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optig

Beyond gorillas and chimps

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optig

I just came back from Uganda. I stayed for a night at the KHotels ,3 nights at Baker's Lodge in Murchison Falls, 3 in Semliki Lodge in Semliki Toro National Park, one night in Boma Lodge in Entebbe and 5 nights in Kidepo in Apoka Lodge. 

After flying from Nairobi to Entebbe my first stop was at KHotels,Entebbe. I then went to Murchison Falls where I stayed at Baker's Lodge which was a wise choice. I think that it was a great lodge in every respect. I particularly enjoyed my conversations with Bernard the Kenyan manager. He had some interesting insights into Kenyan and Ugandan history and politics. Due to illness and pure fatigue I missed the Falls,but nevertheless I was quite happy with the wildlife and birds that I saw. Murchison Falls is a fine park even if it is crowded in places.It offered a great location right on the river and one could see and hear hippos all the time.The rooms were comfortable and the food was excellent.

 

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Edited by optig

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Tom Kellie

~ @optig

 

Uganda, at last! 

 

We're all glad that you're comfortably back in Nairobi, sharing your impressions of Uganda.

 

How was it different than Kenya? Was the overall atmosphere an experience comparable to your Kenya safaris?

 

It's good that you had pleasant discussions with the manager of Baker's Lodge.

 

Your images above give the impression of a lush, verdant landscape.

 

Thank you for posting these and Welcome Back!

 

Tom K.

 

 

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optig

@Tom Kellie I just loved Uganda for it's beauty as well as the warmth and friendliness of the people. This was my second trip.On my first time in Uganda, I visited Bwindi, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo.The good news is that the Chinese are building badly needed roads everywhere which will be an enormous boost to productivity; the negative is that the rate of population growth is still too high. I have no doubt that more tourists will visit Uganda. I think Semliki Toro National Park badly needs African Parks or the Frankfurt Zoological Society to invest in it because it has so much untapped potential. I'll write more about this later.

 

 

In one game drive in Semliki Toro I saw no less than 7 new species of birds.Unfortunately due to my own ineptitude I did not take the trip on Lake Albert therefore missed the shoebill however I will see it on another occasion.Semliki Toro was as good as it gets as far as my bird watching is concerned.I can only say that the wildlife viewing was fair because I saw plenty of columbus monkeys,Uganda cub,vervet monkeys and of course olive baboons.I did see 2 elephants,one forest and one savannah.Tony and Molene were superb hosts,the rooms and the food were excellent as well.I also met the young American lady who is doing her chimp research in Semliki Toro.

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Tom Kellie
4 minutes ago, optig said:

@Tom Kellie I just loved Uganda for it's beauty as well as the warmth and friendliness of the people. This was my second trip.On my first time in Uganda, I visited Bwindi, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo.The good news is that the Chinese are building badly needed roads everywhere which will be an enormous boost to productivity; the negative is that the rate of population growth is still too high. I have no doubt that more tourists will visit Uganda. I think Semliki Toro National Park badly needs African Parks or the Frankfurt Zoological Society to invest in it because it has so much untapped potential. I'll write more about this later.

 

In one game drive in Semliki Toro I saw no less than 7 new species of birds.Unfortunately due to my own ineptitude I did not take the trip on Lake Albert therefore missed the shoebill however I will see it on another occasion.Semliki Toro was as good as it gets as far as my bird watching is concerned.I can only say that the wildlife viewing was fair because I saw plenty of columbus monkeys,Uganda cub,vervet monkeys and of course olive baboons.I did see 2 elephants,one forest and one savannah.Tony and Molene were superb hosts,the rooms and the food were excellent as well.I also met the young American lady who is doing her chimp research in Semliki Toro.

 

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~ @optig

 

Thank you for the generous assortment of images.

 

Colobus monkeys! Terrific! 

 

I've never seen Kobus kob thomasi, the Uganda Kob.

 

Is that the reddish-brown animal shown in the image above?

 

The young one is a very nice part of the image.

 

I'm glad to know that Tony and Molene offered quality hospitality.

 

It's especially encouraging that you saw elephants in Semliki Toro.

 

The number of bird species you observed sounds quite positive.

 

Such good news in a trip report is a pleasure to read.

 

Tom K.

 

 

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optig

@Tom Kellie That is a Jackson's hartebeest. These last photos are all from Kidepo. I have to say that Kidepo for a variety of reasons is one of my favorite national parks. It has that fabulous combination of wilderness vibe, low vehicle numbers,plenty of wildlife, excellent birding and spectacular scenery. It even has Idi Amin's private lodge which is  more of a fortress than anything else. I did see lions and gigantic herds of buffalos which Kidepo is famous for.There are plenty of elephants and of course Rothschild's giraffe. I had an excellent guide at Kidepo named Julius. The South African management team Esther and Richard were just excellent.The tents,food and service were all superb. Notice the patas monkey.

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Edited by optig

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Tom Kellie

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~ @optig

 

You've made my evening! Thank you for the comments and photos from Uganda's Kidepo National Park.

 

It's one of the locations in which I've been strongly interested for years, therefore I've been looking forward to your trip report.

 

Where did you stay while there? Possibly Apoka Safari Lodge? It would be helpful to know where your guide, Julius, works, as well as Esther and Richard.

 

@optig, I love your action image of the buffalo running across the track. The angled light on them, their motion and the setting are all first-rate.

 

Is the small animal in the track a female Sylvicapra grimmia, Common Duiker? I've never seen one before, so I'm uncertain.

 

The lovely bird is unfamiliar to me. Could it possibly be Merops bulocki, Red-throated Bee-eater? 

 

If so, I'm glad to see it. The range of plumage colors is especially pleasing.

 

Will you someday return to Uganda? It appears to have been a productive safari area for you.

 

Many thanks for the text and images.

 

Tom K.

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optig

@Tom Kellie Well,Thank you so much for your kind comments. Yes, I stayed at Apoka Lodge which I felt was superb. I even got to have long chats with Jonathan Wright the owner of Apoka as well as Semliki Toro and a lodge in Bwindi National Park. I am sure that it's a bush duiker. I also saw plenty of Oribi. Yes, it's the red throated bee eater. I have no doubts that I will return to Uganda because it is so close to Nairobi. I'm currently basking in absolutely glorious weather of 28°C/82°F here in Nairobi while my native Chicago is undergoing  the worst weather in literally decades.I will post more on Uganda later.

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Tom Kellie

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~ @optig

 

A little bird, perhaps Pitta angolensis, told me something about today.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

 

Tom K.

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monalisa

Happiest of birthdays!! :) 

 

It looks like you had quite a fruitful trip! I love those black monkeys with the white puffy tails. What are they?! They are fascinating.

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optig

@monalisa@Tom Kellie I want to thank you both so much for your warm wishes on my 58th  birthday. I'm delighted to say that I'm gradually getting fitter and trimmer. Those are patas monkey which I had seen earlier but only at a distance in Zakouma National Park in Chad. Yes, they're beautiful. 

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dlo

Thanks for the report @optig it looks like you had an enjoyable and productive trip.

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optig

@Dio I certainly did and wouldn't mind visiting Uganda a third time especially because Entebbe is only an hour from Nairobi. It's just a fantastic country in so many ways,

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Atravelynn

Belated Happy Birthday and welcome back from Uganda.  Those monitors on page 1 were very chummy.  More news on Kidepo! Hurray!  That must be where the lion shot is from. 

 

With Entebbe being only an hour away, you have no excuse not to go back!  I have proximity envy.

 

Sad about the donkey and they endure such a tough existence while alive. 

 

I must ask:  Is the first photo vegetation only or is there a species that is eluding me in that shot?

 

Sorry to read about your illness.  It is no fun being sick while traveling.  But good to know you are more fit than ever as you celebrate another b-day!

 

Looking forward to what lies beyond page , and I hope there is more.  Exciting start!

Edited by Atravelynn

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Julian

@optig

we are hoping to go to Uganda to see the mountain gorillas next year ( most likely February) and also are thinking of including Kidepo Valley, so very pleased to see your positive report on Kidepo.

How would you say Kidepo compares to other parks in Tanzania or Zambia?

Is it really worth visiting for the variety and volume of wildlife?

(We probably won’t be going anywhere else in Uganda as we also intend to go to South West Serengeti on the same trip.)

 

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optig

@Julian  I feel that Kidepo is without a doubt the best park for big game viewing. It's also after no less than 18 safaris one of my 10 favorite safari destinations. The scenery, birding and wilderness vibe were all excellent. The wildlife was varied but then again it is not quite as varied as Zambia,Tanzania or Kenya.It is a fantastic park for an experienced safari goer which you obviously are,in your case I couldn't recommend it more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Julian

@optig

thanks very much, that is really helpful. It will be included on our itinerary

 

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optig

@JulianAnother reason why I can guarantee that you'll just love Kidepo is that it receives so few visitors. There is only one lodge there,Kidepo and of course the Ugandan Wildlife Authority bandas. You will just adore it and hopefully you'll even get to see cheetah.

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optig

@AtravelynnPlease notice the white birds in the background,the photo was not among the best.Thank you for the birthday wishes. I am indeed so fortunate to e living where I am.

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Atravelynn
7 hours ago, optig said:

@AtravelynnPlease notice the white birds in the background,the photo was not among the best.Thank you for the birthday wishes. I am indeed so fortunate to e living where I am.

Oh yes, they are probably cattle egrets.  I thought maybe it was one of those "Where's Elmo?" shots.  Kind of like this one.  Where's the Ethiopian wolf?  Noted that Kidepo is in your Top 10!

 

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