Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19 - Page 3





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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Day 11 – Fort Murchison – Kibale Forest Camp (7h 25m)

    Onto the primates! Having an early breakfast our plan was to reach the 0700 ferry to the other side of the Nile. Enroute to Kibale we picked up a +1, an employee of Fort Murchison lived in Fort Portal so we took him to save him a 24u trip from Pakwach to Kampala to Fort Portal. When we arrived at the ferry side, we got redirected towards the new bridge they built (Chinese are constructing several things in the park to gather some resources like oil etc). So it was an easy crossing but we forgot to pay the ferry crossing. Luckily he lets us trough and we passed the remaining part of Murchison Falls NP in no time. From the park, we crossed several villages which Maps.Me guided us through perfectly (this time no weird detours ;-) ) After a while we passed the flat areas and we arrived at ‘the mountains’. One of the big advantages of the Chinese mining/oil business is that they construct/improve roads here and there. So there are these really wide roads (sometimes tar/sometimes still busy constructing). So we passed the first mountains easily and all of a sudden we came to a completely different environment. A lot of hills with coffee/tea plantations. Very green, very cool. When filled up thirsty Miss Muzungu at a Total in Hoima and proceeded towards Kibale trough Kyenjojo. A great drive and after a total of 7h 25m we arrived at Kibale Forest Camp, another lodge of NatureLodges. Since we had quite some time left, we booked a Bigodi Swamp Tour, a community guided tour through the swamps. There is a big chance to see a wide variety of primates, birds like kingfishers, grey-headed parrots and the great blue turaco. We had a great time with a local guide. We saw black and white colobus, red colobus, red-tailed monkey and a lot of kingfishers species and other cool birds. After our tour, we went back to the lodge. There’s a nice loop around the lodge as well so we walked that part and came across a lot of monkeys again. Lovely day and a great diversity of animals just around camp. Also way different than the previous days. We loved it! After another great dinner, we did a night walk around the lodge with a lodge guard. Saw some bushbabies in the distance. After a few beers, we called it the day and prepared for our chimpanzee habituation experience the following day.

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Apologies for troubling you but can you please detail where this new bridge is, replacing the ferry.
    Is this the ferry within Murchison NP at Paraa and is the new bridge over the Nile there?
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  3. #43
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    The bridge is really close to the ferry, between Nile and ferry. I’m not sure if they will keep it for visitors or Chinese business only. So its within the NP, next to the ferry.

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Asante sana, Dutchie, for this next exciting instalment on your Ugandan adventure.

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Thank you Dutchie for these installments. Really looking forward to next ones!

  6. #46
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Weakley View Post
    Apologies for troubling you but can you please detail where this new bridge is, replacing the ferry.
    Is this the ferry within Murchison NP at Paraa and is the new bridge over the Nile there?
    Times are a-changing in the lovely Murchison Falls. Please see this from the Rainforest Rescue which explains the development. https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/pe...urchison-falls. And also look on the Tullow Oil Uganda website.

    I did some detailed digging on the internet into the new road, bridge and the oil exploration a few years ago. Unfortunately, I can’t find the good links I found then. From what I remember, the bridge seems to be part of the Ugandan government’s road network and will be a public road.

    Ortelius said after his trip to Uganda that the new bridge was visible from the public campsite on the north bank of the Nile.

    The one bit of very good news is that the proposed hydroelectric dam at Murchison Falls has been scrapped after opposition from the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the community, and other environmental organisations.

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Yes, indeed this bridge at Paraa will be public one and will replace existing ferry. Here's a recent tweet from Uganda National Road Authority (although the photo of the bridge seems more like an artificial graphics than a real photo). https://twitter.com/UNRA_UG/status/1...335488/photo/1
    Last edited by ortelius; 2019/12/04 at 09:41 AM.
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Thanks Dutchie, WW and Ortelius. I don't know where I have been not to have picked up on this - another planet?

    It does not bode well for Murchison at all and it indeed appears as if this new bridge and road are at Paraa and the present site of the ferry. Not surprised to see the Chinese involved but it is not good to see France's Total and the UKs Tullow Oil also involved to some extent. Money talks!
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  9. #49
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Weakley View Post
    Thanks Dutchie, WW and Ortelius. I don't know where I have been not to have picked up on this - another planet?

    It does not bode well for Murchison at all and it indeed appears as if this new bridge and road are at Paraa and the present site of the ferry. Not surprised to see the Chinese involved but it is not good to see France's Total and the UKs Tullow Oil also involved to some extent. Money talks!
    It is called the Tilenga Project. Please see this from the Ugandan National Environment Management Authority from May 2018. http://nema.go.ug/sites/all/themes/n...I_13-09-18.pdf. The Executive Summary starts at page 65 or thereabouts, and the maps are from page 85.

    Some of the things have been superseded, I understand, like the pipeline to Tanga, Tanzania. I cannot imagine what route had been planned from Murchison Falls to Tanga, Tanzania - its a long old way.

  10. #50
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    Day 12: Chimpanzee Habituation Experience - Kibale Forest Camp

    Chimpanzee time! A long-awaited adventure starts today, we’re going to do the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience. The difference with the regular chimp treks is the fact that the chimps we are after are still being habituated. This means that some might stick around with us there but others might flee when noticing us. But if you find the chimps you have 4 full hours to spend with them instead of the 1 hour with the regular trek. So after a short briefing, together with a ranger, we went into the rainforest. They ain’t calling it rainforest for nothing. There was quite some water from the previous day/night and now there was a small bit of rain on the horizon as well. After walking around the forest for a few hours the ranger told us we might not find them today, they could’ve been moving far away the days before. So if we would not find them, we would try and find the habituated community. After hearing some serious screaming we finally got on the track of the chimps. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find anything at that time. So after another hour of trekking our guide suggested going to the habituated community. After some communications with other rangers, we eventually found some habituated chimps. The people from the regular trek were just finishing their time with the chimps and moved out of the area. Now we were the lucky ones which had 4 full hours with the chimps. There was only 1 with us that time so we were hoping he would lead us towards the rest of the community. He was eating, chilling, napping and eventually climbed some trees to feed on the fruits. So we waited at the base of the tree hoping he would call others to come to feed as well. Then all of a sudden, there was a lot of screaming and there actually was a small group just a 100m away. We found mothers with babies and some adults. It was a great experience watching an infant chimp bond with its mother and see the other youngsters play around. Eventually, the time ran out and we had a nice hike back to the center. An amazing experience which I can definitely recommend! When we came back we had a nice dinner and a few beers at the Kibale Forest Camp and started preparing for the next adventure; Queen Elizabeth National Park.

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  11. #51
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    That photo with the little one and his mother is just adorable!
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  12. #52
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Thank you, Dutchie. What a thrill to spend such a long time in the beautiful Kibale Forest and to have such lovely interactions with the chimpanzees.

  13. #53
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    Day 13 – Kibale Forest Camp – Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge

    New day, new adventure. Today we are traveling towards Queen Elizabeth National Park. We were told to take a road towards Ndali Lodge and then move on towards Kasese. This shortcut could save us some time. So we put Ndali lodge into the T4A and off we go. After passing the Kibale Forest NP we entered a small road into the hills towards the lodge. After a while, the spoor looked like it was Boda Boda only but hey, we have a LandCruiser so let’s go. We were getting some weird looks from the locals but when we told Ndali they smiled and said yes so ok, it should be good. And indeed, after a while there was a decent road, in the end, we end up on the Kasese-Fort Portal Road. We filled up at Shell in Hima and again in Kasese. Mrs. Muzungu is a thirsty lady and we don’t like her getting thirsty. We got some money from the ATM at Kasese and moved on towards the lodge. When we were getting close to the lodge we were being greeted by a nice breeding herd which crossed the tar road so a very warm welcome for us. We arrived around midday, got a nice lunch and went for a Kazinga Channel Cruise. A community initiative. The first thing we saw was a nice pod of hippos and a lot of Pied Kingfishers. Here and there we found a bathing buffalo, some African fish eagles and also some other type of kingfishers were common. After a while, we crossed the channel, went to the other side shortly and moved to the middle of the channel. Why we don’t know but it was a bit weird floating around. After 10 minutes of floating they dropped us off at the lodge and we had some chill time. I wouldn’t recommend the cruise necessarily but it’s always good to support community initiatives. After some relaxing, we hopped in the LC and went for a game drive at the Kasenyi area. Saw a few hyenas which were really cool and also got some muddy rocks which were actually hippos. Relaxing really hard in the deep mud. When we came back to the lodge, a great dinner was waiting for us, the area lit by campfires and small lights. 10/10 would love to be there again!

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Hi Dutch,

    It has been nice to follow your 2019 Ugandan adventures. Keep it coming. Thank you.

  15. #55
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    Day 14 – Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge – Ishasha Bandas

    After a good night of sleep and a nice breakfast, it was already time to say goodbye to the Bush Lodge. Unfortunately, we planned only 1 night here, next time I will definitely stay longer. The view from the lodge is really cool, overlooking the Kazinga Channel. Hippos around camp snoring all night. Nice bush feeling. But the new day also means new adventure so off we go towards the Kasenyi plains for one more morning game drive. After driving for about 45 minutes we meet up with a guided game drive vehicle which spotted a leopard, he gave us vague directions so we tried to find it. After a while, we found him again and he pointed out the spot, nothing there. So we moved on, circled and came back. Yup, there it was. A female leopard with a GPS tracking collar. So cool sighting, not a great photography subject. It was also around 30m away from us in a tree. Later two vehicles arrived with tracking equipment, they were probably doing the Predator Tracking activity. They were photographing like two meters away, so they have to have some great shots. During our time there, more vehicles joined the party, and also a ranger on a motorcycle came and watched the area. A guide told us he was after someone who went off-road. I think they thought it was us since we didn’t have a guide and were standing there. Meanwhile, we meet up with a car that spotted a group of lions in a tree, we showed him the leopard so he would show us the lions. We followed him and eventually ended up all the way back at the rangers post at the gate. So we were discussing the point that he somehow lured us there to get us fined or something. We arrived and a ranger waved at us…here we go……. (there was 1 vehicle who went off-road to the leopard and I even had him on camera) but no, he asked us if we enjoyed it and found the lions. Nope, this guy ahead of us would point us out. But we found out the guy didn’t know anything about the location and was just trying to find them. So we got new directions and went back into the plains. After a while, we indeed found a group of lions in this cactus-like tree chilling and sleeping. There was a motorcycle parked next to a tree and the ranger was hiding behind it to find out if someone went off-road. I'm happy that they do it to prevent it but also saddened by the fact they have to. The sighting itself was far away to get decent shots so we left after a short break.
    Meanwhile Mrs. Muzungu was taking fuel like we were taking the Nile beers so we had to fill her up, also our cash was running low. So we decided to drive back to Kasese first, fill up, get some shillings and grab dinner. We ended up at Café Olimaco, a nice place with very nice food. During our time in Uganda, I missed the Botswana ribeyes and t-bones. Unfortunately, they didn’t have it either but at least they were getting close haha. During our break, we received a text from a Canadian tourist which we exchanged numbers with earlier. He went to Ishasha -> Bwindi that morning and sent us a location of a pride of Tree Climbers. Lucky for us it was lions so we guessed they would still be there when we would arrive like 3-4 hours later. And indeed, after taking South Gate we drove straight to the fig tree and there they were. A nice pride of lions, females with some older cubs. One female had a collar on. We were shooting photos and enjoying the sighting and the female went down the tree to catch shade. Well, that’s what we thought, but lucky for us, she was hiding a kill in the bushes. A Ugandan Cob fell prey to the pride. After a while, everyone came down to grab a bite and we were sitting first row. We were lucky she dragged it out of the bushes into a more open area between the bushes so we could watch it. So lucky us, seeing two prides of tree climbers, 1 hyena and 1 leopard that day. Let’s head to Katookye Gate and towards the Bandas. After checking out of South Gate we drove North to the Gate and all of a sudden we saw a Land Cruiser overturned about 5 m next to the road. Close by there were 3 young Africans shaking and bleeding. We stopped immediately and checked their injuries, after giving them some water and putting some gloves on, I applied some bandages on the guy with his head bleeding and the same for the boy with the hole in his jaw. I think one had a bad concussion and his cheekbone broken since there was a big swollen area around it. One of them looked totally fine and one probably had his jaw broken and some sort of hole which the water poured out during drinking the water. After applying first aid, we went back to South Gate to get help from the rangers. They sent a vehicle and we went back to the boys. It was already dark and luckily another vehicle with rangers was also on the scene. The boys probably were speeding a bit (was some light rain before also) and next to the road, there was some sort of muddy ramp. So they launched themselves and overturned. Together with some rangers we turned the LC back on its feet and we proceeded to Katookye gate. The ranger understood our delay and let us into the park. On our way to the bandas we found a vehicle which we saw with the lions earlier. They were standing still. So we stopped, hopped out and asked what the problem was. Well, the problem was that they hit a buffalo and thought their front axis was broken. They asked us to check it and it was fine, only the bull bar was bent towards the wheel blocking it. We asked why they didn’t check and they told us they weren’t allowed outside of the vehicle because of the buffalo. They had an armed ranger that was guiding them, but they weren't getting out. She told us two of us three could be out and 1 should stay in the car. We scanned for eyes but nothing to see, the poor buffalo probably moved on already. We fixed the car, got thanked again and finally arrived at the Bandas. Everyone was surprised by the late visitors and understood the troubles. They prepared a great meal for us and two armed rangers accompanied us for the night. (Bandas are next to the river bordering Congo) Next to the bandas is a small staff quarter and also quite heavily military presence, like soldiers with armored vehicles.

    Wow, this was a long story, but also quite an adventure. All the memories are coming back now haha.

  16. #56
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Wow, what a story-what a day.

    Can you please add a picture or two of the lions in the tree?

    I am getting green reading about your sightings.

    We were not that lucky in Ishasha and it is good to hear that the lions are back obviously.

    thanks for sharing and keep it going

  17. #57
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Thank you, Dutchie, for this next exciting installment from Queen Elizabeth NP.

    What luck you had with the tree-climbing lions, but also how terrible for the young men who rolled their vehicle. Thank goodness you were able to help them, to administer first aid, and to get help for them from the rangers. I hope they are okay.

    I am intrigued that you were served dinner at the bandas at Ishasha. Bandas in East Africa are normally self-catering. Please tell us more about the bandas. We camped at Ishasha with the DRC about 10 metres away across the river in 2014. We really knew we were on the edge of the “Heart of Darkness”.

    Looking forward to hearing about your next stop - the wonderful Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Thank you, Dutchie, for this next exciting installment from Queen Elizabeth NP.

    What luck you had with the tree-climbing lions, but also how terrible for the young men who rolled their vehicle. Thank goodness you were able to help them, to administer first aid, and to get help for them from the rangers. I hope they are okay.

    I am intrigued that you were served dinner at the bandas at Ishasha. Bandas in East Africa are normally self-catering. Please tell us more about the bandas. We camped at Ishasha with the DRC about 10 metres away across the river in 2014. We really knew we were on the edge of the “Heart of Darkness”.

    Looking forward to hearing about your next stop - the wonderful Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
    the campsites at Ishasha are on the other side of the ‘military camp’. Same distance although the campsites are more ‘remote’ and a bit closer to the river. They have two bandas/rondavels with two single beds, and mosquito nets. They are clean and decent.
    There’s a small wooden shack nearby where two rangers/soldiers camp during the night to make guard the perimeter.

    We asked if it was possible to get a warm meal and that was no problem. We got a nice hot meal for around 7$ each I think. Some beef stew with rice and the banana thing which name I keep forgetting.

    Next report is another day of adventure at Ishasha and then it’s time to move to Bwindi!

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mabe View Post
    Wow, what a story-what a day.

    Can you please add a picture or two of the lions in the tree?

    I am getting green reading about your sightings.

    We were not that lucky in Ishasha and it is good to hear that the lions are back obviously.

    thanks for sharing and keep it going
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  20. #60
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Thank you DGA. Nice shots. The little one already climbing!

    AP

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