Friday, 29 July 2016

THE LAPPET-FACED VULTURE; BIRDS OF UGANDA

Lappet-faced VultureThe lappet-faced vulture scientifically known as Torgos tracheliotos stands as an Old world vulture which belongs to Accipitriformes order that includes kites, eagles, hawks and buzzards most of which are explored on birding safaris in Uganda. This is known to be the lone member of the Torgos genus.
This remarkable bird species is noted to be the Africa’s largest vulture dominating other Vultures while feeding and is at times strong enough to chase away the jackal from the kill. The broad-winged bird feature powerful and large beak with the capacity to tear off the hides, the tendons along with any coarse tissue of its scavenged prey something that can be very challenging for smaller scavengers as often viewed on Uganda safaris and tours.
The lappet-faced vulture is easily identified by its prominent size, pink-skinned bare head along with skin folds noted as lappets on the neck sides that form the background for its naming. They thrive in two sub species with the African subspecies identified by feathers that are dark brown to black contrasting sharply with the white thighs along with the white bar that runs across the under wing’s leading edge which is visibly clear in the flight. The other North East African Subspecies are notably brown in colour with partially brown thighs where some members show the white colour under wing and these were initially found in Israel also with their backs marked by pure white feathers.
Regarding feeding, the lappet-faced vulture is a scavenger bird that thrives on carcasses of animals which it spots by encountering other vultures or sighting it themselves. The full crop of the lappet-faced vulture can take up to 1.5kg of meat. They can scavenge on road-kills or other dead animals but can as well attack a live animal especially the weak and the young.
The Lappet-faced vultures are primarily solitary birds and it very hard to find a count of ten (10) nests in one area. The home range of this bird species can be 8 to 15km.  They normally nest in the months of November through to July for the northern groups, May to January to the south of Africa and all year-round for East of Africa including Uganda where they are encountered on Uganda safari holidays.
They thrive majorly in dry savannah, rid plains, thorn bush, Open Mountain slopes and deserts with scattered trees and would avoid tall grass cover. However, they can stretch to would be avoidable areas after spotting a prey while foraging.  The lapped-faced Vulture thrive in countries of Uganda, Senegal, Burkina faso, Mali, Chad, Niger, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia, Malawi, South Africa, Somalia, Gambia among others while beyond Africa; they thrive in Yemen, Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Oman.
The lappet-faced Vulture is listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK; A REMARKABLE JOURNEY TO REVIVAL- RWANDA SAFARIS NEWS

akagera national parkAkagera National Park is one of the popular Rwanda Safari destinations positioned to the north east of the country close to the Tanzanian border. Akagera combines with the Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe National Park to make the long standing Rwanda wildlife safari circuit.
With its diverse habitats, Akagera National Park is a home to a range of wild game, wetland species and highland dwelling fauna and flora. The popular wild game explored in Akagera National Park by the travelers on safaris and tours in Rwanda include; buffalo, elephant, zebra, topi, roan antelope, eland, waterbuck, oribi, duiker, bohor reedbuck, impala, and klipspringer. The primate species such as vervets, olive baboons, secretive blue monkey and bush babies also thrive in the park.
Akagera National Park is truly on the journey to revival. This is evidenced by wholesome conservation efforts that are increasingly gaining ground not only in Rwanda but across the international spectrum. The lions which had disappeared from the park for counts of years eventually were re-introduced in 2015 giving Akagera a brand new rhythm in the predator world. The lions supplement the native population of predators including Hyenas, leopard and the side striped jackal making it an exciting destination worth visiting on Safari tour in Rwanda. The move to restore the Akagera National Park’s glory remains as the authorities seek to as well re-introduce the black Rhino in order to restock the famous Big five.
Established in 1934 covering more than 2,500km2, Akagera National Park was reduced in its size to provide land to the ever increasing Rwandan population especially after the return of exiles following the 1994 civil war. The apparent size stands at 1,122km2 and from 2010, the park has been under private public partnership between the Rwanda Development Board and African Parks limited.
The Akagera River straddles to the east of the park feeding a chain of forest fringed lakes including the second largest lake Ihema. The rolling hills, savannah plains and papyrus swamps present a beautiful natural landscape that makes the park outstanding. A range of 500 bird species make it an Important Bird Area and a paradise for birders on birding adventure vacation holiday safaris and tours in Rwanda

AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK; A REMARKABLE JOURNEY TO REVIVAL- RWANDA SAFARIS NEWS

akagera national parkAkagera National Park is one of the popular Rwanda Safari destinations positioned to the north east of the country close to the Tanzanian border. Akagera combines with the Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe National Park to make the long standing Rwanda wildlife safari circuit.
With its diverse habitats, Akagera National Park is a home to a range of wild game, wetland species and highland dwelling fauna and flora. The popular wild game explored in Akagera National Park by the travelers on safaris and tours in Rwanda include; buffalo, elephant, zebra, topi, roan antelope, eland, waterbuck, oribi, duiker, bohor reedbuck, impala, and klipspringer. The primate species such as vervets, olive baboons, secretive blue monkey and bush babies also thrive in the park.
Akagera National Park is truly on the journey to revival. This is evidenced by wholesome conservation efforts that are increasingly gaining ground not only in Rwanda but across the international spectrum. The lions which had disappeared from the park for counts of years eventually were re-introduced in 2015 giving Akagera a brand new rhythm in the predator world. The lions supplement the native population of predators including Hyenas, leopard and the side striped jackal making it an exciting destination worth visiting on Safari tour in Rwanda. The move to restore the Akagera National Park’s glory remains as the authorities seek to as well re-introduce the black Rhino in order to restock the famous Big five.
Established in 1934 covering more than 2,500km2, Akagera National Park was reduced in its size to provide land to the ever increasing Rwandan population especially after the return of exiles following the 1994 civil war. The apparent size stands at 1,122km2 and from 2010, the park has been under private public partnership between the Rwanda Development Board and African Parks limited.
The Akagera River straddles to the east of the park feeding a chain of forest fringed lakes including the second largest lake Ihema. The rolling hills, savannah plains and papyrus swamps present a beautiful natural landscape that makes the park outstanding. A range of 500 bird species make it an Important Bird Area and a paradise for birders on birding adventure vacation holiday safaris and tours in Rwanda

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

RWANDA INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR TO ATTRACT OVER 419 EXHIBITORS

Rwanda International Trade FairA range of 419 exhibitors have already expressed interest in participating in the forthcoming Rwanda International Trade Fair. Coming as the 19th of its kind, this fair also referred to as Expo Rwanda is in high steam and a range of mentioned exhibitors from all over the world will safari to Rwanda to be part of it.
According to Stephen Ruzibiza – the Chief Executive Officer of Private Sector Federation, the event comes with immerse opportunity to demonstrate the products especially the Rwanda Safari tour products which are available on the market. Besides the showcasing, the fair is also a perfect avenue for networking.
The 19th Edition of the Rwanda International Trade Fair will commence on July 27th running through to August 10th at the famous Gikondo expo grounds. This fortunately comes in at a time when the country is embarking on rigorous positioning of Meetings Incentives Conferences and Events (MICE) programme to the portfolio of Rwanda tour products capable of generating foreign exchange to the country.
The Rwanda International Trade Fair (RITF) has been happening overtime and gradually, it has continued to attract the International attention and so far a count of seventeen (17) countries have expressed interest in this year’s turn mainly from Africa, Europe and Asia. In 2015, the expo had 408 registered exhibitors but for this year, the number has increased to 419. The 271 of these exhibitors are locals while the 148 are foreigners.
The success of the past exhibition is evidenced by increased foreign direct investment in Rwanda something that continue to yield job opportunities for the local people, enhancing the national revenue and contributing to economic growth and development. Interestingly, some of these investments are in the tourism and hospitality sector such as hotels which in turn increases comfort prospects of travelers on safaris and tours in Rwanda.
Rwanda’s economy is apparently featuring an 8% annual growth rate of which the private sector has contributed considerably. Therefore establishing strong ties with the foreign world to facilitate technical and financial resource inflow would add strength to the private sector thus enhancing their input to national development.
The anticipated sectors that will engage in the exhibition include; Agro-processing, Manufacturing, financial services, Handcraft, Tourism, financial services, SMEs, Housing and Construction.
The Head of Trade Fairs and Investment at the Private Sector Federation Mr. Eprehem Karangwa noted that a range of 320,000 visitors are anticipated to reach at this year’s exhibition with 20,000 people making it to the event every day.  The expo will be broadcasted live and among the notable new exhibitors are from Turkey and United Kingdom.


ASSOCIATION OF UGANDA TOUR OPERATORS IN THE RHYTHM OF NEW LEADERSHIP

Uganda tourThe Umbrella that brings together all the operators that package the Uganda Safari and tour products to domestic and international consumption is in the fresh rhythm after securing the new leadership. The Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) features fully constituted board of eight (8) members that are elected in the every annual general meeting.
The Board’s position of the Chairperson was maintained by Babra A. Vanhellepute having served in the same capacity for the past two (2) years. In her capacity as the new chairperson, she is aiming at strengthening the systems and structures established in her initial term office and lobbying for improved working environment of the tour operators to ensure that synergies are created to induce more travelers to take up safaris and tours in Uganda.
The AUTO General meeting also saw a range of other posts filled accordingly with the competent people that were nominated and voted for by the members themselves including the Directors of Prime Uganda Safaris and tours Ltd Mr & Mrs. Samuel & Cate Makanga who were in attendance.
Among other members elected include; Jacqueline Kemirembe as Vice Chairperson, Dennis Ntege as Board Secretary, Costantino Tessarin as Treasurer, while Dona Tindyebwa, Gary Segal and Lydia Nandudu and Civy Tumusiime were selected as Committee Members. The general meeting was attended by over 200 people of whom more than 100 were owners of Uganda tour companies that form the central membership of the Association.
The body is charged with ensuring professional standards of service delivery among the tour operators to facilitate confidence building among the world travelers about destination Uganda. The body also makes recommendations to the government especially in granting of tour operator licenses. The inter member disputes can also be solved by the body.
An independent electoral committee spearheaded the voting exercise and Dr. Akankwasa from the Ministry of Tourism headed it. The election of the new leaders put an end on the two year regime that had prevailed from July 10th 2014 when it was elected into office.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

GRACE NYAKAANA TAKES THE MISS TOURISM TOORO CROWN

miss tourism tooroIt was such a remarkable moment as the region of Tooro – one of the famous Uganda Safari tour hot spots takes on the challenge of selecting the Miss Tourism.
In the lush environs of Mountains of the Moon Hotel, the night of Friday July 22nd was a romantic and yet a tense one as the auditions for Miss Tourism went on. Positioned at a vantage point overlooking the Royal Karuzika palace, the Mountains of the Moon Hotel is one of the popular hotels used by travelers on safaris and tours in Uganda and thus had a credible ground to host a significant audition.
The contest which had a count of five (5) people in competition saw Grace Nyakaana emerging as the winner by Midnight. Grace is noted to have become the third ambassador for tourism ever since the preliminary arrangements commenced at regional level three years past.
From most of the revelers, it was clear that Grace had locked from the start. The confidence, poise, expert knowledge about the culture of Tooro and the tourism industry in general put her cut above the rest. Grace also took the Miss Social Media and Photogenic category awards.
The  second runner up was Christine Kajumba while the third runner up was Gorret Peace Kobusingye. These three (3) beauty angels will go to the boot camp to join the national competition with those from other regions including Rwenzori, West Nile and Karamoja.
During the event, Shamim Kabahenda was the crowd’s favourite and was crowned Miss Talent while Kobusingye took the Miss Culture category. The guests who included those on Uganda tours were entertained by the local Musician Kigambo Araali.
The event was attended by a range of people including the Minister for Tourism in the Kingdom of Tooro Anna Bagaya who disclosed the Kingdom’s commitment to unleashing the region’s tourism potential especially under the New Campaign named Tooro Kokasemera.  Tooro region features a range of attractions including Kibale National Park, Semliki National Park, the Fort Portal crater lake field, Ndali Kasenda crater field,  the Royal Kingdom of Tooro and its heritage, tea estates and Amabere g’Nyinanmwiru caves which combine to make it a rich destination worth inclusion on the itinerary as one plans a safari to Uganda.



Monday, 25 July 2016

THE TWEGAITE SOURCE OF THE NILE RUN LOCKS JINJA

NileJinja is one of the popular Uganda safari tour destinations famous for a range of things but most of all being the Source of the Nile River. On Saturday July 23rd, the roads were connecting to Jinja for the Twegaite Source of the Nile run which had the intention of directing the proceeds to the building of the Cancer ward at Jinja Hospital.
The run was occurring for the second time following the Twegaite International Initiative a non profit Organization which originated in United States of America in the year 1998 with the intention of connecting friends and Children of Busoga in Uganda and Diaspora to facilitate the development of Busoga region including championing the causes that would increase Uganda tours in Busoga area.
The start point for the Marathon was at Source of the Nile Gardens and the end point was at the Jinja Rugby grounds. The participation was priced at 15000/= and the registration was at Igar Cafe Jinja along with Laftaz in Kampala and Jinja. It was such a fun filled day with the range of activities that included; Mountain climbing, camping and Mini zoo tour among other activities that enabled to showcase what Busoga has for the travelers on safaris and tours in Uganda.
The post race moments was also magical with activities like live entertainment, the exhibition of wildlife by the Uganda Wildlife Education Center, a range of children activities along with Jinja reunion party at the famous Jinja Sailing Club – one of popular relaxation points for those on Uganda safaris and tours.
Dr. Fred Bateganya the head of Twegaite International noted that the initiative has supported the cancer ward at Jinja Hospital for the last three (3) years and a range of improvements including securing of new linen and renovation have already been accomplished. The proceeds from the Saturday’s event will be directed to hospital van acquisition to make the transportation of hospital staff easier.

RWANDAN SENATORS CALL FOR BETTER MANAGEMENT OF TOURIST SITES

Rwanda safari sitesThe Rwandan Government has been called upon by her own senators to work as fast as possible in ensuring that the Rwanda Safari sites including National Museums are focused on specific topics, documentation of local tourist sites’ history to the benefit of the visitors on safaris in Rwanda whereas the protected areas of Volcanoes National Park and Akagera National Park receive the buffer zones.
These recommendations featured in the report made by the senatorial Standing Committee on Economic Development and Finance regarding the implementation of government programmes in the tourism sector. The committee was chaired by Jacqueline Muhongayire.
A range of other recommendations were submitted by these legislators to enhance the transformation of the tourism sector and increase the travelers taking up Rwanda Safaris and tours. Among these include devising tourism master plan for every district and incorporating the development of tourism in their performance contracts every year.
Evariste Bizimana one of the members on the committee noted that the national tourism master plan of Rwanda is not very detailed but by availing the district master plans, the details required to enhance the promotion of Rwanda tour sites in the whole country will be clearly brought out. The decentralization of the tourism development to the district level would be of great significance since apparently all tourism development coordination efforts are centered at Rwanda Development Board.
The need to clarify on who does what in terms of implementation is very significant and the senators called upon the government to close that gap in the national tourism development agenda. This at times curtails the swift implementation of the national tourism master plan.
The other recommendations include focusing of specific topics by national museums like nature, colonization, war of liberation among others, opening the north entry gate of Akagera National Park to enable the visitors on safari in Rwanda from the north to gain easy access and expanding the buffer zones so as to deter animals in Volcanoes and Akagera National Park from straying to the community.
Research to enrich information about the tourist sites and training of the required personnel to the international standards including those in the hospitality sector is highly recommended by the report. However, the government effort to develop MICE and increase of staff in the parks and other tourist site was hailed in the report.
The tourism sector is one of the Rwanda’s economic strongholds with estimated revenue of $318 million in the year 2015 rising from the 2010 figure of $210 million.

UGANDA TOURIST VISA BACK TO $50; THE IMPACT ON TOURISM

 uganda tourist visaThe destination Uganda on the morning of July 22nd started to issue the Single entry Visa to the visitors including those on Safaris to Uganda at half the price of what it used to cost.
The Uganda Visa had been hiked to the price of $100 from the $50 something that was heavily protested by a range of stakeholders especially the tour operators with the argument that the high fees were discouraging the Uganda Safari travel.
The country has for the whole of the previous year been bewildered by setbacks in the number of travelers on safaris and tours in Uganda resulting into the low occupancy rates at the safari lodges as well. The high Visa fees added to the 18% VAT made the destination expensive resulting into reduced arrivals. Of course, this situation was worsened by the pre-election speculation where hyper reporting was all over media including International media something that made some of the potential travelers that had interest in taking up tours to Uganda to rethink their decision.
Fortunately, the anticipated after election violence never happened and when the nation was still enchanting because of that, another magical decision arrived when the Uganda Visa was reversed to its old price of $50. The continuous engagements with the Uganda Immigration Officials, the Visa fee was eventually brought back to $50 commencing 22nd July 2016 at all entry ports of Uganda including Entebbe International Airport.
However, this comes at a time when Uganda is introducing the online visa application programme where those intending to travel to Uganda have to submit their application online for approval before traveling to the port of entry. This will not only save time at the Airport but also enhance the national security which is to the benefit of all.
The reduction of the Visa fees is believed to pose a significant impact on the tourism sector by increasing the tourist arrivals which in turn will result into increase accommodation occupancy and the revenues generated from tourism. The trend in the number of Uganda tour undertakers is anticipated to keep positive since the destination is no longer costly.

Friday, 22 July 2016

A NEW TOURIST SITE UNVEILED BY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

catholic churchThe Catholic Church is credited for having made the most recent addition to the religious Uganda Safari tour product chain. The birth place of St. Kizito in the district of Luwero has been unveiled as a significant tourist site with the intention of promoting and preserving the Church history.
The Waluleta shrines marked by an ancient Muvule tree are noted to be the playing grounds for St.Kizito – the youngest of all the Uganda Martyrs. This site which has started to attract religious travelers on safaris in Uganda is located in the village of Kigwe, Makulubita Sub county 7km to the West of the town of Wobulenzi.
The popularity of this site has not started of recent but rather has been there with the Catholic pilgrims traveling there annually for the past 20 years according to the Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga the Archbishop of Kampala and the Kasana-Luweero Pioneer Bishop. He is noted to have tracked it and pronounced it a Pilgrimage site in 1995.  Upon realizing the significance of the site as the Pioneer Bishop by then, Dr. Cyprian undertook its mapping, preserved the three (3) graves of Kizito’s relatives and built a local church. Overtime the diocese has developed it to reach at the standard site level worth exploring on religious tour in Uganda.  This was disclosed to an approximate of 20,000 Pilgrims at the grand opening of the shrine on Sunday.
The grand opening of the Shrine was also blessed by Paul Semwogerere the Bishop of Kasana Luwero, Anthony Zziwa the Bishop of Kiyinda-Mityana and Christopher Kakooza the Bishop of Lugazi Diocese
The famous St Kizito is recorded to have undergone baptism on 26th May 1886 after which he clashed with his King Mwanga over the issue of religion resulting into his death on 3rd June 1886 at Namugongo. Pope Paul VX canonised him in the month of October 1964 like other Uganda Martyrs that suffered the same fate.
Religious tourism is steadily gaining ground among the Africa vacation safaris and holidays in Uganda as many people are increasing in their quest for spiritual cleansing, material blessings or research and history.


ENJOY THE FAMILY MINIBREAK AT NGAMBA ISLAND CHIMPANZEE SANCTUARY

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee SanctuaryNgamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is one of the closest Uganda Safari sites from Kampala or Entebbe offering a touch of wildlife, adventure, education and recreation.
Known for its counts of Orphaned Chimpanzees, Ngamba Island is part of the Lake Victoria Koome Islands and is seated at 23km to the South East of Entebbe along the geographical coordinates 32.39’E and 0.06’S covering a geographical spread of 100 acres of which the 98 are under forest cover as always viewed by visitors on Uganda Safaris and tours.
The altitude of Ngamba Island is a flat landscape rising gently towards the south with an estimated elevation of 3800 feet above Sea level.  Prior to the introduction of Chimpanzees, Ngamba Island had a resident fishing community who were evicted by the year 1997. Two (2) acres of forest cover had already been cleared among which the main Island camp site is currently stationed. The rest of the open land is utilized
as a feeding ground for Chimpanzees and the chimpanzee viewing platform where those on tour in Uganda to the Island stand.
The decision to turn the Island to a Chimpanzee Sanctuary took effect in October 1998 and Chimpanzees that would be rescued from poachers along with the Orphaned chimpanzees saw their way to the Island with the capture and transfer undertaken by Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Therefore with this background, undertaking a family mini-break holiday can never be in anyway a regretful decision. Equipped with beautiful en suite Safari tents, the Ngamba Island offers a tranquil stay to the family group overlooking the vast waterscape of Lake Victoria that can as well be explored further on a sun set cruise up to the nearest Island.  The 45 minute boat cruise to and from the Island is an experience of its own encountering the local fishermen in the lake and a range of small Islands en route.
The beach recreation activities on the Island like Soccer, Kayaking and Swinging provide a perfect break from the extensive studies about the life of Chimpanzees on the Island including their feeding, sleeping, veterinary and general caring. The walk in the chimpanzee forest offers the taste of them inside the forest and the lush flora itself though this activity has a minimum age requirement. This combined qualify the mini-break to Ngamba Island to be listed among the must attempt short safaris and tours in Uganda.

BIRDING IN RWANDA ; THE LOVELY PARADISE

birding in RwandaIn the world of birds,  birding in Rwanda are among the first of its kind in Africa. It is very amazing to hear that in this small and densely populated country there are over 1450 species of birds of which 27 are endemic to the Albertine rift valley.
The notables to look out for on one’s birding safari tour in Rwanda include the Red faced barbet, Bannett’s Woodpecker, Shoebill Stork, Miombo Wren-Warbler and the Papyrus Gonolek.
The three (3) main National Parks of Rwanda still stand as the main birding sites due to protection that is extended to the range of species that thrive there. Rwanda’s position in the Albertine rift presents a stunning ideal landscape for the birding specialists though the levels of birding appeals to even the beginners. Even those who come in for Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris find themselves in the birding mood as they encounter a range of species along their hiking trails in the gorilla highlands.
The most significant of all the birding sites in Rwanda is the famous Nyungwe National Park standing as a continuous montane forest block with 310 bird species. It is at times amusing to hear that in this expanse virgin forest tract marked by dense vegetation and high canopy, great bird sightings to everyone who visits it on Rwanda safaris and tours are guaranteed. The bird species to expect include; Rwenzori Turaco, Red-Collared Mountain Babbler, Stuhlman’s Double-collared sunbird, Kungwe Apalis, Purple-breasted Sunbird, White Headed Wood-Hoopoe and Paradise Fly catcher.
Akagera National Park features lakes and wetlands thus presenting off the beaten experience with a range of water birds like African finfoot, African Fish Eagle, Shoebill and the Cormorants. The extensive savannah stretches that as well mark the park provide a rich habitat for Red-Faced Barbet which is one of the rare species in the region of East Africa.
The Rwenzori Double Collared Sunbird, Archer’s Ground Robin, Rwenzori Turaco and Dusky Crimsonwing are among the notable species in the Rwanda gorilla safari site of Volcanoes National Park where a count of 178 bird species thrive in  diverse habitat of open grassland, bamboo, heath and swamp.
Birding activity is ideally done all the year-round though those with keen interest in migrant species can visit between December through to the month of February.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

DANCE, MUSIC AND CRAFTS; RWANDA AT HER BEST

RwandaThe Arts play a significant function in traditions of the people of Rwanda and form the center of the most authentic products explored on safaris and tours in Rwanda. Their performances range from exhibitions of excellence and bravery to the artistry held in ancient agricultural roots.
The Intore Dance Troupes perform the finest displays of the dynamic traditional styles of dance and music in the destination Rwanda. The Intore literally translated as The Chosen Ones feature a great heritage that dates back to a century past as they performed exclusively in the Royal courtyard. These people were taught the jumping techniques and military drills to perfect their dancing style – something that has lived to mesmerize even the contemporary Rwanda safari tour undertakers.
The Intore wear grass wigs and hold clutching spears as they move to the beat of the drum making it a magical moment worth exploring. Apparently, these live Intore performances can be viewed at museums like National Museum of Rwanda, cultural villages like Iby’wacu Cultural village, hotels and Rwanda tour lodges across the counts and at the Volcanoes Park headquarters Kinigi every day as the travelers on Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris and tours await briefing.
The traditional Songs are escorted by an eight string harp like instrument called Lulunga whereas the more jubilated dances are supplemented by Orchestra drum that typically features seven (7) to Nine (9) members that collectively derive a hypnotic and mesmerizing intertwining rhythm set.
Regarding crafts, the local cooperative in the village of Nyakarambi Village produces unique crafts called Imigongo or the cow dung paintings which are distinguished by whirls colored in black, brown and white along with other geometric shapes. These remarkable earthy products are available all over the craft markets in the country and those on safari in Rwanda can purchase some as souvenirs.
The traditional skill of basket making and weaving has also stood the taste of time and apparently the dry containers are made for food storage along with medicine. These are also used to carry gifts or as gifts themselves on traditional functions. The pottery expertise and ancient skill of the Batwa people is noted to be among Rwanda’s oldest skills and up to today, these pots are still utilized for storing liquids and cooking.

THE HISTORY OF BWINDI FOREST IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK

Bwindi forestThe name Bwindi derives from a local phrase “mubwindi bwa nyinamuraki”, which most originally referred to the mubwindi swamp in the south east of the park rather than the forest itself. The name goes back about a century ago when a family migrating from Kisoro area found them standing at the southern end of a seemingly impenetrable swamp.  The parents asked the swamp spirits for guidance and they were told if only they sacrificed their most beautiful daughter nyinamuraki the family would cross without any mishap. After two days of deliberation, the family decided that they could not turn back south and so they threw the girl into the water to drown and went on their way safely to the other side. When news of sacrifice spread, people began to avoid the swamp calling it mubwindi bwa nyinamuraki – dark place of nyinamuraki.
The forest was proclaimed impenetrable forest reserve in 1932, and in 1991 it was gazetted as a national park and named Bwindi. Today, most people refer to the park as plain Bwindi, though the swamp is still known by the more correct name of mubwindi.
The park’s existence is traced back in 1932 when it was gazetted as a forest reserve, the Crown Forest Reserve. It had two sections, Kasatora Crown forest reserve in the south and Kayonza Crown Forest reserve in the north. The two sections were combined in 1942 into one forest reserve, The Impenetrable Central Crown Forest that stretched on an area of about 298Km². Later in 1964, it was turned into an animal sanctuary in order to protect the mountain gorillas and with time two other forest reserves were added on the impenetrable forest expanding to about 321Km² .
In 1991, it was declared a national Park and the name Bwindi was added to it making it the now Bwindi Impenetrable forest. Becoming the most popular tourist destination for all safaristouganda in 1993 due to the existence of almost half of the world’s mountain gorillas; the parks management, the Uganda National Parks which later turned into Uganda Wildlife Authority bought a piece of land from the Batwa people that stretched a further 4Km² and was incorporated to the park
Located in southwestern Uganda along the D.R.Congo boarder, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is one of Africa’s finest eco geographical areas. It is next to the Virunga National park in D.R.Congo, about 25Km north; and it’s on the edge of the Albertine rift valley. Bwindi is a habitant to about 480 Mountain gorillas, which is almost half of the world’s population for the endangered species.
Over 350 bird species have been recorded in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and unlike most of the other national park checklists; it includes very few water birds. Of particular interest to birders on a Uganda safari, there are 23 bird species endemic to the Albertine rift and at least 14 species are recorded nowhere else in Uganda, amongst them is the African green broadbill, white-tailed blue flycatcher, white-bellied robin chat and the Frazer’s eagle owl. In addition to the extensive bird list, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is home to at over 200 butterfly species including 8 Albertine rift endemic species and a dedicated butterfly watcher on a butterfly safari to Uganda might hope to identify more than 50 butterfly species in a single day.
The park is also home to about 27 amphibian species and 120 mammal species. Its home to a large number of primates which include: monkeys, chimpanzees and the popular mountain gorillas of Uganda. Mountain gorillas are one of the most critically endangered wild animal species according to IUCN. About 880 mountain gorillas are remaining in the whole world and 400 of these mountain gorilla species thrive in Bwindi Impenetrable forest National Park in Uganda whereas the rest dwell in the Virunga massif.

Unlimited opportunities for Uganda travelers

ugandaIn Uganda we have got quite variety of national parks and ideal resorts for tourists to name but a few of them, queen Elizabeth, Murchison falls national park, Bwindi impenetrable national park. These hold out opportunities to travelers
for observation of wildlife in their own natural habitat. Visits to all these parks break routine and monotony of daily existence and once plunges our thoughts into mysteries of God’s creation.
Travelers on a safari in Uganda face with wild animals whose behaviors are conspicuously revealed to the visitors offering a contrast to the orderliness of human behavior. Visitors then begin to ponder the different characteristics that are displayed by the different animals whilst safely seated in our safari vehicles. The enthralling spectacle experienced at these national parks fills the children and their families with delight and joy that surpasses even their own thrill.
Frequent trips to all these places stimulate courage in the timid hearts, making the visitors turn into their determination to conquer many of the adversities of life. Uganda safaris also equip a tourist with readiness to face challenges of daily existence.
More so, our tourists are by no means strangers to the amazing aspects of life in mountains of Uganda, a country of indisputable and immense with a historic glory on its own. No one will ever deny that Mountain Rwenzori, which is the highest block mountain in Africa, is nature’s gift to Uganda safaris. In the Rwenzori Mountains, there arises a charm of mountaineering that carries a suggestion of eternity and a tremendous height which is perhaps chiefly responsible for all this suggestion.
Uganda is also replete with beautiful lakes where our tourists enjoy the natural serenity and congenial surroundings. It is only on a Uganda safari that adventure holidays can be combined with a cultural bonanza experience. In the neighborhood of these lakes, are hotels that are adequately equipped with a number of amenities to make tourist stay comfortable and enjoyable.
There is more than the beautiful water scenery to see for tourists who visit the world’s largest tropical “lake victoria”. It is a “Tourist Paradise” while on the islands of Ssese, Ngamba and Bulago, with their numerous islets, nestle in this large fresh water lake and some of which are inhabited. This could be one of your next destination and a must visit for that matter.
The magical Kampala city is a unique cosmopolitan capital city of Uganda which exudes the rich history and culture of the baganda people. Its markets and shops, mosques, palaces, churches and other buildings which are of outstand with architectural and historical interest; mingle to create an outstanding cultural heritage of the whole world, blending Arab, European, Indian and the beautiful local African traditions. In 2016 mercer, a global development consulting agency based in New York ranked Kampala city the most confortable city around the whole East African region.
The number of tourists visiting Uganda is an eloquent testimony to the whole universe and fame that Uganda has won itself one of the attractive centers for tourism in the world.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

An adventure into the Monkey species in Uganda

monkeyUganda has got variety species of primates which include the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, monkeys and all these have been divided into many sub-species.
Uganda has got a number of unique species of monkeys which one should not miss on a safari in Uganda.
Mangabey monkeys are on recent researches which are found within the untouched and undisturbed high forests of Uganda. Besides tracking the grey checked monkeys within Uganda, some other species of monkeys like the Ugandan monkey that is only limited to this magical country and not in any other country in Africa.
This new product is one of the main decisions why the government of Uganda through the ministry of tourism, wildlife and antiquities has decided to market it as one of the new tourism product on a safari in Uganda. The Uganda Mangabey or the “Lophocebus Ugandae” has already started attracting more wildlife enthusiasts to come for safaris in Uganda.
The major organizations which are responsible for new monkey species include, ministry of Environment, National Forestry Authority and livelihoods
The Uganda Mangabey monkeys are only found in Uganda though some of them are found in Tanzania in the islands Lake Victoria.
In Uganda, the Uganda mangabey monkeys are located in Lwamunda in Sango Bay, Bugoma forest near Lake Albert and Mabira Forest reserve.
They are strategically found in these areas since they love living in undisturbed natural high tropical rain forests and this means that there is need to be habituated for tracking by the tourists who come for safari in Uganda.
The monkeys will be introduced to humans after being habituated for trekking on Uganda safaris. Besides monkeys, Uganda safaris have got variety of tourist attractions which can be undertaken by tourists who come for safari in Uganda. These include the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, bird safaris, cultural excursions, mountains adventures which attract mountain climbers, city tours, nature walks and many more.

Explore Uganda and its elegant Adventure

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From the moment you land at Entebbe international airport, with its breath taking strategic location on the forested shore of island strew in Lake Victoria, it is clear that Uganda is not an ordinary safari destination.
Dominated by an expanded golf course leading down to the shores of the Lake Victoria and an old botanical garden with a chatter of acrobatic monkeys and colorful tropical bird species, Entebbe its self is least urban of all compared to the other sized Ugandan towns. At Just 40km distance, sprawled across seven hills lies the capital Kampala city with its bright modern feel of bustling and cosmopolitan city reflects the ongoing economic growth with political stability that has featured in the country.
Ecologically, in Uganda is where the East African savannah plains meet the great West African jungle. Where else on this continent but its possible for one to observe lions prowling in the open savannah plains in the morning and on that day track chimpanzees through the tropical rain forest in the afternoon of the same day, then next day do a navigation on the tropical channels teeming with the yawning hippos and basking crocodiles before setting off into the misty mountains to stare into the amazing eyes of the elusive mountain gorillas. Uganda is the only destination whose range of primates is as impressive as its selection of antelopes in its savannah plains.
There is more in this country than wildlife: there is the mighty river Nile that is punctuated by spectacular Murchison falls ‘the world’s strongest falls’ and setting some of the world’s most thrilling white water rafting.
The snow covered peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains which also provide a challenge to dedicated and passionate mountaineers as well as the virunga circuit and mountain Elgon, both of which offer rewarding hiking opportunities through highland scenery.
More interesting, the myriad islands of Lakes Victoria and Bunyonyi are ideal venues and the myriad of forest fringed crater lakes that are stranded on the rift valley floor.
Whether you are a first time safari traveler or a seasonal African traveler, a Uganda safari with its unique blend of savannah, forest creatures, and its wealthy montane and lake habitats are simply dazzling.

BANDA INNS; A PERFECT BED AND BREAKFAST BUDGET ACCOMMODATION IN KAMPALA

banda-innThe Banda Inns positioned at Muyenga Tank Hill along Scops lane off Tank Hill Road following the Lubbobbo close stand as an ideal bed and breakfast accommodation for the low cost travelers on safaris in Uganda.
The facility which is 10 – 15 minutes drive from Kampala depending on the traffic and 1 hour from the Uganda’s main gateway – Entebbe International Airport presents  a good base that can be used for overnight of visitors arriving for the Uganda tours or at the end of the their Africa vacation safari in Uganda.
Muyenga Tank Hill is an upscale suburb thus free from city commotion and offering a panoramic vantage point of Kampala city. There is enough privacy and tranquil environment presented at an affordable cost that range between EUR30 to EUR 75 inclusive of breakfast wireless internet and laundry services.
The accommodation is provided in single and double / twin rooms all of which are self contained / en suite thus selling comfort as well since one can shower in his / her room. The world travelers interested in spending less on their first and last nights’ accommodation on Uganda safari tour and yet without compromising quality, Banda Inns seem to be the best alternative.
Banda Inns also offer mobile phone hire service, lunch and dinner along with secretarial services at an extra cost.






Tuesday, 19 July 2016

KORI BUSTARD; THE HEAVIEST FLYING BIRD IN AFRICA

AfricaThe Kori Bustard is one of the remarkable bird species that have for long drawn a range of international birders to travel to Africa including planning birding safaris to Uganda to explore these gigantic birds.
Weighing up to 19kg in size, standing up to 120cm in height and stretching up to 150cm in length, the Kori Bustard is noted to be the heaviest flying bird featuring a long foot marked by three (3) fingers with grey plumage and long neck. The neck, throat and chin appear as creamy white intermingled with black bands. The bird’s under parts are buff colored featuring dark brown vermiculations. The tail feature white and grayish brown bands and these same features appear on the flight feathers while the shoulder features white and black pattern as always viewed on birding safaris and tours in Uganda.
Regarding the diet, the Kori Bustard is an Omnivore feeding on both animals like snakes and lizards and the plant like berries. The chicks of the Kori bustard feed greatly on insects and also consume gum from acacia tree. Amazingly the Kori bustard use sucking motion to drink water other than scooping with the bill that is common in other birds. It is another impressive encounter to explore on birding safari tour in Uganda.
Regarding the breeding, the Kori Bustard are polygamous species. The male would inflate the neck and trail its wings dancing in front of the female and some of them go ahead and ruffle their feathers forming like a big white ball. The males can as well produce a booming sound or bow toward the female as it inflates the bill. At this moment, the female notices the male and this behavior is often demonstrated early morning or in the evening.  The males do not engage in raising the young while the females keep on the nest for much of the time only departing to feed for short periods. The reproduction among these species occurs once in a year and takes around 23 – 30 days. The nest is not thick and the eggs can even be laid on ground.   Their eggs can at times be viewed by birders on birding tours in Uganda.
The Kori Bustard dwell much on ground and can fly only where necessary as a result of their weight. They feature an extended life span and slow breeding process and can keep in the same locality for a long time provided food is sufficient. They prefer to dwell in lightly wooden savannah and open grassland.
In Uganda, the Kori Bustard is found in Kidepo Valley National Park.


UGANDA ENJOYS THE PEAK SEASON

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The period running from June through to August is dry and most parts of the country receive less rain meaning that the main murram roads and even trails in the Uganda tour National Parks are easily passable.
The stretches of the savannah are free from dense vegetation that tend to grow in the rainy season like tall grass and shrubs and this present extended open views of the landscape and the wild game that thrive in them mesmerizing the travelers on safari tour in Uganda visiting such areas.
Being a sunny season, the demand for water among the wild game is high which induces them to graze not very far from the water points. The grazers keep within range while the predators are also not very far from their prey. This in turn makes the game viewing during the wildlife safaris in Uganda easier and much better.
As for those on Uganda gorilla safaris, the dense jungle of the impenetrable Bwindi is somehow loose and the steep slopes are not all that slippery due to absence of mud. This makes trekking less challenging while some light in the forest provides for better photographic opportunities. This applies to other tropical forests in the country including Kibale and Budongo where chimpanzee trekking is carried out.
However, this comes with cost. The components of Uganda Safari holiday packages including accommodation, gorilla and chimpanzee permits (for primate safaris) and guides and safari vehicles at times run short of supply. This means that without an advance booking, on risks to miss out on the preferred tracking date, the lodge of interest or the favourite guide that has been recommended to you or guided you on your previous tour in Uganda. The quality of the vehicles may be compromised so as to accommodate the extra demand.
Though the Uganda’s destinations have not yet reached the crowd levels of other destinations like Kenya’s Masaai Mara or Tanzania’s Serengeti, the high number of tourist vehicles cannot be missed during game drive, boat jetties and gorilla tracking assembly points.

UNDERSTANDING THE GORILLA PERMIT POLICY OF UGANDA

SONY DSCThe gorilla trekking safaris and tours in Uganda form the center of the myriad reasons why people visit the Pearl of Africa. The world travelers spend great deal of time planning their travel to fulfill their dream of spending a moment with their long lost cousins that thrive in the abundant forest cover of Africa.
However, to some, the process has at times ended in disappointments other than the great excitement that they held at first. And this has partly been brought by not understanding the Uganda Wildlife Authority policy on gorilla permits. The travelers intending to take up gorilla safaris in Uganda ought to understand the following.
The Uganda gorilla permit booking for all the two destinations; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which feature a minimum of 400 mountain gorillas with twelve (12) habituated groups thus capable of supplying 96 gorilla permits and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park – Uganda’s section of Virunga massif where the remaining 480 mountain gorillas are known to thrive with one habituated gorilla family thus capable of supplyin
g eight (8) permits is conducted at the main headquarters of Uganda Wildlife Authority positioned at Plot 7 Kira Road in Kamwokya Kampala.  An advance phone or e-mail inquiry crosschecking the availability is very significant to avoid setting travel dates where the permits are missing. Following the confirmation of availability, one can then go ahead with the booking where the payment can be done in cash or by Bank Transfer.
The permit is an essential component of a Uganda gorilla safari tour and therefore securing it is a big step to realizing your safari dream. In Uganda, the foreign nonresident can secure the gorilla permit during season at $600 while the foreign resident and East African Citizens can secure it at $500 and 250,000/= respectively. However, the country extends discounted gorilla permits to all these groups in the off season months of April, May and November. The Foreign Non residents are charged 450, the Foreign residents and the East African Community Citizens pay $400 and 200,000/= respectively.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority policy on gorilla permits has provision for refund in case of cancellation but of course putting in consideration terms and conditions. The 50% refund is often extended to the travelers on gorilla safaris and tours in Uganda who have failed to track because of illness. The visitor has to be confirmed by the Park warden in charge meaning that it applies to those who would have traveled to the ground. For those that fail to see gorillas because they have moved to an adjacent country, the traveler gets his / her full refund on the permit.  The refunds are implemented at the Headquarters of Uganda Wildlife Authority in Kampala – the Uganda’s capital.
For other cancellations, the UWA has provision for the following refund percentages; 75% will be given back if the notice is above 91 days, 50% for the 46 – 90 days, 25% for the 9 – 45 days and no refund for 8 days.  UWA retains the full control of the gorilla permit selling and thus those interested in gorilla safari in Uganda can purchase then direct or through a travel agent. The minimum age limit stands at 15 years.



Monday, 18 July 2016

Rwanda safaris and holidays

RwandaToday visitors come on a safari holiday in Rwanda to see the famous mountain gorillas though occasionally add up a uganda safari and stay for 4-6 days and then go back home which is shame because there plenty to see on a safari to Rwanda. With 4 national parks, a thriving Kigali capital city, spectacular highland scenery and diverse wildlife, Rwanda safaris have plenty to occupy on a longer holiday safari and certainly deserves more exploration.
The republic of Rwanda has one of the fastest growing economies in African continent and is one of the friendliest, safest countries on the African continent though most people conjure up images of the genocide of 1994 where over a million people died.
The genocide saga is part of its history and today 22 years Rwanda has evolved into a united, optimistic and proud country that warmly welcomes all visitors and provides a truly memorable safaris and inspiring holidays.
Where to go on a Rwanda holiday!
Volcanoes National Park is located in the north western part of  Rwanda and is the most famous of all Rwanda’s 4 national parks and most people come to this park on holiday to Rwanda because of its famous residents, the mountain gorillas.
Rwanda gorilla trekking safari experience is its biggest attraction though less is known on holiday options of Akagera National Park on the eastern border of Rwanda and Tanzania and Nyungwe Forest National Park in the southern part of the country.
Akagera national park is the only park famous for ‘traditional’ safaris in Rwanda as it offers amazing wildlife opportunities. Akagera scenery is beautiful and is described as Rwanda’s Lake District that is worth visiting for that alone.
Nyungwe forest national park is a dense rainforest with experiential hiking trails, bird watching opportunities and primate safari experiences.
Mountain Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda
The tracking of mountain gorillas in Rwanda is an ultimate wildlife experience and is the reason why most of the people go there for a safari holiday.
Sitting within a small related group of gorillas, is a 'must' see for serious wildlife lovers.
This is the area where Dian Fossey first brought the whole world’s attention to these primates in the 1960s, when only about 250 survived. Today the number of worldwide gorilla populations has increased to 880 split between Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Survival of the mountain gorillas is one of Africa’s leading conservation stories and tourism has played a majestic role in this.
Rwanda safaris are regarded as probably the best safaris for gorilla tracking experiences and although gorilla tracking permits are not cheap, tourists are permitted an hour with these amazing apes which turns out to be a priceless encounter that remains with you long after your safari holiday is even over.
Primate safaris in Rwanda
Though the mountain gorillas are stars, there are plenty of other primate tracking opportunities while on a safari in Rwanda.
Nyungwe Forest National Park in the southern sector is home to 13 different primate species among them includes the chimpanzees, Rwenzori colobus and the red tailed monkey both of which can be tracked.
Indeed, Nyungwe forest national park colobus monkeys can on several occasions be seen in spectacular troops of hundreds and is believed to be among the largest numbers all over the world.
Volcanoes National Park is home to two groups of the endangered golden monkeys which have been habituated for visitor tracking.
Classic safaris in Rwanda
Rwanda may not seem to be one of the obvious choices for a typical holiday safari, unless one travels there.  Akagera National Park in the east of the country and at the Rwanda Tanzania boarder is worth exploring and experiencing.
Rwanda scenically is home to one of Africa’s prettiest parks blessed with deep valleys and rolling hills, savannah plains in the north, lakes and papyrus swamps close to the eastern border.
It also includes the largest protected wetlands in the whole of Central Africa region and is also home to about 8,000 animals and 480 plus species of birds that include the elusive shoebill making Akagera national park an interesting place for bird watching safaris in Rwanda.
Safaris in Rwanda and when to go
Safaris in Rwanda are possible all year round, but the most popular time to travel is during the long dry season from June-September and the short dry season around December-February.
In case one intends to track gorillas, he will need to plan for the safari well ahead to secure the gorilla permits especially in the July-September season.
The main rainy season in Rwanda is from March-May with shorter rains in October- November.
Traveling around Rwanda
Travel in Rwanda on a safari is very comfortable the roads are largely good with many new roads being constructed to replace old dirt roads.
A glimpse to the heart of the contemporary Africa for some wonderful wildlife viewing is thought to be provoking travel yet it finally turns out to be a fascinating safari holiday.
Whilst this it would be naive to suggest that the entire Rwanda nation has moved on whereby a holiday safari in Rwanda leaves you with an overwhelming sense of people’s optimism and Rwandese pride with determination that genocide must not happen again.

THE CONTROVERSIAL NATIONAL PARK WEEKEND GATE-AWAYS

ugandaThe Uganda Wildlife Authority earlier disclosed the intention to operate transport and Uganda tour packages to National Parks but this has not been welcomed by some stakeholders especially the private Uganda Safari operators. The range of operators holding the negative disposition over the move note that this semi-autonomous government agency has stepped beyond its limit like never before.
According to Andrew Seguya, the Executive Director of Uganda Wildlife Authority, the initiative intends boost the domestic Uganda Safaris and tours by focusing on the native Ugandans along with East African community citizens with keen interest to corporate companies, friends and families with a dream of visiting the Uganda National Parks.
The body intends to secure ten (10) game drive vehicles along with three (3) double decker boats. The boats will be positioned in the Uganda safari holiday destinations of Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo National Park. The body intends to use the pool of these resources to operate weekend gate-aways.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority buses intend to depart Friday Afternoon from Kampala and return Sunday afternoon. This government project will also engage the service providers like Uganda Safari tour lodges in the destinations of interest for affordable rates. The sales team to popularize this arrangement will soon be hired by UWA according to Jossy Muhangi – the UWA public Relations Officer.
However, despite the effort, the private operators are concerned that such government establishment is deviating from the initial cause. The government has to be concerned with creating a favorable environment for the private sector to thrive. Engaging in direct business is not a common phenomenon for government and is hardly heard anywhere else in the region. The operators holding the same feeling argue that the amount to be invested in the buses should be directed to marketing the destination so as to increase the arrivals at the Airport.
But not all operators share the same feeling. Some believe that the target market is different and the UWA strategy to begin gate-aways to National Park is significant as regards conservation.
The buses according to Dr. Seguya of UWA are anticipated to start in the month of December and will feature coffee on board, Wi-Fi, electric sockets; flat screen for visual experience, electric sockets among others that will generate memories for those that would have chosen to take up wildlife safaris in Uganda with them.


AMAZING FACTS ABOUT ROTHSCHILD GIRAFFES

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ROTHSCHILD GIRAFFES are  one of the most iconic species encountered on Uganda safaris and tours. This is the tallest mammal in the whole world as they are both wonderful and weird with its long neck and legs long eye lashes, striking coat patterns and an amazing calm demeanor.
However as we pride in having these beautiful creatures, we also need to reflect on the fact that the gentle giants are on verge of disappearing in Africa and taking up a safari to Uganda is a lifetime chance to learn more about these species!
Giraffe comes from a scientific name giraffa Camelopardalis which is a Latin name. It was derived from an English word which was used to refer to giraffes as camelopard that is a camel and leopard which the giraffe resembles.
One of the unknown facts on these fascinating animals is that there are 9 species of giraffes in Africa and these inhabit different countries on this continent. However genetic evidence shows that some may not be different from others as others are distinct species on their own. However the Rothschild giraffe is a stunning species over the others due to its amazing coat patterns that give an African sunlight reflection when you have a glimpse on them.
The Rothschild’s giraffe is related to an okapi a horse like animal found in the tropical rain forests of Congo. It has a body shape that is similar to that of a giraffe but with a shorter neck. Both of them have unusual ossicones, specialized teeth, tongue and a four chambered stomach.
Today there are few remaining giraffes in Africa and their numbers have dropped by about 40% over the recent years with giraffes being extinct in 7 African countries. A report dubbed red list giraffe by IUCN listed concern on the Rothschild giraffe that is currently listed as “endangered”.
The Rothschild giraffe live in social stationary groups which are referred to as towers and their movements are known as journeys. Their social system is referred to as a fission-fusion type of system which means that the composition of the group changes in hours or days. A group is composed  females that are known as cows and their young ones whereas male also known as bulls are found in the bachelor herds. They join females especially when the females are in oestrus and need males.
One of the surprising characters on a giraffe is the long neck and with this neck, this God made wonder has got the same number of vertebrate in the neck just like human beings and the rest of the mammals. They have seven cervical bones though each is 25cm long which helps it in feeding, vigilance, fighting also known as ‘necking’ that is common in males where they repeatedly head butt their rivals.
The giraffe horns are known as “ossicones” with both females and males having them.  They emerge from the ossified cartilage a tissue in the giraffe head.  All the giraffes are born with their hors though they lie flat and later fuse up the skull as the giraffe grows. The female ossicones are tufted whereas male ones have thicker horns that become bald on top due to frequent necking. These add an extra weight to the head of the giraffe as its age goes up and helps to take heavier blows during necking.
The Rothschild has a small heart only weighing about 11kg compared to its large size. The Rothschild giraffe has an extreme high blood pressure more than that found in human beings.
Just like man’s fingerprints, Rothschild giraffes have different coat pattern as male’s coats go darker with age and these coats are used for camouflage and thermo regulation. This can be viewed on wildlife safaris and tours in Uganda.
Although the Rothschild giraffe is known to be quiet, it has also been heard using various sounds especially during courtship where bulls usually emit loud coughs and females call by bellowing especially while calling their young ones.  The young ones call by snorts, mooing, mewing and bleats.
If interested in exploring this wildlife species, endeavor to include Murchison Falls National Park, Lake Mburo National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park while developing a travel plan for a safari to Uganda.




THE TALE OF ELECTROCUTED ELEPHANT AT QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK

 Queen Elizabeth National parkThe mature bull elephant was on June 20th found dead in the Uganda Safari tour destination of Queen Elizabeth National Park.  Elephants are noted to be members of Big five species thriving in the savannah and forested landscapes of Africa including Uganda presenting an exciting natural beauty crowned by its gigantic body size and precious ivory tusks and indeed its among the prime attractions that continue to pull a range of world travellers to take up safaris and tours to Uganda
According to Jossy Muhangi the Public Relations Manager of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the elephant was aged 35 years and its Carcass was identified lying close to a ground transformer with the cables connected to the adjacent electric pole. The elephant had smashed the wire mesh fence enclosing the transformer as it attempted to make its way through the enclosure.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority park rangers who were on Patrol identified the carcass after which the Umeme – the power supplier was notified and the power temporarily switched off to provide for the tusk recovery. The travellers on wildlife safari in Uganda visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park could not miss out on the news circulating in the park that day.
The incident occurred in the Mweya Peninsular which is a game drive area, vantage point for sightseeing of the Lakes Edward and George, Kazinga Channel and the Rwenzori Mountains not forgetting a jetty for the boat cruises along the Kazinga Channel which is one of the prime activities in the park undertaken by world travelers on Uganda safaris and tours.
This electrocution is the third of its kind in the park in a period of less than four (4) years with other case reported to have occurred in Katunguru and the Fig tree areas in Rubirizi district.
 

THE BAHA’I TEMPLE, THE FAITH’S MOTHER TEMPLE IN AFRICA

AfricaPositioned on the hill of Kikaya after branching off from Gayaza road, the Baha’i temple summit is the first of its stature in Africa and one of the iconic religious sites worth exploration on cultural safaris and tours in Uganda. This temple boasts of its spacious serene environment that includes a perfume of purity with a sense of peace on experiences while in this place.
The Bahai temple is a center of many amazing encounters with its rich history that goes way back in 1957 when it was setup and opened in 1961 officially. This amazing structure has stood quite a ray of time with less innovations and routine cleaning making it a historical Uganda tour attraction. The architectural design of this temple blends with the landscape. Just 2km off Gayaza road, it is on this spot that you get a clear 360 view of the Ntinda suburbs, distant Naguru hills with its attractive height as well as the Muyenga tank hills in the Far East.
Besides its beauty, the mother temple is the first of its kind in Africa with other similar temples in India, America, Germany, Australia, panama and Samoa and all these temples have a dome shaped though with a different architectural design. The dome of the Baha’i temple is made of mosaic tiles which were imported from Italy and Belgium and these were made in a good art, precision and skill which create an awesome picture.
The nine sided art piece at this temple is a representation of peace just because in the Arabic culture and tradition has value and letters that come from figure 9 form a word unity. The temple is also covered by nine doors and can host up to 800 people. The spacious and serene environment will passionately pull you to enter the house. The secret in this temple is that there is no altar and preaching that is done in that though as you enter the temple, there are shelves filled with books that contain information and quotations about this faith. However photography in the temple is prohibited despite the admiration – something that should be observed while on Africa vacation holiday safari tour in Uganda.
The temple is surrounded by an expansive compound that is embedded with breathtaking trees and this draws a serene appearance that harmonizes with the spiritual world of this place. This green cover is maintained by a tireless team that keeps the place spotless. The cemetery at the temple is yet another harmonizing place with a neat organisation of the tombs as one of the tombs is made in an African map shape.
The temple is open to visitor from all walks of life as the Baha’i faith emphasizes spiritual unity of all human kind.             Thus for all the world travelers interested in exploring religious sites should not leave out Bahai Temple while planning safaris and tours to Uganda.


THE EFFECT OF BAMBOO DISTRIBUTION ON MOUNTAIN GORILLAS IN RWANDA

mountain gorillasBamboo is a notable food plant for a range of wildlife thriving in Volcanoes National Park including Mountain gorillas often encountered on gorilla safaris in Rwanda.  Therefore it is such a significant endeavour to monitor the growth of Bamboo every year to ascertain its impact on wildlife and predetermine its distribution.
The Dian Fossey Fund International has been undertaking intensive studies from the past on a range of a hundred (100) plots in the dwelling range of Mountain gorillas and Golden monkeys – two popular Rwanda Safari primates in Volcanoes National Park to compare and quantify the production rate and re-generation of the bamboo shoots every season.
It can be noted that the zone of Bamboo is positioned on the lower layers of the park close to the park borders and the community agricultural plots. And it being a darling diet for the Mountain gorillas, the season of the bamboo shoots attracts them to this area and at times they range beyond the park borders resulting into encroachment on community fields. The Rwanda gorilla safari tour undertakers who travel in this period are likely to encounter these species in this area.
The Bamboo shoots are the most preferred amongst the gorillas compared to other parts of the plant and during this plant section can constitute 90% of the gorilla diet of its season. This becomes a point of interest since its availability determines the movement and feeding habits of Mountain gorillas which is very relevant to the travelers on gorilla safaris and tours in Rwanda in terms of tracking duration and the altitude of the trek.
For this year, the trend in Volcanoes National Park has appeared to be different. The first rain season did not bring along a myriad of Bamboo as it was actually 1/10 of what appeared in the previous year according to the Biodiversity Programme Manager at Karisoke Research Center Mr. Deogratias Tuyisingize. The routine of gorillas to move to the down layers ever since the rains appeared in March has been slow with some gorilla groups undertaking few attempts to check if there is Bamboo and after a little time of feeding, they go back to the upper layers where evenly distributed and consistent vegetation sources thrive according to Veronica Vecellio the Gorilla Program Manager.
Now, the effect of this decreased production of bamboo on the gorilla demography and ranging is still unknown. The issue of them remaining in the upper layers could pose an effect on the groups’ interaction patterns and nutritional intake. The ranging of Mountain gorillas beyond the park borders has reduced with only 10 times recorded which is far below the 66 times that were recorded last year in the same period.
Besides Mountain gorillas, the Bamboo availability has also had an effect on other wildlife explored on Rwanda tours including golden monkeys that have been forced to expand their home range so as to secure enough food.  The Bamboo constitutes 70% of the golden monkey diet.
However, the researchers are still optimistic that this is a natural vegetation cycle and hopeful that they will be available in the subsequent rainy season.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

RUBANDA DISTRICT; UGANDA ’S TOURISM HOTSPOT

ugandaPositioned to the South West of Uganda, Rubanda is one of the newly created districts which commenced operations on 1st July 2016. The district shares boundaries with the districts of Kanungu, Kisoro and Kabale. In fact Rubanda was a county under Kabale district but with the government initiative of bringing services close to people, the county turned into a district. Rubanda feature Bakiga majorly as its inhabitants but with a population of the Batwa not forgetting Bafumbira and the Banyarwanda who emanate from the neighboring areas presenting a culturally diverse environment that is worth exploration by travelers on Safaris and tours in Uganda.
Sitting at the heart of the famous Switzerland of Africa – the Kigezi Highlands, Rubanda’s beauty is a wonder that have straddled from the ancient to the contemporary times mesmerizing the Uganda safari tour undertakers. The top-pointed hills intercepted by V-shaped Valleys present a magnificent panoramic and scenic beauty whose man has further enhanced with rolling terraces and patches African green crops.
The Africa’s Second deepest lake more known for its magnificent 29 Islands other than its depth which has earned it the dub as the Lake of a thousand Islands, Lake Bunyonyi is a life time paradise for those on Africa vacation holidays in Uganda. Formed by lava barricade, Lake Bunyonyi presents one of the great picturesque moments in destination Uganda
Rubanda also features a great deal of high grade Iron ore mineral resource close to Muko which the local iron smelters locally referred to as Abahesi turn into tools like knives, pangas, spears and hoes sold commercially following the iron smelting process. This expertise and the process present an experiential touch loved by visitors on Uganda Safaris and tours. Other mineral reserves in the district include finest tungsten, wolfram, gold and peat.
Though Rubanda features less forest cover in terms of distribution, the district has in possession at Mafuga the largest forest plantation in the whole of Uganda and the only known pinus patula seed stand at Echuya Forest Reserve which has enabled people to embark on extensive tree planting for commercial and domestic use. The Echuya Forest Reserve which is one of the remaining natural forests in Uganda with Bamboo thrives in the area.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies in the neighborhood with its largest population of Mountain gorillas in the country forming a rich base for gorilla safaris and tours in Uganda. Bwindi is also a haven for birds and lush flora.