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Frequently asked questions about gorilla tourism and Uganda

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Want to behold a 360 panoramic view of Uganda’s most visited National Park? You Should Be Here! It is a stopover with a coffee shop that is conveniently located at the heart of Uganda’s 10 most endowed parks: Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Is Uganda safe?

Yes, Uganda is safe to visit anytime of the year. Between 1979-1988, the country suffered series of guerilla wars that crippled its economy and slowed its social and political progress. Hundreds were killed and thousands left homeless for close to 10 years. Having learn’t alot the hard way, the country is now united and determined to ensure they don’t go back to zero. To this effect, the country’s army and police force have created effective structures and systems that ensure the protection of both citizens and tourists. One such is the tourism police, an arm of the counter-terrorism department that goes above and beyond to ensure the country is not under threat.

The Uganda Equator

One of the things that make Uganda one in a million is its strategic location at a latitude of 1° 22′ 14.63” N and longitude of ‎32° 18′ 11.67” E. In between there is an Equator line which bisects the country into two zones, at.  Simply put, it is one of the only 11 countries in the world where you can experience how life on the Northern hemisphere compares to the Southern hemisphere. If you visit lakes and rivers in its Northern section, you will be wowed with how forces of nature influence currents to move clockwise. On the other hand, the ones in the Central/Southern zone rotate counter-clockwise direction. There are four vantage points from which you can experience this charm, Mountain Rwenzori, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Masaka-a district in central Uganda and an Island in found in the Entebbe wing of Lake Victoria, Africa’s biggest freshwater lake. If you wish to visit any of these destinations or have any further inquiries, Gazelle Safari Company is just an email away.

KwitaIzina

Kwita Izina is an international gorilla naming ceremony that Rwanda hosts annually in an effort to facilitate the conservation and protection of its critically endangered gorillas and their habitat like Volcanoes National Park. Established in 2005, the vibrant social event attracts over 10,000 nature lovers and A-list celebrities from different corners of the earth such as Presidents, Actors and Musicians. It is organised by the Government of Rwanda, through the Rwanda Development Board, and in collaboration with various conservation partners and local communities. Attendance of the event is open to the public and free of charge.

What do Mountain gorillas eat?

Gorillas are 100% omnivorous animals with a preference for stems, bamboo shoots and wild fruits like berries. Unlike their close cousins, Western lowland gorillas, mountain gorillas don’t have a big appetite for termites and ants.

How long do gorillas live?

The average life expectancy of mountain gorillas is 35-40 years, but is common for individuals to live up to 60 years.

How big are gorillas?

While adult male gorillas weigh an average of 440 pounds and can reach a height of six feet when standing on two legs. Females have an average of 200 pounds and are slightly shorter than males. This heavy weight isn’t a surprise considering that males can eat up to 34 kilograms (75 lb) of vegetation a day, and females 18 kilograms (40 lb). This makes them 4-9 times stronger than the average man. For instance, while a male gorilla can lift up to 800 kg (roughly 1750 lbs) of deadweight, man can only lift a maximum of 350 kg.

Characteristics of mountain gorillas

Despite having the ability to suck life out of anything that crosses their path, gorillas are peace loving primates that only put up a fight when they feel threatened. They are gentle, calm and full of good intentions. This explains why over 10,000 nature lovers from different corners of the earth travel to Africa to trek gorillas.

Why are gorillas going extinct?

The habitats of mountain gorillas are surrounded by over populated communities, most of which are impoverished. In a desperate attempt to survive, they encroach on parks in quest for land where they can grow food crops for sale and to feed their families. This encroachment on park land reduces the abundance of food for wildlife, forcing gorillas to depend on the community farms by eating off available produce. In turn, this leads to inter human-wildlife conflicts which leave the gorillas vulnerable.

Why do Silverback gorillas fight?

Gorillas live in a very harsh environment where only the strongest survive.To be exact, an environment where rival gorilla groups and solitary gorillas are fond of making surprise attacks. That aside, most females are more comfortable living in groups where they and their babies feel more secure. Under these circumstances, Silverback gorillas are inclined fight whoever threatens to overthrow them or destroy their family.

How to save Mountain gorillas?

One of the most effective ways of saving gorillas from extinction is by visiting them/going gorilla trekking. Financial proceeds from this venture is used by the part authorities to pay ranger guides for the 24/7 protection of habitats of the gorillas. By the same token, 20-25% of the amount you pay for gorilla tracking is used to fund the creation of alternative sources of income. This reduces their dependency on the parks through vices like poaching.

Queen’s Pavilion in Elizabeth National Park

Posted By : superbeo/ 100

Want to behold a 360 panoramic view of Uganda’s most visited National Park? You Should Be Here! It is a stopover with a coffee shop that is conveniently located at the heart of Uganda’s 10 most endowed parks: Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Want to behold a 360 panoramic view of Uganda’s most visited National Park? You Should Be Here! It is a stopover with a coffee shop that is conveniently located at the heart of Uganda’s 10 most endowed parks: Queen Elizabeth National Park. This savannah destination lies in the western arm of the rift valley and blossoms with a bustling population of 600 bird species and 95 mammal species inclusive of tree climbing lions. Other virtually guaranteed sightings here include antelopes, chimps, warthogs, along with pods of hippos and crocodiles.

The pavilion stands on a nearby crater rim that hosted the world’s most powerful monarch following her visit to it in 1959, that’s why it is called Queen Elizabeth. At the cafe found here, you will find terrific views of Lake George, high-speed Internet connection, Coffee and tea, sourced from local growers and gift shop with authentic handmade crafts from surrounding communities. The place is jointly managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority and Conservation Through Public Health, a conservation organization at the forefront of stopping spread of from of disease from communities to wildlife and vice versa.

If you wish to see countless herds of elephants and buffaloes, the Queen’s Pavilion is a great starting point for game drives. It is few minutes’ drive away from settings in the park where thousands of animals gather for breeding, grazing and sun bathing.

Nyero rock painting

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Nyero will leave you feeling like you have taken a journey back in time, into an era of chiefs, traditional healers, queens, and horse-drawn carriages. It is a plateau in Eastern Uganda with enormous rocks that bear Uganda’s most beautiful rock art.

Nyero will leave you feeling like you have taken a journey back in time, into an era of chiefs, traditional healers, queens, and horse-drawn carriages. It is a plateau in Eastern Uganda with enormous rocks that bear Uganda’s most beautiful rock art. They reflect what life was like in prehistoric times.

Most of the art is drawn using laterite stones. At first glance, it is difficult to notice all the features as they blend easily in the background. However, as you get used to the place, it becomes easier to spot the crocodiles, lions, snakes, and humans that dot the space. From the grinding stones where millet was milled into flour to the fireplaces where early man used to do storytelling, everything here has a charisma of its own.

Nyero has the charm of an old world city. It has caves that used to offer refuge to the Batwa, one of Uganda’s indigenous tribes.

The rocks here gleam in aftermath of a drizzle, creating a welcoming ambiance. The terrain is largely flat, with a few steep surfaces that don’t need professional hiking experiences to conquer. As such, it is a really pretty place to go for a stroll whilst appreciating intriguing history that is over three centuries old.

At the top you will find a rock that offers unobstructed views of the surrounding landscape, an open savannah that is as flat as a cake plate.

You will learn so much from the guides in the short time you will have with them, inclusive of the customs of in this part of the world.

Nyero’s most popular art is a petroglyph that illustrates the beauty of the galaxy, as featured on Uganda’s one thousand shilling note. It was created by removing the outer surface of the rock by hammering, scraping and scoring.

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

Posted By : superbeo/ 97

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.