While travelling Uganda there were 7 things that I found interesting that I thought I would share with you...
- AK47’s – not in the ominous, threatening kind of way, but more the – oh look there is another AK47 kind of way. All security at the airport has one, and it is the standard-issue to the Uganda Wildlife Authority. So if you are Gorilla Trekking, Chimp Trekking or doing a Walking Safari – expect your guides to be carrying one. (as protection, should an animal charge – not for other threats your mind might conjure).
- Diversity of the Landscape – Uganda served up some of the most dramatic, varied and beautiful landscapes of anywhere I have been. Great Lakes, Rivers, Wetlands, Volcanoes, Mountains, Rain Forests, Waterfalls, Savanah. This of course intern is home to a huge variety of animals and bird species (i.e the Shoebill). Giving you the opportunity to not only see the nearly extinct Mountain Gorilla but also Tree Climbing Lions, Buffalo, Leopard and Forest Elephant to name but a few.
- The Size of the Avocado’s – I know, I know, of all the things… but when you have a love affair with Avocado’s as I do and it is offered as dinner option (stuffed Avocado), you can only feel like you may have landed in paradise. Organically grown and about 4 or 5 times the size of the Avocado’s we get in South Africa and with a taste to match.
- Culture Diversity – Whenever I travel I like to learn a few key phrases in the local lingo – like Hello, How are you? How much for a beer? Thank you etc. But travelling in Uganda made this almost impossible to do. With over 40 languages currently in use, I would often spend all evening learning my catchphrases only to have to re-learn different ones the next day at the next lodge. Most people do speak English though so getting a beer was never a problem.
- The Air France Plane – If you are familiar with Uganda’s history you will remember that Uganda was at the centre of an Air France Hijacking in 1976. Air France Flight 139, en route from Tel Aviv to Paris, was hijacked after a stopover in Athens. The hijackers were members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Bader-Meinhof gang in Germany. Once hijacked, the aircraft was diverted to Entebbe Airport in Uganda, as it was known that Idi Amin ( the president at that time) was sympathetic to the Palestinian cause as well as being eager to gain the admiration of the Arab states. This very same plane is still there.. sitting on the runway at the old Entebbe Airport, where it was left 38 years ago, you will pass it on your way in or out. We tried to find out why it was still there, the general consensus seemed that no-body knew what to do with it.. aaaah Africa.
- Forest Elephant – In a few of the reserves and forests and if you are very lucky you may get to see a Forest Elephant. I was so focused on seeing the Gorilla’s I didn’t even think about what other magnificent creatures you may run into. The Forest Elephants are unique in that they are a lot smaller, slightly more hairy and have straight tusks. The guides don’t seek them out and will avoid them in the forests while Gorilla Trekking, but if it’s a must see on the list then make sure you stop over at Semliki Safari Lodge, as they have a high rate of seeing them.
- Butterflies – they were everywhere, and it was beautiful. With 1235 species counted so far it is a must see if you are a butterfly enthusiast or even if you aren’t.
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