Are you a first timer looking to tracking the mountain gorillas in Africa? Are you wondering how to get the best out of your gorilla trek. This beginner’s guide to gorilla trekking will help you plan a perfect holiday in Africa. ut all the worries away and get prepared for an exhilarating gorilla watching trip using the informative piece of advise below;
Mountain gorilla safaris are currently the most trending wildlife activities done in southwestern Uganda in the forested mountains of Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga gorilla national parks. Mountain gorillas are very rare primates that can only be found in 3 countries on the entire planet Uganda inclusive.
A walk through the forested on a gorilla safari to encounter these primates brings tourists close to nature with sightings of a variety of wildlife species that the forests have in stock.
Mountain gorilla tracking does not require any hiking experience and therefore all those going for mountain gorilla safaris for the first time have nothing to afraid of.
Uganda has over 450 mountain gorillas with the highest number living in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park that has 11 habituated mountain gorilla groups whereas Mgahinga gorilla national park only has one mountain gorilla group. Mountain gorillas in Uganda can be tracked throughout the year however lets look at what it takes to go tracking these primates especially if its your first time.
Make A Little Research About The Mountain Gorillas
Its always better to do some research about the mountain gorillas especially on the habituated mountain gorillas groups. This is important because it gives you an insight on how the tracking will be and besides tracking to get to an allocated mountain gorilla group takes about 1 to 8 hours of hike however there are mountain gorilla groups that can be got to after short hours of hike and in case you are not physically fit or cannot hike through the forest for 8 hours you can request your tour operator to book for you a permit of the mountain gorilla group that can be to after shorter hours of hike.
Making research also enables one to decide when he/she is determined to go to any of the two gorilla national parks to track the gorillas, which can be done at anytime of the year depending on one’s preference.
Start Planning Your Safari With Your Tour Operator
After knowing about the gorilla group you may prefer to hike and the time to go on your mountain gorilla safari you can then start planning your trip with your tour operator so that you know the total cost of the safari. One should however ensure to make a deposit of the safari so that the mountain gorilla permit is arranged as soon as possible. That is because mountain gorilla tracking is a highly demanded activity and the mountain gorilla permits available per day are limited (88 permits for Bwindi impenetrable national park and 8 permits for Mgahinga gorilla national park) and therefore it is very important for one to secure the gorilla permit early enough to avoid missing out.
Pack The Necessities You Will Need While On The Safari
The mountain gorilla-packing list is usually given to tourists by tour operators giving guidance on what he/she might need for a very successful and enjoyable gorilla safari in Uganda. Some of the items that a tourist should pack while going on a mountain gorilla safari include long sleeved shirts/trousers, at least a pair of shorts, a waterproof jacket, gardening gloves, waterproof and good hiking shoes, a pair of sandals, a good camera for taking photographs, extra camera batteries, sunglasses, insect repellant, a first aid kit among others. These are very useful while on a gorilla safari however you can also include in some of your personal preferred items you think maybe helpful while on a mountain gorilla safari.
Ensure To Follow The Guide’s Instructions Especially While In The Forest
On the day of tracking the gorillas, tourists are expected to arrive at the national park headquarters very early in the morning for a briefing before embarking on the hike. While here they are given guidelines and safety procedures to follow while in the forest a measure taken to ensure the safety of the tourists and the well being of the mountain gorillas. The major instructions given out include always following the guide’s instructions, keeping in the tourist’s tracking groups to avoid getting lost, minimizing noise, keeping at least a 7 meters distance a way from the gorillas, not using flash photography among others.Read More
While on a Self Drive in Uganda, it is vital to have a local phone number that you can simply purchase in the shops or service centres in major towns around the country. There is a wide range of networks to choose from that is MTN, Airtel, Orange, Vodafone, Uganda Telephone, and most recently Smart Telecom. There is wide network range coverage for MTN, Airtel and Uganda Telecom although most people have a preference of Airtel for easy communication followed by MTN. Most importantly is even when you cross the border to Rwanda, the same sim cards will work there although if you require to communicate easily with the local Rwanda people, a Rwanda sim card would be the best option. Purchasing a local sim card should not cost you more than 5,000 Uganda shillings.
A local phone number has far much more advantages as opposed to your international number while on a self drive in Uganda safari. Most of the roads in the country are not really that tarmac especially if you get off the usual highways and it is very easy to communicate with a local phone number to ask any body or your car rental agency for say help with regards to directions with much ease because they can always call you back to find out where you are or how best to get from point A to point B.
Because of the nature of the roads very often it is easy to get a mechanical problem with your rental car of which it is no guarantee but just in case it happens to you, it is very easy and efficient to communicate using your local phone number to your car rental company and they can easily walk you through what to do and how best to go about your issue than having an international number which can take a lot of money to communicate and with less airtime. It is very easy to communicate to a mechanic nearby and also with your rental company for a quick fix of the problem which actually might not be that big a problem.
Not only is it easy to communicate with your car rental agency but also with some other suppliers with in the country at a much more cost effective rate. Remember no body wants to spend much more while on holiday so a local phone number is an automatic saving scheme especially on calls within the country. There are cheaper cell phones in the country too that you can buy at about 30,000 Uganda shillings to serve the purpose while on your holiday. Most notable brands for cheaper cell phones include; Techno and Itel. For instance it is very cheap to book a boat trip in Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth or Lake Mburo National Parks using your local phone number or liaise with a Ranger in case you are going for a Gorilla Trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
There are very many things that can move smoothly with easy communication and easy communication is a very important aspect for a success of your safari holiday. When there is an international number involved, your local rental company may not easily communicate the changes in say weather at different areas on your safari trail because of the expense involved in communication. Also some times lodges require phone numbers for the guests before they get to the lodge so as to prepare in advance what you would wish to have, say if you need dinner at the lodge or not, it is easy for the lodge to call you using your local phone number as opposed to an international number some time of which the staff at the different lodges may not have the knowledge of how to dial. Unless you are going to have a guided tour, then your safari guide will have a local phone number to easily communicate but for a self drive safari, I would urge you to endeavor and get a local phone number upon arrival either at the airport or any major town in the country. You can as well talk to your local safari operator to purchase the sim card for your and upon arrival you get it as the car is handed over to you. By so doing, I guarantee you will have a wonderful experience on your safari.Read More
There are a few countries in the world where gorillas are found in their natural habitat. Surprisingly there are only 10 African countries that host mountain gorillas. These great apes are divided into two different species of gorillas; the Eastern Gorilla and the Western Gorilla. Of these countries, few have developed gorilla tourism – the sustainable adventure activity of tracking these giant apes.
Today gorilla tourism is becoming an important aspect of protecting the gorillas, species that IUCN has listed as endangered! The activity of tracking these apes deep into the African forests raises revenues that are needed to manage the national parks where these creatures are protected. There are a few countries where gorilla tourism has been developed and most travelers focus on visiting the mountain gorillas that are found within only 3 countries though efforts have also been put towards promoting tours to the low land gorillas and cross river gorillas.
Mountain gorillas are only found in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The lowland gorillas are found in Gabon, Cameroon, and other countries. Meeting close with these rarely seen apes is known as a breathtaking moment in life very difficult to forget. It’s always very important to first know where to track/trek from and then continue with the process of organizing your gorilla safari in their natural habitat. Here are the most popular gorilla destinations include the following.
For mountain gorillas visit These Countries;
This small African country is thought among one of the popular gorilla tours in Africa because it hosts the rare mountain gorillas, it’s one of the few countries in the world for housing the endangered mountain gorillas, it’s said to be the most popular safari destination in the world housing almost a half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Many trackers prefer tracking in this country since gorillas in this area are easy to found, and for those who need shorter distances, Rwanda offers the best since it’s only about 2-3 hours’ drive from Kigali to kinigi park headquarters. The park is easily accessed due to good roads and a relatively well-developed infrastructure, with very many accommodation types around the park for an overnight ranging from budget to up-market accommodation. Habituation efforts were due to the works of Dian Fossy who was a primatologist and research who monitored and habituated these apes to human standards for a period of over 18 years, his work was documented in the film Gorilla in the Mist, which is a must-see film for anyone before tracking these apes, it’s so interesting, her works made Rwanda very popular for gorilla tracking safaris that make many peoples first choice for a mountain gorilla safari. Only one park in Rwanda habituates these apes volcanoes national park located in Ruhengeri Musanze district in the north-western part of Rwanda. The park habituates 10 gorilla families which are ready to receive visitors every day. Tracking activities begin very early in the morning after reporting at the park headquarters in kinigi for short briefings about the whole process of gorilla tracking from the park wardens and senior ranger guide. Tracking time is unpredictable it can go from 1-8 hours depending on a gorilla family tracked. The chance of sighting Rwanda mountain gorillas is a most 98% and above.
Almost a half of visitors to Uganda came specifically to track mountain gorillas in the forests of Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla forest national park in the southwestern part of Uganda. This pearl of Africa as it’s sometimes referred to be is one of the three countries in the world hosting the rare mountain gorillas and it’s one of the major Mountain gorilla tours in Africa. Uganda houses the highest percentage of these apes over 480 individuals are living in Uganda out of the estimated 900 remaining mountain gorillas in the world. Mgahinga National Park is part of the tri-national Virunga Conservation Area, and its gorillas frequently cross into DRC and Rwanda in search of a new adventure, however, they have shown some consistency in the last two years. Climbing to the top of Mt Sabinio, where Rwanda, Uganda, and DRC meet, is an outstanding way to see the whole mountain gorilla kingdom in Mgahinga. The Park is home to one gorilla family called Nyakagezi gorilla family.
Bwindi national park is home to 11 gorilla habituated families and gorilla tracking activities are conducted every day at the park starting with short briefings about gorilla tracking and also get assigned to a ranger guide. Access to the park is very possible with good infrastructure; sighting is a guarantee when tracking with Uganda about 98%& above. Tracking activities last for only one hour in a group of 8 members who are allowed to visit these apes per group.
- Democratic Republic of Congo
DRC is gifted for housing three/of four subspecies of gorillas making it one of the best gorilla safari tours in Africa. like Uganda and Rwanda, DRC is among the three countries in the world for housing the endangered mountain gorillas, other species include the eastern low land and the western lowland gorillas. The chances of tracking/trekking all these subspecies are very high. Gorilla tourism with habituated groups began here in the mid-1970s, in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, a stranglehold of eastern lowland gorillas; the park still offers one of the best gorilla-viewing experiences in DRC. The country is considered to have some political instabilities however, tracking activities are still organized and gorilla tracking activities are conducted every at the park in Virunga national park a gifted park housing these remaining mountain gorillas. Rwanda is the easiest point to enter DRC, although still the country can be entered from kisolo Uganda. infrastructures are not good as it is in Uganda and Rwanda however, chances of seeing gorilla species is very high and the activities are guided by well-armed ranger guides who escorts you deep in the forest to have a chance of seeing these giant apes in the forests of Virunga and Kahuzi-biega national park is high with about 95% mountain gorillas, 70% lowland gorillas and about 50% western lowland gorillas.
Cameroon is also mentioned as one of the African countries offering gorilla tours in Africa, it houses a sub specie gorilla known as cross river gorillas, and these apes majorly live in a small section of forest that is a center of a preservation project but with no tourism element yet and they are found in the English speaking part of Cameroon bordering Nigeria. Spotting these apes is possible at the Limbe wildlife center however the center also is home to about 20 western low land gorillas orphans. Sighting of the western lowland gorillas is made in the French-speaking part of Cameroon in Campoma’an national park in the southwestern part of the country. Not like the top three where sighting is a guarantee, sighting these gorilla species is not a guarantee, chances of seeing the cross river gorillas are only about 50%, and sighting the western lowland gorillas is just about 70%
Gabon is also mentioned among the most popular for lowland gorilla tours in Africa, it houses the western lowland gorillas and the habituation program started at the Mikongo conservation center in Lope national park and was ended in 2010. Although no specific gorilla tracking arrangement and specific gorilla trekking spot ever recorded, these apes can be seen while tracking other wildlife which makes all activity more magnificent. Moukalaba-Doudou National Park has some of the highest numbers of these apes, and an eco-tourism project has begun there with help from The Gorilla Organization. The chances of sighting the western lowland gorillas are about 70%.
The choice remains yours to choose which destination to go for gorilla tracking, however, the best gorilla tracking destination is Uganda and Rwanda with the highest habituated gorilla families and tracking activities are safe. Gorillas are habituated to human standards and they can be tracked safely in their natural habitat without any harm caused to humans.Read More
The biggest story from Kenya, the East Africa region’s biggest economy has been the attack on Uber taxi operators by the traditional taxi operators. Uber runs on a mobile app that allows you to submit a trip request and a nearby Uber driver responds.
Uber was started in 2009. It is 2016 and the traditional cab operators in Nairobi are feeling the pressure and have decided to go rogue by luring the Uber drivers then thumping them or vandalising their cars. It is a turf war and the traditional cab fellows are threatening mass action that will ‘shut down’ Nairobi.
What the traditional cab guys failed to do is to adapt to the ever changing environment so that they don’t become obsolete. It is 2016 and if you still want to do business the same way you were doing it in 2009 when smart phones were only in the hands of a few rich old men and women who only used them for calling and SMS, then I really pity you.
In 2016, power is literally in people’s hands. We now carry around smartphones and have data plans that make us almost invincible. We can order for food, make bank transactions, scan documents and send them to people miles away before seeing reminders on when our next flight is due and how the weather is like in the city we are flying to.
Disruption is the buzzword everywhere in business today. Young aggressive people all over the world now spend their time trying to figure out how to provide services more efficiently and thus kick out the older non-adaptive laggards. I am sure you know of food distributing companies that do not even cook a single meal, or that Uber owns no cabs just like AirBnB owns now hotels.
Ladies and gentlemen, the future is coming at us at a much faster rate and so the pace at which we should be changing our attitudes needs to be enhanced. Failure to adapt to new realities always leaves one with tougher lessons to deal with. Kodak enjoyed its days at the peak of the photography table until it was swept into irrelevance by the advent of digital photography. Interestingly they had researched about the magic of digital photography but were hesitant to make the move because well, they were still enjoying their (wait for it) – Kodak moment.
The tourism industry in East Africa is also undergoing its own moment of truth. The spate of terror attacks in Kenya drove away the tourists leaving operators all over the region staring at empty hotel beds and shrinking bank balances. The mistake has been that their understanding of a tourist has been limited to that person from Europe, America or Asia.
Some of the well-to-do locals revenged by flying out to South Africa, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates for their holidays. Hoteliers and other tourism operators are now waking up to the reality that domestic tourism is something they should not have overlooked at all. The potential here is immense.
Some of the operators are just like the old school Nairobi taxi drivers, unsure of how to deal with new realities. In this case, many tourism operators are struggling to change their attitude towards the domestic tourist. Few of them have the skills to woo the domestic tourist because they have spent years in the business with a mindset locked at only the foreign tourist.
Luckily, the East African Tourism Platform is around to help guide the private tourism players as well as government down the road of attitude change aimed at seeing a rise in intra- and inter-regional tourism. It all starts with a flexible mind that embraces change instead of fighting it. It is time to adapt or die.Read More
When hiring a vehicle in Uganda please be aware that the driver / guide must have a valid license permitting him or to drive that particular vehicle. This is required for when stopping at police road blocks and also for your safety while on the road. An international Driving permit is required for self drive in Uganda by international tourists and you should always consult the car rental agency that is organizing your car hire before traveling to Uganda.
Uganda self drive and tourism services have been in operation for a long time and they are located in all parts of the country. They have a wealth of experience in planning the best vehicles for safaris in the whole of East Africa countries like; Tanzania, Rwanda, Congo, Kenya. The cars range from 4×4WD, tour buses, small cars for around town; mini vans and bicycle for traveling in Uganda. The fees charged on hiring vehicles are very affordable. Also on offer are highly skilled guide / driver with vast knowledge around East Africa and the cars are fully insured and any damages done by the clients are handled by their insurance company.
They can also offer you the most exciting and comfortable safaris throughout the East African region.
With a lot of experience on car hire these car hire companies have skilled staff which are highly educated from driving to well trained customer care, where safety and enjoyment comes first to all clients.Read More
Kidepo valley national park harbors a great diversity of animal species than other parks in Uganda. These include carnivores, ungulates, and primates. Though this park is less visited, it is one of the best places to enjoy a wildlife safari in Uganda.Stuck in the remote north eastern part of Uganda, Kidepo can be visited all year round. Here are the top things to do in Kidepi National park
On a safari through Kidepo, there are high chances of viewing tree climbing lions that always sits on sauces trees along Narus valley or on the rock just as you enter the Apoka Park Headquarter. Right from Apoka Rest Camp other animals that can be seen include elephants, leopards, bush duikers, jackals, bush bucks, bush pigs, kavirondo bush babies, buffaloes and much more.
The Park boasts of an extensive avifauna. 465 species have been recorded Birds of particular interest include the ostrich and the Kori bustard which are principally associated with arid regions. The park also has outstanding numbers of birds of prey. In this category, 58 species of birds that have been recorded. Amongst these 14 are believed to be endemic to Kidepo and the Karamoja region.
Hiking and Scenery viewing
Hiking can be carried out on Lamoj Mountains just a few kilometers from the Park Headquarters.
During safaris in Kidepo valley national park, tours to the local communities in the neighboring villages can also be arranged. The local community near the park stages cultural dances and performances. Traditional dances such as the Emuya of the Naporre and Nyangia, Larakaraka and Apiti dances of the Acholi are worthy to see and participate into.
Nature Walk and cultural visits to the Karimajong Manyatta (homesteads) where you will probably see kraals belonging to local communities, traditional costume, stools, spears headdress, knives, bows and arrows and jewelry among others are also interesting and worthy to take during a safari holiday in this park.Read More
Uganda has relatively good road infrastructure, large vehicle hire fleets run by international and local rental companies, great weather and plenty of stunning scenery – which combines to make self-driving a viable and enjoyable option. If you’re thinking of taking the long way round, here are a few tips to enhance your trip shared by Sula Mbaziira an expert from Uganda Self Drive, one of the car rental agencies based in Kampala.
Most car rental companies have various branches throughout the country and at the only airport found in this country. So Vehicles may generally be picked up at any company at branch and dropped at any point within and outside the country after negotiations, subject to a fee.
It is advisable to take out the insurance offered by the vehicle rental companies, unless you have specific cover in place. All major credit cards are accepted.
Any valid driver’s license is accepted in Uganda, provided it bears the photograph and signature of the holder and is printed or authenticated in English.
However, vehicle hire companies may also require an international driver’s license. It is worth confirming requirements with your travel agent or the vehicle hire company when making your booking. This holds for additional drivers as well, who must be identified when you hire your vehicle. Remember to carry all your documentation with you when you travel as traffic officers will expect to see it if they stop you for any reason.
Keep left, belt up, think kilometers
Keep left, pass right. Ugandans drive on the left-hand side of the road, and our cars – rental cars included – are therefore right-hand drive vehicles, the gear shift being operated with the left hand.However,we at Uganda car rental, we also have left-handed vehicles that we give out as well on your requisition. This is due to the fact that we have clients who rent cars to travel to Rwanda where they keep right.
All distances, speed limits (and speedometers) are marked in kilometers.
Wearing of seat belts is compulsory. Using hand-held phones while driving is against the law – use a vehicle phone attachment or hands-free kit if you want to speak on your mobile phone.
Drinking and driving is prohibited. The legal limit is a breath alcohol content of 0.24mg per 1 000ml, or a blood alcohol limit of 0.05g per 100ml. But how do you know if you’re over the limit?
The general speed limit on Uganda’s national highways, urban freeways and other major routes is 120km/h (75mph). On secondary (rural) roads it is 100km/h (60mph). In built-up areas it is usually 60km/h (35mph), unless otherwise indicated. Check the road signs.
If you’re in a hire car and get a speeding fine, the car rental company will pay the fine, and will charge that amount plus an admin fee to your credit card.
Various types of petrol stations are located and evenly distributed throughout the country. All the country’s high ways have them on the road sides so whenever you run short of it you just branch and stop at the station for refueling. These are open 24/7 and their prices are always the same since they are oligopoly firms and they use cut-throat method in determining prices.
Ugandan petrol stations are not self-help: an attendant will fill the car, ask if you’d like your oil and water and tyre pressure checked, and offer to clean your windscreen – a service for which they are generally tipped for.
When it comes to paying for fuel, you can pay cash or use your credit card. Historically, filling stations used to be cash-only operations so some smaller stations may still not accept cards. Check with the attendant what payment method they accept before filling up. Many filling stations have on-site ATM machines.
Driving around the country
Our road infrastructure is relatively good, so driving between cities and towns is a viable option – and, given the stunning scenery in many parts of the country, a highly enjoyable one.
However, Uganda is a huge country not easily traversed in a day, so plan your journeys carefully. If you’re not used to driving long distances, rather break the journey, as fatigue is a major contributing factor in motor vehicle accidents. While most national roads are tarred and in good condition, the more rural the road, the more likely it is to be pot-holed and poorly surfaced.
Road info, maps: Current information on the conditions of roads can be obtained through the traffic police of Uganda. This very institution also provides invaluable guides for road users in the form of strip maps tailored for specific destinations and information for tourists on accommodation en route.
Traffic signs are generally pictorial or in English.
Uganda has a high rate of traffic accidents so drive defensively and exercise caution when on the roads – especially at night – and keep a wary eye out for pedestrians and cyclists.
Drivers of minibuses and taxis can behave erratically, and often turn a blind eye to rules and road safety considerations.
All Ugandan roads are not fenced, so watch out dogs, chickens, sheep and even cows on the road. These can be particularly hazardous at night.
Large wild animals can as well cross over into the road especially in areas where the road passes through a national park or game reserve like Mburo national park can also pose a danger – if you see road signs depicting animals, take it slowly, especially towards evening.
Never stop to feed wild animals – it is dangerous and you can incur a hefty fine if you do so.
In general, be aware and keep your wits about you. It’s a good idea to drive with your doors locked and windows up, especially in cities and at traffic lights.
Don’t ever stop to pick up hitchhikers. If you are worried about someone on the side of the road, report it to the police station in the next town.
Ensure your car is locked when you park it and do not leave anything in sight. Lock things away in the trunk – known as the boot here – or the glove compartment (cubbyhole).Read More
Uganda is sometimes called the Pearl of Africa due to the very many incredible features it houses. Many travelers from all over the world jet into this beautiful country to see Uganda’s incredible features. Today when you mention Uganda what comes to many people’s mind are the rare mountain gorillas, endangered species that are found in the South Western part of the country. Currently there are about 1000 mountain gorillas left in the world and Uganda hosts almost half of these great apes that are only found in two other countries in the world; Rwanda and the Democratic republic of Congo.
The political stability and improved security of the country make Uganda the safest destination for mountain gorilla trekking in the world. all the year round Uganda receives tourists interested in visiting the great apes on organized tours to Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga Forest national park. Some of these tours also extend to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to see these great apes.
With a self drive rental from one of Uganda’s car rental agencies, a journey to this incredible national park is a walk over! Today, you can easily hire a rental car and travel to the south western parks of Uganda on a journey of about 7-9 hours! The drive is easy as you follow major roads, and the favorable weather conditions throughout the year make Uganda a great destination. During the trip you can have various stopovers at any interesting place. The most common is a stopover at the Equator crossing for photography and snack taking. Travelers also have a stop at Mpambire a local drum making place – if interested you can buy yourself the locally made items and at Mbarara for lunch! The journey takes you past places with good views and interesting landscape as well as rolling green hills as you continue up to the park.
The following day you will head to the park headquarters to be among the few sharing the love with the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking is the most interesting adventurous activity done on earth. This is just a few on what you can enjoy on a self drive safari in Uganda. After the trek, you can also go for a game drive in Uganda’s breathtaking parks including the Queen Elizabeth National Park for the opportunity to catch up with the tree climbing lions in the Ishasha Area of the park, but other wild game that can be seen include elephants, buffaloes, waterbuck, bush buck, warthogs that can be seen.
The best cars to use for a self drive include land cruisers, Nissan patrol, van with pop up tops. You can still explore other parks all with unique features like Murchison falls National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Kibale forest national park the best place for chimpanzee tracking and Kidepo valley national park which was recently named as one of Uganda’s best safari destinations with very many untouched unique features waiting for you to explore. The park is located in the remote northern part of Uganda but with the courtesy of our good and comfortable cars you can still reach is part of Uganda with a lot easy. Why not cultural encounter with the local people, it’s really a very interesting activity leaning more about the life style of the African people.
Depending on the number of days you have in Uganda, still you can enjoy another adventurous activity at the source of the Nile which is the world’s longest river; enjoy rafting on the Nile or bungee jumping. The Nile is located at Jinja in the eastern part of Uganda. Doesn’t live Uganda without a city tour, indeed these and many other interesting places can be reached with a car hire either self-drive or with a driver from our car hire Uganda service. Rush and book with us one of our comfortable cars of any type.Read More
In all the three East African countries (Uganda, Rwanda, Congo) where gorilla trekking takes place, there are various procedures that one should adhere to before being given a green flag to go in the actual process of gorilla trekking. The most paramount procedure here is securing a gorilla permit which can be done through agents or directly from the responsible authorities.Below is a detailed account of how one can attain these gorilla permits;
Gorilla tracking in Rwanda is done in Volcanoes National Park and gorilla trekking/ tracking permits booking is managed by the Rwanda Tourism Office (ORTPN). Each gorilla permit costs US$750 in Rwanda. On each particular day, about 56 persons can visit Rwanda gorillas, 8 persons per each gorilla family given that there are only seven groups.
Gorilla permits are in high demand, because of the stiff competition for them, and therefore are booked with payment on the basis of first come first served. Book your gorilla permit in advance to avoid disappointment.
To track gorillas each person must have the day’s gorilla permit which needs to be arranged and paid for in advance, preferably at least 10 months for the high seasons – June-September and December-February; or latest 4-6 months in advance for the low seasons – October-November and March-May. This can be made possible by the availability of tour operators that are very competent and they normally book your gorilla permits at no extra cost.
Gorilla permits are booked with payment on the basis of first come first serve. Availability of gorilla permits for a required date is not guaranteed. There is a lot of competition for the gorilla permits, which makes it hard to get one for yourself. Any delay in confirmation and or payment may mean that you will be unable to obtain the permit on your preferred date.
Once you book and send your money for permits, the date cannot change (changing a tracking date means a cancellation fee is charged). Rwanda charges $100 for each permit date changed.
There is also another option of booking gorilla permits directly through ORTPN.In case you have to book a gorilla permit from outside Rwanda; you first have to contact ORTPN’s reservation office by email inquiring about availability of the dates you intend to track the gorillas. If the exact dates you want are unavailable, you can request ORTPN to let you know of the nearest dates. You then reply to them expressing your intent to book those permits, and requesting them to temporarily hold them as you make payment. At this time, they will advise you of their banking details, so that you can proceed to make an electronic transfer of the money. Please remember to immediately send a copy of the transaction voucher/ receipt by email or fax to ORTPN.
The transfer should usually take not more than 3 days and ORTPN will keep your tentative booking for at least 7 days as they await the transfer to go through. Please ensure that you instruct your bank to deduct the bank charges from you. Otherwise if the money sent is less, your permit may not be booked.
The most rampant and sought after module of attaining gorilla permits is the use of tour operators and travel agents. Many intending gorilla trekkers have however found the above procedure tedious and have sought our quicker and less tedious ways of reserving their gorilla permits by working with local Rwanda tour operator. Gorillas and wildlife safaris will not charge you for buying gorilla permits if you are getting other tour services through them.
The procedure is almost similar as above, except that the tour agencies tend to speed-up the process and most likely you will get your gorilla permit confirmation faster as they always send you a scanned copy of those permits as soon as they are issued thus an assurance of proof that you are dealing with competent people. However, there are certain things that you have to put right before your permit is issued like the dates you want to track these primates, your full names plus those of other people you are travelling with as they appear in your passport.
If at all lady luck is on your side, you might get a last minute gorilla permit from any tour operator. There are situations when some tourists buy gorilla permits and then eventually end up not making it to the actual tracking due to various reasons beyond their control. So these permits remain in the hands of these tour operators who now begin looking for buyers of these permits. So when you avail yourself and you want to track on the same dates as inscribed on the gorilla permits available, then you get yourself one at the last hour.
In Congo, you can plan the booking of your gorilla permit via visit Virunga. So it is here that also Visas to Congo are issued so you can book both of them at ago. A Congo gorilla permit costs only $460.
When booking a gorilla permit from outside Uganda, you first have to contact UWA’s reservation office by email inquiring about availability of the dates you intend to track the gorillas. Note that you need to consider a full day of travel from Kampala to Bwindi after you have landed in Kampala.
If the exact dates you want are unavailable, you can request UWA to let you know of the nearest dates. You then reply to them expressing your intent to book those permits, and requesting them to temporarily hold them as you make payment. At this time, they will advise you of their banking details, so that you can proceed to make an electronic transfer of the money. Please remember to immediately send a copy of the transaction voucher/ receipt by email or fax to UWA.
The transfer should usually take not more than 3 days and UWA will keep your tentative booking for at least 7 days as they await the transfer to go through. Please ensure that you instruct your bank to deduct the bank charges from you. Otherwise if the money sent is less, your permit may not be booked.
Gorilla Permits are also booked through a Tour operator or travel agent. Many intending gorilla trekkers have however found the above procedure tedious and have sought our quicker and less tedious ways of reserving their gorilla permits by working with local Uganda tour operator. Gorillas and wildlife safaris will not charge you for buying gorilla permits if you are getting other tour services like transfers and tours through them .The procedure is almost similar as above, except that the tour agencies tend to speed-up the process and most likely you will get your gorilla permit confirmation faster. However, there are certain things that you have to put right before your permit is issued like the dates you want to track these primates, your full names plus those of other people you are travelling with as they appear in your passport. There are situations when some tourists buy gorilla permits and then eventually end up not making it to the actual tracking due to various reasons beyond their control. So these permits remain in the hands of these tour operators who now begin looking for buyers of these permits.
Ugandan tour operators through their umbrella association (AUTO) almost buy up to 80% of the available tracking permits at up to 2 years out from the intended month of tracking. Each member may purchase up to 20 permits in any month. Individuals and non-members of AUTO can purchase a maximum of 2 permits each in the month 3 months prior to the intended month of trekking .So you can contact AUTO members an purchase these permits from them.
However,in Uganda, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is proposing to put all gorilla permits for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park on line to be accessed by all people within and outside Uganda. According to management of Uganda Wildlife Authority, putting gorilla permits online will increase sales thus more money into the government’s treasury and to the Uganda Wildlife Authority to be used in conservation of wildlife in all protected areas. UWA management also argue that Tour Operators have been complaining about failure to get availability when they call Uganda Wildlife Authority central reservations office in Kampala and that if permits go on line then one can see them instantly.
Putting gorilla permits on line is yet to be seen as it has received a lot of resistance from the Private sector most especially from Ugandan Tour Operators under their umbrella organization called the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) who argue that by putting gorilla permits online will not only put them out of business since International Tour Operators will be able to buy them directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority offices but will also kill the tourism industry as a whole since clients will only be coming to Uganda for gorillas and then go for wildlife viewing in other neighboring countries of Kenya and Tanzania that have a competitive advantage over Uganda. Uganda Tour Operators argue that the role of selling gorilla permits should be left to them since their businesses create employment to several people and that if they are deprived of this, they will run out of business. They further say that the role of Uganda Wildlife Authority is not to market Tourism products such us gorilla permits but is to conserve Wildlife in and outside Protected Areas. The role of Marketing Uganda as a tourism Destination is supposed to be done by Uganda Tourism Board and therefore conflict of interest has been sighted.
Following the above issues, several meetings were convened to discourage Uganda Wildlife Authority from putting gorilla permits online and this ended up attracting the attention of the Minister of Tourism and Wildlife who has instituted a committee comprising of representatives from AUTO, Local Communities, Uganda tourism board and Uganda Wildlife Authority and is to be chaired by The Ministry of Tourism. Outcomes of this committee will be communicated later. Therefore as of now this system to put Ugandan gorilla permits online has temporarily stalled till further notice.
Just as in Uganda, even in Rwanda this mechanism has also totally failed due to various issues that have created divergent views towards the application of this module. The private sector also smelt a rat in being driven out of business yet in Congo this mode of online gorilla booking has never been thought of and there are no signs of conceiving such an idea.Read More
Auto insurance can be confusing and mind boggling sometimes and it’s hard to determine exactly why some individuals are receiving rates which are lower than others. There are many factors which contribute to the rate of auto insurance, some you have control over and others you don’t.
Below you will find valuable information regarding the factors which are compiled in order to determine the rate of your car insurance. These will help you understand important aspects of auto insurance and why some individuals receive higher rates than others. Here are the top five factors which auto insurance companies will consider when determining your rate of insurance:
1. Age – Your age will greatly affect the rate of your car insurance. Teenagers and individuals who are just beginning to drive will have higher rates for no reason other than their age. There is nothing you can do about this, as you get older and become a more experienced driver your rates will go down. Although they will go down, they will not stay down. When you reach a certain age your car insurance rates will go back up because you are an elderly driver and your eyes and coordination may not be as effective anymore.
2. Auto Insurance Companies – This is a factor which you have control over. Some car insurance companies offer lower rates than others for many reasons. It is up to you to choose which one will benefit you the most both now and in the long run.
3. Gender – Whether you are male or female will also affect the rate of your car insurance. This is yet another factor which you have no control over. Females generally have lower car insurance rates because according to insurance companies men are seen as potential dangerous and careless drivers who are more likely to be involved in car accidents.
4. Type of Vehicle – As much as we would all love to be driving a shiny silver Porsche Boxter all around town, the insurance rates for these types of vehicles are unreal. If you want your auto insurance rates to be low, I would suggest driving a car with a lower price tag. The more money your car is worth, the higher your car insurance rate will be.
5. Driving Violations – This is another factor which you have control over. I know how tempting it is to race your friends the moment you get your license for the first time, but the amount of money you will pay in the long run hardly seems worth it. Any form of ticket you receive can potentially raise the rate of your car insurance. If you want to pay less for car insurance I would suggest abiding by the rules of the road.
Although these are the most important factors in determining your rate of car insurance, there are many other factors which also play a part in how much you will pay. Auto insurance is something we all have to pay for, but by researching and understanding the aspects of this form of insurance you are learning how to reduce your rate to your best ability.
About the author:
Bill Ssali is the manager of Self Drive Kenya, specialists in creating road trips in Kenya.