Primate World Safaris – Uganda Safaris & Rwanda Gorilla Trekking tours
We are a local premier Uganda Safari Company with a wide variety of services which we give to our visitors and tourists coming to East Africa. We offer Gorilla trekking tours to Bwindi, Mgahinga and Volcanoes national parks. We also offer Day tours, Chimp tracking tours, Game viewing safaris, Community tours, Birding Adventures, Rafting & Kayaking, Hiking & nature walks, Car hire and so many others. Our Uganda Safari & Rwanda Safari packages can be tailor-made according to your needs. Special offers & discounts for Gorilla trekking are available in the low seasons which are April, May & November.
Uganda is a landlocked country bordered by Kenya in the east, Sudan in the north, Democratic Republic of the Congo in the west, Rwanda in the southwest and Tanzania in the south.
Uganda’s total land area is 241,559 sq km. About 37,000 sq km of this area is occupied by open water while the rest is land. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, which it shares with Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda is located on the East African plateau, averaging about 1,100 meters (3,609 ft) above sea level. The plateau generally slopes downwards towards Sudan explaining the northerly tendency of most river flows in the country. Although generally equatorial, the climate is not uniform since the altitude modifies the climate.
Known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills,” Rwanda rests just below the equator and its size, while small—about the size of Maryland—has a rich geography with mountains, savannas, and many lakes. This landlocked nation is at a high altitude. It also has one of the 20 deepest lakes in the world, Lake Kivu.
Tourism is one of the fastest-growing sectors because Rwanda is fortunate to be one of only two countries where tourists can visit the endangered mountain gorillas safely. There are seven mountain gorilla families that tourists can visit, including Susa, the largest group with 41 mountain gorillas that also have rare 5-year-old twins. Besides gorillas, Rwanda has more than 700 kinds of birds.
Over the years Gorilla Tracking has been the number 1 top activity for most tourists who are on a Rwanda or Uganda Safaris. According to census data released by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, there are only about less than 800 Mountain Gorillas left in the world and over 400 of those live in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest alone. Others can be found in Mgahinga gorilla national park in south- western Uganda. In Rwanda they can be found in the Volcanoes national park which borders Uganda, DRC and Rwanda & Virunga national park in DRC. A maximum number of 8 visitors may visit a group (family) of habituated Gorillas in a day. This minimizes behavioral disturbances to the Gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases. When you approach the Gorillas, the guides will inform you when to get your cameras ready. It is also advisable to always keep your voices low and this will ensure that you are able to observe the beautiful birds and other wildlife in the forest.
REGULATION AND PROTOCOL
Tourists are permitted to spend no longer than an hour with the gorilla, and it is forbidden to eat or smoke in their presence. It is also forbidden to approach within less then 5m of the gorillas, a rule that is difficult to enforce with curious youngsters [and some adults] who often approach human visitors. Gorillas are susceptible to many human diseases, and it has long been feared by researchers that one ill tourist might infect a gorilla; resulting in the possible death of the whole troop should they have no immunity to that disease. For this reason, you should not go gorilla tracking with a potentially airborne infection such as flu or a cold, and are asked to turn away from the gorillas should you need to sneeze in the presence. To the best of our knowledge, no tourist has ever been seriously hurt by habituated gorillas. An adult gorilla is much stronger than a person, and will act in accordance with its own social codes. Therefore, it is vital that you listen to your guide at all times regarding correct protocol in the presence of gorillas.
WHAT TO WEAR AND TAKE
Whichever family group you visit, you may have to walk a long distance in steep, muddy conditions, possibly with rain overhead, before you encounter any gorillas. Put on your sturdiest shoes. Ideally, wear thick trousers ad long sleeved top as to protect against vicious stinging nettles. It’s often cold when you set out, so start out with a sweatshirt or jerseys [which also help protect against nettles].
The gorillas are thoroughly used to people, so it makes little difference whether you wear bright or muted colors. Whatever clothes you wear to go tracking are likely to get very dirty you slip and slither in the mud, so if you have pre- muddied clothes you might as well wear them. When you are grabbing for handholds in thorny vegetation, a pair of old gardening gloves are helpful. Carry as little as possible, ideally in a waterproof daypack of some sort. During the rainy season, a poncho or raincoat might be a worthy addition to your daypack, while sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat are a good idea at any time of year. You may well feel like a snack during a long hike, and should certainly carry enough drinking water – at least two liters. Bottled water is sold in locally at the accommodation facilities.
Especially during the rainy season, make sure your camera gear is well protected – is your bag isn’t waterproof, seal your camera and films in a plastic bag. Binoculars are not necessary to see the gorillas. In the theory, bird watchers might like to carry binoculars, though in practice only the most dedicated are likely to make use of them – the trek up to the gorillas is normally much directed, and walking up the steep slopes and the thick vegetation tends to occupy one’s eye and mind.
A valid passport with visa is mandatory. In view of the bilateral agreements, nationals of the following countries may visit Rwanda without visa for a period up to 90 days: USA, UK, Germany, Canada, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sweden, Mauritius, South Africa and Hong Kong. Please consult the Rwanda consulate or embassy nearest you for visa requirements to enter Rwanda. If a visa is required, you are responsible for obtaining it. The Rwanda Visa can be applied for online or bought upon arrival.
Most nationalities require entry visas when traveling to Uganda. Visas can be purchased on arrival at the airport for USD 50 or can be issued by Ugandan High Commissions in countries where they are represented. The fees for visas issued at Ugandan high commissions abroad are generally more. USD notes have to be dated 2006 or newer and be in good condition with no tears or marks.
Gorilla and Chimpanzee Tracking Health Requirements
Mountain gorillas and Chimpanzees are highly susceptible to human diseases including flu and colds. If you are participating in a gorilla / chimp trek while on a Rwanda or Uganda Safaris then you need to be free of any visibly contagious diseases and this is checked at the start of the trek by the Park Authorities. If they are in any doubt of your condition, they reserve the right to prevent you from continuing on the trek. Our advice is that if you feel you are worried about this aspect, you please inform your safari guide as soon as possible, and he will seek advice as to the best way to manage the situation. If you are participating on a NGAMBA ISLAND SANCTUARY CHIMPANZEE INTERACTION (NOT the day visits – the actual INTERGRATION WITH THE CHIMPS or CAREGIVER PROGRAMMES where you overnight on the island) please refer to the documentation provided on booking regarding which SPECIAL, ADDITIONAL vaccines and health certificates are required to be presented to ensure participation.
Yellow Fever – inoculation is required should you travel between East African countries, and should you be flying into SA after visiting East Africa. This must be done no later than 10 days prior to your departure. If you have a history of liver disorders (hepatitis etc.) you must consult your physician first.
Typhoid – may be requested from the authorities when crossing into Rwanda, although it is unusual for it to be requested. This can be done by your local GP or through a travel clinic. There is also the tablet form available – only available from certain pharmacies.
Tetanus is also recommended, as is Cholera, but are not compulsory.
Hepatitis inoculation is at the discretion of the traveler.
Malaria prophylactics are a must and can be purchased from your local pharmacy. Please consult your pharmacist/doctor. It is also a good idea to bring some insect repellant with you to spray on yourself in the evenings and early morning when mosquitoes tend to be about.
Diarrhea / Guardia etc. – good personal hygiene and control over the quality of your drinking water should avoid this, bottled water is readily available throughout the country, but take along some medicine in case, particularly if you are planning to spend some time traveling alone and not with a tour company. We recommend that guests either buy bottled water, or take along water purification tablets and look after your own drinking water.
As with all medical requirements, your doctor or travel clinic will provide the most up to date Information – the above is a guide only.
Age Limits for UGANDA and RWANDA
The age limit for Gorilla tracking in Uganda and Rwanda, Golden monkey tracking in Uganda is 15 years. The authorities are very strict on this, so kindly make sure all clients and children are 15 or older in order to avoid any sad incidents like guest(s) kids being refused to track!
The age limit for chimpanzee tracking in Uganda is 15 years old and children 10 years or older are allowed to trek Golden monkeys in Rwanda as long as they are accompanied by an adult. Children under 15 years are allowed to Dian Fossey’s tomb – although the latter hike is a stiff one so we do not recommend that either to children under 12-13 years.
Straddling the equator, there is little year-round fluctuation in temperature and no real winter or summer. The hottest months are January and February when the average daytime range is 24-33°C (52-91°F) with peaks of up to 40°C/104°F in the far north. The south has two Wet seasons: from mid- September to November and March to May. The Dry season from December to February means only that it rains less and the gorilla parks remain fairly wet during these months. The second Dry season – from June and July – is considerably drier. Still, with 1000 to 2000mm (39.4-78.7in) of rain every year, it can rain at almost any time. The north, including Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley, has one continuous Wet season from March to November and a more obvious Dry season from December to February.
Even though Rwanda is located only two degrees south of the equator, Rwanda’s high elevation makes the climate temperate. The average daily temperature is near Lake Kivu; at an altitude of 4,800 feet (1,463 m) is 73 °F (22.8 °C). The average day time temperature is 24°c with a possible maximum of 30°c. There are four noticeable seasons, the long dry season is from mid-May to September, and the long dry season is from mid-May to September, the short rains from October to mid-December to mid-march. Heavy downpours occur almost daily, alternating with sunny weather. Rainfall is generally heavier in the western and northwestern mountains than in the eastern savannas. The summit of Karisimbi (4507m), the highest of these volcanoes, is often covered with hail or snow.