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Latest News from A&K Uganda
Special Offer on Chimpanzee and Gorilla Tracking Permits
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has released a special offer on Gorilla Permits - USD 400 per person per track down from USD 700. Chimpanzee tracking permits have reduced to USD 150 down from USD 200. UWA has also reduced park entry fees by 50% for Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth , Kidepo Valley, Murchison Falls and Semuliki National Parks. The reduction on gorilla and chimp tracking permits will only apply to new purchases until 31st March 2021.
These discounts couldn't have come at a better time as gorilla numbers in Uganda have been steadily increasing over the last year. On 4th January 2021, Nderema, a female adult belonging to the Nkuringo family, gave birth to a baby bringing the family size to 12. This is Nderema's second baby - her first was born in 2018 but sadly did not survive as Bwindi experienced some extreme weather in the first 15 days of its life. The Nkuringo family lives in the southern tip of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest where Clouds Lodge is also located.
Contact us to book your clients this bucket list trip.
Uganda Travel Dreams - volume 6
Welcome to volume 6 of the Uganda Travel Dreams! In this episode, we discuss Queen Elizabeth National Park and the exciting activities that your guests can take part in during their stay.
QENP is one of Uganda's most popular game conservancies; within its 2 000 square kilometres it harnesses savannah, fertile forest, lakes and wetlands which means it offers refuge to a huge diversity of game which guests can spot during morning or afternoon game drives.
However, the park offers much more than game drives. Lion Experiential is a unique way for guests to involve themselves with monitoring the park’s lions, gifting them an almost 100% chance of encountering these magnificent creatures in the wild. The Experiential is a research program run by the Uganda Carnivore Project where guests use location devices to track the lions living on the park’s Kasenyi Plains.
One of the highlights of visiting Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth Park is enjoying a cruise along the Kazinga Channel, a 32 kilometer (20 mile) stretch of water linking Lake George with Lake Edward. Most of the park’s animals gather here on the river’s shores to drink and bathe, including elephant, antelope, buffalo, crocodile, monitor lizards, and hippo. A professional guide will regale guests with stories of the channel’s history, and explanations of bird and animal sightings.
The south west portion of Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park – Ishasha - is famous for its tree climbing lions; they hang out in the huge Fig trees that line the Ishasha River whilst the Uganda Kob (which are the primary food for lions here) hang out on the Ishasha plains to graze. A sundowner in Ishasha offers the chance to see them as they sleep off the last of the afternoon’s warmth in readiness for nighttime hunting or, if you don’t see the lion, to witness the sunset reflect off the beautiful Ishasha River.
Uganda Travel Dreams – volume 5
In today's episode, we talk about Entebbe, which is the gateway to the Pearl of Africa. Located on the northern shore of Africa’s largest lake – Lake Victoria – Entebbe oozes a happy laid-back vibe. The cool temperature, lush vegetation and relatively small size all add to the city’s charm. The city’s unique location also make for some incredible activities:
1) Hop on a boat to visit the chimps at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The sanctuary is home to 49 orphaned chimpanzees rescued from across East Africa. Founded twenty years ago, the sanctuary offers 95 acres of natural forest where the chimps roam and play and forage daily – just as they would in the wild. Guests can watch them and walk the island. Travelling the hour by boat from the mainland to the island is an exhilarating experience in itself where you witness the small local fishing vessels ply these waters.
2) Experience a behind-the-scenes-wildlife-encounter at the Uganda Wildlife Education Center. At this animal rescue and rehabilitation center, guests have an exciting, lifetime chance to get up close and personal with Africa’s wildlife. During this adventure, guests can join UWEC's team as they participate in the care and handling of all sorts of animals: lions, elephants, cheetahs, rhinos, chimpanzees, giraffes and more.
3) Take a boat across Lake Victoria to Mabamba Swamp, a massive 16,500 hectares of wetlands renowned for their vast array of resident bird life. With nearly 300 species of bird, the swamp is one of the most spectacular sites for bird watching in Uganda. As well as several globally threatened bird species, Mabamba is the most reliable place in Uganda to see the rare, oddly prehistoric-looking shoebill, famed for its unusual appearance.
To include any of these activities into your guests' Uganda itinerary, don't hesitate to get in touch.
Uganda Travel Dreams – volume 4
Welcome to volume four of the Uganda Travel Dreams! Today we talk about chimpanzee tracking at Kibale National Park. While Uganda is known for gorilla tracking at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the country offers the opportunity to track more than the just these gentle giants. Kibale National Park is an enchanting place and one of the most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. At a little under 800 square kilometers, the park is a mix of lowland tropical rain forest, mixed tropical deciduous forest and montane forest. All those trees mean it is good primate country: L'Hoest's monkeys with their white neck ruffs, Black and White colobus, Grey Cheeked Mangabeys and red colubus whose copper coloured backs gleam in the sunshine.
What Kibale is famous for though is chimpanzee tracking. Kibale is home to more than a dozen chimpanzee families. Your guests will be allowed to spend some time (at most an hour) with our mesmerizing relatives, as they observe them feed, play about or progress speedily on the ground right in front of them. There are two treks a day, one in the morning at 8.00 and a one in the afternoon at 14.00. The treks are easy with flat ground and open pathways. A maximum of 16 trackers are allowed per session.
Birdlife at Kibale is prolific as are butterflies (there are a staggering 250 species of butterfly) which your guests can enjoy on a nature walk at the Bigodi Swamp Walk.
Uganda Travel Dreams – volume 3
Welcome to volume 3 of the Uganda Travel Dreams! Today we talk about gorilla tracking in Uganda.
Gorilla tracking is a bucket-list item for many people and with good reason. Getting into touching distance of these gentle giants and looking into their dark eyes is an absolutely thrilling experience. Tracking gorillas can only be done in two countries in the world - Uganda and neighbouring Rwanda. Today we focus on gorilla tracking in Uganda.
Gorilla tracking takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in south western Uganda. Bwindi hosts 17 gorilla families and only eight persons can track a gorilla group each day. The best time to go gorilla tracking is during the dry season, between June and September and between December and February. Permits cost $600 and trackers need to be at least 15 years of age. Hiking gloves, water-proof jackets, hiking boots, sunscreen and insect repellant are necessary for tracking.
On the day of the track, guests must be at the park headquarters by 8am. Here they are given a briefing on what to expect. They will meet their porters, rangers, trackers and the other people they will be tracking with. They will be informed which gorilla family they will be tracking and the approximate distance it will take to get to them. The forest terrain is hilly, and tracks can take anywhere from half an hour to six hours. Once they locate the gorilla family, they will have one hour in the presence of the gorillas.
Uganda Travel Dreams – volume 2
Welcome to volume 2 of the Uganda Travel Dreams! We aim to inspire you and your guests with some fascinating insights into this wonderful country and give you some top tips to talk about once your guests are ready to travel again.
Today we are going to hear from Ruth Williams – our Tours Manager in Uganda who tells us what she loves most about the Pearl of Africa.
A&K has been in Uganda for the last nine years and I was here when it all began. Since then my journey with A&K has been full of exciting adventures that have taken me to all corners of this incredible country, one that I am lucky to call home. Of course, Uganda is best known for its Gorilla Tracking safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest which are astounding and where we have a range of A&K Philanthropy Projects that support the local community.
However, my favorite activity on safari has to be the boat cruise at Murchison Falls National Park. This may seem an unusual choice but stay with me! As you cruise up the river everything seems so calm and you pass hippos, buffalo and even elephants gathered along the shores. The bird life is beyond breathless, so many species (Uganda’s more than 1350) and will have even the most uninterested amongst us enthralled. As you motor along, you hear a gentle rumble that quickly turns into a roar and as you round the last bend and see the mighty Nile River being squeezed through a narrow seven meter (22ft) gap – the volume and power of this incredible body of water is simply astounding. The noise, the birds & the wildlife makes this my favourite place in Uganda.
I would recommend the Nile and Wildlife Safari, an exciting itinerary that takes you to Murchison Falls National Park for this unique boat cruise and Kidepo National Park, a remote park with outstanding and rare wildlife and birdlife. End the safari at the source of the River Nile in Jinja where heart pounding white-water rafting and bungee jumping awaits you – if you want to of course!
Get in touch with Ruth, to book the Nile and Wildlife Safari for your guests.
Uganda Travel Dreams – volume 1
As we look forward to better times, we shall over the next weeks publish our Uganda Travel Dreams series. This is a collection of articles that aims to inspire and educate you on what the Pearl of Africa has to offer.
In this first volume, we would like to share our Focus on Uganda webinar that gives on overview of the country, it’s most popular national parks, the distances between them, accommodation options in each one and the various activities that your guests can do.
We hope you enjoy the Uganda Travel Dreams Series and should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Stay safe and keep positive.
More than two wheels: The Bwindi Women Bicycle Enterprise
Lack of transportation is one of the biggest challenges facing rural villages in many African nations. Villagers have to walk long distances to work, market, school and hospital in rough and dusty roads. The bicycle has proven to be the most ideal solution to the transport challenges that residents face because it is easy to operate and can easily navigate the dirt roads in villages. The Bwindi Women Bicycle Enterprise in western Uganda is a wonderful initiative which employs six local women who repair, assemble and sell bikes around the Bwindi area. They also rent out bicycles for bike tours in the Bwindi area.
It all started when AKP collected and shipped a container of used and donated bicycles from the US to Bwindi. The container was converted into a bike shop and after extensive training in bicycle mechanics and business, the ladies got to work. The enterprise offers the women a source of income while improving mobility within Bwindi as well as help them carry out community outreach programs from a portion of their profits. Visit the bike shop and interact with this amazing fundis or rent a bike and tour the village.
A&K Philanthropy: Waiting Mothers' Hostel, Bwindi
The pregnancy journey is as ordinary and extraordinary as breathing. As childbirth approaches, joy and anticipation become constant companions as one counts down the days and hours towards delivery. However, for women living in villages far from a medical facility, it is also a time of anxiety because of the distances they have to travel when they go into labour or should there be an emergency that would necessitate an urgent trip to hospital.
The Waiting Mothers' Hostel, situated adjacent to the Bwindi Community Hospital, was constructed to assist soon-to-be-moms with a safe space where they can reside until they can deliver. The 28-bed facility provides a bed, communal kitchen, laundry area and the necessary information regarding child birth and looking after a new born.
The hostel has become so popular in the Bwindi community that its capacity is frequently exceeded. A&K Philanthropy is working to expand the hostel with the construction of a 2,000 sq.ft facility that will include 12 additional beds and sleeping space for midwives as well as provide the associated furnishings needed for the mothers' safe and comfortable stay. The overall goal is to attract more expectant mothers to deliver safely in hospital thereby reduce maternal and infant deaths in Uganda.
Please include a visit to the Waiting Mother's Hostel in your client's itinerary to Bwindi.
Safari Secret: Kidepo National Park
Considered a hidden gem in Uganda by CNN, Kidepo Valley National Park is raw, wild and untouched Africa. Its remote location in Northern Uganda makes it the least visited park in Uganda but for those who choose to make the trip, Kidepo offers a rich array of wildlife that includes lions, elephants, buffalo and zebra as well as spectacular birdlife that features many bird species not found anywhere else in Africa.
The park has a diverse landscape with hills, valleys and lush plains. The park consists of two major valleys – Kidepo and Narus – with rivers with corresponding names which nourish the wildlife. At the extreme north are the Kanangarok Springs which are a permanent water source in the park and home to the elusive Shoebill stork.
The original inhabitants of the park are the lk community, a small hunter-gatherer ethnic group that has closely guarded its unique culture and language so much so, that neighboring communities don’t understand it either. Also found at the outskirts of the park are the Karamoja people, a pastoralist community similar to the Maasai in Kenya. Kidepo offers a perfect serving of an exclusive safari experience with amazing wildlife and fantastic cultural interaction.
Game drives, birdwatching, guided bush walks, Karamojong Village visit, Hike up Mt Morungole and a visit to the lk people, sundowner
How to get there:
By road: A minimum 12-hour drive from Kampala via Gulu and Kitgum
By Flight: A one hour and 30 minute scheduled flight by Aerolink from Entebbe to Pakuba
Where to stay:
Apoka Safari Lodge: The only lodge found within this pristine park and offers an exclusive experience second to none. Overlooking the Narus river, this luxury lodge comprises ten expansive rooms with sitting areas, private balconies and even outdoor baths from where guests can view game at a distance. The swimming pool has been carved out of a big rock and is a great place to relax after a day in the bush.
Email us to include Kidepo National Park to your clients' itinerary.
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