We were up, had breakfast and finished packing before Abdallah arrived. With cherry goodbyes to the folks at the lodge, we were off. I was coughing quite a bit in the last few days. As all homes use wood fires for cooking, heating, and making charcoal, my opinion was I was having allergic bronchitis due to the air pollution. I felt fine. Jenny was alarmed with all my coughing and it kept her awake at night. I promised I’d get it checked out if it wasn’t improved after we got home.
“On the road again…”
Children on the side of the road were selling a Jackson’s three-horned chameleon.
We also saw:Blue monkey.
The land is extremely steep, up to 60 degrees of slope. I took pictures, but it is hard to appreciate how steep the land is. The people have tea plantations all along the mountains.
Driving in Uganda, we saw people living in brick houses a-la Zanzibar. Abdallah told us that the community comes together and makes bricks when they need to do construction. Then, they stack the bricks into a kiln-shape and bake the bricks. Everyone takes what they need for their individual construction. If they need more bricks, they make more.
This was a short day of travel. We reached the Mgahinga National Park and the Volcanoes Mghinga Lodge right after lunch. We had a relaxing time in the afternoon until dinner.
The following day, Sara and I were going to trek to see Golden Monkeys. Jenny remained very weary from the gorilla trek and decided to stay home. After breakfast we headed off with Abdallah driving. Arriving at the forest, we waited for our guides and my porter. The trek up was much easier than the Gorilla trek although the altitude was hard to deal with. On the trek, we saw the largest earthworm I’ve ever seen.
As we arrived in the bamboo forest, three researchers were already there following the family of Golden Monkeys. We found them after a bit. Ensconced in the bamboo, the monkeys were quick moving and hard to see clearly. They weren’t like the Chimpanzees or Gorillas, habituated to human presence.
Sara and I, with our guides, departed after about an hour of observing and photographing. We stopped outside the bamboo forest and had lunch. A beautiful butterfly sat on Sara’s lunch.
Going down the mountain was considerably easier than going up, yet it was still tiring. Having learned a lesson a couple days before with the gorillas, I had 5 water bottles with me for a total of 2.5 liters. I needed every bit of it. Whilst we descended, we saw a Bushbuck and a Duiker. Unfortunately, they are very shy and I couldn’t get a photo of them.
We rested the remainder of the day and I needed it. I guess I’m getting old. The altitude of roughly 3000 meters was rough on this old boy.
The following day, we met our new guide, Apollo, who was going with us to the Batwa camp.
The Ugandan government removed these bush people from the forest to protect the Gorillas and Golden Monkeys from being used as bush meat. The Batwa, used to living in caves, were given land to farm. Unfortunately, the land was either on the top of mountains or in valleys with no access to water and thus untillable. They were then settled into this camp, they originally lived in huts made of leaves and sticks.
This is the first “improvement” of the huts. Unfortunately the tarp confined smoke from cooking inside the hut causing a lot of respiratory problems.
Next, the government removed the tarps and added metal roofs. This resolved the smoke issues and helped keep the Batwa more dry.
Brick homes are now being built with metal roofs and cooking areas located outside the houses for health reasons.
After we’d been there a while, they started singing and dancing. A few of the older folks were visibly drunk. Apollo told us not to give them any money as the’d use it immediately for drink.
The guy with with the red turban is the village elder…93 years old! He was out dancing with the children.
I know these events are presented to give us foreigners a taste of what “true” native culture is like. I felt differently. The Batwa were really tragic. No land to raise crops. Just a camp. They live off handouts and donations. With nothing to do, men and women drunk at 10 AM.
As we left, Apollo told us that if we wanted to help, we could buy a bag of rice (50 kg) for the village. Sara, Jenny and I bought 3 bags. I felt good actually giving them something that was good for them.
On our way back to the Lodge, we stopped at the Travellers Rest and had a drink.
Our last day in the bush! We arrived at the Kisoro Airport at about 9:30 AM. Even at this tiny airport there was a baggage check. The police closed the main road in both directions when a plane landed or departed because of the way the runway crosses the road.
It was a two hour flight to Entebbe airport or a 12-hour road trip. We flew. After an overnight at the Protea Hotel, we left Uganda for our flights to Cape Town, arriving about 3:30. We went out for dinner with Sara to celebrate a wonderful African trip. She was leaving at 9:30 for the airport. We put her in a car for the airport and began our rest and recuperation. We were so happy that Sara enjoyed her trip so much.