Monday, April 17, 2017

All you need to know about Golden Monkey Tracking in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Trekking to see the golden monkeys is another highlight of Volcanoes National Park. The Golden Monkey (Cercopithecus Mitis Kandti) is a local subspecies of the widespread Sykes Monkey, also known as the “Blue Monkey” and is endemic to the high altitude forests of the Volcanoes National Park area. The Golden monkeys are rare species is listed as endangered. The monkeys are playful and inquisitive and often spend their time leaping from bamboo branches or frolicking on the forest floor towards the base of the volcanoes and have overcome their initial shyness to accept their daily visit by researchers and tourists.
Golden Monkeys Volcanoes National Park RwandaThere are two habituated groups of Golden Monkey, one group comprises around 80 - 100 members and has its home at the foot of Mt Sabyinyo.
In the same way you track mountain gorillas so will your track the golden monkeys. Treks to see the Golden Monkeys take place in the mornings and visitors are permitted to stay for 1 hour with the monkeys. Departure for the Golden Monkey trek is from the Park’s Kinigi Headquarters at 07:00am. The number of visitors is not limited and the fee for a Golden Monkey permit is currently USD$100 per person per trek. Permits can either be arranged in advance or booked at the park headquarters on the morning of the trek. Porters can be hired at the entry point of the park.
Golden Monkeys are very sprightly creatures, and leap from tree to tree which is really entertaining, if a little difficult to photograph! We recommend setting your camera to a fast shutter-speed to allow for low light in the dense undergrowth and to better your chances of capturing the golden monkeys on film!
This is a great way to spend an extra day in the Volcanoes National Park and if you're interested in wildlife, this is a rare and delightful experience not to be missed!
If you would like further information or would like help booking your golden monkey permit, or would like to add golden monkey tracking to your tour program, then please either contact us for assistance.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Information on Optional Tourist Activities in Southern Bwindi, Kisoro, Mgahinga, Lake Mutanda, Batwa and Nkuringo

Kisoro is home is the main base for gorilla trekking in South Western Uganda and in neighbouring Rwanda. However, Kisoro doesn't only offer gorilla trekking: its beautiful surroundings offer an opportunity to undertake several different interesting activities, either individually or in groups. Below is a description of some of these activities.
Just above Ntebeko Gate is a small platform offering a magnificent view of Magahinga National Park and the surrounding area. To the south the three volcanoes, to the north miles of small gardens, Lake Mutanda and the hills of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. To the west a great view of the Western Rift valley in Congo.
Difficulty: easy; walking time: 30 min; distance 1km
Garama Cave
Almost 100 years ago there was a conflict between the Batwa (pygmies) and the Bantu population. The Batwa lived in the forests and the Bantu had their gardens and villages. The Batwa raided the Bantu in their villages and disappeared in the forests. The Bantu had no idea that there was a very large cave in the forest where the Batwa were hiding. Garama cave is 342 meters long and today it is only home to bats. During the visit the guide will tell you more about Garama Cave and the history and the life of the Batwa.
Difficulty: easy; walking time: 3 hrs; distance 4 km. NB: bring a torch!
Mount Magahinga
Around 58% of Magahinga National Park is covered with bamboo forest, a delicacy for the Gorillas and the Golden Monkeys. The walk to the top of the Mgahinga Volcano takes us through a very nice example of pure natural bamboo forest. This walk offers a good chance to see the rare Golden Monkey and Bushbucks. At the top (3474m) you will find a good view and a lush swamp in the crater.
Difficulty: moderate; walking time: 6 hrs; distance 6 km; elevation gain: 1100 m.
Sabinyo Gorge
This walk takes us through the lush vegetation in the gorge of the Sabinyo. It is moist with a dense vegetation. A small river at the bottom of the gorge is responsible for creating this paradise over time. At the end of the walk is a small but nice waterfall and a very good view of all the peaks. A good place for lunch! The gorge is a good place for seeing birds, especially the Ruwenzori Turacoo. Golden Monkeys and Duikers can also be spotted.
Difficulty: moderate; walking time: 4 hrs; distance 6 km; elevation gain: very little.
NB: bring good walking shoes!
Mount Sabinyo
Mount Sabinyo is the oldest of the three volcanoes, quite eroded and that is why it has its name, which means: "teeth of the old man"! This volcano has three challenging peaks. The trail takes you up a ridge along the eastern side to Peak 1. If you wish to continue, the climb to Peak 2 involves walking a ridge with breathtaking drops into the gorges of Rwanda and Uganda. Finally, the hike up to Peak 3 is steep with several ladders and much scrambling. On top of peak 3 (3669m) you will be in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo at the same time! The Sabinyo hike takes you through all different vegetation belts, and you have good chances of seeing Golden Monkeys, Duiker, Rwenzori Turacos and Sunbirds.
Difficulty: you have to be fit! walking time: 8 hrs; distance 14 km; elevation gain: 1300 m.
NB: bring good walking shoes!
Border Trail
This hike takes you first toward Sabinyo. The trail climbs up the base of Sabinyo for a while through fine montane forest before turning towards Congo. Along the way you will get a great view of Sabinyo's gorge and peaks. Upon reaching Congo you cut back along the international border. The return leg to park head quarters is a great section for birding. The two rest huts along the way are good places for a break. Look closely for the Golden Monkeys and signs of elephants.
Difficulty: moderate; walking time: 8 hrs; distance 10 km; elevation gain: very little.
NB: bring good walking shoes!
Free Birding
Yes, free birding along the edge of the park is now available on request. The guides are very happy to take you out from 5-6 pm if you book by 10 am that morning. Birds that can be seen: Ibis, Whydah, Speckled Moosebird, Fire Finch, Stonechat, Grey Capped Warbler, Waxbills and Yellow-Vented Bulbul.
NB: bring your binoculars!
Village Walk
Walk with a local guide or on your own through the gardens and villages of the Bufumbira and Bakiga tribes. On your way you will learn a lot about how the people live and work. Often there is the possibility to eat at a local place or sometimes with a family. Other walks take us over the hills to Lake Mutanda and there you can go with a dugout canoe to Python Island and see birds near a swamp.
Difficulty: moderate; walking time: 3-5 hrs; distance 3-8 km; elevation gain: very little.
Batwa Trail
Batwa Trail is a community based tour product developed by the Batwa community near Bwindi in conjunction with the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Pearls of Uganda an NGO:-
It starts at the base of Mt Muhavura at 8.00 am and finishes by 3-4 pm. You'll need walking shoes, hat, and raingear, and a packed lunch with sufficient drinks.
The Batwa Trail runs across the lower slopes of the Muhavura and Gahinga volcanoes in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The forest is home to a variety of wildlife but the Batwa Trail is far from being a conventional nature walk. With the help of Batwa guides, you'll see the forest as a larder, pharmacy, builder's yard, tool kit and, above all a home. Along the trail, you'll fire a bow and arrow, check hives for wild honey, help repair a Batwa shelter, harvest plants for medicine and food, light a fire without a matches, listen to legends and learn about Batwa traditions.
The highlight of the trail is a descent into the Garama cave, a 200m-long lava tube beneath Mt. gahinga. The Batwa are famed for their music and dance and their historic, subterranean council chamber in Garama Cave provides the setting for an unforgettable performance.
The Batwa trail is celebration of the forest culture of the "'first people." It is impossible, however, to ignore the fact that Batwa life has greatly changed. The day's events conclude with a discussion about the Batwa's current situation; how it can be improved; and progress to date towards doing so.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

How to book/ buy a 2017 Gorilla Trek/ Tracking permit for Rwanda

Obtaining Rwanda Gorilla Permits for 2016

Booking your Gorilla Permits for Rwanda in a timely manner to have your visit with the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda
How and Where to get Gorilla Permits for 2016 for Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda
wild gorilla tracking in RwandaIn Rwanda, Gorilla tracking is done in Volcanoes National Park (Parc Nationale du Volcanoes) and gorilla trek/ tracking permits booking is managed by the Rwanda Tourism Office (ORTPN). Each gorilla permit costs US$1500 in Rwanda. On each particular day, about 56 persons can visit Rwanda gorillas, 8 persons per each gorilla family.
Gorilla permits are in high demand, because of the stiff competition for them, and therefore are booked with payment on the basis of first come first served. Book your gorilla permit in advance to avoid disappointment.
To track gorillas you must have the day’s gorilla permit which needs to be arranged and paid for in advance, preferably at least 6  months for the high seasons - June-September and December-February; or latest 1-2 months in advance for the low seasons - October-November and March-May.
In Rwanda Gorilla Permits can only be purchased from ORTPN , either directly or through a tour agent. Contact us for the latest status of availability, even for last-minute bookings.
Gorilla permits are booked with payment on the basis of first come first served. Availability of gorilla permits for a required date is not guaranteed. There is a lot of competition for the gorilla permits, which makes it hard to get one for yourself. Any delay in confirmation and/or payment may mean that you will be unable to obtain the permit on your preferred date. 
Once you book and send your money for permits, the date cannot change (changing a tracking date means a cancellation fee is charged). Rwanda (ORTPN) charges $100 for each permit date changed.
Booking Gorilla Permits directly through ORTPNgoing-gorilla-tracking-rwandaTo book your gorilla permit (from out of Rwanda) you first have to contact ORTPN’s reservation office by email inquiring about availability of the dates you intend to track the gorillas. If the exact dates you want are unavailable, you can request ORTPN 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 ORTPN. 
The transfer should usually take not more than 3 days and ORTPN 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 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 Rwanda tour operator. The tour operators will usually charge a fee of US$25-$60 per gorilla permit. Gorillas and wildlife safaris will not charge you for buying gorilla permits if you are getting other tour services (like transfers and tours) through them.
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. 
1. Contact us   and let us know of the dates you want to tour Rwanda with the days you want to see the gorilla permits
2. We let you if the days you want for your gorilla tour are available for gorilla tracking and tentatively book them for you (but with no guarantee).
3. We send you our bank details for you to send the money for gorilla permits.
4. It takes about 16 hours for us to receive the money from your bank and pay for your permits. We shall send you acknowledgement for the money and the official Gorilla Permit (by scan and email). Please ensure you pay the bank charges when authorizing the transaction.
We do not charge any fee for gorilla permits buying/booking if you are booking the rest of the tour (or a part of it) with us. In case we do charge, this is to cater for any costs like telephony, transport, etc we incur to get you the permit.
5. Send us your passport details to register your gorilla permits. Usually, we only need the Full names, passport number, and nationality.
6. We register your names and get the gorilla permits. We send you scanned copies of your gorilla permit.
As soon as the payment has been received, the permits for gorilla tracking be purchased. Getting a gorilla permit is not a guarantee of seeing a gorilla. However, the chances of seeing them are 98%.
Permit Availability for 2017
If you are planning to go Gorilla Tracking in June, July, August, September, also December the time to book your permits and safari is now.
Everyone involved in Tourism wants you to enjoy your time in Rwanda and your visit with the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda, plan now and avoid the disappointment of no permit by waiting too long…from the Country of 1000 hills –  Rwanda…ivan
Trekking Tour Packages in Rwanda
Related articles that may be of help to you:
How To Book Gorilla tracking & Trek Permits in Uganda
Comparing Gorilla Trekking Tours : Uganda Vs Rwanda – Compare prices, experience, hardness,etc
When is the Best time for gorilla trekking/ tracking in Rwanda and Uganda?

Uganda Cuts Gorilla Trek Permit Prices to $450 (April May and April)