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Exploring Uganda with a Rooftop Tent

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Rooftop Tent Hire in Africa

Exploring Uganda, the Pearl of Africa by a 4X4 self-drive with a rooftop Tent is one of the most exciting adventures for any nature lover. This beautiful country is popular for its jaw-dropping landscapes and scenery, rich cultures and traditions, diverse wildlife, and bird species which make any self-drive trip worthwhile.

Why explore Uganda by a 4X4 Self-drive with a rooftop Tent?

One of the exciting reasons why you need to explore Uganda by a 4X4 self-drive vehicle with a rooftop tent is the fact that you have the opportunity to Camp in as many locations as your vehicle can take you, even going off the beaten track.

Unlike on-ground Camping, you are kept off the wet ground and mud, as well as free from wildlife, snakes, and even insects when you opt for the rooftop Tent.

Remote Camping is possible with your Uganda self drive, especially in areas where Hotels, Safari Lodges, or Tented Camps aren’t available.

Best safari destinations in Uganda to explore by a 4X4 self-drive with a rooftop Tent

The best safari destinations in Uganda to explore by a 4X4 Self-drive with a rooftop range from the classic wildlife safari Parks such as Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, and Lake Mburo National Parks to the primate destinations like Kibale Forest and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is a wonderful destination to enjoy your 4×4 self-drive safari because it allows visitors to enjoy freedom while exploring the medley of wonders. There are over 95 mammal species and about 600 species of birds to sight here, and game drives are the perfect way to see as many animals as possible. Always look-out for the lions, leopards, Cape buffaloes, African bush elephants, Topis, Defassa waterbucks, Uganda Kobs, bushbucks, Hippos, and spotted hyenas.

A self-drive safari through the magnificent landscapes of Queen Elizabeth National Park, combined with the jaw-dropping display of interesting wildlife species is a second-to-none experience.

Kidepo Valley National Park

A 4X4 self-drive safari through the 1442-square-kilometer Kidepo Valley National Park is the perfect overland adventure, and also the unbeaten way to uncover all the highlights of this Wilderness Area. With some of its remote roads that are less easily accessible during the wet season, this National Park based in the Karamoja sub-region (in Northeastern Uganda) is for adventure seekers and nature lovers.

The majority of the self-drive travelers prefer exploring during the dry season- June to September, and December to February when the roads/paths are less muddy. Also, there are fewer watering points in the Park where animals gather thus providing thrilling game viewing experiences. Vegetation is also shorter during these months hence making it easier to see the animals. There are over 80 mammal species here, and the commonly spotted ones are Uganda Kobs, bushbucks, Jackson’s Hartebeests, Topis, Cape buffaloes, Elephants, Defassa waterbucks, warthogs, lions, and sometimes even cheetahs.

Murchison Falls National Park

Dissected by the Victoria Nile into Northern and Southern sections, the 3840-square-kilometer Murchison Falls National Park has a lot going for it thanks to its 76 mammal species and over 500 avian species. This Park’s main attraction is the breathtaking Murchison Falls, from which the Park was named but most interestingly is the “World’s most powerful waterfalls”.

Murchison Falls National Park has several game tracks that are best explored during 4X4 Self-drive trips. However, you can choose other activities such as hot air balloon tours, guided bush walks, bird watching, sport fishing, or even cultural tours.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

A 4X4 Self-drive trip to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park takes about 8-9 hours with breathtaking sceneries and stopovers along the way. Getting there, a real adventure- Gorilla trekking awaits you. This Park is home to almost half the World’s surviving mountain gorillas and therefore an unmissable safari destination during Uganda safaris. Bird watching, guided forest walks, mountain biking, and community visits are also possible in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Kibale Forest National Park

Another safari destination in Uganda that is geared towards 4X4 self-drive adventures is Kibale Forest National Park, the “Primate Capital of the World”. This 795-square-kilometer is relatively easy to get to in a Rental Car or even your private vehicle from Kampala or Entebbe and is only 6-7 hours away thanks to the well-maintained roads and interesting en-route sceneries (in form of verdant forests, sweeping tea estates, Crater Lakes, rolling hills, and savannah plains) along the way. Chimpanzee tracking, bird watching, and guided forest walks are some of the exciting adventures to enjoy in this National Park.

Factors that Influence the Price of the Rental Car

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Car Rental Cost

It is often hard to be completely objective and determine the rental price for your car just as it should be. We tend to think about how expensive the repairs are, how much time and effort we have invested in it, how much it costs us, how much we spend on insurance, road tax, maintenance etc.

Even more important than making stunning car photos (but don’t get me wrong, they are extremely important) is to determine the right price for your car. Very simple advice would be – please set a lower price for the first rentals and then you can increase it when you have your first rentals, feedback, 5-star ratings and good response time.

Below are factors that influence the rental price of your car

Age of the car

The older the car, the lower the price. Time flies, so sometimes we forget that our car has just turned 10 or 15 years old. Every 5 years the price of car decreases significantly in car rentals. Cars that are less than 5 years old have a higher price, and it won’t differ so much because their age won’t be the decisive aspect. 5 to 10 years old cars have a lower price, and, in case they cost the same or even more than a 5-year-old car, they won’t be rented out because renters can get a newer car for the same price.

When cars are older than 10 years, the price are even lower, yet the fuel efficiency, engine and car type become more important. If the vehicle is older than 30 years and has reached retro status, the price starts to increase again, especially during the summer when there is a demand for such cars for weddings and other events.

Mileage Limit

When looking for car rental, it is essential to understand the mileage that they offer on your desired car rental. While some companies offer unlimited mileage, specific car rental companies provide a limited mileage, after which they begin o charge based on the distance used. We recommend getting this checked first or you may unknowingly have to spend more than planned.

Fuel consumption and engine type

Since the price of fuel is still relatively high, another important thing is fuel consumption. If the renters can save on fuel by renting a slightly more expensive car, they will usually choose the car with lower fuel consumption, so lower fuel consumption might allow you to increase the price. Also, the engine type is important. Diesel engines are favored more than petrol engines, and cars running on LPG are even more complicated because some people avoid these cars, although they can reduce fuel expenses even more.

Car type

Minivans, vans, Toyota land cruiser, extended land cruiser and similar cars can have a higher price than regular cars.

Car brand and model

The brand and the model are also important. Although most cars are not affected by it, the opinions about some brands can influence the car price.

Renters tend to be willing to pay more for German cars since they are believed to be more reliable, while Russian cars, as well as sometimes French and Korean cars are not always seen as trustworthy, so they might require a lower price. However, opinions differ, and each brand has its loyal users and also those who won’t drive it no matter what.

Time of the year

Car rental is a seasonal business, since the demand for rental cars surges in April and shrinks in September. If you increased the price during spring and summer, don’t forget to lower it once autumn comes.

Car photos

Many things are determined by marketing. If you want your car to be rented out, the car must look great in the photos.

Location

The competition in a certain area might also influence the price of the car. Since there are more cars available in Riga, the prices might be slightly lower because the renters will be able to choose from a wider variety of cars and find cheaper options. But keep in mind that the income level is higher in Riga, so even if the competition in your city is much lower, you need to set a reasonable price that the renters will be able to afford.

Insurance and other extras

You can set a higher price if the car has any extras, list them in the car description. Extras usually don’t affect the price of the car, but they might help the renter to decide that your car is the right one for him.

Number of People Traveling

All travelers need to acknowledge that the number of people you are planning to travel with greatly affect the price of your car rental. Therefore, take the courtesy to search for a car that can suit your members on the trip including their luggage and delight in the safe or comfortable tour. If you are a family or group traveler, then automatically you need a larger car like a safari van or minibus and this will be ideal for a wonderful adventure this season. Whilst, if you are solo planning a leisure trip, then you have to think about renting a small-sized vehicle like Toyota Rav4. It’s important to note that the bigger the car, the higher the price and vise-versa.

Company Reputation

Take note that there are many car rental companies available online ready to offer you a guided road trip or self-drive adventure and all these pride in offering a unique car hire service at the best rate. At times what helps you to choose a trustworthy company is the good reviews from past customers?

Booking time

Making your car reservation early helps you choose your favorite rental car at the most affordable price; it also saves you from last-minute panic or inconveniences like highly-priced Tanzania car rental packages because you need the car so urgently. We advise travelers to always book their car rental at least 1-3 months prior to the dates of travel and this gives you chance to save some dollars by getting on a cheaper car rental deal.

Booking Method

Once you choose a rental car to hire in Tanzania online, proceed to make a booking online but get a rental deal with a cancellation policy, this gives you room to keep searching or shopping for other cheaper options online, once you find a better one, you can choose to cancel and re-book with another company at the most favorable rate.

Conclusion

We hope the above factors help you make the right choices when you decide to rent a car in Tanzania for self-drive or driver-guided trip. To book or inquire about the availability of any rental car in Tanzania, simply get in touch with us by sending an email to Car Rental Tanzania.

5 Best Places to See Gorillas in Africa

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Gorilla Charges

“Today nearly half of the world’s 1050 remaining mountain gorillas live in the Virunga Mountains of central Africa, at the intersection of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The volcanic slopes here are lush with tropical forests and diverse mammal, bird, and reptile species but they are also at the heart of a region in crisis.”

Gorilla tracking experience is one of a lifetime experience for every tourist traveling to Africa. These gorillas can be found in the wild, in their natural habitat. They have been well habituated/groomed to accommodate the time to time visits by tourists from all over the world.

Gorilla safaris are apparently operated in five distinct destinations in East Africa in the countries of Uganda (Bwindi impenetrable National Park & Mgahinga Gorilla National Park), Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Virunga National Park & Kahuzi Biega National Park).

Rwanda

For Rwanda gorilla safaris, gorilla trekking is done in Volcanoes National park which part of the Virunga ranges shared with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The volcanoes National park has received visitors from all over the world for various activities that include golden monkey trekking, Hiking safaris to Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke, hike to the Dian Fossey grave for whom her conservation work is credited for the continued survival of the gorillas in this region and above all the most sought after gorilla trekking experience. The Volcano National park in Rwanda is among the top gorilla safari destinations. The volcanoes national park has 10 habituated mountain gorilla families for tourist visits accommodating up to 8 tourists per family per day. The Rwanda Gorilla tracking permit can be purchased at a cost of US$1500 or buy a full Rwanda gorilla trekking safari.

Uganda

In Uganda, probably the biggest mountain gorilla sanctuary in Africa gorilla safaris are undertaken in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. It is regarded as the biggest mountain gorilla sanctuary because there are over 36 gorilla families in this gorilla destination with 13 families habituated for Uganda gorilla trekking safaris. Bwindi impenetrable National park is further subdivided into Rushaga sector (5 gorilla families) in the south, Buhoma Sector (3 gorilla families) in the northern part of Bwindi, Ruhija (3 gorilla families) central in Bwindi Forest and Nkuringo sector (1 gorilla family) also in the southern part of the park. The other gorilla destination in Uganda, Mgahinga gorilla national park has 1 gorilla family. Both Bwindi impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla national parks are not only gorilla habitats but also rich in other fauna and flora. The gorilla tracking permits in Uganda go for $600 per entry permit but a promotion is apparently running for discounted Uganda Gorilla safaris in the months of April, May and November or organize a Uganda gorilla safari with a local tour operator.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Quite unique, the DRC is a destination for both Mountain gorillas in the Virunga National Park and Lowland gorillas in the Kahuzi Biega National park. For quite some time the DRC has been unstable politically but when stable which apparently is the case, is a very exciting gorilla destination. Both of these destinations can be accessed from either Kigali in Rwanda or Kisoro in Uganda through Goma and Bukavu in DRC respectively. The gorilla tracking experiences in both destinations is not any different despite the differing terrain. Virunga national park has 6 habituated gorilla families for gorilla safaris and Kahuzi Biega has 2 habituated gorilla families. The gorilla tracking permits can organized at a cost of $400 per permit.

With all the above destinations, when planning your gorilla safari to the respective country, check your visa requirements, certain vaccination requirements and bear in mind that gorilla permits are sold on first come first serve basis- you have to book your gorilla safari in advance to help you secure your gorilla tracking permit, accommodation space and other safari services. Tourist can also ask us about gorilla permits discounts especially on Uganda Gorilla Trekking permits in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Gahinga gorilla National park.

It is very important to note that the money tourists pay for gorilla safaris not only play a big part in keeping these conservation areas intact but has also enriched the communities around the destinations- they are the immediate beneficiaries in one way or the other. This is manifested by the developmental projects and programs that have taken root in these areas like settlement of the Batwa/pygmies who are the indigenous people that used to share the habitat with gorillas. The Batwa/pygmy experience one of the exciting and entertaining experiences that tourists enjoy in these gorilla destinations. They showcase their culture and tradition through dances and singing and plays in representation of how they used to survive in the forests alongside the gorillas.

These destinations have other exciting activities that range from mountain hiking, cultural experiences, other primates tracking, community tours, forest tours among others that are always options after your gorilla safari adventures and can be done with other destinations for wildlife tours, mountaineering, birding safaris, other primates tracking, cultural tours, safari tours and other safari adventures in the respective East African Countries.

Save the Eastern Lowland Gorillas of DR Congo

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Kahuzi Gorillas

Would you like to experience something different this summer? Why not travel to Eastern Congo and meet the Eastern lowland gorillas? Also known as the Grauer’s gorillas, the plight of these great apes has not been well disseminated globally.

It is estimated that about 4000 eastern lowland gorillas remain in the whole world. This is sad given that in the mid 1990s, the population of these great apes was reported to be about 17,000 individuals.

The eastern lowland gorillas are found in the mountainous-forested regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo and are protected in two national parks; the Kahuzi Biega National Park and Maiko National Park.

They are the largest sub species of the Eastern gorilla and in terms of size, they are the largest of all gorillas. Little has been done to protect these apes from extinction. They posess lots of threats and the most serious threat to the their existence is that they live in the mineral rich region of Eastern Congo.

They are distinguished from other gorillas by their stocky body, large hands, short hair, short teeth and short muzzle. Meeting these gentle giants in their natural world is an experience that tourists have classified as “once in a lifetime” and it qualifies to be the best wildlife safari experience you can ever have on the African continent. Unlike their counterparts; the mountain gorillas, the Eastern lowland gorilla has been less visited and there are few safari companies offering gorilla treks to Kahuzi Biega National Park, the only area where gorilla visits are permitted.

Quick Facts About the Eastern Lowland Gorillas

Despite their size, eastern lowland gorillas feed mainly on leaves and other plants but rarely feed on fruits. The male adult gorilla can weigh up to 272 kilograms but females weigh quite less. Like other species, feeding is done in the early morning after then, they rest in the afternoon and in the early evening as they head to the sleeping site.

When it comes to behaviors, the eastern lowland gorillas live in families ranging from 2-30 individuals. Each family is headed by one silver back that plans and defends for the entire group from any attack as well as females in the family nurse the young ones. The reproductive cycle in the eastern lowland gorilla is quite slow just like other gorilla species. The silver back is the one to mate with all the female adults in the entire family. Each female gives birth to one baby gorilla in about every four years and the baby keeps with the mum for at least 3 to 4 years after which they start moving alone.

Due to increased human activities over the past 50 years, their range has rapidly decreased to 3800 individuals as for 2016 census. This indicates that the rare species are highly endangered, and are at the high risk of extinction. Such a decrease qualifies the gorilla species to be categorized as the critically endangered species and put under the care of the international union conservation of nature (IUCN).

The decrease in the eastern low land gorillas has been due to several factors, which include poaching. This is done by the armed people who fled to seek refuge in the national park due to the civil wars in the democratic republic of Congo. Also local people who entirely depend on the forest for livelihood hunt down the specie for meat and selling.

On top of all, years of civil unrest in the Eastern part of the country have also taken a serious suffering on the gorillas. Throughout the protracted conflicts, gorillas have been vulnerable to poaching. Even Kahuzi-Biega National Park, which is home to the largest population of protected eastern lowland gorillas, could not offer them a safe place. Rebels and poachers invaded the park and people set up illegal mines.

Why Visit the Eastern Lowland Gorillas

There is a great need for lowland gorilla conservation through introduction of properly managed tourism system to aid in the conservation efforts for the critically endangered eastern lowland gorillas in the Kahuzi Biega national park.

There is need for governments, nongovernmental organizations, park managers, local people and travelers to care for the species so as to ensure sustainability. Kahuzi Biega National Park is managed by the ICCN, a Congolese governmental authority that manages all national parks in Congo.

Visit the Eastern Lowland Gorillas

You can help save the eastern lowland gorillas by visiting these great apes in the Kahuzi Biega National Park. Gorilla permits cost US$400 per person and the permit gives you a one hour experience with the apes in their natural wild. There are 6 gorilla families that have been habituated for lowland gorilla tracking.

The revenue generated from the gorilla visits has been used to protect these apes. The funds raised are used by the ICCN to patrol and manage the parks where these gorillas live.

Part of the revenues collected is also shared with the local communities that live near the parks. This has made the locals appreciate the conservation efforts and today they are part of the team that protects these great apes.

It is also important to book your gorilla safari with a local agency so that your visit can benefit the locals. You can also plan your next trip with a responsible tour operator who embraces ecotourism.

Gorilla Tracking in Uganda Vs Rwanda

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Go Gorilla Trekking

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is done in the Virunga Mountains and Close to 600 of the world’s mountain gorilla population is found in the Virunga Mountains, the rest are found in Bwindi impenetrable forest in south western Uganda.

The Advantages of Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda include:

  • Short Driving Distance
  • While on Rwanda gorilla trek you can combine your trip visiting Akagera Wildlife Park and Nyungwe Forest with its Primates and Trails.
  • Cultural encounters are readily available.
  • Better Road Conditions

In the past 5 years more visitors track the endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda than in Uganda

The Challenges of Rwanda gorilla trekking

Cost of Permits in Rwanda USD1500 compared to Uganda at USD700 and within the months of April, May and November, there are discounted gorilla permits of up to USD350 during off-season.

There higher lodging costs around Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park than in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Rwanda is not like Uganda in terms of other wildlife – Uganda is a total African Wildlife Safari Destination with 10 national parks including a good number of national parks that host incredible wildlife including the big five.

Rwanda has less daily Permits than Uganda

Advantages of gorilla trekking in Uganda.

Uganda has more mountain gorillas in Africa compared to Rwanda. The 2012 Gorilla Census reported that Bwindi Impenetrable National Park alone hosts nearly half of the world’s remaining population of the mountain gorillas.

  • Uganda has more habituated mountain gorillas than any other country- 15 habituated gorilla groups are available to be tracked by tourists. There are also 2 gorilla groups that can be visited by tourists interested in gorilla habituation.
  • In Uganda, you can easily acquire a gorilla permit. During the peak season, if you are looking to a last minute gorilla trek, Uganda is the best option to look at.
  • You can fly into Rwanda and track the mountain gorillas in Uganda because it’s a 3-6 hours drive depending on the location of the gorilla group that you have booked.
  • Uganda has cheaper gorilla permits if compared with Rwanda. A gorilla permit in Uganda cost USD600 and therefore you can save US$150. Uganda also gives an opportunity to trekkers in low season at a price of 450usd in the months of April, May, and November.
  • On your gorilla trek, you can get chance of seeing other Uganda primates on a gorilla safari in Bwindi. The forest hosts other primates including chimpanzees.
  • Uganda is More than a Gorilla Safari Destination because it has all the Big 5.

The challenges of Uganda

Long Driving distance and time, unless when one flies into Kigali and drives to Bwindi or flies direct from Entebbe to Bwindi Forest .

Road Conditions in some places need improvement.

At times there very many gorilla trekkers on a particular day.

However in both countries

Gorilla tracking can take a varied length of time depending on the group the group that you are tracking, the general location of the gorilla family, the terrain, weather and a few other factors. Sometimes the tracking will take as short as 30 minutes, other times it will take as long as 6 hours.

As you hike through the gorilla forests, follow the lead of your guide. As you climb up the steep slopes of the volcanoes, and through the forest, you will need to pull yourself up steep paths by grasping onto plant roots, branches, bushes, etc. a walking stick could also come in handy. You will get thirsty, so be sure to carry enough water. The trek through the forest can be tiring but the encounter with the gorillas is worth all the effort.

6 Benefits of Using a Rental Car in Uganda

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Car Hire in Uganda

Today’s world economy of competitors, does not allow companies to monopolize in car renting. Self drive is the most common spoken word if one needs to experience nature at its best in Uganda. Uganda having an ocean of car rental agencies providing different services like air conditioned cars, Mp3 system, mobile phones with sim cards, tour guides and travel guide books that inspire more about Uganda on a self drive safari. Also you have a chance to spectate through the beautiful and lush green rolling hills of Uganda feeling the comfort zone being behind the wheels of the rented car in Uganda accompanied by the bumpy humps on the surfaced roads of the country side. One requires relaxing and taking in the fresh breeze from the mist covered rain forests. Most self-independent travellers are advised to book early for the car rentals in order not to hassle on arrival at the airport looking for car agencies in Uganda. Share with us tips and benefits of hiring a car whether for guided or self drive in Uganda, the pearl of Africa.

Affordable Rental Costs

Given the number of car rental agencies in Uganda, the cost of hiring a car tends to slumber little bit down due to competition but this does not mean that you will not get quality serviced cars.Depending on the kind of vehicle you prefer, the price normally ranges  from USD45 to USD200  with a variety of cars ranging from super custom van, Toyota land cruisers, Rav4s, Nissan Patrols all feasible to your preferred tour destination, custom made to suite your travel needs and travel companions.

Availability and different types of cars

Car rental agencies give you a wide range of options to choose from, be it custom made,manual or auto transmission ,luxury cars, budget and shoe string, high class just name it.Toyota rav4, Nissan patrol, Toyota land cruisers, customized jeeps, extended land cruisers, minivan super custom vans are the commonly used cars however the luxurious land cruisers and jeeps are also at your service.

Insurance

Self-drive cars are in most cases in good service and comprehensively insured to help the travellers in case of any accident relating the company’s insurance policy. Renting an insured car in Uganda reduces the costs of importing your own car that will need insurance again when you reach Uganda. However you should use the car as yours to maximum care given the insurance terms on payments.  In cases circumstances anything happened while driving like head on collision, the insurance only pays when you have been extra care full or after the insurance company investigations. Most of this insurance only caters for the car and third parties so you are advised to have your travel medical and life insurance with you.

Privacy on a self-drive

As we travel, we all think of enjoying our self drive trip to the maximum and this cannot happen in the company of a guide thus when self driving. Privacy is one thing you are assured to have as you enjoy the nature of Uganda’s tropical rain forests and wildlife. The privacy and freedom,one could feel traveling with family on a self drive safari and this option presents the freedom to enjoy an inspirational journey in Uganda’s

Choice of self-drive car in Uganda

Rental cars provide with you options of self-drive or guided trips travelling through preferred destinations  in Uganda. However self drive is the best option touring around the pearl of Africa which gives you more options to stop at preferred shopping Centers, markets or eye catching impressions through Uganda. When given a chauffeur, this will limit stop overs at your preferred Centre along the journey due suggestions and advice provided by him. Lastly but not least,hiring a car in a foreign country is the best way to go if you prefer traveling privately or require services of a driver. You can get in touch with some of the legit car rental companies like Car rental Uganda, road trip Uganda and Auto Rental Uganda as some of the best and reliable companies recommended.

The Success Of Gorilla Tourism in East Africa

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Gorilla Tourism

The success of Gorilla Tourism in East Africa has been attributed to a number of factors.  In Uganda and Rwanda, gorillas are stable while in the Democratic republic of Congo, they are  relatively unstable. With quite a broad client base the demand has been higher than the availability of permits and the good accessibility of the gorillas is an advantage. Rwanda being a small country, it takes 2:30 hours from Kigali the capital city to rich Volcanoes National Park where gorilla trekking expeditions take place.

On the other hand, in Uganda it will take over six hours to reach Bwindi or Mgahinga gorilla national park from Kampala the capital city. There are viable tourists assets   which are necessary but not very sufficient, requiring more infrastructure and to be set up in Rwanda.

The Virunga mountain gorilla represents an Isolated Island of Island population in an upland area which is surrounded by sea of humanity at some of humanity at some of the highest human densities found on the African continent. Employment opportunities have been offered to the people of Rwanda.  The local community have been  have been employed as guides, trackers and ant poachers while some privately tour operators have offered community based tourism activities including stays with local family, village walks, banana beer production or even volunteering opportunities in the local communities. As compared to other countries, Rwanda has shown a strong commitment to promote the tourism sector and have developed a clear tourism strategy and a marketed destination.  A private sector was involved in the policy sector and dialogue and generally have improved the country’s business environment.

Mountain Gorillas are severely threatened by anthropogenic disturbance such as    need for agricultural expansion and illegal extraction of resources. Until recent, mountain Gorillas are not hunted down for meat as it was before. Many Mountain Gorillas were killed and other wounded with other groups disintegrating as a result. This resulted in high demand to trap infants which were taken on the black market in the Virunga range. Illegal hunting was mainly motivated by meeting subsistence needs for the poorest people around the Virunga National Park and this pressure presently represents the greatest threat to the survival of the mountain gorilla and the integrity of their habitat.

A prerequisite is the relative ease of habituating Mountain Gorillas facilitated by the temperate climate. A sustainable Tourism development plan was   designed by the republic of Rwanda with the support of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. The Virunga mountain gorilla represent an isolated island population in an upland area surrounded by a sea humanity at some of the highest human densities found on the African continent.

There has been a focus of contemporary conservation strategies where the local communities have persistently addresses the local welfare needs to mitigate some of the poverty related conservation threats. This has combined the conservation with the local development through the integrated conservation and development projects. The communities in Rwanda are involved in gorilla tourism in the following ways including; creation of a department for community conservation which is aimed at working with the local education and social infrastructure projects.

The republic of Rwanda has initiated revenue sharing scheme whereby 5 percent of tourism revenues from the park fees are injected into local community projects around the national parks. This has been made possible to ensure that the local people consider the parks as one of their own and it is not known what proportion is shared with revenue represents the budget of the local councils.

Gorilla Trekking in DR Congo

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Iconic Virunga Volcanoes

Gorilla tourism in Democratic Republic of Congo takes place in Virunga National Park home to over 250 habituated mountain gorillas and is the Congo potion of the Virunga conservation region shared by Mgahinga national park in Uganda and Volcanoes national park in Rwanda. All 3 countries are directly inter joined by the Virunga massif.

Less explored and feared by many Africa travelers because of her past insecurities, Congo today is a very safe destination currently taking visitors to visit Eastern part of Congo rich with some of the best spots to visit in Africa.

Congo’s Virunga national park is home to 8 habituated gorilla families available for tracking all year round. Just like all 3 locations in central and east Africa where gorilla tourism takes place. Gorilla safaris in Eastern Congo are strictly run gorilla conservation project based on gorilla protection and safety. The guide, trackers, armed guards (to protect against threatening elephants) and porters lead visitors to where a family of the gorillas is located.

Gorilla Trekking in Congo DR

Despite the civil war that crowded the country for long, Congo is appreciating value of security and is currently a peaceful country. Gorilla conservation is at the forehand as the country bounces back to normal and although lots of efforts are required for gorilla conservation, the country is doing what they can to protect the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

Gorilla Permits into Congo cost $400 Per Person, which today stands as the cheapest option to see gorillas in their natural habitat. Uganda’s gorilla permits goes for $700 while Rwanda’s gorilla permits goes for $1000 Per Person. Congo gorilla trekking offers a cheaper alternative for tourists to meet the rare mountain gorillas and fulfill a life time adventure.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is a land of diversity and is indeed one of the best spots for action packed adventure in Africa. Congo is the place where you can view the world’s largest active lava lake of the Nyiragongo volcano. Hiking tours to the top of mount Nyiragongo are done daily with overnight at the top of the Volcano. Congo is the only country which offers both mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas which can be tracked in Kahuzi Biega national park.

Packing for gorilla trekking

Virunga National Park offers moderate hikes in the jungle forest with through bushes, trees and vines You need a walking stick (s) available at the part offices, good hiking boots, plan for rain, long sleeve shirt is useful when walking in the forest parts, park at least 3 L of water, a snuck, long pants, long socks which you tuck in your pants to prevent insect bites), gloves because if lots of thorns in the forest, hire a porter (available at starting point), take cash to tip the guides.

Accommodation near gorilla trekking areas

Accommodations available include: Mikeno Lodge, Bukima Lodge – super luxury accommodations in the heart of Virunga national park, and can sleep in Goma at Hotel Cap Kivu, Lac Kivu Lodge, and Ihusi Hotel.

Cost of Congo Gorilla permits

Those planning to track mountain gorillas in Virunga national park, you are advised to book with one of the best local tour operators and the Congo gorilla permits costs ($400) per person. Mountain gorillas can also be found in Uganda where a gorilla permit is $700 in high season and $700 in low season. For Rwanda, the gorilla permit is sold at $ 1500 for both high season and Low season.

What to Expect On A Gorilla Trip To Congo

Every sight seer should head out on their Congo safari knowing what they hope to discover. The long and uncomfortable journey on plane, in the 4x4s and the pirogues makes this a worthwhile experience not easily forgotten. Congo is an ever- stabilizing state in the world and it is likely to become more and more accessible and popular to the tourists who seek true African authenticity. Thus the time to visit is now.

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda Volcanoes

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Volcanoes National Park

Rwanda is one of the best destinations for gorilla trekking in Africa. You get to trek the gentle giants from Volcanoes National park. Fly into Kigali Rwanda for your Ultimate primate contest where we meet you to transfer you to the first event of your Gorilla challenge with in Volcanoes National park. The main venue for this once a life time experience are the Rwanda Volcanoes with twelve gorilla families to track up to the Virunga Volcanoes. The rest of the destinations where the mountain gorillas are found include; Mgahinga Gorilla National park, and Bwindi impenetrable National park.

The things you need to know about your eventual gorilla experience in Rwanda; the gorilla permits will have to be gotten for you and they cost US$1500 throughout the year. You can also use moderate to up market lodging to get great rest after the treks. The drive times are minimal if you fly into Kigali; there are also direct flights that can be taken with Rwanda Air directly from London. The drive time to Volcanoes National park in Rwanda is only 3 hours to reach Ruhengeri from Kigali.

The adds on to your gorilla challenge in Rwanda include; Nyungwe Forest National Park, were there are hiking trails abound and you can also trek the chimps and large groups of Black and white colobus , and the canopy forest walk which is the only one found in East Africa. Akagera National park is where you can view the big five in Rwanda’s only savannah park. Get to relax and chill out along Lake Kivu, the costa del sol of Rwanda. The Gishwati-Mukura forest which is Rwanda‘s newest park where you can view a forest being reborn and restored to its former glory.

How to qualify for the ultimate gorilla challenge? Sign up for the eventual gorilla trekking safari challenge with our company and we will handle all the details. Get into the reasonable fitness for the challenge before you arrive, this needs daily walks that will help you prepare yourself. Send the passport scan to our email along with a down payment that covers the purchase of the permit.

The Virunga Volcanoes Hike in Rwanda

There is more to Volcanoes National park than the mountain gorillas and the golden monkeys that tourists track here. There is hiking and volcano climbing, the visit to the ancient and magical forests, caves, the lakes and many more. The activities are endless here for the outdoor lovers, we will find this close to heaven as he climbs some of the volcanoes he will be, and this is a great place for those who would like to explore Volcanoes beyond mountain gorillas and golden monkeys.

A tourist can easily spend a week in and around Volcanoes National park in Rwanda, in case you are into outdoor adventurism, volcanoes are the place for you to adventure and explore. The park offers the hikes and climbs as an add on to our safaris in Rwanda.

The Ngezi Lake trail: this is the shortest hike in Volcanoes National park. The Ngezi Lake is the smallest scenic shallow crater that takes 3 to 4 hours round trip you are escorted by a park ranger along the trail you see the birds and monkeys. The lake is a birding area and home to a number of sought after birds and one of them is Grauer’s swamp warbler. There are also some scenic views into DRC and its Virunga Volcanoes National park and its endless forest. this lake trail offers you a taste of the virunga Volcanoes foothills, acrater lake, the scenic views that are near and far, the wildlife, monkeys, and the birds which are a taste of the Virunga Volcanoes in Volcanoes National park in Rwanda.

Hiking Mount Visoke (Mount Bisoke); the elevation of mount Bisoke at the summit is 3700 meters above sea level. Mount Visoke happens to appear as what most consider the perfect volcano from the base of the mountain. Just at the top of mount Visoke, there is a very beautiful crater lake that awaits you, this is one of the most demanding climb, though many could find it very tough hike due to the elevation and some steep stretches along the trail.

Mount Visoke is both in Rwanda and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, however the summit and its crater lake is all in Rwanda. You will pass through many vegetation zones including the afro montane zone with its unique plants like the large lobelias. The ascending takes 3hours and the round trip is 5 hours or longer depending on you. The guides will accompany you and porter service is available. You have a hearty lunch that will be packed and plenty of water for the hike. You might need the sturdy boots, long trousers, the long sleeved shirts, rain jacket, day pack, hat and many more that is used on the hikes. The scenic views along the hike, hike will be the most stunning and that that adventure up to the summit of mount Visoke, just enjoy it.

Open letter on the Xenophobic, Racist and Inhuman Treatment of Africans in China

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Together with our member networks, more than 300 African civil society organisations (CSOs), and African citizens, we sent an open letter to the African Union Commission Chairperson, H.E Moussa Faki. In the letter, we call on the African Union and African leaders to demand a complete investigation and immediate remedial action for the inhuman and xenophobic treatment  of Africans living in China in the context of COVID-19. Read the letter below

To: H.E Moussa Faki

The Chairperson, African Union Commission

P.O. Box P.O. Box 3243, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

13 April 2020

Your Excellency,

We present our compliments to Your Excellency. The undersigned Peoples represent a broad cross-section of the citizens of the African Union (AU) and include civil society organisations (CSOs), women organisations and feminist movements, labour and students movements, youth organisations, professional associations, lawyers, judges, academicians, business people, clergy, artists, activists and journalists.

We note with appreciation the AU’s commitment to the continued transforming of the AU from a union of governments to a genuine union of African peoples that values popular participation and ownership by African peoples.

We further appreciate the AU’s commitment to ensuring that Africa is socially, politically and economically integrated. That the continent speaks with one voice in global affairs. We understand the basis and values of partnership that the drive AU Agenda 2063, including the values of equality, mutual accountability, reciprocity and solidarity. In this regard and given the excellent relationship the AU and majority of its member states have so far enjoyed with China, we want to register our most profound concern and strongly condemn the recent acts of discrimination, xenophobia and racism against the Africans in China.

We welcome the statements of the African Group of Ambassadors in Beijing and reactions from different African governments and your good offices in this regard. There is a need to transform these statements into practical action that puts an end to the horrendous dehumanisation of Africans in China.

Your Excellency, Chinese authorities are allegedly forcefully testing, quarantining and inhumanely treating African people in Guangdong Province in particular. This discrimination and stigmatisation of Africans include being made to undergo epidemic investigation and Nucleic Acid Test forcefully. The Africans have also been subjected to fourteen (14) days quarantine even if they have not travelled outside their jurisdictions or come into contact with infected persons, or had close contact or showing any symptoms of the COVID-19. This treatment is in violation of international human rights laws and principles. It is inhuman and against all principles of dignity and shared humanity that should ideally guide China-Africa relations. Singling out only Africans is a xenophobic and racist act contrary to the spirit of FOCAC 8.

Your Excellency, Africa’s strong cooperation economic ties with China, should not thrive at the cost of human rights and human dignity. These are the core principles of our Constitutive Act 2000.

Your Excellency, these despicable events and other recurrent complaints regarding illicit activities by Chinese businesses in Africa now demand that the framework of cooperation establish clear standards of mutual accountability. Such standards of accountability must be formulated with active participation of African citizens. We believe that without strong mutual accountability frameworks, the message of solidarity preached by China towards Africans, will ring hollow. The participation of African people in defining the framework of partnership will ensure that going forward China-Africa partnership has a human face and is reflected in Chinese business conduct in Africa and our mutual solidarity is also a reality reflected on the streets of Chinese cities and provinces.

Your Excellency, a participatory and inclusive framework of partnership that reflects the Accra, Busan and Mexico principles will place human and peoples’ rights at the centre. This framework will address the imbalance in trade; ballooning debt; restrain dumping of inferior quality goods by strengthening standards monitoring and control illicit financial outflows and corrupt practices by Chinese businesses operating in Africa. These decisive interventions are critical to preserve the dignity of Africa and its people.

Your Excellency, the AU has done well by officially protesting to its Chinese counterparts. We now urge your good offices and African leaders to demand a full and independent investigation into the violations referred to above and immediate remedial action is taken. At the very least, we believe that the spirit of solidarity and partnership demands that China apologises and makes good the grave offence to the African Peoples’. We believe that China understands that we, as African people, deserve respect and equal treatment.

We remain, at your disposal to respond to any additional queries that you may have via Hassan Shire Hassans@defenddefenders.org, phone +256772752752 or Fatou Diagne panafrica@defenddefenders.org phone +221773335845 or Arnold Tsunga atsunga@southernafricadefenders.africa, phone +27716405926. We take this opportunity to reassure Your Excellency of our highest considerations once again.