Interviews Safaris

Rweteera Safari Park. Camping next to the crater lakes. Uganda.

Officially founded in 2010, Rweetera Safari Park has since become one of Uganda’s most rewarding destinations to explore. Located just outside Kibale National Park it is ideal for tourists visiting the area for the first time or returning for another adventure. As there are several National Parks including Kibale Forest, Queen Elizabeth, Semliki Game Reserve and National and Mountain Rwenzori National Park you need a good base camp to travel from. And, for those wishing to travel less and see more, Kibale National Park is within walking distance.

Location

Lying within the tranquil Ndali-Kasenda crater area Rweteera Safari Park has been laid out with nature in mind, creating a sense of comfort and relaxation in the chimp and crater lakes region.

There are three main sorts of accommodation at the park, mainly lodges, safari tents and camping grounds. Perfect for families with kids who want to show their independence and camp out in tents with friends or siblings in a safe but “outdoors” environment. Perfect for groups of people with varying accommodation tastes amongst their members and perfect for couples or solo travellers wanting to melt into nature.

Peter Rujabuka, operations coordinator for Kibale Tours, who also runs Rweteera Safari Park says, “We don’t offer boring luxury here, we offer adventure during the day and comfort at night. The cabins are cozy and private, our safari tents have showers with ample hot water and the camping ground is perfect for tents.”

Accommodation

There is a range of accommodation at the park, and Peter explains this is to meet every sort of need and budget. There are bandas, cottages/wood cabins and six secluded standard size types of tents.

The Lasting Memories

Since it was founded, the area has hosted many families and has a reputation for generating the sorts of memories that will be shared and remembered for a lifetime. After all, childhoods are shaped around vacations that involve adventure, camping out, and nights spent around a fire on a shore lake in a crater.

“Rweteera Safari Park also includes a children’s playground, an on-site restaurant and a bar,” Peter says, “And to support the adventurers heading out we even offer packed lunches to keep them fuelled with good food.”

The Adventures Available

Uganda is a land of natural treasures, especially the Ndali-Kasendi crater which is a hive of natural activity. The area has long been popular with fishing and canoe enthusiasts keen to get their feet wet. There are cycle paths and car tracks for those wishing to go out for a ride or a drive and both bikes and cars are available on the property for hiring.

“Even a gentle hike during the day is rewarding,” Peter says, “Rweteera Safari Park is located amongst four crater lakes in an area characterised by rolling hills, vanilla plantations, forests and the magnificent lakes themselves. Definitely worth a look.”

While the safaris are handled by Kibale Tours and involve some of the most engaging safaris, Rweteera Safari Park definitely takes full advantage of its location to offer guests something special. After all, after days spent in cars on safaris and transfers, maybe a walk around the crater lakes to stretch the legs could be perfect.

Peter says, “There are no predators in the crater lakes and amongst some of the other popular guided tours that are offered, the guided walk through Lake Nyabikere and the swamp wetland area is very popular. Also, our guides are very highly educated regarding the species of monkeys, birds and trees found in our nature reserve.”

Some of the other tours include the Mahoma Waterfall Tour and the Crater Lake Hikes which are a must if you’re a fan of lungfuls of fresh air and a complete disconnection from hectic lifestyles. This is a chance to see the best of Ugandan forna and fauna.

“There are a number of favourite activities that have developed over time at Rweteera Safari Park, which have become favourites amongst guests,” Peter reflects, “For example, we offer romantic evenings out with our Lakeside Dinners, where diners can have a view over the lake and onto the boundary of Kibale National Park, or the excursions to the Fishing Village Kyantambara which is a scenic little village on the lakeshore.”

The People

Cultural tours have been growing in popularity in recent years and with good reason. It is a great opportunity to learn more about the people of a region and find out how the land, the animals and the climate has shaped their culture, their beliefs and their approach to life.

“The Ugandan culture and traditions are unique in Africa,” Peter explains, “It is important that our tours cover a range of topics to properly demonstrate this, everything from local brew preparation to coffee activities.”

There is also the chance to see the traditional cultural dances performed by locals. This is a lively, hour long performance incorporating drama, dance, hand-made music instruments and audience-participation riddles. In the Bakiga tribes both men and women dance by stamping the ground barefoot and the harder you do it the better and cracks upon the floor are an indication of the party success!

Tree planting

Peter explains that due to the high precipitation, complex landform and undulating valleys, as well as continual human disturbances and previously poor land management, Rweteera Safari Park area has been subjected to severe degradation of the vegetation and soil. The project contributes to climate change mitigation through planting of indigenous tree species and assisted natural regeneration activities. The purpose of the tree planting activity is to realize multiple socio-economic and environmental benefits like climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, local community development and soil erosion control.

To date over 200 indigenous trees have been planted at Rweteera Safari Park which has encouraged the sustained regrowth of the natural fauna which plays an important role in the eco-systems of the area. “Plant a Tree for Africa” is a campaign that encourages all guests to set down roots and leave something behind that they have planted themselves.

Peter explains that Kibale National Park is renowned for its diversity of monkeys and great apes, of which the best known is the chimpanzee. Sadly, deforestation in the past 20 years has led to habitat degradation and endangerment of biodiversity. Thankfully, tree planting activities at Rweteera Safari Park in conjunction with work done with the local community will be able to restore this area.

Positive Impacts

Peter says, “Restoring the trees will improve the quality of water in the surrounding areas. It will also restore the habitat of the chimpanzee and other primates that are seen around Rweteera Safari Park.”

Furthermore, according to him, the tree planting activity creates employment opportunities to local communities including planting the seeds, weeding the growth and tending the young trees. Currently almost 20 people are involved in the activity. They’ve found that this activity enhances the community bond and elevates the status of women by ensuring their participation in the tree planting activities.

Home Stays. A unique chance to really get involved.

For those travellers seeking a real opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture the Home Stays is perfect. As a homestay guest, you participate in the activities of the host family and they become your guide during your stay.

Provided with local meals, exploring together as a group and living in the village you’re treated less like a guest and more like a member of the community.

Village walks, canoeing, traditional story telling from the village elders, food preparation, weaving, milking and games with village children are some of the activities expected within the community. But also guided forest and nature walks, learning the local traditions and history, helping with village chores, and if you are lucky even  a local wedding ceremony!


 

WEBSITE: www.rweteerasafaripark.com

ADDRESS: 18 km Kamwenge road Fort Portal Uganda

TELEPHONE NUMBER: +256776862153

EMAIL: rweteerasafaripark@gmail.com

PRICE/NIGHT: $50 per night