The main significance of traffic rules and symbols is for ensuring safety of all road users-motorists, bicyclists, vehicle passengers, the scooter riders, pedestrians and drivers. You will agree that there are numerous challenges, hurdles and risks on the road, which can bring about harm as well as put riders at high risk. Traffic rules and guidelines are applicable to the different road users in the roads, vehicles and the general public. When it comes to driving in Uganda along the Expressway, it is important to follow different safety rules and procedures.
First, there is only one Expressway in Uganda-the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, the four-lane toll road managed by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to connect the International Airport (at Entebbe) to the Capital City (Kampala). The safety rules to be followed have broken down into; how to prepare before driving on the expressway, when joining the Expressway, expressway driving rules, when leaving the expressway and they include;
Before reaching the Expressway
- It is important to plan in advance with much traveling time
If you have plans of using the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway for a long distance journey, as it is with most drivers, we advise our clients to plan their driving route to include where and when to take breaks between driving.
Check-out the prevailing traffic and weather conditions of your safari destination as well as places from Television and Radio along the way and make sure that they are included on your plans.
- Conduct checks on the vehicle
Make sure that the cooling water, fuel, engine oil and tires are on point before undertaking trips through the Expressway to avoid any possible car breakdowns while driving along the toll road. Additionally, make sure that you have a spare tire, first aid kit, maintenance tools and flashlight.
When connecting from an entry road to the Expressway
- Alternate the direction signal in advance
While joining the entry road, drivers are advised to first give a change-of-direction signal in advance as a way of alerting other road users to avoid accidents.
- Accelerate along the Entry road
If it is safe to do so, you can go ahead to accelerate the vehicle along the entry road to join with the expressway traffic at the same speed.
Safety guidelines while driving along the Expressway
- Follow the recommended speed limit
Most accidents along the Expressway happen because of speeding and to keep safe, make sure that you slow down at the entrance and exit points. The recommended speed limit for driving along the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway is 100 kilometers per hour on the Busega-Entebbe Airport extent and 80 kilometers per hour on the Munyonyo stretch.
- Maintain a safe driving distance
Keeping a safe driving distance is one of the important prerequisites for preventing road accidents along the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, and this distance changes according to road conditions and weather. However, the minimum is 60 meters from other vehicles.
- Always drive in the designated lanes
Even after overtaking a slowly moving vehicle using the passing lane along the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, it is advisable to return to your original lane without risking other drivers behind or ahead of you.
- Don’t brake suddenly
Even If your vehicle tire loses air while driving along the Expressway, avoid braking immediately and suddenly because it is detrimental to other road users. In such circumstances, strongly grip the steering wheel then release the gas pedal to slowly reduce speed.
Other important safety guidelines to be followed while driving on the Expressway include not using your phone when driving, reducing driving speed during or after bad weather condition, always keeping left, only driving vehicles in good mechanical condition as well as not drinking and driving.
Safety procedures when the vehicle breakdown
- First, pull over and stop along the left side of the road and if possible, exit the Kampala – Entebbe Expressway.
- Report to the Expressway patrolling Officer, especially if it is difficult to take emergency measures or better still report via the Emergency telephone.
- The hazard lights should be turned on to indicate that your vehicle is making a stop, because of a break down or any other reason.
Safety procedures when exiting the Expressway
- Take care and adjust speed
When entering a general road, take care and adjust your speed because you might feel you are driving at 60 kilometers per hour when it is actually 80 kilometers per hour. However, first indicate when you connect to the exit road, followed by reducing speed in the exit road.
- If you are not continuing until the end of the Kampala – Entebbe Expressway, leave by the exit road
- Always pay attention to the warning signs that indicate approach to the exit road to avoid being taken by surprise.
Planning for a holiday in Africa but wondering about which place to visit? A Uganda offers tourists with various experiences ranging from gorilla trekking to other adventures like classic wildlife game viewing and cultural interaction experiences.
1. Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi
A gorilla safari to Bwindi is one of the must do activities that can be taken by travelers to Uganda. No wonder today, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the number on visited tourist destination in Uganda. This park offers the lifetime opportunity to watch the endangered mountain gorillas in the wild. The mountain gorillas are among the biggest of all apes! They can be found only in three countries in the world; Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic republic of Congo.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forests hosts nearly half of the total population of the mountain gorillas. For over two decades, Bwindi National Park is the best site for gorilla treks, adventures on foot aimed at tracking down the family of gorillas. The tracking experience is challenging with a lot of excitement as you come across other primates like monkeys while also spotting different bird species.
The less known Mgahinga National Park is another amazing place to see the mountain gorillas in Uganda. Despite gorilla tracking, Mgahinga also offers the chance of seeing the golden monkeys within the park, hiking the volcanic mountains, and enjoying the scenic beauty of both Uganda and Rwanda.
2. Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale Forest
Tracking the wild and noisy chimpanzees of Kibale National Park also gives the best safari experience for Uganda travelers. Located in Western Uganda, Kibale is one of the best places on the African continent to see the chimpanzees. The park has the highest density of chimpanzees and the chimpanzee tracking experience is incomparable to other destination in the world. A chimpanzee tracking safari is one of the exciting safaris that you will not want to miss. Come and track the human-like animal in this forest and have a chance to see the closest living relative of human being that has not evolved. Apart from chimpanzess the park also hosts 13 other primates species that include monkeys, pottos, galagos etc.
3. A Wildlife Safari
A game viewing safari in various savanna national parks offers the amazing experience of enjoying wild game on which you will see the traditional wild animals of Africa. A game drive is one of the best activities that offer you the advantage of seeing the wild games in their natural habitats. Visiting the Savannah National Parks of Murchison falls, Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo and Kidepo is a better option to view wild game such as elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras, hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, various tribes of antelopes etc. Enrich your experience while on your safari visit by seeing the Pride of lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, spotted hyenas, herd of buffaloes, giraffes among other. Feel free to enjoy a family safari on one of the wildlife safaris in Uganda.
4. Cultural Safaris
Uganda is also a culturally diverse destination with over 65 tribes that have got impressive heritage depicted in their unique dances and performances, arts and crafts, ceremonies and festivities and norms and customs. The Imbalu circumcision ceremony for example among the Bagisu is a memorable cultural encounter that can make your stay in Uganda really amazing.
5. Rwenzori Mountain Trekking
The mythical mountains of the moon – the Rwenzori National Park offers a great hiking experience on the African continent. Located in western Uganda along the Uganda-Congo border, the Rwenzoris rise to 5,109m. The central circuit trail takes you up to the equatorial snow peaks, the third highest point in Africa. A hike takes you through various vegetation zones moorland, bamboo and rich, moist montane forest. A typical hiking trip takes nine- to twelve-day tour in Uganda!Read More
Uganda’s Great Rift Valley with Queen Elizabeth National Park & Semliki National Park.
Which fact would you rather know:
That Ernest Hemingway did not die in either of the two plane crashes he suffered in Uganda but actually shot himself?
That Lake George may drain like a bath if the soft strata rock which the Semliki River flows down is eroded down by two meters?
Fortunately, you don’t have to choose because Andrew Roberts (an Englishman who moved to Uganda over a decade ago and was described as a ‘prejudiced’ Brit of ‘sheer colonial predisposition’ in a recent newspaper review.) gives you history, geography and science that’s both serious and fun in this detailed and enjoyable short book about a small corner of Uganda.
‘Uganda’s Great Rift Valley’ describes the area in which Uganda’s tourism attractions are most densely concentrated; the 500km Albertine Rift Valley in the west of the country, and the turbulent headwaters of the Nile (also a direct result of rift valley tectonics). Diverse natural attractions range from the national parks of the hot rift valley floor, where game animals roam the grasslands of Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls and rare birds and primates spill over from the Congo basin into the Semliki Forest, to the icy 5000m peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains, known to the Ancient Greeks as the ‘Mountains of the Moon’ – the legendary snowy sources of the Nile.
The book is essentially a compilation of snippets on every subject; history, wildlife, anthropology, geology, plate tectonics, combined with short interesting stories. The book is in three parts.
The first part of the book describes the features of the rift valley while the second tackles its wide ranging history, including the formation of the rift and the White Nile, hot springs and volcanoes, human evolution in the East African rift system, the lake kingdoms and Victorian explorers, and early tourists such as Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt:
“The ex-President’s approach to obtaining representative species of East Africa fauna might kindly be described as enthusiastic. During eleven months on the continent he amassed 4,900 mammals, 4,000 birds, …. These included … lion (9), elephant (8), Black Rhino (8), the rarer white rhino (5), Giraffe (7), Buffalo (6), Topi (12), Uganda Kob (10) and a Shoebill.”
and the Queen Mother (who in 1925 carried a .275 Rigby and knew how to use it).
Part Three is a much needed guide to Queen Elizabeth National Park – the first since stocks of a previous book ran out in 1997!
All interesting stuff and worth a read.Read More
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has made an appeal to the international community to embrace Uganda as a tourist destination again, after two years of low business.
Launching a new campaign dubbed Explore Uganda, Museveni said that while Africa has not suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic as much as the rest of the world in terms of deaths, Uganda has performed even better than most of African countries.
Before the outbreak two years ago, Uganda’s tourism sector was earning the country $1.2 billion dollars or about Sh3.7 trillion in 2019, from 1.6 million visitors. Income from foreign tourists accounted for more than 60 percent of these totals.
The Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities then had predicted that in 2020, the number of visitors would grow to 1.8 million and the earnings to $1.6 billion.
A 2019 Uganda Tourist Expenditure and Motivation Survey (TEMS) done by the Ministry amongst 4,184 foreign visitors to Uganda, found that slightly more than half of the visitors to Uganda, were returning visitors. And more than 60 percent of visitors said they were most likely to return shortly, to Uganda.
To return to this position and grow the sector further, the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), decided to launch a new effort by rebranding “Destination Uganda”, and take on the evolving challenges in the market environment.
At the launch of the campaign themed: Rebranding the Pearl of Africa, President Museveni challenged those responsible for planning for the sector to get a new and unique message that will attract the world to Uganda.
He for example emphasised the need to sensitise the world on Uganda’s culture, the peace and the safety in terms of health, noting how the country has been able to deal with lethal disease outbreaks.
Uganda has been promoted by the UTB as a destination that is not only packed with “everything rare, precious and beautiful in Africa” but these resources are spread over an even smaller geographical area.
However, according to Museveni, the country has a lot that has not been explored.
On culture, the president said Uganda and African way of life has even more advantages that the world can learn from, especially how it has contributed to the fight against COVID-19.
Museveni argued that the disease was largely devastating to older persons and in the west, these are usually bundled into congested institutions, away from family care, unlike in Africa.
This is the latest of the several campaigns the sector leadership has launched and run in an effort to try and improve visitor numbers and earnings. UTB says, that in 2019, the campaigns and other initiatives including those targeting domestic tourism, African Tourists and the international ones, was starting to bear fruit, only for the trend to be reversed by COVID-19.
Lillian Ajarova, the Uganda Tourism Board Executive Director, said this time, they have made wide-reaching research and consultations before coming up with the brand message.
Among the issues targeted is for tourists to come to Uganda and stay longer, wish to come back and even recommend Uganda as a destination to friends and relatives.
The event that was aimed at bringing together all players in the tourism sector, was however boycotted by a group of tour operators led by the president of the Uganda Tourism Association, Herbert Byaruhanga.
He claimed that the government and UTB had not consulted them in the drafting this campaign as well as other policy-making decisions, adding that they did not even benefit from the government COVID- 19 relief packages.
However, this was dismissed as untrue by UTB. Speaking at the event, Ajarova sadi the launch of this campaign is also aimed at helping the players who are currently distressed, including helping them access affordable financing.
The Chairman of the UTB, Daudi Migereko vowed that they will continue helping the private sector do business easily because there is no way tourism can thrive without them.
He also added that they have compiled and submitted to government what the sector demands of them, including easing the credit and taxation regimes.Read More
“Offering a friendship in which people are not reduced to their problems or sicknesses; they are looked at and embraced for the infinite dignity of their humanity.” – Meeting Point International Mission Statement
The virus that causes HIV and AIDS is harmful to more than an individual’s physical wellbeing. People with the virus risk losing their loved ones and friends as a result of social stigma surrounding the disease. Adults must face telling their wives, husbands and children about the infection, and often fear telling anyone at all.
Meeting Point International, set up in three offices in and around Kampala – Kireka, Naguru and Kintintale, strives to end this stigma by speaking about HIV/AIDS and its consequences openly and honestly. Through home visits and counseling groups, workers reach out to the sick and at-risk. MPI goes a step beyond most aide organizations by educating adults, coordinating efforts between hospitals and providing on-site nursing care and medicine for the sick.
With donations from the United Nations’ World Food Programme, MPI feeds the sick and hungry, as well as more than thirty orphans who live in Meeting Point International’s Welcoming House. AVSI is MPI’s largest donor, but USAID, CESAR and individual contributions also keep the programme running.
AVSI teams up with Meeting Point International to create a sponsorship programme for children, through which individuals from all over the world can provide school fees and necessities for children in need. Sponsors open doors for their “adopted” children and receive photos and letters in return.
Recovering patients often work for MPI, eliminating the shame felt by many newcomers. Workers who are HIV positive provide living examples to those who fear for their futures. Stories shared between workers and patients create bonds powerful enough to lift individuals out of their depression, giving them the hope they need to carry on.
People in financial trouble, the elderly and the orphaned are all aided by Meeting Point International. MPI provides loans so that those in need can begin new small businesses, such as selling fruits and making bricks. Beads for Life, necklaces of hand-made beads created with magazine pages, also provide income for women who have retired from the rock-breaking business because of sickness in their families. No one’s problems are too large or small for the hearts of workers, and a solution can be found for everyone.
At Meeting Point International, people work not just to alleviate the suffering of their neighbors, but to create lasting relationships that foster happiness and good health.
To find out how you can help with MPI, contact the director, Rose Busingye, at +256 (0)77 626 757.Read More
Uganda has been the best destination in Africa in hosting international conferences and events. The pearl of Africa ranked the 6th position on July 11, 2020 confirmed by International Congress and Convention Association which heads the world leading association for the global events, conference and meetings.
Historically for the past 5 years, Uganda has been ranked consistently in the 10 top listed hosting international conferences and events in African destinations. Uganda ranked the 10th position in a four point advancement report of 2018. In 2019, Uganda hosted 22 association meetings such as Africa Now Summit, the 64th common wealth parliamentarian conference, 4th African Judicial Dialogue and many others. Due to so many international conferences in Uganda, foreigners, domestic, regional people also contributed on making Uganda the best destination for meetings, events and conferences.
Lilly Ajarova the CEO UTB not only mentioned 2019 conferences but also 2020 conferences that were held in Uganda. She said that in 2020, Uganda had organized and scheduled to host a number of notable conferences and meeting that had to be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These include Africa Climate week, the G77 Summit, CBR World Congress, the AFRAA Conference, Africa climate Week and world Health summit.
She concluded that as Uganda continues to grow its MICE industry, the next few years will see our association meetings increase as the world normalizes in the post COVID -19 era.
How special is Uganda about the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events)?
- Uganda offers the best safety with ease of entry to those visitors who want to access visa upon the arrival.
- There are various connecting flights options on our central location on the Africa continent.
- The pearl of Africa offers a wholesome e international meetings experience for all or large groups with a complete pre and post conference tour experience
- The assured Uganda Airlines are well known to be faster and direct flights to the pearl of Africa.
- Uganda has the large international conferences of upto 2500 delegates on the breezy shores of Lake Victoria and with a quite number of touristic attractions like national parks.
Why book your MICE tour to Uganda?
Uganda is not only known in hosting international meetings, events and conferences. It is a country that is full of amazing wonders. Popular touristic attractions include mountain gorillas that live in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. On a guided Uganda safari, also expect to see the tree climbing lions in ishasha sector, chimpanzees in Kibale national park and the big five safaris in savanna national parks.Read More
Find out what you need to know about the fee rental companies charge if you want to pick up a rental car in one place and drop it off somewhere else. A few Uganda Car hire companies charge a one-way fee to cover the cost of taking the car back to its original location.
Want to rent a car in a location and return it to a different one? How about returning the car in another country? Here’s what you need to know.
Different pick-up and drop-off locations FAQ
Can you return a rental car in a different location?
Yes, you can return the car in a different location. Usually, this is called “one-way rental”. However, please note that, an extra fee may be applied to your reservation.
Does it cost more to return a rental car in a different location?
Usually, rental companies charge a return fee, but it depends on the pick-up and drop-off location, date of reservation, car category and more. A good way to know how much the return will cost is to search for the price of the rental returning the car in the same location and with different pick-up and drop-off locations.
Can you return a car in a different country?
This is most common in Uganda, where crossing borders is fairly easy. Usually, rental companies will let you cross borders with the rental car, but a cross-border fee may be also applied in addition to the one-way rental fee. For example COMESA is paid for two weeks.
As the rules vary a lot depending on the location and the rental company, we always suggest you check the specific policies of each city, country and company.
Can you rent a car without a one-way or return fee?
It’s not common, but it happens. For highly popular road trips, this may be the case. For example, a lot of people rent a car from Uganda and drop it off in Uganda no return fee. Depending on the Company’s policy.
What is a one-way fee in car rental?
A one-way fee is what you pay to pick up a hire car in one place and drop it off somewhere else. Car hire companies charge the fee to cover the cost of taking the car back to its original location.
One-way fees can be charged when you take a car between cities or towns, between airports and between countries.
When will you pay the fee?
You’ll be asked to pay the one-way fee when you pick up your rental car. Most car hire companies ask you to pay the one-way fee using the same credit card you use to leave your security deposit. Some will let you pay the fee with another card.
You’ll pay for the one-way fee at the rental desk, not when you pay for your car. So if you’re renting a car abroad, you might end up paying the one-way fee in a different currency.
How can you get a good deal?
To get the best price, book the trip you’re planning up front. So if you know you’re picking up and dropping off in different places, start your search with them. If you book your hire car using the same pick-up and drop-off location, but then decide to change it, you are likely to pay extra charges.
Look out for all-inclusive deals. Some rental companies may include the one-way fee in the price you pay online for your booking but most don’t include it online so it’s better to ask the car rental Company, so there will be nothing to pay when you pick up your car. You’ll find all the information in the Ts & Cs of the car you’ve chosen.
Changing your plans at the last minute
If you booked a straightforward trip (dropping your car off in the same place you picked it up) but then decide to drop off your car in a different location before your rental starts, you’re likely to pay a price increase for the rental itself.
This is because changes to your trip tend to be made using the latest price, and prices tending to rise the closer it gets to the pick-up day. So, the later the changes, the higher the price of the car. The one-way fee will be charged on top of the rental price, when you arrive to pick up the car.
If you decide to drop off your car in a different place once you’ve picked it up, you’ll be charged a penalty fee rather than just a one-way fee. Penalty fees are always higher, so they are worth avoiding wherever possible.
How to find the one-way fee
When you’re booking a one-way rental, you’ll see references to the fee in a few different places. The first mention of it (how much it is, whether it’s included or not) should be in the list of cars available for the places and dates you’ve chosen.
You’ll see more details about the one-way fee in the Ts & Cs of your deal.
When you pick up your car, you should see the fee mentioned in the paperwork you sign at the counter. You might see the fee referred to by its initials.
On your bank statement, you’ll see this fee as a charge from the car hire company. All the fees they’ve charged will be in one amount. You should see a breakdown of all charges in the paperwork you receive when you pick up and drop off your rental car.
If you’ve been charged a one-way fee but you haven’t done a one-way trip with your rental car, you can fight that charge.
Why are one way car rentals so expensive?
The main factor that causes one way fees too expensive is the distance between destinations. The further your pick up and drop off points are, the more expensive your rental will be. This is because you are essentially rearranging a company’s fleet and they have to determine how much it would be to return the car or rent it out from a different branch. One way prices are also often determined by supply and demand. If you are moving a vehicle from somewhere it is in high demand to a location where it is in low demand, you’ll likely pay a steeper fee.
When do I pay the fee?
One way fees are usually paid at the beginning of your car hire, when you leave your deposit at the rental desk, not online during booking. This means if you are renting a car abroad, the fee may have to be paid in a foreign currency. However, this may not always be the case, so keep a clear record of what you paid ahead a time.
Can I always drop off my rental car at a different location?
No, certain restrictions often apply to one way car hires. Suppliers may only allow you to drop off a rental at select locations due to insurance policies and border-crossing regulations. However, even big name suppliers with hundreds of locations may restrict one way rentals based on demand.
Renting a car to enjoy everything in a city and the road have to offer is always a great choice, but sometimes you’ll find yourself thinking returning the rental car in a different location or country, may be easier than driving back to where you picked it up. Now, can you even return it in a different location? Because of the above currently asked questions.Read More
The Rwenzori Mountains were gazetted as a national park in 1991, recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1994 and a Ramsar site in 2008. These classifications testify to the mountains’ international scientific importance. The word ‘Rwenzori’ roughly translates as ‘Rainmaker’, which clearly illustrates the importance of the mountains to Central Africa.
Rwenzori Mountains, previously called the “Ruwenzori Range” is a mountain range of eastern equatorial Africa, located on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). These mountains support glaciers and are one source of the Nile River.
Rwenzori Mountains has the height of 5,109 meters (16,762 ft.). The highest Rwenzori peaks are permanently snow-capped. The Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Virunga National Park are located in the range.
Climbing Mount Rwenzori is one of the tough adventures anyone could undertake in Uganda. The Rwenzori being a mountain range, it means that reaching the top goes through many literal up and down trails. This isn’t the same case for regular mountains where the ascent to the summits means climbing only. What all this means is that Rwenzoris are harder to climb even though the highest peak ranks third in Africa.
Can beginners climb Rwenzori?
Yes! The best Rwenzori climbing experience as a beginner, you should be fully aware of the conditions, seasonal weather patterns, costs, and requirements to prepare yourself for this challenge.
Here are the tips you should know before climbing Rwenzori.
Skill level and age
If you are new to mountain climbing, there’s no need to worry. Although the climb to the mountain’s summit is a multi-day, high-altitude trek, you do not necessarily have to be trained in climbing to get to the top, especially with a tour guide helping you. At the right time of year, the terrain and trail conditions are smooth enough for most committed hikers to reach the peak. One of the few restrictions you’ll find for climbing Mount Rwenzori is age. Only those over the age of 10 can embark on this climb.
Go slow & drink lots of water
One of the most common phrases you will hear on the mountain is “go slow”. When climbing 10 – 20 thousand feet, it is important to pace yourself. The slower you go, the more oxygen you will get in your body and the better you will acclimatize.
Pack the right gear and bring a headlamp & extra batteries
Packing the Right Gear for Rwenzori is essential when climbing. When you are in camp you won’t have any electricity, so it is important to prepare for low light situations. Whether you are camping or staying in the huts, your eating area and bathroom will both be a short walk from where you are sleeping. When it is dark, this can be very difficult if you don’t have a headlamp or other way to light up the path in front of you.
Tipping is optional yet expected
Tipping is a good gesture, but not necessarily, a common practice. When hiking Rwenzori, tipping is a bit different. The crew that takes you up the mountain consists of a lead guide, assistant guide, chef, and a team of porters plays a huge role in the success of your summit, making sure that you take the proper precautions in what you eat, when you sleep, and how much you climb each day. Tipping guides and porters after the hike is important. You are directly helping their families and local communities with your tip.
Booking a Rwenzori guide
If you want to successfully climb the Rwenzoris on your first try, it is worth booking a local tour agency to help guide you along the way. Climbing to an altitude of nearly 5,000 meters is no picnic but can be accomplished by most hikers with the assistance of a guide that knows the terrain and local environment. Here is some knowledge you can expect your guides to be well equipped with.
The terrain and trail conditions of multi-day treks vary especially on the Rwenzoris. That is why having a guide who knows how to approach each evolving landscape will assure you that you are prepared for anything.
As will be mentioned below, the weather on Rwenzori Mountains will vary. Having the insight and experience to approach the contrasting conditions on your way up to the summit will be vital.
You can count on professional guides to give you and each individual on your tour consistent safety checks throughout the expedition. This is to monitor health-risks such as altitude sickness, fatigue, and other mountaineering protocols.
Safety tips for climbing the Rwenzori Mountains
Even if you have all the gear and meet all the requirements for starting your climb up the Rwenzoris, you still need to know a few safety protocols to ensure you have a safe journey. This is why having an experienced tour guide by your side on your first climb is encouraged; they’ll have all the necessary equipment on hand such as emergency oxygen, should an emergency occur. They can also perform regular safety checks and make sure you’re doing well as you climb higher up the mountain.
However, personally looking after your safety is just as crucial; keeping yourself aware and alert throughout the trek will be just as essential to ensure the safety of you and everyone on your trip. Here are some vital safety tips to keep in mind on your journey:
When you are hiking, especially on multi-day, high-altitude treks, you should remember that it is a marathon, not a race. Taking your time and not being in a rush can help you avoid fatigue. Remember, it is the journey, not the destination.
Take frequent breaks
It is much better to stop, take a breath, and relax throughout the day to keep you from burning out in the end. This becomes increasingly important as you get closer to the summit, where the air becomes thinner and the chances of altitude sickness increase with each step.
If you can acclimatize to higher altitudes before beginning your trek, you will feel more fit and prepared for what’s ahead on your way up the top. An excellent way to do this is to arrive at your destination a couple of days earlier and condition yourself with some day hikes.
There is probably nothing more important than staying hydrated on your Rwenzori climb. Frequently drink water throughout the day and while resting in the evening.
Following these safety tips can amount to having a safe and enjoyable experience on any hike, especially when dealing with long-distance treks that reach an altitude as high as Mount Ruwenzori’s.
How to prepare for Mountain Rwenzori Hiking tour
You cannot wake up one day and start hiking mountain Rwenzori. The adventurous venture needs mental and physical preparedness. Firstly, you have to book this tour through any of the companies offering mountaineering services to Rwenzori Mountain.
Rwenzori Mountaineering services are the renowned agent for hiking Rwenzori hiking safaris. More so, ensure to do physical exercises to ensure you are physically fit for this strenuous hike. Among the recommended physical exercises include jogging, walking, hiking and stretch ups among others. Your mind should be ready to conquer his high mountain. A traveler who begins a hike when not mentally ready stands high risks of failing to reach the summit.
Is it safe to climb the Rwenzori Mountains?
Hiking the Rwenzori ranges is absolutely safe. Its records of the past hikers reveals, it is safe since there are less cases of people dying or getting ill from climbing it.
The accommodation facilities like the huts and the rock shelters are well set up in that the adverse climate does not affect people while sleeping at night.
The guides are well trained and also have the basic skills and tool for the first aid treatment in case one gets a healthy problem. The guides also offer briefing to the trekkers on how to hiker the mountains with maximum safety.
The trek trails leading to the ranges are well established with minimum sloppiness and slipperiness.
What to pack for hiking Mount Rwenzori
Undertaking such an adventure is very brave and it is very crucial that you pack all the essential things you will need. Below is an extensive listing of all the things you should pack and why you should carry them for you Rwenzori climbing adventure.
Since hiking Rwenzori Mountain is an extensive activity with the energy being drained and spending several days on this hike, there are specific tools and items a hiker must have to enhance him/her to complete the task. Below are some of the things to pack for a Rwenzori hike:
Clothing: a hiker is required to carry both light and heavy layer clothes for hike due to changing climatic conditions, the lower part of the ranges are hot and the upper part is extremely cold since it is snowcapped. The temperatures can go as low as 0°C. It is advisable to carry water proof clothes like tracksuits, raincoats and the jackets. Gears like beanies, caps and headlamps should also be brought along.
Footwear: the shoes should be hiking boots with enough studs on them to give a hiker enough grip of the ground while trekking on the trails.
Food stuffs: Since it takes days to complete the Hike to the top of Mt Rwenzori and it is energy draining, you need to carry drinking water, energy drinks, canned and dry foods and also snacks like biscuits to eat in order to compensate for the burnt calories.
Backpack and Sleeping Bags: the hiker should have a perfectly sized backpack to carry his/her equipment and also convenient to carry. The sleeping bags must be at hand and this should be rain / water proof. A woolen blanket for covering yourself since it is cold at the Rwenzori ranges.
Other Accessories: there are some things that a person on an adventurous expedition must possess to make the adventure both convenient and interesting. Things like camera, insect repellents, sunglasses, a portable music player and torch among others.
Best Time to Hike the Rwenzori
The dry months of the year are the best time of hiking Rwenzori in Uganda. Therefore two peak seasons of trekking the magnificent ranges are naturally designed. These are the June-October months and from December-February, this is when the routes leading to the peak destinations are dry and passable and also when the sun is out perfect to visibly see the different wildlife species and also other physical features like the glaciers and cliffs.
It is also possible to trek the Rwenzori Mountains in the wet months of November, December, April and May unlike in the past when the hiking amenities on the ranges i.e. the accommodation Huts, the trekking paths and hiking equipment were less developed. Lately, the aforementioned have been improved and well skilled guides are in place for an ultimate hiking safari. However, sometimes the hikers find it a challenge to climb to the top of Mt Rwenzori in the wet season due to the steep, sloppy, slippery and muddy trails when it rains.
Conclusion, if you are interested in Rwenzori Trekking in Uganda, you will be happy to hear that the experience is open to just about everyone. You just have to be prepared and by following the tips offered above, you’ll be ready to cross climbing Mount Rwenzori off your bucket list in no time.Read More
Take a Uganda safari road trip, visiting some of the best ecotourism sites and wilderness with excellent outdoor adventure possibilities. To set off on a road trip around Uganda is a true adventure’s spirit. Even if you have only a day tour or arrange a safari and make reservations a head of time to spend several days on a trip. Visitors will need to check out places, arrange a vehicle from one of the car rental services in Kampala and driver guide or look to use scheduled coaster buses but that would on your trip plans and convenience. There are no limitations before your road trip to experience Uganda. Whether its traditional customs and culture tour for a sweet taste of Ugandan food, bush camping experience, primate tracking, wildlife viewing, mountain climbing, birding, white water rafting, rain forest canopy zip lining or exploring Sesse islands and cities like Kampala, Fort Portal, Jinja source of the Nile, Mbale or Kabale. Expect a rewarding African holiday experience.
The explosion crater lakes Western Uganda
The explosion crater lakes trail stretches in and outside Queen Elizabeth national park including the Katwe crater lakes, the Fort Portal town Crater Lakes, the Ndali-Kasenda Craters and Bunyaruguru craters. It is easy to get, just 5-6 hours from Kampala city on a safari to western Uganda. The crater lakes are one of the top beautiful scenic places in the world, offering wild breathtaking views of rift valley floor and snow peaks of mountains of the moon.
Visitors need to spend a few days to appreciate nature, wildlife and stunning scenery. With bush camping experience at Edward flats, top of the world hike, 10 km hiking trail at Kabatooro in Queen Elizabeth national park, smooth drive through the western rift valley, visiting Sempaya hot springs where you can soak in mineral rich underground Semuliki river and Amabere caves at the base of Mountains of the moon. Spot many birds and primates along the shores of Lake Kigere where a foot print of the Bachwezi kingdom is legendary with opportunities for swimming, canoeing and traditional fishing.
Stay in one of many budget lodges and camps including those with honeymoon safari packages from where you can arrange biking, village walks to Katwe salt mining communities, agro tours in Kikorongo village sharing experience with local women and children support them and buy their hand crafts like baskets. Most of the locals earn from eco-tourism initiatives such bee keeping and making eco-stoves.
On top of exploring the craters if you still have time you can visit neighboring parks like Kibale for chimpanzee tracking, Bigodi wetland sanctuary, game drives for wildlife and boa boat cruise on kazinga channel. Note, however accommodations in Kibale national park or Queen Elizabeth National Park will require to you to make advance reservations.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
No matter which way you decide to travel to Mgahinga National Park where gold meets silver, the drive is not tough with paved roads but approximately long taking 9-10 hours from Kampala or just 3 hours coming from Queen Elizabeth national park or kibale. Visitors who land at Kigali international airport, you can access Mgahinga Park. Take a 2 hours drive across the northern border of Virunga shared by Uganda and Rwanda to kisoro with bumpy volcanic roads to Ntebeko the main visitor center in Mgahinga, where you will check with Uganda wildlife authority guides and pay for your activities.
Once you arrive, it’s clear you will realize that the road trip to Mgahinga gorilla national park was worth the effort. Gorilla trekking is the main activity but there’s much more to see and do including golden monkey tracking, birding, volcano hiking, BaTwa cultural encounters.
During your gorilla trek, choose from a good selection of places where to stay from some of the low cost community camp sites, guest houses, budget lodges to bungalows with nice rooms, private bathrooms and offer village walks.
Mgahinga gorilla national park is an eco-tourism paradise. With its 3 of the Virunga volcanoes shrouded in the clouds at an altitude of 2221 – 4,127 meters above sea level and filled with rare unique animals including golden monkeys, mountain gorillas, big game like buffalos, leopard, elephant, giant forest hogs, Albertine rift endemic birds like Rwenzori turaco, great blue turacos, and picnic swamp filled crater lakes, mysterious ancient BaTwa caves.
Get even closer to the rare habituated golden monkeys on a guided trek observe and take photos of them swinging through the tree. Full day hiking to the summits of Gahinga, Muhabura or Sabinyo is rewarding with scenic views the entire Virunga massifs and rift valley, colorful birds, lizards, jackals and picnic at the swamp craters.
After a day of hiking, take BaTwa cultural trail walk through the bamboo forest. Interact with BaTwa forest hunter gathers, learn about their ancient customs and culture. They demonstrate their traditional dances, hunting skills, fire making revolution and natural healing healthy medicinal herbs and legendary name Mgahinga meaning a pile of volcanic rocks found on Mt. Gahing one of the Virunga volcanoes.
Kampala to Mabira Forest Reserve
Mabira forest is Uganda’s central forest reserve highly threatened by encroachment. You’ll learn how eco-tourism is helping to save its biodiversity including 315 species of birds, rare primate species like Ugandan Magabay, ancient trees, orchids, variety of butterflies and flowers.
This short trip, only 2 hours drive along the Kampala-Jinja high takes to you Mabira forest reserve with best eco-tourism experience including eco-lodges and camps. You will break off from the adventures for lunch or dinner if you want to spend an overnight and the following continue to visit source of the Nile and Jinja city. Spend the day here doing a lot of activities including zip lining through the rainforest canopy is done morning to noon, nature walks along refreshing griffin falls, seeing some of the ancient large trees, butterflies viewing, bird watching, monkey tracking, mountain biking in and outside the forest.
Source of the Nile Jinja
River Nile is the longest in the world and best white water rafting destination in East Afric and this trip takes you to its source in Jinja the adventure capital of East Africa. It is accessible from Kampala city by 2 hours drive through sugar cane plantations and visit Sezibwa falls en route. There are many mysteries regarding discovery of source of the Nile and you’ll not leave minus breaking them with your local guide. Move on with exciting adventure activities. The main highlight is white water rafting but your holiday in Jinja is adventure packed.
Hard core rafters can enjoy the rushing grade five stretches of rapids while family rafters can float on calm waters or use speed jet boats with birding opportunities.
In the morning go for kayaking, boat cruises along Victoria Nile offer sunrise or sunset in the evening or spend 2 days on a house boats with food and accommodation on board. Enjoy horse-back riding across the Nile valley, bungee jumping, and mountain biking, all terrain quad biking. That’s Spend time exploring Jinja city markets and enjoying its fresh cool air from the Nile at the time without missing to relax and chill is riverside camps and lodges with amenities like sport rooms and free wireless internet. There are bars and restaurants that offer a variety of wine, liquor and Nile special beer which is locally sourced from the Nile breweries. The food is tasty and fish is usually caught locally.
Mount Elgon National Park and the hill tribes of Bamasaba
Mountain Elgon national park located in Eastern Uganda on border with Kenya offers a wonderful game viewing and mountain climbing experience. Mount Elgon’s Wagagai peak at 4231 meters above sea level has the largest caldera in the world. Hikers need camping tents to sleep in while climbing to the summit.
It has the most beautiful mountain scenery to experience nature including waterfalls, hot springs, gorges, cliffs, ancient caves and numerous streams make it a water catchment area. The most popular visited are the Sipi falls and Kapkwai exploration center where you spend time visiting villages interacting with hill tribes, then go for forest walks, coffee plantations tour, rock climbing. Mountain biking are great way to make excursions to Nyero rock paintings a special archeological site dating 3000 years indicating Nile valley civilizations and locals call it sacred place.
Mount Elgon is a UNESCO recognised biosphere reserve due to four vegetation zones with diversity of wildlife. The lower forested slopes are teeming with big game such as elephants, buffalos, zebras, waterbucks and over 300 birds providing you excellent game viewing and bird watching.
Mount Elgon national park makes a great road trip that can be done on a weekend. Easily accessible from Kampala by 4-5 hours drive passing via Mabira forest and jinja to Mbale town the largest town at the base of the mountain.
Kidepo Valley National Park
A full day drive through northern Uganda to kidepo Valley National Park takes travelers into a different side of Uganda with semi-arid deserts of Karamoja region, far away from the Albertine rift valley in the western Uganda. Many of the traditional karamajong villages along the way have local food and cultural experiences to enjoy before arriving at one of the few budget lodges in kidepo.
Great game viewing, birding and hiking bounds in the Narus and Kidepo river valleys famed for large herds of buffaloes than any other area in east Africa. You can also lions, leopards; cheetah, jackals, wolves, African hunting dog, elephants and giraffes and you to the dry murongole mountains on the border with south Sudan
Murchison Falls National Park
This trip takes you to Uganda’s largest conservation area Murchison falls National Park including Kaniyo-pabidi eco-tourism sites and Budongo forest reserve home to chimpanzees and other primate species. If you want to visit all of the sites on your road trip, include them in your itinerary. You can visit Murchison first then transfer to Budongo for chimpanzee tracking, primate viewing, and nature walks and make a good end of your trip back to Kampala.
On the way to Murchison you can stop at Ziwa Rhino sanctuary for white Rhino tracking on foot with a ranger, have lunch and enter the park with top of Murchison falls walk.
Murchison falls National Park’s landscape features some of the most beautiful in the world. Murchison falls are the strongest after Victoria Falls, Albert-Nile delta swamp, palm dotted savannah make home to 79 mammals and 400 species have put the park high up on many visitor’s bucket list. There are budget lodges such as pakuba safari lodge, paara safari lodge from where you can embark on game drives to spot lions, leopard, giraffe, buffalo, zebra, and boat cruise to the bottom of the falls offer sightings of hippos and water birds.
A drive around Lake Bunyonyi in southwestern Uganda is so interesting taking in outstanding natural beauty of the lake’s19 islands surrounded by picturesque terraced rolling hills. Getting to Lake Bunyonyi may be a long 8-9 hours drive but the journey is interesting with several stops from Kampala such as equator crossing, igongo cultural museum in Mbarara city and Bakiga museum.
The attractions include 19 islands which are explored by boat or traditional canoeing, visiting the local villages, and participating in traditional cooking experience, schools, picnic hills, hiking, and spotting birds and otters. To do all of them, you could spend the whole day but an overnight stay on the shores of the lake is enough to explore the lake and its surrounding.
Source of the Nile Jinja
Travelers who like to be active or want to spend a weekend holiday with family, Jinja is a perfect place to do it. On this trip you’ll be fascinated by the speeding rapids of River Nile, the longest in the world starts from here. Make your historical visit to the source of the Nile with excellent outdoor adventure activities every visitor on Uganda safari should explore. Top things to do include; white water rafting and identifying birds down the Nile grade five rapids to calm waters for family rafting. You’ll take hikes along the river and horseback riding across the Nile valley. Enjoy bungee jumping, all terrain Quad biking and go for sunset boat cruise as well as 2 day house boat on Victoria Nile.
In addition you can also tour Jinja town, the adventure capital of East Africa with accommodation ranging from camping facilities, bed and breakfast to luxurious. Some offer riverside relaxation, sport rooms and free wireless internet. The 2 hours drive from Kampala is one of the coolest passing through Mabira forest reserve, the only place for zip lining tours in Uganda. Stop at this eco-tourism site take forest walks to view primates, birds, butterflies and learn how human encroachment has affected the forest.Read More
The coolness of the morning quickly fades as we approach a Nubian household in Luwero district. Our group quickly takes refuge under the shade of a musaali tree where armchairs are laid out for us. The journey took us off the beaten tourist track, past swamp, tiny villages and mud wattle homes into the heart of Uganda. An excitement comes over me as I realise I am about to witness the basket making process from dyeing to weaving. Our Nubian hosts, clad in brightly coloured traditional garments called lesus, welcome us with warm smiles and greetings.
Zena, Kalili, Sauda and their group of Nubian artisans produce some of the finest baskets in Uganda. The Nubian basket is distinct from the raffia Kiganda basket as it is made out of a coarser, tougher grass-like material known as dis. A number of techniques are used to create complex patterns including the chequered effect used on a single row. They use four or more colours. Red, black and gold dominate their designs though green, ginger, brown, maroon and cream also feature. These colours have cultural significance associated closely with Nubian identity. Nubian handicrafts rarely contain blue – unless specifically commissioned for export – as it is considered a “private” or “inner” colour that is only used in one craft – a beaded waste band worn by women at night.
Sauda boils water in a large pot over an open fire. The artisans have assembled to dye colours for new basket designs. They have had to adjust to the increasing market demand for new and diverse colours and patterns. Sitting, they decide the order in which they will dye each colour to get the most from one pot. A bundle of small parcels are opened to reveal glittering powders. We un-braid the dis. Kalili pinches one colour to mix it with another using no measurement – just instinct and a keen eye.
The dye is added to the water and three bundles of dis are curled into it like spaghetti. They prod, stir and turn it with long sticks until it is ready. It is then lifted onto the grass to dry out. More dye is added, changing orange water to green. The process is repeated until ten colours lie out under a blazing sun. We can now enjoy a well deserved lunch.
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Technically once the dis is dry it is ready for weaving, but like raffia it has to be cooled, otherwise it will break or be difficult to work with. That is why you see women weaving in the early morning under a tree. Those using raffia leave it in the shade to cool before they go digging while those using dis cool and lubricate it with water.
Zena instructs me on how to weave a basket through demonstration. She is silent and I observe patiently until it is my turn to try. I struggle but I learn. When I make a mistake she shows me again. The craft has been passed down in this way for generations though some learned with no direct teaching. Those with talent learned quickly through experimentation, interest and necessity. Handicrafts provide a vital source of income for families, keeping them just above the breadline.
Zena has fingers like a guitar player – hard and cracked. The coiled rows of her basket consist of dis wrapped and sewn tightly around banana leaf stems. She works from the centre outwards. Stems and dis are added as she weaves, securely fastened with dis. She works on the protruding stems, spiking the row below with a needle to create a hole. She threads the wet dis from the back to the front over the stems and into the hole by hand. She moves with such agility and speed that I am convinced that it is all too easy. The design becomes more difficult, demanding a chequered effect. She continues to thread black dis around the stems but now she also lays cream dis flat on the row alternating whether it is above or below the black dis by folding. She produces two baskets per week – Baganda artisans produce four.
Through my own dismal efforts at weaving I realise how much effort and skill are required. It takes me three minutes to thread the first loop – that tiny hole caused me such grief! It needed strength and patience to mould its shape and design. I kept forgetting to add a colour at a particular place or fold the dis back and forth. Before, I had only seen the design in two dimensional terms, but now I appreciate its 3-D construction, artistry and intricacies. Take a closer look next time you see a basket to admire the culture and skill woven into one of Uganda’s most beautiful art pieces.Read More