Thursday, 4 February 2016

Zika virus in Uganda press release!

Is there Zika virus in Uganda?



 STEADY SAFARIS UGANDA LIMITED
02 February 2016
KAMPALA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Uganda safe, no Zika virus says Ministry of Health

There is no Zika virus infection or threat in Uganda, the Ministry of Health has said in an official statement. To date, there is no single record of Zika in Uganda. 

"The Ministry of Health wishes to inform the public that the country is at no threat of the Zika virus that is now ravaging communities in South America. Surveillance reports across the country have indicated no risk of the virus," says the Permanent Secretary in Uganda's Ministry of Health, Dr. Asuman Lukwago.
Dr. Lukwago adds that there is no record of the virus in Uganda. 

The Uganda Tourism Board reassures all citizens and visitors, that contrary to international press allegations, Uganda has no record of the Zika virus infection. Uganda is a safe destination for all travelers. 

According to the Ministry of Health, the virus spreading through 21 countries in the Americas since May 2015, is a different species from the one once recorded in Uganda. Ugandan scientists and experts together with counterparts from the US and UK first isolated the Zika virus over 70 years ago. This was during a scientific research program on yellow fever. 

To date, the US Centre for Disease Control is tracking countries and territories with the Zika virus (http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/). The Ministry of Health reaffirms that the Uganda Virus Research Institute has testing facilities for Zika virus and there are no cases recorded locally.
UTB is happy to answer your specific questions or if you need and other information on travelling to Uganda.

For more information:
Contact: Carlos Olaaka
Info@steadysafaris.com


Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Murchison falls national park in Uganda

Murchison Falls Conservation Area ( MFCA ) 

Comprises of Murchison Falls National Park, Bugungu and Karuma Falls Wildlife Reserves. This is where the Nile explodes through a narrow gorge and cascades down to become a placid river whose banks are thronged with Hippos and Crocodiles, Waterbucks and Buffaloes.
The vegetation is characterised by savannah, riverine forest and woodland. Wildlife includes lions, Leopards, Elephants, Giraffes, Hartebeests, Oribis, Uganda Kobs, Chimpanzees, and many bird species.


BIRD WATCHING IN MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK


Species commonly seen between Paraa Rest Camp and Ferry crossing are; Blue-napped Mousebird, Spotted Mourning Thrush, Silver Bird, Bluff-bellied Warbler, Black-headed Batis, Black-headed Gonolek, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver, Vitelline Masked Weaver, And Green-winged Ptyilia, this is probably the best site for the localised White-rumped Seed-eater.

Nocturnal species common in this area are; Spotted and Verreaux’s Owls, and a plethora of spectacular Nightjars, such as Long-tailed and Pennat-winged Nightjar (Especially between March-September), The mind-blowing Standard-winged Nightjar(November-February) if you have a portable spotlight, you may be able to organise a nocturnal boat trip on the Nile in search for White-backed Night Heron and Pel’s Fishing Owl.other species include:- Goliath Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, Grey-crowned Crane, Long-toed Plover, whilst African Fish Eagle, and African Skimmer. An exciting record was that of a Fox’s Weaver Uganda’s only endemic bird. and many more.

GAME DRIVES IN MURCHISON FALLS DELTA AREA


In the cool early morning on the Buligi, Albert and Queen's tracks north of the river Nile before the sun climbs too high, you will see plenty of game. At Nyamsika Cliffs you can picnic, enjoy the view, and watch elephants and other game on the grassy hillsides and the sand river below. Go well prepared for a four hour drive. Ensure you are accompanied by a guide.

MURCHISON FALLS LAUNCH TRIPS ON THE NILE


One of the highlights of a visit to the Conservation Area is the launch trip from Paraa to the foot of Murchison Falls. Hippos and crocodiles are abundant, and you will see elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks and birds like; Herons, Cormorants, Ducks, Bee-eaters, Fish Eagles, Kingfishers, and the rare Shoebill. The trip from Paraa to the Falls and back takes about three hours. A boat trip to the Delta where the Victoria Nile engorges into the Lake Albert leads through papyrus swamps. The trips takes about four to five hours and you will see a similar variety of animals and birds.


SPORT FISHING ON THE RIVER NILE


Nile Perch and tiger-fish provide an exciting challenge to anglers. Fishing is available in the river above and below the Falls. Do bring your own fishing equipment.

NATURE TRAILS


Murchison Falls Conservation Area offers the opportunity to explore the wild on foot.

A trail at Paraa winds through riverine forest, gullies and low hills. Animals, birds and plants can be closely and quietly observed. Nature walks are offered at Rabongo Forest, Top of the Falls and Kaniyo Pabidi.

TOP OF THE MURCHISON FALLS


Trails around the top of the Falls go right up to the water's edge. You have the opportunity to hike the top of the falls from the boat landing and get close to the narrow gorge through which the river plunges.

KANIO PABIDI


Kanio Pabidi is an undisturbed area of natural forest within Budongo Forest Reserve, where you can walk beneath mature Mahogany and ironwood trees. Chimpanzee tracking is the most famous activity. You certainly see many forest birds, including the Chocolate backed Kingfisher, the White-thighed Hornbill, and Puvell's Illadopsis found nowhere else in East Africa! Kaniyo Pabidi is on the Masindi - Paraa road, 8 kms from Kichumbanyobo gate. There is a campsite where water and firewood are available. Do bring everything else you may need. Kaniyo Pabidi is privately managed by the Forestry Department.

RABONGO FOREST


Rabongo Forest Ecotourism Centre nestles in an island of tropical riverine forest in the south-east of the conservation area. The forest is surrounded by savanna grassland and is one and a half hour drive from Paraa. Guide will help you explore the forest on foot, spotting primates; Black & White Colobus monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, Baboons, and occasionally Chimpanzees identifying animals, birds, medicinal plants and trees. You can picnic and camp by the Wairingo River or stay in the well-equipped forest cottages.

ACCOMMODATION



Campsites are available at Top of the Falls, Rabongo Forest and Paraa, toilets or pit latrines/showers or bathing shelters are provided at these sites. Traditional and self-contained bandas are available at Paraa Rest Camp. Meals and beverages are offered. In addition, cottages are provided at Rabongo Eco-Tourism Centre. More luxurious accommodation is available at Nile Safari Camp, Sambiya River Lodge and Paraa Lodge Safari Lodge.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Mount Moroto Lies in the extreme east of Uganda

Mount Moroto Lies in the extreme east of Uganda and is the most accessible place to see some of the dry northeastern " special ", many at the western edge of their ranges here in Karamoja province. One of a chain of volcanoes along the Kenyan border that begins with Mount Elgon in south and includes Mountains Kadam and Morungole, Moroto is a forest reserve protecting a range of habitats from arid thorn savanna to dry Montana forest. Although a long hike is required to reach the higher areas, excellent arid thorn savanna and rocky slopes are accessible from the town at the foot of the mountain.

ABOUT THE PARK
Description: https://web.archive.org/web/20051025151412im_/http:/www.safari-uganda.com/images/bullet.gif Province : Moroto.
Description: https://web.archive.org/web/20051025151412im_/http:/www.safari-uganda.com/images/bullet.gif Elevation : 920-3084m above sea level.
Description: https://web.archive.org/web/20051025151412im_/http:/www.safari-uganda.com/images/bullet.gif Size : 483 km excluding surrounding areas.
Description: https://web.archive.org/web/20051025151412im_/http:/www.safari-uganda.com/images/bullet.gif Habitat : Dry Combretum and Acacia savanna, dry montane forest.
Description: https://web.archive.org/web/20051025151412im_/http:/www.safari-uganda.com/images/bullet.gif Status : Forest Reserve and public land.
Description: https://web.archive.org/web/20051025151412im_/http:/www.safari-uganda.com/images/bullet.gif Birds : 225 species.
Description: https://web.archive.org/web/20051025151412im_/http:/www.safari-uganda.com/images/bullet.gif Timing : All year round.
Description: https://web.archive.org/web/20051025151412im_/http:/www.safari-uganda.com/images/bullet.gif Time Required: 1-2 days

Key Species of Birds
Stone Partridge, Black-headed Plover, White-bellied Go-away Bird, Jackson's Hornbill, Hemp Rich’s Hornbill, handsome Silver bird, Grey-headed and Pygmy Batises, Bristle-crowned and Superb Starlings, Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird, White-headed Buffalo Weaver, Purple Grenadier and Straw-tailed Whydah, African Grey-Fly-catcher.

BIRD WATCHING
Lake Bisina and Lake Opeta from an eastern extension of Kyoga system and are included as sites for Uganda's only endemic bird, Fox's Weaver. Although no facilities are present, the lakes can be covered enroute from Mount Elgon to Moroto or visited for a day from a base in Mbale or Soroti.
Lake Bisina is more accessible of the two and is easily reached on a good dirt road that branches north off the main Mbale-Soroti road at Kapiri, 20km southeast of Soroti. Continue along this road to the lake edge and arrange with a local fisherman to take you across to the northwestern corner where a colony of Fox's Weavers nest in the waterside vegetation. Numbers peak in March and April but there are at least a few present year-round. Quiet areas of water lilies support African Pygmy Goose and Lesser Jacana and Shoebill is fairly frequently seen at the edge of the extensive papyrus.
The dense thorn savanna around the T-junction with the Mbale road 11 km from town supports White-bellied Go-away Bird, Jackson's Hornbill, Fawn-colored Lark, African Grey Flycatcher, the handsome Silver bird, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Mouse-colored Penduline Tit, Pygmy Batis, Brubru and Eastern Vilet-backed Sunbird. Drive south from the junction for 5 km, watching for Dark Chanting Goshawk, Yellow-necked Spur fowl, Crested Bustard and the smart Black-headed Plover at the roadside. The Plovers and Temminck's Courser may also be seen on the airstrip closer to town. Pairs of D'Arnaud's Barbet are frequently seen engaged in their bizarre tail-wagging duets. Listen for the distinctive sound of Pebbles being struck together that may reveal the presence of the Grey Wren Warbler.

OTHER WILD LIFE
Other wildlife is not plentiful in the Moroto area but may include Potos, Monkey or the spectacular Golden Cat.

ACCESS,
Moroto can be reached from Mbale either via Soroti (90 km tarmarc, or 170 km 2 WD dirt, drive time required 6 hours ) or via the direct eastern route ( 230 km. 2 WD dirt, drive time required 7 hours ). There is good birding along both routes . To reach the Seminary from Moroto, turn right at the first roundabout in town and continue around the base of the mountain for 7.5 km.

ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS
The Moroto Hotel on the edge of town has double rooms for $ 30 person, although there are two more basic yet clean hotels on the main road . Restaurants serve local foods and basic provisions are available from numerous stores.

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS OUTSIDE THE PARK
The road from Moroto to Soroti crosses the Bokora Game Reserve 50 km from town and dry thorn bush at the roadside supports, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, Northern White-crowned Shrike, Beautiful Sunbird and Grey-capped Social Weaver. Pink-breasted Lark favours the arid Acacia savanna in this area. Hartlaub's Bustard has been described as " common on the Bokora Plains ".and Red-fronted Warbler, a scarce species in Uganda, is known from arid scrub at the roadside between Kangole and Iriri villages ( 30 -65km from Moroto ).
The direct eastern route from Mbale to Moroto is an excellent birding road although the journey takes longer than via Soroti. The stretch

between Nakapiripit and Moroto is particularly good with Pygmy Falcon, Jackson's Hornbill and White- headed Buffalo Weaver common at the roadside although a fair selection of dry country " specials" may be found a mere 25km north of the Kapchorwa turnoff.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Trekking Mount Elgon in Uganda, Mount Elgon what you need to know!

Trekking mount Elgon in Eastern Uganda

Mount Elgon is an extinct volcano that first erupted more than 24 million years ago. With the largest surface area of any extinct volcano in the world (50 km by 80 km), Mt. Elgon is the fourth highest mountain in Eastern Africa, with the second-highest peak in Uganda (Wagagi Peak - 4321 metres ). Mt. Elgon contains crater covering over 40 km' at the top of the mountain, surrounded by a series of rugged peaks.

BIRD WATCHING

The secondary forest and thick scrub along the Chebonet River near camp supports, African Goshawk, Chubb’s Cisticola, White-chinned Prinia, African Blue Fly-catchers, Chin-spot Batis, Mackinon’s Fiscal, Doherty’s and Luhder’s Bush-Shrikes and Baglafecht Weaver.
FLORA AND FAUNA
While ascending Mt. Elgon's enchanting slopes, you will pass through dense montane forest and mixed bamboo belts teeming with birdlife. You will then enter the fascinating heath and moorland zones containing several interesting endemic plant species such as Giant lobelia and groundsels. Wildlife enthusiasts will be pleased to spot primates such as the Black and White Colobus Monkey, Blue Monkey, and hundreds of fascinating bird species, including Golden Winged and Tacazze sunbirds, Ross's and Hartlaubs Turacos, Black and White Casqued and Crowned Hornbills, the endangered Lammergeier and the Jackson's Francolin which is found nowhere else in Uganda. If you are particularly observant you can also see buffalo, duiker, hyena or even the elusive leopard.

TOURISM ACTIVITIES

Visiting Mount Elgon National Park ( MENP ) presents an exciting setting for extended hikes. In addition to the interesting and unique flora and fauna, you can expect to experience magnificent waterfalls, enormous caves, scenic peaks and gorges, and hot springs which bubble up at 48'C. The best times to visit are during the drier seasons from June to August and December to March. However, even in the wetter months trekking is manageable. No technical climbing equipping or skills are required, and all major peaks are accessible to hikers.

TREKKING TRAILHEADS AND ROUTES

There are two main trailheads (starting points ) which lead to the mountain's peaks. Salsa Trail ( Buddukiro trailhead ) is the most easily accessible from Mbale and is the most direct route to the peaks. It passes through the Park's largest area of bamboo forest. However it is also a steep and rugged climb of over 1600m on the first day. For a more gentle climb ( 660m first day ) you may choose to ascend via Pisa trail ( Kapkwata trailhead ). Along this route you can explore a vast Podocarpus forest, an excellent place for wildlife viewing.
The full trekking circuit to the peaks takes 4-5 days to complete. All visitors are encouraged to discuss options with an Information Clerk at the Male, Budadiri or Kapkwata Visitors' Centres.

CAMPING

Five basic campsites are located at strategic points along the trekking circuit. Please respect Park regulations by camping only at designated campsites. No camping is allowed within the caldera. MENP camping is primitive, and all necessary camping equipment must be carried with you. Some items such as tents and sleeping bags can be hired through the Park office in Mbale. Make sure not to forget a warm jacket and rain gear, as extreme weather conditions will add to your Mt. Elgon adventure! Also please take a fuel-efficient camp stove if possible to avoid placing additional pressure on MENP firewood resources.

GUIDES PORTERS AND RANGER ESCORTS

Please support local community members and encourage continued conservation of MENP's valuable resources by hiring local guides and porters. All certified guides have received training in natural/ cultural histories, emergency first aid and communication. Porters will assist you by carrying up to 18 kg of your gear as well as preparing meals, setting up/taking down your camp, and collecting your water. Fees are set at Ush 8,000 (guide) and Ush 7,000 (porter) per stage. The wages cover the guide or porter's park visitation fee and the cost of sufficient food and supplies. Make sure to ask to see a guide's license before hiring. For additional safety reasons, a Park ranger escort must be hired when visiting the calderas or ascending the peaks. You will meet your ranger escort at Sasa or Piswa patrol hut where you must present your park receipt before proceeding upwards.

DAY HIKES

The Forest Exploration Centre has three "day" trails ranging between 3 and 7 km. These trails offer an excellent opportunity to experience Mt. Elgon's unique plants and wildlife in shorter time period. A fourth trail has recently been opened to reach the enormous Tutum Cave, 11 km from the centre. This trail also passes through a range of vegetation types and offers opportunities to see wildlife such as Black and White Colobus Monkeys and a variety of birds. Steady Safaris arrange trekking expeditions to mount Elgon if you are interested to hike up this mountain.

ACCOMMODATION

Simple accommodation facilities are available inside the Park at the Kapkwata Rest House and the Forest Exploration Centre at Kapkwai. Prior arrangements through the MENP Visitors' office in Mbale are necessary as these facilities do not accommodate large numbers of visitors. Kitchen services are available, but visitors should bring their own food supplies or provide money to buy food on arrival. The Forest Exploration Centre also conducts a four-day environmental program for school groups of up to 30 students which allow children to experience a living forest ecosystem while learning the importance of conservation. It has dormitory - style rooms and bathing facilities with running water.

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS OUTSIDE THE PARK

The magnificent Sipi Falls are located 66 km from Mbale, en-route to the Forest Exploration Centre and Kapkwata. Several trails in the area allow for intriguing day hikes through friendly local villages and beautiful farming country. Pleasant campsites and lodge facilities, including meal services and hot showers are available at Crow's Nest located just before the Sipi trading centre. More expensive accommodation is available at the Sipi Falls Resort. Please enquire about guides to escort you on the gradual 1.5 hour walk to the Forest Exploration Centre. Seven rock-climbing routes are open at Nagudi rock, half-way between Mbale and Budadiri. The routes are bolted, but climbers must bring their own rock-climbing equipment. Each climber pays to the local Parish treasurer. More information and directions are available at the MENP Visitor's Centre office in Mbale.

WHAT TO BRING

Tent, Sleeping Bag, Warm Clothes Gloves/ Hat, sturdy Hiking shoes Flashlight, water Bottle, Rain gear, first aid kit, Cooking equipment, sufficient food supplies