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Things To Do & See In Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, where the sweeping Bunyoro escarpment tumbles into vast, palm-dotted savanna. First gazetted as a game reserve in 1926, Murchison falls is Uganda‘s largest and oldest conservation area, hosting over 76 mammal species and 451 bird species.

The park is bisected by the Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, the centerpiece of the park, and the calm stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor into Lake Albert.

The park gets its name from these magnificent falls that are the major attraction to this park. Regular visitors to the park get their eyes on different wildlife at the riverbanks include elephants, giraffes, and buffaloes; while hippos, Nile crocodiles, and aquatic birds are permanent residents.

Notable visitors to the park include Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway, and several British royals.

How to get there
you may be wondering how to get to Murchison falls National Park, but by means of road, it will take you around 5hours with about 305 km from Kampala. Paara covers a distance of about 85km from Masindi town by the shortest route.

A direct or longer route will cover an area of about 135km. Alternatively one may decide to take on the Budongo forest route that will provide magnificent views of Lake Albert from the direct position of the rift valley escarpment over Butiaba.

You can still access Paara from the north through Chobe Gate, Karuma Falls along with Tangi. The Gate that is close to Pakwach covers an area of about 25km to Paara in addition to Wankwar Gate close to Purongo.

People with Vehicles or public means will definitely go through the Nile at Paara. It has a fixed time from 07.00 and 19.00. Besides road, Murchison can be accessed by air at the Pakuba landing site for the charter flights and this takes about 19kms from Paraa and Bugungu covers an area of 13kms from Paraa.


Murchison Falls

This is the main attraction of the park from which its names after as well as river Nile with crocodiles and hippos at the river banks. The most magnificent view of the waterfalls is on the top of where the sight and sound of the Nile roaring through a wide. The site can be reached either by car and a 30 minutes climb or leaving the Paraa launch boat cruise.

Game Drives

The park is also composed of woodland, wetland, savannah as well as the tropical forest that is well known to be a habitat for different bird species and mammals. Among the mammals, many can be spotted including the lions, hippopotamuses, Rothschild’s giraffe, warthog, Cape buffalo, Uganda kob, Jackson’s-hartebeest, and elephants.

Game drives take place early in the morning and a tourist is able to see plenty of games. At Nyamsika Cliffs is where one can enjoy a picnic, the view, and gaze at elephants and other wildlife on the green grassy hillsides and river below. Game drives are exquisite when accompanied by a tour guide. The best time for the game drive is during the dry season.

Boat cruise

The Launch trip begins at the Paraa landing area at the point where the river Nile enters into Lake Albert and takes you to the bottom of the falls. While on the cruise you will sight hippos, waterbucks, crocodiles, buffaloes, and elephants. You will also see water birds such as cormorants, Fish eagles, ducks, Kingfishers, bee-eaters, and the shoebill.

The cruise is between 9 am and 2 pm daily however exceptional schedules can be arranged with the park management. The cruise takes you for 17Km from the bottom of the falls at Paraa for 3hours. The cruise from Paraa to River Delta is 28km and takes about 4-5hours. Fishing is available in the river above and below the fall. Do bring your own fishing equipment if you’re interested in finishing. Examples of fish available in the river to catch are Nile perch, tiger fish, and more

Bird watching

Bird Species commonly seen between Paraa Rest Camp and Ferry crossing are; Spotted Mourning Thrush, Vitelline Masked Weaver, Silver Bird, Bluff-bellied Warbler, Blue-napped Mousebird, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaverBlack-headed Gonolek, Green-winged Ptyilia, and Black-headed Batis, this is the best site for the localised White-rumped Seed-eater.

Common Nocturnal Species in the area include Verreaux’s owls, Nightjars such as long-tailed and Pennant-winged nightjar which usually is watched between the months of March – September. Also available is the amazing standard-winged nightjar watched from November to February. Other bird species include: African Skimmer, White African fish eagle, long-toed plover, Gray Crowned crane, Goliath Heron, and more

Nature walks

Tourists get to explore the wild on foot while in the Murchison Falls Conservation area. There is a trail at Paraa winds throughout low hills, gullies, and forest around the river. Nature walks happen at top of the falls, KaniyoPabidi, and Rabongo Forest.

The Rabongo Forest Ecotourism Centre is located on an island of tropical river forests in the southeast of the conservation area. Savannah grasslands surround the forest. With a tour guide, one can explore primates like the Red-tailed monkeys, Black & white colored monkeys, Chimpanzees, birds, trees, and medicinal plants.

Kanio Pabidi is a serene area of natural forest within Budongo Forest Reserve, where you can walk beneath mature mahogany and ironwood trees. Chimpanzee tracking is the most famous activity. You certainly see many forest birds, including the Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, the White-thighed Hornbill, and Puvell’s Illadopsis found nowhere else in East Africa! Kaniyo Pabidi is on the Masindi – Paraa road, 8 kms from Kichumbanyobo gate.

Conclusion; Are you planning to a wildlife safari to Uganda, Murchison fall national park with all it has to offer should be listed first on places you should visit.


Top 10 Things to Do in Rwanda

Top Things to Do in Rwanda

1.Go gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park, a place Dian Fossey called home for about 30 years. Gorilla tours are available all year round and you can easily book your trek with a local travel agency in Rwanda.

2. Take a ride on the Kigali City Tour bus and learn all you need to know about Rwanda’s capital city. Hop between Kigali ‘happy hours’ in the city’s most famous hotels; quench your thirst at local bars including Le Must, Sundowner, and Virunga Sports Bar; enjoy the evening ambience of Kigali’s resto-bars including Republica Lounge, Papyrus, Chez Lando and Mangaroca; live entertainment and Salsa dancing at Pasadena; and dance the night away at Kigali’s nightclubs

3. Go bird watching at Nyarutarama Lake or Nyabarongo wetlands

4. Enjoy Kigali’s diverse cuisine including traditional Rwandan food, Chinese food, North African cuisine, Italian pizzas and pasta dishes, Indian food, and North American & European cuisine

5. Visit Rwanda’s most famous and upcoming artists at Bushayija, Ivuka Arts, and Inganzo Art Galleries

6. Enjoy plays, musical performances and art exhibitions at Ishyo Arts Centre, Shokola and Laico Umubano Hotel

7. Find souvenirs at Africa Gift Corner, Mode Savane, CAPLAKI, ATRAC, COOPAC (KBC), and many more throughout Kigali

8. Get in shape playing golf at Nyarutarama Golf Course; basketball at Petit Stade; tennis at Cercle Sportif, Nyarutarama Tennis Club or Laico Umubano Hotel; enjoy a great work out at the Serena Maisha Gym or Laico Umubano Gym; and jogging along the Golf Course or the Prime Minister’s round about.

9. Get pampered at Ituze Spa and Serena Maisha Spa in Serena Hotel

10. Enjoy movies at Cine Star and Cine Silver


6 Popular Rental Cars for Self Drive in Uganda

Book a rental car for a self-drive with us and discover Uganda the pearl of Africa like a local. When it comes to self-drive safaris in Uganda and East Africa, we definitely stand out. We pride ourselves as providers of world-class car rental services and whether you need a car suitable for self-drive tours, guided safaris, city expeditions, business, conference, we have you sorted.

Our fleet of rental cars for self-drive range from 2×2, 4×4 rentals available for you to navigate any part of Uganda. Get in touch with experts and grab the best rental car deals for your all Uganda self-drive tours.

Popular rental cars for self-drive in Uganda

  • 4×4 Toyota Rav4
  • Toyota Land Cruiser TZ/TX
  • Toyota Safari Van
  • Toyota Hiace (Drone)
  • Land Cruiser extended
  • Safari Land Cruiser

4×4 Toyota Rav4

4×4 Toyota Rav4 is arguably the top most preferred rental car for self-drive safaris. It falls within sport car category, compact and robust. We have a 4-speed automatic and manual transmission with the best features and capability to tackle the hilly side of Uganda. When it comes to fuel consumption, no need to worry because Toyota Rav4 can save you a lot on fuel costs. This is available in smaller 3 door and this is suitable for 2pax, especially on camping tour or book standard 5 door with capacity of 4pax still at affordable rates.

Toyota Land Cruiser

When it comes to Uganda safaris, look no further than our ultimate 4×4 Toyota Land Cruisers. Our land cruisers are stylish, comfortable and tough especially while on off-road terrains. If your plan is to explore remotest side of Uganda say national parks, wildlife reserves consider 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser a must-book and you won’t have regrets. All our Toyota Land Cruisers (TX/TZ) are equipped with radios, adequate room for luggage, powerful engine and you enjoy unlimited mileage.

4×4 Toyota Hiace (Drone)

Toyota Hiace make up on the top most looked for vans for hire by holiday makers on Uganda safaris. We have several Toyota safari vans including Toyota Safari Van with capacity of 9, Super custom with capacity of 5 and Toyota Hiace Drone.

Safari Van

Explore the different side of Uganda with our comfortable Safari van car hire. If you plan to travel with friends or as a family then the best choice is renting Toyota Safari Van for all your Uganda safari trips. It is budget friendly and features a pop-up roof thus guaranteeing you ultimate game viewing experience in Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park or Kidepo Valley National Park.

Stretched Land Cruiser

Hire a comfortable stretched Toyota Land Cruiser model for all your Uganda tours at affordable rates. This is available with capacity of up-to 6pax, features pop-up roof for excellent wildlife viewing in pristine Uganda safari parks.

4×4 Toyota Safari Land Cruiser

Rent a 5-door Land Cruiser with capacity of 5-8pax and have a memorable Uganda safari holiday. This features a powerful diesel engine of 400cc, pop-up roof for game viewing, 2 spare tyres and available at pocket-friendly price.

Travel Tips

Best 4X4 Rental Cars to Hire in Tanzania

4×4 rental cars in Tanzania: Renting a car in Tanzania offers a pocket-friendly car hire deals for 4×4 self-drive safari tours in Tanzania or chauffeur driven. Our 4×4 Tanzania Car rentals are reliable thus guaranteeing you a chance to start your journey with speed and at your convenience. We have the right car hire to match your budget and travel needs.

Are you planning for a self-drive tour in Tanzania or visit Tanzania’s magnificent national parks, reserves? Choose any of our 4×4 rental cars in Tanzania and have an experience of a lifetime. Our 4×4 rental cars for self-drive tour or guided safaris come with spare tyres, GPS, camping gear, wheel spanner, jack, air conditioner, radio, car explanation booklet, comprehensive insurance among others.

Land Cruiser LX

Rent the latest Land Cruiser 78 series with rooftop tent for all your self-drive tours in Tanzania. You can book our 4×4 Land Cruiser Lx with or without a driver at affordable price. It is the perfect choice if you plan to explore Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park or for any rugged off-road driving. We have the best Land Cruiser Lx-diesel engine, adequate space.

Land Cruiser Prado

Explore and experience the beautiful savanna safari parks in Tanzania-Serengeti National Park, Selous, Lake Manyara or Tarangire National Park differently using our comfortable 4×4 Land Cruiser Prado rental cars. This comes with pop-up roof to offer you amazing and clear view of wildlife; air conditioning, CD player and you can hire automatic or manual transmission.

Land Cruiser V8

If adventure is your thing then there is no better way to explore Tanzania’s magnificent Kilimanjaro on hiking tour or wildlife safari in Lake Manyara than in Land Cruiser V8 rental car.

4×4 Toyota Rav4

Toyota Rav4 is a good economy 4WD rental car available among our 4×4 car hire. It is compact and exist in automatic and manual. It is equipped with 4-5 doors, air bags, capacity of 2-4pax, powerful engine, CD player, FM radio, air conditioner and many other features.

Safari Land Cruiser

Rent our custom made 4×4 Safari Land Cruiser perfect for safaris and equipped with pop-up roof. It is a 4×4 rental with 5 doors, air conditioners, CD player, capacity of 6-8pax, adequate space for luggage and visitors and available in manual transmission.

Toyota Land Cruiser TX/TZ

Toyota Land Cruiser TX/TZ is special among the 4×4 rental cars. It is perfect in tackling tough terrains on Tanzania safari. This is equipped with air conditioner, pop-up roof for excellent wildlife viewing, diesel engine (with best fuel consumption rate), capacity of about 7pax, Radio, Mp3 player, automated windows.

4×4 Land Cruiser Hard Top Extended

If game drive is your thing on Tanzania safari then hiring a 4×4 Land Cruiser Hard Top Extended should be a must-do. A road trip in Toyota Land Cruiser Hard Top Extended car hire is incredible especially for travelers in need to go for game drives in the Serengeti National Park or Lake Manyara National Park. It is well-equipped with air conditioner, mini-fridge.


Rwanda Ranked 7th Best Travel Destination

According to the Forbes Bucket List, Rwanda the country of a thousand hills has been ranked the 7th best country on 19th November 2020 despite the pandemic coronavirus. In the whole world Rwanda ranked among the twenty-one best places with the classic travel for great sights and convenient travel. Rwanda is not only a clean country but also the true definition of beauty that is rich in culture, wildlife, rolling hills, lakes, birds and rivers.

Forbes said in a statement that Rwanda is a country that truly reinvigorates your soul and defines the spirit of travel and which is beyond reasonable doubt because it’s one of the special places in the world where you feel emotionally attached to the land, the people and nature”.

Despite of its history about the genocide, Rwandese never gave up on beautifying their country and is one of the best destinations in the whole world.  Rwanda is one of the places that Dian Fossey settled to research more about mountain gorillas and this made it more popular for tourists.

What made Rwanda a seventh best travel destination?

The Mountain gorillas

One of the top adventure activities in Rwanda is mountain gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park.The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is the government agent in charge of all the touristic attractions in Rwanda but works along the trustees companies that make tour safaris unforgettable to the tourists. Despite the fact that mountain gorillas are found in the Volcanoes National Park, they can only be accessed by gorilla permits which advised to be booked six months before the travel due to high demand on market.

The Volcanoes National park inhabits 10 gorilla families which are habituated and these include Susa A, Karisimbi Gorilla family, Amahoro gorilla family, Agashya gorilla group, Umubano Gorilla group, Kwitonda family, Hirwa gorilla group, Sabyinyo gorilla family and Ugenda gorilla family. Fortunately, each gorilla group is visited by 8 individuals on  a gorilla trek so that the great apes can be protected from mass tourism.

Rwanda is one the best luxury places for gorilla trekking and the gorilla permits cost US$1500 per  person unlike Uganda gorilla permits which cost US$700 and Congo gorilla permits which cost US$450.

Other Places to Visit in Rwanda

Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe is one of the most important forest conservation areas in all of Africa with a spectacular array of biodiversity such as 1068 plant species, 322 bird species and 75 mammal types. The main activity taking place in this forest is chimpanzees trekking but other activities within are nature walks to the canopy, hiking from Uwinka visitor center and many others.

In Nyungwe Forest National Park, chimpanzee population is second highest in Africa after Kibale Forest National Park; the park has different trails to walk through to search for these great apes. During   trekking you will have an opportunity to see chimpanzee swing in trees, mother chimps cuddling the baby chimps. There are over 500 chimpanzees living in Nyungwe Forest National park.

Just like any other trekking activity, chimpanzees trekking starts early in the morning by 5am and this means you will be required to be at the trekking point early in the morning which normally starts with briefing about the does and don’ts with the chimpanzees in the forest. For you to trek chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest National Park you will need a Chimpanzee permit which can be purchase through Africa Tours Adventure or directly through Rwanda Conservation Board.

Akagera National Park

While in Rwanda, there is no trip in Africa that is complete without game drive. The guides are well trained and they know spotted areas with mammals and birds. They are managed by African parks organizations so guides are professional to make tour safaris memorable to visitors. There are high chances of visitors to see  lions, Rhinos, zebras, hippos, Nile crocodiles, elephants and giraffes.

Travel Tips

Things to Consider before Hiring a Car in Uganda

Before one hiring a car in Uganda or Rwanda from any car agent of company, there are certain things he/she should consider to ensure that he gets the best services. It’s embarrassing to spend your money on services that are below standard and not worth the money. This is why maximum cautiousness is required when selecting where to get a car from. In this case let’s look at Uganda and Rwanda because it’s where car hire is developing rapidly. Below are some of the things one should look at;-


This is so important especially when it’s the first time for someone to book with a specific company. I know this is difficult to determine my tourists when just booking online but there are some measures one can use to prove this like checking if the company is listed on the various tourism platforms like the Association of Uganda Tour Operators. Reading through the reviews given by different clients that have used that company on the various tourism portals is important. If a company has excellent genuine reviews then its credibility is perfect and you can go on and book with it.


Experience companies always offer the best services and therefore one should put that in mind while selecting a company to use. Experience normally comes with the number of years a company has been in a particular business. While selecting a company to book a car from, it’s important to check how many years it has been renting out cars to people. The least number of years one should consider is 8 years. Companies that have just started lack the necessary exposure and experience so they won’t guarantee a tourist the best services for their money.

Office location;

Some people ignore this factor but is important. Since tourists book their safaris online and they choose companies to travel with from far away in their countries, there is great chance of dealing with a thief. Some people open up websites with the sake of taking advantage of tourists who want to visit Uganda or Rwanda. Some even pretend to be car hiring companies yet in actual sense they don’t exist and their company is not registered. Its therefore important for someone to determine whether the people he/she is dealing with have a physical office which is well know. This is for security purposes so that if anything happens a client has to know where to go and claim his/her money.

Conditions of the cars;

Since safety is key while traveling, it’s a good practice to always select those companies that have good vehicles which do not put the lives of clients in danger. Since cars have to be serviced regularly, tourists should ensure that they go with those that take the initiative to service their cars. Old vehicles are not to se while on a safari and therefore only those companies that use new cars are worth traveling with.

There are other factors to consider but those listed above are the most important especially for security and safety reasons. Always book with the best car hire agents for a real adventure.


What are the Best Parks for Gorilla Trekking in Africa?

There are only two populations of mountain gorillas left in the world. Mountain gorillas are found on two separate locations, the first one lives in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, with groups scattered between Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The second population lives deep in the thick Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. As of September 2016, the estimated number of mountain gorillas remaining is about 880.

The distribution of mountain gorillas is entirely within national parks, but despite their protected status, all three countries inhabit similar rugged terrain and have similar habits. Individual mountain gorilla groups vary in their accessibility. The regulations and quality of local gorilla guides and trackers is similar in Rwanda and Uganda.

It’s important to know what you’re getting into before setting out for budget gorilla trek in Africa. The hike through the forest is challenging and tough-going (your guides will often have to machete a path through the ferns that clog the undergrowth), but it’s within reach for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. You will get muddy though and sweaty. Beneath the forest canopy the humidity is very high, and it’s a good idea to bring a canteen of fresh water to hydrate as you go.

Uganda has two places where these Mountain Gorillas may be seen, one is Mgahinga Gorilla Park; a stunning park and a component of the Virunga chain of towering volcanoes that extend into the DRC and Rwanda, and then in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Bwindi forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has more than half of the rare estimated population of 480 mountain gorillas. The park is situated in the south western park of Uganda on the edge of the Albertine Rift montane forests. Trekking mountain gorillas in Uganda is a truly unforgettable experience that offers a great privilege for the rest of your life time. No safari to Uganda would be complete without experiencing this particular wonder at least once.

The must see life experience is the first single hour you can spend in the wild with our so close related gorillas. As the venture is starting with a good hike to the last know where about of the family, it takes you through beautiful scenery. The clear cutting line of trees and farmland shows so clearly the pressure of humans on the wildlife.

Back in the nature, in Bwindi you will have looked like over a century ago. Marvelous and impressive you have to find the gorillas here deep in the jungle with some less restraining hike, they are just across the farmland and showing their gentle nature close by. You can take videos and pictures of them playing, sleeping, swinging from trees, and many others, the guides visit the gorillas every day, for over many years before they may host the guest from all over the world. The relatively high price to pay for the 1 hour visit is worthy every drive and some is used to protect the species and land for future generations.

In Rwanda, gorilla trekking takes places in Volcanoes National Park lying north western Rwanda bordering Virunga national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. Virunga National Park is known for its haven for the rare and endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest. The park is home to five of eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains including Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo and span 160km covered in rain forest and bamboo.

The park was the base for the zoologist Dian Fossey.  Of all attractions in Rwanda, the one that really draws people to visit Volcanoes National Park, are the rare mountain gorillas. A thrilling trek through the cultivated foothills of the Virunga’s offers stirring views in all directions entering the national park with armed guides and trekkers leading you in the mysterious intimacy of the rain forest jungle alive with the calls of colourful birds and hooting of the rare golden monkeys.

In Democratic Republic of Congo, gorilla trekking takes place in Virunga National Park. Trekking mountain gorillas on foot starts early in the morning and after border formalities you are transferred to a ranger’s station where the trek commences. Your rangers will lead you through the cultivated lands and then into the dense rain forest and as close as is allowed to a gorilla family. The rangers monitor the gorillas on a daily basis and have a fairly good idea of where they are. However, they are free roaming animals, and their sighting cannot be guaranteed. Trekking can take anywhere from 1 hour to 8 hours and it can be quite tiresome, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. No camera flashes and you avoid sustained eye contact or finger pointing. If a gorilla moves toward you, step calmly out of the way. If one charges, follow the guide’s instruction to drop to the ground in submission.


Top 5 Wildlife Safari Experiences in Africa

Planning to go on an African safari? There are lots of safaris on offer from different tour operators. Given that most travelers look for wildlife safaris in Africa? Here are top wildlife safari experiences that you should seek for from Africa;

1. The Great Migration

There’s no safari experience that is quite interesting like the Great Migration. Every year, this unique phenomena happens in Serengeti and Masai Mara National Park where millions of zebras, wildebeests and other antelopes gather up their young to migrate across the plains of East Africa.

These wild animals move from Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park to Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, in search of better grazing. Waiting for them as they cross the Mara River is one of the world’s spectacle. This migration is a year-round process that never stops. They move from south to north and back again, in a never ending loop. There are updates about the wildebeest migrations!

River crossings are especially dangerous and spectacular to witness. Herds gather in their thousands to forge the waters of the Grumeti River in Tanzania and the Mara River in Kenya – both with strong currents and lurking crocodiles. Crocodile kills and hordes of panicked animals mean that the crossings are not for the faint-heartened however, they undoubtedly offer some of Africa’s most dramatic wildlife encounters.

These migrating herds also attract some of the continent’s most renowned predators, ensuring that if travelers are following the Great Migration, big cats, crocodiles, and hyenas will never be too far behind. The Great Migration is by far the greatest mass movement of land mammals on the entire globe and has been listed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

2. Gorilla Trekking

Gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! This memorable adventure is one of the most thrilling wildlife encounters that you could ever take in the wild. Well regulated by ecotourism, gorilla trekking is an amazing adventure that you can take in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

There are two most popular national parks for gorilla trekking; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Other destinations for gorilla trekking are Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda and the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

To meet these great apes, it is very important to book a gorilla permit in time. Gorilla permits cost USD 600 per person in Uganda, USD 1500 per person in Rwanda and USD 400 per person in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

3. The Big Five

The Big 5 are a group of mammals which are endemic to Africa, and are said to be the hardest to hunt on foot. Whilst you won’t be doing this, it’s still fun to try and spot them. They are the lion, cheetah, cape buffalo, elephant and rhino. The latter unfortunately may be the hardest to find due to its decline in numbers.

Spotting the big five is the ultimate goal for many travelers. I would personally recommend not to expect to spot all five, since many travelers haven’t seen them all, and then at least you will be surprised if and when you do see them all.

Plus, there are so many other animals worth spotting! I personally can’t wait to see some giraffe or a hippo!


5 Top Birding Sites in Uganda

Some of the travelers who annually visit Uganda are more interested in doing the birding activity. For every traveler wishing to go on a birding safari, this article unveils the best birding sites in Uganda that you should consider most:

Semuliki National Park & Reserve

Semuliki, in western Uganda, is arguably the best birding site in Uganda, and it the main reason as to why the Park is referred to as a ‘’True Birders’ Haven’’ – as the Park comprises of almost every unique African bird species. Though the Park’s main attraction is the pair of hot springs – male and female, found near the Park office at Sempaya, it is a unique destination for all birders and the birding highlights include Albertine Rift Endemics such as; the dwarf honey guide and purple-breasted sunbirds; 35 Congo-Guinea biome species found nowhere else in East Africa, including black dwarf hornbill, Congo serpent eagle, Nkulengu rail, Gabon woodpecker; and other species with very limited ranges such as; white-tailed hornbill, capuchin babbler, blue-headed crested flycatcher and the orange weaver.

The other amazing thing in this Park, besides unique bird watching, is the pair of hot springs of which the female hot spring called ‘’Nyansimbi’’, which means; the female ancestors, is a boiling geyser that spurts bubbling water and steam up to two meters high. Visitors can therefore cook eggs and plantains in the boiling pools that surround the central spout.

Kidepo Valley National Park

Nestled in Uganda’s distant north-eastern corner, Kidepo is also referred to as the ‘’True African Wilderness’’ due to its scenic landscape and varied wildlife, and arguably the Park is one of Uganda’s best and mostly explored protected areas. The Park is best known for its natural unrivalled beauty and protecting a varied wildlife, but more fascinating is that the Park is a home to almost 500 bird species, thus making it the second place to hold the largest number of bird species in Uganda, only next to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The experienced and professional ranger guides are available at Apoka to assist you to locate and identify birdlife in the Park’s various habitats. On addition to bird watching, you will also be in a perfect place to enjoy the game viewing activity as the Park inhabits almost every African wildlife species, such as; African lions, Cape buffaloes, African leopards, African elephants, Rothschild’s giraffes, Zebras, Elands, Cheetahs, wild dogs, Jackson’s hartebeest, spotted and stripped hyenas, bat-eared foxes, Oribi, Okapis, Topis, Gazelles, and many others.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Perched in the western parts of Uganda spanning the districts of; Kasese, Kamwenge, Rubirizi, and Rukungiri, the Park is definitely among the heavily visited ones in Uganda, of which; it is mostly renowned for its amazing tree climbing lions and the spectacular Kazinga channel – home to an abundance of wildlife. The birding activities overlap with the wildlife viewing locations in the Park and the highlights include; easy sightings of resident and migratory water birds on the Kazinga channel; spectacular seasonal congregations of flamingoes on the Kyambura and Katwe soda lakes; careful searches for rare and restricted range forest species in Maramagambo forest; plus the memorable shoebill sightings on the remote Lake Edward flats in Ishasha sector – residence to the tree climbing lions. The Park inhabits the largest population of bird species in Uganda, with over 600 bird species.

Murchison Falls National Park

Residing at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley where the sweeping Bunyoro escarpment merges into a vast, palm-dotted savanna, Murchison Falls National Park is the largest national park in Uganda and its existence is basically determined by the majestic Murchison Falls. The Park conducts a variety of activities such as; game viewing, boat cruises, sport fishing, cultural encounters, hot air balloon safaris, chimpanzee tracking, and bird watching. It is an ideal destination for birders – protecting over 451 bird species, hence making it one of the destinations in Uganda with the largest number of bird species, including the water birds such as; the rare shoe-billed stork, dwarf kingfisher, Goliath heron, white-thighed hornbill and great blue turaco. A journey to or from the MFNP is very scenic and there is an optional visit to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary – the only home to the wild rhinos in Uganda, thus being able to view all the Arica’s big five (Lions, Elephants, Leopards, Rhinos, and Buffaloes), whereby the others will all be spotted from Murchison Falls National Park. For birders to view the many bird species should involve in game drives, launch trips/boat cruises and forest walks to encounter various bird species in abundance – as everything in the Park is there in abundance, especially wildlife species and bird species.

Mabamba Bay Wetland

The wetland is nestled on the edge of Lake Victoria – northwest of the Entebbe peninsular, and it is one of Uganda’s most important birding areas. The major bird species here include; shoebills, the blue swallow and the papyrus gonoleks. More special with bird watching activities at Mabamba is that; a birder can spot 60% of the total population of the bird species there, just within a single day thus being one of the most ideal destinations for bird watching activities in Africa. It is also the only destination in Africa where at any time of the day; a birder can spot the elusive shoebills.

The wetland comprises of a total of 260 bird species and a birder can be able to spot almost 157 bird species within just a single day. Mabamba is definitely one of the strong holds for the migrant Blue Swallow – with over 100 individuals recorded every year. The amazing birding experience in Mabamba in not only at the swamp, but along the way, there are other birding spots with a variety of habitats, and after birding, one can opt to follow a woodland and savanna trail up to the sand mining quarry to increase on chances of other species apart from the wetland birds. The birding excursions in Mabamba are basically done on canoes through the small channels of marsh-filled water and lagoons – birds are best spotted in the morning hours though; they can be spotted throughout the entire day at any hours convenient for you.

Other most recommendable important birding sites;

The other popular birding sites in Uganda include; Budongo forest, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Mgahinga National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, Entebbe Botanical Gardens, and Mabira forest, among others.


Guide to Visiting Uganda’s Mountain Gorillas

In Uganda Mountain Gorillas are found in two National parks that is Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and are all situated in the southwestern region of Uganda, at rim of western arm of rift valley. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the oldest and the largest park covering an area of 331square kilometer of its low land.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the tropical rain forests that survived in ancient time, is the famous Park that has gorilla trekking as the major tourist attraction in the world. With almost half of the mountain gorillas living in the forest, Bwindi is a favorite destination for gorilla trekking safaris in Africa.

The less known Mgahinga Gorilla National park is the smallest Park in Uganda with high altitude ranging between 2227meter and 4127meter bordered with Rwanda and Congo. It was formed to protect the rare Mountain Gorillas that inhabits it’s dense forest  Mountain Gorilla trekking

Gorilla trekking is one of most interesting and experiencing activity that everyone wishes to engage in, which involves walking in the wilderness of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in search of this great apes. Though it is enjoyable activity it requires someone to be reasonably fit before under taken to venture in the activity, Gorilla trekking can be done with maximum of 8 tourist booked per group per day.

Apart from the mountain gorillas, there are many others things to see on a Uganda safari through Bwindi Forest. Tourists tracking the mountain gorillas can be able to view waterfalls, swamps, rivers and high level of wild life conservation. Elephants can be sometimes be sighted and this why you are escorted by armed rangers for your safety in case they charge at you. They scare shoot so that they do not get closer.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has 16 habituated Gorilla families which are found in its four different sectors. The Buhoma in the of the Park with four Gorilla families, Ruhija which is found in the eastern part of the park with four groups of Gorilla families, Rushaga and Nkuringo in the south with five and three Gorilla families respectively. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has one Gorilla family  for Gorilla trekking.

How to Book Gorilla Permits

In Uganda, gorilla permits can only be sold at Uganda Wildlife Authority at a cost of $600 per person per trek for non-foreigners and East African Residents with a valid work permit at USD450 per person per trek. Contact Great Adventures Uganda to book for  you a Gorilla  permit in advance as they tend to sell out quickly especially in the high season months.

Gorilla permits needs someone to book them at least three months in advance. Uganda wild life Authority allows advanced booking of up to two years as long as you pay deposit of 30% and the balance can be paid within 91days of trekking date.

Beyond 91 days of clearing the balance of 70% is not allowed, you will have to pay 20% as surcharge beyond which deposit is made but without refund 80% of Gorilla permits. Tour operators can book Gorilla permits for that particular month on the day the booking opens.

Booking of Gorilla permits can be done only on weekly days from Monday to Friday the first working days of the month and are not sold on the day the booking opens will be and it also limits on each tour operator will buy.

If visitors fail to trek Gorillas due to weakness in the body will be advised by the warden who is in charge, they make refund of 50% tracking fee from Uganda Wild Life Authority, and this applies to only tourists who have ever experienced Gorilla trekking at least in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahiga Gorilla National Park.

Uganda Wildlife Authority has decided that a tourist who fails to trek Gorillas due to the result of their movements   to the neighboring countries they will refund back his or her money in full amount of USD600.

Tourist who have tracked the whole day and have failed to view or to track Gorillas for one reason will be refunded 75% of the tracking fee, and it can be done only at the Uganda Wild Life Authority headquarter through the reservation office.

Uganda wild life Authority has retained the cancellation percentages to the visitors that’s to say ,0-8day of tracking no refund will be give,1-45day to tracking date will be 75% but refund of 25% to the client ,46-90 days of tracking it will be 50% and 91days and above to tracking date will be 25% and refund of 75% to the client.

Gorilla permits must be paid currencies; Uganda shillings, US dollars, GB Pounds, Euros.

The note must be $100 should be 2009 and above, those who can use  bank transfers with pay net of the bank charges, then those who will travelers cheques will have to present receipt of purchase of sales 81% charges.