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jeremie

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jeremie

I have just finished a marvelous trip in Uganda and Rwanda yesterday, with the visit of Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, Kibale, Bwindi and Akagera national parks.

 

In a nutshell:

We have been fascinated with the outstanding landscapes of Murchison Falls.

We have been particularly worried with the future of Queen Elizabeth national park, due to the significant impact of the legal and ilegal community enclaves located within the park boundaries, and the enlargement of the public road crossing the Katwe area of the park, which is the stronghold for lions.

We have been very happy to do 2 chimps tracking in Kibale and the gorilla tracking in Nkuringo.

We think we have been the luckiest travelers ever at Akagera, with the sightings of a leopard kill on night drive and the sightings of 3 lions around their buffalo kill along the park main track during two following days!

 

We will stay 4 more days exploring the Rwanda's countryside and Volcanoes National Park, I will then visit Simien national park in Ethiopia for a week.

 

I let you as an introduction the first pictures of this fantastic trip!. before starting the redaction of a report.

 

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jeremie

Some relevant facts I gathered during the trip:

 

  • The Mountain gorilla population phase 1 led in the Virunga has finished, Phase 2 has yet to be completed in Bwindi Forest. The preliminary results show an increase of the population of gorilas!
  • Snare poaching is an issue in the Delta area of Murchison Falls National Park, we spot two unfortunate elephants with significant trunk injuries. We did not see any ranger within the park boundaries, it seem they are lacking of resources and motivation and stay at the gates of the park.
  • The Queen Elizabeth - Virunga ecosystem has an estimated lion carrying capacity of nearly 900 individuals. However, the lion population in Queen Elizabeth is still decreasing according to the Ugandan Carnivore Program researcher James, that told us he estimates a total population of lions inside the park of only 70 lions back from 140 lions less than a decade ago.
  • Our Ugandan guide went last year through Pian Upe game reserve. I have very little information about this unknown protected area located in the Karamojong region, East of Uganda, but I was delighted to know that our guide spotted a breeding population of cheetahs from the main public road. This is a very interesting fact, 3 cubs with a mother, which means there should be more cheetahs here. UWA mentions it relocated one hundred impalas from Lake Mburo to Pian Upe, which is quite encouraging too.
  • There are plans to upgrade the 200 square kilometers Katonga Game Reserve to a National Park level. in 2015 impalas and few zebras were relocated from Lake Mburo to Katonga (http://www.ugandawildlife.org/49-newsletters-articles/august/305-zebras,-impalas-translocated-to-katonga-wildlife-reserve), and earlier this year, elands, topis and zebras were released again from Lake Mburo. Katonga used to be the hunting grounds of the Toro kings.
  • The Northern area of Queen Elizabeth is at a non return point. If Ugandan kobs can be seen in the hundreds in the fantastic Kasenyi plains, there are huge impacts in the park with the enlargement to a 4 track puplic road crossing the Katwe area, the presence of an electric line throughout the park, the presence of garbage everywhere in the Katunguru enclave on the Kazinga channel, and the presence of many other communities inside the park poisoning the lions. Some of these communities must be relocated outside of the park. Cattle should be prohibited in these enclaves. International donations must be considered to fund the relocation. We saw a lioness with 7 cubs (the other lioness died for some reasons I do not know) and we were said she killed two cows in the last two weeks to feed these 7 cubs. This is not an easy mission! What will happen to this female group?
  • In Ishasha sector go QENP, we discovered a buffalo killed by a coalition of two male lions. The buffalo disappeared by mid-day. We suspected that the Ugandan solders controling the border with Congo saw the opportunity to take the kill, which is very unfortunate considering the amount of energy they spend to kill such a massive prey. We were happy to know that the culprits including their commender were arrested the following day. At least, this is what were told with written evidences of the sentences.
  • Our guide told us there is a single lion left in Mburo national park, if he came from Akagera or from Tanzania is unsure. Without fencing the park I am not sure it is worth considering of bringing more lion inside the park.
  • We were told by our guide that Ntoroko people located inside Toro Semliki wildlife reserve, now want to upgrade the village at a district level. This sounds not good at all for the preservation of T-SWR.

 

Here is an interesting article:

http://www.monitor.co.ug/artsculture/Travel/Pian-Upe-Park-balance-tourism/691238-4376558-xvcu26/index.html

 

 

Edited by jeremie
complete information

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wilddog

Very interesting information and superb photographs @jeremie. Thanks

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Alexander33

Great introduction and photos, especially of the chimpanzees, as they are so challenging to get. 

 

I hope you will more specifically elaborate on your discussion of the “phases” regarding the mountain gorilla population studies/surveys in the Virungus and Bwindi. Forgive my ignorance, but I’m not up to speed on those. 

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monalisa

I cannot WAIT for your trip report as your photos never fail to amaze me ^_^

I will be going to Uganda next year so looking forward to reading your report and gathering some tips too.

Also do I recall correctly that this was your first trip to Africa? 

 

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gatoratlarge

Wow!  Just returned from Murchison and Kibale myself---your photos are incredible!  Look forward to more!

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jeremie

I have just finished the Simien mountain classic trekking route with an extension to follow the team of the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Program (EWCP) at Serbat Minc campsite. Team Leader Getachew Assefa is a fantastic and very knowledgable person. I am very grateful he accepted me, we spent one afternoon and one morning and we spotted 4 different wolves from 2 distinct packs. The population of the wolf is estimated to a maximum of 75-80 animals, far below the carrying capacity of the habitat according to Getachew.

 

I will start a report in another section of the forum in the following wolves. Here are some few pictures from the trekking and an interesting article that Simien Lodge's owner Nick Cranes published in the Ethiopian Airlines magazine years ago.

 

Lone wolf article:

http://www.selamtamagazine.com/stories/lone-wolf

 

First pictures:

 

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jeremie
On 9/19/2018 at 4:53 AM, Alexander33 said:

Great introduction and photos, especially of the chimpanzees, as they are so challenging to get. 

 

I hope you will more specifically elaborate on your discussion of the “phases” regarding the mountain gorilla population studies/surveys in the Virungus and Bwindi. Forgive my ignorance, but I’m not up to speed on those. 

 

Ok, I will!

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jeremie
On 9/18/2018 at 11:22 AM, wilddog said:

Very interesting information and superb photographs @jeremie. Thanks

 

Thank you very much!

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jeremie
On 9/23/2018 at 1:48 PM, monalisa said:

I cannot WAIT for your trip report as your photos never fail to amaze me ^_^

I will be going to Uganda next year so looking forward to reading your report and gathering some tips too.

Also do I recall correctly that this was your first trip to Africa? 

 

 

@monalisa You are definitely true, It was my first trip in Africa! We really love it!

 

Please fill free to ask me all the tips you would need to plan your safari! 

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jeremie
On 9/25/2018 at 5:18 PM, gatoratlarge said:

Wow!  Just returned from Murchison and Kibale myself---your photos are incredible!  Look forward to more!

 

Thank you very much for your very kind comments! I will go through the Uganda sections to read your report! We literally fell in love with Murchison Falls. I guess you did too!

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