Day 12: March 23 (Friday)
Kibale National Park Visitor Center. Going for hike. Our guide for the hike was Jerrod. We were out for about 3 hours. The first thing we learned was we should tuck our pant legs in our socks or boots. We learned this the hard way when some army ants climbed up our legs and bit us. Jerrod took us to a fig tree full of fruit, and sure enough there were chimps in it. They were pretty high up so we trekked on. We found a group of about 5 males on the ground. A few of them were grooming each other. Eventually they moved on so we followed. We could hear chimps all around. The males went to a fruit tree to have a snack. We watched them for a while then walked back out. We drove up to our lodge, Ndali Lodge, which is on a ridge between some lakes. We have our own little villa with no electricity. It's quite lovely. Dinner was a sit down meal in the dining room. We sat at a table with 3 couples. Two from
Game: Olive baboon, chimpanzee
Queen Elizabeth National Park. Started seeing game from the main road. Turned off for game drive. Back on the main road. Didn't see any lions. Saw some vultures pecking at a skeleton and a lone hyena. Heading toward the Kazinga Channel for a boat trip. Just inside the gate we saw a big herd of elephants (picture left) with lots of calves. Found another herd. The bull challenged us a bit so we backed off. Stopped for lunch at Mweya Safari Lodge. The lunch was from Ndali. The chicken was the best yet. There's a nice view of the channel and
Day 13: March 24 (Saturday)
Jacana Safari Lodge now. There were 2 colobus chasing each other through the trees. The lodge is nice. Individual cabins in the forest next to a crater lake. Our room overlooks the lake. We watched the sun set (picture right) and even saw a hippo close by. Dinner was nice: steak w/peppercorn sauce, potato, carrots, broccoli, and pumpkin soup. I had coffee after dinner by a great big fireplace. It's funny to have a fire so close to the equator. For more pictures, check the gallery for Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Day 14: March 25 (Sunday)
Woke up at 6:30. Power is not on yet though it was supposed to be on at 6. No sign of the hippo. Nice breakfast overlooking the lake. I'm having some allergy problems today. Hopefully some antihistamine will clear it up. The generator finally came on during breakfast, but we're running a bit behind. Turns out we had to wait for our box lunches because of the power problem. It was nearly 9 by the time we were on our way. The road through the park is quite bad for some 20km. Passing 3 big trucks on the road. They have been stuck for days. Thank goodness for 4x4. Looking for tree climbing lions in Ishasha area. I'm beginning to think the talk of tree climbing lions is just to keep your mind off of the hot, bumpy ride. No luck with the lions. Stopped for lunch by a school in a small town. Children gathered around while we ate. It was a little strange. Paul says the children are used to NGOs visiting, so they all gather around. We are very close to
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for a gorilla trek. We went to see the Mubare family of 10 individuals. The silverback is Ruhondeza, and there are two babies. We had to hike to the top of the hill which took about 2 hours. Then we had a short trip down to the next valley were we found the trackers. The gorillas were not far off the track, but they were in the bush. After about 30 minutes they moved out to the sun. Nearing the end of our hour, they started to move to the thick brush, so we headed back. We had lunch at the top of the hill then headed back down to the Visitors Center. We got a certificate for going on the hike. Relaxing at the lodge drinking a Bell Lager. I read a bit of Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey. They have a copy at the lodge. She did a lot of her research in the
Day 15: March 26 (Monday)
Day 16: March 27 (Tuesday)
Volcanoes National Park headquarters and were assigned to Group 13. It has only one silverback but 22 total individuals. It's the second largest group in the park. The three of us were joined by 5 Brits for the trek. There was one other group going out today. After a briefing by our guide, Francis, we drove from the HQ to the starting point for Group 13. There we got some walking sticks and our armed guards. We started the trek by crossing some fields outside the park. After about 30 minutes we passed through the park wall which is there to keep the buffalo and elephants in the ark and out of the crops.
Day 17: March 28 ( Wednesday)
Crossing the border was pretty easy. Just a couple of stamps and since we only have a couple more days we got a transit visa for only $15. It not raining in
Day 18: March 29 (Thusday)
Day 19: March 30 (Friday)
We went back to the hotel for lunch and to pick up our luggage. Now we're heading to
Sheldrick's Elephant Orphanage. We were a little late so we only caught the end of the youngest calves (picture left). We did enjoy watching the juveniles feeding and playing.
Day 20: March 31 (Saturday)
Next stop was the
You give the giraffe some sort of pellets and supposedly they only eat until they're full. They seem to eat a lot though. Mary really enjoyed feeding them (right). Ok, I enjoyed it too.
We went to Nairobi National Park to visit the animal orphanage there. Our guide Stephene showed us cheetah, serval, forest cat, black-backed jackal, crocodile, leopard, mongoose, patas monkey, vervet monkey, syke monkey, baboon, cape buffalo, ostrich, lions, Thompson's gazelle, duiker, bushbuck, and hyena. Most of the animals were orphans from parks around Nairobi. The leopard is only 5 months old.
Now were heading to dinner at The Carnivore. Dinner service started with hot towels followed by bread and mixed vegetable soup. The soup is pretty good. The veggies are puréed so it's hard to discern what's in there. A big, two level lazy susan is provided with an assortment of salads and dipping sauces. The green salad was a little bitter. The corn salad is nice with a bit of spice. The matooke (banana in spicy coconut milk) it better then
- Chicken - pretty average but garlic sauce is good
- Pork sparerib - not well flavored just ok
- Osterich meatball - well seasoned good w/berry sauce
- Chicken wing with honey - bland
- Lamb chop - grilled nicely and I actually liked the mint sauce
- Pork sausage - tasty but could be from anywhere
- moist but needs sauce Turkey
- Roast lamb - pretty good, especially the spiced outer layer
- Beef - fatty edges but very tender
- Pork - so juicy but could use a little flavor
- Crocodile - not bad but kind of fishy
- Pinapple pie with a scoop of ice cream - yum
Day 21: April 1 (Sunday)
Day 22: April 2 (Monday)
EpilogueThe airline did deliver our luggage the following night. We've been back home a couple weeks now. I've been reliving the trip over and over by going through all these pictures and telling various stories about the trip. It was a great experience. It's definitely worth it, though I would do things a little differently. I loved the entire Tanzania experience, though I would probably skip Lake Manyara and go to Tarangire instead. I enjoyed the chimpanzees and gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda, but we spent way too much time in the car traveling between places. It may have been better to start in Kigali, Rwanda and go to Volcanoes National Park from there, then fly to Entebbe and go to Ngamba Island. I enjoyed Kibale, Queen Elizabeth and Bwindi, but the drives are brutal.
We book the tour with Good Earth Tours & Safaris. They handled the Tanzania portion of our trip directly. We were extremely pleased with our driver, Abdul. I would highly recommend Good Earth and especially Abdul. The Uganda/Rwanda portion of the trip was handled by Travelust African Safaris. While our driver, Paul, was very kind, he just couldn't live up to the expectation set by Abdul. It is possible that the Uganda/Rwanda leg would have been more enjoyable with a better driver/guide.