How to organize a Uganda primate safari from Kigali, Rwanda
How to organize a Uganda primate safari from Kigali, Rwanda. Arranging a Uganda gorilla, chimpanzee, or golden monkey safari from Kigali is becoming the new trend. Since most of the primate safari destinations are in western or southwestern Uganda, which is about 7 7-hour to 9-hour drive from Entebbe Airport, Kigali Airport Rwanda is picking up as the new entry point into Uganda. The drive time from Kigali Airport Rwanda to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park is about 5 hours to 6 hours, which is shorter than the 8 hours to 9 hours.
Most Popular Safaris
You can cross into Uganda via the Cyanika or Gatuna border from Kigali, Rwanda.
Some of Uganda’s renowned primate destinations include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park, home of the mountain gorillas. Kibale National Park is home to chimpanzees and over 12 other primate species, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park for chimpanzee trekking; Mgahinga National Park is prominent for golden monkey safaris
The Uganda primate permit is the only confirmation to attend a mountain gorilla, golden monkey, or chimpanzee safari. While on this Uganda primate safari, you may do gorilla, chimpanzee, or golden monkey trekking or habituation experience. The difference is with the number of hours whereby only one hour is allowed during primate trekking while four hours are permitted with these primates during habituation experience.
Each of these primate safari experiences requires you to possess a permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or go through an accredited tour operator.
How to Plan a Uganda Primate Safari From Kigali
Book a gorilla, chimpanzee or golden monkey permit
To have access to the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, and golden monkeys in the wilderness, you must purchase a permit. For conservation reasons, the number of primate permits opened to the public is limited to reduce the effects of mass tourism.
Most of these Uganda primate safaris sell out fast in advance, especially towards the peak season when demand is overwhelming. The peak season is June, July, August, September, December and January. It is best to book your Uganda primate permit 6 months to a year upfront, as they sell out fast.
Check for Uganda primate permit availability first from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or use the assistance of an accredited tour operator like Encounter Africa Safaris. Knowing the number of people you hope to travel with prevents you from moving back and forth with checking availability. We can put together all the safari amenities necessary like accommodation, vehicle hire, driver guide hire, and others, for you to have a successful primate safari. Our safari consultants check for permit availability from the list of Uganda Wildlife Authority to which we have access.
Upon confirming the primate permit availability, we advise clients to secure their permits as soon as possible to avoid panicking when they sell out.
You later forward personal details like your full name as presented on the passport, date of birth, nationality, and passport expiry date for identification purposes.
Secure Accommodation To Use On Gorilla, Chimpanzee Or Golden Monkey Safari
Each of the primate destinations in Uganda has different choices of accommodations to book. They range from Luxury mid-range to budget facilities. Securing accommodation for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is best in the area where your gorilla permits are booked. Bwindi has four gorilla safari areas that is Buhoma in the north, Ruhija in the East, Nkuringo, and Rushaga in the south.
Since most of the Uganda primate safaris start early morning with a briefing, spending the night within or closer to the primate destination is important to avoid missing out. Missing briefing before the primate safari may lead to being disqualified.
- Bwindi accommodations: Gorilla forest camp, Clouds Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Safari Lodge, Bwindi View Bandas, Silverback Lodge, Mahogany Springs, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, and Ruhija Gorilla Lodge, to mention but a few.
- Mgahinga accommodations: Gahinga Volcanoes Lodge, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Mgahinga gorilla Triangle, Majambere Iwachu, Community Camp
- Kibale accommodation: Kibale Safari Lodge, Primates Lodge, Ndali Lodge, Chimps Nest, Chimpanzee Guest house, Kyaninga Lodge. More facilities can be accessed in Fort Portal town, Bigodi, Nkingo.
- Queen Elizabeth NP accommodations: Mweya Safari Lodge, Bush Lodge, Simba Safari Camp, Jacana Lodge, Mweya Hostels, Elephants Lodge,
- Murchison Falls N.P accommodation: Para Safari Lodge, Murchison River Lodge, Red Chillis Rest Camp, Nile Safari Lodge, Sambiya Lodge,
Book Transport to Uganda Primates destinations
The Uganda Primate destinations are distributed within different areas of Uganda, so you need a well-tailored itinerary covering your interests fixed in the holiday time you have. Most of these destinations are located in the deep countryside but can be accessed by road and air transport.
There are daily domestic flights from or to Kajjansi Airstrip or Entebbe Airport. Charter flight services are available, too.
Purchase East African Visa
Rwanda and Uganda are both in the East African community, so you can book one visa to have access to both countries instead of re-applying for a visa. The East African Visa allows you access to two East African countries.
At the moment, the cost of the East African Visa is $100 per person per trek.
How Much Is A Uganda Primate Safari From Kigali
The cost of Uganda primate safaris from Kigali is packaged according to Luxury, mid-range, and budget. The gorilla, chimpanzee or golden monkey permits are the universal costs of all categories and are compulsory for all primate packages.
The current cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda is $700 per person for foreign nonresidents, $600 per person for foreign residents, and 250000 shs for East African residents.
Gorilla habituation experience permits cost $1500 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $1000 for foreign residents, and 750000shs for East African residents.
Table of Current Uganda Primate Safari Permits Cost
|Non Foreign residents $||Foreign Residents $||East African Residents (shs)|
|Gorilla Habituation Experience||1500||1000||750000|
|Chimpanzee Trekking KNP||200||150||150000|
|Chimpanzee trekking QENP||50||40||30000|
|Chimpanzee Habituation Experience KNP||250||200||200000|
|Golden monkey trekking||60||50||40000|
|Golden monkey Habituation Experience||100||80||100000|
Some factors considered to form a Uganda primate safari package include the number of days on safari, number of people traveling with, time of booking the primates safari, category of safari package you choose, additional activities to combine with primate safari and others.
When Is The Best Time To Book Uganda Primate Safari From Kigali?
Uganda Primate safaris are open all year round; however, the dry season is most preferred. The dry period is normally June, July, August, September, December, and January. This also serves as Uganda’s tourism peak season. During this period, the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, and golden monkeys are actively hopping from one tree to another.
Primatologists can identify a variety of primate species in the different destinations of Uganda because they are more active in the open. Uganda hosts primates in the wilderness like Mountain Gorillas, chimpanzees, Golden monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, and L’Hoest’s, to mention but a few.
Even keen birders can take this double opportunity to visit the primates and do birding to where you may get the chance to spot Albertine rift endemics. Uganda hosts a population of over 1000 birds living freely in the wilderness.
If you have a limited budget, the wet season, which is March, April, May, and November, may offer opportunities for discounted costs from some service providers like accommodation, vehicle hire, and others.
Since fewer people are booking these primate safaris, the chances of attending an unprepared-for-primate safari are high. You may have less disturbance from other people, so you get the best views and take photos of the primates with less distraction.
What Is the Minimum Age for Primate Safaris In Uganda?
The Uganda primate safaris are in the wilderness, where these primates live freely, so the forest conditions and nature of the topography are some of the factors considered when determining the minimum age.
For gorilla and golden monkey safaris, 15 years is recommended. This is because of the nature of the topography of this area, where you may be required to hike. The Virunga area is generally volcanic, with remains as plateaus and ridges where sometimes primates have part of their day time. These primates sometimes spend their day on the slopes or in the valleys. One is, therefore, required to have some level of fitness to endure. Even the time of finding these primates is hard to determine because they wander freely in the jungle.
For chimpanzee safaris, the minimum age is above 12 years, as children of this age are able to withstand the forest conditions. At a glance, the chimpanzees may stimulate your adrenaline. However, one needs to control their reaction, especially in order not to agitate the chimpanzees. A child of 12 and below years may not have this capacity. The child’s reaction may cause some suspension. Amongst the mountain gorillas
How Safe Are Uganda Primate Safaris From Kigali?
Doing primate safaris in designated Uganda destinations is safe, especially when guided by a professional ranger guide. The Uganda Wildlife Authority offers training to ranger guides to protect wildlife and their habitats. Even tourists under the guidance of the Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers are safe as the primate safaris are normally escorted by more than one ranger. One carries a rifle, another a machete.
Before a primate troop is opened to public viewing, it is first habituated until it is ready to be seen by visitors. The gorilla, chimpanzee, or golden monkey habituation period is a process where researchers and trackers follow a wild primate family for an unknown time to get them used to human presence without altering their nature. These primates still possess there wild traits but can accommodate humans for a stipulated time.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority collaborates with other Uganda security agencies to keep law and order in the primate destinations.
Tourists are implored to stay close to the people they are trekking with to avoid being lost in the jungle in case they walk away without cognition. The ranger guide follows the pace of the slowest trekker so that no one is forgotten in the jungle.
Never enter the forest without an escorting ranger guide, as there are unhabituated forest dwellers that may be harmful, like forest elephants.
How Long Are Uganda Primate Safaris?
The time of doing Uganda primate safaris varies depending on their location. Some tourists have been lucky to locate the chimpanzees, mountain gorillas, or golden monkeys in two hours, while others have spent more time. The primates may be habituated but still possess their natural traits and are not bound by any boundaries.
Some of the factors that may determine how fast or long you take to locate the mountain gorillas include the proximity of their source of food, in case the gorilla family loses a member, the adventurous nature of the gorilla family, weather conditions prevailing in the day, the pace of other trekkers and others.
What Are the dos and don’ts Of Uganda Primate Safaris?
- No feeding the primates upon finding them. They are wild animals that must seek their own food.
- Upon finding, these primates keep a distance of about 8 meters from them.
- No using flash photography when taking photos of these primates because they are scared of photoflash.
- Volunteer to stay behind when you catch a communicable infection like flu, cough, or COVID-19, as you may pass this to the primates.
- Littering the forest is forbidden as this alters the nature of the forest where the primates thrive.
- Keep in a tight group while in front of the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, or golden monkeys so that they don’t feel ambushed.
- In case you wish to sneeze or cough, do it away from the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, or golden monkeys to prevent the spread of this infection to these primates.
- Bury all fecal material at least 30 centimeters deep to avoid leaving any clues.
- Spitting on vegetation and the ground is forbidden as this passes infections to the primates whose diet is vegetarian.
Organizing a primate safari from Kigali is the new trend. Contact us and let us plan your safari from Kigali today.