- Ugandan Kob – many
- Birds…so many birds
- I think that was a pair of lions?
- Baboons on the car
And those are what my notes resembled from day 4 and early day 5 of our recent trip to Uganda. Because the schools were not open on the weekend in Nyaka and Kutamba, we spend Saturday and Sunday morning touring Queen Elizabeth National Park before arriving in Nyakagyesi at our accommodations for the week. While this isn’t a ton of time to tour this gorgeous part of the country, we certainly made the most of it.
The lakes, craters, savannah, jungle, forests, and everything in between are truly stunning. It is an impressive section of Uganda with two growing seasons, an abundance of wildlife, and the opportunity see a variety of African ecosystems in only 24 hours. As the day began, I started writing down what animals we encountered. My list quickly disintegrated after the first flurry of furry creatures astounded my Michigan eyes.
I know this one is kinda hard to see but that is a pair of lions, male and female, walking across the road in front of our car the same way we might notice a couple of whitetail deer. Amazing. What is even more amazing? The fact that we had just passed a young man on a bicycle with two gigantic bunches of bananas. He was riding on this same stretch of road on his way to the lake where he would sell the fruit, use the money to purchase freshly caught tilapia, and then ride back to his village to sell the fish and begin the whole process over again the next day. I was impressed by his entrepreneurial spirit but shocked by his willingness to ride on a road that had honest to goodness lions waiting in the wings. That was early in the day and truly set the tone for the next 12 hours of travel. We were in a strange and beautiful new place.
In addition to the lions, we say water buffalo, Defasssa Waterbuck, Savanna Elephants, Warthogs, a Leopard (see the previous posting…crazy…https://multidenominationalthoughts.com/2016/12/09/day-4-what/ ), Nile Crocodiles, Topi, Baboons, Vervet Monkeys, Mongoose, Monitor Lizards and Black and White Colbus Monkeys, just to name a few species that crossed our paths.
We started and ended our day at the Enganzi Lodge ( http://enganzilodge.com ) just offer the Kasenyi Savannah Plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Our drive took us to the Mweya Peninsula on a boat cruise through the Kazinga Channel. It was a stunning and overwhelming day. I’m delighted we took the time to have this experience. It truly was once in a lifetime. Pictures, stories, and lists of animals will never do justice to what we actually saw and experienced. All I can say is thank you to Kasozi Robert, our guide from Bic Tours who kept us safe, happy, and healthy throughout the whole trip. He exceeded expectations in all ways possible.
Our lodge included private yurts for each couple or individual. The walk to the each cottage was down steep hill where we overlooked the beautiful Savannah Plains. The views couldn’t have been better.
The next morning, Day 5, was a travel day to get to Nyaka. On the way, we drove through the Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, an area especially known for the tree climbing lions. We were never promised we would see anything but sure enough, we did! Again, this stuff felt like something out of a movie. I’ve worked and lived in Alaska an even then, surrounded by wildlife, I never experienced anything like the great Ugandan outdoors.
The other highlight of the drive to Nyaka was the troop of baboons. They were everywhere while driving but this particular group was interesting because it stopped when we stopped and one very curious baboon jumped up on the car and began to lick the windshield. Enjoy the video!
After all of these adventures, we were finally on our way to Nyaka. We arrived at the Kigezi Forest Cottages in the afternoon and quickly settled in for the night. Jamie, Robert and I went for a 5k run out to the school and back. I COMPLETELY forgot about the hills. That was more than I was prepared to do. I felt like garbage during but great afterwards.
With all of the traveling we had experienced the first 5 days, I was quite ready for a break and a bit of stability. I fell asleep easily and quickly that evening! I was ready to see the Nyaka students again and truly looking forward to a great week with this amazing organization.