Ever since 2003 when I started to work in Uganda I have used the Bradt guide for the trips we made in Uganda. I advised the guide to all our friends who came to visit us. I have always been impressed by the accuracy of the guide but I also understand that it cannot always be perfect and that is the reason that I am drawing your attention to some errors.
On page 373 at the start of Chapter 10 there is a picture of the map of Borneo(Serawak) instead of a thumbnail of Murchison Park
Fort Portal: On page 344 Ruwenzori Guesthouse is wrongly located in C1 where it should in section B1
On page 305 you mention Abbey guesthouse in Rugazi. This guesthouse seems less suitable for tourists since it happens to be a hotel where you rent the rooms per hour. They were nevertheless very friendly and showed us 2 very good alternatives:
1 Priume Palace,a community centre with 4 selfcontained rooms for 50.000 UgX
2 Cave Nyakasharu Eco Lodge run by “Dave the Cave”.
Both are in Nyakasharu ( Rubirizi) less than 1 Km from Abbey Guesthouse on your left coming from QENP. From here it is worthwhile to visit the nearby Nzuguto Wetlands known for many swamp birds including the Papyrus Gonolek and the Red headed lovebird. (Sunday can show you the way; tel; 0700142590)
On page 228 Rwaboko Lodge should be Rwakobo
On page 268 and 269 you mention Lake Mutolere. That should be Lake Mulehe. Since 2003 I have worked in Mutolere Hospital and I can asure you that there is no Lake Mutolere. On page 270 Mutolere is mentioned as a tradingcentre. It is also the name of a Parish and a Hospital at the same location.
Felex Kamalha writes:
A new community campsite has started at Kikororngo community, near Queen Elizabeth national park, on the road to on Fort Portal. It currently has two to three self-contained twin rooms, five camping shades and a big open camping ground. The campsite also has a small restaurant that doubles as a gift shop on the in the front. We are currently working on the website but should be ready in a month or so.
The link is http://www.theelephanthome.com
A new lodge (Enjojo Lodge) is about to open (May-June 2015) near Ishasha Gate. It is situated just opposite Ishasha gate, in the valley, approx 2.5 km off the Katunguru-Kihihi road. It is owned and run by a co-Belgian, a Ms Kristine. The lodge is situated in the savannah bordering the NP and has 6 self-contained thatched bandas and a cosy restaurant and lounge. There is also a family banda, accommodating two families. There are plans for a swimming pool and camp site.
When I was last there (April), the bandas were fully equipped ( solar powered, hot and cold running water, great outside showers ) and ready to receive guests. The restaurant (beautiful view on the lake and NP) and kitchen were almost completed. The accommodation and site are really promising. The owner is also making a walkway through the patches of forest and savannah (2 hour walk)
Even though the place was not open yet, I spent three nights in one of the bandas. Great jungle experience: colobus in the trees, elephants bathing in the lake, topi grazing just in front of the banda, lion roaring in the distance. And this in full comfort and security. Though I was an unexpected visitor, the friendly staff and owner managed to serve excellent meals and ( yes!) cold drinks.
The lodge has a great safari vehicle for 6 passengers, ideal for game drives and excursions.
Prices had not been set yet when I was there, but I was told it was going to be in the mid- price range , which would be excellent news.
In return for the owner’s hospitality I am hosting a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Enjojolodge
Between Nov 17 and Dec 3, 2014, we volunteered at Healthy Child Uganda in Mbarara, and were tourists on weekends. Although we asked for alternatives to the usual tourist spots, all our inquiries directed us to the National Parks, which are indeed wonderful. Those we asked were clear – the infrastructure doesn’t exist to ‘go off the beaten’ track. Since work was intense, we took the easy route and went to the tourist places.
One Sunday, our hike in Queen Elizabeth National Park couldn’t happen and our guides had no backup plan to offer. Everyone we asked at our lodge or in the park suggested another game drive. Ho hum. I kept asking. One of the servers in the dining tent asked if we’d been to Twin Lakes and the Kichwamba Escarpment Community Tourism Initiative. We’d never heard of it. No one at the park had. With nothing else to do, we went.
The Kichwamba Escarpment Community Tourism Initiative was the highlight of our trip. The two-hour tour evolved into three hours and we were invited to stay for their lunch, which we shared village style. The sweeping vista from the rim of the escarpment was stunning and unlike other crater lakes we’d visited.
Our guides were village elders, we met the village chairman, the 82-year old elder who convenes the village peacemaking council, the village traditional healer, the teacher, families, the children followed us or waved shyly from their mother’s skirts … and on and on of wonderful and moving introductions, explanations and welcomes.
This is sustainable tourism and agriculture and traditional culture at its best. And no one we asked knew it existed. The entrance is unsigned and hard to find. Had we not called ahead to alert them to the make of our car and approximate time of arrival, we would still be looking. As it was, the elder, Hillary, stood at the entrance and phoned our driver’s cell when he saw us miss the turn.
After the tour, the elders took us into their ‘office’ and offered tea, plus small gifts of some of their fresh produce that we’d admired during the visit.
The cost was the equivalent of $10 US per person and we also added a donation to their village since everything in cash is put in the village common pot and shared among all. We also gave a gift to the lovely woman who invited us to share her families’ lunch although she didn’t ask for anything and welcomed us from her heart. As did they all.
Uganda Wildlife Authority has recently introduced an electronic card system for prepayment of park entry fees and activities at five national parks i.e. Murchison Falls, Lake Mburo, Kibale Forest, Queen Elizabeth and Bwindi Impenetrable. For full details see http://ugandawildlife.org/wildlife-card
Masaka – Ten Tables
The Ten Tables restaurant seems to have converted into a rooftop pub, serving basic pub food rather than the mentioned three-course dinners.
Lake Mburo – Eagle’s Nest
Indeed Eagle’s nest is good value. Basic tenting with beds and shower having great views over the park.
Lake Bunyoni – Arcadia Cottages
I don’t remember the exact price we paid, even after haggling it was US100+ B&B. The panorama is still there
Ishasha – Ishasha Jungle Lodge
Next to reconstructing the lodge, which is done brilliantly. Also the prices have been revised. The brochure states US155pp for full board, a disappointment after a long day driving.. Since we were the only guests they went down to US130 for B&B. Also the road from Kihihi had numerous big pools.
Jim Upperman writes:
Your new edition was a great resource for our group of six in our January 2014 trip.
A few comments:
1) the boat launch in QENP—Kazinga channel was superb and much more interesting than that in MFNP. More wildlife, close-up looks at Ugandan villagers on the shoreline, and a great naturalist/narrator on board—UWA guide Daniel. One of our highlights while in Uganda.
2) the lack of infrastructure ( roads, rest stops) in western Uganda on the major tourist circuit should not be understated. We loved our trip—but were amazed that the closer we came to the World Heritage site—Bwindi—the worse the roads became!
3) At Bwindi, we had six relatively fit individuals who engaged in the gorilla trek with the Mubare group/family. It took us 3.5 hours from Buhoma to reach the gorillas —mostly climbing. Two of our group needed a basket (with villagers) to complete the trip. As you and others write, a magical once in a lifetime experience to spend time with these magnificent creatures. Making eye contact will never be forgotten. Thank God for the many men and women who have worked tirelessly to protect the remaining few from extinction.