A Travellerspoint blog

Farewell Uganda

Kampala, Entebbe, and back to Europe

sunny 28 °C
View Grant and Helena's world tour on Grantandhelena's travel map.

After the excitement of whitewater rafting in Jinja, it was time to wind down the adrenaline and do some souvenir shopping. We arrived back in Kampala and stayed a couple of nights in the capital. It is not the most charming of places, though it is certainly smarter than Addis Ababa if only for the fact that Kampala has shopping malls. However, Addis certainly has the more pleasant atmosphere: the air in Kampala is dusty, polluted and hot, and there are no beautiful buildings of note. 

We went to the Ugandan National Museum and were amazed to see that most of the exhibits seemed to pre-date Ugandan independence in 1962. They did have an exhibit about the Olympics, which seemed topical, until we saw that it was detailing the build-up to Beijing 2008! There was nothing at all about Idi Amin: a black chapter that the curator obviously preferred to skip in favour of displays of pre-historic jugs and a very tired-looking Model T Ford.

To add to the lukewarm feelings we had about the capital, Ebola had just reached Kampala, having spread up from Congo in the last week or so. It all meant there was not much reason to hang around!

We managed, though, to pick up plenty of African souvenirs, the best of which was surely Helena's Congolese mask: a fruit bowl-sized, moon shaped wooden face in a fixed scowl complete with trailing dyed straw "beard". A welcoming feature for any living room! 

We also managed to catch up with Ville, a friend of a friend from Brussels now living in Kampala. It was surprising we had never met while both living in Brussels, but it was very enjoyable meeting up and enjoying an evening of "craic" in local Irish pub, "Bubbles O'Leary's".

Night out with Ville, formerly of Brussels, now of Kampala, at the local Irish pub

After exhausting the limited attractions of Kampala, we spent our last couple of days in Entebbe, the former capital, right on Lake Victoria and the location of the international airport. We had the bizarre experience of staying in the local zoo, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, which rents out "Banda" thatched cottages. The accommodation was basic and the location not the most convenient but where else could you wake up to the sounds of the chimpanzees squealing and see ostriches and giraffes grazing ten metres from your front door?! 

Shots from around the local zoo, where we slept for our last two nights

In fact, it was a pretty cool place to stay given that guests could wander the zoo before and after the general public arrived each day. That was great fun when it was light but a bit scary when coming back in the darkness of night past the snake house and the lion's den, hundreds of pairs of eyes reflecting off our torch beams!

Other highlights of Entebbe included a trip to the Botanical Gardens right beside Lake Victoria for a very nice view.

View from Botanical Gardens over Lake Victoria

On our last day, Hillary Clinton's cavalcade swept right past us, bringing Entebbe's traffic to a grinding halt. Given we had just missed her in Calcutta a couple of months back, we wonder if she is not following us (perhaps using our blog travel map to plan her state visits)? The Clintons are a big hit in Uganda, and Bill had been on the front page of the Sunday newspaper a fortnight ago on a visit here with a local Ugandan kid - Bill Clinton - named by his parents after the great man. Bill senior has taken on a kind of godfather role to the kid and promised Bill junior to fund his education to as high a level as the latter wants. What a great story!

For our last night in town, we dined in style at Faze 3 restaurant by Lake Victoria - the best restaurant in town, we were reliably informed. The food was good, the Nile Specials cold, and the views spectacular!

Dinner at Faze 3 on our last night

On the way home with Qatar Airways, we got an overnight stop in Doha. Being the world's best airline, they gave us a hotel room without any fuss and we were whisked out into the Doha night shortly after arriving. A huge Ramadan buffet awaited us at the hotel, which thankfully we could dig right into as it was after sunset. The Middle Eastern sweets were particularly awesome. 

Having eaten too many sweets at dinner we decided to have a stroll in Doha. No sooner ha we stepped outside the hotel than we were grateful we had brought a change of clothes with us: the humidity was absolutely stifling. It was almost 40 degrees and so humid that sweat just instantly materialised all over you, even standing still. For half an hour our camera lens was so fogged up that we couldn't take photos! We didn't stay out too long but got a few snaps of Doha's impressive skyline before retreating to the air con.

Shots from our brief, sweaty, wander in Doha

We boarded another flight the next morning to Stockholm, putting our feet on European soil for the first time in six months. Straight onto another flight up to Midlanda airport, we were met by a huge landing party of Helena's parents, sister and brother in law, niece and nephew. What a great welcome home!

And so our epic wander has come to an end. It is hard to believe that six months has gone by so quickly and yet also hard to believe how much we have managed to cram in to that time. We have seen so many incredible places and met so many interesting people along the way, it will take a long time to digest the experience. It has been a rare chance to step outside "normal" life and do something totally different. We are so happy that we made the decision to do it, it has been a dream coming true - every day for six months.

The overwhelming lesson has been that the vast majority of people in the world are friendly and helpful, even though most are vastly less well off than us Europeans. It's hard to fathom how lucky we are simply to be born in the part of the world we come from. We have enjoyed immense hospitality and kindness not only from friends and friends of friends, but from strangers, along the way. We hope that we will be able to repay that hospitality to friends and strangers who cross our path in the future. 

Lastly, a big thank you to our readers and especially to those who so keenly commented, it has really meant a lot to us!

Posted by Grantandhelena 01:50 Archived in Uganda Comments (1)

Making A Splash On The Nile

Whitewater rafting in Jinja, Uganda

sunny 30 °C
View Grant and Helena's world tour on Grantandhelena's travel map.

Two girls to the hospital, another handful seriously bruised and as for the rest, we are all soaking wet and  only lightly bruised. What has happened here? Ship wreck accident? Landslide in the rain? Nah, only white water rafting on the Nile.

Rafting in Jinja is exceptionally well organised. We went with Nile River Explorers and couldn't have been happier. When signing up to raft with them, they organise free transfer to and from Kampala, free or discounted accommodation in Jinja, free breakfast, snack and dinner. On top of that, you have a really fun-packed day.

We arrived in Jinja in the morning along with maybe 35 other keen rafters. After a security briefing and being given our equipment (helmet and life jacket) we were given breakfast and put on the trucks that would take us to the Nile. Once there, it was time to divide us into groups. We found some like-minded people, i.e. people who wouldn't mind getting wet! The guide on our raft, Bheem, was an Indian guy originally from Rishikesh. He turned out to be an absolute star, having all of us on the raft regularly in stitches. 

Briefing before getting into the rafts

At first we had to practise paddling and to react quickly to the different commandos "left forward, right back!", "all back!", "STOP", all forward!, "faster, MORE faster!" and perhaps the most important commando: "GET DOWN!!!" where we would all get down and squat on our feet in the raft, holding on for dear life. We also had to practice getting into raft and hence had to jump into the river. That turned out to be another pleasant surprise for the day - the Nile water was nice and warm. We got the front paddling positions in the raft, meaning we were trusted to set the paddling pace, and we would also be the first to face the fearsome rapids.

It was time for the first rapid. We were told that it was not good to fall out here as it was full of rocks. On and down we went, followed commands and held on for dear life. The water was huge: falling down one rapid, only to face a mountain of water on the other side for the raft to climb. When we stabilised after the rapid we noticed that we were missing two girls - they had fallen off somewhere. They were brought back to us by the security kayaks that always were checking that everyone was where they should be. One Israeli girl had actually gotten stuck on top of a rock and had to actively jump down: we can't imagine how scary that must have been! An American girl managed to bruise her back on the rocks but they were both more or less ok. The same couldn't be said about some of the girls on one of the two all-American rafts. The raft actually flipped over and the girl ended up hurting her back quite badly. She ended up leaving to go the hospital to have an X-ray. Luckily everything was ok and she was on the same bus back to Kampala as us the next day. Note that she had been rafting on the Nile before and thought it so fun that she was back for a second day.

The first rapid

Luckily this first rapid turned out to be the "worst". There were no more injuries and for us who had been lucky in the first rapid, it just became more and more fun. We had to paddle quite a lot between rapids which turned out to be really nice - the sun was shining and we had an exceptionally nice group of people on our raft and the chat was great. We all ended up getting into the water (our raft flipped twice!) but it was only a little bit scary, we had a lot of fun that day.  Our personal tally was Helena twice thrown out of the raft, and Grant three times.

Our raft

Getting ready for the rapid...

..and here we go!

And this is getting rough...

...and that's Grant gone!


And in the last rapid...

...we were all out

After the six rapids, it was time for a Nile Special (nothing beats a Nile on the Nile!) and some food, before heading off to our hostel, a lovely camp situated on the Nile, up from Jinja. The location is beautiful, overlooking the Nile - can't beat that for a view. Most of the rafting crowd was there, enjoying beers and watching an extreme kayaking video in the bar, which we felt we all had the right to comment on after our day on the river.

View over the Nile

Our tent on the Nile

Jinja doesn't have a huge amount of other attractions but the next day we enjoyed some "Big Game Crazy Golf", dodging cobras and crocodiles and watched over by gorillas and tigers (what a tiger was doing in Africa was never clarified).

Big Game Crazy Golf in Jinja

After the physical exertion of Crazy Golf, we had earned a Rolex: Uganda's national dish, namely a fried egg rolled in a chapati. Delicious!

Time for Rolex

Posted by Grantandhelena 05:32 Archived in Uganda Comments (4)

A Few Days At Lake Bunyonyi

sunny 25 °C
View Grant and Helena's world tour on Grantandhelena's travel map.

You would be forgiven for thinking that there is such a thing as the "Hello bird" in Uganda. As we are walking up the hill to enjoy the views over the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi, there are constant "Hellos!" called out, from afar and close by, some lighter,  some darker, some stronger, some softer. There is no such thing as one "Hello!" in Uganda. One call will inevitably provoke a bunch of others. The source of the hellos are Ugandan children and there are lots and lots of them! Few of them remain passive when they see foreigners, or "mazungus". It is almost exclusively pleasant, most of the time they are happy with  a "Hello!" and a wave. We can't help being amazed by their excitement.  

Ugandan babies is another source of amazement.  It seems like every young woman has a baby wrapped to her back. The babies are carried everywhere, without crying or making any kind of noise, all seeming content. We've hardly heard any babies cry since we got here, which is remarkable when there are babies pretty much everywhere! 

The children around Lake Bunyonyi are probably quite used to tourists as the the bilharzia-free lake is a popular destination. We decided to go there after our gorilla tracking to relax for a couple of days and maybe go for a swim. When we got to our place, having taken the boat across the lake, we quickly realised we were the only guests, despite the great reviews on Tripadviser!  We were consequently extremely well looked after by the friendly woman who was running the place. She cooked us the most excellent food, including crayfish from the lake, and made sure we weren't wanting anything.

Taking the boat to our place on Lake Bunyonyi...

...the Jajama Panorama

They made sure we had hot water...

...and clean clothes

Lake Bunyonyi is famous for its beautiful views and after having passed lots of "Hello birds" the following morning, we reached the top of the hill behind our hotel and were not disappointed. The south west corner of Uganda, where we have spent some time going on safari, gorilla tracking and now visiting Lake Bunyonyi, must be one of the most beautiful regions in the world.

Views over Lake Bunyonyi

We also made an attempt at some canoe paddling. The canoes here are basically hollowed out trees and they are not the easiest to manoeuvre, at least not for us! We (or Grant rather) managed to paddle across the lake to a couple of other resorts which actually had guests. Clearly our place was not doing very well when it came to marketing itself, as the other places were bustling with life and overlanders.  After this contact with other people, we paddled back to be in time for our next activity - a guided motor boat tour on the lake. We were amazed by the perfectly straight trajectories of the locals' canoes as ours seemed to go around in circles most of the time, meaning we probably paddled twice as far as we actually should have!

Paddling in an old school canoe on Lake Bunyonyi

Needless to say, being driven around in a motor boat was much more pleasant than paddling yourself. Our guide Dennis took us around to a few different islands of Lake Bunyonyi and told us about the history of the various places. Until the 1950s, unmarried women who got pregnant used to be put on "Punishment Island" and be left there to die. It is not very far from land but as few people could swim, being left on Punishment Island was most likely a death sentence.

Punishment Island

On one of the other islands, a Scot had set up a leprosy colony to which people were sent from all over East Africa. It only closed in the early 1980s and the old hospital has been turned into a school. We visited the church, which wasn't in a very good state although the view was fantastic.

The church on the island that used to be a leprosy colony

On tour

Most of the time we were just sitting and enjoying being driven around while taking in the views and after a couple of hours, we were dropped at our place again. We looked around, hopeful, but no, we were still the only guests.

Views of Lake Bunyonyi from our boat, including the Crested Crane, the national symbol of Uganda

We did manage to go for a swim in the pitch dark lake as well, which was pleasant although we didn't stay in the water for long. 

Nice, short swim in Lake Bunyonyi

The next morning it was time to leave for Kampala. We had decided to take the postbus as we wanted to avoid the crowded matatus. As it was a Sunday we were in doubt as to if the postbus was going, but our hotel manager assured us that it was. At 6.30 we were off with a taxi to Kabale to catch the postbus. When we found it, it was safely locked in behind a pair of huge iron gates. The guard outside informed us that there are no postbuses departing on Sundays. Our taxi driver hence took us to the mode of transport that is always running - the matatus. 

We were actually pleasantly surprised when the minibus left not long after we had boarded it; sometimes you end up waiting for hours. But our relief quickly turned into despair as it became increasingly obvious that  our driver was trying to beat the world record in matatu speeding, overtaking lots of other speeding matatus. He didn't even slow down for the speed bumps, which made the ride even more unpleasant.  

We have been on a lot of mad rides this trip, on winding mountain roads and through congested cities, even on other matatus, but never have we been so afraid as we were here. An overloaded, badly maintained minibus, on a road with lots of bad drivers and cattle wandering alongside it. This could end very badly. We decided that we would get off and find another matatu and asked the conductor to let us off. He either didn't understand or more likely, feigned ignorance. Next, we called the driver to stop. Nothing happened. Then we called, or yelled rather, again, louder and louder, and now the other passengers were calling as well, trying to help us. Desperate to keep us (and our money) onboard, the driver didn't stop but he did slow down. Another passenger told us he also wanted off as he thought it too unsafe, and he suggested to get out in the next town, where we would have a better chance of getting a different matatu.

For the rest of the drive, the speed was more reasonable, even if we had to call out once or twice more. We ended up staying on the matatu all the way to Mbarara where we intended to get a bus to Kampala. By then our Ugandan friend on the matatu was in fierce discussion with the driver and conductor. He later told us that they refused to take us to the place where the buses departed from, as they were adamant to get the two "mizungus" onboard their friend's matatu which was going to Kampala. When we got out, we waited for our friend as we were surrounded by hawkers. When he left with us, one man walked alongside our friend and shouted angrily in the local language. The only words we could hear was "mizungo,  mizungu!!!". He told us later that they were angry that he "took those white people away!!". Thanks to our new friend, we found our way to the much more comfortable, and let's not forget safe, bus and arrived to Kampala in one piece. 

As for our hotel at Lake Bunyonyi, we can only hope that some guests have turned up to replace us!

Posted by Grantandhelena 07:15 Archived in Uganda Comments (0)

Meeting the Kahungye Family

Gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

semi-overcast 24 °C
View Grant and Helena's world tour on Grantandhelena's travel map.

So this is why they call it Bwindi Impenetrable Forest!! We are two hours into a gorilla hike in the borderlands of Uganda, DRC and Rwanda, and our group of eight tourists is advancing at a snails' rate of about one metre per minute. At the front, our ranger is cutting his way through dense jungle vegetation with a scythe. We are making our way up a slope as close to 90 degrees as either of us has ever seen, and underfoot is mud, slippery vines and fallen branches. Every step has to be taken cautiously to ensure we don't fall into hidden holes in the mountainside. At one point Grant is taken out by a fellow tourist and both plunge head over heels into dense jungle undergrowth. All this in the name of spotting mountain gorillas!

We booked a couple of spaces to see mountain gorillas several months ago, given that these things book up very quickly. There are only 700 mountain gorillas left in the wild, half of whom are in Uganda and some of whom are "habituated" to humans, and can therefore be visited by small groups. On the morning of 26 July we joined several other eager gorilla-spotting tourists for a briefing on gorilla etiquette, all looking exactly the same: white Westerners with hiking boots, trekking trousers in brownish colours , equipped with big cameras. After the briefing , we set off into the jungle to find our group, the Kahungye. 

Stunning scenery around Nkuringo Gorilla Camp, where we stayed

At the briefing before hitting the jungle where we met our guide and AK-47 wielding guard, who would keep jungle elephants and "non-habituated" gorillas at bay

Things started off easily enough in the open farmland of the foothills, but soon enough we found ourselves following a dry river bed up into proper jungle territory. The path was at best narrow and extremely strenuous to follow; at worst non-existent and being cut by our guide as we went. 

Welcome to the Impenetrable Forest of Bwindi - don't come in here without a good scythe and an AK-47

Trackers had been out since early morning to locate our gorilla group, starting from the last location they had been in the day before. Worryingly, for the first three hours of our trek, they reported to our guide by radio that they had not yet located our gorilla group. By the time they did locate them, we had already been hiking up and down dense jungle terrain for several hours, and taken a couple of wrong turns. As we moved through the jungle our guide called out regularly, seeking a response from the trackers. Nothing but silence greeted the calls (apart from the usual humming of the jungle) and our group was beginning to worry that we might be the first group this year not to see gorillas.

We passed an "African helicopter"on the way - for those who can't handle jungle and need to be carried

An Italian guy in our group was really struggling. He kept falling behind and calling out desperately in Italian. His friend did what he could to encourage him and our guide left the front to go with him and cheer him along. When he asked him how he was doing we could hear his response: "I am dead! I am dead!". But obviously he wasn't and he bravely pushed on (and he also made it back, without an African helicopter).

Our hopes grew as we started to find gorilla droppings on the trail we were following, then a group of gorilla nests; grass and branches laid out on the jungle floor showing signs of having been slept in. Finally, four hours after we had started, our guides call to the trackers was answered by the trackers somewhere down the slope from where we were. By 2pm we had met up with the trackers and were moving as silently as possible through a swampy valley area deep in the jungle. Every fifty metres the tracker would stop and scan the dense greenery on both sides.  After 200 metres or so, he stopped and pointed to some movement in the overgrowth to our right. Suddenly, a senior male silverback gorilla emerged, lumbering down the slope on all fours and heading to a nearby tree where he sat pulling vines down and eating. As we stood on the other side of the swamp around thirty metres away, we suddenly saw that the hillside was full of the Kahungye gorilla group as the gorillas began moving. They are not exactly camouflaged animals, but their habitat is so dense that you could easily walk right past one and never see it.

Can you spot them? A couple of members of the Kahungye gorilla group emerge from the greenery

Now that we had located them, we got to hang out with the family for well over the allotted hour, probably because our guide and the rangers pitied us for the unusually long hike.  Our guide led us across the swamp and onto the hillside where the family was stealthily moving through the undergrowth, eating as it went. We advanced slowly, following the family as they moved. The guide and trackers made low growling noises as we went; apparently a way of comforting the gorillas about our presence on their turf.

Glimpses of gorillas in their natural habitat, where they are not always easy to spot

We got to watch the baby of the gorilla family playing in small trees and then hopping on to his mum's back to be carried off. We got particularly close to the silverbacks, who were clearly the most comfortable with human attention. Nonetheless, when one of the tourists stepped onto his path, he charged loudly to make clear no-one should stand in his way!

Silverback on the move!

A beautiful young male sat staring at us with our cameras for about ten minutes only a few metres away; close enough to watch the thoughts running through his head as his eyes scanned our group with interest.

This young male seemed almost as interested in us strange humans as we were in him

All too soon our time was up. We watched as the Kahungye gorillas lumbered through the vegetation and disappeared into the jungle ahead of us. We felt incredibly privileged to have shared some time with them in their natural habitat. It was past three o'clock and we paused to eat our packed lunches before leaving. By that point we had all been bitten to numbness by thousands of tiny mosquitos that swarmed all over the swamp area. It felt as if the gorillas had picked the most insect-infested part of the jungle for us to find them in just to spite us!  

We walked another 3.5 hours to get out of the jungle and back to the car park, thankfully by a flatter path than that we had come in on. We had left the car park at 9h30 in the morning and it was after 18h30 when we returned. Some groups had taken two or three hours to locate their gorilla groups that day; our outing was a nine hour round trip. We considered we had got value for money!

Beautiful views as we finally emerged from the jungle and into the open mountain scenery of the south west of Uganda

Some people say gorilla tracking is an artificial activity where tourists get to snap photos of "stage managed" families. Others bemoan the high price of permits as a reason not to go. Our experience was only positive: while the groups you can track are "habituated" to humans, they are very much wild. They are not fed by humans and it is never known where they will be. The trackers and guides are not only very skilled but also extremely sensitive to steering tourists into position to view the gorillas without it feeling intrusive. Above all, the tourist permit system has apparently eradicated poaching of gorillas not only by keeping close track of gorilla groups and preserving their habitat but by ploughing money into the local economy that gives alternative revenue sources to potential poachers. Gorilla numbers are now slowly increasing after decades of decline.

The experience of spending time in the presence of our distant cousins in their native territory was a truly unforgettable experience and well worth the sore legs and uncountable mosquito bites! 

Posted by Grantandhelena 23:23 Archived in Uganda Comments (4)

Heading To Gorilla Country

Kabale and Kisoro

semi-overcast 25 °C
View Grant and Helena's world tour on Grantandhelena's travel map.

We left the cocoon of our organised tour to Queen Elizabeth National Park on Sunday and we were on our own in Uganda. We had to make our way from Chimpanzee viewing to the far south west of the country. We would use just about every means of transport on offer, starting with motorbike taxis or boda bodas to get us from the chimpanzee gorge to the main road. After a short wait, a matatu or shared taxi van picked us up on the main road and took us to Mbarara, where we changed to another matatu to Kabale, near the Rwanda border. The road was not brilliant, the matatus cramped, smelly and dusty, and the journey tiring.  The scenery was beautiful, though, especially passing the tea plantations on the way to Mbarara and the people on board friendly.

Scenes from a Ugandan matatu and scenery glimpsed from the window

We got to Kabale quite late and found a room in a fairly dingy local hotel. Our room looked out on to the back of the hotel bar, where noisy games of pool were being played by locals and very loud music was playing. After showering, the manager knocked on our door and told us that there was in fact a big local concert next door that night. "I don't know what time it will finish; do you have ear plugs? I know you people don't like noise much", he told Grant. Damn right - we decided to hot foot it out of there to another hotel, where we spent half an hour madly swatting mosquitos on the ceiling of our room, but at least it was quiet.

Kabale proved to be a charmless town but it did have one thing that we had been craving - a place that serves decent curry. The many Indians who were thrown out by Idi Amin in 1972 (many of them had been there for generations, having been brought there by the Brits to build the railway), have been coming back since the 1990s (promised that their property would be returned). You hence see many businesses run by Indians all across Uganda. We ate our curry while watching the final of the East African Pop Idol, and thought the guy from Rwanda was best.

The next day we found a guy with a very decrepit Toyota Corona to drive us up the road to Kisoro, further west and the true gorilla tracking base. The drive to Kisoro took us along a surprisingly good road that wound through spectacular mountain scenery, and was pretty eventful for a few reasons. First, we met some very large baboons on the road which our driver stopped for us to admire, only for the dominant male to aggressively circle the car. We kept the windows firmly closed and drove on!

Local baboons on the road to Kisoro

Next, we drove past a huge UN refugee camp which seems to have been a permanent fixture since the mid 90s, serving those fleeing Rwanda, and then DR Congo - a reminder of the volatility of this region. Then on a high mountain pass our driver was flagged down by a soldier in blue khakis with an AK-47 slung over his shoulder. It turned out he was a local policeman called Moses who wanted to hitch a ride to Kisoro. Since he was holding a machine gun, we gladly shifted our bags and let him jump in the front. Well, he turned out to be full of the banter and explained that he had been at the roadside all night watching over a truck that had crashed and waiting for his superiors in Kisoro to send a replacement. Eventually he got tired of waiting and hitched a ride with us!

Just after we dropped off the local cop, our driver pulled over at a mud hut by the road and proceeded to offload commercial-sized barrels of home brew from the boot of the car, assisted by some guys who came out of the hut. It explained the regular alcoholic whiffs circulating in the car up until then; something Moses had not felt inclined to investigate before getting out!

Kisoro is a decent town and we spent a couple of nights here checking the place out. There is a big twice weekly market in town that attracts people from Rwanda and DRC - no tourist wares on sale but plenty of plastic flip flops, metre long blocks of soap, "Gorilla" matches, fruit and veg, cheap transistor radios, and anything else a local Kisoro resident could need.

Kisoro market - we were somewhat of a novelty here

Africa: the continent of amusing adverts. This one was outside the local doctor's surgery, and the doc had a laugh when he saw Grant posing next to it

On the Tuesday we took a walk out of town to a nearby lake, again enjoying a lot of attention from local people intrigued that the white people were out for a wander. Our passage was accompanied by cries of "Mazungu!!", meaning "white person" and occassional shouts of "give me money!". It took a couple of hours to get to the lake and we convinced a guy to give us a lift back to town on his motorbike - three of us on his 90cc bike; typical practice round here!

Scenery from our trip to the local lake

We felt we had earned a decent feed after our excursion and treated ourself first to a beer at the Traveller's Rest Hotel, Diane Fossey's old hangout, and to some fried pork and matoke (savoury banana) at a local hotel that evening.

Local fare at a local hotel after the hike to the lake

On Wednesday we took a car from Kisoro along the 30km dirt road to Nkuringo, our base for gorilla tracking. The scenery around here is simply incredible: sheer, lush valleys and dense forest everywhere you look.  The scene was set for going gorilla tracking.

Posted by Grantandhelena 21:14 Archived in Uganda Comments (1)

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