This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The trip began with our driver picking us up in Kampala which we requested as a deviation from where people are usually picked up. They were on time and did not charge extra for picking us up at the location of our choice.
Our driver was very knowledgeable about the surrounding areas and also a very efficient and safe driver. He conducted our game drives (impromtu and planned) and coordinated all of the park fees, lodging and meal arrangements.
Our first destination was Mburo National Park which included a boat ride on Mburo Lake. We high recommend this boat ride as we was many schools of hippos, crocodiles, and birds. Also, while driving through the park we spotted many impala, warthogs, waterbuck, zebra, buffalo, and diuka. Our package also included a hosre ride through parts of the park where we saw these animals at eye level. We signed up for the Budget acoomodations and they were great. Our first night at Eagle's Nest Lodge was very beatiful and the service was great. We had a tent on a platform with comfortable beds inside and a self-contained bathroom. There was no running hot water but the staff heated wated and brought it to our room gladly whenever we asked. The food was good even when we showed up very late for dinner. Breakfast was on time and was exactly as we ordered.
On the drive to Bwindi we stop at the museum of Southern Uganda which was very informative. Also, to reach Bwindi we drove through Queen Elizabeth National Park where we spotted all of the previously mentioned animals but also elephants and topps as well. In Bwindi we stayed at Bouhoma Cummunity Lodge which was inside the park. It had the same platform/tent layout with a self contained bathroom including running hot water. We stayed here 2 nights, the food was good and the atmosphere was very pleasant. Everyone staying there was either finished with or on their way to the gorilla trek so there were many stories to be shared. The staff was very attentive.
Our gorilla trek happened the next day and it was great. We were separated into groups at the bottom of the mountain according to which gorilla family we would track and see. Proters to carry your gear and walking sticks were available for extra purchase. My wife and I did not purchase these and we fely fine during the hike. Our hike lasted about 4 hours until we came across the gorilla family. Other groups saw there gorilla family much sooner the first being 40 minutes. It was a beautiful hike and the guides stopped as often as the group requested. Be sure to bring plenty of water since there is no way of telling how long you will be hiking. Also it is recommended to wear long sleeves as sometime buswacking is necessary to catch up with the gorilla family. Once we got to the gorilla family we met the trackers that had been communicating with our guide via CBs to direct us to them. You have 1 hour to veiw the family and the guides try to clear away good view points for you to see the family. It was an amazing thing to see these animals in there natural habitat.
After the hike we took a community walking tour of Bouhoma Village were the showed us the local banana beer and gin makers, the school grounds and a beautiful walk throuh banana feilds and along the river.
The next day was a quick breakfast and long (11+ hour) drive back to Kampala. The Lodge served us breakfast, packed us lunch, and we also stopped at a restaurant for lunch. There was no shortage of food.
Be prepared for a lot of time in the car. In our opinion there is no way to avoid this if you want to do this trip and it is most definitely worth it. Our driver, Sula, was great. He was very knowledgeable and made sure that we stayed on schedule. He asked us many times if the schedule was not good for us, making sure that our trip was comfortable ever step of the way. He even bought (not brought) us avocodos after my wife expressed interest in purchasing some from a roadside stand.
Overall, we highly recommend this trip. The coordination across continents was easy with the management office and the driver was excellent.
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