Habari gani (how are you)? Hope you had a fabulous Christmas. 🙂
I know I’ve been extremely quiet lately (and I truly apologize for this), but the internet connection in Africa can be “very” challenging.
Fortunately, I am now in an area where the internet is pretty good (cross fingers), so hopefully I’ll be able to upload some pics of my trip so far. All in all it’s been an amazing journey, and I’m looking forward to the remainder of the safari.
As I speak, I am along the banks of the Zambezi river in Livingstone (Zambia). A stunning location to relax and enjoy some of the most amazing activities Africa has to offer: rafting, bungee jumping, game drives in the Mosi oa Tunya National Park…the area is pure heaven!
Without further due, here’s what I’ve been up to til this date (this is Part 1; the rest will follow shortly). Enjoy! 😉
Day 1: Great things to start off with. Left at 8 am for Lake Nakuru. Went through parts of the Rift Valley (what a view) and had our picnic just outside Nakuru National Park’s entrance (check out my “interesting” encounter with a monkey).
Had our first game drive and were privileged enough to see a variety of animals and birds. Highlights included rhino sightings, buffalo, plenty of zebra, impala, warthog, and of course the colorful flamingo colony. Can’t wait for tomorrow…talk soon.
Day 2: After spending the night inside Nakuru (heard some amazing lion + leopard & baboon calls), we woke up bright early the next day for a last game drive. Saw our first lions (including ones that had injured a lone buffalo bull), a couple of white rhinos, and plenty of zebra.
We then took the road for Eldoret, a + 200 km drive where we went through various villages and small towns. It’s amazing to see how kids respond as we pass by their villages: with a large grin on their faces and a friendly waving hand. “Muzungu, muzungu”, they cheerfully shout.
Tonight we are staying at Naiberi River Campsite, a beautiful overlanding spot recently visited by Bill Gates. Talk to you tomorrow when I’ll be highlighting our drive to Jinja, known for being the source of the Nile.
Day 3: Not the most picturesque of days, as we drove from Eldoret to Jinja (Uganda). Most striking was just before the border cross, as we literally overtook a queue of hundreds of trucks. These trucks usually get blocked for days (sometimes even weeks) by local authorities before they can proceed to Uganda.
We eventually arrived at our camp a little after 5 pm, and what a stunning location it proves to be.
Nile River Explorers has everything to be thrilled about: a breathtaking view of the White Nile River, hot showers and lots of things to see and do. Looking forward to staying here for 3 nights.
Day 4: This morning I was awaken by Red-tailed guenons, Vervet monkeys and Eastern Grey Plantain-eaters (bird type). What a great day it proved to be as we “surfed” down the tricky waves of the Nile River on a memorable rafting experience.
“Paddle hard…harder…in the boat”, screamed Alex as we went through the various obstacles. Totally recommended if you are in the area.
Day 5: Volunteer work at one of the Soft Power community projects. Visited a Pre-school facility and did some painting on the outside walls of Kyomya Primary School. Had great fun and it was amazing to interact with the kids. Their smiley faces made my day.
Day 6: Departure to Kampala. Only 80 kms away, so it was a pretty relaxing drive. Did a bit of shopping as we arrived, and slept at a place called Red Chilli. Tomorrow we are off to Lake Bunyonyi, Africa’s second deepest lake.
Day 7: On the road again! Quite a bit of driving planned today (400 km +), but it should be totally worth it as we approach Mountain Gorilla territory. The drive took us from relatively flat terrain to the hilly surroundings of Bunyonyi, a magnificent setting for the next four nights of our overland trip.
It’s almost voting time in Uganda…we had quite a few interesting encounters while on our way (check out the pic).
Day 8: Relaxing at camp while the first group is being transferred to the Gorilla site. Got quite a bit of rain so we ended up doing some cleaning, laundry, etc. Catch you later.
Day 9: Transfer from Bunyonyi Lake to the Nkuringo Gorilla Campsite. While our destination was less than 100 km away, it literally took us 3 hours to get there. The road was extremely sinuous and parts of it were in pretty bad shape. Nonetheless, the landscape was a real treat for the eyes.
Tomorrow we embark on what should be a once in a lifetime encounter with one of our closest relatives: the endangered Mountain Gorilla of Bwindi. Fingers crossed!
Day 10: THE day has finally arrived. After a copious breakfast and an interesting briefing by our local guide Herbert, we headed off to the forest in search of our gorilla friends.
To our astonishment it only took us 15 minutes to find them (the other group trekked over 2 hours before finding them). Two magnificent black backs from the Nkuringo group were awaiting us on top of the hill’s slope.
We then spent the next hour or so with the rest of the family, going about their daily activities. I can’t be grateful enough for what we experienced.
Days 11 and 12: It was initially planned for us to stay one extra night in Bunyonyi after our return from the gorilla trekking. However, we decided it would be more relaxing to do the driving back to Kampala in two days instead of one.
The first day we drove approximately 265 km to a small town called Mbarara. Stayed at a place called University Inn and ended up upgrading to a room as it was raining cats and dogs, and it would have been mission impossible to sleep in a tent (yes, even in Africa we do get rain).
As I am writing these words, we have finally reached Kampala and have set up our tents at Red Chilli. Tomorrow over 400 km await us as we drive back to Nairobi (via Eldoret) before travelling to the Masai Mara. Take care.
Watch this space for Part 2 of my Overland trip.
Until next time, have a “fantabulous” day.
Michael aka AfricaFreak.