Chimps, warthogs a rabbit and an unintentional night safari in Uganda


Published: September 5th 2023

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Uganda day 2
Chimps, warthogs and a rabbit plus an unintentional night safari.

You can’t beat an ice cold shower in the morning, especially when you’ve not had one for two days. Actually you can. With most things. Let’s just say we rinsed a bit and Claire made some interesting noises.
The alarm had gone off at 5:40 so we lay in bed until the next one at 5:45. Breakfast was bananas, pineapple, bread and however you wanted your eggs. I said I didn’t eat eggs and filled up on bread and fruit. Then the chef very kindly rustled up some cooked carrot and cauliflower. I was full but ate and enjoyed it anyway.
I mentioned yesterday about not getting wound up by people. Didn’t last long. After a short car ride we arrived at the start of the chimp trekking to see a lot of white faces. Oh no! Claire was already giggling to herself as we were met by a sea of khaki and trecking chaps.
I’d never heard of trekking chaps and, although, they do make sense I’ll never get any. They’re like the trekking equivalent of legwarmers. Some people were more normal and tucked their trousers


into their socks while I had brought elastic bands to keep the biting ants from going up my trouser legs.
Unusually we weren’t the worst prepared as some people only had trainers and t-shirts on, one of them with no sleeves. In a place where you can die from getting bitten by mosquitos…
We stood off to the side but ended up being the first to sign in. We then needed to get through the throng to the briefing room and one woman, American obviously, just stood there looking at me and wouldn’t move. So I barged through making sure my bag nudged her. She glared at me apparently but Claire had my back and motioned at her that getting the hell out of the way might be a decent way to behave.
Luckily she wasn’t in our group…..
We had a briefing from a female guide (I mention that as you don’t often see it and it was good that it was about 50/50) who was both amusing and informative.
We did get two Americans in our group but they were fine, two Poles and one other guy who was maybe English. We met our guide Edison who had


a gun with him, to scare off animals if needs be. We’ve seen a lot of guns here as a lot of businesses employ security guards instead of getting security cameras. Edison had to scare off a persistent elephant only four days ago but he didn’t need to use it today apart from to shoot the ignorant yank up the ass.*
*He didn’t.
Anyway, we all jumped back into our vehicles and Edison and his gun jumped in with us. Sadly, everyone else was going the same way too. Yeah, I’m a real people person!
Now chimp trekking can take quite a while to find them, if you do at all so finding one within 5 minutes before we’d even left the track was pretty damned lucky. And then there were more….
Lots more. I spotted a couple on the ground but it wasn’t long before they were all up in the trees. As they bounced around, lots of figs fell to the ground and somehow they missed everyone. Edison says of course he’s been hit with figs but also by heavier fruits too. Claire suspected the falling fruits were deliberate and, for once, she may be a little


bit right.
We moved on and found the alpha male who sat right in front of us for ages whilst being groomed by an underling and a young chimp. Seeing these amazing creatures in the wild is fantastic and having them run right by you is incredible.
Another once in a lifetime experience…..that we’ve done for the second time….. You have to wear a mask when you are near to the chimps so no right-whingers from Britain are allowed as no doubt it would be infringing on their selfishness.
Anyway, the one hour you are allowed to spend with the chimps was about half an hour extra by the time we left The chimps mainly just got on with being chimps although the young one got a bit annoyed a couple of times if people got too close. All he did was bang on a tree to warn them off though.
As we got to our car it started to rain so we even had great timing on that too. Back at the headquarters place we were given certificates and Claire bought a hoodie for only £12.
We rushed back to our lodge, picking up a guide along the way.


We packed up quickly, I had a well-earned poo and then two people turned up to carry our bags back to the car. They wouldn’t take no for an answer and so a young girl carried Claire’s rucksack…..which is heaver than mine!
We were then off to see ‘the craters’ at the top of the world and our new mate walked us quite a way uphill, and a bit downhill. Zed drove the car most of the way then joined us for the last 10 minutes of so….the lazy git….although we did appreciate not having to walk all the way down.
At the top of the world we could see three craters, all from volcanoes and all full of water so they looked like lakes. One is even in the shape of Africa but no-one has put in Mdagascar yet. It was all pretty spectacular.
On the walk up we’d met some friendly local children and been shown crops growing such as sweet potatoes, bananas and tomatoes whilst we were traversing.
We then had to dash towards Queen Elizabeth National Park which is over 100km away. Another race was on as we were due to do a game drive today.


Zed promised to drive fast and safe, particularly as it was about 2pm and we hadn’t had lunch yet. He did offer us some snacks when he stopped to get petrol but we declined in case lunch was as big as yesterday.
And coming up is the part where Claire gets really wound up, even more wound up than I get. She is always keen to get to safari parks and suggested we leave lunch until we had done the game drive as the light would be going. She was right but the food was already prepared so we headed another few miles to the lodge we are staying in tonight.
And then they wanted to give us a briefing and check us in but Zed told them later. Then they gave us a huge pile of pasta and sauce for lunch (it was about 4:30 by now) and I’ve never seen Claire eat so fast. I think they were going to give us some fruit but we ran away first and set off for the Queen Elizabeth National Park. I must remember to ask where they got the name from.
Forgot to say that on the way to the


lodge we had seen a few animals including vultures, kobs and waterbucks despite tearing along the highway. On the way back to the park we saw elephants, buffalo, warthogs, bushbucks and some birds including some variety of bee-eater.
We’d also stopped to see the elephants (they were too far away even for my big lens) Zed switched the car off. And then it wouldn’t start again. So we got out and pushed to try and bump start it but to no avail. A car pulled up in front which Claire hadn’t seen and when I told her she asked angrily ‘what have they done that for??’ ‘Probably to help ‘ I said and sure enough a friendly guy got out and helped us successfully to get the car going again.
And so we finally arrived at the entrance to the park where….the card machine wasn’t working. So we turned around and were about to head for another entrance when Zed introduced himself again and started a speech as Tourguide Zed. He told us the history and size of the park and that it was named after Queen Llizzy herself after she visited once. I wonder if they’ll change its name


now we’ve been there once?
We made it to a gate with a working card machine where they checked us in very slowly while Claire even eschewed a visit to the toilet so we could get going.
And then we saw hardly any animals! We drove for quite a while and the biggest thing we saw were buffalo who were all sitting down. Claire did get very excited about seeing a rabbit though! And then it started to get dark.
And then it did get dark.
And the park closed at 7 and it was after that. But Zed assured us he knew where he was going so he drove on. There are no signs, only tracks to drive on and some big holes in those tracks, a few of which we hit at speed. And he missed some of the tracks. And then we realised we were getting a free night-time safari!
Particularly when we came across a herd of (finally up and about) buffalo who were crossing the road. One was tussling with another as we headed behind it and we’re not sure who was to blame but there was a bang and we drove on whilst the buffalo ran on. Hopefully the buffalo won’t put a claim in as Zed would probably lose as we were’t supposed to be in the park at that time.
We also saw a literal rabbit in the headlights and a bird flying out made Claire jump and cry out which then made me and Zed jump too.
And then it was 8pm….and then 8:15 as we finally reached the exit. There was a guy there with a torch but Zed pretended he hadn’t seen him and drove out quickly so he wouldn’t get in trouble. Oh yeah, he’d told us to say that the car had broken down if anyone asked! His main worry had been that it would he told us later. He thought we were worried that he was lost and we would, have been stuck in there but meh, we’ve been through worse than that.
Back at the lodge we both ran to the toilet and, only a few hours after a huge pile of spaghetti and sauce we were served a three course meal. It was lovely again and we ate as much as we could so as not to be rude.
Our room is lovely and yet again we weren’t allowed to carry our bags. Our room is a fair distance away again but on the flat this time. As we walked to i,t there was a large herd of waterbuck (s?) that we walked past.
Another long day and we get to get up at 5:30 tomorrow-they have already taken our breakfast order!
Postscript. I just cut my eyelid open plugging something in. Is this normal?
It was a different eye that I cut open last month walking under a tree if that helps.


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