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Yellow-Billed Oxpeckers Perched on the Back of a Cape Buffalo, Kidepo Valley National Park, Uganda
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Yawning Hippopotamus, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
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UGANDA TRAVEL GUIDE
Uganda, officially the Republic of Uganda, is a country in East Africa, bordered on the east by Kenya, the north by Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, within which it shares borders with Kenya and Tanzania. 

Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompasses a portion of the south of the country including the capital Kampala.
 

Karamojong Boy Sitting at Entrance to Hut, Uganda
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Enjoy your Africa holiday vacation with Uganda's Gentle Giants, the Gorillas of Uganda
What primates will you see in Uganda safaris?

What primates will you see in Uganda safaris?   by Clint Jhonson

Every now and then, people must take a vacation in order to separate from the busy working life and enjoy some leisure time. For adventurous people, there is nothing like undertaking Uganda safaris to witness some of our closest relatives - in the evolution chain - in action. Many historians believe that human kind started and evolved in East Africa. Because of that, it is not surprising that Uganda, a destination in this part of Africa, is home to a very high number of great primates.

Primates are very similar to humans, sharing with them flexible arms and legs, skilled fingers and relatively big brains. Primates include many species of apes, monkeys and lemurs. The closest living relative to humans is the chimpanzee. From the low number of mountain gorillas still alive around the world, you can see about half of them when undertaking Uganda safaris.
 
Uganda has a significant popularity, apart from other countries in East Africa, as an attractive destination for people who want to undertake gorilla safaris. The climate in this country is moist and the forests are rich and dense, enabling it to become a home to these species. The number of mammals that live here exceeds 300, 20 of which are primates. They are both diurnal and nocturnal. You can observe all of them when you go on gorilla safaris, even the nocturnal species, because there are tours set up for nighttime.

The threat of destruction that the primate inhabited forests are under is very high. This is due to the large number of species that live in tropical forests, which makes it harder for primates to survive. If you want to include Uganda safaris in your vacation options, you will have the chance to see great apes, chimpanzees, mountain gorillas and some species of monkeys.

Mountain Gorilla, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Uganda
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The rarest primate you can see is the mountain gorilla. This is the largest of all primates. The chimpanzee is smaller and shares 98% of human DNA. They are very intelligent, understand, and peak sign language. Western Uganda is where most of these creatures live. 
 
Chimpanzee in Captivity, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, Ngamba Island, Uganda, East Africa
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The species of monkeys found in Uganda are colobus, guenons, baboons, patas and mangabeys. Some guenon species have a grey coat and live all over the country, apart from those that live in the forest. Patas can be distinguished by their reddish brown coat and live in the northern parts of Uganda.

You can identify other species, like baboons, due to their size and long canine teeth. They are easily adaptable, which makes them the most widespread primates in Africa. The river woodlands and the forest strata are home to the black and white colobus monkey. There are also some nocturnal species of primates. Among them are the bushbaby and the potto, which tourists can hardly ever see. Because they are nocturnal, they sleep during the day and perform their activities during the night. Some Uganda safaris include guided night walks to the places these species live.

Due to the increased number of primates and the threats that they are under, a lot of wildlife parks and forest reserves have been setup. The intention of all these actions is the increase of the chances of continued existence for these animals. In addition, we are looking to help travel operators to organize gorilla safaris for tourists to enjoy an experience with the great primates.

Some of these parks are the Mgahinga National Park, Kibale National Park, Murchison Falls National Park and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Other sanctuaries for these primates include Kuniyo Pabidi forest and Ngamba Island chimpanzee Sanctuary on Lake Victoria. Uganda gorilla safaris may include each of these destinations.

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About the Author - It is obvious that Uganda is a country filled with a variety of primates. Undertaking Uganda safaris offers the chance to see some of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom. No matter your age and gender, gorilla safaris offer a unique experience that should be lived at least once in a lifetime. 

Enjoy your Africa holiday vacation with Uganda's Gentle Giants, the Gorillas of Uganda   by Twinomugisha Charles

It is estimated that there are less than 800 of these Gorillas' in the wild. And half of these giants are in Uganda. Uganda has more 400 Gorillas that live in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in south west Uganda and about 460 inhabit the Virunga mountains of Rwanda and Congo (Zaire). It is believed that none of these giants are to be found in captivity.

The future of these giants is still very uncertain with the threat of poaching, habitat encroachment by humans and regional instability constantly hanging over them.
 
So if you are planning to see these magical creatures outside of history books and photographs, there is no time like the present, because soon they may be gone forever……….Just joking the neighboring countries are now stable and these giants have enough peace of mind to move from Uganda to Rwanda and Congo then back to Uganda. All the participants who have ever been to these giants agree that it is undoubtedly one of the best wildlife experiences that they have gone through.

Apart from these giants, there are also three other Uganda safari wildlife areas that are well worth your time to visit: Queen Elizabeth National Park for its unique resident tree climbing lions never to be found anywhere in the world and its bird life. And the good thing is that there are neighbours together with Mt. Rwenzori national park, where you can experience the most breathtaking action in mountaineering.

By following these rules and through the purchase of the permit, YOU too are contributing to the conservation of the mountain gorilla. Uganda Wildlife Authority uses the funds generated from the sale of this permit for the management of the National Parks. 

Silverback Mountain Gorilla, Uganda
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A percentage of the funds raised from Park entrance fees are also donated to local communities living adjacent to the parks to contribute to their development and improve natural resource management in the region.  Before departing on your giants trek, always wash your hands before you head out to the tracking.

On the way to the gorillas:

a) A maximum number of 6 visitors (8 in DR Congo and if trekking one of the larger groups in Rwanda) may visit a group of habituated ones in a day. This minimizes behavioral disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases.

b) Please always keep your voices low. You will then also be able to observe the great bird life and other wildlife in the forest.

c) Do not leave rubbish in the park. Whatever you bring into the forest should be carried back out with you.

d) You will be taken to where the guides observed them the day before. From there you will follow their trail to find them. Look out for the gorilla's nesting sites along the way!

e) When you approach them, the guides will inform you to get ready.

When you are with the gorillas:

a) A 5 meter distance should try to be observed at all times (15 feet) from them. This is to protect them from catching human diseases.

b) You must stay in tight group whey you are near them .

c) Keep your voices down at all times. However, it is OK to ask the guide questions.

d) Do not eat or drink while you are near them. Eating or drinking inevitably will increase the risk of food/drink morsels/droplets falling, which could increase the risk of transmission of diseases. e) Sometimes they charge. Follow the guides example (crouch down slowly, do not look at them directly in the eyes and wait for the animals to pass). Do not try and take pictures and do not attempt to run away. Running away will increase the risk.

f) Flash photography is not permitted! When taking pictures move, slowly and carefully.

g) Do not touch them. They are wild animals. They might look cuddly but!!.

h) The maximum time you can spend with them is one hour. However, if they become agitated or nervous, the guide will finish the visit early.

i) After the visit keep your voices down until you are 200 metres from them.

General Health Rules:

The following are ways to minimize the risk your visit might poses to our gentle giants:

a) Remember they are very susceptible to human diseases.

b) Respect the limits imposed on the number of visitors allowed with the gorillas each day. This minimizes the risk of disease transmission and stress to the group.

c) If you are feeling ill, or you are carrying a contagious disease, volunteer to stay behind. An alternate visit will be arranged for you, or you will be refunded your money.

d) If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the gorillas, please turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order to minimize the spread of bacteria or viruses. e) Always stay 5 metres (15 feet) away form the gorillas. The further back you are, the more relaxed the group will be.

f) Do not attempt to touch them.

g) Do not smoke, drink or eat when you are with these giants.

h) Do not leave any rubbish (eg. food wrappers) in the Park; foreign items can harbor diseases or other contaminants.

i) If you need to defecate, whilst in the forest, please ask the guide to dig you a hole with his panga. Make sure the hole is 30cms deep and fill it in when you are finished.

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About the Author - Twinomugisha Charles is a Retired Tour and Travel Guide in Millennium Tours and Travel Company in Uganda and now works with E-Office Management a company that deals in Computers and Computer Accessories. More of his articles can be found at Uganda Gorillas and their habitat in Uganda
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