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Trip Report: Rwanda,Uganda,Kenya,Tanzania,Dec 05-Mar 06

Trip Report: Rwanda,Uganda,Kenya,Tanzania,Dec 05-Mar 06

Mar 6th, 2006, 08:56 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,448
aaaaaaahhhh! I am SALIVATING over your trip coverage so far.

It was me that asked if ANYONE ANYWHERE has been able to get good chimp pictures while tracking. I struggled through Nyungwe, heard chimps screeching, but never got good pictures or video. I did see them running up tree in the distance for about 20 seconds.

I don't know how those guides found batteries for you, but that is almost as amazing as the gorilla stories.

I remember that Amaharo gorilla and I just might have soiled myself if he had come within inches of me!

I wish I had gone up to Diane Fosseys' grave, but it saddens me that the rest of the facilities were destroyed in the genocide

I will check out your pictures now
waynehazle is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 09:04 AM
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Wow, how incredibly lucky you were to come across the Amahoro group the second day!
Patty is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 10:01 AM
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I put some more pics up from Governors camp. Thanks for the positive feedback.I'm glad i'm not writing this just for my own enjoyment.Its nice to relive the early moments of our trip which seems so long ago.Its also amazing how i am already yearning to go back.
dlo is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 10:10 AM
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I'm anxiously awaiting the next installment too! I have six months left till my next trip and will be living vicariously through everyone's trip reports!
maxwell is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 10:18 AM
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6 months, lucky you! I have nothing lined for the time being Where are you going BTW?
Patty is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 10:25 AM
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Patty, I think I'm pretty set on Ethiopia since I can do that on my own and for cheap...am going to try to throw in Tanzania too but will be on a very, very tight budget so that is less sure.
It will be the first stop in my premature-midlife crisis world tour! (am going to spend a year traveling off and on and living like a pauper to make it happen!)
maxwell is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 10:31 AM
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Loved the photos and am enjoying the report. As soon as I get the $ together gorilla tracking will be my next African experience. Thanks you so much for sharing this.

Eagerly awaiting more.

Patty, I thought you had Uganda on the table? Jan. 2007?

Maxwell, lucky you.
Leely is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 10:46 AM
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Good for you =D> and good luck!

I'm currently torn between Kenya or Uganda or some combination of both. Don't know exactly when the next trip will be. If I had unlimited time/funds, I would do southern Tanzania, northern Kenya, Uganda, and gorilla tracking in Rwanda with a little beach time thrown in to recoup

Thanks for continuing your report and sharing your pics. You don't know how many of us are salivating over this. It's the only thing keeping us going in between trips
Patty is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 11:28 AM
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OK, looking at your Uganda pics. You DID get a few decent chimp pictures
waynehazle is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 12:41 PM
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dlo - Thanks for the report. Your gorilla tracking sounds so exciting. I have to put that on my "before I die" list.

I cannot wait for the next installment.

I'm going to check out the photos now!
schlegal1 is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 01:14 PM
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Wow! I haven't had time to read through the whole report but judging by your photos you had some fabulous wildlife viewing! Great photos, great diversity of landscapes and critters! Thanks!

10 weeks to Zambia~
cooncat is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 01:23 PM
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After a relatively short drive to Gisenyi we checked into the Palm Beach Hotel.Its right on the lakeand the view is good but.... I started feeling off late that night and my still future wife started the next morning.We waited almost 2 hours for our dinner and though the rooms are ok you need to open the windows as its to hot but there are no screens or mosquito nets so it was not a fun 2 nights here.

The next day we went to see someone regarding our donations for an orphanage that now had moved.Oh well its not to far and we will go tomorrow.

We end up feeling even worse and now we have to change our itinerary and can no longer go to Nyungwe Forest as we must get to a hospital in Kigali.Our guide Robert is brilliant here and shows real concern.We even get a call from there office checking on us.Robert finds a friend in Kigali who refers us to King Faisal hospital which is good for "mzungus".I like getting off the beaten track but this is ridiculous!

We were starting to feel better when the doctor told us we had food poisoning,probably from the good food at Kinigi(tilapia).If anyone has ever driven in Uganda you know that everyone ties fish to the front of there cars(why?),so no more fish till the coast.

So after everything went wrong in Kivu Kigali was a revelation.It was a very clean city and probably my favorite African city so far.We stayed at Chez Lando and i can totally recommend it.Very clean and not a chain hotel with a great restaurant.The best pizza i have had anywhere in Africa.Every meal was great although we had some dodgy meals up to this point.

Our highlite in Kigali was the genocide memorial,although it is obviously not a pleasant stop.I met about a dozen people who went here and the consensous was the same.After going you just went back to your room that night and went to sleep.A very difficult place to go but it is very very well done.I believe it is a must do but should probably be at the end of your itinerary.

Because of our illness we missed Nyungwe and a genocide site we were going to see so we stopped at the museum in Butare.The museum was so-so but the guide there was so bad we ended up having a good time.He did not talk about more than 3 exhibits as he much preferred to discuss himself.I actually had alot of laughs.

Next up back to Uganda and Lake Bunyoni,Lake Mburro,and christmas in Kampala.
dlo is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 02:26 PM
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I think I was also at my sickest in Gisenye, but that was BECAUSE I spent an exhausting day in Nyungwe with a very stressed out, damp cold body, on 2 hours of sleep.

Sorry you missed Nyungwe.

You may have missed the Murambi Genocide Center. The center was not completed, but they did have rooms filled with unearthed skeletons. It was tough.

The Kigali center was closed for cleaning when I was there

Looking forward to more of your report
waynehazle is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 03:04 PM
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matnikstym, thanks for enlightening us on the smileys. Here's one just for you!

dlo, I wondered how you got a free gorilla tracking. Lucky you! Your gorilla pics were great and varied. Really liked the highly visible male on all fours. Such a speciman! And so were the chimips, even in the tree, which often has too much backlighting to be visible.

Did you have cloudy weather? The professional photographers that did chimp and gorilla treks with me were cursing the sunny cloudless skies. They said filtered light through clouds was best for the dark faced primates.

Your good luck continued at Governors with the abundance of lion and pictures as well as some nice cheetah shots.

Since I have not been to Murchison Falls, I was especially interested in those photos. You started off with a winner--giant forest hogs! The croc with the open mouth was amazing! What's the tale behind that one? Beautiful scenic shots of the falls too.

Glad you were not ill long, but it's never fun on a trip. Food poisoning can happen anywhere. I had it 3 days BEFORE departing on my last Africa trip. Got it locally.

atravelynn is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 03:52 PM
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for waynehazle, hi there- i have some really good video of the kibale chimps june 05. also a female with a medical issue that turned out to be a rectal prolapse-spelling? the researcher we hooked up with asked me to video her-seeing i was the only one with a video cam. long story but-they needed that video badly-glad i could help-there was a purpose for that visit after all.
stills would have been a real pain-cant go wrong with video-if you cant see them-you can sure hear them!
thx, d
tuskerdave is offline  
Mar 7th, 2006, 04:21 AM
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dlo and all Fodorites,
Reading the trip report on gorilla trekking has convinced me to go back to Rwanda! I was there in 2003 and figured it was a "once in a lifetime" trip....but I just realized I simply HAVE TO GO BACK! I was so overwhelmed the 1st time we saw the gorillas that I just sat and cried and forgot all about my camera! I now have my photos of the gorillas hanging on the wall with the rest of my "family" pictures. After all... we are almost related!
So I guess gorilla trekking can be a "twice" in a lifetime experience!

Lillipets is offline  
Mar 7th, 2006, 06:28 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
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I was in Uganda for the last 3 weeks of December.
Just have to write in defence of QE2NP. We drove in from the south (from Bwindi). Drove for 8 hours, and only saw 2 cars. Managed to find Lion up tree, as well as good scenery. Its fair to saw the south of the park is a bit thin on the ground in terms of wildlife, I guess due to poaching, but the landscapes were stunning, the solitude surprising, and the lion astonishing.
We then went up to Mwena lodge. Over the top accomodation (but it was Xmas day), but what a location. Leopard on the dorrstep and 200+ elephant in the channel, visible from breakfast. Great birding in the grounds. Went on an afternoon Chanel boat trip, which had great proximity to 100s of buffalo, 100s of elephant and 100s of hippo. Good birding too.
Didn't visit Murchison, so can't compare, but QE NP, Kibale, Bwindi compare to any of the wildlife experiances I've had in my 6 trips to Africa. Give it a try - and play your part in increasing tourism and therefore the value the park hasd to the economy. In that way, poaching becomes less valued & the animals stand a chance.
A few photos from Uganda are on my webpage at http://community.webshots.com/user/bluepeter26

bluepeter026 is offline  
Mar 7th, 2006, 06:32 AM
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We leave the beautiful tarmac of Rwanda and return to the bumpy roads of Uganda and head to Lake Bunyoni.Bunyoni is really beautiful and there is lots to do.Its a great chill out spot and there are loads of activities like canoeing and mountain biking if you wish.

We headed to Lake Mburro next but we did not have much time here and just did a boat trip.We did not see a whole lot other than hippos and birds but i love hippos so it was ok for me.

We drove into Kampala on Christmas eve and it was pure bedlam.So many cows hanging in the butchers shops and just insane traffic.I also had a unique sighting as i saw someone driving a Hummer,i could not believe it.

We then went to Sanyu babies orphanage and this was another highlite for me.The stories are all heartbreaking but the people running it are doing an amazing job and it was a very positive place.They have volunteers come in and they are even setting up rooms so people can stay there and have the option of volunteering or just using it as a place to stay.They also opened up a gift shop where the prices were pretty good and this is where i started accumulating the large amount of souvenirs i would end up purchasing.I think i need an expansion on my house just to find room for all my stuff!

We spent the night at the Fairway Hotel and we ended up getting some Christmas rate after Robert did a little complaining for us.We had a christmas buffet and i found it to be pretty good.The rooms were good and the internet fast so i was quite happy,it does'nt take much.Jay from the office came to the hotel for a drink and she was a nice in person as she was in her emails.

The next day we said our goodbyes to Robert and caught a short flight to Nairobi.We were extremly happy with Great Lakes Safaris and we both loved our guide Robert.Although i have Namibia,Zambia,and Gabon on my must see list i need to go back to Uganda and i will def use Great Lakes again.It just might be awhile!

Next up is our Donkey Trek.
dlo is offline  
Mar 7th, 2006, 06:39 AM
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Hi Pete

I agree that QE is alright.The scenery is very good and we did see loads of ele's and giraffe and hippo.Did not see a single cat in Uganda but i did make up for it later.I think it can be a great park in the future with good management but right now it is a little thin.
dlo is offline  
Mar 7th, 2006, 07:54 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Thanks for this interesting report. And so far its only a small part of your trip! I loved the Uganda hippos and all those warthogs and mongooses lying about. And Id really like to get to know those gorillas.

Nyamera is offline  

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