Saturday, 24 September 2011

Health Tips for Travellers to Africa

1.       Don’t drink and drive, always wear a seatbelt and don’t go in a matatu get a private hire taxi
2.       Use your common sense and travel at reasonable hours not very late in the night to avoid robberies
3.       If you get diarrhoea drink a lot and treat it with Norfloxacin
4.       If you get a cold go to bed
5.       Malaria is one of the most common tropical diseases. It takes a minimum of seven-nine days for the fist symptoms of malaria to show after an infected bite. So take prophylaxis. These drugs are much cheaper here than in your home country and they can be acquired from most pharmacies
6.       Another tropical disease is Bilharzia which can only be got from swimming, paddling, bathing in fresh water lakes or rivers and can not be got from tap water. With the best white water rafting in the world one can go rafting but take Artenam to avoid worrying about Bilharzia.
7.       What about HIV/AIDS? The infection rate is down but there are plenty of young, educared, mobile, non monogamous, non celibate men and women out there who are HIGH RISK and interested in you. The sensible, responsible, HIV negative majority are negative because they are not into high risk lifestyle and so are not interested in you. If you cant keep your pants on, and if you are desperate, get tested it only takes two minutes or else get post exposure prophylaxis it reduces the risk to almost nil.  

Monday, 19 September 2011

Baby Elephant Rescued

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has rescued a two-month-old male baby elephant abandoned at Hamukungu Island on Lake George, near Katunguru trading centre in Kasese District.

The elephant named Charles Hamukungu after the fisherman who picked it and the island it was rescued from, was left behind by an elephant family from Queen Elizabeth National Park after fracturing its leg.

“He carried it in the boat to Hamukungu landing site and we called UWA rangers who carried it to UWA ranger post at Katunguru where they have been looking after it for two months. The baby elephant received treatment from Dr Margaret Driciru, a veterinary doctor, while at Katunguru, adding that UWA officials resolved to take it to the Uganda Wildlife Educational Centre (UWEC) in Entebbe. The animal is in a healthy condition and takes about two litres of milk per meal.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Male Gorilla Killed
Three suspected poachers have been arrested over the brutal killing of a 12-year-old male mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, south-western Uganda, on June 17. Four others are on the run.

The robust gorilla identified as Mizaano, who was the only black back in the Habinyanja mountain gorilla family, was speared to death as he tried to fight the poachers’ hunting dogs. The poachers had reportedly laid traps in the forest, targeting antelopes, duikers and other edible animals, but the traps caught the male gorilla instead.

The three suspects, who are alleged to be notorious poachers, are: Amos Kazongo, 52; Fidel Bemugisha,53 and Leonard Byamugisha, 22, all residents of Mpungu sub-county in Kanungu district. Those on the run were only identified as Bagoro, Mbabazi and Kashabe.

Conservation through Public Health (CTPH) doctors, headed by Dr Stephen Lubanga, carried out a postmortem whose preliminary finding showed that the gorilla died a brutal death because it was speared through the right side of the shoulder into the lungs, causing it to suffocate.

Mountain gorillas, the lifeline of Uganda’s tourism industry, are critically endangered, with only 720 individuals remaining in the world. More than a half of the total population is found in Bwindi, where they are threatened with encroachment on their habitat, low birth rates and zoonotic diseases.
Africa Gorilla tour

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Tours and travel in africa: Africa Birding 2011

Tours and travel in africa: Africa Birding 2011: Friday 30th September 2011 will be the BIG BIRDING DAY 2011! It is a day when bird ...

Africa Birding 2011

Friday 30th September 2011 will be the BIG BIRDING DAY 2011! It is a day when bird watching enthusiasts come together to celebrate Uganda’s famous bird species whose population is said to be one of the highest in Africa. It is the third consecutive year that the day will be celebrated after it was officially launched in October 2010. 
Uganda, with 11% of the global bird diversity, is regarded as Africa's best birding destination for ‘birders’ and other nature enthusiasts. With many bird species concentrated in large protected wilderness areas, a bird-watching trip to Uganda is the most leisurely in the east and central tropical bird-watching destinations. Uganda has more bird species per square kilometre than any other country in Africa. Uganda, the size of the UK, boasts of over 1050 species. This is about 50% of the bird species that can be found in the whole of Africa. This diversity is attributed to its variety of habitats, which include arid, semi-dessert, savannahs, lowland and montane rainforests, wetlands, volcanoes and an Afro-alpine zone..
Birds are a important part of our ecosystems. They are universal, penetrating the remotest deserts, oceans and mountains on earth. They are numerous, widely distributed, easily observed and form a vital part of our natural heritage.
Bird watching is a booming international business opportunity that attracts low volume, low impact and high return visitors that can boost rural tourism economies and support jobs in rural areas. Bird watching and birding remains one of the world’s leading recreational activities.
With more accessible birding and bird watching destinations available, there has been a massive increase in the number of bird watchers travelling the world over in search of birds to tick off the "life" list.
But despite the large number of birds in Uganda, very few Ugandans are aware of this rich diversity present in this country and this immense potential. The sector is more patronized by foreign visitors who come to watch special bird species, such as the shoe bill stock, etc.
For this reason, the conservation and tourism marketing partners: Nature Uganda, Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda Tourism Board, Uganda Bird Guides Association, Star Uganda, National Forest Authority, Uganda Community Based Association and Association of Tour Operators have come together once again to rekindle the interest in birding and create awareness through the “Uganda Big Birding Day” .
Economic benefits:
Birdwatchers are generally more independent, focused and committed than other travelers. The average age for birders is estimated at 25-55 with an equal distribution of men and women. Income levels are generally high among birders. Birds take priority over comfort and many birders will stay in basic local lodging establishments in order to see the species of interest to them.
The high expectations of many birdwatchers, combined with their high average incomes example, in 2008 less than 2000 birders spent about US$6M more than $3.3m spent on gorilla tracking in Uganda. Birding has a potential to generate over US$20-45million annually if 10,000 birders visited Uganda.
Also bird watching can generate the following benefits:
  • has the highest potential to create incentives for local community economic livelihoods that can easily motivate them to learn about the values of biodiversity and protect natural areas outside protected areas
  • has the highest potential to generate income at local levels and contribute to poverty alleviation while protecting natural areas,
  • Can result in large financial contributions to UWA and neighboring localities visited.
  • Given their education and high expectations, bird-watchers are more likely to make efforts to reduce their environmental impacts, to appreciate the distinctness and significance of different ecosystems and to pay the required protected-area fees while travelling.
For example avi-tourism is proving to be one of South Africa’s most powerful conservation tools. Tourism has outperformed all other sectors in South Africa’s economy, with two popular ‘Birding-routes’ generating an estimated US$6.4 million annually for local people. Although avi-tourism is developing in Uganda, it is mainly by tourists and very few locals

The Programme
29th September 2011
Flagging off the big birding groups will take place at midnight on 29th September 2011, after which each group will begin recording the different birds they identify in their chosen sites until midnight the following day. The groups will then submit their records to the tally centre at Nature Uganda offices, which will proceed to compile the results followed by an official announcement of the winners during the Big
30th September 2011
The day will be celebrated nation-wide through a series of activities including a big birding race that involves bird-watching groups competing in the race on who identifies the biggest number of bird species in their respective sites. Because it is a race, each group aims to record as many bird species that they have identified in their respective birding area that day.
The overall aim of this exercise is to see how many bird species can be recorded in a single day in our rich country Uganda. The event will also use bird watching to help bridge the information gap between bird conservation and tourism in Uganda. It will also link up all bird watchers, tourism promoters, conservationists and policy makers in the country and the rest of the world.
Free entry for all participants bird watching in National Parks, Wildlife Reserves and Forest Reserves on this day has been granted by UWA and NFA.
Birding Festival on Saturday 1st October 2011.
As part of this year’s Big Birding Day celebrations, a Birding Uganda website will be launched. The website will be the main avenue for promoting bird watching activities in Uganda, and will also provide as much information as possible to the international community about Uganda’s bird species.
The results of the Bird Counts will be announced and the winners recognized.
We will also show a documentary about Birds and listen to some speeches from prominent and inspiring Ugandans about Birds, their economic and Conservation Value.
There will be a lot of entertainment
The theme for the Event
The theme for the event is: Connecting Birds to People and Nature.
This theme is very relevant to this year because, if harnessed properly, people could substantially improve their welfare and the country could benefit from the value chain of the birding cycle in Uganda. However, we need to conserve the natural environments and habitat for these birds in order to realize these tangible benefits 
Initiatives to develop Birding in Uganda
  • Birding is slowly but surely being recognized on the tourism events calendar and is taking center stage with involvement of more and more stakeholders every year
  • Birding website has been developed with the technical and financial assistance of Star Uganda and partners
  • Training and up skilling of bird guides by USAGA and a lot guides trained. The Guides Certification process is ongoing
  • Birding trails have been cut in some of the protected areas and procurement of birding equipment such as binoculars, recorders and bird hides in the parks has commenced
  • A birding survey was implemented and findings of the study is now being used to improve the birding development
  • Checklists and Books on birding in Uganda are now available
  • Assorted promotional books on birding are also available
How the birding will be organised
The birding event will include guided nature walks throughout the country. We shall have expert ornithologists and bird guides from Uganda Wildlife Authority, Nature Uganda and Uganda Bird Guides Club (UBGC) who will lead participants at various locations to a competition on Bird watching throughout the country.
The event will be a 24 hour bird watching contest throughout the country, from midnight to midnight the following day. The event will involve selecting groups each with at least 2 members who are experienced bird watchers to confirm the species identification.
Special sites have been selected where efforts must be made to send teams for birding. These sites were chosen to represent all the different vegetation types in Uganda to try and record all birds that can be seen in Uganda. All birds seen and heard calling within these sites will be recorded.
A tally centre will be set up at Nature Uganda to receive all records from participating teams and summarise them. These will then be announced at the Big Birding Festival, which will be the climax of the events. 
The proposed sites for birding on the BBD include;
Bwindi Impenetrable NP, Mgahinga Gorilla NP, Kibale NP, Rwenzori Mountains NP, Tooro Semliki WR, Semiliki NP, Katonga WR, Kidepo Valley NP, Lake Mburo NP, Mt. Elgon NP, Murchison Falls NP, Queen Elizabeth NP, Kyambura WR- QENP, Ishasha- QENP, Budongo FR, Kasohya Kitomi FR, Echuya FR, Mabamba/ Makanaga Bays, Mabira FR, Lutembe Bay, Kumbu Forest -Nabajjuzi Masaka, Musambwa Islands, Lakes Bisina & Opeta, Mt. Otzi CFR, Mt. Kei CFR, Mt. Moroto CFR, Gulu University, Mbale/ Kibimba, Entebbe Peninsula, Kawanda-Namulonge-(Gayaza RD), MUST- Mbarara, Park Alexander, Makerere University, Bahai Temple, Rwenzori Bottling Co. Namanve
How you can participate
Everybody is invited and called upon to participate in this National event

Monday, 12 September 2011

The Mountain Gorilla
The Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei). There are two populations. One is found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, within three National Parks: Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in south-west Uganda; Volcanoes, in north-west Rwanda; and Virunga in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).The other is found in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
The fur of the Mountain Gorilla, often thicker and longer than that of other Gorilla species, enables them to live in colder temperatures. Gorillas can be identified by nose prints unique to each individual. Males usually weigh twice as much as the females, and this subspecies is on average the largest of all gorillas. Adult males have more pronounced bony crests on the top and back of their skulls, giving their heads a more conical shape. These crests anchor the powerful masseter muscles, which attach to the lower jaw (mandible). Adult females also have these crests, but they are less pronounced. Like all gorillas they feature dark brown eyes framed by a black ring around the iris.
Adult males are called silverbacks because a saddle of gray or silver-colored hair develops on their backs with age. The hair on their backs is shorter than on most other body parts, and their arm hair is especially long. Fully erect, males reach 1.9 m (6 ft 3 in) in height, with an arm span of 2.3 m (7 ft 7 in) and weigh 220 kg (490 lb). The tallest silverback recorded was a 1.94 m (6 ft 4 in) individual shot in Alimbongo, northern Kivu in May 1938, though there's an unconfirmed record of another individual, shot in 1932, that was 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) tall (Carwardine 1995). The heaviest was a 1.83 m (6 ft) silverback shot in Ambam, Cameroon which weighed about 266 kg (590 lb).

The Mountain Gorilla is primarily terrestrial and quadrupedal. However, it will climb into fruiting trees if the branches can carry its weight, and it is capable of running bipedally up to 6 m (20 ft). Like all great apes other than humans, its arms are longer than its legs. It moves by knuckle-walking (like the Common Chimpanzee, but unlike the Bonobo and both orangutan species), supporting its weight on the backs of its curved fingers rather than its palms.

The Mountain Gorilla is diurnal, most active between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Many of these hours are spent eating, as large quantities of food are needed to sustain its massive bulk. It forages in early morning, rests during the late morning and around midday, and in the afternoon it forages again before resting at night. Each gorilla builds a nest from surrounding vegetation to sleep in, constructing a new one every evening. Only infants sleep in the same nest as their mothers. They leave their sleeping sites when the sun rises at around 6 am, except when it is cold and overcast; then they often stay longer in their nests.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The best time to visit Africa

The best time for an African Safari is when the animals are easy to find and in dense numbers. Deciding when to go on safari depends on what country you would like to visit and when you are able to plan your trip. Seasons differ in East and Southern Africa so you can really plan a great safari for almost every month of the year, if you are flexible about where you want to go to

Monday, 5 September 2011

Save the endangered species and ecotourism site in Africa

Save the endangered species and ecotourism site Mabira
Mabira a tropical rain forest in Uganda and is home to endangered species is under threat of deforestration for sugar plantation.

Animal populations surge in Ugandan national parks

The number of animals in Uganda's national parks and game reserves has soared over the past decade, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) says. With latest figures showing that the population of some species has doubled since 1999. The animals on the rise include buffalos, giraffes and elephants. New statistics show that the population with the biggest increase is that of the Impala, a grazing antelope. The number of Impala in Uganda has surged to more than 35,000, from around 1,600 at the time of the last census in 1999. Hippopotamuses, waterbucks, and zebras are also on the increase.