Uganda Journals

Gorillas in our Midst

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A December 2011 trip to Uganda by Liam Hetherington

Gorilla Close-Up Photo, Uganda, Africa More Photos
Quote: A flying trip to visit a friend in Uganda afforded me the golden opportunity to head down to the south to spend some time with the elusive mountain gorillas of the Bwindi Impenetrable Rainforest. We returned to Kampala via a spot of R&R at Lake Bunyonyi.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The Road to Bwindi

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Story/Tip

North Country Boy & Southern Girl Photo, Uganda, Africa
Quote:
Robert said the drive down to Bwindi from Kampala would take about eleven hours. He was spot on to the minute.Rather than trusting the public transport we had booked a driver. There is one bus every other day from Kampala to Butogota, leaving the traveller to manage the remaining 17km to Buhoma, the gateway to the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, on their own. The buses we saw on the roads failed to fill us with confidence; the weekend of my arrival one had crashed, killing several of its passengers. Robert and his Toyota Landcruiser arrived at Laura’s house at 6.30am.We chuntered out of Kampala – it must have taken ninety minutes before we were clear of the traffic-cl...Read More

Walking with Gorillas

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Story/Tip

Gorilla Close-Up Photo, Uganda, Africa
Quote:
The rustling in the undergrowth grew louder. And then, from behind a tree, a fully grown male silverback gorilla sauntered into view. Without glancing at us he knuckled away.Breathlessly I took stock of our surroundings. We had emerged out of the damp forest canopy where the air was heavy with the smell of decomposing leaf matter and into a large sloping meadow. As my eyes accustomed to the daylight I could see, among the stomach-high ferns and brush, other black shapes. The trackers had done their work well. We had found the Habinyanja family of mountain gorillas.Of the three ‘habituated’ gorilla groups around Buhoma the Habinyanja have been known to roam the fur...Read More

Pearl of Africa Tours & Travel

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Attraction | "How to Walk with Gorillas in Uganda"

Pearl of Africa Tours & Travel Photo, Uganda, Africa
Quote:
There are only around 720 mountain gorillas left in the world. These are clustered in just three countries – Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Of these, around half the total amount live in Uganda, either in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or in the more southerly Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.In each of these parks (and in Rwanda’s Parc National des Volcans) there are a certain number of ‘habituated’ groups of gorillas. This means that these gorillas have gradually become accustomed to human presence. These are the only groups that can be visited safely (for both humans and apes). There are seven habituated groups in Uganda. The Nyakagezi group lives in Mgah...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 2, 2012

Pearl of Africa Tours & Travel
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Uganda, Africa
(0)256414340533

Buhoma Community Rest Camp

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Hotel | "Sleeping in the Jungle"

Buhoma Community Rest Camp Photo, Buhoma, Uganda
Quote:
There are a number of high-end lodges in Buhoma to cater for those undertaking gorilla tracking. The Buhoma Community Rest Camp (http://www.buhomacommunity.com/) is not one of them. This is the budget end of the market. However, having stayed here once I am not sure I would be willing to pay more to stay anywhere else should I return. The Buhoma Community Rest Camp was more than adequate for my needs. The camp is located just inside the National Park boundaries. The wooden main building comprises the restaurant / bar. An open verandah provided our first glimpse of the fabled Bwindi Impenetrable Rain Forest – a sheer escarpment facing us, thick with dark green foliage, skeins of mist...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 2, 2012

Buhoma Community Rest Camp
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Buhoma, Uganda
+256 (772) 384965

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

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Attraction | "It's Like a Jungle Out There"

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Photo, Buhoma, Uganda
Quote:
There are few names more evocative of the wild jungles of central Africa than that of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The alien-sounding ‘Bwindi’ conjures up Africa (it literally means ‘Dark Place’); the epithet ‘impenetrable’ presents a challenge. A challenge that I was keen to take up. The Bwindi Rainforest is a remnant of a great swath of jungle that once cloaked central Africa. At its heart the forest is some 25,000 years old. It straddles the Albertine Rift, one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, covers some 331 km2 and varies in height from bottom to top by some 1500m. It is most famous for its population of 340 mountain gorillas – about half the entire planet’s popu...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 6, 2012

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Buhoma, Uganda

Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi

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Attraction | "Relaxing at the Place of Many Little Birds"

Lake Bunyonyi Photo, Kisoro, Uganda
Quote:
Lake Bunyonyi, right down on the Rwandan border in Uganda’s south-west corner, has become renowned in recent years as a relaxing spot for a chill-out. Its prime attractions are the spattering of islands dotted along its squiggly wishbone-shaped length, many of which provide low-key accommodation options, and its abundant birdlife. The name ‘Bunyonyi’ even translates as ‘Place of Many Little Birds’. From the jetties at the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it lakeside village of Rutinda motorboats carry visitors across to the island resorts.Much is made in the guidebooks of Bunyonyi being a ‘magical’ spot and of the beauty of its surroundings. I would not go that far. It is a nice place to de-st...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 6, 2012

Lake Bunyonyi
Near Rwanda Border
Kisoro, Uganda

Nature's Prime Island

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Hotel | "Islands in the Sky (well, 2,000m anyway)"

Nature's Prime Island Photo, Uganda, Africa
Quote:
Nature’s Prime Island is the nearest island to the jetties at Rutinda. It took barely three minutes to scoot across in their motorboat to the resort where we were to stay two nights.From the boat dock a path leads uphill to the reception building at Nature’s Prime, a combination restaurant / bar / lounge, with open walls looking down over the lawns and shrubbery. This allows the tinkle of birdsong to reach you at all times. Without moving from one of the comfily cushioned cane settees we were able to see darting golden weaver birds, a couple of black ibis perching in a tree, a glittering emerald sunbird or two, long-tailed brown mousebirds huddling together into a shivering fluffy b...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 6, 2012

Nature's Prime Island
Lake Bunyonyi
Kabale, Uganda
+256-(0)772-423215

Back to Kampala: Haggling & Hold-Ups

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Story/Tip

Drive-Thru Supermarket Photo, Uganda, Africa
Quote:
Any journey in Uganda is entertaining. And even though the road back to Kampala from Lake Bunyonyi was surfaced and even though the bulk of the journey, from Ntungamo onwards, was retracing the route we had followed on our way south, it still had plenty to show. Robert, our driver, asked permission to make a couple of stops en route. He wished to go shopping. It seems that fresh produce is dramatically cheaper down in Kigezi than it is up in Kampala. He had already bought a sack of ‘Irish’ (the local name for the one variety of potatoes that can be found in Uganda) and he wished to pick up some stems of matoke. These green cooking bananas were sold still attached to their cur...Read More