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From the blog

The Three Horned Chameleon in Bwindi and Rwenzori

Located in western Uganda near the Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo border lays the famous Rwenzori Block Mountains. These are ranges of Block Mountains that were formed from the great faulting works of the Great Rift Valley. The peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains are snow capped and have various glacial features that usually result from glacial erosion.

The mountains have the 3rd highest peak – Stanley and are blessed with various wildlife species that live in the different ecosystems that the mountain has. Basing on that, Uganda Wildlife Authority gazetted the Rwenzori mountain area in to a national park in 1991 to enable conservation of the present wildlife species to cater for the needs of the present and future generations.

The Jackson Chameleons of the Rwenzoris and Bwindi

Rwenzori has various species that are endemic to the area including the three-horned chameleon, which is also known as the Johnston’s chameleon. Many tourists taking tours to the Rwenzoris are always fascinated by sightings of these rare chameleons.

The three-horned chameleon is one of east Africa’s endemic specie that mostly dwells in places with higher altitudes at least above 3000 meters above sea level. This explains why this unique reptile in habits the slopes of the great Rwenzori Mountains.

What makes a remarkable difference between the male Johnston’s chameleon and other chameleons are its three horns at the fore head.

Just like all other chameleons, the Johnston’s chameleon is also very good at hiding using its great skills of changing color according to the environments they are in. Most chameleons use this great talent of changing color in order to hide away from their predators especially the deadly snakes and birds. They also change their color to easily hunt down their prey like small insects. The other reasons as to why chameleons change their color is as a means of communication as they try to show their moods to their fellow chameleons showing their intentions of either fighting a male counterpart or courting a female to get a mating partner and as a way of quickly adjusting to the prevailing conditions of an area especially temperature.

There are a number of Johnston’s chameleons in the Rwenzori and most times they cannot help it but display their changing color characteristics whenever in different environments. When in green vegetation they no doubt turn their skin green and when on the ground with brown soils, they also turn their color brown. With such a talent, chameleons have the rights to brag as their color tactics most times makes them invisible making them to easily make successful attacks especially when looking for food.

Facts About Johnston’s Chameleons

  • Johnston’s chameleons are endemic to the Albertine region and can only be found in the Rwenzori area, Bwindi and Mgahinga in Uganda, in Rwanda and eastern democratic republic of Congo.
  • The Johnston’s chameleon has a lifespan of about 5 years while in a confinement
  • Between 6 to 12 months, a fully-grownJohnston’s’ chameleon can reach a length of 30 centimeters.
  • They mainly feed on insects like grasshoppers, butterflies, crickets, spiders and bugs but birds and snakes usually hunt them.
  • Humans, who usually destroy their habitants while others keep them in captivity, as they believe that they are magical because of their horns, threaten the Johnston’s chameleons.
  • The Johnston’s chameleons tongue has unique muscles on the tip that enable it to easily trap any of the chameleons prey.
  • Chameleons have unique feet among all the lizards because they are capable of gripping the tree trunks as the chameleon climbs up.
  • Chameleons have eyes that are capable of rotating at 360 degrees, which means a chameleon can view in all angles even without moving. This gives them a greater chance of detecting prey in all angles.

For best views of the three-horned chameleon in Uganda, a visit to Rwenzori national park is recommended. The park is just 375 kilometers from Kampala via Kampala- fort portal.

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Customer Reviews

Ngoni Safaris Uganda

Customer Reviews

Michael T 06/June/2021

Above & Beyond
Review of: 3-Day Gorillas trekking and Batwa Experience
Sedrick went above and beyond to accomodate our request for an itinerary alteration due to our compressed time in Uganda. He also compeltely took care of scheduling our covid 19 testing and drove us to the site on arrival.

Our driver/guide Ben was also outstanding!

**We highly recommend using a porter during gorilla trekking as their are some complex parts to the trail/terrain. This also benefits the local people by providing them work.**

David 24/June/2021

Seeing Lots of Animals and Uganda
The schedule suited my time in Uganda exactly and was a great opportunity to view some of the top wildlife and natural wonders of the country. Lodgings range from mid-range to near upscale and are in beautiful locations. Food is good and ample. My driver, Stanley, was expert at spotting wildlife and, very importantly on the Ugandan roads, a careful and skilled driver. You see various parts of the country on this tour, and due to distances, be aware you'll spend quite a few hours on the road. One thing they might add is an itinerary going into more detail ahead of time on each day's activity and suggested things to bring. I was concerned about the needed COVID test for return home, but they took care of arranging that, and it turned out successfully. Overall the tour was a real highlight and is highly recommended.

Justo Nov 18, 2019

I went on an 11 day safari visiting Kampala, Jinja, Lake Mburo NP, Bwindi NP, Queen Elizabeth NP and Kibale NP. Communications with Ngoni were prompt and easy from the start. As soon as I made my booking, Sedrick contacted me through WhatsApp and guided me through the rest of the process. Leading up to the tour he made sure I was well-prepared to begin. He was always very clear and friendly. Service was exceptional. I had the pleasure of going on this safari with three members of Ngoni's staff - Sedrick, Nelson and Joel. These guys made my comfort their priority from the moment we met. Whether it was checking if I was okay with the accommodations or making sure I always had a bottle of water, I always felt like I was being well taken care of. Nelson is an excellent guide. His knowledge about the flora and fauna of Uganda was extensive, always able to answer any questions I had and was eager to teach - it's obvious that he has a great love for his country and it's environment and is eager to share this love with his clients. My experience with Ngoni and Uganda surpassed all expectations I had. Absolutely amazing, and thanks to the guys at Ngoni it feels like a new home - can't wait to come back and visit. Webale, brothers!

Stephany Aug 13, 2019
Sedrick was unique and stood out from the rest in the high quality communication he provided since the first inquiry. He called me to provide information about the itinerary and see if I had any questions even before booking the tour. We communicated through WhatsApp for any other questions that came to mind after that call. After picking me up from the airport, he and Pilot (additional tour guide) provided plenty of information about the country to give me some context and we started our long drive to the impenetrable forest. The food was delicious with many options; the accommodation was very clean with exceptional service; and the transportation from Entebbe to Bwindi park was very comfortable (although long). As a solo female traveler, both tour guides (Sedrick and Pilot) did an exceptional job at enduring I accomplished everything intended to in Uganda, and always made me feel safe. I highly recommend to book your safari with this company because the quality and professionalism will not let you down.

Shakira Dec 14, 2018

Ngoni safaris uganda is the best tour operator in Uganda. A few weeks back we traveled to Bwindi impenetrable with sedrick to explore the beauty that is Uganda. This company took care of us . with most comfortable car , Great guide .We highly recommend it to the next travelers

Winnie Dec 19, 2018
I was going on a gorilla safari with my friend and this was going to be the first ever safari for the both of us. Luckily, the communication with the office was super easy and we got answers to all of the questions we needed. The driver / guide (Sedrick) was very professional and funny and made our time very pleasant. Also, he had a proper knowledge of the local area close to the Mgahinga national park and he promptly spoke some 7 languages which we thought was super positive. The safari was surely the highlight of out East African trip!

Ritah Jan 2, 2019
My Team and I did a five day trip, including Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Murchison Falls and Kidepo. It was truly an incredible experience. Our guide, Sedrick, was knowledgeable, skilled in driving in some challenging settings and just plain fun to hang out with for five days. The lodging was perfect, especially Savannah Lodge. The tents and beds were high quality. The views were spectacular. Meals were delicious and varied. I recommend Ngoni safaris Uganda with all my heart and soul!

Pilot May 28, 2019
Our six days trip was amazing. The driver/guide had an incredible knowledge of animal and bird-life and are so interesting to talk to. His driving skills through lashing rain and massive puddles was admirable! The cooks managed to produce varied and delicious meals from the kitchen, which we ate both at accommodation or roadside when we were travelling from one place to another . At all times we felt safe and well-looked after. All in all, an incredible experience, due not only to the abundance of wildlife we were lucky enough to see, but also to the great efforts put to have our Safari a better one . The safari was full of fun. Traveling with ngoni safaris is my life time memorable experience and I highly recommend it to travellers who would love to visit uganda or EastAfrica for holidays, vacations or Adventure.. Even five stars are too small .