Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Rwanda’s Mountain Gorilla Naming Ceremony (Kwita Izina) set for Awards

Rwanda’s annual Kwita Izina, which invlolves the Rwandan tradition of having the community and invited guests name the baby Mountain Gorillas, will join two other projects for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Ulysses Award.

The finals are set for Madrid, Spain on January 22nd. This was announced by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) after a list of the finalists were published at the end of last year.

“We are so grateful for this chance to participate in the finals of innovative projects by UNWTO,” Valentine Rugwabiza, the RDB Chief Executive Officer said.

He said this was a global recognition of the efforts by Rwanda in innovative, community focused and sustainable tourism.

Kwita Izina was launched in 2005 and has so far seen 173 baby gorillas named by different people who include the Rwandan President Paul Kagame, the First Lady Jeanette Kagame, various Hollywood stars, renowned journalists, tourism personalities, conservationists among others.

Such an event is in line with creating and raising awareness for the conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas. At the same time Rwandan tourist attractions and destinations are promoted, particularly for the community surrounding the Volcanoes National Park where the gorillas live.
“Rwanda is on the right track of developing tourism and RDB will continue forming a basis for continued positioning of the country as a high end destination that puts first sustainable tourism development which integrates both biodiversity and the community development,” the Head of Tourism and Conservation at RDB, Rica Rwigaba, said.
She said this was a great opportunity to market Rwanda even more widely in the tourism industry.

During the forthcoming 10th edition of Kwita Izina later this year, it is anticipated that the event will get increased publicity due to UN-WTO recognition.

To date, the event has raised Rwf586,838,751, (about $978,065) for community development as part of the RDB’s tourism revenue sharing scheme.
it has evolved from a one day celebration to weeks and this mainly benefits the surrounding community.

Since 2003 UNWTO awards for excellence and Innovation in Tourism have honored tourism initiatives that contribute to advanced tourism through knowledge and innovation in line with principles of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

This event has again increased on revenue got from tourism and therefore this is why it is crucial to be developed even more.

Meanwhile according to UNWTO, compared to the same period in 2012, international tourist arrivals grew 5 percent in the first nine months of 2013, UNWTO’s latest ‘UNWTO World Tourism Barometer’ shows that destinations around the world welcomed a record 845 million overnight visitors in the first nine months of this year. That’s 41 million more overnight visitors than the first nine months of 2012.

Growth was especially strong in Europe and Asia Pacific, where international tourists numbers rose 6 percent.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Uganda National Museum–A Forgotten Rich Cultural heritage?

The museum, which occupies 3.359 hectares (approximately 13 acres), located on Plot 5, Kira road in Kamwokya, is in dire need of a facelift. Although it is evident that the exterior recently got a fresh brush of paint, a number of things need to be fixed. For instance, the benches in the garden are dilapidated, while the parking yard needs to be widened and repaved.

The museum was founded in 1908 and has exhibits and artifacts of traditional culture, archeology, history and science. It has various interesting sections riddled with artifacts that bring to life the different historical aspects of our society. For instance, in the Stone Age section, one is able to observe physical tools used by Stone Age people. These tools include stones, bones and wood used for cutting, scrapping and chipping, and how they evolved into the modern tools that Ugandans use today, or used in the recent past.

One is also able to see how we evolved from our ancestors, from the pre-historic period through the history of apes and how they evolved into humans. The story is told by the displayed pictures, as well as real tools and bones or skulls that make the history we learn in school seem more real.

Uganda’s multicultural and colourful past comes alive as one tours the History and Iron Age displays depicting the traditional ways of life in different kingdoms, tribes and communities of Uganda. Here one finds striking displays of traditional clothing (mostly bark cloth and animal skin), headdress, hairdressing, as well as hunting, the history of transportation, fishing, agriculture, war, religion, and how our ancestors spent their free time (traditional recreation).

Also of interest is the display that describes how justice was dispensed in Uganda many years ago. With no penal code, police force or criminal investigations department as they exist today, how did people in earlier days know/prove who had committed which crime and what punishment fitted him/her? One would be able to learn that the Madi and Lugbara used divine pots to assess the innocence of the accused.

However, despite this rich cultural heritage value, government believes that the museum has become a liability, having failed to generate any meaningful revenue. A trade centre in the same place, government feels, would perform much better. Yet government must also take part of the blame, having continually underfunded the museum. For instance, for the 2011/2012 financial year, it was allocated a mere Shs 50 million, money that certainly is not enough to meet its needs.

Over the years, the management of the museum has tried to come up with innovative ways to circumvent the funding crisis. It has, for instance, leased part of its land to the Uganda Wildlife Authority, which has established offices and to private developers like Ibamba restaurant. However, sources told us that the museum has no direct control over the resources generated from these ventures.

Management also introduced entry charges to boost the facility’s income. Until the early 2000s, Ugandans visiting the museum were not charged but, today, adults pay Shs 1,000 to enter and children, Shs 500. The entry fees for foreigners are Shs 3,000 for adults and Shs 1,500 for children. Visitors carrying still and video cameras pay an additional Shs 5,000 and Shs 20,000 respectively.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Uganda Tour operators and tourists can now heave a sigh of relief after the introduction of MV-MOSES which is to provide transport to Kalangala ssese islands from nakiwogo Entebbe as the MV Kalangala undergoes a total overhaul in Mwanza.

According to a reliable source, each person boarding is charged Uganda Shillings 15000. The departure time from Entebbe time: 10:00am
Arrival time at ssese islands. 12:00.
Departure time from Ssese Islands: 3:00pm
Arrival time at Entebbe. 5:00pm.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Uganda Wildlife Authority New Card System a “Huge Success”

Uganda Wildlife Authority’s newly introduced Visitor card system has reportedly been a huge success making the authority save lots of money. Recently UWA decided to gradually change from  issuing paper entry permits and gorilla permits to plastic cards which act like ATM cards. The cards are loaded with a certain amount of money which the visitor can spend on any activity in the parks.

Jossy Muhangi, the acting Public Relations Manager Uganda Wildlife Authority says the Wildlife Card has been a huge success. He says they expect to roll out the wildlife card to cover all parks across the country, after the successful pilot project in Mgahinga Park last year.

The wildlife card system allows UWA to capture the details of the activities a tourist intends to carry out in the park after payment. On arrival, the card is loaded on a computer to check the details, after which the visitor is granted permission to proceed with his intended activities. Muhangi says with the card in place, those who used to dupe tourists into paying extra money cannot now succeed. He says criminals who forge UWA receipts and other documents can now easily be detected.

Muhangi says the system will also protect both tourists and wildlife officials from criminals who have been targeting with hopes of getting cash.

Muhangi says once paid, the card entitles a tourist to all the activities they have paid for. He says a visitor who wants to increase the number of activities within the park pays additional money to park officials who in turn will load all the details onto the card so that the visitor can enjoy his or her preferences.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014-2016 Uganda Wildlife Authority National Park and Game Reserves Fees for Visitors

2014-2016 Uganda Wildlife Authority National Park entrance fees and tariffs to protected areas - Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale National Park, Mgahinga, Semliki, Bwindi, Gorilla tracking, Chimps trek, hiking, mountain climbing, fishing, golden monkeys, etc

  • Uganda 3 Days Gorilla Tour
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  • 5 Days Uganda Gorilla Trek with Kibale Chimpanzees 
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  • How to Plan your 2014 Gorilla Trek/ Tracking Tour and Safari in Uganda & Rwanda

    How to plan your gorilla trek in Rwanda and Uganda, what to consider – planning your program, transport, accommodation, and other activities for the gorilla trek.TRACKING MOUNTAIN GORILLAS IN RUHIJA BWINDI UGANDA

    Gorilla tracking can only either be done in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park or Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park. To track gorillas you must have a pre-booked gorilla tracking permit (US$600 in Uganda and US$750 in Rwanda per person). Gorilla permits in Uganda are on promotion of US$350 per each in April and May 2014. Since the gorilla parks are located far away from the airport you arrive from you will need transport (4x4 advisable) to reach the park.

    In Uganda you will need at least 3 days to the gorilla trek: One day travelling to the park, another day tracking the gorilla, and the third day driving back to Kampala/ Entebbe.

    In Rwanda you need only about two hours to get from the Airport to the Park and you can even do a 1-day tour.

    To book your gorilla permit, you will need to either contact the relevant country agency to book the gorilla permit (Uganda Wildlife Authority for Uganda or ORTPN for Rwanda) or book the permits through a local tour agency like us. Please note that gorilla permits are only confirmed in either cases by paying for them in full. So, you will need to send money for the permits in full to get your confirmation.

    If you are hoping to travel in July and August 2014, be aware that some days are actually sold out but there is still plenty of space on most days and for the rest of the year.

    If you arrange your own gorilla permit, please ensure that you pick it from the booking office in Kigali/ Kampala before travelling to the gorilla park. You must present your gorilla permit and passport on the gorilla tracking day to be allowed on the gorilla trek. In case your permit is booked through a tour agent and you are taking the tour with them you may not necessarily need to think about getting the permit from them but if you are not taking the full gorilla tour with them, consider getting your permit before travelling to the Park.

    Planning your Transport to the Gorilla Trek in Rwanda and Uganda:

    In both Rwanda and Uganda, you will require a 4x4 vehicle to go to the gorilla parks. Much as you can travel in just two hour to access Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda on smooth surfaced roads, you will definitely require a raised 4x4 vehicle to move from the Volcanoes Park Headquarters to the gorilla trek trail-head – the roads are rough, full of rocks and not easily navigable for a small car.
    For Uganda, you also need a 4x4 vehicle to navigate the rough pot-holed roads which frequently get clients stuck for hours during rainy seasons. In both cases, you may be able to hire a vehicle for US$100 per day excluding the fuel but including the driver costs. In Uganda’s case, Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris offers transfers for US$520 for the 3 days (including vehicle, fuel, driver allowances for 3 days tour).
    Alternatively you may take public buses to a nearby town but you will definitely have to find a cab (preferably 4x4 and usually costs $100 a day without gas fuel) to ferry you to the gorilla trek trail start an back to your hotel.

    In Rwanda your gorilla permit requires that you be at the park headquarters at 7:00 AM or before for the gorilla tracking activity. In Uganda, you need to report to the park registration office at 7:30AM. So whatever method you choose, make sure that is is reliable  - if you don’t turn up at the appointed time you risk invalidating your gorilla tracking permit and having to pay again.

    The gorilla tracking time is very unpredictable and you may as well take the entire day. So have your accommodation booked for the night after your trek as well. For this same reason also have with you a packed lunch for the day, plenty of drinking water, rainproof clothing (you are trekking through a rainforest and any day it can rain).

    Hiring Porters and Walking Sticks for the Gorilla Trek

    Usually there are porters for hire (at $15 each) at the park offices and walking sticks (at $5). Do not overestimate your strength; you may certainly need either or both of these. So put it in high consideration to hire one. Besides, it’s another way of giving back to the communities.

    Planning Your Accommodation during your Gorilla Trek tour

    In Rwanda, you can stay in at any hotel in Ruhengeri town, Kinigi town, or at the park boundary. Some travellers attempt driving from Kigali on the gorilla tracking day by departing at 5AM. It is highly advisable that you spend the night before the trek as near the park as possible. In Ruhengeri (now also referred to as Musanze) which is about 12 kms from the Volcanoes National Park and 20 minutes driving  town recommended hotels include La Palme Hotel, Volcanoes Gorillas Hotel, Hotel Muhavura, Virunga Hotel, Ishema Hotel, Fatuma Hotel and Urumuli Hotel. In Kinigi and near the park you can stay at Kinigi Guesthouse,Village Touristique de Kinigi, Gorillas Nest Lodge, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Virunga Lodge and Sabinyo Silverback Lodge.

    In Uganda, the accommodation you choose will depend on the gorilla permit you book being that the available 11 gorilla families that tourists visit in Bwindi are range over a wide area. Please have a look at the page for more details about which accommodation you will need to book for each different gorilla family in Bwindi.

    Joining your gorilla trek with other tours/ excursions

    Both Rwanda and Uganda offer a variety of tours you can join onto your gorilla trek. Please have a look at our website to see which other places you can visit in addition to your gorilla trek.

    3 days Uganda Gorilla tour
    3 day Gorilla tracking Rwanda with tour price
    4 days Rwanda Gorilla Tour  -
    Uganda 4 days Gorilla tracking tour with Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park
    Uganda 5 days Gorilla tracking tour with Wildlife Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park
    5 days Uganda Gorillas, Chimps Tour
    5 days Gorillas trek Rwanda and Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda
    5 days Rwanda, Uganda Gorillas
    6 Days Gorilla Trek tour, Kibale Chimps tracking, Wildlife BIG 5 Safaris in Queen Elizabeth National
    6 days gorilla tracking, wildlife safari
    7 days Uganda tour and holiday to Murchison Falls, mountain gorillas, Chimpanzees in Kibale Forest and Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable
    7 days Gorillas, chimpanzee, wildlife 
    7 days Uganda Gorilla Safaris
    8 days Uganda Gorilla Game safari
    9 days Gorillas, primates wildlife
    All Inclusive 12 days Uganda Safari
    14 days Uganda Rwanda Safari


    2 days Gorilla tracking Rwanda with tour price
    3 day Gorilla tracking Rwanda with tour price

    4 Gorillas trekking Rwanda - 4 days tour

    4 Days Rwanda and Uganda Gorilla tracking tour (double trek) 
    5 days  Rwanda UgandaGorillas with double tracking
    5 days Gorillas trek Rwanda and Safari in Queen Elizabeth  national Park Uganda
    5 days Uganda Rwanda Gorillas with double tracking
    14 days Uganda Rwanda Safari How to book Rwanda Gorilla trek permits
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