Friday, February 3, 2017

Rwanda working on cable car to Mt.Karisimbi

The government of Rwanda is planning to put a cable car on Mt. Karisimbi to promote Eco-tourism in that part of the country. The cable car system will facilitate hikes to the highest mountain in the country, the Karisimbi volcano, the Rwanda Development Board has said.
The cable will be used as a mode of transport for tourists at the Karisimbi mountain and is expected to improve tourism in the country.


At 4705m the summit of Mt Karisimbi is the highest peak in the Virunga Range, the highest point in Rwanda and one of the highest summits in Africa. Climbing Mt Karisimbi is a fantastic experience but at the moment can only be attempted by experienced and fit hikers. The normal climb does not involve any mountaineering skills and will typically take two days.
The final ascent of Mt Karisimbi is physically very demanding given the very high altitudes. Temperatures can be well below freezing at the summit in the early hours of the day.

The $38 million (Rwf25billion) project involves installing a cable car to facilitate people especially tourists to access the summit. The cable car ride will provide a unique tourist product for the region, and help make Rwanda a tourist destination of choice.
The project will involve establishing a 260sq kilometer area to promote ecotourism and make Rwanda the premier ecotourism destination in Central and East Africa.
The Karisimbi cable car projects will be the second of its kind on the continent, the other being the one in Cape Town, South Africa. It is expected to offer crater surfing via zip lines, according to RDB.

Currently Karisimbi hikers climb from the edge of Volcanoes National Park to the ridge of the huge caldera that extends at the base of the actual cone of Mt Karisimbi, crossing first the bamboo forests and then the Hagenia - Hypericum forests. The hike then continues through the caldera, across a bush of giant Lobelia. Another route begins at the foot of Mt Visoke, takes climbers across the saddle and up Mt Karisimbi.
At the end of the first day a very basic mountain camp is set up which will be climbers base for the night. Early the following morning the climb begins again for the summit, where climbers can enjoy beautiful morning light and astonishing scenery. On a clear day the view from the summit is spectacular both on the Rwandan and Congolese sides with views of the Nyiragongo and Nyamulagira active volcanoes in the distance. The return hike then takes the rest of the second day to complete.

Rwanda’s tourism sector is one of the leading foreign exchange earners in the country. Current fees for the hiking Mt. Karisimbi stand at USD$ 175 per person which includes the Park guide. The trek starts at 09:00am from the park headquarters at Kinigi from where visitors will have to drive to the entry point in the forest (this is usually reached by about 10:00 - 11:00am). The hike normally ends in the afternoon of the second day. Permits can be purchased from the park headquarters of the day of the trek but advanced warning is necessary to allow the park’s authorities time to prepare. Porters can be hired at a cost of USD$ 30 for the trek.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris to showcase Uganda and Rwanda at ITB Berlin 2017

Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris is set to showcase Uganda’s tourism and heritage during the 51st Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin (ITB) exhibition in Germany from March 8 – 12, 2017.
ITB - Berlin is known to be the world’s leading travel trade show attracting over 50,000 people.

Together with Uganda Tourism Board, Gorillas will be exhibiting in Hall 21.a Booth 121, sharing the stand with Kenya and Rwanda.

Uganda will market its diverse natural endowments including; birds, wildlife, culture, history, tradition, food and weather among others.

This 5th time Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris is exhibiting at ITB in addition to several other International travel exhibitions and expos.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

How To Book 2017 Gorilla tracking/ Trek Permits in Uganda

Quick and Easy Procedure to Booking Mountain Gorilla Permits in Uganda Bwindi
Mountain Gorilla in Bwindi, Uganda

**_How to book 2017 gorilla tracking and trek permits for for your tour in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park – Quick step illustration of how you can buy the gorilla permit for your trek this year_** In Uganda, Gorilla tracking is done in either [Bwindi Impenetrable National Park](http://safariadviceuganda.blogspot.com/2012/10/importanceofconservingtheWorldHeritagesitebwindibiodiversitygorillas.html) or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. However, because of the unreliability of the mountain gorillas of Mgahinga, most of the gorilla permits sold are for Bwindi. **Each gorilla permit costs US$600 in Uganda and** [**$450 for the months of 2017 April, May and November**](http://safariadviceuganda.blogspot.ug/2012/10/uganda-cuts-gorilla-trek-permit-prices.html)**.**

On each particular day, up to about 96 persons can visit Bwindi gorillas, 8 persons per each gorilla family.

Gorilla Permits for both Bwindi can only be purchased from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWAs) headquarters in Kampala, either directly or through a tour agent.

Booking 2017 Gorilla Permits directly through UWA To book your gorilla permit (from out of Uganda) you first have to contact UWAs reservation office by email inquiring about availability of the dates you intend to track the gorillas. Note that you need to consider a full day of travel from Kampala to Bwindi after you have landed in Kampala.If the exact dates you want are unavailable, you can request UWA to let you know of the nearest dates. You then reply to them expressing your intent to book those permits, and requesting them to temporarily hold them as you make payment. At this time, they will advise you of their banking details, so that you can proceed to make an electronic transfer of the money. Please remember to immediately send a copy of the transaction voucher/ receipt by email or fax to UWA.

<img src="http://www.gorillasandwildlifesafaris.com/img/BwindiAccommodation-Gorilla-Forest-Camp.jpg" alt="Recommended Gorilla Trek Accommodation in Beindi. Uganda booking gorilla permits" title=" "Recommended Gorilla Trek Accommodation in Beindi. Uganda"" class="alignright">
Recommended Lodging for Gorilla Tracking >>

The transfer should usually take not more than 3 days and UWA will keep your tentative booking for at least 7 days as they await the transfer to go through. Please ensure that you instruct you bank to deduct the bank charges from you. Otherwise is the money sent is less, your permit may not be booked.

Booking 2017 Gorilla Permits through a Tour and travel agent Many intending gorilla trekkers have however found the above procedure tedious and have sought our quicker and less tedious ways of reserving their gorilla permits by working with local Uganda tour operator. The tour operators will usually charge a fee of US$25-$60 per gorilla permit. Gorillasand wildlife safaris will not charge you for buying gorilla permits if you are getting other tour services (like transfers and tours) through them but if you only would like us to help you acquire the gorilla permit alone, a maximum of $35 applies on each gorilla permit we book.

The procedure is almost similar as above, except that the tour agencies tend to speed-up the process and most likely you will get you gorilla permit confirmation faster.What to wear and take when trekking to see the gorillas?

Comparing Gorilla Trekking Tours : Uganda Vs Rwanda – Compare prices, experience, hardness,etcWhen is the Best time for gorilla trekking/ tracking in Rwanda and Uganda?My mountain gorilla tracking experience in Bwindi's Oruzogo gorilla familyHow To Book Gorilla tracking & Trek Permits in Uganda and RwandaAffordable Private Road Transfers to Bwindi

Uganda Cuts Gorilla Trek Permit Prices to $450

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Trekking Tour Packages in Rwanda and Uganda3 days Uganda Gorilla tour4 days Rwanda Gorilla Tour -2 days Gorilla tracking Rwanda with tour price3 day Gorilla tracking Rwanda with tour price5 days Gorillas trek Rwanda and Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda5 days Rwanda, Uganda Gorillas6 days gorilla tracking, wildlife safari14 days Uganda Rwanda Safari7 days Uganda Gorilla Safaris9 days Gorillas, primates wildlife8 days Uganda Gorilla Game safari7 days Gorillas, chimpanzee, wildlife -

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3 Days Uganda Gorilla Trek6 Days Gorilla and Wildlife Safari Uganda7 Days Uganda Wildlife and Gorilla Safari

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

How tough is the Rwanda gorilla trek? Which is the hardest/ easiest, best gorilla group to track

Which is the toughest mountain gorilla group to track in Rwanda, which gorilla group is the most popular to track, easiest gorilla family to track, how many hours does the gorilla tracking take in Rwanda? Susa, Kwitonda, Sabinyo, Umahoro?

Which is the toughest mountain gorilla group to track in Rwanda, which gorilla group is the most popular to track, easiest gorilla family to track, how many hours does the gorilla tracking take in Rwanda? Susa, Kwitonda, Sabinyo, Umahoro?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions about gorilla tracking in Rwanda. And it is also perhaps the most difficult to answer. So many variables are involved, and if they all conspire against you, you could be in for a genuinely exhausting outing (indeed on rare occasions, the guides have had to carry tourists down). On the other hand, if everything falls your favour, the excursion will be little more demanding than the proverbial stroll in the park.

The trek to see the gorillas has two distinct phases. The first is the hike from the closest car park to the forest and national park boundary, which usually takes 30-60 minutes depending on the speed of the party and the group they are visiting. The second is trek into the forest in search of the gorillas, which will usually have been located by the advance trackers by the time reach the forest edge.

The first part of the trek is predictable, and it is usually quite flat and undemanding unless you are going to the Susa (Susa-A), which involves a longer and steeper ascent. The second part is more difficult to predict, as it will depend on the exact location of the gorillas on the day, and on the steepness of the terrain en route. Other factors in determining how tough it will be include the density of the vegetation (bending, crawling through the jungle can be tiring especially if you have to dodge vicious nettles) and whether it has rained recently, in which case everything will be muddier and quite slippery underfoot.

At risk of stating the obvious, age and fitness levels are key factors in how difficult the hike will feel. Susa Group aside, moderately fit people under the age of 40 seldom feel any significant strain, but a high proportion of trackers are in their 50s or 60s, in which case the hike might be something tougher. As one trekker has previously commented in the Bradt Guide (Rwanda): ‘We think you underestimate how strenuous the gorilla trip is. We are both 61 but fit and well, bicycle to work each day , and still we had to take regular breaks due to problems with breathing’. That said, while many older travellers do find the track quite demanding, it is very unusual that they are so daunted as to turn back.

An important factor in how difficult the hike will be is which group you are allocated. As a rule, the hike to the Susa Group is the most demanding (but also most rewarding, with more than 40 gorillas on show), while the Sabinyo Group is the most reliably straightforward to reach. The hikes to Kwitonda, Hirwa and Group Thirteen are also usually quite undemanding, whereas the hikes to Amahoro Umubano Groups tend to be more difficult, but not as tough as the Susa Group.

Unfortunately, these things aren’t set in stone, and any group might be unusually demanding (or easy) to reach on a bad day. Furthermore, nobody can guarantee which group you will be allocated in advance. However the guides at Kinigi do make a conscious attempt to match individuals to the most suitable group, especially if they are asked to. Generally the party for the Susa (Susa-A) consists of the lean-looking under-30s, while the opposite holds true for Sabinyo party.

Two further factors are uneven underfoot conditions and high altitude. Most visitors to Africa live in towns and cities where roads and sidewalks are paved, and parks are serviced by neatly footpaths, so they are unused to walking on the more irregular and seasonally slippery surfaces typical of the ascent paths and forest floor. It will help enormously in this regard to wear strong waterproof shoes or hiking boots with a good tread and solid ankle support. Furthermore, if you think you might struggle in these conditions, there is a lot to be said for avoiding the rainy seasons, in particular March-May, when conditions can be dauntingly muddy.

Don’t underestimate the tiring effect of altitude. The trekking takes place at elevations of 2.500-3,000m above sea level, not high enough for altitude sickness to be a concern but sufficient to knock the breath out of anybody – no matter how fit – who has just flown in from a low altitude. For this reason, visitors who are spending a while in Rwanda might think seriously about leaving their gorilla tracking until they’ve been in the country a week or so, and are better acclimatised. Most of Rwanda lies above 1,500m, and much of the country is higher – a couple of days at Nyungwe, which lies above 2,000m, would be good preparation for the Virungas. Likewise if you are coming from elsewhere in Africa, try to plan your itinerary so that you spend your pre-Rwanda days at medium to high altitude: for example, were you flying in from Kenya, a few days in Nairobi (2,300m) or even the Maasai Mara (1,600m) would be far better preparation than time at the coast.

Guides will generally offer you a walking stick at the start of the hike, and, even if you normally shun such props, it is worth taking up the offer to help support you on those slippery mountain paths. If you have luggage, hire a porter too. Once on the trail, take it easy, and don’t be afraid to ask to stop for a few minutes whenever you feel tired. Drink plenty of water and carry some quick calories – biscuits and chocolate can both be bought at supermarkets in Ruhengeri. The good news is that most people who track gorillas find the hike to be far less demanding than they expect, and 99% of cases, whatever exhaustion you might feel on the way up will vanish with the adrenalin charge that follows the first sighting of the silverback gorilla!

Rwanda Gorilla Trek Tours






Monday, January 16, 2017

Comparing Gorilla Trekking Tours In 2017 : Uganda Vs Rwanda – Compare prices, tracking experience, hardness, etc

Comparison of 2017 Gorilla Tracking in Uganda and Uganda – Which is the best place to do a gorilla trek – Uganda or Rwanda? Which is more viable or cheaper: Bwindi or Volcanoes National Park, Which is more easy to access, Is tracking Rwanda better than Uganda?

rwanda mountain gorillas

The exhilaration attached to the first setting eyes on a wild mountain gorilla is difficult to describe. Yet in the same sense, that magical one hour spent with the gorillas does not come cheaply considering that a permit goes for US$750 in Rwanda and $600 in Uganda – but it is unusual to find someone who regretted the financial outlay.

Mountain gorillas live in families similar to those of humans. Although the current mountain gorilla population is about 848, gorilla tracking can only be done on the habituated mountain gorilla families. 10 of the habituated families live in Rwanda’s Volcanoes NP, another 14 habituated mountain gorilla families live in Uganda (13 in Bwindi Impenetrable NP, 1 in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park) and 1 in D.R.Congo’s Virunga NP.

A maximum of 8 persons can visit a given gorilla family per day.

All else being equal, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park has a slight edge over the rest because its gorillas are the most wholly habituated, and they are often found in bamboo than the dense forest which makes photographing easier.

Uganda has discounted all gorilla permits to $450 for April, May, Nov 2016 and chimps trek to $100


The major challenge with tracking gorillas in Rwanda is certainly the price of the gorilla permit at US$750 compared to Uganda’s US$600 per permit. However, Rwanda’s pride is in the ability for one to do the gorilla trek even in one day and fly back home which is impossible for Uganda. Volcanoes National Park is located 116 km from Kigali and can be driven in just 2 hours. On the other hand, Bwindi is located 500 km from Kampala/ Entebbe Airport and a drive can take 8 hours plus. In that sense, you will spend at least 3 days for your gorilla trek tour – one travelling to Bwindi, another doing the gorilla trek, and the other driving back to Kampala/Entebbe. If a tour operator is making you a tour package, they shall definitely have to consider this cost and include it in your tour cost.

With the on coming of daily scheduled flights to Bwindi, operators now can have 3 days flying packages to Bwindi.

In real practice though, the one-day gorilla trek tour is not recommended because of the pressure it exerts on the trekker. For those limited on time, we would suggest the 2-days gorillas package.

Tree climbing lions often sighted in Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth NP on your way to track the mountain gorillas in Bwindi safari
Tree climbing lions often sighted in Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth NP on your way to track the mountain gorillas in Bwindi safari

However, the long drive to Bwindi is quite enchanting with great sceneries all through like the Equator, Lake Mburo National Park ( for some Queen Elizabeth National Park with abundant wildlife), terraced mountains with flowing rivers, and a lot of rural Africa. This is not so really the case for the drive from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park.

You will certainly need spend more on transport and time to track the mountain gorillas in Uganda than it’s for Rwanda although this cost is compensated for by a cheaper gorilla permit.

Besides, some sections of the roads to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are not so comfortable to drive on yet in the case of Rwanda, you drive on smooth tarmac at least up to the Volcanoes National Park head office. Not to mention though, the roads leading from Volcanoes park office to the gorilla trek trail-heads can only be accessed with a raised 4x4 vehicle.

Comparison of The Gorilla Trekking Experience



Of course you can get this in Uganda in evenings (at a fee) from the various traditional cultural groups that are near the park. However, the drive from Kampala to Bwindi is a very fabulous one traversing at least another national park (either Kibale or Queen Elizabeth National Park famous for tree climbing lions and many other big mammals, or Lake Mburo National Park) and not to miss- the Equator. In a way, even before you arrive Bwindi you have had a bit of the ‘Pearl of Africa’ as is fondly known. To many, driving along paved eucalyptus avenues to the gorillas in not the best deal. Indeed many to purchase tour packages combining both Rwanda and Uganda, first doing Gorillas in Rwanda and then crossing to Uganda to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park for the BIG 5 safaris and chimpanzee tracking among other tours.

Lets compare the tour costs in general.Because of the long drive one endures from Kampala to Bwindi, the general cost is increased (even when you travel by public buses). It even increases more because you have to travel 2 days (to and from Bwindi). However, the increased cost is countered by the low cost gorilla permit of US$600 ($450 in April and May, November 2017). A low budget 3 days gorilla trek tour in Uganda goes for about $1250 (with gorilla permit, accommodation, and transport) for one person on tour. The two days Rwanda gorilla trek costs about $1220 ( with gorilla permit, accommodation, and transport) and a three days Rwanda gorilla tracking tour costs is about $1280 (with gorilla permit, accommodation, and transport) . Costs samples got from Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris website effective Jan 2017.

Other things in addition to the actual gorilla tracking

Lastly, if you are not travelling just to see the mountain gorilla, and you want to include other activities in your visit, Rwanda may not be the best choice. Many tourists have continually had to cross to Uganda after their Rwanda gorilla trek to tour other reserves like Queen Elizabeth National Parks so endowed with abundant wildlife one cannot see in Rwanda. This is why probably folks continue enduring the long drives to Bwindi yet there is an easy way out.

At the end of the day – the ultimate jury are those who are looking as to which country to visit in order to track Gorillas – it is not Rwanda, not Uganda, not the Democratic Republic of Congo but where their pockets and hearts choose. If you precisely want the mountain gorillas and nothing else, go for a one-day gorilla trek but if you are a one who wants it and all of it, go for the long drive – you won’t regret…

Have you been on a gorilla trek in Rwanda or Uganda? What was your experience? What have you had about tracking gorillas in Rwanda Vs Uganda? Let me hear you views.

from the Rwanda/Uganda border post in Chanika .

Related articles:
My mountain gorilla tracking experience in Bwindi's Oruzogo gorilla family
How To Book Gorilla tracking & Trek Permits in Uganda and Rwanda
Affordable Private Road Transfers to Bwindi

Uganda Cuts Gorilla Trek Permit Prices to $450
Mountain Gorillas Aside, Why Does Earth need Bwindi so badly?


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Bwindi Mountain gorilla with baby gorilla - Ugana

Trekking mountain gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi (Ruhija Sector)


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Uganda 2017 April May & Nov. Gorilla Trek Permit Prices Reduced to $450 (special promotion)

The Uganda Wildlife Authority has cut all gorilla tracking permits prices in Bwindi for the month of April and May 2017. For promotional gorilla tracking tour packages please visit www.gorillasandwildlifesafaris.com  and remember to ask for this discount to be passed on to you when booking your gorilla tour for April/May and November 2017.


The discounted prices apply to Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla tracking permits for April, May and November 2017.
Prices for gorilla trek permits go as per the following tourist types:


Foreign Non-residents = $450

Foreign Residents to $350

Ugandans - 100000 UGX

Industry observers have see this move as an intention by to draw more tourists to the gorillas in the low season months to Uganda, more especially the Ugandans.

However, Rwanda has maintained the gorilla tracking permit price at $750 and there seems to be no hope of reviewing this price in the near future in consideration of the low tourist seasons. We have in the passed documented comparisons in gorilla trekking experiences and costs in Rwanda Vs Uganda.

Mountain gorillas are only found in DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda and the total number for this critically endangered species is estimated at 780. Almost half of these are believed to be in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the rest leaving in the Virungas (Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Congo’s Virunga National Park).

Because of the insecurity in parts of DR Congo, it is only safe to track mountain gorillas either in Rwanda Volcanoes National Park or Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Mgahinga’s gorillas are quite unreliable as they keep crossing borders, which makes tracking them uncertain. The experience offered by the three parks is broadly similar, so the biggest factor now determining where you go is either the cost or availability of the gorilla permit.

Only 8 persons can visit a given gorilla family per day. In Uganda, 12 families have been habituated in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP, nine of which are available for tracking and one is dedicated to research thus making the total permits available per day 96 gorilla families. Rwanda can only take 80 persons per day.

To claim you cut off the gorilla tour price please send an email to info@gorillasandwildlifesafaris.com or visit the website  (http://www.gorillasandwildlifesafaris.com) and ask for reduction in gorilla tour price to reflect this discount.

See you on trek!


Related articles:
Comparing Gorilla Trekking Tours : Uganda Vs Rwanda – Compare prices, experience, hardness,etc
My mountain gorilla tracking experience in Bwindi's Oruzogo gorilla family
How To Book Gorilla tracking & Trek Permits in Uganda and Rwanda

Mountain Gorillas Aside, Why Does Earth need Bwindi so badly?


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Friday, July 1, 2016

Who needs yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate to Rwanda, Who is exempted from the Immunisation certificate?

While Rwanda is Yellow Fever free, following the current active outbreak of Yellow Fever in
Yellow fever vaccination certificate advice to Rwanda
Angola and the documenting of imported cases in some countries, the Rwandan Ministry of Health is implementing measures to prevent the import of Yellow Fever cases and therefore protect the health of residents and visitors.
The following instructions are delivered to inform public and travelers:
1. To enter in Rwanda, a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is not required for travelers (Residents/ Non-Residents) coming from Yellow Fever non-endemic countries and without an active transmission outbreak of Yellow Fever.
2. To enter in Rwanda, a valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is mandatory for travelers (Residents/ Non-Residents) coming from Yellow Fever endemic countries1 and countries2 with active Yellow Fever transmission outbreaks.
3. All residents travelling to Yellow Fever endemic countries1 should be vaccinated at least 10 days before travelling.
4. For travelers (Resident/ Non-Resident) coming from an active Yellow Fever transmission outbreak country2 or travelers who have recently visited (within 24 days) an active Yellow Fever transmission outbreak country2 the following instructions will be applied:
 Yellow Fever endemic countries1: Angola, Argentina, Benin, Bolivia Plurinational, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Suriname, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Venezuela.                                                             
 Active Yellow Fever transmission outbreak country2: Angola
If you would like to get a waiver of the vaccination certificate and enter Rwanda, there are generally two ways to get and present an exemption. The first is to go to a registered provider of the Yellow Fever vaccine and have them write the exemption on the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) card (Yellow Card). The other way is to have your physician write the exemption on practice letterhead. The following link to the UK Health Service contains a further link to a template for such a letter of medical exemption.
Click here for Official Letter