Headed north next day as the park was very muddy and not much fun and as I say we have been spoilt. Also, while park fees are OK $30 Each a day, they hit you for $150 for a foreign vehicle so ends up very pricey – a shame but while it may help local tour companies it must mean they miss out with the likes of us who spend much more time and money in local shops etc etc which fly in safari types don’t.
Passed the equator, so back in Northern hemisphere again – first time for about a year.
Went to Fort Portal, nice town came across a brilliant find, a small hotel with a pizza restaurant/bread and cheese shop, called “The Duchess” where things like toilets and showers actually worked !! Oh the joy and the pizzas would easily compare with those anywhere in the world. If you are near here, go, you will not regret it! So pleasantly stuffed, we headed to Kibale NP, stayed in the campsite by the vistor centre – very quiet, facilities are basic, at least showers tepid, but very open-air!! $10 each still.
Again lots of birds including the Great BlueTuraco which only lives around these parts – very noisy, large and attractive. Got some piccies but it’s all very tricky in the forest because of light, branches etc.
Did a walk next morning around Bigodi swamp run by a local community, very interesting our guide seemed to know his stuff. There are 8 types of monkeys here, we saw 6, missed the vervet (common everywhere in Africa so no great loss) and Blue monkeys which we have seen, but they are very rare and quite shy so no surprise there.
We did see the rare and seldom seen L’ Hoests monkey ( quite big with white beard)
these are red tailed monkeys which get pissed all the time and fight with all the others, sometimes they even try it on with humans, they also have little fear of Chimps we were later told (see blog below). Plenty of the Black & White Colubus’ also Grey cheeked Mangeby’s again a big beasty, also Red colubus who chimps like to hunt and eat, simply masses of Olive baboons with lots of babies, mostly visiting our camp ,sitting in our washing bowls and trying to eat the cloths.
Lots of birds, see photo’s – but difficult/impossible to get good ones without a serious lens.
For once the project is very succesful they have managed to build a big secondary school, hospital and police station and we were one of several groups visiting that day, so they are clearly doing something right. All the guides know their stuff and can spout off birds names from a small glimpse or tweet in the bushes.
Next day and Chimp Tracking, off we went in the pouring rain with Harriet and Eddie our guides and a honeymoon couple from UK!
Started at a slow pace, thankfully as legs still weak from the Gorrilla’s and no rush, as it was raining and Chimps stay in their nests high up in the forest, as they don’t like the rain, all the various groups went in different directions and after an hour or so we got the message that they had been spotted in exactly the opposite direction to the one we were heading,so we back-tracked at a furious pace with Harriet charging through the swamp,mud and rain. Finally came across a juvenile at low level and a few others, but the majority were still up trees in the surrounding forest, but we stood watching them for a good while.
Harriet, who has been following them for 13 years and is writing a book had some good tales to tell.
She explained that these chimps were actually in another groups territory,there had been a war two years ago in which our group lost 5 of it’s best fighters, after which the Alpha male was depressed for over a year, but the other group generally keep away, especially when humans are around, as they seem to regard us as mercineries assisting in the war. She also explained about their attacks and hunts of other monkeys which they do occasionally icluding how the drunken red tailed monkeys sometimes get the better of the chimps by calling up reinforcements. All very interesting stuff.
We eventually finished about lunchtime and headed back to Fort Portal where we stayed in “The Duchess” lovely room out of the rain. More pizzas – a vegetable calzone in Emmas case Nice breakfast, bought a whole Gouda owners are Dutch) and fresh bread – its ridiculous how exciting such things can be but trust us this was a special occasion.
Kampala – traffic nightmare – sat nav threw a wobbly as it always does in cities, so our search for Embassies was very slow and frustrating. Ethiopian Embassy said no way, so we have to go to Nairobi for that one, but Sudanese system is much easier than what we understand to be the case in Kenya, so will get that one here hopefully.
One thing that did make us laugh when lost, was a huge bill board advertising the forthcoming “Taxpayers Appreciation Awards Ceremony……. who are the members? Cant imagine there’s going to be a big turn out!!!
Went in search of the Red Chilli hideaway camp only to find it had moved much further out of town, so more traffic. New travel in style set up, on arrival, not our cup of tea, but as everything was soaking wet we got a room which was fine.
Back into Kampala to find parts – Landy leaking oil from front drive shafts (Probably buggered by guys fitting swivel hub seals in Tanzania) plus front spring are knackered, not surprising afterabout 40000k, they lasted better than the original UK heavy duty set though. Finally tracked down a mechanic recommended by the owners of the Duchess hotel – MJshinga julias of MJ Landrover tel- 0773 348437 we have made a plan to strip it tomorrow (sunday) get parts next day and hopefully be on our way. We were told he will get parts and travel anywhere in Uganda if needs be. Michael was impressed by his quick diagnosis of problems, will report later on results.