Wednesday, July 7, 2010

4th - 6th July. Fiona's perspective.

Well, it was a really long drive to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forests. The normal bad roads etc. Driving is tiring as you have to have even more concentration than normal as driving in a straight line is not possible. Potholes and ruts are the norm. But going over 20km/hr is not possible for long stretches of road, which is mostly dirt. Oncoming buses flash their lights to tell you to move over when they are straddling the middle of a single lane road!!! Lots of fun!!!

The country side becomes really picturesque at times with Tea plantations, banana plantations and rolling hills. It reminds me a bit of the Hazyview area.

We reached Bwindi and Buhoma lodge at 4PM. Richard, our Ugandan host was most pleasant and the staff were most accommodating and nothing was too much trouble.

We met an American lady also staying at the lodge, from LA. She is a Dentist and had just spent 10days in rural Uganda with a group of medical volunteers giving medical attention to Ugandans who have probably never seen a Dr of any kind, and probably will never again.
Elizabeth (the American Dentist) ended up joining us for all meals and drinks as she was traveling alone and really good company too.

The next morning we set off for the briefing before the Gorilla trekking. The group of habituated Gorillas that we would be seeing consisted of 18 females, males, babies and the great Silverback. The drive to the drop off point at the beginning of the hike was an hour into the mountains. Halfway down the road, the Belgium tourist and his driver had engine trouble, so we made space and had him, his guide, our guide and us all in the Cruiser, with one in the boot! I felt sorry for the poor bugger in the boot!

It seemed wherever you are in Africa, even the remotest parts, there were people walking, sitting, living....

The hike was 2 hours of intense hills, tracks through the forest, with high levels of humidity and narrow paths on the side of the very steep embankments. Thank goodness it did not rain as it would have been treacherous. Rain is common in this part of the world and can happen at a moments notice. The reward was an hour spent with the most awesome animals. The eyes are the windows to the soul and I think theirs are sweet and gentle. We sat amongst them without fear. The only time we smelt them was when the Silverback lifted his arms, and boy was that a ripe smell!!!!

The hike back was exhausting and tough on Alan's knee and Jen's Asthmatic chest, but perseverance and a strong will to overcome anything got us all back in one piece.
We discovered that evening that our group of Gorillas (there are about 4 groups) is by far the furtherest.

After a shower, Jess and Jen had a massage (hell in Africa again...) and we settled into a comfortable chair on the verandah waiting for supper so that we could all get to bed and rest the weary bodies.

The next morning we had a relaxed breakfast and set off for a short 3 hour drive to Ishasha Wilderness Camp in the Queen Elizabeth National Park....

Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom - let your email find you!

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