Here we stayed at an awesome campsite on the River Nile (near the source), where some of the group did White Water Rafting, we however just took the opportunity to chill out, do washing, and take in the views. We also experienced a night out in the local bar drinking the ‘Nile Premium Beer’.
Another awesome campsite – this time on the huge Lake Bunyonyi at around 1800m altitude and also the deepest lake in Africa, around 900m deep! We stayed here for four nights, as it was the base for the gorilla trek. We also walked through the local village, stopping for lunch one day, as well as visiting a local school, a pygmy village, and an orphanage called Little Angels.
Little Angels is a school for mainly orphan children, initially set up by a young Ugandan man named Duncan, who was himself sponsored as a child. In appreciation of the kindness shown to him, he decided to set up a school for the orphans in his village. Duncan made us feel so welcome on our visit to the school, where we were each invited into the classrooms to watch the teachers run their classes and participate in the recital of the alphabet, and the spelling of words using pictures on the blackboard. After class we went to the play area where the whole school danced and sang to rhymes. It was extremely moving to see how happy the kids were given their environment.
We were given the opportunity to sponsor a child at the school, and with no hesitation we decided to sponsor a beautiful girl called Elizabeth, who we spent time with during our visit to the school.
A video taken by a fellow traveller (thanks Louisa!) of some dancing at Little Angels!
Local School and Pygmy Village
We took a one hour boat ride across the lake where we climbed to the top of a remote pygmy village – a local tribe forced by the government out of their traditional lands to live (without any further help from the government) amongst the local community. We first visited the primary school, sat in on the classroom, and were treated to some singing and dancing, and then invited to reciprocate! The school children were so lively and their voices and rhythm put us to shame! At the Pygmy village we again watched some traditional dancing and singing, and then shown around their simple huts etc. While they had little or no possessions and were clearly living in poverty, they made us feel very welcome and the views from the area were spectacular!
We were so excited for our gorilla trek and it definitely did not disappoint! We were picked up from our camp at 5.00am and after a 2 hour drive arrived at the Impenetrable Forest – the base of our trek (right on the border of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo). Once briefed, we set off on a drive which took us deep into the rainforest where we then proceeded by foot to track the Oruzogo family of Gorillas. The trek itself was quite hard at times with steep, slippery banks and thick vegetation. There were 8 of us in the group (the maximum number allowed), the tracker, three men armed with machetes and a man with a machine gun! It took just over an hour and a half to find the family and the first sighting of them was incredible. The silverback and his son were huge, there were around 20 gorillas in total including babies and a heavily pregnant mum. We were not allowed to go within 7 meters of the gorillas, but we observed and followed them through the rainforest as they played, ate and climbed in the trees. It was so surreal to watch these amazing species in the wild, something we will never forget and unfortunately the pictures just cannot capture them in full.
Nothing much to report here other than arriving late after a full day of driving from Lake Bunyonyi. We drove through the hectic city around 5pm, arrived at camp, set up, and were off again to cross the border back into Kenya, leaving at 6am in the morning.
See next: Kenya (second time)