Not only chimps find yummy food in Kibale, also the visiting tourists. As soon as we arrived at the Kibale Forest Camp, the dinner menu was cited to us and our taste buds jumped in action, only to be forced to wait another couple of hours. These can be spent following a short walk around the camp or listening to the singing of the village children. The chef’s creations at the Kibale Forest Camp will not be forgotten, especially the chocolate cake, our first sweet dish in Uganda. In the nicely decorated restaurant, a large Belgium family celebrated the birthday of one of their many children. It meant more cake for us, when the staff surprised the happy teenager with a big cake and a cheerful “Happy Birthday”. Continue Reading →
Kibale Rainforest is promoted as the best place for tracking chimpanzees in Africa. For us, it was definitely the easiest! After a short but brisk walk along a well trodden path, a large Chimpanzee family was thrashing through the trees and bushes, ripping off leaves, jumping, climbing, grooming each other or simply looking at us. An alpha male was sitting in a tree fork, waiting for a female (which was very obvious!), and studied us in a rather oblivious manner. The lady never came and eventually he trotted off to the clicking of our cameras. Continue Reading →
Eucalyptus Turned Charcoal & Tea Picking
On one of our strolls in the hills around Lake Bunyonyi, we came across three young men neatly stacking newly cut eucalyptus trees. Five days of work had gone into cutting down the trees and piling up the stack, they told us. Adding that now they had to cover it with soil and set in on fire. After another five day this would produce 35 bags of precious charcoal. The guys, by pointing at a large piece of burned slope stressed how important it was to guard the smoldering fire. Others had obviously been less careful! The charcoal maker pay the owner of the plot for cutting down the trees, but searing the grass would add to their bill. Continue Reading →
The scenery is spectacular and unique, green islands seem to float in the golden colored savannah plains. At a closer look, these are dense shrubs surrounding a cactus tree. In the early morning with the mist nestled in-between, this view was quite mystical. Continue Reading →
1) The night after the gorilla trek, Gilles woke up in terrible pain. His left eye was swollen and awfully red. As soon as it got light we asked one of the awakening drivers to take us to the village hospital in Buhoma. Our arrival caught the only person on duty, a sturdy nurse, by surprise. She left to get help.
We waited in the doctor’s office, a two by two meter room, with a few pieces of old wooden furniture. Lots of faded sheets of paper tucked to walls and doors gave instructions as what to do when bricked by needles or how to recognize Ebola. The only items that reminded us of a hospital were neatly wrapped syringes. On two small cupboards it said “Medication”. Those were locked with a padlock. The strangest thing was a filing cabinet with lots of faded forms meant to transfer patients to labs or an x-ray, etc… Where could those facilities possibly be? Continue Reading →
Our room at Bwindi View Camp desperately needed an overhaul. However, the staff was lovely and the food ok. The best place was the restaurant’s terrace, the perfect place to mingle. Either we were competing with Italians for the best photos of the many birds in the surrounding trees or were queuing for a plug in the jungle of mobiles, cameras or laptops near the only power outlet. Continue Reading →
High above our heads they were, up in the trees, loudly ripping off the leaves and moving swiftly from one branch to another. This was a surprise to us: all the pictures we had seen showed relaxed gorillas sitting on the ground surrounded by juicy, leafy vegetation.
Pieces of wood came raining down on us. It was more an acoustic entertainment than a visual one, since we could barely see them. But they must have felt like pleasing us and moved on to a clearing where they settled in the high grass. Continue Reading →
Home Of Uganda’s Last Mountain Gorillas
Rain set in once we arrived in the small village of Buhoma, site of the National Park’s headquarters. This worried us endlessly: trekking through the forest is difficult enough, but in ankle-deep mud? Besides, Gorillas do not like rain and hide in the dense forest. Even if you find them, making decent photos would be simply impossible. In the grotty, horrible room of the Bwindi View Camp, we hoped for decent weather for the next morning. Continue Reading →
Hell broke loose around evening on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi: thunder, lightening and torrential rain. Minutes later the electricity went down. The generator only served the restaurant. The rooms were pitch-dark. It got so cold you could see your own breath. So we crawled into bed with our headlamps only to discover a leak in the roof of our room. Feeling sorry for ourselves, we soon remembered the villagers in their canoes returning home from the local market. They were paddling across the lake exposed to this horrible weather. Continue Reading →
Our boat gracefully plowed the dark waters of Lake Bunyonyi. Not a ripple disfigured the smooth surface, allowing the carefully terraced green hills to be mirrored in the deep lake. Banana groves and tall eucalyptus trees dot the steep shores and most of the 29 islands. Each has its own legend, like Punishment Island where unmarried pregnant girls were left to starve as recently as 90 years ago. Continue Reading →