Visiting Uganda

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Visiting Uganda

East Africa is home to quite a few countries that are renowned for some of the world’s most amazing animal experiences. Kenya and Tanzania is home to the Annual Wildebeest Migration, Lake Nakuru and Lake Elementaita for their Pink Flamingo populations and Amboseli National Park for having one of the largest Elephant populations in the world. There are also some natural features including Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain standing at 5,895m, Lake Victoria, the 2nd largest freshwater lake in the world that borders Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, and the River Nile, the largest river in the world, flowing through several countries from Egypt down to Uganda.

While all of these are extremely significant, Uganda and Rwanda offer something unique, the rare and endangered Mountain Gorillas. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda and The Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda are home to this amazing species, with the latest population between the two countries close to approximately 900 as of July 2019.
Uganda and Rwanda are both rich in mountain ranges, lush green forests plus coffee and tea plantations. The landscape viewing is endless with Rwanda known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills”, while Uganda boasts the often snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains.

Another rare ape breed also found in Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania are Chimpanzees. Their habitat also extends into several countries including Ghana, Angola, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sierra Leone and the Demographic Republic of the Congo. The Chimps are best seen with a 90% success rate in Kibale Forest in Uganda, with lesser percentage of success in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, also in Uganda.

Both Primates do offer wildlife experience like no other and can be trekked on foot to get close to them in their natural habitat. I have been extremely fortunate to experience trekking for both of these primates in Uganda in November 2015, escorting a tour group from Australia on a ten day tour to visit the highlights of this fascinating country.

Upon landing in Entebbe, the initial views reminded me of a sub-tropical atmosphere as we descended over Lake Victoria overlooking islands, boats and small fishing crafts. Entebbe itself sits on the edge of Lake Victoria, about 50km’s away from the main capital city of Kampala, which can take up to an hour, depending on the traffic. The Boma Guest House in Entebbe was our lodge for the night, providing a great stay in a secure location before the day ahead.

The Gorilla and Chimpanzee trekking is in the far west of the country, close to the Congo border. Options do exist on how to get there, including an air-transfer towards the Bwindi National Park region, or to travel by road. Our road transfer allowed us to see the country at its best, traversing the ever changing rolling country landscape, seeing the many villages and tea/coffee plantations along the way, to give a great insight into the way of life of the Ugandan community. The journey itself is only 320km long from Entebbe to Fort Portal, however this can take 6 hours because of the amount of villages that are needed to travel through, and what seemed to be endless procession of speed humps in every village that are passed through.

To view some of the Gorilla and Chimpanzee trekking experiences available in Uganda, please click here.

Another fascinating highlight in Uganda is a visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The Park covers a distance of 1,978sq km, and is located in the Albertine Rift Valley. The park is famous for its tree-climbing Lion Prides, seeking shade and shelter up in the many enormous fig trees throughout the National Park. They are mostly found in the Ishasha sector of the Park. The Kazinga Channel is also a feature of the National Park, connecting two large fresh-water lakes – Lakes Edward & George. We enjoyed a boat cruise on the lake which provided great game viewing including Hippo, Crocodile, Elephants, Giraffe, Buffalo as well as a great variety of bird life. We also saw many locals fishing on or around the lake.

Kyamburra Gorge, the longest chasm in East Africa, also is a habitat for Chimpanzees. The gorge is found in the North-Eastern side of the Park and is also renowned for game viewing, walking trails and bird watching.

Another region in the south-west of Uganda is the Lake Mburo National Park. The Park covers a distance of 370 sq. km, has an extensive area of wetlands, and has the largest population of Zebra in Uganda. It also has the highest concentration of Leopard found anywhere in Uganda. There are many activities available including Horse Riding, Mountain Biking, Walking Safari, Game Drives, Boat Cruises and cultural experiences.

Our accommodation was at the Mihingo Lodge. Located high on the crest of a ridge, the Lodge offers superb views over the National Park. The lodge features ten rooms, all under a thatched roof and built on wooden platforms and stilts.

Uganda is such an amazing country to visit and I highly recommend the Chimpanzee and Gorilla Trekking to see these Primates in their natural habitat, as well as to enjoy the many other activities and attractions on offer.

See Jules’ other Blogs on this trip –

Tour Date: November 2015
Host: Jules

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