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16 Days in Uganda - mountain gorillas and so much more!

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Mar 12th, 2013, 04:25 AM
  #21
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Hi Leslie

Don't be telling me that! I am so excited to be finally seeing the gorillas that I decided I am prepared to put up with the pain, especially as it is the last thing on our trip, hopefully not the last thing i do though! I had heard that they can be an hour or 4 hours away, and it is tough going, someone likened it to Kokoda, which Di has done, and that is a nightmare walk, especially if wet, you do it on your hands and knees.

Oh that is lucky that you get 5 weeks as I thought most of you guys from the states get very limited annual leave. Mmmmmmm 2 weeks you just get into it, so don't think I could handle just 2 weeks, especially with those flights as you say as i go via Singapore so takes me about 34 hours to get to my Sth African destination.

Kind regards

Kaye
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Mar 12th, 2013, 06:06 AM
  #22
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Thanks Cali
You're right about building in down time. It was a very hectic pace. I could've helped that by letting our guide know we'd rather stay out for the whole day with a packed lunch and not go back & forth twice. I assumed he knew best. I'm sure the guides like a mid-day break if they can get it!

Kaye - The endorphins released from the joy of seeing gorillas will get you through any knee pain. And hopefully there won't be anything so intense that you'll be on your hands & knees!
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Mar 12th, 2013, 06:09 AM
  #23
 
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Thanks for sharing your report. I just returned from Tanzania and feel like you captured the same sort of "joy" I brought back. Your excitement was palpable reading that!
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Mar 12th, 2013, 12:09 PM
  #24
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Aw, thanks Amy!

Since your report said "first but not last" are you contemplating your next safari yet? I was ready to book another one the minute we got home but I think it might already be late for Feb. 2014 planning. I've set my sights for TZ in Feb. 2015 instead and will definitely be using your report in my planning, so thanks for all of that helpful info!
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Mar 12th, 2013, 12:29 PM
  #25
 
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Yes, I've been home a mere 16 days and I'm seriously thinking about one for 2014. I'm getting great ideas from here and Safaritalk.net. I'm thinking Kenya or maybe a different part of TZ, but this sounds like it was a great experience for you too, so I won't rule Uganda out yet. I think once you do it, it's in your blood! Great report!!!
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Mar 12th, 2013, 07:20 PM
  #26
 
Join Date: May 2004
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Les, your photos are FANTASTIC!!! The one of your first gorilla--excellent! Whaddya mean, you're not a good photographer??!!
I l loved Paraa Lodge too. The photos of your room brought back memories. i was in the same "wing" second floor overlooking the pool. (This is where i regained some mental clarity after concussion.) I agree totally on your impressions of Paraa. Next time there, i'm stayng at leat two nights.
I think the best thing is to prepare for the roads. Imagine the worst you can, and you'll be pleasantly surprised if not so bad. Now you know why, on that road between Ishasha and Buhoma , I swore and wondered how the govt spends its money and expects to increase tourism when they cant even fix a road!
Also, not cheesy to post on two forums. You are quite right to do so as they attract different people.
You and Rob are an adorable couple!!!!!I hope he loved the trip as much as you did!
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Mar 12th, 2013, 07:25 PM
  #27
 
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Coffee, you are right. Mostly i stuck to tea, or milk-tea(chai). But, i had goodcoffee at Sipi River Lodge on the other side of the country. They have their small plantation. Also, a cafe latte at Mweya which was ok, not great, but beautifully served. Getting any expresso drink at all was special, especially on a terrace overlooking the lake and surrounded by birds. For your next trip!!!
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Mar 13th, 2013, 04:22 AM
  #28
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Maybe next trip I'll bring some of those Starbucks instant coffee packs

Thanks again, Cali, for the picture comments. If you take 3000 you can usually find 100 that are not TERRIBLE anyway!

I don't think you ever finished your story about how you hurt yourself and ended up with a concussion. Was that early on in your UG trip?

Amy - good luck planning your next safari - please write another trip report, I loved reading yours.
You can consider adding just a few days in UG or Rwanda to see gorillas next time
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Mar 16th, 2013, 07:59 PM
  #29
 
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Leslie_S- Your trip brought back memories for me as well and I think you did an amazing job trekking in the rain. We were so fortunate that we did not have any rain and the conditions of the trail were really good. The amazing thing about the gorillas that each experience can be so different. I do agree that Uganda really does need time and that the travel between places are long. Our trip to Uganda was 19 days including the international travel and we still felt that it was somewhat difficult in terms of the amount of time. Glad it was so memorable!!
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Mar 17th, 2013, 06:51 AM
  #30
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lhgreenacres: yes, you do need a lot of time to do it justice -- it would be so different if the roads weren't so challenging. You could really see so much more and not waste such big chunks of time on the road. I felt for our guide having to deal with that constantly.

The rain - ugh. I'm so glad we had the one hike in sunshine. It was a very different experience than the rainy one! The gorillas may or may not have been so low-key because of the rain but it did seem like they just hunkered down and didn't like it any more than we did!
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Mar 17th, 2013, 12:18 PM
  #31
 
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Very nice report and pictures. Gorillas are on my wish list as well and its good to see a gorrilla-centric Uganda report rather than only Rwanda. Consider posting this with your pictures (within the text in context) over at Safaritalk.net.
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Mar 17th, 2013, 01:31 PM
  #32
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Thanks, AKR1. I'll check out safaritalk & see if I can figure out how to do the pictures within the text.
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Mar 20th, 2013, 02:03 PM
  #33
 
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Hi Leslie - I loved reading your report and seeing the photos. Thank you for sharing your experiences! First, I have to say that your lodging looked incredible. Which was your favorite?

And as always, I really enjoyed your photos. I loved the "wheeled bed" (which would be nice as long as the bugs aren't too crazy I guess), the banana truck, and the primates peeking through the branches. It looks like your camera focused well on some of the ones where the branches were in the way. Also, I noticed that one of the chimps at the chimp sanctuary had grey hair - was he just old or is he a different kind of chimp?

The rain/damp sounds absolutely miserable but you survived, huh? Now you know what it's like living where I live! (well, at least 9 months out of the year). Interesting observation about wet boots/socks not causing blisters... And it is funny that you mentioned how strong the porters are. It really is amazing. I had one save me from going over the edge at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe (tripped on my camera case strap) and I've got a lot of weight that was headed over!

If you go back, would you limit your range and maybe stay in only a couple different areas?

Great trip report! Thanks for posting.
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Mar 21st, 2013, 08:37 AM
  #34
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Hi Carrie -- thanks for your nice comments

Yeah, the lodging was pretty amazing. I'd say Kyaninga and Mihingo had the biggest wow factor and probably would be tied for favorite. But the others were all great in their own way. The place with the bed on wheels - I wonder how many people take advantage of it. It's a very cool idea but I think I'd just feel a little too exposed to ever fall asleep. But you already know what a major wimp I am since I chose Mashatu main camp over tented out of tent-fear!

We were told that grey-headed chimp was that way from his 'previous situation' not age. I took that explanation to mean caused by stress. They all had very tragic histories.

Haha, 9 months of wet weather - not sure how people handle that. Lots of or maybe!

Thank god for porters!

I would do it a little differently if I went back. But there are so many other places to go first! I have to talk to you about your TZ trip sometime - that's on my radar for my next safari.

L
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Mar 21st, 2013, 12:43 PM
  #35
 
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It's wonderful that you found this such a great experience! I tracked chimps with my husband in 2010 at Mahale and we tracked the gorillas last summer in Uganda in 2012. Both were amazing experiences. Our lodges were top notch. Where you stay really does make a difference - if you book this and end up in a place too far away or a place you don't feel safe, your trip is not as enjoyable as it could be.

I work for Huffman Travel in Chicago and am a specialist in African travel. It is one of my favorite places on earth and I've stayed at some amazing camps. Luxury is available, but so are real deal camps with not a lot of frills. It depends on what you're looking for. It is NOT too late to book travel for 2013! I have clients who just booked for the wildebeest migration only last week. The right advisors will take what you are planning and make it even better. I would be delighted to assist in planning a trip of a lifetime, because that is what they are. African travel is a life changing experience. You can read about us at http://huffmantravel.com/about-us/hu...elane-nunnery/
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May 23rd, 2013, 01:04 AM
  #36
 
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Hi Leslie,
thanks for posting this, it’s a great read and good to see that you had the time to enjoy Uganda. I have lived in Uganda for over 7 years selling Safaris and its fabulous getting a well written travellers experience and photos that tell the true story of what Uganda has to offer.
Thanks
All the best
Zara
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May 23rd, 2013, 04:56 AM
  #37
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Thanks Zara -- we loved Uganda!
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May 26th, 2013, 11:21 AM
  #38
 
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Leslie..thanks for all those details..Uganda might have been my Dad's favorite place on that continent, (with Ethiopia a close second) and I hope to make it there someday soon.
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May 27th, 2013, 06:29 AM
  #39
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Haha, too many details I think. My own mother never even finished reading it! But thank you and I hope you make it there someday - it was beautiful and our experiences with the mountain gorillas and chimps were especially magical. Ethiopia is on my list. So many places, so little time...
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Jul 22nd, 2013, 05:24 AM
  #40
 
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I am yearning to read more from you Leslie about the Uganda safari. Surely am impressed as a Safari handler.
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