Kabale District

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  • Day121

    Pirogue sur le lac Bunyonyi

    March 6 in Uganda ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

    Traverser l'Ouganda n'a pas été une mince affaire. Mais ça a été l'occasion de tester notre résilience face à l'attente et à l'inconfort. C'est donc officiel, on s'est bien africanisés ! :) Et l'écrin de verdure dans lequel nous sommes arrivés méritait amplement de galérer un peu...

    Nous logeons sur une des îles de ce grand lac entouré de collines aux cultures en terrasses. Tout est très vert et paisible, le temps semble s'y être arrêté. Pas un bruit de voiture ou de moto, seuls règnent les chants des oiseaux, quelques appels lointains de vaches ou de chèvres et le bateau école qui transporte les écoliers d'une île voisine.

    Pour apprécier de plus près les paysages et explorer les îles inhabitées, on passe au niveau 2 de pagayage. Après s'être fait les bras en kayak à Jinja, on teste la pirogue locale ! Pas simple de manœuvrer ce long tronc d'arbre creusé, mais Tom assure !

    Le lac Bunyonyi, petit coin de paradis !
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  • Day113

    Ruhija, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP

    August 27, 2017 in Uganda ⋅ ☀️ 75 °F

    We were sure that nothing could be better than our gorilla experience in Rwanda – we were wrong! Seeing the gorillas for the second time in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda (BEST name for a park, ever) was even more incredible…we feel beyond lucky.
    The weather was clear and it was a short hike to where the gorilla family we were tracking had decided to hang out for the day. It took the forward trackers some time to find them as they kept changing direction and we had to wait for about an hour before they knew for sure where they were settling in for breakfast. Again, like Rwanda, we knew we were close when the forward trackers appeared out of the dense undergrowth and our guide told us to leave everything with a couple of the porters, except cameras.
    We approached the family, with a female and young baby appearing first. Next, the massive alpha silverback appeared and sat on the edge of a small clearing. This silverback was huge, but calm, which somehow made him more imposing than the silverbacks we encountered in Rwanda. The group was made up of 3 silverbacks (2 did not appear as they are older and tend hang out on the outskirts of the group), several females and juveniles, and a few little ones -including a 6-month old. Slowly, most of the group appeared in the small clearing and started to feed, climb and play fight. The silverback quietly sat in the background observing and occasionally trying to nap, but also making periodic, low pitched rumbles to make sure we knew he was there and to communicate with the family. From the photos and video you get a sense of how close we got to the gorillas. Officially, you are supposed to only get within 7 meters of them, but it is impossible to maintain that distance because of the tight, dense undergrowth, but also because the gorillas often approach you, sometimes quickly, and decide to sit and do their thing just a few feet from you. After a quick hour, we started to reluctantly retreat back up the mountain and leave the gorillas behind.
    No one leaves this experience unhappy. When you are with the gorillas you occasionally look around at your fellow trekkers to observe their reactions and everyone has smiles, sometimes tears. What we also noticed with this encounter was the reaction of the porters, guide, trackers and researcher that was present. They were as excited as the paying guests even though they probably see gorillas most days. They were all taking pictures, laughing at the young gorilla antics and talking excitedly with each other about the behavior. What an amazing job!!
    When we returned from trekking, we were told by our guide that a chameleon had been located in the nearby village (we’d mentioned wanting to see one), so off we went in our LR with one of the porters to see a chameleon. We climbed through the village into a back garden and were able to see 3 (a male, female and young one) in a tree. What an incredible day!
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  • Day108

    Lake Bunyoni

    August 22, 2017 in Uganda ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

    It was with some sadness that we left Rwanda and headed into Uganda. Visiting Rwanda has been a bit like visiting Singapore as a break from SE Asia’s chaos. It’s safe, clean, orderly, and seems to work. It has also been educational, emotional, and inspiring given how resilient, hopeful and hard working the people here are.
    The border crossing into Uganda was reasonably straightforward, but not as well organized as it was coming into Rwanda. Fortunately, we are now experienced enough that we can usually make sense of the disorganized group of unconnected sheds and find our way through with minimum stress. As soon as we crossed into Uganda, the road instantly turned to potholed dirt and was crammed with trucks. We also noticed trash/rubbish on the side of the road, which is non-existent in Rwanda.
    We only drove a few hours to Lake Bunyoni, a very picturesque lake, dotted with multiple islands. While here, we took a boat trip and learned about one of the most interesting islands - Punishment Island, where unwed, pregnant girls were sent as ‘punishment’. We gather that many died here, as it’s a tiny island with no shelter, no fresh water and no food. This practice apparently continued up until the 1950s.
    We have definitely hit rainy season. We were hoping we would miss it, but apparently it has come early this year. This means we are likely to experience torrential rain most days – not fun when camping. This also means we will be adjusting our plans in Uganda and Kenya (basically we’re planning to stay in an airbnb for a week or so). A friend of John’s texted him saying she had just spent a month in Japan on a food tour. As we were sitting in our tent in the middle of the afternoon, with deafening rain lashing the tent for hours on end, imagining and looking for leaks, we had to ask ourselves, “what the hell are we doing sitting in the tent in the middle of Africa during rainy season when we could be sitting in some Onsen in the Japanese mountains eating great food and sleeping on dry tatami??!!” Oh well, it’s all part of the adventure!
    You may have noticed over the last couple of posts, that we are tending to stay in guest houses more often and stopping to take a few days off from driving and camping. We’ve definitely had an amazing time and great experiences over the last 4 months, and are looking forward to the next 3-4 weeks, but we’re also looking forward to not driving ourselves, and not camping – especially now that the rains have arrived.
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  • Day3


    July 7, 2017 in Uganda ⋅ ☀️ 64 °F

    We had a long journey today, tent down and away by 6am and not arriving until 7pm. It was an enjoyable ride as the scenery changed to be more rural and hillsides covered in crops. We crossed the Equator again, had a roadside lunch stop and played a few games of cards.

  • Day48

    Rwanda impressions

    February 18, 2016 in Uganda ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    As I sit here along the shores of Lake Bunyonyi, I will attempt to sum up my thoughts on Rwanda. Here are a few points on the country :

    In physical appearance, it ranks among the nicest, prettiest countries I've seen! Everything is so green, thick beautiful vegetation. It's all so well kept also, trimmed lawns, clean... They even have a national cleaning day - last Saturday of the month - where everyone apparently willingly and excitedly cleans...

    Kigali, being their capital , is huge and developed with tons of high buildings and offices and everything you would need with its own bunch of subburbs. They say it's the country of a thousand hills and I believe it! Even the capital is spread between hills and valleys. Most of the other towns consist of one, maybe 2 main roads, never much more then 1-2 kilometres long.

    They have no street food. No street stalls at all. Apparently it's illegal to sell things on the street, you must have a shop. Which makes sense, because we once bought fruit from the first gang of women we saw sitting on the street, and yet 20 minutes later they were all packed up and gone, with a military man roaming around... I guess that's how they stay clean, no one there to dirty the streets.

    Their national park (at least the one we did) was gorgeous and again - clean. Seems silly to say but in Ethiopia, all along our hikes and street sides there were water bottles on the ground. Even our guides would throw their water bottle to the ground during our hikes in national parks. In Rwanda - not a single piece of anything on our hike... I even had a banana peel which I asked if I could throw in the nature (animals will eat it, no?) and I was told to hold onto it until the end for a garbage.

    The people try to be very helpful. Unfortunately language is very limited, be it French or English. They like to give directions when they have no clue where something is, but they try! They ask where do we want to go when we barely hesitate in our step.

    I've actually gotten even more stares in this country compared to all the other ones I've done. Thing is, I really don't think they mean any judgement from it... They just don't see it as a social faux pas. One lady even turned herself over in the bus to have a better view of us, looking without breaking eye contact for about an hour. Kids like to follow, but their lack of English means they follow in silence, or laughing amongst their friends. (I'll attempt to get some videos of this onto Facebook...)

    Many people blame the French and the Belgians for their genocide, basically saying they brought in the thoughts of racism when imposing the Hutu and Tutsi identity cards and then chosing one group as the educated leaders... They are now rebelling against those roots and learning English in school instead of French. The older generation we could communicate with in French, and the younger in English.

    The general feel of Rwandans are, as mentions, very restrained, a certain somber feel for the people... A lack of liveliness. Not as willing to chat or not as many smiles. Serious people.

    That's Rwanda in a nutshell!


    The lake itself here is absolutely gorgeous. We sat around the dock, soaked our feet, enjoying an outdoor shower with a view, and went for a walk to "town" where someone served us fries in what seemed like their living room. Beautiful, relaxing, and yet we've got ants in our pants so we're probably going to move on tomorrow to something more activity oriented. Unfortunately, a tour we were looking forward to doing on and by the Batwa people is too expensive. Our lovely lonely planet said it was 30$ per person. Turns out it's 60$ per person plus at 45$ transportation fee. Quite the price different. LP failed us again...

    FYI that last picture is of the many voting booths set up outside in Uganda. Line ups at all of them. I wish my voting booth had those views! Also, the government blocked Facebook and what'sapp for the day. Lol yep, it can do that! Apparently a bunch of people were already arrested for trying to buy votes at voting stations. Our shared taxi driver guy stopped in every little town along the way to yell out from his window his support for Museveni's re-election. All the stores and restaurants were closed. Streets are dead. Elections day is a big thing here!
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  • Day7

    Lake Bunyonyi Overland Camp

    June 15, 2017 in Uganda ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    I thought Red Chilli Camp was the best but this one definitely takes the cake, I cannot believe how beautiful this place is and we get to spend four nights here! We have set up our tent right on the lake and have an amazing view as you can see from the photo.

    The facilities here are pretty good, three bars (one at each level which is handy when the stairs are as steep as they are, you can stop of for a beer at each level), good showers and toilets which is important if you haven't noticed I'm always commenting on them haha.

    The next few days are going to be really busy and pretty exciting, I am going to have early mornings and long days because I going to look for chipmunks tomorrow, gorillas on Saturday and then visiting Rwanda on Sunday!
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  • Day1


    June 9, 2017 in Uganda ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    I have been away from home for one month now. Although by the time I post this it will be closer to six weeks because that is likely the soonest I will have internet access. Ruhija is a community within the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. It's inhabitants are mainly gorilla treckers and farmers and many many children. I am working in the health clinic here three days a week. There are five Canadians and five Ugandans in my team of health care students and we are staying on a conservation site owned by MUST (Mbarara University of Science and Technology). The lights are solar powered and there is no running water. We hike up a steep hill to charge items and collect water in jerry cans. Monkeys seem to be nearly as common as squirrels here. The ITFC (Institute for Tropical Forest Conservation) people let the monkeys eat our garbage, but this has not stopped them from breaking into our house and stealing our bread.
    This is probably the most beautiful landscape I have ever been in and the pictures simply do not do it justice. I will try to post more often.
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  • Day40

    Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda

    June 15, 2017 in Uganda ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    We arrived in Lake Bunyonyi late afternoon from Kampala, another 10 hour drive over 450km. The drives have been super long but luckily the truck is pretty comfortable and we have regular stops. As we drove into the Lake, it was incredible how green and full of nature the place was. There were crops everywhere, even on the steepest of hills right up to the top! When we got to Overland Camp Bunyonyi, we realised we had an incredible spot on the lake and the campground was the best by far. We have four nights here so it's going to be amazing not having to pack up before sunrise for a few days!Read more

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Kabale District

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