My sister and I arrived in Kampala on Election day and were picked up after visiting the airport ATM by the Airport Guesthouse driver. There were many police and army around Kampala but all was quiet and the people we talked to were unconcerned. We loved the Airport Guesthouse, the Botanical Gardens, and our day trip to Mabamba Swamp where we saw the wonderful Shoebill (and many other birds) up close. These first few days were perfect for us as we love birdwatching and were able to view many "new" birds right at the the Guesthouse, and the botanical gardens is a birders delight, and a nice walk from the Guesthouse.
On day four we joined a GAP adventure overland tour. OK, it was not luxury or even high comfort, but for those who love to camp as we do it was just great and such a bargain. Our full 21 day trip including most meals was about $3000 including the Gorilla trek. We started in Kampala and ended up in Zanzibar. Although the Serengetti and Ngorongoro crater excursion in poptop landrovers was the highlight of the trip, Uganda was my favorite country. The friendly people and they many micro businesses from charcoal vendors to cell phone sellers were amazing and the western mountains beautiful. My sis and I took some optional day trip birding excursions on free days: most exciting was treking the golden monkeys. This was a beautiful tough hike and the monkeys were almost as exciting as our visit with the gorillas the previous day.
Although we had to put up and take down our tent each time we moved, it was an easy job. Our cook , Nick, during the Uganda portion of the trip made tasty healthy meals from produce bought from roadside vendors. The nice thick matresses made for excellent sleeps.
Other Uganda highlights were the Queen Elizabeth Park Kazinga channel trip- do not miss this- many birds inc. the saddle back stork, african spoonbill, and hundreds more. Also our first look at elephants was on this boat trip. Lake Mburo boat trip was also good. The birdlife was abundant but the hippos stole the show popping up all around us and very noisy. Camping right at the lake was special with warthogs running around camp and hippos bellowing all night. Also our best star viewing was here- great early morning looks at the southern cross. We also took a dawn walk with a ranger across the park here and saw wildlife from a different perspective.
Jinga was interesting. My sister and I took a side trip to Mabirra forest which I would recommend. It is a beautiful forest full of butterflys, birds and red tailed monkeys.
In all our trip was just what we hoped it would be. The travelling companions from all over the world were interesting. The tour leaders helpful, weather excellent, and we stayed healthy. At the end we had seen the 'big five' , the 'little five' , 198 species of birds, enjoyed 8 different species of monkeys, and had a trip of a lifetime.