Uganda is so incredibly lush and green. I’ve found it be an incredibly underrated oasis of natural beauty. ❤
Our first stop in Uganda was in Jinja, a town sitting on the shores of the Nile, making it the perfect spot for bird watching and water sports.
Jinja: A Paradise by the Nile
Walking in the town near Jinja, a gang of friendly kids followed us around. 😀
While in Jinja our group indulged in stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, and boogie boarding.
Other options included whitewater rafting, quad biking and horseback riding.
The resort itself was incredibly relaxing, with a tropical bar/restaurant, outdoor showers overlooking the water, and lots of places to relax, like in a tree house or on the dock by the river. We also had the option to upgrade from a tent to a bungalow for only 10 USD. Honestly, it was one of those places that we could have stayed at for weeks. Life by the water was so tranquil, with afternoons spent bird watching, walking amongst the tropical plant life, or chilling out with resident mammals. 😛
Wine and beer was less than 2 USD, and in the evenings we went down to the river to watch the local kids monkey around near the actual monkeys on a rustic zip line and water slide. Gangs of macaques swung near the children in the trees, as the sun set in this little slice of paradise. ❤
On the last night the group did an all-you-can-drink booze cruise, then had a nice bonfire. Unfortunately one of the people drank out of a water bottle that wasn’t theirs and it turned out to be gasoline for the fire. Absolutely disgusting! She was puking everywhere. 😮
The next morning we soaked up all that booze (and gasoline!) with some chapatti (fried bread), with eggs and avocado, then we hit the open road toward the trekking region of Uganda.
The window view was absolutely surreal as we drove through the country’s lush rolling hills littered with blooming palm trees and vibrant tea plantations.
Crawling in the tea leaves with a dress was quite painful! Hah! 😛Anything for a nice photo! 😉
We also stopped at the Equator to take photos and witness different phenomena found halfway between the north and south poles. For example, water drains clockwise in the Northern hemisphere, counterclockwise in the Southern side,and does not spin at the Equator. Our strength is also diminished there, which makes it difficult to even walk in a straight line. 😮
That night we camped near Kampala, which was absolutely stunning, with a beautiful pool taboot. We spent the afternoon playing in the water, and challenged a few local kids to see who could swim underwater the longest. 😛The next morning we dined on beans and eggs, then strapped ourselves in for a 10-hour journey to Kalinzu Forest.
Kalinzu Forest: Trekking for Chimps
A community of 40 chimpanzees lives near this area, with almost 400 total living in this forest reserve.Additionally there are variety of birds, bugs, and other mammals living here, including leopard. Luckily we didn’t encounter leopards, but we ran into tons of spider webs!
After about an hour of trekking deep in the forest, we managed to find around seven chimps, both male and female, hanging high in the trees.
They were foraging for tropical fruits, then picking them apart for the pieces that they liked.
Occasionally the chimps would call out to one another with a loud screech and howl. This was a chain reaction as the chimps responded to each other.
During this time one of the chimps peed a large stream on someone in our group and one girl stepped on a big pile of ants that crawled up her socks! 😮
Anyway, these chimpanzees are constantly on the move and build new nests like this every day.In fact there is a habituation crew based in this forest that can spend around eight hours each day monitoring the community’s behavior and livelihood.
Fun fact: Chimpanzees share about 99% of the same DNA as humans.
Although chimpanzees are endangered, with help from conservation societies like these, their numbers are steadily increasing. On the way back from our trek we managed to spot Black-and-White Colobus Monkeys as well. They are less common in these parts, since chimpanzees are omnivores, and actually hunt them.
Anyway, after four hours of walking in the forest we indulged in some fruit crepes before making our way to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Stay tuned to hear all about it. Until then. 😉
Cost: 50 USD + tip
Border Crossing: Kenya to Uganda
Driving from Kenya to Uganda was quite easy compared to other land border crossings I’ve experienced. We didn’t need to carry our luggage through any type of metal detector, and the entry and exit stamps were issued within the same building. At the border we also exchanged USD for Ugandan currency. $1 is 3400 shilling, so I left feeling like a millionaire. 🙂