With a pair of binoculars, this self-guided walk opened us to great sceneries and vistas of Queen Elizabeth national park. The walk is located in a fifteen acres plot on the hills overlooking the Park and Kikorongo community. The meandering trail is in a jungle with thickets and open spots that allow one to take the views of Lake George, Kikorongo and the savannas of Uganda’s most popular national park. Most likely, you will see game grazing in the park. During the walk, we were able to spot Elephants, antelopes, warthogs, Cobs, water bucks in and around the extensive Kasenyi plains and fishing boats/ activities on the lakes.

The walk is rich with plants, birds, varied insects and butterflies. On  lucky day, other wildlife you can find here include the monitor lizards and snakes. In the evenings, other wildlife cross from the park to visit this forest. This is witnessed by the wildlife spoors such as elephant trails and dunk from the cats, buffalo and antelopes etc. the trail has resting places fixed with jungle benches that allow you to take the views reluctantly. It is an unforgettable experience and ideal for people who want to do something off the beaten track during their visit to Queen Elizabeth

This walk is private and offered free to all resident guests of the elephant home. Please place your booking to reserve either our self-contained twin rooms, cabins or camping grounds and this experience will be all yours. The elephant home email is info@theelephanthome.com or call them on +256706581477. You can also call the Kampala reservations office on +25641501866

The Elephant Home (also called the Elephant Center Campsite) is a community owned and run tourism project located near queen Elizabeth national park, western Uganda. The project offers a number of tourism services and experiences.

The services offered at this campsite are; self-contained rooms, none self-contained cabins, camping ground, a restaurant, crafts shop.

The community experiences offered are; a village hill trek, a village experience tour, cotton growing tour, equator tour and a self-guided nature walk at the site. Other activities coordinated by this community tourism enterprise include the traditional dance performance, a crafts making workshop, the Katwe traditional salt mining tour, the Katwe Boda-boda safari.

The elephant home can also help the visitors to arrange the activities inside the park such as the chimp tracking at Kyambura, the Kazinga channel boat cruise and the wildlife Safari drive.

Locaton: This community accommodation is well located as the base of exploring the surrounding areas such as the Kalinzu forest tours, the Kichwamba escarpment communities and the creator lakes area. The site is located on the Fort portal Mpondwe road and can be reached by all modes of public or private transport. Fort portal – Mpondwe road is the same road that leads to the Gorillas, lake Bunyonyi or crossing to Rwanda and Congo.

As the June 2017 tourist season arrives, we wish to introduce to you our new accommodation category at The Elephant Home. We have just opened one budget cabin with two beds near Queen Elizabeth National park. This will be sleeping two people a night. The addition of this cabin to our self-contained twin rooms increases our accommodation capacity by two people making the total capacity 14 people sleeping a night. Six in the self-contained twin rooms, two in none self-contained cabin while six sleep in the sheltered camping shades. Besides accommodation, we have other activities and services that make your trip most memorable. These include; the onsite restaurant, community tours and activities and a self-guided walk in the thicket behind the camp, free to all guests.

Amenities and activities

All our indoor accommodation is furnished with beds, bedding and mosquito nets. The entire site is lit by solar power. Guests can be able to charge their phones and laptop on our solar power. Hot showers are available to all guest on prior quest. The site has free Wifi for sleeping guests available in the restaurant on request. The camp is located outside the park and no park entrance fee is required to stay here or do our community activities. From the site, one can access all activities inside the park (paying entrance fee)

Discount offer

After increasing our capacity and uplifting our levels of service, we have opened a discount offer on our accommodation. The discount offer will go on from June 2017 to January 2018. Our discount offers on accommodation are open to all visitors who will quote our code (discount 2017) at booking time. Our discounted prices are; self-contained rooms at 15$ per person per night, the cabins at 10$ per person per night and camping at 5$ per person per night.

How to Book,

Please contact us on; Tel: +256414501866 (office), Mobile: +256706581477/ +256772657700, Email: info@theelephanthome.com , Website: www.theelephanthome.com. For those interested, you can visit our office in Kampala to get more information or make deposits. Our office is located on galaxy house I Uganda community tourism association secretariat, plot 1732 Old Kira road – Bukoto, next to Ntinda infant school and safe way supermarket.

Visiting Lake Bunyonyi, on your Uganda or Rwanda trip

Most people believe, touring Uganda is incomplete without visiting Lake Bunyonyi. This is why everyone travelling to Uganda would wish to get a chance of stopping by for a night or two before they head to Queen Elizabeth national park, Kampala or Rwanda on their gorilla trip. If you or your friend is one of the people who want to include lake Bunyonyi on their trip, you have to read this. Lake Bunyonyi is located in the southwestern part of Uganda. It is on the southern tourist route, the most popular tourist routes of Uganda that leads to the mountain gorillas. A visit to lake Bunyonyi destination can start from different places which include Bwindi, Mgahinga, queen Elizabeth Rwenzori mountains, lake Mburo or from across the boarders in Rwanda. For those who want to start their journey from Kampala, Uganda’s capital, it is possible to travel from Kampala to Lake Bunyonyi in one day, a distance of 416km that can be driven in about 6 hours.

These are the three key routes that will easily lead you to Lake Bunyonyi on your Uganda / Rwanda trip

  1. The gorilla trip route or southwestern route (Kampala – lake Mburo – Bwindi or Mgahinga) a distance of around 416km
  2. Uganda cross boundary route to Rwanda (Rwanda-Uganda through Kisoro or Kabale) a distance of around 148km from Kigali
  3. Midwestern route (Murchison falls, Kibale forest, Rwenzori mountains, Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi forest) a distance of around 192km from Queen Elizabeth national park as the nest destination before or after lake Bunyonyi on this route.

On all the three routes, it is possible to travel both by public or private transport. From Kampala to Kabale, the buses travel for about 6 hours via Mbarara Masaka road. From Rwanda, buses move from Kigali heading to Kampala and you would stop en-route in Kabale town. From Murchison falls or Kibale forest national park, the buses move from Masindi, Kagadi, fort portal, Kasese via Bushenyi/ Mbarara to Kabale town. From Kabale town, it is only about 9km to Lake Bunyonyi. This distance can be covered by Bodaboda (motorcycle taxi), special hire or even by walking, for those who want to get the real adventure of the wonderful hills walk, views and meeting the people of this area.

After spending time at lake Bunyonyi, many travelers like to move north along the Albertan rift, covering the main national park corridor to Murchison falls national park and back to Kampala. Depending on your travel arrangement, from Lake Bunyonyi, you will be in time to head south, west or north taking the Midwestern route.  Heading north, you will be travelling to Queen Elizabeth national park for your unique wildlife adventure. Queen Elizabeth National park is located about 192km from Lake Bunyonyi. You will be going through Mbarara Busheny, Rubirizi then to your chosen accommodation near this national park. St this moment we invite you to stay with us at The Elephant center campsite. A minimum of two days are recommended for Queen Elizabeth national park to explore a range of wildlife and cultural activities in and around this area. Inside the park, options include, the wildlife safari, a boat cruise on the Kazinga channel seeing wildlife from a close range, a balloon safari in the Kasenyi plains or chimp tracking in Kyambura gorge. Optional cultural activities include; Katwe traditional salt mining tour, a traditional dance, a basket weaving workshop or a village experience at Kikorongo.

After Queen Elizabeth NP, you will be heading to Rwenzori foothills or the high mountains. The Rwenzori gateway is located about 50km from Queen Elizabeth. Options at Rwenzori include trekking the hills or trekking to the high mountains from 1 to 8 days that take you up to the lower mountains on the three days two nights mahoma trail loop or eoght days Margherita peak trek at 5109m above seas level. The community activities here include forest hike, hill climb hike, village walk or just staying at the community camp reluctantly taking the beautiful mountain views. Two days are suitable for this location but you may need more if you will trek the high mountains.

From Rwenzori Mountains, you head to Kibale forest, the home of chimps and other primates. This is the best place to see chimps in Uganda and east Africa. Please note that you need to buy a ticket for chimp trekking from Kampala before you travel. Other optional activities here include the Bigodi bird sanctuary walk. Around this park, you have options of visiting the creator lakes or taking the Tooro kingdom cultural tours. This destination is located 117km from Rwenzori gate way, your previous destination. Kibale forest is located close to Semliki National park where you have a chance to explore one of the oldest forest extending from the Congo basin that survived the ice age. The forest in Semiliki national park is an extension of the Ituri forest from Congo. Here you can also tour the Sembaya hot springs, other wildlife and culture of the indigenous forest tribes.

After Kibale forest or Semuliki national park, you can choose to end your journey by heading to Kampala via fort portal – Mubende road 335km. Alternatively, you will be heading north to Murchison falls national park (around 393km), with an option of spending some time at Kabwoya wildlife reserve near Lake Albert. In Murchison falls, you will be taking more wildlife safaris and witnessing the mighty Murchison falls then taking a boat cruise on the river Nile. River Nile is the second longest river of the world that starts from Lake Victoria in Uganda on its long journey to the Mediterranean, a distance of around 6650km that takes about three Months for the water to reach the Mediterranean Sea.

From Murchison falls, you will be heading to Kampala or Entebbe in a 3 to 4 hours’ drive, to end the trip with an option of stopping in Ziwa Rhino ranch for an overnight or day tour while tracking the rhinos and other wildlife. After reaching Entebbe, some people find it worth to spend some time relaxing near the waters, either in Jinja source of the Nile doing some water adventures such as rafting, bungee jumping or going to the beaches on Lake Victoria Ssese islands.  Jinja town is located 81 km from Kampala on the eastern Uganda route. While here, it is the best time to start your journey to Mount Elgon or crossing to Kenya if you will go by road.

Lake Bunyonyi, the wonder of nature and culture in Uganda

“Bunyonyi” is a term meaning small birds in the local language of southwestern Uganda. No wonder, lake Bunyonyi is a wonderful birding point. This lake has sparked amazement to many travelers during their trip to this area, making it a highlight of most travelers who reach this location.  Lake Bunyonyi holds a total of 29 islands some of which are settled making it a hub for human settlement as well.

Lake Bunyonyi can be reached within one day from different directions including, from Kampala, from mid-western uganda via queen elizabeth national park or from Rwanda. It is located on the southern tourist route, 486 km from Kampala, 262 km from Queen Elizabeth national park or 148 km from Kigali. This makes the lake a suitable base for exploring the southwestern attractions. It is possible to stay at Lake Bunyonyi and track the gorillas in Bwindi forest the next morning then return to the lake for your overnight stay after tracking.

Lake Bunyonyi probably holds the most beautiful scenery of the region. It is a beautiful setting surrounded by many cultural wonders.  Personally, I found the story about the smallest island very touching. To give you a hint, the smallest of the 29 islands is called “Kampene” in the local language. It used to be the punishment island of the historical moments where people were taken to face slow death. However, some of the society members, especially the men, would collect the women from this island without the knowledge of the local chiefs.  The lake neighborhood is the home to the Bakiga people, a people known in the country for their high fertility and determination of life. It is believed that no life is hard enough to defeat a mukinga person. you have got to meet these people on your trip.

Besides the culture, the lake is naturally endowed. Though not proven scientifically, the local stories say that this is the deepest lake in the region. As the local guide will tell you during your canoe tour over the lake. Lake Bunyonyi is one of the few places that are home to Cray fish in Uganda. In most hotels around the lake, you will be treated to a Cray fish meal of your choice.

With accommodations of all classes around this part of the country, you have a big selection to choose from where you stay during the visit. You can camp, stay in budget or take a high-end luxury accommodation. In whichever option, you can be sure you won’t miss on the breath taking scenery, the wonderful cultural encounters, the freshly harvested food or the welcoming people.

In our next post, we shall share the different travel routes of Uganda that are well suited for exploring Lake Bunyonyi.

How to integrate Uganda’s rich cultural experience in your wildlife trip

Uganda is a country endowed with a rich culture.  With over fifty unique tribes, the country has a complete range of languages, foods, building designs, dressing codes, social life, household and family patterns. On your next trip to Uganda, you have a chance to visit one of the most diverse cultures in Africa. Though some culture imprints may be found in the fancy hotels around town centers, this is a very small representation of Uganda’s culture. The pool of amazing cultural experience is deep in the villages and community centers around the country. the guide will show you their natural heritage and explain how they live together on the daily basis. These cultural tours increase your awareness on how the local people and their culture relate to wildlife, making your trip a complete experience. This is how you can ensure you meet and participate in the real culture of Uganda while on your wildlife adventure trip to the pearl of Africa;

Use the community centers as your base for exploration: For exploring the surroundings, you will be taken to participate in the activities just as they are done by the locals themselves. Give the people a chance to show you their home communities. Your stay with the community makes it easy to equal explore both the wildlife and culture on the same trip. You will be touring these rural areas in different undiscovered visits of the indigenous people as you witness how they have lived their lives for the past hundreds of years. These community centers are accessible from all national parks.

Stay in the home-stays or at least take a day visit to a local home: In the home-stays, you will participate in preparing local dishes and doing the household chores with the rest of the family members. After a day’s work, you have a choice of spending your night under the same roof with the family. Averagely, for every distance of 100 km or less, you will find a totally different tribe and culture. In this case, you will be having different dressing code, food, cultural housing or language in every home you choose to visit. In most cases, every national park is surrounded by a different tribe. This makes it easy to see a new culture at every destination of your trip.

Visit the open market days in the villages: communities have specific days for markets. All people bring their produce which range from arts, foods, performances and or modern products. The buyers come to meet the venders to trade or consume the different goods and services. These open markets occur on known days in specific places of the country once or twice a week. During the market visit, you will find an assortment of foods, languages, clothes, animals and artifacts. This typical Ugandan market is very colorful, making a good showcase of the diverse culture of the people in every village. During the visit, you will realize you didn’t know the opposite of a modern market.

Go to the local churches: You will enjoy the local rhythms. A variety of songs and moves in the different language. Church days are the best times people will dress very decorative and you won’t tell they are the same people you saw coming from the farms on working days. It is a happy day. After church, the men, women and children all collect at the local centers to network. On specific days, the members attend the local music concerts at the churches or other collective points.

Take some time off to the local children schools: This is better in the rural schools. Children will be willing to share their culture generously. In town schools, it may not be easy to see a big difference since all children will be in shoes, dropped and picked from schools and speaking English as one language, jusy like the western schools. Unlike the town schools, the village school have a different setting with most children demonstrating their cultural background. You will participate in making arts, playing games and learning other cultural skills.

Participate in different cultural activities en-route to the national parks: Normally, there are many stopovers on the routes to the wildlife parks. Stopping at such places that won’t even require you to change your travel program. Some of the activities include traditional dances, traditional meal, crafts making workshops, bee keeping tours, village walks etc.

Besides, while in the villages, the scenery, architecture, fashion and the welcoming people is common site as you drive from one point to another. For more information about how you can integrate cultural experiences in your wildlife safari, please contact us. We will share the draft itinerary that you could take on your next trip to Uganda, in the next post. Please visit again!!

If you’re planning to add Queen Elizabeth national park on your Uganda trip, you should better allocate two nights for this park alone if you want to enjoy it. This will give you a full day of exploring as you look for wildlife on the game drives and boat cruise. Queen Elizabeth is located in western Uganda 417 km from Kampala and it takes 6 – 7 hours drive. From Kampala, the Park can be accessed through two road directions, either through Mbarara-Masaka road, through Fort portal-Mubende road or by air, flying from Kajansi-near Kampala to Kasese airstrip . Though Queen Elizabeth national park is one of the most preferred national parks of Uganda, it is rarely visited as a sole attraction but taken on a relatively longer trip covering other attractions such as other wildlife parks, the primates, the Rwenzori mountains, the communities or the gorillas. On most trips, Queen Elizabeth is best explored in two nights three days alone or on a longer trip. If you want to explore the park, you will have to give it the same, two or more nights of your Uganda trip. Uganda being a small country and the park being connected on good roads from many places, you can arrive to this park from different locations of the country basing on your travel plan. For example most people arrive from Rwenzori mountains national park, Kibale forest national park, Murchison falls national park, Bwindi impenetrable national park, Mgahinga, semuliki, Lake Mburo, Kampala or even from Entebbe on the same arrival day. In this article, I have ignored your time at other destinations in Uganda focusing on your time at Queen Elizabeth national park and spending your holiday at the Elephant home. This is how you can plan the two nights – three days at this park.

On day one, you will arrive to the Elephant home. Depending on the starting point of today’s journey and the kind of activities you will be engaged in anywhere on your way, you will arrive at the campsite any time between 10:00am and 7:00pm. The check in time for the Elephant home is 10:00am but if they didn’t have any guests who spent a night before, you can check in any time earlier. Arrive to lunch or dinner. If you arrive early enough, you may choose to engage in some community or camp activities. These include a village walk, basket weaving workshop, traditional dance or a self-guided walk at the site looking for birds, butterflies, insects and some wildlife spoors in the forest at the site. For groups, we can set a campfire to sum up the evenings.

On day two, after an early cup of tea at 6:30am, you will set off to the park on your first game drive in the on the northern parts of the park along the Kasenyi track. This is the best time for opportunities to view the cats in action. Later, return for breakfast; in the afternoon, take a boat cruise on the Kazinga channel to see herds of Buffalo, Hippo and other animals at the edge of the channel as they cool off. It is a paradise of birds. Depending on the season European migrant birds like the terns and gulls congregate here in large flocks. You will return to dinner and overnight later in the late afternoon as you sport some game on your way back to the elephant home.

On day three, after an early breakfast, it is the best time to head to the next destination. Depending on your plan and direction, the next destination could be Bwindi, Lake Bunyonyi, Kibale forest national park Kampala or any other part of the country. From the experience, most people like to go either to Bunyonyi (257km) if they are going south or go to trek in the Rwenzori foothills (48km) at the Ruboni community camp on Nyakalengijo gate of Rwenzori mountains national park. Here you have options of one day community treks in the natural forest, trekking on the local hills (25000m) or trekking in the park from one to eight days.

You have several travel options that will lead you to or from the Elephant home as your base for exploring this park, is located on the main tourist route from north western to south western part of Uganda. You can use public transport or private transport. For private transport arrangement, the Elephant home can recommend a tour operator or you can contact any tour operator of your choice and they will easily give you a quote. On request the campsite can arrange private transport.

Please contact the Elephant home on info@theelephanthome.com for a quote covering anything ranging from transport, game drives, boat cruise, accommodation, meals, community activities or transportation.

More value awaits you during your next visit to Queen Elizabeth national park if you stay at the Elephant center campsite!! We recommend people who want to travel budget though even none budget travelers who want to explore the community can find it appropriate. Your Stay at this campsite gives you the following advantages;

  1. You get clean, spacious self-contained rooms or camping for a small price
  2. You have one of the best meals in the area.
  3. Solar lighting at the sight – clean energy
  4. Private hot showers for each room
  5. A free birding and plants tour in the campsite forest
  6. Participating in a village walk where you can choose to take basket weaving workshop or traditional dance
  7. Easy to access attractions of the region while using the camp as your base.
  8. Easy connection to southwestern (Kabale and Bwindi) or northwestern (Kibale and Murchison falls) on the main tourist route
  9. It is located close to nature in undisturbed natural environment (bushes) out of town.
  10. Located outside the park and you don’t need to pay park entrance fees for those who may want to enjoy the park from outside, yet it is close to the park gate for those who want to go to the park.
  11. We can arrange wildlife safaris and other park activities such as chimp tracking in Kyambura, boat cruise on Kazinga channel, tree climbing lions…
  12. We can arrange or give you information on how to get all transport from Entebbe, Kampala or other parks

We allow you leisurely focus on your holiday within the price of your choice. Besides, staying here or taking any of their activities supports the indigenous communities that live to conserve the wildlife all their life. if they don’t get alternative livelihoods from tourism, they are forced to encroach on the park wildlife for survival.

Please contact us to book your place for the next trip to Queen Elizabeth national park. Our contacts are;

Tel: +256 706581477

Email: info@theelephanthome.com

Or you can book through UCOTA office in Kampala on;

Tel: +256 772657700

Email: ucota@ucota.or.ug

Rwenzori Mountains stand at a height of 5109m above sea level. Making Rwenzori the third highest mountain on the African continent. However, being none volcanic like the other two highest mountains Kilimanjaro and Kenya, this height makes it the highest block mountain on the African continent. The highest point of mount Rwenzori, margarita peak, stands at the boarder of Uganda and democratic republic of Congo being dissected by the two countries. Margarita peak can be reached on the fourth day of trekking from the base camp. The Rwenzori peaks trek can either be done through the central circuit route of Nyakalengijo gate or through the Kilembe southern route. Rwenzori mountain gateway is located in Kasese, 437 km west of Uganda’s capital Kampala and it normally takes you up to six hours from Kampala driving on a good tarmac road. Various marrum roads will lead to the trail head of the mountain. For those not interested in driving, one can fly to Kasese airstrip from Kajansi – near Entebbe   and it will take up to one hour to get to Kasese airstrip.

Besides reaching the peaks, Rwenzori has other alternative trails that can be trekked without reaching the high peaks. These include the nature walks that take you one day in and you return to the community, the Mahoma trail loop that takes two nights and three days south of the central circuit, the Buraru chimp trail and other short walks in the kilembe gate southern gate and the central circuit that takes seven days.

Rwenzori Mountains, also called the rainmaker was put on the world map on 24th May 1888 by explorer henry Stanley. The 996km2 Rwenzori has been described as the most challenging yet most interesting mountains in Africa. The mountain is a range of 120km-long and 65km-wide. This range holds multiple peaks that can be climbed including margarita peak. The terrain of the mountains is dominated by great scenery, bogs with beautiful yet challenging vegetation, unique vegetation and the Glacier Rivers.  After being gazzeted into a national park in 1991, Rwenzori Mountain is a world heritage site since 1994 and a ramsar site since 2008. Rwenzori Mountain is also called the mountain of the moon, as named by Ptolemy, the alexandrine geographer in 150 AD.

Trekking experience required:

Though trekking of the Rwenzori can be very demanding, it is on record that the experienced guides and porters sourced from the indigenous communities are a great resource to the trekkers of these mountains. This unique manpower has further been trained by the park, national outdoor leadership school, the service providers such as the Rwenzori mountaineering services and the Rwenzori trekking services. Other climbing experts have also been sourced to train them at different times to address special needs of trekking this mountains. As a result of the great effort, training and skills acquired, people of all ages from 8 to 78 years have been recorded climbing Rwenzori up to margarita peak without a problem. Sometimes, those who may not feel confident to climb to the highest of Rwenzori start to do acclimatization trips on the shorter hills in the community or in other mountains of Uganda. Some people have done acclimatization one Mgahinga volcano climbing in south western Uganda, Mount Elgon in eastern Uganda or the Ruboni community hill climb trail at the base camp. This then gives these trekkers the confidence to take the bigger mountain challenge and the results have always come out very good for them.

The trekking seasons:

Rwenzori Mountains can be trekked through the year, given the good infrastructure that has made the rivers passable even during the rainy season. The best trekking season for Rwenzori is about 6-7 months per year. The seven months are distributed in two seasons; December – March and June – august. During this time, it is nice dry and sunny on the mountains, unlike the remaining months that are rainy. However, with variations in the weather and change of seasons, sometimes it may be hard to speculate when the rain or the sun will come. Being that this timing is also influenced by the holiday season from the source of clients, this has remained the traditional Rwenzori trekking season.

Attractions in the Rwenzori:

Rwenzori Mountains is mainly a scenery and vegetation park. However, some unique wildlife can be rarely spotted and they vary basing on the altitude attained. These include; Chimps, monkeys, rock hyrax  the Rwenzori Turaco – endemic, the antelopes, other birds, insects and the elusive three horned chameleon that can be found at the lower altitudes of the forest zone. There is also mountain elephants though hard to see since they stay away from vicinity due to the long experience of poaching them. One can also spot the foot marks and dung of these Elephans, especially in the bamboo zone on the Mahoma trail. Other attractions include the mountain glacier lakes and the greatest of all attractions is Snow at the equator. Of course Rwenzori is not only about wildlife. It is also famous for the unique culture of the Bakonzo people. These are a mountain people mainly adapted to living on the mountains. They live on the foothills where they do all their livelihoods from farming to building homes. During the village tours or just socializing, one can meet a number of cultural encounters in this Bakonzo society.

The accommodation facilities and special equipment:

Rwenzori Mountains have improved accommodation huts for both the tourists and porters/ guides. All of the camps are housed by wooden huts, apart from the wilderness camps that have open campgrounds and latrines. The key equipment required for trekking Rwenzori are in two categories; for those climbing the high peaks and those doing the trekking without the peaks. Basing on this, your travel agent will need to make for you the rightful packing list for your trip. For peak climbing, the common equipment will include ice axe, crampons, snow glasses, gaiters, climbing rope, carabinas, gloves, water proofs and worm layers, harnesses,  good hiking boots, warm clothing warm sleeping bag, rain gear and a few others as you may know or as they will be on your packing list. Other common equipment will include but not limited to sleeping bag, sleeping mat, walking shoes or rubber boots, rain gears etc. Most of these equipment can be found at the base camp for hire at a set price. However, it is much better to come with your own if you can. Especially the personal items like walking shoes, climbing boots, sleeping bags are better brought if you have some space. Alternatively, it is better to clear with your agent before the journey, to confirm if specific equipment can be available for hire. Other equipment like the cooking ware will be provided within the trekking price if you have paid for a local chef to come along on the trek. It is important to confirm on what is catered for within the price and what is left out so as to avoid inconveniences.

Trail status:

The trail in the Rwenzori is one of the most challenging management issues due to the steep terrain and soft soils/ vegetation. In areas where there is no bog, there is step or rocky grounds. In the wetlands also, there are tufts of special vegetation that makes the trekking quite challenging when you reach these bogy areas. The park management and service providers have worked tirelessly to address this challenge as a way of giving a good holiday to the trekkers. Given the fragile environment, much humidity and also to keep the mountain ecosystem, this status can’t be addressed permanently thus making Rwenzori a unique trek. The trail is very safe for every trekker after being reinforced by board walks on the wetlands / bogs, ladders by the steep places, the parties go with ropes in case they need them on at the steep places, most rivers have been bridged with modern bridges to a good quality standard. The park ensures the camps and trails carry a limited number of people per day, especially during the busy seasons. This is so that the groups don’t go beyond the daily carrying capacity of the trail and other infrastructure.

Porters and guides:

On the trekking package, each tourist gets two porters and one guide. Basing on the guide availability and the seasonal timing, sometimes two tourists from the same group may get one guide. The guide will basically carry nothing apart from his personal ware and equipment. Each porter will carry 25kg. This will be including 12.5 kg of tourist luggage and 12.5kg of other luggage including personal belongings. This means, each tourist will be allowed 25kg of luggage. Any luggage more than that may require extra porters or you will choose to leave the extra luggage in the safe stores of the service providers at the basecamp. The difference between tourist’s luggage and other luggage is simple. Tourist luggage is the personal tourist items that they came with and or need on the mountains. The other luggage is the items of general use needed by the party or the porters. This may include; gas energy, food supplies, charcoal, cooking equipment, climbing equipment, safety equipment etc. I know strength and fitness is important for climbing the Rwenzori. The truth is, climbing any mountain requires confidence and determination. These two matched with a good diet and helpful people, you can also make it!!! Please ask any other specific questions and our team shall dispense the rightful answer. For more detailed and technical information about Rwenzori Mountains, you can visit the Uganda wildlife Authority website and see a page about Rwenzori by clicking here.

Tours – activities around Kampala and Entebbe – Uganda trip

During your travel, it is that short moment that will have a very big impact on the success of your trip? Thus, it is important to take care of those transition intervals from one experience to another by allocating something interesting in between those short moments of your trip. In the past, many people may have got experienced such situations when they got stuck in those boring moments.

Uganda is a very beautiful country and you can’t afford to sit without doing anything, even for one minute. Most people realize this after arrival and ask what to do around Kampala and Entebbe when they realise they’re set to take a late flight or if they just had an early arrival at Entebbe airport. If you’re planning a trip to Uganda don’t be surprised by this moment. Plan a good relaxed but experiential way to start or end your Uganda trip in style, this is for you.

The time you spend around Kampala or Entebbe is a perfect moment to be immersed within the nature and culture ambience of Uganda. I suggest that you can try Lutembe wetland and Ramser site for bird watching and wetland walk on the shores of Lake Victoria. This way, you can spend memorable moments between Entebbe and Kampala to avoid getting stuck in the boring moments as you wait for the night flight or before you travel from Kampala to your upcountry destinations.

Lutembe wetland is one of the major bird migration stop-overs and one of the most interesting sites for bird watching around the Lake Victoria. For the community around the lake, the wetland also plays a significant role to their livelihoods through livelihood activities such as cultivation (farming), fishing, sustainable harvesting of clay and other crafts materials, transport and eco-tourism. During the visit, the local experienced guides will take you around as they point to the long list of birds found here in their natural habitat.

Approximately 340 bird species both migratory and resident to Lutembe Wetland can be recorded.  You could see birds like Black Heron, Pied Kingfisher, African snipe, Malachite Kingfisher, African skimmer, African Jacana, White-winged Black Terns, Long-tailed Cormorant, and Black Egret while on a bird watching boat cruise tour. Besides, you also could see the Uganda emblem, (Grey Crowned Crane) with their fledglings. In season, you will enjoy hearing plenty of bird songs and seeing thousands of White-winged Black Terns flying in attracting pattern (September – March).

Lutembe wetland is very rich in culture as well. During your visit, you can see a cave where locals sat and sang calling upon a crocodile “LUTEMBE”, they worshiped and on whose back they sat for rides on the lake to visit other gods. You can also listen to the full story of this mystical crocodile and how the locals perceived it in their daily lives.

Lutembe beach holds a rich history of Iddi Amin, one of the most lively and remembered president of Uganda who ruled during years of the 1970s and known for the notorious activities of evicting the Asians from Uganda. While here you have a chance to see or even have a memorable experience of sitting on the seat Idi Amin used whenever he visited Lutembe beach.

You will cross to the island by canoe where the community guide can take you to go and see butterflies, lizards and the great scenarios over the lake. For those who want to relax as they learn a skill from this lakeside community, the guide and farmer will take you around a well maintained rich garden packed with crops and vegetables as you learn about local herbal medicines, organic or back yard gardening and how to manage your garden.

For those who want to spend there last night here, the community has a luxurious guest house near the lake that will accommodate you with scenic views and comfort to make your stay a special one. Self-contained rooms, each taking 2 people, are available.

Lutembe wetland is located between Entebbe and Kampala. Turn off either at Kajjansi or at Namulanda, and drive towards Lutembe Beach. For directions or booking, you can contact pearls of Uganda (www.pearlsofuganda.org) on info@pearlsofuganda.org or contact Black Heron Eco-Tourism Association (BHETA), the local community running the ecotourism project on Tel: +256(0)774279 001/ 0702540 401. BHETA is a member of Uganda community tourism Association (UCOTA) and works with nature Uganda to promote conservation and tourism.