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Top 10 Things to Do in Rwanda

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Rwanda is one of the smallest countries in Africa located in East Africa and borders Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo. Rwanda is rugged with various hills, the reason she is called a country of a thousand hills.

Rwanda covers a of 26,338 square kilometers, with a population of about 12 million people. The country’s population is divided between 3 different tribes; the Tutsi, who are the minority, the Hutu who are the majority and the Batwa who have a smallest population.

Rwanda is a landlocked, lying 75 miles south of the equator in the Tropic of Capricorn, 880 miles ’as the crow flies’ west of the Indian Ocean and 1,250 miles east of the Atlantic Ocean which makes her the heart of Africa.  The country is covered with water bodies which include 23 lakes and numerous rivers, some forming the source of the River Nile.

The country is largely on a high altitude with the highest point being the peak of Mount Karisimbi which lies at 4519 meters above sea level and the lowest point is at Rusizi River at 950 meters above sea level.

According to All About Rwanda, this small country faced a gruesome genocide in 1994 that saw over 800000 people dead most of who were the minority Tutsi and a few sympathetic Hutu. This genocide was orchestrated by the Hutu who were then in the ruling government and was against the Tutsi who were then fighting the ruling government. The genocide that lasted 100 days was sparked when the plane that was carrying the then president Juvenal Habyarimana was brought down in Kigali and he died there together with the then Burundi’s president as they returned from Tanzania from peace talks.

Rwanda has various tourist attractions which include animals of the wild that protected from poachers and roam free in the vast national parks, the Mountains with great scenery, the genocide memorials, cultural museums, cultural and nature walks. Listed below are the ten tourist attractions you cannot miss while on Rwanda tour.

  1. Gorilla Tracking
    One of the most exciting experiences in the world is gorilla tracking and this is done in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda. This involves trekking in the mountainous forest in search of the gorillas. Gorillas are the most exciting primates that share 98% DNA with humans making them the closest relatives to human beings. These animals live in groups headed by a dominant male called a silverback. Each family is visited by a maximum number of 8 people per day and there are 10 habituated gorilla families.
  2. Chimpanzee tracking
    Chimpanzees are the other exciting primates after the gorillas. The chimpanzees are also closer to human beings and research shows they share 99% DNA with human beings. The chimpanzees live in Forests and feed on leaves, fruits, insects and even fresh! In Rwanda, the chimpanzees live in Nyungwe Forest National park which is located in Southern Rwanda bordering Burundi. The forest Covers over 1000 square kilometers and is one of the world’s most beautiful and pristine mountain rain forests and Africa’s oldest ever green forest, Apart from the chimpanzees, Nyungwe Forest national park is a home to other 12 primate species including a 400-strong troop of habituated Ruwenzori Black & White Colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, baboons, blue hoerst monkeys.. The forest is also a birder’s paradise with over 300 species, including 16 endemics, and is home to 75 different species of mammal.
  1. Colobus monkey tracking
    Like chimpanzee tracking, colobus monkey tracking is done in Nyungwe forest national park. Colobus monkeys are also one of the rare monkey species and most of the world’s remaining colobus monkeys can be found in the forest. This therefore makes colobus monkey tracking in Rwanda one of the most exciting adventures.
  1. Forest Canopy walk
    This is done in Nyungwe Forest National Park as well. Scenic as it is, the canopy was constructed on top of the forest and the walk on this platform offers a great opportunity to explore the entire Nyungwe forest from top. This offers an opportunity for close eye level contact with the birds, see the waterfalls in Nyungwe Forest. Nyungwe Forest canopy walk is one of the exciting forest canopy walks in Africa.
  1. Bird watching is one of the thought after tourist attractions in the world. Among the world’s birding spots is Rwanda. Rwanda has 728 bird species 29 of which are endemic to montane rain forest and Rift Valley of which Rwanda forms part. Birding is done in Nyungwe Forest National park, Volcanoes National park, Akagera forest National park, Congo Nile trail among others.
  1. Golden Monkey Tracking
    Golden monkeys are endangered monkey specie only found in the virunga mountain ranges with many monkeys living in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda. The golden monkeys live in groups of 30 members and above and feed on leaves, stem and fruits and sometimes insects. These monkeys are so playful and interesting to watch. Golden monkey tracking in volcanoes national park in Rwanda therefore makes it an interesting tourist activity.
  1. Cultural walks
    Rwanda has a unique culture that is so entertaining. There is also many cultural heritages to visit which includes the national museum in Butare, Nyanza palace, the Belgium museum, the intore cultural dancers. There are Batwa in Rwanda who have a unique tradition and learning about their way of life is interesting.
  1. Historical and educational tours
    Rwanda is a country of history ranging. Rwanda’s genocide is one of the historic genocides in the world and may tourists will come to learn about history of mankind which includes conflict and conflict resolution. There are several genocide memorials set up across the country which include Gisozi memorial museum, Nyamata church, Ntarama church, Murambi genocide memorial among others. When you visit these sites, one will learn more about the effects of human conflicts. There is also Dian Fossey grave site in volcanoes national park and tourists always hike to her grave site to pay her respect and also learn more about her historic work of conserving the lives of the mountain gorillas which were under threat from poachers and she was assassinated as a result of her noble effort.
  1. Rwanda has three volcanic mountains that form part of the Virunga mountain ranges. These include Mt.Karisimbi, Mt.Bisoke, Mt.Muhabura. These mountains are all scenic in their nature and for hiking adventure lovers, these are a must hike. The crater lake on top of Mt.Bisoke is so fascinating and hiking Mt.Bisoke can be done in a day. Mt.Karisimbi can be hiked with in two days and the hike to Mt.Muhabura.
  1. Game drive and boat cruise
    Like most African countries are famous for, Rwanda has one of the most scenic savanna park. Akagera National Park located in the eastern part of Rwanda forms part of Rwanda’s flat land with great savanna. The park has various game that include Zebras, lion, elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, impalas, bush bucks which are best seen during game drive. Other game includes hippos, crocodiles which are seen during a boat cruise on Lake Ihema which is within the park.

Go Gorilla Trekking: Uganda Vs Rwanda

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Gorilla Trekking Guide

A trek to view the critically endangered mountain gorillas in the wild is incomparably the rarest experience that comes once in a life time. Whereas gorilla trekking has become the world’s most sought after and repaying adventures to trekkers on safaris to Africa, there is ongoing debate about where to go to trek these charismatic wild creatures.

Most travelers have found it challenging to choose between gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda and hence questions such as which is the best destination to go for a gorilla trek Uganda or Rwanda? Which is more viable or cheaper – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Volcanoes National Park, which is easier to access? Is trekking gorilla in Uganda better than Rwanda? The Great apes are inhabited in only three countries; Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), however due to the insecurities in DR Congo, gorilla trekking has not been as vibrant as that in Uganda and Rwanda.

With not more than 900 individuals that are still thriving in the world, about 480 of the gorillas live in Uganda while the rest are shared between Rwanda and DR Congo. Visitors who have visited gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda have had varied views some of which are not realistic but all in all it is what they experienced. We would like to compare between gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda and ascertain which is one better than the other. There are numerous factors that we want to use to make comparisons between the two destinations as explained below;

Accessibility to Uganda and Rwanda

Most gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda are only conducted in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in the Southwestern part of the country. For trekkers to access these destinations means they have spend nearly 9-10 hours drive from Kampala city while trekkers to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda can send about two and half hours driving from Kigali International Park which puts Rwanda at a higher comparative advantage. However, while traveling to Bwindi or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, visitors have higher chances of getting pre-trekking experiences along the way. Visitors can make a stop at the Equator at Lake Mburo or Queen Elizabeth National Park. At Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area, visitors have opportunity to sight at the rare tree climbing Lions at Ishasha sector as well as the general scenic beauty of the area which isn’t a case with Rwanda.

Gorilla trekking permits

To trek mountain gorillas in any of the ten habituated groups, the cost of permits is $1500 per person and it applies to all categories of visitors whereas in Uganda gorilla permits are obtainable at $600 per person for foreign non residents, $500 for foreign residents and shs.250000 for East African residents and this is relatively cheaper compared to Rwanda. Besides, during the low season Uganda Wildlife Authority issues discounted permits at $450 for foreign non residents, $400 for foreign residents and shs.150000 for East African residents and this applies in the months of April, May and November. We realize that Rwanda’s main challenge leis in the cost of gorilla permits.

Gorilla trekking experience in Uganda and Rwanda

Uganda offers visitors two options to track the critically endangered mountain gorillas which means that trekkers will visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where over 400 gorillas live representing about half of the Great apes in the world. Therefore there are about 11 habituated gorilla groups that have been set for tourism purposes in Bwindi and as well, there is Gorilla Habituation Experience for trekkers to par take in Bwindi making it the most exceptional protected area in the world. The other option is Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which inhabits about 80 of individuals featuring one habituated family for visitors to realize their dreams. In total, Uganda has 12 gorilla groups set for tourism, meaning a large number of trekkers are not left out choice to realize their dreams. Besides, Uganda has four trailheads where trekking takes place especially in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and they include Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo sector. In Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park is the only place where gorilla trekking is conducted and features ten habituated groups.

However, in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, the gorilla families may be found in distant areas from the park headquarters and involves hiking through he thick vegetation and hilly sides which also comes with challenging adventures but for visitors who can not manage carrying their luggage, there porters to be hired to help relieve you from the heavy luggage. The thick vegetation in Bwindi some times makes it a challenging for trekkers to take pictures of these intelligent Apes in the wild. Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park live within the altitude 2500 meters and beyond offering visitors a higher opportunity to encounter these rare primates and also to take photographs.

The people around the parks

Regardless of the long distances to arrive at gorilla habitat, Uganda is incomparably a cultural melting pot featuring over 60 indigenous languages belonging to 5 varied linguistic groups, and an equally diverse cultural mosaic of music, art and handcraft. Visitors who are planning for their gorilla safaris to Uganda therefore have opportunity to encounter the unique Batwa pygmies as well as the Bakiga around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. The Batwa culture is remarkable on its kind and it is undoubtedly Uganda’s main cultural attraction when you visit the Batwa community. After gorilla adventures in Bwindi or Mgahinga National Park, tourists can also participate in distinct activities such as the Batwa trail, traditional dances, music performances, community walks, forest walks. The sweetest moments of the Batwa trail is when you are caught up in the pitch dark cave, then sweet voices in harmony sizzle from nowhere before the torches are switched welcome you.  The theater stage has cast of children and women dressed on leaves strangulate their vocal chords in praise of the gods, the beautiful girls or past on ancestor. It is in deed authentic African experience not to be missed while on gorilla trekking safari in Uganda. Whereas in Rwanda, it may be hard for you to encounter such exceptional cultural experiences like it is a case in Uganda.

In conclusion, Uganda and Rwanda East Africa’s ultimate mountain gorilla destinations offering the most thrilling experience of a life time. You can visit both Uganda and Rwanda to find out the differences in this life time experiences. However, gorilla trekking in both countries is remarkable on their own as trekkers get varied satisfaction levels of encounters as well as value for their money. You can either travel from Uganda to Rwanda or Rwanda to Uganda.

Why You Should Hire A Private Car On Your Travel In Uganda

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For many years ago, Uganda has been ranked as a highly sought after travel destination in Africa due to its spectacular rolling hills, mysterious relief, verdant vegetation, diverse cultures and warm people. Though the country still holds a very dark history, characterized by the 19th century post-colonial civil wars which impacted negatively on this remarkable country for a period of time, but it was able to emerge dramatically and it is now a celebrated safe and most sought after safari destination in Africa.

Whatever your travel interests in Africa are, be it guided nature safaris, self-drive adventures, road trips or wildlife tours you will definitely come to understand that complete satisfaction is derived when you use a private vehicle to experience all on your own.

Benefits of using Private Car Services in Uganda.

It is highly considered an inconvenient to waste time in waiting, and this is the reason behind the emergency of private cars and diminishing preference for public transportation all over the world as this kind of transportation generally consumes a lot of time. In recent times, private cab services are a boom as they can take you anywhere you wish at reasonable prices and in a shortest period of time. Wherever you want to go, whether an airport transfer, a short city tour, a long holiday to the hidden national parks, etc., there is absolutely no better way than taking a private cab picking you up from your doorstep.

If you dream to have a memorable journey, trying hiring a luxurious sedan or chauffeured limo. The prime benefit lies in the fact that these private cabs, compared to public transportation, are very reliable, affordable and they help you reach your destination on time.

Another benefit of hiring a private car in Uganda is that you can travel in comfort and style without worrying or fighting for space and seats as it is the case ] in public transportation. If you plan to travel by public transportation, you are bound to follow the schedule of the bus or train, which is an inconvenience. However, if you make the same travel using a private car, you can change it anyway you need and make modifications according to your requirements.

You can also rent a private cab to explore your local city. Discovering a new place in relaxed, flexible and comfortable way is a magical experience. Unlike tourist buses, where you are given only limited time to a particular destination, whereas you can stay as long as you desire with a private rental.

Safety and security is a major factor, and this can only be assured when you travel with a private car. In private transportation, most travelers embark on a safari with people whom they are familiar with, like family members and friends.

Though public transportation is relatively cheaper than private hire, however the comfort, safety and freedom that one gets from the latter is unequaled.

With private hire, travelers can have opportunity to interact with their dear ones back home, stopping along the way to take memorable pictures as well as admiring unfamiliar landscape.

Though there many car hire agencies that provide the same services, one has always to be careful when they are making their last decision about the car rental agency to deal with. Remember to the check registration status of the company and their credibility by reading their online reviews, etc.

Choose a car rental company that has stood a test of time, experienced and reputable enough to offer undoubted car rental services in Uganda and all over Africa.

Uganda Self Drive Safari: Why Book Your Car Early?

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Are you interested in self drive safari in Uganda? Self dive trips are by far the most sought after experience by travelers. Booking for a car of your choice is the most important thing that any traveler must do if you are to get the perfect safari experiences in Uganda. We appreciate the availability of internet, booking flights or contacting a tour company is no longer a debatable issue, it only takes you less time to reach to us for any help related to car hire/rental and self drive safaris in Uganda. Why is it important for you to book for your car in advance in Uganda?

Below are reasons;

You will have adequate time to plan for the journey

Booking a tour in advance offers traveler a lot of time to finish all their planning process. Adequate planning of your safari is very vital. It gives tourists ample time to do their shopping for clothes and travel accessories that may be of value for the safari. Make sure that you have your checklist by your side so that you do not leave out anything valuable. You can as well visit in any of Uganda’s local library or book store and spend some money in guidebooks. You can sit down with your family members and start selecting the activities that can excite you while in a safari in Uganda. Booking a car in advance also offers travelers adequate time to organize essentials like getting passports renewed and other vital vaccinations for the safari.

Wide range of choice

There are very many car rental companies in Uganda and by booking for your car in advance the best way for you to weigh different offers from various companies so that you up with the best choice. Equally, the perfect low budget lodges in Uganda usually get booked up during the peak season. Booking in advance means visitors have a lot of time to choose best pocket friendly safari accommodation to spend a night. The most magnificent places in Uganda include Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. These destinations are highly booked during the peak season. You can book for your safari holiday in advance at least few months before traveling.

There are various drivers who are ready at the airport to offer you transport services but the unfortunate bit of it is that, the prices are just crazy with other hidden and inflated costs on your safari for instance parking fees, over time among others. These additional costs in most cases are not too much but will make you inconvenienced and definitely sad especially when your safari becomes expensive more than what you expected. You can only run away from this kind scenarios by simply booking a self drive car in advance or even book it with one driver and have the most fascinating travel experience with us.

It also breaks the assumption that drivers usually have that when you get out of the airport the next thing is to connect to the major city immediately. Since there is no public transport in the airport, at the same time you don’t have any one whom you are waiting for with car, the only alternative is for you to book for your self drive car in advance and it will right there as soon as you step at the airport.

In case you are planning to travel to Uganda it is advisable that you book your car at least 6 months in advance such that when you arrive at the airport, you are in position to find a driver waiting for you. Booking a car rental in Uganda is simpler now with online services and once you arrive at the airport, you get someone holding a paper with your name highlighted, after you will be taken where your booked car is to sign the agreement and you will set off with your car. By so doing you would have saved both money and time.

In conclusion we encourage you to book for your car in advance so that we confirm your booking before you arrive to Entebbe International Airport. This will also assist you on how you can connect from the airport to Kampala and other destinations that might be of interest to you.

5 Reasons to Use Car Rentals

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Way back people would find it very difficult to travel around Rwanda due to the unreliable and inconvenient means of transport that only existed that time. However, trends have changed as there is a new trending travel options in the country that is car rental. Most Rwanda car rentals are being used by very many people around who wish to tour around Rwanda for city tours, gorilla tours, wildlife, family vacations and business and political engagements.

Car rentals in Rwanda have become famous and popular due to their convenient, safe and reliable services that are exclusively offered to the various customers. It is easy to get a car for hire for your travels in Rwanda. Here are the various reasons why people have turned to car rentals;

1. Car rentals present incredible services as they offer wide range of services to their esteem customers. For example they engage in Kigali airport transfers, city tours, family vacations, self drive in Rwanda, honey moon and wedding ceremonies business and political meeting transfer. Any customer in need to use a car for any purpose they are at your service.  Furthermore one is transported in a well conditioned and nice looking car thus traveling in style.

2. They are so fast while offering their services as one is immediately picked at any station like airport he might be then take to his/her preferred destination or hotel in time. There is no queuing up and waiting for the vehicle to take you. It is always in time and you are the only passenger in the car.

3. They are always available 24/7 as they operate 24 hours in a day. You can use them at any time of the day and in any particular place whether remote or urban. So those people taking up gorilla safaris in Rwanda and airport transfer, car rentals is the best traveling option.

4. Car rentals are flexible in the way they offer their services. If a traveler would wish to change his/her travel time, he/she can do that without any inconvenience and no extra cost so long as it is still in line with your reservation time.

5. They also offer independence to their customers as the traveler is the only passenger in the car hire. He/she is free to do whatever he/she likes at any time while traveling. For example the traveler can communicate and also read news on his tablet or phone in the car.

When you happen to travel to Rwanda, do not think of any other transport means other than the car rentals.

Why Gorilla Trekking is Much Loved?

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In Luganda language, Gorillas are called “Bisodde” in Lunyankole-Lukiga, its “Engaji” and other names depending on the tribe. Gorillas are found in forested areas, mountainous areas and so on. Those which prefer staying in low lands are called Lowland Gorillas while those staying in highlands are called Mountain Gorillas.

Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the only homes to the mountain gorillas. These countries host the mountain gorillas in four gazetted national parks of Bwindi Impenetrable National park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda, the Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Gorillas are found in ten countries in Africa. Other African countries hosting the endangered gorillas include Central African Republic, Nigeria, Democratic republic of Congo (DRC), Congo Brazzaville, Angola, Cameroon and Gabon.

Meeting the gorillas eye to eye in the wild is one of the most thrilling wildlife encounters you can enjoy in Africa. Within several countries, gorilla tourism has been developed and tourists can visit the natural habitats where these great apes live and watch them from the wild. This experience commonly referred to as gorilla trekking is a moving experience. Don’t expect a zoo experience given that you will be within the natural home of the great apes without any barrier protecting you.

Looking into the pensive eyes of the gentle giants is such a heart pounding experience. It should be noted that gorillas are more loved for trekking which is evidenced by the large number of tourists yearning to meet them in their natural habitat. Most gorilla watching trips are taken in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic. Within these countries, gorilla trekking is the top tourist activity in each country. Other destinations where you can go for gorilla watching are Gabon, the Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Nigeria.

Of all these destinations, Rwanda is the favorite destination for luxury gorilla treks. For budget and midrange travel, Uganda is the ultimate destination to visit. There are also opportunities to experience a luxury gorilla safari in Uganda.

Gorillas are much loved due to the following reasons:

Gorillas are human like, they are intelligent and somehow similar DNA after chimpanzees. Gorillas exhibits unique characters which are similar to those of human being like formulating organized  families, building shelters, feeding together, hunting together and so on.

Gorillas trekking offers amazing experience – it involves climbing uphill and sloping down the valleys, crossing rivers and so on when trying to look for them in their natural habitat.  The exercise in done in groups under the guidance of rangers who ensures that the trek is enjoyable and informative. In Uganda and Rwanda, each Gorilla group is visited by the maximum of eight people who trek while sharing ideas among others.

Gorilla trekking enable visitors to exercise their bodies- the process of climbing, sloping, jumping over rivers and so on. In other words, the exercise improves human health just like a person from Jim.

Tropical forest in Uganda including Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga Forest offers pure breathing air which is rarely found in urban areas. The forest also offer other tourist attractions like unique tree species, hills and valleys, insects, reptiles and water bodies among others.

Gorillas earn a lot of foreign exchange in countries like Uganda, Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of Congo among others. Currently, Rwanda charges US$ 1500 per Gorilla permits, Uganda charges US$ 600, DR. Congo charges US$ 400 which widens the government tax base of such countries hosting Gorillas.

Gorillas defend themselves in times of danger making them easy to host. Gorillas have predators because they are strong enough to defeat their enemies without the help of human being- in other words, Gorillas are stronger than human beings – it’s estimated that, one Gorilla is equivalent to the strength of ten strong men.

Gorillas are calm if not disturbed – they can only charge when they detected danger. That is why trekkers are argued to follow the rules and regulations governing Gorillas trekking exercise.  It should be noted that, human should leave a reasonable distance in between with Gorillas; Flash cameras should be avoided, when Gorillas charge, better leave.

Gorillas in natural habitat are easy to host because they feed on vegetation, defend themselves in time of attack and look for their young ones among others.

Guide to Gorilla Trekking in Virunga Mountains

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Planning a gorilla trip to Virunga Mountains requires adequate time for you to have a complete and successful holiday. The Virunga Mountains are chain mountains comprising of 8 volcanoes all confined within Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They include Mount Sabyinyo, Bisoke, Karisimbi, Muhabura, Gahinga, Nyiragongo, Nyamuragira and Mount Mikeno. Gorilla safaris in Virunga Mountains are conducted in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in southwestern Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in northwestern Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in eastern DR Congo. Volcanoes National Park, Virunga National Park and Mgahinga National Park make up the vast Virunga Conservation Area (VCA).

In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, gorilla trekking is conducted in Nyakagezi gorilla group the only habituated gorilla family open for tourism in this park. Mgahinga National Park is situated in southwestern Uganda about 8-10 hours’ drive from Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. It inhabits a section of rare mountain gorillas and scenic Virunga Volcanoes like Muhabura, Sabyinyo and Gahinga. Gorilla treks in Mgahinga National Park start at Ntebeko Visitor Center.

Volcanoes National Park is set suitably in northwestern Rwanda about 2 to 3 hours’ drive from Kigali capital city. Most Rwanda gorilla treks into the Volcanoes National Park start from Kinigi park headquarters. Five of the eight Virunga Volcanoes are all found in Volcanoes National Park including Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Sabyinyo and Gahinga.

Mgahinga National Park reachable by road or by air. By road, you need a good 4 wheel drive safari vehicle to help you navigate through the remote route to southwestern side of this magical country and visitors with limited time, plan for a flight which takes you from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield to Kisoro/Kihihi airstrip where you can easily drive in a 4 wheel drive safari car to either Bwindi National Park or Mgahinga National Park.

Gorilla permits

Knowing how much a gorilla permit cost is very critical when planning a gorilla trek in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. In Uganda, gorilla trekking permits cost $600 per person per trek. To obtain your gorilla permit in Uganda, you can get in touch with a trust worthy, reliable and recognized ground tour operator and to avoid last minute rush, simply contact our reservationist and we shall make your dream come true or contact a reservationist at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). A gorilla permit is what allows you to track only 1 habituated family in Uganda in a group of 8 visitors. About 160 gorilla permits are available each day for booking in Uganda but due to high demand, you are encouraged to book one at least 3 to 6 months earlier before the actual trek to avoid any disappointment. In Rwanda, gorilla permits cost $1500 per person (you can purchase one through reservationist at Rwanda Development Board or tour operator) and 400 per person in DR Congo.

Note, to confirm your gorilla permit you should have made complete payment and this means, your details are very essential and you will be required to send monkey to help reserve permit for you. When effecting payment, tour operator will send bank details/account where you will pay and make sure that you include bank charges to avoid less payment that may cause disappointment at a last minute of booking for a permit.

Best time to go for gorilla trekking in Virunga Mountains

Knowing when it is best to trek mountain gorillas is very key when planning a gorilla trip to Virunga National Park. Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park, Mgahinga National Park and Virunga National Park can be done at any time of the year. But it is best explored in the dry months that is June, July, August, September and December, January and February. However, it is also possible for you to trek mountain gorillas during the wet season but this period is characterized by heavy rainfall and muddy slopes which makes it a bit challenging for one to hike through the dense vegetation and slippery steep slopes.

What to carry for gorilla trekking

When planning for a gorilla trek to Virunga Mountains, how you pack plays a significant role. For starters, your packing list should include bottle of water, energy giving snacks, waterproof daypack, rain jackets or poncho, a camera with no flash light, insect repellents, first aid kit, valid visa, passport, gorilla permit, long sleeved shirts or T-shirts, and gardening gloves, hats, sunscreen and others.

Where to stay

When planning a gorilla trip to Virunga Mountains, accommodation is that thing any visitor must put into consideration. There are many accommodation options for your overnight stay in Mgahinga National Park, Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National Park. In Mgahinga National Park they include Mount Gahinga Lodge (Luxury), Travelers’ Rest Hotel Kisoro, Mucha Hotel Kisoro (Midrange) and Amajambere Iwacu Community Camp or Kisoro Tourist Hotel (Budget); in Volcanoes National Park, they include Bisate Lodge, Mount Gorilla View Lodge, Da Vinci; in DR Congo Virunga National Park the best places to stay while on gorilla tour include Lake/Lac Kivu Lodge, Mikeno Lodge, Bukima tented camp, Nyiragongo volcano summit shelters, Lulimbi tented camp and Tchegera Island Camp.

How to get to Virunga Mountains

How you get to Virunga Mountains (Volcanoes National Park, Mgahinga National Park or Virunga National Park) matters a lot when planning a gorilla trip. You can get to Mgahinga National Park by road or air. By road, you need a good 4 wheel drive safari to take you from Kampala or Entebbe through Masaka-Mbarara-Kabale/Kisoro and this can be 8-10 hours’ drive depending on the route or drive from Kigali through Chanika or Katuna border to Kisoro/Kabale about 4 hours’ drive. Alternatively, take a flight from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airfield then land in at Kisoro/Kihihi airstrip where you can easily connect to Mgahinga National Park. Volcanoes National Park is found in the northwestern side of Rwanda about 2 to 3 hours while Virunga National Park is located in eastern DR Congo. Visitors can drive from Rwanda through Uganda connect to Virunga National Park via Kisoro.

Hiring porters and walking sticks. A trek to see mountain gorilla is strenuous and entirely involves hiking through dense vegetation and steep slopes which all requires you to be physically fit. There are many porters for hire at the park headquarters to help you carry heavy luggage and you concentrate in your primate adventure. Porters can be hired at $15 each and walking sticks can be hired at $5 or if you are lucky enough you may find one at a free cost.

The 5 Best Safari Destinations in Africa

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Africa is endowed with some of the best tourist attractions in the world. Here is our list of the best safaris in Africa (in no particular order).

1. Tanzania
Located in East Africa, Tanzania is endowed with some of the most popular African safari attractions; among them Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park. Tanzania is also home to a thriving population of wildlife that inhabit the country’s numerous national parks and reserves – making it home to some of best safaris in Africa.

Top destinations in Tanzania include Zanzibar and Mafia islands, Selous National Park (one of the world’s largest national parks), Ruaha National Park and of course Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro and Serengeti.

Tanzania was ranked 7th in the New York Times’ list of 45 places to visit in 2012.

2. Morocco
If you are looking for the best safari in Africa, Morocco may be your ideal destination. Located at the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea, the country offers breathtaking sceneries and attractions.

The North African country is renowned for its rugged but superb looks, especially the expansive Atlas mountains and the awe-inspiring Sahara desert.

Running between the Atlantic coast in the southwest to the Mediterranean Sea in the northeast (about 2,400km), the Atlas mountains offer a spectacular scenery of Morocco. The Sahara desert is on the other hand a favorite location for many Hollywood movie actors.

Morocco is also endowed with an expansive coastline that boasts 120 high quality beaches, most of which are safe for swimming. Other popular destinations in Morocco include the capital Rabat, Casablanca and the ancient city of Marrakesh.

3. Uganda
Located in East Africa, neighboring Kenya and Tanzania, Uganda is a small but stunning destination. The landlocked country is home to Africa’s largest mountain range – Rwenzori and the highest concentration of primates on earth, among them the endangered mountain gorilla which can be found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Uganda is also the source of River Nile – the longest river in the world, and the country offers some of the world’s best white-water rafting around Jinja. Some of the most popular destinations in Uganda include Rwenzori, Bwindi and Queen Elizabeth national park as well as the capital Kampala, Entebbe and Jinja town. Are you looking to a budget safari in Africa? This is the ultimate destination to visit. Uganda was ranked 1st in the Lonely Planet’s list of the Top Countries for 2012.

4. Namibia
Located in south western Africa, Namibia is endowed with unspoilt landscapes and a thriving population of wild animals.

Despite its harsh climatic conditions, Namibia has some of the world’s most stunning national parks. These include the Namib-Naukluft Park in western Namibia and the Etosha National Park in northwestern region of the country.

Etosha National Park has a huge population of elephants. Etosha National Park (one of the most popular wildlife parks in Africa) has the largest concentration of Namibia’s wild animals that include lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino.

Some of the most popular destinations in Namibia include the spectacular Fish River Canyon National Park to the south, Namib Desert (believed to be the oldest desert in the world), the capital Windhoek and of course Etosha and Namib-Naukluft national parks.

5. Mozambique
Situated in Southern Africa along the Indian Ocean coastline between South Africa and Tanzania, Mozambique is gaining much popularity as a foremost African holiday destination.

Mozambique is endowed with favorable climatic conditions and a 2,500 km coastline that is lined with high quality beaches and lagoons, most of which are safe for swimming.

While on holiday in Mozambique, visitors have the option of spoiling themselves at the expansive beaches or taking game viewing safaris in the country’s national parks and reserves. Mountain hiking is also possible but not recommended due to the large number of landmines that were left in the mountains during the civil war of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Unforgettable Self Driving Tours in Uganda

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Car hire / rental services in Uganda and Rwanda is our area of expertise and anyone who wishes to rent a self-drive car in Rwanda and Uganda should look no further. We possess a variety, including 4×4 safari vans, suitable for vacation tours in Uganda and Rwanda. Our 4×4 safari vans come with pop up roofs, comfortable and flexible seats with enough leg room. Others are 4×4 safari land cruisers, 2×4 mini buses, RV4s, station wagons, among others.

Our agency is well known for providing luxury and commercial affordable car hire services in Uganda and Rwanda, suitable for both leisure and business travelers. Travel to your dream destination across Uganda and Rwanda with our unequaled car rental services. It is not only affordable but also provides a diverse fleet of cars and gives an opportunity for one to select with very knowledgeable and professional divers.

Here are some of the facts why 4×4 self – drive rental cars are more considered for short trips, town runs and even preferred for long overland trips; self – drive 4×4 rental cars from Self Drive Uganda are perfectly maintained and regularly serviced by expert mechanics to prevent any inconveniences while on a trip during your car rental in Uganda. Top destinations to be visited in Uganda on self drive trip include Bwindi impenetrable forest national park , Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls national park & Kidepo Valley National Park.

We also go an extra mile to offer helpful ideas for those visitors who want to plan for a road trip in the countries of Uganda and Rwanda and they can enjoy themselves as they travel independently and at their own terms and schedule.

We have been in this car rental business in Rwanda and Uganda for long, and so we provide unrivaled services in terms of client handling and the kind of vehicles we possess. Our professionals are mainly known for testing and inspecting our cars before and after every trip. These experts know the ins and outs of each car and deal with any maintenance problems as soon as possible.

Our team of mechanical engineers is always alert for any changes in the performance, sound and the visual tip-offs that suggest if any service or repairs may be needed. So every after a self – drive trip, clients are supposed to park the vehicles at our offices, airport or any other place that might be agreed upon.

There are many 4×4 self – drive cars and they include the 4×4 ordinary land cruisers, 4×4 safari vans or sometimes referred to as the 4WD safari mini bus rental, Toyota SUVs, Coaster buses and the 4×4 super customs.

The Prado TX land cruisers are very lavish cars and they are perfect for the high class and fancy visitors. They are very favorable for different weather and road conditions whether up town journeys or up country over land tours.

The 4×4 super customs range from five, seven to 10 seaters and conducive enough for long trips and up country safaris. These vehicles are very equipped with air conditioners, unlimited wifi internet and also got the pop up roofs to enable travelers have a great view of the landscape and comes with experienced drivers who double as tour guides as well.

Benefits of self-drive trips in Uganda:

  • You got the total freedom and flexibility to get off-the-beaten-track and explore to the maximum.
  • The overall pace of the trip is decided by you entirely.
  • Greater degree of privacy, flexibility and comfort.
  • Self – drive trips are the best ways to explore Uganda’s most hidden treasures which you may not rather see during a pre-arranged / guided trip.

Important tips and advice to consider when hiring a vehicle on self – drive.

  • Most main roads and high ways are generally well maintained and well sign-posted, however most feeder roads connecting to different destinations / lodges may be in bad state or nearly impassable during rainy seasons.
  • Distances can be deceiving; our reservation team can help forge a practical itinerary for you.
  • Service stations are few in upcountry and far between, so fill up whenever you find one.
  • Choose the right type of vehicle depending on the route you are taking – make sure there is sufficient boot space for luggage and that it is mechanically sound to maneuver you through those high terrain roads!

11 Tips to Make Travel with Kids Easier

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Traveling with Kids

There’s a certain stigma attached to traveling with children. If you’ve ever walked onto a plane holding a baby or a toddler, you’ve probably seen the horrified looks of your fellow travellers as they mouth to each other “please not here, please not here“. Traveling with kids isn’t easy, but it can be incredibly rewarding, and create lifetime memories.Travel with kids may not be easy, but it doesn’t need to be a nightmare, either. Here are 11 travel tips to help make a journey with your children as easy, smooth, quiet and comfortable as it can be.

1. Slack Off

Travel throws a monkey wrench into normal schedules and routines, and can be stressful for everyone. This is a good time to relax some of your normal parenting rules, and give everybody a break. Of course, safety related rules take priority as normal, but what does it hurt to give them a few extra snacks or a special treat? Lightening up can avoid conflict, ease stress, and keep your kids happy (and quiet!)

2. Snacks but No Sugar

If you think your kids could wig out sitting in a confined space for hours, then avoid the sugar! Sugar will only give them more wiry energy that you then have to control. If you are planning on ‘the bribe’ at any point of your journey (and it’s OK if you are), then try nuts or plain popcorn. Some people even use kids vitamins – they look like candy but have far less sugar.

3. New Toys

Buy some new toys, books or games you know your kids will enjoy. The thrill of playing with something new will make them happier about the trip, and keep them pleasantly occupied for hours. This doesn’t need to cost a lot of money if you check out second hand or consignment stores.

4. Take Breaks

When travelling by car, factor in time for stops now and then. It’s a good idea for bathroom breaks, to stretch your legs, and to let the kids run around for ten minutes. It will help burn off their excess energy, and give you a break, too.

5. Take a Stroller

Even if your young child is a good walker, a stroller makes a good place for your child to rest. Having a stroller can also mean less carrying time for you. Sure, taking the stroller can seem like a bit of a hassle, but it will pay off by making things easier for you and them on the trip. Travel can be tiring, and everybody needs a break.

6. Babies and Security

If you try to take a baby in a stroller through airport security, they will ask you to remove him. When this happens with a child who just fell asleep, it’s not a pretty scene. Instead use a baby carrier where your child can travel undisturbed.

7. Technology

Even if your phone, iPod or iPad is usually off limits to your kids, you can let them play with it for a day. Load up some favorite movies and games, and get them started. It’s an unusual treat they’ll enjoy, and it will be worth it for the quiet!

8. Children’s Luggage

If your kids are old enough, get them some child-size luggage, and let them pack their own carry-on bags with their favorite things. It makes them feel more grown up and in control to have their own bag, and it saves you some work, too. Of course you’ll need to review the contents, and modify if necessary!

9. Travel Sickness

Travel sickness can strike on a turbulent plane flight, a boat trip, or even driving on windy roads. Be prepared for travel sickness, and you can nip it in the bud. Ask your pharmacist about anti nausea remedies. You can also use special wrist bands that use acupressure points to prevent motion sickness.

10. Painful Ears

If you are traveling by plane, be prepared for your child’s ears to hurt. It can mean some crying on take-off and landing, but it’s not as common as you might think. If traveling with a baby, offer a bottle or soother during the ascent and descent. For older kids, give them something chewy or crunchy. The key is to keep their jaws moving to open and close those little Eustachian tubes in the ear, and relieve the pressure.

11. Speed up Check-in

Most airlines now have online check-in available, which can mean less time waiting in line at the airport. If there’s a curbside luggage check, that can also speed up the process. Anything you can do to spend less time standing in a line with antsy kids is a good thing, right?Probably the biggest tip of all when traveling with children is to do whatever it takes to make your trip more pleasant. Giving them a little extra in terms of entertainment or snacks can keep the happier during the journey. When they’re happy, you’ll be happier, too.

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