Uganda Safari highlights and tours
Mar11

Uganda Safari highlights and tours

Winston Churchill said it best when he wrote “The kingdom of Uganda is a fairy-tale…For magnificence, for variety of form and color, for profusion of brilliant life — bird, insect, reptile, beast — for vast scale — Uganda is truly “the Pearl of Africa.” Gorilla trekking is the biggest drawcard to this beautiful country and offers one of the more memorable and profound moments you can experience in Africa. Gorilla numbers are growing, thanks mainly to the income generated by gorilla trekking which help protects these majestic apes from poachers. Gorilla’s are found in small family groups lead by the large Silverback, consisting of a few females and babies. Each family has a name and many individuals are also named by the local rangers. We have been to Uganda, trekked with gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, tracked chimpanzees in Kibale National Park and have also enjoyed a traditional safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park! We love Uganda and want to share the magic. Here are some of our experiences and other information that you need to know when booking a Uganda Safari. Uganda Safari highlights and tours Brett & Michelle went to Uganda! Both our MD Brett and our Product Manager Michelle went on safari to Uganda! They returned in awe of their experiences. The highlight were the gorilla and chimpanzee trekking. On Brett’s trip he enjoyed both a gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and a chimpanzee trek in Kibale National Park. Brett did one of the more strenuous climbs in Bwindi and was rewarded with amazing close up encounters of the gorillas and their youngsters playing in the forest on the high slopes of the mountains. When Michelle visited Uganda, gorilla and chimps were the highlights of her trip and she explored Queen Elizabeth National Park and the big game on display there. You can read all about Michelle’s Uganda Safari here. Uganda Safaris for 2020 Uganda is not just about the gorillas and chimps! There are a few national parks that have lots of big game like lions, elephants, large herds of buffalo and Uganda Kob. Uganda is also a twitchers paradise, with hundreds of bird species recorded. Gorilla’s Galore On this short and sweet tour, you will fly to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for 4 nights. You will enjoy 2 gorilla treks, in the Nkuringo and Buhoma Sectors, while staying in beautiful luxurious accommodation. Your first stop is Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, which has stunning cottages all boasting spectacular views over the forest and the Virunga Volcanoes in the distance. The next stop is the luxurious tented camp of Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp,...

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Michelle’s amazing Uganda Safari experience.
Mar05

Michelle’s amazing Uganda Safari experience.

Our Product Manager Michelle headed off to Uganda for a gorilla and chimpanzee safari. This epic experience took her from the capital to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where she went gorilla trekking. From there she enjoyed a boat safari in the Queen Elizabeth National Park before ending her trip on a chimpanzee trek in the Kibale National Park. We have a tour based on Michelle’s trip, you can view it here. Michelle’s wrote about her amazing Uganda Safari experience: With my bag packed and boots on, I took off from Cape Town with 2 colleagues to Entebbe to start my Uganda Safari! Entebbe is the main airport about 40 minutes from the capital Kampala. A quick overnight stop and we were back at the airport and on an Aerolink Uganda flight south, towards the Kisoro Airstrip. One of the gateways into the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Kisoro is a 2h30 drive to the Rushaga sector of Bwindi. Our guide and driver for the week met us there and we set off to Bwindi. The roads are poor and a 4×4 is imperative, but the scenery is breathtaking and excitement grows as we start climbing towards the Bwindi forests and towering mountain range. We arrived at Gorilla Safari Lodge, our home for 2 nights. Our cabins were tucked into the rainforest, spacious with a large tub to soak in and the staff brought in charcoal burners at night which warmed the room up nicely. It is chilly in Bwindi, due to the high altitude. We visited the local community and the Batwa Tribe. The Batwa(Pygmy Tribe) live on the outskirts of the forest they once called home and provide a glimpse into their traditional way of living. Early the next morning we were up and enjoying a fortifying breakfast before setting off for the main event: Gorilla Trekking! On arrival in the Rushaga sector briefing area, the warden goes through the do’s and don’ts of trekking with gorillas and assigns us the gorilla family we will trek to find. We meet our head guide and her 2 trackers, hire a porter, grab a walking stick and head off on the trail. Why hire a porter? Uganda is a very poor country; many people are without work. The porters can travel for up to 3 hours to get to Bwindi in the hope of earning for their family. It costs around $20 and your porter is by your side for the day. They will carry your day pack which has your water, your lunch and your camera and they will give you a strong hand to pull or push you if...

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Birding destinations in Uganda & the birds you’ll find there
Feb11

Birding destinations in Uganda & the birds you’ll find there

There are over a thousand different bird species to be found in Uganda. Of course, a number of these is so rare or endangered or seldom seen that the average binocular-clad bird-watcher might never catch a glimpse. Like the elusive Shelley’s crimson-wing, of which there are no known photographs captured in the wild! Unless you’re incredibly lucky and unnervingly dedicated, you’re not likely to tick this lifer off your bird bucket list; but, Uganda’s value as a birding destination in Africa tops the charts. Its hugely varying altitude and combination of habitats make it the ideal home to so many species. We’ve scoured the rim of the crater lakes, trekked through the dense jungle, cruised along the Nile River, and traversed the savannah grasslands in search of birds (among other things, like gorillas, chimpanzees, and tree-climbing lions!) These are some of the best birding destinations in Uganda & the birds you’ll find there. Murchison Falls National Park Where the Victoria Nile carves its way through a narrow seven-metre-wide gap in the rock face and thunders violently through the famous Murchison Falls. The grassland territory alongside the river is one of the best game viewing locations in Uganda and it is also one of its most prestigious birding destinations. About 450 bird species have been recorded here, and a number of them can be easily spotted while out on a game drive or a Nile River boat cruise. Each habitat offering a different variety of birds altogether. Among the hundreds of species, be sure to look out for the Abyssinian ground hornbill, Rüppell’s vulture, northern red bishop, palm nut vulture, African quail finch, giant and pied kingfisher, rock pratincole, yellow-billed stork, white-faced whistling duck, and the country’s national bird, the grey-crowned crane. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Home of the mountain gorillas, majestic territory of forest dwelling Batwa people, and habitat to so many birds, Bwindi is a playground to any nature lover. The dense forest is so alive that the pathways carved by gorillas and gorilla trackers each day just about close up again each night. The tangled vines and broad-leafed trees glow green and cast dappled shadows on the forest floor. These jungle thickets are also home to about 350 species of birds – some frequently seen and heard, and others that might remain secrets of the forest forever. Some Bwindi specials include the great blue turaco, African green broadbill, Chapin’s flycatcher, Fraser’s eagle owl, handsome francolin, black-collared apalis, and white-bellied robin chat. Queen Elizabeth National Park With over 600 bird species, Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best spots for birding enthusiasts to encounter a huge variety...

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Gorilla Trekking Increases Population Numbers in Uganda
Jan05

Gorilla Trekking Increases Population Numbers in Uganda

A recent census of the wild mountain gorillas of Uganda’s verdant Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the neighbouring Sarambwe Reserve in DR Congo revealed positive statistics with regards to primate numbers. These gorillas once faced extinction due to habitat loss, hunting, disease and natural threats. Wild mountain gorillas live in the rainforests of Uganda, DRC and Rwanda and are currently facing a bright future thanks to conservation efforts and funds made from gorilla trekking permits. Thanks to over 30 years of conservation efforts, gorilla numbers have now increased. A census of the mountain gorillas living in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda and Sarambwe wildlife reserve of DRC revealed an increase from 400 to 459 gorillas from the last census. The census covered an area of 340 km2, where 459 individual gorillas were found in 50 groups and 13 solitary individuals. A team of conservationists, rangers and scientists formed part of the survey teams that had the arduous task of tracking gorillas, counting and collecting genetic data over a period of time spanning March – May 2018 and October – December 2018. Coupled with current numbers of mountain gorillas living in Rwanda and Congo’s Virunga mountains (over a 5 year period there was an increase from 480 – 404 individuals), the number of mountain gorillas have escalated to 1 063. Fantastic news for our wild mountain gorilla population. With the involvement of multiple stakeholders, governments and increase in gorilla trekking tourism; we should see this number increase hope to see this number increase in the future. Do come gorilla trekking in Uganda’s Bwindi region – your money from the gorilla permits and support of these treks gets put straight back into education and conservation of these enthralling primates. We recommend these Ugandan gorilla trekking lodges : Luxury and eco-friendly Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge  The contemporary Bwindi Lodge The authentic Gorilla Safari Lodge on the outskirts of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. * “The survey was conducted by the Protected Area Authorities of Uganda and DRC (Uganda Wildlife Authority and l’Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature, respectively) under the framework of the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration with support from Rwanda Development Board and many other partners and donors.” *...

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What to Wear on Safari in Uganda
Sep03

What to Wear on Safari in Uganda

You’ve booked your adventurous safari and trekking holiday to the verdant emerald Pearl of Africa, Uganda. And now it’s time figure out what to wear on safari in Uganda. At Sun Safaris we’re certainly don’t proclaim to be fashionistas, or experts in outdoor gear, but our team has been on safari in Uganda and knows a thing or two about the appropriate attire. What to wear on safari in Uganda is entirely dependent on the region you visit, and your safari activity of choice. Your holiday wardrobe for Queen Elizabeth National Park is slightly different to the kit needed for gorilla trekking in the mind-blowing Bwindi. Just bear in mind that you are in tropical Africa, and in a country with contrasting scenes and climates. Be prepared. * Please avoid packing camo gear, it’s seen as military issue attire and shows little respect for the locals. Be subtle with your dress sense – and sensible. What to Wear on Safari in National Parks The national parks in Uganda suffer from extremes in temperature, so you’ll need to check the average temperature of the season and pack accordingly. Most of the time you are in sitting in an open game viewer, or on a boat cruise in the evening. the safari in National Parks is more sedentary so you won’t need those tough-as-nails hiking boots. Pack neutral colour, comfortable clothes. Nothing tight. Your lodge will probably have a swimming pool, so pack the bathing suits, shorts and flip flops for around the lodge. Sunblock, wide-brimmed hats, caps and sunglasses Pack comfortable walking shoes – active wear shoes in greens/olives/neutral. You won’t be running, hiking, but might be encouraged to enjoy a quick stroll. Scarf, beanie and jacket for cold weather and chilly mornings. Light fleece long tops, shirts and water resistant windbreakers Lightweight trousers are better than shorts. They protect against mosquitoes and annoying bugs. Avoid too much navy blue – it actually attracts mosquitoes and Tsetse flies. Red is too garish for wildlife – leave that at home! Ensure you invest in a technical, long sleeve safari shirt that has an anti insect repellent. Clothes become incredibly sticky and sweaty, so make sure you have plenty of climacool and cotton gear. The National Parks can be hot, sticky, muggy and sometimes uncomfortable. Pack wisely. What to Wear Trekking in Jungle Regions First off, the jungle regions are a LOT cooler than the safari regions – pleasantly so. For example, the Bwindi is located in a valley and carpets the slopes of the dormant volcanoes. Expect mist covered, moist mornings with a bite in the air. during the day it...

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Primates to Look-Out for While Gorilla Trekking in Africa
Jul11

Primates to Look-Out for While Gorilla Trekking in Africa

Gangs of chimpanzee eagerly swing from the branches that form a canopy over the lush Kibale National Park, while mountain gorillas knuckle-walk their way through the velvet greens of the jungles in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. Both Uganda and Rwanda are sought-after gorilla trekking destinations and – along with Congo – are the only countries where mountain gorillas live freely in the wild. Rwanda and Uganda are premier destinations for gorilla trekking in Africa, but it’s certainly not the only reason why these recently-on-the-map destinations deserve mention ! If you’re drawn to the tropical rainforests of Uganda and Rwanda for its plethora of primates, we urge you to look further than just chimpanzee and gorillas. There are other unique species, even bush babies and that fall into the primate family alongside the monkeys listed below.   The most commonly spotted monkeys are the elegant long-haired black and white colobus monkeys (they look a bit like a rock star). A striking primate found in abundance throughout the forested regions and riparian woodlands of both Uganda and Rwanda. Unlike other primates, these monkeys actually lack thumbs which is where their namesake is derived. “Colobus” is loosely translated to mean “mutilated” in Greek. This particular species of old-world colobus is easily identifiable by its monochromatic colourations and white-tuft tail. While we’re on the topic of colobus monkeys, there’s also the Ugandan red colobus species. A primate with a rust colour cap and black face, the red colobus is known for its jumping and launching capabilities. Their long tails act as a rudder for balance which allows them to move at speeds through the gnarled jungle terrain. Like most monkeys, the colobus forms a vital part of the jungle’s eco-system.  They actually digest plenty of coarse toxic vegetation and naturally disperse seeds across the jungle floor. Most species of colobus monkey provides an easy source of prey for predators, raptors and even chimpanzee. When you’re traipsing through the rainforests, be sure to spot the territorial colobus monkeys – they make for excellent photographic subjects. The endangered golden monkey is a rare species of primate and is also only found in 3 countries (Rwanda, Congo and Uganda). This monkey should definitely on a wildlife enthusiast’s bucket list of primates to spot in Africa. A golden monkey has a face that appears to be covered in tightly woven wool-like fluff, and a body laden with grizzly golden fur that gleams in the light. Their contrasting black limbs and crowns on their heads, give the golden monkey a staggeringly beautiful appearance. Golden monkeys are hard to photograph because they’re so rarely seen and only naturally occur...

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