Voyeur in the (Bwindi) Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda


Vincent and I hit the road bright and early (9:00 a.m.) on Wednesday morning heading for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (home of the Mountain Gorillas), aka the “Impenetrable Forest”. Bwindi is over 330 square kilometers of steep mountain rainforest and home to over half of the world’s surviving Mountain Gorillas. I had dreamed for a very long time of seeing these magnificent primates (and mankind’s closest primate relative) and in less than 24 hours, I would hiking the Impenetrable Forest to see the gorillas.

But first, Vincent and I were going to take a detour through Ishasha to see the tree climbing lions. The road through Queen Elizabeth Park to Ishasha was pretty rough going as the rains had washed out a couple bridges. One had been rebuilt, but the other was only in a partial state of repair. Nevertheless, we were going to give it a go.

As we passed through the savannah, we saw Ugandan kob, topis (similar to a kob, but bigger), some elephants in the distance, and lots and lots and lots of baboons (those little suckers must really love to procreate). The drive was going along nicely until … uh oh … we came up behind a huge line of trucks going nowhere. Vincent, being the fantastic guide and driver that he is, pulled around the line of trucks and drove to the scene of the culprit delaying the traffic … a washed out bridge and a very muddy repair area. A safari van was stuck in the mud and a number of men were trying to push it out. We watched for about five minutes and finally success. None of the big trucks stood a chance getting through the mud, so we were next up. Vincent told me to jump out and wait while he gave it a try. I stood and watched with a couple of men who liked Vincent’s odds (big, heavy jeep sitting high above the ground).

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Crossing the washed out bridge

So we watched as Vincent drove forward between two trucks (and narrowly making it) and along the muddy sloping embankment towards the other side until … stuck in the mud and listing to the right. A bunch of men jumped on the left side floorboard of the jeep as Vincent put it back in gear, gave it some gas and … presto we were on the other side. I waived goodbye to the two men, made my way thorough the mud and jumped back in the jeep all the while clapping for Vincent. He shot me a huge grin and off we went.

We finally reached the entrance to Ishasha and the tree climbing lions. We stopped for a bathroom break and … my streak continues! A squat toilet. I came back to the jeep laughing and mentioned the source of my amusement to Vincent. I think he now believes I am crazy.

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Jackson Harbeest at Ishasha

Anyway, we drove through the savannah looking for game, but were coming up really empty. The grass was very tall and we could not see many animals. Also, having been on many game drives I know that the odds eventually catch up to you and you have day where the animals appear to be hiding. We saw a few herd of Ugandan kob, some tepis and other similar four legged snacks for the cats as well as cape buffalo, but the pickings were slim. We drove down a very narrow road and ended up on the banks of a small stream and pulled to a stop. Vincent got out a looked around and came back. Nope no hypos either and oh yeah, that land on the other side of the stream about 100 feet away is the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). Uh Vincent. Those gorillas (and I don’t mean the primate kind) don’t like people like me. Fortunately, things are presently good between Uganda and the DRC and the gorillas have ceased their cross border “activities”.

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The Congo  (on the opposite side of the river)

Anyway, we moved back into the main area of the park and towards the giant fig trees that are home to the tree climbing lions (regular lions that like to climb up into the fig trees and hang out like leopards). So we drove down the hill past one tree after another and … nothing. After about a half hour of driving, I could tell Vincent was frustrated. I assured him it was not a big deal. I told him I was batting 100 (he had no idea what I meant), and that if the only difference between the lions in Ishasha and elsewhere were that they climb trees then it was not a big deal (although it would have been really cool to see a lion in a tree).

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Ugandan Kob “dinner” in a tree in Ishasha

Anyway, as we made a pass through an area we had not been, we encountered a jeep by the side of the road. The guide indicated that no one had seen the lions today, but there was a dead Ugandan kob up in the tree ahead (meaning there was a leopard nearby since leopards haul their kill into the trees). We pulled up alongside the tree and yep … there was the poor old sausage aka kob with its very rigid legs sticking out of the tree. Unfortunately, the tree was surrounded by a very dense thicket. Despite pulling out binoculars and scanning the thicket as best we could, we did not spot the leopard. Since it was only 1:00, it would likely be hours before the leopard made its appearance (sundown) to fest on its kill.

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Baboons on the road to Bwindi

So rather than wait around, we headed out of the park and down the road to Bwindi. As we drove, Vincent pointed out that we would be following the DRC border only a few hundred yards to his right (From the map I knew I was going to be close to the DRC, I just didn’t realize I was going to be THIS close.) Not too long after, Vincent took a right off the main road taking us even closer to the boarder through numerous villages along a very, very bumpy road. Uh Vincent where are we going? Shortcut I was advised. At this point, I did not want to ask him if this was a shortcut through the DRC, but it would not surprise me if we at some point were over the border.

We continued on through numerous villages and finally reached the main road again. We were clearly climbing from the savannah to more mountainous areas. We were only about a half hour from Bwindi when both Vincent and I heard a bumping noise. The noise started getting louder so Vincent pulled over to inspect the left front tire area. Nothing. He got back in and the sound continued. We pulled over again and still nothing. Finally on the third try, Vincent found the culprit … blown shock absorber. Not really surprising given the wear and tear on these roads. Vincent figured we could make it to the little village not far from Bwindi so we proceeded down the road and let me just say this … thank God for the person who invented shock absorbers. I am pretty sure my spine was thrown out of wack and realigned a number of times as we bumped our way into the little village.

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On the road to  Bwindi

Vincent parked the vehicle at the base of a very step driveway bearing a sign “Dave’s Auto”. The man I presumed to be Dave came out and greeted Vincent, and they proceeded to look at the tire area. I figured what the heck so I jumped out of the vehicle and stood by the side of the road as villagers walked by staring at me like a novelty act. Two little girls passed me staring and when I held out my hand, they ran. Yikes. Just as suddenly they turned and came back, and again I approached and again they turned and ran. Pretty soon I had them laughing and showing them pictures on my camera.

Eventually the girls wandered down the road, and I turned my attention to Dave’s little boy peaking out of the doorway of the room next to his auto shop that appeared to double as his residence. I played peek a boo with the little guy for a bit before a few rain drops started to fall. Ah yes, the regular afternoon rain shower to break the heat. The afternoon rain turned out to be a non event. So as I stood there, Vincent suggested that I take a walk into the village and he would pick me up. Will it be OK? No problem Vincent advised. Now I had no concerns wandering into the village, but I scared the bejesus out of the two little girls and I did not want to do that to anyone. Vincent assured me that the villagers see “Muzungas” all the time, and the girls were just shy. Well OK then. So off I set down the hill towards to the village. Again, the novelty act image invaded my mind as people stopped to stare at me. Vincent may have been right that the villagers see Muzungas, but they apparently do not see walking Muzungas.

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The bar and outdoor pool table

Anyway, I was no sooner getting into stride and hitting the main part of town near the market and outdoor food stands when Vincent pulled up with car repaired. Damn, man. You know how to spoil my fun. So I walked over to the vehicle and was just about to jump back in the jeep, when I spotted it … the village pool table. Now something I have neglected to mention in all of my descriptions about the Ugandan villages I have passed, is that virtually every outdoor bar has an outdoor pool table. Seriously. Apparently pool was introduced to Uganda a couple years ago and has become a national obsession. Every village we have driven through has a least one bar with an outdoor covered pool table and a hanging florescent light above. We have driven through countless dimly lit villages, but there is always a light on over the pool table with a crowd around the table. I had been meaning to snap a photo of the national hobby, and here was my chance. I told Vincent to hang on, I took two quick pictures and we back on the road for a very short drive to Bwindi.

Just has we drove into the village of Buhoma (home of the entrance to Bwindi), the skies opened up. It had been threatening for the past hour with darkening skies and rumbling thunder, and it was only appropriate as we entered the are near the rain forest that the skies would open. We reached the Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge and were greeted by a host of folks. I was handed a lovely glass of passion fruit juice and then we made the long back and forth downhill trek in the rain down to the main lodge and the eight bandas.

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View from the lodge to the Impenetrable Forest

At the main lodge, the folks asked me what time I wanted dinner. “Uh what time is everyone else eating?” “Deborah you are everyone else.” It turned out that I had the entire resort to myself for all three nights! Apparently my timing was perfect because a large group had just left and 7 folks were arriving the day I was leaving. I was the Queen of the Castle!!

I got settled and headed into the main lodge for afternoon tea (a tradition apparently in the Ugandan lodges since Uganda was a British colony and member of the Commonwealth). The sitting area was covered but with open windows and a magnificent view to the Impenetrable Forest. By now the skies had cleared, birds were chirping and the sun had come out. Another fabulous day in Uganda.

As the sun set, I moved indoors to the interior sitting area since the air was getting cold. (We were up higher in the mountains and the evenings get quite cold.) A fire had been built and it was nice and cozy. I sat and had a drink and suddenly Vincent appeared and said “Gadhafi is dead.” No sh*t?? Really? (We have no access to T.V. or the internet at the lodges so news is pretty sparse.) I never thought they would get him.

Anyway, Vincent and I proceeded to engage in a very interesting discussion about the state of world affairs, and the economy among other things. Vincent is a very educated guy and completely engaged and knowledgeable about world affairs. In fact, the entire Ugandan population is very, very educated and very knowledgeable about the world affairs. More so, in my opinion, than most North Americans. The problem Uganda has, it is a very poor nation with little in the way of infrastructure, business or resources. It is a developing nation, but with a highly educated population.

After Vincent and I solved the worlds problems, I had dinner and then headed off to bed to bet a good night’s sleep for my first day of gorilla tracking. I was up by 6:30 a.am. and we were at the registration area for the 7:45 a.m. check in. It was a very hot, sunny morning so I really lucked out with the weather. Bwindi sits in a rain forest so clear sunny days for treking are not as common as other areas. Anyway, at check in I found out that I would be treking with three guys from Australia (yay … I love the Aussies). Our guide was Florence and we would be treking to see the “R” group, which was short for the Rushegura group, which had 21 gorillas in the family including some babies. We were given instructions about how to behave around the gorillas, told we could only spend one hour with them (this is a strict rule that is not violated in order to preserve the health of the gorillas) and told we could not move closer than 7 meters to the gorillas, although the gorillas may move closer to us. After the instructions were given, I hired two porters to help me in the trek. Porters are not employed by the government and are generally very poor folks from the village who are looking to eek out a living any way they can. I really only needed one porter to carry my pack, but I kind of felt bad for the folks standing there, so did my thing and hired two: Grace and a guy whose name I never could pronounce.

Anyway, we jumped in the jeep with Vincent and he drove us all of five minutes to the area where we would be treking into the forest and up into the hills. We met our two armed guards who would accompany us up the hillside (Bwindi has other wild animals such as elephants so the guards were there to scare them off.)

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Good morning Mr. Silverback sir.

We lined up in formation with an armed guard in front of the group and at the end of the group. I had a walking stick, one porter in front of me and one behind me (to catch me in case I lose my footing … seriously.) and was ready to go. The trek began through a village, across a stream (with no bridge so we had to hop over the stone and through the water) and then up the very step slope through banana orchards, past a pygmy village and into the forest. The path had us traversing the hillside back and forth through the forest. It was very, very hot and very, very exhausting. As we criss-crossed back and forth up the hillside, the village below began to get smaller and smaller until we could not see it through the trees and bush. The path was slick from the rain the day before, and we had to be careful not to slip as we climbed up stones leading to the next switchback up the hillside. More than once I lost my footing only to have the porter behind me catch me before I fell. It was very, very tough treking and with each step I was thanking my trainer for getting me in shape for this.

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Mmmmmmm food

After treking about an exhausting hour and a half, word came from the trackers ahead that they had located the gorillas. (Trackers leave ahead of the group and go to the location where the gorillas were last seen the day before and then head out from there looking for the gorillas. Because it had rained, the gorillas had not moved far and the trackers had spotted some fresh footprints so it made it easier to find them.)

One of the trackers met us on the trail and led us through the brush up higher onto the hillside. The tracker used a large machete to cut through the vines, stinging nettles, branches and brush. The treking was pretty tough going and was very, very slick. Fortunately, I had listened to Volcanoes and brought gloves that helped me grip the vines to pull me up the the mountain. We were very near the top of he hillside when the tracker told us that the gorillas were just ahead. We took a couple more steps and then … I saw the Silverback (the dominant male of the group) to my left and just below us. I then looked to my right and found myself staring right at one of the females. OH. MY. GOD. I cannot begin to describe how excited I was. I started shaking and tears formed in my eyes as I stared with my mouth open at these incredible creatures. I looked at the three Aussies and they had these silly star struck looks are their faces (which I am certain I matched). I cannot possibly do the moment justice.

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Swinging in the trees

I snapped a few shots and just stared. Then leaves rustled to me left and I looked up to see a juvenile swinging from the trees. Then there was another one behind me. We watched in absolute awe. The tracker then told us not to move and to stay still as the Silverback was on the move. We watched as the big guy moved in front of us and up higher into the hills. The female had by now moved on so the tracker cut a swath for us through the bushes and we followed the Silverback. We could see him through the trees grabbing branches and munching on the leaves (gorillas are vegetarians) and then we spotted two more juveniles hanging from the trees, grabbing branches and eating the leaves.

Suddenly our tracker told us to move up a few feet. The Silverback had entered the nest and was mating with a female. Seriously? Yep. Sure enough we moved a few feet forward above the nest and saw and heard the goings on for a couple minutes. When the big guy was done he turned and lumbered out of the nest passing in front of us and off into a thicket to have a post coital snack. As we watched the Silverback, the object of his affection came out of the nest took one look at all of us gaping at her and turned her back and went back inside clearly embarrassed by the voyeurs who just observed the happy occasion. We all stiffled giggles, including our guide and tracker. It was a very funny moment.

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Done with his business

Our tracker told us to scoot down the little embankment to better see the Silverback and two juveniles in the trees. I took a seat right in front of the nest. One Aussie was sitting just above me to the left and the two other Aussies were directly behind me. We were so engrossed in watching the Silverback that we did not hear the noise beside me. Suddenly, the tracker told us to slowly turn our heads to the left. I turned and no more than a couple feet away was the female staring straight at me with her head cocked to the left and her lips pursed as if to say … “Uh do you mind?” As long as I live I will never, ever forget that look. It was glorious and hilarious.

Our tracker told us to very slowly scoot backwards. The female waited patiently as we pushed ourselves out of her way and then she slowly moved in front of us and around some trees out of site. I suddenly realized I had been holding my breath and when I finally let it out I had to take a couple gulps of air. Wow. It was stupendous.

We only had a few minutes left with the gorillas, but during that time we were entertained by the juveniles who would jump on a branch only to have it snap from the weight. Over and over again the sound of snapping branches filled the air. It was hilarious.

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The view to Buhoma halfway up the mountain

Finally it was time to go. The only good news for me in leaving was knowing that I was going to see the gorillas three more times at two other parks. The trek down the hill was faster, but seemed to be tougher because of the risk of having your feet fly out in front of you if you slipped on the rocks. We were also sweaty, hot, muddy and exhausted so this made the going pretty tough as well. We finally reached the midway point near the pygmy village and took a lunch break. It had been a fantastic trek.

We finished our downwards decent and low and behold, the villagers had built a bridge across the stream we had to hop across on the way up. Apparently, one of the guides had given the villagers a scolding about the lack of a bridge and the folks immediately went into action. I wonder if they would like to come to the U.S. and show some folks how to really get a job done. (U.S. Congress anyone?)

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The new bridge we returned to

Once back at the lodge, I took a very long shower, got cleaned up and had some lunch. Then Amarand, one of the staff at the Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, gave me a leg and foot massage. I was feeling good after a wonderful morning.

At 2:00, Vincent and I jumped in the jeep and headed over to the Victory School as the clouds rolled in. We were headed to the school because I had brought with me a number of packages of pens and bubble gum and wanted to give it to one of the area schools. Vincent suggested Victory School because it was a very, very poor private school run by some individuals. (In Uganda there are state schools and private schools. Private schools are set up in areas were the distance for the young children to travel to the state schools is too great.)

Now I have seen a lot of poverty in my travels, but nothing prepared me for this. We were met in the driveway by the headmaster and one of the instructors, Sylvia, who also happens to be married to the man who set up the school. The rain was coming down by now and we had to make a mad dash into the office. I was shocked by what I saw. The building was a mud brick building with a dirt floor, tin roof and opening in the wall for light. The room was no bigger than a large closet. The rain was coming down hard and was so loud on the tin roof I could hardly hear Sylvia. I smiled as I strained to listen while Sylvia told me all about the school, the number of children attending (124) and the grade level at the school (primary 1 through 5), the wishes they have for the school and how the school continues to add primary levels as the children advance (the school will eventually be primary 1 through 7). The goal is to build one more building. The frame of the building has actually been started, but they lack the funding to complete the structure. I asked how much it would cost and was told that to finish the building and outfit it with desks was slightly less than $800. Seriously? Yes I was told. I indicated I wanted to help and was provided contact information so that I could get the wheels in motion to get this school finished.

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The school (with unfinished building in front)

At this point, I gave the pens and bubble gum to the headmaster who thanked me for the gift and then told me about the mid terms the children were taking. I was given the official record book to look at and the various classes the children were taking. The curriculum was very similar to elementary school in North America, with one exception. The children were being taught two languages: English and LL or the local language.

Sylvia then asked me if I had time for a tour of the classrooms and a little presentation the children wanted to put on for me (apparently they had been tipped off by my guide that I was coming). Uh, I can’t think of anything in the world at this point I would rather do. Lead the way Sylvia. So we left the tiny office and walked across the sparse grass to a mud brick building that housed two classrooms for the younger children (primary 1 and primary 2). As I approached the first open doorway, a number of very young children hung out of the square window opening waving to me. When I stepped through the doorway of the primary 1 room, it was filled with very, very young smiling bare foot children all in the same dingy uniforms. There were a handful of very worn mats on the dirt floor for napping, a few desks and one very tiny (maybe 2′ X 2′) blackboard. The room was very dark and only lit by the window opening in the wall. It was beyond anything I have ever seen.

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The primary 2 class

We moved on to the next classroom, which was filled with slightly older smiling faces. The desks were lined up in two rows on the dirt floor and there was a similar blackboard at the front of the room. At the back of the room was a huge stack of dirty, empty plastic bottles that the children were going to be using to help decorate the school. I did not ask for specifics because at this point, I was in a state of utter shock at the poverty in which this school was operating. Yet, the children were very, very polite, very, very respectful and very, very nice.

Sylvia and I then walked back outside and walked towards the building housing the main office. There were two classrooms in this building housing primary 3 and primary 4. There was also rented spaced behind the building housing primary 5 (the new building would house primary 6 and primary 7). We took a walk towards the rented area and were followed by a very, very young child who latched on to me and would not leave my side for the rest of the stay. She was adorable, but did not speak much English. As we walked, Sylvia showed me the latrine area (let’s just say that the Department of Health would not let this one pass inspection) and an area where the school grows some vegetables. All of the children come from very poor families so the school provides breakfast and lunch for the children.

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My shadow

We wandered back to the first main building and I was led into the two classrooms housing primary 3 and 4. These classrooms were similar to the two I had already been in, although there were window openings on both sides of the building making it much brighter inside the classrooms.

After saying hi to the kids in primary 4, I moved on to the primary 3 classrooms where the “presentation” was going to take place. I was asked to take a seat at one of the little desks, and I watched as the children marched in, took their places in a semi circle in front of me and began to sing a welcome song for me (which even included my name “Dee brah”. I cannot ever recall being more moved. Tears streamed down my cheeks as these children who literally had nothing, stood in front of me and sang their little hearts out. The kids next sang a traditional Ugandan song and performed a traditional dance. The harmonies and voices were incredible and in the true African style. Then came the final song, which to my embarrassment required participation. About half way through the song, a young girl came over, grabbed my hand and indicated I was to dance with them. I could not refuse so up I got and jumped around with the children to lots and lots of laughter from the kids peering through the windows. (And yes, Sylvia grabbed my camera and took pictures, and no I will not be posting them.)

After the final song (which included a young boy and girl each singing a solo), I stood and applauded the children and told them their performance was “thumbs up”. The children looked a little confused so I explained the meaning of thumbs up. The kids looked at one another and in unison shouted “thumbs up” and gave me the thumbs up sign. I cracked up.

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Thumbs up!

At this point, the children filed out and a new set of children filed in carrying a traditional drum. These children performed one song for me with some dancing and then filed out. Sylvia then advised me that there was one more group of children who were going to perform three songs for me. The first was a song about conservation and the importance of saving the forest and the animals. (Uganda takes conservation very seriously and is teaching all of their young people the importance of saving the habitat and using solar and wind power. VERY impressive.)

The children then sang a good bye song for me and then performed another traditional song and dance which included these amazing squat kicks where the children would start to squat and then thrust both their legs straight out resulting in them balancing on their heels and then jumping back almost like Russian kosak dancers. It was unbelievable.

Before I left, Sylvia showed me some crafts the parents of the children had made to help raise funds for the school. The least I could do after that show was buy a couple items, which I of course happily did.

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First ride in a car

It had been an incredible, incredible experience that no amount of money could buy and no travel agency or tour group could book. I thanked Sylvia, the staff and most importantly, the children for a very memorable experience. I told Sylvia I would be in touch once I got back home and then we jumped back in the jeep and headed back to the lodge. As we backed out, all of the children came outside and waived goodbye. As we headed down the road towards the lodge we saw one of the children by the side of the road yelling for a ride. I convince Vincent to stop and we let the young guy jump in. He was all grins and I soon learned why. He had never ridden in a car before. It was pretty darn funny to see the little guy’s reaction.

Once back at the lodge, I sat and thought about what an incredible day I had experienced beginning with the gorillas and ending with the school visit and concert. It does not get any better than this!

I went to bed early after an exhausting day only to be awakened at the crack of dawn by the neighborhood roosters. I tried to get back to sleep, but I just kind of dozed. Then I could hear the goats bleeting and before you knew it there was my wake-up knock at the door with my tea. It was time to get going as I was heading back into the Impenetrable Forest for a hike on the Waterfall Trail to see the 33 meter waterfall and two smaller waterfalls on the Munyaga River.

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The Giant Waterfall on the Munyaga River

After breakfast, I walked down to the park entrance and met my guide John and my two armed escorts and we headed off down the road under glorious sunny skies with armed guard #1 leading the way and armed guard #2 trailing. I was told the hike was about three hours, but everyone at the lodge who recommended the hike, including Vincent, underestimated the degree of difficulty (at least for me). Holy crap. Before I knew it, I was deep in the forest. We passed a few black and white colobus monkeys, but did not run into any other animals. The difficult part was that we had to climb up, up, up on a very rocky trail over rickity bridges, through mud and on slippery rocks. I was sweating and hot and very tired by the time we reached the first waterfall. We took a brief break while I downed an entire bottle of water before we set off for the next waterfall. The canopy of trees was very, very thick and the rocks and trees were covered in moss and vines hanging everywhere. We stood on small ledge to look at the second waterfall before ascending to the last waterfall straight up extremely slippery stones. By now I am certain that the armed guard walking directly behind me was at some point going to have to make a grab for me as I barely kept my footing. We finally reached the top and the waterfall was indeed absolutely magnificent, but in order to get a better look,
John the guide insisted that we cross the river. We had to step on a log, a number of stones and duck under tree branch to reach the other side. John was reaching for my hand as I tried to keep my footing. I slid once, but regained my balance and with John’s help made it to the other side.2.1319138980.the-impenetrable-forest

We sat and rested for 15 minutes or so and admired the view before we turned around and made the trek back. By this point, my feet were killing me, and I was just flat out tired from treking for almost 4 hours the day before plus the hike to the waterfall. (I am in pretty good shape and have been training for this trip, but this is really grueling hiking under some pretty tough conditions.)

Anyway, I somehow managed to make it back down the trail, across the rickety bridges while only slipping a couple times. Thanks to armed guard #2 who walked behind me, I never did fall. As we left the forest and walked down the path towards the entrance we passed hundreds of butterflies basking in the sunshine. I had been told this part of the park was home to butterflies, but had no idea how incredible it would be. There were turquoise and mauve and blue and black and yellow and on and on. It was an absolutely incredible site as they swirled in the air against the deep green color of the forest (although I know my niece, Callie, would not have appreciated the scene), and the butterflies made me forget about my very sore feet as I watched hem flit around.

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A Batwa making jewelry

As I walked back towards the lodge, I passed by some shops selling local crafts and carvings. I stopped in one shop selling Batwa (pygmy) crafts. The Batwa used to inhabit the forest, and live off the animals and the land. However, in an effort to save the forest and preserve the habitat, the Batwa were moved to land outside the forest. The elders have resisted the change in their lifestyle and have not adapted well. In addition, the Batwa are somewhat of an outcast tribe in Uganda. A number of efforts are underway to save the Batwa and the little shop was just one such endeavor. Anyway, I entered and purchased a doll and some bracelets and met one of the Batwa artists before moving on. I stopped in one more shop where I met a shop owner and artist who was working on gorilla carvings. I purchased some crafts from him and then waddled towards the lodge.

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The town of Buhoma at Bwindi

When I arrived back at the lodge, I was limping and sore. After a quick shower, Amarand came and found me and demanded that I come to the massage house and allow him to work on my legs and feet. I happily accepted and one hour later I felt like a new woman. This guy works miracles! I walked into the main lodge, sat on the open veranda with a drink and watched the clouds rolls and over the mountains, the forest and towards the lodge bringing with it a very brief rain shower. It was like watching a wall move straight at you. Really spectacular.

The rain lasted only minutes and then the sun broke through and brought out the birds. I sat there listening to all the chirping looking out towards the forest and was rather sad that my time at Bwindi was at an end. However, it was time to move on to Mgahinga for some more gorilla treking.

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Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge

 

Author: lawyerchick92

I am a lawyer by trade, but long to be a full time traveller. My life changed for the better when my brother donated a kidney to me on October 14, 2002.

3 thoughts on “Voyeur in the (Bwindi) Park”

  1. Hello, I like your story here!! and am glad that you enjoyed your trip. I am a Ugandan researcher looking at tourists’ experience on our roads to the Mountian gorillas. Kindly permit me to quote some of your text for my research paper.

    Thank you ans Blessings

    Christine

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