Uganda Vacation: Part 1

Uganda is rich with wildlife.
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Uganda has been on my travel wish list for a long time, and I decided, having a milestone birthday, it was time to visit the country. (And not just because of the gorillas! I also wanted to see as much as I could of the country.)  

We started in Entebbe with two nights at the Protea Hotel. The property is well-located, clean, and has adequate rooms with comfortable beds. Many of the public areas need updating, but I found it fine for a one- or two-night stay. There is a huge presence in Entebbe with the United Nations. I had no idea that Entebbe is the world headquarters for the UN in Africa; their planes and trucks are visible all over the city.   

You only need one night in Entebbe, but we found ourselves with a free day due to flight schedules. We decided to visit a chimpanzee sanctuary located on one of the islands in Lake Victoria called Ngamba Island. The boat ride is approximately one hour, and you pass over the Equator while making your way to the island. All the chimpanzees are orphaned due to the illegal pet and bushmeat trade. Because of the trauma they have experienced, they cannot return to the wild; this gives them a home to live out their lives in peace. The island consists of 100 acres, and 95 of those acres are for the chimpanzees to enjoy. The other five acres, which has an electric fence surrounding it, is for the staff and researcher buildings. We had the opportunity to visit with a couple of American researchers who teach at American universities during the school year and spend their summers at the sanctuary. You can observe the chimpanzees being fed and interacting with each other. You can see how they share 97 percent of our DNA.

We set out the following early morning driving to Kibale National Park. Currently, Uganda is constructing new roads to all the major parks and cities of Uganda, and there are unbelievable delays. Expect to spend five to six hours driving to get to your next destination. You will make one or two stops along the way and the scenery is gorgeous with tea, coffee, and banana plantations. Tea and coffee are big in Uganda! Pack your patience and understand that this is the only way to get from point A to point B, and you will be rewarded with an amazing adventure.

Kibale National Park is home to chimpanzee trekking as well as 13 other rare primates in the forest.  If you want to come face to face with wild chimpanzees, this is the best place to see them. Our accommodations were at Kyaninga Lodge near the park that sit on a cliff overlooking a lovely crater lake.  The lodge is self-efficient with their own dairy and gardens and consists of nine cottages that are connected by numerous steps. The cottages are nicely appointed, but there are so many steep steps that navigating the lodge can be difficult. The location offers several hiking trails around the lodge, the lake, and local village.

The following morning, we went chimpanzee trekking. I will tell you more about this wonderful experience in my next blog post!

Reach out to TravelStore for your next Ugandan journey!

Nancy Decker Davidson