Travelogue w/ blog and photo links: Kenya and Uganda

Sep 11th, 2019, 08:18 AM
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Travelogue w/ blog and photo links: Kenya and Uganda

My husband and I visited Africa for the first time in June/July 2019 and were gobsmacked by the experience. We started with 3 nights in an Airbnb in the Lang'ata neighborhood of Nairobi with visits to the Kazuri Bead Factory, Karen Blixen Museum (we read ĎOut of Africaí as we traveled), the Giraffe Centre, the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Maasai Market, and our son's Africa Regional Medic Mobile office plus an early morning safari in the Nairobi Nat'l Park.

Next we headed out on a 4 day adventure loop toward Nyeri (west of Mt. Kenya), then through Aberdare National Park to Sanctuary Farm on Lake Naivasha: horses, early morning birding, elephants in the forest, waterfall hikes, walking among herds of giraffe, zebra, wildebeests, and antelope, evening campfires, a birding/hippo boat trip, hiking/biking in Hell's Gate Natíl Park, and climbing the Mt. Longonot crater on our way back to Nairobi (I booked Airbnb places for those stops, too).

Then we flew to the Maasai Mara and back, splitting our time between the Basecamp Explorerís Wilderness Camp and Eagle View in the Naboisho Conservancy - 2 walking safaris, a community visit, lots of amazing game drives including a 12 hour one in the reserve. We saw every animal we expected, some we barely dared hope for, and a few weíd never heard of. The highlight day after day was sitting - sometimes for an hour or more - watching family interactions: lions, hyenas, giraffes, baboons, elephants, cheetahs.

Next we flew from Nairobi to Entebbe Uganda and flew from there to Kasese for chimp trekking in Kibale Natíl Park and community and swamp walks in nearby Bigodi (Kibale Guest Cottages), a drive down through Queen Elizabeth Natíl Park with a boat trip and stay on the Kazinga Channel (Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge), then further south through the Ishasha Sector (spotted a tree climbing lion) and to Buhoma for an awesome gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable Natíl Park (Buhoma Community Rest Camp). We flew from Kihihi back to Entebbe where we stayed at the same Airbnb place coming and going (Jane Goodallís former office), then back to Nairobi and home.

The weather was coolish in the mornings and warmish during the day, breezy sometimes, a few overnight rains and one good drencher at the end of our last full day in Uganda. We were well prepared for mosquitos (permethrin clothes, ultrathon repellent, and this plug in gem: https://www.travelbugban.com/ ) and either there were very few mosquitoes anywhere or these worked like magic; I suspect the former.

We printed forms and obtained East Africa visas on arrival in Nairobi; as cancer survivors in our 60s we chose yellow fever exemptions instead of the vaccines and were asked for proof entering Uganda.

We traveled carry-on only, easily under the weight limits for small planes. I took the Ďolive green and khakií color recommendations seriously, adding a few items to comfortable, wicking travel clothes we already owned. We layered light fleece jackets, stuffable down vests (also make great plane pillows), and light goretex jackets for warmth and rain/wet brush protection. We wore tennies and birks sometimes and beloved light, waterproof hiking boots on the planes (for space and weight considerations) and on hikes and treks in both countries. Headlamps, a small but comprehensive first aid kit, iPad minis for connectivity and reading, good quality sun block, tiny stowable waterproof backpacks, and these great waterproof, pocket-friendly sun hats were also packing wins. https://www.rei.com/product/894435/s...-adventure-hat

We loved every place we stayed and were impressed by every guide from the young man at the Karin Blixen Museum to our gorilla trek ranger Meddie who helped habituate the first families in Bwindi in the early 90s. I researched using the Rough Guide for Kenya and Bradt Guide for Uganda plus online reviews and forums. I developed my own itinerary including lodging for both countries and booked Airbnb places for just over half the nights; they were all fabulous and Iím happy to share specifics if anyone is interested.

The Mara/Basecamp bit was a complete package including everything but alcohol and tips. For Kenya I used Robert Muhuhu of Sojourn Safaris who provided a wonderful driver David, a cooler, and Land Cruiser for the Nairobi Natíl Park safari and the adventure loop. In Uganda Wyclef of Gorillas and Beyond arranged the trekking permits, flights, lodging, and guides, drove us, and became a dear friend. I recommend them all highly - great communication and attention to detail. This trip had a lot of moving parts and everything went like clockwork thanks to these organizations.
https://www.airbnb.com/
https://www.basecampexplorer.com/
https://www.sojournafricasafaris.com/
Gorillas and Beyond – Authentic Gorilla Experience

You can check out my blog posts with photos here:
Kenya: https://hopefulistinotherplaces.blog...july-2019.html

Uganda: https://hopefulistinotherplaces.blog...july-2019.html

And my photo collections here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

Let me know if I can answer questions. HAPPY TRAILS!
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