March 2019

Mahoma Waterfalls Experience

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Fort Portal is a true wilderness, for our country’s kicks and indulging in scenic waterfalls. One such is Mahoma, a waterfall fed by a river system that was formed as a result of volcanic eruptions that took place 4,000-6,000 years ago.

Queen Elizabeth National Park does not have as many predators as one would find in Serengeti, but you do see a huge herd of buffalos, elephants and hundreds of thousands of bird species. By the same token, lions are also present though they are  hard to come by because they prefer to remain unnoticed. This doubles their chances of catching prey with ease.

If you want assured chances of seeing them, this lion tracking experience can’t be missed. Unlike the traditional game drives which strictly take place within tracks, the carnival experience allows driving off the beaten path. This affords one the possibility of seeing these majestic carnivals in a much shorter time. As you track them using locator devices and radio collars, you might to run into Leopards as they live in shared territories.

Financial proceeds from the program are used to fund research and conservation of predators in Uganda.

Best time to visit: All year.

Lion tracking/carnival experience

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Queen Elizabeth National Park does not have as many predators as one would find in Serengeti, but you do see a huge herd of buffalos, elephants and hundreds of thousands of bird species. By the same token, lions are also present though they are hard to come by because they prefer to remain unnoticed.

Queen Elizabeth National Park does not have as many predators as one would find in Serengeti, but you do see a huge herd of buffalos, elephants and hundreds of thousands of bird species. By the same token, lions are also present though they are  hard to come by because they prefer to remain unnoticed. This doubles their chances of catching prey with ease.

If you want assured chances of seeing them, this lion tracking experience can’t be missed. Unlike the traditional game drives which strictly take place within tracks, the carnival experience allows driving off the beaten path. This affords one the possibility of seeing these majestic carnivals in a much shorter time. As you track them using locator devices and radio collars, you might to run into Leopards as they live in shared territories.

Financial proceeds from the program are used to fund research and conservation of predators in Uganda.

Best time to visit: All year.

Lake Nkuruba Nature Reserve

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This is a great place for nature lovers visiting Fort portal, a peaceful town at the foothills of Mountain Rwenzori (Western Uganda). It is a community initiative focused on conserving a scenic lake surrounded by an ecologically rich jungle.

This is a great place for nature lovers visiting Fort portal, a peaceful town at the foothills of Mountain Rwenzori (Western Uganda). It is a community initiative focused on conserving a scenic lake surrounded by an ecologically rich jungle. Once here, expect to see tons of monkey species and other animals from Kibale National Park such as forest elephants.

You can start your day here by lazing in the sunshine or taking a few guided walks around the area as you gain an understanding of the eco-system of tropical conservancies operate. Set your camera on standby mode to capture lots of coloubus monkeys that are playing hide and seek in the trees by jumping around. Later in the day, you could dive in the lake for a refreshing swim amidst sights of vervet monkeys and singing birds of all kinds.

If you are not in a rush, you can spend a night here and listen to sounds of nature at night. The accommodation on site isn’t luxurious, but it is doesn’t disappoint when it comes to offering genuine hospitality and international cuisines prepared with a Ugandan touch. Cold beer is also available.

Private Camping is also highly recommended considering the place is safe.

Lake Mburo Salt Lick

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A visit to this site enables you view wildlife you might have missed out on during the morning game drive in Lake Mburo National Park. It could be giraffes, zebras, topi, buffalos, eland, bushbucks, waterbucks, reedbucks. It is a fairly open setting where animals gather to lick salty soil so as to boost the level of iron in their body.

A visit to this site enables you view wildlife you might have missed out on during the morning game drive in Lake Mburo National Park. It could be giraffes, zebras, topi, buffalos, eland, bushbucks, waterbucks, reedbucks.

It is a fairly open setting where animals gather to lick salty soil so as to boost the level of iron in their body.

There is a wooden viewing platform within safe distance from the stage. It is close enough to enable you have an up-close connection the animals. This presents lovely photo-moments. You don’t need to be physically fit to be able to handle the hour-long nature walk that leads here. The terrain is gentle and easy on the knees. Throughout this activity, you will be in the company of an armed ranger. He will carry a loaded rifle to scare off any rebellious animal that threaten to make a scene.

Best time to visit: All year

Chimp Tracking in Kalinzu Wild Life Reserve

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There are many places in Uganda that offer exceptional chimp tracking excursions. Of these Kibale National Park and Kalinzu Forest deserve a special place on your itinerary if you wish to stand great chances of encountering more than one family of chimps.

There are many places in Uganda that offer exceptional chimp tracking excursions. Of these Kibale National Park and Kalinzu Forest deserve a special place on your itinerary if you wish to stand great chances of encountering more than one family of chimps. Found near Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kalinzu’s tropical forest comes alive with the pant hoots and vocalizations of 300 chimps; some up in the trees, others at the floor of the forest. Nothing beats the excitement of watching them fight, play or hunt black & white monkeys for extra protein.

The forest is thick but relatively flat once you descend into its core. To fully appreciate its beauty, you need at least two hours during which you will dwell amidst beautiful trees with a fresh breeze.

The guided walk through also presents a higher probability of seeing blue monkeys and L’Hoests monkeys anytime of the year. Several habituated groups of these can be seen within a two hours’ tracking excursion.

The bushwalking experience at Kalinzu will give you an awesome adrenaline rush as you literary run through the forest to catch up with speeding animals. For that, be sure to wear long pants and comfortable hiking shoes. You also needs gloves for your hands considering you will be holding lots of trees for stability as you pursue the relatively strenuous hike.

Bird watching in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

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Due to its dense population of the 350 recorded bird species, avid birders can’t get enough of Bwindi’s magnificent forest, which sprawls over steep hills. Considered one of Nature’s masterpieces, Bwindi offers an intriguing insight into a remarkable tropical rainforest estimated to be 25,000 years old.

Due to its dense population of the 350 recorded bird species, avid birders can’t get enough of Bwindi’s magnificent forest, which sprawls over steep hills. Considered one of Nature’s masterpieces, Bwindi offers an intriguing insight into a remarkable tropical rainforest estimated to be 25,000 years old. In here you will find 23 bird species endemic to the Albertine Rift. Examples include Short-tailed Warbler and Blue-headed Sun bird. Bwindi is equally a preferred habitat for seven IUCN red data listed species such as Common Bulbul, African Emerald Cuckoo, Red-headed Bluebill, African Blue and White-tailed Blue Flycatchers.

As you take a walk along Buhoma Waterfall Trail and Mubwindi Swamp trail, you will come across a profusion of finches, warblers and forest greenbuls. There are also rarities such as Bar-tailed trogon and Black bee-eater.  Other notables include African broadbill, Shelley’s crimsonwing, Purple-breasted sunbird , Regal sunbird,  Grauer’s broadbill, Handsome francolin, Blue-headed sunbird, Cinnamon-chested bee-eater,  Black-faced rufous warbler, Rwenzori apalis, Yellow-streaked greenbul, Mountain masked apalis…the list is endless.

As you crown your experience with a walk on the plains and plantations at the foot of Ruhija, you are likely to see a bird that is dear to all Ugandans, the grey crown crested crane, the national emblem.

Best time to visit

The breeding season that runs from March to September presents the most remarkable birding experiences. Migratory species can best be seen from November to April.

Bigodi Swamp/ Bird Watching

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Bigodi is a vast countryside swamp with a wide network of boardwalks upon which one can have a bountiful nature walk. A visit to this community owned initiative is highly recommended to anyone who wishes to get more involved with nature and wildlife.

Bigodi is a vast countryside swamp with a wide network of boardwalks upon which one can have a bountiful nature walk. A visit to this community owned initiative is highly recommended to anyone who wishes to get more involved with nature and wildlife. Here, you will be treated to the sights and sounds of several reptiles and mammals–as they take a break from the forest life of Kibale National Park. These include chimps, elephants, olive baboons, vervet monkeys. For almost every turn, you will see or hear the exquisite calls of 370 recorded bird species including the sought-after African pitta, a forest special. Other unique species unique to this part of the country include Masked apalis, Cassin’s spinetail, Nahan’s francolin and blue-headed bee-eater. Usual’s include Abyssinian ground thrush, Scaly-breasted illadopsis, Red-chested owlet, Grey parrot, Black-capped apalis, Blue-breasted kingfisher, Purple-breasted sunbird, White-naped pigeon and Dusky crimsonwing among others.

Your pictures will come out perfect as the weather is friendly for much of the year. As you make your way to Bigodi, you will see the local community working on the nearby subsistence farms from which the region’s food is sourced. On your way back, you are likely to find some small children returning from collecting firewood and potatoes, carrying it balanced on their heads.

Later, you can head out for a village walk with a stopover at the home of a local family that makes fresh banana beer using traditional procedures. They will intrigue you with illustrations of what happens behind the scenes of beer brewing. In the end, they will serve some for your drinking pleasure.

Best time to visit

The fruiting seasons are a better bet as they are synonymous with lots of foods that attract wildlife; March to May and from September to November. Migratory birds can best seen here from November to April.

Gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

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This group is composed of 7 dare devils led by Silverback Mishaya. They aren’t afraid of pushing themselves to the limit even when it seems like the odds are not in their favour. They are always swinging from one canopy to the next in search for wild fruits that know how to set the taste buds on fire.

Rushaga region – Southern Bwindi Forest

Mishaya Group

This group is composed of 7 dare devils led by Silverback Mishaya. They aren’t afraid of pushing themselves to the limit even when it seems like the odds are not in their favour. They are always swinging from one canopy to the next in search for wild fruits that know how to set the taste buds on fire.

While its males weigh as much as 136 to 195 kg (300 to 430 lb), adult females weigh about half 68–113 kg. Despite that, they hardly fall off because they are always at the top of their game and make very well calculated moves. This offers you a more spiced up adventure as opposed to being bored out watching gorillas on the floor all the time. The group of 7 members is named after its highest ranking alpha male, Mishaya. If you are wondering about where to see gorillas in Uganda, this might just be it.

Nshongi Group

So many tourists used to avoid tracking this group which is headed by Silverback Bweza. It’s 7 members were very adventurers and used to move a lot. Trying to catch up with them was a cat and mouse game. However, all this now in the past. Their life started to take a new twist in mid-2017 after they started registering new births of infants.

This forced them to settle down in their homeland along Nshongi River where they were discovered around 1999. This change of lifestyle has played a key role in lessening the exposure of their babies to fights led by gorilla groups in other parts of the forest. As such, you now have a good chance of encountering them whenever you are ready.

The group now comprises of one Silverback, three adult females, one infant, one sub-adult and one juvenile.

Busingye and Kahungye Groups

Many rival gorilla groups shy away from confronting these two families as they are always prepared for the worst. Their silverbacks have established a system in which all muscular males form a ring around the groups’ babies and females. Throughout the day, one or two of their members spend much of the day in trees, in an effort to see any gorillas intruding their territory. This makes it hard to take them by surprise. Thanks to this extra conscious character, they have never lost any of their members in a fight.

If you plan on visiting Busingye in particular, brace yourself for an unforgettable mingle with its 9 individuals inclusive of 3 jovial infants.

On the other hand, Kahungye has 17 individuals including 3 silverbacks, 3 blackbacks, 3 adult females, 2 infants, 3 juveniles and 3 sub-adults. All of these are submissive to the group’s commander, Silverback Rumanzi.

Bweza Group

Bweza Gorilla family is led by Kakono, an ambitious Silverback who is on a mission to become the most authoritative gorilla king in Rushaga region. Well knowing this can best be achieved if he has the support of the two silverbacks in his group, he has granted them unlimited mating rights with the groups 3 adult females. This is very unusual considering Alpha males are never liberal to that extent regardless of how desperate they are.

Lucky for Kakono, the trick is doing wonders. Not only have the silverbacks withdrawn their intentions to challenge his leadership, they are fond of sneaking into other groups in an effort to woo their females to join Bweza group.

The group also has 4 blackbacks, 2 infants, and 1 sub-adult. There are also ambitious juveniles aspiring to settle down and start family. This mix will give you the pleasure of getting a deeper understanding of how gorillas behave as they go through different stages in life.

Nkuringo Region

Nkuringo Group

If hiking mountains is your cup of coffee, the pursuit to see this family of 12 members will make you happy. They stay in a high altitude setting that is accessible through steep trails that are well maintained. The scenery along it is diverse and spectacular.

Their preference for it is partly influenced by its rich concentration of their favourite delicacy, bamboo. Here, you will find silverback Rafiki, the leader Nkuringo family. He has a bulkier chest compared to that of other members in his group. 2 of whom are adult females, 1 a blackback, 2 silverbacks, infants, 3 juveniles and 2 sub-adults.

If you wish to travel lighter, we are glad to help you hire a porter who is passionate about nature. Having hiked the mountain over and over, he knows alternative routes that offer a hiking experience that is a delight to the knees.

Like all the other families in Uganda, the permits to see them cost $600  for foreign tourists-$450 for foreign residents and 250000 UGX for Ugandans and East African Nationals.

Christmas Group

This family of 9 members love spending much of its day in the lower section of Nkuringo’s forest considering it doesn’t have much undergrowth. This explains why most nature lovers who come to Nkuringo are always eager to see them.

It is one of the two groups that last two groups that were habituated last year. Gorillas aside, the setting at this group lives is endowed with lots of rare trees like Prunus Africans. Best of all, the guide in charge of this hike has a genuine talent for quickly understanding what you’re passionate about and what you value from a tour.

Bikingi Group

If your heart is beating for an adventure that is more rewarding than gorilla tracking then gorilla habituation will rejuvenate your sense of wonder. This is one the gorilla families to ready yourself for in this regard. It comprises of 15 wild individuals that are currently being psychologically prepared to accommodate all visitors regardless of their physical outlook or race. These include 1 silverback, 5 adult females, 2 sub adults, 5 infants and 2 juveniles. During this half day adventure, you will witness what happens behind the scenes before gorillas are opened for tourism. The hike has been well researched and put together to wow you with lots of encounters people miss out on during gorilla tracking. For instance, you will walk on paths that no tourist has used before.

Bushaho Group

Don’t forget to wear comfortable hiking shoes when coming to see Bushaho group. The landscape is their surrounding is made of overlapping ranges.  Getting from one to the other entails walking along trails with lots of volcanic ash, some of which are sharp pointed. Their locality is called Bushaho and yes, it is from it that the group got its name. The group was established by 8 individuals after their break off from Nkuringo Group. This move was led by Bahati, a determined silverback who is never afraid to fight for what he believes in. Bushaho has 3 adult females, 1 silverback, and 1 blackback, 1 sub-adult-1 juvenile and 1 infant.

Buhoma area (North of Bwindi)

Mubare Group

Since this group was opened for tourism in 1993, it has been visited by over 50,000 nature lovers from different corners of the earth. This is partly because it’s 12 members are very friendly and always happy to welcome strangers into their inner circle. This follows the successful habituation they underwent for two years starting 1991.

Its 12 members include 6 Adult Females, 1 juvenile and 3 Infants. You will be pleased with the state and attitude of all Mubare’s gorillas. They are incredibly fit and sure-footed beasts. You could spend hours with them without getting bored!

The group experienced a turning point in December 2017 after it was invaded by a rival silverback called Malaya. A spirited fight broke out and cost two lives from Mubare family. One of these was an infant who died instantly upon being ripped apart. The other victim was the group’s leader Kanyonyi. He died subsequently after suffering open wound infections.

Rushegura Group

Due to Bwindi’s hilly landscape, gorilla tracking is quite as exhaustive as mountain climbing because it entails ascending over steep slopes. If you are not in shape to go tracking but deeply desire to encounter gorillas in the wild, this is one of the groups we shall book for you whenever you are ready. It is made of 16 members inclusive of 4 babies, 4 adult females, 4 blackbacks, and 3 juveniles. All of these love to dwell in the lower part of the forest that is easily accessible by gentle trails. This is partly because of its diversity of vegetation with relatively high protein content and low fiber content. The group is led by a silverback called Kabukojo.

Habinyanja Group

You will love every minute of your visit to this family of 17 individuals, comprising of 5 adult females, 1 black-back, 6 infants, and 1 sub-adult and 3 juveniles. It is led by Makara, a fierce fighter who goes above and beyond to protect his family from attacks by rival gorilla groups. This has left him with severe injuries on different occasions, exposing him to open-wound infections. Luckily, the timely treatment by gorilla doctors from Uganda Wildlife Authority has always restored his good health.

Thanks to his inspirational character, the other silverbacks in his group haven’t yet found it necessary to overthrow him.

Katwe Group

One of the adult females in this group is expectant. According to the ranger guides, there is a great chance she might give birth to a baby boy (judging by signs). If luck is on your side, she might give birth on the day of your visit.

The group is named after one of the oldest salt mines in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is possible for persons with disabilities to see this Group. It has two babies, 4 adult females and an alpha male.  This can be achieved using a special stretcher bed upon which they can be carried to a random location where Christmas is foraging.

Ruhija region

Oruzogo Group

In Bwindi, most gorillas are named after the setting in which they spend much of the year. Led by a silverback called Bakwate, this group is named after Orugoto, a plant species that is prominent in their locality. It boasts of 17 individuals inclusive of 2 silverbacks, 5 adult females, 2 black backs, 2 sub-adults, 5 infants and 1 juvenile. You will have a lovely hike, through a primary and secondary forest, to try and find these rare primates at a random setting in the forest where they are dwelling. There is a great chance you will find them in the bamboo zone as it is distant from busy tourist zones in the forest zone.

Oruzogo is easy to find as they follow a predictable routine as different seasons come and go. They love dwelling in particular arenas in the forest where they experienced life changing moments. Such includes zones in which their infants were born.

Bitukura Group

Just like identical twins, the four silverbacks in this family have a striking resemblance. You could spend hours trying to identify each of them but without much luck. Their body features look very alike. God surely took his time perfecting them to look like clones of one another. Surprisingly, Bwindi’s ranger guides can tell them apart by just listening to the rate of their heartbeat. This follows a special connection they have developed during the many years they have been interacting with them. Using this prior exposure, they will spot out each individual and share with you their captivating life stories, highlighting their best and worst moments.

The group has 13 members inclusive of 4 silverbacks, 4 adult females, 2 juveniles and 3 infants.

Kyaguliro Group

Led by a Silverback called Rukara, this group is a club of 7 friends who are very vibrant and full of life.

The hike to see this group is pretty brutal but doable and absolutely soul rewarding. The pain you will endure is absolutely worth it when you reach the final stretch of the climb. From here, the view of the surrounding villages. The sight of mountains in Congo is mesmerizing, you just can’t stop enjoying it.

At the time of its habituation in 1995, the group had 20 members. Along the way, it experienced a split that led to the formation of Kyaguliro B group, as led by Mukiza, the official heir to Rukina’s throne (Rukina is the former group leader).

Mgahinga National Park

Compared to Bwindi, Mgahinga has so many open areas. This makes it easy to take pictures of its only gorilla family, Nyakagezi. It is probably the most peaceful gorilla family in Uganda. This character has been influenced by the lack of other gorilla groups in Mgahinga. As such, they are never worried about being attacked by any other group or competition for territory. The group is made of 11 members, the most popular being Rukundo, a 15 year old gigantic silverback with a warm personality. Like the rest of his relatives, most of whom spend much of their day eating, mating and grooming one another, Rukundo is as calm as a monk. Despite knowing he has all it takes to overthrow his father from the throne, he is not in a rush to take over the group’s leadership. The ranger guides here suspect this has something to do with the fact that leadership comes with so many responsibilities.

Ziwa Rhino sanctuary

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Meet Ziwa, a wildlife sanctuary in central Uganda that is on a mission to protect and repopulate rhinos ahead of their re-introduction into Uganda’s savannah parks. This follows an uncontrolled poaching spree that befell Uganda in the 1980’s, wiping its national parks of their entire rhino population.

Meet Ziwa, a wildlife sanctuary in central Uganda that is on a mission to protect and repopulate rhinos ahead of their re-introduction into Uganda’s savannah parks. This follows an uncontrolled poaching spree that befell Uganda in the 1980’s, wiping its national parks of their entire rhino population. This has negatively interfered with the normal functioning of the eco-system of the parks considering Rhino grazing helps maintain savanna grasslands. This in turn supports numerous other flora and fauna species.

To the above effect, Ziwa’s 70square kilometres (7,000 ha) jungle has been left in its pristine state. This heartens humans to understand, appreciate and protect this critically endangered herbivore that is ranked as the second biggest land mammal after elephants.

It has 26 individuals, over 15 of which were born here since its establishment in 2005. It also boasts of at least 40 mammal and reptilian species like hippos, crocodiles, monkeys, antelopes and variety of bird species. This is one of the things that make Ziwa a great stopover between Kampala and Murchison falls national park.

Here, you will have a rewarding bushwalk through an amazingly untouched savannah sanctuary—where an astounding array of birdlife are still shy of people and vehicles.  You will track rhinos using their footprints in the sand whilst learning a bit more about native flora and fauna.

You will be amazed by the great work that is being done to convert ex-hunters into conservationists in an effort to protect rhinos from become extinct. As you pursue nature walks, you will find ranger guides patrolling the park to scan out any snare that might have been planted by poachers.

Do not just look for rhinos, take time to experience nature’s healing power and appreciate every little bit in there; every moment is worthwhile.

Best time to visit: All year round

Unique aspects about climbing each mountain in Mgahinga National Park

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You will really start to feel like you are a part of nature the minute you set foot here. The hike covers an average of 12km for a to and fro trip. Once at the top, you will find the highest lake in Virunga region, a scenic crater that is halfway in Uganda and halfway in Rwanda.

Mountain Muhavura

You will really start to feel like you are a part of nature the minute you set foot here. The hike covers an average of 12km for a to and fro trip. Once at the top, you will find the highest lake in Virunga region, a scenic crater that is halfway in Uganda and halfway in Rwanda. Standing at its rim, you will be rewarded with enchanting views of the Virunga Volcanoes, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Lake Edward, and the peaks of Mountain Rwenzori.

The plan of rangers who will lead this trek is very nice and meticulous to suit your needs and capacities.

The silence you find when you get beyond busy trails is priceless. And the sunsets above the clouds are unbelievable.

Mountain Mgahinga

If you wish to stand good chances of encountering the golden monkeys as you hike, Mountain Mgahinga is a better bet. There are over 10 habituated families here, each with at least 15 members. Its summit is topped by a swamp-filled crater and giant lobelia.

This mountain is full of greenery. Mgahinga will push you beyond your comfort zone, but also amaze you at the same time.

You will pass by waterfalls that are high and wispy.

Due to its tough climbing challenge, it is never crowded with tourists and thus much less noisy.

Mountain Sabinyo

Hiking Sabinyo is a bucket list type of adventure as its summit is the only place on earth were Congo, Rwanda and Uganda intersect. Here, you get treated to the excitement of being in all these three tropical countries at the same time. You can have your left foot in Congo, the right foot in Rwanda and your hands in Uganda. This summit also provides an unbeatable panoramic views of all the 7 mountains in Virunga region, a mix of both active and dormant volcanoes.

The mountain owes its Kinyarwanda name to its rugged shape which from a distance looks like the teeth of an old man.

During the trek to Sabinyo’s highest point, you will cross many wooden bridges and continue your journey along with waterfalls, lush forests, foothills, and various birds. No doubts, this trek will prove its popularity and richness in sceneries apart from the diverse 4 vegetation zones.