The Uganda Wildlife Authority which is mandated to issuing the gorilla trekking permit in Uganda has announced an increment on the gorilla tracking permit with effect from 1st July 2020. The gorilla tracking permit shall cost USD700 – this is an increase from the current cost of $600 which will still apply till 30th June 2020.
Uganda is home to more than half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas which number at about 900 individuals. Other mountain gorillas are found in the neighboring Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The gorillas in Uganda are found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National park. Up to 20 Gorilla groups have been habituated for the gorilla trekking tour. And since only 8 people can trek one gorilla group in a day’s session then only 160 gorilla permits are available in a single day.
The gorilla trek is one of the most popular tours in Uganda and its permit is very affordable compared to the 1500 USD price in Rwanda. This gives it a high demand which leads to the tickets or permits selling out well in advance. If you are planning a trip to see gorillas in Uganda then you should book your tour or permit earlier. And if you were planning to trek before the increment applies, then you need to book right now!
I know, most of us get onto the popular Murchison Falls boat cruise knowing we will see the aquatic wild but, we still can’t fully predict in which manner we will find these beautiful creatures. That’s the beauty of a boat cruise at any day in Murchison falls national park!
Whether it’s the grey skies or the bright blue skies, it’s always an amazing journey and one like no another ….you can always be assured of safety as a life jacket is provided for everyone and a little briefing right before you begin the cruise on the waters of the Victoria Nile is done to give you precautions on safety.
There has never been any recorded tragedy during the so many cruises that have been done before. It has always been a good practice to make sure that tourists like you and i are safe during the boat cruise and therefore, great caution is always taken right before tourists get on board.
The cost of this activity is $30 per person, refreshments are always available on the boat, which cost a very affordable fee. The cruises have a fixed schedule every day that is to say, you are free to choose between a morning or afternoon boat cruise. The morning boat cruise is at 9am while as the afternoon boat cruise is at 2pm.
The cruise is approximately 2hours or 3hours, all this time you will not know how the time will run so fast because you will be busy lost in the moment of beautiful pictures of Nile crocodiles , Hippos and most common on the shores drinking water , antelopes and at times even elephants. All the while, a tour guide will be explaining away the various animal habits of those that you see, how they feed, their weight, gestation period and so much more. The boat cruise is not only enjoyable but also an informative activity for all age groups. Above all, you will get to interact with other people from different parts of the world who are enjoying the boat cruise like you are and for me that’s the added excitement to this activity, meeting new people and being drawn under a common cause, tourism and more so cramped comfortably in one boat and just being able to share in the passion you both have for nature.
Another one, of the most interesting things about the boat cruise is the spot along the Victoria Nile where Ernest Hemingway, an American author of the time had two plane crushes with his wife. Having come with an intention of taking pictures of the Murchison falls, their plane crushed and another at their rescue, barely made it for takeoff when it crushed too. It’s an interesting story as the tour guide himself gives it to you in detail, you will be amazed.
The boat takes you closer to the spectacular Murchison falls, here you can get out with the help of the tour guide and take plenty of pictures with the falls in the background. That has got to be the most exciting memory to keep with you for years. Or, you can go on a hike to the top of the Murchison Falls, which is highly recommended as you will get to enjoy the best views of the spectacular waterfalls. However you must communicated with your tour driver who is supposed to pick you from the top of the falls since you do not go back with the boat cruise.
I don’t really know what you have heard or what your past experience was like but , I can assure of this , boat cruises in Murchison falls national park just get more and more interesting with every other new experience!
Hiking is a typical hard adventure activity that is quite interesting to involve oneself in, at Murchison Falls National Park it gets even better!
After the 2 hour long amazing Boat Safari along the River Nile reaching at the base of the Murchison Falls the group which is set to do the top of the falls hike will get off the boat to meet the waiting ranger at the set off point!
The hike starts right off at bakers point, here Sir Samuel Baker, a famous explorer of the time, stood on a huge rock (that you will also stand on) to declare the beautiful falls in 1864 as Murchison Falls, like they are famously known to be today.
You will begin to be so inquisitive walking in his shoes and for a moment imagine what was going through his head as he took a stroll through nature’s untouched beauty amidst the most amazing scenery.
A tour guide is always provided for the hike to explain certain features and answer all your questions.
One of the things that intrigued me almost immediately was the white form that these falls make. For a long while since, I had been ignorantly believing that the force at which the water comes through the narrow space between the rocks was the cause of the form , but the tour guide clearly brought me out of ignorance by explaining that; Leaves fall into the water and decompose and as they mix with some rock mineral, they form that white form as water comes gushing out of the narrow plum. Standing at that point you can see clearly the Murchison falls and take lots and lots of great pictures.
After of course, a few minutes of briefing and the endless clicks of the camera, you will begin the hike, which may take from forty five minutes to one and half hours, depending on how big the group is, and needless to say, how fit everyone is.. Ha-ha. Having gone for a hike myself not too long ago, I know exactly what it takes.
Hiking to top of the falls in Murchison falls national park, could be best described as, running a huge marathon that gets you a gold medal when you do win in the end, like any other hike, you have done before , it’s no easy one . There is a long stretch of steps that you will keep ascending until you reach the top, you will feel like crawling at some point from exhaustion and yet with every step you ascend, the fall’s view gets even better and better. Even its sister fall called, “Uhuru fall” suddenly comes into clear view.
Uhuru fall was formed as a result of a breaking away of water from the Murchison falls, forming another fall right at the time of Uganda’s independence in 1962 hence giving it the name “Uhuru”, a Kiswahili word that means independence. The scenery at this point, is simply spectacular.
Finally, you have made it! Top of the falls. Here you will forget all the pain and toiling through the endless steps, as the cool fresh air blows away the exhaustion and the beautiful music ,quickly reaches your ears, from the falls as they join hands with huge rocks in a loud clap , and the soft splashes, almost like little drizzles from heaven fall on your face. It’s so refreshing, so beautiful. You can stay here forever!
The entire River Nile squeezes through a tiny space of 7 meters between the rocks, emerging with a powerful explosion and plunging 42 meters to the bottom. This is also the world’s strongest waterfall!
On 28th May 2016 the Uganda Bird Guides Club members (me inclusive) set out for the weekly day birding trip, and we went to Mpanga Forest Reserve which is located 36 kilometers southwest of Kampala. This was the second time this year Mpanga Forest was hosting us and I was very eager for this trip as I had missed out on the previous one. This was also my first forest birding outing of the year and was looking to add to my list of forest species which is not so impressive. We set off from Kampala at about 7am and made it to Mpanga in only one hour. The weather was not the best though! It was cloudy and humid so bird activity was likely to be very low in the forest.
After the briefing of the day’s group of about 18 birders and enthusiasts by Prossy Nanyombi who is the base guide at Mpanga forest and is also a senior member of the Uganda bird guides club and the chairperson of the Uganda Women’s Birders, we set about to look for birds. An African Emerald Cuckoo (male) had been calling, “hello baby”, since we arrived.
It was perched on a leafless brunch in the top one of the highest rising trees near the edge of the forest. The views were very clear and the bird stayed long enough for all the group members to see its beautiful green and gold colors! We birded in the compound of the visitors’ center, observing the forest edge and spotted a number of birds including: Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Pied Wagtail, Vielloit’s Black Weaver, Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill, Little Greenbul, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird (heard), Green-throated, Little Green, Copper and Collared Sunbird, Yellow-mantled Weaver, White-breasted and Grey-headed Nigrofinch. A single Weyns’s Weaver showed itself briefly when it flew into forest. Didn’t get clear views! We also observed Purple Starlings flying from the forest. Looking to have exhausted visitors’ area we decided to enter the forest taking the wide trail which runs throughout the forest. As expected, because of the cloudy weather conditions, inside the forest was humid and cool and thus the birds were not out for now. We were only treated to different groups of the Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill calling noisily from different parts of the forest. The Blue-throated Roller displayed briefly from deeper in the canopy.
I have been to Mpanga Forest a number of times before but this time proved to be the least productive ever! We enjoyed observing other wildlife such the different tree species, butterflies, red-tailed monkeys, and a huge green millipede!!
before we opted to move out of and try the open cultivated areas near the forest and managed to spot quite a number of species including: Great Blue Turaco, African Pied Horbill (arriving into the Mpanga forest), Olive-bellied and Red-chested Sunbird, Plain-backed Pipit, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Common Bulbul, Crowned hornbill, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Western Citril, Bronze Mannikin, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Diederik Cuckoo, Pygmy Kingfisher, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Lizard Buzzard, African Blue Flycatcher, African Thrush, Angola Swallow.
At about 10.30am we saw a downpour approaching and so abandoned the birding and rushed to the visitor’s center and immediately we got there it started raining heavily, cutting short our birding excursion. Out of the 4 hours of birding we had had hoped for we did only 2 hour. Be we still managed to record about 50 bird species from Mpanga Forest and the cultivations.
We drove back to Kampala where found it hot, dry and dusty, without any sign of rain! The dry season was about to start in June when it’s most favorable to bird in Mpanga Forest, I think we shall return soon!