Safety Tips When Traveling for Outback Safaris

Going out for an outdoor tour often has several aspects to it where most people prefer planning beforehand. The planning includes hotel accommodations, passes to local attractions, booking for local transportation and many others. Apart from that, it involves carrying along necessary requirements such as clothing, medication, guide maps and several other things that may come to use while outdoors. Outback tours are one such outdoor tour that most of us dream of. You not only get to relish delicacies but also get glimpses of the flora and fauna along with the scenic beauty.
If you are being a part of the tours for the first time, it is essential for you to follow a few rules that would help you to have the best experience and thus making you look at things differently.

Loosen up your schedule

While you move out for such tours, keep your schedule flexible where you may get stranded due to heavy rains or long distance travels from one place to the other. This actually allows you to not panic and thus enjoying all that you come across to give you pleasurable surprises with every step that you take.

Own helpful maps of the places you intend to visit

If it is a land that you have never visited before, the only saviour to help you through would be these route maps. They not only help you with the routes to your destination but often have other details such as the local attractions and how you can get the most out of them. Several tour operators allow you to have a planned itinerary and thus helping you to make the most out of the outback tours.

Avoid travelling at night

If you have a schedule fixed for the next destination in your outback tour, avoid night travels. The local people would also suggest you the same. Animals like kangaroos and others are often on the prowl at night and often come out on the road. It would be a distraction to both with at times may lead to a damage to the car and also be fatal for the animal. You could consider an early morning travel which would allow you to have glimpses of the scenic beauty along with reaching the next destination with ease.

Take help from a guide

If you have planned your outback tour through a tour operator, you wouldn’t have to search for a tour guide. They would come along as a part of your itinerary. If you plan to travel individually, it is always safe to hire a tour guide who would not only help you accomplish the motto behind your tour and also help you find the choicest places to visit and also the best food that you could relish on. The guides ensure that you are safe and get the most of what you see around you.

How to find car rental discounts in Uganda

With today’s economy there is no compelling reason to spend much money on hiring a car; you need to first know why you need the car so that you choose the right vehicle to save money on your car rental.

If you want a vehicle to drive around the city like for weekend gateways for beach trips, city tours and other city activist you don’t need hire a very huge and strong vehicle, you can hire a simple economical vehicle like Toyota Rav4, Premio, and many other cars in the same range.

If you’re planning a trip to different national parks in the country (wildlife tour) then you will need to hire a strong 4×4 safari vehicle because roads in most national parks in Uganda are in bad conditions they can only be accessible by a strong vehicle. But still you can get it at a cheap price because many car rental companies are offering good discounts on safari vehicle hiring.

Still you can look for discounts available on the market. Since the tourism industry in Uganda is developing rapidly, many tour companies and car rental companies are opening daily and this had lead to high competition in the business. These companies are now offering different discounts and so it’s better to inquire from different companies so that you can compare the prices. You ought to choose the cheapest rates so that your finances can go to other places, for example, accommodation and other tourist activities like; game drive, chimpanzee tracking and other activities. Still you can try and compare of our rates at Rental Cars Uganda Ltd with other car rental companies, you will find that we have the best rates and quality vehicles for hire in the market.

When searching a cheap and affordable car for hire in Uganda, it’s a perfect idea to consider which company to contact that will offers you services are affordable rates, and you have to think of the season you hiring the car for example, if you’re planning to travel during the pick season of the year, you expect to hire a vehicle at a relatively high price and vehicles are always on high demand during these periods. For budget travellers, the best time to travel it’s during the low season where there is less tourists in the country. During these months, you will not experience congestion in the park where you will find like 5 cars in the same route struggling to watch the same animals and even during these months most companies offer great discounts on car rental.

Still when you’re looking to a cheap car for hire in Uganda, consider to at least book in advance because there you will get enough time to bargain on the rates and most rental companies offer special discounts on those booking in advance and online because when you book online you will have to at least send them a commitment fee this can make them sure that your booking is confirmed.

Also the number of people you’re travelling with can contribute on your car rental price, for example; different car rental companies in Uganda offers discount to travelling booking for cars more than one and these travelling for many days like 5 days.

Must see tourist attractions in Rwanda

Must visit places in Rwanda – Things to see in Rwanda

Rwanda is the land of a thousand hills and a hundred mountains – therefore, it is inevitable to visit Rwanda minus viewing the series of Virunga ranges which include Sabyinyo Volcano, Karisoke Volcano, Karisimbi Volcano. Bisoke and Mountain Gahinga.

Mountain Gorillas: A holiday to Africa is incomplete with visiting the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat of Volcanoes National Park Rwanda.  This is the chief tourist attraction in Rwanda and should not be missed too. Volcanoes national Park hosts ten habituated gorilla groups and more are to be habituated. Among the currently habituated groups include Susa, Karisimbi, Umubano, Ugenda, Hirwa, Group 13, Sabyinyo and many more. Gorilla trekking trips are conducted daily in Volcanoes National Park.

Golden Monkeys: These are second to Mountain Gorillas – both co-exist in Volcanoes National Park though trekking prices differ. Currently, the cost of gorilla trekking permit is US$ 750 and US$ 100 per person for golden monkey permit.

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Lake Kivu: It is situated in western Rwanda – the nearby towns include Kibuye and Gisenyi these are basking towns for leisure. Visitors can spend overnights at the shores of Lake Kivu and day time swimming, boat cruise, sun bathing, sports fishing among others.

More than 13 primates are found in Nyungwe forest national park. Primates include Chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, Vervet monkeys, mona Monkeys, owl- faced monkeys among other. The amazing tree canopies leave a lot to be desired! The amazing canopy walk aimed at seeing birds and so on.

Akagera National Park is also a must visit destination in Rwanda- the park hosts animals including antelopes, Lions, elephants and buffaloes. There are also a number of bird species like Ring-necked Francolin, Madagascar Pond-heron, Shoebill, Pallid Harrier, White-spotted Flufftail, Black-shouldered Nightjar, Red-faced Barbet, Papyrus Gonolek, Carruthers’s Cisticola, Leaf-love, White-winged Scrub-warbler, Sharpe’s Pied-babbler, Green-throated Sunbird, Bronze Sunbird, Red-chested Sunbird, Baglafecht Weaver, Black-billed Weaver, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, White-collared Oliveback, Swee Waxbill, Western Citril, Thick-billed Seedeater among others.

The twin Lakes: – these are Burera and Buhondo – the view of the beautiful sceneries of the twin Lakes leaves a lot to be desired. You can visit the twin lakes after or before Gorilla trekking but should not be missed when you visit Rwanda.

The genocide memorial museums: – The mass killing of 1994 ended with the creation of Genocide memorial sites in Rwanda. Genocide memorial sites are places where bones of the killed people are kept for future generation to see. Genocide memorial site include Gisozi, Nyamata, Murambi, Bisesero, Ntarama among others.

Butare (Huye): This is the cultural hub for the country and was once the most important city before 1965. Here you will find a great national museum that will show the great history of Rwanda and also it’s entrance into the modern world. Visit the nearby Nyabisindu (Nayanza) where you can find the impressive royal palace of Rwanda’s feudal monarchy.

Who to Travel With?

Explore Rwanda and all her hidden treasures through credible tour and travel companies such as Gorilla Expeditions Limited, Africa Adventure Safaris, Abacus Africa Vacations, African Jungle Adventures, Lets Go Tours Rwanda, Volcanoes Safaris, Primate safaris and Virunga Expeditions among others.

A wide variety of Rwanda holiday packages packages available online offered by the tour companies above. Feel free to contact any of them for best quote at excellent services.

Getting Around

Rwanda is located in East Africa, currently with one airport known as Kigali International Airport (KGL) on the edges of Kigali Capital. Many International Airlines operate on Kigali Airport and these include Ethiopian Airlines (EAL), Rwanda Air, Kenya air Ways (KQ), KLM, South Africa Airways (SAA), British Airways, Emirates and Brussuels Airlines among others.

Rwanda can be accessed by road from neighbouring countries like Burundi (Kanyaru boarder), Uganda (Katuna and Cyanika boarders), DR Congo (Goma Boarder) and Tanzania. There are buses operating along these routes.

Gorilla Trekking In Uganda Rwanda Info

About African Mountain Gorillas

Mountain gorillas are the biggest primates in the apes’ family found only in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain gorillas are among the endangered species out listed by The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They consist of two sub species and tested to have about 98% of the Human DNA thus one of closest relative of man.

They are habituated in the thick forested areas of the Tropical Rainforest. Mountain gorillas feed on leaves, shoots, fruits and pith. Their foods contain a lot of water and moisture which makes them to rarely take water. They stay in troops headed by a male silver-back that guards the group from the enemies.

Mountain Gorillas have well-coordinated and divided programs reflecting the nature of man’s daily activities. Their morning time is to look for food and their mid-day period is for rest. Resting period is very important time for the gorillas since they use that time for creating and strengthening relationships within the group.

mountain-gorilla

Mountain Gorillas in Africa

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Gorilla trekking is best done in two national parks. Trekking gorillas in Bwindi National Park offers tourists one of the greatest tracking experiences. On addition tourists can also track down other Primates and also spot different bird species with in the park. Bwindi Impenetrable forest currently has about 13 gorilla families available for tourism purposes, and among these we have Mubare, Habinyanja, Bitukura, Rushegura, Oruzogo, Kyaguriro, Mishaya, Nkuringo, Nshongi, Businjye and Kahunje among others. Uganda also has one gorilla group in Mgahinga National Park known as “Nyakagezi group”. It is available and habituated for tourism purposes. However, this group is not stable as it some times crosses the International boarder to Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo. It should be noted that gorilla tourism in DR Congo is interfered by insecurity in the area, and the destination currently receives very few tourists.

A gorilla trekking permit costs US$600.00 for foreign non residents and can be booked through tour operators, or direct from Uganda Wildlife Authority Headquarters. Foreigners living and working in any of the East African countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi) have a discount of US$125.00 on each gorilla permit. Ugandans have to pay 250.000.00 Uganda Shillings to get a gorilla trekking pass.

Other tourist activities around Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks

In addition to gorilla trekking in Uganda, we have other tourist activities around these parks such as; forest walk through different trails, bird watching, local community tours, Batwa Experience in Bwindi Forest, Batwa Trail, Mt. Gahinga hiking and Golden Monkey tracking in Mgahinga National Park.

batwa-trail

Batwa Experience

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

On the other hand, tourists can also choose to track Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda to enrich their experiences. Gorilla tracking in Rwanda also provides the best tracking experience and on addition tourists can involve themselves in various activities like bird watching, horseback riding, among others while on their safaris in Rwanda. Volcanoes National Park also has over 10 gorilla families habituated and available for tourism purposes namely; Sabyinyo, Umubano, Karisimbi, Ugenda, Ntambara, Group 13, Susa and Amahoro among others. The price is gorilla permits in Rwanda is a bit higher than Uganda at US$750 compared to Uganda at US$600 for foreign non residents. Foreigners living and working in East Africa with valid work permits pay US$450 per person, while foreigners living and working in Rwanda pay US$350.

Other tourist activities around Volcanoes National Park

According to Mathias, a tour operator from African Jungle Adventures Limited, there are other tourist activities one can undertake in addition to tracking gorillas in Rwanda and among these we have golden monkey tracking, hike to Dian Fossey Tombs, Mountain Bishoke hiking, Mt. Karisimbi hiking, local community walks, Cultural Village tours, Caves Exploration / Caving, Nature walk and meeting gorilla doctors. You can choose to participate in all activities depending on your budget, time and interests. The more the activities, the more the number of days one should spend on the trip.

Musanze Caves Entrance

Musanze Caves Entrance

Gorilla Trekking Lodges in Rwanda and Uganda

We have many accommodation options in and around all mountain gorilla destinations in Uganda and Rwanda, catering for all tourists of all classes. These accommodation options include lodges, hotels, Inn, Motels, Camps and categorized into Budget/basic, Deluxe/Mid range and luxury/High-End options.

Accommodations around Bwindi national Park in Uganda include Gorilla safari lodge, Wagtail Eco Camp, Gorilla Forest camp, Mahogany Springs lodge, Bwindi Safari Lodge, Gorilla Resort, Buhoma community Rest camp, Buhoma Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Gift of Nature Lodge, Bakiga Lodge, Nshongi Gorilla Resort, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Trekkers Tarvan, Cook Land Camp, Nkuringo Camp site, Nkuringo Gorilla Camp and some other hotels, Inns and motels in Kabale and Kisoro Towns. Around Mgahinga National Park we have Gahinga Gorilla Lodge.

On the other hand, among the popular Rwanda gorilla trekking lodges around Volcanoes National Park and nearby Musanze town include Sabyinyo silverback lodge, Virunga Lodge, Gorillas Nest Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View, Le bambou Gorilla lodge, Kinigi Guest House, Villa Gorilla, Volcanoes Gorilla Hotel, Hotel Muhabura, Hotel la Palme and Saint Anne Hotel among others.

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Mahogany Springs Lodge

Uganda and Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Comparison

Some tourists prefer to track gorillas in Uganda and others prefer to to it in Rwanda for different reasons. Some of the major reasons to determine where to take a gorilla trip include price/cost, driving distance, and difficulty.

The cost of gorilla permits in Uganda is much cheaper than in Rwanda by US$150 per gorilla permits as earlier seen above. In addition, Uganda has promotional gorilla permits in low seasons of April, May and November where each permits costs US$350 from US$600.

Regarding driving distance, it takes only 90 minutes to drive from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park in Rwnada. For Uganda side, it takes between 8 to 10 hours drive from Kampala to Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga National Parks. There is a shorter option where one can access Uganda gorilla parks from Kigali (Rwanda) in less than 4hours’ drive via Cyanika or Katuna boarders.

Records have it that, tracking gorillas in Rwanda is much easier / less strenuous compared to Uganda. Also Rwanda has good visibility, one can easily take clear photos and videos unlike in Bwindi Impenetrable forest that can not allow clear photos.

Things to Remember on Rwanda Gorilla Tour in Africa

Gorillas are the major tourist attraction in Rwanda and one of the most done activities among many tourist who make it to Rwanda and Rwanda is regarded the perfect destination for mountain gorilla tracking in Africa. Rwanda houses almost a half of the world’s population over 380 individuals live in the country. Rwanda gorilla tours take place only in Volcanoes national park (Parc Nationale Des Volcanoes) which is located in the north-western part of the country, a drive which takes about 90 to 120 minutes from Kigali International Airport or Kigali city Rwanda’s capital and its largest city.

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Bush Breakfast facing the Virunga Mountains

 

Many people leave their homes and come to Rwanda to spend at least one to two days in the wild to have a close encounter with these giant apes in their natural habitat. Mountain gorillas are more like human beings and are a prone to diseases such as cold and many others. You are kindly reminded not to go for a gorilla trek if you have any sickness that is infectious. This may be transmitted to the gorillas which may affect their health hence resulting into their decrease in number. Just in case you develop a cough or flue before your trek, it’s advised to talk to the ranger guide at the park headquarters as this may be good not only on gorillas but also on you as your money for the gorilla permit may be re-paid back to you. Failure to do so, you may lose the money and the chance to see the gorillas. Several Illnesses may hinder your gorilla trekking and these may include flu, diarrhea, cough as well as cold. So you are advised to treat yourself before embarking on your gorilla trekking safari to Rwanda and also in Uganda where gorilla tracking is done too.

The fact that climbing deep into the bambou forest is quiet strenuous, you are advised to be physically fit, there you can make it through. Porters are available for hire from US$10.

Why you should hire a porter while on a gorilla tour in Rwanda;

A porter is so important when you get stuck in the forest. The fact that you climb up and down on slippery ground especially in rainy seasons, a port will help to pull or push you whenever you get stuck during the trek.

Also since the trek is strenuous, you may not make it with your small bag that contains your drinking water and packed lunch. In this case, a porter can assist carry your handbag. Some tourists have big cameras, a porter can carefully and safely carry it to and from the gorillas.

Hiring a porter for your gorilla tour in Rwanda and Uganda is a direct way to create employment opportunities to gorilla neighbors (The Local Community). Therefore, the local public will understand the importance of mountain gorillas to them, thus reducing the risks of poaching. In other words, this is one way to sensitize the public about about the importance of gorilla tourism to their community.

Tips on what to carry on a Rwanda gorilla tour;

  • Long pants
  • Long sleeved browse for laddies
  • Warm cloths because the area is so cold
  • Rainy jackets because it is expected to rain any time
  • Hiking boots/shoes, can be water proof
  • Insect repellent
  • A hat
  • Garden Glove
  • Sun Glasses