Small Group Uganda Feedback - A Very Happy Customer

Judith Towell

11 Jul 2012

Uganda Lodge and safari review

I would like to thank you again NWS for all your time and effort planning this holiday but as I’m sure you realise it is all much appreciated and I do feel as though I wasn’t just another ‘customer’ who was forgotten about once the money was handed over.

Nile Safari Lodge

Wonderful! (and thank you for arranging room 5 for me – obviously I don’t know what the rest of the rooms are like but I was very happy with No. 5). The staff, particularly Davidson and Dennis, were absolutely lovely and the meals delightful. I can’t praise Joseph Junior (my driver/guide) highly enough. Not only was his knowledge of the area and wildlife incredible but I feel he went beyond the call of duty retrieving my errant luggage for me. As I think I said earlier, my luggage didn’t get to me for 4 days but not only did Joseph lend me a t-shirt and arrange another for me from Wild Frontiers, he also spent a night away from Murchison retrieving my luggage from a bus (possibly in Pakwach???). Anyway I had two wonderful game drives with Joseph and two trips on the Nile (I thought Murchison Falls were spectacular) and loved the walk to the top of the falls. Some fantastic animal and bird sightings and just an experience I never thought I would have. The trip to Budongo Forest was very interesting and my guide (Sam) was very knowledgeable, unfortunately the chimps were rather elusive although we did see two very high in the trees. Nevertheless an enjoyable trip.

The Boma

A surprisingly good place. I was expecting something of a lesser standard given its location in Entebbe, but I was pleasantly surprised and again found the staff and meals very good. I spent a pleasant morning at the Botanical Gardens before going to Ngamba Island (and meeting three of the other five from the small group). I thought Ngamba was delightful and although again slightly ‘false’, I felt the chimps were living quite a free life and are obviously well looked after. Also the birdlife on Ngamba I thought was wonderful and could easily have spent more time there, listening to the obviously knowledgeable and dedicated staff. It might have been an experience to spend a night there.

Moving on to Lake Mburo and Mantana Tented Camp

Again a lovely place and I loved the tents but maybe not enough time there? We didn’t arrive until about 15:00 and although we had a game walk before a lovely dinner, I feel I didn’t see enough of the place and would love to have visited the Lake. Maybe two nights there would have been better.

Buhoma Lodge

What can I say? Absolutely magnificent!!!! I loved everything about the place and my only complaint is that I would love to have spent more time there, maybe doing some more walks into the forest and finding out more about the area. My room was very high up the hillside (67 steps!!!) and the views were magnificent. We had two fantastic days with the gorillas and, I feel, an experience which has changed me (I note it’s possible to volunteer at Bwindi Forest so who knows????). The first trek to see the gorillas was long and arduous ( 8 hours total) but I feel that the time would have been much less if one of our party had not been less than fit! The guides eventually had to call for the ‘stretcher’ and our colleague was carried to and from the gorillas (the porters were incredible). The second day was much less arduous – in fact we were with the gorillas in less than an hour and they were so laid back it was incredible. We spent well over an hour with them and I really felt quite emotional when it was time to leave. I can’t put into words how incredible those days were and I do hope I will get to repeat the journey again in the not too distant future. All too soon it was time to leave Bwindi and I think we all left with heavy hearts. Incidentally the journey to Bwindi was incredible with magnificent scenery on the way. Off to Ishasha.

Ishasha Wilderness Camp 

Again magnificent and, again, somewhere I should like to spend much more time. We had a dawn game drive which was just beautiful – seeing the sun rise over the savannah was incredible. We were aware that the lions had not been sighted much in recent days so Joseph asked one of his colleagues to let him know if they were sighted – after a couple of hours back at the camp we got ‘the call’ and duly set off, finding the lions sadly not up trees but sheltering from the sun in a thatched ‘cottage’ they have claimed. However we were able to get very close to them which was amazing. Later in the day, Joseph [the guide] offered a late game drive which only myself and two of the party decided to take up and I’m so glad we did, spotting a Shoebill on the shores of the lake. Sadly we weren’t able to get very close even though we used a herd of buffalo to creep up as close as possible but I was able to get a photograph which is distinguishable!! We stopped to watch the sun go down over the savannah to round off a wonderful day.

Another experience at Ishasha - I woke on morning to a strange sound outside my tent to find Henry the Lonely Hippo grazing happily only a yard away! Very special.

Leaving Ishasha, we moved on to Kyambura Gorge - a lovely place and again after a to and fro trek, managed to track down the chimps resident there and got incredibly good views of them.

Mweya Safari Lodge

As I’ve already indicated, a bit of a disappointment. Having said that I think the cruise on the Kazinga Channel was marvellous and getting so close to the animal and bird life just amazing.

From Mweya, the long drive to Entebbe Airport – again passing interesting scenery and time to reflect on a wonderful holiday.

As I’m sure you can glean from the above, I had a wonderful time and I hope it won’t be too long before I return to Uganda - I do think it is a beautiful country. On that note, I feel I have only just scratched the surface and the next time I would like to spend much more time at Bwindi, much more time at Ishasha, and maybe another night at Lake Mburo!! I would like to spend much more time ‘birding’ in Uganda, maybe combining that with the gorillas at Bwindi. I couldn’t return to Uganda and NOT see the gorillas!

When I met up with the small group, we all got on incredibly well and I think that added to the holiday too. Given that we were ‘thrust together’ to spend many hours in the truck for several days, it could have been a disaster but it all turned out really well.


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