What to see and do in southwestern Uganda from Kigali
What to see and do in southwestern Uganda from Kigali? Tourists in Kigali city of Rwanda are wondering about the things they can see and do in southwestern Uganda. Well in this article you are going to get surprised after seeing all the possible things you could do in southwestern Uganda. The part of the country has a lot of tourism attractions which people from all parts of the world including those in Kigali city can do engage in while on the safari.
Some of the things we are going to focus on in southwestern Uganda include lake Bunyonyi which is the deepest lake in Uganda and the second in Africa. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga national parks which are homes of over 20 habituated mountain gorilla families with 2 that are semi habituated and open for habituation activities in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, and we shall also look at the Batwa group of people who reside around the gorilla national parks.
Activities to do while in southwestern Uganda from Kigali
The following are top things to see and do in southwestern Uganda from Kigali;
Mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Mgahinga
Mountain gorilla trekking is the most done activity that people from Kigali do take part in and this is done in either Bwindi impenetrable forest national park or Mgahinga national park. Mgahinga national park has only 1 habituated mountain gorilla family Nyakagezi which means only 8 people can visit the park on a single day for mountain gorilla trekking while Bwindi impenetrable forest national park has 19 habituated mountain gorilla families meaning that 152 permits are available for trekkers on a daily basis.
Travelers in Kigali that would want to visit Mgahinga and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in southwestern Uganda for mountain gorilla trekking will have to first book their gorilla trekking permits with a local tour operator such as Africa Adventure Vacations or direct from Uganda wildlife authority and we normally advise our clients to do so 3-4 months in advance because the trekking permits sell out quickly most especially in the dry season. The gorilla trekking permits cost $700 foreign non-residents, $600 foreign residents, and shs250,000 East African citizens.
On the day of mountain gorilla trekking in both Mgahinga and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, all tourists including those from Kigali will be expected to be at the briefing center very early in the morning where they will meet the rangers who will take them through the rules and regulations of the gorilla trekking activity. After this is done, the trekkers are grouped not exceeding 8 and the ranger guides lead them into the jungle to search for the habituated mountain gorilla family.
During the search, the trekkers are likely to see different park animals such as elephants, duikers, giant forest hogs, buffaloes, bush pigs, monkeys, birds, and different vegetation covers. On finding the mountain gorilla family that they have been looking for, the trekkers will be given a full one hour to be around these gentle apes as they watch them do daily activities like nesting, hunting, playing, and taking photos.
Mountain gorilla habituation in southwestern Uganda from Kigali
This is one the unique things to see and do in southwestern Uganda from Kigali! Tourists from Kigali city can be part of the mountain gorilla habituation in Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. This can only be done by first acquiring a gorilla habituation permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority which you can also get from a trusted local tour operator.
Mountain gorilla habituation in Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors of Bwindi involves trekkers waking up very early in the morning and joining the rangers at the sector offices for a briefing. During the briefing, the trekkers are taught about the dos and don’ts of the mountain gorilla habituation activity and from here the trekkers will be led in the jungle by the rangers.
While in the jungle looking for the semi-habituated mountain gorilla family, the trekkers will get chances of seeing different bird species, animals like the elephants, buffaloes, duikers, giant forest hogs, and they will pass through different vegetation covers. On meeting the mountain gorilla family that is going through habituation, the trekkers will be given 4 hours to be around mountain gorillas while making them get used to human presence, watch them do daily activities, and take photos.
Tourists from Rwanda need to know that the cost of mountain gorilla habituation permits is $1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 for foreign residents, and shs750,000 for East African citizens. The gorilla habituation permits in Uganda are 8 every day at the Uganda Wildlife Authority therefore if you want to be part of the habituation from Kigali you need to book the permits in advance of 3-4 months to avoid inconveniences since the permits are sold on a first come first serve basis.
Birding in southwestern Uganda from Kigali
There are a lot of birding spots in southwestern Uganda where tourists from Kigali can have a look at different bird species. The birding places in southwestern Uganda include Mgahinga national park, Lake Bunyonyi, and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. There are over 400 bird species that can be seen in southwestern Uganda so all you have to do is move with your birding book and a pair of binoculars.
Some of the birds that can be seen in the above places in southwestern Uganda include Yellow-crested Helmet Shrike, archer’s robin-chat, stripe-breasted tit, Red-throated Alethe, Stripe-breasted Tit, Neumann’s warbler, fine banded woodpecker, Rwenzori Nightjar, Rwenzori Turaco, Handsome Francolin, montane oriole, shinning African blue, Turner’s Eremomela, mountain masked apalis, Evergreen Warbler, Buff-throated Apalis, African Pitta, Cabanis’s Greenbul, Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle, Cassin’s Honeybird, Hairy-breasted Barbet, impressed African emerald, Cardinal Woodpecker, Common Bulbul, African green broadbill, and Compact Weaver.
Other bird species include Coppery Sunbird, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Stripe-breasted Tit, Red-headed Malimbe, Fork-tailed Drongo, Great Blue Turaco, Green Crombec, Grey-headed Sparrow, dwarf honeyguide, Crowned Hornbill, White-tailed Blue-flycatcher, Brown Woodland Warbler, White-browed Crombec, Green Hylia, Grey-throated Barbet, Tiny Sunbird, Green-throated Sunbird, Grey-backed/Green-backed Camaroptera, Grey-headed Negrofinch, White-breasted Negrofinch, blue-headed sunbird, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Honeyguide Greenbul, Klass’ Cuckoo, Collared Sunbird, Wood Warbler, Handsome Francolin, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Chestnut-throated Apalis, and handsome francolin to mention but a few.
Batwa cultural experience in southwestern Uganda from Kigali
People from Kigali that want to visit southwestern Uganda can visit the Batwa group of people. These people live around the park since they were evicted out of the park long time ago when the government was gazetting the park to protect the remaining species of mountain gorillas. A visit to the Batwa people can be done at any time of the day and its led by the Batwa people themselves who take you around the forest showing you how they used to survive in the forest by gathering fruits, collecting honey, using local plants as medicine, and how they used bows and arrows to kill small animals in the park for meat.
A visit to the Batwa people will give tourists from Kigali an opportunity to learn more about their way of living, and it will end in their communities where you will get entertained through local dances and drama and you can visit their local shops and support them by buying some of the souvenirs. By visiting the Batwa people, ut means that you have supported them and the money collected from the tourists is used to improve their way of living.
A visit to Lake Bunyonyi from Kigali
Tourists in Kigali can visit Lake Bunyonyi in southwestern Uganda and take part in different activities that are done on the lake. They can be part of the canoeing where they will be taken around the lake visiting some of the lake islands such as Akampene where girls would be taken and left to die after they had gotten pregnant without getting married. Tourists can take part in ziplining where they will cross the lake from one side to another.
The other thing that can be done on Lake Bunyonyi is birding because as small as the lake is, it’s a home to over 205 bird species and these include African kingfisher, slender baglafetch, levillant cuckoo, herons, grey shrike, golden-backed weaver, olive pigeon, red-chested owlet, weaverbirds, mountain yellow warbler, African harrier hawk, cardinal woodpeckers, yellow-ramped tinker bird, slender-billed baglafetch, pied wagtail, handsome francolin, grey crested crane, malachite kingfisher, and white-tailed blue Monard among others.
What is the best time to visit southwestern Uganda from Kigali?
Tourists in Uganda and would want to visit southwestern Uganda can do it any time of the year but some months are better than the rest. the drier months are the best for a visit in southwestern Uganda because they are characterized by little or no rainfall and these occur in June to September and December to February. Inside the parks in this season, the trekking trails are dry, the vegetation is thin giving clear views of the park animals, and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Travelers from Kigali can also visit southwestern Uganda in the rainy season but they should know that this season there is a lot of rainfall in the area, the vegetation in the parks is thick giving unclear views of the animals, the canoeing at Lake Bunyonyi might not take place due to fog and roads leading to these places are impassable.
What to do with Africa Adventure Vacations?
Africa adventure vacations is a tour company based in Uganda licensed by the Uganda Tourism Board and a member of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators. Booking with Africa adventure vacations provides you safety and confidence during your safari courtesy of well-trained safari driver guides who are well conversant with all routes and tourism destinations in Africa. You can book with us any of the safari activities you want to do in Africa such as mountain gorilla trekking, mountain gorilla habituation, Chimpanzee trekking and habituation, birding, golden monkey trekking, game drives, hiking, nature walks, and community tours among others. Booking what to see and do in southwestern Uganda from Kigali can be done at any time of the year.