Friday, September 23, 2022

More African Adventures, Part 1 - Entebbe to Bwindi, Uganda

 January 6 - 7, 2019

Arrival in Entebbe, Uganda

There is something magical about Africa that keeps calling us back.  This was our third trip to the continent and this trip offered a brand-new adventure, a visit to the Mountain Gorillas of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, as well as repeat visits to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. 

When I wrote the notes for this post while sitting in the airport in Dubai, Rob and I were exactly halfway around the world from our home in California.  My watch said 10:34 and my clock at home said the same...but California was 12 hours in the past.  Being so completely opposite in time zones is confusing to one's body clock! Since we slept on the plane during our normal nighttime, it was difficult to sleep again during our long layover in Dubai, and we still had one more full day of travel ahead of us!  The huge Emirates Business Lounge was spectacular - filled from end to end with a variety of restaurants and food stations offering everything from sushi to fresh fruit smoothies.  We each enjoyed a great shower and the sleeping nook where we stretched out on comfy, curved lounge chairs to rest.

The Sleeping Hall in the Emirates Airline Business Lounge, Dubai

The morning flight arrived in Entebbe in the late afternoon.  We settled into our room at the Boma Hotel and completely collapsed.  I love to visit far-off places, but I must admit that I don't always love the process of getting to them!

Here at last!

 January 8, 2019

Entebbe to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

We were awake at 5 a.m. and used the morning to explore the tropical grounds of the Boma Hotel and have a dip in the pool before our afternoon flight to Bwindi.  

The gardens of the Boma Hotel, Entebbe, Uganda

Pool at the Boma Hotel

Our charter flight took us over Lake Victoria.  The lake is enormous, stretching as far as the eye could see - almost an inland sea.  We landed at the Kihihi Airstrip where our driver met us and drove us past farms and tea plantations to the highlands of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.  (I kept asking myself, "If it's impenetrable, how are we going to penetrate it?")

Our pilots on our small plane to Kihihi

A town on the shores of Lake Victoria

The entry to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Uganda

The Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp would be our lodging for the next four nights.  Our "tent" was really a cabin with canvas walls, but a sturdy thatched roof and a large stone bathroom - with tub! It was located at the highest spot in the resort with views from the deck of the jungle-covered mountains where we would soon meet our gorilla cousins.  

The main lodge and reception office at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp

Our mountaintop tent cabin

Most accommodations in Africa come with mosquito netting - 
but we have rarely encountered a mosquito!

Our stone lined shower - and in the adjoining room was a bathtub.
This was the first time our accommodations in Africa included a tub,
but it wouldn't be the last on this trip!

A deck with a view.  

One of the pleasures of travel is meeting fellow vagabonds from around the world.  At dinner, we chatted with some remarkably interesting people.  Gillie and Marc are an Australian couple who are renowned world-wide for their bronze statues of animals which are displayed in several countries.  You can read about their work in both art and conservation at Gillie and Marc.  We also enjoyed speaking with Jim Moore, the author of "Clinton: Young Man in a Hurry," a biography of Bill Clinton's early years in politics.  

The dining room in our lodge.

Rob and I headed for our cabin immediately after dinner as we would wake up very early for the next day's amazing adventure!

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