For those never been to Africa, they should know one thing: it’s better and more beautiful than how it comes across on the National Geographic. Usually associated with war and famine, but when you travel to Africa you’ll see it has one of earth’s most breathtaking landscapes.
Uganda is an ideal place to plan an exclusive safari trip. The country offers savannahs, rainforests and glaciers. These are filled with wildlife including hippos, lions, tigers, elephants and more.
Yet the best safari in Uganda is observing the gentle giants, namely, the Mountain gorillas. There are only 700 left in the world and they are in the mountain region called the Virunga Mountains that spread across the borders of three countries: Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Experience Of Observing The Gorillas
Observing gorillas is an experience that can never be forgotten. The slow deliberate moves exude peace with their surroundings and nothing prepares you for the immense size and strength of these serene animals. Then there is the silence that surrounds them. Looking at their sparkling eyes, full of expression, you would think they are in a library. Indeed, they are in the library of nature studying and observing you.
The trek into the mountains is a journey itself. These mountain gorillas are very reclusive and you have to trek deep to see them. There is no luxury lifestyle in putting on boots, warm clothes, and walking miles to see the gorillas, so be prepared for a tough ride. Remember that there is no guarantee that you will see them. Yet the experience is as exclusive as you can get!
There are rules while going trekking to observe the gorillas, for example, only a group of 6-10 people can go at a time, you have to be over 15 years and there is a time limit of one hour only. While observing, you cannot be closer than 15 feet, you cannot eat or drink in front of them and you cannot point at them. They may decide to come close to you and even touch you but you cannot touch them back, which would be a temptation no doubt.
Permits are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (ugandawildlife.org) and must be booked months in advance. The best season to go is in Oct-Nov. The permits cost from $350 – $500 per person. You can apply for the permits through the website.
Visas to Uganda
Visas are issued at Entebbe airport in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. However it is recommended that visas be obtained through the Embassy of Uganda. Once you land, it is also suggested to register yourself at the US Embassy in Kampala. The visas cost $50 per person at the airport.
Kampala has Serena Hotels, owned and operated by the Aga Khan Foundation. These exclusive 5 star hotels offer very high standard service and accommodation and a luxury lifestyle that is comforting after a demanding trekking trip. There is one in Kampala and one on Lake Victoria. These will set you back $300 per night. The Golf Course Hotel is also an exclusive and one of the leading hotels in Kampala. If you really want an exclusive retreat with a luxury lifestyle, then stay Speke Resort in Munyonyo, which is 12km from Kampala.
Either way, when you travel to Africa and safari in Uganda, you will have an experience like no other with unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime. Book your trip today!