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Rwanda & Uganda 2008
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Welcome to the pangolin.li travel diary of our trip to Rwanda and Uganda in February 2008.

Join in to my ramblings about our two-week wildlife trip, to see the rare mountain gorillas and golden monkeys in Rwanda rain forest, visit a grass-roots pre-school, the lovely lakes in the South of Uganda, the tree-climbing lions in Ishasha park, butterflies & bats in Maramagambo forest, savannah game and waterbirds in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and finally the chimps of Kibale...

Please choose a one-per-day diary from the right-hand menu, and visit the gallery with much more pictures.

 

If you are interested in supporting a local project to better the lives of Rwandan orphans, please click here.

 


Why Rwanda and Uganda?
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Tell your friends you're going to Rwanda and Uganda, and they get this concerned look...

  • No, Rwanda and Uganda are not insecure for the average tourist. They are well-developped wildlife destinations, yet far from mass tourism. Both countries have a sad history of war, genocide and unspeakable atrocities. But both countries have friendly, smiling, hospitable people. And once you've looked into the eyes of a mountain gorilla (and he in your's), you'll want to come back.
  • Uganda and Rwanda are no cheap backpacker destinations; accommodation in some tourist regions is sparse and expensive - as are the permits for gorilla and chimp tracking (500 and 70 US$, respectively). If your focus is on wildlife and nature, in the company of truly experienced guides, and you are into hassle-free luxury travel, then do choose Discovery Initiatives UK and the ground agent Volcanoes travel. They are more expensive than others, but the experience is worth it.
  • The standard first-timer itineraries are obvious (more or less what we did, plus Murchison Falls in Uganda and Nyungwe Forest in Southern Rwanda, if time allows). Booking accommodation online seems feasible, but getting gorilla permits online on short notice must be tedious.
  • Self-drive seems difficult to me, unless you have GPS waypoints. There are barely any road signs or directions, and road conditions can be abominable after rains. Better relax, and rely on Francis.
  • Take plenty of US$ in large denomination bills, aged 2000 and younger, or British Pounds. Most other foreign currency is worthless in Rwanda and Uganda, or can only be changed at ridiculous rates. There was one ATM in Entebbe accepting foreign cards (plus probably one in Kampala, and maybe one in Kigali).
  • Both countries are high-risk malaria regions; prophylaxis is of utmost importance. Do consult a travel clinic at least 6 weeks before your trip starts. There were cases of Ebola west of Fort Portal in 2007, but they didn't pose a danger to tourists. 
  • We used the Bradt Travel guides for Uganda and Rwanda, and were perfectly happy with both.



Last update:  23:00 04/06 2009
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PREFER updates
Prelude
1 - Flight to Kigali
2 - Kigali Genocide Memorial
3 - Drive to Virungas
4 - Gorilla Tracking Amahoro
5 - Gorilla Tracking Susa
6 - Golden Monkeys
6 - Pre-School visit PREFER
7 - Drive to Uganda
8 - Drive to Ishasha
9 - Drive to Jacana
10 - QENP Game drive
11 - Kyambura/Kazinga
12 - Drive to Kibale, Bigodi
13 - Chimp tracking 1
14 - Chimp tracking 2
15 - Drive to Entebbe
16 - Entebbe
17 - More Entebbe
18 - Too much Entebbe
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