This wasn’t a photographic trip, I wanted to put the photographer in me aside and just be there, talking to people and enjoying the moment; so, you won’t see many pictures in this post.
I must say I have been surprised to see how different Rwanda is compared to Uganda, mainly the development and the overall management of Kigali (the capital).
Very well-organised and clean, Kigali stands out as a very welcoming city. Busses seem to be on time, most of the transports require you to go to a proper ticket office (!!!) and buy it at a standard price; so, no bargaining and trying to get closest to the ‘fair’ price. Whenever you say no to a boda boda driver at a stage, the others will usually not harass you anymore (this, of course, depends on the situation). These things might not sound familiar if you haven’t lived in a town like Kampala for several weeks/months.
Sleepy faces. Slow movements. Few words. A common scene from an early morning. A nice breakfast put us all back on our feet, ready for chimp tracking.
For the tracking, we had to go into the thick forest, moving slowly and staying together in a group. This is necessary in order to not be considered a threat by the chimpanzees; scattering around would give them a feeling of being surrounded, frightening them.
It took us a good hour (or so) before we could see a chimp. Until then we could hear them calling each other (chimps have a sort of language; there are up to 30-40 sounds used for indicating different actions, i.e. food, anger, danger…).
The first one, was a rather sleepy one; he stayed most of the time laid down on a large branch and chilling under the sunlight, turning around at times.
After an exhausting climb under the hot African sun, our group made it to the top. Welcomed by both the incredible view and the fresh shower created by the water crashing into the rocks.
It was amazing, and the feeling to be finally arrived and to be in front of these marvellous falls in Uganda was priceless. Few months ago most of us wouldn’t even have remotely thought about the possibility of being in Africa and now, here we were, speechless in front of yet another spectacle of nature.
After the refreshing lunch break, it was time to finally head to the falls.
To reach the bottom of the waterfalls, we had to take a boat ride on the Nile. Truly great! There were hippos, crocodiles (some really close by!) and loads of birds. Too bad I lost most of the pictures from that tour;
Pro-Tip: Never ever delete stuff from the camera if you aren’t 100% sure you made a copy somewhere else.
I managed to save some pictures, but most of them are just present in my mind.
The boat ride brought us just right under the Murchison falls. Now just a long climb was between us and the top.
And as you can understand from the pattern I use in the titles, the game drive ended without us being able to see any lion.
Our guides also went to get a ranger for tracking the felines, but luck wasn’t on our side this time. Once we got to the place where they were supposed to be staying, we just found lonely bushes and grass, without any sort of cat.
After an hour, we just gave up as it was time to catch the ferry which would bring us to the other side of the river Nile for lunch.
Today I will publish 2 posts as tomorrow I will leave for my Rwanda-Burundi trip and I will not be able to publish anything for few days.
I can say we have been both lucky and unlucky; lucky because we managed to see some elephants, unlucky because they were quite far from us. I know it is not much of a big deal, but other tourists had the chance to see them really close to them.
Due to them being far, I couldn’t grasp much of their behaviour; but I am pretty sure I will see them again some time soon!
I must say I was quite surprised when I first saw a giraffe in real life. Of course, I knew they were very tall, I read it gazillion of times and saw loads of pictures, but being just few meters away made a huge difference. Even the smallest one, a baby giraffe, was tall compared to us (or our van).
We saw them in 2 occasions and got to take pictures both from afar and very close-by. Although they tended to not get too close to us, they seemed to be very interested in us; especially the baby giraffe, which literally stood on the road in front of us, just facing us.