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How Uganda’s Chimpanzees Use Tools

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Kibale Chimpanzee

Apes are undeniably the wisest of species that roam the earth today. Man being part of the ape family is a true reflection of the intelligence level that is ascribed to the apes. Man has been able to create things that are way out of this world including the new forms of technology that pop up every other day.

Although he is the most developed being among the ape family, intelligence is not confined to him alone. All the other members of the Apes including chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans have a fascinating approach to life and some of these can be seen when on a Uganda Primate Safari.

From the wealth of intelligence in the fabric of the great apes, tool use has emerged as one of the most incredible compartment that have been observed in some of Uganda’s larger primates.

Previously, scientists placed humans in a category of their own because of the distinction in which they did their things, like the use of tools; which was not seen in the other animals. But this is bound to change, now that the other less developed apes not only share great similarity in genetic composition with man but have also taught themselves mannerisms that were thought to only be restricted to humans. A Uganda primate tracking Safari will lead you to one of the protected areas where you can see for yourself, the intelligence of the Chimpanzees.

Chimpanzees which are man’s closest cousin use tools more than the other wild members of the ape family. From a list of items available to them in their habitats like leaves, stems, rocks and branches; chimps are able to make their lives easier by making tools. They make tools for feeding especially when they want to reach for some ants or termites in an anthill. They will break a twig, bite onto it and then stick it into the anthill for the termites to climb on (somewhat like fishing) pull it out as soon as they feel that the ants have climbed on.

Some tourists on Safaris in Uganda have been able to observe chimpanzees eating the meat of smaller mammals like duikers and bush babies, but the manner in which they hunt them has not yet been revealed. Some scientists however say that chimpanzees break branches and sharpen them using their teeth to make a finely sharp pointed edge. Armed with their lethal weapon, they sneak up on their prey and skillfully stub it (the same way native African forest hunters do).

Chimpanzees have a great fear for water, but due to undeniable circumstances, they sometimes have to cross shallow streams to access food on the other side. But before they cross, chimps measure the depth of water using a stick until they find the shallowest point of the stream from which they can cross. Some chimps also use large leaves as drinking containers. They will either use the leaf as a whole to gobble up water from the stream or they will first chew on the leaf to make it sponge-like and then dip it in the water to get wet; after which they can suck out the water from it.

Perhaps the most common tool use that almost every tourist on a Chimpanzee trekking Safari gets to see is building nests. Every time chimpanzees prepare to sleep, they build a new nest in a process called “nesting”; similar to the way humans lay their beds. Chimpanzees gather branches and leaves, and weave them together to form a perfect sleeping spot for the night. Chimps will never sleep in the same nest for a second time.

In a nutshell, chimpanzees make tools depending on the elements available in their habitats; the circumstances at a particular time; and in time of need. They make tools to feed, to hunt, to protect themselves, to clean themselves and sometimes to play with.

These apes have not been taught the art of tool use; you might wonder where they learned this from, but for now we can only believe that it is because of their intelligence. Tourists in Kibale and Budongo forests are offered the chance of spending a full day with the chimps in what is called a Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX); and they can watch as the wild chimpanzees do things that we didn’t know they were capable of doing.

Uganda’s Most Beautiful Primate Watching Spots

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Although Uganda is known for its 10 National Parks, It’s a country gifted with so much more. While on a Uganda safari a stop at any of the below reserves, sanctuaries, and sections is worth it.

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

Set on an island that sits on the waters of Lake Victoria, Ngamba Island provides habitat to a number of rescued and orphaned chimpanzee primates. It occupies a total area of 100 acres that consists of tropical rainforests, grasslands, cages and swampy areas. One can only get there by boat at numerous landing sites, Entebbe. Visitors to this protected area participate in the chimps routine and volunteering.

Kibale Forest National Park

Covering a total area of 766 square kilometers in the western part of Uganda near Fort portal town, Kibale Forest National Park is famous for its primates species. This park lies close to the great Ndali-Kasenda crater area, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Semliki National Park and the Rwenzori Mountains. Although known as  a chimps primates paradise, the evergreen forest of Kibale shelters rarely seen mammals like buffaloes, forest elephants, bush pigs, duikers, leopards and over 325 species of birds including blue-headed sunbird, collared apalis and purple-breasted sunbird. More on the list are the reptiles, butterflies and amphibians.

Kalinzu Forest Reserve

Boasting over 400 tree species including shrubs, Kalinzu Forest Reserve is geographically located in the Western part of Uganda along the way to the famous Queen Elizabeth National Park. This reserve is home to a range of primate species including chimps, monkeys, baboons, over 380 bird species, 270 butterflies, 100 moths and reptiles breathe life into this section. Although this reserve is famously known for Chimps tracking as the main activity, there are other activities one can partake including nature walks, forest hiking and birding.

Kyambura Gorge.

Situated in the Eastern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park, this extensive Kyambura gorge provides home to abundant primates that are often visited by travelers spending some time in Queen Elizabeth Park. It is about 100 m deep and was formed by the disorderly flowing waters of river kyambura. It is one of the most iconic spots in the Park. While visiting this valley for chimpanzee tracking, one may be exposed to a large number of wild animals and bird species.

Budongo Forest Reserve.

Ranked the biggest Mahogany forest in the whole of East Africa, Budongo is situated in the north western part of Uganda near Murchison Falls conservation area. It takes about 3-4 hours for the drive from Kampala via Kampala – Masindi – Gulu highway. It shares borders with the great Murchison Falls National Park. Most of the parts in the reserve are dominated by Iron-wood and mahogany trees.  Its 2 major sites; Kaniyo Pabidi and Busingiro Ecotourism site are home to chimpanzees, monkeys, other different Wild animals such as elephants, buffaloes, leopards, lions, antelopes and more, they usually migrate from the nearby Murchison Falls National Park. While this reserve enjoy Chimpanzee tracking, birding and forest walks.

Remember that it is such places that make a difference in each safari package.

 

Go Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale National Park

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Kibale Chimpanzee

Kibale forest is also known as the primate capital of the world located in western Uganda approximately 320 kilometers from the capital Kampala which is about a 4 hours drive using a standard car. The forest has about 13 primate species including the Uganda mango bay, red colobus, L’Hoest monkeys and the chimpanzees being the major attractions. The park has area coverage of 795 kilometers with vast equatorial rain forests that harbor the closet human being primate- the chimpanzee which shares about 98.4% DNA with humans.

Just like humans, chimpanzees are intelligent, can communicate amongst each other and have good food gathering skills for survival.

The life expectancy of these amazing primates is roughly 40 years. A well grown chimpanzee grows at height of about 2-4 feet with a weight ranging from 35 to 70 kilograms.

Chimpanzees in Kibale forest move and stay in groups ranging from 10-50 searching for food; they mainly feed on leaves, flowers, forest fruits, seeds and many other edibles the forest provides. Chimpanzee females have some typical characteristics of human beings of taking care of their young ones tenderly, being very protective, and baby sitting their close friends young ones. The chimpanzee mothers take care of their young ones up to the age of four.

Chimpanzee Tracking Day

On this day, tourists are expected to be at the Kanyanchu visitor center early for briefing before heading to the jungle. The forest expedition then starts at 8:00 am for the morning session and 3:00 pm for the after noon sessions lasting for 2 to 3 hours depending on how near the chimpanzees are. Trekking can take a long time because chimpanzees are very mobile and therefore jump from one tree to another in search for food or while playing.

After getting a chimpanzee group, tourists are given time to watch and interact with them while taking photos and this may take about an hour. Flash photography and a lot of noise-making are however not allowed because it may distract the chimpanzees and even irritate them forcing them to attack you all which are very dangerous.

While in the forest, all tourists are required to avoid eating near chimpanzees, attempt to attack them and at least keep a distance of about 8 meters mainly because chimpanzees are wild animals and are very aggressive and unsociable incase provoked.

Important to note is that chimpanzees in Kibale forest national park are tracked in groups of six to minimize disease spread and minimize chances of behavioral changes. Earlier bookings are therefore highly recommended in order not to miss out on the unforgettable experience.

For safety and security purposes, Kibale forest national park has rules and regulations that all tourists must follow for example accessing the forest with the help of a guide, not allowing children below 12 years because the chimpanzee experience may traumatize them, avoiding flash photography, strictly following the guides instructions and keeping the tracking tourist groups.

Apart from tracking, tourists can also be allowed to take part in the chimpanzee habituation process. This is where tourists are allowed to be with chimpanzee researchers and habituates following the chimpanzee’s daily activities of feeding, hunting, de-nesting until they rest. This is a full day activity intended to make chimpanzees get used to human beings presence in their habitats without altering their normal characteristics.

Tracking chimpanzees in Kibale forest is an advantage because it gives one a chance to view many other forest dwellers especially the impressive bird species (the forest has over 370 species), other primates like monkeys, beautiful butterflies and the evergreen plants and flowers.

The major essentials one should have while going for chimpanzee tracking in Kibale forest include a water proof gear since rains are unpredictable and can occur at any time of the day, strong shoes with a good grip or boots to enable easy movement through the muddy areas in the forest plus a walking stick, enough drinking water and snacks because the chimpanzees may be got after long hours of trekking; and binoculars or a good camera for taking photographs.

Chimpanzees can be tracked at any time of the year but the best experiences can be got during the dry season because of limited rain fall disturbances.

The forest can be accessed by road and air transport; by road from Kampala via Kasese or Kampala via Mubende and fort portal or from Kampala via Mbarara and Kamwenge. This can be using a 4×4 or a local bus. Using air transport, charter planes fly from Kampala or Entebbe to Kasese airstrip 75 kilometers from Fort portal, or to the airstrip in Semuliki wild life reserve which is 86 kilometers from Kanyanchu (Kibale forest visitor’s center) or to the Nyakisharara in Mbarara 98 kilometers from Kanyanchu.

Those who would love to spend more days in the forested national park to learn more about the forest has in stock should not worry about accommodation and meals because the park has various lodges that offer standard meals and accommodation facilities. They include; primate lodge Kibale, Kanyanchu river camp and Sebitoli camping ground; these are within the parks proximity. Accommodation facilities outside the park include; Kibale safari lodge, chimp’s nest, Kibale forest camp, crater valley Kibale lake side resort and many others.

Would you like to enjoy chimpanzee tracking? Most Uganda safaris include chimpanzee tracking or habituation as one of the major highlights. Kibale National Park is the third most popular national park and many tour operators offer fully inclusive tours including watching these primates in their natural home.

Hiking the Rwenzori Mountains

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Mount Rwenzori

Trekking in Africa on the Equator takes you to a unique up close personal experience full of spectacle views and wildlife. On a safari in Uganda it’s fun to discover the best treks in Africa in Mountain Rwenzori the wettest place in Africa where curiosity won’t let you sleep. The change to warm clothes/garments is a must to embrace the mountain low temperatures with the hikes seeming tough as you approach the highest hut of Elena at 4500m above sea level.

Only a few lucky people hike the Rwenzori mountain to the peak since the mountain god-(Kitasamba) has rules and regulations which many tourists fail to fulfill-no having sex while on the mountain, don’t complain about rain since it’s an important aspect in the mountain name Rwenzori which means rain and others. Another aspect of health and fitness also limit many travelers from taking on these magnificent hikes to the extent that some just hike for a day. It’s good for one to carry first aid medicine just in case sickness strikes you on the way, food, water, boots, the axe and other necessities are provided by the mountaineering service or the travel expert in charge of your hiking adventure.

Walking across the glacier isn’t easy so you have to be in at least groups of two or three roped together. The mountain porters say that the glaciers are reducing at a shocking rate and are predicted to disappear in 10 years’ time. According to the guest records the number of visitors who hike the mountain is less compared to what they expect and in future some guest won’t be in position to see any glaciers. The peaks are hard to find and spot which makes it more interesting.

Most tourist like visiting the Equatorial snow peaks located just miles north of the equator, the highest of these – Mount Stanley (5,109m), Speke (4,890m) and Baker (4,843m) – all bear permanent snow and glaciers. The snow peaks can be reached by hiking the Central Circuit and Kilembe Trails. Besides you can also enjoy the lovely land formations of the misty, boggy, glacier-carved valleys, lakes, Rubonis among others. You might have reasons to visit Africa but Rwenzori Mountain should be among your priorities for Hiking Lovers.

Experience Elephant Safaris in Uganda

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Elephant Safaris in Uganda

Elephants are among the big five mammal wildlife attractions in Uganda. The elephants are among the endangered species in Uganda’s national parks even though the elephant population is said to be increasing all thanks to conservation efforts of fighting poaching activities in the major national parks with these marvelous animals.

Uganda the pearl of Africa has both forest elephants in Bwindi impenetrable forest, Kibale forest national park, Mgahinga Gorilla Park and savannah elephants in various national parks especially queen Elizabeth national park and Murchison falls national park. The forest elephants are a little smaller than the savanna elephants. All these elephants are called African elephants mainly because their ears have a structure like an African map. On most safaris in Uganda that include game viewing, you will not miss seeing elephants, the largest land mammals in Eastern Africa.

The elephants usually use their trunks to feed and drink water. An elephant trunk is capable of taking up to about 15 liters of water in a single drink. Elephants usually feed on grass and many other edible leaves and since they are the heaviest mammals, they need to eat a lot for proper survival and in a day, they eat about 270 kilograms of grasses and other leaves. Elephants spend most of the day feeding and rest for just about 2 hours.

Elephants are some of the mammals that usually impress a number of tourists on a Uganda safari as most of them are seen smiling and taking lots of photographs to capture various moments of these giants and share them with friends especially on social media.

Elephants in Uganda’s national parks especially in Murchison falls national park and queen Elizabeth national park can be seen by tourists on game drives.

Facts About Elephants

  • They are the largest land mammals in the world
  • Elephants are very wise animals and have the largest brains in all mammals. Their brains therefore enable them to keep having memories of events that happened years ago.
  • Elephants are one among the best communicators in the animal kingdom and usually communicate using their feet through trampling, through their trunks and some times through their skin.
  • Male elephants are usually sexually active at the age of 10 but most of them do not mate until they reach the age of 30. The females on the other hand are sexually active way before their bodies have even fully grown and can be able to reproduce as early as 9 years. Most of them however usually reproduce between the ages of 12 and 16.
  • Elephants most times mat during the rainy and cold seasons. After becoming pregnant, they produce after 22 months. They are capable of producing every 3 to 5 years until they are 40 years. Due to the long pregnancy periods, female elephants do not have more than 4 calves in their lifetime and a newly born calf weighs about 300 pounds.
  • These mammals however large they may be, take long to mature physically and emotionally. Most of them grow to reach their sizes between the age of 15 and 20.
  • Elephants usually live in groups that are dominated by older females. Surprisingly the female elephants most times live separately from the males. The females are very protective of their young ones in order to defend them from any intruders. Since they live in groups, every other elephant in a group also takes care of the others calves.
  • A fully-grown elephant eats over 270 kilograms of grass and many other edible plants leaves a day.
  • Elephants loose their teeth most times but however most of their molar teeth keep growing back.

Tourists on Uganda wildlife safaris can enjoy the beautiful views of these unique mammals as they relax and feed in the bushes.

The Rwenzori Three Horned Chameleon

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The Rwenzori Three Horned Chameleon

Located in western Uganda near the Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo border lays the famous Rwenzori Block Mountains. These are ranges of Block Mountains that were formed from the great faulting works of the Great Rift Valley. The peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains are snow capped and have various glacial features that usually result from glacial erosion.

The mountains have the 3rd highest peak – Stanley and are blessed with various wildlife species that live in the different ecosystems that the mountain has. Basing on that, Uganda wildlife authority gazette the Rwenzori mountain area in to a national park in 1991 to enable conservation of the present wildlife species to cater for the needs of the present and future generations.

Rwenzori has various endemic species to the area including the three-horned chameleon, which is also known as the Johnston’s chameleon.

The three-horned chameleon is one of east Africa’s endemic specie that mostly dwells in places with higher altitudes at least above 3000 meters above sea level. This explains why this unique reptile in habits the slopes of the great Rwenzori Mountains

What make a remarkable difference between the male Johnston’s chameleon and other chameleons are its three horns at the fore head.

Just like all other chameleons, the Johnston’s chameleon is also very good at hiding using its great skills of changing color according to the environments they are in. Most chameleons use this great talent of changing color in order to hide away from their predators especially the deadly snakes and birds. They also change their color to easily hunt down their prey like small insects. The other reasons as to why chameleons change their color is as a means of communication as they try to show their moods to their fellow chameleons showing their intentions of either fighting a male counterpart or courting a female to get a mating partner and as a way of quickly adjusting to the prevailing conditions of an area especially temperature.

There are a number of Johnston’s chameleons in the Rwenzori and most times they cannot help it but display their changing color characteristics whenever in different environments. When in green vegetation they no doubt turn their skin green and when on the ground with brown soils, they also turn their color brown. With such a talent, chameleons have the rights to brag as their color tactics most times makes them invisible making them to easily make successful attacks especially when looking for food.

Facts About Johnston’s Chameleons

    • Johnston’s chameleons are endemic to the Albertine region and can only be found in the Rwenzori area, Bwindi and Mgahinga in Uganda, in Rwanda and eastern democratic republic of Congo.
    • The Johnston’s chameleon has a lifespan of about 5 years while in a confinement
    • Between 6 to 12 months, a fully-grownJohnston’s’ chameleon can reach a length of 30 centimeters.
    • They mainly feed on insects like grasshoppers, butterflies, crickets, spiders and bugs but birds and snakes usually hunt them.
    • Humans, who usually destroy their habitants while others keep them in captivity, as they believe that they are magical because of their horns, threaten the Johnston’s chameleons.
    • The Johnston’s chameleons tongue has unique muscles on the tip that enable it to easily trap any of the chameleons prey.
    • Chameleons have unique feet among all the lizards because they are capable of gripping the tree trunks as the chameleon climbs up.
    • Chameleons have eyes that are capable of rotating at 360 degrees, which means a chameleon can view in all angles even without moving. This gives them a greater chance of detecting prey in all angles.

For best views of the three-horned chameleon in Uganda, a visit to Rwenzori national park is recommended. The park is just 375 kilometers from Kampala via Kampala- fort portal.

UWA Translocate 15 Giraffes from Murchison Falls to Pian Upe Game Reserve

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Giraffes Reintroduced to Pian Upe

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has embarked on translocation exercise of about 15 Rothschild giraffes from Murchison Falls National Park to Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve, a move that is aimed at re-introducing these unique wildlife species in this magical protected area. They included 10 females and 5 males with the first batch of five Rothschild giraffes successfully translocated.

The move is aimed at establishing a viable, free ranging Rothschild giraffe population in Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve and also expand the range of the Rothschild giraffes so as to boost the tourism sector in Northeastern Uganda. This in a long run will increase revenue collection and ensure long term survival of these endangered species.

The translocation exercise of the Rothschild giraffes is in accordance with Uganda Wildlife Authority’s strategic objectives that include among others re-introduction of extinct species. Besides, wildlife translocation is recognized globally and serves best as a management tool in conservation.

In efforts to boost the tourism potential of Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve, over 92 impalas were also translocated to this wildlife reserve last year.

Rothschild giraffes

Scientifically Rothschild giraffes are called Giraffa Camelopardalis and they can easily be spotted in the savanna grasslands and open woodlands of Uganda and Kenya. In Uganda, you can visit Murchison Falls National Park in Northwest and Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya. The other sites include Kidepo Valley National Park in the Northeast, Lake Mburo National Park in western Uganda. Giraffes are the tallest animals and the Rothschild are 5 to 6 meters tall and they weigh 1200kgs-for males and females weigh about 850kgs.  Currently, there are fewer than 1600 Rothschild giraffes left on earth and 700 of them are in captivity then 800 are in the wild. Uganda inhabits the largest number of these unique wildlife species making it an ideal wildlife safari destination.

About Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park is set suitably in northwest, 5-6 hours from Kampala. It expands up to 3840sq.kms making it the largest of all the national parks in Uganda the pearl of Africa. This park is popular for its scenic and iconic Murchison Falls which it derives its name from but what sets it a side from the rest of safari destinations is its distinctly diverse wildlife species that include more than 1250 Rothschild giraffes, buffaloes, leopards, lions, African bush elephants, over 451 bird species, hippos, crocodiles and primates such as chimpanzees, olive baboons, colobus monkeys.

Murchison Falls National Park is of no doubt a premier safari destination, offering exceptional adventure activities to its visitors. Most travelers on Uganda safaris do not miss game drives, bird watching, boat or launch trip, hike to the top of Murchison Falls, chimpanzee tracking, chimpanzee habituation experience, nature walk, air balloon tours.

Visitors on Uganda wildlife safari can start their journey to Murchison Falls National Park from Entebbe or Kampala via Luweero-Masindi which is about 5-6 hours’ drive in a good 4×4 drive safari vehicle. Alternatively, you can fly from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield to nearby airstrip at Murchison Falls National Park-Pakuba, Bugungu and Chobe airstrip.

Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve

Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve lies within the vast Karamoja subregion of Northeastern Uganda. This wildlife reserve is the second largest protected area in Uganda after Murchison Falls National Park. It occupies an area of about 2788sq.kms and it is known for its distinct savanna wildlife species that include among others the plain zebras, spotted hyenas, greater Kudus, vervet monkeys, patas monkeys, olive baboons, roan antelopes, hartebeests, hedgehogs, dik-diks, aardvarks, leopard, cheetahs, common elands, black rhinos, Rothchild giraffes, elephants and many bird species including ostriches, the white headed buffalo weaver, Jackson’s Hartlaub’s bustard to mention but a few.

Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is approximately 90kms along the Mbale-Moroto route and about 11kms North of its Northern boundary.

Meet the 19 Endangered Primates of Uganda

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Mountain Gorilla

List of primates and apes with mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and monkeys which can be encountered in Uganda, several of primate species visitors in the Pearl of Africa can track for experiential happenstances on their safari to different forest and savannahs parks. In every protected area of Uganda there are chances of encountering the at least three primate species.

The natural biodiversity of the pearl of Africa including varying vegetation dominated by tropical rain forest and the savanna shelter numbers of primate species which some are endemic to certain forests. Some common primate forests of Uganda include the Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga gorilla forest are known for the famous mountain gorillas, Kibale forest, Budongo forest are premier for chimpanzees, other forest like Buhoma, Mabira and many forest reserves are common sighting of several primate species.

Mountain Gorillas

Endemic species to the great western Albertine rift valley in areas of Bwindi impenetrable national park and Virunga conservation areas including Mgahinga gorilla park in Uganda. The mountain gorillas are the known as physically largest primate species and tops the list of attraction in Uganda, the most safari adventure that no visitor in the country would wish to miss on their travel list in Uganda. Gorillas live in families of unlimited members which are led by lead by the dominate silverback, they make nest each diurnal to spend their night whenever the night gets them.

Mountain gorillas are the world most endangered species and the world has about 1000 mountain gorillas where Uganda shares almost half of the population in the two gorilla parks. Uganda has about 20 habituated gorilla families meaning 160 trekking permits available daily. To encounter the mountain gorillas, a single permit to trek cost US$600 but the price is to rise to US$700 come July 2020. Due to competitiveness of the activities it’s advisable to book your gorilla permit in advance through at least three month before your probable date for the gorilla safari.

Mountain gorillas are very conscious to nature that they can’t be kept in zoo. Scientifically it has been found that mountain gorillas share about 98% of human DNA. However the gorillas have a very weak immune system that even a simple cold cough can cause their death. There is a gorilla trekking etiquette set by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to ensure safety of the gorillas from trekkers.

Chimpanzees

The second large primates after the mountain gorillas, in Uganda there different destination where you can encounter chimpanzees and Kibale national park premier the chimps tracking destinations which is estimated to have about 1500 population and other 13 primate species found here. Chimpanzee tracking adventure is most likely to gorilla adventures always combined safaris and sometimes an alternative to visitors who can’t afford the cost of gorilla permit.

Uganda has about 5000 chimpanzees that can be tracked in altered forests where they are found, in Uganda you can have an hour with the chimps or spend four hours for the habituation process. These primate are very prominent creatures together with the mountain gorilla and most popular African adventures.

Golden monkey

The endangered species endemic to Albertine rift valley regions of the Virunga conservation. In Uganda golden monkeys are only found in the rolling bamboos of Mgahinga gorilla national park and here golden monkeys co-exist with the mountain gorillas. Baptizing Mgahinga gorilla national park where the silver meets with gold, encountering golden monkeys living in harmony with the silverbacks.

Mgahinga has two habituated golden monkey families for trekking and here trackers can involve in the shorter tracking experience or the longer hours experiential tracking adventure. Trekker visiting the park have a golden chance to trekker the gorilla little cousins co-existing in the jungle.

Olive Baboons

The olive baboons are quit common primate species that can be encountered in most of the rainforest, olive baboons also known as anibus baboons are the third larger primate species most ranging and is found in 25 countries and in east Africa can be encountered in Uganda, Tanzania. Olive baboon is the common seen among all primates in Uganda rainforests of Mgahinga, Bwindi, Kibale, Kyambura, the slopes of Rwenzori Mountains and almost in all national parks and some game reserves.

Mangebay

The black and greyish monkeys with a shaggy appearance always inhabit in the low altitude rainforests. Uganda has two types of mongabey including grey cheeked Mangebay (Lalbigena) and Ugandan Mangebay, The Ugandan Mangebay species (lophocebus Ugandae) one of the world old specie endemic in Uganda only.

Mangebay in Uganda can be encountered in the forest of Kibale national park, Semuliki national park and Mabira forest. Uganda Mangebay are being habituated for tracking and one the attractive activity to do at Mabira forest Uganda’s known biggest forest reserve.

Colobus monkeys

Colobus monkeys is subdivided into two including the black and white colobus monkey.

The red tailed monkeys locally known as (engeya). They have a red tail and red caped hairy with black face. It’s named red tailed monkey after its red colored tail also characterized with white nose, these primate the male can fight restless to defend their families against any intuders.

The black and white colobus monkeys is one primate species with no thumbs and this makes them vulnerable to accidents especially during high jumping. The babies are born white and change within the period of three month, the monkeys can be located along the forest edges as they seek for their most preferred young leaves. The species is one of the most common primate found in Uganda.

L’Hoest Monkey

Also known as the mountain monkeys (cercopithecus lhoesti), largely found in the mountains Albertine rift valleys. This monkey specie rarely found and can encountered in the forest of KIbale and the mountainous forest of southwestern Uganda and they prefer to reside in think forest of the montane areas. They live in groups, very shy species, they were listed on the IUCN of Vulnerable species.

Patas Monkey

Also known as wadi monkey or husser monkey (Erythrocebus patas) known for residing in the semi-arid places of western Africa and east Africa. The species live in troops of about 30 individuals and are commonly living in the savannah park of Uganda including Kidepo valley national parks, pian Upe and Murchison falls national park.

Pottos Monkeys

Sometimes called the tree or bush bears (perodicticus potto) they are nocturnal tree dwellers which are softly slowly moving African tropical primate. The primate is thought of being so sensitive to potential predators and when comes across one of them they stuck their heads in their hands. The primate can encountered in the forests Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Queen Elizabeth national park.

The blue monkey

They are also referred to as the cercopithecus mitis belong to the ancestry world old monkey found in the east and western section of Africa. It’s among the impressive African monkeys to watch when on a Uganda adventure.

The blue monkeys in Uganda are not all that blue as the name states only covered on the face with blue like hair but are grey or olive hairy covered, the male can weigh to about 8kg and females are lighter to about 4kg and in Uganda blue monkeys are more appealable at Kibale national park.

8 Tips for Hiking the Rwenzori Mountains

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Rwenzori Mountains

Mountaineering trips are the most adventurous holidays found allover the world but the level of hardship that it entails is much appreciated after the reach of the peak. This was the live experience rwenzori trekkers face when climbing Rwenzori Mountains in Western Uganda.

The difficulty and enjoyment of hiking depends on where you plan to take your feet. But no matter where you go, there are things that never change: the safety measures you have to observe and the standard rules you have to monitor. While on your Rwenzori trip there are some things you should and shouldn’t do.

Do not bring valuables

There is no shopping mall out in the Rwenzori Mountains. And definitely, there is no need to flaunt any jewelry to the trees and plants out there. Never bring your wallet, jewelries, and other valuable items on a hiking trip because when they get lost, you might have to spend more time faced-down looking for your lost items than seeing the beautiful views Rwenzori has to offer and enjoying the trip.

Do not pack more than you should have

Carrying a heavy bag on the hike is tiring enough so make sure that you do not carry too many things when you go hiking to these great mountains. Pack clothes enough to last for the whole trip. Bring only the things that you know you are going to use. All the excess items should be left at home or in your hotel room. For the hike, you have to travel as light as you can.

Plan your hiking trip

Being safe while on any tour starts with a right plan. Schedule your hiking trip months before your anticipated date so that you have adequate time to prepare. Identify a hiking site that is right for your skill. If it is your first time, read informative articles about hiking in the Rwenzori and the things you need during the trip. Take time go over the safety precautions posted by your hiking site. If you plan to spend overnight in the mountains, make sure that you have everything you need to survive the trip. Plan your itineraries carefully. As for the Rwenzori trek, you will always be in the company of guides who are there to help you in case of any uncertainties.

Know the weather forecast

Either you plan to go for a day hiking trip or you want to spend your nights outdoor, it is very, very important to watch the news and listen the weather forecast of the location of your hiking trip. Rwenzori trek is an all year round activity but the best time to trek is in the drier seasons. Called “the rain maker” by the locals, Rain may still be expected during these months but not as much as during the wet seasons. This will give you a good head start on what to type of weather condition to expect and provide you with the right information as to what equipment to bring.

Do wear proper clothing

You must wear the right clothes depending on the season. During summer, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, closed-toe shoes with hard soles, and a hat are appropriate. No sandals, shorts or capri pants. During cold weather, wear jacket, sweaters, wool shirt, thermal-style underwear, and layered clothing will keep you protected from the chill.

Do anticipate the rain

Weather changes unpredictably in the Rwenzori, rain can be expected any time. Most of the time, you will never know if it is going to rain or not. So, be prepared! Bring waterproof clothes and windproof gear on your trip.

Bring proper equipment

Make sure you have the right equipment before you start the trek in the mountains. For those going to Margarita, make sure you crampons, ice axe, harness, ropes and helmet. Utility tools should be the number one equipment on your list of “what to bring”. Also, do not forget flashlight and batteries even if you don’t intend to spend the night outdoor. A portable gas stove is recommended if you plan to cook your food.

Do enjoy your hiking trip

Bring a set of binoculars, a camera or a video camera to capture you moments during the hiking trip.

Safety on Hikes

While on any hiking safari in Uganda, always make sure that you are safe. Ensuring that you are safe during your trip is an essential consideration and you should always work with a tour operator who can guarantee safe hikes. Always communicate with the operator about your fitness levels, challenges and healthy issues. If you feel, you cannot make it to the peak, be free to advise the guides since life is precious!

10 Things to Know About Semuliki National Park

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Semuliki National Park is one of the less known national parks in Uganda. It is situated in Bwamba County, a remote part of the Bundibugyo District, in western Uganda. The park covers 220km² and lies at an altitude of 670-760m above sea level. Here are some quick facts that you probably don’t know about Semuliki National Park. These facts will inspire you and make you not to miss this interesting destination while on a safari in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa;

1. Semuliki National Park is both savanna and forest. According to Uganda Parks, it was first gazetted as a Forest Reserve in 1932. The forest is part of the vast Ituri Forest of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is the reason why the park hosts a good number of forest animals including chimpanzees, forest elephants etc.

2. Semuliki National Park was upgraded to status of a national park in 1993. This makes it to be among the newest parks in Uganda.

3. It is the only tract of true lowland tropical forest in East Africa, hosting 441 recorded bird species and 53 mammals. This largely forested park represents the easternmost limit of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin and contains numerous species associated with central rather than eastern Africa.

4. Semuliki is one of the richest areas of floral and fauna diversity in Africa, with bird species being especially diverse.

5. The largest part of Semliki National Park can flood during rainy season so; the best time to visit the park is the dry season. The low lying park lies on the rift’s sinking floor, most of it just 670m above sea level. Large areas may flood during the wet seasons; brief reminders of the time when the entire valley lay at the bottom of a lake for 7 million years.

6. The park is dominated by the easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin. This is one of Africa’s most ancient forests. During the dry conditions of the last ice age, 12-18,000 years ago, most of Africa’s forests shrank and disappeared. Only a few patches like Semuliki and Bwindi survived, protecting forest species during the arid apocalypse until they could eventually emerge to recolonise a better, wetter world.

7. Semuliki is one of Africa’s most biodiverse forests and is particularly noted for its varied bird population. It is one of the best paradises of birds and the common birds found include: Congo Serpent Eagle, Long-tailed Hawk, Nkulengu Rail, Black-wattled Hornbill and Lyre-tailed Honey guide.

8. Semliki National Park has geothermal hot springs at Sempaya is not very scenic. This is the most popular attraction of the park. Hot springs bubble up from the depths beneath Sempaya to demonstrate the powerful subterranean forces that have been shaping the rift valley during the last 14 million years.

9. The park is a sanctuary for night moving animals like Buff-spotted Flufftail and African Wood Owl.  Visitors who are interested in nocturnal watch, Semliki National Park is a must visit. This is the reason as to why night safaris were first conducted in Semuliki Forest.

10. You can enjoy authentic cultural experiences during your safari. Four distinct ethnic groups live near the park – Bwamba farmers live along the base of the Rwenzori while the Bakonjo cultivate the mountain slopes. Batuku cattle keepers inhabit on the open plains and Batwa pygmies, traditionally hunter gathers, live on the edge of the forest. The Batwa (Pygmy) community that lives on the edge of the park originated from the Ituri.

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