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Travel Tips Trip Planner

Exploring Uganda on a Self Drive Tour

Over the past decade, Uganda has been able to generate quite a number of tourists year after year, with its sunny skies, favorable weather and nice climate, incredible wildlife that include the rare mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable forest and more! A lot of people from noble and celebrities to adventure seekers have visited this beautiful country located just astride the Equator in the eastern side. Many independent travelers have really began flocking to this golden paradise to enjoy and explore what really makes Uganda, the Pearl of Africa as sir Winston Churchill penned down in his book “My African Journey” in the 1902.

Unlike other countries, where the evidence of mass tourism has occurred, Uganda decided to take a different path to developing ecotourism and the country offers some of the best places where you can watch wildlife in their natural setting minus huge tourist masses. As tourism grows, independent travel has also grown and from backpackers to road trippers who tale the advantage of a Uganda self drive, you can easily explore the country and see much of it independently. Since 1986 after the take over of the NRM government, Uganda embarked on the development of infrastructure such as roads, improving communication and today moving from one point to another is easier. That’s why many travelers opt for a self drive service while exploring Uganda. In addition you can easily rent a car for your own vacation pleasure, independence and best of all, convenience from various Uganda car hire agencies and here are some quick tips and reminders when it comes to self driving Uganda;

For first time Uganda tourists, its best if you have a friend or relative who can actually show you around the place but if not, a reputable Uganda car rental service is what’ll help you make your vacation be an unforgettable one. Many car rental agencies offer car hire with a driver who will help you travel from one place to another with a lot of ease. It is advisable to read extensively about the different places to visit if you are to take a self drive on your safari. Get armed with the proper materials and information on how to get from one destination to another, info about things to see and do, where to stay and more. When it comes to choosing which car rental agency for yourself drive rental endeavor to check for recommended car hire agencies from local travel guides and trip planners. Try to map out the places, beaches, amusement parks or wherever it is that you want to go to, way before you actually embark on your trip. It really is much wiser if you plan things carefully and thoroughly way ahead of schedule because this way you get to free yourself from possible headaches and hassles that can be usually caused by not planning ahead.

To help get yourself started onwards your quest to finding the perfect car rental agency that’ll best suit your needs, wants and most importantly, budget, it’s best to consult your travel agent on which agency that he/she would actually recommend to you. Though there are not many car hire agencies, choosing the right agency that stands out to be the best may tend to overwhelm you at the start, making you unsure whether or not you’re getting the services of a reputable agency. Well do try to heed my advice and ask around, it really won’t hurt you if you do. Apart from knowing what Uganda car rental agencies are actually out there, you even get broaden your knowledge about travel prerequisites such as this one.

Try to see if the services of a car rental agency are really what you need, if it’s actually a cheaper way for you to get around the city. Evidently, opting to take the self drive rental will make your vacation a lot convenient, think about it thoroughly and assess what actually are your priorities when it comes to taking this trip.

There is really a lot that you can do to make your vacations worthwhile and fun, just always remember to plan, plan, plan ahead. Weigh out all the options that you can find and try to be practical in picking out the best possible one. Car Hire in Uganda, to be honest isn’t really that bad, you’re bound to get a good deal somewhere, somehow. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look and having the patience to canvass and compare prices for different car rental services. In addition to asking your local travel agent on which car rental agency that he/she would like to recommend, you can also try asking for you relatives’ and friends’ advice. Ask them if they’ve actually availed the services of a car rental agency, more so, a car rental agency, ask them how it went and which particular self drive rental service agency would they recommend to you. Lastly, go to your ever-reliable PC and look-up Uganda car rental in the internet. You’re bound to get a long, long list of service companies who are more than willing to give you a good and fair deal.

Recommended Car Rental Agencies

One of the hard thing is to look for a car rental agency that offers self drive in Uganda. However i have tried to look out for a few agencies that are capable of providing this kind of service. Here are the recommended car rental agencies in Uganda;

  • Drive Uganda (www.driveuganda.com) – this is the No.1 agency if you are looking for a wide choice of rental cars.
  • Car Rental Uganda (www.carrentaluganda.com) – the oldest car hire agency offering cheap car rental, airport transfers and one way rentals.
  • Car Hire Uganda (www.carhireuganda.com) – has a good fleet of cars from SUVs to 4X4WD cars for adventure safaris and travel in remote areas.
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Trip Planner

4 Best Safari Cars to Hire in Uganda

Are you searching for that one most comfortable 4×4 safari car to get you the best of your Uganda safari?  As we plan to get back to the wilderness for our post COVID-19 travels, choosing the best 4×4 safari car in Uganda for your safari holiday matters a lot in making your tour memorable. With our varied fleet of 4×4 safari vehicles, we have you covered!

Below are some of the best safari cars to hire for your Uganda safari holiday

4×4 Safari Land Cruisers

Go Uganda safaris comfortably in one of our classic 4×4 Safari Land Cruisers and you won’t be left in regrets! We have variety of rental Safari Land Cruisers with adequate space for you to relax, freely stretch your legs and room for your luggage. You can choose from our 3-7-seater comfortable and luxurious Safari Land Cruisers with a pop-up roof for you to have excellent big game viewing experience in pristine savanna safari parks like Kidepo Valley National Park, Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park or in Lake Mburo National Park.

Prado TX Land Cruisers

Travel in a new style in one of our Prado TX Land Cruisers. These are the best alternative for you to go Uganda safari holiday to any part of country or even if you are interested in participating on a city tour. They are perfect for long tour or short trips.

4X4 Safari Vans

The best way to explore Uganda is by embarking on your trip using a comfortable 4×4 Safari Van rental. Our safari vans are in their better mechanical conditions and they are perfect to be hired for family tours. We have the best safari van choice with capacity of 5 to 10 and they are equipped with air conditioners, charging spots, pop-up roof for you to enjoy amazing view wide range of wildlife species while on Uganda safaris in savanna safari parks.

Safari Coasters

We also have the best safari coasters suited for big or large group travelers on Uganda safaris. Our coaster buses have carrying capacity of about 28 to 32 and they come with adequate room for you to relax and your luggage to be packed.

Choose anyone of our best 4×4 safari rental cars and have a great opportunity to explore and experience Uganda’s magnificent safari parks such as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park on mountain gorilla trekking safari, Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park on wildlife safari and many others.

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Travel Tips Trip Planner

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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Trip Planner

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!

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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

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Blog

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.

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Experiences

Experience the Royal Mile Inside Budongo Forest

Are you looking for an authentic place to visit within Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom? Then add the Royal Mile Trail inside Budongo Forest reserve on your itinerary, especially if you are planning to visit Murchison Falls National Park and the Budongo Forest Reserve. The Royal Mile trail is one of the most spectacular trails you shouldn’t miss to explore while on a cultural Safari in Uganda.

It was constructed by one of the Kings of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom for exhilarating nature walks and leisure activities and believe it or not, it is one of the most interesting trails for tourists who visit Budongo Forest Reserve near the Nyabyeya Forestry College found in Budongo sub-county of Masindi district.

This trail is the most perfect place for birding safaris within this large tropical rainforest. It is said that Omukama (King) Kabalega Chwa II-born in 1853 and died in 1923 of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom used to often visit Budongo Forest, together with his Queen for recreational activities or to supervise the Abarusuura (his army) that were undergoing training and to perform rituals within the tropical rainforest.  All the activities he used to do were within a place known as the “Royal Mile”-a paradise for numerous wild animals and bird species that capture the attention of tourists. It is undeniable that this trail was named after the unforgettable activities of the historic Omukama Kabalega.

The terrain of this site is flat which is perfect for nature walks, taking care of all the travelling conditions for tourists. The Royal Mile is a magnificent and long trail in Budongo Forest, on the Southern side of the Forest. Budongo Forest Reserve, covering over 739 square kilometers lies at the border of the Albertine Rift Valley and is part of the Southern side Murchison Falls National Park.

Next to the edge of Budongo Forest is the spectacular Lake Kanyege, a home to numerous aquatic bird species and several butterfly species. Not only that, chimpanzees within habituated communities can be tracked during a primate safari in Uganda and the best time is to track them as early as possible hence overnight within the Forest is recommended.

There are several bird species within the Royal Mile. And 2 species are endemic to the trail-the Illadopsis puveli and the yellow-footed flycatcher and other numerous species endemic to the Albertine Rift region. Some of the notable bird species you will encounter within the Royal Mile Trail include the Hairy-breasted Barbet, the Blue-breasted Kingfisher, the Nahan’s Francolin, the Cassin’s Spinetail, the Fire-crested Alethe, the Dwarf Kingfisher, the Black-capped Apalis, the Blue-throated Roller, the Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, the Ituri Batis, the Lemon-bellied Crombec, the Rufous-crowned Eremomela, the Western-black Headed Oriole, the Piping Hornbill, the Spotted Greenbul, the Yellow-browed Camaroptera, the Sabine’s Spinetail, the Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, the Yellow-billed Barbet, the Grey-headed Sunbird, the Yellow-spotted Barbet, the Brown-eared Woodpecker, the Chestnut-caped Flycatcher, the Yellow-crested Woodpecker, the White-spotted Flufftail, the White-thighed Hornbill, the African Crowned Eagle and the Red-capped Robin-Chat, to mention but a few.

In conclusion, the Royal Mile Trail within Budongo Forest Reserve is one of the most interesting trails in western Uganda because it allows tourists walk through the same path used by the former King of Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom (Omukama Kabalega Chwa II) and explore numerous bird species including the Cassin’s Spinetail, the Fire-crested Alethe, the Dwarf Kingfisher, ituri batis and the Black-capped Apalis among others.

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Places to Visit

Kasubi Tombs: Where Four Kings of Buganda Rest

Kampala is not only a visitors’ center for visitors to Uganda, it also has many historical, cultural, manmade and religious attractions. The Kampala’s most famous attraction is the Kasubi tombs. From Kampala, the Kasubi Tombs is located 5 kilometers away on Kasubi hill. The ground is a royal burial place for four kings of Buganda, anciently known as Kabakas. Now the burial ground of kings holds importance in the Ganda culture as it symbolizes the Ganda’s culture and history.

The tombs and palaces are great exemplary of ancient African architecture, hut made of reeds, different types of spears and their pet animals. The entire area shows their lifestyle. All year round, traditional customs, ceremonies are carried out in this place. On the new moon night, a ceremony and consultation medium is held between the tribal people and the kings. But the ceremonies are carried in very secretive manner, hidden from the outsiders, within the building.

The Baganda is a part of the tribe of Uganda who speak Bantu. The history of the king of the Baganda is said to be that first Kabaka (king) was Kintu who came here in Uganda with his wife Nambi. He did not die in battle or by something else, but he got lost in the forest of Magonga, and was never to be known.

The palace at the burial ground was first constructed by Kabaka Mutesa I in 1882. The traditional of the Baganda is very interesting like according to the tradition of Baganda, the if the king dies, he should be buried at different site, and his jawbone was to be removed and place in the a royal shrine which should be made at different site as it was said that jawbone carried the spirit. But when Kabaka Mutesa I died (1856-1884), he was buried in his previous palace with his jawbone.

Later his son, Mwanga II who happens as expected like his father Mutesa. But he was staying at the Seychelles Islands, and when he died (1910) his remaining were brought from there and buried beside his father. The Mwanga II also had a son, Daudi Chwa II; even he ruled and died in 1939. He got respectful burial, like his fathers, at the tombs too.

Daudi Chwa’s son, Edward Muteesa, took over his father position and with changing world; he became governor of the Uganda province. After achieving so much, he died in London in 1966. His body was brought here and united with his father and ancestors, in the tomb.
The reason why the tombs of the great kings hold so much significance is because old traditions was broken at the site when Four kings of Baganda were obscured simultaneously. Since then, every descendent of the 4 kabakas are buried behind the main shrine. It has become a royal cemetery of Buganda kingdom.

As soon as you reach the royal burial as well as the religious place of Buganda, the first thing you will notice is the magnificent gatehouse, known as Bujjabukula, which is an entrance to the site. The roof of the gatehouse is supported by the wooden poles and wall is built of interwoven reeds. The gate goes to small circular house, called as House of Royal drums. There are many small houses, which was dwelling place for the Kabakas widows, and for other rituals in the main courtyard.

Behind the Kasubi and other royal tombs has back door, which leads to the forest. Inside the forest, the royal kabakas tombs are kept and most of the ceremonies like new moon and other rituals are carried there only. The back door is cover with cloth curtain and only kabakas widows and their descendents are allowed to go in there.

However, the Kasubi Tombs is a great place to view royal insignia like drums, spears, photographs, shields and medals of the buried Kabakas. The structure is very impressive to see – the wooden poles structure draped in backcloth, the ground are swathe with palms leaves mats and grass. The thatching of the roof was done by the Ngeye Clan and the Leopard clan carried out the work of decorating the poles. The backcloths used to decorate the poles are made of soft back of a fig tree. The fig tree has a very important in the Uganda’s rituals.

There is a unique tradition or rule, cant say, but people at that time didn’t allowed the Thatchers to have intercourse until the thatching work doesn’t get completed and plus, ladies were not allowed to enter the house as believed that it would cause leakage in monsoon. The Ganda culture’s 52 clans are signifying in the 52 rings that support the roof of the structure.

The Kasubi Tombs are great exemplary of heritage as well as rich tradition of the Baganda people. Inhabitants consider that every person’s death has a sacred origin and there is communication linked between the dead and the living. The people of Uganda have great respect for this place as their fore fathers, rulers and tradition lie here even today.

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Safari Guide

Best Safaris in Western Uganda

Uganda is a land locked country in East Africa located bordered by Kenya in the East, Tanzania in the north, Democratic Republic of Congo in the west and Sudan in the north. Uganda is blessed with geographical and cultural diversities including a number of lakes, rivers, mountains, forests, savannahs, grasslands, woodlands, water falls, traditional customs among others. It is the reason for the name Uganda the pearl of Africa as named by Sir Winston Churchill in his book “My African Journey”.

However the western region of Uganda hosts majority of the National parks and tourist attractions that attract travelers over and over including Bwindi impenetrable National park and Mgahinga National park in south western Uganda known for gorilla trekking, Kibale National park known for chimpanzee trekking other primate walking, Queen Elizabeth National park the second largest National park after Murchison Falls National park with the highest concentration of wild life, Lake Mburo National park well known for game viewing, Semuliki National park with sempaya hot springs that attract travelers because their water is too hot to the extent of boiling eggs and make them ready, mountain Rwenzori National park the highest block mountain in Uganda and second highest in Africa after mountain Kilimanjaro. Each of these National parks offers different experiences on your safari to western Uganda. Western Uganda has the most breath taking and memorable safaris which include;

Mountain gorilla trekking safaris

Mountain gorillas are endangered species that are found in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo only in the Africa and the whole world. But mountain gorilla safaris in western Uganda are done in Bwindi and Mgahinga National parks situated in south western Uganda in the extreme end of Kanungu and Kisoro district respectively.

Bwindi impenetrable National park is home to over 450 mountain gorillas and almost half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. Bwindi impenetrable National park has 4 sectors where gorillas are found and gorilla trekking is carried out including Buhoma sector in the north, Ruhija sector in the east, Nkuringo and Rushaga sectors in the southern part of the park. These sectors have over 18 gorilla families that can be trekked by people who are 15 years and above. Mgahinga National park has only one gorilla family called Nyakagezi habituated for trekking bringing it to a total of 19 habituated gorilla families in Uganda.

Gorilla trekking is done throughout the year but best advisable during the months of January, February, June, July, August and December when there is little or no rain fall and when the trails are less slippery.

Gorilla safaris in western Uganda makes your safari memorable as you encounter with the endangered species in their natural habitats very early in the morning guided by the ranger guides. Each gorilla family allows only 8 members per day for a maximum of 1 hour for observation and photography.

Gorilla trekking in western Uganda costs 600 US dollars per person currently but it will increase to 700 US dollars starting 1st July 2020 for foreign nonresidents, 600 for foreign residents and 250,000 Ugandan shillings for East African residents.

However, there is gorilla habituation as well in Bwindi impenetrable National park in Rushaga sector which allows travelers to spend 4 hours in the presence of the mountain gorillas compared to trekking which only allows only 1 hour, but the cost for gorilla habituation is 1500 US dollars for foreign nonresidents and 1000 US dollars for foreign residents.

However your gorilla safari can over chances to the Batwa community the ancient people of the forest, this can be done in the evening after gorilla trekking and learn about their ancient life style in the forest, traditional dances and other forms of entertain which makes your safari memorable.

Chimpanzee trekking safaris

Chimpanzees are also apes under the primate class which are close relatives of humans with 98% human DNA. Chimpanzees in western Uganda can be found in several destinations including Kibale National park the major destination for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda and the whole world.

Kibale National park has over 1500 and highest number of chimpanzees and other 12 primate species, bird species, Kyambura gorge game reserve in Queen Elizabeth National park with variety of chimpanzees, Budongo forest reserve with quite a number chimpanzees after Kibale National park, Toro Semuliki forest reserve also chimpanzee trekking destination and Kalinzu forest in Bushenyi district close to Queen Elizabeth with over 50 habituated chimpanzees.

Chimpanzee trekking is done early in the guided by the ranger guides to locate the chimpanzees, on encounter with the primates, travelers are allowed only 1 hour in the presence of the chimpanzees by people who are 15 years and above. Kibale National park and Budongo forest reserve also offers chimpanzee habituation experiences which allow travelers to spend the whole day in the presence of the chimpanzees.

Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National park costs 150 US dollars currently and will be 200 US dollars starting 1st July 2020 while habituation is also 200 US dollars, chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura, Toro Semuliki and Kalinzu is 50 US dollars all managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority and chimpanzee trekking in Budongo is 80 US dollars but managed by Budongo Eco lodge.

Wildlife safaris

The western Uganda wildlife safari offers different wild animals which are found in the different National park destinations in western Uganda. There is a hug diversity of wild animals that can be seen on your wildlife safari including, elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, leopards, warthogs, spotted hyenas, Uganda kobs, giraffes, zebras, oribis, Topis, duikers, water bucks, cheetahs, jackals among others.

Wild life safaris in western Uganda are done in Queen Elizabeth National park in western Uganda stunning the districts of Kasese, Kamwenge and Rubirizi. Queen Elizabeth National park is the second biggest National park in Uganda with variety of wild animals like elephants, lions, antelopes, hippos, crocodiles, impalas, Elands and so on which are normally sighted during game drives, primates like chimpanzees, monkey species like black and white colubus, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, L’hoest’s monkeys, civet monkeys among others.

There are several sectors in the different parts of Queen Elizabeth National park where wild animals can be sighted including Mweya peninsular, Kasenyi plains, Kazinga channel, Kyambura game reserve, Maramagambo forest, Kalinzu forest and Ishasha sector which is famous for tree climbing lions.

Wildlife safaris can also be done in Lake Mburo National park located in Kiruhura district which approximately 244 km from Kampala. Lake Mburo is the smallest savannah park in Uganda famous for wildlife viewing. Lake Mburo is home to over 68 animals including zebras, impalas, Topis, Elands, giraffes, Uganda kobs, buffaloes, bush bucks, leopards, hyenas, jackals among others. However it is important to note that there are no elephants and lions in Lake Mburo National park.

Wildlife safaris are done in Semuliki National situated in Bundibugyo district at the border with Democratic Republic of Congo. Semuliki National park also is home to over 60 mammal species including African elephants, leopard, Mona monkeys, buffalos, hippos, African civet among others that are seen during game drives in the park.

Murchison falls is another destination for wildlife safaris and game viewing. It is the largest National park located in north western Uganda covering an area of 3840 square kilometers. The vegetation of Murchison falls National Park is made up savannah, riverine forest, woodland which shelter several animal species like elephants, lions, leopards, Rothschild giraffes, chimpanzees, kobs, hartebeests, hippos, oribis among others that are viewed the game drives.

Boat safaris

Western Uganda is one of the best places for boat safaris and there is popular destination for boat cruise including boat cruise on Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth National park.

Boat cruise on Kazinga channel. Kazinga channel is the longest and widest natural channel in Africa with the highest concentration of wild animals and bird species. There are over 400 bird species, elephants, buffaloes, hippos among others. The boat cruise on kazinga channel is done in the morning and afternoon for 2 hours, it is one of the activities that you cannot miss when you come to Queen Elizabeth National park.

Boat cruise on Lake Bunyonyi. Lake Bunyonyi is the second deepest lake in Africa after Lake Tanganyika with 29 islands. It is also known as a bird paradise because it hosts very many bird species where it derives its name Bunyonyi meaning “small birds” in the native language. There is boat cruise on lake Bunyonyi which offers memorable experiences especially cruising to the different island with different historical back ground like the punishment island where the bakiga girls who got pregnant before marriage were taken in isolation to die, then the Akacuraniko which means upside down and many others with their own history that also shelter many wild animals, birds and primate species.

Boat safari on Lake Mutanda. A visit to Lake Mutanda is an interesting adventure that cannot be missed on your safari to western Uganda. The lake has many interesting activities that can be engaged in on your visit for a boat cruise especially after gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National park. The activities include nature walks, birding, game viewing among others.

Cultural safaris

Cultural safaris in western Uganda are a component because Uganda is a culturally diverse country with over 54 tribes. When it comes to cultural safaris in western Uganda Queen Elizabeth National park is the best place to visit with several cultural groups like Nyanzibiri community cave which means 2 lake in the native language, Leopard village located close to muhokya village managed by the socio economical management that promotes culture and wildlife conservation. Those who tour the leopard village have a chance to visit the traditional huts of Basongora, Bakonzo and Nyabindi ethnic groups then kikorongo women community where you enjoy songs, dances, fire making, visit the Kikorongo African art and craft workshop and learn about weaving baskets among others.

A visit to the Batwa community deep in Bwindi and Mgahinga forests. The batwa trail and batwa experience are one of the major cultural activities that cannot be missed on your cultural safari to western Uganda. Learn about the batwa people also referred to as the people of the forests that co-existed with the wild animals before they were evicted after gazetting their areas as national parks. Learn about their way of life as hunters and gathers, enjoy their traditional dances, hand craft making and so on. You can go for the batwa trail in Mgahinga National park of batwa experience in Bwindi impenetrable National park

Visit and encounter the fascinating cultures of Toro on western Uganda cultural tour. Learn about the “Empaako ceremony” which involves giving pet names to the children at birth. The pet names include Akiiki, Amooti, Adyeeri, Ateenyi, Abwooli, Acaali among others, visit the King’s palace overlooking Fort Portal town where the king resides. There is the Karambi tombs where the Toro kings are buried that is visited during your cultural safari in western Uganda.

Mountain hiking safaris

Hiking mountain Rwenzori in western Uganda is the best experience you can have on your safari in western Uganda. Mountain Rwenzori is the highest block mountain Uganda and third highest in Africa after mountain Kilimanjaro in Tanzania at 5895 meters above sea level, mountain Kenya in Kenya at 5199 meters above sea level then mountain Rwenzori at 5109 meters above sea level with the highest peak known as margherita.

Hiking Mountain Rwenzori is done in seasons, which are from January to March and June to October. Usually January to March is too cold compared to June to October where there are higher chances of encountering snow at the peak.

Western Uganda is a great destination in Uganda where you can go for your different fascinating safaris like gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking, boat safaris, cultural safari among other which offer you great experiences on your safari.

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Travel Tips

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Renting a Car

Many people turn to car rentals as their best ground transportation while on a vacation, business and political engagements. But sometimes they end up having some misunderstandings between them and the car rental agency and also they may have to pay more money for the car hire services since they have violated the agreement. This results to customers cursing car rentals services. Some people make these mistakes ignorantly while others are just careless or reluctant.

These are the commonest mistakes made by travelers on their car rental services.

They forget to check the condition of the car yet this is a must thing to do on car rental services. The traveler has to check the car before taking for his/her vacation. One is supposed to check if there are some damages and dents on the car and also should check the mechanical condition of the car. It is recommendable to take pictures of the car. This helps one to know which damage she/she is liable for in case one happens. But sometimes, travelers make a mistake of not checking the car thoroughly and end up arguing with the car provider about the damages that may happen to the car i.e. everyone denying the liability of the damages.

Some travelers do not read the terms and conditions carefully. This is the commonest mistake people made on car rental services. Some people do not take a keen eye on some clauses of the car hire agreement and of which these can make them pay more for the car hire services like limited mileage clause, early return and return fuel refilling clause. You have to read the agreement so carefully and do not miss out a single clause because if you go against it, you are likely to pay a big premium for compensation.

Do not search on the internet for the best car rental services. Some people just use the car hire services that they come across other than making some research on the internet to get better deals. There are so many car rental companies offering good services at affordable rates on the web. When one does not use the internet is more likely to get cheated on the prices since he/she might not know the standard price of certain car rental services and end up paying much more money on low priced Uganda car hire services.

Furthermore some people only use the internet to find car rental services leaving out checking offline. Although internet has the best deals, endeavor to check offline too. It is best to check both online and offline, you never know the car provider might have forgotten to update his/her website yet when you go the offices physically you might land on a better deal.

If the above mistakes are put in the mind and amended, the traveler can have the best car rental deals which are comfortable, reliable and safe and pocket friendly.