F O R R E S E R V A T I O N S C A L L U S O N 0845 130 6982 Uganda & Rwanda 48 Uganda and Rwanda are different from any other African safari destination – they harbour a great variety of mammals and birds which are simply not found elsewhere in east or southern Africa. The major forests here are easily accessible and this makes them unbeatable countries for seeing forest animals. From the forest’s most famous inhabitants the Mountain Gorillas, to Chimpanzees and Golden Monkeys and for the birders such exciting species as Black Bee-eater and Shoebills. Uganda of course also has more conventional gameviewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls which are home to many of the mammals that you would expect to see in East Africa’s more famous wildlife destinations such as Kenya and Tanzania. Gorillas in the mist! Seeing gorillas is probably one of the greatest experiences in the wildlife world. Being so close to something so human, and yet so gentle and powerful is a truly humbling experience. There are three key areas where you can see the gorillas – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park both in Uganda and Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda. Gorilla-tracking permits aren’t cheap and their prices change quite frequently, but in spite of the cost it is in the top five wildlife-viewing activities on earth. Tracking the gorillas through the forest requires patience and stamina (especially in Bwindi where much of the tracking is done over extremely arduous terrain). Sometimes the trackers find the gorillas within a couple of hours, but it may take up to 10 hours of tracking offtrail in thick jungle in order to find them. Steep slopes, intense humidity and regular rainfall add to the challenge, but the exhilaration of a close encounter with these magnificent creatures makes it all worthwhile. Access is always limited to an hour for the gorillas’ wellbeing. But of course also bear in mind that there is no doubt that it is exceptionally rewarding, and for some seeing a gorilla face-to-face is a life-changing experience! Mountain Gorilla Bwindi Lodge, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
S E E U S O N T H E W E B AT wildlifeworldwide.com Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in south-western Uganda is one of Africa’s most extensive belts of primary montane forest. Its exceptional altitudinal variation (rising and falling from deep river gorges and low hills at 1,200 metres to high forested ridges at 2,800 metres) ensures a unique range of flora and fauna, in particular birds and primates. Mountain Gorillas are undoubtedly the prime attraction. Over 300 (half of the world's population) live in the park, and two of the family groups living close to the park headquarters at Buhoma have now been successfully habituated to allow human approach. Each day, 10 visitors, split into two parties, are allowed access to these gorillas for up to an hour's viewing – often in exceptionally dense cover. In addition L’Hoest’s Monkey is a speciality of the lower level forest and the rare Golden Monkey is occasionally encountered at higher elevations. Like all rainforest inhabitants, these mammals and all of the birds are very difficult to see, and birdwatching in such an environment requires stealth and patience. Amongst the species you may hope to see are African Goshawk, Augur Buzzard, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon and Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo plus a selection of woodpeckers, warblers, flycatchers and sunbirds. Bwindi Lodge is a newly built eco-lodge overlooking the primeval forest. Amidst the many noises of forest life, it is the perfect place to experience the magic of this wild place. It has eight spacious wooden cottages all with ensuite facilities. It is an hour’s flight from Entebbe, a long day’s drive from Kampala or six hours’ drive from Kigali. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Mgahinga in Uganda’s south-western corner is part of the Virunga Conservation Area that straddles Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and the park is dominated by three extinct volcanoes. Habituated groups of Mountain Gorillas are the big draw here, but the park also supports a variety of mammals which includes Cape Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, Serval and around 180 species of birds. It is also now possible to track an habituated group of Golden Monkeys. Activities here revolve around gorilla-tracking (subject to the availability of permits), but you can also climb a volcano, or simply enjoy some of the wonderful walks and photographic opportunities which the area provides. Mount Gahinga Lodge nestles in the shadow of the dramatic Virunga Volcanoes, on the edge of the park. The journey here itself is exhilarating as you drive through spectacular mountain scenery and look down across endless terraced slopes to emerald-green crater lakes far below. The lodge consists of nine thatched cottages. It is an hours’ flight or long day’s drive from Entebbe. It is four hours’ drive from Kigali. Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda Parc National des Volcans, in the heart of central Africa, is an untamed and timeless place where ancient volcanoes covered in rich, green rainforest tower to a height of over 4,000 metres. The park itself is 120 square kilometres and is part of the much larger Virunga Conservation Area which contains around 380 increasingly rare Mountain Gorillas. Here, for some twenty years, Dian Fossey carried out pioneering studies of gorilla behaviour, and it is largely thanks to her that the gorilla poaching here was greatly reduced. The film ‘Gorillas in the Mist’, released three years after her untimely death, meant a world-wide audience quickly became aware of the importance of her work in this area, and the subsequent growth of tourism has helped raise local awareness too. For the visitor today, trekking through the rainforest in search of these wonderful creatures is exhilarating; it is alive with the calls of colourful birds and chatterings of the rare Golden Monkey, and every so often, tantalising glimpses of the magnificent peaks through the canopy. Apart from the gorillas, the park is home to some 76 mammal species and activities (apart from gorilla-tracking for those with permits), include: nature walks, climbing the Visoke Volcano, trekking to the Karisoke Research Centre, visiting local communities, observing habituated Golden Monkeys or simply relaxing in camp! Virunga Lodge is set on a stunning hillside with breathtaking views of the Virunga Volcanoes and Lakes Ruhondo and Bulera. Its eight cottages accommodate a maximum of 16 people. The rooms are comfortably furnished and all have en-suite facilities. Gorilla’s Nest sits close to the entrance to the park. Recently renovated, the 40 rooms are all en-suite and comfortable, and there is a central restaurant and bar area for guests to relax and share exciting stories of their gorilla-tracking adventures. Gorilla’s Nest is aptly named since on a clear day the views across to the volcanoes and surrounding area are spectacular. 49 Africa / Uganda & Rwanda Virunga Lodge, Parc National des Volcans Chimpanzee At Wildlife Worldwide we specialise in tailor-making our holidays. It is what we started doing in 1992, it has been our philosophy right from the start. A tailor-made journey gives you the freedom and flexibility to travel how, when and where you want to. And of course, you are unconstrained by the wishes of a group. Throughout the brochure we show a series of itineraries to whet your appetite. These are all suggestions and ideas, none are cast in stone. We can change the properties, extend or shorten your trip, combine destinations and countries, fly you in Business Class, organise car rental and of course offer advice and suggestions from a wealth of experience that we have gained over many years. Call us on 0845 130 6982 and we will be happy to discuss the options with you! Tailor-made holidays – a unique journey designed just for you!