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.
One afternoon, the beautiful singing of children reached our terrace. Naturally Heidi tracked it down and so did four Italians. Together we enjoyed the children’s dances and songs and later talked to the teacher who had started the project a few years earlier. Now they even sell their drawings and little crafts. We bought a nice, colored drawing of gorillas. The artist, little Olivia Mooy, signed it for us on the back. The Italians pretended to bargain and eventually ended in a shopping spree. Well done, that money is much needed and definitely stays within the community.
Buhoma village sports a few modest souvenir shops, selling carved mountain gorilla and walking stick, but the absolute must buy for us was a colorful Barak Obama shopping bag that we spotted in a regular shop. And of course, we could not leave without a Bwindi Impenetrable National Park / Mountain Gorilla Tracking T-Shirt…
Paying 45 USD for our rock bottom room, we were curious what fancy Bwindi Lodge was like. The exquisite furnishings and the breathtaking setting at the very edge of the rain forest make it a truly lovely place. Of course, this luxury has a price, a mere 405 USD per person per day, all inclusive. For that price, they clean your shoes after the tracking and you get one complementary massage to ease your sore muscles. All we could afford was a coffee for 5 USD, which we sipped in complete silence, listening to the many sounds of the jungle.
On the bumpy 80 kilometers stretch in and out Bwindi National Park, farmers toil the steep, terraced hills with nothing but a hue. Mainly women with their babies tied to their back or older ones waiting patiently under a makeshift shelter. Welcome back to reality!
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