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Exciting Uganda Rwanda Tourist Places

Volcanoes national park:

Volcanoes National Park similarlydenotedin French as Parc National des Volcanos is positioned in north-western part of Rwanda sharing the border post withVirunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and MgahingaGorilla National Park in Uganda. Well celebrated for its mountain gorillas, this park also contains five of the general eight volcanic highlands in the Virunga area including; Karisimbi, Bisoke, SabyinyoGahinga and Muhabura.

Volcanoes national park first came into existence in 1925 being the first African park to be gazetted with the motive of reducing the Gorilla poaching. It later acted as a center for the American primatologist Dian Fossey who carried out substantive studies about the mountain gorillas. Karisoke area which stands in the middle of Karisimbi and Visoke areas was the Dian’s center upon her arrival in 1967. This station which still stands up to today did enormous work towards conservation of endangered mountain gorillas that was later to capture the public attention in the years that followed.  Despite the uncertain death of Dian in 1985, her selfless contribution is still celebrated up to today and her grave lies at the same center thus can be encountered on Rwanda safari.

Volcanoes national park contains arrange of vegetation as a result various altitude ranges. Vegetation zones include the (2400 – 2500 m) -Montane lower forest though depleted by activities of farming, (2500 – 3200 m) – Neoboutonia forest, Bamboo which covers over 30% of the forest land, (2600 – 3600 m) – Hagenia-Hypericum forest while a stretch from 3500-4200 m the park land is characterized by Lobelia wollastonii, Senecioerici-rosenii and Lobelia lanurensis. Grassland with thicket, meadows marshes exist at 4300 – 4500 m.

Concerning wildlife, Volcanoes national park contains the world’s endangered mountain gorillas existing along with various mammals including Golden monkey, buffalo, spotted hyena, black – fronted duikerand bush buck.  Though rarely seen, elephants have been listed on the park list while a range of 178 bird species occur within the parkof which 13 of them are endemic to the Albertine area.

 Akagera National Park.

Positioned in the north east of Rwanda, Akagera national park is one of Rwanda’s main game parks and the largest covering an area of 1,085 km2. The park shares a border post with the Republic of Tanzania and is drained by the Akagera River thus giving it the name. Founded in 1934, Akagera national park contains fauna plus flora occurring in three locales that is Mountain, Swamp and savannah. The park thirds is covered by papyrus swamps and maze of lakes that follow the course of River Akagera which streams towards the east draining many lakes with IhemaLake standing as the largest.  Akagera national park stands as the largest in the region of central Africa and differ from the general landscape of Rwanda for it is averagely elevated with warm low savannah dotted by acacia tree species, vast plains and grass lands that support a wide range of African game.

The game in Akagera national park includes; buffalo, elephant, zebra,giraffe andarray of antelope. The exciting note is that this park and its enclosed lakes compete favorably in terms of hippopotamus concentrations in Africa. The             Nile crocodile has also extended to secure another dwelling in Akagera national park while other shy rare animals like spotted hyenas and leopard have been registered. The ranges of minor predators also exist including mongoose, bush babies, olive baboons, serval cats, genets and silver monkey species. The beautiful slender Impala is the most common of the 12 antelope species recorded in the park. In terms of birdlife, Akagera contains over 525 bird species including raptors and savannah birds. The amazing water bodies in the park are also exciting. Four lakes of Mihindi, Gishanju, Shakani and Ihema with AkageraRiver combine to give Akagera national park a unique stand on the African continent and Rwanda in particular.No wonder that Akagera national park offers opportunities for game drives, fishing, boat trips and Helicopter adventures.

Nyungwe Forest National Park.

Situated in the south western direction of Rwanda, Nyungwe rainforest borders Burundi in the south, Lake Kivu and Democratic Republic of the Congo on the western side. It is an ancient rain forest which has stood the test of time compared to the similar tracts in the highlands of Central Africa. Nyungwe forest is believed to be a catchment area for some tributaries that feed into the sources of the Nile River. Gazetted in 2004, Nyungwe forest national park consumes over 970km2 of the rain forest land, bamboo, grassland, swamps and bogs. The adjacent town of Cyangungu is approximately 54 km in the western direction while the Mountain of Bigugu is situated within the park boarders. Being a biodiversity hot spot, Nyungwe is considerd a conservation priority in Africa. The park contains over 13 primate species including; Chimpanzee, L’Hoest’s Monkey Silver Monkey, Adolf Friedrich’s Angola, Golden Monkey, Red-tailed Monkey, Hamlyn’s Monkey, Dent’s Mona Monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Vervet Monkey and Olive Baboon; 1068 plant species as it is one of the surviving pre historic montane forests even during the last ice age, 85 mammal species, 275 species of birds marked as an important bird area by the bird international – some of these species include; Turacos such as the RwenzoriTuraco, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, KungweApalis, Red-throated Alethe, Apalisargentea, Purple-breasted and Blue-headed, Ruwenzori ApalisAlehepoliophrys, Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill,  Ruwenzori Batis, Stripe-breasted Tit Batisdiops, Parusfasciiventer, Ruwenzori Nightjar among others; 32 species of amphibians and 13 reptile species.

The park is known for Primate/chimpanzee tracking/trekking, Forest hiking, Bird watching, Orchid ogling and the famous canopy walk.

Bwindi Impenetrable National park:

This Uganda gorilla tracking safari site is positioned in the south west of Uganda stretching for over 321 Sq. Km with an altitude range of 1,160 – 2,607 Km above sea level. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is counted as one of the habitats with large afromontane forest in East Africa. Bwindi impenetrable forest is believed to have survived the last ice age thus counting as an ancient forest – a reason behind its biodiversity concentration. The remarkable flora of its range is something to wonder about. The park is a great haven for fauna not forgetting the range of butterflies some of which are endemic to it. It is also a rich habitat for mammals. The most remarkable of all these is that Bwindi Impenetrable national park contains the enormous counts of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas qualifying its gorilla tracking/trekking potential. Regardless of its position in the area with the highest rural concentrations in African tropics, Bwindistill stand as the furthermost varied forest in the region of East Africa with over 163 tree species, over 104 fern species including other species. The park also competes favorably in terms of fauna concentrations with 7 species of primates, 120 species of mammals, 202 species of butterfly notwithstanding the 214 species of birds. On a general and exciting note, Bwindi shelters 9 species that are globally threatened including; common chimpanzee, mountain gorilla, l’Hoest’s monkey, African giant swallowtail, Chaplin’s flycatcher, African green broadbill, African elephant, cream-banded swallowtail and Grauer’s rush warbler. This Mountain gorilla safari destination in Uganda was first gazetted in 1932 as a forest reserve and later restructured to a national park in 1991 when the adjacent Rwenzori and Mgahingawere being upgraded too. Bwindi is a rich catchment area with Rivers Ishasha, Ndego, Nshongi and Kanyamwabo drawing their waters from this ancient forest. Bwindi is also famously known for being the ancient home of the Batwa people – hunter and gatherer culture that depended on the forest for survival before they were evicted to pave way for complete conservation.

Rwanda culture and history:

Rwanda is one of the stronghold countries in Africa with a deep linguistic coherence among its people. It entirely consists of three main tribes; the Tutsis, Hutus, and the Twa but all speak the same language called Kinyarwanda. These three tribes can be identified probably basing on their physical build but they have a strong coloration in terms of values of religion and are averagely spread in the entire territory. However they have deep political differences that are believed to have resulted in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Rwanda culture is not only shaped by the settlers of the land but also the refugees in the diaspora more especially in the adjacent countries of Uganda and Congo who still draw much of their attachment to their mother country – Rwanda.

Commonly described as the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda is naturally endowed with a rolling mountainous landscape. It shares border post with Uganda, Tanzania, Congo and Burundi. Rising averagely from the open plains stretching from the western Tanzania border to the sharp highlands in the west along the Congo – Nile divide continuing to slope steeply to the Lake Kivu shores with a number of volcanic highlands shaping its north western part, the most of the inhabitants can happily identify themselves as Rwandan.

The nation Rwanda draws her origins from the minor kingdoms that rose in the central African region over 500 years ago. Population pressure and decrease in land availability forced the cattle keepers to push for the establishment of a centralized political system that would regulate the activities of people and create harmony among the three indigenous communities that had different economic background. This later culminated in to a strong kingdom and other semi-autonomous chiefdoms that later provided a ground for European colonization and rule.

Rwanda is one of those African countries whose cultures are still alive. They have the remarkable traditional Intore dance that brings people of all backgrounds to appreciate the richness of their culture – something interesting to encounter on Rwanda safari.

 Uganda culture and history:

Uganda is primarily structured by a rough cross line of the Kyoga Lake that separates the southern Bantu speakers from the northern Nilotic and central Sudanic language speakers. The linguistic character tends to fairly stretch from the northwest to south east more less along the Nile River. Differences between these inhabitants are expressed in terms of physical appearance, bodily adornment;clothingand general mannerisms though most of these are disappearing

The Bantu people seem to have penetrated southern Uganda at the end of the first millennium and by 15th or 16th century; they had come up with centralized Monarchism. Bantu  are either described as Eastern lacustrine with Basoga and Baganda leading other smaller groups or Western Lacustrine that include the Banyankole, Banyoro, Batooro and other small groups. The Nilotic seem to have penetrated northern Uganda about C.E 1000 and believed to be the early cattle keepers in the region who also practiced cultivation. These people include; the Karamojongand Itesowell vast with Eastern Nilotic languages, and the Langi,Alur, andAcholi well vast with Western Nilotic languages. The central Sudanic dialects are found among the Madi, Lugbara and other small groups in west Nile.

On a general note, most of Ugandans over 65 tribes are traditional farmers who keep various animals and grow a range of crops most of which are for home consumption. They have strong cultural values that differ in each ethnic setting and most of these are still alive and thus capable of being encountered on Uganda safari. The culture is very unique with a lot of safari offerings ranging from the largest organized tribes like Baganda with their famous Kasubi tombs, Nagalabbi coronation site and the Royal palace to the medium sized groups like the Bagisu with their unique Imbalu (Circumcision) ceremony and Kadodi dance to the minority and marginalizedBatwa – hunter gatherer culture well known for their forest life. The culture in Uganda is diverse but the common thing about them is that they are hospitable and friendly to every one – a reason to make undertake safari in Uganda.

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