I was just sent the following trip report on the Queen Elizabeth Safari offered by Red Chilli Backpackers in Kampala:
The first trip was to Amabeere caves & waterfall, the guide was enthusiastic and it was a pleasant break from sitting in the minibus. Then we travelled to Simba Safari Camp just outside the park, very near the equator markers actually. It is run by tour company Great Lakes Safaris and was only finished in December last year – is very nice accommodation – we were upgraded on the first night but the dorms and facilities are all rather nice. It is a little expensive for food there, but Red Chilli had asked them to provide some cheaper alternatives, although these options were a touch bland and still dear for what they were.
The next morning was a “community walk” in the foothills of the Rwenzori mountains. I didn’t enjoy this at all – maybe our guide was not in the mood so we just stomped through a village and some fields for maybe 45 minutes up towards the primary school. I think the other group had a more talkative guide! In the school we were split into small groups and told we would be teaching the children – we had no idea of this, we thought we would see some teaching & maybe get involved (to say the entire group was lacking enthusiasm is an understatement!) most of us just chatted to the children, some went outside and played games.
We came back to Simba before going to the Equator markers then onto the boat launch. We were supposed to do a small game drive on the way but maybe we were behind schedule and just bombed it to the boat to sit for 30 minutes and eat our small packed lunch. We could see elephants in the distance and once we were aboard we made our way over and were not disappointed – not only were there lots of elephants, we saw hippos, crocs, buffalo and a variety of birdlife. On the way back we drove to a crater lake – very impressive scenery but very bumpy roads!!
Next morning we were up for 6.30 for a game drive, so we’d had an early night. It was OK but the boat trip had been more impressive. The guide was in the other minibus but kept in-touch with our driver so that when a lion was spotted we made our way over. In the afternoon we went to the Maramagambo Forest for a guided walk. It was quite pleasant only there were 17 of us and just one guide so right at the back we didn’t really hear any of the information – as soon as we’d caught up the group was off again!! The guide had also said it was a good idea to wear covered shoes – but only once we got there and couldn’t do anything about it, however the girls wearing flip-flops were fine as the ground was dry. We didn’t really see much wildlife in the forest in the afternoon – we had been warned by Red Chilli before we set off from Kampala which made us wonder why we were on this particular trip at this time of day…
Next day simply in the minibus back to Kampala – we left earlier than planned so we could get food on the road (as the packed lunches were so terrible) and arrived back around 3.30pm
Generally, it was a nice trip – I wouldn’t have seen so many elephants or some amazing scenery if I hadn’t gone but I was glad that I had Murchison too. It was well organised and run smoothly but some parts do perhaps need refining – Red Chilli have responded to some feedback already and perhaps they are letting things settle for a while until they change anything.”