Water Rafting in Uganda

 

 

 

Water Rafting in Uganda

Water rafting in Uganda : is a recreational outdoor activity which uses an air-filled raft to navigate a river or other water bodies. This is commonly done on white water or different degrees of rough water, dealing with risk and need for team work is often part of the experience. Water rafting on certain sections of the river is considered as an extreme sport and can be fatal. While other sections are not extremely difficult however, it’s a great competitive sport that teaches one how to remain calm under great pressure.

In Uganda the source of the Nile is one of the most spectacular white-water rafting destination and a rafting trip is the highlight of your visit. The rapids are graded from 1-5 which become stronger with increase in the grading, this needs holding your selves tightly to avoid tripping off due to the strong forces by the rapids. Families are given an opportunity to go for the slower family trip by enjoying the river so as to avoid the main rapids. This gives a chance to see a lot of bird species such as swamp flycatcher, African dusky fly catcher, Bronze tailed starling, Buff bellied warbler etc and to swim in calm stretches of water. This is an interesting activity that each one of you should not miss out.

In Uganda, there are three most reputable rafting companies and these include; the Nile River Explores, Nalubale Rafting and Adrift, all are equal in terms of professionalism and pricing, with an outstanding emphasis on safety (all rafting trips are accompanied by a fleet of rescue kayaks and a safety boat). The price ranges $145-$255 and you are oriented about the

Equipments used in water rafting

  • Paddles
  • Oarlocks
  • Life jackets
  • Pins & clips
  • Strong helmets

Sectors in Murchison Falls National Park

 

 

Sectors in Murchison Falls National Park

Sectors in Murchison Falls National Park : The park consists of many gates which are situated in the different sections of park which help you to access the park using different routes and different regions. Murchison falls National Park has the most magnificent attraction and that is the spectacular Murchison falls. Murchison falls is a great attraction in the park and a center for most activities in the park such as launch cross to the bottom of the falls, hiking to the top of the falls, Murchison falls is more magnificent coz it creates a trade mark rain bow and thunderous sounds as it makes a way through hard rocks to form a waterfall.

Northern sector entrance

Chobe gate:

Is situated in near pakwach 2kilometers north at karuma bridge and it is accessed from both parara and kavuma.

Wankar gate:

Situated 10 kilometers off the main road near purongo sector.

Tangi gate:

Situated 110 kilometers from Kara bridge, this gate is accessed through Para region and using this gate to get to Murchison falls National park you have to cross river Nile using a ferry.

Mubako gate:

Accessed crossing the Nile River using Karuma falls bridge which is reached using kio-pakwach road.

Southern sector

Kichumbanyobo gate:

Accessed by a route in kaniyo pabiau forest through Masindi town. This forest is situated in the south region of Murchison fall National Park and the gate is situated 85 kilometers from Masindi town.

Bungungu gate:

Situated 135kilometers from Masindi the largest town near the park, getting to bungungu gate is a longer route through the most magical and adventurous route as it passes through Budongo forest on this route you also get spectacular views of Congo Mountain, rift valley and shores of Lake Albert.

 

 

 

Gorilla permits in Uganda

 

 

Gorilla permits in Uganda

Gorilla permits in Uganda : Uganda wildlife Authority (UWA) announced with effective from 1st July 2020, the gorilla permit price for Uganda is set to increase from USD600 to USD700 for foreign non- residents and USD600 for foreign residents in East Africa. For East African citizens the cost still remains at Uganda shillings 250000 per person. The change in the price is as follows;

Gorilla Trekking (Bwindi & Mgahinga): Current $600 – New $700

Chimpanzee Trekking in Kibale         : Current $150 – New $200

Chimpanzee Habituation in Kibale     : Current $200 – New $250

Golden Monkey Tracking in Mgahinga: Current $ 90 – New $ 100

Gorilla habituation permits in Uganda

It should be noted that gorilla habituation experience is one of a kind natural experience that happens only in Uganda. While we have three countries where one can spend one hour with habituated mountain gorillas, it’s only in Uganda and particularly in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in the whole world where one can book a gorilla habituation permit to allow them spend up to four hours with mountain gorillas under habituation. At the time of booking, one is free to pay his or her gorilla habituation experience permit in full or make partial payment and top up at a later stage.

Gorilla habituation permit top up procedure in Uganda

Uganda Wildlife Authority has set guidelines on topping up gorilla habituation experience permits in Uganda. Gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experience in particular is a lifetime experience and in order to get a chance to spend up to four hours with mountain gorillas, one needs to book his or her gorilla permit in advance. This can be done directly by contacting Uganda Wildlife Authority or booking through credible tour operators like Ssemambo Tours & Travel. Gorilla habituation permits booked in advance can be paid partially by paying 30% of the total cost. Once 30% payment is made, details will be entered in UWA system and you will be guaranteed of the spot to visit the mountain gorillas but remember the process will not be complete until you top up the 70% to make 100% payments.

When should l top up my Gorilla habituation permit?

According to the new guidelines, all individuals and tour operators must top up their gorilla habituation experience permits 90 days or three months to the actual trekking date. UWA allows 3 months to the actual date as a grace period for topping up.

What happens when l don’t top up my gorilla habituation permit in time?

There are several scenarios where tour operators or individuals may fail or delay to top up their gorilla habituation permits and for this case you will have to bear with the following;

  • Uganda Wildlife Authority will release the permits so that they are bought by other companies and in this case, no money will be paid back to you. In other words you stand to lose out on the paid amount. We therefore encourage everyone to make sure that their gorilla habituation experience permits are topped up in time in order not to lose out.
  • If for any reason that may result into late top up, you are advised to formerly write to the Executive Director Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) explain the reason why you may delay to make final payment and whatever response you get from him will be help full.

Why does UWA give a deadline of 90 Days to top up permits?

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) discovered that most gorilla permits ended up not being topped up and not being used while other companies could be looking for the same gorilla permits for the same dates. In order to reduce on this, Uganda Wildlife Authority called a stakeholders meeting where it was explained that all gorilla habituation top ups should be made 90 days to trekking dates and whoever fails to do will end up losing out. They looked at 3 months’ time as time enough where permits can be released by the system to be bought by other companies in need.

Let Ssemambo Tours & Travel do the booking

Ssemambo tours & travel is a full registered tour operator offering tours to Uganda and Rwanda. We have been operating and booking tours on behalf of our clients for the last nine years. When you contact us, you don’t have to worry about gorilla habituation permit availability we work hand in hand with Uganda Wildlife Authority where we check availability, reserve and pay them on your behalf and when time comes for top up, we will definitely remind in advance to enable you pay and we top up on your behalf.

All those interested in booking gorilla habituation safaris should contact Ssemambo Tours & Travel in advance to enable us check availability. Any gorilla habituation experience holiday can only be guaranteed of permits which are secured. Only 4 people are allowed to visit these mountain gorillas still under training in order for them to get used to human presence. All you need to do is to send us the exact dates, months and year and we will go ahead to check availability and once found, we will reserve them and advise you on how to make payment. Once payment is done, we will pay, secure your permits and send you scanned copies for your records and perusal. Ssemambo Tours & Travel offers affordable gorilla habituation safaris that depart every day and anytime. Our habituation experience can start and end in Entebbe or start and end in Kigali.

King of the Jungle “Lion”

 

 

King of the Jungle “Lion'”

Description

King of the Jungle “Lion” : The lion (Panthera leo) is a muscular, deep-chested cat with a short, rounded head, a reduced neck and round ears. Its fur varies in colour from light buff to silvery grey, yellowish red and dark brown. The colours of the under parts are generally lighter. A new-born lion has dark spots, which fade as the cub reaches adulthood, although faint spots often may still be seen on the legs and under parts. Males have broader heads and a prominent mane that grows downwards and backwards covering most of the head, neck, shoulders and chest. The mane is typically brownish and tinged with yellow, rust and black hairs. The tuft is absent at birth and develops at around 5 12 months of age.  The lion’s skull is very similar to that of the tiger, although the frontal region is usually more depressed and flattened and has a slightly shorter postorbital region and broader nasal openings than those of the tiger.

Mane

The male lion’s mane is the most recognizable feature of the species and it starts growing when lions are about a year old. Mane colour varies and darkens with age; research shows its colour and size are influenced by environmental factors such as average ambient temperature. The presence, absence, colour and size of the mane are associated with genetic precondition, sexual maturity, climate and testosterone production; the rule of thumb is that a darker, fuller mane indicates a healthier animal.

Habitat

African lions live in scattered populations across Sub-Saharan Africa. The lion prefers grassy plains and savannahs, scrub bordering rivers and open woodlands with bushes. It is absent from rainforest and rarely enters closed forest.

Behavior and ecology

Lions spend much of their time resting; they are inactive for about twenty hours per day. Although lions can be active at any time, their activity generally peaks after dusk with a period of socializing, grooming and defecating. Intermittent bursts of activity continue until dawn, when hunting most often takes place. They spend an average of two hours a day walking and fifty minutes eating.

Group organization

The lion is the most social of all wild felid species, living in groups of related individuals with their offspring. Such a group is called a “pride” and groups of male lions are called “coalitions” and membership changes only with the births and deaths of lionesses. The average pride consists of around 15 lions, including several adult females and up to four males and their cubs of both sexes. Male cubs are excluded from their maternal pride when they reach maturity at around two or three years of age.  Males spend years in a nomadic phase before gaining residence in a pride. Female lions stay closer to their natal pride and in an area they are more closely related to each other than male lions in the same area. The area occupied by a pride is called a “pride area” whereas that occupied by a nomad is a “range”. Members of the pride tend to regularly play the same role in hunts and hone their skills. Both males and females defend the pride against intruders, but the male lion is better-suited for this purpose due to its stockier, more powerful build. 

Hunting and diet

The lion’s prey consists mainly of mammals particularly ungulates weighing 190–550 kg (420–1,210 lb) with a preference for plain zebra, gemsbok, blue wildebeest, African buffalo and giraffe.  Lions also hunt common warthog depending on availability, although the species is below the preferred weight range. Lions kill other predators such as leopards, cheetahs and spotted hyenas but seldom consume them. Young lions first display stalking behaviour at around three months of age, although they do not participate in hunting until they are almost a year old and begin to hunt effectively when nearing the age of two. Lions typically consume prey at the location of the hunt but sometimes drag large prey into cover. They tend to squabble over kills, particularly the males. Cubs suffer most when food is scarce but otherwise all pride members eat their fill, including old and crippled lions, which can live on leftovers. Lions gorge themselves and eat up to 30 kg (66 lb) in one session; if it is unable to consume the entire kill, it rests for a few hours before continuing to eat.

Reproduction and life cycle

Most lionesses reproduce by the time they are four years of age. The average gestation period is around 110 days and the female gives birth to a litter of between one and four cubs in a secluded den, which may be a thicket, a reed-bed, a cave, or some other sheltered area, usually away from the pride. The Lion cubs are born blind and their eyes open around seven days after birth. The cubs begin to crawl a day or two after birth and walking around three weeks of age. To avoid a buildup of scent attracting the attention of predators, the lioness moves her cubs to a new den site several times a month, carrying them one-by-one by the nape of the neck and usually, the mother does not integrate herself and her cubs back into the pride until the cubs are six to eight weeks old. When first introduced to the rest of the pride, lion cubs lack confidence when confronted with adults other than their mother but later begin to immerse themselves in the pride life, however, playing among themselves or attempting to initiate play with the adults. Male lions reach maturity at about three years of age and at four to five years are capable of challenging and displacing adult males associated with another pride. Both male and female lions may be ousted from prides to become nomads, although most females usually remain with their birth pride. When a new male lion takes over a pride, adolescents both male and female may be evicted.

Health

Although adult lions have no natural predators, evidence suggests most die violently from attacks by humans or other lions. Lions often inflict serious injuries on members of other prides they encounter in territorial disputes or members of the home pride when fighting at a kill. Crippled lions and cubs may fall victim to hyenas and leopards or be trampled by buffalo or elephants.  Ticks commonly infest the ears, neck and groin regions of lions.

Communication

When resting, lion socialization occurs through a number of behaviors; the animal’s expressive movements are highly developed. The most common peaceful, tactile gestures are head rubbing and social licking. Head rubbing-nuzzling the forehead, face and neck against another lion, appears to be a form of greeting and is seen often after an animal has been apart from others or after a fight or confrontation. Males tend to rub other males, while cubs and females rub females.  Lions also use chemical and visual marking; males will spray and scrape plots of ground and objects within the territory. Most lion vocalizations are variations of growling, snarling, meowing and roaring. Roaring is used to advertise its presence and lions most often roar at night, a sound that can be heard from a distance of 8 kilometres (5.0 mi).

Man-eating

One well-publicized case is the Tsavo maneaters; in 1898, 28 officially recorded railway workers building the Kenya-Uganda Railway were taken by lions over nine months during the construction of a bridge in Kenya. The hunter who killed the lions wrote a book detailing the animals’ predatory behaviour; they were larger than normal and lacked manes, and one seemed to suffer from tooth decay. Sick or injured animals may be more prone to man-eating but the behaviour is not unusual, nor necessarily aberrant.

Cultural significance

The lion is one of the most widely recognized animal symbols in human culture. It has been extensively depicted in sculptures and paintings, on national flags, and in contemporary films and literature. It appeared as a symbol for strength and nobility in cultures across Europe, Asia and Africa, despite incidents of attacks on people. The lion has been depicted as “king of the jungle” and “king of beasts”, and thus became a popular symbol for royalty and stateliness. In some cultures, the lion symbolizes power and royalty. In Swahili language, the lion is known as simba which also means “aggressive”, “king” and “strong”. In parts of West Africa, lions symbolized the top class of their social hierarchies while in some East African traditions, the lion is the symbol of laziness.

LION FACTS

Lions do not need to drink everyday but needs to eat

Lions can go up to four days without drinking water, but they need to eat every day. Adult female lions need to eat about 11 pounds of meat each day, while adult males eat 16 pounds or more every day. And while lions primarily prey on large herbivores such as zebra, wildebeest and buffalo, they have been known to prey on smaller animals as well.

Lions are fantastic hunters

A lion has many physical characteristics that make it a superb hunter. The vision of a lion, for example, is roughly six times more sensitive to light than a human’s. This gives lions a distinct advantage when hunting at night. Having round pupils also allows more light to filter into the eye at night, giving the lion better night vision. However, larger felines such as lions generally hunt larger prey, so there is unlikely to be a significant advantage to having slit pupils. A lion’s claws are retractable, allowing for the excellent control when it needs to go in for a kill. When fully extended, a lion’s claws can be up to 1½ inches in length. Lions can also reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour in short bursts and jump up to 36 feet in length. Lions mostly target large-sized ungulates (buffalo, wildebeest, zebra and gemsbok). However, they don’t stop there, lions are known to take on larger mammals such as young elephants and hippos and will also scavenge and chase off other predators such as hyenas or wild dogs from their kills. Hunting takes place mostly from dusk until dawn, and during the cooler hours of the day. Most of the time, the females will hunt, and then the males (who patrol the territory and protect the pride) will eat first. The cubs compete for what remains once the adults finish.

Lions do not live in jungles

Known colloquially as the “king of the jungle”, lions do not actually live in jungles. Instead, their primary habitats consist of Africa’s grasslands and plains though don’t expect to find them in rainforests.

Lions communicate in many ways

A lion’s roar can be heard up to 8kms away. The roar is a warning to other animals and rival prides to stay clear of the lion’s domain. But beyond the iconic roar, lions communicate with one another as many cats do: through mews and purrs. Lions also rub their heads on one another as an act of bonding and to spread the “family scent”. This scent allows the lions of a specific pride to know who is a member of their family and who is not if a dispute arises between prides. They can make a variety of calls which include roars, grunts, moans, growls, snarls, meows, purrs, hums, puffs and woofs.

Lions are social

Lions are the most sociable member of the cat family and can be found living in prides of up to 40 individuals. The size of the pride depends on the area and prey availability. These prides include multiple adult males, a dozen or more related females and the pride’s cubs. In general, the more members a pride has, the stronger it is relative to rival prides. The pride’s females also prefer to have more males in the pride as this helps to ensure the survival of their cubs. Female lions do most of the hunting, while males are responsible for protecting the pride. Male lions may get all of the attention with their majestic manes, but the females do the majority of the work when it comes to hunting. Anywhere from 85-90% of the hunting is done by the females in a given pride. The males, meanwhile, protect both the pride and the pride’s territory from rival prides and other predators but they usually get to eat first!

Female lions raise cubs together

Lions mate every two years and female lions give birth to a litter of 2-3 cubs after a four-month pregnancy. Females in the same pride tend to give birth around the same time, which allows multiple litters to be raised together. This has the added advantage of allowing different cubs to nurse with other lion mothers, making it easier for the pride to manage the cubs in those crucial early months.

Lion cubs have two other names

Though they are usually referred to as “cubs”, lion babies have two other names: “whelps” and “lionets”.

Lions are the second largest cat on earth

After tigers, lions are the largest wild cats on the planet. Male lions can grow up to 10 feet in length and weigh up to 550 pounds, while female lions can grow to a length of 9 feet and weigh up to 395 pounds.

Lions have different Colour variations

The colour of a lion’s coat varies from region to region, and within populations. However, it is found that lions that live in areas where it is either cooler or have higher humidity levels tend to have darker fur – such as the desert-adapted lions in Namibia and the black-maned lions of the Kalahari. You also get white lions, but these are not true albinos but are instead genetic variants with reduced pigmentation.

Lions have got no fixed Breeding

There is no fixed breeding season for lions, though pride females will often synchronize the timing of breeding, especially after a pride takeover by new dominant males, to ensure maximum food and maternal care available to cubs. Lions will mate roughly every thirty minutes (each mating lasting for around 20 seconds) for three days… nonstop! This is to ensure fertilization during the female’s oestrus period so that the cubs will be born as soon as possible, allowing for longer protection under the pride male. A litter of 1-4 cubs are born after 110 days of gestation. Cubs suckle regularly for the first 6-7 months, and then the frequency will decline after that. Cubs remain with their mother for two years or longer – at 11 months they begin hunting.

Mountain Gorillas FAQs

 

 

Mountain Gorillas FAQs

Mountain Gorillas FAQs : Uganda has two places where these mountain gorillas may be seen, one is Mgahinga Gorilla, stunning park and component of the virunga, chain of towering volcanoes that extend into Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, and in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

Why Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is among the most visited national parks in the country and the park is popularly known as home of mountain gorillas which are among the endangered species in the world today. Records show that thousands and thousands of tourists travel from all the parts of the world specifically to come and see these internationally endangered gorillas during the Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tours and besides these, there is a great diversity of other wildlife including small wild animals, primates. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in south western Uganda and is divided into four regions; Buhoma region in the North, Ruhija region in the East, Rushaga and Nkuringo in the south. Each region has given habituated gorilla families for gorilla trekking. If you are to trek gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, then you need to mind about a specific region where you are going as this will affect the lodge to be booked, gorilla permit as well as your transport. Contact Ssemambo Tours & Travel for details about Bwindi Gorilla treks and holidays.

How close are gorillas related to man?

Gorilla’s hands and feet resemble the human ones more than those of other Apes. Gorillas spend more time on the ground than other Apes; hence their feet are more suited of walking. The genetic material of Apes is identical to that of humans to a very large degree. Difference are especially small in nuclear DNA.1.2% between humans and chimpanzees, 1.6% between humans and gorillas.

How often do mountain gorillas give birth?

Female gorillas are sexually mature at around 7 to 8 years of age; however, they don’t usually reproduce until they are 10 years old. Males mature later than females and are rarely strong and dominate enough to reproduce before 15 to 20 years of age.

How big are the giant apes?

Gorillas are the largest species of primates and the males are often twice as big as the females. The males grow to around five and a half (5.5) feet tall and weigh around 400 pounds. The females grow to (4.5) feet tall and around 200 pounds. Gorillas have long arms, even longer than their legs and they use their long arms to walk. This is where they use the knuckles on their hands to walk on all fours. They are mostly covered with brown hair; gorillas from different areas may have different colored hair. Like the western gorilla has the darkest and the western low land gorilla can also have the greyish color and red colored forehead. When the male gorillas get old, their hair turns white on their back and those are called Silverbacks.

Fun facts about gorillas

  • Gorillas have hands and feet like humans including opposable thumbs and big toes.
  • Some gorillas in captivity have learned to use sign language to communicate with humans.
  • Gorillas live in small groups called troops or bands.
  • Gorillas live around 35years.
  • They sleep in nests.

What do they eat?

Gorillas are herbivores and they feed on plants i.e. leaves, steam pith, fruits and bamboo.

What is gorilla trekking?

Gorilla trekking is an activity where tourists/people go searching for gorillas in the wild and Gorilla trekking is currently available in three African countries; Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic Of Congo. The process of gorilla trekking normally starts with an early morning briefing at respective park headquarters, then a hike or walk into the forest following the trail used by Mountain gorillas and ounce found, you spend only one hour with the mountain gorillas. You will then return back and be offered a certificate. The trek its self may take up to 30 minutes or three quarters of the day but once you find gorillas, you are allowed to spend one hour with them.

What is the age limit for gorilla trekking?

Age limit for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is 15 years and above. The authorities are very strict on this, so kindly make sure all clients and children are 15 or older in order to avoid any sad incidents like guest(s) kids being refused to track!

The age limit of trekking chimpanzees in Uganda is 12 years old and children 10 years above are allowed to trek golden monkeys in Rwanda as long as they are accompanied by an adult.

How many people per gorilla family?

Only a maximum of 8 people are allowed to trek or visit a given gorilla family in Bwindi, Mgahinga and Volcanoes national parks. Bwindi has about 14 habituated gorilla families and thus each family is allowed only 8 people per day per hour and when it comes to gorilla habituation, its only 4 people that are allowed to spend 4 hours with Mountain gorillas under habituation.

What are the chances of seeing mountain gorillas?

We gladly confirm that chances of seeing gorillas either in Bwindi National Park or volcanoes is 98% and the good news is that; gorilla trekking in Bwindi, Mgahinga and Volcanoes in Rwanda is so organized in a way that there is an advanced team of trackers who wake up every morning to find where these gorillas are and once they find them, they will then communicate to the park to the park headquarters and your ranger guide of the day will let you know of the whereabouts of these gorillas. You will then start your trek from where the gorillas would have slept the previous night up to when you find them. The advanced team will keep communicating with your guide to make sure you don’t get lost. If the gorilla family keeps moving very fast, communication will be made. Please contact us for more details.

What should I pack for gorilla trekking?

Gorilla trekking clothes are the same for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga National Park as well as Volcanoes National Park. You need to prepare very well for your gorilla trek, we advise trousers, long sleeved shirts or blouses, long socks to enable you tack in your trousers, garden gloves, a hat, sun glasses, hiking boots, rain jacket, cameras and extra batteries, insect repellents and some energy giving foods.

When is the best time to trek gorillas?

Mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda can be trekked throughout the whole year but most especially done in the drier months. Uganda being crossed by the Equator has a modified equatorial climate with two rainy seasons and because of this people tend to associate these rainy seasons with the best times to trek gorillas. When it is raining, it becomes hard to hike and trek in the impenetrable forest because of the heavy rains which makes the trails too slippery. Besides that, vegetation tends to grow something that reduces chances of proper visibility and photography. All the above combined, the best time to visit the gorillas is to avoid the most rain seasons in Uganda. Thus the best time is in June, July, August, early September and part of October then December up to February but because of global warming it is even becoming very hard to predict when it is going to rain or not. During high season gorilla permits to visit gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Bwindi National Park is at $1500.00 and $700.00 per person respectively and because these primates are highly endangered, clients pay highly to view or track them.

What is the price of a gorilla tour in Uganda?

When looking at the price of a gorilla tour in Uganda, you need to consider the three main components i.e. gorilla permit, accommodation and transport to and from the park. A gorilla permit price in Uganda currently costs $700. Accommodation rates range from $50 for Budget up to $500 and more for luxury lodges per person sharing. You may choose to drive or fly to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

When do I need to book a gorilla permit?

Gorilla permits tend to sell out quickly so it is always advised to book your gorilla permit in advance. At Ssemambo Tours & Travel, we advise that you book your gorilla permit in 3-4 months in advance to avoid short notice disappointments. Gorilla permits tend to run out during the high seasons of June, July, August, September, December, January and February each year. Please contact Ssemambo Tours & Travel for details about availability and cost of securing gorilla permits.

How much is a gorilla permit in Uganda or Rwanda?

Gorilla tracking takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park and one requires permission in order to watch or view mountain gorillas. This therefore means that you will purchase a gorilla permit to allow you see mountain gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda. A gorilla permit is an electronic document/card that is obtained from Uganda Wildlife Authority head office in Kampala and it is this card that you will take to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park headquarters on the day of gorilla trekking and once it is checked and found valid, you will then be allowed to trek gorillas. Therefore, in Rwanda a gorilla permit costs $1500.00 (Non-residents) and Uganda gorilla permits to visit mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga cost $700.00 per permit, Foreign residents with a valid working permit pay $500.00 and East African citizens of Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi and Tanzania pay Uganda shillings 250,000 only (which is about $100). Once this is established, details will be entered into their system and a gorilla permit card issued out.

When should I book my gorilla permit?

You are advised to book your gorilla permit at least three months in advance especially during high season. Please contact us with the date when you intend to trek and we will advise availability of permits on that day.

How should I book a gorilla permit?

Uganda Wildlife Authority is the body mandated to sell or issue out gorilla permits. This is because they are the ones in charge of all National Parks in Uganda including Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. Before you book a gorilla permit, you have to first identify the year, month and date when you intend to trek gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Once you have that in mind, then contact us and we will check availability for you and we will let you know if the date you are interested in is possible. Booking a gorilla permit must be done with cash and thereafter, we will invoice you for full payments. Once you have made payments, you will have to provide us with your passport details as they required by Uganda Wildlife Authority for two reasons;

  1. Uganda Wildlife Authority would like to know if indeed you are eligible or have the right age allowed to trek mountain gorillas. Age limit for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is 15 years and above.
  2. The next reason is to establish if you are a foreign resident or none resident or even East African since this will affect the price of a gorilla permit.

Due to the fact that we book gorilla permits in the absence of our client who mostly book in advance, we have to scan and send them a copy but original copies handed to you at your arrival at the airport since they will be required on the very trekking day. We do not charge anything for booking a gorilla permit if client books an all-inclusive tour with us.

What is included in a gorilla permit?

A gorilla permit allows you one hour with mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga or Volcanoes National Park. Included in the cost are park entry fees for the respective parks, services of National Park guides/rangers whop will escort you to the forest.

How long is gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda?

Mountain gorilla trekking exercise can take from twenty minutes to three quarters of the day so one needs to prepare for both. This depends on several factors that include;

  • Mountain gorilla movements, where the gorillas stayed the previous night and the mood of the gorillas.
  • It may also depend on the people in your group since the guides/rangers move following the slowest person in the group.

Is it possible to trek Uganda gorillas via Kigali?

It is now possible to trek Uganda or Bwindi gorillas through Rwanda by flying through Kigali International Airport. By flying through Kigali International Airport, one is able to reduce the drive time to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to 5-6 hours compared to if one uses Entebbe International Airport where the drive time is 8-9 and sometimes 10 hours from Entebbe to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. With the introduction of the East African tourist visa, one can now visit both Uganda and Rwanda. East African tourist visa costs USD 100.00 and allows you to visit three East African countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. Please contact Ssemambo Tours & Travel for details about Bwindi gorilla safaris through Kigali Airport.

What is gorilla habituation experience?

Gorilla habituation experience is an activity in Bwindi Impenetrable national park where tourists are allowed to stay four hours with mountain gorillas after paying USD1500.00 for a gorilla habituation permit and this was introduced in 2014 to cater for tourists that have less time but want to spend more hours with mountain gorillas. Tourists are able to see gorillas while participating in activities geared to making these wild mountain gorillas get used to human beings. Gorilla habituation safaris are currently taking place only in Rushaga located in south. Only four people are allowed to see these gorillas in Bwindi National Park and we do organize gorilla habituation experience safaris at affordable prices.

Do you have any questions about gorillas?

Please send us an email and we will answer all your questions concerning gorilla trekking to enable you prepare a memorable experience with us.

Mountain Gorilla Facts

 

 

Mountain Gorilla Facts

Mountain Gorilla Facts : These mammals are large apes that are native to Africa and they are typically divided into two groups. The mountain gorilla lives in the mountainous regions of central Africa, while the lowland gorilla lives in the flat, dense forests of central and western Africa. Though the two types are very similar, they have a few differences. For example, mountain gorillas tend to have longer hair, whereas lowland gorillas have short, soft hair. Gorilla’s hands and feet resemble the human ones more than those of other Apes. Gorillas spend more time on the ground than other Apes; hence their feet are more suited of walking. Gorillas have long arms, even longer than their legs and they use their long arms to walk. This is where they use the knuckles on their hands to walk on all four. When male gorillas get old, their hair turns white on their back. Those older males are called silver back gorillas.

Habitat

Uganda has two places where these mountain gorillas maybe seen, one is Mgahinga Gorilla, stunning park and component of the Virunga, in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

Habits

Gorillas live in complex social groups, display individual personalities, make and use tools, and show emotions like grief and compassion like human beings. In the middle of the day, gorillas take a nap, play with other gorillas or groom one another. At night, the gorillas settle down in beds, made from leaves and twigs, to sleep. Gorillas are fast and they can reach speeds of over 20 miles per hour with a top speed clocked at 25 Mph.

Breeding

Female gorillas are sexually mature at around 7 to 8 years of age; however, they don’t usually reproduce until they are 10 years old. Males mature later than females and are rarely strong and dominant enough to reproduce before 15 to 20 years of age. Like humans, female gorillas are pregnant for nine months and usually give birth to only one infant at a time. Newborn gorillas weigh about 1.8 kg. From the time they’re about 4 months to 2 or 3 years old, young gorillas ride on their mother’s backs as a form of transportation. At around 7 to 10 years, the young gorilla will become mature enough to have its own offspring.

Feeding

Gorillas are generally herbivores, they usually eat vegetation such as wild celery, shoots, roots, fruit, tree bark and tree pulp, but they have been known to eat small animals and insects. A male can eat up to 18 kg of vegetation each day.

Gorilla trekking

Age limit for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is 15 years and above. The authorities are very strict on this. Therefore, in Rwanda a gorilla permit costs $1500.00 (Non-residents) and Uganda gorilla permits to visit mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga cost $600.00 per permit, foreign residents with a valid working permit pay $500.00 and the East African citizens of Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania pay Uganda Shillings 250,000 only (which is about $100). Once this is established, details will be entered into their system and a gorilla permit card issued out.

NB: With effect from 1st July 2020, Gorilla permits will increase from $600 to $700 for Non-residents and 250,000/= for Ugandan citizens.

   

Tree Climbing Lions-Ishasha Sector Uganda

 

 

 

Tree Climbing Lions-Ishasha Sector Uganda

Tree Climbing Lions-Ishasha Sector Uganda : This is a common occasion in Ishasha Sector in Queen Elizabeth National Park where lions are mostly in trees. Many visitors to Tanzania’s Lake Manyara and Kenya have come to think they are myth because it is very rare to catch sight of them, but if you are looking for proof of their existence; visit the Ishasha plains in Queen Elizabeth National Park. These magnificent kings of the jungle and their families are much easier to see here.

The tourists get lost of words and stay amazed when they come to visit Queen Elizabeth national park’s mysterious behaved cats (tree climbing lions) that climb in the top of the trees and hug up there with a lot of ease. A tourist can get to spot over 50 lions sleeping in the trees. Surprisingly these trees climbing lions hide in the sycamore fig tree and the tourists may not get a chance to spot even one during their game drive. The only way of getting this avoided, is by having a Tour guide from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. These are the best people to discover the hiding lions rather than using a driver who only has plain information about the place. It is an amazing sight and if this is on your travel list then you ought to inform your tour consultant so that Ishasha sector of the Queen Elizabeth National Park is included on your Uganda safari itinerary.

Why lions climb trees

  • They lazily hung up in the tree branches because they are wide enough providing quiet a comfortable wide place for resting after a day’s hunt in order to digest their food well.
  • Fleeing from the insect bites; during the rainy season the grounds get infested with the breeding tsetse flies that bite the wild inhabitants, lions inclusive. This makes the lions run to the tree branches for protection from many insects on the grounds.
  • Escaping the heat on the ground; when the seasons change, the savannah tends to have quite high temperatures. This heat makes the ground extremely hot for the cats.
  • Cool view of the glorious food for these big cats; It’s clear that a view is wide when on a high level than what you want to see. The lions climb up in the tree branches to have a glimpse of their prey, the antelopes, when feeding in the pastures.

Despite of the fact that these lions are endangered, they still remain a firm attraction for the tourists to this jungle of Africa. They also remain “the king of the jungle”, its their historical pride and no one can change that.

Apart from the unique tree climbing lions, Queen Elizabeth National Park contains other Africa’s big cats such as leopards and also other animals like buffalos, hyenas, antelopes, elephants and many more.

 

 

What to pack on your African safari

 

 

What to pack on your African safari

What to pack on your African safari : Some times tourists get confused on what to pack when heading for their safaris most especially if visiting a Country for the first time.  Below are a few of our trips that can help you prepare for your African safari.

Passport, Itinerary, travel insurance docs and Tickets

These must be the first items in your bag and must be on top of your list before you pack anything.

Medicines

Remember to carry enough of the prescribed medicines that will last until you return back from your safari. Do not pack your medicines along with your clothes in the check-in bag; keep it in your handbag where it is easily accessible. Also it is highly recommended to carry mosquito repellents, as there could be mosquitoes and bugs if you are staying in a tent.

Camera, video and binoculars, Flashlight

Africa is a photographer’s dream. Not only does the boundless wildlife come in all shapes and sizes, but the continent is also blessed with stunning landscapes, colorful people and fabulous light! Don’t miss out. Buy a camera, if you don’t already have one.

Carry your binoculars; it is an essential device for a safari. Some of the animals would be hiding behind a tree or a bush or maybe they are at a distance. If you want to spot the animals in the distance or if you want to watch them closer than they are, binoculars are your best bet.

Carry a flashlight rechargeable torch as it can be pitch dark. Led lights are also preferred especially the one that you can fit in your head, they are really handy and convenient to use.

Here are some of the “must-haves” to pack for your safari:

  • Blouse, shirt or T-shirt (preferably with collar and long sleeves)
  • Warm jacket or Fleece
  • Hat
  • Flat shoes that are waterproof or boots, sandals and also socks
  • A light, compact raincoat if its rainy season
  • Swimsuit- a number of lodges and camps have swimming pools
  • Comfortable undergarments for women
  • Cotton scarf, bandana or hat

Sunglasses, Sunblock and Lip balm

If you wear prescription glasses, be sure to pack more than one set (in case you lose one or they get broken). Carry sunblock and lip balm because there would be times when it is difficult to find a bathroom during the safari.

Phone, music and laptop

The following should not be missed out on your safari; your phone, music and laptop – and their respective chargers, country- specific adaptor plugs.

Clothes and toiletries

Since you will be outdoors much of the time and you may have to resort to bush as you may be away from you camp or lodge, include hand sanitizer, baby wipes, wet wipes and even toilet paper. Carry light weight jackets and clothing, it is advisable to carry full sleeves shirts and long trousers. You can roll up your sleeves according to the weather and roll it down when the weather is cooler. Since bright colors tend to scare off some animals while on tour, you are advised to choose clothes with colors like green, brown, khakis and mostly those that are earthy or neutral tones. Be sure you take clothes that you feel comfortable in – especially when it comes to your walking/ hiking boots.

Journal, a book and music

A travel diary or journal is something we recommended. You will see and experience so much in such a short period of time on safari, that the only way to maintain a good record of it will be to write it down. You always go back and read it. Write down the animals or birds you see in a day, write about the weather, did you make friends and did you see any different or unusual wildlife. Record the whole experience in the journal.

A book/ novel; It never hurts to have an interesting book when travelling. You never know when you are going to be delayed at the airport or fall victim to African time! You can always indulge in your book. It is a good way to spend time when you are in your tent. Those who are not into books, music may be choice of spending time. Remember to carry your iPods or music devices to avoid getting bored while you are waiting at the Airport due to delayed flight or waiting for the safari vehicle.

Hand luggage and other essentials

If you are a photographer, then this will mean you, must have sufficient space in your camera bag for travel documents, your prescription medication and/ or glasses, binoculars and even a change of clothes.

Avoid using expensive bags or handbags on a safari. Also, leave your expensive watches and jewelry at home. Avoid them on a safari. Take only those everyday times that you normally wear, like your wedding band, inexpensive earrings.

Hopefully, these tips will help you to figure out what you need to pack for your safari. If you need more information or what to go ahead and embark on a safari adventure, contact us.

  

Why choose to visit Uganda?

 

 

 

Why choose to visit Uganda?

Why choose to visit Uganda? : You climb up and at the end there’s a wonderful new world Uganda the pearl of Africa the most stunning destination in Africa describing it as a fairy tale with unique environmental attributes and the moderate climate due to country’s location on the equator, abundant biodiversity, color, brilliant life and its serene beauty. The kingdom of Uganda is particularly scenic and has a lot to offer to people with a keen interest in natural history and who enjoy active holidays. Uganda’s terrain is mostly plateau with a rim of mountains and a southeastern boarder of Lake Victoria. Concentrate on Uganda for magnificence and profusion of bird, insect, reptile, beast- for vast scale Uganda is truly the pearl of Africa. The magnificent Rwenzori ranges known as mountains of the moon will live you in awe of beauty as you behold different ecological habitats from savannah grasslands, rainforest, health, alpine and permanent ice and snow. Some of its striking peaks are covered with glaciers, and it’s the third high mountain in Africa and the most difficult to climb.

Mountain Gorillas

Uganda is among the only three countries on planet earth with the only remaining population of endangered mountain gorillas. Uganda has half the number of mountain gorillas remaining in the whole world. Today we know better: we have nothing to fear from these gentle and highly endangered primates. And visiting them in their natural habitat-the mountain forests of equatorial Africa Bwindi Impenetrable forests in Uganda, Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, volcanoes National Park in Rwanda & Virunga National park in Congo, has become one of the planet’s ultimate wildlife experiences in Uganda, Congo & Rwanda.

Beautiful National Parks

Uganda has 10 National Parks but each National Park is quite unique and different from others. Murchison Falls National park with the world’s most waterfall in the northern part of Uganda and has spectacular game drives coupled with a boat cruise to the bottom of the falls, Bwindi Impenetrable forests, “the Ultimate gorilla experience” with the endangered mountain Gorillas, Lake Mburo National Park, “Whispers of the wild”, Semiliki National Park “the birders Haven”, Kidepo Valley National Park “the true African Wilderness”, Mountain Elgon National Park “the world’s largest mountain caldera”, Mgahinga National Park “where the silver meets gold”, Mountain Rwenzori National Park “the mystical challenge”, Kibale Forest National Park “the primate capital of the world”, Queen Elizabeth National Park “medley of wonders” is a must visit while in Uganda. If you are a bird lover, get prepared to record over 600 species of birds some of which are migratory ones. You can take a game drive in Ishasha in search for the tree climbing lions or visit the crater lakes region.

Chimpanzee tracking

Uganda is marketed as a primate country and indeed, chimp tracking in Kibale Forest National Park “the primate capital of the world” and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kyambura reserve is one activity you should consider from Uganda safari. All the above need a permit which can be obtained from Uganda Wildlife Authority. You can participate in Chimpanzee habituation experiences & chimpanzee trekking and get to learn more about our closest cousins.

Source of the Nile

The mighty River Nile, the second-longest river in the world, who’s largest source is in Lake Victoria. The source of the Nile is prettier due to its largest fresh water in Africa and the longest on the planet. If in doubt, visit Uganda and make sure you take a boat/canoe to the source of the Nile and that’s when you will believe that indeed the source of the Nile is in Jinja Uganda. There have been many claims that the source of the Nile is in Rwanda but the truth remains that it is in Uganda. So visit Uganda and visit the source of the Nile.

Hospitable people

 

Uganda is popularly known for having very nice, beautiful and happy people. Ugandans are so hospitable that they are always welcoming, and willing to help. Ugandan’s smiles are as war, as the sun. Uganda is made up of a number of ethnic groups from the central and south, west, east, and north, each with its own language, distinctive customs and norms. From the west to the east, from the south to the north and to the central, you will find Ugandans the best and lovely people to visit. This therefore makes your holiday in Uganda so peaceful and relaxing.

Conducive climate

Uganda lies astride the equator but its climate is not truly equatorial due to several factors such as water bodies, relief, and vegetation among others. Uganda’s sun blazes all the year. This therefore means that Uganda can be visited all year round. Because of the climate, we are able to grow enough fresh food and fruits that you will enjoy while on your visit to Uganda.

Uganda’s taste bud’s rich cuisine

Uganda’s food is as rich as its culture, because each tribe has its own staple food. A proper Ugandan meal is a celebration in itself, and some meals are prepared as early as the day before, to be served at lunch the following day. Then there is the street food, the most notable being the Rolex. While a Rolex is a timepiece in most countries, in Uganda it’s a popular street food that can be eaten anytime of the day. It’s an omelet that is rolled with a chapatti and some onions and tomatoes; bonus points if the tomatoes are raw and if you eat it by the stall.

The bird paradise

Uganda has got the highest concentration of birds in Africa boasting with over 1040 species of birds, in Uganda you will find migratory birds from North Africa and Europe. Lake Bunyonyi, meaning “lake of small birds,” is located in southwestern Uganda. it is the second-deepest freshwater lake in Africa and is a stunning view when seen from one of the hills around it. Its beauty is such that it is printed on one of Uganda’s currency notes. There are 29 islands in the lake, and it’s a heaven for bird love. So, visit Uganda and visit Lake Bunyonyi.

Best time to visit Uganda

Because of the favorable climate conditions Uganda experiences, the country can be visited all year-round. Nonetheless you should also understand and consider that there are two major tourism seasons each offering different safari prices, that is; peak and low season. During the peak-tourism season that starts in December to February as well as from June to September, gorilla trekking permits plus accommodation prices are high. For those that track gorillas we recommend that you always pack a rain jacket irrespective of which time of the year you are visiting because it rains any time within the gorilla parks. That is in Bwindi Impenetrable forests and Mgahinga National Park. For the best views of wild animals, we recommend that you take the savannah Game viewing Safaris, in the dry months January to February, and June to September as the animals frequently converge around the various water-holes in the parks. Also, bird watching is an all-year round activity however the best views are from November to April when migrant species have arrived to Uganda due to the winter season in search for the summer seasons.

Where to stay/accommodation on a Uganda safari

During your stay in Uganda, there are different choices of accommodation in which one choose from. These are generally categorized into three: the Budget Accommodation, Mid-range/moderate Accommodation and the Luxury Accommodation- so there is something for everyone that suits their budget. Among the various accommodation facilities are beach Resorts, Hotels, Lodges, and Safari camps, Cottages, Guest Houses and Inns.

Uganda’s big five game Adventure

 

 

 

Uganda’s big five game Adventure

Uganda’s big five game Adventure : When it comes to African wilderness safari, Uganda is absolutely one of a must to visited destination. Uganda is popular for its big five wilderness safaris in Africa as well as other incredible species that have positioned this country as one of the best safari destinations in Africa. The word big five derived from the big game hunters and denotes the five most difficult wildlife species to hunt in Africa. If there are lucky countries in the world, then Uganda is incredibly endowed! It offers refuge to the big mammal species for visitors on safari to catch a glimpse. Moat of these amazing wild creatures are widely scattered around Uganda’s most magnificent savannah protected areas, mostly in Murchison falls national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, Kidepo Valley national park, Lake Mburo national park and many more. An African safari is generally quite high on the bucket list of any traveler in Uganda and there is no shortage of options or availability. Given that these formidable five are constantly in the spot light, here are the amazing details about each of Africa’s Big-five stars of Africa.

African Elephant

Scientifically famous Loxodonta Africana, the African elephants are the enormous largest land mammal animals in the world. Elephants are found both in savanna and forests. These unique mammals also feature as one of the reasons why most visitors flock into Uganda safari destinations.

African Cape Buffalo

Cape buffalos have a reputation for being bad tempted, aggressive and dangerous. Buffalos can be unpredictable and wild. However, they usually quite tame when in a herd. Not with standing a tendency to stampede in mass when startled.

African Lions

Described as the king of the jungle, Lions are short, posses tawny coat. They are dangerous and mainly thrive in savanna grassland where tall grasses, shrubs and bushes can offer camouflage while hunting. Lions are fierce and most sociable of African cats. They live in prides and the lionesses will do all the hunting.

African Leopards

They belong to the cat family. They feature tawny fur, dark rosette like black fur. They are nocturnal and secretive making them hard to hunt in the wild. They are ever fierce and never scared. Besides hunting, leopards love to stay near waters and they are strong swimmers.

The Black Rhinoceros

For the compete big five, the Rhinoceros could not miss. It’s one of the hardest big five to spot. These great herbivores have a wide mouth and epidermis skin with a thick layer of 1.5cm deep. It has a gestation period of 16 months. Sighting Uganda’s big-five while on game drives should be a must for you. Big five viewing safaris can be combined with the rare mountain Gorilla safaris, chimps, birding adventure like white rafting safaris.