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Safety Tips When Taking Guided Safaris in Uganda

Taking a safari in Uganda is one of the most exciting and memorable activities you can ever do. The thrill of seeing one of the big five is an emotion that one can never forget in East Africa you can take a guided safari with a trained safari guide.  Are you planning to take gorilla safaris into Bwindi Forest, or you would just prefer an adventure trip into one of Uganda’s savanna national parks? These guided safaris can either be a drive through a national park or a game reserve or even guided hikes or horse rides.

While a guided safari may sound the safest option for the new safari goer there are some questions you should ask be asking before you book your trip:

1. Does the guide possess a qualification or certification?

There are many different institutions that provide training and certifications for guides. One example would be the USAGA of Uganda whereby other companies train field guides to be able to pass the USAGA exams. Simply asking if the guides taking you are USAGA certified helps you understand if they have the necessary knowledge to safely take you on a game drive.

2. Putting the qualification aside, how many years has the guide been working?

Often experience counts more than qualifications but having both would not hurt. The longer the safari guide has been at a company the more experience the guide should have. When it comes to safari guides, experience is the best requirement for a wonderful and memorable trip.

3. Will there be more than one guide?

A guided tour will often have more than one guide, if it is a guided walk there could be two guides. On some guided drives there is a safari guide and a tracker on the vehicle to increase sightings of animals. Having two specialist guides can reduce your safety risks greatly. Ask the company how many guides they use and if they say one, ask why?. In most cases the company can liaise with the rangers at the park to be safe.

4. What means of communication do the guides have?

If something were to happen on your guided safari how would the guides (or you) contact someone for assistance? Do the guides just have intermittent cell phone signal or do they have a proper radio communication system between safari vehicles as well as central office where help can be reached? The quicker help can be called the safer you will be in case of a bad situation.

5. Is the guide linked to a major company?

Going with a big name, well-known safari company is often more expensive but the bigger companies should have proper communication infrastructure, guides that have passed exams and often will ensure there is a second guide with the safari group; they have a reputation to uphold! If you go for a cheaper option with a smaller company, you might be putting yourself at risk. Then again if you do your research, read reviews and ask the right questions, you may be in better hands even in a smaller, more intimate setting. It is all about doing the right research.

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Best Time To Visit Gorillas In Uganda

A trip to Southwestern Uganda to track mountain gorillas is strongly an experience that comes once in a life time. Uganda’s mountain gorillas are only tracked in the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. A 600 kilometer journey to the misty valleys of Kabale, Southwestern Uganda comes with tremendous gorilla experiences of a life time for visitors. Although it is a wish of every one around the globe to get a glimpse of these remarkable Giants in the wild, it takes visitors $600 to purchase a gorilla permit to achieve that dream. For visitors who may wish to improve on their experiences further, there is Gorilla Habituation Experience where he or she will be enjoying all the four hours with mountain gorillas in the wild.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda is described as an all year round adventure. However, visitors ought to know the best time to travel to see mountain gorillas as each season comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Uganda is strategically located within Equator some thing that makes it to have 2 wet seasons; the short wet season starts in October and November while the long wet season occurs from March to May. The other months are dry but due to fluctuating weather patterns, it isn’t easy to forecast the seasonality of the country. In most cases, visitors tend to run away from gorilla tracking especially during the wet season given the fact Bwindi Impenetrable Forest receives heavy rainfall and in turn makes the gorilla habitat very muddy and slippery and hence a block to road connectivity to gorilla trail heads. Tracking gorillas becomes a bit changing for visitors but in most cases, there are visitors who come during this season. Well, it is possible to track gorillas during the wet season given the fact that rain showers can be experienced in the course of day and at the same time it can take a short time and the sun comes out and gorilla trekking explorer can still continue. Tracking mountain gorillas during wet season is also advantageous based on the fact that there can be plenty of food at the foothills and trackers are able to view them easily. The disadvantage with this season is that it comes with reduced chances of clear views and difficulty in photo taking for the visitors due to dense vegetation cover.

The peak season:

Most preferably, many visitors travel during this season to track mountain gorillas. Uganda’s peak season is characterized by low rainfall and it falls in the months of January, February, June, July, August, September and December. Because there are many visitors who come to track mountain gorillas, the demand for gorilla permits also tends to be high and visitors are encouraged to book them in advance. The dry season is the best for gorilla tracking as mountain gorillas can be sighted in temperate weathered areas with raised landscapes and this means that the climate remains cool throughout the year.

The low season:

This is the perfect time for visitors traveling on budget and many visitors have enjoyed visiting the country during this season. During this season, there are discounted permits that are offered to travelers in the months of April, May and November. The cost of permits for this season goes at $450 for foreign non residents, 400 for foreign residents and shs.150000 for East African residents. What is surprising is that, even the nearby lodges can reduce their prices.

In conclusion, gorilla tracking has no defined season, what may seem to be the best season for one may turn to be the worst time for some one else. However, it is best done during the dry season which offers travelers with incredible experiences. Come and explore what is inhabited within the tropical rain forests of Uganda and you won’t regret in life!

Travel Tips

How to Pack Your Car for a Road Trip

A road trip safari on a self-drive is one of the best options one should go for; as it gives you an opportunity to enjoy more due to the freedom it give you.  You are free to drive at your own pace and stop at any area of interest without any one stopping you. However one can hire a car on a chauffeur, all chooses are good but what matters most is to go on a safari and come back when satisfied. With Uganda self drive, you are guaranteed both choices depending on your interest and we have a variety of car fleet that can meet your satisfaction and we do hire them at a friendly price.  They have enough space for lugages, with air conditioner.  To drive and came back when satisfied is attributed to very many factors, more of it and more important is how to pack for your road trip depending to the number of people you are travelling with. Below are some of the rules that make packing easier.

Backup Kit:  don’t forget to pack using items like mobile phone and a charger is a must pack, make sure that its well packed before you start off with your drive, a phone is very important as in case of anything you have to communicate back to the car hire company. Other useful emergency items include a first-aid kit, warning triangle, torch, and jump leads, if you have children a plastic bag, tissues are also necessary. If these are packed well your road trip will be a memorable one.

Travelers: passengers should sit in the right position that they feel very comfortable, those who are sick should be able to sit at the window to see out of the windscreen, and for any passage sited in front- should be allowed to do so and should not forget to tie a seat belt, so sitting in the right position will give you a chance to travel safer.

Baggage:  the luggage packed is determined by the capacity of the car. Always endeavor to put the heavy items as far forward and as close to the floor in the cargo area as possible. Don’t over load the car you may end up damaging it. Avoid loading stuff up to the ceiling that you cannot even see out of the back window, you may end up not seeing from behind. Anything you think very important on your trip don’t leave it out like a jacket, bag, among many others should be stored within easy reach to avoid wasting time looking for them.

Pack DVDS and CDS, music or movies that will entertain you along the road trip to keep you not bored and you will not realize the long distance covered. However most of the hired cars have music but you may be interested in your music, so bring music that will not bore you on your safari, however make sure that everyone knows how to share.

Fuel/gas:  before starting your road trip make sure that your car is well fueled to enable you drive for a distance calculated. In most of the remote parts of the country, it’s very hard to find petrol stations something that will give you herd time once your car get out of fuel.  Ask the car hire agency to advice you on the amount of fuel you should use before setting off to your destination. It pains a lot if your car gets stuck on the road due to shortage of fuel in an area where there is no petrol station, this will ruin your safari.

If possible pack your food/snacks especially if you are going to drive for a long journey to avoid eating in un trusted restaurants or shopping for junk food. Pack your fruits, snacks, or you can decide to prepare a panic lunch if possible to avoid unhealthy meals along the road. Although very many restaurants are situated on many big towns along the road you can buy from there if you’ve not packed your food


Trackers Haven Lodge: The Ultimate Comfort Away From Home

For trackers, Uganda offers an ultimate comfort away from home through participating in numerous tourism activities in the country. The most paramount activities for trackers include gorilla tracking and Chimpanzee tracking. Gorilla tracking in Uganda is carried out in Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National park. For lovers of chimpanzee tracking, the activity is carried out in Kibale forest National Park. Within this park, there are habituated groups of gorillas for viewing

The best season for trackers ultimate comfort Away from home

For trackers, this Easter Season should be considered as the best time to leave your home and come and enjoy comfort away from your home. As you plan  ahead of to go along with your family or a group, or with your children or only you and the wife Easter season  is the best time to get  away from home.

The activities to participate in this season

Gorilla tracking.

For experienced travelers in Uganda, the unique activity you can best participate in is gorilla tracking. This activity is carried out in the Republic of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic republic of Congo. In Uganda the activity of Gorilla tracking is carried out in Bwindi Impentrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla National park. These are purely mountain gorillas.

In case you wish to see the low land Gorillas, you are recommended to visit Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the north of the Congo near the border with Gabon.  This park is one of Africa’s oldest national parks, covering over 1,360 million hectares of pristine rain forest. It is an integral part of the Congo Basin ecosystem.

To simply track the Mountain gorillas of Uganda this season, you will visit Bwindi Forest. This park has been considered as one the Africa’s richest forest.  A part from the mountain gorillas, it has got other many attractions including; 350 bird species, 200 trees, over 300 butterflies, 50 reptiles and over 100 mammals  and hundreds of primates including  the rare black and white colobus and blue monkeys. These will make you participate in wildlife viewing, nature walk and photography. Do not leave behind your camera because you will need to take some photographs during the tracking expeditions.

The cost of Gorilla Tracking.

During this Easter season, the activity is quiet expensive this calls  for your preparedness, You will have to be well prepared since the demand is a bit  high. You will have to obtain a gorilla permit t of $ 600 which is approximately 2.1 million for the   foreign residents. The Uganda residents need to obtain a gorilla tracking permit at Ugandan shillings 250,000 for an hour tracking. All these permits are offered by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.  After you have paid this fee, it will include;   fee for guiding and fee for entering the park.

Where to stay.

There are many hotels, lodges and Guest houses within the country to offers you the best accommodation. These are found all over the country with the best ones being in Kampala and in Uganda’s national parks.  Within Kampala, you can opt to spend a night at Serena hotel and Sheraton among others. In the national parks, there many of these hotels and these include; Chobe hotel in Murchison falls, the Lodge Bella Vista in Kabarole,  The Kipling Lodge The Paraa Safari Lodge in Murchison falls,   Kyaninga Lodge  in  Kibale, the Mweya Safari Lodge in Queen Elizabeth National park ,the Primate Lodge Kibale The Rain-forest Lodge The Arcadia Lodges in Lake Mburo and lake  Bunyonyi.