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Kibale or Budongo for chimp trek? and a few other questions

Kibale or Budongo for chimp trek? and a few other questions

Old Jun 21st, 2012, 01:00 PM
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Kibale or Budongo for chimp trek? and a few other questions

Anyone who's done chimp treks in both - if you could only do one which would you choose? It would be just the trek not habituation in Kibale. I'm told advantages of Budongo might be less commercialized, less people, and less expensive with lodging at the Eco Lodge there vs. Kyaninga or Ndali lodge at Kibale. Advantage to Kibale for nicer lodging and the views.

Also, instead of driving back from Bwindi to Entebbe with a stop at Lake Mburo we could fly back. Not sure if missing Lake Mburo would be a great loss or not. We're considering an overnight at Ngamba Island so that would be a way to cut a day out of our itinerary to add on at the end at Ngamba. Any thoughts on missing Lake Mburo?

And lastly (well, for now) I asked about why our itinerary is showing a drive back from Murch. Falls to Entebbe (with overnight) and then driving again the next morning to Fort Portal after it was pointed out that there's a shortcut road that would be much more direct and way less time. The TO explained that it was because the straight route is such a bad road it could take 12 hours. I'm not sure what to think - if people in Uganda are telling me don't do that - but he's working with a company in Uganda who says it's best -- any thoughts or experiences with that bad road?

Thanks in advance-
Leslie
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 06:29 PM
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Since I did the habituation walk in Kibale, where you spend the day with the chimps and watch them make their nests at night and in Budongo I missed the chimps in heavy rain, I'd say Kibale gets my vote. If you can do both, do it. I think you (or someone else recently) asked if 2 chimp treks in these locations are worthwhile or just "two opportunities to be frustrated"? Well, you can never guarantee chimps, but more tracks means more odds of seeing them.

Of all the African wildlife places I have stayed, my 2 visits years apart to Lake Mburo were near the bottom of my list. I do know people have seen shoebill there, not me.

If you can do a chimp walk into the forest at Ngamba, do it. An all time highlight of my travels, heck maybe my life!

Might safety also be an issue on the road? Sorry no info or insights on the road.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 05:43 AM
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I think it sounds like the walk in Kibale might be best. Part of deciding whether to do one or two chimp treks is having enough time to possibly add Ngamba Island so I'm leaning towards doing the one trek at Kibale then the infant integration at Ngamba.

And probably giving Lake Mburo a miss is the way to go.

Some of my husband's least favorite travel (or life) experiences were the flights we had in S. Africa where we were the only passengers along with the one pilot. He's not a good flyer to begin with and that was pretty terrifying to him. I'm confident I could figure out how to land a plane if I had to (hahaha). But I was thinking avoiding flights like that in Uganda & doing it all by road would make him happy - maybe the Bwindi-Entebbe flight actually uses a co-pilot
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 09:46 PM
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When are you going, Leslie?

The chimp habituation is NOT available at Budongo forest during summer months .Walks in forest are OK, just not the longer full day one-on-one experience.

Be aware too that Kyaninga Lodge is an hour drive or so from Kibale. (Kyaninga --pronounced Chaninga--is supposed to be an incredible place to stay; I'll be there next month, can hardly wait!)

Finally, note that you have to have definite proof of a variety of vaccinations to stay overnight on Ngamba--even more than are required for entry into Uganda.

http://ngambaisland.com/html_pages/vaccinations.html
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 02:54 AM
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It doesn't surprise me that the tour company might be hesitant to drive directly between Murchison Falls NP and Fort Portal. As I mentioned before, I took that route once last year. I seem to remember the road being bad between Masindi and Hoima. According to Google maps, there are 2 roads there--one that goes near Lake Albert, and a more direct road. I took the more direct road and it was nearly flooded over at a couple of points.

I don't recall as many problems with the road between Hoima and Kyenjojo. None of it is paved, FWIW.

If I were running a tour company, I think I would be hesitant to take people that direction, too (unless I catered to Peace Corps volunteers). I think the biggest problem could be a vehicle break-down (or getting stuck), and it would take a very long time to get a replacement vehicle there. I also didn't notice many other cars on that road, not even very many of the minibus taxis. There are lots of villages and towns along that route, but it didn't look like there were many comfortable places to stay.

You may want to have someone with local knowledge check into the direct route once you get there. The road could be better then.

I would be more insistent to the TO about why you can't stay in Kampala rather than Entebbe when you backtrack to go up to Fort Portal. I think it would be more comfortable for you to stay in Kampala--probably don't have to get up as early to hit the road, and you avoid having to be on the Entebbe-Kampala road.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 04:19 AM
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Great - thanks guys. I think I'll talk again to the TO again about that direct road and see if it's possible to assess the situation while we're there and change plans then if possible. If not, maybe it's worth doing the back-tracking if the company he's working with in Uganda (The Far Horizons) thinks it's necessary. I can see us getting stuck or behind some other vehicles that are stuck after demanding to go that way & cursing myself so I don't want to act like I know best!
But I will definitely want to stay in Kampala not go to Entebbe.

One month, Cali, you must be so excited! I'll be looking forward to seeing what you write when you get back.

Are you doing the Ngamba Island visit? I'm trying to wrap my head around the price to stay one night and do the infant integration. I'm telling myself of course you should do it, it's once in a lifetime, it will be amazing, you'll only be there once, you spend that much on junk here at home in few months (weeks?). But it is a lot for one day of awesomeness!

We do have almost all of the vax required already, would just need meningitis and flu and proof of blood level for MMR since that was given when we were kids and we have no records.
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Old Jun 24th, 2012, 01:11 AM
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Hi Leslie--oh good--few jabs needed for you ! My arm is tender from Yellow Fever injection a couple days ago. Still, risk for age 60 plus is possibility of total organ failure ..so a sore arm is nuttin'!!
No planning for Ngamba overnight. Might go for the boat ride for an afternoon, but even that is quite expensive. As this will be first full day after three long flights from San Francisco via Chicago and London, I just might veg out with a couple hours at the Botanic gardens, a pizza at Goretti's by Lake Victoria, and bed!!
Yes, I am vey excited...and somewhat nervous. Thanks for your encouragement and interest!
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Old Jun 24th, 2012, 06:02 AM
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Your poor arm. I wish the yellow fever vax was good for more than 10 years. I don't relish reliving that.
Did you get all of the other shots then for the island? Can I ask about Hepatitis B - we had twinrix so both A & B in a series of 3 shots. That was 5, going on 6 years ago. So based on the info from Ngamba we would need the Hep B again (5 years max they say on their paperwork) but what I'm reading on the CDC site sounds like that should be sufficient for the rest of our lives. Do you know anything about that? I think it says a booster is not recommended. Have to look further at that & ask my dr's advice.

Are you traveling solo?
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Old Jun 26th, 2012, 11:15 PM
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Les, just now seeing this; apolgies for delay.

Hep b, once you get the series, is good for life. I guess the Ngamba authorities want to make extra certain their charges will be ok.

I had not planned on an overnight there, so i didnt get the extra shots.The extra vaccinatios are required only for the closer one-on-one interaction, not for the "day-trippers" (like me) going to watch the feeedings, etc, which don't involve close physical interaction.

thanks for the sympathy--stilll a bit sore and achey. LIVE vaccine--ewwwww!!!
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Old Jun 26th, 2012, 11:18 PM
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p.s. yes, I am traveling solo, except for the first week, meeting three friends from California as we make our way to friend's kwanjula (check out google) in Eastern Uganda. Teh remainder of the trip (another 3.5 weeks in Uganda and Kenya) will be just me and driver!
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Old Jun 27th, 2012, 06:36 AM
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Nice -- so you are one of those brave people who travel alone. Well, I say brave but that's only part of it - being able to relax and enjoy an experience with out someone else to share it with is a gift. One I didn't get. It would make traveling easier (in some ways) but I just don't enjoy doing it alone. I'm sure your driver will be good company, though, so not as if you're going to be lonely.

The kwanjula sounds very interesting. After that big of an event for introductions do they also have a big wedding party later? How cool to get to attend.

I emailed the director at Ngamba and she said our twinrix hep A & B shots in 2008 will suffice so we don't have to get a B booster. Yay! One less needle

You're getting close now, have you done your final packing list or actually started packing? Do you have a special outfit for the kwanjula?
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