George’s Trip Report to Uganda 2019
Uganda is renowned worldwide for gorilla trekking. These special experiences are hard to compare anything else to, but what a lot of people don’t know is that there is so much more to Uganda than just gorillas.
To demonstrate just how versatile and adventurous Uganda is, here is a look back at George’s trip to Uganda which may give you some inspiration about what else you can do whilst in this special country.
Our first night was spent at the Papyrus Guesthouse in Entebbe, comfy and friendly it is the perfect place for a stop-over before the real adventure begins. A wildlife highlight in this area are the boating trips on Lake Victoria where you are often lucky enough to find the rare and endemic shoebill.
After a morning flight over to Kisoro, we trekked and then canoed across Lake Mutanda. This was a great way to start the trip and a unique way to get to a lodge. Uganda is all about adventure and although you can be transferred by vehicle to your lodge, trekking and canoeing really adds to the experience.
We stayed at Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge which is warm, comfy and really good value for money. The other lodge worth considering would be Clouds which is also on the Southern side of Bwindi and is the most luxurious of all the gorilla lodges in Uganda. It was here where we took part in Uganda’s famous gorilla treks.
I am not going to even try to describe spending an hour with this family of gorillas because words simply wouldn’t do it justice. Yet, the logistics of a gorilla trek are thus:
You meet early in the morning and split into groups of eight – depending on fitness. You then trek for anything between half an hour to four or more hours in search of these gigantic primates. Only one group is allowed per gorilla family and an hour with the family is what you get. This hour is to be savoured and cherished forever.
Later that day, we trekked to a nearby waterfall, passing through local villages as we went. Ending the day beautifully, we headed to “the top of the world” to enjoy sundowners whilst looking across the most amazing view of the rainforest below.
Departing Nkuringo, we trekked right the way through Bwindi to the North side of the forest. Although the trek was about four hours, it is quicker than driving around the perimeter! It is great fun and although the purpose isn’t wildlife viewing, there is a small chance of seeing gorillas, as well as unhabituated chimps and lots of other monkeys.
After the trek, we drove into Ishasha, the Southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The game viewing here is fantastic and although it doesn’t compare to the Masai Mara or the Serengeti in terms of density, the sightings here are isolated and exclusive, giving you a very wild and untamed feel. Ishasha Wilderness is the best lodge here and I couldn’t recommend it enough. As well as game drives, the boating trips are also well worth doing for the wildlife. Apart from the abundance of bird life on offer, boating on the Kazinga channel gave us plenty of elephant sightings from the water – great for a different perspective of these giants!
After Queen Elizabeth National Park, we went to Kibale for some more primate trekking. Not gorillas this time. Instead we visited here for the chimps. Although seeing wild chimps is an amazing experience, personally I thought there were too many people allowed and it didn’t feel quite as wild as the gorillas (or the chimps in Mahale, Tanzania). Kyaninga Lodge is a great place to base yourself for chimp trekking and it also has its own lake to do paddle boarding and lots of brilliant walks in the Ugandan countryside.
Venturing further North still we headed to Murchison Falls National Park which took around nine hours. Baker’s Lodge was beautiful and is one of the best lodges in the country. Here we did game drives here which were like the Queen Elizabeth National Park and a boat trip to the falls themselves. Incredibly the falls can be heard from miles away and as you approach they get louder and louder. After being dropped off by the boat, you carry on by foot where a half an hour walk will take you to the top of the falls giving some of the most jaw-dropping views.
After our beautiful stay by Murchison Falls, we drove back to Entebbe (which takes about six hours), via our final stop which was at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. This is the conservation project that we hope will lead to Uganda having wild rhinos again. After their decimation in the early eighties, Uganda remained rhinoless for two decades before Ziwa was set up in 2005. Trying to establish a viable population within the confines of a well-guarded nature reserve, Ziwa hopes to see the return of the wild rhino to Uganda. Here is the only place in Uganda where you can observe the white rhino in its natural habitat, an experience that is humbling and thought-provoking and the perfect way to end the trip.
If you would like to have a chat about any ideas you have for visiting Uganda or would like some more information on what I did, please contact us.