Uganda, Kayaking, Safari & Budget Help

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Dec 14th, 2005, 03:35 PM
  #1
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Uganda, Kayaking, Safari & Budget Help

My husband and I are hoping to go to Uganda in September 2006 for 3-4 weeks and are just starting the discussions on itinerary, etc. Neither of us have been to Africa before so any help is appreciated!

We've chosen Uganda because of the White Nile. We're whitewater kayakers and apparently a dam is in the process, which will obviously change the river signifcantly, so we'd like to paddle it before the dam is complete.

Our only 2 musts for the trip are kayaking (not sure how long -- does anyone here have experience kayaking in Uganda, or elsewhere in Africa? is 3-5 days enough?) and a safari. I've also done some reading about Ngamba Island, which sounds amazing. We'd love to do a trek to see the Mountain Gorillas, but know that it's pricey and may not be able to afford it.

I'd really appreciate some advice on budget (what is a low budget and mid budget range? Lodging? Meals? etc.) We're hoping that the land portion of the trip won't run us more than $5000-is this reasonable or totally underestimating it?; climate (is September a good time to go?); safety issues?

Again, ANY information is appreciated!

Meagan
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Dec 14th, 2005, 05:02 PM
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hi meags, glad your going over there. i visited there this past june. did the gorilla trekking , chimp tracking, bat cave, queen elizabeth park. didn't do what you guys are planning to do.
any ways,i did all budget. had a visitor from another coutry meet me there. we had our own truck. own rooms or acommodations.
gorilla permits are about 400.00 for each trek. i suggest 2 days. it's worth it
chimp tracking permits are only 50.00 each.you have time. you may want to think about joining the chimp habituation program. this is all in kibale park. i am going back late march into april. to go all chimp stuff.
the habituation program for 3 straight days is going to be 450.00. i also will be spending days chimp tracking. the difference. tracking you go out with a ranger. maybe a few other people. spend a half day tracking and watching. habituation. you go with a ranger and the researchers. spend early morn into the eve with the chimps. see what they do:nesting, de-nesting ect.anything.
the ugandans are very very nice people.
no issues there.
the company i used and are using again:
greatlakes safaris, located in kampala, uganda.
ask for jaynefer mukasa. also for driver: gerald.
i am sure they can also help with your river safari.
hope this helps.
david
hope this helps
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Dec 15th, 2005, 06:22 AM
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Hey Meags,
I'm using the same company as Tusker Dave - Great Lakes - for a trip in late January to Uganda. I highly recommend them so far - I'm not doing the budget accommodations, but i was surprised at how inexpensive it would have been had I gone that route (compared to the other trips I was considering). Also, Great lakes is extremely responsive, which has been very helpful.
I'm doing 2 days of chimp tracking, (unfortunately only) one day of gorilla trekking, and an overnight on Ngamba island so that I can do the chimp walk. Luckily I have already had a number of the shots I have to get for the chimp walk (there is a LONG list which you've probably seen) but I still have to get a handful....which isn't going to be cheap so you should factor that into your cost.
I can let you know more after my trip - You are lucky to be able to go for 3-4 weeks!
Linda
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Dec 15th, 2005, 02:10 PM
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hi meagan, if you need any info or help. email me: [email protected]
you have a long ways to go. but time goes fast.
cheers, david
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Dec 15th, 2005, 02:24 PM
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Uganda is a fantastic destination, and while I didn't have time to go kayaking, we did make it to safari in Queen Elizabeth NP and gorilla trekking in Bwindi. Mweya Safari Lodge is the best lodge in Queen Elizabeth and its much more affordable than similar accomodations on other countries. Murchison is also supposed to be good for safari, but didn't make it there as we were looping south into Rwanda.

Michael
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Dec 15th, 2005, 02:38 PM
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If you do the chimp walks in Ngamba be sure you have all your medical documentation taken care of ahead of time.

Queen Elizabeth NP offers a savanna-like terrain with a good chance of seeing lion and hyena. Great elephants. The Kazinga Channel 2-hour boat trip has abundant wildlife. You can track wild chimps in Chambura Gorge in QE.

How long were you planning to be on safari?
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Dec 16th, 2005, 08:57 AM
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Linda,
Have a great time in Uganda! I'd be very interested to hear about your trip when you return.
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Dec 16th, 2005, 10:04 AM
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Thanks Patty -
Will post trip report when I return...thoughts of being out of the country and not blackberry accessible in about a month (please God, don't let my blackberry work in Uganda) is about the only thing getting me through my 14 hour workdays!
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Dec 17th, 2005, 02:49 AM
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Meagan

For the kayaking, try Adrift who raft the Nile http://www.adrift.co.uk/uganda.html
I imagine they can give you good info about what you will need to bring and how running the river might be achieved. I hooked up with a rafting company in Nepal in a similar way and managed to borrow a boat and most equipment, meaning I didn't need to carry it for the remainder of my tour there.

Adrift guides have also contributed significantly to the Kampala section of the latest Bradt Travel Guide for Uganda http://www.bradt-travelguides.com/ and Bradt have a guide to Rwanda as well should you choose to nip across the border to gorilla track on that side (often more rewarding and easier photography as the groups in PNV are in bamboo rather than rainforest).

Good luck, let us know how the kayaking goes in due course

Richard
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Dec 17th, 2005, 09:55 AM
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Meags-

I will be in Uganda in late August of 06. Based on advice from some who have already posted my tour operator will be Great Lakes. We're staying in budget accomodations and it looks like for 8d/7n it will be about $1100 per person plus 360 for a Bwindi gorilla trek and 300 more for a full day chimp habituation. Our original itinerary involved the gorillas in Rwanda but it was cheaper to stay in Uganda and fly out of Entebbe (though more driving). Here's some advice:

1. It would be a shame to travel all that way and not see the gorillas, but permit availability may already be quite limited so contact Great Lakes ASAP.
2. Buy/order the Bradt guide.
3. Check out traveluganda.co.ug/utpcontents.asp
4. Look into safety of northern parts of country.
5. Keep searching through the archives of this forum for ideas.
6. Consider spending some time in Kenya if you're really going to be there more than three weeks (check out post from thit_cho).

Keep us up to date on your planning.

-Matt
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