There is concern about the fate of a few gorillas that might seem misplaced in the context of a genocide that claimed about a million human lives. These very gorillas have allowed Rwanda to rebuild the lucrative tourist industry that was shattered by the war. The activity of gorilla tracking resumed on a permanent basis in July 1999 and the volcanoes national park has remained open ever since a period during which the volume of permits sold annually has increased more. The mountain gorillas do bring tourists to Rwanda but once there, they will usually spend money in other parts of the country and provides foreign revenue creating employment beyond the immediate vicinity of volcanoes national park.
The land of a thousand hills ranks among the world’s most exciting emergent eco-tourism destinations. A few would have expected it 20 years ago, when a long-simmering civil war erupted into a tragic genocide in which up to a million people died. After two decades of subsequent political stability, have seen the country emerge as one of the most economically vibrant and socially progressive countries in Africa.
Possibly the most exciting and moving wildlife encounter you will ever experience is gorilla tracking/trekking. This activity starts with a tense ascent through a fertile volcanic slopes dense with cultivation, into a hushed montane forest. The republic of Rwanda is one of the world’s premier gorilla trekking safari destination though there is much to see besides the endangered mountain gorillas. There is a mountain- ringed inland sea that is lake Kivu; the immerse Nyungwe Forest National park with its chimpanzees, monkeys and all the rare birds; wild Savannah of Akagera National park. There is an endless succession of the steep cultivated mountains that have justifiably earned Rwanda the nickname of the “land of a thousand hills”. Some visitors and tourists do query the wisdom of habituating gorillas for tourists visits.
When you going to track gorillas, one of the area of concern is health with the humans and the gorillas which are being sufficiently close genetically. There are risks of passing a viral or bacterial infection to a habituated gorilla which might turn affect a real risk of passing a viral bacterial infection to a habituated gorilla group. This might also turn to infect other members of its group potentially resulting in all their deaths and should have no resistance to the infection. Also to be considered is the concern of habituating gorillas to the humans to increase their vulnerability to the poachers. A theory backed up by the fact that most mountain gorillas poached since the mid 1990s and these belonged to the habituated groups.
From the above, a reasonable response might arise to query the wisdom of habituating the endangered mountain gorillas. Some things to be considered are the challenges facing the conservationists that the gorillas cannot be conserved in a vacuum. AT the current prices, the Rwandan authorities can potentially earn approximately US $ 48,000 daily in tracking the permits only. However much of this money is pumped back into the protection and the management of the volcanoes park and sometimes distributed to the local communities bordering the park. There are also the broader benefits or job creation through tourism in and around the Virungas and even in terms of pure conservation habituation has many of the positive effects and this allows many researchers and rangers to monitor the gorillas on a daily basis to intervene when one of then is ill or injured.
For tourism is the integral to the survival of the endangered mountain gorilla. The survival of these endangered apes is certainly very integral to the growth of Rwanda’s tourist industry. Ultimately, it is a symbiotic situation that motivates a far greater number of people to take an active interest in the fate of the gorillas than would be the case if gorilla tourism were to be curtailed.Read More
This is one of the long lasting volcanic mountains in Congo; its last eruption was in 2002 where magma flown towards Goma, this volcano is found in north Kivu province within the Virunga national park which manages and controls all the activities taking place on the isolated active volcano with its headquarters at Sekenkwe. The hike takes about 5 to 6 hours to climb the summit that begins at an altitude of about 1,997 meters to 3,470 meters above sea level
Nyiragongo lies 21km away from Goma town on the un paved highway to Beni and Kisangani, with its base camp at Kibati which is the starting point for tourists who wish to Hike this mountain i just visited Virunga National Park in december 2016, and this volcano hike was absolutely at the top of my amazing experiences in DRC
This mountain is in form of 3 sections for those who wish to spend some time on it, it has the Forest section and the hiking trails begins with this straight from kibalti until you join the 2002 volcanic
I’ll take a bit out of my general Virunga review I just wrote: rocks that stretch upto the rocky section which is the most challenging hiking trail. Ones advance preparedness would be needed to coup up with the best time to visit this mountain is during the dry season,which is May to October , you can as well visit in the rainy season , but the hiking trails are slippery thus becoming a bit of challenge.
The moment you get onto the top, there inn built wooden cabin from which you camp and begin to view the glowing active volcanoes and it inspiring to change This night almost has eclipsed your minds of how nature has wonders on planet Earth the hiking experiences in epic-ness but you can also be blown away by watching the potential of an eruptionthis kike is for sure It is 5 hours non-stop & does require a good level of fitness not to be overseen.
During the hike, porters perform their job if at all you ordered for one,, armed guards hike with you. food is actually really good on condition you ordered for it from mikeno lodge which is an extra $80 per person on top of $300 hiking ticket , and the gear you rent from Mikeno lodge are top notch (Patagonia down jacket, warm clean sleeping bag, etc.). It is at 11,400 ft (3500 m) so of course it is very cold at the top. Better for one to have an entire set of dry clothes extra jacket , and would be nice to have hiking gloves that keep you warm, as it partly gives you an extra hand / great on the way down to grab onto volcanic rock and sting nettles for stability and not rip my hands up. Much as there many un updated security concerns on various travel forums, but the Virunga staff are extremely professional & every detail to take care of seamlessly to every body on the trek. But you have to make sure the following are in proper arrangements to avoid any delays or inconveniences, At the border just make sure you have a printout of your tourist visa confirmation provided by Virunga.org, in addition to your yellow fever card is mandatory. transport has to be arranged from Goma boader best transport to use would be with Virunga park from Goma to Mikeno lodge/ Bukima (sekenkwe) Make sure to take good non-slippery shoes that will likely be soaking wet & very cold by the time you get to the summit. An extra pair or two of wool socks, extra shoes to change once you arrive so your feet don’t freeze.and also to change at the end of the hike at Kibati
Hiking Nyiragongo and experiencing it is a real magical volcano and Truly a world wonder that so few people like Billy Ssali have the opportunity to see.
Planning for Nyiragongo Hiking Safaris is very ease with Congo Gorilla Safaris the Destination Expert in Congo Safaris. the Shortest Nyiragongo Volcano Hike is 2 Days Safari which is offered as 3 Days Congo Nyiragongo SafariRead More
Are you a first timer looking to tracking the mountain gorillas in Africa? Are you wondering how to get the best out of your gorilla trek. This beginner’s guide to gorilla trekking will help you plan a perfect holiday in Africa. ut all the worries away and get prepared for an exhilarating gorilla watching trip using the informative piece of advise below;
Mountain gorilla safaris are currently the most trending wildlife activities done in southwestern Uganda in the forested mountains of Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga gorilla national parks. Mountain gorillas are very rare primates that can only be found in 3 countries on the entire planet Uganda inclusive.
A walk through the forested on a gorilla safari to encounter these primates brings tourists close to nature with sightings of a variety of wildlife species that the forests have in stock.
Mountain gorilla tracking does not require any hiking experience and therefore all those going for mountain gorilla safaris for the first time have nothing to afraid of.
Uganda has over 450 mountain gorillas with the highest number living in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park that has 11 habituated mountain gorilla groups whereas Mgahinga gorilla national park only has one mountain gorilla group. Mountain gorillas in Uganda can be tracked throughout the year however lets look at what it takes to go tracking these primates especially if its your first time.
Make A Little Research About The Mountain Gorillas
Its always better to do some research about the mountain gorillas especially on the habituated mountain gorillas groups. This is important because it gives you an insight on how the tracking will be and besides tracking to get to an allocated mountain gorilla group takes about 1 to 8 hours of hike however there are mountain gorilla groups that can be got to after short hours of hike and in case you are not physically fit or cannot hike through the forest for 8 hours you can request your tour operator to book for you a permit of the mountain gorilla group that can be to after shorter hours of hike.
Making research also enables one to decide when he/she is determined to go to any of the two gorilla national parks to track the gorillas, which can be done at anytime of the year depending on one’s preference.
Start Planning Your Safari With Your Tour Operator
After knowing about the gorilla group you may prefer to hike and the time to go on your mountain gorilla safari you can then start planning your trip with your tour operator so that you know the total cost of the safari. One should however ensure to make a deposit of the safari so that the mountain gorilla permit is arranged as soon as possible. That is because mountain gorilla tracking is a highly demanded activity and the mountain gorilla permits available per day are limited (88 permits for Bwindi impenetrable national park and 8 permits for Mgahinga gorilla national park) and therefore it is very important for one to secure the gorilla permit early enough to avoid missing out.
Pack The Necessities You Will Need While On The Safari
The mountain gorilla-packing list is usually given to tourists by tour operators giving guidance on what he/she might need for a very successful and enjoyable gorilla safari in Uganda. Some of the items that a tourist should pack while going on a mountain gorilla safari include long sleeved shirts/trousers, at least a pair of shorts, a waterproof jacket, gardening gloves, waterproof and good hiking shoes, a pair of sandals, a good camera for taking photographs, extra camera batteries, sunglasses, insect repellant, a first aid kit among others. These are very useful while on a gorilla safari however you can also include in some of your personal preferred items you think maybe helpful while on a mountain gorilla safari.
Ensure To Follow The Guide’s Instructions Especially While In The Forest
On the day of tracking the gorillas, tourists are expected to arrive at the national park headquarters very early in the morning for a briefing before embarking on the hike. While here they are given guidelines and safety procedures to follow while in the forest a measure taken to ensure the safety of the tourists and the well being of the mountain gorillas. The major instructions given out include always following the guide’s instructions, keeping in the tourist’s tracking groups to avoid getting lost, minimizing noise, keeping at least a 7 meters distance a way from the gorillas, not using flash photography among others.Read More
There are a few countries in the world where gorillas are found in their natural habitat. Surprisingly there are only 10 African countries that host mountain gorillas. These great apes are divided into two different species of gorillas; the Eastern Gorilla and the Western Gorilla. Of these countries, few have developed gorilla tourism – the sustainable adventure activity of tracking these giant apes.
Today gorilla tourism is becoming an important aspect of protecting the gorillas, species that IUCN has listed as endangered! The activity of tracking these apes deep into the African forests raises revenues that are needed to manage the national parks where these creatures are protected. There are a few countries where gorilla tourism has been developed and most travelers focus on visiting the mountain gorillas that are found within only 3 countries though efforts have also been put towards promoting tours to the low land gorillas and cross river gorillas.
Mountain gorillas are only found in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The lowland gorillas are found in Gabon, Cameroon, and other countries. Meeting close with these rarely seen apes is known as a breathtaking moment in life very difficult to forget. It’s always very important to first know where to track/trek from and then continue with the process of organizing your gorilla safari in their natural habitat. Here are the most popular gorilla destinations include the following.
For mountain gorillas visit These Countries;
This small African country is thought among one of the popular gorilla tours in Africa because it hosts the rare mountain gorillas, it’s one of the few countries in the world for housing the endangered mountain gorillas, it’s said to be the most popular safari destination in the world housing almost a half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Many trackers prefer tracking in this country since gorillas in this area are easy to found, and for those who need shorter distances, Rwanda offers the best since it’s only about 2-3 hours’ drive from Kigali to kinigi park headquarters. The park is easily accessed due to good roads and a relatively well-developed infrastructure, with very many accommodation types around the park for an overnight ranging from budget to up-market accommodation. Habituation efforts were due to the works of Dian Fossy who was a primatologist and research who monitored and habituated these apes to human standards for a period of over 18 years, his work was documented in the film Gorilla in the Mist, which is a must-see film for anyone before tracking these apes, it’s so interesting, her works made Rwanda very popular for gorilla tracking safaris that make many peoples first choice for a mountain gorilla safari. Only one park in Rwanda habituates these apes volcanoes national park located in Ruhengeri Musanze district in the north-western part of Rwanda. The park habituates 10 gorilla families which are ready to receive visitors every day. Tracking activities begin very early in the morning after reporting at the park headquarters in kinigi for short briefings about the whole process of gorilla tracking from the park wardens and senior ranger guide. Tracking time is unpredictable it can go from 1-8 hours depending on a gorilla family tracked. The chance of sighting Rwanda mountain gorillas is a most 98% and above.
Almost a half of visitors to Uganda came specifically to track mountain gorillas in the forests of Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla forest national park in the southwestern part of Uganda. This pearl of Africa as it’s sometimes referred to be is one of the three countries in the world hosting the rare mountain gorillas and it’s one of the major Mountain gorilla tours in Africa. Uganda houses the highest percentage of these apes over 480 individuals are living in Uganda out of the estimated 900 remaining mountain gorillas in the world. Mgahinga National Park is part of the tri-national Virunga Conservation Area, and its gorillas frequently cross into DRC and Rwanda in search of a new adventure, however, they have shown some consistency in the last two years. Climbing to the top of Mt Sabinio, where Rwanda, Uganda, and DRC meet, is an outstanding way to see the whole mountain gorilla kingdom in Mgahinga. The Park is home to one gorilla family called Nyakagezi gorilla family.
Bwindi national park is home to 11 gorilla habituated families and gorilla tracking activities are conducted every day at the park starting with short briefings about gorilla tracking and also get assigned to a ranger guide. Access to the park is very possible with good infrastructure; sighting is a guarantee when tracking with Uganda about 98%& above. Tracking activities last for only one hour in a group of 8 members who are allowed to visit these apes per group.
- Democratic Republic of Congo
DRC is gifted for housing three/of four subspecies of gorillas making it one of the best gorilla safari tours in Africa. like Uganda and Rwanda, DRC is among the three countries in the world for housing the endangered mountain gorillas, other species include the eastern low land and the western lowland gorillas. The chances of tracking/trekking all these subspecies are very high. Gorilla tourism with habituated groups began here in the mid-1970s, in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, a stranglehold of eastern lowland gorillas; the park still offers one of the best gorilla-viewing experiences in DRC. The country is considered to have some political instabilities however, tracking activities are still organized and gorilla tracking activities are conducted every at the park in Virunga national park a gifted park housing these remaining mountain gorillas. Rwanda is the easiest point to enter DRC, although still the country can be entered from kisolo Uganda. infrastructures are not good as it is in Uganda and Rwanda however, chances of seeing gorilla species is very high and the activities are guided by well-armed ranger guides who escorts you deep in the forest to have a chance of seeing these giant apes in the forests of Virunga and Kahuzi-biega national park is high with about 95% mountain gorillas, 70% lowland gorillas and about 50% western lowland gorillas.
Cameroon is also mentioned as one of the African countries offering gorilla tours in Africa, it houses a sub specie gorilla known as cross river gorillas, and these apes majorly live in a small section of forest that is a center of a preservation project but with no tourism element yet and they are found in the English speaking part of Cameroon bordering Nigeria. Spotting these apes is possible at the Limbe wildlife center however the center also is home to about 20 western low land gorillas orphans. Sighting of the western lowland gorillas is made in the French-speaking part of Cameroon in Campoma’an national park in the southwestern part of the country. Not like the top three where sighting is a guarantee, sighting these gorilla species is not a guarantee, chances of seeing the cross river gorillas are only about 50%, and sighting the western lowland gorillas is just about 70%
Gabon is also mentioned among the most popular for lowland gorilla tours in Africa, it houses the western lowland gorillas and the habituation program started at the Mikongo conservation center in Lope national park and was ended in 2010. Although no specific gorilla tracking arrangement and specific gorilla trekking spot ever recorded, these apes can be seen while tracking other wildlife which makes all activity more magnificent. Moukalaba-Doudou National Park has some of the highest numbers of these apes, and an eco-tourism project has begun there with help from The Gorilla Organization. The chances of sighting the western lowland gorillas are about 70%.
The choice remains yours to choose which destination to go for gorilla tracking, however, the best gorilla tracking destination is Uganda and Rwanda with the highest habituated gorilla families and tracking activities are safe. Gorillas are habituated to human standards and they can be tracked safely in their natural habitat without any harm caused to humans.Read More
In all the three East African countries (Uganda, Rwanda, Congo) where gorilla trekking takes place, there are various procedures that one should adhere to before being given a green flag to go in the actual process of gorilla trekking. The most paramount procedure here is securing a gorilla permit which can be done through agents or directly from the responsible authorities.Below is a detailed account of how one can attain these gorilla permits;
Gorilla tracking in Rwanda is done in Volcanoes National Park and gorilla trekking/ tracking permits booking is managed by the Rwanda Tourism Office (ORTPN). Each gorilla permit costs US$750 in Rwanda. On each particular day, about 56 persons can visit Rwanda gorillas, 8 persons per each gorilla family given that there are only seven groups.
Gorilla permits are in high demand, because of the stiff competition for them, and therefore are booked with payment on the basis of first come first served. Book your gorilla permit in advance to avoid disappointment.
To track gorillas each person must have the day’s gorilla permit which needs to be arranged and paid for in advance, preferably at least 10 months for the high seasons – June-September and December-February; or latest 4-6 months in advance for the low seasons – October-November and March-May. This can be made possible by the availability of tour operators that are very competent and they normally book your gorilla permits at no extra cost.
Gorilla permits are booked with payment on the basis of first come first serve. Availability of gorilla permits for a required date is not guaranteed. There is a lot of competition for the gorilla permits, which makes it hard to get one for yourself. Any delay in confirmation and or payment may mean that you will be unable to obtain the permit on your preferred date.
Once you book and send your money for permits, the date cannot change (changing a tracking date means a cancellation fee is charged). Rwanda charges $100 for each permit date changed.
There is also another option of booking gorilla permits directly through ORTPN.In case you have to book a gorilla permit from outside Rwanda; you first have to contact ORTPN’s reservation office by email inquiring about availability of the dates you intend to track the gorillas. If the exact dates you want are unavailable, you can request ORTPN to let you know of the nearest dates. You then reply to them expressing your intent to book those permits, and requesting them to temporarily hold them as you make payment. At this time, they will advise you of their banking details, so that you can proceed to make an electronic transfer of the money. Please remember to immediately send a copy of the transaction voucher/ receipt by email or fax to ORTPN.
The transfer should usually take not more than 3 days and ORTPN will keep your tentative booking for at least 7 days as they await the transfer to go through. Please ensure that you instruct your bank to deduct the bank charges from you. Otherwise if the money sent is less, your permit may not be booked.
The most rampant and sought after module of attaining gorilla permits is the use of tour operators and travel agents. Many intending gorilla trekkers have however found the above procedure tedious and have sought our quicker and less tedious ways of reserving their gorilla permits by working with local Rwanda tour operator. Gorillas and wildlife safaris will not charge you for buying gorilla permits if you are getting other tour services through them.
The procedure is almost similar as above, except that the tour agencies tend to speed-up the process and most likely you will get your gorilla permit confirmation faster as they always send you a scanned copy of those permits as soon as they are issued thus an assurance of proof that you are dealing with competent people. However, there are certain things that you have to put right before your permit is issued like the dates you want to track these primates, your full names plus those of other people you are travelling with as they appear in your passport.
If at all lady luck is on your side, you might get a last minute gorilla permit from any tour operator. There are situations when some tourists buy gorilla permits and then eventually end up not making it to the actual tracking due to various reasons beyond their control. So these permits remain in the hands of these tour operators who now begin looking for buyers of these permits. So when you avail yourself and you want to track on the same dates as inscribed on the gorilla permits available, then you get yourself one at the last hour.
In Congo, you can plan the booking of your gorilla permit via visit Virunga. So it is here that also Visas to Congo are issued so you can book both of them at ago. A Congo gorilla permit costs only $460.
When booking a gorilla permit from outside Uganda, you first have to contact UWA’s reservation office by email inquiring about availability of the dates you intend to track the gorillas. Note that you need to consider a full day of travel from Kampala to Bwindi after you have landed in Kampala.
If the exact dates you want are unavailable, you can request UWA to let you know of the nearest dates. You then reply to them expressing your intent to book those permits, and requesting them to temporarily hold them as you make payment. At this time, they will advise you of their banking details, so that you can proceed to make an electronic transfer of the money. Please remember to immediately send a copy of the transaction voucher/ receipt by email or fax to UWA.
The transfer should usually take not more than 3 days and UWA will keep your tentative booking for at least 7 days as they await the transfer to go through. Please ensure that you instruct your bank to deduct the bank charges from you. Otherwise if the money sent is less, your permit may not be booked.
Gorilla Permits are also booked through a Tour operator or travel agent. Many intending gorilla trekkers have however found the above procedure tedious and have sought our quicker and less tedious ways of reserving their gorilla permits by working with local Uganda tour operator. Gorillas and wildlife safaris will not charge you for buying gorilla permits if you are getting other tour services like transfers and tours through them .The procedure is almost similar as above, except that the tour agencies tend to speed-up the process and most likely you will get your gorilla permit confirmation faster. However, there are certain things that you have to put right before your permit is issued like the dates you want to track these primates, your full names plus those of other people you are travelling with as they appear in your passport. There are situations when some tourists buy gorilla permits and then eventually end up not making it to the actual tracking due to various reasons beyond their control. So these permits remain in the hands of these tour operators who now begin looking for buyers of these permits.
Ugandan tour operators through their umbrella association (AUTO) almost buy up to 80% of the available tracking permits at up to 2 years out from the intended month of tracking. Each member may purchase up to 20 permits in any month. Individuals and non-members of AUTO can purchase a maximum of 2 permits each in the month 3 months prior to the intended month of trekking .So you can contact AUTO members an purchase these permits from them.
However,in Uganda, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is proposing to put all gorilla permits for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park on line to be accessed by all people within and outside Uganda. According to management of Uganda Wildlife Authority, putting gorilla permits online will increase sales thus more money into the government’s treasury and to the Uganda Wildlife Authority to be used in conservation of wildlife in all protected areas. UWA management also argue that Tour Operators have been complaining about failure to get availability when they call Uganda Wildlife Authority central reservations office in Kampala and that if permits go on line then one can see them instantly.
Putting gorilla permits on line is yet to be seen as it has received a lot of resistance from the Private sector most especially from Ugandan Tour Operators under their umbrella organization called the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) who argue that by putting gorilla permits online will not only put them out of business since International Tour Operators will be able to buy them directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority offices but will also kill the tourism industry as a whole since clients will only be coming to Uganda for gorillas and then go for wildlife viewing in other neighboring countries of Kenya and Tanzania that have a competitive advantage over Uganda. Uganda Tour Operators argue that the role of selling gorilla permits should be left to them since their businesses create employment to several people and that if they are deprived of this, they will run out of business. They further say that the role of Uganda Wildlife Authority is not to market Tourism products such us gorilla permits but is to conserve Wildlife in and outside Protected Areas. The role of Marketing Uganda as a tourism Destination is supposed to be done by Uganda Tourism Board and therefore conflict of interest has been sighted.
Following the above issues, several meetings were convened to discourage Uganda Wildlife Authority from putting gorilla permits online and this ended up attracting the attention of the Minister of Tourism and Wildlife who has instituted a committee comprising of representatives from AUTO, Local Communities, Uganda tourism board and Uganda Wildlife Authority and is to be chaired by The Ministry of Tourism. Outcomes of this committee will be communicated later. Therefore as of now this system to put Ugandan gorilla permits online has temporarily stalled till further notice.
Just as in Uganda, even in Rwanda this mechanism has also totally failed due to various issues that have created divergent views towards the application of this module. The private sector also smelt a rat in being driven out of business yet in Congo this mode of online gorilla booking has never been thought of and there are no signs of conceiving such an idea.Read More
Africa a continent of the Nile, great beauty, many lakes and rivers, historical sites and outstanding parks is still the best fishing spot in the globe. Back then fishing was daily economic activity for many Africans especially those who stay close to lakes, rivers, swamps, ponds etc. Today fishing has contributed to development of many areas in terms of infrastructure especially those used by fishermen to catch the most desired fish species -Marlin, Sailfish, Tilapia, Nile perch etc. The continent has several inland lakes in good condition despite pollution and over fishing. When taking on a fishing tour to Africa you should be in love with most water sport activities like cruising, boat rides, Rafting among others since they are all done in the same scene. There is plenty of water in most parts of Africa which are home to thousand fish species. Lake Victoria, lake George, lake Albert, Mombasa, Zanzibar, lake kivu, Cape town ,Cape Verde Islands, Lake Kariba, Lake Nassar, Lake kyoga, Luana, Dubai, Mauritius etc are the main fishing grounds in Africa.
The second largest lake in the world Lake Victoria and one of Africa’s great lakes, and offers the best fishing trips to catch Tilapia and Nile Perch no matter the side where you fish from. Although lake Victoria is shared by many countries Uganda & Tanzania takes the largest part hence having several fishing grounds to catch Tilapia and Nile perch. The lake also has several islands and beaches ideal for leisure, beach holidays, honeymoon and relaxation. Islands include Bugala, Bukasa, Ssese, Iroba, Bukerembe, Kalangala etc. The lake islands also offer great bird watching experiences for birders. Fishing gears are normally hired from local fishermen so weather you don’t own any, relax because fishing will be fun during your adventure. Short walks, cycling, trekking are the other activities on Lake Victoria islands since some islands are residents of monkeys and other primates. Since fish accounts for over 40% of the animal protein, the demand for fish in around the world is too high that experts advised fish lovers to start eating chicken for conservation purposes in order to still have some fish available in the next 20 years in lake Victoria though this is debatable.
Another year round fishing spot in Africa is Zanzibar in Tanzania a place where you enjoy Africa’s best deep sea fishing grounds. If you need to catch the big fish just search in the channel between Zanzibar and Pemba a famous point with many opportunities. Barracuda, Wahoo, Kingfish and Giant Travelli are the main channel fish species with other guest fish species-Marlin. Fishing boats and gears can be hired on ground from professional fishing companies in Zanzibar together with a professional guide to guide you to areas where you can’t miss to catch the big fish. It’s said that the Pemba channel is always full of surprises with fish just close year round and the best time to catch the Yellow fin Tuna, Sailfish, and Striped, Blue, and Black Marlin is July-November every year. While November to Match is a Bill fish season. Tourists to Zanzibar do the fishing and diving at the same time.
Still in Africa Cape town fishing grounds offers you a unique opportunity catch your favourite fish species especially the Yellow fin Tuna weighing up to 80 kilogram. Fishing in South Africa is considered to be one of the most exciting recreational activities and many fishing tourists experience both salt water and fresh water fishing in sea, rivers and dams. Being a perfect fishing ground fishers catch several fish species – Galjoen, Hake, Kingklip, Steenbras, stumpnose cape, Thresher Shar during winter, Elf, Leervis Musselcracker White, mussel cracker Black, Red Romans, Red Stumpnose, spotted Grunter in summer and Black tail, Carpenter, Gurnard, karanteen, kob, Santer, Steenbras, Black Stingray, Cat Shark, Cow shark for all year. Above all the fishing experience gives an insight into the tough conditions endured by fishermen all over the world in search for the fish either for domestic or commercial use. If you are planning a fishing trip to Africa select the best fishing grounds especially those with fishing as a key recreational activity.Read More
It’s really very difficult to find a word that describes mountain gorilla tracking, looking into the eyes of these giant apes in a very close distance of about 7-10 meters in their natural habitat is a moment in life very difficult to forget. Not like other gorillas species that can be found in zoos, mountain gorillas are only found in their natural environment in the wild and they are regarded endangered species only found in the forests of an extinct volcanic region along the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the democratic republic of Congo.
There are only 880 remaining mountain gorillas in the world, and Rwanda is regarded as the leading destination for gorilla safaris in the world and it shares almost half of these giants over 380 live in the volcanoes national park. It’s possible to book a one day gorilla safari to Rwanda, you go and track gorillas and then come back to Kigali Rwanda’s capital and its largest city, since reaching the park is just about 2-3 hours’ drive, however if you sleep in Kigali you are supposed to wake up very first and drive to the park headquarters before 8.00am to get a short briefing about the dos and don’ts while with these giants from the park wardens/ranger guides. Rwanda has over 12habituatedgorilla families (habituated means they are used to short visits by humans) 10 gorilla families are ready for tracking and the two are used for research purpose and in each group only eight members are allowed to track which means that 80 people track mountain gorillas every day. You are required to put on tracking gears like the rain jacket, sturdy pair of walking shoes/boots,
Garden gloves for protection against the stinging nettle, bottled water and sometimes packed lunch since tracking is unpredictable it can go from a half to full day in the jungle while searching for our relatives,so a reasonable degree of fitness is called for.
Mountain gorilla facts
Mountain gorillas are regarded as the second close relative of man after the chimps which shares almost 97% of human DNA make up and it’s considered the largest member of the great ape family. An adult male silverback, which age from 12 and above can weigh up to 470 pounds and reach six feet in height.
They live in family groupings which range from 6-35 members and the group consists of a dominant male called a silverback because of the grey hair which grow around its back, it leads the group and it’s the one responsible for any activity in the group including where to sleep the following night, direct the group where to feed from, defends the group against any attack together with other group members and even if meaning losing life a silverback can do in order to defend the group. Other members in a family include few subordinate males and multiple females and kids. They majorly feed on leaves, plants, and fruits aunts and rarely drink water since most of the food they consume contains too much water.
There major threats are human who practice deforestation to generate farmland leaving them homeless and also the act of poaching for trade meat and medicine. Also other wild animals like leopard also attack and kill them, and also snares set for other animals kill gorillas. Eco-tourism, however, has become an important source of revenue for the local people and a vital conservation tool, and not only to the locals but the government too has generated a lot of revenue as over 80% of travelers to Rwanda enjoy this activity, however much a gorillas permit cost usd750 still it attracts more people to go for it. Many travelers in the world can’t wait to go for this magical experience, many have left their homes and offices to come to this small but gifted African country to spend at least one or two days in the wild while watching these rare species in their natural habitat, indeed Rwanda is a must-visit country. Come we take you to wild and enjoy this magical experience with these endangered and attractive to watch species.Read More
Just like any other journey, a gorilla trekking safari requires good and prior planning. Sometimes, a sucessful safari requires planning well in advance atleast a year before the travel dates you intend to take a holiday. Are you looking to taking a gorilla trek? Here are the things you should know so that you can easily plan a great safari to the gorillas in Africa.
When to go gorilla trekking
Gorilla trekking safaris can be done throughout the year. The hiking itself can be more arduous in the rainy seasons from April – May and in November, but at an altitude of 2000m and more, it can of course rain here at any time of the year. For more detail, see Rwanda’s climate.
The most popular times for gorilla tracking are during the drier months, between December and February, and from about June to mid-September.
Permits for gorilla trekking
Inevitably, securing permits for trekking gorillas over these popular periods can be difficult at short notice, so you should plan well ahead. We will make all the arrangements for buying your permits. A maximum of 80 gorilla tracking permits are available each day. Permits cost US$750 per person per visit, which may seem a lot but don’t begrudge it; this money provides Rwanda with a compelling economic reason to conserve the park and, amongst other things, pays for a 24-hour guard for each gorilla group. (Armed teams constantly track each habituated group – like royal bodyguards in the UK!).
There is some talk of reducing the cost of gorilla permits in the future during the low, rainy season so contact us for further information on this if you’re thinking of taking a gorilla trekking safari in April, May and November.
How fit do I need to be to track gorillas?
You don’t have to be super-fit for a gorilla tracking safari but it does help if you have a general level of fitness, if only to enhance your overall enjoyment of the experience. Walking will be at a slow pace with time for breaks if needed. Depending on which group you track, and the time of year you go (gorillas tend to move down the mountains in the rains), you might find yourself walking on some pretty steep slopes for several hours. On the other hand, you could reach your group after a 30-minute stroll. It’s best to prepare for the most active option however, and if nothing else, a few hill walks before you leave would be beneficial.
The gorilla trekking experience in Volcanoes National Park
Whilst a gorilla safari in Rwanda is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you, the staff at Volcanoes National Park have been doing this for several years and run a very smooth operation, hence treks to the mountain gorillas are well-organized and clearly structured.
What it’s like on a gorilla trekking safari
On the day of your gorilla trekking, you’ll set off very early in the morning to track to the apes from the edge of the forest. Your driver/guide will take you from your lodge (see places to stay in Volcanoes National Park) to the park headquarters in Kinigi village. The guides here speak excellent English and are very good. They will be taking you to a specific group of ‘habituated’ mountain gorillas, which they know well and are used to human visitors.
You’ll be divided into parties of 8 and after a briefing on safety and gorilla trekking etiquette, you’ll be driven to the start of the trail to reach your mountain gorilla group. Your guide will then lead you along generally clear paths up into the forest, in radio communication with the trackers that stay with the group so that they can be located. The altitude is over 2,500m, so although the pace is unhurried, the hike is tiring and can be steep in parts, taking from 30 minutes to a few hours. Don’t be surprised if you feel a bit breathless at this altitude – this is perfectly normal.
Most trekkers are a little apprehensive – a large silverback male gorilla can weigh up to 200kg, or three times the weight of the average man, but the apprehension usually vanishes when you see the group. Often the gorillas will be spread around a small area of dense vegetation. They’ll continue with their feeding and interactions, nonchalant about their visitors, though watching you with interest. Occasionally one, often a playful youngster, will approach you with curiosity – sometimes coming so close that you’ll have to move away.
Gorilla tracking etiquette
Mountain gorillas share 98% of our DNA and as such are very susceptible to catching human infections, particularly respiratory ones, but they don’t have our immune system to deal with them – a common cold could eventually prove life-threatening. Various rules for gorilla trekking are therefore in place to help protect these precious primates.
Only one group of tourists can visit the mountain gorillas each day and once you’ve found them, you’ll have just one precious hour in their company. If you have a cold, flu or other contagious infection, you shouldn’t go gorilla trekking.
You should keep a distance of 7m from the gorillas, although of course the gorillas themselves are unaware of this and will often get very close, in which case you should try to move away.
When you’re with your group, you should try not to make sudden movements and to keep your voices low so that the group remains relaxed. Although these mountain gorillas are now used to seeing people, do bear in mind that they are still wild animals and can sometimes react unexpectedly, so always heed your guide’s and trackers’ instructions.
You won’t be allowed to eat or drink when you’re with the gorillas.
What kit should you take for a gorilla trekking safari?
Paths on gorilla treks can be slippery, muddy and steep so sturdy walking boots are essential. Some people take thick gardening gloves because of the brambles and nettles en route and you should wear long trousers rather than shorts. A waterproof jacket may come in handy and take some water and a snack in case it’s a long trek. You might also find a walking stick or pole helpful.
For a small fee, porters are available at the trailheads to carry your backpacks and offer a hand during tricky parts of the hike. Even if you don’t really need them, hiring a porter is a helpful way to contribute directly to the local economy and chatting to them en route can enhance your experience both of local life and of your gorilla trek.
Photography on a gorilla trekking safari
If you’re a keen photographer, taking your own pictures of mountain gorillas is one of the most magical photo sessions you’ll ever experience. Do bear in mind that the light can be poor in the rainforest and that use of flash is not permitted. You might also need to protect your camera against heavy rain.Read More