Uganda is known as ‘the pearl of Africa’ because despite years of political struggles and civil war, it is one of the most hospitable countries in Africa. Ugandans are resilient and welcome visitors and refugees from all over the world, showing generosity and hospitality aligned with the government’s open-door policy.
As a result, the United Nations has recognised Ghana as the most welcoming country in the world for refugees.
An Unknown Filming Location
Due to many years of civil war, Uganda is still relatively unknown as a filming location. Yet the country has been stable and safe for the last 35 years, so it deserves to be put on the map.
In addition to many wildlife documentary opportunities, Uganda offers exciting adventures to visitors. The Rift Valley basin is the most affordable safari destination on the African continent, with a wide range of hotels, safari camps, lodges and private safari cottages to choose from. For thos who enjoy trekking through the jungle, accommodation costs are the lowest ones in East Africa.
Spend A Day With Primates
Uganda has reserved 20 % of the country for the protection of mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and bushbaby monkeys- also known as golden monkeys. In the beautiful, mountainous Impenetrable Jungle, visitors can escort researchers, trackers and rangers through the natural habitat during a Habituation Experience. Spending a full day with a wild primate family is the most intense wildlife encounter imaginable.
The Kibale Forest protects 13 species of primates, the highest population density in the world, and ten national parks protect half of the planet’s mountain gorillas.
Golden Monkey Safaris Are No Walk In The Park
A common error among many film-makers is the assumption that Golden Monkey Safaris, that are well publicised by the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, operate in the same way in Uganda. This is not the case; African Fixer will need to plan all the details of your trip to Uganda to ensure that you get the right permits for the right experience.
In Uganda, Golden Monkey Safaris are chimp-trekking excursions along the Kyambura Gorge and through Budongo Forest. This is not the same as the Gorilla Trek through Bwindi Impenetrable National park. It is physically more demanding than the gorilla trek and you need a bit of hiking experience. Golden monkeys only inhabit bamboo forest zones located at an elevation that takes three hours to climb to. Unlike the safari experience in Rwanda, Ugandan chimp-trekking is thwarted by poor transport infrastructure and cannot be undertaken without a local crew making all the arrangements in advance.
The other false assumption that many film producers are not aware of is that a Golden Moneky Permit in Uganda does not allow you to film gorillas as well, and a Gorilla Permit does not allow you to fiml golden monkeys. Film-makers have also fallen prey to unscrupulous tour guides who mislead them by applying for permits to film in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. These permits are not valid in Uganda, unless you happen by chance to stumble upon a family of primates going from Rwanda to Uganda to visit their cousins. Many film-makers opt for the cheaper, easier to obtain Gorilla permit, hoping to find golden monkeys along the way, and end up being disappointed. Even if you do happen to stumble upon a family of elusive goolden monkeys, permits only allow you to film them for one hour. To spend more time with the chimps you must book a Habituation experience and apply for a Habituation Permit.
All That Explorers Want For Christmas
The film ‘Mountains Of The Moon’ documented the expedition taken by Captain Richard Francis Burton to find the source of the Nile River, and made Lake Victoria famous- not only because it is the largest freshwater lake in the world, but also because it is considered the best marine filming location in Africa.
Although the Lake Victoria scenes in Mountains Of The Moon were filmed on the Tanzanian side, not the Ugandan side of the lake, tourists have been flocking to Uganda ever since to experience the Boat Cruise offered by Queen Elizabeth National Park. Christmas time is the best season to enjoy the lake and the cruise, but bookings must be made well in advance as they sell out very quickly.
The Karizu Eco-Tourism Site offers a comprehensive Christmas Package that combines chimp-trekking, gorilla trekking and the boat cruise with all the necessary permits.
Contact us at African Fixer if all you want for Christmas is to walk from Kyambura Gorge to Lake Victoria, following in the footsteps of Captain Burton, and end your expedition with a relaxing, scenic cruise.