Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations – Uganda, Rwanda & Congo

Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations – Uganda, Rwanda & Congo

What are the rules and regulations of Gorilla Trekking?

Gorilla trekking rules and regulations play a significant role not only towards the safety of mountain gorillas but also visitors’ safety in the wild. Before embarking on the actual gorilla trek, the park officials or park ranger guide briefs trekkers on the set rules and regulations.

Mountain gorillas are a few most endangered species on the planet and a total of only 1063 of these rare species still thrives in the world. Tours to the mountain gorillas are only done in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Southwestern Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in northwestern Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).Baby Gorilla in the Jungle

Below are some of the set rules and regulations to follow while on the actual hike in search for the mountain gorillas in the Jungle;

  • Low Voices

While on a search for mountain gorillas, trekkers are advised to keep their voices low at all times. However, you are free to ask as many questions as you can.

  • Communicable Diseases

Visitors with communicable diseases like TB, cough and flu won’t be allowed to trek mountain gorillas. About 98% of the mountain gorillas’ DNA is similar to that of humans making them very susceptible to human infectious diseases. You should cover your mouth while coughing.

  • Number of Visitors

Each day, only 8 tourists are allowed to trek 1 (one) habituated gorilla family. A group is led by an experienced park ranger guide and tracker. This experience is restricted to 8 visitors because it is one way to ensure their daily behaviour in the wild isn’t destabilized and avoid overcrowding.

  • Don’t litter

Leave the gorilla habitat the way you found or even better. Trekkers are advised not to throw rubbish anyhow and carry back anything they went with on a trek to where there is a rubbish bin. This rule and regulation intend to ensure the jungle is kept clean and the health of mountain gorillas is kept appropriately.

  • Wash your hands prior the trek

Wash your hands prior to setting off on the actual trek. Before you set off to search for gorilla family assigned to you, you need to wash your hand. This measure is essential in preventing the spread of infectious diseases to these endangered species.

  • Hiking Time

Trekkers have only one hour with mountain gorillas. The entire trek may cover 2-6 hours, however, you will have only 1 hour to strike for your imaginations, take photos, and explore their behaviours. This measure is aimed at limiting destabilizing the general behaviour of the gorillas while in their natural habitat.

  • Keep Distance

You must keep a distance of seven meters from the Mountain gorillas. This is enough distance for you to observe them, take pictures and photos.

Morning Briefing about gorilla trekking experience

Morning Briefing about gorilla trekking experience

      • Smoking & Eating in the Jungle

No smoking, and eating while on a gorilla trek. This is highly prohibited in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. This rule and regulation aim at preventing the spread of infectious diseases to mountain gorillas. Note, these species shared about 98 per cent of their DNA with humans which makes them very susceptible to human infectious diseases. During the hike, the rangers give you a break where you can eat your packed lunch or snacks.

      • Always stay within your group

When trekking to see mountain gorillas, make sure you keep around your group you came with. This is to avoid cases of getting lost in the rainforest and limiting cases of wildlife harming in the wild.

      • Stand still in case the gorilla charges

In case the gorilla charges, please follow the guide’s instructions, stay calm and don’t run.

      • Flashlight Cameras

No flashlight camera is allowed when taking photos of mountain gorillas. Flashlight cameras tend to irritate gorillas a behaviour which may cause harm to them. To avoid such cases, you are advised to turn off your flashlight camera or come with a camera with no flashlight.

      • Don’t touch Gorillas

Even when mountain gorillas come close to you or rub their bodies on you, don’t be tempted to touch them. This rule is essential in minimizing the spread of human infectious diseases.

      • Gorilla Permit

To trek mountain gorillas, you should have a valid gorilla permit. Each gorilla permit lets you trek one habituated family. This rule is intended to control the number of tourists visiting each gorilla family every day which may destabilize the behaviour of mountain gorillas.

      • Age
With the Gorillas

Gorilla Encounter

Only persons above 15 years are eligible to purchase gorilla permits and visit the gorillas. This is because children usually carry communicable diseases and to reduce any risk of them spreading to mountain gorillas, this rule has to be observed. Also, children can scream in the jungle when scared by the gorillas, thus destabilizing the peace of the gentle giants.

      • Clothes

Wear environmentally friendly clothes. Make sure you avoid shouting colours as they may scare off mountain gorillas.

      • Easing your self

In case of need to help yourself while in the forest, please burry your wastes as per the instructions of the guide.

The above rules and regulations must be followed during the gorilla trek in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Congo Republic. All this information and more is available for you to read at all park headquarters in Bwindi National Park, Mgahinga, Virunga, Kahuzi Biega and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Additionally, during the morning briefing about gorilla trekking adventure, the park ranger will tell you about all these and more rules and regulations, do’s and dont’s while on the gorilla trek.

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Africa Gorilla Trekking Age Limit

Africa Gorilla Trekking Age Limit

What if my child is less the age limit but is physically fit? Can he trek gorillas?

Gorilla trekking is best described as a lifetime experience and most significantly, it comes with strict rules and regulations of which age limit is one main area of concern. Usually, before you set off to take part in this life-changing experience, it is significant that you take time and look at all the requirements that you need whether you intend to track mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The most important factor every intending trekker must look at is the accepted age limit or rather the minimum age for one to take part in this tremendous primate adventure. Gorilla treks are conducted in habituated groups of Bwindi National Park, Mgahinga National Park-southwestern Uganda, Virunga National Park eastern DRC and Volcanoes National Park Northwestern Rwanda.

Black Back Gorilla Playing in the wild

Black Back Gorilla Playing in the wild

Mountain gorillas are listed as the most endangered species with not more than 1004 of them now left on earth. Given their current status, a number of measures have been put in place to ensure that they are well-protected and that they continue thriving for now and future generations.

The one important measure is age limit where all the 3 countries where these creatures thrive have agreed that only persons above 15 years are eligible to purchase a gorilla permit that allows a person to track one habituated family.

There are many reasons that explain this and they include-the fact this creature share about 98 per cent of their DNA with humans, they susceptible to human infectious diseases and usually, children are prone to contagious diseases that can easily spread to these creatures and to avoid such cases, the policy was devised that in order for someone to take part in this lovely adventure he or she must be above 15 years.

The other reason is that it is not easy to predict children’s behaviour or how they can react in the presence of a group of mountain gorillas especially at a time of magical encounter with them in the wild. Such unpredictable behaviours may make these creatures charge which may cause harm to other people as well.

In most cases, children can easily be frightened and in the process, they can shout or even opt to run away thus irritating gorillas. Also, treks to see mountain gorillas can be that tiring and requires some physical wellness for you to hike through the thick rainforest and steep slopes.

Baby Gorilla in Africa

Baby Gorilla in Africa

However, to a certain extent, the age limit can be reconsidered especially if the parents can prove that the child is about to get to his or her 15th birthday. Meaning, he or she is in the late 14th and strong enough to hike through the rainforest in search of habituated family. This means that a parent of that child must provide details of the minor or a child and this should include the current photos and passport.

Gorilla trekking minimum Age and permits

To be part of gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda or DR Congo, a permit is a must to have and only persons above 15 years are eligible. In Uganda, you can obtain one at $700 per person, $1500 for those of you who wish to track gorillas in Rwanda Volcanoes National Park and $400 in DR Congo. You can obtain your permit through a ground tour operator/company by contacting the reservationist or through reservationist of respective authority and in Uganda, you can contact reservationist at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), in Rwanda-the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and in DRC-the Virunga national park authority. You are encouraged to book for your gorilla permit early enough to avoid any kind of disappointment.

In conclusion, in order for you to track gorillas, a number of strict measures do apply and age limit is one of them. This is of benefit to you as a trekker and also to gorillas themselves.

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Kigali Convention Centre

Kigali Convention Centre

Kigali Convention Center is one of the most magnificent event centers that Rwanda boasts of. This property comes in a rare egg-like shaped dome that was set up with incredible art and thus offers Kigali that total pride any capital city should have.

A visit to this attractive site while you are on safari in Rwanda is amazingly one of the most memorable experiences that you shouldn’t miss in life. The structure is vibrant and leaves you amazed as it is eye-catching.

Amazingly, it features as the biggest convention centre in the region and it lies within Kigali. It can easily be accessed from Kigali International Airport as well as from corporate government and diplomatic mission offices.

Around 2007, about 3 Rwandan corporate investors put resources together to set up the real estate complex. They set up a company known as Ultimate Concept Limited to establish and own the centre and this centre features 4 main components.

The Kigali Convention Centre consists of a large conference centre which accommodates up to 2600 visitors and its interior design comes with breathtaking views for all delegates. It is a five-star hotel also famous as the Radisson Blu Hotel Kigali. It comprises of 292 rooms and strategically set up with 6 floors. Its exterior is magnificent featuring multicoloured metallic ribbons. The information technology park of Kigali which stands within 32200 square meters of retail space and rental offices. There is also a museum at its bottom floor.

The shape of this structure was inspired by the traditional palace of the King in Nyanza. A close look at its design, you realize that it comes in an egg shape and the spiral art is used in the locally made baskets. This is seen especially on the floor of this building.

During its construction, a 3 D design method was used and manufacturing system of varied equipment was fully computerized. The frame of the dome is complex on its own where every piece of metal that you will view was designed and made differently.

Kigali Convention Center lies along KN5 highway, next to the KG2 Roundabout approximately six kilometers west of Kigali International Airport. This covers around seven kilometers east of the Nyabugogo. The convention centre is an ideal ground for regional and international events such as exhibitions, festivals, meetings, conventions and many others.

The meeting spaces are well equipped with up to date technology and AV equipment for successful events. Usually, the convention center at times accommodates over 5000 delegates in its 18 varied venues. The smallest meeting rooms are ideal for exclusive VIP or board meetings which take more than 10 delegates whereas the big conference halls accommodate more than 2000 persons.

In conclusion, the Kigali convention centre is an important center that in a long will enhance the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events) sector in Rwanda. If you are planning any big event in the Land of a Thousand Hills then this is the best place that you should make a choice and your delegates won’t regret in life.

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Akagera: Birders’ Paradise in Rwanda

Akagera: Birders’ Paradise in Rwanda

Bird Watching In Akagera National Park

Akagera national park is found in the extreme north eastern part of Rwanda along the Uganda and Tanzania borders. Most of park is largely in the Mubari-Migongo Sub-region of Rwanda. This park is the second best birding destination in Rwanda after Nyungwe national park.

Akagera national Park is characterized with beautiful landscape that is covered by rolling sandstone hills in the western part, some sides are cut by deep and narrow valleys and the eastern part is flood-plains and swamps. In the south of Buganza it is wetter and to the north of Akagera is dominated by open grasslands.

Due to the diverse vegetation in Akagera national park, numerous birds have inhabited the spot as home. The park is one of the best birding destinations in Rwanda with over 520 bird species of which 100 are only found in Rwanda not anywhere else. These birds are attracted by the national park’s diverse habitat and favorable vegetation.

The park is a birding spot that inhabits various bird species such as the savannah birds, swamp birds and raptors with many other endemic species that are often seen in the park like the red faced barbet.

Birds in Akagera national Park can be best watched in the morning and in evening just along the game tracks. This gives opportunity for the birders a great opportunity to sight a number of bird species that are endemic to the savannah area.

Akagera national Park is a good spot for encountering large numbers of water birds giving an opportunity to see those that are endemic to papyrus areas. A short boat tour on Lake Ihema will take birders close to many swamp birds such as the Africa fish eagle, open billed stork, herons, cormorants, the marabou stork and cattle egrets. For the lucky birders you will definitely encounter the elusive Shoebill Stork.

As the national park is a diverse spot for numerous bird species including the swamp and several migrant species; the best activities that are done to offer chance of seeing are guided nature walks and a boat cruise on Lake Ihema. A nature walk and boat cruise offers opportunity to see water birds like Africa fish eagles, crowned cranes, open-billed storks herons, egrets and cormorants.

Some of the commonly spotted bird species in Akagera national park include; Africa fish Eagle, Black-headed weaver, Lilac-breast Roller, Africa Jacana, Long-crested Eagle, White-browed coucal, Fork-tailed Drongo, Woodland Kingfisher, cattle Egret, Saddle-billed Stork, Africa Grey Hornbill,  White-faced whistling Duck,  Palm-nut Vulture,  Little Bee-eater the grey hornbill, the crested barbet, heuglin’s robin-chat, black headed Gonolek and ross’s Turaco, among others.

Pied Kingfisher

Pied KingFisher

Among these birds, at least 44 are raptor species such as the Balaeniceps rex and several Palearctic migrants, such as Glareola nordmanni, Falco naumanni and the Gallinago media.

Akagera Park is one of the parks that symbolize the maximum distribution of the Zambezi biome species. This makes the park one of the perfect destination for spotting one of the Guinea Congo forest-biome species.

As you plan for your Akagera birding safari in Rwanda, we recommend that you carry the right equipment for the birding experience; some of the items that you must carry along include;

Binoculars: It’s best to carry light weight binoculars and ensure that it’s the right quality to have the best view of water birds. Probably this is so essential for birding expeditions in this park.

Before embarking on the birding safari in Akagera, equip yourself with the bird classification book which can guide you in your adventure. Especially it’s best for knowing the characteristics of the birds and even the seasons of the area. Get the relationships between specific birds with its habitat right in the classification book.

Among other necessities for birding include; Tripods, sunscreen, convertible pants, and rain jackets, strong waterproof hiking shoes, hats, a pair of gloves and scarves to manage the morning coldness.

Akagera National Park is a rewarding destination when it comes to all – inclusive birding experiences for encountering both swamp and savannah species. Book a grand birding safari to Rwanda and enjoy the “Land of a thousand hills”.

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Ryamurari, A Hidden Gem In Rwanda

Archaeological sites are one of the treasures in Rwanda and Ryamurari is a must-visit place for tourists interested in exploring some of these breathtaking sites. Situated within Bufunda Village (Bufunda Cell within Mukama sector) in Nyagatare District, Ryamurari is the name of the site and being on the peak of Mukama hill that extends for about 50 hectares, the site is where you will find some of the country’s three largest earthwork structures and a cut stone reservoir.

This site was also the capital of Ndorwa Kingdom (according to oral traditions) before it became part of Rwanda. When investigations were conducted on the area in the 1970s, it was discovered to be occupied in the middle of the 17th Century and was again re-occupied in about 1900 AD. Some of the remains found in the site are cattle bones as well as cow dung that suggest that the occupants of the area were originally cattle keepers. Also, there are several grinding stones that indicate that on top of animal rearing, the indigenous people also engaged in agriculture especially growing millet, sorghum, and beans.

Ryamurari is one of the most interesting archaeological sites found in the Great Lakes region and holds an important oral tradition and history of Rwanda. Ryamurari also has another name “Mu Bitabo bya Gahaya” meaning “clay curved structure that was constructed before the entrance of a traditional hut. It also means that the site was once inhabited by a great person known as “Gahaya”. The name Ryamurari is a honor to the occupation of the site by the great person known as “Murari”.

This Archaeological site is often associated with a swampy depression with salty water on its foot and it is said that the depression was through for the King’s cattle. The structures reportedly served as enclosures and the direction as well as the size of the labor force, vital to accomplish different tasks coupled with the presence of the abundant cattle remains show that the cattle-keeping elite who told people what to do.  What is even more breathtaking about the Ryamurari is its many names that show a correlation between Oral traditions, archaeology, and history.

In the Ankole, Burundi, Ndorwa and Rwanda region, the name Mukama means God, a King or Chief hence the fact that the hill on which this site sits is known as Mukama means it was inhabited by the King or Chief.

Therefore, Ryamurari is one of the popular archaeological sites within the Great Lakes region and also paramount to Rwandan culture. It comprises of three vast earthwork structures and a stone cut reservoir that indicate the early life of original inhabitants of the area but the fact that the Hill on which the site sits is referred as Mukama means the King named Gahaya or Murari occupied the area.

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The Spectacular Kamiranzovu Waterfalls In Rwanda

The Spectacular Kamiranzovu Waterfalls In Rwanda

If you are ready to go off-the-beaten-track, then you are one of the few tourists to explore the breathtaking Kamiranzovu waterfalls, found at the heart of the Nyungwe Forest National Park. Nyungwe is a thick protected rainforest within the south-western corner of remarkable Rwanda and approximately 225 kilometers/5 hours drive from Kigali City.

The Nyungwe Forest National Park is popular for being the catchment area for Rwanda and harboring the furthest source of the Nile River but unlike other waterfalls in Rwanda such as the Rusumo Falls on the border with Tanzania, trekkers have to hike for at least 90 minutes through the jungles to reach the Kamiranzovu waterfalls. The other waterfalls in Rwanda and other countries are beautiful and easy to reach, which is not the case with the Kamiranzovu which you have to reach after a challenging but enjoyable walk.

While in the company of a professional local guide, you will start the hike to the waterfalls from the border of the forest at a stone’s throw away from lush tea plantations. The adventure usually begins with a briefing about the forest and waterfalls where trekkers are advised to leave the forest the way they found it, to ensure its conservation for generations. The source of this waterfall is the Kamiranzovu marshland also within the Nyungwe Forest National Park and the walk to the Falls is about 10 kilometers both ways but due to the dense vegetation as well as hilly landscape, it usually becomes challenging to walk through the forest.

There are several stops to allow tourists to learn about the forest especially the medicinal trees, fruits and plants that are loved by primates but also edible to humans. Nyungwe Forest National Park is home to more than 1000 plant species as well as 38 species of reptiles but what makes the hike through the forest interesting is the fact that all you will see is trees, birds, and animals that you had never seen before. Situated at about 10 kilometers from the start of the hike, the Kamiranzovu waterfalls are approximately 50 meters high and when you approach it, you will be welcomed by the refreshing mist that feels like raindrops

The volume and speed of the waterfalls usually depend on the season but interestingly, the Forest receives high rainfall (totaling to over 2000 millimeters) for 9 months in a year hence the beauty of the waterfalls remains most times of the year. When you see the waterfalls, you will discover that it has two parts-the lower section on giant rocks and is considered the most spectacular spot for photography while the second section is in front of the falling water. For safety and pleasure reasons, hikers to the waterfalls are advised to explore the waterfalls in groups

What to carry or wear when hiking to the Kamiranzovu waterfalls?

Due to the difficulty of predicting the weather, trekkers have to wear long trousers, strong waterproof hiking boots, long-sleeved shirts, rain jackets and carry a backpack, snacks or packed lunch, enough drinking water, a walking stick and a camera for filming experience in Africa.

However, Nyungwe Forest National Park is also known for other exciting attractions and activities that include the invigorating canopy walk, bird watching, chimpanzee tracking, hiking/nature walks involving more than 10 hiking trails and a tour of the nearby tea plantations.

In conclusion, hiking to see the magnificent Kamiranzovu waterfall is a must-do activity for every tourist visiting Nyungwe Forest National Park due to the breathtaking scenery of the waterfalls in addition to numerous attractions that are likely to be encountered during the hike.

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The Wonderland Uganda Hidden in Africa

The Wonderland Uganda Hidden in Africa

To many of the people out there, Africa is known as one country. However the perception is a myth, Africa is a continent with over 52 countries. Most of the countries are not known to the world due to their humble background. The only countries much known in Africa are those with very rich minerals and also with great history with the western world.

The so called small countries are not widely known but these are truly beautiful to visit. Take a look at a country like Uganda. Uganda is a landlocked country located in the east African region and most known to the commonwealth nations since it was colonized by the British. The phrase “pearl of Africa” is common among the travel world but many know little about Uganda.

This is so saddening because they are missing out real wonderland. Uganda is a wonderland that can never seize to mesmerize its tourists. This country has very amazing natural features and resource that are very intuitive and eye catching. This a place that attracts both mass tourists and eco tourists.

One of Uganda’s wonders is its climate. Uganda receives a tropical climate whereby it rains and shines throughout the year. There is no more beautiful and favorable weather than that in Uganda. This is the ideal weather for vacationing. Uganda receives an average of 27 in a year.

In Uganda, they wear one layer or two layer clothes. It is chilly in the early morning hours and gets starting from mid-morning and gets cozy in the evening. Each and every weather situation gets a tourist into a different experience. This climate supports most of the outdoor tourism activities like swimming, sightseeing, nature walks, animal tracking, boat ride, hiking, sunbathing and so forth.

The organic foods in Uganda is something to cherish of. With the fertile soils and nice climate in place, Uganda grows amazing foods that are craved for by everyone. Uganda has delicious matooke which is the most popular food from Buganda kingdom.

The matooke served with ground nuts or beef will get you licking your fingers and yearning for more.  Uganda also has the rolex which a chapatti rolled up with eggs and spices. The rolex is one of the most tasteful delicacies in Africa as reported by CNN in 2016.

The tropical fruits from Uganda cannot be forgotten the mangos, pineapples, guavas and the sweet sugar canes. The Arabic coffee from the Elgon region is a wonder. Many people come to Uganda to taste its organic coffee. This is coffee that soothes the throat as it gets your brain hyperactive.

The amazing landscapes also make Uganda a wonderland. Uganda is said to be the Wakanda. In Lake Bunyonyi Island you get a familiar scenery that was in the popular movie Wakanda. Uganda has breathtaking scenery that make the heart settle spontaneously and makes the mind travel distances thinking of how God is such a great designer as you bring a big smile on your face.  Other than lake Bunyonyi Islands, Uganda has great landscapes like the snow-capped  Rwenzori ranges, Katwe crater lake expulsion, Sippi Falls, Murchison Falls, Aruu Falls and  Kigezi Highlands.

Uganda has numerous elusive wildlife species. Other than the big five animals, Uganda has some unique species like the mountain gorillas. The mountain gorillas are endangered species that are only found in three countries and Uganda is one of them.

The mountain gorillas are very unique primates with very intriguing social traits that always leave the trackers buzzing. Uganda also has the chimpanzees one of the most intelligent animals in the animal kingdom. In the bird world, Uganda has the elusive shoe-bill. Many tourists come to Uganda to see this rare bird. There is lots of history attached to the bird. Uganda has over 60 bird species endemic to it.

The world has numerous amazing places to visit and wonder about and Uganda has a place on the list. Uganda gives tourists so much joy from the adventurous side to the exciting one.

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Urutare Rwa Kamegeri

Urutare rwa Kamegeri (translated as the Rock of Kamegeri in the local Kinyarwanda dialect) is one of the most important cultural and historical sites to be explored by tourists who visit Rwanda during African safaris. The spectacular Rock of Kamegeri is found in Ruhango district and can be visited by tourists to learn about the history of the country and how some of the former Kings administered Justice.

There are several legends about the rock but what is widely believed is that the site tells the story of a man after suggesting criminals be burnt to death on a rock instead suffered his own suggested punishment. It is said that in the late 18th or early 19th Century, an man who was apparently the King’s advisor had suggested to the King that the rock could be the best way of punishing criminals by first heating it with firewood until it turned red hot then strapping the criminal to the rock to bake to death. Unknown to him, that would be his time to die.

Kamegeri was one of the advisors under the time of King (Mwami) Yuhi IV Gahindiro who reigned from 1746 to 1853 and the rock existed without a name but later got its name when Kamegeri suggested a wrong punishment for a man who had reportedly disrespected the King. The King seemed happy with the opinion and ordered it be done and when the rock was red hot, he surprised everyone by ordering Kamegeri and not the criminal be burnt on the rock to get rid of an inhumane person who could propose a cruel and horrible punishment for another human being. Mwami Gahindiro had the reputation for being a fair and non-violent leader much as other legends state that the incident happened during the reign of King Mibambwe Sekarongoro Mutabazi who was leader much earlier.

Make sure to touch the rock when you visit the area because according to the locals, the Rock of Kamegeri is always warm regardless of the prevailing weather of the area. However before taking photos within the area, it is advisable to inform the local guide of your intention to take photos of the rock but not the nearby houses or locals, otherwise, you will be forced to pay money for taking photos of the locals’ houses.

How to get to the Rock of Kamegeri?

When you get to Kigali City, take a bus towards Ruhango or Nyanza where you will ask the locals for the route taking you to the site. Because it is not popular, it may take a number of tries to get someone that knows the site. However, if you are heading from Ruhango towards Nyanza, you will see the site on the left at a stone’s throw from the side of the road. Also, you can take a taxi or cab from one of the Bus stations but make sure to first discuss the price and the driver must know the location of the Rock.

In conclusion, on top of the wildlife species like mountain gorillas, big five animals, chimpanzees, and other natural attractions, tourists visiting Rwanda can also get the chance to explore historical and cultural sites, with Urutare Rwa Kamegeri (Rock of Kamegeri) being one of the most spectacular ones.

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Ubangi River

This river is pronounced as “Oubangui” and is the widest right-bank headwater of the Congo River in the region of Central Africa and starts at the confluence of the Mbomou as well as the Uele Rivers flowing westwards hence forming the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic.

This River usually turns to the south-westwards and drains through Bangui, the Capital City of Central African Republic and afterwards changes to flow south thus forming the border between the Republic of Congo and DRC, before finally joining the Congo River at Liranga. Through its course, the River passes through a thick equatorial rainforest and flows through river Islands as well as down rapids and waterfalls before finally emptying into River Congo.

The River is approximately 1060 kilometers (660 miles) long although when combined with River Uele, its longest tributary increases the length to 2270 kilometers (1410 miles). The drainage of the River basin is approximately 772,800 square kilometers (298,400 square miles) while its discharge at Bangui varies from around 800 cubic meters per second to 11,000 cubic meters per second with an average flow of over 4000 cubic meters per second but the mean discharge at Bangui is approximately 4280 cubic meters per second (151,147 cubic feet per second). However, during floods from May to December, the discharge sometimes exceeds 14,000 cubic meters (494,000 cubic feet) whereas during the period of reduced waters (February to April), it drops to 1000 cubic meters (35,300 cubic feet) per second or even less as mentioned above.

River Ubangi is formed by the union (close to Yakoma in the Democratic Republic of Congo on the border of the Central African Republic of the Bomu and the Uele Rivers then flows westwards for approximately 560 kilometers (350 miles). Besides being the headwater for Congo River, it has two main tributaries including Kasai and Uele with the latter being the longest, thus the name River Ubangi-Uele.

Ubangi River together with the Congo River offers a significant transport route from riverboats between Bangui and Brazzaville. From the source of this River to about 100 kilometers (62 miles) below Bangui, it drains at the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic before eventually forming the border between the Republic of Congo and DRC until it finally pours its water into the Congo River. The confluence of River Ubangi-Uele and Congo is near Lake Tumba in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In its upper courses, River Ubangi divided into arms divided by verdant elongated Islands whereas in other places confine the rocks to create rapids like those found at Bangui. However, this river changes on reaching the Congo Basin with its vast course being divided by the sandy shoals. Therefore, some of the headwaters are still impeded by rapids while other areas are comprised of flat wetland valleys and low divides descending east and south-eastwards from the western hills to the Congo River.

Conclusively, on top of the extraordinary primates such as mountain gorillas, the eastern lowland gorillas, Bonobos and Lesula, as well as large tropical rainforests, the Democratic Republic of Congo is also home to several rivers including the Ubangi River, one of the headwaters of the Congo River.

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The Rusumo Waterfalls In Rwanda

Your visit to Rwanda should not be just about the mountain gorillas and Chimpanzees but also the captivating Rusumo waterfalls found along the Kagera River, on the Rwanda-Tanzania border. The falls are said to be part of the far headwaters of River Nile and are interestingly popular for the majestic views of the Valley it offers from the Rusumo Bridge as well as the historical significance it holds much as it is not as beautiful and of significant height as the other waterfalls in the country.

Rusumo waterfalls are about 15 meters (49 feet) high and over 40 meters (130 feet) wide and were formed on the Precambrian schists and quartzophyllites, and form the only bridging point on the River within the area. Historically, the site was the scene of the first arrival of Europeans in Rwanda in 1894 when the German Governor and Explorer- Count Gustav Adolf von Götzen (12 May 1866 – 2 December 1910) entered Rwanda from the neighboring Tanzania while proceeding to the Palace of Mwami (King) at Nyanza, onwards to the shores of Lake Kivu.

Therefore, the Belgians also accessed the country through the Rusumo waterfalls when overtaking the country during the First World War in 1916 and it is said that during that time, the Bridge at Rusumo was the sole available way of crossing the river. After taking over the positions within the surrounding Hills, the Belgians were able to displace the guards with mounted artillery while opening the path used in invading the remaining parts of the country.

The waterfalls are said to have hidden all the armor (beneath the site) when the Belgians took over the country in the late 1930s but are thought to be a Memorial Park that gained International recognition because it is where bodies of victims of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide floated through the area and is also where thousands of refugees lost their lives while attempting to cross the border to Tanzania. It is therefore obvious that the falls and Bridge were one of the first places for mass outflows of the Great Lakes refugee crisis. River Kagera drains water from all parts of Rwanda except the far west and eventually carried the corpses are discarded into the rivers across the country hence leading to the declaration of a state of emergency in places around the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda.

Rusumo waterfalls lies within Akagera National Park, one of the four Protected Areas in Rwanda and is usually explored by tourists interested in encountering big five animals (lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes and rhinos), crocodiles, giraffes, antelopes (Topis, elands, waterbucks, bushbucks and oribis), warthogs and hippos among others. It is also from River Kagera that this magnificent National Park derived its name and visiting the waterfalls means you can also get the chance to explore the beauty of this Conservation Area.

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