Uganda & Zambia

Apr 22nd, 2008, 10:48 PM
  #1  
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Uganda & Zambia

Hello,
We are thinking about a Late Summer/ Early Fall 2009 trip to Uganda and Zambia. Have about 17 days total. Looking for help with how many days we should spend in the key areas of each country?

Have any of you done this combination?

Thanks,
Chewey
Cheweyhead is offline  
Apr 24th, 2008, 12:03 AM
  #2  
 
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I assume you are looking to Uganda for gorilla tracking as one of the highlights? If so, I would suggest about a 12-day Rwanda/Uganda combination. Do the gorilla tracking in Rwanda - it is more rewarding, and easier than both Mgahinga and Bwindi in Uganda. I have tracked gorillas at PNV = Parc National des Volcans or Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, in Mgahinga and Bwindi on 3 different trips, and found PNV the best gorilla viewing every time (higher altitude = less undergrowth = better sightings and better photography). I also enjoyed tracking the Golden Monkeys at PNV; and/or you will not regret tracking gorillas at least twice (different families).

While Rwanda is quite scenic, the Western part of Uganda is unmatched as far as scenery. And you should not miss Queen Elizabeth NP for the savannah type animals, and perhaps chimpanzee tracking. I have seen tree-climbing lions in the Ishasha sector of QE NP two out of three trips. You can easily cross from PNV into Uganda at Mgahinga. In 2001 I visited Murchison Falls against all travel warnings. It was and is safe, and tops Victoria Falls in my book - in terms of "wild" and feeling the fury. When you drive to the top of the falls, you can walk literally right to the falls' edge. The sound effects of the water roaring and tumbling down the rock face is incredibly powerful. Beyond the falls, the National Park itself is great for game viewing, too. You'll find the usual (large herds of elephant for one), as well as Oribi, an antelope specie hard to find elsewhere, and you have a rare chance of seeing a Shoebill stork. Rather than backtracking to Kigali, you could make your way to Entebbe, and fly from Uganda via Nairobi to Zanzibar.

Then spend the rest of your time on Zanzibar - a minimum of 4 nights. Stone Town is rich in culture. Depending on your preferences, spend 2 nights in Stone Town and 2-3 nights at a beach hotel. I consider a visit to the spice plantations a must, and if you love wildlife, go to Jozani forest to see the red colobus monkeys indigenous only to Zanzibar. (You can combine the spice plantation and Jozani Forest into a half-day tour from either Stone Town or any beach hotel - or do it as part of your transfer between Stone Town and beach accommodation.) Snorkeling is excellent around Prison Island; easiest access is a boat transfer from Stone Town. A sunset cruise on a dhow would complete your “flavors” of Zanzibar.

Good luck – make it happen! (Late summer/early fall is the PERFECT time, too.)
Africaholic is offline  
Apr 24th, 2008, 12:15 AM
  #3  
 
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How embarrassing – after posting, I realized you asked for Uganda/Zambia, NOT Zanzibar. I’m sorry!

Now, that is trickier… for one because of inter-Africa flights, and second because you could easily do 17 days with an Rwanda/Uganda combo or even Uganda alone. Still, I would do 11-12 days Rwanda/Uganda, and the rest in Zambia; definitely South Luangwa, though the Lower Zambezi, as well as Kafue NP have their charm. In the Lower Zambezi you could offset the game viewing with kayaking on the Zambezi for a completely different experience.
Africaholic is offline  
Apr 24th, 2008, 06:55 AM
  #4  
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Thank you Africaholic. Great information. I was in Rwanda gorilla tracking last year. Uganda looks like it offers wonderful wildlife opportunities. When did you last track gorillas in Uganda?
Cheweyhead is offline  
Apr 24th, 2008, 04:07 PM
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Well, maybe you convinced Chewyhead to do Uganda and Zanzibar, Africaholic.

So Cheweyhead, are you thinking of seeing gorillas in Uganda as well?

Even without gorillas, could do:
-Kibale for chimps
-Queen Elizabeth for savanna with the unique coppery Ugandan Kob and perhaps some views of (one of my favorites) the Giant Forest Hog, and a bat cave with pythons, plus the lovely Kazinga Channel that has numerous fascinating boat launches throughout the day, and maybe even another chimp outing
-Murchison Falls, a place I'd love to go

Are you interested in canoeing?
Lower Zambezi maybe?
September would be perfect for Kafue, which has unique antelope species such as roan, sable, oribi. I saw those in July, but in Sept, you'd have bigger herds and better views. The lions would also likely be in the tree by then.

I'd put Kibale in Uganda and Kafue in Zambia at the top of my list and go from there. It would be a great combo of countries. I did Uganda and Zimbabwe and lost about 1 day only for international travel.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 24th, 2008, 04:30 PM
  #6  
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Atravelynn
Yes we would like to do two gorilla treks in Uganda.
Kibale and Ngamba for sure. Queen Elizabeth NP yes. And hopefully Murchinson Falls & park.

Zambia - I know we have South Luangwa (Mchenja), and Lower Zambezi (Chiawa) on the initial wish list.

Is Kafue NP a must as well? On these forums, some of KNP reviews looked mixed. But it is early in the planning and we are open to lots of discussion.

Trying to figure out how long we can be gone Sept 2009

Thanks. And I just replied to your email.


Cheweyhead is offline  
Apr 25th, 2008, 02:26 PM
  #7  
 
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SL and LZ would be great. The antelope herds that Kafue is known for are most abundant well into the dry season, so Sept would be optimal. I think SL and LZ would offer the most variety as long as you are aware that it will be really hot for your walking and canoe excursions. Kafue has little or no walking.

Your trip is shaping up to be an exciting one.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 07:18 AM
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We just returned from Tanzania and Uganda. The gorilla trek at Bwindi was actually quite easy--took 15 minutes to get to them. Of course, we had asked for the "easy" trek. The people on the "difficult" trek did not arrive back until 6pm. There was just my husband and me on the easy trek and 3 people on the difficult trek. The weather was beautiful despite being the rainy season.

Merchison NP is a great place. Besides the wonderful Nile River falls, we saw a "kill"--the only one we have ever seen in 4 African countries. Also saw 2 lionesses with 7 cubs watch as 1 of the cubs practiced a "kill"--but no luck!

Also visited Ngamba but just for a day visit. And visited source of the Nile at Jinga.
Jane
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Apr 28th, 2008, 09:45 AM
  #9  
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Jane

How many days did you spend in Uganda?

Atravelynn,

Would late August/Early September be better for the canoeing and walking in Zambia?


Cheweyhead is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 10:18 AM
  #10  
 
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10 nights.
JaneB is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 04:31 PM
  #11  
 
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A little earlier would be less hot for your activities.
atravelynn is offline  
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