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Planning a Uganda safari without Gorillas - is this heresy?

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Mar 22nd, 2011, 09:44 PM
  #1
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Planning a Uganda safari without Gorillas - is this heresy?

There isn't very much Uganda traffic on Fodor's, apart from gorilla and chimp trekking safaris so I have put this on TA as well. But any suggestions and advice are welcomed.
(I do have my trip report from January's Kenyan trip almost finished, I will post it here eventually but it can be seen with photos on Safaritalk)

I am in the very early stages of planning my return to Uganda since the 1960s but don't have time to include gorilla trekking … that will have to wait. This is my initial itinerary and am interested in opinions on what I'm planning. The main focus is to see a variety of landscapes and birds, but with as much general wildlife as possible (of course).

I will be flying in through Nairobi so plan an overnight at Entebbe.

Then we are flying by charter up to Kidepo for 4 nights at Apoka Lodge and although this is the most expensive part of the trip this is one place I have wanted to visit for a long time so I just have to raise the money to pay for it.

We have a private 4x4 and guide to drive us from Kidepo to Murchison Falls to stay 3 nights at Paraa Safari Lodge (stayed there in the early '60s)

Drive to Kibale Forest to have 2 nights at either Ndali or Primate Lodge (not decided). This will only give us one day in the forest.

Drive to Semliki and spend 3 nights at the Semliki Safari Lodge.

Drive to QENP for 3 nights at Mweya Safari Lodge.

Overnight at Entebbe before flying off to Nairobi.

I'm hoping I've given myself the best chance to see some of the spectacular and rare birds without becoming exhausted with travel. It is going to cost a bit, but I think it gives a good selection of what the parks can offer without the gorillas although we hope to see some chimps. Gorillas will be a more concentrated trip for another day.

Not sure on the time of year yet as I'm not sure which parks are best at which time of year but as you can tell, I'm really early in the planning. What haven't I considered?
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Mar 23rd, 2011, 11:42 AM
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This is an interesting idea, so I'll be watching the replies. I've never been to Uganda so can't comment.
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Mar 23rd, 2011, 01:43 PM
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I think your itinerary is perfect, particularly if you are after birds - you'll be crossing myriad habitats and altitudes, so will see some spectacular avifauna of Uganda. I would suggest that you stay at Ndali and instead of Mweya, which is a rather large and cumbersome property, you opt for Ishasha tented camp, which is in the Ishasha sector. This will position you really well to head out to the flats to search for the shoe bill stork.

Maybe find some to hike the Kyambura Gorge, while you are in that area as there are habituated chimps to be seen and don't forget that you'll be on the fringe of the Maramagamba Forest, so again awesome birding opportunities.

Shame though that you will not have time to look for the gorillas, they really aren't far from the QE NP. Bohoma village is at altitude and home to plenty endemic birds that you'd miss.

Hope that helps?
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Mar 23rd, 2011, 03:25 PM
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Thanks Samcat and Mkhonzo. The gorillas will happen another time when they can be the focus of the trip. I have every intention of returning! No surprises there, of course.

The reason I'm sticking with Mweya is that it has the perfect location for general access (as far as I can gather) and the accommodation is of less importance than location and access.

I am leaning towards Ndali at this stage, so glad you concur with that. We will look at some chimp tracking as that will fit in quite well but at this early stage there seems to be so much to consider. Glad I have time up my side.
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Mar 23rd, 2011, 06:48 PM
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Consider a visit to Ngamba Island, where you can interact with rescued chimps. You can do a day visit or an overnight. We had a wonderful experience there, comparable to our time with the gorillas.
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Mar 23rd, 2011, 08:03 PM
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Thanks FF
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Mar 23rd, 2011, 08:46 PM
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Looks great! I'll be especially interested in Kidepo. The cost of including this destination may be yet another reason gorillas will have to wait.

On the day you drive to Semliki, could you do a morning chimp visit, then depart? Not sure of the distance between Kibale and Semliki.
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Mar 23rd, 2011, 11:44 PM
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I think you should just be staying home!
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Mar 24th, 2011, 01:48 AM
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Now sallysaab, don't be a grouch!

Atravelynn, I have the driving times written down but am getting some extra info on some of these places and what they offer. I have a thread on TA as there is more Uganda stuff there and so will add some of the fine tuning advice here in due time. Just in case anyone else wants to use the info.
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Mar 24th, 2011, 02:18 PM
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Haha, 5 sleeps Hilary, only 5 and they are dragging!
Your plans sound great, look forward to reading yet another or your trip stories.
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Mar 24th, 2011, 03:37 PM
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sallysaab, you are escaping the water deluge so soon. Well done and have a fantastic trip. Look forward to report and photos.
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Mar 24th, 2011, 05:42 PM
  #12
 
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If this is heresy, then I want to plan a heresy trip.
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Dec 1st, 2011, 06:03 AM
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I was delighted to see someone else heading to Uganda w/o the gorilla (and related kin) as a focus. We are planning first visit there for May 2012 as prelim to heading back to Tanzania. Youngest daughter may be able to accompany us but only for week in-country. So, for starters we will get to Lake Mburo and Queen Elizabeth areas before she heads home. Wife and I will have an extra day or so for the Mabamba wetlands and maybe site near Entebbe. Interest towards wildlife and certainly birds not to mention simply seeing another interesting part of East Africa.

Your itinerary sounds exciting from what I have read. Looking forward to hearing about the trip. Dick
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Dec 1st, 2011, 07:42 PM
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Dick, I think you'll get there before I do as I'm in Tanzania in January (had some stuff to do there first). So I shall eagerly await your TR to help me make fine tuning adjustments to mine. One change already, Qatar flies directly to Entebbe so I don't need the Nairobi stop over which gives me more time on safari.
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Dec 3rd, 2011, 08:42 AM
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How long at Lake Mburo, Rsnyder? I know some people saw the Shoebill Stork there.
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Dec 3rd, 2011, 03:25 PM
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So glad this was brought to the top, especially for Dick!
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Dec 4th, 2011, 07:56 PM
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I too am one of those heretics who is not totally convinced as to the $ or physical prep for tracking the mt gorillas...although I def'lly want to get to the Bwindi area for some walking/villges
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Dec 11th, 2011, 07:38 PM
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I think that of all the wildlife experiences I have ever experienced, seeing the gorillas was one of the most amazing. I can not imagine going to Uganda and missing them. Just my feeling but I think that there would be other areas if I was short on time that I would sacrifice to do a gorilla trek.
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Dec 12th, 2011, 01:56 AM
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Thank you, greenacres!!
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Dec 12th, 2011, 03:44 AM
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I'm not planning not to see the gorillas, just not in this particular trip … just to clarify.
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