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Useful Tips for Camping in Uganda

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Camping in Uganda

Picture your Tent Pole breaking on you while Camping, and having to find makeshift equipment and pieces to patch it together. Camping, whether for a first-timer or frequent Camper can be scary and intimidating. Simply analyzing all the important requirements from what type of tent, camping tools and sleeping bag can be an enormous task. However, going through our useful tips for camping will help in reducing mistakes.

Select the perfect Camping gear for first-timers

As a first-time camper, it is always advisable to purchase Camping gear that makes you comfortable yet it is always overwhelming to make this decision. The essentials for any Camping trip include the Tent, headlamp and lanterns, Camp stove, a sleeping pad, a sleeping bag, Camp chairs, and Camp wear.

Be prepared for any bad weather

Whether your Uganda camping safari is in the traditional dry or wet season, it is always important to plan for any bad weather. For this reason, make sure to have packed warm layers (warm sweater, long sleeved shirts, and safari pants), an insect repellant, a safari hat, rainproof clothing, sunglasses for sun protection, gardening gloves, and many others.

Make sure your activities are planned in advance

Depending on which area you plan to Camp, it is important to first check out some of the activities you can undertake before leaving home. If Murchison falls National Park is your Camping destination, then you would consider taking part in game drives, nature/bush walks, bird watching, visit to the top of the falls, boat cruises and community walks.

Avoid pitching your Tent under a tree

While some travelers love it for the wonderful shade and photography opportunity, it is not advisable to pitch up your tent under a tree because of the numerous dangers associated with it. This can become a serious hazard during high winds, when branches fall off hence causing damage to the Tent or injuries. Also, nothing annoys like having to clean up bird droppings or tree sap off your Tent each morning.

Camping not too far from a water source if backpacking

Camp close to a River or Lake will be wonderful for gathering water for doing dishes, laundry, showering and even cooking, but first make sure the water is filtered or properly boiled before using it. However, make sure the tent is within a safe distance (at least 60 meters from the water source) and a raised surface for avoided coldness or any chance of flooding.

Don’t forget a basic first aid kit

Camping means being in the wilderness or Jungle, and therefore it is advisable to be prepared for whatever comes your way by carrying a basic first aid kit. You will need some plasters, bandages, antiseptic, Ibuprofen, and others. One thing you need to know is that accidents are common during Camping hence having the basics for cleaning and bandaging a wound would go a long away.

Practice setting your Tent while at home

You wouldn’t want last minute disappointment in the wilderness and therefore, another useful tip for Camping is practicing how to set up your tent while you are still at home. While the manual might indicate that setting takes 10 or 15 minutes, you will be surprised how difficult it becomes when you are out in the wilderness. Therefore, use your back yard or living room to practice to avoid last-minute disappointment.

Prepare campfire-friendly foods ahead of time

Camping doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy a proper meal and this doesn’t mean you need a big kitchen. For this reason, you are free to pack some baked beans, rice, chicken, beef, Irish potatoes, and others but make sure that it is planned in advance. For instance, if you intend to enjoy beef kabobs, It is important to have it all set ahead of time to make preparation easier during Camping.

Make use of Campsite amenities

It will interest you to know that some Campsites in Uganda provide amenities like clean restrooms, showers, a level ground for pitching your tent, Wi-Fi and fire pits among others. Just make use of these amenities for your comfort hence less stress during your trip.

Carry some games of any other kind of entertainment

Most times, Camping is accompanied by hiking the nearby hills, swimming if the Campsite is close to water (like Lake Bunyonyi) but don’t forget that it is also possible to have a downtime during Camping and for this reason, carry some games to fill up the gaps. You can pack some cards, board games and entertainment during Campfires.

A Gorilla Trekking Expedition in Africa

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Bwindi Mountain Gorilla

If you want to do something different this summer, you should consider going to Rwanda or Uganda and spending some time with the mountain gorillas on some awesome gorilla trekking tour, into Africa. Trekking the mountain gorillas in the wild impenetrable forest of Bwindi in southwestern Uganda can be a great experience for anyone who loves wildlife! Go ahead, get out, and unwind at an excellent nice vacation.

Many travelers wonder about where to go for an African safari of a lifetime! Many opt to go for a big five safari while others wish to go out and enjoy a wildlife safari in a national park. Did you know you could possess a great set of time, choose a holiday that becomes you? What do you want to do incisively? If you like to go to a lodge or a resort and enjoy a lodge safari, it is an awesome way to get more involved with your family. If you wish to have a sound time, pick something that fits your style. A pleasant discovery expedition into the jungle is one of the greatest things you have ever thought about. If you wish to travel in style, then you should definitely consider taking a gorilla safari into the wild jungles of Africa.

For primate lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, an awesome gorilla tour is one that involves gorilla tracking and game viewing for instances game viewing at Queen Elizabeth National Park and gorilla tours in Bwindi National Park for Uganda and in case your interest is only a gorilla tour, you would get an awesome experience with a minimum of 3 days tracking in Uganda and a minimum of 2 days for tracking in Rwanda. The reason is, it is a shorter driver from Kigali in Rwanda to Parc National Des Volcanoes which is a maximum of 3 hours drive and yet it takes about 8 to 10 hours drive from Kampala the capital city of Uganda to Bwindi National Park and thus, the gorilla experience in Uganda cannot be 2 days.

While planning your gorilla tour, also consider the fact that a gorilla permit in Rwanda costs USD 750 per permit while in Uganda it costs USD 500 per permit, although from feedback on these journeys, whether you are driving for 3 hours or 10 hours, you will wish you never get to your destination because of the diversity of scenery on the way to the destination. The journey to Parc National des Volcans goes through the continuous hills of Rwanda best known by its catch name of; a country with a thousand hills and you can head to the park after a visit to the genocide memorial center at Gisozi which showcases genocide victims.

While the journey to Bwindi Impenetrable National park or Mgahinga Gorilla Park goes through a mix of homesteads, grasslands to include Lake Mburo National Park, and pastoral areas and towards the end, the rolling hills of Kigezi, and area dubbed to be the Switzerland of Africa, and also a stop at the Equator for photography as well as an informative talk. Irrespective of how you head out on your gorilla tour, you will never come back the same person as you went.

If you want to make sure you are safe at night, a great hotel or some quality tent gear is essential. Go ahead, don’t grant anybody stop you – camping can be such a big experience.

Guide to Gorilla Trekking in Virunga Mountains

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Volcanoes National Park rwanda

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 Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park 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.

The 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 reservation desk and we shall make your dream come true or contact a reservation team 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.

Explore Zanzibar with a Rental Car

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Rent a Car in Zanzibar

Are you looking for a reliable 4×4 car to rent with a driver/guide or self-drive in Tanzania? Look no further, car rental tanzania offers a wide variety of reliable and well maintained 4×4 rental cars in Zanzibar, Arusha, Dodoma, Moshi, Mwanza, and Dar-es-salaam among others.

Authentic Car rental Tanzania rents out vehicles for Tanzania safari purposes as well as for any other desired travel within the borders of Tanzania. Car rental Tanzania rents out vehicles to individuals alongside a driver-guide or on self-drive.

Among the vehicles that are available for car hire are Toyota Land cruiser, Toyota RAV-4, Safari land cruiser, Extended land cruiser among others.  The land cruisers are best suitable for visits to vast wildlife national parks and the RAV-4 is comfortable for short drives and visits outside of the Tanzania national parks like Zanzibar.

Genuine Tanzania car hire rents out very well-maintained vehicles that are regularly serviced to ensure you have a safe road drive. All the vehicles have Air conditioning that you use as you would desire. You can also request for much more than just a vehicle as we also have camping gear and can arrange a perfect road map for travel through Tanzania.

Zanzibar is an island in the Indian Ocean, a two-hour (15 miles) ferry ride from Dar es salaam, a major city in Tanzania.

Zanzibar is not a country but is considered a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania. Politically it is part of Tanzania. Zanzibar is also isn’t just one island but is the largest of the Zanzibar Archipelago, which consists of several islands. The four main islands are Unguja Island (which is Zanzibar), Pemba Island, Latham Island, and Mafia Island.

Best Things to do in Zanzibar

Jozani Forest

Jozani Forest is one of the most popular places to visit in Zanzibar. The forest is the last sanctuary in the world to see the Zanzibar red colobus monkey. The forest is located in the Eastern part of the island and is one of the lushest places on Zanzibar. It’s a staunch reminder of what we have done to our environment over the centuries.

It’s easy to get lost and find the monkeys in the Jozani forest. Many nature trails lead through beautiful forests, and the red colobus monkeys are not shy. After your visit to Jozani, be sure to cross the street and visit the Mangrove forest.

I would recommend getting to Jozani forest before 9 am as busloads of tour groups arrive after that, and people bombard the monkeys.

Seaweed Center Zanzibar

If you’re wondering what to do in Zanzibar that is not beach hopping or wandering around Stone Town, a visit to the seaweed center is a must. We decided to visit the Seaweed Center right in Paje after reading this great post from our friends at Hey Dip Your Toes In.

The Seaweed Center (now called Mwani Zanzibar) is a women’s initiative that employs local women to make products from the abundance of seaweed around the island. Guest can take a full tour to see the daily tasks of the seaweed farmers, or they can relax at the shop with a glass of seaweed fruit juice.

House of Wonders

When wondering what to do in Zanzibar, a visit to Stone Town is essential. Or the “Palace of Wonders” is the tallest building in Stone Town and a main Zanzibar point of interest. It’s right next to the Old Fort and is a sight to see while in Stone Town. It is also the spot for the first elevator in all of East Africa. History buffs can learn about the history of Stone Town here and view old exhibits and rooms.

The name comes from the house’s modern amenities first in Stone Town, such as plumbing and electricity. However, it now has none of those wonders as it is under renovation, and at the time of writing, entering is not permitted.

Paje Beach

If there is a backpacker spot on Zanzibar, it’s Paje beach. The beach has hip cafes, burger joints, kite surfing companies, bars, and hostels, making it one of the great places to visit in Zanzibar. We spent a few days relaxing in the inviting turquoise waters, which is the perfect thing to do for those looking for free things to do in Zanzibar.

For those looking to have an active holiday in Zanzibar, the most popular thing to do in Paje is kite surf. There are an endless amount of schools and rental shops all dying to take you out on the water and show you the ropes of kitesurfing.

If you’re not a beginner, Paje has just the right amount of wind to spend the entire Zanzibar holiday improving your kitesurfing skills. It’s often considered one of the best places in the world to go kite surfing, and it’s easy to understand why when you feel the wind and see the gorgeous water.

Spice Tour

Zanzibar is often referred to as “Spice Island” for its centuries of clove, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon production and is one of the top five things to do in Zanzibar. Most of these spice tours depart from Stone Town and take you to a large spice farm to see, touch, and taste the many flavors of Zanzibar.

I would recommend bringing decent walking shoes as it may be muddy. Make sure to bring extra cash if you want to buy some spices and tea to take home. Don’t come full as there is a full tasting at the end of the tour.

Safari Blue Cruise

After having a memorable time sailing on a dhow in Mozambique, we decided not to miss it in Zanzibar. So we set up with the guys at Colors of Zanzibar for a fun day out at sea. We departed early morning from the fishing town of Fumba. The team specializes in individual tours, so we enjoyed having the entire dhow to ourselves.

We made our way to a little sandbank off the coast of Zanzibar, which was about three hours away from being swallowed by high tide. On this island, visitors can get the best views of the blue ocean while snorkeling and enjoying the cool morning air with fresh fruit.

Afterward, there are options to keep snorkeling or see a hidden lagoon before enjoying a seafood buffet lunch on Kwale Island. It is here that there are massive baobabs, small shops, and more beach paradise. Don’t expect the snorkeling to be great, though. Unfortunately, the safari blue cruise’s area has become so massively commercial that the reef has been ruined. A sad sight to see and a bit of a disappointment for the marine enthusiast.

Prison Island

Prison Island is one of those great places of interest in Zanzibar. Take a boat just 5 km away from Stone Town to reach the iconic Prison Island, or Changuu Island to be technical. Built in the late 1800s, this prison served as an island for slaves, violent prisoners, and quarantined.

The main joy of visiting Prison Island is seeing the nearby tortoise sanctuary. There are some of the giant Aldabross tortoises that also call the Seychelles home. Make sure to bring sunblock for the boat transfers and snorkeling.

Honestly, having a meal at this establishment is one of those must-do things in Zanzibar. Anyone wanting a night out in Stone Town should visit the Tea House Restaurant at Emerson on Hurumzi. The restaurant is located on top of the boutique hotel in the middle of the Kasbah. And it has one of the best views of Stone Town, making it my favorite thing to do in Zanzibar.

They get quite popular for sundowners and dinner, so we would recommend making a reservation beforehand. We spent an entire evening here drinking spicy cocktails, listening to live Zanzibar music, and chowing down on delicious Persian-inspired cuisine before retiring to our gorgeous room.

Visit the Rock

The Rock restaurant is pretty synonymous with Zanzibar and is usually mentioned in every Zanzibar guide. The restaurant is located in Pongwe (the southeast part of the island) and is accessible by motorbike or taxi cab from Paje. We made the memorable trip out to The Rock to get some lovely photos of the iconic spot. If you visit during high tide, a free boat taxi will deliver you to the rock (unless you feel like swimming).

We wanted to get food and drinks, but be warned that the prices are sky-high for Zanzibar. I suppose it’s the price you pay to have dinner on the Indian Ocean. We didn’t have reservations and weren’t given excellent service because of this, so I would highly suggest calling ahead if you plan to go. Even if you don’t have a meal here, just coming to see the unique building is one of the best things to do in Zanzibar.

Coffee at the Zanzibar Coffee House

This Zanzibar Cafe is located right next to Emerson Spice in the heart of Stone Town and is one of those Zanzibar points of interest you have to see. We had lunch and breakfast here a few times, but nothing was ever as memorable as when we sat there and documented Zanzibar life.

The Zanzibar Coffee house roasts its own coffee and serves up anything from cafe lattes to delicious vegetable chapatti wraps. Once you walk into the cafe, it feels as if you are transported back in time to a coffee house in the old Arabic world. Even if you don’t like coffee, this is a must-visit. Make sure to visit Upendo right across the street for any shopping you may want to do.

Upendo employs all local women through education and teaches them how to sew beautiful clothes. We found ourselves here a few times for unique clothing and jewelry for both men and women at an affordable price.

Catch Park Hyatt Zanzibar Happy Hour

For great cocktails in Stone Town, head to the Park Hyatt Zanzibar. There is a half-price happy hour every day starting at 18:00 and includes all drinks. So if you’re craving a New York cocktail off the coast of Africa, the Park Hyatt is calling your name. We even got our bourbon fix, making us two happy travelers.

Wander through Stone Town

One of the best things to do in Zanzibar is wander the streets of Stone Town. There are many unique places to see in Stone Town, including beautiful boutique shops and plenty of fabulous restaurants. Venture around the Forodhani Gardens and the Old Fort! You can easily walk around Stone Town yourself, but it’s best to book a walking tour with Colors of Zanzibar to learn more about what you see.

Go Shopping at Darajani Market

The Darajani Market (or Bazaar) is the main bazaar in Stone Town, Zanzibar. It’s the most popular place to come and get spices, dates, bread, fruits, and almost anything you could need. Beyond getting some souvenirs, it’s a fantastic place to soak in the culture.

Watch Locals Do Acrobats and Capoeira at Sunset

On pleasant evenings at sunset, many young local boys will head to the Stone Town public beach to enjoy the last light of the day with some acrobatics and capoeira. What is capoeira? This is a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music. It’s pretty fun to watch from any of the nearby restaurants or on the beach.

It’s far from the nicest beach in Zanzibar, but if you are in Stone Town for sunset, this is one of the best things to do in Zanzibar. Look out for the large crowds – these tend to form around some of the most talented boys.

Learn About the Slave Trade

Zanzibar is best known for its white sandy beaches and bright blue water, but it has a darker past than many realize.

Zanzibar was the Africa Great Lakes’ main slave-trading port. It’s said that as many as 50,000 slaves passed through here in the 19th century. These slaves were sold at the slave markets until the late 1800s. This area of Stone Town is one of the last places to host open slave markets. It’s worth visiting a former slave market site in Stone Town to learn more; you can book guided slave trade tours here.

Enjoy the Many Beaches

Make sure to get out of the city and explore as many Zanzibar beaches as you can. There’s a beautiful one around every corner. My personal favorites are Nungwi Beach and Pongwe Beach, but there are so many others to explore. Of course, if you are staying at an Oceanside Zanzibar resort or hotel, you’ll likely want to chill at their beach for at least one of your days too. So choose a great hotel with the ideal location!

Nakupenda Beach

Nakupenda (Swahili for I love you) is the name of a slender slice of sandbank just off the coast of Stone Town. And what’s not to love? Abutting the brilliant blue of the ocean, this tiny beach is an idyll of sand as soft and white as baby powder. It’s the perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling in clear waters flickering with marine life and generally keeping cool under the hot African sun. If you’re lucky you might glimpse the local superstars the much-loved dolphins, doing their own thing in the distance.

Conclusion

You can hire a 4×4 with a professional English speaking driver, or drive your own adventure with a self-drive rental option. Our cars are comprehensively insured, serviced regularly, offered on an unlimited mileage basis, with 24-hour road assistance and with a memorable trip back home.

Rwanda Named Among Top Tourist Destinations

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Rwanda Hills

Rwanda has been ranked among the top 10 world adventurous places for 2013, according to Globe Spots, an international travel guide for tourists. Canopy walk in Nyungwe Forest. Rwanda has once again been named a top tourism destination.

The travel guide on Monday released a list of 10 countries in the world that are of classic travel for great sights and convenient travel,  adventurous places for those who are going above and beyond, seeking out the best travel, and hardcore places for those who are willing to travel anywhere just for the buzz.

According to the web portal, Rwanda was ranked sixth globally. Portugal comes number one on the list, followed by Mozambique, Kyrgyzstan, Panama, Armenia, Cuba, Ukraine, Malawi, and Canada in that order.

Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Rica Rwigamba, head of tourism and conservation at Rwanda Development Board (RDB), said that the ranking provides confidence to tourists.

“In Rwanda, we have much more to offer to tourists beyond the mountain gorillas. And we are proud of that. We are committed to showcasing Rwanda’s beauty to the world,” she said.

According to the Globe Spots website, there is more to visit in Rwanda than gorilla tours and Genocide sites, such as stunning ubiquitous mountains, national parks, excellent lake beaches, great culture, and a dynamic capital city.

“The country has a lot to offer its visitors and is working really hard to convince them to forget about its dreadful past. And with its incredibly well-paved roads, clean and safe streets, and friendly helpful people, Rwanda makes a perfectly smooth introduction to Africa,” it says.

For the fifth year, the travel guide magazine has captured what’s happening on the travel scene. As usual, they focused on destinations they thought will be hot – or at least should be.

Since the beginning of 2012, the country hosted about 493,744 visitors, representing an increase of 22 percent compared to the same period in 2011.

It recorded a remarkable 16 percent increase in leisure visitors as well as an eight percent increase in business visitors.

Last year, the tourism industry generated $252 million in revenues. Tourist sites in Rwanda include mountain gorillas, canopy walks, national museums, Lake Kivu, bird watching, Congo Nile trail, Akagera, and Nyungwe National parks, culture, among others.

Unforgettable Self Driving Tours in Uganda

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Self Drive Uganda

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!

Best 5 Safari Destinations in Africa

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African Safari

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.

Explore Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

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Rushaga Bwindi

Thinking about going for gorilla trekking in Africa? Uganda is the best destination where visitors can meet the endangered mountain gorillas face to face in their natural home. With two national parks gazetted by the Uganda government to protect the mountain gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable national Park is the most known and here is Why you should take Uganda’s option as the most viable for gorilla safaris in Africa.

The famous Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the only four national parks that protect the endangered mountain gorillas. Known as “the impenetrable forest” Bwindi is home to half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the entire world, Bwindi Forest National park is a perfect destination for gorilla trekking holidays in Africa. Whether you want to see only mountain gorillas  or visit other Uganda attractions with friends and family Bwindi forest has it all because its conveniently located close to not only Uganda attractions but also to other mountain gorilla parks in Rwanda and Congo.

How to Get There

Fly to Entebbe international Airport either you traveling on budget or luxury and get the trip started right away upon arrival or a day after arrival. It’s the only international airport for Uganda for both domestic and international flights. Better to arrange a pickup with your hotel of residence if your flight is late or with your trip organizer.However, most tour operators offer free pickups and drops especially if you book a trip with them. Entebbe international airport is served by many airlines so you will have plenty of m flight price options to choose from once you ready to track mountain gorillas of Bwindi Forest National Park. However, you free to connect to the park by road on a scenic drive or by air on any scheduled flight to Kihihi Airstrip.

Getting Around Bwindi Forest

Bwindi forest transport options are safari vehicles, land cruisers, super customs. Toyota Rav4, mini bus all with a pop up ideal for game viewing and photography since Uganda is a home of impressive attractions. If you staying close to the park a day before your trek, you should look at hiring a rental car that will take you for briefing , at the start point for the trek and also to pick you up after the trek since the trek may end in a far distance away from your lodge of residence. However, if you starting your trip from the capital of Kampala better to leave the city with a private hired car. But if backpacking your trip organizer will arrange for a rental car to take you through the entire trek.

Where to Stay in Bwindi Forest

Choosing your accommodation should depend on the gorilla group or family you to trek. Remember, Bwindi forest has four sectors each with different gorilla families and accommodations. Therefore, you need to check your gorilla permit details before booking any accommodation. If your permit is for Buhoma, book buhoma lodges and campsites, if Ruhija still book Ruhija lodges and campsites and same applies to Nkuringo and Rushaga gorilla permits. Would advise you to book only one night accommodation so that in case you want to transfer to another destination after the trek, its flexible.

Plan a Gorilla Trek in Uganda?

Bwindi forest is quiet and cold in the evenings and at night so you need to pack warm wears to deal with the cold weather situation. However, it’s warm during the day when the sun shines. The forest is dump and muddy due to thick vegetation of shrubs and trees so  some places can be slippery during the trek the reason we do recommend a walking stick to give you support in case you find difficulties in walking. Even porters are good because they carry the luggage and give you a chance to walk free and light. Expect no bargains on gorilla permits and accommodation if you visit during high season and holiday times like Christmas and New Year. However, the park offers hug discounts on permits during April, May and November. When it comes to cheap budget gorilla tours in Africa, Uganda often gets all the fame and attention. You will prove this once you start planning your gorilla watching trip in Africa.

Planning a Perfect Rwanda Safari

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For many thousand travelers, Rwanda is a decade treasure destination in Africa with variety of wildlife, landscape, culture and nature. For those looking for amazing African safari holidays in 2016, Rwanda tours answer all Africa holiday questions leaving every tourist satisfied & happy. Rwanda attractions inspire many tourists annually giving every country guest an outstanding perfect experience together with memorable photography at un predictable moments in different encounters. It’s only in Rwanda where one can find the best reason to visit & revisit Africa as the most incredible travel continent in the world.

Would very much recommend the use of local travel agents in order to have a well-organized Rwanda tour holidays at any time of the year. As it’s known that not every time of the year is good for different tour activities, get suitable tour adventures to do at particular times of the year from the country’s travel experts. A part from a few but Rwanda gorilla tracking adventures are year round activity though some say its best done during the dry season unlike during the low season. It’s exciting to find all your tour expectations on the scene, the unique wildlife, birds, landscape, accommodation, comfortable safari vehicle etc. Tour experts can’t only advise travellers on the best time to do different tour activities but also on the right pack list, country visa fee and application, health tips, and how to fit in your travel budget for your desired adventure. Experts can move out of their way ensuring the travellers satisfaction and its tricky when it comes to booking trip essentials in bits, transport, gorilla permit, and accommodation

Mountain climbing, hiking, nature walks, Chimpanzee trekking, wildlife viewing, canopy walks, bird watching, golden monkey tracking, sunbathing, sunset & sunrise chilling, swimming, cultural adventures and gorilla tracking are the most done tour adventures in Rwanda. Every tour safari holiday is exciting no wonder some travellers chose to explorer the country on foot. Don’t miss out to reach the digit point a place which gave birth to Rwanda Gorilla travel and tourism. Dian Fossey tomb and research Centre is sited close to the Rwanda gorilla park and a significant point of interest, commemoration sight and gorilla conservation fund basis. Sometimes travellers don’t visit the primatologist tomb but it’s a great involvement to visit the gorillas as well as the Dian fossey tomb.

Most Rwanda tours and safaris are purchased and booked online so one can make a tour choice and even make payments there and then. But it’s good to transfer or make tour deposit payments to right people due to many fraud and scam cases online .Always make good research on the tour expert before committing to them. You can even talk to previous clients who have ever used particular tour company’s which intends to extend their services to you during your Rwanda safari tour. Credit card, MasterCard payments or wire transfer are the best ways in which one can make payments though while in Rwanda some remote villages only accept cash. Always request for confirmation receipts from the tour organizer to confirm that they received your trip deposit. But if you make payments to travel experts who have ever been used by your friends or relative that is very safe because the same trust will be extended to you as well.

Gorilla Trekking: 5 Tips for a Successful Trek in Africa

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Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

“On my first gorilla trekking in Africa in 2008, I felt as if I had been invited to a reunion of distant, hairy relatives. When I first saw the gorillas I took photos for a while, but then put my camera away so I could just watch. I stood mere feet from these powerful animals and they calmly let me be a part of their world. No glass, no bars, no rumbling safari car engine, no squinting through binoculars. Just humans and gorillas together in the forest”.

Those are some of the reviews of gorilla trekking, an amazing adventure experience that can only be got from Uganda, Rwanda, or the Democratic Republic of Congo. Though gorilla trekking is such a wonderful experience, a successful adventure in search of these giants requires proper planning. Today, it is common for most travelers to go on safari in East Africa adding on a few days to see the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda, or the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here are the top travel tips that you should know about gorilla trekking in East Africa;

Gorilla trekking requires more active participation than traditional safaris, so it’s important to plan ahead so you are prepared for the challenge. Once you book a tour here are some important points to keep in mind:

1.       Dress for success

I have seen gorilla trackers tourists dressed in all kinds of outfits, from young women in skinny jeans and tennis shoes to well-heeled adventurers decked out in North Face gear that would rival anything you’d see at Mt. Everest base camp. Personally, I think you need to be prepared for muddy trails and changeable weather, but it’s not necessary to spend a fortune to be prepared.

Here’s what I recommend. On top, wear layers. Start with a shirt made of a synthetic material that dries quickly. I usually spend most of the trek up the mountain in a t-shirt as it can get quite warm and muggy in the forest. I usually add a fleece layer when the group stops and I start cooling down. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a third rain layer. Rainstorms can happen at any time in the forest, and it’s no fun, not to mention dangerous, to be cold and wet for hours. You can bring a waterproof rain jacket, but a cheap poncho will also work.

On the bottom I wear long pants, also made of a synthetic material. Between the potential for cold weather and the stinging nettle plants of the forest, wearing shorts is an invitation for misery. Some trekkers also bring waterproof pants to wear on top of regular pants, but I usually don’t unless it’s the peak of the rainy season in April and May.

2.       Wear proper footwear

Boots that fit above the ankle are a must. You’ll probably walk through ankle-deep mud at certain points, and sometimes even knee-deep mud that threatens to suck the boots right off your feet. Because of this, you should wear gators over your boots that go up to the knee. When I trek, I go like the locals and wear knee-high rubber willies with treads on the bottom. I’m guaranteed to stay dry up to knees and the boots can be quickly cleaned and dried out for the next day. I wear Smart Wool socks underneath.

3.       Pack enough food and water

There’s no place to buy food and water once you get to the national parks so make sure you have at least a liter of water and some snacks to pack with you. Some treks last well into the afternoon, so I try to bring some energy bars and fruit to keep me going. Volcanoes Safaris’ lodges provide packed lunches for trekkers but it’s always nice to have a few favorite snacks from home in case you’re a picky eater.

4.       Speak up about your trekking preferences

When you arrive at park headquarters on the morning of your trek, the national park guides will assign you to a gorilla group. Technically, it’s not possible to book permits for a specific gorilla group. However, it is important to let your tour company representative know your fitness level, so they can work with the guides to assign you to group that will be within your ability to reach. Some groups are known for ranging far afield while others stay closer to the park boundaries or even go outside of the park. However, all groups move in search of food so there’s no guarantee that one group will be easier to reach than another. On certain days when fewer tourists are trekking than usual, you may be able to request specific groups. Closer groups with new babies tend to be the most popular. It’s hard to pick which groups are the “best” because they are all different and group size and composition changes from one year to the next. Every gorilla trek I’ve been on has been unique and revealed a new facet of mountain gorilla behavior.

5.       Make sure your camera is forest ready

I’ll offer more specific photography tips in a later blog, but here are the basics: Flash photography is not allowed as it disturbs the gorillas so make sure you have your camera manual with you so you know how to disable the automatic flash and automatic focus light functions. Photographs of gorillas in the low forest light often turn out dark due to underexposure. To avoid this, I tend to shoot at ISO 1250 or higher when in the forest. These days, newer models of both point-and-shoot and DSLR camera can handle relatively high ISOs without adding too much noise. No matter what kind of camera you bring, make sure you keep it in a waterproof bag (a large Ziploc will do) to avoid getting the camera wet. I’ve seen way too many nice cameras destroyed by African rainstorms.

The price for a Rwandan mountain gorilla trekking permit is $750, $ 500 dollars for Uganda and $ 400 dollars for the Democratic republic of Congo, so book your gorilla safari with Go Gorilla Trekking, adventure travel specialists for an agent to handle the paperwork for you.

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