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  • Day17

    Zeph's Ziwa Birthday

    November 1, 2019 in Uganda ⋅ ☁️ 26 °C

    Today started with a plan to leave early to get up to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary after Zeph had had some presents - no Kampala driving though on his 17th birthday. We avoided the worst of the Kampala traffic and got onto the Gulu road for a 3 hour drive. On arrival we had thought we had been booked into Ambuka lodge, however after being welcomed with drinks and cold flannels it transpired, much to the protestations of the welcoming team that we had actually been booked into Ziwa lodge. Eventually we arrived at our destination, a very basic lodge next to the headquarters and were warmly greeted by Winnie, who told us she was a Watoto child and had actually shared a house with Dennis!

    The Rhino sanctuary is located in 7,000 hectares of bush land. Rhinos were lost in Uganda in the 1970s and now through this programme they are being reintroduced into the wild. In addition to all the Rhinos there are many antelope, some leopards and many species of birds. After a quick lunch we went Rhino trekking. After a short drive we stopped and walked through some long grass to be see a mother and baby rhino ahead. They are docile when left alone and can only see around 30 metres, but can hear and smell a lot better. So we were told that they were unlikely to charge but if they did to dive behind a tree! Once we had left this pair we went to another group of 3 which we tracked on a loop until we found them back were we started next to the van!

    After supper we went on a night walk - a trek in the pitch dark amongst the noise of crickets and chicadas. Although we saw no leopards, we did see rabbits - which the guide seemed very excited about, us less so. We also saw some night birds and mole crickets which make a very loud noise.

    After about 3 hours we returned back to our lodge to find a group of 5 rhinos sleeping in our garden! We got to sleep quickly amongst the geckos on our walls!
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