Uganda & Rwanda Safari Review
We've had a fantastic first few days, with a highlight being seeing Obama's (a rhino at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary) mother and sister on our first day, amazing safaris, and seeing chimpanzees. We arrived in Entebbe, Uganda on Wednesday after an 8 hour flight from London. We arrived shortly before midnight, and after passing through customs, collecting our luggage, and driving to the hotel, we managed to go to sleep around 1:00 am. On this trip, there's no rest for the weary, however, as we were up at 5:00 am for our first full day in Uganda.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
We met our guide, Elias, just after breakfast. Elias is from Kampala, and has already impressed us as a kind, thoughtful, and knowledgeable host for our trip. We had the opportunity to get to know Elias well today, as our drive from Entebbe to the Murchison Falls National Park took eight hours. As we left Entebbe and passed through Kampala, we were able to see the people in the city starting their days. Everywhere one looks, one can see motorcycles packed with either dozens of bunches of bananas or, alternately, up to five people piled on a single motorcycle. We learned that since there is only a limited public transportation system in Uganda (other than vans that function as busses), people line the streets waiting for motorcycles that function as taxis.
In addition to seeing the lush, magnificent landscape and topography that have contributed to Uganda's nickname as "the Pearl of Africa," we had an early taste of the diverse flora and fauna that the country possess, seeing papyrus, pine trees, rice fields, wranglers herding their Ankole cattle (which have the most amazing horns), and hundreds of termite mounts on the road. On our way north, we stopped at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, which was established in 1997 by the Rhino Fund to reintroduce rhinoceros to Uganda after their extinction in the country in the 1980s. The sanctuary currently has 15 rhinos, and we were fortunate to be able to approach four of rhinos (two mothers with their children) by foot, coming within 30 meters of them. One rhino was named Obama, as its mother was a rhino brought to the sanctuary from the United States and its father was a rhino from Kenya. Although we did not see Obama, we did see Obama's mother and younger sister napping in the shade under some trees.
After lunch at the preserve, we drove three more hours into the Murchison Falls National Park. Along the way, we passed dozens of baboons and birds until we reached the Nile River, where our car pulled onto a ferry to cross over to the Paraa Safari Lodge, where we will stay for three nights. Our tents are incredible, with toilets, showers, electricity, and extremely comfortable beds.