Shrine at the Killing Fields
Attack of the Leech
After doing the majority of our research regarding Uganda through postings on Trip Advisor, we decided to share some of the highlights during our vacation. We began our adventure by visiting the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary which is in the process of trying to bring back rhinos to this region after being hunted to extinction. After a short walk through tall grasses, we met up with the white rhinos to hang out with them for about a 1/2 hour. Next we proceeded to Kaniyo Pabidi for the Chimpanzee trek - what an amazing experience! The guide kept asking if we could see the chimps through the dense foliage of the rainforest - we kept telling him no - so he moves us closer in - imagine our surprise when finally we see one & after 30 seconds of viewing him we hear the calls realizing that we were right in the middle of 20 chimps! We then spent 2 evenings at Nile Safari Lodge - beautiful views of the Nile (hippos in the river right across from our room), friendly staff, & great food. On an early morning game drive we saw lions & giraffes, and in the afternoon took a boat ride seeing hippos & elephants to the base of Murchison Falls which we proceeded to hike up to the top of.
We then headed for Kibale where we stayed in one of the luxury tents surrounded by the rainforest at the Primate Lodge - once again good food & friendly staff made this a memorable place to stay. From our room we could hear chimp calls as well as see a variety of monkeys. While in Kibale, we did the full day Chimp Habituation - we started on the trails before sunrise so that we could see the chimpanzees waking up. We were privileged to have had the opportunity to witness the alpha male showing the group who was boss, mamas & babies hanging out, & after an alarm call being sounded we were surrounded by chimps in front, behind, and on both sides of us -walking through the forest as if we were on patrol with them.
We then headed for Queen Elizabeth National Park where we stayed at the Mweya Safari Lodge - beautiful views of Lakes George & Edward. Food was excellent and grounds were visited by the "Banded Brothers" - a mongoose group being filmed by the BBC. Just on the way back and forth from the lodge, we saw elephants, lions, and a variety of other animals. We proceeded to the Ishasha Wilderness Camp which we were greeted near the entrance of the park by 2 sleeping lions in a tree. We then had lunch under a tree which had 3 sleeping lions one of which was trying to get comfortable due to her pregnant belly! The tented camp was on the river where you could hear the elephants trumpeting & monkey alarm calls after a leopard had come through in the middle of the night only leaving footprints behind. Hyenas are now a rare sighting but we did have the fortunate experience of seeing one on an early morning game drive.
We then proceeded on to Bwindi for our gorilla adventure. The tented camp of Gorilla Resort had excellent views of the mountains & friendly staff. We trekked the H group which was a grueling 2 1/2 hour hike into a truly impeneterable forest! The guide, rangers, & porters made this a memorable trek - all working to make certain that we would have an experience of a lifetime. We came across a family of 16 members - a silverback, blackback, mamas, & juvenilles - allowed us to hang out with them for over an hour. One male began to charge us with his teeth bared when we got a little to close for his liking.
We then proceeded to Kisoro where we stayed at the Nkuringo Safari Lodge - the views of the lake and the Virungas were absolutely breathtaking! This tented camp on a peninsula has good food and excellent staff. At Mgahinga National Park, we hiked up a volcano for over 2 hours in search of the shy & elusive Golden Monkey spending a 1/2 hour trying to get pics before we needed to leave to cross over the border into Rwanda.
While in Rwanda we stayed at the new Mountain Gorilla View Lodge - the cottages are roomy & cozy with a fireplace to take the chill off - also beautiful views of the Virungas. We were the only two people to be guided to Group 13 which ironically happened to be hanging out within a mile from our lodge - we could have invited them for morning tea! The silverback & his 11 wives as well as lots of baby gorillas made this a most memorable visit.
After crossing back into Uganda, we stayed at Mihingo Safari Lodge on the edge of Lake Mburo National Park. The rooms are absolutely beautiful incorporating nature throughout the bedroom and bathroom. The deck from our room had a view of the water hole which zebra, impalas, topi, and eland would visit for a drink. We had a beer with the cute little bush babies in the evening before dinner. We were disappointed to hear that the lions and hyenas have disappeared from this area due to probable poisoning of meat.
Every place that we have ever been, people would tell us you should have been here 20 years ago. After talking to people throughout our vacation, Uganda is the only country that we have been to that is actually better now than it was 20 years ago. The conservation efforts by the rangers of the Ugandan Wildlife Authority and friendly people of this country will make this once again the "Pearl of Africa".