Equatorial Snow Clad Mountains And A Chameleon.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Where I stayed
Ruboni Community Camp.

Flag of Uganda  ,
Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dragging our aching bodies out of our tent, we limped down to the kitchen pavilion at Nyuringo Gorilla Camp for a filling breakfast. All in all, we were pretty much OK, with only a few bruises, scratches (particularly hands from grabbing spike filled vines) and sore muscles as a result of our strenuous gorilla trek the previous day.

Robert, our host at the Gorilla Camp, lives part of the year in Switzerland and the rest of the year in Uganda. He is an interesting character, who has stories to tell of years spent in Africa as a tour guide and photographer. He showed us some amazing photos he had taken of gorillas over the years and we discovered that there is a series of Ugandan postage stamps that display his images. We also noticed that the photo on our Gorilla Trek certificates was one of his.  

After breakfast, we climbed into the car again for a very long day of driving, that would take us to  the Rwenzori Mountains. While geographically not far from where we were, massive mountain ranges, deep valleys and poor roads would mean a 10 hour journey. 

Along the way we enjoyed all different views of agriculture from intensive vegetable growing, banana plantations, dairy farming, goat and cattle husbandry to coffee and tea. The rural Ugandans work VERY hard, especially the women. but they still have waves and smiles for us Mzungus (white people). The children are an absolute delight with big shy smiles. In the banana growing areas, the men ride their bikes loaded up with so many bananas that it is unbelievable the bikes don't topple over. These are taken to an area to await the banana truck that comes along and pays them for their produce. In the potato growing areas, the women haul great big baskets filled with potatoes on their HEADS! Adults and children alike, are always carrying water containers and nearly always on their heads.

Also along the way to the Rwenzori Mountains we passed right through the Queen Elizabeth National Park and saw various types of wildlife including warthogs and Impala. With several hours of quite heavy rain behind us, the skies cleared and we had a perfect view of the snow clad Rwenzori Mountains in front of us. This is a rare thing it was explained to us, as the mountains are usually shrouded in cloud and mist but because we had the rain, it cleared the cloud giving us a wonderful view. We are so lucky with our timings in life!  These mountains, so close to the equator have snow caps and glaciers and are popular for strenuous hiking trips. Not for us though - we are quite happy just to look, given we have over exerted ourselves on the gorilla trek. 

Robert, our host from the Gorilla Camp had suggested we stay at the Ruboni Community Camp, an initiative by an aid organization to provide work for local villagers. We arrived right as the daylight ended and wearily climbed the many steps to reception. Luckily we had left our back packs in the car as then we had to climb back down the many and steep steps to our little banda (a sleeping hut), which was to be our quarters for the night!

As we hadn't booked and we were their only guests for that night, Steven our host, took our orders for dinner and breakfast and advised it would take 2 hours before they could prepare our evening meal of goat's stew. We filled in the time by going for a walk (very slowly as our muscles were complaining big time!) and met some of the villagers having a game with a chameleon. One of the adults, a ranger in the park, was chasing the children with the chameleon in his hand and they were squealing and running away. He invited us to come and have a look and put it down so we could photograph it. A very difficult task as each time the chameleon moved it changed colour to the new environment, causing the camera to re focus!

After our goat's stew and potatoes, we had a shower with hot water supplied by a chip heater and turned in for the night, drifting off to sleep with the restful sound of rushing water from the nearby river, lulling us to sleep.  
Footnote: Rwenzori Mountains National Park is UNESCO World Heritage listed.
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