Friday, May 12, 2017
The increase of gorilla permits fees in Rwanda from $750 to $1,500 on the 6th May 2017 by the Rwanda Development Board has left a number of tourists and Tour Operators stranded. We believe that gorilla trekking should not be the privilege of already privileged rich people, but should be an activity accessible to many in the world, as the mountain gorillas are free on Earth for everyone and should not be utilized commercially.
Uganda Jungle Lodges (www.ugandajunglelodges.com ) is here to rescue the stranded tourists and Tour Operators. We invite tour operators and tourists to trek gorillas in Uganda at only $600 per permit, which is a reasonable conservation fee.
Bwindi Jungle Lodge is a convenient location located about 7km from Kisoro town on Rubuguli road. This will favor tourists tracking from Bwindi National Park in Rushaga sector and from Mgahinga National Park which is the Uganda’s sector of Virunga Conservation Area. This will help especially those packages which are meant to track from Volcanoes National Park.
On top of providing gorilla permits and good accommodation, we can provide the service of transportation from the Cyanica border or from Kigali as well.
Payments can be done from our office in Kigali c/o Birding Rwanda, KG9 Street next to RDB, junction to KG13 Street.
Monday, November 2, 2015
If you are still pondering how to maximize your stay while in Murchison falls national park, well this time round think about including some nights in your safari relaxing at this stunning beauty laying out at the banks of Victoria Nile. We took part in the site inspection trip organized by the management of Bakers Lodge to witness and discover a new gen overlooking the great River Nile.
Each Cottage has been set apart from the other but still a sharp sense of oneness dwells and envelopes the whole scenery whether it is in the rainy season or in the dry months. Water cruise safaris, up the Nile to the bottom of the magnificent water falls and down the Nile delta to try and spot the bizarre and dramatic shoe bill combined with a breathtaking sun downer cruise will give you more than value for your
The memory is unforgettable and so will your entire safari in Uganda spotting much more wildlife which is usually basking or playing by the water banks. There is so much than you can expected to find. Don't be lost in the beauty of it all and forget to book a bush breakfast which will be organized by the lodge and later the safari driver will receive you on the other end of the river to continue with you on a scenic viewing game drive. Don't forget to include Bakers Lodge in your Itinerary for a splendid wildlife safari in Uganda.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda is a “must see” national park which we always include in our program itineraries. Located within the Albertine Rift Valley between Lake Edward and Lake George, just south of the Rwenzori Mountains, it is one of the most amazing areas to explore for its variety of landscapes (savannah, forests, crater lakes, lakes, hills and valleys).
|Crater lakes in the North of Queen Elizabeth|
Therefore returning to Queen Elizabeth National Park is always interesting. However, from our last visits in this year 2015, we must acknowledge that some changes are taking place in the Northern sector of the park and, in general, are affecting the beauty and the conservation of the area. The Northern sector of the park, between Kasese, Katunguru and Kyambura, is traversed by a public tarmac road. With time, we noticed that more and more buildings, trading centers and infrastructures are developing in this area of the park, clearly affecting and encroaching on the nature and the wildlife. We used to stop over during the safari for a rest at Lake Bunyanpaka, a salt lake near Kasenyi; now all the lake is surrounded by shops, new lodges and many people are moving around, in what is or was the natural habitat of the lions. Along the main road they have been placed huge, monstrous electricity poles, not those a bit nice, but really those huge metallic poles which damage all the beauty of the landscape. Along Kazinga channel you will find fishermen and boats all over, wondering if this is still a protected area.
There is nothing of the feeling of “remoteness” and “wilderness” in this area. Moreover, viewing wildlife is a becoming a frustrating experience: basically very few animals can be seen, like few Ugandan kobs or buffaloes or elephants. Sometimes you might find the elephants trying to cross from one side to the other of the main tarmac road while trucks and big buses are along their way. On top of this, it is becoming evident the widespread of infesting grass, like the lanterna camara, which is taking over much space, causing a challenge to the survival of animals which cannot live in that habitat. This lanterna camara is so spread that it is the common grass you will find in the gardens of majority of lodges around the Northern sector of Queen Elizabeth.
|Ntungwe River Plains in Ishasha|
In conclusion, this area of the park is losing fast its appeal and there are many challenges in the conservation which should be addressed if this park has to remain a tourist destination for which tourists pay a certain fee in exchange of services. We hope that the Uganda Wildlife Authority will be able to coordinate efforts with the Local Government and the Uganda Road Authority to reduce the impact of what is happening.
Fortunately, there is another side of the story. As you proceed South along the so called Ishasha Road, passing through Maramagambo Forest, you will reach a very different region, the Southern Sector, which is still intact in its beauty. Here you will find amazing sceneries of savannah plains near the course of the rivers Ntungwe and Ishasha. Here you can have a real sense of the “african experience”. You can find in this area many animals and birds. The presence of the so called “tree climbing lions” is not a legend, but a reality, as long as you are a bit lucky and patient in looking around the different figs trees along the trails of the sector. There are two main trails in this area, the Southern and Northern or Ntungwe trails. Any of them can be a real surprise and bring you closer to elephants, buffaloes, antelope topis.
|Tree climbing lions spotted in June 2015|
Even the area just outside the protected reserve is actually becoming a natural continuation of the savannah. In this side, farmers and villages are moving a bit farer from the park and some of the lodges, initially surrounded by farms, are more and more surrounded by natural habitat. This is the case of our Ishasha Jungle Lodge, which is today found in a tract of natural riparian forest and surrounded by natural savannah, becoming more and more area and refuge to wildlife.
In conclusion, the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park in 2015 is still a “must go” tourist attraction of Uganda.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
It gets really upsetting when one is looking for an interesting, well planned and good value for money still yet at an affordable trip in Uganda these months, considering the appreciation of the dollar rate.
Joining our grouptour with Destination Jungle safaris is a perfect thumbs up to beat the price and yet enjoy so much. Not only do you meet and make new friends while on this trip, you have the perfect opportunity to be at peace with nature since and explore the beauty Uganda's national parks bear
Our friends who took on this amazing adventure last month were very excited to share their experience. According to them, what was most exciting was the friendliness of their guides / drivers, Charles and Kasule both in Green shirts in the top most photo.
From the hike to the top of the world's most powerful water fall in Murchison falls park west of Uagnda, to the much breathtaking water cruise along the Nile and later the Kazinga channel beholding a sight of some of the inhabitants' of this side of the park in both Murchison and Queen Elizabeth park.
The Elephants, the Buffalos and the Nile crocodile do not disappoint in their magnificent beautiful displays sipping by the river bank while the playful Pied King fisher dramatically dives in and out of the waters trying to put its hunger pangs to rest. The trip proceeds down south of Uganda into the dramatic display of the folds of the Rwenzori mountain ranges and further down south into the home of the mountain gorillas.
It is fascinating how gorillas relate so closely to man and as you shall remain one hour long with these gentle primates, it shall be a striking imagination to think how close the closeness is. So with two nights spend in the forest sanctuary, get ready along with your trekking boots and back pack to enter the forest and discover the amazing lifestyle of the gorillas.
After the gorilla trek, your journey now takes a twist and continues up and back to the central region through the fantastic views of Lake Bunyonyi, famed for her striking familiarity with Switzerland because of her many dramatic islands with impeaching stories for each of the islands. You need to see it to believe it.
Finally, you are back to Kampala and back to Entebbe international airport from where we bid you farewell. All in but 9 days group safari Uganda which is not just price friendly but also fun and exciting.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Sunday 7th September 2014 is a very important day for Destination Jungle. After months of preparation, the day of the RUN for Nature has come. We have used all our resources to sensitize the general public about this event: we have organized promotional materials, registration tables; we have disseminated information and invitation letters. Now the day is coming soon and all our staff is finalizing the preparation.
|Press Conference Run for Nature 19th August 2014|
The idea of organizing the Run for Nature came with the intention to sensitive and to give public visibility to the plague of Bugoma Forest, the destruction of the environment which is taking place there and the suffering of the endangered chimpanzees and other animals living in the forest. The run is a run for fun, open to all public and people can register for 5 or 10 km only. The final objective of the run is to fund raise for an assisted reforestation project of degraded areas of Bugoma Forest. In recent history, according to sources from the National Forestry Authority, no any reforestation – enrichment planting was carried out in Bugoma forest, despite the fact that many acres of forested land was lost due to encroachment and deforestation.
|Illegal logging devastates Bugoma Forest|
Finally we had our press conference for the launch on 19th August 2014 at the Uganda Society Library. In the occasion, the National Forestry Authority was represented by the Public Relation Manager Mr. Gilbert Kadillo, who explained very well about what the government is doing to improve the central forest reserved managed by the authority. Particularly he also said that Bugoma Forest will be one of the forests receiving the official demarcation exercise to open the boundaries. He also appreciated the idea of the enrichment planting, which is an assisted reforestation, which is needed in a degraded areas, in order to concentrate the recovery of trees species important to the habitat, for example the food to the chimpanzees.
So here we are to explain to everyone the importance to join our little efforts to make a huge impact. The message is clear: in Bugoma forest and other forests of Uganda is no longer time for illegal deforestation, but for protecting the resources and possibly to create new eco-tourist sites where visitors can enjoy the beauty of the tropical forests. Please you can also join our Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bugomaforest/
Saturday, May 10, 2014
There are moments in which you feel it is important regaining a bit of freedom from the congestion of the daily routine, something that can fresh up your mind. Of course it is not easy working in office then spending time in the traffic jam of Kampala and breathing all air pollution every single day. However there are those things which everyone knows can give you freedom: in my case, those things are going cycling, trekking in the mountain and, to a different extend, lying down in front of a beautiful sea. Well, I got my new bicycle ready for new adventures; meantime, there was a trekking I postponed over the years, waiting for the right time to come, the trekking of Muhavura Volcano.
On 15th November I travelled all the way from Kampala to Kisoro, at the foothills of Virunga Volcanoes. The following day, early morning, the check in time for the Muhavura trekking was at 8 am from the gate of Muhavura of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. I climbed the rocky mountain roads which take up to the national park boundary, which is visible because it is built with a wall made of volcanic stones all along. The weather was not easily predictable for the day, with some fog in the air but also some promise of sun. With a guide from the Uganda Wildlife Authority and a porter which was carrying my small bag, I started walking through the mountain forest. I felt like when I was in the Italian Alpes, doing the day excursion with the group of the scouts, with the difference that I was not carrying the rucksack by myself this time. I immediately appreciated the good, fresh air as the route was not proceeding steep but zig zagging up. The starting altitude of the trekking is at about 2500 meters. After one hour we reached the limit of the ericaceus zone, at 3.116 meters where a small shelter allows you a stop over and to take some photographs. From this point on the mountain forest leaves the ground to an alpine vegetation of ericacia plants, senecios and lobelias, something like a heather zone, where the vegetation is basically shorter and, with good weather, you can see the panorama far distant to Lake Mutanda and Lake Bunyonyi behond Kisoro and even up to Bwindi. The second stop over was at 3.855 meters, where another small shelter indicated that we are in the giant lobelia and senecios area. The trekking was becoming more steep and we were now climbing the upper part of the volcano. I found a bit distressing the presence of a lot of wooden ladders which were supposed to help the walk, but in fact for what concerns me it was actually causing more delay and fear of sliding as these ladders are not much sophisticated and not straight.
We arrived at the peak, at 4127 meters, when an icy rain started to beat our heads and we could not enjoy the crater lake in the caldera. Of course even the temperature went down with the rain at that altitude and a good warm jacked was necessary. On the other side, it was very difficult to prevent the rain from entering our shoes and from making us wet, however even this experience reminded me of some torrential rain beating me while walking along an alpine route and the rain coat was never enough. It took us basically four hours to arrive at the peak, keeping a moderately slow speed allowing the body to breathe and also to enjoy the environment. The descent was much faster, though a bit complicated by the wooden ladders which I was trying to avoid all the time (but some acrobatic fall here and there was inevitable). I was comforted by the fact that I did not feel to be unprepared for the trekking; indeed I had a minimum training in the last period, though not so much preparation. I was also comforted by the fact that the guide was falling down much more often than I did, poor guy, I guess it was the shoes and I felt sorry for him. During the descent, actually we had good panoramic views of the valley in front of the Muhavura, we could see Lake Mutanda and Lake Mulehe. By 4 in the afternoon we were back to the gate, I imagine this can be an average time for completing the trekking. Walking in the mountain is something that takes away my fears, which brings my mind back to the ground, a kind of natural therapy.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Yesterday Monday 24th February I went with some visitors from Germany to see the music jam session at the Uganda National Cultural Centre. What should have been a moment of entertainment, a show case of Ugandan talents, was transformed into the stage for the political campaign of right-wing extremists, in other words a real fascist preach which incredibly was coming from a Cultural Centre like the National Theatre.
It seems that fascist culture is actually spreading in the last years in Uganda but I never had a real feeling of it until I heard with my own ears.
What does it mean fascist culture? Historically, “fascism” is a political ideology which defines different regimes and people, in all part of the world, and that was initially originated by the Italian “fascism” (led by Benito Mussolini between 1922 and 1943) and having one of the major examples in Adolf Hitler of German Nazism.
There are common aspects to define a fascist political culture, which I would like to briefly highlight here and all of them came out yesterday from the preach of Pastor Martin Sempa.
First of all the belief that the culture is “one”, without differences and that the “African culture” is one versus any other culture. Culture is the justification for a political ideology: it is the culture that condemns the freedom of the people; but in reality, it is a fascist ideology/culture that allows some people to refuse the right of freedom of other people. Culture is not one and uniform; there are differences between person and person, between country and country community and community. But according to the fascists, the culture is one, the “African culture”.
Secondly, the aspect of promoting hate and not acceptance of any diversion from the so called “culture”. Fascist culture is the apology of the so called “traditional society”. Everything that is not liked, through it exists, should not exist. There is no freedom for the people: the people are entirely subjects to the rules dictated by the "society". For example the ladies should always marry and have children and they should not wear a miniskirt unless very long. Gay people should not exist even though they exist. It is well known in all history and all societies that gays are part of humanity, though a minority; it is well known that their sexual orientation is not a choice but a fact of nature, therefore there is nothing to be objected and nothing is cultural against gays, but only political, the fascist politics which does not want to view the facts of nature because they simply do not like it. It is like to say that if we do not like that there are disabled people, then they should be banned, yet they exist. It is like to say that if we do not like the moon to be in the sky, then we need to cover with tarpaulins all the sky so that we don’t see the moon and the moon no longer exists. This is unrealistic. This is a culture which is based on refusal of science and therefore creates hates and divisions among people based on “culture”. This is not culture, is fascist ideology. We have already seen that the fascist culture produced the Nazis’ concentration camps where (what coincidence!) were killed millions of gays, disabled people, anti-fascists (communists) and also Jewish. So this culture is here in Uganda, promoted at national level.
Thirdly, the racist aspect and hate for the foreigners. The fascist discourse says that the African people are oppressed and made slaves by the Foreigners, therefore creating a false myth of all the Foreigners been enemies to the African people. Fascist culture promotes the population growth (more children) because this number will facilitate the capacity to resists the foreign enemies. The fascist culture is always anti-American, like yesterday Martin Sempa condemned Barack Obama for defending peoples’ human rights. He said yesterday “if you do not like this country, go away”. This is pure racist intimidation which is definitely shocking any civilized persons and especially tourists. Again, fascist politics does not look at the population growth from the scientific environmental sustainability: how many people are on earth? Is there need to multiply? Is there enough resources? What is the environmental impact?
My friends from Germany, who did not expect this type of fascist campaign, immediately told me that it is obvious that tourists and foreigners will not like to visit a country like Uganda. Remember that fascist regimes believed also in “autarchy” in other words that you do not need other people to survive; your own economy is self-sufficient. Indeed all fascists’ regimes ended up by destroying the economies and generating poverty.
In other countries than in Uganda there is the crime of “association of fascist ideology”, because any healthy society must protect itself from whoever is perceived as causing troubles to the common social background. Indeed fascists are creating divisions, preaching intolerance and hate, disseminating false mythologies to young generations who are naïve to political culture, preaching racist approached who can scare anyone away.
In other words, probably it is because of freedom of expression that fascists’ leaders can talk in public places like National Theatre in Uganda. In other countries they will never have such a good reception. It will be the political task of all democratic Ugandans (majority) to fight away these fascist ideologies, to reduce them to what they always are, a political phenomenon of few extremists, before they actually spread further and destroy the democratic Ugandan society which is actually at its start. I feel more than sorry for all those people in minority, gays and disables, people who are not married nor have children, ladies who like miniskirts, because in this moment they must resist against this political fascist degeneration, which in any case was not inside the history of Ugandan people, except perhaps the Idi Amin regime. For those who work in the tourist economy, the welcome industry, perhaps it is time to react to this fascist evil before it can affect the industry and creating poverty out of poverty. As a foreigner in Uganda and as Director of Destination Jungle Ltd. I feel offended by the racist preach of the fascists leaders. As a foreigner, I can only hope that the Democratic Ugandans will come out more strongly, that only will bring progress and development to Uganda.
Costantino Tessarin bachelor degree in History at University of Bologna, Msc in Development Studies at SOAS London and Director of Destination Jungle