Guest Story: Susi Koenig
"We have experienced an adventurous, exciting and enriching holiday, hard to put into words. It was really easy to do the tour as self-drives because the preparations and directions Across Africa put together for us was just perfect."
Written by Susi Koenig (translated from German into English), February 2019 (referring to a safari in October 2018)
With a little delay you will now finally get our little travel report from our self-drive tour through Uganda. The basis for the amazing trip was of course the perfect organization by Across Africa.
The route you put together was perfect in terms of scenic attractions, lodges, encunters with local people, and of course the unique wildlife viewing and experiences. The daily driving distance, the time available for game watching and an enjoyable stay at the lodges were very well matched. Fascinating was the scenic variety combined with different animal experiences. Murchison National Park, unusually dotted with palm trees, with its large collections of giraffes and hippos, crocodiles and beautiful birds along the Nile where we had an unforgettable boat trip to the base of the falls. Or exploring the savannah at Queen Elizabeth National Park with our own 4x4 Land Cruiser with animals like elephants, buffalos, lions and many more.
After interesting experiences and encounters along the way, too many to mention, we reached Kibale National Park with its giant trees. One of the highlights of our trip was the chimpanzee tracking with a very well-trained ranger. Our lodge was unique, with a stunning view from the terrace of these primeval forests and the Ruwenzori mountains. We were spoiled with delicious food and friendly service. From there we went down to the valley through many small villages.
A short drive took us to our next destination at Queen Elizabeth National Park where we were warmly welcomed at the lodge. The view of the lakes and landscape was gigantic and we enjoyed it with fine food. Again, we undertook a safari and were able to drive independently by jeep through nature. In the morning we could observe a lion family. The park was fantastic, and the views unforgettable because you always had the Ruwenzori mountains as a backdrop in the distance.
We explored the crater landscape below the mountains and were surprised by what nature created. Highly recommended is a boat tour on the Kazinga Channel with game watching along the banks of the canal, whether it was elephant herds, hippos and buffaloes, the great African fish eagle or crocodile. With a heavy heart, we had to continue.
Next up - Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The road was a bit of a challenge and I am proud to say that Tommy proved to be an excellent driver. What an adventure! Our itinerary, carefully and detailed put together by Across Africa, guided us through the most beautiful panoramic areas, it was really fantastic. Many cultivated slopes, lush green hills and forests and of course the people in their colorful clothes.
After an exhausting drive, we arrived at Lake Mutanda, Chameleon Hill Lodge. Everyone was waiting for us and it felt like coming home. How happy we were when we got another delicious meal. The next morning at 6h30 we embarked on our visit to the mountain gorillas, the highlight of our Uganda trip. The way to the jungle was difficult to drive, but with the well-equipped vehicle, this was really just perfect for us, we are still grateful for this experience.
Again, we were led by very well-trained rangers through the mountain forest after receiving a very clear briefing about how to behave in this unique environment. It was so exciting and adventurous. We marched through leafy wet jungle. It was always slightly uphill through the muddy forest floor. After a strenuous walk finally, the big event. The rangers took the shrubs and leaves aside and in front of us sat a big silverback eating. It was so impressive! Then the silverback came running towards us and sat down 3 meters away from us again. A little further on, two small babies showed up playing under the watchful eye of their mothers and siblings.
We were like traumatized because this experience was so much better than what we ever expected... After an hour we unfortunately had to leave this spectacle and still in the frenzy of the excitement we left this unique spot with such extraordinary animals.
After this out-of-the-world event, we recovered in our beautiful chalet at Chameleon Hill with a fantastic view from across Lake Mutanda. With coffee and biscuits we simply enjoyed this landscape and the warm people of the lodges spoiled us at its best. Even our totally dirty mountain boots have been freed from the mud by this awesome team.
Our journey continued and so we drove to Lake Mburo National Park. A lodge sitting on a rock in the middle of the national park was our next home. Zebras and the extraordinary cattle with the big horns, Ankole cows, lined our way. Many antelopes and monkeys were seen. Here we could reflect on our past journey and it dawned on us which amazing things we had experienced in the past 3 weeks. On the last day, a buffalo, who did not want to let us continue, eventually decided to withdraw to the bush, so we could carry on with our drive to Entebbe.
We have experienced an adventurous, exciting and enriching holiday, hard to put into words. It was really easy to do the tour as self-drives because the preparations and directions Across Africa put together for us was just perfect. With the local cell phone, loaded with a navigational system plus a map plus written directions, it is almost impossible to get lost.
Thanks again to the tour planners of Across Africa. Everything went well and we are very grateful to have met on the f.re.e. travel show in Munich. We will be back!!!