Uganda Photos

 

Dec 22, 2008 - Jan 8, 2009

 

     Entebbe     Kampala     Murchison Falls     Fort Portal     Kibale National Park     Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary     Semliki Valley     Queen Elizabeth National Park    Ishasha     Bwindi Impenatrable Forest     Lake Bunyonyi

 

Jan 12, 2009 - Jan 19, 2009

Kisoro     Jinja      Kampala     Ngamba Island     Entebbe

 

Feb 15 - Feb 16, 2010

Kampala     Sipi Falls    Mt. Elgon National Park     Jinja

 

Rwanda Photos

 

January 8 - Jan 12

Kigale     Ruhengere     Nyamata     Volcanoes National Park     Karisoke Research Center     

 

 

Click on the Photo to See it at Full Size

 

I arrived on Christmas Eve Morning. 

This was driving through Entebbe to Kampala just after landing.

Aids Awareness is promoted throughout the country

 

Loved the Billboards

I loved these two Coke billboards.

Furniture makers in Kampala. They had a shop of bed frames just next to it.

 Broken down cars on top of the shop roofs. They were all over.

My first stops... the market and mall of course. My first meal was Chinese at the mall 

food court where they come to your tables and wait on you. 

I wish I had bought a box of the lemon Aquafresh.

 

Kasubi Tombs – A world heritage site where four Kabakas 

(kings of Buganda kingdom) are buried.

On top of one of the 1st hills that made Kampala. 

Rubaga Roman Catholic Cathedral. Very Beautiful inside.

Great name for a club. I was lucky to get this shot as we drove quickly past it. I was 

often quite lucky with my point and shoot. So many great photo ops and I'd click & voila!

These were some kids in their Sunday best on there way to church and I had my driver 

stop to pass out pencils and balls and bracelets to the kids. Always a highlight for me!

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongola, Central Uganda. It was my first safari and it was

 on foot through tall, dense thicket and I was more than nervous when we reached them. 

 

I’m sure I let out quite a gasp. The guide kept yelling for Cory (the Rhino facing the

 camera) to look and for me to come closer to take a better photo. 

I was really nervous and against my better judgment...

I finally turned my back on them for the picture. I hate this pic of me but it had to make

 the photo album & website. Who turns their back on a Rhino… or 3? I must be crazy!

 Then the guide was playing with the zoom and I'm screaming just take the picture.

The first public toilet I used in Uganda. Stood like a monument on the stone riser but it

 was just a loo, and not bad either. I actually hoped they would all be this user friendly!

I loved stopping to give the kids small tokens. They would come out of nowhere.

They were really sweet and some appreciated the little gestures so much!

Kampala to Murchison Falls. Masindi Hotel is the oldest in Uganda, built in 1923 as a

 stop over en route from Sudan & Congo to Mombasa. This is a typical Christmas tree

 decorated with tinsel and balloons and they hang their Christmas cards too.

Top of Murchison Falls. It was so powerful. It took me by surprise. I could have sat there

 for hours to write. The rainbow through the falls was perfect. It was worth the hike.

My guide Ronny took this shot. Nice job! 

Paraa Safari Lodge Performance at Murchison Falls pronounced Mawkshin falls.

 Normally, I see more traditional costumes but these were definitely more casual. 

They looked like footbol (soccer) uniforms.

This was a nice way to start the morning of my first safari. I love being in Africa. I always

 see the most amazing sunrises and sunsets. No wonder it is my favorite continent!

Resident Babboons. They are pretty fierce looking and they made me rather nervous.

Say Cheese and Smile!

This herd, corps or tower of Rothchild's giraffes was beautiful.

I love this picture too.

Another Family of Giraffes

Uganda Kobs displaying their male dominance while in battle. 

Kob mating ground. They are in battle for the females. Look carefully!

4) Water Buffalo, Water Buck, Cattle Egret (sitting on buffalo)

Grey Crowned Crane (National Bird of Uganda)

Crop Burning

A pod, herd or bloat of Hippos. All great terms for these enormous, dangerous creatures.

Floating down the Nile River to the bottom of Murchison Falls. The 40-meter wide River

 Nile, journeys from its source at Lake Victoria to join Lake Albert. It is compressed into

 a gorge six meters wide, and cascades into a pot 43-metres below.

Open Wide! Nice Shot if I do say so myself. 

They keep their mouths wide open for hours to help cool themselves off.

He looks like he had just had a fresh meal. He is definitely in need of a dentist!

This Nile Crocodile, the largest of all of the crocs, kept opening and shutting it’s mouth.

I have great video of him.

I saw many Fish Eagles. They are really beautiful.

5) Although I'm not a birder, I took more pictures of birds than I ever had before. 

Great Blue Turaco

Hadada Ibis

Ronny really knew his birds and he could spot one and just call out its name.  

Goliath Herron

He had a book of wildlife and birds and would open it up to the right page every

 time we saw a new species as though he memorized where every bird was.

Black Headed Gonoleck

African White Bucked Vulture 

Even with my great notes, it was a bit confusing of which was which.

African Darter - Mistaken for a snake when in the water fishing

The last family of Baboons before leaving Murchison Falls.

Sausage Tree (Kigelia Pinnata) These are fruits. I did not try them. The Sausage Tree

 has steroid chemicals that is sometimes used in Shampoo's and facial creams. Yum!

Great random stop at a village. I love mixing with the kids. They laughed a lot!

 

Now, this is something you don't see every day! Fill-er-up!

 

Typical street that you would see all around the country.

 Muslim Council Mosque in Fort Portal

Tooro Kings Palace. King Oyo "Entale ya Tooro" (the lion of Tooro) was anointed king

 here. This "palace" was refurbished by President Gadhafi of Libya. I will always have a good  laugh when I think of this place. The local guide was quite a character. It was originally destroyed in Idi Amin's regime in the 70's.

View from the Tooro Kings Palace

They really loved the pencils and mini beach balls and necklaces. 

Ronny and I stopped to have lunch here and I utilized the bushes as nature called.

Bigodi Community Swamp

Home to 8 primate species where other game areas have less. 

I saw a red Colubus Monkey here. They also have Grey-Cheeked Mangabee, Fervet Monkey's and more.

You learn to appreciate quickly the things you do see often. 

I did catch this Red Colobus Monkey. 

They are hard to photograph as they are very skittish.

Amabere caves near Fort Portal. Small waterfall and rock formations but very pretty.

 Legend says the breast of a princess was cut off and thrown into the jungle. The

 stalactites and stalagmites which drip white liquid are named after breasts of various

 animals and the white liquid was once believed to be milk. There are also very active bee

 hives in the caves. I was a bit nervous with them buzzing about. 

Kibale National Park's and my first chimp trek. It looks bright,

 pretty and peaceful, but let me say how nervous I was with my tent furthest from camp

 with baboons and chimps on the path let alone the fire ants. This was just the start.

This is a forest lilly that wraps around the tree but does not kill it. 

Army or Fire Ants. They can be vicious. When we passed over them we trotted quickly

 lifting our knees really high as you do not want to be still for a moment with them around.

 They can cover you in a heartbeat! Ouch!

Black and White Colobus Monkey

Trekking chimps is a real science. You stop and listen a lot. You wait for chimp calls. It is

 very exciting when you hear them screeching calls and you move in hoping you will catch

 up to them. They are quick when they feed and move about from tree to tree even faster.

I was amazed to see these shots. Although they are rather blurry, 

I didn’t even know I captured them. Chimps in the wild are very elusive. 

They were really hard to find but very exciting.

After six hours on my first chimp trek, I saw only 1 male and he beat a tree and didn’t get

 a picture. So, it made it especially exciting to find this on my camera from my second

 trek. This is at Tooro Semliki Game Reserve.

You are at quite a distance when you photograph chimps. You really need a strong zoom.

This trek Ronny came with me and I shot this fellow from a distance as he sat and fed.

Typical bus load of cargo and people.

Sempaya Hot Springs in Semliki National Park - Eastern most limit of the Ituri Forest of

 the Congo Basin. Contains many species associated with Central rather than Eastern

 Africa. Semliki is the only park in Uganda made up of primarily tropical lowland forest.

 Main Attraction is this boiling geyser of about 106°C that spurts up to two metres.

My guide at Sempaya Hot Springs. She found a bamboo walking stick and gave it to me.

 Unfortunately, I left it in Uganda. There were baboons all around the 

hot springs and the  walk through the forest was beautiful. 

There was a nice viewing platform that we climbed.

Painful Black Ants and Painful Red Ants. They are all so big!

These ants are called safari ants by the African's because they are always on safari.

Batwa Pygmy village. This is the chief playing the drum. Settled in the Bakonjo

Communities. They really were cute. They were also fun and entertaining. 

After this visit I learned that the villagers or pygmies were forced out of the jungle

 against their will into the mainstream villages. They were provided assistance for

 housing but they were really segregated and used to increase tourism. 

I decided to join in on the fun and dance around with the villagers. It was great fun!

Once I understood there history, I decided not to visit any more pygmy villages. Now

 they inter-marry so the height of the pygmies is now taller than in traditional times.

Look at these beautiful faces!

My favorite moments are spent with the kids. They were laughing and singing and then

they get very serious to take photos. They beg for you to take their picture but they can

 get very serious looking for them. Then they go right back to playing and singing.

I'll never forget all over this village, the children were taking care of the babies and 

they kept kissing them and hugging them. There was so much love all around.

Traditional home at the pygmy village.

It is amazing that more trucks don’t fall over.

I took this picture and I was so exciting to get so close to a snake. I was so disappointed

to find out it was a centipede. I felt rather silly, but seriously, look at the size of it!

This was my guide on our chimp trek in Kibale.

This was the trek in Semliki.

Crown of Jesus Christ - Scientific name is Ethobhia Milli ?

A typical building or store front.

Driving through the mystical Rwenzori Mountain Range to the First Equator stop

heading into Queen Elizabeth National Park

Lake Edward was so pretty driving into Mweya in Queen Elizabeth National Park. 

On the other side is the Kazinga Channel.

A warthog sits in front of our lodge entrance. 

I love how they lean on their “elbows” to eat.

Beautiful sunrise for New Years Eve morning.

Banded Mongoose - They were hanging out in front of the lodge entrance.

Great painting of a gorilla that was hanging in the lodge lobby so I took a pic of it.

Another great picture of a painting.

Pattas Monkey and Oribi's and a female Ugandan Kob watching me watch them

Water Buffalo and Passenger Cattle Egret

 

Vultures feasting on a Water Buck

Stopping for a local crossing of elephants. The baby appeared to be a 6-year old female.

It is crazy sitting atop an open vehicle with these majestic giants crossing in front of you.

Two Juvenile Fish Eagles atop a tree.

I never expected to see a Verreaux owl (Bubo Lacteus or Milky Eagle Owl)

It was a great spot by my guide.

30) This was a bird lovers shot. Mixed about are (red bill) Saddlebill Stork, a juvenile

 Saddlebill Stork, Great White Pelican, Great White Cormorants in the front and the

 white birds in the back are Gull Billed Tern

Floating by on the Kazinga Channel we spotted Water Buffalo, Gull Billed Tern's, 

Hippos and an elephant in the background. Nice combination.

32) My last game drive leaving Queen Elizabeth on my way to Ishasha for lions. This

 female Kob just gave birth and was still bleeding. The baby could not stand yet. As we

 drove closer the rest of the herd ran away and she could not abandon her newborn so she

 stayed going against her flight instinct. I'm sure she hated staying there being so fearful.

Local Fisherman on the Kazinga Channel links Lake Edward and Lake George. 

This was originally a swamp filled with Papyrus and Elephant grass but was cleared 

for fishing so now it is called a channel.

Kyambura Gorge was a nice stop to make for the view. We had a lot of fun on the way

 here getting scared by a baboon that I was sure was going to jump into my window and

 attack me. I always tried to give my guide a reason to laugh.

Jacana was one of my favorite places and definitely my worst night. Ironic, isn't it? I

  kayaked to the center of the still lake, with a lizard in the front seat & watched an

 amazing sunset. He was already in the kayak and I didn't want to disturb him so I took

 him with me. That was great! Then later, I had a panic attack throughout the night. I just

  hated the scratching, the shrieks, cries, howls, banging, and falling fruits on the tin roof.

I always love the symbols for ladies and men’s toilets (restroom’s to us American’s).

This is a fabulous example of the rough roads. Honestly, my driver was amazing. 

We didn’t have one flat throughout my whole trip. Kudos Ronny, Great Job!

This was a lunch stop and I did a slight jump when I thought a hippo was coming 

out of the water.  Of course it gave Ronny a laugh… again!

That is a baby only a mother could love? He is so cute, isn’t he?

This was a crossing I was lucky to catch at the Ishasha Wilderness Camp. 

I stayed right along the river. It was beautiful.

These tree climbing lions can be very hard to spot. 

Tree climbing lions are only found in two places. 

Ishasha, Uganda and Lake Manyara, Kenya.?

This was a really special day for photos.

Finding lions is always exciting.

This is my favorite shot from the whole trip!

Look at the face. He looks as though he is pondering something really nice. 

I remember Ronny getting really excited for me when I got these shots. 

I was beginning to feel like  was traveling with a friend.

The lions look at you like... Whatever! I'm king of the jungle and you just don't bother

 me at all. I fear nothing. Take your photo and continue on so we can get our rest!

Lions can be hard to spot. They camouflage so well into the grass.

They all approached one another and it looked as though there would be a confrontation.

Sure enough, two went head-to-head.

Great shot of a Topi. In Uganda they are only found in Ishasha and Lake Mburu.

Great shot of a new baby Kob feeding.

A herd of elephants on the move.

Awesome Tusks!

 

Two African White-Backed Vultures and maybe a Palm-Nut Vulture

Kids are always walking everywhere. They walk for miles. I’m not sure where they are

 going. But I know they love when I stop to visit with them.

I was writing in my journal at my tent camp when I looked up and saw this gorgeous

lizard on a tree resting right next to me. I love that you never know what you will see.

 

Bwindi is a small village and the starting point for the Gorilla treks. They had a small

 street of store fronts and a bar with a T.V. and pool table. So,  I stopped in with Karen, 

a travel writer I met and we watched a futbol match with the locals.

There is a local orphanage that brings the kids to the stage to perform for the locals 

and visitors. The support they receive goes towards funding further education. 

They also bring home made drawings and paintings of gorillas to sell to tourists.

They were so inspiring, they had the audience up on the floor with them by the 

end of the performance. They are really passionate about their art of dance.

The drumming was amazing and the kids really perform their hearts out. 

The way they stomp and jump so high is amazing. Very Impressive!

This is Karen, the travel writer I met at my lodge the day before our Gorilla Trek. It was

 nice to make a friend to share the experience with. Up till then, it was just my guide and

 I. Being that Karen is from Cape Town, South Africa, this hotel sign was a must shot!

This is the stunning scenery of the Ugandan jungle and home to the majestic, 

Mountain Gorilla. Just being there made me emotional. It was amazing knowing 

the following morning I was going to be climbing that mountain. 

I was finally there and certainly a dream come true!

These are some of the kids we passed on our way up to the gorillas. There are homes

 along the path up in the mountain. I remember laughing as I was panting like crazy

 climbing up in the heat and then I'd be passed by these kids and ladies carrying jugs 

of water on their heads. Go figure!

The guide and I were just getting on our way. You can't help but climb up with

 anticipation and some anxiety because it is so exciting to be there in the jungle. 

It was a tough climb up in the heat.

These kids were special. They are so friendly and they just smile and wave.

What a beauty! You just want to pick them up and squeeze them.

We were told by the guide that are trackers that were ahead had found the group. It was

 only a matter of time now. Soon, I'd be amongst the gorillas. It was truly exciting!

This is the family that I was tracking. The Mubare or "M" Group. Mubare meaning the

 place of the rocks. This group of gorillas were found and habituated in this rocky area.

  Before we set off, I said to Karen, "I really want one to touch me" I've traveled enough

 that I know I should be careful of what I ask for. Read on...

I was the first one up the mountain and the guide grabbed my hand and 

brought me right in front of Ruhondeza, meaning one who likes to sleep alot. 

I just couldn't believe it. I was teary eyed and mesmerized! I was really there!

Look at him. Isn't he brilliant? I'm disappointed with my camera problems. 

I really didn't get clear shots but they are better than I had thought.

They really seemed quite unbothered by our presence. 

They may have been just as curious about us funny looking hairless creatures 

with appendages that go click, click, click. 

The gals seemed to watch Ruhondeza closely. They were ready to carry on as soon 

as he would pick up and go. They all followed him with no question. 

Ruhondeza had a watchful eye and knew everything going on around him. He would give

 grunts and clearing of the throat sounds just like in Gorillas in the Mist. My guide let me

 answer back and then this amazing Silverback gave me the ok right back. It was crazy!

His reply meant we were safe and could continue to approach his family.

As stated, once on the move through the thick jungle, we followed right behind.

When he climbed this tree, it was simply amazing. Here this giant primate climbed with

 such grace and precision. Then he sat up in the canopy and had quite the birds-eye.

I love their eyes. 

It was indeed just like watching a mother and her baby. 

They watched daddy with pride!

The baby cried just like a newborn. I loved how pink and wrinkled the baby was.

Here you can clearly see the baby is a male. He was just bawling. Look at his feet.

Mommy took such care of the baby grooming so gently and with such love!

So Humanlike!

Now although I'm not sure which one it was, I was nibbled on and/or kissed by a 7-year

 old male blackback on the ear just before he passed me and pooped on my right arm.

 Now that is really special... I think. No, I know it is. That was really lucky and almost

 unheard of. I honestly always get lucky with wildlife!

You can also make out their nose prints which are equivalent to our thumb print. 

They are identified by the patterns on their noses. 

Look at Those Beautiful and Soulful Eyes! 

Just before we left, the un-named baby put on quite a show for us. 

Playing and swinging about in the trees.

The baby will get named by the guides that get to know him or he will be named if

 someone sponsors him in a conservation effort. Names are picked to fit each individual.

Leaving Bwindi we stopped at the local Bwindi Community School in a nearby village.

 Because of the holiday,  they were on break but I love the outside of the classroom.

 Bwindi Community Hospital Maternity Ward outside of Bwindi. Before this hospital was

 built, ladies  and their children risked death while en route as it could take days to

 arrive. They are  given free care and this hospital has now saved so many lives. 

Kabale Town - The scenery from Bwindi to Lake Bunyonyi is known as the 

Switzerland of Uganda with its terraced farming and beautiful scenery.

This was a street scene from an earlier village.

 

I loved this young girl, Jennifer. She was incredibly bright and wants to be an attorney. 

I  gave her my email & I hope she writes. I know she will be very successful. When I

 bought my bananas she said, this is for friendship as she handed me an extra banana.

 She had the most appreciative and beautiful smile. I hope she is famous one day!

 

Cute little place. I had lunch upstairs and they had really nice confections.

Lake Bunyonyi - It was so beautiful there. This is the Acadia Cottages. I highly

 recommend staying at. Perfect location on lake and just gorgeous.

These are the lake chauffeurs. They hang out until someone shows up to catch a ride to a

 nearby island or lake trip or a pygmy village or market visit. Love the dugout canoes.

 Islands I saw were Punishment Island, Sharps Island, Bushara Island, Upside Down

 Island and Lepers Island. They all had great stories of how they got their names.

Kyevu Market on the mainland. This is actually a non-bordered area 

where the people are in both Uganda and Rwanda. 

I had a motor boat as we traveled quite far in the boat. It was dry for this moment but 

it  was raining most of the trip but we laughed and I just loved being under the water 

as  much as I loved being on the water. I do love any boat trips.

Local Pygmy Village Performance. We were at the market and they just started dancing.

 It was great fun. I got out their with them and danced about. We all had quite a laugh.

Like the kids, they jump so high and really stomp their feet. It hurt me just watching

 them do it. (I didn't do that part of the dance but I held my own)

It started pouring! We took shelter under the roof. The house was packed full of people

 and they were playing great music inside so I started dancing outside. It gathered quite 

a  crowd looking on. I of course had a blast dancing for them. They all came to see the

 muzungo dancing about! I love to hang with the people!

Everybody brings their canoes across the lake from all of the islands for market day.

It was really colorful. 

This was the orphanage in Bunyoni. When the rain stopped and I mean the heaviest rain

 I have ever been in, we went outside and I taught these gorgeous kids duck, duck, goose

 and Red Rover. I can still here them saying Red Rover, Red Rover, Red Rover with

 their accents. This was really impressive as they did not speak English. I sat on the

 ground with them and sang all kinds of songs for them and then they sang for me. This

 was a special time for me! I will always remember them and they were so thankful for

 the gifts I gave them of pins, necklaces, bracelets, fans and pencils.

Driving into Kigali, Rwanda

The drive was beautiful. Again, there was advanced terrace agriculture and beautiful

 mountain. Rwanda is called the land of 1000 hills. It was just lovely! I was surprised to

 see how modern it was. It seemed much more modern than Uganda. 

My guide said it is the fastest growing African city. 

 

Like Uganda, there are people walking everywhere and at all hours and because 

there are no sidewalks, it seems a risky proposition.

It is amazing to me all that they carry on their heads. This was less common as 

usually see the women with huge, heavy loads on their heads.

This was an amazing genocide memorial at the Ntarama Church. This is about 40 minutes

outside of Kigali. The drive like the others had beautiful scenery but the feel was

 different. There are genocide memorials all over the country. There is a constant

 reminder of the horror that the country experienced in 1994.

These are the clothes and the piles of shoes that the victims had on when they were

 killed in this church. Note the pews are made of wood planks. This is not an

 impoverished area but certainly not one of wealth. It would surprise you to see the

 peaceful and beautiful just outside the church. I couldn't help feel but guilty 

being an  outsider going in to see the horror that must be lived over 

and over by the nearby residents.

"If you would have known me, you would not have killed me"

I was crying before I walked inside this church when I saw the bones from the outside. 

I  was emotional and could not fathom the terror of what occurred here. 

This is an  important site and although there are no signs or fancy write-ups or explanations of the  Hutus slaying the Tutsi's, it is an important site and 

one that should be visited to be truly felt!

These are the piles of bones and skulls of victims that were brutally beaten and 

whose loved ones had to watch while the tortuous killings took place.

Hundreds of thousands were killed and here you can see babies skulls in front of the

 adult skulls. You can't help but feel knotted up when you witness something like this.

Here is a skull where the innocent had a spear put through their head. They left it in tact

 to show the brutality of what occured in this friendly and otherwise peaceful country.

City Life on my way to an orphanage. It was special when I arrived as their was a couple

 there adopting a little boy and girl. It was a lengthy process and they were there to take

 home their new son and daughter. They are in desperate need to have these gorgeous

 kids adopted into loving homes! Some of the conditions were unthinkable but the staff

 are full of love but there are so many babies to love at one time, it is very difficult.

Although I was never allowed to take photos of the children, I asked special permission

 to take this shot of my guide, Ronny holding this little girl that just ran to him with her

 arms open. She was looking for love and I was so touched to see him holding her. It was

 really special. I held some babies and sang to them and they sang for me. Some cried

 when I left and none of them wanted to let go! It was rather heart wrenching at times.  

Here I am in Rwanda about to embark on my toughest trek of the trip up to Dian

 Fossey's Grave. Whew! This was to require quite a bit of stamina to say the least! 

From here you see many Pyrethrum fields (very pretty flowers).

These stinging nettles hurt like crazy! They burn once they touch you. Somtimes it wore

 off quickly and some could burn for an hour or more. I was sensitive to them and they hit

 my hands, legs and arms flaring with burning sensations. Sure wish I had my rain suit!

Here I am resting in the exact spot Dian Fossey would stop at on her way up the

 mountain to her research site. She had this bench built here because it was an open

 space and it was absolutely gorgeous and scenic. Seriously, these were those times that

 you had to stop because they were perfect travel moments. 

I felt as though I was repeating history hiking up to these remote places. Oh, but most

 special was this rare spotting of 3 gorillas. We saw a Silverback on the way up with 2

 sub-adult males. One of the males did a mock charge and beat his chest so we had to

 carry on. They said no one gets this lucky and so after being nibbled/kissed and pooped

 on and then having this rare spotting, I was told I was a lucky one and was nicknamed

 the Gorilla Lady! They had no idea what I was in for next...

Here rests Dian Fossey with Puck, Kweli, Uncle Bert and all of her other favorite friends

 including Digit, her favorite who was beheaded in 1978. All Gorillas that die in Rwanda

 are buried here at this gravesite.

Nyiramachabelli, the lone woman of the forest: No one loved Gorillas more. Rest in

 Peace, dear friend Eternally protected in this sacred ground for you are home where you

 belong. Wowe Nyiramacyibili wakunze u Rwanda. Ukihebera ingagi izo zo mu Birunga

 Karisoke iyi wahanze ikaba ikubikitive Iti gira amahoro uwurukundo rudakangwa

  umuheto. Imana igube iruhuko radashira. Kinya Rwanda Language

This was just some of the mud that accumulated on my boots while on the hike to see the

 grave of Dian Fossey. It was the most difficult terrain of all my treks. Now I made it up

 and down with no injuries... until I was back on flat ground at the bottom when I tripped

 over myself and fell. I only had minor scratches, bruising and a bit of blood. Go Figure!

This was a photo of a picture I took at the Karisoke Research Center in Kigali the day

 after my Rwandan Gorilla Trek. With only 650-750 of the Mountain Gorillas left in the

 wild, the research being done at Karisoke is critical to help preserve these magnificent

 creatures. Keep up the amazing work that you are doing!

These were some of the kids that live on the bottom of the mountain where we started

 our climb up. They were so sweet. Also, note the mountain behind them.

This was my favorite place I stayed! Look at that watercolor background of the Sabinyo

 Volcano at the Sabinyo Silver Back Lodge - Amazing scenery and room! I just wish

 there were  not so many stairs when I first arrived. I was pretty tired from morning as we

 left Kigali  about 5:00 am to get to the trek on time. It was a 2-hour drive. We just made

 in time! I had to climb up the stairs after the trek to the grave. I needed a break!

This was my room at the lodge. It was fabulous! Loved the fireplace and the big

 old-fashioned tub in the center of the bathroom.

These are the four volcanoes Big - Maghinga, shortest - Muhavura, Mikeno and Visoke. Karisimbi is not visible but is behind these 2 and is the tallest.

This was the sun setting from outside my door at the lodge.

It doesn't get better than this...

Or does it? This was the sunrise the next morning on the day of my Gorilla Trek 

in  Rwanda. What a way to start such an exciting day!

Mikeno and Visoke Volcanoes

Trekking Amahoro or "Peace" group which turns out was a very ironic name for them!

I didn't get that until I just typed it either. You'll understand in a few frames.

Stinging nettles thought they would get the best of me again, but not this time. I stopped

 to gear up in my plastic rain suit ($14.99 at Target). It was a life-saver! I will say, please

 note it's condition at the end of my trek.

This was some of the thick dense jungle we had to hack through. It was pretty cool! This

 was my favorite trek of the trip. It was tough with mud and thick jungle but I loved the

 terrain. I would definitely do this trek again!

And, there they were. Loved seeing the actual Silver Back. We arrived just after feeding

 and just before resting so they were playful and quite active. It was quite the visit.

The Silverback was right there! Again, my guides allowed me to speak with them with

 that deep clearing of the throat sound .

I watched the gorillas more this time and did not take as many photos. From viewing

 them in my camera, I thought the last gorilla trek had all blurry shots so I didn't want to

 waste the visit by fiddling with my camera. Turns out they were not so bad. 

I also took some great video!

Now, just around this time as I was filming, out of nowhere, a blackback, once again,

 comes up from behind on my left side and Bam, Pow, Backhands me on the left shoulder

 and bowled me over. I think my shoulder hurt for over an hour. That was strong and

 came out of nowhere. I guess he wanted to play and I looked like a toy. Now, they really

 called me the gorilla lady. Again, I'm not sure I should have asked to be touched by

 them just before leaving. My lucky streak had not failed me yet!

Fierce Silverback Ubumwe

Stripping the leaves off of the vine makes for a hearty and satisfying meal!

A female gorilla eats and average of about 12-15k or 26 -33lbs per day. 

Imagine what the Silverback consumes!

Gorillas will forage all day and they'll eat pretty much all of their waking hours 

when they're not playing or just relaxing. What a life. Eat, Play and Sleep!

The main social unit is an alpha male with a harem of females and their offspring.

 

There are multi-male groups. 60% of these bisexual groups are under the rule of one

 silverback. Solitary animals, mostly adult males may be 10% of the Virunga population.

The babies are so cute and humanlike. Look at his feet.

I love that they look so fierce with such scary teeth and quietly feed on plants.

These two ran around that tree for such a long time. They were displaying their male

 dominance in play. I'm sure they must have exhausted themselves.

Winding down at this point for a well-earned break before their afternoon nap.

This to me looks like the painting that was hanging at Mweya Lodge. 

Like a watercolor. I can still see him on the move!

Here you can see just how close we are with the jacket in the photo. 

We really were right there with them. Actually, at this point 

we were surrounded by the gorillas on all 4 sides.

The guide said there was no place to go and we were told to stop taking photos. 

The guides grouped up in a circle and they stood around us. When they saw the 

chance, they had us back away and pass this guy to get out of the 

center of a group of gorillas.

I felt a bit nervous and exhilarated at the same time. You watch all of them 

around you and think this is cool and could be really dangerous at the same time. 

But they were really calm and just paid close attention to protect their family!

Justice and my crew and several porters. 

Kabale going to Gahinga. This is otherwise known as the Switzerland of Africa. 

This was a gorgeous spot for a photo. Beautiful layers of 

rolling hills under a gorgeous sunset.  It looked just like a watercolor. 

It really was special! 

This was in Rwanda rushing on the way to get to the border in time to cross back to

Uganda since I had activities planned for the following morning and a room reservation

that night. Oops! Missed it. So, I went back into town and went to a nice bar and danced

with Amon and some friends I made along the way and then stayed in Mbarra. It was a

lot of fun and I had my first shot of traditional Ugandan Waragi. It is a banana gin and it

 burned going down! The next morning would bring a long drive to Jinja about 10 hours.

Kisoro - 2nd biggest tourist town to Jinja? - I visited the bee keeping project 

and bought Ronny a jar of fresh made honey. Then I walked through town and 

there was a radio station gathering a crowd so I watched for a while. I think I may 

have felt a bit overwhelmed being on my own and just then it started to rain so I went 

for cover under a storefront and waited for it to subside. 

Then we were on our way again towards Jinja.

This was in Kayabwe on the way to Kampala and a great shopping spot.

I spent some time here and picked up a few great items to bring home.

Picking out my 2 drums was tough, but I finally decided on a couple. The trunk at this

 time was really getting packed. Now I had to figure out how to pack it all to get it home!

From the top of of my lodge, I watched local fisherman on the Nile. 

Very authentic net fishing.

So here  we go with the rafting. We hit a few class 5's in the morning before breaking for

 lunch. I'm the one in the front in the pink helmet on the right side so I'm easy to spot

 except when I'm under water, which will be most of the time.

Here you can't even see me trying to hold onto my paddle. I was under the waves and

 fury of the rapid. I'm going to have to figure out a way to come up with new phrases for

 each frame. Oh, each frame is a different rapid! 

This one was fierce and took us all under but we managed to stay on top of the 

raft and  not flip. It was a proud moment. Now here is another example of me 

asking for  something that maybe I should have thought more about.

Here are the two girls from England that were on my raft.

Here we are after a turn going down the rapid backwards. What fun!

So, here we are holding on after passing one rapid going right into another and 

turning again! You know where I'm going to end up, right?

Under the water of course. You can barely see my pink helmet. So, no one in the raft

 wanted to flip all day and the guide has some control over that so he catered to the

 majority of the raft. Now, I kept thinking of the hat Ronny gave me at the beginning 

of my trip that said, "I Survived the Bad Place". 

Well I was here and couldn't survive it if they wouldn't ride it. It was my birthday ride 

and I convinced one guy from Ireland to go with me so the two girls and one guy jumped

 ship and left 3 of us to ride it out and try our luck. Now this was an automatic flip with no

 question. I was finally going to get what I asked for. We all had to get out to walk over a

 class 6 rapid which leads its way into the 5 + we were about to ride called the Bad Place.

It was pretty quick too. 

We just got in the raft, were swept away by the current and he yelled,

"Now, paddle hard... "

 

"Down", he yelled. I took in one deep breath and Thank God I got a big one. 

I didn't know how much I would need it.

The Rest... Well, click here for my full story of survival. 

It was pretty traumatic! We flipped over in a fury!

My paddle was ripped from hands and I was drowning underneath. 

I found a quick pocket for one gasp of air just when I absolutely needed it and 

then as I turned my head looking for a safety, I saw the second wave wash over me 

like a wave taking out the Statue of Liberty in a movie.

I was sucked down while our raft was being tossed over. 

I had long fallen out already.

You can't imagine how much strength that must have taken for him to hang on. 

The power of the water was intense! 

Now, even the guide was out. The safety trying to find me was caught under the raft.

I was nowhere near the raft when I finally surfaced. Luckily there was a safely near

 where I came up and when I saw him I swam in a frantic state and gave a thumbs up when I reached him... But I'm sure I was in a bit of shock!

Click Here For the Full Story

A tree full of bats on the way to the source of the Nile. Very Cool!

 

 

 

The Source of the Nile in Jinja. We went out to Jinja Bar that night...a casino.

Me at Murchison Falls

Amon was another great guide I met and I had so much fun dancing with him!

My guide: Ronny, thank you for a trip I will never forget!

My 43rd birthday was great! I celebrated with Ronny and his brothers, Dan, Chris and

 Tony and his sister Olivia. They were terrific and it was so special having them celebrate

 my birthday with me surprising me with a cake and wine after a Chinese dinner. I think

about them often! This was the best nightlife I had during the whole trip!

Later I met more of their family and friends and they took me to a bar called Fatboys.

 Then we went to Club Anginoir. It was some of the best partying I've done anywhere in

 the world. The club was had several dance floors and fabulous  music. We danced till

 3am. I miss it  especially after going out dancing at home again! 

It just does not compare to  Uganda! And let me say, his family can dance!!!

I had to get this sign as this is our Rite-Aid

Definitely not the same though inside.

Really nice Independence Monument in Kampala. 

Demonstrates Ugandan Independence. 

I loved the chimps at Ngamba Island. I got to be caretaker for a day so I helped 

prepare their meals and they were pretty disgusting. But then the fun part...

They raise their hands when the are ready for their carrots, veggies, meal patties 

and more. Love the smiling face as he catches everything I threw out to him.

Playtime! Now I had an amazing forest walk with several chimps. 

I carried a 12-year old, quite heavy female into the forest on my back. 

Others ran past me and some walked with me holding my hand. 

This was an amazing day!

We groomed one another and she so carefully picked each freckle off of my skin. 

I in turn picked grass out of her fur. She then ever so gently, played with my eyelids 

just touching them and rubbing her fingers over them with such a kind touch. 

It was as gentle as a butterfly kiss. I just closed my eyes and trusted her.  

Then she picked up my hand and examined it so closely. She then took her fingernails

 and cleaned mine. It was absolutely surreal. Maybe there were times with some of the

 other chimps running about or hanging on me that I felt a tiny bit nervous, but this close

 contact was of such ease and comfort. It was just enjoyed and it was hard to leave her.

To do the forest walk and caretaker program, I had a series of extra shots I needed 

to prove that I had and I had to repeat shots that I had already had just because we 

are so closely connected to these animals that they are susceptible to any of our

 diseases. It was of course, well worth the effort!

(I Love this guys face) He looks like a cute old man.

This was the toilet in my tent. 

My last day was shopping of course and we ran into Dan, Ronny's brother. 

It was good to see him again. He was awesome on the dance floor! We had a blast!

My last few shots.

 

I couldn't believe a month had passed so quickly. I was now on my way to South Africa.

New adventures were in store!

 

2nd Trip to Uganda

 

February 15 -16, 2010

Kampala     Sipi Falls    Mt. Elgon National Park     Jinja

Mt. Elgon Sipi Falls

 

 

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