Jan 2015 trip report

Vincent writes:

*As in other African countries, dollars from before 2006 are utterly useless in Uganda. Especially the UWA is adamant about this.

*The owner of Nkuringo walking safaris died a couple of months ago. Edirissa doesn’t work with them anymore for their 5 day trek from Kabale to Bwindi. This trek is great by the way. At the end, it is perfectly possible to walk to Rushaga instead of to Nkuringo in case that would be better for a gorilla permit. The last day of walking through Bwindi (Nkuringo – Buhoma) is great, but at a cost of 70$ per person, it might be a good idea to cross the forest using the free public ‘road’. A large bit of the paying walk follows this trail anyway. When it is raining heavily, the Edirissa trek may become too difficult for some: you have to wade through small rivers, and the crossing of a swamp in the middle of Echuya forest will become very challenging by any standard.

*In the middle of Lake Mutanda, an old UWA ranger and author of a book on Ugandan Rhinos (David ?) is building an eco lodge. Nobody lives on the island except a lot of birds. The cottages are all eco-friendly but unfinished in January (we camped at the garden). I think this will be a great place, and David is an interesting man. We were taken to a small cave on another island where the villagers used to dump the bodies of the deceased. This is a very graphic experience, and might be too hard for the more sensible among us.

*Almost all prices have gone up in comparison with the prices mentioned in the guide book, making Uganda more expensive than it used to be. This goes both for the fees charged by the UWA and for the prices in hotels / guesthouses almost everywhere we went.

*Walter’s boda-boda tours was unresponsive when we tried to contact them. Apparently, they’ve split up into two outfits due to the fact that some of his colleagues were not happy with Walter giving his name to their joint project. We did a boda-boda tour with Kampala boda-boda city tours which was absolutely worth our 30$. Our guide Ricky is a great guy and showed us all of Kampala. Kampala boda-boda city tours strives to teach boda-boda drivers the importance of safety, and we had the impression that they do some great work. A visit of the mosque at Old Kampala is an experience not to be missed when your guide is Ashraf.

*Ekitoobero doesn’t exist anymore, Tuhende Safari lodge has new owners and doesn’t serve food anymore (this may change in the not so distant future).The 2K restaurant in downtown Kampala is a very decent restaurant for authentic african food.

*The Pacific hotel in Kampala is probably the best value hotel I’ve stayed in on many of my African travels.

*When taking taxis to leave Kampala (matatus), it’s worth the effort to walk a bit in the direction you want to go and board it along the road. Otherwise, you risk to wait a very long time at the taxi / bus parks in downtown Kampala.

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