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Informatie over nationale parken die we bezocht
hebben in Uganda

Mburo NP

Two brothers, Kigarama and Mburo lived in a large valley.  One night, Kigarama dreamt that they were in danger.  When he awoke the next  morning, he told his younger brother Mburo of his dream and said they should move.  Mburo ignored this advice, but Kigarama wisely moved up into the hills. The valley flooded and a lake was formed, drowning Mburo. Today the lake is named after him, and the hills are called Kigarama after his brother.
The word mburo is similar to the "mboro", the Runyankole name of the cassine tree which has a powerful aphrodisiac effect. One such tree, showing signs of bark and branch removal, may be seen close to the Kigambira Loop crossroads.
Situated between Masaka and Mbarara in Western Uganda, it is the only park to contain an entire lake. Beautiful and tranquil Lake Mburo National Park is situated in rolling hills and open grassy valleys. This lovely landscape also consists of four other smaller lakes where you'll see impala, eland, waterbuck, klipspringer, zebra and buffalo.
The Park has Aardvark, Hyrax, Porcupine, Hippopotamus, Zebra, Pangolin, Warthog, Hyena, Leopard, Buffalo, Civet, Genet, Topi, Eland, Klipspringer, Oribi, Sitatunga, Impala, eland and crocodile  There is an excellent variety of water and acacia savannah bird species (357 bird species) like crested crane, the rare shoebill stork, marabou stork and bronze-tailed starling, bee eaters and even more exotic birds like Blue Naped Coucal, Bare-faced Go-Away Bird, Nubian Woodpecker and swamp flycatcher.
Hippos and crocodiles can be seen grazing on cool mornings. The surrounding papyrus swamps hide the beautiful sitatunga, a very special antelope with narrow, elongated hooves which allow them to move freely on marshy land.
Exotic sights you may enjoy are male impala characteristically looking over their territory from the top of a large anthill, an exquisite panoramic view of the lakeland expanse from a hilltop vantage point, or the sight of locally ranched long-horned ankole cattle grazing with wild impala and zebra. Don't forget to take a wooden Ssese canoe trip on the lake to see kingfishers, herons and other water birds, your guide will keep you a safe distance from the hippos and crocodiles!
The attractive acacia-dotted savannah (256 sq. km) is home to huge herds of impala, as well as uncommon topi, eland, klipspringer and other antelope. Zebra and buffalo also graze these peaceful acres.
The lake supports a wonderful diversity of birds. Because of the different habitats, the lakeshore and the broad savannah, the variety seems endless. Catch a glimpse of waterbirds diving for fish, the Marabou Stork, bee-eaters and the cheeky Bronze-tailed Starling, as well as the majestic Crowned Crane. Make sure you bring your binoculars.   More on the wildlife of Lake Mburo.
Walks, Game drives, Lake Cruises, Excellent Birdwatching.
By Road: the park is bounded to the north by the main Kampala-Mbarara road. From Kampala it is 430km (4 hours) to the Park headquarters and rest camp at Rwonyo. On the way you will pass several interesting market villages as well as crossing the Equator Line. The left turn to the Park is signposted 211km from Kampala.
From Mbarara it is 47km to the Park Headquarters. The right turn to the park is at Sanga. The park gate is at Rweshebeshebe, 12km from Sanga.4-wheeled drive is recommended.
By road from Kampala it is 4 hours (230km) to the park head quarters and rest camp at Rwonyo.
On the way, places of interest include, Mpambire Drum shop (40km from Kampala), the Equator (76 km), Kinoni for papyrus mats (147 km), Kyazanga for Gonja (roasted bananas) (169 km) and the Lake Mburo Heritage Village.
Accommodation is available at park headquarters, where chalets are available for single or double occupancy. Meals are available or visitors may carry their own food that the camp staff can help to prepare. Hurricane lamplighting and warm water bucket bathing are provided. Campfire may be organised on request.
The Lake View Hotel in the nearby town of Mbarara is a modern locally-owned hotel. All rooms have private facilities. The hotel has a bar, restaurant, terrace, swimming pool and sports centre. The hotel's own small lake is often surrounded by marabou storks.
Mantana Camp, run by Mel and Paul has stunning vistas over 3 lakes, It offers good service whilst retaining the authentic safari spirit. Each tent has twin beds and a bathroom. Each verandah is placed so as to take advantage of stunning African sunsets. The dining room is built on stilts so as to offer guests bird's eye views across the treetops to the lakes.
Lake Mburo National Park lies in a rain shadow between Lake Victoria and the Rwenzori Mountains, and receives an average of only 800mm of rain a year.  Being near the equator, the rainfall pattern is bimodal, with the long rains occurring from February to June, and the short rains from September to December.
The rains are rather erratic and unpredictable, but most rain tends to fall in April and November.  The average recorded temperature is 27.50C with daily variation ranging from 21.50C to 34,00C. July and August are the hottest months.
The Park lies between 1,219 and 1,828 m above sea level.  High hills and rocky, eroded ridges characterise the western part of the Park; here deep valleys support dry forests found nowhere else.  In the eastern sector, the rolling, wooded hills are intersected by wide, flat bottomed valleys which are seasonally flooded and drain into the swamps and lakes.  The Ruizi river flows in a south -easterly direction and forms part of the western boundary of the Park. Lake Mburo and its associated wetlands eventually drain into Lake Victoria.
The Park is underlain by very ancient (more than 500 million years old) Precambrian metamorphic rocks which belong to the ‘basement system'.  These rocks can be seen from the Zebra Track in the Park as outcrops or "tors". The soils in the western uplands tend to be clays and loams, while those of the eastern lowlands are sandy.

Queen Elizabeth NP

Imagine a terrain that includes a myriad of lakes of all types and sizes, from great freshwater lakes and inland salt lakes to mirror-surfaced crater lakes. A terrain that includes marshland and broad savannah, mountains and mysterious unexplored wooded valleys. A terrain that provides a magnificent home for a breathtakingly wide variety of exotic creatures of all kinds, in the air, on the land and in the water. Set in the west of the Great East African Rift Valley and bordered by the mist-capped 'Mountains of the Moon,' The Queen Elizabeth National Park is all this, and more.
In the Queen Elizabeth Park you may see crater lakes filled with huge flocks of flamingos. You will spot eagles soaring and vultures perching.
You will view lions relaxing and elephants ambling and giant forest hog snuffling.  And, in its lakes you'll see hippos swimming and kingfishers darting. Any visitor to this park cannot fail to be amazed by the enormous diversity in each kingdom of creation. It's simply a visual feast. Take a boat trip, a game drive, a woodland walk or simply enjoy any of the myriad stunning views.
The Queen Elizabeth National Park provides an unforgettable and unique experience.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is 1,978 Km2 in area and is situated astride the Equator in the Western Rift Valley of South West Uganda, close to the Southern most tip of the tabled, mist covered "Mountains of the Moon - Rwenzori Mountains and is contigious with Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire).
It is a region of varied habitats including, open grassland with thickets, thick bush, forest, swamps and lake-shore. Queen Elizabeth National Park together with Virunga National Park in (DRC) completely encircle Lake Edward which is connected to Lake George by the Kazinga Channel.
Launch trips on Kazinga Channel down the shore of Lake Edward provides a unique vantage for viewing savannah wildlife. A launch trip starts at Mweya the park headquarters along the Kazinga Channel, which joins Lake Edward and Lake George. Truly, this is among the most exciting and memorable experience offered by the Park. While on the trip expect to be thrilled by yawning hippos and a closer view of water birds along the shores.
In the southern part of the park is the Ishasha Sector with substantial tree climbing lions found perched on savannah fig trees. The concentration of game in its savannah setting, Lake Edward and River Ishasha flats, Ishasha and riverine forest, Hippo Pool and Congo escarpment provides splendid scenery. Ishasha Sector is known for its expansive savannah landscape teeming with a variety of wildlife possibly due to its continuity cross border migration of wildlife. "Missing Ishasha is simply missing QENP".
Maramagambo Forest is one of the largest forests in Uganda. It is a medium altitude, moist, semi-decidious forest. Characteristics of such forest are increasingly becoming rare in Africa! It has very spectacular lakes and craters. It is the only place in the Park where one could find Blue Lakes. Other features of attractions in the forest include: primates, e.g. Lhost monkeys, chimpanzees, bush baby, baboons, vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, etc. Due to its location, Maramagambo has a high diversity of butterflies. The bat and the hunters cav are other pleasant experiences that the forest offers, and of course some forest birds.
This area comprises a scenic area of explosion craters, some containing salt lakes, formed by volcanic activity some 8-10,000 years ago. Some of the craters are dry. These unique concentration of unspoiled craters forms a unique scenic vantage point and are important as dry season watering points for animals.
The crater area is such a captivating and breathtaking phenomenon. It’s impossible to give a fair description of the crater area, there is nothing with which to compare. It is one of the wonders of Uganda/East Africa.
Kyambura river gorge is situated on North-Eastern side of the Park (QENP) - 35 kms from Mweya the park headquarters. The Gorge spans a distance of 16 kms or 10 miles long and 100m/300ft deep, while the widest point is over 500 metres. The Gorge emerges between savannah grasslands. It forms an outstanding topographic feature in dramatic contrast to surrounding savannah landscape. The Gorge has a riverine virgin forest that transits to papyrus swamps towards the Kazinga Channel.
It is the only place in the Park where you can view the chimpanzees at close range - "Habituated" with other types of primates including B/W Colobus Monkey, Red-tailed monkey, baboons and vervet monkeys. The Gorge is also a habitat for concentration of birds - Peregrine Falcon, Falcon peregrinus, black be eater- Merops Mulleri and African Finfoot etc. The Gorge is an important water source for savannah animals.
Queen Elizabeth National Park has a greater avian diversity than any other protected area in Africa with over 558 species of bird life. It ranks the sixth in bird diversity world-wide in the protected areas. Queen Elizabeth National Park is the only park in Uganda that has bird observatory facilities in Uganda. It is only in QENP that one can sight flocks of flamingoes in spectacular craters in Uganda. The Park is an important breeding ground for birds and a stop over for migratory birds.
Birds seen include: shoebill stock, black bee eater, crested crane, African finfoot, saddle bill stock, peregrine falcon, martial eagle, rock falcon, hunter’s sun birds, pelicans, commorants, etc. The diversity of birds in the park is due to the great diversity of habitats that occur.
The checklist of mammals of QENP include 66 species. The larger mammalian fauna of the park is characterized by a few species furnishing an excptionally high biomass. During the late 1960s, the biomass densities recorded from the park exceeded those published for any wildlife community anywhere in the world. Todate, the Park main biomass contributors includes: hippotamus, leopard, elephants, buffaloes, Uganda kobs, topi, bushbucks, waterbucks, rare giant forest hogs, advarks, porcupines, pangolins, bushpigs, and warthogs, lions, hyenas, civets, etc.
The Nile Crocodiles can be sighted along the Kazinga Channel and Lake Edward. African rock python, monitor lizards, spitting cobra, buffer adder, black mamba, Gabon viper, green snakes can be sighted, etc.
By road, the Park Headquarters is 64 kms from Kasese, which is 418 kms from Kampala via Mbarara and Katunguru. The journey takes approximately 6 hours. Air charter services are possible to the landing strip near Mweya Safari Lodge, Kasese Aerodrome and Ishasha Sector Airstrip.
A launch cruise along the Kazinga Channel, bird watching at the bird hides and in the wild, game viewing drives in the park, chimpanzee viewing in Kyambura River Gorge, walking safaris, picknicking, nature walks into Maramagambo Forests and a visit to Katwe Traditional salt works.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is visited year round. Rain gears, insect repellant, pair of binoculars and safari shoes, campers should come with tents.
A four wheel vehicle may do better in some parts of the park during wet season. (i.e. if a visitor opts to come with own vehicle).
Mweya Safari Lodge built on a peninsular and almost surrounded by water has stunning views of this magnificent panaroma. A luxury lodge in the old style with a restaurant, bar, a terrace, suit bedrooms, conference theatre and swimming pool. The bedrooms are self contained with such comfort that one could ever need! The lodge is located in the prime area for the park’s attraction; it is the door gate for the entire of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The Jacan Safari Lodge is situated on the margin of Maramagambo Forest close to Lake Nyamusingiri and Kyasanduka. The log cabins built in an African way stretch from the woods up to the great views of Lake Nyamusingiri and the forest. Above all, these cabins are self contained. There is arestaurant, waterside bar, swimming pool and offers a boat trip on Lake Nyamusingiri which is encircled by a blanket of forest.
Ishasha Sector is served with accommodation facilities like the bandas, the camp sites (3) and the tented bush camp. At the tented Bush Camp, accommodation and meals are provided.

Murchison Falls NP

Murchison Falls National Park is one of the most spectacular in Uganda, and indeed in the whole of Africa. This is the largest game park in the country  (3,840 sq.km.) and has the most intense concentration of animals along the river. Here is the awe-inspiring Murchison Falls, where the River Nile hurls itself in appalling convulsions through a narrow crevice and then plunges 40 metres in one breathtaking leap.
Before the Murchison Falls themselves, in the eastern sector of the Park,are the Karuma Falls where the Nile cascades over 23 kilometres of rapids in a breathtaking sight. This is some of the most exciting white water in Africa.
A launch trip up stream to the falls is one of the great experiences in Africa.  Elephant, hartebeest, giraffe, buffalo, crocodiles and countless antelope and birds (including the rare Shoebill stork) can be admired at the water's edge as the launch glides along The Murchison Falls National Park, with its variety of vegetation ranging from riparian forests and swamp lands to broad Savannah, provides the opportunity of seeing many of the animals found  in Uganda.
In the southern section of the park is the beautiful Rabongo Forest, home to several families of chimpanzees and other primates. Make sure you have plenty of film for your camera, although they are difficult to spot in the thick canopy above.
This is the biggest National Park in Uganda with an area of 3840km2. The River Nile divides the park into the north and south sectors and forms falls where it flows over the western rift valley escarpment. Here, the river is forced through a 3 meters gap in the rocks and cascades into a boiling pot 30 meters below.
A boat cruise upstream to the falls provides an unforgettable experience. The falls can also be viewed from the top which gives a completely different impression.
Elephant, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Leopard, Warthog, Lion, Giraffe Aardvark, Chimpanzee, Pangolin, Civet, Buffalo, Hyena, Crocodile, Oribi, Patas monkey,Uganda kob, baboon.
Fish in the Nile include Nile perch, Tilapia and Tiger fish. 450 species of bird including Pel's fishing owl, pennant winged nightjar, red-throated bee eater and the magnificent shoebill stork. In the southern sector of the park, there is Rabongo Forest, a home of chimpanzees.
Unforgettable Launch trips on the Nile up to the Falls with abundant game viewing along the way; Game drives in the Park;  Forest walks in the Rabongo Forest and Fishing at the foot of the falls.
At the top of Murchison Falls, the Victoria Nile explodes through a 6 -metre gap, causing the very rock to shake - quite literally. This phenomenon is said to be the most powerful natural flow of water anywhere on Earth. Can you imagine the strength and size of the Nile Perch which can withstand such a force which exists at the foot of this perpetual avalanche of water!
Charles Norman described the first such perch, spotted soon after their arrival by his companion, who: "...let out a strangled squawk and I found myself staring at the hog-sized back of a huge fish protruding above the water at the rock's edge - a 100kg fish with scales the size of tennis balls. "Swimming next to it was a smaller one, a 'midget' of a mere 40kg or so.
Slowly these two moved along the rock, obviously feeding, and then sank out of sight almost at our feet. My knees turned to water and my whole body began to shake..." This adventure turned into what the prodigiously experienced Charles Norman describes as "...the most exciting morning's fishing that I have ever known.
Having landed some magnificent specimens, he concludes by pointing out that the most memorable strike of the day was one that ...just for a second felt rock solid before my double line came flying back to me. " He adds that only tigerfish can sever nylon line in this way and that, since his bait was such a large bream, the tiger must have been a very big one.
His parting thought reads: "There are tigerfish in the lower Nile and Lake Albert, 30km downstream, but are they Goliaths! Incredibly, nobody knows, there simply hasn't been any sportfishing in Uganda for the past 35 years, and the inhabitants of its many waterways remain a mystery." Anyone angling for a solution to that mystery!
By road, it is a 3 hour drive from Kampala to Masindi, 217 km on tarmac and 40 km on high grade murram, then an additional 2 hours (97 km) from Masindi to the Falls on murram. A 4 wheel drive vehicle is advisable as the Masindi-Paraa road is rough.
The Park can be reached by air charter services. There are airstrips at Paraa and Rabongo which can accommodate light aircratfs of up to six seats capacity.

There is a camp site at the top of the Falls which can be used by those with their own camping gear. Contact UNP for reservations and current rates.
The riverside Nile Safari Camp must  be one of the most romantic lodges in the world. Accommodation is in beautifully designed waterside log cabins each with its own internal tent, terrace, bathroom and outside shower. There is an al fresco restaurant and small gift shop. Watching a stunning sunset from the friendly bar is a must.
In an elevated position on the north side of the river, guests at the Sarova Paraa Lodge benefit from simply massive views. This historic lodge which, before its restoration, was host to many dignitaries is now central to Paraa reclaiming its former glory. The site, service and ambience, which so impressed Britain's Queen Mother, is being recreated to great effect for the enjoyment of modern tourists. Each room has full facilities and a remarkable view. There is an impressive restaurant, swimming pool and bar.
The Sambiya River Lodge presents a unique African experience. A traditionally designed thatched hotel is surrounded by thatched bungalows, all in a very special setting. The atmosphere is relaxing, warm and friendly and the lodge provides a restaurant, bar and gift shop. All rooms are complete with full private facilities

Others nearby are:
The Masindi Hotel at Masindi
Rabongo Forest Cottages
Camp Sites at the top of the Falls

Kibale Forest

Once this tropical rainforest provided a (very substantial) dinner, bed and breakfast for large herds of migrating forest elephants and, even now, the park contains the largest population of this subspecies in Uganda. Although they're rarely seen, and dangerous, the signs of these elephants' presence are abundant.
However, Kibale's claim to fame is its enormous variety of primates and its families of habituated chimpanzees - it's home to an astonishing 12 species of primate and provides one of the highest primate densities in the world. Here, on a daytime or evening guided forest walk, you may find families of chimpanzees and red colobus monkeys chattering and swinging through the ancient forest trees.
The sightings of birds in the forest are no less impressive - there are at least 325 species, many of which are found nowhere else. In addition there are over 144 species of butterflies.
Kibale, with ancient trees up to 55 metres in height, is a wonderful place to experience the extraordinary diversity of life in a tropical rainforest. Take part in a guided forest walk - you may see a crowned crane nesting and feeding site, you may climb up a treehouse viewing platform to see the exotic looking Dura River screw palms, you may take a walk along the Kanyanchu river. You will certainly be more than impressed by the grandeur of the forest and the abundance of exotic life forms in this thriving and ancient environment.
Kibale, 766 km2, is one of Uganda's enchanting forested parks. Here, you can hike in the park for hours observing the drama of life in a rainforest.
The park contains pristine lowland tropical rain forest, montane forest, and mixed tropical deciduous forest. In addition to forest, you will also notice areas of grassland and of swamp.
The forest is rich in wildlife. It is most noted for its primate population. Some of these are red-tailed monkey, diademed monkey, blue monkey, white cheeked mangabey, olive baboon, chimpanzee, black,  white and red colobus. Some of the other mammals you might see are bushbuck, Harvey's red duiker, blue duiker, Uganda kob, genet, bushpig, and African civet. More difficult to spot are buffalo, waterbuck, hippo, warthog, and giant forest hog. Herds of elephant once travelled back and forth through the area. These elephants have become more and more rare, and now are seldom seen.
The birdlife in the forests and grasslands of the forest is abundant. There are almost 300 species that have been identified here,including hoopoe, greyparrot, ant thrush, negrofinch and one particularly worth noting is the Kibale forest thrush, which is endemic to Kibale forest. There are 144 species of butterfly in the park and a diverse population of moths and other insects.
A system of trails has been developed within the park, and tour guides are available to guide visitors.
The park is located 35km south, of Fort Portal. A 4 wheel drive vehicle is recommended, especially during the rainy season.
There are a number of hotels in Fort Portal.
The RuwenZori View Guesthouse is situated in beautiful and quiet Surroundings. All rooms have hot and cold running water, shower and toilet. In this family-run establishment the ambience is friendly and the food is extraordinarily good.
At Ndali Lodge, each of the four cottages face the Mountains of the Moon. On a clear morning, the snow on the peaks is clearly visible. All cottages have private facilities. The lodge sits near a delightful crater lake. Mark Price provides a friendly welcome and an interesting stay.
Another alternative is the Crater Valley Kibale Resort Beach Lodge just on the border of the Park, or Kanyanchu Tourist Camp just 35 km from Fort Portal town. It is elevated to provide beautiful views of the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains. With an open forest and large community of chimpanzee, Kanyanchu offers an enjoyable chimpanzee tracking experience. There is an on-going habituation project of chimpanzees and monkeys run by The Jane Goodall Institute & Uganda Wildlife Authority. All of the guides are actively involved with the Kibale Habituation Project. Visitors are assured that they are supporting a sustainable ecotourism initiative for effective conservation of the Park.
At the nearby villages of Bigodi and Nkingo, there are simple lodges, and meals are available.
A good spot for Campers and backpackers is Rwengo Lakeside Tourism Camp
Inside the park, camping facilities are available. There are two, private campsites, each with a tent which sleeps two. Bedding is provided. There are four additional campsites, where you must bring your own tent and bedding. At all sites, you must bring your own food and utensils. Fuel can be provided for cooking.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

BINP is located in south-western Uganda (0 53’ - 1 08’N; 29 35’ - 29 50’E), and covers parts of Rukungiri, Kabale and Kisoro Districts. On the west, the park is bordered by Parc Nationale des Virunga of Congo (DRC).
Bwindi's Impenetrable Forest is true African Jungle. It is so called because the dense undergrowth, vines and other vegetation make it almost 'impenetrable'. It's mysterious and awesome. The lowland rainforest and montane forest vegetation constantly struggles to reach heights that will allow it to receive more light. Huge trees are festooned with creepers and parasitic plants such as mistletoe and orchids. Giant thickets of bamboo thrive in the humid atmosphere and, where sunlight breaks though, the elegant heliconia, or lobster claw, spreads its colourful petals.
Amongst the dense vegetation the Colobus Monkey jumps from branch to branch, chattering its warning to its fellows hidden by the foliage. Chimpanzees, in families of 20 or 30, make the rounds, searching for fruit and edible plants.
It is situated in a hilly country-side that, together with some remnant lowland forest outside the boundary, constitute an important water catchment area for many rivers, supplying the agricultural land of the surrounding region.
As you walk among the shadows of the leafy canopy, this rainforest reveals the smells and sounds of Africa, just as it has been for centuries.
Without doubt, your first impression of the dense jungle will be its almost audible silence. Jungle creatures are very, very shy, but, as you pick your way along the trail, through the dense undergrowth, you'll realise that the jungle is alive. Its thousands of living organisms are discreetly watching and waiting whilst you pass through their protective home and, from time to time, the complete tranquillity will be shattered by a darting forest bird or group of chattering monkeys leaping through the stands of ancient trees, disturbing the secretive residents and setting up a chain reaction. Now, the ever-wary jungle comes to colourful and noisy life for a moment, until silence reigns again.
Here, in Bwindi Impenetrable, your guide will take you along river trails with delightful waterfalls, up steep slopes and into forest clearings in search of an enormous array of reserved, exquisite and exciting jungle creatures who live in this deep forest. A forest : which in itself is a complex and remarkable living organism.
From Kampala, (the Ugandan capital city), Buhoma (the park headquarters) can be accessed through Rukungiri (478kms) or usually, Kabale (526 kms). The Kabale route which takes about 6 hours from Kampala is paved. From Kabale the journey to Buhoma (112kms) via Kanungu and Kanyatoorogo takes 3-4 hours through scenic areas. Or, pass along the eastern edge of the park to Ruhija. This option affords some very magnificent views. Four-wheel drive vehicles are advised especially during the rainy season.
Camping facilities, and a deluxe tented camp is available at Buhoma. Those with camping equipment may camp in the Park .
Abercrombie & Kent has a luxury 4-star tented camp.In the Montana Luxury Tented Camp you will enjoy accommodation in fully furnished Selous tents with verandah, bedroom, dressing room and ensuite shower.
The White Horse Inn is situated in the terraced hills of Kabale, known as the "Switzerland of Africa. Many rooms have private facilities.
African Pearl Safaris; offers comfortable medium range accommodation. The low budget traveller can stay in equally clean Bandas run by the local community.
In Kabale Town, known as "Switzerland of Africa", several accommodation facilities are available. These include: 3-star White Horse Inn and Highland Hotel, the Victoria Inn, and the Visitor's Rest Hotel.. Other medium range facilities include: Visitours, and many others.
At least 120 species of mammal in one of the richest ecosystems in Africa including mountain gorilla, chimpanzee and 8 other species of primate. Elephant, bushpig, giant forest hog, many species of bats and rodents, at least 346 species of birds including rare forest birds, at least 14 species of snakes, 27 species of frogs and toads, 6 chameleons, 14 lizards, skinks and geckas, at least 202 species of butterfly.
This forest is a sanctuary for almost half the world's population of mountain gorillas (about 330 of 600), which is the rarest race of gorilla. Established as a safe habitat for several families of mountain gorillas it is now the location of an important scientific conservation programme. Gorilla tracking visits are limited to small groups.
There are also several endangered species of birds with limited ranges.Gorilla tracking began on 1st April, 1993. It is advisable to make reservations at least 3 months before your intended date of visit. These reservations can be made through your tour operator or travel agent or directly to Uganda Wildlife Authority in Kampala. It commonly rains in this area. Come with a raincoat, walking boots, and gloves.
This is the richest forest in Uganda, in terms of the number of plant species, as the area is one of the few large expanses of forest in East Africa where lowland and montane communities merge. The valley bottoms contain a dense ground cover of herbs, vines, and shrubs with only a few trees hence its name, the 'impenetrable forest."

GORILLA BOOKING POLICIES
The following Policies will operate with immediate effect for permits for the year 2000. The policy is effective 1 January 1999. Bookings at headquarters will be for the Mubare Group and Habinyanja Group, a family of 17 and 22 gorillas respectively, in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park until management advises otherwise. Only six visitors shall track each group of gorillas a day with the viewing period being only one hour.
A fee of US$30 per permit will be charged for the service of booking a permit more than 6 months in advance. This fee will be receipted separate and is non-refundable and non-transferrable. It must be paid before a name is written down on the booking sheet whether in pencil or in pen. Where a purchaser cannot fulfill his/her obligations after payment of the booking fee, the fee is forfeited. This fee will not be waived whatever the circumstances.
A Company or individual allocated permits must pay the booking fee on the very day of booking. The deadline for paying tracking fee is 7 days later. If no booking fee is paid by 5.00 p.m. on this day (when bookings open) such permits will be open for sale the next day.
Long term (one year in advance) booking allocations.
80% of the Mubare Group and 80% of Habinyanja Group permits in each month can be booked for a year in advance.
All licensed Tour Operators are free to participate in the booking and purchase of these permits.
Held back permits (40%)
Uganda Wildlife Authority reserves the right of whom to sell to 40% of the permits per month. However, individual trackers can buy from Uganda Wildlife Authority not more than 3 permits for the month. There is no guarantee, which dates or how many per day will be available.
Rates for a permit differ based on the residence status of the visitor. The three categories are non-resident (pays full fee), foreign resident of Uganda (pays 75% - with proof of residency in Uganda), Uganda citizen (pays 20%). Reference can be made to the price list posted at point of sale to verify the correct fee. Visitor category will be verified at check-in prior to departure for the tracking.
Tour Operators can still block book (as long as they are within policy [2(a)]. [2(b)], and [3(b)] on certain dates, and then advertise Uganda Safaris scheduled around these gorilla tracking dates.
The day after a payment deadline is passed, all tentative bookings will be erased, and booking fees earlier paid forfeited. The permit space will be marked CASH ONLY and will only be available to anyone paying cash.

Permits are non-refundable, with only two exceptions:
A permit will be refunded if a visitor voluntarily withdraws due to illness. However, any person being turned back by Park Authorities after failing to declare an illness will not be allowed a refund.
If a client cancels within 8-30 days to the tracking date, the permit is to be handed back to Uganda Wildlife Authority and will be open for sale.
A refund of 25% of the permit value will be made. No refund will be made to permits handed back to Uganda Wildlife Authority between 7-0 days to tracking date.
Permits must be sold at face value, whoever sells at higher value will be penalized.
Sale of permits by individuals or tour companies anywhere is illegal. All permits MUST be sold by Uganda Wildlife Authority only
Payment for gorilla permits must be made directly to Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Gorilla booking will be accompanied by a mandatory booking fee for entrance into two other National Parks and at least one park, for Tour Operators and other individuals respectively. Tour Operators should prove that the itinerary using block-booked permits contains visits to these other National Parks.

copyright: Paul Janssen