Trip Start Mar 11, 2009
55Trip End Jan 05, 2010
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Where I stayed
Bwindi View Camp
Red Chili Hideaway
Nile High Camp
Staying beside Lake Bunyonyi, with terraced fields plunging into hidden bays and tiny islands dotted about. Lake Bunyonyi is estimated to be about 6,500 feet deep. Campsite is Bunyonyi Overland Camp.
Dist cov. = 125 km
27th - Free day at the camp, played pool and had a buffet lunch for 14,000 Tsh.
28th - Picked up at 2pm to be driven into Bwindi Imprenetrable National Park for our chance to track mountain gorillas
Staying at the Bwindi View Camp, but Nick, Christine and myself had wake up at 5am the next morning. So we went to bed straight after dinner.
29th - Drove 50km to where we would meet 3 more people and start our trek at 9am. Bwindi is home to about 330 gorillas in an area of 331 sq.km. Walked for about an hour before our guide spotted the family group we were looking for. This was a family of 12 gorillas (13 awhile ago, but one of the juveniles has moved to another group) including 4 silverbacks.
The first gorilla we saw was a black-back - the stage before silverback - lying on its back and occasionally staring at us. Moved slowly around to see more of them including my first silverback mountain gorilla. We moved around to the leader of this family - where we got within 5m of him - and he proceeded to mock charge us, making a lot of noise in the process
By the end of our hour we had seen 10 of the 12 mountain gorillas in this family, missing the 2nd and 3rd largest silverbacks.
A TRULY AMAZING EXPERIENCE!
Walked back out to the taxi and we arrived back at the truck by 2pm. Sat around the fire at the bar for Peggy's birthday.
30th - Drove through Mbarara and Masaka, and stopped on the Equator for the photos (my 4th time crossing the Equator on this trip).
Reached Kampala, the capital, mid-afternoon, and a few of us got out to look around
From here we got a taxi to Red Chilli Hideaway about 4km from the city centre. Another truck was here aswell, ATC (Africa Travel Company).
Kampala is a good city to walk around, shame I don't have more time to see it. The local people are really friendly and helpful.
Dist cov. = 448 km
October 1st - Picked up at 8am by Adrift, the company that we would be white-water rafting the Nile with. It's a 80km drive to Jinja, located beside Lake Victoria and the source of the White Nile. We were taken to Nile High Camp, where we would be staying with the truck later tonight
Martin, Tom, Kira and myself were also doing the Nile High Bungy - a 44m high drop over the river and costs $55 when doing the rafting aswell (a $10 reduction). I plunged to what I thought was mid-thigh on my water-touch bungy, but it was more likely (as seen on the video) to be up to my waist - nearly losing my t-shirt in the process.
There would be 3 normal boats and 1 extreme boat, extreme is flipping on virtually every rapid, wild (normal) is flipping 50% of the time if unlucky - for the 13 rapids. Compared to the Zambezi: the Nile has less rapids and a few sections of long paddling between rapids, but some of the Grade 5 rapids are absolute monsters including the last one - Itanda (The Bad Place).
My boat had Kira, Tom and I plus 3 other people, normal option, lots of chance for swimming early on and our guide Jeffery taught us on what to do if the raft flips and actually doing it.
We flipped big time on one of the Grade 5's, not a good one to do since rocks are near the main flow. The flip looks good on video, but everyone felt like they nearly drowned
We went over a waterfall backwards, and told we wouldn't flip it as it was low-water. At the rapid named "Respect" ours was the only raft to paddle across the current to the Grade 4, all the others couldn't make it and had to settle for the Grade 3. We were even congratulated on making it by Henry - a South African Kayaker who would be the only person to down the Grade 6 (he also taught our guide how to kayak).
The last rapid - Itanda (The Bad Place) - is an absolute monster Grade 6, we would be walking around to the Grade 5 section further down. We had a choice at this point: either to do "50/50" - the Grade 4 or the Grade 5 - "The Washing Machine", we chose "50/50" for chance of flipping etc. Got through safely the raft before us flipped and they floated off downstream. The extreme boat was next and the guide's description of "The Washing Machine" was spot on. Basically people will fall out of the raft like popcorn and they are encouraged to throw away their paddles and to not hold on to the raft, plus take a big breath as you may be under for 15secs or more. Their guide rode the raft like a mechanical bull before being thrown off - looks really good on the DVD
Up on the bank of the Nile by the buses we had drinks and a BBQ snack. Today was a really good day and comparing rafting on the 2 rivers - Nile and Zambezi - I would say the Zambezi is the best, just due to the amount of rapids you can do in a day, but the Nile is still lots of fun to do especially on those monster Grade 5 rapids.
Watched the video at night and I bought one for $45, as this video was much better than the Zambezi one plus this shows the bungy jumping aswell. There is a highlights section at the end, my bungy is the only bungy jump shown.
Unfortunately around mid-2010 the new dam will be built and the first lot of rapids will no longer be there. A good reason to come back and experience the new full day of rafting.
I would definetly come back to Uganda, at the very least to spend more time at Kampala and Jinja. But the main reason would be for the other National Parks and for climbing along Africa's highest mountain range, the Rwenzoris or Mountains of the Moon.
On a personal note...I've now lost 26kg on this trip.