Why Self Drive is the Best Option for Uganda Road Trip

With Covid-19 pandemic still proving to be the main challenge to the tourism sector, many people are left wondering how they can get to their dream destination on Uganda safari. But here is good news for you. Traveling during covid-19 is now possible with self-drive car rentals. Self-drive has proven to be the best alternative travelers can get to their destination to spend their holiday. Are you planning to go for self-drive safari in Uganda or game viewing? We have everyone covered with our fleet of self-drive car rentals which are available at affordable prices.

Why choose self-drive cars over other rental options

Self-drive cars make it easier to observe social distance

Renting a self-drive car for your travel plans during Covid-19 is pretty a good choice one can make. Unlike other means of transportation, it is easier to observe social distancing from each other.

You travel in sanitized vehicle

Before you set off, we ensure your self-drive car is sanitized. This makes it a safer option for you to get around Uganda. Most parts of the car are disinfected including steering wheel, keys, door handles, seats and many others once the car is return and prior handing it over to another customer. For public means, people tend to be reluctant about such measures which puts travelers at higher risk.

Unlimited mileage

The interesting part of self-drive tours is that visitors enjoy unlimited mileage on a road trip. You pay for the rental car and your movement isn’t limited. Your exploration in the agreed destination all depends on you. A traveler has his or her own travel plan and he or she can engage in activities not necessarily those that have been listed in the itinerary by the service provider.

Benefit from the doorstep car delivery services

Most car hire companies in Uganda offer doorstep car delivery services which you stand to enjoy on self-drive tour. The self-drive car can be brought to your hotel or other area as early as possible as agreed with your car rental dealer. This is not a case with public means where you have to travel up to particular terminals or stand along the road sides waiting.

Keyless entry system

With covid-19 at hand, it is hard to avoid touching surfaces. However, most car rental companies now apply keyless entry features to reduce the rate in which customers keep touching keys.

Why Most Travelers Prefer Bwindi than Mgahinga for Gorilla Trekking

Uganda hosts two national parks that protect the mountain gorillas. These are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Both parks are frequented by tourists looking for the popular and thrilling Uganda gorilla safaris, great trips that bring up close encounters with the mountain gorillas.

Where is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The popular Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is situated in South western Uganda. Its one of the biologically diverse rain forests in Uganda with ever green vegetation. The park is the most popular for gorilla trekking in the world. It hosts almost half of the world’s remnant population of the mountain gorillas. Of the estimated 1060 mountain gorillas, Bwindi hosts about 460 mountain gorillas that live within the forested park.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest covers 321 squire Kilometres and is popularly famous for hosting mountain gorillas and it is characterised with tropical trees, shrubs and wetlands.

On the other hand, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the smallest park in Uganda covering 33.7 squire Kilometers.  Mgahinga Gorilla National Park sits high in the clouds, at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m. As its name suggests, it was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, and it is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey.

In comparison, I prefer Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and below are the reasons justifying my statement:

Many Mountain Gorillas – It’s believed that over 400 Mountain Gorillas are found in Bwindi Impenetrable. This is almost half of the world’s mountain gorillas. With 21 habituated habituation Mountain Gorilla Families, Bwindi impenetrable National park offers Uganda much foreign exchange revenue. On the other hand, Mgahinga National Park protects one Gorilla Family known as Nyakagezi.

Over 120 mammals are found in Bwindi Impenetrable national Park. Among the mammals include forest elephants, forest Antelopes, leopards and many primates like including monkeys, chimpanzees among others.

Gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable National Park are mobile but do not cross the boarders to the neighboring Rwanda or DRC therefore, meeting Gorillas in Bwindi Forest is guaranteed. Unlike in Mgahinga National Park, Nyakagezi Gorilla family is so mobile and sometimes cross boarders to Rwanda.

About 350 species of birds stay in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park including 23 Albertine rift valley endemics. Therefore, guests interested in birding safaris, Bwindi Impenetrable forest is a must visit.

Accessibility– In terms of accessibility, Bwindi impenetrable National Park is easily reached by road and air. You can fly from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Air strip to Kihihi or Kisoro Air strips. From there, you drive for few hours to Bwindi impenetrable National park. Alternatively, you can drive for 7-8hrs Entebbe Airport to Bwidi Impenetrable National Park.

Gorilla habituation is only done in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Rushaga sector). Gorilla habituation enables guests spend 4hrs with Gorillas. Normal tracking allows one hour with Gorillas. On the other hand, Mgahinga National Park offers no Gorilla habituation.

Differences in relief – Mgahinga national Park is mountainous and unfit guests can’t maneuver. Bwindi Impenetrable National park is a bit gentle and manageable. It should be noted that Gorilla trekking involves walking through different land terrain before meeting Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat.

Mgahinga National Park protects one habituated Mountain Gorillas known as Nyakagezi, Bwindi with more than 18 habituated gorilla families. For that note, guests are given chances to exercise their freedom of choice.

Meet the Batwa of Echuya Forest

Echuya Batwa, commonly known as pygmies, is an endangered group of people around Echuya Forest Reserve in Kisoro and Kabale Districts of South-Western Uganda. The Echuya is located in the Albertine Rift region recognized as an important eco-region. The Batwa are believed to have migrated from the Ituri Forest of the Democratic Republic of Congo in search of wild animals to hunt, hence the name Kisoro, literally meaning “the area occupied by wild animals”. The Batwa live in small huts mainly made from sticks and grass. After your amazing gorilla safari in Bwindi Forest, you can take an excursion to the Batwa Community of Echuya.

“Originally, Batwa were forest-dwelling hunter-gatherers based in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa, and are widely accepted as the original inhabitants of the region.  As their traditional forest lands and territories fell under the control of agro-industries and conservation agencies, the Batwa became squatters living on the edges of society. The establishment of the Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks for Mountain Gorillas in 1991 enabled the authorities to evict the Batwa definitely from the forest.

Echuya Forest Reserve

Echuya Forest Reserve is located in the most densely populated area where, the average land holding per household is 0.8 ha and population density is 353.9 persons per km2.  Other than Batwa, the forest is surrounded by Bakiga, Hutu and Tutsi who comprise a bigger percentage of the population. Bakiga are commonly referred to by Batwa as Bairu. Batwa comprise about 5% of the population. Their households are scattered in various settlements in villages located adjacent to the forest. They include: Murubindi, Kashasha; Gitebe-Kanaba, Biizi-Rugeshi–Murora, Mukasaayi that comprises two settlements, Karengyere-Rwamahano and Kinyarushengye.

Before the declaration of the Echuya as a central government forest reserve, the forest was heavily encroached upon. Up to now, some activities such as wild hunting, collection of honey, mushrooms, water, bamboo for basket making, building poles, making of bee hives and fire wood are being carried out by both Batwa and non-Batwa dominant ethnic communities. Batwa, illegally hunt in the forest due to lack of alternative sources of proteins. The forest is also of cultural importance to the Batwa, who offer religious sacrifices to their gods.

The Batwa can be found in other places in Uganda like, Semliki National park, Mgahinga national park and Bwindi National park. Once visited they Demonstrate their culture, how they used to stay in the forests, how they used to start fire, the Hunting techniques, their songs and Dance. Some of them are not mixed blood due to intermarriages with other cultures.

Mountain Gorillas Face More Threats During Lockdown

Mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) are an endangered primate species that a visitor can’t tour without. There has been an increase in the number of mountain gorillas which live in the Virunga Mountain Ranges of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Uganda. Today the population of these great apes stands at over 1087 individuals. These primates are at the heart of a growing tourism industry that has incentivized their continued protection, but close proximity between humans.

Due to covid-19 that have affected the whole world negatively, there are steady increase threats affecting mountain gorillas. Recently a gorilla was killed in Bwindi by poachers.

The gorillas that are located in the thick forest of Virunga Conservation Area are highly affected by poaching and these include the eastern lowland gorilla found in the lowland forests of eastern DR Congo, the western lowland gorilla found in lowland forests of central and western Africa and the cross-river gorilla living along the Cross River along the border of Nigeria and Cameroon.

Despite the fact that mountain gorillas have been affected by coronavirus, there have resulted into the suspension of primate watching safaris in various national parks such as Bwindi impenetrable national park, Mgahinga National Park, Volcanoes national park and the Virunga national park.

Due to suspension, there has been steady increase of gorilla threats where gorillas have been killed by poachers just like rafiki gorilla silverback in Nkuringo gorilla family in Bwindi Impenetrable national park which is located in southwestern part of Uganda. This incident has made UWA to deploy more security guides in all national parks in Uganda to maintain the increase of the gorillas in their thick forest for touristic attractions.

The Virunga Conservation area has worked hand in hand with non-government conservation organization bodies such as Dian Fossey Fund whose focus is to protect gorillas in Rwanda and DR Congo. However much the conservationists work their best to protect gorillas in their thick forest, there are still challenges facing gorillas especially those gorilla subspecies that are less cared for than those habituated gorillas.

What is the biggest threats gorillas face in virunga conservation area?

Diseases

The mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) is one of humanity’s closest relatives and the largest primate that mostly attracted by visitors in virunga conservation area. Due to the genetic similarity between humans and gorillas, gorillas are easily affected by infectious diseases that affect people. Such diseases include Ebola, flue and Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV), and respiratory pathogens transmitted from humans, have been confirmed as important sources of mortality in wild gorillas and chimpanzees.

During gorilla trekking, visitors are briefed about the dos and don’ts of gorilla trekking in the jungle. Some of these rules include illed visitors are not allowed to trek  in the jungle to safe guard the lives of gorillas which live in groups and can easily spread the disease quickly within other groups in the forest and keeping 10meter distance away from gorillas to prevent them from diseases. While awareness of the threat has increased, interventions such as vaccination and treatment remain controversial.

Poaching

Poaching has increased rapidly in all national parks during lockdown. Recently four men were imprisoned for killing rafiki gorilla silverback which was commonly known for leading Nkuringo gorilla family for 25 years. “These four men were imprisoned for being found in possession of wildlife specimens, illegal entry into a protected area and killing an endangered species” said by UWA spokesman. Steady increase of poaching was caused by the suspension of national parks due to coronavirus where people have hunted animals for survival.

Habitant degradation

Due to the fact that gorillas live in the forest were local communities are located, people degrade the forest to get land for agriculture, and clear the trees for get firewood. Despite the fact that trees are cut, gorillas are forced to migrate in search for thick forest were they feel comfortable to live in. furthermore, Infrastructure development causing habitat loss and degradation, and possible disruption to mountain gorilla health and behavior are also an emerging threat, as well as a changing climate.

Is Ecotourism Conserving the Gorillas in Bwindi?

As part of your ecotourism experience, Gorilla tracking is a very captivating activity; it involves walking in the wilderness in search of these great apes.

Most parts of Uganda have remained unchanged for over a period of a century. The instabilities of the early eighties resulted into stunted growth of all industries especially tourism which is super-sensitive when it comes to developing tourism. However the situation has been changed in the last 15 years. Local and international funding is picking up.

Government is slowly but surely reversing the damage inflicted on the wildlife population by re-establishing control and management. Much has been progress has been registered in the development of infrastructure and security in the National Parks. New non-traditional attractions such as sport fishing, Mountain Gorilla tracking, ecotourism, whitewater rafting, kayaking, Bungy jumping and quad-bike safaris. The above have put Uganda back on the tourist circuit.

Ecotourism: An experience to remember At Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Located in southwest Uganda, part of the last remaining natural stand of forest in East Africa. The renowned Bwindi Forest supports a large number of flora, fauna endemic in this region; the major being half of the worlds population of Mountain Gorillas. Close up to 450 mountain gorillas in number live in the impenetrable forest. These great apes live in groups. The mountain gorilla population is split between Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Their habitat is being encroached by farming and increased human population. These great apes are not called mountain gorillas for nothing; they live high in the slopes of the gorillas. The rugged terrain makes hiking/tracking in search of the gorillas strenuous work. The hilly uphill experience is worth every drop of sweat and dollar when you finally track them down.

Within Bwindi, there are 18 habituated gorilla families that can be visited by tourists. Groups of eight visitors are allowed to visit a habituated gorilla family per day and visitors are allowed to stay with the gorillas for only one hour. How time flies by! Keep eight to five meters distance as per the gorilla watching rules. However the gorillas do have their rules! They might come inquisitive especially the juveniles and may break the rule.

A good camera is handy here, but please no flash photography or you might upset the party! Remember you are not in the zoo, you are the intruder! Looking for tale-tale signs like broken twigs, pressed-down grass, dung around gorilla nests, the guides/trackers follow in their wake until you catch up with the family. While you are tracking the mountain gorillas, there are plenty to see in the Bwindi Forest, Chimpanzees, 346 species of birds, 202 species of butterflies, and 163 species of trees packed into one of the richest ecosystems in Africa.

Is Gorilla Tourism Sustainable?

It was decided to limit the number of people allowed to track these vulnerable primates so that to safeguard the habitat from human activities that can be disastrous. These rules are a balancing act between the short term benefits and the long term benefits and the long term protection of the gorillas. If the visitors are not regulated and large groups are allowed, there could be an increased risk of degradation and contamination of the environment in which the gorillas live.

Unrestricted tracking can lead to spread of disease from humans to the gorillas and vice versa. Remember most of the communicable diseases that humans catch, can spread to the mountain gorillas.

Gorilla tracking is a worthwhile adventure, as part of the proceeds goes into the work of ensuring that the gorillas survive for posterity to enjoy. Many projects concerning ecotourism in Uganda have sprung up around this ecosystem to sensitize the communities about the importance conservation measures concerning the gorillas and other endangered wildlife.

Conclusion

The remnant of the once huge rain forest which covered a large area of Africa in eons past; Bwindi Forest straddles the precipitous ridges of the Rift Valley. It is home to almost half of the remnant population of the mountain gorillas left in the whole world. Mountain forests are the last places to be encroached by the cultivating humans, consequently, the gorillas are constantly pressured into the mountains, and it is not their choice.

Unfortunately Bwindi also lies in one of the densely populated areas in Africa. Finally the forests upon the mountains have become a sanctuary of diverse species of fauna and flora. As its name implies, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is not easily accessible, with thick undergrowth, giant buttressed trees entangled in hand-thick lianas, Gorillas find it a perfect haven as well as birds which are present all the year round.

Best Places to See Chimpanzees in Uganda

Uganda is home to more than 5,000 Chimpanzees located in different national parks is the single state in Eastern Africa and are ready for touring by visitors while on your Uganda safari. In nationalist parks like Kibale forest, visitors can either impart in a chimps trek where you track chimps for one hour or choose go for chimps habituation where you trek with an a guide the entire day.

Uganda used to be home to many Chimpanzees, yet today there simply fewer than 5000 chimpanzees staying in Uganda’s parks, domesticated forests and remaining action and new there quality been reports in the media that chimpanzees are being chased by Ugandans for matter, something studied from individuals relocating or escaping the Democratic Republic of the Congo since in Uganda chimpanzees were never chased for consuming. Youngster Chimpanzees are in addition chased to be sold in the pet business and in the extremity different chimpanzees additionally are hurt -work chimpanzees for the pet trade for the most part takes base in the Congo. Chimpanzees are likewise oftentimes got in traps and catches denoted for inverse creatures much as gazelles for cautioning.

The best locations for Chimps Tracking in Uganda

Below we have listed the best areas as well as the best national parks in Uganda to trek habituated chimpanzees. In spite of the fact that all over there you might see them outside the national stops, such as the Buniga Forest, Bigodi Wetlands haven and moreover in the Bwindi national park. The best places for following chimpanzees is in the parks where they have been habituated since they don’t scramble off as people get yet go almost their general line.

Chimps tracking for One day in Kampala

There is no system as an one day gorilla safari however you can prove chimpanzee following for one day from Kampala-It might be shabbier if taken in an assembly. Takeoff at 6 am in the morning from your Kampala lodging and mean that night after 7 pm and you will encounter your chimps following endeavor. You will have a memorable interaction driving 4 hours from Kampala to Budongo forest which is part of Murchison falls national park. One can transform it effectively into a two day endeavor and include nature strolls that instrument re-enactment to you the fauna and flora of Budongo forest or include-on Rhino trekking at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.

Chimps Habituation Adventure -Uganda

The Chimp Habituation is polar from Chimpanzee following in that you are with a forgather of chimpanzees throughout the day nightlong from begin and dim with your escort and analysts and trackers who are habituating the chimpanzees to get them utilised to individuals going to them. It can just be by way of in two ranges -Kibale national park all year-long, and throughout off-period at Bundongo forest at Murchison falls national park. Area for the Habituation adventuring is limited to just a couple unique chimpanzees where you know camp bunches temporary the chimpanzees.

Kyambura Gorge – Queen Elizabeth national park

Kyambura gorge, found in Queen Elizabeth Park has been called the lost Valley by BBC, alternates called it the Vale of the Apes -it is an additional decision for the aforementioned intrigued by Chimpanzees trekking in Uganda. Kyambura Gorge which is a concern of the Hesperian Rift Valley furnishes an uncomparable environs and scene for chimpanzee emulating. The terrain might be a touch on the warty surface, it firm crosswalk streams and streams all attempt of the euphoria of state with the chimpanzees of Kyambura gorge. Following chimps in the gorge is shabbier than following in Kibale forest national park.

Encountering the Kibale national park

The forest offers you an opportunity to trek the chimpanzees, you can go ahead throughout the day chimp habituation experience however an additional point of interest is staying in having overnight in the Kibale Rain forest Jungle itself in a tree house – its a jaw-dropping interaction. Six meters up you can appropriate the camp up-close. Your neighbors are primates incorporating at these days a chimpanzees, fowls, butterflies and you sit on your overhang taking in the qualities of the camp, a most interesting see, an overwhelmingly astounding get as you are there in the wilderness far from it all however the astonishing wilderness that encompasses you-it is sincerely encountering the Kibale Rainforest Camp.

USAID-STAR Continues Support of Friend-A-Gorilla Campaign

USAID-STAR has continued supporting the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in their Friend-a-Gorilla awareness campaign. After supporting UWA to successfully launch the campaign in September 2009, USAID-STAR introduced UWA to US- based partners, including Mojo House, a leading promotional and marketing firm in Los Angeles, California. Through this effort, Mojo offered to take the Friend-a- Gorilla Campaign to US schools through Key Clubs (with outreach to 220,000 school children) and help develop educational materials for US and Ugandan school settings.

USAID-STAR brought back Simon Curtis, Key Club’s spokesperson on behalf of UWA and Friend-a-Gorilla, and a professional marketing expert from Mojo to gather content for educational materials for use in American and Ugandan School environmental awareness campaigns. This will also include a significant fundraising component for Friend-a-Gorilla in American schools. These products will help American students learn about, and contribute to, the conservation of Uganda’s mountain gorillas.

UWA took advantage of Simon Curtis’ presence to organize a Gorilla-Community Sundowner to promote appreciation of the harmonious relationship between gorillas and the neighboring communities. The Sundowner took place in Buhoma on May 19, 2010 and was attended by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry; State Minister for Tourism Honorable Serapio Rukundo; two UWA Board Members; UWA Executive Director; Bwindi Conservation area Manager; Local leaders from Kisoro, Kabale and Kanungu Districts; and members of Local communities. At the event, communities around the protected area of Buhoma in Bwindi National Park pledged to continue the protection of gorillas and thanked UWA and the government of Uganda for the continued support of communities through the gorilla revenue sharing initiative. USAID-STAR’s efforts have attracted great appreciation from UWA & the Ministry of Tourism as well as media coverage of conservation efforts.

The United States component of the education and fundraising program will be launched in July and is anticipated to generate significant resources for UWA through Friend-a- Gorilla over the coming year.

The Friend a Gorilla Campaign is aimed at increasing awareness of the plight of the mountain gorillas to the global world. You can friend the gorilla online and track the updates from the forest right online. Remember gorilla tourism is the backbone of Uganda’s tourism sector. You can go gorilla trekking in the wild or even friend one of the gorillas listed on the Friend A Gorilla Portal.

Ultimate Gorilla Safari Packing List

When it comes to what to pack for budget gorilla safaris & tours in Uganda and DR Congo, these have the same rules, but the rules are very strict and for this case they are supposed to be followed by all tourists and other visitors who want to participate in gorilla trekking activity in any of the two countries. What you should know that gorilla trekking is done in the ancient Bwindi forest in Uganda and in hilly volcanic mountains in Congo. So in this case, the weather is very unforeseeable and this implies it can rain any time. When it rains, the trekking trails become very slippery, muddy and hence require travelers coming to Uganda and Congo to be a wear on what to pack for a gorilla safari holiday.

Make sure you have the right gears before you go gorilla trekking. Recommendations include;

  • Travel documents are the first things to pack for a gorilla safari including valid passport, Yellow Fever Card, necessary visas and travel insurance plus medical documents are also necessary.
  • Gardening gloves invest in some cheap gardening gloves to take with you on the trek. Often when you get into the dense bush you need to grab trees and branches with thorns on it to help you along.
  • Gators, it is well worth taking gators with you to protect your legs from the low gorse bushes and to prevent safari ants from getting into your shoes or under your clothing.
  • Walking stick, I cannot emphasize enough how helpful these are. If you get damp or steep ground these seriously help you along with the muddy steep slopes. This walking stick helps to support you stand steal.
  • Hiking shoes, you really need proper hiking boots with seriously good grip, but sneakers aren’t adequate. A good quality pair of hiking shoes from store will serve you well, though they are expensive but so are your ankles don’t break, don’t risk.
  • Camera, don’t let yourself be disappointed by just taking an iPhone if you can take a good camera with you. You will not believe how close you can get to take some great shots.
  • Porters, for a fee of $15-$20 US you can hire a porter from the local community. Not only does this help the community by providing each porter with a wage for a day but they carry your back packs for you and if needed help you along the way. Definitely worth while having along the way even better you are giving back to the Bwindi community and Virunga community.
  • Light rain jacket, Bwindi forest and Virunga are both rain forests and there is good chance of rain almost the year around. So pack a light-weight poncho or rain jacket that you can roll up in your bag and bring out if necessary.
  • Energy snacks, the trek to the mountain gorillas is not impossible but it is tough. But remember to take any rubbish with you as you go.
  • Long shirts and pants, it is beat not to expose your skin during in the jungle during trek. Remember to tuck your trousers into your socks; you really do not want safari ants crawling up there.
  • Drinking water and lunch box is a must because you
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses with neck trap
  • Insect repellent
  • Binoculars, flashlight
  • Water proof container for your cameras. Yes I know there are waterproof cameras but even they to be sure just put them in a waterproof container. When you are slipping and falling in muddy grounds you do not want your precious photos damaged nor do you?
  • If you desire headgear (hats), a baseball cap is recommended as gorillas are familiar to them.

It is important to know what you are getting into before setting out on a gorilla trekking safari. The hike through the forest is challenging and tough going. Your guide in the forest will always have machete a path through the ferns that clog the undergrowth, but it is within reach for anyone with a reasonable level for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. You will get muddy though, beneath the forest canopy the humidity is very high.

After hiking for hours through the scrub, you will come across your allocated gorilla family, peacefully, playing, eating, along with their young ones. Mountain gorillas are mainly active between 6:00AM and 6:00PM, so during this time they consume vast quantities of food for sustenance. Meaning they search for food during the early hours, resting around midday then forage again in the late afternoon before sleeping. So during the resting period, mutual grooming takes place and is important for reinforcing the social bonding within the group as well as keeping the gorillas’ hair parasite and dirt free.

The young ones will chase, wrestle and somersault, this enables them to learn how to behave and communicate within the group. You only have a maximum of one to observe and watch these gentle creatures in their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking both in Uganda and Congo is something you never ever forget on your safari in Africa.

Experience Amazing Wildlife in Murchison Falls National Park

Nature Adventure Uganda is one of the best travel companies that unleash your dream life offering the best private car rental in Uganda services to travelers willing to take private trips in Uganda. No wonder the Murchison Falls are one of the main attractions in Uganda where we have great experience. And, as such, we would expect a good number of visitors enjoying them. Bird life is superb: a flock of African Skimmers here – always awestruck, Red throated Bee eaters there, African Fish Eagles and Yellow Billed Storks everywhere.

Hippos are also in great abundance, Elephants, buffaloes, Bush buck, Jackson’s Harte beest and warthogs are peacefully roaming the shore. When it is hotter and drier (from December to March) you see greater numbers of animals coming to the river to drink. As you reach the falls, you notice a lot of huge crocodiles amongst the largest ever seen amassed together. The place is called “Croc Bar” and is very aptly named: in fact, all those monster crocs are happily waiting for the big Nile Perch coming down from the falls, either dead, or injured, or traumatized or groggy. And it is a big feast for the reptiles: Nile Perch can weigh up to 100 kg and provide an endless source of food.

At Murchison Falls National Park game drives which normally last the best part of a day on the northern side of the Victoria Nile, mostly in an area generally known as “the Delta” or “Buligi”, as well as along the Albert Nile. Once crossed the Victoria Nile on a ferry at Paraa, and left behind a narrow bend of Riverine forest, you find yourself climbing up a series of rolling hills, interspersed with valleys traversed by a few ephemeral, seasonal streams.

In the fresh air of the early morning, the scenery was just magnificent and quite reminiscent of certain parts of the Masai Mara, but with totally different trees (most notably, impressive Borassus palms). Animals start to appear everywhere, in spite of the longish grass: a group of Defassa Water buck by a sandy watercourse, elephants browsing by the road, hundreds of Jackson’s Hartebeest going peacefully about their daily routine, big herds of buffaloes down in the valley, journeys of Rothschild Giraffes walking up the hills, or standing on the ridges, providing a fascinating skyline.

Proceeding westwards, in the direction of Delta Point and the Albert Nile, the scenery changed subtly: no more hills, but short grass plains with patches of light woodland, gently are descending towards the northern tip of Lake Albert and the big river. Thousands and thousands of graceful Uganda Kobs grazing, resting, staring at us, with the backdrop of the Albert Nile and the western wall of the Albertine Rift, whilst the Blue Mountains of the Congo are visible to the south. It is stunning and peaceful at the same time, and you could have contemplated the view for ages.

Gorilla Eco Tours in Rwanda & Uganda

Ecotourism is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas, intended as a low-impact and often small scale alternative to standard commercial (mass) tourism. Its purpose may be to educate the traveler, to provide funds for ecological conservation, to directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities, or to foster respect for different cultures and for human rights. Since the 1980s ecotourism has been considered a critical endeavor by environmentalists, so that future generations may experience destinations relatively untouched by human intervention.

This involves saving the remaining population of gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda. Eco tours in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya & Tanzania deals with living parts of the natural environments. Ecotourism focuses on socially responsible travel, personal growth, and environmental sustainability. Ecotourism typically involves travel to destinations where flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. Ecotourism is intended to offer tourists insight into the impact of human beings on the environment, and to foster a greater appreciation of our natural habitats.

Eco-tourism is defined as responsible travel, which includes taking steps to conserve the environment and improve the lives of the local people. By providing financial benefits and social empowerment to the local people, tourists can be sure that they are doing everything in their power to benefit the environment and the people of the country they are visiting, instead of simply using their resources while Mass tourism refers to an overwhelming amount of people travelling to one extremely popular tourist destination.

Ecotourism aims at balancing economic development of tourism, and conservation as well as protecting the natural resources is central to it, while mass tourism is like a juggernaut that pays scant heed to any lofty ideals and is instead hell bent on churning profits and thus pays little attention to sustainable development.

Ecotourism is more nature based, low impact as well as small scale, promotes conservation, supports local communities, helps maintain natural and cultural integrity, and makes use of environmentally friendly methods as also technologies while mass tourism is normally associated with high volumes, large scale, fast pace as well as hedonism making Eco – tourism being better.

An  ecotourism  journey  is  a package tour in the  respect of   fauna   and   flora   and  whose  direct  effects  on  the local  population   aren’t harmful but beneficial in-stead.    It’s    a sustainable form of tourism that minimizes the   impact   on the natural environment   to   preserve   it, and that involves local people   and   tourists   into   actions    to    protect    nature and the reverse is true with mass tourism. Ecotourism is a new way to promote   developing   countries. On the one hand it attracts tourists; on   the other hand it contributes to protect nature, culture and wildlife.

Dain Fossey envisioned that introduction of gorilla tourism as the only way to help save gorillas. With the foreign exchange earned from gorilla safaris, funding conservation projects would be easy to manage. It should be noted that, gorilla tours are a major income earner for the countries where gorillas are located. For example in 2006 – 2013, mountain gorillas found in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo hosted more than a million tourists generating $75m (£44m) and about 90% of the countries’ annual foreign income earning.

In 2005, the Rwanda government introduced an annual profit sharing scheme, where 5% of income earning from gorilla tourism is ploughed back into the disadvantaged local communities surrounding the national parks to help in local project development programs so as to improve their living standards like construction of roads, water and sanitation, health unites and low treatment costs. It should be noted that communities living around national parks are densely populated with high poverty levels and poor sanitation. With such profit sharing schemes, the community develops 100% interest in gorilla conservation, as it’s a benefit to everyone.

Introduction of strict rules which must be observed by all tourists going to visit gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo. These rules were set to protect the endangered mountain gorilla species from threats like diseases from human beings like tuberculosis, diarrhea and influenza which a very deadly if they catch gorillas as gorillas have low immunity to human diseases.