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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

THE HAVEN, UGANDA

The place to relax and have fun 




Monday, 1 October 2012

THE MABIRA FOREST RESERVE

The Mabira Forest Reserve  is located approximately 56km East of Uganda's capital of Kampala on the main Kampala-Jinja high way in the district of Buikwe. The Mabira forest lies on an area of about 300square kilometres of land and was gazzetted as a forest reserve in 1932 and is still home to many forest inhabitants like many primates.
The Mabira is a natural habitat forest and boasts of more than 312 species of trees and 315 bird species. Some of these species can only be found in Mabira forest and no where else.


Other unique features to be explored in the forest reserve include 218 butterfly species, 97 moths species, 23 small mammal species especially primate species and the spectacular Griffin falls.
The main activities in the forest are birding, cycling, and nature walks.
 
  The four trails for hiking are the Red-tailed Monkey Trail, which can be done between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours, while the Buttress Tree Trail, about 5 km long, may take as much as 3 hours to complete. The Grey Cheeked Mangabey Trail is the longest of the four, 6 kilometres long and can take as many as 4 hours to complete, at times longer as the guides try to track the famously elusive primates, seen in about one in three attempts.. The more recent discovery of the Black Mangabey is even rarer to find and would indeed take several hikes, even off the trails, accompanied by one of the guides with knowledge where these rare primates are actually located on a given day.
A short ‘Picnic Loop’, almost not worthy to be called a hike, as it is rather a stroll, of less than a kilometre can be completed in 20 to 30 minutes and at least gives an insight, a peek really, of what to expect when venturing deeper into Mabira forest. 

The cycling trails: Mountain bikers are welcome to bring their own bikes though basic models are available for hire at the centre at a modest cost of 25.000 UShs for the day. These trails are notably more demanding in terms of time and are rated as ‘easy’- the Blue Trail of 5 kilometres length taking about an hour or so even for novices;  the ‘medium’ rated Yellow Trail of 12 kilometres, taking, depending on skills and fitness, between 2 and 3 hours;  the longer and more demanding sections of the Red Trail, which has a shorter version of 22 km and a full version of 30 km and takes between 4 hours or more.
The ultimate challenge is the ride to the Griffin Falls,  and takes up to 8 hours to and fro.

Monday, 3 September 2012

SSESE ISLANDS, UGANDA'S ANSWER TO THE MEDITERRANEAN


The Ssese Islands are a beautiful group of 84 islands lying off the northwestern shores of Lake Victoria, with beaches ringing the shores, complete with swaying palms for that tropical touch. Inland lie rolling hills complete with lush rainforest. Locals live in villages along the shoreline and launch their fishing boats each evening at sunset. 
  The Ssese Islands are the perfect place to unwind after spending days on safari, after tracking gorillas and chimpanzees, golden monkeys, climbing volcanoes, or trekking the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon. The Ssese Islands are simply one of the best places to chill out and relax in Uganda – close to Entebbe International Airport and convenient departure for your home country.
Here on the Ssese Islands you can visit local fishing villages and meet Ugandans, learn their culture and ways. You can go boating here, paddling yourself or with a guide, motorboat to various islands, fish for the super-sized Nile Perch, or tasty Tilapia, feast on local fruit including, bananas, mangoes, papaya, water melons, jackfruit and pineapples with a taste, flavor, sweetness not found elsewhere in the world. The Ssese Islands give the perfect backdrop for many activities of which chilling out is foremost but there is so much more – these hidden and to most secret islands are a paradise largely undiscovered yet treasured by those who visit here as one of Pearls in the Pearl of Africa – Uganda. 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

RHINO FUND UGANDA-THE RE-INTRODUCTION OF RHINOS INTO UGANDA'S PARKS

Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU) was formed as a Non Government Organization (NGO) in 1997 with a management Board of Trustees appointed later that year. The function was to oversee and guide the implementation and management of the RFU to achieve its aim of reintroducing Rhinoceros, a highly endangered species across the globe, back into the National Parks of Uganda through a breeding and release program. In essence its purpose has been to return a vital aspect of environmental and cultural heritage to the Ugandan context. This was seen to be an inextricably important ecological link returned following the violent demise of the species by 1983.
 Out of this emerged the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, 7000 hectares of imminently suitable savannah and native woodlands. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary’s mission is to apply sound conservation principles whereby a safe environment is created in which rhinos can be conserved for future generations. In addition, through conservation education and community upliftment programs, win the hearts and minds of the surrounding communities, as well as Uganda as a whole, to ensure their support of this rhino conservation and reintroduction program.
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is surrounded by a two metre high electric fence – construction took almost one year and brought a lot of employment to local communities. The fence is solar powered and was designed to keep the rhinos inside and poachers outside the sanctuary. Other safety measures are put in place as well to protect the rhinos. A security force – 80 rangers and askaris - patrols the fence, guards the gates and monitors the rhinos 24 hours per day.
All rhinos have a transmitter implanted, so they can be tracked in case they manage to ‘escape’ from the attention of their monitoring rangers!
 The sanctuary is not only home to the rhinos but also to approximately 20 other species of wildlife as well as 300 different bird species highlighting Uganda’s unique biodiversity and emphasizing the importance of conserving it. The conservation effort is proving successful as we see the numbers of wildlife growing within the sanctuary.
Our rangers are also very active with Anti Poaching activities around the sanctuary. Furthermore, Rhino Fund Uganda assists the local communities by capturing problem animals like crocodile and python. These problems animals after capture are released into a safe environment.

For more information on Rhino Fund Uganda, visit www.rhinofund.org.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

WHITE WATER RAFTING ON THE NILE

There is a large variety and selection of trips suitable for ages 16 to 72 years. There is an adventure for everyone.It is possible to raft every day, year-round based on a minimum of 6 people. Many people join on their own. Remember that you will probably be in the sun most of the day. Bring a T-shirt, swim suit, board shorts and waterproof sunscreen for wear on the river (you will not need shoes or sandals). The water temperature is 27°C (49°F) all year round! For the end of the day, pack a towel, change of clothes and warm top.
There is a choice of either full-day or half-day white water rafting. To guarantee safety of all participants, there are:
  • A river crew, by far the most experienced on the continent
  • Safety rafts and kayakers, photographer and video-kayaker
  • High-flotation life jackets, helmets, spray jackets and custom-made rafting equipment
  •  Lunch on a private mid-river island
  • FREE vehicle shuttle from Kampala to Jinja
  • BBQ snack after the trip
No rafting or swimming experience is necessary (minimum age is 16 years)

 There are special prices for Ugandans (proof of identity is required !!)

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

MOUNT ELGON AND SIPI FALLS

The spectacular Mount Elgon area provides some of the most incredible countryside in Uganda. The mountain is said to have one of the largest surface area of any extinct volcano in the world and is peppered with cliffs, caves, gorges and waterfalls. The caldera covers some 40 square kilometres at the top of the mountain. The Sipi Falls in the foothills of the mountain has to be the most beautiful and romantic waterfall in the country.
Mt. Elgon
 Sipi is actually a series of three tall waterfalls all plunging along the lower slopes of Mt Elgon (the 4th highest peak in Africa shared between Eastern Uganda and Western Kenya).

The Sipi River is named after the ‘Sep’, a plant indigenous to the banks of the river. Resembling a type of wild banana, Sep is a medicinal plant, the translucent green frond with a bolt of crimson rib is used for treating measles and fever.
The Sipi Falls area is particularly famous for locally grown Bugisu Arabica coffee. Bugisu Arabica only grows at an altitude of between 1,600 and 1,900 metres.
 The Bagisu and the Sabiny are the two ethnic tribes around the mountain. They practice subsistence farming and conduct circumcision ceremonies every year to prepare young men/women for challenges of adulthood. The two communities have made agreements with the park for sustainable harvest of traditional forest products.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

LAKE BUNYONYI (PLACE OF MANY LITTLE BIRDS)

Lake Bunyonyi
"Bunyonyi" means 'many little birds'. The lake lies in south western Uganda between Kisoro and Kabale close to the border with Rwanda. Located at 1,962 m above sea level, it is about 25 km long and 7 km wide. The depth of the lake is rumored to vary between 44 m and 900 m, which if true would make it the second deepest in Africa. It is one of the few lakes in the region that is free of bilharzia and safe for swimming. It is a popular location for watersports and is known for the surrounding terraced hillsides. It is popular with both foreign and domestic tourists and there is a wide array of tourist accommodation.
 Present in the lake are Mud fish, Cray fish and Mirrowcarp - and plenty of their predators, otters.
 The area's inhabitants are from the Bakiga and the Batwa (pygmy) tribes.
Punishment Island (Akampene)
One of the more popular islands is called Akampene or Punishment Island. The Bakiga used to leave unmarried pregnant girls on this small island with a lone tree - to die of hunger or while trying to swim to the mainland (swimming skills were rare). This was to educate the rest, to show them not to do the same. A man without cows to pay the brideprice could go to the island and pick up a girl. The practice was abandoned in the first half of the 20th century. Although this practice has been abandoned, it is still possible to find women who were picked up from punishment island today.