Uganda - December 2005- January 2006

 


Uganda is located on the East African plateau, averaging about 1100 meters above sea level, sloping very steadily downwards to the Sudanese Plain to the north. The country is surrounded by Congo, Sudan, Kenia and Rwanda, and its main cities - Kampala and Entebbe - are on the southeast side, on the borders of lake Victoria, the origin of the Nile. The other large lakes in Uganda also continue to be named after British royalty: lakes Edward, George, Albert. The rule of Idi Amin ruined the country and decimated its wildlife, but since then things have improved somewhat and wildlife has recovered in the national parks.

We visited Uganda around xmas/new year 2005/6, starting from Entebbe and  traveling around the country in 2 weeks. That meant too many kilometers in too little time, and the red dirt from the unpaved roads is still in the seams of my photobag. Around the time of our trip, tourism was still quite limited in Uganda, partly because of the bad reputation of Idi's regime and partly because of the continuing unrest at the border with Sudan. We went as far as Murchinson falls (see picture above), but the activities of "Lord's army" prevented any further trips north. Many local people were not accustomed to seeing European tourists. When we stopped for lunch at the side of the road one day, children came to watch us and RenĂ©e wanted to give them some pencils and notebooks (the travel guides has warned us: never give money, give some simple things they can use instead), but they fled in panic. Our guide came over and they told him that the Mzungu (normally used to indicate a white person, but ironically also used for a group of visiting african americans) woman had come after them and they had to run for their lives. When everything calmed down again, the small gifts found their way after all.
Still, there are several luxurious lodges, mostly originating from the old British days, linked to national parks and build at spectacular sites. We did not have the chance to stay for long in any one of them, but they looked like places we would enjoy returning to one day.

With the great rivers and lakes, there is an incredibly rich array of species around the water. Kingfishers - we saw the Malachite, Grey Headed, Pied and Woodland - waders and other waterbirds - Hammerheads, Skimmers, Saddle, Yellow and Open billed Storks - and the Hippos and Crocodiles of the Nile. At the Rwandan border we saw the mountain gorillas - and were pelted with stones on our way there because of the Uganda plates on the car.
Two weeks is far too short to even scratch the surface of the incredible riches of Uganda's nature, but we greatly enjoyed our stay and the pictures we have been able to make.

 





Other Birds
Kingfishers
Waders and Waterbirds
Apes and Monkeys
Other Animals
Landscapes and People