Liz's Uganda Trip

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Mountain Gorillas at Bwindi Inpenetrable NP

Apart from the Shoebill, the other main reason I had for wanting to make this trip was to trek to see the Mountain Gorillas at Bwindi Impentrable National Park.
We had two full days in the rainforest, with my Gorilla Trek scheduled for the second day. On the first day, we walked in the Rainforest, which was rich with birds and butterflies. Of course, the light levels were very low, but I managed to get one shake-free image of the beautiful Blue Salamis Butterfly Salamis temora.
Blue Salamis Butterfly
Sub-adult male Mountain Gorilla
After an uphill trek of about four hours (I landed with the farthest away group!) we got to the place where the Gorillas were. The first one we saw was the young adult male (above). Then an adult female with a tiny baby came out, accompanied by a very young baby, just over a week old.
This little one, about three months old, was very interested in the baby and tried to get it away from its mum, no doubt to play with it, but she was having none of it, and held her tiny baby very firmly, while brushing the 'toddler' aside.
Young Mountain Gorilla
Silverback Mountain Gorilla The Silverback arrived on the scene totally silently. He is known as Ruhondeza, meaning 'he who sleeps a lot', and true to his name, he ate a few juicy leaves than lay back, totally unbothered by the visitors and their cameras standing only a very few metres away. The female groomed him for a while as he dozed.
These gorillas are variously called Mountain Gorilla or Eastern Gorilla Gorilla beringei.
Photographing the Gorillas wasn't nearly as easy as the photos above might suggest. For example, here is my original photo of Ruhondeza. Particular difficulties were the swarm of flies which surrounded all the Gorillas (but happily weren't at all interested in us), the low light levels (shot at 800 ISO), the blackness of the animals' fur and the rain shing off the foreground leaves (polariser remarkably ineffective).
It took weeks of trial and error in Photoshop to get the result above, and even then, I had to downsize the image considerably.
However, all the images were taken with a short zoom lens. This one was taken at the 70mm setting, and although downsized, isn't 'cropped in' from the original.
Tea plantation and rainforest Just outside the National Park, the land is intensively used by the local people for growing bananas/plantains and tea, and for grazing for their livestock.
Tea plantation and rainforest
Tea A bungalow in a tea plantation at the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
The price the grower gets for the tea is Ush135/US10cents.
There are banana plants between the tree plantation and the rainforest.
A small section of a tea plantation, abutting a banana plantation, in Uganda.
The building is used for spreading out and wilting the leaves, the first step of the processing procedure for black tea.
Tea plantation
Chimpanzees Entebbe
Botanic Gardens
Entebbe Wildlife
Education Centre
Mabamba Swamp Queen Elizabeth
National Park
Murchison Falls
National Park

Text and images © Liz Leyden, 2008
Email: liz [at] lizworld [dot] com
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