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Animal watching on our own?

MA
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Animal watching on our own?

Has anyone ever gone to see apes on their own in Uganda? We are not particularly interested in a safari. Is what we are thinking at all doable? Are there places where we could stay and hire guides as needed? Are there any places to see animals on foot instead of in a car?

Thanks!

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Kampala, Uganda
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1. Re: Animal watching on our own?

You will need to hire a car without a driver and the drive from Kampala to Bwindi its about 11 to 12 hours but you can stop for one night in lake mburo national park which is about 3-4 hours drive from Kampala and in lake mburo you can experience the guided walking safari to see animals and birds.

North Coast, N...
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2. Re: Animal watching on our own?

To visit the gorillas, you need to buy a gorilla permit from UWA in advance for a date and gorilla family and would be part of an assigned small group of 8 people maximum. You then meet at the relevant park hq for group at around 7.45am i think for a briefing session. Then your group (up to 8 people) will be led by your assigned uwa ranger on a trek to find your gorilla family. This can take a matter of minutes or hours... Once you're nearly there, you leave your bags etc with uwa rangers/scouts who monitor the gorillas and protect them. Then you get 1 hour watching your gorilla family. It is an amazing experience.

But access has to be controlled to protect gorillas and minimise human contact/exposure to diseases etc. So people cant just wander around on their own.

Similarly to see chimps, you pay for a permit and are escorted. The uwa staff are excellent and will look after you AND the apes.

You can do a walk at Lake Mburo to see wildlife and the bigodi swamp walk is good for seeing a wide range of monkeys, birds etc. Rhino tracking at ziwa is also on foot.

Finally one of the things people enjoy most are the boat rides at kazinga channel (QENP) and murchison falls with great wildlife viewing.

You can go independently but that means hiring a vehicle and driver and trying to prebook the gorilla permits yourself which people have said can be difficult. It is hiwever easy enough to book chimp treks through accommodation in relevant areas e.g. around kibale.

Edited: 1:38 am, February 11, 2013
North Coast, N...
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3. Re: Animal watching on our own?

Boat rides should of course read boat trips. Must stop posting from my mobile...

You can in theory also self-drive but that is not for the faint-hearted! Unless you have previous driving experience in Africa, I wouldn't even consider this - and we saw a lot of diversions and even our experienced guide had to doublecheck routes with locals when this happened. And there are a lot of potholes etc on the road and you do get stuck - especially if going in rainy season.

Isle of Man, United...
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4. Re: Animal watching on our own?

I am not sure about what it is you are asking. Is this just to avoid arrangeing the usual Car/Driver combo with Lodges or why? the others have answered most of this so I will break down your queries into three and answer directly to those Qs.

1. <Is what we are thinking at all doable?> If you mean a complete DIY Self drive package, Yes. It is doable. But NO you cannot visit the Chimps and Gorillas 'on your own'.

2. <Are there places where we could stay and hire guides as needed>?

Yes . Lots of places to stay around the forests where Apes occur. You can hire UWA Guides and Rangers through them. But again you will need a prebooked permit to visit a habituated Group. (Your won't find a non habituated group will come anywhere near you.)

3.< Are there any places to see animals on foot instead of in a car?>

Yes. It is possible to arrange Walking Safaris in certain locations in National Parks and Reserves and indeed it is perfectly possible to bump into most wildlife, including Elephant, Hippo and Lions while walking public roads in many areas. Would you be comfortable if this happened?

Many Primates live in gardens of Houses even in Kampala and Entebbe.

Kampala
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5. Re: Animal watching on our own?

Welcome to the forum.

Besides the questions above, what do you mean by apes? Gorillas or chimps or both?

Kampala, Uganda
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6. Re: Animal watching on our own?

May be both.....

Isle of Man, United...
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7. Re: Animal watching on our own?

Well the only other apes to occur in Uganda are Hom Saps and I don't think they mean those although we do come in two colours which is more than the other two do.

Kampala
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8. Re: Animal watching on our own?

Speak for yersen, I ain't no ape.

Isle of Man, United...
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9. Re: Animal watching on our own?

Oh yes you are! We ALL are unless Darwin and Desmond Morris got it wrong. I am actually very proud of my kinship to the others (well mebbe not Chimps! Every family has its probems.)

Kampala
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10. Re: Animal watching on our own?

help yourself dear, we agree to disagree!