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5 Best Hikes in Uganda

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Would you like to go hiking while on holiday in Uganda. Uganda has several mountains and hills that can offer a challenge to those who would like to raise their adrenaline. From simple hills of Kampala to towering peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains, a lot await you if you are to visit in Uganda. If your interest is in the challenging mountain trekking tours in Uganda, there are various mountains that are stunning!  These include;

The Rwenzori Hike

The Rwenzori is the third highest mountain in Africa. Its Magherita Peak is the fourth highest peak towering to 5109meters above sea level. To hikers, the Rwenzori poses a challenging hike to those who would like to reach the Magherita Peak. The common Rwenzori Central Circuit Trail takes a minimum of 7 days. For beginners, there are day hikes to 3 day treks on the foothills of the Ruwenzori mountains.

Elgon Hike– This is another kind of hike that one can enjoy during his stay in Uganda. This is located in the Eastern part of the country. This trail twists and turns as you climb up the steep mountain which has an enormous variety of plants and flowers. This walk is unique with many Giant Heather trees creating a beautiful atmosphere often shrouded in mist. The walk turns boggy particularly in the wet season but with a little skill you can step from tussock to tussock to make the going easier.

Mt Moroto Hike– This is also another interesting hike that you can’t afford missing on your hike visit to Uganda. There is wide variety of plant species from forest trees to bamboos thickets as you enter the Bamboo Zone which is steep climb with many high steps. In the wet season the bamboo zone is rather muddy and slippery making the going slow but not so bad if you are fit. However the atmosphere and the forest is fantastic as you climb.

Mt Muhabura– This hike takes place in the South-Eastern part of the country and it can be climbed from either Ugandan side or Rwandan side.However,whic ever side you climb it from,the hike is tantalizing and it will keep your adrenalin flowing throughout the hike. This climb offers a chance to gaze at the amazing flora and fauna plus the masmerising undulating land scape surrounding this mountain.

Visit Nyore Hillside Retreat for a Typical African Village Stay

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Are you looking forward to experiencing one of Uganda’s most fascinating African Village stays offering breathtaking views with serene environment? Then Nyore Hillside retreat must not miss on your bucket list. Not only that, this village stay is a perfect place to be for tourists interested in experiencing a rich cultural Village while on a safari in Uganda.

This Site is situated in Nyakaguruka Village in Mbarara district within Western Uganda, 16 miles along the Mbarara-Kabale road on your way to most western and south-western destinations such as Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga National Parks making it a perfect stopover accommodation to relax after several hours of travelling from Entebbe or Kampala. This lush serene accommodation facility blends with typical African Villages in addition to modernity such as en-suite bathrooms, comfortable accommodation and amenities like running water and electricity.

There are currently four en-suite chalets (Cottages) crafted in traditional setting with grass thatch and a serene environment. Nyore Hillside Retreat is also an ideal place for honeymoon couples who wish to relish an African touch or for family travelers seeking to enjoy a secluded place to spend some precious time on the way to western Uganda and beyond to Rwanda. The Cottages are named Peanut, Mango, ovacado and family cottage furnished with King sized beds, clothing, storage facilities, mosquito Nets, adjoining bathrooms and toilets and lounge with leather sofa.

The Cottages where you will be spending overnights are found within a verdant garden filled with beautiful trees, plants and flowers. Not only that, you will enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding rolling Hills while staying at this facility.

Each of the Cottages is beautifully decorated by expert artisans featuring African antiques along with private furnishings that reward guests with a profound connection with nature, modernity as well as heritage.

You can sit on your private deck at sunset to relish the twinkling stars while sipping a glass of wine or African tea and Coffee from some of the finest tea and coffee plantations in Rwanda. The tranquility of the moment at this Lodge will be very fascinating but only disrupted by the distant cry of animals of the interesting sounds of the African drum in the neighboring Villages. Some of the facilities at the establishment include a bar, restaurant, large lush flower garden for serene relaxation, tents and cribs for children, enough outdoor parking, and laundry service.

Mornings are brighter because they start with a cup of locally grown and roasted coffee or tea from some of the best tea plantations. Tea or coffee is accompanied with jam or honey for your toast within the Safari Lodge. Interestingly, majority of the foods and drinks served in the Lodge are grown or acquired locally hence supporting the local communities. The staff members are friendly and well trained to deal with the needs of the guests and make you feel at home while at the facility.

Lunch is comprised of buffets of mostly local and some International dishes. Evenings are characterized by cold drinks especially Ugandan beer and Gin known as “Uganda Waragi” while relishing the beautiful stars in the sky.

While at this accommodation facility, tourists can engage in a number of tourist activities that include nature walks and hiking that fit with your level of physical fitness, and visit to the local villages to interact with some of the artisans. You will relish some cultural encounters through the Village visits that lead to the dance and drama groups, local schools and interact with the locals to learn about their daily activities.  Most importantly, you can visit the African Craft shop at Nyore Hillside Retreat where you can also learn from the local artisans how to make some of the handcrafts.

Guide to Using Headlights While Driving in Uganda

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All drivers actively use our car lights, but many are unsure on their correct use in relation to weather conditions and driving environments. Self Drive East Africa has compiled some helpful tips to help you in knowing how to correctly use your car lights.

Headlights

Headlights, also known as low beam, are the standard lighting on all vehicles and are required to be operated from sunset to sunrise. Headlights should also be operated during rain, fog, and other adverse weather conditions.

High Beam

High beam equips drivers with additional lighting and can be used on all roads; however, low beam is to be used when a fellow motorist is approaching within 200 metres and if a fellow motorist is travelling in front within 200 metres.
It is advised not to use high beam when driving in fog, mist, or heavy rain as the light source can impede vision due to reflection.

Front Fog Lights

Front fog lights are designed for use in hazardous weather conditions for the purpose of improving road vision by emitting a wide beam that enhances lighting below the level of mist, rain and fog.

Rear Fog Lights

Emitting a bright red glow, rear fog lights are designed to be used in the same adverse weather conditions as the front fog lights such as fog, mist, heavy rain, etc. Their key purpose is to enhance the visibility of the vehicle for motorists travelling behind.

Driving Lights

Driving lights are an additional feature on certain cars and are designed to provide additional lighting in driving environments such as country roads. Their functionality is in accordance with high beam lights and should only operate as an optional feature when high beam is active.

Daytime Driving Lights

Daytime driving lights are a feature on specific cars that are automatically activated while the vehicle is turned on. Daytime driving lights are specifically designed to provide an additional safety feature to make the vehicle more visible for oncoming motorists in both normal and overcast conditions. Using the correct and appropriate car lighting will also assist with providing clear vision to ensure you can see a safe distance in front.
Uganda is generally a safe country to travel too so take care and stay safe on our roads.

Born To Be Wild : Trek Bwindi Gorillas

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Gorilla Trekking In Bwindi National Park

Suitably located in southwestern Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park lies along the Albertine Rift Valley approximately 530 kilometers off from Kampala capital city. This park features among the four parks where mountain gorillas are tracked in the entire world and tracking them in this protected area means you will be in one of its 4 major trailheads of Nkuringo, Ruhija, Buhoma and Rushaga sector.

Nkuringo trailhead is located near Buhoma area approximately 10 kilometers away and you can take a walk and spend about 4 hours. Interestingly, villages around Nkuringo also run community walk which take visitors to traditional healers, black smith, brewers, rural homesteads a mention but a few. This sector is famous for Bushaho group where gorilla habituation experience is normally conducted.

Ruhija on the other hand comprises of diverse bird species in addition to gorillas and it is one of the remotest areas. This sector takes you through 3 hours’ hike where you will pay a visit to Mubwindi swamp for you to spot out most of the bird species.

Rushaga sector is another significant area for mountain gorilla trekking and features habituated families such as Mishaya, Kahungye, Busingye and Nshongi.

Getting there
Bwindi can be accessed either by air from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip or by road from Kampala.

From Entebbe, there are scheduled flights to Kihihi which is close to the northern sector of Bwindi and also flights to Kisoro which is close to the Southern sector of Bwindi. Flights to Kisoro only leave in the morning while Kihihi has both morning and afternoon departures from Entebbe. You can also do charter flights from Kajjansi Airstrip to either Kisoro or Kihihi.

By road, there are alternatives that include;
Kampala-Kabale-Kanungu-Buhoma which follows a tarmac highway until Kabale for about 414km spending about 6-8 hrs and then connect on a murram road through Kanungu and Kanyantorogo for about 120km to Buhoma. For the latter route, it is highly recommended to have a 4WD vehicle and this journey can take about 4-5 hrs.

Kampala-Kabale-Ruhija-Buhoma which follows the same route as the above first option except the Kabale-Ruhija-Buhoma section is about 95km on a murram road and can take about 3-4 hrs also highly recommended to have a 4WD vehicle.

Kampala-Kabale-Nkuringo also follows the same as the above routes to Kabale and an additional 105km about 4-5 hrs drive on a mountainous murram road to Nkuringo from Kabale. Some people prefer spending a night in Kisoro which is about 80km from Kabale and in the morning proceed to Nkuringo for gorilla tracking.

Kampala-Ntungamo-Rukungiri-Kihihi-Buhoma is regarded as the quickest and most direct of all the routes from Kampala and follows a tarmac rout to Rukungiri about 390km followed by murram roads to Buhoma for about 82km.

There is also a route that goes through Queen Elizabeth National Park via Kihihi and to Buhoma passing through the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park famed for the tree climbing lions. Sometimes this route is not favoured because of the bridge which keeps on breaking down.

What to do
The major activity in Bwindi is; Gorilla tracking limited to a maximum of 8 people per particular gorilla group per day – Permits must be booked before since they are on a very high demand all year round.You can do this by getting in touch with Uganda wildlife Authority or contacting your local Uganda safari Operator for advise.

Guided forest walks, birding and other primates viewing. There is also the interesting activity of the people (Batwa Pygmies) whereby recently the Batwa Cultural Experience was introduced.

When to visit
The rainy season is from March till May and October till November. Light rain season falls in November and December. Dry seasons are from December to February and June to August. The best time, the best months of the year would be December to late February and from June to September.

When to go & What to Expect
Uganda is suitable for travel any time of the year. Uganda is sunny most of the year with temperatures rarely rising above 29 degrees (84 degrees Fahrenheit). The average annual temperature is about 26 degrees Celsius (78° Fahrenheit).

Go Birding in Lutembe Bay Wetland

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Lutembe Bay Wetland is one of the most breathtaking destinations a tourist can visit while on a bird safari in Uganda. This less known wetland hosts mostly aquatic bird species and is one of the thirty three Important Birds Areas in Uganda. It was added in the list of Wetlands of International Importance in 2006.

This site is a Ramsar site and protected in a Shallow Bay that is situated on the Northern banks of Lake Victoria-the third largest freshwater body in the whole World and the largest in the African Continent. This small Important Bird Ares is situated in Mpigi district and covers an area of only 800 hectares/8 square kilometers making it one of the smallest yet rich with biodiversity. This site is one of the total 33 Important Bird Areas in Uganda and is a home to over 70% of the global population of the white-winged black terns, large population of the grey0headed gulls, the gull-billed terns and the black-headed gulls.

The biggest reason why you need to explore this wetland is that it is a migration stop-over for several migratory bird species from a number of countries in Africa and across (there are some birds that migrate from Europe, the Scandinavian countries and across Russia ). This Bay is a home to over 280 bird including over 26 species of Palearctic migrants-both aquatic and non-aquatic species, but the notable palearctic birds include the Hottentot Teal, the Caspian Tern, hundreds of the Palearctic ducks such as the garganey (Anas querquedula), several species of the Temminck’s Stint, the Broad-billed Sandpiper, the Great Knot, the white-winged terns, the Grey-headed gulls, the broad-billed sandpiper in addition to the flamingos among others.

Besides the Palearctic migrant species of birds, Lutembe Bay is a haven to over 8 of the globally threatened species of birds that include the Madagascar squacco, the Papyrus gonolek, the yellow warbler, the rare shoebill stork, the African Skimmer and the Saddle billed stork among others. Other species of birds to expect in this destination are the Tawny Pipit,  Cape Wagtail, the Yellow-fronted Canaries, the cattle egrets, the African Green Pigeon, the Scaly Francolin, the Yellow-browed Camaroptera, the Whiskered Tern, the Hammerkops, the White-browed Scrub-robins, the Africa Wattled Lapwing, the Black-headed Gonolek, the Purple Starling, the Speckle-breasted Woodpecker, the Pin-tailed Whydah, the Blue-breasted Bee-eater, the Brown-backed Scrub-robins, the House Sparrow, the Yellow-throated Longclaw, the Collared Pratincole, the Lead-coloured Flycatcher, the Black-crowned Waxbill, the Brown Twinspot, the Splendid Sterling, the Brown-backed Scrub-robins, the gull-billed terns, the Helmeted Guinea fowl, Black Kite, the Grosbeak Weaver, the Fawn-breasted Waxbill, the African Green Pigeon, the long-toed Plover, Grey-backed Fiscal, the Plain-backed Pipit, the grey-headed gulls, the Black-necked Weaver, the Wire-tailed Swallow, the Little Ringed Plover, the Brimstone Wood-dove, the White-headed Saw-wing, Sooty Chat, the Senegal Lapwing, the Holub’s Golden Weaver, the Blue-spotted Wood-dove, the Whiskered Tern, the Africa-Pygmy Kingfisher, the black-headed gulls, the Barn Swallow, the Tree Pipit, the Common Waxbill, the Broad-billed Roller, the Grey herons, the Tropical Boubou and the Marico Sunbird, to mention but a few.

Besides the birds, this wetland is a home to over 100 butterfly species including 3 exceptional species not found anywhere in Uganda, and they include the Cacyreus virilis, the Acraea Pharsalus and the Belenois solilucis, hence making this spot a perfect place to be for nature lovers-mostly tourists interested in butterflies.

There are also some mammals within Lutembe Bat and they include Sitatungas, the African clawless Otters, the African spot-necked otters, the shrews and Rodents among others.

Therefore, Lutembe Bay wetland is a nature paradise that boasts of over 280 species of birds including over 26 palearctic bird species and several globally threatened birds, over 100 species of butterflies and several mammals that include the African clawless Otter, the African spot-necked Otter, shrews and several rodents among others. The fact that it is even not very far from Kampala City, it must not miss on your bucket list.

Top 5 Places to Visit on A Fantastic Uganda Tour

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Kidepo National Park

A little phrase “The Pearl of Africa” is enough to explain how remarkable Uganda is, an unmissable destination for your unrivalled wildlife safari in the Eastern part of Africa.

The credit goes to Sir Winston Churchill who expressed it in his book “My African Journey” after a visit to Uganda in 1907. Churchill’s appreciation is not by exaggeration but honestly based on the profuse unmatched natural wonders, palatable cuisine and authentic culture.

This phrasing has given a go ahead for a trip to Uganda to a number of travelers from different parts of the World including those who had a doubt about Africa.

If you are among those who doubt Africa with its hotspots, Uganda should be your next destination to witness the secrets in Africa, you will live to tell unending stories to the ones you left home.

Uganda has plenty to awe that keep positioning it among resplendent localities hard to compare around the globe.

Of its highlights, Wildlife is exceptional. On a Uganda Wildlife Safari you cannot stop admiring the rarely seen species of Mountain Gorillas in the Western region, African big fives, Chimpanzee primates, species of the Old world monkey family (Golden monkeys), uncommon bird species and more to wonder at.

Wildlife is not the end, other draws, varying from stunning sceneries such as mountains of the moon, towering volcanoes, stretching forests, and streaming rivers to welcoming locals delights.

Several adventurers including first timers have achieved their dreams or impressed their relatives, partners in this exquisite destination, why not you to add on the list? Favorable destinations with a handful of intriguing attractions and rewarding adventures like Uganda are rare to find.

All activities offered are awe-inspiring starting from Gorilla trekking, Chimpanzee and Golden monkey tracking, different water sports, game drives to jaw dropping mountain hiking adventures.

Planning a once in a life time Safari to Eastern part of Africa without Uganda is really a big miss on some of the highlights to turn your trip unforgettable for the rest of your life. If it’s Uganda, let it not be a hustle about top hotspots not to miss, below is the list.

National Parks. A trip to Uganda seems boring without a visit at least to one of its ten national parks that are scattered in different regions of the country. This highlight of top parks can be of importance to any person who is hoping for a safari in Uganda.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

For those who are interested in hard to compare Gorilla trekking adventures, Uganda is unbeatable. Remaining gorillas are totaling to about 1000 inhabiting the three countries Uganda, DR Congo and Rwanda.

Of the world total numbers, Uganda dominates with the highest population approximating to 480 species of Gorillas. Gorillas in Uganda inhabit two parks including Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with the most gorilla species in its Jungles.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is placed in the South western part of Uganda. Most of travelers pack for it mainly for the Gorillas though there are other additions to be part after an amazing Gorilla trek.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Similarly Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is tucked away in the south western part of Uganda. Stands the smallest among Uganda ten Parks but rewards all what to turn your trip to south western Uganda an incredible one.

Over 80 mountain gorilla species call it home and one Gorilla family is habituated for trekking “Nyakagezi Gorilla family”. A visit to Mgahinga is not only about Mountain Gorilla encounters, numerous options exist to occupy your days in the Park.

Meet the rare species of Golden monkeys, explore the three Virunga Volcanoes or immerse the ancient life of the Batwa people. With all this, Mgahinga is precisely a true delight for all travelers of different interests.

Kibale Forest National Park

Undeniably Kibale National Park, a home to thirteen Primate Species is the capital of Primates in East Africa.

Out of the 5000 chimpanzee primates in the World, Kibale is recorded with over 1500 chimpanzee individuals in addition to diverse forest primates, mammals, butterflies and bird species.

While in this park dominated by tropical rainforests, chimpanzee tracking and Chimpanzee habituation are the main activities to let you get exposed to these human-close primates.

On top of that, birders meet their dreams while on the walk through the Bigodi wetland, a home to various unique bird species including the shoebill storks. 

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Not rumors, Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda’s mostly visited Parks. It hides its self in the south western Uganda. Travelers visit for many reasons.

Starting from diverse range of Wildlife, ease of accessibility, stunning scenery to possibilities of connecting to other parks after great encounters in this spot where Wildlife speaks.

There is nothing more exceptional than spending days in a locality where you can sight different Wildlife species, admire sunrise/set, track chimpanzees and embark on a breathtaking cruise.

If you haven’t arrived at that, Queen should be your first layover while in Uganda. The two must be part activities in Queen (game drive & boat cruise along Kazinga channel) offer different experiences.

While on game drives expect sights of the big games and cats including leopards, buffaloes, elephants and more. Then the cruise can’t leave you unexposed to numerous aquatic species such as hippos, crocodiles to mention but a few. 

Kidepo Valley National Park

This Park is the only to go in Uganda for an authentic African Wilderness. It’s isolated far in the North eastern part of Uganda recorded with almost every species in Uganda including the unique ones such as cheetah and ostrich.

A safari to Kidepo rewards with remarkable sceneries, diverse biodiversity as well as an adventure just free of crowds.

Murchison Falls National Park

Situated in the north western Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park is the largest conservation area in Uganda.

This park is liked both for its huge biodiversity along with an ideal location besides the river Nile where you find the great Murchison falls.

Its lush savanna vegetation provide habitat to variety of species that are sightable including the rare Rothschild giraffes, African big fives, incredible birds and more. On your way to this Park, you can stopover for a visit to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for the rare species of Rhinoceros.

Other than the above top listed National Parks, you can visit the River Nile, one of the seven natural wonders of Africa, Lake Bunyonyi; Africa’s second deepest lake, several towering mountains like Mountain Elgon and Ruwenzori particularly for adventure seekers, along with different historical sites such as the Kasubi tombs, Uganda museum and more.

8 Amazing Natural Wonders of Uganda

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Source of the Nile

Located in East Africa, the pearl of Africa Uganda is one of the major tourism destination blessed with both natural and, man made attractions all interesting to the tourists, Uganda is gifted by nature with various water bodies lakes , rivers forests, mountains unique culture, cultural sites and historical sites among others.  More still, the pearl of Africa Uganda is a land locked country which is crossed by the equator and border Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, south Sudan and Democratic republic of Congo. There are more than 54 tribes in Uganda each different and unique in their own ways and English is the most spoken language by most people across different cultures besides their local cultures. There are various natural sites in Uganda which tourists should not miss out on their tripe to Uganda which includes the following:

The source of the Nile

This is the point where river Nile/white Nile begins to trek from Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea covering a distance of 6695 kms. This point was formerly the Rippon falls that submerged as a result of the construction of Murchison falls dam which is located in Jinja district Uganda.

Amabere ga nyinamwiru:

This site is a lime stone with stalagmites and stalactites which drip the calcium carbonate to form stalagmites down below. They are located near Nyakasura School 9kms west of fort portal town in kabalore district. They are referred to as the breasts of Nyinamwiru who was the mother of Ndahura the first Mucwezi king of the empire of kitara, more still; there is a water fall within the rock shelter and crater all which have qualified the site to be a tourist attraction site.

Sempaya hot springs

These hot springs are located at two areas where one is named as male where as the other named as female, they are found in the semliki river valley below the escarpment on the read from fort portal to bundibugyo town. It is a site where the Bamba inhabitants I of Bundibugyo district carryout their cultural ceremonies and as a famous tourist site not to missed out by the travelers.

Semwema rock shelter

This is located 2kms west of kakumiro trading centre and 1 km east of Munsa earthworks in kibale district. It is an active shrine of the bachwezi cult which is underneath a rock shelter that can accommodate about 200 people. There is also a tunnel within the rock shelter through which the visitors pass to the top to clearly view the country side, more still at the shrine, a numerical 9 within the bachwezi cult is observed which is so interesting to the tourists most especially first time travelers.

Bugoma tree

This is a lone ever green tree which can be seen within a distance of 30kms of plateau land 20kms east of Rubaare trading centre on the Mbarara kabale high way. The site is an active shrine of the religious cult known as the balangi who like the bacwezi cult gather at the site on Saturdays for day and night prayers, its antiquity is evidenced by the extensive root system some of which stretch to 100 meters from the tree.

Kisizi water fall

The site is found near kisizi hospital and it is a site where un married girls who could get pregnant would be tied and their brothers would push them down the falls to die as a deterrent against pre marital pregnancies. This practice is no longer practiced but the site is there as a tourist site, tourists should therefore not miss out this opportunity whenever they have a trip to Uganda.

Sezibwa falls

Situated 3kms off the 30kms Kampala Jinja road, it is an active shrine and it is said that a big snake lives in one of the rock shelters which feeds on eggs and ritual objects brought by supplicants. At the site, supplicants are also washed at the point where the falls drop to heal from infertility and poverty.

Conclusively, Uganda is blessed with many tourism site which are in their natural setting, have never been tampered at any single time for decades. Travelers taking tours in Uganda are always blessed enjoy such natural sites with exciting histories that gives them a memorable experience.

5 Amazing Cultural Encounters in Uganda

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Imbalu Dance by Bagishu

Uganda’s culture is as diverse as its wildlife with over 58 tribes each with its own language, music, traditions, beliefs, dances, craft and others, as far as culture is concerned. Ugandans are very friendly and welcoming people thus making the country a perfect one where travelers can conduct their cultural encounters from. Uganda comprises of a wide range of ethnic groups such as the Bantu, which is the common one and these include; Baganda, Basoga, Bakiga, Bagisu, Banyankoole, Banyoro, and Batooro, among many other tribes. Most of the national parks in Uganda offer the cultural encounters where travelers will interact with the local people who live near that particular Park you will have visited and you enjoy their amazing culture, which includes; energetic dances, traditional songs, way of clothing, and various artifacts made by them, and you will also get to know some interesting brief stories about them. Some of the best tribes to interact with, during your cultural encounters in Uganda include;

Batwa

The Batwa, commonly known as pygmies, are very unique and endangered group of people living in south-western Uganda, in the districts of Kisoro and Kabale. They are the original people of the rainforests who are believed to have been migrated from the Ituri Forest of the Democratic Republic of Congo in search of wild animals to hunt, hence the name Kisoro, literally meaning “an area filled up with wild animals”. The Batwa live in small huts mainly made from sticks and grass from the forests they do live in. The Batwa really love living in the forests to an extent that there is a saying that ‘’A Mu-twa loves the forest as much as he loves his own body – a Mu-twa is a singular of Batwa.

Batwa People

The Batwa are really very amazing and will offer you with an extra-ordinary cultural encounter once you visit Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks, where the Batwa live most as they protect the endangered mountain gorillas. The Batwa Trail allows you to see the forest through the eyes of the first people of – the Batwa Pygmy people and allows them some reasonable income that will improve on their standards of living. Therefore, take the Batwa Trail and learn much of the Batwa ways and end with the energetic and interesting dances of the Batwa in their natural caves accompanied with their traditional songs, and drumming. Finally after interacting with the Batwa, you will have learnt the ancient ways of hunting and gathering that the Batwa People used and how they lived in the ancient forest.

Bagisu

The Bagisu people or Bagisu tribe, living in eastern Uganda along the slopes of Mount Elgon National Park, is arguably the most horrifying patriarchal tribe, especially with their traditional belief of male circumcision, locally known as IMBALU. The Bagisu, also known as Bamasaaba, have their fierce traditional belief that a man is considered to be a man after performing the circumcision ritual (Imbalu). Unlike the Muslims’ circumcision where males are circumcised at an early age, for the Bagisu the circumcision takes place mostly among the youths and old men. As a tradition, all Bagisu men must be circumcised and this ritual would take place for over a week as the male ‘to be circumcised’ should first dance (Kadodi dance) from one village to another while the other ‘already circumcised’ Bagisu are drumming and dancing together with him such that he gains confidence before being circumcised.

Imbalu Dance

Streaked with flour and decorated with traditional beads and bungles, the circumcision candidates dance in preparation for circumcision and this ritual is a must to every Mugisu regardless of which place you are in – the motherland of the Bagisu is Mbale in eastern Uganda. This ritual is really very amazing, especially during the time of dancing though the actual day of circumcision is surely scary, since the ‘to be circumcised Mugisu’ is put in public and then circumcised using a very sharp knife by an expert – this ritual showcases the braveness of the Bagisu. The Imbalu circumcision rituals in Bagisu aim at strengthening cultural continuity by enhancing the passing over of cultural responsibilities and ideologies from older generations to young ones. Visit the eastern part of Uganda (Mbale) to know more of this unique Ugandan tribe, including its religious belief, political set-up, inheritance patterns, economy, language, major foods and many others.

Baganda

As the name of the country states (Uganda), the Baganda are the most popular people in the country and they can be found all over the country though they basically base in the central parts of Uganda. The most unique thing with the Baganda is their 52 clans, of which any of a Muganda has his or her particular clan he or she lies in. And it is in their tradition that Baganda in the same clan can’t get married to each other because they are regarded as siblings even though they don’t come from the same family. Some of the most popular Baganda clans in the Buganda nation include; Mamba (Lung fish), Ffumbe (Civet cat), Lugave (Pangolin), Ngabi (Bushbuck or Kob), Mbogo (Buffalo), Mpologoma (Lion), Njovu (Elephant), Ngo (Leopard), Nkula (Rhino), Abalangiira (Princes and Princesses), Nte (Cow), Nyonyi Nyange (Egret), Ngoma (Drum), among others, and each of those clans has a clan leader.

You can visit some of the Baganda cultural sites for more interesting and memorable experience. Some of the cultural sites to visit in the Buganda nation include; Lubiri palace, Bulange Mengo, Kabaka/King’s lake, and the Kasubi tombs, among others.

Karamajong

The other interesting tribe/people to interact with are the Karamajong who look similar with Kenya’s Masai right from their way of clothing and living and culture at large – their entire life rotates on the cattle they greatly rear. The Karamajong live in the northern parts of Uganda near one of Uganda’s and East Africa’s most remarkable national parks – Kidepo Valley National Park.

Karimojong Building Manyatta

5 Unique Things to Know About Murchison Falls National Park

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Murchison Falls

Murchison Falls National Park is one of the only ten national parks that the Pearl of Africa (Uganda) has. It is located on the shores of Lake Albert, in northwestern parts of Uganda – Masindi. The Park receives a very big number of tourists taking safaris in Uganda each year but most of them could even leave the Park without knowing some vital facts about it. Therefore, below are five strange and unique things/facts that you should know before even visiting the Murchison Falls National Park:

Uganda’s oldest and largest national park

Many tourists have been visiting the Murchison Falls National Park for years and years but not knowing that this is the largest and oldest national park in Uganda. Being gazetted in first as a game reserve in 1926 and then elevated to a national park status in 1952 makes it the oldest in Uganda, well as covering a total area of approximately 3,893 km2  makes it Uganda’s largest too. The Karuma and Bugungu wildlife reserves are also combined to the Murchison Falls National Park hence resulting to its enormous vastness. The Park straddles through four different Ugandan districts; Buliisa, Nwoya, Kiryandongo, and Masindi, of which Masindi is the nearest large town to the Park.

Murchison Falls

Murchison Falls National Park may be the largest in Uganda but its very existence is determined by the Murchison falls – the largest waterfall in Uganda. The Murchison falls (Kabalega falls) is one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world and it is a major and unique attraction in the Murchison Falls National Park, and it is where the Park derives its name from. The falls bisect the Park and tourists here are able to visit the top of the falls’ viewpoint to watch and feel the high pressure of the falls. Disembarking the Murchison Falls from the launch trip to climb up to the top of the falls through Fajao Gorge is very exciting and rewarding as you will view a variety of water birds and aquatic animals such as Hippos, and Crocodiles together with the other regular visitors at the shores, including; buffaloes and elephants, among others. There are many fascinating activities that can be done on the Murchison falls such as; sport fishing, boat cruises, bird watching, and excellent game viewing.

The Only Ugandan National Park Where You Are Able to View Africa’s Big Five

Uganda is such a very beautiful country gifted with a variety of wildlife species protected in its ten national parks and game reserves/sanctuaries. Unfortunately there is no a specific national park in Uganda where one can view all the popular Africa’s big five at once. The Africa’s big five are; African Lions, African Leopards, African Elephants, Cape Buffaloes, and the Rhinos. Most of the Africa’s travelers are very interested in seeing and experiencing these big five which are very present in Uganda but not resided in one particular park. However for the visitors to Murchison Falls National Park, they are capable of viewing these big five at once because the Park resides four of the five species but on your route to the Park, is a sanctuary for the other missing species in the Park. The four species resided in the Park are; Lions, Leopards, Elephants and the Cape buffaloes but you can first break at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary (only home for wild rhinos in Uganda) to first view the rhinos before heading to the Park for the remaining four species or you can even view the rhinos after your safari in the Park.

Abundance of Wildlife

For any Uganda’s traveler who is interested in viewing an abundance of wildlife should not think much about where to go because Murchison Falls National Park is not only the best spot but also a fantastic one. Most of the available wildlife species in the Park exist in a monumental population and tourists are guaranteed with stunning game viewing. The most notable and popular wildlife species in the Park include; Lions, Elephants, Nile Crocodiles, Rothschild’s Giraffes, Cape Buffaloes, Hippos, Leopards, Waterbucks, Uganda Kob, Bushbucks, Oribis, and over 450 bird species including the shoebills, and chimpanzee tracking in the Budongo forest of the Park.

Hot Air Balloon Safaris

In Uganda, it is still in Murchison Falls National Park, only, where a tourist will enjoy the hot-air balloon safaris which are also very popular in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Park. The balloon safaris also were present in Uganda’s remarkable Queen Elizabeth National Park but due to various reasons, the safaris have been suspended for a while and can only be experienced in Murchison Falls National Park. The balloon safaris in the Park offers; aerial scenic views of the entire Park, Lake Albert and Victoria Nile views, the bush breakfast experience in the wild, the off-road animals hidden somewhere, and many others. The pilots flying these balloons are very professional and experienced who have gone through the Ugandan and Egyptian Aviation Authorities for certification before they are accepted to operate them, therefore you should be very brave and comfortable whenever you are in the balloon safaris. Only 8 individuals are permitted to fly up in a balloon and the activity is eligible to individuals above 6 years old. The other amazing activities in the Park include; boat cruises, bird watching, game driving and game viewing, and community walks.

Explore Rabongo and Kaniyo Pabidi Forests

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Kaniyo Pabidi Forest

Forests are one of the unique attractions that make Uganda very attractive. Some of them are near Kampala like Mabira forest and are best option for a weekend gateway for you. They are best place to go for nature walks, biking, and bird watching among others. It is possible to have a picnic in Uganda forests. Forests in the pearl of Africa are more than a destinations but a paradise you can’t miss to explore while on a Uganda safari.

If you’re interested in sighting the forest wildlife and bird species, Rabongo and Kaniyo Pabidi forest are the best option. Both of these two forest are positioned in the biggest and oldest national park in Uganda Murchison falls. And are both found south of Paraa safari Lodge.

Kaniyo Pabidi forest extends approximately 8km within the center of kichumbayobo gate. The visit to this forest give you a golden chance to meet face to face the fascinating chimpanzees and other riveting primate species which call the forest home. Kaniyo Pabidi forest has multiple attractions that you spot once you have a stopover to this forest while on a Uganda safari.

It is one of the few forests in world that still protect the unique Mahogany and ironwood trees. Chimpanzees tracking is done from the Kaniyo Pabidi forest site. At the moment it is under the Jane Goodall institute. It hosts multiple bird species like the yellow footed flycatcher, white thighed hornbill, chocolate backed kingfisher, Ituri batis, Puvel’s Illaposis among others, some of these bird species are only found in Kaniyo Pabidi in whole of East Africa. Travelers enjoy taking nature walks within this forest, though Rabongo forest presents the finest experiences the best.

Rabongo forest is ringed by savannah plains and sits as an island covering only 4 square kilometers dominated by tropical riverine forest with a vast land of incredible savannah grasslands. It is found in the south eastern direction of Murchison falls national park. It is just one and half hour drive from the Paraa safari lodge. Rabongo forest can be explored on both foot and vehicle. It also grants travelers a golden opportunity to venture into the forest and search for impressive occasional Chimpanzees.

Barring the chimpanzees, other primate species can be sighted like the olive baboons, Red colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, grey cheeked mangabeys, Vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, patas monkeys among others. Besides the primates, the forest host other wildlife like the forest elephants, bush bucks, warthogs, duikers among others.

When it comes to birds, Rabongo is the best destination to visit. It hosts the breathtaking endangered bird species. Besides the birds, this forest has other several attractions worth exploring. Some of which include the stunning butterfly species, unique trees and plant species and some are medicinal significance.

Some of the remarkable activities that are worth trying within these two forests include chimpanzee tracking, relaxation, nature walks, bird watching, camping among others.

Rather than having a long safari, choose to visit these two interesting forests for picnics and camp that will bring you close to nature. Grab for yourself a chance and camp around the shores of river Wairingo. It will reward you with spectacular views of the river and the surrounding areas.

A visit to Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo forests is the best decision you can make while on a safari in Uganda. Are you interested in chimpanzee tracking? Look no further, these two forests are one of a few destinations that offer memorable chimpanzee safaris in Uganda.

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