the ground and the more the gravitational pull.So checking and keeping the pressure averagely will give you a good deal with your gas budget.

Planning a Uganda Safari

Have you ever thought of having a unforgettable moment in life? Have you ever dreamed of going to Africa to see a real safari? Do you want to see over 352 out of 700  surviving  mountain  gorillas that live in Uganda plus other species of flora and fauna coupled with over 9 species of primates that live in Uganda  such as chimpanzee? Taking a gorilla safari in Uganda is truly a once in a lifetime experience that you will enjoy and memorize through out your life. However, for every successful safari adventure, you need to make sure that you do it right.

Choosing the Right Tour Operator

To organize a memorable safari in Africa, you will need to work with a company that plans safari vacations for people.  There are several Uganda tour Companies that have experts in organizing trip vacations. These tour operation businesses commonly referred to as “tours and travel” specialize in various offering different safaris in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.

Each tour operator has their own unique and special discoveries for you to enjoy.From common safari trails to uniquely created new adventure trails, there are endless options to choose from.

Tour Offers

There are many safari options available for a traveler interested in discovering Uganda. These include the popular gorilla safaris, wildlife safaris, chimpanzee trekking tours, rafting adventures etc. You can also decide to create a tailor made trip that will include different interests.

Top Things to See

There are lots of things to do and see in Uganda. The most popular things to see and do include;

  • Would you like to see the mountain gorillas in Africa? Take a gorilla trek to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. In Uganda, you are sure to see some of the giant silver back dominating the other gorillas by pounding their chest in the middle of the beautiful, unspoiled rainforest.
  • Do not forget to drive through the Ishasha Region to see the unique tree climbing lions that are found in only Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is common that these lions can be seen up in the trees sitting gracefully on the fig tree branches with no care in the world.
  • Visit the Source of the Nile in Jinja
  • Take short excursions to Jinja, Kampala or Entebbe
  • Trek to the top of the Magherita Peak on the famed mountains of the moon in Western Uganda.

Whether you want to spend two days exploring Bwindi Gorilla Forest National Park or four days at Murchison Park Falls, traveling along the Nile you are sure to have an amazing vacation and stories to tell. Be sure to visit us for more information about your safari vacation and you sure wont regret it.

Rwanda Launches New Festival ‘NYANZA TWATARAMYE’

Rwanda’s tourism is growing fast thanks to the creative stakeholders in its tourism industry. Renowned mostly for mountain gorillas, Rwanda is not only the best destination for gorilla safaris but also for an amazing cultural encounter with the local African people. If you would like to interact with the locals, learn about the culture of the African people, Rwanda is fast becoming a favorite destination to travelers. After successfully promoting the Kwita Izina, a gorilla naming ceremony held in July, the country is yet to launch another festival on the 26th, December, 2014.

The Nyanza District, home to some of the country’s most impressive historical and cultural sites from the past kingdom, has partnered with the National Institute for Museums and others to launch a culture festival held for the first time this year on Boxing Day, 26th of December. The Rwesero Art Museum has been selected as the venue for the inaugural event which will become part of Rwanda’s annual calendar of festivals.

There are several things that are to be showcased to travelers from traditional songs, poetry, art and crafts, etc. At the centre, tourists will learn about the traditional food preparations, live stock grazing, milking and other daily activities engaged in by the Rwandan people which will form the core of the various activities for the day, aimed to bring closer the country’s rich history to not only tourists but also the present day generation. The festival targets not only foreign tourists but also Rwandans as well as visitors from Eastern Africa. Tourists traversing the country can use this opportunity to stop by and enjoy some of the performances.

Rwanda’s tourism industry and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has in recent years diversified their offerings, from what once was an almost exclusive gorilla tracking destination to include the country’s two other national parks, Akagera and Nyungwe Forest, the 224 kilometre long Congo Nile Trail from Kamembe to Gisenyi, which runs along some of the country’s most scenic sites along Lake Kivu, bird watching areas, the National Museums and of course the annual naming of gorilla babies, Kwita Izina.

For more information about Destination Rwanda click on www.rwandatourism.com

An Unforgettable Gorilla Expedition in Bwindi

I don’t say it lightly when I say that Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the most beautiful place I have ever visited. The jungle, the misty mountains, the people, and the gorillas make it an amazing place to be.

We stayed in the town of Buhoma, which is just about 10 meters outside of the National Park. We spend a lovely few days there hanging out with the locals and buying cheap but very well-carved, souvenirs, visiting orphanages and watching them sing, dance, and drum, and of course the mountain gorillas was an experience unmatched in nature for me. I treasured every second that I was there.

This is a good experience with the mountain gorillas. I have visited the mountain gorillas myself; you must visit them as stated here. If you need to compare prices and costs and make a decision as to which country to visit the gorillas (Rwanda or Uganda), read this comprehensive article on organizing a gorilla trekking safari in Africa.

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.

Oruzogo gorilla group is located in Ruhija together with Bitukura, and Kitaguriro (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, Katooto (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.

Discover Mabira Forest

Mabira Forest of Uganda

If you are thinking of taking an ecotour to an exotic location, you should take a Uganda safari to the Mabira Forest, a tropical rain forest home to vast flora and fauna. You may wonder what beauty Uganda has to even persuade the late Winston Churchill to name it the pearl of Africa. There are just a number of reasons as to why tourists opt to make safaris to this great nation. Among the reasons is the huge natural collection of trees confined in a place known as Mabira forest.

Mabira forest is a tropical rain forest located in Buikwe district between Jinja and Lugazi covering an area of about 300 square miles (30000 hectares, 74000 acres) and has been protected as a forest reserve (a home of many endangered species). If i talk about eco- tourism in Uganda, then believe me am talking about Mabira forest. It’s just the place to answer all your pending questions about Uganda’s nature. The word mabira or “amabira” meaning a series of many trees. The forest is under a community organization known as mabira forest integrated community organization (MAFICO).

There is an eco-tourism site located half a kilometer from the main highway after Najjembe trading Centre on a murrum road that leads you to the site.

Attractions

Forest trees

Since it is a forest, what do you expect to first land your eyes on? Of course these are the trees. But when you look at them, they may seem alike but it’s just a collection of various species like the Cordia Millenii, Melilla Exclesa, and the Warbhugia Ugandenesis that are prominent for curing various infections.Some of these trees are medicinal plants and local herbalists frequent the forest to get medicine. There are also vulnerable Prunus Africana which is said to be a good healer of Prostate Cancer and boosting the Human Immune System, the common mahogany and Mivule can’t also miss your eyes. However, there are both hardwood and soft wood tree species and you can just be able to differiciate them with the help of an informed and professional site guide.

Spectacular birds.

If you only thought that a tropical rainforest like mabira can only harbor trees, then you are mistaken because you will be surprised to hear and see the beautiful singing birds on the trees. You won’t miss to have a watch of some of the 315 species of birds like the Nahan’s Francolin, Cassin Hawk Eagle, Forest Wood hoope, Purple throated Cuckoo, Tit Hylia, Red Headed Blue Bill, Black bellied Seed Cracker, Shining Blue Kingfisher, White bellied Kingfisher and Blue headed Crested Monarch .Some of these species can only be seen and viewed in this dark forest and nowhere else. These are all seen while on a nature walk with the company of a well trained guide.

Animal species.                                                                                        

Besides the above, you can also have yourself a look at the popular monkeys that are the most prominent ones to be seen among the 23 small mammal species in the forest. These are seen hunting for their prey, playing and swinging on the tress a way one can describe as appreciating your visit to their home stead.

Griffin falls.

As you are still trailing through the forest viewing the birds, trees, and animals, you may also get a nature call of the griffin falls, a small fall in the middle of the forest resulting into small water streams that peruse through the forest. Other attractions include butterflies cropping up to 218 species and the 97 species of moths.

Activities in the forest.

The forest is a condusive place for forest nature walks covering up to 68kms on well-designed trails. While on these walks, one gets an opportunity to watch the birds, animals and all other wonders with in the forest.

Mountain biking is also another magnificent sport with in the forest where you can ride on a mountain bike and explore the rugged terrain of the forest. However, you are advised to have experience and skills in the sport.

Environmental education and research that is mainly common among students specializing in environmental studies, tourism among other related conservation programs.

Camping and picnics, butterfly identification, primate watching are among the other activities one shouldn’t miss while at the forest.

Accommodation.

This is also part of the experience in the forest because there are three bandas that can accommodate at least 10 people at the eco-tourism site near Najjembe trading center. Mabira forest lodge and rainforest lodge is also at your service.

A Safari to Murchison Falls National Park

A Safari to Murchison falls national park

Driving towards the northern side of Uganda via the luweero triangle is Murchison falls, Uganda’s largest national park covering an area of about 3840 square kilometers and the home to almost all the big cats, elephants, buffalos, antelopes among other animals. Located in the albertine rift valley where the beautiful bunyoro escarpment meets the doted savanna. Its Uganda’s oldest conservation area since it was first gazzetted as a game reserve and later to a national park. Its home of over 76 species of mammals and over 451 bird species.

Areas of interest with in the park.

Murchison falls.

These falls are comprised of a war between the rocks and water. The waters violently penetrate through a very narrow gorge spraying their droplets of about a 50metre radius. This creates a very nice looking rainbow over the battlefield. From the baker point on the southern side, you can also get glance at the Nile splitting into the small uhuru falls that was created in 1962 when the river burst its banks. At this point you just appreciate that nature is the only thing should not even be tampered with.

Paraa

The word paraa means “home of the hippo” in the Luo language and this is the parks hub. All the access roads of the park just converge here. Several accommodations are located here, a small museum and a gift shop is also located here and most game drives, nature walks and launch trips start or commence here. All along if you have been wondering where you can view all the hippos behavior, paraa is just the place to be at the Murchison falls national park.

Karuma falls

Located in Chobe the north eastern side of the park, these charming water falls of the Victoria Nile are made up of a series of rocks which cause the waters to ripple making them look in a foamy white appearance. It is really an ideal spot for sport fishing. For the honey mooners, oh my God, guess what awaits you, it is one of Africa’s most beautiful and spectacular lodges, The chobe lodge. This is just a magnificent experience and you just can’t miss it.

Kaniyo pabidi forest

In the southern side of the park, is this small amazing forest that harbors the coloubus type of monkeys, olive baboons and a habituated chimp group which can be tracked. The great elephants and the leopards are also very frequent visitors to the forest including the beautiful birds like the chocolate backed kingfisher, white thorned horn bill and the puvel’silladopis that is found nowhere else in the whole of east Africa. The forest also has a campsite for camping, forest walks and good bird watching.

Rabongo forest

Surrounded by grasslands, the forest is a good place where most birders have their paradise, with the endangered species of birds. The visitors can also enjoy camp fires and relaxation on the banks of the waringo river.

Buligi game tracks

Lying between the Albert and the Victoria Nile, it’s one of the Murchison’s popular safari destinations covering an area of about 120 to 170 km in length. The tracks try to pass though the savanna grassland, acacia and the river rine vegetation. Most of the parks wildlife can be viewed here most especially in the early morning and the early evening hours

River Nile

The meaning stills comes out that it’s the longest river on the planet because you can view its source in jinja but still find on its way to the Mediterranean at Murchison falls. The boat cruise along the river is the greatest experience for the nature lovers when they have a great view of the mammal, birds, reptiles and the guided nature walks.

However, unlike other parks, Murchison falls also has got some areas of attraction outside the park and they are also worthy to pay a visit to for example the budongo forest that harbors almost 800 chimpanzees and a variety of beautiful birds. Forest walks are very possible at busingiro eco-tourism site on the masindi-bugungu route to Murchison falls national park. The olive baboon is also another attraction that are common along the road routes. Please make sure that your car windows are closed if you don’t want to loose your spicy lunch to these funny creatures. You will not also miss the savanna dwelling patas monkey is also found here.

Activities with in the park

Launch trips

The launch trip that starts at paara gives you an astonished and wonderful experience where you have to have a frontal view of the falls. The launch mainly departs at 9am and 2pm daily and takes three hours. And for the birders, the morning cruise downstream the Nile delta provides the best chance to view the African shoe bill and the return gives you a fantastic view of the hippos, elephants and the birds.

Sport fishing

On the banks of the Nile below the Murchison falls, a memorable experience of sport fishing is also awaiting you and you will get a chance to see the Nile perch that go as heavy as even 100kilogrammes. The fishing is permitted in the designated places and your required to book before and come with your own equipment and also secure a permit from the Uganda wildlife authority.

Chimpanzee tracking and habituation

At the kaniyo pabidi, you will also get chance to track theses close relatives of man. The track takes about 3 to 4 hours and it is limited to a group of visitors and takes about a period of one hour watching these chimps play, eat and interact. This is just also a memorable experience at the park.

Game drives

Along the buligi tracks, you will also be able to view all the animals on your way like the lions, reedbuck, bushbuck, buffalos, giraffes, duikers. With the help of the guides, you will even be able to spot the leopards at dusk. They mainly start in the morning and the afternoons.

Birding

Both the game drives and the launch trips can make you able to view the various species of the birds in the park. The commonest species found in the albertine region include the Abyssinian ground hornbill, black bellied bastards,open billed storks, widow birds among others, closer to the river, you can also be able to have a glance at the malachite king fishers, francolins,hornbills,woodpeckers,cukoos. However the park’s main birding attraction is the shoebill that is best sighted in the dry season from January to march.

Other activities include the nature walks and hiking in the Budongo forest outside the park and the Rabongo forest, bush camping and the Mubako cultural campfire performances among other activities

The accommodation is also a memorable and astonishing experience at one of Africa’s most beautiful lodges known as the chobe lodge, the paraa safari lodge is also another place that is a must to be.

Gorilla Tracking in Mgahinga National Park

Home to mountain gorillas, Mgahinga National Park is one of the best places to go gorilla tracking in Africa. Located in South western Uganda, the park has a diverse collection of tourism activities, though gorilla tracking stands out as the most popular adventure. The park also offers incredible opportunities for bird watching and golden monkey tracking yet the nearby 3 volcanoes offer great opportunities for hiking.

With Uganda hosting about 400 mountain gorillas, half  the world’s total population, Mgahinga National park is one of the two places where a visitor is guaranteed to have a glance at the endangered species. Though the gorillas of Mgahinga were known to be good nomads, at times moving to the Rwanda side, today the Nyakagezi gorilla group offers opportunities to adventure seekers to visit and the watch the endangered giants in the wild. For those looking for unique experiences on a Uganda Safari,  a visit to Mgahinga National Park is a rewarding adventure that you should not miss.

The Nyakagezi Gorilla Group

Nyakagezi group size: 10 individuals including 1 silverback

Nyakagezi Gorilla Group is the only habituated gorilla group in Mgahinga forest. The group is led by Mark, the dominant Silverback, who likes travelling and keeps on crossing borders between Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – therefore, Nyakagezi group keeps on rotating from Mgahinga forest to Volcanoes bamboo forest and to Virunga National park. Over the past few years however, the group has been stable and they are trying to settle on the Ugandan side since November 2012, and are likely to stay for a while. In May 2013 when a newborn baby gorilla arrived, increasing the group to 10 members- the number of gorillas goes on increasing as they go on multiplying. To that note therefore, Mgahinga forest National park is expected to get more Gorilla groups in near future- we expect splits from Nyakagezi group.

Due to quite unpredictable behavior and movements, permits for this group can only be booked at the ground at the ground – however, the Uganda Wildlife Authority through the Mgahinga ranger guide, gives updated information about the availability or absence of Nyakagezi gorilla group in Uganda.

To read more about Mgahinga National park, visit www.mgahinganationalpark.com, one of the best places in Africa to see the mountain gorillas.