No don’t worry – this is not about a gorilla doing a bungee jump but it is a place where you can go and do both a bungee jump and see a silver back gorilla. Where’s that then? If you guessed Uganda you would have been right. And a lot more besides – check out what you can get up to in one of Africa’s richest countries, ravaged by Idi Amin and now slowly getting its act together and welcoming tourists.
I picked up this great information thanks to Fiona McIntosh of iAfrica.com and for your further interest I have added a video from the WWF who believe that less than 10% of the gorillas habitat could be left undisturbed by 2030.Another example of mankind’s selfish exploitation of the natural habitat of this world which we must learn to share.
Gorilla tracking permits went up to $500 per person last year — but it’s still worth every penny and the often strenuous, muddy hike through the jungle for an hour with one of the troops.
The endangered mountain gorillas are only found in this tiny corner of Africa — the triangle of mountains where Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC converge. Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga reserves offer some of the best and most accessible viewing. This is one adventure you simply must not miss.
Other monkey business
Visitors often overlook the fact that Uganda also has wonderful sanctuaries such as Mgahinga and Kibale National Parks or Ngamba Island on Lake Victoria, where chimpanzees, golden monkeys, colobus monkeys and other rarely seen primates can be viewed.
But take my advice and do these before you go and see the big guys. Once you’ve stared into the big dark eyes of a mountain gorilla munching on bamboo, or been brushed aside by a silverback male, anything else pales in comparison.
The Queen Elizabeth National Park is the prime reserve for game viewing and boasts a few unusual attractions, such as tree-climbing lions as well as wonderful birds and reptiles. Murchison Falls National Park is also worth a visit particularly for antelope, hippo, buffalo and elephant — the Falls themselves are impressive, as is a cruise up the Nile.
The bird life is amazing — but unfortunately much of Uganda’s wildlife was poached, or fled, during the years of unrest. Nonetheless, the parks are recovering slowly and recent restocking measures have seen the reintroduction of white rhino and greater concentrations of big game.
Journey to the Source of the Nile
Well, it’s not a trip that will blow your mind — in fact the ‘source’ is an anti-climax — but a day trip out to Jinja is worth the drive. The Nile is after all the world’s longest river and it’s wide and surrounded by beautiful, tropical vegetation here — quite unlike the typical desert scenery you associate with the river in its lower reaches.
So it’s a pleasant place to while away a few hours (or days) dining at one of the riverside lodges or visiting the country’s biggest waterfall at Bujugali. Watch in awe as the rafts hurtle down, and in amazement as local lads shoot the falls with only a big plastic container as ballast! If you’re feeling brave there’s a range of adrenalin-filled activities in the area.
The river Nile, near Jinja, offers whitewater rafting, kayaking and river surfing that are on a par with the mighty Zambezi, but without the crowds. The rapids are big and intimidating, but it doesn’t deter the adrenalin seekers who come for the one day fix, or an overnight adventure. Once you’re hooked you can learn to kayak and plot your own route, or even head down the river in a tandem kayak or on a riverboard.
Lake Victoria is famous is for its mean Nile perch. Hire a local fishing boat and you’ve a good chance of hooking a big one.
A bungee in tiny little Uganda? You bet, and not only that, Adrift’s Nile High Bungee is also one of the most visually impressive bungee jumps in the world. Kites and fish eagles circle the tower as thrill seekers prepare to jump 44 metres directly down to the source of the Nile at Jinja.
The beautiful volcano of Mount Elgon on Uganda’s eastern border is unspoilt and virtually unknown. There are well-marked short walks, and guided overnight hikes to the summit or around the lower slopes can be arranged with local guides. Alternatively, hike the Virunga volcanoes. One- to three-day hikes are offered in Mgahinga National Park.
Lake Victoria is vast, and dotted with little islands. A sunset cruise is a perfect end to a Ugandan holiday, and there are longer expeditions to the Ssese islands.
Trekking in the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains offers similar, and arguably even more dramatic, scenery than on the better-known peaks of Mt Kili and Mt Kenya. A seven-day trekking circuit of the fabled Mountains of the Moon is an incredible adventure for a fit hiker, but although porters carry all your gear and cook all your meals, the weather and boggy, high altitude terrain ensures some tough hiking.
The dry seasons, mid-December to the end of February and mid-June to the end of August, are the best times to visit, but expect rain — and lots of it — throughout the year. Mountaineering trips to the Rwenzori’s glaciated high peaks, Marguerita, Speke and Baker, require ice climbing experience.