Peter Ellis from Experience Holidays in Hailsham reviews his recent trip to Uganda.
I had the privilege of touring around this lesser known East African country at the end of November and what a delight it was in so many ways. The first surprise was how cheap it was to get there – about £375 per person return with Turkish Airlines and, apart from the ungodly hour I arrived (04:00) the service was good and the change over time in Istanbul reasonable.
I checked in to my hotel and had 3 hours sleep before setting off for the Mahamba Swamp which was a very bumpy hour away. This is one of the places to see the fabled Shoebill Stork who remained elusive to very end of the trip in a dugout but very worthwhile seeking it in a dugout. Add in the host of other birds on the swamp (various types of kingfishers, osprey, marsh harriers, lily trotters etc) and 3 nosy spotted necked otters and you have an expedition of delight.
Uganda is a colourful country with rich soil that supports almost all fruit and vegetables and with stunning views. The climb out of the Rift Valley gave wonderful vista towards Lake Albert, the Volcano region with extinct volcanoes at regular intervals providing rich farm land, dense forest ideal for many kinds of monkeys and apes. Trekking to see the gorillas in the Impenetrable Forest and chimps in the Kibale Forest National Park must be a highlight of any trip here and occasionally these animals will come to see you in your lodge environment. However, waking up prior to dawn in the lodge along the River Nile to see hippo cropping the grass 20 feet away is a treat. Then seeing them in the water as you take a boat cruise up the Murchison Falls to see the Nile squeezed through a gap of just 7 metres and fall 43 metres. A spectacular sight in a truly African setting.
Uganda’s wildlife is making a good recovery after past mismanagement with slowly increasing numbers of lion, elephant and all the other animals that love the plains, swamps and forests. There is a real feeling of wanting to bring back nature and allowing the locals to benefit from living alongside what can be difficult neighbours.
This is a beautiful, colourful country with the wildlife, bird life, people and vegetation adding their own mix to your senses. With the Rift Valley, 92 extinct volcanoes, the Mountains of the Moon, colourful village markets and Lake Victoria just some of the highlights for visiting the variety of scenic views and experiences are too numerous to list.
Go soon, have close encounters with chimps and gorillas and enjoy the colour, the scenery, the people and difference.Just give me a call to discuss your itinerary.