Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC)

Uganda wild life Education Centre (UWEC) is the start point for any Uganda safari package! It is located at Entebbe town, one of the countries key cities in Uganda. Entebbe area has the major entry point in Uganda and that is, Entebbe International Airport (EBB). This is a great opportunity for UWEC as it received many tourists from different parts of the world visiting Uganda. It is less than 10 minutes drive from the airport, and it is sorrounded by many accommodation units such as Imperial Resort Beach Hotel, Entebbe Traveller’s Inn, Golf Course Hotel, Laico Lake Victoria Hotel, The Boma Hotel, Sunset hotel and many more. Once someone checks in his or her hotel, she / he can take a visit to UWEC.uwec

The Centre was created in 1950s by the government of Uganda with the assistance of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York and managed by a Wildlife Trust. The Centre is one of the greatest attractions in Entebbe which is leading to safaris in Uganda and also the only one found in Uganda.

Uganda wildlife Education Centre was created to assist the confiscated, injured and orphan animals which have been taken away from smugglers and poachers. The Centre accommodates different wildlife species like vervet monkeys, DeBraza monkeys, over 120 bird species can be observed by tourists on Uganda holidays like African fish eagle, the Great Blue Turaco, Giant King Fishers, elephant, giraffe and very many others.

Uganda wildlife Education Centre is a Centre where wildlife education together with leisure is offered. The Centre is not a Safari Park or Zoo, so visitors on Uganda vacation can enjoy their leisure time in this Centre.

The Centre keeps some species which are already extinct in the wild and could have disappeared completely without captive environment. The Centre keeps the animals for the future generation and to awaken people on wildlife conservation in different Safari Parks for future benefits through improved tourism in Uganda.

For tourists who want to enjoy the view of wild animals in their natural habitats, the good news is that you can have a chance to enjoy seeing animals in their natural habitats. Uganda has ten national parks blessed with unique wild life. Game drive is the major activity tourists do to sight the different wild games in the parks. Murchison falls, Kidepo valley and Queen Elizabeth national parks have the greatest and different wildlife species ranging from the biggest, tallest to the smallest and they are the most visited national parks by tourists.

More parks to see unique, rare and endangered wildlife include Kibale national park that inhabits 13 primate species, and this is the highest concentration in Africa. Among the primates in Kibale forest include chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, Blue monkeys, Grey cheeked mangabeys, Red-tailed monkeys and Olive baboons among others. The popular tourist activities here include Chimpanzee tracking and habituation experience, bird watching and forest walks among others.

Another place to visit include the impenetrable forest of Bwindi national park and Mgahinga National park, located in south western Uganda, both famous for mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda. They inhabit more than half of the world’s remaining population of the endangered mountain gorillas, with over 14 gorilla habituated gorilla groups. Apart from gorilla trekking, Bwindi impenetrable national park is also famous for gorilla habituation experience in the southern sector of Rushaga.

How Do Gorillas Defend Them Selves

Like any other living creature, Gorillas also have enemies known as predators – man is the chief enemy of Gorillas. Man kills gorillas on traps, gun shoots, spears among others – in some countries like Democratic Republic of Congo, Gorillas are killed for meat and some times for fun. The only predator to prey on gorillas is the leopard. Walter Baumgärtel found the remains of several gorillas after they had been killed by leopards in the Virunga Volcanoes. Another case has been confirmed in Gabon, where a sick young gorilla was killed by a leopard.

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Charge bared teeth, when facing a predator or detect any threat, the dominant male (silverback) in a group of gorillas will often charge it with teeth bared. In so doing, the enemy animal or man can be scared and disappear.

Beating of chest, While running toward the aggressor, the gorilla may beat his chest, scream or shack or break vegetation. In the process the enemy may disappear.

Pick sticks or break sticks, sometimes, gorillas even pick up and swing sticks at the threat or in the air. If the aggressor stands his ground, the gorilla will often break off the attack, as it is primarily designed as a bluff. However, if the animal turns and runs, the gorilla interprets this as weakness, and pounces on it. Large male gorillas are much stronger than humans or any predators that may attempt to hunt them.

Gorillas run away from the aggressor or enemy, female gorillas often fears to attack the aggressor and decides to run away from the enemies. Like female humans, female Gorillas are weaker than male. They some times run towards the male silverback for rescue.

The large size of Gorillas scare aggressors, Large males form harems of several females, their offspring and a few subordinate males. The dominant male will defend the group from all threats. Dominant male gorillas may exceed 400 pounds in weight, while females and subordinate males are typically smaller. The size of gorillas is enough to thwart most predators, and the primary species that threatens them is humans.

Moving with silverback for defense, like fathers at home, silverbacks are the strongest in the each gorilla group – they are taken as rescuers and defenders of the gorilla groups.

Gathering and moving in groups, Gorillas protect themselves by living in groups that are protected by a large, dominant male and by being secretive.

Gorillas Climb trees, gorillas are skilled climbers that can flee to the trees if pursued by a predator.

Gorillas live in rain forest habitats that have few large predators.

Silverback males give off a particularly intensive smell and emit characteristic sounds.

If you are interested in seeing the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat? It is possible! Most of you have seen these gentle giants in zoos, but you should go gorilla trekking in Rwanda or Uganda or DR Congo to see them in their natural environment. Organize and book a safari to any of the those destinations and you will be among the privileged people to see them in African wilderness! Many Rwanda safari operators organize cheap and amazing safaris to see the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, likewise, there are many Uganda tour operators organizing memorable gorilla safaris to Bwindi Impenetrable Forests and Mgahinga national Park in south western part of the country!

Prison Workers had a Tour to Murambi genocide Museum – Rwanda

murambi_genocideWorkers of Mpanga prison recently had a tour of Murambi Genocide museum situated in Southern Rwanda, 3hrs drive from Kigali city! This is one of the popular tourist attractions for Rwanda safaris in Africa. In their views, Mpanga Prison workers said that their tour to Murambi genocide site gave them an insight in their work after witnessing the evidence of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. They got first hand information about the genocide from stories told by survivors employed in the museum.

Mpanga Rwanda safarisprison workers were learnt more about all that took place before, during and after the 1994 Rwanda genocide against Tutsi in general and specifically the history of former Gikongoro prefecture. During this tour around Murambi genocide museum, Mpanga prison workers also got to witness the evidence of the 1994 Rwanda genocide that was done to Tutsis specifically those who had sought refuge in the buildings of the school that was still under construction at Murambi hill at the same place this memorial site was built.

Eugene Bisengimana the acting director of Mpanga prison pointed out that, the fact that their workers managed to take a tour around Murambi museum has left them more understanding of some things some of them took for granted as some of these workers were still young and others were not born during the 1994 genocide. The stories told made them feel as if they were part of action.

According to the number provided by workers of this memorial site states that about 50.000 Tutsis were killed at Murambi hill and most of them are laid to rest in Murambi memorial museum. Rwanda genocide sites attract many travellers from allover the world to Rwanda on addition to gorilla trekking safaris in Parc national des Volcans, primate tracking in Nyungwe National Park, cultural tours and wildlife safaris in Rwanda and nearby countries like Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Reports from the Ministry of tourism Rwanda show that majority of the visitors to Rwanda on gorilla trekking always ask the tour operators to visit some of the genocide museums in the country. They get true fact at the scenario during the 1994 genocide.

Gorilla Families in Uganda

Gorilla Groups in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Uganda

Mubare Gorilla Group

It has started with 12 family members, led by the dominant silverback Ruhondeza. Unfortunately Ruhondeza died last year. This was the very first group to actually be habituated for tracking by tourists deep in Bwindi forest. Mubare group is actually named after the stunning Mubare Hills in which this group was discovered.

Habinyanja Gorilla Group

Located in Buhoma. In the start it was a huge group, however a family was split from it named the Rushegura Group.

Rushegura Gorilla Group / Family

It is a huge group within the Buhoma area of Bwindi Forest. They started with 12 individuals including 5 females and this was after one of the silverbacks from the Habinyanja group decided to break away.

The Rushegura group is a calm family. In the past they used to cross the border to neighboring DRC every now and then but always returned to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Bitukura Gorilla Group / Family

Bitukura Group located in Ruhija and is among of the newest groups in Bwindi Forest. Bitukura is a peaceful family including 4 silverbacks and some playful juveniles. They share a close bond and often have ‘group meetings’ or get-together.

Mishaya Gorilla Family / Group

Following a family dispute between the Nshongi Gorilla Family and Mishaya family, the Mishaya Gorilla family Split from the then biggest Gorilla Group in Bwindi Forest but the two still live within the Rushaga region in Southern Bwindi Forest.

Nshongi Gorilla Family / Group

Nshongi is the largest group ever habituated in Uganda and it was named after the river Nshongi, close to the place where the gorilla family was first seen. What is so surprising is that the dominant silverback “Nshongi” is not the oldest silverback in the group.

Nkuringo Gorilla Family / Group

The group is a favorite to people who have tracked over one group. The Nkuringo group was named after the Rukiga word for “round hill”. The family was led by the silverback Nkuringo who died in 2008, leaving behind 2 silverbacks in the group. In November 2008, the Nkuringo family expanded thanks to the special birth of twins named Katungi and Muhozi unfortunately, Katungi died at the age of 1.5 years.

Gorilla groups in Rwanda

Rwanda Gorilla Groups / Families – Volcanoes National Park

In Rwanda, gorilla visit can entail anything from a 1 to 4-hour trek through the thick forest, led by experienced trackers who have spent some good time living close to the forest with the gorillas. Your trek will be enchanting as you weave through overhanging vines, moss-covered Hagenia trees and giant Lobelias that thrive in the tropical climate. While in the country you may spot golden monkeys or see buffalo, bush duiker and a wide variety of birds. But the high point, of course, one of the greatest wildlife experiences on earth, will be spending an hour with the gentle giant gorillas as they go about their daily life, feeding, playing, resting, and raising their young. At the end of your visit you will understand what kept conservationist Dian Fossey living in this same forest for 18 years protecting these wonderful animals.

Besides, there are seven gorilla families available in Rwanda.

Susa Gorilla Group

The name Susa was derived from the Susa River in their home range. The group is well known for having twins. This group sometimes migrates to higher altitudes making them harder to track. When you reach this group the first thing you notice is that there are gorillas everywhere, however, this group split in 2008, the name of the group which split from Susa is called Karisimbi with 15 members including 3 silverbacks. This is the largest family with 41 gorillas. Like I told you the group is the hardest to trek as it tends to range high into the mountains but trackers will know well in advance where the group is located. The group is also well-known for having rare 5 year old twins named Byishimo and Impano.

Sabyinyo Gorilla Group

It was named after the Sabyinyo volcano which means “old man’s teeth”. Sabyinyo is one of the groups closest to the park’s edge with 8 individuals. These groups reside in the gentle slopes between Mount Sabyinyo and Gahinga and thus are easily accessible. You might take anything from ten minutes to an hour to reach the gorillas. Generally, the slopes aren’t too daunting though can be slippery after rain. This group contains, Guhonda, the largest silverback of all the groups. Sabyinyo group is so easily accessible led by the powerful silverback Guhonda. There are fewer members within this family than in the other groups however they are equally impressive as a family.

Amahoro Gorilla Group

Amahoro in Kinyarwanda language means “peace”. Like its name, Amahoro, is the most peaceful of all the gorilla groups Led by the calm and easy going Ubumwe, Amahoro is made up of 17 members.

Group 13

When first habituated this group had only 13 members hence its name. Now the group has approximately 25 members.

This was the first habituated group and has grown from an initial 13 members! It was named simply for its original size of 13 individuals when it was discovered. Since then it maintained the name. The group can be found in the same area as the Sabyinyo group, although it sometimes moves deeper into the mountain.

Sometime back, this group was commanded by Nyakarima who was challenged by Agashya meaning “the news”. Agashya indeed made news by first watching and estimating Nyakarima’s strengths and eventually challenging him to a fierce fight by taking off with his whole group. This was a shock to Nyakarima and an unprecedented event in observed gorilla history. Agashya then moved up the volcano to secure his group and make sure Nyakarima did not track them. Agashya has since increased his group’s numbers by snatching from other groups and assimilating other lone gorillas, rapidly increasing the group from 12 to 21 individuals.

Agashya is known for its first sign of trouble, to take his whole group up to the top of the volcano. While we were taking a group of tourists to see Group 13 this exact scenario unfolded. Agashya felt that there was another silverback who was about to challenge him. In response, he took the group up the volcano. Every time we thought we were close to see them, Agashya would move the group further uphill. We did not reach them until the very top. Meanwhile we got a chance to see them. By the time we got back to the car we have walked for 12 hours. While it was an exhausting day, it was magical to see gorillas at the top the world.

Umubano Gorilla Family

This 18-member group is led by Kwitonda which means “humble one” and has two silverbacks and one black back. The group inhabits the lower slopes of Mt Muhabura and is also one of the more difficult families to track. The group was formerly a part of the Amahoro group until Charles matured into a silverback of the same rank as Ubumwe, he could not stand being given orders and decided to stage a fight and challenge Ubumwe. This fight went on for weeks and then months and eventually Charles managed to snatch from Ubumwe a few females and formed his own group. Since then, he has commanded respect and recognition from Ubumwe. We have observed, on various occasions, interactions between the two silverbacks, but no fighting has been seen since the great battle ended.

Kwitonda Gorilla Group / Family

This family is named after the dominant Silverback of the group and means ‘humble one’. The group inhabits the lower slopes of Mt Muhabura like Susa group this one also is so difficult to track.

Hirwa Gorilla Group / family

This group emerged recently and was formed from different existing families, namely from Group 13 and Sabyinyo.

This is still a relatively new group which was formed from two different families, Group 13 and Sabyinyo. Eventually more gorillas joined. Come witness this family continue to grow. The group had two twins born at the beginning of 2011.

Hirwa has 9 individuals: 1 Silverback; 3 Adult females; 2 Sub adult females and 3 Babies. The name Hirwa means “lucky one”.

It came into the lime light on the 17th of June 2006 when trackers witnessed its formation. Two gorilla transfers from group 13 and Sabyinyo joined the then very small Hirwa group. As luck would have it other gorillas joined them as well and created the group. Despite being the newest group on the block, Hirwa exhibits strength and holds its own amongst all the other established groups.