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Gorilla trekking aside, what do you think of Uganda as a safari destination?

Gorilla trekking aside, what do you think of Uganda as a safari destination?

Oct 25th, 2005, 01:25 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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I just looked at the countdown thread and remember when I first read about your plans - what an incredible itinerary!

Are you kidding? Of course we want a trip report!

These are just some of the parts I'd personally be very interested to hear about - your time in Uganda and Rwanda, donkey trekking in Northern Kenya, Watamu, Lamu, Highlands trek, and southern Tanzania. I think that just about covers your entire trip except for the Kili climb and Zanzibar, but I'm sure someone else is equally interested in hearing about those parts.

You'll be an East Africa expert when you return. Congrats on your upcoming wedding and have a wonderful trip!
Patty is offline  
Oct 25th, 2005, 01:28 PM
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You can put me down as extremmmmmmmmely interested!
Patty is offline  
Oct 25th, 2005, 02:38 PM
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dlo--Please do a trip report

Patty--I saw chimps in Chambura Gorge and so did my friends that went the next day. My guide said there is a 45% chance of seeing them there.

Mantana Kibale--very nice, delicious and near a village you can easily walk to so there's a culural aspect. Many monkeys in the trees around camp. Just don't panic in the middle of the night if you hear machine gun fire, as I did. It is the rangers scaring the elephants away from the village.

Mantana Mburo--often used as a retreat from the city for locals. In a pretty setting with zebra visible from camp.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 25th, 2005, 07:12 PM
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I can definitely do a half a**ed report I lurked on this site for over a year before i ever posted and i got a lot out of other peoples reports so i would be happy to give something back.
dlo is offline  
Oct 26th, 2005, 10:01 AM
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I have stayed at both Ndali Lodge and Jacana Lodge: I'd recommend them. Ndali's setting is incomparable, truly stunning. The spectacular setting offers views of the Bunyuruguru Crater Lakes and the Ruwenzori Mountains. The cottages have four-poster beds, high ceilings, verandas with views of the mountains. Don't be surprised if one or more of the sweet, friendly resident dogs sleeps on your veranda, prefering the little sofa.
The food is very good, most of it grown on the estate. The setting is "Old Africa," which seems to have multiple meanings; in this case, there's no electricity or generator, just candles and lamps. For me the biggest plus were the folks in the area. Walking down the road I met numerous charming children and a variety of adults--all warm, curious, and delighted to have their photos taken. We had some great conversations: I learned a lot and as everywhere in Uganda, feel I made some friends. I sent the prints to Aubrey Price, the owner/manager to give to everyone. I'd go back.

Jacana Lodge in QE is on the shores of
Lake Nyamasingiri, a pleasant setting with vervet and black and white colubus monkeys cavorting tin the trees. Each chalet (mine was called Hippo) has a porch overlooking the lake; the central dining room has a good view too and offers not-quite-gourmet but okay meals. The weather was overcast so the setting seemed a bit dismal, but I imagine it's lovely with a touch of sun. The walk to the central dining room can be quite long if you are in the far cabins; this should be an issue only for those who have a real mobility problem: you could request a cabin close to the dining area.
The staff was very pleasant: say hello to Sylvia and Grace if you go.

I found the people in Uganda eager for friendship and unfailingly warm. I left the country with several dozen names and email/mail addresses and phone numbers. I would love to go back though I hear Botswana calling first.

WhitePelican is offline  
Oct 26th, 2005, 10:39 AM
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Lynn & WhitePelican,
Thanks for the accomodation feedback. Ndali sounds like a wonderful place to just walk around and take in the setting.
Patty is offline  
Oct 28th, 2005, 11:24 AM
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Just echoing everyone else's thoughts -dlo, please write as much of a trip report as you can! I'm sure that we'll all enjoy it so much! Although I know how hard it's been even finishing our 1-month trip report and so I can imagine the determination it will take to actually get through the whole 3-months for us!

Keep in mind - we'll take whatever we can get...

Have an awesome trip - 3 months, I'm SO jealous!
alwaysafrica is offline  
Nov 1st, 2005, 09:59 AM
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Were you able to confirm the chimp habituation experience for your trip in August? The reason that I ask is because I've been in touch with Jaynefer at Great Lakes about a possible trip next year and included in her email was this note -

"*About the Habituation, it's only booked in March, April and May and Nov. so we must plan our safari accordingly!"

Unless I've somehow misunderstood what she wrote, it sounds like the habituation experience is only possible during those 4 months of the year. I plan to verify with her but just wondering if you have any insight since you've been working on a Uganda itinerary for next year. Thanks!
Patty is offline  
Nov 1st, 2005, 12:31 PM
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I have a question for anyone who has gone on the half day chimp trek (not the habituation) in Kibale. How many participants were in your group? I've been told that they allow a maximum of 32 people per trek but I wonder if everyone goes together or are you split into smaller groups with each group tracking different chimp families(I don't know what the correct term is for a group of chimps)? How many habituated chimp families are there in Kibale?

Do they normally reach this max capacity per trek? I find it hard to believe that 32 tourists wandering through the forest wouldn't scare off every animal

I will confirm everything with the tour operator but also wanted to hear some actual experiences from people who have done this. Thanks.
Patty is offline  
Nov 1st, 2005, 01:06 PM
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Well, I haven't followed this post that closely nor have I read the myriad responses, but I did want to chime in and add that I also found Uganda to be an incredibly fascinating and diverse destination.

In August 2003, I visited Queen Elizabeth (staying at Mweya, which I really liked) and Bwindi (staying at Volcanoes Safaris lodge, which was OK but not great). As I researched my trip, I realized that if I ended up in Bwindi, the drive to Kigali, Rwanda was shorter than driving back to Entebbe, and it also allowed me to trek for gorillas in Parc Nacional Volcans, which I found more beautiful than Bwindi.

If you expect to end at Bwindi, it may be worth looking into crossing into Rwanda and returning from Kigali.

thit_cho is offline  
Nov 1st, 2005, 03:26 PM
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I too just received word from Jaynefer that the habituation is now limited to those months. She indicated that she was lobbying UWA and would keep me posted. I imagine that it must be an economic issue: probably more profitable to lead several groups (maybe large groups) to a chimpanzee family than one small group tying up a ranger and a chimp group all day.

I'm pretty disappointed, as my wife was more excited about the habituation than our hour with the gorillas. On the other hand, eliminating that full day excursion would give my itinerary more flexibility. Anyway, I'll let you know if we're able to work around this issue. Does anyone have advice on how we should try to make our case?

99mkw is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 01:33 PM
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To answer my own question about the half day chimp trek in Kibale, I received some clarification from the tour operator and it's actually 36 participants max per DAY (not per trek) broken down to 18 participants per morning or afternoon session. These 18 are then divided into 3 groups of 6 for the actual trek. That sounds much better!
Patty is offline  
Mar 7th, 2006, 07:12 AM
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Hi, a couple of points:
I was in Uganda (visited amongst other places, Kibale, Chiambura gorge, Bwindi) in Dec. Saw gorilla & Chimp in both other locals.
Obviously Bwindi trek experiance was incredible. Saw family of 23, great proximity, full hour, only 1/2 hr trek. Awesome.
Then 5 days later, went to Chiambura gorge. Have to saw was v disappointed. Only limited treking options, very short walk. It was dry, so there were no hippo (apart from one straggler) - but if it was wet, they would have churned the steep gorge into a mud fest. Saw a small group of Chimps but the way they appeared from nowhere, bang on cue - I had strong suspicions they were fed.
However 2 days later went to Kibale. Truely excellent. Firstly, they seemed professional, giving us safety briefing, rules of engagement, chat about the habitat - unlike CG where it weas 'jump in the van'. Had a 3 1/2 hour trek with a quality guide, who genuinely cared & knew his stuff. The forest was a great location - dense, but largley flat. Spooky too, with the monkey sounds ringing around you, as they circled us, playing games. Eventually found a troop of 40+. Quality time. 6 in our trek, and for the 2 1/2 hours we were with the apes, there were a max of 20 people there.
Another note - didn't stay there, or see it, but they have great accomodation worth checking out in Kibale NP itself. Treehouse that overlooks the mud pools frequented by forest Elephant in the wet season.

Good luck!
bluepeter026 is offline  
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