Uganda is known as the Pearl of Africa (Winston Churchill gave it its name). It’s home to the tallest mountain range in Africa, the world’s longest river (Nile), and the continent’s largest lake (Victoria). And most of all, it’s home to almost half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world.
We made it to Kampala, Uganda with our nerves frazzled. The first leg into Nairobi was no fun – the pilot suddenly aborted our landing in heavy rain with engines abruptly full throttle and altitude change, but didn’t say anything for the longest time as we flew around in the clouds. He finally told everyone he had to abort because of heavy rain. Really? Never heard of that one before…Then when we were waiting at our gate to fly to Entebbe, they led us down a hallway with a line of people going the opposite direction with a torn open box of plastic rain ponchos sitting at the doorway with their plastic packages strewn about. We helped ourselves to one and stepped out into the heavy rain and down a stairway to the tarmac with complete confusion of where we (and everyone else) were suppose to go and find our plane! The African adventure had begun…
We ended up on the right plane and the flight to Entebbe was thankfully uneventful. Then the one-hour drive from Entebbe to Kampala was absolute chaos with the road turning into pot-hole tracks and only inches to spare between other cars, people, motorcycles, bicycles, trucks, taxis, etc. Our taxi almost hit a guy on his bicycle. Our first impression of Kampala was one of a dirty and chaotic city.
Although you can’t see everyone, there’s 3 kids and 2 adults onboard the “boda-boda” below:
We got squared away in our hotel room, after changing rooms a couple of times due to bad A/C unit and room key problems (we learned quickly that nothing works the way it should in Africa).
We got picked up the next day by our guide, Ivan, (30 minutes late- which is not nothing by African standards) and started a 10-hour bumpy drive to our first park destination. We stopped at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary at mid-day and walked our way with a guide to a spot where 4 white rhinos were resting, including one named Obama (Mother rhino from the US and father from Kenya). The rhinos at the sanctuary are the last rhinos remaining in Uganda (they came from various countries like the US and Kenya). They hope to reintroduce them in the wild some day. It was a bit nerve -racking to walk through a herd of big-horned cows to reach the rhinos.
After the rhino sanctuary, we started making our way towards Murchison Falls National Park, and we came across pesky baboons on the road looking for a handout. For us, it was cute as it was our first baboon encounter.