Saturday, April 26, 2014

Gorilla Tracking in Uganda and Rwanda What to bring

Gorilla Tracking Rwanda What to bring | Gorilla Tracking Requirements

Gorilla Tracking takes place in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda at altitudes of about 2000 Meters above sea level.   Both places experience a modified equatorial climate, which is kind of moist and often cooler.  The grounds are usually wet and the paths are full of stinging plants-nettles.  Besides, the rains are random.  In this regard all prospective trackers are asked to bring the following
  • Long trousers/ pants- to avoid stinging nettles please do not wear short parks when tracking gorillas.  The trousers must be strong enough to withstand occasional pulls from thorns.
  • Long sleeved shirts/ t-shirts.  To avoid stinging nettles
  • Gloves- not such a big necessity but you may need them to avoid injury to your hands.  Remember the grounds are wet and slippery.  To avoid injury from thorny bushes and objects on ground.
  • Hiking boots- Please bring average waterproof sturdy walking boots reaching ankle level not mountain climbing boots. Something light and hardy will do.
  • Warm cardigan- the hills can get extremely cold.  A warm cardigan is required to keep off cold.
  • Long sleeved Rain Coat or anorak -it can rain anytime in Volcanoes National Park even on hot days.  The downpours are heavy and extremely cold.
  • Water proof container for your cameras.  Yes I know there are waterproof cameras but even them 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 or do you?
  • If you desire headgear (hats), a baseball cap is recommended as gorillas are familiar to them.
  • Enough water- minimum of 2 litres of drinking water to avoid dehydration.  Carry four just in case the hike proofs longer than expected.  Sometimes it can be 8 hours.
  • Film Camera- A film camera for domestic use is recommended.
  • A camera
  • If you are interested in birds, you can bring Field guide to birds of East Africa by Fanshawe and a pair of binoculars.

Uganda and Rwanda Introductory Travel Tips
Our guide(s) is thorough English speaking professional guide and navigates all through.
Most of the breakfast served in Ugandan Hotels is English breakfast. Lunch and Dinner in some hotels are based on set menu but most hotels meals are on Ale carte. All hotels included in the Itinerary offer traditional/cultural music shows on request.

We have talked about all the hotels used and their description in the Itinerary: However,   not all hotels have Bathtub but you will find clean warm shower facilities Ensuite.   Some  lodges offer Air conditioned rooms while other haven’t. However Uganda climate is renowned for moderate temperatures which range between 18 to 28 degrees centigrade throughout the year.
You are on Fullboard(FB)/ Half board(HB)  however this doesn’t stop you from buying anything of your interest.
Porter Service
Services are paid for or tip is given to hotel peg-boys and porters in parks who may assist in any service offered. (see details of recommended tips).

Open Close Status in General:
All public Tourism sites are open daily from 0700 in the morning to 0700 in the evening.
We have two dry seasons a year. All Ugandan roads are good for road transportation all year round.
Dry season:  [June, July and August]; [December, January and February].  The rest of the Months fall in rainy season.  During rainy season activities drop by about 25%.
What vaccinations do I need?
A yellow fever vaccine is essential – bring your certificate with you.
Hepatitis A and B, meningitis, polio, tetanus and typhoid vaccinations are also recommended.
A Rabies vaccination is recommended for anyone who expects to be in close contact with animals or in a remote area.
Be aware that some of these require a course of injections, and others take several days to take effect. So you should visit your doctor or travel clinic as soon as possible before you travel.
Should I bring any other medications?
Anti-malarial tablets are recommended throughout Uganda – visit your local travel clinic to determine which type is best for you. Note: Chloroquine does not protect against malaria in Uganda.
Bring all prescription medications with you – they may not be readily available in Uganda.
Be sure to purchase travel insurance before you begin your trip, including medical evacuation in case of an emergency.
What Other Healthy Risks Are There?
Even if you are taking anti-malarials, you should still wear an insect repellent, long-sleeved shirts, long trousers and closed shoes. This will also help protect you from other diseases carried by mosquitoes, and other insects such as tsetse flies.
All accommodation in high-risk areas will have mosquito nets  - be sure to use them.
Avoid swimming in Uganda’s lakes – they carry a high risk of bilharzias.
Tap water is not suitable for drinking, though bottled water is readily available throughout the country.
The question of when and when not to tip can be difficult in a foreign country. In Uganda and Rwanda, it is customary to tip your driver/guide at the end of a safari or hike, as well as a cook or porter that accompanies you. A figure if roughly $5 per day would be a fair benchmark, though check this with your safari company in advance. I see no reason why you shouldn’t give a bigger or smaller tip based on the quality of service. It is not essential to tip the guides who take you around in national parks and other reserves, but it is recommended, and the money will be greatly appreciated by the recipient.
The thing to remember is that whoever you tip in USD will not get the sum of money you intend to give. The exchange of USD is not an exact science, the rate given depends on both the age of the note and the size of the note. The newest and biggest denomination note will attract the best rate. A $1 bill will attract an absolute rubbish rate no matter how many you have. A Rwandan / Ugandan will be happy to receive a tip in whatever currency you want to use but for day to day living they prefer their local currency. If you tip them with dollars the first thing they do is go to the forex to negotiate the best rate available, either that or try and sell them to back to you.
So at the end of the day if all you have is USD or GBP or Euro then use that currency but the best option for the recipient is the local currency (Uganda Shilling or Rwandan franc).
But please please please don't do what some people do, tip using foreign coins, particularly one pound or one euro coins as they have no value at all and yes some people do it.
It is customary to tip for service in local bars and restaurants, though you may sometimes want to leave a tip (in fact, given the difficulty of finding change in Uganda), you may particularly be forced into doing this in some circumstances. A tip of 5% would be very acceptable and 10% generous. Generally any restaurant that caters primarily for tourists and to wealthy Ugandans/ Rwandese residents will automatically add a service charge to the bill, but since there’s no telling where that service charge ends up, it would be reasonable to reward good service with a cash tip.
The following is a guide to tips:
Local guides/porters in the Hotel/ parks                     US$ 05-10/porter,
Gorilla guides in the park                                                                       US$ 20-50
Chimpanzee guide in the park                                          US$ 10-30
Game drive guide in the park                                           US$ 10-30
Drivers      or Tour Guide                                                                                             US$ 25 per day
Foreign currency exchange, Using credit cards, Bargaining/ Shopping in Uganda
What is the Currency?
The Ugandan Shilling. This cannot be purchased outside the country.
How do I Exchange Cash?
US Dollars, UK Pounds and Euros are accepted by UWA for gorillas/ chimp tracking  permits and park entry fees. Many larger hotels will also accept US Dollars and Euros – though you should check in advance.
Note: All US dollars notes must be printed post-2006, and should not be damaged in any way. Higher exchange rates are given on larger value notes ($50 and $100). Banks and Forex bureaus will exchange cash, alternatively us can use ATM machines – common in the major towns. They should accept Visa Debit and Credit Cards.
Can I use Credit or Debit Cards?
Visa is more widely accepted in city hotels and stores, followed by Mastercard. Other Credit cards are unlikely to work.
Alert your bank before using you card abroad to avoid it being blocked.
Can I bargain When Shopping
Prices are fixed in shops, but food and craft markets will be more flexible. You stand a better chance of getting a reduced price if you purchase several items from the same seller.
Prices are generally very low – so do consider if what you are asking for is fair.
Agree on charges for minibuses (matatus) or motorbike taxis (boda-bodas) with your driver before hiring.
Uganda Travel Tip -Use a Visa Card for ATM machine-
Americans can use Bank of America Debit Cards at Barclay and pay no fees, you can withdraw at most banks about 190 usd in shillings 500,000 shillings- at Barclays Bank take out 400,000 reinsert card and another 400,000 - 350 360 usd depending on exchange rate given by bank.

Do not use your card at a bar where ATM machines are showing up- you will be a target of one kind or another.
What to wear and take when trekking to see the gorillas?
Put on your sturdiest walking shoes, and thick trousers and a long-sleeved top as protection against vicious stinging nettles. It’s often cold when you set out, so start off with a sweatshirt or jersey (which also help protect against nettles). The gorillas are thoroughly used to people, so it makes little difference whether you wear bright or muted colours.
Whatever clothes you wear to go tracking are likely to get very dirty as you slip and slither in the mud, so if you have pre-muddied clothes, you might as well wear them. When you are grabbing handloads of thorny vegetation, a pair of old gardening gloves are helpful. If you feel safer with a walking-stick, you will be offered a wooden one at the start of the ascent.
Carry as little as possible, ideally in a waterproof bag of some sort. During the rainy season,a poncho or raincoat might be a worthy addition to your daypack, while sunglasses and a hat are a good idea at any time of the year. You may well feel like a snack during the long hike, and should certainly carry enough drinking water - at least one litre, more to visit the Susa Group. Bottled water is sold in Ruhengeri town. Especially during the rainy season, make sure your camera gear is well protected – if your bag isn’t waterproof; seal your camera gear in a plastic bag.
Binoculars are not necessary to see the gorillas. In theory, birdwatchers want to carry binoculars, though in practice only the dedicated are likely to make use of them – the trek up to the gorillas is normally very directed and walking up the steep slopes and through the thick vegetation tends to occupy one’s eyes and mind.
If you are carrying much gear and food/water, it is advisable to hire one of the porters who hang about at the car park in the hope of work. This costs Rfr5,000 per porter. Locals have asked us to emphasize that it is not demeaning or exploitative to hire a porter to carry your daypack; on the contrary, tourists who refuse a porter for ‘ethical reasons’ are simply denying income to poor locals and making it harder for them to gain any benefit from tourism.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Accommodation in Bwindi impenetrable national park Lake Kitandara Bwindi Lodge

Lake Kitandara Bwindi Lodge 


Location: Bordering Bwindi Impenetrable National Park We have a tented camp beside the main entrance to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Our specialties are gorilla trekking, bird watching, white water rafting on the exotic waters of the Nile, mountain cycling and climbing, and tours of the numerous national parks throughout Uganda in private groups group or via individual itineraries.

Room Description

We have a luxurious tented camp and campsite in Bwindi just a stone throw away from the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park gate. They have:
  • Flush toilets
  • Shower and bathtub

Activities At The Lodge

  • Gorilla tracking
  • Bird watching
  • White water rafting on the exotic waters of the Nile
  • Mountain cycling and climbing 
  • Tours of National Parks in the region

Sustainability Efforts

  • We use solar power and water warming as source of energy and heating
  • We market local community walks  and support local schools, hospital and orphanages
  • We encourage guests to purchase locally made handcrafts.
  • We also have local cultural groups perform at the lodge. This helps them share their culture with others and also generate income for their communities.  


Accommodation in Bwindi impenetrable national park Buhoma Lodge

Buhoma Lodge


Location: Buhoma, at the entrance to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

These tall log cabins are one of the most unique accommodations in Buhoma! Standing proud above the forest canopy, Buhoma Lodge's cabins command spectacular, uninterrupted views of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, home to the rare mountain gorilla.

An elevated lounge area, complete with bar and dining facilities, offers a comfortable environment to discuss the day's activities around the fireplaces, which add both atmosphere and warmth to the cool evenings.

Meals are freshly prepared with many local ingredients, offering a balance of international and locally flavored cuisine with meals being of several courses. Our bar has a selection of local and imported beverages and our friendly local staff will attend to your needs. Hot beverages can be served to your cottage with early morning wake up calls as required, allowing you to awake gently and savor the early morning sounds of the forest

Lodge Amenities

  • Elevated lounge room with fireplace
  • Restaurant and bar
  • Recharging facilities for cameras, phones etc
  • Massage room
  • Safe deposit boxes

Room Description

Eight comfortable cottages have been carefully built, each with its own private verandah, allowing wonderful views of the forest canopy of the National Park. Inside the spacious cottages you will find comfortable beds and a well appointed en suite bathroom with flushing toilet and a hot shower. Some rooms have bathtubs.

Activities at the Lodge

  • Buhoma Village Walk: Activities include a performance by the Batwa and visits to a primary school and a traditional healer. 3 hours, $15
  • Nyundo Community Eco Trails – Visit a waterfall or learn traditional skills. 2 hours, 20,000 USh
  • Gorilla Tracking: Bwindi’s most memorable experience
  • Birdwatching: Over 350 species of birds inhabit the Park

Responsible Travel

The lodge was designed using sustainable local, natural materials where possible. This has, in turn, given support to the local communities and businesses, as supplies are obtained, as far as possible from local sources.

Staff are generally recruited locally and trained on site. Our water supply is gravity fed and solar power is used for lighting with power points limited to a central area allocated for recharging cameras and videos. Get actual rates>>>>>

Accommodation in Bwindi impenetrable national park Gorilla Forest Camp

Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp

 Gorilla Forest Camp Bathroom600Sanctuaryforesstcamp4Sanctuarygorillaforestcamp1Sanctuarygorillaforestcamp2

Location: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest impresses with a truly theatrical landscape - this is a region of volcanoes, jagged valleys, waterfalls, lakes and dramatic mountain ranges. And it is here, on a flat ridge high in the forest, that Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is tucked away. It's hard to fathom that such luxury and sophistication could be available in an area as remote as this, and we did face enormous obstacles - but it was worth the wait.
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is the ideal base for a gorilla tracking adventure in Bwindi. Guests can dine under the stars and relax by the roaring campfire. On cooler evenings, the central cottage provides a warm shelter. Our camp is the only accommodation within the National Park, offering guests an unrivalled location, including the best bird and wildlife viewing in the Bwindi area. In fact, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp also receives regular visits from the gorillas themselves, up to 2 - 4 visits per month. For the lucky guests in camp at those times, they may have the chance for a gorilla encounter without even trekking into the hills!
The eight tents are just as impressive as the communal areas. Wooden floors and decks support comfortable warm beds, and each tent boasts a bathtub, ideal for soaking tired muscles after a day spent tracking and meeting gorillas, that looks straight out into the jungle's canopy.

Lodge Amenities

  • 8 double en-suite tents, 2 queen-sized beds
  • En-suite facilities with a bathtub overlooking the forest
  • Private wooden deck overlooking the forest
  • Bar/dining cottage
  • Outside platform for open air dining
  • Electricity
  • Gift shop

Room Description

Each tent has a spacious wooden verandah where guests can relax, enjoy a private meal and absorb the mysterious beauty of the rainforest.

Activities At The Lodge

  • Traditional African campfire
  • Gorilla tracking
  • Bird watching
  • Forest trail
  • Waterfall and Munyaga River exploration
  • Community walk and cultural perfomances
  • Batwa cultural experience 
  • Lecture by primatologist
  • Enjoy open air dining
  • Bar overlooks the rainforest

Sustainability Efforts

  • The camp is currently working with community groups who come to its campfire to perform and tell stories. This income is directly reinvested into their communities
  • We purchase most of our vegetables from AMAGARA vegetable garden. In the process we give back to small-scale local farmers.
  • We recycle all our empty plastic water bottles and donate them to the local school which uses them in the construction of water reservoirs.
  • We recently launched the conservation club which will spearhead all the conservation practices in camp.
  • At the lodge we supplement our power needs with deep cycle batteries and kerosene lamps to minimize the generator running hours.
  • Gorilla Forest Camp has a well-stocked arts and crafts shop containing attractive professional works. The income from the sale of these works is distributed to local artists.
  • Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp took the lead in fundraising and offering donations to the local community hospital BCH; The achievements are at such igreat levels that they have chnaged and sustained many lives.
  • The local primary school has over thirty students supported by our guests, furthering regional education
  • 98 % of our staff are local and many serve as heads of departments. We also offer training for the local tourism students which has developed a valuable human resource pool in the area. 


Accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable national park Volcanoes Safaris Bwindi Lodge

Volcanoes Safaris Bwindi Lodge


Location: At the entrance to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

43This eloquent eco-friendly safari lodge overlooks the primeval Bwindi forest, which is home to gorillas, monkeys, chimpanzees and birds. You can understand why this lodge was named "the best safari lodge in Uganda" (Msafiri Magazine) when you sit on the terrace that juts out into the forest, and take in the exotic sounds and sights of primates and birds in the canopy.

Bwindi Lodge's delicious, hearty meals will prepare you for a day in the forest, the fireplace will warm you on your return, and the complimentary massage will be a welcome treat after tracking gorillas on the steep mountain slopes. In between forest adventures, guests can relax on the terrace listening to the sounds of the primates and the birds in the canopy, or take a tour of the local village of Buhoma and the nearby Batwa community.

Lodge Amenities

  • Restaurant and bar
  • Communal fireplace
  • Laundry service
  • On-site wildlife viewing
  • 24 hour security guard
  • Baby crib available
  • Charging facilities for phones, laptops etc.

Room Description

Eight private cottages are built along the hillside, each with its own unspoiled view of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The stone and tile cottages have thatched roofs, and blend in beautifully with the surrounding scenery. The rooms have large, comfortable beds, large windows, indoor and outdoor seating areas and private bathrooms. 

Activities at the Lodge

  • Guests can go on a nature forest walk. This can last between 2-5 hours and provides opportunities to see the many species of butterflies, or one of the 90 mammal species including 11 primates, of which the black and white colobus, with its lovely flowing white tail, is prominent. One of the walks leads to a very beautiful waterfall.
  • Guests can go on a birding walk. The forest birding ranks with the best in Uganda, with 23 highly localized Albertine Rift endemics present. 
  • Guests can go on a village walk. The tour visits a traditional medicine man, views how banana gin is made, and sees the local school and hospital, both of which Volcanoes Safaris supports.
  • Guests can also spend the day with the Batwa pygmies. This excursion starts with a hike through the forest past stunning vistas. Along the way you will watch demonstrations of how the Batwa used to live in the forest, how they use medicinal plans, and how they hunt and gather. You will also visit local dwellings, try a spot of archery and even see local dancing. 
  • Guests can walk along the beautiful Bwindi Lodge river trail through regenerated bush that we have carefully nurtured as a buffer zone. This walk is about 40 minutes long. 
  • Guests can visit the Amagara Farming Projects. This tour requires a short drive, but guests will get the chance to visit the local agriculture project where the lodge buys a great deal of vegetables to support local communities. Activities there include taking a tour of the vegetable gardens, or you can have cooking lessons on local cuisine. 

Responsible Travel

Water disposal is controlled and solar electricity is also used; we ask our guests to be mindful of their usage.

When possible, we source our food from local producers, helping strengthen our relationship with our neighbors and providing them with extra income. We also encourage our guests to visit the local orphanage where they can see a dance performance.

The Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust receives $100 from every safari and has purchased school roofs and water tanks, and made donations to hospitals.


  • Single banda (sleeps one): USD $480
  • Single banda (sleeps one + extra person): $680
  • Double banda (sleeps two): $800
  • Twin banda (sleeps two): $800

All prices are in US dollars, and include breakfast, lunch and dinner and a complimentary massage.
Children under 2 are free, children aged 3-12 are charged 50% of the adult rate.

Accommodation in Bwindi impenetrable national park Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge

Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge


Location: Ruhija amidst Bwindi forest Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge is a beautiful luxury safari lodge that provides guests with the finest hospitality, restaurant services, bar service and a wonderful bed in your own personalized cottage. The Lodge is located in Ruhija amidst Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a magnificent verdant swathe across the steep slopes of the Albertine Rift Valley. This ancient rain forest is one of the few in Africa to have flourished throughout the last ice age; it is home to more than half of the world's 700 surviving mountain gorillas.
Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge is a unique luxury hotel that welcomes you with the breathtaking scenery of the forest and its tranquility – a home away from home to enjoy the melodies of insects and birds and the surprise visits of monkeys and even gorillas.
The lodge has carefully designed rooms to blend the natural environment with luxury and hospitality. Our cottages are well equipped with comfortable beds and furniture and well designed to maximize your comfort. The bathrooms are fitted with hot and cold water and every detail has been taken care of to assure the absolute comfort of guests.

Lodge Amenities

  • On-site restaurant
  • Tour/Travel desk
  • Internet Access
  • Laundry/Dry Cleaning
  • Gift shop
  • Library/Reading Area
  • On-site Bar
  • On-site wildlife

Room Description

All rooms have a fireplace, TV, hot water and a private bathroom.

Activities At The Lodge

  • Gorilla tracking: Venture into the forest and listen to them grumble at each other and marvel at the sheer size of the dominant males.
  • Bird watching: The forest contains 23 endemic birds.
  • Forest walk

Sustainability Efforts

  • We encourage every group or individual to plant a tree at the lodge, or to water the seedlings.
  • Tours include Batwa cultural performances where tourist can see cultural displays and samples of handicrafts



1.            All the above rates are exclusive 18 percent  of VAT and are on a per person per night basis
2.            The rates exclude fees like gorilla permit fees, all other park fees for guided walking safaris and any other activities provided by Ruhija Gorilla Lodge.
3.            The FB Rates include (3 meals and afternoon tea), but excluding all other drinks
4.            Resident rates are on Bed and Breakfast basis
5.            Meals cost US$25 for either lunch or Dinner and Breakfast  costs US$20
6.            For more information please visit our website
a)            Child policy (3 –12 years)

1.            Children below 2 years sharing with an adult are accommodated free.
2.            Children ages between 3 years and 12 years sharing with an adult will be charged 50% of the full adult rate.
3.            Children above the age of 12 years are considered as adults and pay full rates.
N.B. Children rates are only applicable when sharing with two adults in one room. In case of one adult sharing with a child/ children, the single room rate plus the child rate will be applicable.
c)            Cancellation and ‘no show’
Reservations that are cancelled, reduced in length of stay or reduced in numbers (hereinafter collectively called a CANCELLATION) will be subject to Cancellation and ‘no show’ fees charged under the following terms:

1.            31 - 14 days prior to departure 25% cancellation fee will be charged

2.            13 - 8 days 50% cancellation fee will be charged

3.            7 – 4 days 75% cancellation fee will be charged

4.            3 days or less 100% cancellation fee will be charged

Get better rates>>.