for Unconventional Women
for Unconventional Women
So last week I had a guest blogger from the US blogging about her trip to Scotland. This week, I have a guest blogger who is Scottish (but living the US), writing about her (seriously) amazing trip to Uganda. Her packed agenda may have left feeling in need of another vacation, but it gives us a chance to read about some wild and wonderful experiences. I hope you enjoy!
by Claire Flatley
After much procrastination over this trip my friend Caroline and I decided we were finally going to just get this booked and hope nothing would stand in our way this time. We had been deliberating on the best time with both of our schedules for a few years and finally managed to set aside a couple of weeks in December to take our dream trip and managed to persuade our significant others to join our adventure. For as long as I can remember we had been talking about going gorilla tracking and we were finally going to do it!
After what seemed like months of online research I found this great company called Kori Safaris. They were so reasonably priced compared to the others out there, allowing us to opt for luxury accommodation instead of the budget or mid-range which were our only option with the other companies. We settled on a nine day tour of Uganda, incorporating rhinos, chimpanzee and gorilla tracking, big 5 safaris and whitewater rafting on the Nile.
The first day involved trekking in to see White Rhinos at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, a Rhino re-introduction program which currently boasts 21 southern white rhinos, it’s around 100 miles north of Kampala so it breaks the journey to Murchison falls up nicely and it’s home to the only wild Rhinos in Uganda. It was fascinating and terrifying at the same time to walk so close to these amazing animals, the only instruction given by the guide was to hide behind a substantial tree should they charge. Guess how many substantial trees there were in the area!
We awoke before dawn the next day at Murchison Falls National Park and promptly departed for our game drive in the hopes of seeing the Big 5. We excitedly and hurriedly took pictures of absolutely everything we saw for the 30 minutes of our drive, not realizing that this was just the tip of the iceberg and over the course of the next 4 hours we would be within touching distance of so many of these beautiful animals. Our guide, Godwin assured us that we were extremely lucky that day, in that we managed to see pretty much everything with the exception of leopards.
We headed south again towards Kibale National Park for our hike into the forest to view chimpanzee’s in their natural habitat. Caroline had spent many years working with these creatures overseas and delighted in warning us of all the signs or displays of aggression. It only took 10 minutes of walking before we came upon the first family, from there the clock starts ticking for your allotted hour. What I hadn’t realized at the time was that should they decide to move, you and your guide will hightail it through the forest in pursuit which made it all the more fun. It was such a wonderful experience to be so close and observe these mischievous creatures, although one chap who came back with chimpanzee urine soaked hair may tell you otherwise. Definitely be careful when observing chimps in the trees!
The next stop on our list was Queen Elizabeth National Park, it’s one of the most popular safari destinations in all of Uganda and the Ishasha sector is one of the few places in the world where you can spot tree climbing lions. Surprisingly the park is not overcrowded allowing for ample opportunity to observe the wildlife without having to deal with the crowds.
Finally, it’s gorilla day, we are up early to brave the treacherous mountainous vehicle tracks. In the winter these become almost impassable, it got to the point where we would argue over who got the seats that didn’t have the view down the mountain! Thankfully we all arrived at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in one piece. Similar to the chimpanzee trek, you hike into the forest and the one-hour countdown starts from when you first come upon the gorillas. This was without a doubt the highlight of our trip. It was so much more than we could have expected, we were within 5 feet of the troop we had been assigned and were lucky enough to see the oldest silverback and the youngest infant. An absolutely unforgettable experience.
Our departing flight was not until around 11pm so we decided to fill our last day with a whitewater rafting trip at the source of the Nile near the town of Jinja. We couldn’t wait to get out and experience the Nile’s grade IV-V rapids. We spent an exhilarating half day on the river and would have loved to remain for the full day adventure had we not been flying out that evening. Choose your spot on the raft wisely, if you don’t want to take a dip, the front spots aren’t for you.
Uganda was by far one of the best trips I have ever taken but if I were to do it again, I would most certainly give myself more time for such an ambitious itinerary. Condensing this trip to 9 days meant some very long drives and lots of early mornings. I would say we yearned for a holiday after the holiday!
Tour company - http://www.korisafaris.com/.
Crater lodge (beautiful views) - http://www.crystallodgesuganda.com/
Mweya Safari Lodge (pool with a view overlooking a watering spot) - http://mweyalodge.com/
Arcadia Lodge (stunning views over Lake Bunyonyi) - http://www.arcadialodges.com/
Rafting the Nile - http://adrift.ug/
Like the diverse and unique ways hummingbirds migrate, you just can’t stereotype how women travel and we like it like that! Join us to read about new places, hear new perspectives, celebrate how and where we journey, and share some of your favorite adventures.