WILD AFRICAN QUEST – 11
5 January 2019
“We set off in high spirits for the border with Glenn’s bike now charging perfectly. The Katuna Border crossing was not too bad however we were ill prepared and had the wrong currency. We thought they would accept dollars but they wanted local currency so we landed up getting ripped off by the money changers.
There are beautiful new buildings almost complete at the border but we cleared through the container offices. Apparently they have not worked on the new buildings for 2 years now! Or so we were led to believe. As we crossed into Uganda Glenn reminded me that we were entering the land of the fictional character, ‘The Last King of Scotland’.
Our route took us north past Lake Bunyoni, which means ‘place of many little birds.’”
This incredible lake is like a magical scene from the Italian Lake Como combined with Nepalese terraced hills. The shoreline meanders like a weaving snake through little inlets and encircles a total of 29 islands. One of these islands has a bizarre history, that of Akampene, or “Punishment Island” as it is where unwed mothers were banished to live out their days in starvation. The practice continued up until the 1900’s. To this day, not much survives on this island except one lone tree and clumps of grass.
East of Lake Bunyoni is home to one the most magnificent of all species; 98% genetically human and clawing its way back from the brink of extinction. Mountain Gorilla are found in three places in the world, Uganda, Rwanda and the Congo. The Gorillas in Uganda live in the area of Bwindi National Park which has four habituated families with 32 permits available per day. Each permit costs $600 and gives you a chance once tracked, to spend 1 hour in the presence of these amazing creatures. Across the border in Rwanda , it costs a staggering $1500 per permit.
“We then headed north from Kabale onward and upward towards Fort Portal. We passed by impressive rivers, swollen from the heavy rains and incredible tea plantations and then came across a view we both fell in love with…the break taking vistas of Queen Elizabeth National Park.”
It was originally called Kazinga National Park and then renamed after the Queen in 1954. Famous for its volcanic cones and crater lakes, it is also a Lion conservation area and seeing the odd Lion in a tree around Ishasha area is not uncommon.
“The park straddles two great lakes, Lake George in the north-east and Lake Edward in the south-west. These two lakes are connected by a 32km wide channel of water called the Kazinga with the old Kazinga Bridge crossing over. There were tons of elephant droppings but sadly we had no sightings.
Not far north of here we got to feel even lighter than we already were as we stood with one foot on the Southern Hemisphere and one on the north. Yes less, only because the gravitational forces are lower on the equator. After a wee dram of whiskey, we were back on the road.
We finally got into Fort Portal with the last stretch of road being hell; loads of construction and potholes.
It seems like I am attracted to golf courses as we found the fairway hotel and landed up camping in the gardens.
Post by Debra Bouwer