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    • Day421

      More on drugs

      February 10, 2021 in Uganda ⋅ ☁️ 31 °C

      At the edge of Kibale Forest I search for traces of the Kibale Forest Coffee Project and find a guy to show me around. Unfortunately, without prior announcement we cannot visit many places and also my time is short.

      But first we visit a nice tea plantation. Each professional plugger manages to harvest 50-250 kg of leaves per day which is a lot and will satisfy the Indian plantation owners but the worker gets just 71 UGX (0,02 EUR) per kg. Again, most of it is exported, all is non-organic industry and nobody knows why Indians import East African tea. They all produce only broken black tea. There is no such thing as "green tea in whole leaves" or "single origin tea" or any quality label at all. Somewhat boring.

      The coffee (Robusta) in turn is growing scattered between outer forest trees and banana plants and processed in organic ways. In order to keep the animals from leaving Kibale Forest and securing their crops the locals plant bands of coffee, tea, pepper and tobacco at the forest boundary. All these crops are not eaten by the wild things. Additionally, in order to keep elephants from raiding around they establish bee hives because somehow elephants don't like bees around their ears and return into the forest. This is mainly financed by the national park fees. Interesting! But the coffee marketing could be improved. Difficult to buy in the place, I don't know where all of it is going nor the locals seem to know. Also the coffee processing is inefficient. They do this home-roasting on fire but with that you cannot process large quantities after a harvest. Also the roasting is very inhomogeneous. I bought a pack of which more than half of the beans are coal - crushable to powder between my fingers - and the others are still light brown. This is not tasty. Grinding is another issue. There are no grinders around. The people totally freaked out when I showed them my Turkish-style hand grinder. They even did not have any clue how such a thing works. I see some potential ...
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    • Day18

      Naar Queen Elisabeth NP

      June 30, 2022 in Uganda ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      We hebben heerlijk geslapen met al die natuurlijke geluiden om ons heen. Ik werd op 7 uur wakker en had de gordijnen van onze safaritent open gedaan zodat ik naar buiten kon kijken om te kijken dat ik de apen zag. En jawel hoor ze sprongen van de ene boom naar de andere. Wat is dit leuk om te zien. Vandaag konden we uitslapen maar zijn toch om 7.30 u opgestaan. Alles inpakken, ontbijten en afrekenen zodat we rond 9 u vertrokken. Onderweg zagen we bavianen en we probeerde met bananen 🍌 achter glas ze op de auto te krijgen. Helaas ze hadden niet veel zin. We hadden een short cut gereden, volgens Innocent. Prachtige uitzichten en ook nog naar zijn broer geweest. Even wat gepraat met elkaar en de reis ging verder. Rond 12 u waren we op de plaats van bestemming. Wat ons erg opvalt is dat er maar heel weinig mensen met een bril rondlopen, deze is schijnbaar heel duur, en dat je niemand ziet roken. Dit is namelijk in het openbaar verboden. Je mag alleen thuis roken. Waarschijnlijk zijn er dus weinig roker in Oeganda. Dat was even tussendoor. We werden naar onze safaritent gebracht en weer wauw. Wat gaaf en prachtig uitzicht over het meer. We hoorde de olifanten 🐘 en de nijlpaarden 🦛. Prachtig. Onze safaritent heeft deze keer een buiten douche 🚿 en eentje met 2 sproeiers. Wat is het toch prachtig. Even relaxen en dan gaan we met Innocent een gamedrive doen in Queen Elisabeth NP. Helaas hebben we deze keer niet veel gezien. Het was ook heel erg warm. Rond de 31gr. We zagen nog een hele poel vol met nijlpaarden 🦛 dat zag er grappig uit. Richting ons verblijf zagen we een olifant 🐘 op de weg staan. Nog even opfrissen en dineren. We worden hier in de avond opgehaald en weggebracht daar er zomaar een olifant of zo op de paden kan lopen. Zo dit was het voor vandaag. Tot morgen 🙋🏼‍♀️Read more

    • Day420


      February 9, 2021 in Uganda ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

      After loosing precious time in Fort Portal because I am blended by unmet expectations and apart from that I fill up my tank without having enough cash, I find a wonderful community campsite at Lake Nkuruba Nature Reserve in the Kyatwa Volcanic Field. Wah! Just in time for sunset. What a pretty, clean, grassy place surrounded by tall trees with black-and-white and red colobus monkeys and vervets. I am warmly welcomed by Good (later I will also meet a girl named Fortunate and a soldier called Innocent) who works here for several years and park the car under one of these trees next to the ridge which steeply descends into the crater lake. There is a path down to the water with a boat, bathing possibility and many places to hang my hammock. The trees are full with colourful birds and I can spot Ross's and Great Blue turacos for the first time. Yeah! Until now most of all my visited camps were run-down due to the lack of tourists but not this one even though I am the only foreign guest. Locals like to hang out here for a swim or dinner. The staff is young, fresh, friendly, passionate and the whole place looks very alive but calm and cozy. The campsite has been established more than 30 years ago by a European couple and is now in religious hands. Wonderful climate to hang out for at least a whole day which I need to work up on all the mapping I have done during the previous days of exploration. Hence, a nice day with the laptop in my hammock down at the lakeside. The colobus monkeys harvest only leaves and basically stay in the trees for all the time without interfering with me even tough they are not afraid to sit on the branches next to me. The vervet monkeys prefer a human’s diet and are very clever in trying to steal from my rations. They go totally crazy for bananas! They sit down next to me and patiently take single pieces from my hand. It is more funny than annoying because they never stay longer than for an hour in the mornings and continue their neighbourhood route in search of food. In the evening they come back and play in the trees. Outside of this tiny nature reserve monkeys are generally non-existent because people hunt them down for meat and for protection of their crops and fruits in the fields. The campsite managers established a banana plantation dedicated only to the vervet monkeys in order to keep their population stable in this area. They also had many avocado trees but unfortunately the colobus monkeys did not only eat their leaves but also the bark which killed all trees. This experiment emphasizes what happens when you try to introduce plants into an ecosystem where they are not necessarily native ;-)

      The first night I wake up at 0500 in the morning because somebody is throwing “things” at my car. Later on at 0630 “things” get really tricky because they also get wet and sticky. Apparently two football teams of colobus monkeys decided to have their morning toilet just above my car. And sleeping with open windows results in being shitted and pissed all over from the outside and the inside. My car quickly starts to stink like a festival toilet. The first time during these two months I feel like having reached my final destination, yet another home! It’s the first place where I really think that I will be coming back another day. Good helps me with cleaning the car the next day :-p
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      Der ist ja heiß 😍

    • Day31

      Lake Nkuruba

      October 16, 2019 in Uganda ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      Leaving Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary behind, we start a long drive across Uganda to the mountains. Specifically, we're heading to the Crater Lakes, which sit in the shadows of the Rwenzori Mountains. We predict a 5 hour drive, but it ends up being around 8. It turns out that, once the nice road from Kampala ends, we have to drive on a dirt road. Which has massive potholes. And has just been washed away by the huge rain storms. And we'll be on it for 100km. It's hard going, and mostly it's a case of just picking which pothole is the smallest and heading for that one, praying that it won't pop a tyre.

      At one point, we pass a group of guys trying to fix a particularly bad bit of road, clearing a path for a massive lorry. They're up to their knees in red mud, hacking away at the road with pickaxes and ferrying mud into the deep rivulets carved out by the heavy rains. As we pass, they gesture to us for money, for fixing the road. Chris feebly shrugs as we awkwardly drive through the group.

      After hours of the deepest "African massage" we've ever come across, we reach the crater lakes. Unfortunately, Google Maps is not on our side today, and it takes us through some tea plantations, with red dirt paths barely cutting through the rows of green tea bushes. A small child waves at us as we start a particularly hair-raising descent. Rather than the ubiquitous shout of "MZUNGU!", he says simply "bye-bye". It is quite ominous.

      Finally, after navigating the tea fields, we reach our campsite. And it is worth it. Three species of monkey bound around the trees and scamper across the ground. On one side of the campsite is a beautiful serene lake, surrounded by colonies of black-and-white colobus monkeys. To the other side, the hills drop away to reveal the Rwenzori mountains stretching across the entire horizon.

      We get talking to the only other people there- a Dutch couple called Bas and Vera. They've also hired a car, and have almost the exact same route as us. We would end up following them across most of Uganda.

      The next day, we head out on a walk with our guide from the lodge- Good. And I'm not describing the walk there: his name is Good. Which, I'm sure we can all agree, is a great name.

      We head to a waterfall, with Good telling us about everything and anything. We ask him about the chimpanzees. He tells us that when he was small, the chimps would be all around this area. He would be outside in the garden when a chimp would chase him, crying, back inside. Now, though, the apes are confined to a small national park just north of here. It's quite sad to hear. He does also tell us a story about a mother chimpanzee stealing a human baby when her offspring had died. The villagers had to hush the (human) parents' tears, or else the chimp would get so aggravated that she might tear the baby in two. On second thoughts, I'm glad that there are no chimps around.
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