Wednesday, 26 April 2017

A sneak Look Into Kibale National Park in Uganda

The primate capital of the world and yes the impressive rainforest harboring Humans closest relatives lies west of Uganda standing on  766 sq.kms land south of colonial town Fort portal. As continuously put, the early bird catches the warm and so is the beginning with the handover keys and travel insights from your right choosen Car Rental Agency to the home of primate apes “chimpanzees” also commonly referred to as Humans closest relatives. With all set behind the wheels to the western part of Uganda lies the Kibale National Forest Park, a lush green tropical savanna vegetation throughout the hills of Mubende til the extremely end approaching the tea plantations of Fort portal town.

Where kibale forest National park is located.
Through Fortportal, the gifted town of cool moderate temperatures throughout the year. Also said to be the cleanliest among all the urban centers in the country. A one-stop point at Mpanga Market on a self drive car rental in Uganda allows shopping of all the necessary and forgettable items from Kampala. Get interacted with the local people, all to hear are the interesting stories in the local languages associated to names like Amooti, Atenyi, Abwori, Akiiki, and Adyeri referred to as “Empako” literally meaning the pet names.

How to Get There.
With Public means and common commuter taxis or with a personal rented car from Kampala. Whichever your choice is, there will always be a drive south through the forest for your destination. Well done with the shopping, turn left next to Buhinga hospital road leading to kamwenge to switch on a newly surfaced road that leads to the park. Amidst the forest, you shall hear them before you see deep in the forest an excited hooting, just one voice at first then several rising in tempo to a frenzied unified crescendo before stopping abruptly. The chimpanzees like the gorillas share 98.8% of the human genes. While in your comfort seat, an eruptive crescendo sound amidst the tropical rain forest excites the tourists on their arrival in the park.
An alternative route is through the well-surfaced Masaka-Mbarara road west of Kampala that will leave you tantalized and amused of the fauna along Lake Mburo National Park the whispers of the wild. All to see are the African Zebras, Topi, Buffaloes, and the Impala in your customised rented safari vehicle. Up ahead is the home of milk and honey” Mbarara town” that you will be persuaded to stay because of its hospitable people around however this was not your pre-organized destination, stick to your 4x4 wheel vehicle and feel the rough texture roads north of Mbarara  through Ibanda town further more to Kamwengye District  your  travel destination.

Top Things to do in Kibale forest National park.
Chimpnzee Treking: Top on the list is the remarkable and most sought after Chimpanzee tracking or Chimpanzee Habituation. One being aa 3 to 5 hours walk through the forest spend an hour with humans closest relatives and back. This walk takes between 3-5 hours depending on where the chimpanzees are. Another option for the chimpanzee habituation is scheduled for whole day in the forest from 6am till dawn.  The tracking costs $150 in high season, $100 in the low seasons while habituation experience costs $220  in all seasons.

Bigodi swamp walk: Second best done is the Walk through the swamp of Bigodi, a community based orgarnisation running a huge chunck of swamp where different types of monkeys, endemic birds including the elusive Turraco and plant species can be seen.  Best done in the morning when most wildlife and birds are lively and best spotted. 

Among other activities in this conservation area are the forest walks, bird watching, community walks, crater lake walks and community visits through Bigodi visits. Not only the chimpanzees that are being  habituated at the park also the Black and White Columbus Monkey,Blue Monkey,Grey-cheeked Mangabey known as the  Uganda Mangabey, Red-tailed Monkey, Bushbaby and Potto.Birds have not been left behind to the gifted  Forest park to be  included to the habituation. With a variety of animals and birds, the park arranges different activities indifferent sessions to feel the really fauna of the area. The Chimpanzees trekking, Guided forest walks, and bird viewing to bird lovers are to be in a tourist mind.

Accomodations in kibale Forest National park
Worried of being stranded around the park about the accommodation, oh… this has been all arranged by your travel guide from self drive rental car agency. Kibale Forest Park has one of the best tourist camps that will allow camp fire  to keep  you worm throughout the night .
The Kibale Forest Camp near the Bigodi Sanctuary swamp that serves all sorts of international and local food you would  miss from home.Other hotels include Kibale Primate Lodge, Chimps Nest, and Tinka’s Homestay all make you feel at home.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Rhino Tracking in Uganda on a Self drive car rental.

Rhinos in Uganda were tracked in Kidepo National park in the early 1960’s  but due to the civil  wars  and rapid poaching during the error of terror in the northern  region with the last Black Rhino being poached down in 1991, Ziwa sanctuary  located in Nakitoma Nakasongola is the only wild to watch the second largest mammals after the elephants. Either way the sanctuary can be accessed by Road with a self drive car rental in Uganda or preferably through a guided tour. Originally, they were 700 white Rhinoceros tracked in the park but currently 16 of them are left and can only be spoted after a 3 hours and a 260kms drive out of Kampala town which were initially re-introduced through the Rhino Fund Uganda at the Sanctuary. The word Rhinoceros comes from two Greek words “Rhino” and “ceros” that mean “Big Horn” and “Mud “respectively. The white rhinos are not originally white but being in the mud with their big horn in South Africa game parks they came to be called white rhinos though they are both grey in colour. It is from the difficulties by the Africans to mention the name WIDE that was said and heard as WHITE For the rhinos due to their wide kind of lips.

Facts about Rhinos
Like Elephants, Rhinos are social.
A dominant male plays as the Father and the protector.
They mourn the death of the family member like the elephants.
Their skin is 3inch thick
Their head is the heaviest part of their body and is the reason to eat only grass.
They eat 150kg per day and drink 60-80 liters of water to support their weight of 3 tones.
A male matures at the age of 10 and a female matures at the age of 8.
Their average life span is 45 years. A female in her life span can produce 120 offspring going through a gestation period of 16 months being the second largest mammal after the elephant with the longest gestation period.
Short sighted but have an acute hearing and a heightened sense of smell to compensate.

How to access the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
The sanctuary is accessed through self drive car rental options or with the help of the guide on your arrival at the airport. Its easy to drive through the city Kampala accessing the northern route or an insightful guide moves you through the capital of Uganda then head north of Kampala to switch onto a well-surfaced Kampala-Gulu highway road. An interest to visit the Namugongo Shrine and some historical sites around Kampala like the Bai temple, Kasubi Tombs, Ndere Centre would be an added advantage to your trip towards the rhinos home.

What to do in Ziwa.
Besides rhino tracking, the sanctuary has a variety of activities to keep visitors entertained and focused to the trip. Once there, the guides will introduce to you guided nature walks, Birding and shoebill Canoe Safari. Around stay to the Sanctuary’s hotels and lodges over the night and is a good welcome to a guided walk. Preferably done in the early morning or evening In the morning at 0700 hrs to 0900 hrs approximately to 2 and half hours will be set ready to track the  endangered protected  rhinos on a 7000ha land. A guide’s advice is always taken to be crucial in the sanctuary..

The sanctuary has a count number of less than 300 birds that trail over the woodlands, swamps, and the savannah grasslands. The best time to watch the birds is in the morning hours around 0700hrs to 0900 hrs and the evening hours between 1700 hours and 1900 hours. And for the shoebill, canoe safari takes 3 to 4 hours normally at sunrise.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Self drive in Uganda and Common road signs

Wish to travel in Uganda and worried of the way and the road signs to your destination?.  Past and gone were the days when most Ugandan roads were in bad bumpy conditions. Unsurfaced, pot holed and at times robbers on the highways. Its history and yes its safe too with a rented car in Uganda for a self drive through these beautiful lands. From Time since the National Resistance Movement (The current political party regime under Museveni) came to Power, the Roads and Influstructure sector was put to the fore front managed by the Uganda National Roads Authority an Institution responsible for road maintenance with her sister body known as Traffic Police to enforce rules and regulation along the Ugandan roads. Driving on our busy roads is a complex task and impossible to give rules and advise that cover every possible situation you will encounter.  Self drive in Uganda and on the surfaced roads reflect an inspirational and memorable journey however, common sense may be required largely at a personal level. Always give way if it can help to avoid a collision. While on your trip, you will witness an ocean of road signs in different locations on your way. Below are most visualized signs on your way.

Zebra Crossing Signs. Like any other country, you will from time to time marvel at black and white stripes on the road especially when approaching a busy area like a market, school, hospitals. This requires you to reduce speed and give room for pedestrians to cross. In most cases pedestrians also never look left and right before crossing and so is the need for extra carefulness.

Speed limit. Maximum speed in Uganda and on highways is 80km/hr while the minimum is 50kms/hr mainly maintained in villages, towns and centers. These speed limit signs are usually enfacised with speed bumps just after the signs, so always expect speed bumps after the speed limit signs. The speed limit will require you to drive at the speed as allocated on the sign post and always maintain the speed and not beyond the specified speed. Fines are heavy and are totally the driver’s responsibility.

Round abouts. Symbolized with arrows in a circle pointing in left-same directions, Reminds motorists the roundabout ahead so as to slow down their vehicles and avoid rushing into other vehicles that come into the roundabout. Located at junctions especially where four roads meet. The safest place to make a U-turn in case you accidentally found yourself in a one way lane.

Traffic lights. Commonly found in major towns, Traffic lights always guide you when to cross the junction in most busy areas. Always with  three colours Red, Green and Orange, Red-meaning stop, Pedestrians cross the road, orange light mean get ready to move and unless pedestrian are near the crossing line are not supposed to cross and Green light  means to Go and pedestrians stop moving till you see the Red light. Very important to follow these in major towns due to the high rate of reckless driving especially with the Motor Bikes we commonly refer to as the Boda bodas.

Schools and Hospital signs. In common sighting whenever approaching a health centre or hospital are always pictures of students and hospitals  shown on the sign post respectively alerting you of a school or a hospital  a head  and reduce speed  so as children cross easily to the other road side well as patients.

Hairpin curve and combined curve. We call them Danger spots. Normally symbolized in a U-shaped and N shaped curves approaching corners something and spots you should always be careful about. Usually drivers are not supposed to overtake or over speed as this may cause a car loose control on these bent corners which leads to loss of lives of people in the car and third parties.

Dividing center lines. Are usually indicated on newly surfaced roads in yellow colours which mean DO NOT CROSS THE LINE. Preferably and remarkably recommended for self drive car rental independent travelers, always stay on driving lane to avoid collusion of incoming vehicles and especially with the  reckless drivers.

Diversion signs.  Most located in places where maintenance and repair is done. Never neglect the diversion sign because you may rush into a heavy trolling vehicle or tractor and lose your life.

Railway Crossing.  Always a train will be indicated on the sign post to warn other road users that train   passes here. A road barrier will always be put-up if the Train is approaching for crossing something you ought to observe. It also gives awareness that you are not supposed to park along the railway line since the train does not stop.