Sanctuarys, Forests und Nationalparks: Gorilla Trekking Uganda and more
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
The Rhino Sanctuary is located about two hours north of Kampala. The park is fenced and also guarded by rangers. When moving inside the sanctuary and observing the impressive animals, it feels like free wilderness.
25 Southern white Rhinos are living in the park. In the next few years, the first animals will be released to reallocate the Rhino in Uganda.
We were able to observe seven rhinos during a bushwalk and really came close to these gorgeous animals. Always accompanied by a ranger, we got incredibly interesting insights in the protection of rhinos. With your visit, you support the preservation of this endangered species.
Murchison Falls National Park
The Murchison Falls National Park is divided by the Victoria Nile into the southern and northern part. The southern part is dominated by lush green jungle, the northern part is Savannah and is home to the animals which you are here for, when booking a Uganda safari.
From both sides of the Nile, locals offer boat trips to the mighty Murchison Falls. On this tour we spotted elephants, hippos and crocodiles from the waterside and came very close. The destination of the boat tour is the mighty waterfall, which is awesome from below, but shows its whole power and beauty only from the top of the falls. The boat trip takes about 2 to 3 hours.
If you opt for hiking to the top, the captain lets you disembark at a small pier, so you can hike up to "Top of the Falls". Make sure, your safari guide knows about your plans and picks you up again. The walk is $15.
The car ferry that connects the southern and northern part of the park crosses the Nile in the high season hourly and in the low season every two hours. The crossing takes about 5 minutes.
In the northern part there are wild cats, giraffes, elephants and co. The scenery is incredibly beautiful. Gras lands, palm trees, waterholes - all green and beautiful. For us, it´s the most beautiful park we have seen in Uganda.
There are several accommodations in the park. These lodges are not fenced, so wild animals came and visit at night. The buildings are of course safe. As a result, we were able to observe the giraffes near the sunset from the pool. Incredibly beautiful.
Kibale Forest National Park/Chimpanzee trekking
If you want to see chimpanzees during your Uganda Safari, organize the permits long in advance. The permit is $150 per person.
Early in the morning, we met rangers, guides and other visitors at the park gate. After a short informative briefing regarding the code of conduct, the territory and the way the primates live their life, we marched into the jungle in small groups. The terrain is usually easy and not hard to walk. If necessary, you can book a porter that supports you.
There are four chimpanzee communities in the Kibale Forest, three of them can only be visited for research purposes, but the fourth is accessible to tourists.
We would recommend the following equipment:
• Long Clothing
• Long Socks
• Mosquito repellent
• Rain jacket (since it can rain immediately in the rainforest)
• Photo Equipment
• Hiking Shoes
• Tip (for guides)
After 20 minutes of walking through the forest, we spotted the first chimpanzees in the treetops. One of the chimpanzees came down to the ground, walked through the forest, we pursued him, and he led us directly to his family.
It is essential to always keep a certain level of respect and to follow the rules of conduct. But be aware, sometimes a safety distance is not enough help against crazy chimpanzees who want to show how strong they are. The primates toss with branches and tear down trees. They're making a giant circus to show us that we are only guests here. In our group, someone was beaten by a chimpanzee with a stick.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
The park is known for its lions climbing on trees. Unfortunately we did not have as much luck here as in the other parks and have hardly seen wildlife, so for us it was the most unspectacular park.
Of course, doing a safari always means to be in the right place at the right time, but we didn't have that luck in QE.
In addition to traditional game drives, there is also the possibility to explore the park on a boat trip on the Kazinga channel. The channel connects Lake Edward (the larger part of this lake belongs to the Congo, the smaller to Uganda) and Lake George (Uganda). From the boat, we spotted numerous animals such as elephants, hippos, buffaloes and if you are lucky even lions.
Tip: The boat trip should be most amazing during dry season.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest / Gorilla Trekking Uganda
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the last places on Earth to see mountain gorillas.
For gorilla trekking, a permit is necessary which must be bought well in advance. The permit is $600.
The Bwindi National Park is divided into four areas (Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo, Rushaga).
A maximum of 72 people per day can participate in gorilla trekking. Eight people per group is maximum. The park administration wants to prevent the gorillas from being disturbed too much.
Early in the morning, when the visitors are still asleep, trackers start tracking the gorilla families. When the visitors arrive, the trackers guide the visitors to the gorillas via radio. Depending on the location of the primates, the hike may take between 5 minutes and several hours. After an informative briefing, the adventure starts. In small groups we hiked through heavy terrain in the rain forest. The guides and armed ranger provide interesting information about the gorilla family and its social structure.
Even before the hike, you can book a porter, who carries backpacks or assists hiking.
You should dress and equip as follows:
• Long Clothing
• Long Socks (in which the trousers can be inserted)
• Mosquito repellent
• Rain jacket (as rain occurs in rainforest)
• Hiking Shoes
• Packed lunch (since you never know how long the trekking lasts)
• Tips (for guide, ranger and tracker)
We found our gorilla family after an hour of hiking. They were sitting on a hillside in the bushes. Amazing. We were allowed to spend one hour with the family with a certain distance. Overall we were in the jungle for four hours (hike, lunch in the forest, etc.) and arrived totally dirty back at the car.
In the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest warm clothes should always be in your luggage. At night, it can get really cold. The camps are usually well prepared and offer fireplaces, hot water bottles, tea and so on. So don't underestimate that.