Discover Uganda, the Pearl of Africa. This is the best destination for primates tracking and wildlife safaris in Africa.
Uganda is a unique primate tracking and wildlife tourist destinations located in the great lakes region of east Africa. The country is blessed with various wildlife and primate species that attract tourists from different parts of the world. If you are looking at taking a safari to Uganda, this is the most leading destination where you can see primates and wildlife on a single trip.
This is one of my favorite countries in all of Africa. The people of Uganda have survived the troubles of 1967-86 period and emerged standing upright and wearing a smile. In that short period, the country suffered under the caprice of two despicable despots. One was the indisputably insane Idi Amin and the other, the arguably insane Milton Obote.
This is now history – a testament of the dignity and endurance of this people. The transformation of the country in the period since normalcy returned is nothing short of astounding. And it shows in the faces of the people you meet. That the graceful beauties of Uganda have not received the recognition they deserve in international beauty pageants is for me incontrovertible proof that most of these events are really fixed.
Winston Churchill was so besotted by the country that he gave it the name that has endured: the “Pearl of Africa”. His observations about Uganda remain true today: “The scenery is different, the vegetation is different, the climate is different, and, most of all, the people are different from anything elsewhere …in the whole range of Africa”
Travelers to Uganda are drawn by its stunning landscape – green rolling hills, snowcapped mountains, rainforests, majestic rivers and massive lakes. There are also a number of outstanding national parks for your safari encounter with the wildlife for which Africa is renowned. Unfortunately, I have to advise you to skip a few well-resourced parks such as Kidepo Valley in the north and Mgahinga national park in the west as they are not considered safe. The country’s edge as a worthwhile destination is further enhanced by its endowments for white water rafting and sport fishing.
It is in Uganda that you find the highest number of primate species anywhere in the world. Opportunities for tracking mountain gorillas and chimpanzees are unrivalled elsewhere. The primate conservation efforts the country has followed are bearing fruit. A recent survey carried out by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Jane Goodall Institute in collaboration with the Uganda government, revealed that there are now 4,950 chimpanzees in the country. Previously, scientists guess for this number was between 3000 and 4000, but nobody knew for sure. The chimp is our closet living relative, sharing 98% of our genes and much of our behaviour. Uganda is the best country in the world to view chimpanzees in their natural habitat.
The best place to see the rare mountain gorilla is at the 331 sq. km Bwindi National Park. This park was formerly known as the Impenetrable Forest with good reason. The trees are thick and the forest thicker with dense undergrowth, creepers, bamboos and parasitic plants such as mistletoe and orchids. This environment is the habitat for mountain gorilla’s, chimpanzee, and 8 other species of primate. Not less than half the world’s population of an estimated 600 mountain gorillas have sanctuary here, making Bwindi the base for an important scientific conservation program.
They are primates that are only remaining in only 3 countries on the entire planet. In Uganda mountain gorillas inhabit the forested mountains of Bwindi impenetrable national park and in Mgahinga gorilla national park all situated in southwestern Uganda while in Rwanda mountain gorillas live volcanoes national park situated in northwestern Rwanda.
Mountain gorillas are very magical animals to look at and a trip to either Uganda or Rwanda without mountain gorilla tracking is most cases not very enjoyable. Each of the 3 mountain gorilla national parks in Uganda has mountain gorilla groups that are accustomed to human beings presence in their natural habitants (habituated groups) each group being visited by 8 tourists a day who spend with it an hour learning more as well as taking photographs.
These 3 national parks are also near each other and therefore those who would love to compare the mountain gorilla tracking experience in Uganda and Rwanda are free to do so as long as they secure the mountain gorilla tracking permits. A mountain gorilla permit for Uganda is sold at US$700 while the one for Rwanda is sold at $1500 during the peak tourist season. At times, Uganda offers discounted gorilla permits at US$450 in April, May and November.
Important to note is that tourists going for mountain gorilla tracking need to secure their mountain gorilla tracking permits early enough because the permits are limited and therefore one is likely to miss out in case of any delay.
These are also other unique primates that can be tracked in both Uganda and Rwanda. In Uganda chimpanzees can be tracked in Kibale forest national park, which is known, to the many as the primate capital of east Africa because of having the highest chimpanzee population in east Africa and the world at large. Chimpanzees in this forest live in groups that range from 30 and more and are usually seen jumping from one tree branch to another. The chimpanzee-tracking permit is sold at $150 however there is also a chimpanzee habituation experience, which gives tourists a chance to spend more time with the chimpanzees. The habituation experience is a whole day activity which starts early in the morning and end in the evening. The permits for this experience are sold at $220 per person.
Chimpanzees in Rwanda on the other hand can be tracked in Nyungwe forest national park situated in the southwestern part of the country. Nyungwe forest is one of the natural forests in east Africa and has the highest chimpanzee population in Rwanda. The chimp tracking permits here are sold at $90 per person.
Chimpanzee tracking in both Uganda and Rwanda can be done at any time of the year.
This in Rwanda can be done in Akagera national park located in eastern Rwanda while Uganda has over 7 savanna national parks suitable for savanna game viewing. While in these national parks, tourists engage in game drives, nature walks and boat cruises which introduces them to the real African savanna wildlife with sightings of wild animals like elephants, buffaloes, lions, zebras, hippos, birds, antelopes and many others.
Game viewing is not affected by season and can be done at any time of the year. Tourists just have to clear park entrance fees that range from $35 to $40. Boat cruises also range from $30 to $40 as well as nature walks.
A Trip to Uganda cannot be complete without taking a gorilla safari or enjoying wildlife safari in the uncrowded national parks. A Safari in Uganda is truly magical and among the best wildlife adventures one can ever take on the African continent.