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Saturday, September 3

Wild Camping in Uganda

Brett: We set off in the morning towards Queen Elizabeth NP, and the sun finally came out. We camped at Kingfisher Lodge (in LP as Kichwamba Lodge – $10pppn), which was over budget but definitely worth it. They have an amazing view over Queen Elizabeth NP and a lovely pool and gardens. The camping is in a small forest near the entrance and doesn’t get the views, but one of the trees nearby was full of lovely weavers chirping and building their nests, and they would fly en mass over the forest and back with long strands of grass in their beaks – a really awesome sight! Mary spent an hour and a half photographing them with the long lens before I finally managed to drag her away for a swim Smile. We had sun downers and watched the sunset over the park before heading back to cook supper.

We spent the day driving along the public (free) roads within the Queen Elizabeth National Park. The vegetation, birds and butterflies were very good, but we didn’t see much else because the bushes were too dense with the recent rains (so no sightings of tree-climbing lions). We took the obligatory photos at the half broken (and 200m too far south) Equator Markers and then headed towards a recommended camp site. The road we ended up taking was more of a track for cattle and the locals were looking at us as if we were completely mad. We passed through a spot with very few people and on the spur of the moment decided to do our first Wild Camp ($0pppn) – we drove 300m off the road through the very tall grass and behind some bushes just as the sun was setting. We had sun-downers on the roof of the car while we listened and watched out for any sign of people and then the heavens opened with a massive storm, so we quickly made some food and put up the tent. We had been really loud until we heard cattle as we were climbing into the tent, so the rest of the night we kept to whispers. We spent the night listening out for noises (as you do on a first wild camp) – after a while, we were used to all the noises and we fell asleep, waking up each time we heard a new noise. The mooing and some talking came closer and closer but we didn’t see anyone. We had set our alarm for sunrise, but had it wrong with the time zone change since Rwanda - we ended up packed and ready to leave about 30 minutes before it was light, so we had breakfast on the roof again. We really enjoyed the wild camping experience, even though we didn’t get that much sleep – the next time we do it, we will know what to expect, so it should be easier.

Exhausted, we headed off for Chimps Nest ($5pppn) at Kibale Forest. The drive in takes you through some amazing forests where we saw black and white colubus, red tailed colubus and a third type of monkey that we couldn’t identify as it jumped from tree to tree across the road. The camp site is very spread out and each section is very private. We did a night hike through the forest which was great (although a little short) and we were treated to bush babies and hundreds of butterflies in a great setting of very old and incredibly tall trees. We took the next day easy, spending many hours chatting to Tom and Dag who have travelled from Germany in their amazing truck (www.go-to-africa.de) – they also inspired us to film more by showing us some of their examples.

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