Perfect trip with a perfect company. We rented a Land Cruiser V8 with a rooftop tent including all the camping gear needed for our 29 days round trip in Uganda. Starting with the planning, Maike’s support was perfect. He organized the permits for the gorillas and the chimpanzees. The car was in very good condition and it was a real pleasure to drive it. A small problem with the tent was fixed within a very short time. This showed how powerful the support of 4×4 Car Hire Uganda is. We spent a problem free holiday in Uganda and we can recommend 4×4 Car Hire Uganda for such a trip.
Uganda is everything you expect to see in Africa, from the beautiful friendly people, to the charismatic animals, and the wild and picturesque scenery. This trip it is not all about primates, even though the Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Chimps in Kibale National Park are the main purpose of any safari in this Country.
Sir Winston Churchill was right in saying that this is the “Pearl of Africa”: the source of the river Nile, the Murchison Falls National Park, the lakes (Victoria, Albert, Edward, George, not to mention the volcanic crater lakes), the Rwenzori Mountains, and the Volcanoes. The traditional game drives in the National Parks (Kidepo Valley National Park, Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park) are beautiful and very interesting especially for bird watchers, but of course this is not a big five premier destination.
We were on the road in May 2021 with 4×4 rooftop tent jeep from 4×4 Car Hire Uganda for three weeks (Kampala, Sipi Falls, Kidepo Valley National Park, Murchison Falls, Kibale Forest (Chimps), Queen Elizabeth NP, Ishasha sector, Bwindi (Gorillas), Lake Bunyonyi, Lake Mburo NP and back to Kampala). The pop-up roof is a fantastic addition for safaris, giving everyone a great view over the long grass (although the car is high enough for the driver to see pretty well too).
The service from Maike and the team at 4×4 Car Hire Uganda was absolutely first class – emails before our trip were responded to with very clear information, usually within minutes of being sent, payment was smooth, and when we arrived in Uganda they were happy to deliver the car to one location in Entebbe at the time of our choosing and then collect it back again from another in Kampala, again at the time of our choosing (and were bang on time both times). The whole experience was superb, these guys are highly recommended.
The safari drives were very rewarding- lions, tree climbing lions, elephant and hippo; yellow baboon, Vervet as well as black and white Colobus monkeys; common and Defassa water buck, bush buck & Kob; buffalo, warthog, Nile monitor and crocodile; lots of birds including hammerkop, cattle, little and great egret, black backed, squacco and grey heron, fish eagle, helmeted guinea fowl, pied and woodland kingfisher, sacred and hadaba ibis, yellow billed, marubu and saddle billed stork, Egyptian geese, spoonbill, great white pelican, black backed and grey headed gulls, spur winged and crowned plovers/lapwing, hoopoe, long tailed starling, lilac breasted roller, black winged stilt, cormorant, tern and black kite.
Holders of the day’s token gather at the starting point in Kibale Forest National Park. The tokens are then exchanged for the actual tickets. We understood that trackers went out early in the morning to find the locations of the Chimpanzee groups. After an initial briefing, the assembled tourists are assigned into several groups each under the guidance of a ranger and one security personnel. To reach the chimpanzee group assigned, we had to drive a short distance in our own vehicle to arrive at the starting point of the walk.
Kibale National Park, being an evergreen rain forest has tall trees forming a dark green canopy over head while the ground is covered with vegetation fallen leaves and branches. All these require one to keep an eye on where he/she is stepping. The ranger was in touch with the trackers and after a short walk we came across a male chimpanzee lying on the ground taking a morning siesta. This allowed us to approach it and see it from the closest permissible.
A minimum distance is required to be maintained from any chimpanzee and should one approach the human group, it is advised to ensure maintain their distance. It turned out that the chimpanzee lying on the ground was the leader of the group that we were supposed to watch. After allowing us to watch him for a while, the chimpanzee got up and without any care in the world walked right through our cordon. Needless to say we gave him a passage as was possible under the circumstances.
Thereafter, we followed the chimpanzee group who we mostly on the top of the trees. Once a while, one in the group would come down the tree. The ranger also acquainted with the fauna. The trek ends with returning to the starting point, where individual certificates of completing the trek is handed over. Overall, a very satisfying experience and highly recommended.
And finally saving the best until last was the gorilla trekking in Bwindi forest. The permits are not cheap but I got my money’s worth plus a lot more. The ‘Ride for a woman’ greeting dance started the whole event off brilliantly. Our briefing was professional and demonstrated how they seriously they took their role and responsibilities towards the gorillas and their habitat.
As I was in a group of older people we tracked and found the closest Rushegura gorilla group within an hour. 1 hour of observation was plenty to observe behaviors and interaction amongst the group. Seeing the juveniles playing; baby feeding from its mother before exploring around the silver back; grooming; tree climbing and eating figs; movements through the forest; and the silver back walking 5-8 meters away from me were wonderful. I felt quite emotional when the baby took hold of my trouser leg, thinking I was one of the group, as it passed by me! Such a great 1 hour of my life.