Kazinga Channel Boat Cruise-Queen Elizabeth National Park-Uganda
The Kazinga Channel is found in Queen Elizabeth National Park at the Mweya Peninsula; 32 km long and a natural channel connects two lakes; Lake George to the east and Lake Edward to the west.
Lake George which is smaller is entirely in Uganda with a depth of approximately 2.4 metres and is fed by streams rolling from the high Rwenzori Mountains through The Kazinga Channel and finally draining into Lake Edward which Uganda shares with Congo.
Boat Safari on Kazinga Channel
The boat safari on Kazinga Channel is an awesome experience to everyone on an African safari in Uganda – The Pearl of Africa. The channel shore line attracts enormous wildlife, different bird species and lots of reptiles.
This unique 02 hour launch trip along the Kazinga Channel passes through possibly the utmost hippo concentration in Africa and many animals may be seen here drinking and relaxing such as the African elephant, buffalo, crocodiles, hippos, antelopes, colorful birds, among others offering an excellent platform for photography and superb game viewing.
Getting to Kazinga Channel
The Kazinga Channel is located at the Mweya Peninsula-Queen Elizabeth National Park 20 km west of Kasese-Mbarara highway which takes approximately 1 hr. by car due to the many animals that one encounters while driving through the channel view track that leads to the peninsula.
The best activities to do during your visit to Lake Bunyonyi
Call it the most beautiful place on earth literally the name Bunyonyi means a place with so many little birds. This lake is believed to be the 2nd deepest lake in Africa with depth ranging between 44m to 900m however this lake is just 25km long and 7 km wide with 29 islands found in south western Uganda 418km from Kampala Uganda’s capital city. At Amazing Gorilla Expeditions we do have a range of trips that will bring you to the Switzerland of africa as many call it.
This is a quiet, scenic and unknown place that you should not miss during your visit to Uganda. The landscape in the region is characterized by terraced green hills and beautiful scenery. The lake stands at an average 1985m above sea level with temperatures ranging between 14C to 24C degrees.
A trip to lake Bunyonyi can be combined with a visit to the Uganda Equator and also be your base for your Gorilla trek, Volcano hikes, Golden monkey trip and a good spot for relaxation after any tremendous activities. There is a whole range of accommodation both on the main land and on the islands from luxury to budget.
What activities you should do at Lake Bunyonyi
During your stay at Lake Bunyonyi, there are several activities that you can do here;
Canoeing; here you may either paddle in a dugout canoe around the islands yourself or take a local guide with you.
Community walks; during the community walks, you can take a self-guided walk around lake Bunyonyi or take a local guide who will show you around the villages for you to get a feel of the locals.
Bird watching; Just like its name Bunyonyi meaning a place of so many birds, here you may go on a birding trip around the lake where over 200 species have been recorded. You may opt for both canoeing and on foot trip.
Swimming; Lake Bunyonyi is free from crocs, hippos and bilharzia however one ought to understand that this is the 2nd deepest lake in Africa with over 44m deep.
Relax; imagine waking up in the morning after a previous day long gorilla trek to the rays of the sun and being encircled by music from the humming birds and insects as they hop on top of the blooming flowers.
Ishasha – Queen Elizabeth National Park tree climbing lions
Positioned south of Queen Elizabeth national park, the Ishasha sector is the only place in Uganda where one can enjoy a game safari to watch the renowned tree climbing lions. The Ishasha tree climbing lions are the park’s major highlight for any traveller visiting Queen Elizabeth park in Uganda.
Why do the Ishasha lions climb trees?
The Ishasha lions are not a different species of lions from the Panther Leo but only that they have adopted a behavior of tree climbing. The reason behind this is still a mystery however; it is observed that these Ishasha lions climb the big fig trees;
– To keep away from the tse tse flies that bite them in the tall grass on ground level.
– To enjoy the cool breeze up in the trees running away from the heat on the ground.
– To watch over their prey most especially the Uganda Kob as they graze.
Game Safaris in Ishasha Sector
Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most visited safari national park due to its diverse ecosystem. This attracts a variety of wildlife, birds and primates not forgetting the superb landscapes. During the game safaris in the plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park, visitor may sight herds of buffalo, elephants, antelopes, lions, leopard, and so much more.
Going south (Ishasha) of Queen Elizabeth Park, visitors may take several hours on game safari looking for the famous Ishasha tree climbing lions. During this safari, you will visit the different fig trees in the area circling around them and looking up to see whether the lions are resting there.
It takes a lot of patience as one has to drive to different tracks that access these fig trees which the lions prefer to climb.
However, the Ishasha tree climbing lions also do climb other tree types like the acacia.
Getting to Ishasha sector-Queen Elizabeth National Park
Here at Amazing Gorilla Expeditions we organize day tours and customized trip to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and besides we do have set tours that include a visit to these endangered rhinos as well.
The Ziwa Rhino sanctuary started in 1997 as a Non-Government Organization called Rhino Fund Uganda with its main purpose to mastermind and supervise the restoration project of the rhinoceros in Uganda’s national parks through a breed and a release plan.
Covering 700ha, the rhino sanctuary started with six rhinos way back in 2005 and now boasts of fifteen southern rhinos that are trekked on foot by visitors. The sanctuary is the only place in Uganda where you can see the rhinos in the wild.
The Ziwa Rhino sanctuary is found 176 km north of Kampala on the Gulu highway in Nakasongola district – turn off at Nakitoma trading center drive for 7km from the main highway to the home of the wild rhinos in Uganda.
THINGS TO DO AT ZIWA RHINO SANCTUARY
1. On foot rhino safari – this is done with a well-trained and informed ranger guide who will walk with you to where the rhinos are. The ranger guide will be communicating with the rangers overlooking a particular group or family by radio. The activity takes between 1hr to 2hrs depending on where the rhinos are.
2. Nature walk safari – there are guided nature walks where one may see different type of antelopes such as bush buck, Uganda Kob, duiker among others, warthogs, different kinds of monkeys and reptiles. The activity takes between 2 – 3hrs.
3. Bird watching safari – Ziwa rhino sanctuary boasts of over 250 bird species including the endangered shoebill stork. An experience bird guide can be arranged for those wishing to go birding here. The activity takes between 2 – 3hrs.
Since 1st July 2016, the Uganda Government started the e-visa application system. This means that all persons intending to travel into Uganda will have to apply for their visas online prior to their arrival.
The Government of Uganda came up with this kind of system largely to simplify and speed up obtaining visas for her arrivals. online a visa application is done here https://visas.immigration.go.ug/
Please remember that when you submit your visa application, you should receive a communication that provides you with an application tracking number. Also you will receive an e-visa approval that you will print and present to the immigration on your arrival to Uganda for your visa to be issued. Visa payments will also be done at this point. Also note that the visa application process takes normally four working days so please apply in advance far from your travel.
COUNTRIES THAT DO NOT NEED VISA TO ENTER UGANDA.
Angola, Antigua, Belize, Bahamas, Burundi, Barbados, Botswana, Cyprus, Comoros, Eritrea, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Gambia, Ireland, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Lesotho, Libya, Malta, Malawi, Mauritius, Madagascar, Rwanda, Singapore, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Swaziland, Tonga, Vanuatu, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Italy (for those that hold diplomatic passports only)
HOW MUCH DOES THE VISA COST
East African Tourist visa valid for 90 days (Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya) – $100
Single Entry visa – $50
Multiple Entry visa 6 – 12 months – $100
For residents of Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya do not have to pay for visas while travelling to any of the three countries.
All the visa fees are paid upon arrival to the entry point / Airport by cash and in US dollars only.
On your day trip to the Uganda Equator along the Kampala – Masaka highway, you will have the opportunity to see the experiment of the latitudinal and longitudinal forces engaged. Here at the Uganda Equator, a young entrepreneur will demonstrate to you on how water swirls clockwise at the Northern hemisphere, swirls anti-clockwise at the Southern hemisphere and straight down at the imaginary line.
This is the imaginary line dividing the earth into the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere. For about 40.075 km the equator partly crosses through water and over land in 13 different countries of which 6 are African countries namely Uganda, Kenya, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Somalia and Gabon. Other countries include; Brazil, Colombia, Sao Tome, Ecuador, Maldives, Indonesia and Kiribati.
It is at this same point on the trip to the equator that you can have one of your foot in the Northern hemisphere and the other foot in the Southern hemisphere, have a great photo moment, buy yourself a T-shirt with words “I crossed the Uganda Equator” and besides buy a certificate showing you crossed the Uganda Equator.
Shopping at the Uganda Equator
There are several shops where you can buy a variety of handmade souvenirs such as fabrics, bungles, t-shirts, masks, antiques, photo frames, paintings and much more at cheap prices. Also there there several coffee shops and clean washrooms to make your day trip more comfortable and enjoyable.
For 6 days on this trip, you are able meet The Great Apes – Chimpanzees and Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitats.
Our 1st day:this is your day of arrival and our representative receives you at the airport. After going through the immigration procedures, brings you to your hotel or guesthouse in Entebbe and briefs you about the trip and the schedule for the next day .
Our 2nd day: start this day with an early breakfast after which with your bags packed and ready you hit the road with your safari driver guide heading due west towards the Mountains of the Moon. The park is located approximately 360 km west of Kampala and takes about 4 – 5 hours. This is a very scenic ride that takes you through towns, villages, forests, down valleys and over hills to finally arrive in time for your lunch break in Fort Portal town – the only town with an English name in Uganda.
After the lunch break, you take a 20 minutes drive to visit the Amabere caves and crater lakes. This is an amazing cultural experience that will give you an insight of the Chwezi Dynasty and also enjoy a walk around the crater lakes with very beautiful sceneries. This walk takes about 2 -3 hours and there is a bit of hiking. After your walk, proceed south east of Fort Portal driving approximately 32kms on a gravel road (currently this is being upgraded to asphalt) arriving in the early evening at the home of the chimpanzees.
Our 3rd day: this is the day for chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest National Park. The chimp walk activity can be done in two categories; Chimpanzee Tracking and Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX).
Chimpanzee Tracking activity is a primate walk that starts at the Kanyanchu Park offices and it lasts on average 4 hours. On this walk, look out for other primate species in the park because there are thirteen different species including Chimpanzee.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) on the other hand is a full day excursion that starts as early as 6:00AM. Here, the visitor will spend the entire day with the chimpanzee that are undergoing habituation getting the chance to see them leaving their nests, feeding, hunting, grooming, resting, and patrolling their territories till the time when they make their new nests for the night.
After the chimpanzee walk experience, you will head back to your lodge, have a lunch break, rest a bit and in the afternoon you may take a swamp walk in the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary. Here you are likely to sight some of the eight primates found here such as the black and White Colobus monkey, vervet monkey, baboon among others . Also there are over 200 species of birds, reptiles, shrubs and a large variety of trees and vines. The walk takes between 2 to 3 hours and is a private excursion.
TIPS TO ACCELERATE YOUR JOURNEY TO THE CHIMPS
WHAT TO WEAR DURING THE CHIMP WALK
• Long-sleeved shirts and trousers
• Long socks
• Light weight hiking boots.
WHAT TO CARRY DURING THE CHIMP WALK
• Drinking water
• Insect repellent
• Sun screen
• Protective gloves
• Spare batteries and memory cards
• Water proof backpack
• Extra clothes just in case it rains during the walk then you can change at the end of the activity
Our 4th day: this is another driving day going to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park the home of mountain gorillas. The drive is both asphalt and gravel taking you through several villages and towns with lots of road side activities such as retail shops, metal works, carpentry works, motor bike (boda boda) stations, auto garages, cattle farms, cows, chicken and so much more. You will have a lunch picnic on the way. The drive is approximately 6 hours before reaching The Home of the Mountain Gorillas.
Our 5th day: the day of the Mountain Gorillas! Start the day with an early morning breakfast and together with your packed lunches and Gorilla trekking gear, report to the UWA park headquarters at Bwindi for registration and pre-briefing before you start the Great Trip to the Mountain Gorillas. (Remember to have your passport to enable your registration).
TIPS TO ENJOY YOUR JOURNEY TO GORILLAS
WHAT TO WEAR DURING THE GORILLA TRIP
• Long-sleeved shirts and trousers – to protect you from bites and thorns in the jungle.
• Light weight hiking boots – to give you enough grips on the rocky ground.
• Long socks – for you to tuck your pant legs.
• Gaiters – protect you from ants, mud and thorns.
WHAT TO CARRY DURING THE GORILLA TREK
• Drinking water – once the trek starts you don’t have access to safe drinking water.
• Lunch box – you never know how long the trek will take.
• Insect repellent – it’s a jungle, protection from insect and bug bites.
• Sun screen – at times the walk starts or begins in the communities.
• Hat – to protect from the sun when walking on open trails.
• Gardening gloves – at times you hold onto thorny branches.
• Camera – to capture that special moment with the gorillas.
• Spare batteries and memory cards – you don’t want to miss out when your battery runs out.
• Water proof backpack – in case of rain, your equipment is protected.
• Walking stick – an extra foot during your hike in this rugged terrain.
• Extra clothes – just in case you get soaked during the walk then you can change at the end of the venture.
Why hire a Porter?
Porters are young and energetic boys and girls from the communities neighboring the park. These support stuff are there not only to carry your backpack but also give you a push and a pull during those moments when the going gets tough, it’s highly advisable to take one. They are paid $20 or the equivalent in shillings. ($1 = shs.3300) besides, you will be helping them to benefit from tourism and this will make your gorilla trip far much more satisfying.
Take a walking stick.
A walking stick is very handy in a way that it gives that extra foot that will make you more steady and gives you more balance on this coarse terrain. You can get yourself one for free at the starting point of your walk ( ask your lead ranger guide to arrange you one). Some lodges do hire these walking stick well as other do give you for free but remember to return them after the gorilla trek.
WHEN YOU FIND THE GORILLAS
After having followed the trail to where the gorillas were last sighted, then to that trail of broken branches and droppings before finally finding the gentle giants. Your lead ranger guide will prepare you to meet the gorillas a few meters away from them by leaving behind all the walking sticks, having a sip of water that will take you for 1 hour, getting your camera ready among others. Here you will spend one magical hour with the gorillas. To many, this hour with the gentle giants is special, unforgettable, and a memorable experience to be long savored.
Our 6th day: this is our last day of the 6 days’ primates’ trip in Uganda. We check out of the home base of the mountain gorillas heading back to Entebbe international Airport with en-route stopovers for lunch in Mbarara and at the Equator where you can buy souvenirs and also take a photo moment at this popular spot. The last part of the drive here will bring you direct to the airport for your onward departure. Our drive today is approximately 9 hours on mostly surfaced roads.
THE TRIP HIGHLIGHTS
Gorilla trip to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest National park
UWEC was opened in 1952 by the Colonial Government then, as an animal Orphanage that offered sanctuary to young animals found abandoned in protected areas due to the death or poaching of parent animals. In the early 1960s, it became a traditional zoo until 1994 when it was converted into The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC).
VISIT TO THE UGANDA WILDLIFE EDUCATION CENTRE
The visit offers an exciting opportunity to see over 50 animal species represented by over 200 animals. All these are housed in large, open air enclosures simulating their natural habitat in the wild with interpretations about each animal’s biography, biological and social information. A 1000 meter forest trail offers a habitat for free ranging antelopes, beautiful debrazza monkeys, vervet monkeys and hundreds of beautiful colored butterflies and indigenous plant species.
Avid bird watchers can exploit this paradise to catch glimpse of over 250 bird species. This wildlife establishment nestles near a long and lovely shoreline of Lake Victoria which has been developed into a beach. You are welcome to have the amazing experience and an up close with the vulnerable and but cheerful wild animals in the haven of Uganda Wildlife Education Centre.
There is also a fabulous one day trip to Entebbe to do the Behind the Scenes tour of the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre. You get to pet the Rhinos and caress the baby elephant, hold the African Rock Python, and Kiss the Giraffe (if you want!).
Grab a $250 USD discount and visit the Greatest of the great Apes – THE Mountain Gorillas found in Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks in Uganda – THE Pearl of Africa! The Uganda Wildlife Authority is offering discounted gorilla permits this November as follows; $350 USD per person per permit for Foreign Non-residents, $300 USD per person per permit for Foreign Residents living and working in Uganda with proof of residency/work permit/visa from 2 years onwards and UGX 150,000/= per person per permit for East African Citizens. We here at Amazing Gorilla Expenditions Ltd can help with booking the gorilla permits as well as accommodation in any of the sections in Bwindi Impenetrable NP, arrange for transportation to and from Bwindi NP or better still, package the whole Gorilla Experience as well as other Uganda Wildlife Adventures for you!
During the peak time of June – mid October and December to February, gorilla permits go for $600 USD per person for Foreign Non-residents, $500 USD per person for Foreign Residents living and working in Uganda with proof of residency/work permit/visa from 2 years onwards and UGX 250,000/= per person for East African Citizens. This juicy discount and offer is a great opportunity to pay less yet get a lifetime memory!
Mountain Gorillas are only found in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and there are approximately 786 Mountain Gorillas remaining in the world. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks are a home to more than half of the world’s wild mountain gorilla population. Bwindi Impenetrable NP was declared a Natural World Heritage Site in December 1994. The mountain gorillas are not only powerfully built Apes but also very beautiful, unique and legendary creatures. A visit to these most endangered Apes in their natural habitat is absolutely a magical, rewarding, and thrilling lifetime experience. In fact, a one-on-one encounter with these gentle giants, also Africa’s major highlight is such a rare and moving opportunity!!!
Gorilla tracking activity can be done all year round though most visitors are received in the months of June to mid-October as well as from December up to February when it is dry.
Getting yourself ready for the experience:
You need to be very well prepared for this lifetime experience both physically and psychologically putting in mind that Bwindi is an Impenetrable forest.
Here are some of the things you need for a successful gorilla trekking;
Good quality walking boots; this is a mountainous forest park whose terrain may at times be challenging so boots with good traction at the bottom are recommended.
Garden Gloves; there times when you may need to hold onto tree branches, roots and stems here the gloves will protect you from scratches and germs.
Waterproof bags: these will safeguard your camera equipment and documents from rain. Remember Bwindi is rain forest!
Drinking Water, packed lunch and snacks: gorilla trekking can be as long as eight hours so having enough drinking water and packed lunch is a must for all.
Sunscreen and a sun hat: for sun protection when trekking outside the forest.
Extra batteries: don’t miss that life time moment when you run out of batteries so take some extra and make sure your gadgets are fully charged the night before.
Bug spray / insect repellant: this will protect you from insect bites during the trek.
Walking stick: at times you may need an extra foot so take a walking stick with you; these are provided prior to the trek or you can bring your own.
All in all, a visit to the Mountain Gorillas is an Absolute highlight of any trip to Uganda!
Uganda called the pearl of Africa has many tourist Attractions with ten gazetted National Parks, as well as a number of Natural Forests and Natural Reserve areas with a broad range of safaris and wildlife experiences. Its abundant wildlife includes endangered gorillas and chimpanzees as well as rare birds. And the people of Uganda are so welcoming. Tourist Attractions in Uganda include: National Parks Kampala City. Birdwatching. Mountain Gorilla Tracking. Ngamba Chimpanzee Island Ecotourism and Cultural Tours Ssese Islands and Lake Victoria.
Bwindi National Park among the Top Tourist Attractions.
Bwindi National Park is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest As you might have guessed by the name, this is an imposing, dense forest that’s only accessible by foot. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I would say it’s a must tour for every tourist coming to Uganda. If you’re looking for wildlife adventure in Uganda, this is one of the best places in Uganda you can visit as it boasts one of the richest ecosystems in Africa. According to Wikipedia, you’ll find “120 species of mammal, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies and 27 species of frogs.” Not to mention all the chameleons, geckos and other species around.
Activities to do in Uganda: Tourist Attractions You have not enjoyed Uganda yet if you haven’t done the following • Gorilla Trekking. The tourist attractions in Uganda wouldn’t be complete without Gorilla Trekking. • Chimpanzee Trekking • Bird Watching • White Water Rafting on River Nile. The Nile River is the longest river in the world and it starts in Uganda.