Trip Start Jul 09, 2010
Trip End Nov 04, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hippo Hill Camp

Flag of Uganda  ,
Monday, July 12, 2010

Firstly, apologies that we've not been able to make contact with anyone and reassure friends and family that we are ok following the bomb that went off in Kampala. We are safe and sound in Hippo Hill Camp.  The news has been devastating for the Ugandan people and I can state that these warm and friendly people do not deserve what has happened to them.   Shocking news but we’ve been told that our trip continues uninterrupted.

An early 6am start this morning meant we awoke before sunrise, quick breakfast and then were out for an early morning game drive in the Queen Elizabeth NP to catch the sunrise and start tracking game.  Safari is basically is a game of pure luck and we were very lucky this morning to witness the mating ritual of the Ugandan kob.   This cousin of the deer has a unique dating strategy to entice the lady kobs.   He finds a personal patch of grass, urinates in a circle and then sits in the middle of this circle of love and waits for the women to approach.  If they like what they smell, they enter the circle and the mating commences.  One lucky kob had a circle full of lady kobs and didn’t know which way to turn.  Fortunately he got some humping underway and Ali got a photo.

After viewing this marvel of nature, the safari yielded some more warthogs, some more lonely kobs (their urine needed some work) and some African buffalo, it was back to Hippo Camp to prepare for the Chimp trekking which was to take place at Chamburu gorge.  This meant I caught a 2 hour snoozey and Ali read her book.  Everyone else in our group read up on itineraries, chimp behaviour and other such useful information.  It wasn’t far to Chamburu gorge where we met our guide, Stephanie, who was armed with an AK-47.  We were assured this was for our protection and after descending into the gorge, I believed her.  It was like a scene from Jurassic Park.  We were wandering through this dimly lit jungle with the sound of hippos groaning and moving through the foliage.  It could have been a dinosaur given the sound it was making.  Throw in rustling trees, branches breaking as the baboons run for cover, the biggest elephant footprints ever and the sound of an approaching thunderstorm made for a pretty spooky setting. Ali turned to me for reassurance and I laughed. Unfortunately, we tried and failed to track the chimps. The translation for chamburu is "to try but fail", an old Ugandan folklore.  It didn’t spoil the day though and it was nice to get out and do a walk, even if one was local entertainment for the flies and mozzies.

The game drive at sunset was also like a scene from Jurassic park, but the one were the tour bus is going through the park and the guests can’t spot any dinosaurs.  I guess that’s the point about safari, you’re not guaranteed to see any wildlife, but just as disappointment was about to set in we crossed paths with a herd of elephants and we got some good shots of the guy bringing up the rear as he crossed 15ft from the back of the truck.           

We have a huge drive tomorrow to the park where the gorillas are.  Apparently there are lions en route too.  I’ve already started to dismiss game such as kobs and warthogs as common, I’m turning into a safari snob and I’ve only been here two days!
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Michelle Conn on

This is so awesome. Have been reading out sections to Josh and chuckling away. What a great idea. Keep the posts coming.. lots of love. Shell xxx

Jacky on

hi all sounds brill. Great photos and blog. Please get in touch as soon as you can. No reports here of the trouble in Kampala - thankfully or I would have been on the next plane.
Love to you both xx

Kylie on

Let's not forget Ali vs Birds, when she was attacked by a lorikeet she was taking a photo of - careful Ali, history tends to repeat itself.....loving the blog and the photos, wish we were there!

mistygibbons on

Haha! I forgot about that lorikeet that landed on my head! The before photo was excellent... it swooping in to land on my head! I almost got charged by a baby elephant this morning when I was taking photos too... gotta be more careful!! Just wait till you see the warthog photo tho... it's hilarious!

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