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5 Things You Can Do on a Visit to Lake Bunyonyi

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Lake Bunyonyi is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Uganda. Nicknamed the “Switzerland of Africa”, this area is one of the must visit places while on a Uganda safari through the South Western Uganda. Its close proximity to Bwindi, makes it a must visit after a gorilla trek in the impenetrable forest. A holiday of 2-4 days is worthy spending on this off the beaten destination in Uganda. Here are some of the most interesting touristic activities that you can engage in during your visit to this cool destination;

Swimming

Lake Bunyonyi is free from bilharzias and there are neither hippos nor crocodiles found here. It is safe to swim here and enjoy. It is the second deepest lake in Africa so you ought to be a good swimmer. Some lodges such as Bird’s nest Resort also have a choice swimming pool or the lake for their guests.

Take a swim in one of Africa’s most beautiful lakes. There are also places along the lake where they have enclosed a section of the lake like a swimming pool where one can swim. But remember that it is a very deep lake and if you swim out into the lake, use some safety precautions such as a nearby canoe or buddy system.

Mountain Biking

You can ride around the lake on a mountain bike and enjoy the scenery, villages, people and get a feel for authentic Africa in Uganda. The temperature and weather are nice here due to the elevation and a bike ride will be most enjoyable and the Equatorial sun will not beat you down. Bike rides can be all day long or just a few hours.  You will have a guide with a vehicle near to help you where necessary.

Bird Watching

The word Bunyonyi means a place of little birds and Lake Bunyonyi is a home to over 200 species of birds where one can do a great bird boat safari with your own birding guide from the water on some of the various islands surrounding the shores of the lake. You can go birding on one of the 29 islands on Lake Bunyonyi and combine it with a dugout canoe or motorized boat adventure.

Lake Bunyonyi is a great birding destination in Uganda where you will see some gray-crowned cranes, red-chested sunbirds, and many flycatchers.

Nature Walks and Hikes

You can go for hiking, take nature walks both on the Islands and around the Lake. The walks are not strenuous and can be taken at your pace, guides will go with you that you will not get lost and do not miss one of the highlights of your walk. Your hike will mostly be scenic in nature, some will lead you through small villages where you will meet Ugandans up close and personal, while others might be on an island that you came to with a dugout canoe. Your hike can also include some of the idyllic hamlets and villages with their terraced Gardens that surround the lake.

Boat Ride to the Punishment Island

The Bakiga People would take unwed pregnant girls to Punishment Island and abandon them there to nature.  This would be a big event meant to frighten other girls to abstain from having sex outside marriage and causing the loss of the Bride’s Price for the family. Many boats would come, people, shouting, calling names, shaming the frightful girl even more.  Some tried to swim back to the mainland but often died. The only way to escape was if a poor man that could not afford the bride’s price would come to the Island and rescue a girl. Today Nature seems to slowly destroy Punishment Island.  It is good to have us arrange a boat ride here with a guide who knows the story and history of the Island.

Honeymoon Holiday at the Shores of Lake Victoria

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Are you planning for a honeymoon vacation away from the common destinations. Are you looking for a unique crafted honeymoon holiday within an exquisite destination? A stay at the Cassia Lodge is well worth the expense and time to get there. I suggest staying two nights in order to enjoy fully the location, the staff, the surroundings, and things to view. One night is not enough. I’ve traveled the world and I would not look further for a better lodge or for a great leisure moment. The room was spacious, clean, and came with a stunning view overlooking the shoes of Lake Victoria. The staffs are perceptive and cater to the needs of the clients. The turn down service included a hot water bottle tucked under the sheets. A great surprise after a day of noisy Kampala.

All the rooms are decorated; they are Twin, Double and Single. These rooms are spacious with large double doors and beautiful windows. Each suite has its own private exquisitely designed terrace with panoramic views of the surrounding environment.

The rooms have large en-suite bathrooms with a gorgeously designed open terracotta shower. For added comfort and peace of mind all the suites have an advanced mosquito net system that wraps around the entire area of the beds. Spacious living room and a large private terrace that have the best view and closer look to the shoes of Lake Victoria; this suite is designed for guests seeking the very best. There is also an advanced mosquito net system in the bedrooms.

Traveling Solo in Uganda? Here Are the Most Important Tips

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Solo Travel in Uganda

Thinking of a traveling solo to Uganda? Well, Uganda is that one exceptional African safari destination that is worth exploring. Whether you are on a solo trip or guided safari, African safari to the pearl of Africa-Uganda rewards travel endeavors with distinct and authentic experiences. To get the best of these incredible experiences while on solo tour, here are some tips to guide you.

Where to go and to see while trip in Uganda

A solo trip in Uganda takes you through its most spectacular tourist sites and for starters, most of African safaris in this particular part of the continent are mainly ideal in national park. Each national park rewards you with distinct experiences as each of them features unique wildlife species. The notable safari destinations for you to explore while on solo tour in Uganda include Kibale Forest National Park which is situated in western side and this is best described as a capital of primates. While on Uganda safari don’t miss to explore over 13 incredible primate species that are all confined in this rain forested park and most importantly, chimpanzee tracking should be a must in your bucket list or spend the whole day with chimpanzees by embarking on chimpanzee habituation experience. Primate adventures in this park also come with amazing sights at other species including birds, butterflies, plants and trees as well as many mammal species that call this park a home.

While on Uganda primate safari in Kibale Forest National Park, you can also incorporate your trip with a visit to Bigodi Wetland where you have a chance to catch varied primate species and some birds that make up a total of about 200 avifaunal species. Besides Kibale, the other significant tourist sites for you to catch a glimpse at chimpanzees include the Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Budongo forest, Semuliki national park a mention but a few.

Gorilla safaris in Uganda on the other hand are best done in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park. The two parks lies suitably in southwestern side and in order for you to take part in gorilla adventures in this magical country, you need a permit which you can obtain at $600. One gorilla permit allows you to track only one habituated family. For exceptional wildlife safari experiences, consider visiting Murchison Falls National Park a must and you will have the best views over lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, birds including the elusive shoebill stork, hippos, crocodiles a mention but a few; Queen Elizabeth National Park which inhabits mainly lions plus the rare tree climbing lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, over 620 bird species and many others; the others include Kidepo Valley National Park in the extreme northeastern Uganda and Lake Mburo National Park.

Safety tips

Solo trips in any destination come with worries but the interesting part of it is that Uganda is an ideal safari destination for solo travelers to realize their dreams. Most importantly, there are set safety rules that every traveler should observe at all times while on solo safari in the pearl of Africa. They include no driving when you are drunk, no walking alone at night; observe safe food and water guidelines-know where to eat from. There are many classic hotels and restaurants for you eat out and please avoid road food.

Vaccination

Before you consider embarking on actual trip to Uganda, you need to take some vaccinations. You need to vaccinate yourself against polio, hepatitis A and B, Diphtheria, tetanus as well as rabies and meningitis. Equally, you need some anti-malarial tablets but it is important that you seek advice from your doctor who will prescribe for you medicine.

What is the cost of things in Uganda?

Depending on what your travel interests are in Uganda, each safari has its own rate. If you are interested in gorilla safaris, Uganda gorilla permits cost $600 per person. Chimpanzee permits cost $150 per person in Kibale National Park.

In conclusion, to undertake a solo trip means you are a manager of your road trip. This requires you to be very keen what is around you so as to stay safe and that is why the above tips are of great significance.

The Top Safety Tips for Self-driving Safaris in Uganda

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The self-drive safaris are becoming very popular in Uganda and the car hire companies are increasing in Kampala and the nearby towns like Entebbe, Mbarara, Kabale and Jinja and many others. Driving in Uganda is becoming a challenge due to the old cars, insecurity, poor and narrow roads and many more. The tips below will keep you safe throughout on your expedition of self drive in Uganda.

Always check the car thoroughly before starting your journey. The tyres must be in good conditions and always make sure that the spare tyres are in good shape. And for the long trips, we recommend that you have 2 spare tyres. It’s however worth checking the water level, lights, wiper blades, oil, as well as leakages. The service tag on the car will show you the last date when the car was last serviced. It’s therefore advised to always do a proper check especially when you are going for a long journey.

Avoid driving a night; Most part of the country have go no street lights most especially those going to the main tourist areas and these have got high way robber and it gets so dangerous to travel most especially at Night. So in case you are to move at night, always make sure you have got enough security with you for safety driving.

Always use maps and the GPS; In case you are driving in a foreign country, it’s advisable that you use road map and GPS navigation. The car rental companies in Uganda provide cars with GPS and the road maps at no extra cost.

You should always follow traffic rules and laws; the traffic laws will save you from dangers on the road, always read the road signs, don’t drink and drive and always wear your seat belt and get your passengers to wear their seat belt to avoid the charges and accidents.

Always take breaks, eat and fuel your car; it advisable to always take breaks to refresh, eat, and buy enough supplies as well as fuel. Always remember to refill before leaving big towns because you might not know the distance to the next gas station. You need to know that there are no gas stations in national parks and that means that you need to go to the park with enough fuel.

Always don’t drive when feeling tired; always avoid driving when you feel tired. You can always park and get a rest before proceeding with your colleague if he or she has got a driving permit.

Always take care of the weather changes; the driving speed will change with the weather. Always control your speed when it’s raining because the roads are slippery. The murram roads are the worst yet very dusty with potholes, and so impassable when it rains. That why we recommend a 4×4 Vehicle.

Always pay attention to other road users; the Ugandan roads are so narrow and some without pedestrian walks. Therefore, the drivers should be attentive to observe other road users like the boda boda riders, cyclists, students as well as cattle crossing. Therefore you must mind many other road users.

You must always know the park rules; you must always observe the park rules and regulations for your safety, don’t feed animal, don’t walk alone in the park, always stay inside your tent and don’t keep the items in the tent since animals like the hyenas and lions can always smell it. You will be made to pay ug shs 100,000 for over speeding in the park and $150 for off track driving.

About the mobile Network coverage since some parts of the country don’t have clear network coverage. Therefore you are advised to always have satellite phones.

Honeymoon Ideas for Uganda Travelers

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About spending your honey moon in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Uganda respectively. These two national parks are home to over 880 endangered mountain gorilla and spending some time with these creatures is really rewarding. Our company can organize your gorilla permits, transport to and from and plus accommodation while in the above mentioned sites.

While on your honeymoon, we make sure that something special is organized for you at any given lodge. This is always a surprise to spice up your stay in Uganda. For any honeymoon ideas including gorillas, Encounter Africa Safaris takes the lead.

You need spending your honeymoon in a quiet place so that you get up close and personal with your partner. Our company will organize for you a better and exclusive lodge for your experience. Even though it’s on the Island in Lake Victoria or Wild waters lodge in Jinja, we will also move that extra mile to provide you for what you are looking for. The other honey moon destinations include; enjoying sundowner drinks or bush breakfast if you decide to go on safari, hot air balloon safaris in Queen Elizabeth and or sunset cruise/wine and cheese cruise on Lake Victoria and River Nile in Murchison Falls National Park. For honeymoon ideas, please contact one of our dedicated safari consultant

Top 10 Safety Tips when Driving Uganda National Parks

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Uganda, known as pearl of Africa is one of the most visited place in in Africa and the world at large. Uganda is so beautiful a country with so many things ranging from water bodies, natural vegetation, mountains and national parks. Though national parks make it more beautiful each having unique attractions i.e gorillas in Bwindi, chimpanzees in Kibale, wildlife in Queen Elizabeth, Murchison falls and Lake Mburo national parks.
Today we are to look at how you can have a safe drive though the national parks where game drives are made even when you are not without a ranger or guide. National parks are located in remote areas away from the city centers where roads are rough and in bad conditions so you are advised to 4×4 car. The country has got over 5 national parks where you can do game drives for game viewing out of the 10 in the country. The wildlife life found in these national parks in interesting flora and fauna

Where are these National parks found?

Uganda’s national parks are distributed in the country though they are found in Uganda’s remote areas which are deep in the village. This therefore for calls for a good guide/driver who is well conversant with these places so that you avoid getting lost on the way.

Which tourism activities are there in Uganda’s national parks?

In Uganda’s national parks, there pronounced tourism activities which you can participate in , while relaxing and having leisure. The most pronounced activities in Ugandan national parks include; game driving, nature walks, boat riding, research, hiking of hills and doing some research as needed by you. Of the above activities, the most pronounced activity in the park is game drive.

What does the game drive involve when you are in a national park?

When you are in one of Uganda’s national park, a typical game drive will involve you driving around and in the national park by a 4X4 safari car. While driving, you will you will enjoying watching different flora and fauna within the national parks. The fauna which will be viewed will include; wild animals like elephants, crocodiles, lions (with tree climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National park and Kidepo valley National Park)

You should however note that in Uganda, not all national parks do offer game drives. In some national parks, there are very fragile lands that can diversely be affected when you are driving the car you have rented and this may damage the car you are driving leading to problems in the long run. If you want to experience a typical game drive in Uganda‘s national park, you will get these game drives in five (5) of the Uganda’s national parks. These major national parks include; Elizabeth national parks. This is found in the western part of the country, and while you are on the game drive in this park, you will view tree climbing lions along the Ishasha route. Other parks where game drives can be held include; Murchison falls national park, Kidepo valley national park, Lake Mburo national park and Kibale National park.

What happens when you are driving in Uganda’s national parks?

In case you have ever visited Uganda’s national parks, it is not the same way as you are driving on road surface. When you are driving on the road, usually there are measures and guides being put for you to follow when you are driving. Whereas in national parks, the game drives start as early as 7:00 am and end exactly as 7:00 Pm. Beyond this, then you are not allowed to drive inside the park and when you are got, you will be penalized. Remember most of the roads in national parks, there marram roads.

What is the maximum limit of driving in a national park?

The recommended speed in the national parks is 35-45 km/hr. This is because of the need to avoid accidents such as knocking animals within the park which may be crossing. You should never overtake in the park because it has never been allowed. Just abide by the speed limit as you will enjoy viewing the animals when you driving at a low pace that when you drive at a high speed.

How do demarcated parks in national parks look like?

There are good demarcated routes which are designed for vehicles during the game drives in the park. When driving, you should not go off the track which may involve going off the roads because this will lead you to affect the vegetation. You should not that when driving in the park, you should always keep in mind that the game animals are given the first priority than anything else because these are the cores of the game drives in the park. Since these parks are found a bit far places from the town, then you should use cars in good conditions. do you want to have achance to drive through Uganda’s national parks on your own? Just click here

Photography Tours in Murchison Falls National Park

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One of the largest and modern safari fleets in Uganda including several custom-built and new model 4×4 Land cruisers driven by some of Uganda’s best and most experienced safari guides. With our depth of experience and hand-picked safari consultant team we specialize in tailor-made, luxury, customized safaris in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa.

If you can dream it, we can make it happen! Murchison Falls National park contains a wide variety of wildlife including big game, forest primates and 450 bird species. The mighty Nile, the longest river in the world, flows through the heart of the park for a distance of 120km, on its 6500km journey from Lake Victoria to Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. The park’s centre piece is the explosive, 40m high Murchison Falls where the Nile is forced through a 6 metre gap in the rift valley escarpment.

The Falls separate two very different rivers. Upstream, the river races down a turbulent 80km channel punctuated with rapids. Downstream, the Nile flows quietly towards Lake Albert which it enters through a large papyrus delta.

Duroboats are the perfect craft for small groups hence giving you photo and filming expedition when you are few. Their light aluminium hulls each provide comfortable seating for up to four people plus a skipper/guide. They are also suitable for filming since they are open sided.

Medium sized Alligator game viewing boats with their 8.5m long, shallow V-hulls have been designed for use on African rivers and provide comfortable seating for groups of up to 14 for excursions. A carpeted upper deck allows views of wildlife beyond the reeds that fringe the shoreline and also provides additional height for those that like to cast their rods. With this photography and filming are more perfect.

More to that is the big double-decker (Garyboto) river vessel with capacity for 35 guests. It has two decks with flexible seating arrangements and our on board river guide moves around on board providing interesting information and pointing out animal and bird sightings as you are filming. The covered lower deck provides welcome shade while the semi-covered, upper deck – standing 3m above the river – allows excellent views close to the shore as well as further afield and solid wooden decking provides a stable photography platform. A toilet is also on board. Nature Adventure Uganda provides you with all these amazing services. Its real excitement traveling with us, making your dreams come true as well as a memorable life time safari.

Visit Uganda Primates National Parks

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It was such a bright morning that we set off to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park from Kampala. This primate safari in Uganda was meant for the primates that reside in Bwindi as well as enjoying the endangered creatures in this park. Day one was a traveling day to the park but it was really a memorable journey, we got a stopover at the equator of Uganda as we were crossing Kayabwe. At this juncture, we were able to take amazing photo shots in all angels of our choice without any limitations making it an enjoyable journey.

What impressed me most was the Igongo cultural centre where we found all sorts of cultural items like neck less, bags, bitengi wears and many more. It was at this centre that we took our lunch with all traditional dishes. Back to our journey where we finally rested at Nkuringo Gorilla Camp. At this point in time, resting was the only solution to refresh for the very early morning primate tracking.

On day two, very early at 5am we are already up taking breakfast to go and meet the endangered girls and boys of Nkuringo family. By 6am sharp, we are in the Nkuringo family because we also wanted to sight the other primates like birds, monkeys, chimpanzee and elephants which disappear very early to look for what to eat. In this forest, fruits are abundant leaving no doubt for the feeding of the Nkuringo family. In this group, we found more nests satisfying where they take a rest be it night or day.

Kibale Forest National Park is the most known park for chimpanzee trekking, though others parks like Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Park offer them in some reserves like Kyambura gorge and Budongo forest respectively. This park is accessed from Kampala through Fort portal via Mubende. The trek starts at Kanyanchu the park headquarter, takes four hours covering a distance of 5km. chimps being the star attraction in this park, and they roam free and number in their hundreds. Apart from chimpanzee trekking at $ 150 USD per person, the park offers also the most interesting Chimpanzee habituation experience staying with the chimps for the full day understanding their lifestyle and this costing the $ 220 USD per person.

Unlike Gorillas which sit and mind their own business, the chimpanzees are unpredictable in their mannerisms and a little less approachable. Chimps seem not to be shy and timid, not only agile on their feet but it is also difficult to get close to them. Kibale is also a home for other primates and said to host the highest population of primates in the world hence making Kibale a must visit destination for primate trackers.

Primates such as the red colobus, monkeys, endemic manageable, different bird species, mammals like elephants,bufalloes, antelopes and giant forest hogs hence making this park a well endowered place to be to and explore. I wished to extend this day but it was only God with the powers and I had to follow his commands. It is only Nature Adventure Africa Safaris, Uganda that can offer you the opportunity of exploring the primates in these national parks.

Experience Gorilla Habituation Only in Uganda

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Gorilla trekking experience is the widest attraction activity for almost every tourist coming to Uganda. I happened to be part of the same adventure with Rwanda Gorilla Safaris and we started our trip from Kigali, Rwanda and via Kabale visited Bwindi for the Gorilla Habituation Experience. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is the best gorilla destination with the population of the mountain gorillas and you can take the gorilla trek and the gorilla habituation which we were not aware of to be in existence but during our safari planning we wanted to trek and later Moses, a very knowledgeable tour consultant briefed us about the different gorilla families which promotes gorilla tourism in the park.

He explained to us all the park sectors from the Buhoma which hosts the Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura families. Rushaga which hosts Mishaya, Nshongi, Busingye, Kahungye, Bweza, Bikingi and Bushaho and he emphasized these 2 families (Bikingi & Bushaho) as amazing for gorilla habituation experience in the mist. Ruhija which hosts Oruzogo, Bitukura and Kyaguriro families. And the Nkuringo sector which hosts only the Nkuringo family. With the above we chose to visit the Bushaho family for the habituation experience. You can too reach Bwindi from Kampala through Masaka – Mbarara – Kabale highway and this can take 9 hours to reach the park to your lodge where you can rested to refresh for the next day.

By 6am in the morning were ready prepared to go to Rushaga Sector reception for the general briefing before visiting the family. The track started at 8am through the rain forest which makes it easy to spot the great apes in the mist. This family has got a master who leads all the members in this family. Different activities were spotted taking place in this family; feeding, breast feeding, nesting, resting, patrolling, de-nesting and many more interesting activities. The trekking lasted for the full day with the primates taking photos, videos and learning much more about the mountain gorilla life style in their natural habitat.

More so if you would like to take gorilla trek in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is larger ecosystem, a park which offers cool temperatures and hosting 300 gorillas located in Virunga massif. It is indeed where gold meets silver for gorillas housing with golden monkeys. Here tracking starts from Ntebeko entrance gate at 8am, lasting for four hours. No wonder why gorilla Safari should be done in Mgahinga and not other place, the secret behind it is that this park has a thick rain forest with a wide variety of tree species and gorillas are known to be vegetarians. There is enough food for them in the park hence making them migrate from Congo and Rwanda to this place. Though not in large numbers, gorillas of Mgahinga are easy to see in their natural habitats and this makes tracking more easy compared to other parks.

The two parks have got other activities taking place; in Bwindi there is birding, mountain biking, nature walks through different trails and many more. In Mgahinga there is hiking, nature walks, birding, cultural encounters, volcano climbing to mention but a few. All in all my stay in these parks was credible and unforgettable, looking forward to coming back again.

Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park

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Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the most popular national parks in Uganda associated with different types of wildlife, birds and primates species and other interesting tourist attractions like crater Lakes and humid forests which creates favorable environment in the park. It is located in southwestern region of Uganda and you can access it via different routes.

Route one is from Kampala on tarmac road via Masaka – Mbarara highway with lunch at Agip Motel in Mbarara town and Bushenyi leads to the centre of the park and using this route it covers a distance of approximately 420km while you can access the park from the Fort Portal and it covers a distance of approximately 410km, so it is your choice to choose what route to use because each route has different benefits like for the Fort Portal route you have the opportunity of enjoying short detours to Rwenzori mountains and Kibale Forest National Park for chimpanzee trekking and for the southern route you can first visit to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park for gorilla trekking safari and then enter the Queen Elizabeth National Park via the Ishasha Southern sector famously known for the rare African tree climbing lions and other wildlife like topi, oribi, elephants, buffaloes among others.

While in Queen Elizabeth National Park I discovered and experienced many activities which take place in the park like birding, Chimpanzee trekking, game drives, nature walks, cave, launch trips, cultural heritage and nature trail and wildlife research tour.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is an important birding area comprising of over 600 species of birds as it is due to its acquirement of a variety of habitats that range from Savannah grasslands to wetlands which attracts in more and different species. Majority of birds found in this area are regarded as famous birds of east Africa and are must see for bird watchers coming to Uganda. We carried out our birding tour walk in Maramagambo forest and this forest cover the biggest part of queen Elizabeth National Park along the Kichwamba escarpment.

Although we did not exhaust the large number of bird species found in this park we managed to spot interesting species like little grebe, Red-chested cuckoo, Black cuckoo, African fin foot, Yellow bill, Blue-breasted kingfisher, Barbets, Red-throated wryneck, black bee –eater, Blue-throated roller, Green crombec, Dark –capped warbler and many others and this indicated to me that Uganda is the pearl of Africa for sure due to the interesting different bird species in the park. On top of that I have a feeling that the left un spotted bird species in the park are more interesting as the spotted ones and it encourages me to put in more efforts such that I can go back and discover more and more species and have more photos for my galley on birding.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is also equipped with chimpanzee although most of the big numbers are found in Kibale Forest National Park. We managed to sight some chimpanzees in the Savannah forests of Queen Elizabeth National Park and they were trying to mean their business. We were also able to sight other species like bats, monkeys, insects and others.

Early in the morning we prepared for our game drive through Kasenyi, Kazinga plains and the ishasha sector and were able to sight different species like buffaloes, antelopes, elephants, warthogs and baboons with the additional sighting of the tree climbing lions at large. This safari left me with the repeating memories of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

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