Kazinga Channel

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Uganda Safari takes you on a journey of your life  to western Uganda. One of the most amazing features is a section of water called Kazinga channel linking two lakes together.

Kazinga Channel, found in Kasese district is one feature that gives this district a distinction in being one of the most naturally gifted parts in Uganda. Kasese district is also home to Queen Elizabeth National Park and borders the Rwenzori Mountains in the north, Kibaale national park in the east, Virunga national park in the west and also plays host to Lake Edward and Lake George. Venturing along this water channel gives you a true feeling of Uganda safari in this area.

As you enter the district, one cannot fail to cross over Kazinga channel. This is a 40-kilometre stretch of waterway connecting Lake George and Lake Edward.

Taking a launch from Queen Elizabeth along the Kazinga channel is so magnificent that it becomes worth the time invested in the trip. This channel acts as a water source for both the residents on the shores and the animals in the park. One is able to see buffalos, elephants, crocodiles and hippopotamus bathing in the sun not forgetting the different species of birds.

The first entry point that gives you a glimpse of Kazinga Channel is Katunguru. This is basically a fishing village on the edge of Queen Elizabeth National park. Moving east of this town is another small township called Kasenyi where fishing is the main economic activity. West of Katunguru lies another entry point to Kazinga Channel called Katwe. In this area, fishing is one of the main activities.

There is a lake, Lake Katwe where salt is extracted and sold in different parts of the country and some is exported to Democratic Republic of Congo. In fact, when moving around Katwe town, what towers the sky is the old dilapidated buildings of the Salt factory but what is amazing is the way the salt ponds are arranged. The pink flamingos are the main birds that cover the skies around Lake Katwe. One is able to a glimpse of crater lakes whose banks were defined by herds of different animals. Just a single glimpse at these features will make you love your Uganda Safari tour the more.

 What makes the landing site beautiful are the numerous colourful wooden canoes, engine boats used by fishermen and some bigger vessels used to take adventurists to tour the lake, its islands and of course the Kazinga Channel. When you decide to take a boat cruise on Lake Edward, watch out for spectacular sights of the hippopotamus, buffaloes, tiny white monkeys on trees, the deadly Nile crocodiles and a very fast yellow water snake.

As you sail along Kazinga Channel, you will be able to appreciate the beauty Kasese district has to offer. It will offer you a true Uganda Safari adventure you will never forget.

 “Unlike the bubbling water points that signify the source of the Nile in Jinja, the Kazinga Channel needs no introduction,” our guide proudly announced as we entered this narrow waterway and indeed he was right. This natural waterway distinctly defines itself from Lake Edward and George, yet strengthens the obvious sibling-like bond the two lakes share.

At the Kazinga Channel, we saw a number of animals, including a herd of elephants, cattle from nearby villages, buffaloes, lots and lots of hippopotamus and numerous birds, including the crested crane, marabou stocks and water ducks with their ducklings. All these animals and birds were sipping from the calm waters.

It was so harmonious. On our way back, we caught a glimpse of the rare Egyptian kite majestically resting on a tree top as we toured islands on the lake.This breathtaking two-hour experience affirmed the fact that indeed Uganda is gifted by nature.

Did you know?

At the Kazinga Channel, there are a number of animals, including elephants, cattle from nearby villages, buffaloes, lots of hippopotamus and numerous birds such as the Crested Crane, marabou stocks and water ducks

 Monkeys are fun to track

Monkey tracking has come fast on the heels of the more sought-after mountain gorilla tracking. With a new adventure dubbed ‘Golden Monkey Experiential Tourism’, tourists can take a four-hour trek to see golden monkeys frolic, feed, court, hop acrobatically in the trees and care for their young ones. The swift monkeys keep themselves busy by pulling faces, grooming each other and flying between tree branches.

Currently, they are only found in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Virunga National Park in DR. Congo, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Gishwati forest and Nyungwe forests. Unlike human beings, monkeys and gorillas freely move between the three countries without visas. This golden monkey trek gives one a chance to see the apes in action, petting and having a siesta. According to researcher Sandra E. Gray, their groups are single male multi-family, meaning there is only one resident male and several adult females, plus young ones of varying ages.

However, for reinforcement, between three and 11 outside males are accepted to join the group temporarily during the breeding season. For monkeys, communication is done fluently by vocal sounds, sign language and facial expressions. Grey says these have not yet been comprehensively studied and only the most obvious gestures are understood to any degree. Monkeys eat 33 record plant species, including fruits and flowers.

Their menu also comprises small invertebrates and bamboo leaves, which make up the bulk of the diet. The habitat of golden monkeys is in the evergreen semi-deciduous and bamboo forests. Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) directorate of conservation has now completed the process of habituating a family of golden monkeys for experiential tourism.

This is as a strategy meant to diversify tourism activities. Tacking takes place strictly in the mornings and afternoons within a 23– 50 hectare area to maximise the experience. “The fee is $100, inclusive of the park entry fees. The maximum number per visiting group per day will be six,” Ingrid Nyonza Nyakabwa, the UWA marketing manager, says. “You will not have any regrets. It is money and time very well spent.”

GETTING THERE

Bookings for the golden monkey adventure are done at both the UWA headquarters on Plot 7 Kira Road in Kamwokya between the Uganda Museum and the British High Commission. Alternatively, they are available at the park office in Kisoro town or park headquarters at Ntebeko. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in south-western Uganda.

It can be accessed by road and air. Kisoro town, at the foot of Mt. Muhabura, is about 540km from Kampala, which takes about eight hours drive via Kabale on an excellent paved road surface. Public transport by bus is available on a daily basis. Mgahinga National Park head office is located 13km from Kisoro town and can be accessed by public transport. It is also accessible from Rwanda’s Chanika border post or Eastern DRC’s Bunagana border post.

Accommodation is available in Kisoro town, a gateway to the park which is adequately served by upmarket and budget hotels. There is a private lodge at the edge of the park and a privately run campsite right outside the park. For more information on other activities, visit the UWA website and the tariff rate card. “This product is now ready for the market,” Raymond Engena, the director Tourism Development and Business Services, says. “The activity is a new product mixed with the phenomenal Batwa Trail Cultural Experience, in addition to volcano hiking.”

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