Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gorilla Tracking Safaris

Gorilla safaris have seemingly become the "in thing" to do while on safari in East Africa. Over the recent past Uganda and Rwanda, have welcomed many tourists who are attracted to the special safari of tracking gorillas and chimpanzees.

Trips to view gorillas and chimpanzees to both countries are adventurous and fun filled activities, that involves alot of trekking.  In Uganda, visiting Bwindi National Park, the "Impenetrable Forest", which is a 12 hour drive from Kampala. In Rwanda gorilla viewing is in Ruhengeri National Park, 3 hours from Kigali.

There are various packages ranging from day trips to 7 days or more safaris, depending on what you are interested in doing.  

Did you know?
  • Chimpanzees use large sticks and branches as clubs or throw them at enemies like leopards and humans.
  • Chimps supplement their diets with meat, such as young antelopes or goats. Their most frequent victims, however, are other primates such as young baboons, colobus monkeys and blue monkeys.
  • An adult male gorilla is called a silverback because of the distinctive silvery fur growing on their back and hips. Each gorilla family has a silverback as leader who scares away other animals by standing on their back legs and beating their chest!
  • Young male gorillas usually leave their family group when they are about 11 years old and have their own family group by the age of 15 years old. Young female gorillas join a new group at about 8 years old.
  • Gorillas are herbivores. They spend most of their day foraging for food and eating bamboo, leafy plants and sometimes small insects. Adult gorillas can eat up to 30 kilograms of food each day.
  • A gorilla can live for 40 – 50 years. 
Gorilla viewing permits are issued on a very controlled basis and must be booked well in advance, especially in Uganda. Permits cost  approximately US$500 per person in Uganda and approximately US$ 750 per person in Rwanda. The trek through the forest to find the gorillas can take a few hours. The time spent with a troop is limited to one hour.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Camping Safaris

Camping safaris range from luxurious to budget. With each itinerary, the category of camping will differ. These categories are as follows;
Luxury Camping, This is where all your needs are catered for and accommodation, mostly under canvas, is sophisticated and comfortable with large walk-in tents, proper beds and shower tents, camps are prepared before your arrival, well qualified staff take care of all aspects of camp life, and fully outfitted four wheel drive safari vehicles with roof hatches are your means of transport.

Mid-Range Camping, with walk-in tents and safari showers, staff on hand to take care of cooking and other camp chores, and where transport is either by minibus or four wheel drive safari vehicles.

Budget Camping, where everyone pitches in and helps to erect tents, cook and do the dishes. Food is simple and your evening wash is often only a bowl of water. Overland trucks or minibuses are commonly used on such safaris.

Camping on your own. There are designated camp sites in most National Parks and some privately owned, where you can pitch your own tents. Most of the privately owned sites have good facilities, but in the Parks you must be self sufficient.