Thanks again to everyone here for their advice. We had a great time in Uganda. Here is the first part of my report.
The trip began with two long flights - from Washington DC to Amsterdam and then Amsterdam to Entebbe with a stop in Kigali. Amazingly, everything was on time. When we got to the airport our luggage was there and so was Charles, our driver/guide from Churchill. yeh. Went to the Boma and crashed.
The next day did not start out so well. After a delightful breakfast and stroll around the grounds, we got a message that Charles was running late and would pick us up at 11 am instead of 10. Not a big deal as we only had a 4 hour drive to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. However, before we had even reached Kampala, the car died. Charles called a mechanic who came by Boda Boda. He was able to restart the vehicle, but said it was not fixed. Limped into Kampala and stopped for lunch. In the meantime, we waited for another car from Churchill. By the time we got to Ziwa, it was getting dark and too late for our scheduled rhino walk. Disappointing.
We stayed the night at Amuka Lodge which is in the rhino sanctuary. Lovely place. There was only one other family there and the owner joined us for drinks and dinner. Found out that the best time to see the rhinos, when they are most active, is actually in the morning. This shows two things that we found throughout our trip - 1) something that appeared to be a problem actually turned out for the best and 2) many very nice lodges were not near capacity, even in peak season.
The next morning went to see the rhinos, which was great! We got quite close to five of them, including our president's namesake. Saw them eating and interacting with each other. Took lots of pictures. (BTW, photos will take a while to sort, but I eventually plan to post them on Flickr with a link to this report.) Then we hit the road to Murchison Falls. Once in the park we saw lots of baboons, warthogs and water buffalo. Stopped at the top of the falls for a picnic lunch and then took the ferry over the Nile to Paraa Lodge.
After check-in, we took another game drive. Saw lots of antelope and giraffes. As others have commented, Paraa is in a great location overlooking the Nile. Everything there worked fine, but it felt like a regular hotel, not a cozy lodge. The worst feature was the buffet food. The coolest "feature" were the bats. After nightfall, there was a whole swarm of them swooping back and forth in the breezeway between rooms.
The next morning it was raining - one of the few times for our entire trip. Initially didn't see much wildlife on our drive, but later saw lots of water buffalo, more giraffes and some elephants. In the afternoon, we took the boat trip on the Nile. Saw lots of hippos and crocodiles. (Did you know that crocs keep their mouth open to cool off in the heat? Looks really strange.) Then we hiked up to the top of Murchison Falls. This is a pretty easy hike with lots of nice views of the falls on the way.
To be continued....