Uganda Vacation: Part 2
While in Uganda, I went chimpanzee trekking! And what an awesome experience it was! To be able to photograph and observe chimpanzees in the wild is an adventure. You walk through a dense forest looking up at the trees with your guide, and it is quite an experience. I wish we could have stayed another day to observe the other primates in the forest.
The following morning, we drove to Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is known for its tree-climbing lions. I have always been told that this is one of the loveliest parks in Uganda, and it didn’t disappoint.
We found lions in the trees several times and saw plenty of other wildlife but not a lot of vehicles. It was like we had the entire park to ourselves.
Our accommodations in the park was Ishasha Wilderness Camp, which is located on the river, and it is not unusual to have wildlife coming into camp. The camp consists of ten tents that are large and comfortable with bucket showers. The food and service are awesome because of the staff; it is one of the best assembled staff I have experienced in East Africa.
We saved the best for last: a visit Bwindi National Park. Our accommodations were at the gorgeous Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, which consists of eight tents. The tents are all the same equipped with two queen beds and large baths. The staff at this camp works hard, and it shows. The service and food are amazing.
At the entrance of the park you will find a busy village where most of the rangers, guides, and porters live. Our first afternoon we hired a guide to take us on a community walk through the village, and I highly recommend everyone doing this. This gave us a back door into village life, and we visited the local Batwa center where we enjoyed learning about the plants they use for medical reasons, traditional crafts, and experiencing some of their dances. The Batwa are the oldest inhabitants of the Great Lake region of Central Africa. We also had the privilege to visit a woman cooperative, named Ride 4 A Woman, where we found excellent crafts, fabrics, and other items the local women in the community have made. This excellent organization has made a big difference in the lives of these women in Bwindi.
The following day was our big day of gorilla trekking. After an early breakfast, everyone that has a permit for that day arrives at the gorilla visiting center, and you are given an orientation, meet your guide, and are told which gorilla family you will be visiting that day. The family could be a one-hour trek away or a couple of hours; either, you are trekking straight up a slippery mountain in a dense jungle. Think of the jungle in a Tarzan movie with the vines, trees, and thick brush. You are also at a high elevation and it can be hot and humid, which adds to the difficulty of this climb. But it is worth it! To see the gorillas in their natural habitat is beyond amazing and I am happy to have finally done it.