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Uganda 2021 my photography safari

Traveling to Uganda during a pandemic isn't for the faint of heart between last minute flight changes, lockdowns, covid tests, locator forms, and QR codes. But OH MY! How it was worth it!

My first day in Entebbe was spent at The Boma House recovering from 24+ hours of travel (and a near missed connection.) While there, I captured the first photographs of my Ugandan safari right from the patio of my room. This is a Great Blue Turaco that hung around just long enough to strike a couple of poses, give me a look of disdain, and then leave for better company.

Day two started with breakfast before daylight then boarding a charter flight to Kasese - another first for me Landing on a just hand-cut field with the sun breaking through the clouds can't be described. We were picked up by three safari land cruisers and started our journey to Ndali Lodge, a tea and coffee estate that sits on the rim of one of the many crater lakes in the area.

A couple of the pups that ran the grounds of the Ndali Lodge. While they were great playful companions that would join us for meals and cocktails, they are are actually protecting the estate from the mischievous monkeys at night.
Morning coffee with this view can't be beat.

We had the chance to trek chimpanzees two days while in the Ndali National Forest. While the families of chimpanzees have been habituated to human contact, we kept our distance and our time was limited. However our rangers made sure we all had a chance to get the shot and took every opportunity to educate us on these human-like animals and their forest home.

The chimpanzees were usually found resting or grooming. A LOT of time is spent on grooming one another. They didn't seem to mind us and on occasions seemed to be posing for our cameras.

This young chimp got upset with our group taking pictures and happened to choose his escape route directly towards me. Staying still as the rangers had instructed us to do on numerous occasions, he flew past me into the forest in a matter of seconds.

Our time at Ndali Lodge and visits with the chimpanzees in Kibale National Park passed quickly and we packed up to travel to our next destination in the Queen Elizabeth National Park situated on the Kazinga Channel. This body of water links Lake Edward and Lake George and our afternoon boat cruise was full of elephants, hippos, cape buffalo, crocodiles, and birds - lots of birds.

Look carefully and see how this bird has backward knees.
One last scratch before joining the herd retreating up the hill for the night.
One of my favorite photos of a hippo displaying.

During our travels, we had plenty of opportunity to experience and photograph the daily life of the Ugandan people, including experiencing a traditional meal. Even during a pandemic, we were welcomed warmly and never felt unsafe.

Ugandan daily life - some photos courtesy of Jami Tarris - Wild Focus Expeditions

Uganda has hundreds of bird species and provided a fun challenge to capture them in motion or find them in the grass.

The final stop of our safari was in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. We spent two days trekking mountain gorillas. The trips each day weren't easy and included bumpy rides up the mountain, a shower of tree ants, and hikes where we were sometimes pushed and pulled up and at times made our way down on our backsides. All worth it in the end.

Each morning, while waiting for our rangers, we were entertained by the dancers from the Ride 4 A Women organization. They performed various traditional dances from across Uganda.

Just a snippet to show where we found the gorillas on the last day. After two hours of climbing up and over then down, the silverback and his family were in the tree stand just below us.

Our reward was getting to spend time with four baby mountain gorillas. They were playful, active, and very curious. At times, we had to back away from them for our safety as well as theirs.

Sadly, our trip came to an end and we packed our bags. We spent the next two days traveling home. It was an incredible trip that at times felt like we had all of Uganda to ourselves. Hope you enjoyed this small part of the hundreds of photos I took. Now, to plan the next adventure......

THE END.