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Uganda Safari Daily Diary
A flight from Glasgow to Dubai, then a long, wait in Dubai Airport, then after meeting the rest of the trip participants, a flight from Dubai to Entebbe, via a very wet Addis Ababa.
|Day 2||After settling in to the Windsor Lake Victoria Hotel in Entebbe, we went across the road for a stroll and some late afternoon birding in Entebbe's Golf Course|
In the morning, we went to Entebbe's Botanic Gardens for a walk and some birding in the gardens, and along the shore of Lake Victoria.
An early start to go to see the Shoebills at Mabamba Swamp, a RAMSAR wetland site, and a community project enabling the local people to benefit from guiding keen birders into the swamp on canoes to see the Shoebills.
We broke our journey at Lake Mburo National Park where we saw some antelopes, and some of the local, long-horned Ankole cattle as well as a variety of birds.
We continued the long journey to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, stopping at suitable spots on the journey to stretch our legs and do some en-route birding.
Only two of our group had opted to do the Gorilla trek, but we were given permits for different days. So Mike did the trek today and the rest of us walked along the path building up a good list of rainforest birds - and butterflies, not all of which were identified.
This was my day on the Gorilla trek while two of the group had a 'rest day' and the others went a long drive to look for Green Broadbill (IIRC)
My day started with being allocated to the Mubare Group, followed by a briefing meeting. There are three groups of Gorillas already habituated in this area, and I think two other groups used only by researchers, and another group is being habituated for tourists at present, a process which takes about two years. Mike had reported that there was another Silverback 'hanging around' the Mubare group. If an unhabituated Silverback took over the group, they would almost certainly not not be visitable by tourists, as the whole group takes their lead from the Silverback. However, this male was not in evidence today.
We again walked along the track into the forest, and not far from our camp we saw the Rushigura group of gorillas, right down next to the village. This provided great amusement to those in the group who had not opted to do gorilla tracking! However, their guards quickly moved us on. Although those allocated to th Rushigura group had a very short walk to see them, conditions for photographing them were much more difficult.
|Day 10||Another early start for the long journey to Queen Elizabeth National Park, with stops for birding on the way.|
We signed in at the lovely Mweya lodge, which has lovely views of the Kazinga channel.
After lunch, we went on a boat trip on the Kazinga channel, for which the reserve is famous. From the boat, we could see lots of wildlife on the edge of the channel, mammals, reptiles and birds. Relaxing, excellent for list-building and lots of photo opportunities.
A very early start with 'packed breakfast' had us driving out of the National Park and onto the Kusenyi track. Here we saw some Uganda Kob, Waterbuck, Buffalo, Elephant and some Giant Forest Hogs, but the game viewing isn't as good here as it apparently used to be, since local herdsmen together with others from the DRC and Tanzania have started to graze their cattle here, with a huge grazing impact of around 40,000 cattle and a war on predators. However, lots of interesting birds were seen, including Dwarf Bittern and Brown-chested Lapwing.
A slightly later (7 a.m.) start saw found us driving to Katurunguru, stopping en route for some lions. Our next stop was in a Papyrus lined area off the Kazinga channel where we caught up with the beautiful Papyrus Gonolek and heard a White-winged Warbler.
Today we went to Kibale N.P. with the specific aim of tracking Chimpanzees. Although the low light conditions in the forest precluded photography, we managed to see some chimps with the help of the local guides, and the sounds of them calling and hooting reverberated around us at certain times.
Today a wet and misty morning saw us en route for Murchison Falls National Park with a stop for lunch at Hoima.
We had a morning game drive inside the Park, which was much better for mammals then QE had been. We saw Uganda Kob, Giraffes, Oribi and Lelwel Hartebeest as well as manyu birds, including five species of Bee-eater. Surprisingly, one of these was a Southern Carmine Bee-Eater, apparently the second recorded for Uganda, and the first from so far north.
|Days 16 + 17|
On our last morning, we got an early ferry back across the Nile and went up to see the top of the Falls. This is an incredible sight, as the White NIle foces its way through a 7m wide gap before hurling itself down the 43m drop.
Return flight via Addis, still very wet, to Dubai. Long wait at the airport and flight back to Glasgow.
|Mabamba Swamp||Bwindi Impenetrable
|I made this trip through Avian Adventures. |
Thanks to the group leader, Peter Dedicoat and my fellow-travellers for a great trip!
|Text and images © Liz Leyden, 2008
Email: liz [at] lizworld [dot] com
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