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Old 9th September 2016, 20:27   #1
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Default Landcruising: Uganda to Congo border

It was the documentary film, part produced by Leonardo Di Caprio, Virunga, which inspired me to plan a mission to the volcanic region in Central-East Africa where three countries (Uganda, Rwanda and Congo) meet. That along with that epic trip report that at least some of us would have read and lived through vicariously – the one by Frederik and Josephine from expedition portal. (http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...Kinshasa/page1)
Further research made me strike out Congo since my insurance did not cover me there and I could not get a medi evac from any other insurers. Rwanda was too small for what I had in mind. So it was left to Uganda to satiate my appetite. Not as wild as Congo – nowhere close, but should suffice for now. Meanwhile, during the drive down south from Entebbe (the international airport in Uganda), Ill at least get to see Congo and breathe the air!

So it’s with all excitement (and nervousness and some fear) that comes with over-landing in Africa that I flew one fine morning, into Entebbe. I had decided that I won’t self-drive since there is loads to shoot and some of the roads pass right through national parks – I’d rather be holding my camera than the steering wheel in those times. Also the trails are not always marked and getting stuck in a wrong place is never fun in most places in Africa. And honestly, I don't have the balls to do solos even if I had an indestructible vehicle. Hence I asked my outfitters (not without a hint of sadness) for an experienced driver who also knows basic mechanicals of a TLC along with a trusted old Toyota LC (preferably 70s) which can be maintained with a hammer and few spanners! I got it all arranged well ahead of time along with detailed route plans with their help. (Connectivity and google maps are still a hit-n-miss in most interior roads, and pretty useless in parks)

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Having a great truck is critical in Africa - though it goes without saying, I learnt it the hard way. The only time I had to travel in a vehicle other than this TLC, a front wheel drive Rav4, we lost traction on a rough downward turn and rammed into a tree by the roadside. Thankfully, no major injuries (thanks to seat belt) other than bumps to knee and neck strain though the car had to be towed and I was stranded in the middle of nowhere for few hours.

The route (Mostly through south western corridor of the country): Entebbe – Kampala – Fort portal - Kibale – Kasese – Kasenyi (Queen Elizabeth national park) – cutting through the Kazinga channel connecting Lake George and Lake Edward onto Ishasha. From there drive down south, parallel to Rwenzori mountains and then Congo border to Buhoma and Bwindi Impenetrable forests which was my final stop. After 10 days on road, I was sure I’d be pretty tired (especially given the heavy treks involved in most mountains I was visiting) and hence decided to take a bush plane (Cessna Caravan for interested folks) back to Entebbe airport.
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So here is the detailed report for those interested in mini over-landing (by no stretch of imagination comparable to real over-landing!)

Day 1: Arrival Entebbe and drive to Kampala

Arrived Entebbe and met my driver, Thomas, along with our steed for the next 10 days; a trusty old Land Cruiser with a top that can be opened. Drove to Kampala where we were staying for the night. Thought its around 50 Km in reasonably good, tarred roads it took us over 2 hours of exacting driving given the heavy traffic. Worse is we had to move over to hard shoulder whenever VIPs / police vehicles rushed in from behind or from front blaring sirens and appearing, well, important. And it happened around 10 times in 2 hours before I gave up counting. A nation full of very important people! Overnight at Kampala which felt like a nice city over couple of hills – safe compared to many other African cities that I've had the pleasure to be in over the last decade.
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I did see someone trying to snatch a mobile phone from a person who was using it inside a car (par for the course I'd say). No one really bothered as I wandered around wearing my worst travel cloths and looking like a beggared half muzungu.

Day 2: Kampala- Fort Portal- Kibale

Tarred road of around 300 Km was covered in around 7 hours of steady driving stopping only for fuel, goats and some photo ops. Slight drizzle sometimes but overall clear day. Immediately out of Kampala (which is the largest city in Uganda) we had to cut through long stretch of markets whose main product is large green bananas - called Matoke - and a staple in this country.
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Exchanged some USD for Shillings and felt like a millionaire at Fort Portal. Notions of being a millionaire vanished soon as I paid over 100,000 Shs for lunch of boiled banana (Matoke), millet, kasava with some beans & peanut sauce and some local brew (Nile). Post that we hit a 40 Km stretch of marram road from fort portal and driving became “interesting” to say the least. Chinese are building a new road and hence the new layer of mud being laid before tarring left a thin veil of redness on our vehicle and our faces. Closing windows obviously was not an option given the humidity and lack of AC. It is also sad to see the earth being literally torn apart to create a huge highway destroying the park and cutting down 100s of trees if not 1000s. And whenever it rains, even the epic TLC feels a bit unsure of its footing, slipping around with the locked differential, but mostly pulling us through. Locals without four-wheel drives just wait out and let the road dry. Had an interesting chat with driver of one of the Matatus as I was having Chapati and Beans for lunch (Matatus are Toyota vans, a bit like Maruti Omnis, which stand-in for the non-existent public transport)

Me: Where are you going ?
Him : Kabale
Me: How long ?
Him : Depends on rain. Today before night surely, or maybe tomorrow. (Seemingly, notion of distance scale in Km is pretty useless)
Me: What is your start time from the Matatu stand ?
Him : When the bus is full and the rain stops.

How I love the concept of time in Africa. Its beautiful - its like clay that you mould according to need rather than a linear scale in other parts of the world.

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Anyways, we did reach our lodge in the forest by evening and went to take a shower. As you pour water on yourself peeling off the red soil cover, its like you are cleaning off after a day of Holi celebrations . After shower , I decided to take a trek on a nearby wetland trail (famous as the Bigodi trail among bird lovers). You can sight some species of monkeys and famous Turaco. I did see the great blue turaco and some primate species – grey cheeked manga bay, red colobus, black and white colobus, red tailed monkey. And a cute red legged sun squirrel.

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And finally a well deserved good night's sleep after the long day listening to sounds of the rain forest around.

Day 3: Kibale to Kasese to Kasenyi

An early morning wake-up call from the lodge person, since I had booked to go on the chimpanzee habituation experience. (The Kibale forest is regarded as primate capital of the world. And one of the best places to see the Chimpanzees). the trek starts at 8 after a short briefing on dos and donts. You should not trek if you have any communicable diseases since the chimps will get affected too (since they have >98% of our DNA). We had a ranger with an AK 47 leading the way (It’s not for humans, but for forest elephants which are super aggressive compared to their savanna cousins). There were 6 of us. Three from US, two from Amsterdam and myself. We were led into a misty swamp overlooking the brilliant rain-forest. As the sun rays made the whole misty swamp look golden, we were bit too worried to fully enjoy the spectacle. We were concerned about all possible snakes and other critters that we might step on. The ranger used a branch to beat the ground in front giving the snakes / others chance to run away while also clearing a path to move forward. A far better option than stepping on one and getting bitten, far from any hospitals/ source of anti-venom.
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Soon the swamp was behind us and we entered the thick tropical rain-forest.
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It was cool, wet and smelled fresh. We trekked for around 20 minutes to the point where a group of Chimps were sighted the previous day. Didn’t see any of them around. Another 10 minute trek and we heard the first hoots from the chimp group. Soon we came across huge fig tree which was in full fruiting mode. And there they were – a group of around 15 chimpanzees. We were told they belong to the Kanyantale group. This was obviously not the full group – might be scattered around searching for more food. We saw mothers with babies, sub adult females and males all gorging on the fig fruits. It was splendid to see them picking the ripe fruits and eating it, sharing with others and sometimes frightening younger members to monopolise a particularly good set of ripe fruits. After around couple of hours, the alpha male of the Group named Totty ~24 years old, decided to come down to ground and take a light nap. Soon few other groups of tourists who were on the 1 hour tour plan came to watch with us. It was a bit of a chaos with around 20+ humans and smaller number of chimps. Often times, the chimps high up the trees decided to urinate and defecate (which they did with amazing regularity) on the people looking up at them. The whole 20+ would then shift to another part ready to be pissed upon by another chimp. Soon everyone positioned under trees with large enough leaves to have enough time to move when they hear the warm shower above from the canopies. Finally the tour group left and we were left with the chimps alone. Most of the group including an old female named Siyafi with a baby came down and moved further into the forests. At one point the Alpha male came within a few feet from where I was standing and it was absolutely magical to be so close to these majestic primates. We followed them through the thick undergrowth for over an hour. Soon we were left with the alpha male on a tree eating leaves. (Mere 15 ft from the new road the Chinese are building through the forest – soon he too got a red dust bath and I felt sorry for him).

We decided to have lunch looking at him having his lunch. And soon it was time to end the magical company of chimps and trek back. Few decided to remain while couple of us decided to leave with one of the porters since we had a long drive ahead to Kasese.
We went back to lodge to clean up, shower and feel fresh. After lunch, started back to Fort Portal since the rains had started and the shorter route would be washed out. And soon we were in the midst of a torrential rainforest downpour. Even with the wipers working overtime, nothing much could be seen other than sheets after sheets of water. Even the LC started feeling like a boat in a tempest. The wet dirt underneath did not make it any easy – we splashed around but did not want to stop; partly because it was so much fun!

In just about 10 Km the roads were dry again and there was no hint of rain. The micro weather in these parts is so crazy that you could be seeing thunderstorm 2-3 km ahead while you might be basked in harsh African sun. We then had an uneventful drive all the way to Kasese where we topped up diesel and then drove to safari camp at Kasenyi overlooking a salt pan. During this drive we cut across the Queen Elizabeth national park – enjoying large herds of endemic Ugandan Kobs (deer like antelopes), buffalo herds, water bucks and variety of birds. A brief glimpse of the more representative savanna grasslands of Africa but of course not comparable to Mara or Serengeti in animal numbers.

A nice dinner beckoned along with light drizzle at the deck of the lodge overlooking the salt pan with flamingos. Good way to end another African day!

Few snaps from the Chimp trek
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Day 4: Drive around Queen Elizabeth National park

We had earmarked the whole of today to drive multiple trails within QENP. It was not hard-core off-roading per se, but the overnight rains and black soil meant it required concentration and 4x4 engaged most of the time. Morning drives produced more of the same as yesterday but we also sighted couple of lions from far away. After a quick lunch we decided to drive across the famous Kazinga channel to the south side of the park. From here we took the tourist boat that takes passengers through the channel which connects Lake George and Lake Edward. It’s a nice journey with hippos, buffaloes and thousands of birds for company. By about 5 we reached back at the shore. As we got back in the car, it began to rain cats and dogs. An interesting drive back to lodge through rain so heavy that we could not hear each other over the din of the rain drops hitting the front and the top. Had to traverse some really tricky trails but somehow managed to not get stuck thanks to the brilliant vehicle and knowledgeable driver. Worse, we had opened up the top to have some air in since it was very humid and had forgotten to close it. At the worst possible time, the lever got stuck as we were trying to close it as the rain pounded us. Had a wet and cold drive back to the camp, ameliorated by some great hot coffee awaiting us in the camp.

After the rains subsided, we heard from the security that there were lions seen roaming the grounds of the lodge. They told us to beware and not walk about alone after sunset. We used this as an opportunity to go searching for them. We couldn’t find and we came back. Soon we got information that they were sighted behind the houses of couple of villagers. We went there in lodge owners car and saw the villagers going about their business as usual. When we showed them the lions, they were shocked! With 15-20 of the villagers looking, we slowly drove down a steep slope hoping we can get the car back. We stopped at a distance from the lions and enjoyed peacefully looking at a sub adult male and female relaxing. It was getting very dark and hence we thought of getting out of the place and go back to have dinner. Won't be fun getting stuck here with a pride of lions for company in the night.

Some pics from this drive
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Day 5: Drive to Ishasha (Southern sector of QENP) and on towards the Bwindi mountains

It had rained heavily overnight. Deck was wet but smelt great. Birds galore flying around. Late start to today’s drive – 830 am after a nice breakfast. A beautiful African morning.
The drive was fabulous – we cut across the Kazinga channel again over the bridge into the southern sector. Now the road was bush track where we could drive at around 45 kmph at best.

It provided an opportunity to slowly go through the forest enjoying the myriad birds and occasional animals. We saw monkeys and kobs predominantly with a scattering of water bucks. Halfway into the journey there was a traffic block – a huge elephant was eating standing in the middle of the road. He probably got a nice snack among the bush growing next to the road. He moved away after a while and we restarted stopping to photograph some more monkeys. We soon hit Ishasha and were told that there were lions on a tree ahead! We had heard about these famous tree climbing lions and were excited to track them down. With help from forest officials and guidance from other trackers, we saw them in a large fig tree. Around 6 lions all relaxing on the tree – though it was too far for any good photographs, we did enjoy this marvelous spectacle.
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We drove around in the park trails for a bit using some basic maps and then decided to head back to main track leading south to Bwindi which was our stop for the night. The drive around the region are through tracks that overlooks Congo and I met few folks in local eateries who said they walk over to Congo. That sounds like a fun thing to do !
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Last edited by Rehaan : 15th September 2016 at 12:37.
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Old 10th September 2016, 18:23   #2
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Default re: Landcruising: Uganda to Congo border

We stopped at a Matatu station for chapati and beans washed down with Nile. It was kind of becoming my staple given that I wanted to play safe with food. Every now and then I was courageous enough to try mashed matoke (raw banana) with stew, or Casava with peanut sauce ! But where ever I was in Uganda, I got some of the tastiest fruits I've ever had. Though I am proud of my Indian tummy, I still avoid tap water and uncooked food in most locations in Africa. Simply because being on the road for days on end when you are sick is one of the worst feelings.
We set off from Ishasha after the lunch on our way to Buhoma - the town I had selected to overnight during the 2 day treks I was doing into the Impenetrable forests. Though its just around 60km, it can be a pretty long drive given the conditions of the road. If it rains, it could take anywhere from 3-5 hours. If all well, we could do it under 2.

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Within half an hour of leaving Ishasha we sighted the might rain forests. And what a feeling it is. I think a lot of it has to do with the name of the forest - Impenetrable forests. Just the name gets your pulse raising and feet twitching to trek it.

Thankfully, we did not get much rains all the way to Buhoma. We saw many kids in lovely uniforms walking to their schools. To think that just a few decades back Idi Amin had completely destroyed this nation and things had not been sanguine since then, it gives a nice feeling to see kids even in far flung areas of the country going to school with hope and smiles.

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Soon we reached Bwindi mountain base. Drive up to the lodge clearly gave an indication of elevation gain that one will have to deal with during the trek. From base to the lodge which was atop a hill opposite the main forests took us around 20 minutes - heavily rutted roads which would be pretty tough to navigate during rains.

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I decided to put my leg up and relax looking at the moon rising over the rim of the forest. Tomorrow we would go into these amazingly dense forest - with that thought I felt it better to call it a day early and be prepared early in the morning for the trek.

Last edited by snan : 11th September 2016 at 19:48.
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Old 10th September 2016, 19:46   #3
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Default re: Landcruising: Uganda to Congo border

Day 6 : Drive to Buhoma / Bwindi base / HQ

The day with the least amount of driving. In less than half an hour we were at the HQ of Ugandan wildlife authority from where we could begin our trek. I woke up early and double checked everything needed for the day and packed it all into my day pack. Checked all camera gear, TCs, batteries etc. Ironically even with all planning I forgot my gloves and packed lunch (which thankfully someone from lodge gave me at the HQ before I went up the mountains).

Once at HQ, I was joined by other trekkers - around 20 of us who would be divided into 3 groups to go up in search of different gorilla groups. Per gorilla group, only 8 humans are allowed ; that too maximum of 1 hour to minimise chances of transferring illness as well as human interaction with the wild primates. You are allocated specific groups in the morning. We also had a movie to watch on dos / donts apart from a rather long lecture from the warden. When everyone is super excited to get started, these things seems to go on for longer than needed but in hindsight its an important element of being in the bush for urban folks. Simple things like one cannot openly go relieve oneself / need to cover with soil to avoid any infection being spread is important rules to be followed. At this juncture they also check for any communicable diseases among trekkers. So if someone is down with flu, cough etc they are refunded their fee and asked to go back to lodges. After parking our TLC at the HQ, I was assigned group. After the lecture, we were allotted porters (Not mandatory but given my gear bag and photo equipment there was no way I was going without one). Along with porter we were asked to pick walking sticks to balance in more tricky climbs.

I got allocated to a group named Mubare group and we would be trekking a trail called Upper water fall trail. Thankfully, not the most difficult one and further on one of the most beautiful ones. We were provided with one guide and two rangers with AK 47. The guts of the ranger who walks upfront to make way through the dense thicket is commendable. If he were to confront forest elephant or venomous snake, there is pretty little the AK can do from such close quarters. But rarely do they encounter these dangers. Neither is the danger from the Congo Hutu rebels (who had raped and massacred western tourists in 1999) considered a viable threat anymore. But the message is clear - Ugandan tourists are no longer soft target.

Anyways, the beauty of the forest takes your mind away from any misgivings as soon as you leave the trail and step into the unknown. You are then more worried about your next step than what happened couple of decades back. There are vines below that can catch your leg and then there are the slipper slopes - its rain forest and streams / waterfalls are never far away. Its almost like walking into Hollywood set - but a lot more real.

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After trekking for around 2 hours, we hit the first signs of Gorillas. Freshly broken branches, faeces less than 24 hour old meant the group was near. Everyone were asked to keep their bags down with their respective porters. You are allowed to carry only cameras - no water, no food, no sticks- for the last mile. That make the trekking more onerous. But the adrenaline rush of being close to the Gorillas make up for it. But it was obvious the older folks and the less fit was not having the best of time given the difficult terrain and the altitude. In 15-20 minutes we saw the group. It was one of the most memorable moments of life - looking at these magnificent primates which are almost human like. Huge but still calm and peaceful - chewing the leaves, playing with kids, loving, grooming. With only 800 of them left, it is indeed a privilege to be close to them in the wild. Their sights make one forget the tiredness and the insect bites and the ants and the dirt !

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After spending an hour with them we trekked back to where we had left our porters. From there we started the climb down at a very relaxed pace stopping for lunch and also photographing some interesting monkeys including rare Mountain monkeys.

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Reached HQ by around 2. I got into the truck that was waiting and we drove to a different trail in search of the elusive Pygmies of Bwindi. They have had a raw deal - a bunch of jungle folks living far from "civilisation", they were initially kicked out by the government in the name of conservation and were never integrated into the normal society by the village folks. However, recently they sell artifacts / curios to tourists and also share their ancient ways of living with them. In turn they get some money and also the authorities ensure their kids are schooled for free. We found a group of them after some driving and then trekking when the vehicle could no longer climb the terrain. It was good fun hearing them sing/drum and dancing with them. I also met locals who showed how they grind coffee beans and make banana beer / waragi (a sort of gin)

After the tiresome day drove back to Silverback lodge and slept like a log. Tomorrow would be another trek - more than I bargained for !

Day 7 : Drive from Lodge to Buhoma to Rushegura hills.

I got allocated with another two youngsters Rushegura group which seemingly was the toughest to trek. We had to first drive through some real rough terrain to a Church which also backs up as school. From there it was 2-3 hour trek. The distance itself is OK, what kills is the rate of altitude increase. Its pretty steep - you climb up to around 2k and then a descent into fields of stinging nettles through which you make paths in search of the group. The drive itself was exciting ! Anyways, to cut a long story short we got to the nettle fields in less than 3 hours. And then through to the group in another 15-30 minutes. As the previous day it was fascinating being close to this group - bigger than yesterdays but also more difficult to watch in the bush. The hour went of smoothly and barring some ant bites, it did not end up too bad (thanks to gloves which I wore in the nettle fields to avoid tearing skin). Photography, as is the case in rainforests, was extremely difficult with very little light and extreme contrasts when ever sunlight fell down through the foliage openings.

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After watching the gorillas for the stipulated 1 hour, we trekked back ; half way up we stopped for lunch and juice. One cannot thank the porters enough - there was no way Id have been able to make it back to camp without them today. Drove back to the lodge. This was the day I'd be saying good bye to the TLC which had seen me through the rough, the rains, the slippery slopes, the hills. Couldn't thank the driver enough for doing a great job thus far. Tomorrow Ill have to get another driver to go to Kihihi where there was a bush plane strip. There is a gold course nearby and the rich who come there to play golf, typically use the strip to fly back to Entebbe. I got a ticket in a scheduled Cessna flight (Caravan). The drive was in a Rav4. I got the head master of a technical school to drive me for a reasonable amount. Little did I know he thinks himself to be more of F1 driver than headmaster of a school. Despite some interesting adventures we managed to reach Kihihi in about an hour without any major events. The strip was now only 1-2km away and I could already see the golf course. And then we lost all traction. I do not exactly remember what happened in detail. We took a rather sharp downward turn on a road full of pebbles and the Rav4 just lost control. To cut a scary story short, the headmaster managed to hit a tree behind which was water logged field. If he had missed the tree we would have been swimming in the dirt. The hit was harder than I thought with the headmaster (who was not wearing seatbelt) going and getting his head hit hard on steering. Soon there were bunch of onlookers who gathered around. After a minute or so the driver got back his moorings and reversed. The vehicle moved- which was a big relief. I had a bump on my knees and my neck hurt due to the whiplash. But given that we were both OK my worry was that I'd miss my little plane for which I had paid quite a bit for a budget traveler. The front of the vehicle had more or less caved in but looked like the thing would move. Thankfully it did albeit very slowly. But since it was just 2 Km for me to reach the strip, I was relieved. I need not have worried since half an hour later when we reached the strip I got to know the flight would be arriving only after 2 hours delay.

The flight itself was uneventful but for the heavy turbulence expected in these parts due to rain clouds. We flew over the beautiful Victoria lake and I decided I had to go into the lake once I was back in Entebbe.
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We landed in Entebbe by around 4 and I called up my contact and asked if I could go on a boat into Victoria lake. It was arranged quick and soon I found myself floating amidst papyrus over the famous Victoria lake, providing Nile with much of its flow. It was a bit unnerving to think the water I am floating over might end up in Egypt at some point so far away at the northern tip of this magical continent.
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Last day

Day for roaming around Kampala - got stuck in traffic for 2-3 hours amidst 100s of Matatus. Took around 3 hours to move 3 km. Even after spending 500+ days in the Continent, I don't ever recollect moving so fast !! Monsoon days in Mumbai suddenly felt like F1. Not the best experience to end an otherwise amazing journey. It also reminded that the beauty of rural Africa is in such contrast to its cities.


Appeal to folks who loved the pics of primates from Uganda - go out there and see them for real.
There are only ~880 mountain gorillas left in the world (they do not live in captivity) due to merciless hunting by their cousins Homo Sapiens and due to loss of habitat. "No one who looks into a gorilla’s eyes — intelligent, gentle, vulnerable — can remain unchanged, for the gap between ape and human vanishes; we know that the gorilla still lives within us. Do gorillas also recognize this ancient connection?" George Schaller rightly said in his seminal note in Nat Geo. Conservation of these enigmatic species is practically possible only through tourism - ensuring the locals around the forest have a reason to conserve , reason to not use the forest lands to bolster their meager food sources. Without tourist dollars, the battle with mining corporations and other commercial enterprises will be lost for ever. And with that, this magnificent mega fauna.

Uganda today is as safe as any other place in the globe. There are no tribal wars, no Idi Amin, no Ebola, no child soldiers with AKs, no raids from Congo rebels. You've great roads, fantastic lodges, good food and amazing people. And for driving enthusiasts, there are many self drive / assisted drive outfitters, camping areas, gas stations in reasonable frequency (no buying adulterated stuff from roadside in mineral water bottles) and roads which can be traversed in good 4x4 or in many cases good GC vehicles during summer time. Good workshops still a bit of challenge outside of Kampala and Entebbe / other big towns but with old Toyotas one should be ok.

Couple of pics to end the report -one a little gorilla pointing to bright future of the species and one thoughtful - it could all go downhill if we were to take the feet off the pedal of focused conservation.
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Last edited by ajmat : 15th September 2016 at 12:51. Reason: correcting a typo
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Old 15th September 2016, 12:39   #4
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 15th September 2016, 12:55   #5
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This was a brilliant report. Nice and crisp. Any pointers on how you organised this trip - agents/ websites etc?
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Old 15th September 2016, 13:45   #6
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Awesome!! Rated a well deserved 5 stars. Learned lot of things and excellent photographs.

Given that the focus was on photography, I am slightly disappointed with the less number of pictures - can you please post more pics

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Old 15th September 2016, 13:57   #7
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Loved the travelogue. Beautiful photographs. Especially loved the gorilla pics. Thank you.
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Old 15th September 2016, 15:29   #8
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Fantastic Travelogue snan

Awesome narration with mesmerizing pictures

In fact had been waiting for this thread to go live. Inquired Bhavik when I could't access the thread on 13th. Learnt that WIP threads will be in assembly line

Landcruising: Uganda to Congo border-untitled.jpg

Originally Posted by snan View Post
Couple of pics to end the report -one a little gorilla pointing to bright future of the species and one thoughtful - it could all go downhill if we were to take the feet off the pedal of focused conservation.
These 2 pics and the captions are so thoughtful and convey a meaningful message

Awaiting more pics, in case you have

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Old 15th September 2016, 15:41   #9
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Awesome read - with fantastic pictures to boot. It was like a refreshment of memories of sorts!! I have stayed at both Kampala and Kinshasa and you have bridged the gap in between
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Old 15th September 2016, 15:54   #10
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Epic travelogue with wonderful pictures. Rating it 5 stars. Sad to see that the number of mountain gorillas is critical. Let's pray that they survive.

As Ajmat said, please give us some info on organizers/websites etc.
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Old 15th September 2016, 19:21   #11
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what fabulous photography! What a thread!

Beautiful animals those Silver Back Mountain Gorillas. So human, it brings tears to my eyes- especially that baby Gorilla. Poor things, I really hope they survive and breed and come back to strength.

Thank you for sharing. I have been dreaming of this for years. Ever since I started reading Gerald Durrell as a kid and of course, watching films like Gorillas in the Mist, etc.

Some of those scenes and rainforest and jungle dirt roads are like those out of those old movies "Hatari" "Out of Africa", "Blood Diamond" etc

Yes! Now Im all excited and must plan for this kind of trip soon!

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Old 16th September 2016, 11:26   #12
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Default Re: Landcruising: Uganda to Congo border

Read my first TL on Africa on TBHP and must say with a touch of envy, what an opportunity to go on a safari in Africa and that too in Uganda, made infamous by Idi Amin. Did you also consider clubbing a trip to Serengeti, given that its in neighboring Tanzania?

Curious to see the ubiquitous Chinese making inroads (literally) even in the African wilderness. Had read about Chinese settlements in one of Paul Theroux's books on Angola but seems to be true in the eastern part of the continent as well.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 16th September 2016, 12:33   #13
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Wow... What lovely pictures.

Must have been an amazing trip. Just imagining myself in your place makes my eyes glint. Thanks a lot for sharing. Do share more pics if you can, please. Can't get enough of them.
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Old 16th September 2016, 15:10   #14
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What an amazing travelogue and what amazing pics. Like someone mentioned, this being a wildlife thread, it is lacking enough photos. Please post more

As you said, anyone

Originally Posted by snan View Post
How I love the concept of time in Africa. Its beautiful - its like clay that you mould according to need rather than a linear scale in other parts of the world.
Would have rated 5 stars just for this quote, if not for the pics and narrative
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Old 16th September 2016, 16:08   #15
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Thanks friends - glad to know you liked the report.
Shankar - couldn't agree more. By the way, if you loved Gorillas in the mist, you must watch Virunga too, if not done already.

Ajmat, others - I used Churchill Safaris; http://churchillsafaris.com/ ; you can refer me to Raymond (PM me if you need his contact details). They can arrange all types of trips - customized to your ever need and is always value conscious. (Important since everything is USD denominated and the total could add up pretty quick). They are owned by Ugandans and hence everything goes back to economy, which for me is an important criteria while selecting.
For lodges, I recommend Primate Lodge at Kibale (they also have campsite for overlanders), Silver Back lodge at Bwindi, Kasenyi safari lodge at QENP/Kasese (best coffee in Uganda ! :-) - and we had lions outside the gate !
I will add more pics next week - travelling currently with limited resources.
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