uganda - Rob Padowski

about these photos:

I visited Uganda for ten days in late October/early November 2015 for the first time as part of my ten week African safari adventure. Almost immediately upon crossing the border from Kenya into Uganda the people seemed happier and friendlier and the vegetation lusher and greener. Our first stop was Jinja where we based ourselves for activities based on the Nile River. We enjoyed a great campsite on the banks of the river and seized opportunities to explore the local village and to leisurely boat on and excitedly whitewater raft the Nile.

After a stop for supplies & groceries in the capital of Entebbe were chances to spot and photograph wildlife in Queen Elizabeth NP and search for chimpanzees in the wild in the Kalinzu Forest. While we did see quite a few chimps, getting good snaps of them proved incredibly challenging. Then it was time for the activity everyone was most excited to do, our gorilla trek.

After a thorough briefing we suited up and prepared ourselves for a difficult hike into Bwindi Impenetrable NP. The guides sized up the groups based on overall levels of fitness, with the most fit looking ones getting assigned to trek to more remote troops - our crew was in the latter, kudos to us! While there was no guarantee any mountain gorillas would be seen (global population estimated to be between 600-800) we optimistically set off and several grueling hours later we were handsomely rewarded. Once the trackers located these majestic creatures we spent a magical hour with the Kahungye Gorilla Group. We saw everything from silverbacks (even getting charged by one) to little ones to doting moms and teens. It was truly an unforgettable experience that I'll remember for the rest of my life. If even remotely put off by the cost (permits range from $400-650 USD for one hour with them) don't be - I'd do it all over again tomorrow without any hesitation.

Lastly before crossing into Rwanda we had the chance to visit a local organic coffee plantation just outside of Kisoro. Once again my expectations were exceeded - we were treated to beautiful scenery, gracious hosts, friendly children and of course delicious coffee. I could easily see myself returning to Uganda someday to do it all over again - and more!

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