The Diary of a Muzungu’s latest – From the Edge of Kibale Forest and beyond

… WHEN CHARLOTTE TURNS INTO A DOMESTIC TOURIST …

(Posted 25th September 2020)

In the fourteenth of a series, Charlotte Beauvoisin shares some of her #LockdownDiaries from Kibale Forest in Western Uganda. Scroll down to read the first stories.

The not-to-be missed Kyambura Gorge! Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

Unusually, I have spent the last two weeks travelling. (Can you believe that I miss Kibale Forest after all those months of the enforced stay at home?) I’m grabbing the travel opportunities with both hands and after returning from Semliki Wildlife Reserve, we repacked our bags for a safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park, my old stomping ground when I was a volunteer with the Uganda Conservation Foundation.

It feels wonderful to be back on the road although it does require more thought than before. I seem to be adapting to wearing a mask and washing my hands more frequently and shall be sharing my lodge experiences over the coming weeks.

Kyambura Gorge is one of the least visited parts of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Western Uganda. I can’t visit Queen Elizabeth without passing by the well-situated viewing platform above Kyambura Gorge. After all our recent restrictions, don’t you crave these big open spaces? I know I do.

Game drives and the boat ride along the Kazinga Channel are the big draw to Queen Elizabeth but chimp tracking is also popular (although chimp sightings are seasonal and less likely than in some other locations). However, I loved my walk along the gorge. Chimp tracking reopened at the beginning of September and we were only the third group to go out in search of the chimpanzees. It was a wonderful experience to follow in the footsteps of elephant, buffalo and even hyena. The honking of the hippos resonated along the riverbed. My Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger guide looked relaxed so I decided we must be safe! (Hippos have never sounded so loud…) We wore masks throughout our gorge walk.

It’s easy to bypass Kyambura Gorgein the search for the more obvious mammal attractions but I highly recommend you make the 2 km detour from the main road. It’s well signposted (and I know it will be the highlight of your day!)

To access the viewing platform, you’ll need to pay one day’s park entry fee to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The costs for adults are:

– 20k ugx (Ugandans / East Africans) or

– 30 usd (expats / foreign residents) or

– 40 usd (international tourists / foreign non-residents – eventually!)

* The park entry fee lasts 24 hours so combine a visit to the viewing platform with a game drive or boat ride and get maximum value for money 😉 Click here for Uganda Wildlife Authority’s full tariff.

If you want to explore Queen Elizabeth National Park, I highly recommend Volcanoes Safaris Kyambura Gorge Lodge, a lodge I’ve been visiting for a number of years. They have a superb offer on all Uganda lodges for East African residents between now and mid-December. Another accommodation that is a new favourite is The Observatory adjacent to Kyambura Gorge. Wow! The Rift Valley view seems to change every few minutes – the perfect antidote to all those months we’ve spent in captivity!

The #LockdownDiaries continue next Friday.

If you enjoyed this story, look out for the next one in this series, exclusively here on www.ATCNews.org, written by Charlotte Beauvoisin.

The first stories in this series are:

No. 1 Cabbage patch inspiration

No. 2 I had been wondering where the elephants are

No. 3 Locked down and locked in with elephants

No. 4 Exactly how fast can you run?

No. 5 Bingeing on the great outdoors

No. 6 Buzzing about conservation

No. 7 Chimpanzee tea party

No. 8 Counting birds on Lake Saka, Fort Portal

No. 9 Bats in my belfry

No. 10 And finally, an elephant sighting!

No. 11 When Charlotte enjoys watching bushbucks without spending big bucks

No. 12 How low can you go? Birding in Uganda’s Rift Valley, Semliki

No. 13 Conservation in Africa during the Pandemic: podcast interview

Charlotte is best known for her blog Diary of a Muzungu. She is a travel writer, influencer, marketing manager and trainer. She lives at Sunbird Hill on the edge of Kibale National Park.

Your comments are welcome and will receive a response in due course.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.