If you’re as fascinated with wildlife as we are, then you will love a Uganda vacation! We took a trip with Gate1 Travel to Uganda and were pleasantly surprised with how much wildlife we saw throughout the entire trip!
We booked this trip for the main highlight: Gorilla trekking in Uganda in the thicket of the mountainous forests, but that’s not all we did! Every day was a land safari or river safari and we even did trekking adventures to see chimpanzees in their natural habitat too!
One of our first nights in Uganda was a gorgeous elevated platform glamping set up where hippos were wild roaming right outside. We were blown away! This trip to Uganda was so special and unlike anything we’ve done before. You know we also did a Gate1 trip to South Africa and went on safaris there, but this trip to Uganda was next level!
Wildlife in Uganda
We saw gorilla, chimpanzees, hippos, giraffe, gazelle, male and female lions, leopards, cape buffalos, and elephants EVERYWHERE!
Safety in Uganda
We got a lot of questions asking “is it safe to travel to Uganda” and we go into this on the episode, but yes, it is safe to visit Uganda, just make sure to plan it right. We booked with Gate1 Travel so we had armed guards with us the whole team who escorted us throughout the country. This made us feel safer being next to such big animals and in an entirely different country. There was not a moment that we felt unsafe in town or in the parks.
How to get to Uganda
Since Uganda is across the world from where we will, travel to Uganda from the USA is quite the trek in itself! We flew from San Diego over the course of a whole day to finally arrive, but it is worth the time and effort!
We had an amazing time on this trip, so much so that we need a full TWO hour podcast episode to share all the details. Give it a listen if you’re planning to travel to Uganda with Gate1 or another way. You’ll really feel the passion through this episode and it’ll give you a good idea of what it will be like.
Uganda Vacation – Episode Transcript
Hello fellow travelers. Hey. Hey Squadies. Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad Podcast. Today we are taking you to Uganda. This has been a huge bucket list trip of mine for years and we finally just said, Fuck it, let’s book it. And we went.
3 (1m 11s):
This trip to Uganda was another amazing Gate one adventure. I mean, I’m gonna say it again. Shout out Gate one non-sponsored. They should be sponsoring us because I know we’ve had a couple squats book, some Gate one trips off of our episodes that we have talking about it, but that’s neither here nor there. We’re here to talk about Uganda today and Brittanie said bucket list destination and it sure as hell was. Uganda is such a unique African country because it has a good mix of wildlife and what I mean by that is you can go and have traditional Safariing and expect to see what you would see there. Lions, leopards, elephants, giraffe, et cetera. But it’s also famous for its jungle forested areas where they have primates, gorillas, chimpanzees.
3 (1m 57s):
And guess what? We did it all with the ultimate climax Bean, Gorilla, Trekking, seeing these big gentle giants in their element and they’re gentle to us. We escaped unscathed so people, every time we told them, like gorillas are like, Oh you’re scared to get next to them. Like you crazy. I’m like, Not at all. Like this was super, super exciting to do it.
4 (2m 18s):
I remember when you guys first said that you were going to Uganda and I just thought, Wow, that’s so you and that’s so not something I would ever want to do, be walking and hiking right next to giant gorillas. But it looked really cool. I’ve heard just a little bit about it so far and I was already really intrigued. I know we went out to dinner last night and we started talking about it and I was already getting pulled in. So as you guys are going through this right now, I’ll be hearing it for the first time. The same as you are listening at
3 (2m 48s):
Home. Yeah, we only gave you those little snippets. We’ve tried to keep it, you know, a secret. That way we can go over it all in this episode right here and even be a nice little surprise for you and tell you all about it. So with every episode, as you know, we start with the tips. Let’s get right into it.
1 (3m 4s):
So first tip we’re gonna share with you guys is to go with a tour company. We really do love Gate one. Gate one’s made this tour very, very well. This is not a sponsored episode. We just really love what they bring to the table and the price point. I’ve seen the same tour with other companies. It’s much more expensive. So I do highly recommend Gate one. They did a fantastic job for us.
4 (3m 26s):
Can you go to Uganda and have these experiences without a tour company?
3 (3m 31s):
You definitely can. I would say that’s gonna be a lot more cumbersome, right? Because I mean we did Safariing, we did the Trekking in the forest to the chimpanzees and gorillas and all of those things require permits on top of that. So do you know where to acquire the permits? How to go ahead and do that. Additionally, on top of that you gotta book reservations for your hotels, which lodges in these areas of the national parks that we went to are more reputable. Also, how are you gonna transport yourself and things like that. So I would say that it’s clearly gonna be so much easier to do it as a guided tour and I think it would be so hard to kind of put all those pieces together to make it your own.
1 (4m 14s):
Another tip for you is that you do have to submit a visa in order to get into Uganda and the Visa application is $50 per person. But not only that, you need a recent passport photo to submit with your visa.
3 (4m 27s):
Not only a recent passport photo, they have a whole plethora of things that you need to do. The photo number one, in order to go to Uganda, it’s a visa entry requirement to even get it that you have to have a recent yellow fever vaccination, you have to have your Covid 19 vaccination card. If you don’t, then they do require a negative covid test within 72 hours of entrance. But they have a whole list of things as you’re completing the visa application online that you need to submit. Most important again is that yellow fever, the recent passport photo and even for us they did require us to show proof of our flights what date we were getting into the country, as well as what dates we were leaving.
1 (5m 9s):
Another tip for you is water isn’t safe from the faucet and that includes just brushing your teeth with water. You have to brush with bottled water. So every hotel resort that we went to provided water for us so that we could use the bottled water when we were brushing our teeth. You can shower with the regular water of course, but the water isn’t safe there, which is different than when we were in South Africa because in South Africa all of the water was safe to drink.
3 (5m 34s):
And with that obviously do bring some antibiotics and antidiarrhea meds. I mean you never know what can happen, not even just here in Uganda traveling internationally. You should always bring it. So with that little caveat as we’re talking about the water, do be sure to bring an antibiotic. And another solid tip here, well I guess just more really to know is if you are gonna be going on this tour specifically to do the gorillas, there is a $700 per person non-refundable fee that is actually used to purchase your Gorilla trucking permits, right? So when we purchased this through Gate one, the $700 was actually our initial deposit because they have to take that money and buy the permits.
3 (6m 15s):
It’s non-refundable to your question that you had Kim, can you do this on your own? Yeah, if you want to go ahead and buy the permit for $700, you can. If you don’t end up going on the trip, aren’t able to make it, they don’t really care that $700 is non-refundable.
4 (6m 29s):
So even if you book with Gate one and for whatever reason it closes down can’t go, that 700 is lost, it won’t get
1 (6m 36s):
If it’s our fault. Yeah, if it’s Gate one’s fault then we would get the money back.
3 (6m 40s):
But if you buy it on your own, I don’t know what they would constitute your fault, their fault to to potentially get that refund. But let’s put it this way, if you’re purchasing a trip to go do Gorilla truck and just assume that $700, you’re not gonna probably get back.
1 (6m 54s):
Jamal also mentioned that we’re in the jungles. So bring a raincoat, it will rain while you’re in Uganda, most likely like because it’s a rainforest, it’s a jungle area. So you wanna bring a raincoat, which a lot of people don’t think about when they think about Africa. You’re also in the jungle, there’s a lot of bugs. Mosquitoes, even when you’re on the game drive Safariing. So you wanna spray your clothing with Perrine, which is a bug spray. You spray your clothes, you let them dry out and it’ll stay in your clothing for like six washes and that helps keep the bugs away.
4 (7m 26s):
Where did you get that?
1 (7m 27s):
We bought it off of Amazon. Okay.
3 (7m 29s):
And so we did this right before the trip. Obviously we knew what clothes we were gonna take, packed our outfits and what we did is just really laid towels out on our floor, laid our clothing out, sprayed it, let it air dry, flip it, spray the other side and did that with all our clothing. So again, the good news is like Brittanie said, it could last up to five or six washes. It’s an extra layer of protection versus the bug spray that you’re gonna put on like at location and in that moment. But I do believe it really, really helped. We had concerns is this actually gonna stink and make our clothes smell? Not so much at all. You smell it obviously when you spray it, but by the time it air dries you don’t really smell it on the clothes. So don’t worry about that aspect of things. You’re not really going to stink or smell like bug spray yourself.
3 (8m 13s):
Another thing to actually go ahead and pack. So, so important pack by Oculars, I mean you’re going on game drives and Safariing and sometimes those animals aren’t close to you. They’re a little bit further away and those binoculars make your Safariing experience so much fucking better. We didn’t bring them when we went to South Africa on our first Safariing that we went on. And I know you know this Kim, when we were at Yellowstone a lot of times when we were on the road we were like, fuck we wish we had binoculars to look far off into the distance in the valley. And people who had it could see bears, we didn’t have it. So I think anytime you’re going anywhere with wildlife viewing bring binoculars.
1 (8m 50s):
Yeah, they were definitely a game changer. I would highly recommend them. We got a really good pair. We were sharing them around our little Safariing van and people were like, Oh my god, these binoculars are so good. So we’ll make sure to link them of course on our Amazon store. But they weren’t even that expensive. Binoculars can be super expensive, like $200 a pair. These were like $30 a pair. Oh that’s good. So they were super affordable, they worked really well and they were definitely a game changer. And this wouldn’t be an episode of the Travel Squad Podcast if we didn’t talk a little bit about the bathroom situation. So in Uganda we arrived to the airport and I went into the bathroom and it was a western style toilet and I was like, this is great.
1 (9m 31s):
Fantastic. Starting the trip off. Great. Cause you know in China some of the bathrooms even at the airport were squatty potties. What were you expecting? Well when we went to Africa the first time it was all western toilets. So that’s, I was like should I expect that? Cuz we’re in Africa but we’re in a completely different part. So I kind of thought like there’s a chance of a squatty potty, especially like when we’re in the bush, when we’re on Safariing, all of that. And we definitely did come across them that were squatty potties. It’s also a bring your own toilet paper country in a lot of ways too. And this wasn’t like the Ecuador tour where we took where our Gate one guide had a roll of toilet paper everywhere we went.
1 (10m 14s):
So you did need to bring your own sometimes. Sometimes the toilets didn’t flush in the bathroom. Sometimes it was a squatty potty. You never know what you were gonna get when you walked into a bathroom.
3 (10m 26s):
And I just wanna reiterate, obviously at the airport and all the hotels that we stayed at, this is not the case. We’re talking out in general public in Uganda traveling through now when we’re out on Safariing or Jungle Trekking to any of these primates, obviously there’s gonna be no bathrooms out there, right? This is really, as you’re going through towns and villages, getting from one location to the next, this is what you’re going to encounter on those restroom stops along the way. Okay. So don’t be discouraged and think like, oh even in my lodge or anywhere else, like it’s a bad bathroom experience. It is absolutely not. So take that in mind also, this may not be a good tour if you easily get car sick, right?
3 (11m 10s):
Cause some of these roads that we went on are bumpy, windy, and we’ll talk about it when we get to the Gorilla tracking. But this is the point where we were really kind of, I don’t wanna say off-roading, but they were dirt mountainside, cliff edge roads, otherwise we had beautiful like main highways, they’re actually doing a really good infrastructure development in there. But certain locations and places where we went through really bumpy and it was often referred to as an African massage when I got a little bit jerky in there as our guides would call it. So if you get carsick, keep that in mind.
1 (11m 44s):
Did any of you get carsick at all? No, I didn’t get carsick and I actually do get carsick pretty easily. But I look out the window, I try to like open the windows to get fresh air, all of those sorts of things. So I didn’t get car sick but I could see someone that does easily get car sick even more so than myself could be like, oh this is terrible and if you don’t like bumpy windy roads, this probably isn’t the trip for you. Because a lot of the time we were on bumpy, windy roads. Yes we had a good amount of highway but we were probably in these bumpy, windy roads for long periods of time because it takes a long time to traverse them versus going like 60 on a highway, right? But it was a really amazing trip.
1 (12m 26s):
I’m so excited to jump into all the details with you guys and with Kim, she’s really hearing it in detail for the first time today. And one question that we got asked a lot was like why Uganda? You know, why would you wanna go there? And
3 (12m 41s):
I say, Why not by the way? Like are you crazy? Like Uganda is a gym. Their tagline is called The Pearl of Africa. And that stems unfortunately from like the colonial times when they were like colonized. But just there’s so much wildlife and different types of diversity of wildlife in terms of ecosystems, like I said, traditional safaris, jungles with primates. So it has it all.
1 (13m 2s):
Yeah, the big draw to us was the mountain gorillas, like that was the highlight. They kind of save it for the last day. That is what’s building the anticipation of the trip. But yeah, Jamal said they have like the dry Savannah Safariing and a lot of people don’t realize Uganda has forests, snow peaked mountains, really nice pristine lakes and it’s just an amazing landscape. You can do so much in Uganda and it’s a pretty small country so you can, I was
4 (13m 29s):
Just gonna ask that like how big is Uganda compared to say US state?
3 (13m 34s):
That’s a really good question. Ah gosh, I don’t know. And it’s one of those things where they, I, I need to look at the actual square mileage to get like a good assessment and you know like how maps can really distort like the true size and Uganda is on the equator and Africa always I feel like gets distorted. But I would say Uganda might be the size approximately a Utah, let’s just put it out there. That would be my, my guess off the top of my head. But I would really have to look at the actual square mileage or kilometers of that. But not necessarily too large.
1 (14m 7s):
So our total trip was a 10 day trip, but two of those were pretty much dedicated to travel and we were a little worried because we were watching Flight out of lax. That’s where we were leaving from and we were worried that our flight was gonna get canceled or delayed, which was what was happening the days before. Luckily that didn’t happen to us. We didn’t have any flight delays at all. So we flew from lax, we live in San Diego so we drove up there to
3 (14m 32s):
1 (14m 33s):
To Los Angeles, we parked our car, took a shuttle to the airport and we flew LAX to Amsterdam. That’s about a 10 hour flight from California. We had a short layover actually in Amsterdam. And then we took another flight from Amsterdam to Rwanda, which was about an eight hour flight. Didn’t switch planes, we stayed on that plane. It took them about an hour and a half, two hours to unload passengers, get everything off the plane that they needed, load everything back up. And then we flew from Rwanda, Tobe, Uganda
3 (15m 6s):
And that flight was about 30 minutes long. So I mean really quick flight. I don’t think it took as long as Britney said in terms of by the time people de board and got on. But I mean it was definitely, you know, over an hour but I don’t know if it got to that two hour but it felt like that after an eight hour flight plus the preceding 10 hour flight. Right. Yeah that’s a long day. It was kind of unfortunate. The good news is obviously we didn’t have to get off the plane in Rwanda itself. So day two is technically when we arrive in Inba. Now in Te Bay is not the capital of Uganda, it’s actually Kampala, which is the city that’s immediately north of Inba. But in Te Bay is a little less crowded.
3 (15m 45s):
It’s still a big city but less crowded than the capital. And in Te Bay sits of Long Lake Victoria, which Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and it shares the borders with three countries, if I’m remembering correctly. Kenya and Tanzania. I’m trying to think if it touches with another one, but the other one obviously is Uganda also. So we just arrive and we’re on the, the shores of Lake Victoria right there landing cuz the airport just sticks out into the lake itself. But by the time we arrived it was what, like 1130 at night?
1 (16m 19s):
Yeah it was very
3 (16m 20s):
Late, very, very late. And then classic Gate one, you have somebody who’s picking you up from the airport taking you to the hotel. We had to wait a little bit because they said that somebody who was supposed to be on our tour was supposed to be on that flight, we’re gonna wait a little bit for them to come out potentially they didn’t end up coming out. So we ended up getting to the hotel a little bit later. Come to find out that that person ended up getting delayed on their previous lake. So had to catch another flight in and got in a little bit later so it, it delayed us unfortunately getting to the hotel. But the hotel wasn’t very far from the airport. It was within 10 minutes. Yeah, 10 minutes. 10 minutes. So not too bad.
3 (17m 1s):
But by the time that we ended up getting to our hotel going to bed, it was already like 1:00 AM one 30. Had an early wake up call probably around six 30 to have breakfast at 7:00 AM to get the ball moving and everything like that. So definitely long travel time
1 (17m 17s):
And squats. We’ve talked about other Gate one trips before but if you’re not familiar Gate one trips typically have approximately 40 people on tour. But Gate one has different levels of trips. So that’s just kind of like their general trip. We booked a small group tour meaning that there would be no more than 22 people max on our tour. But when we arrived to the airport usually, and I think Gate one in this sense could have done a better job with a few communication things was every time we’ve done a Gate one tour trip before they’ve been inside the airport to pick us up with a sign, there was no one inside the airport to be found. So we didn’t realize we had to walk outside of the airport to find the person with the sign to pick us up.
1 (17m 58s):
And I feel like they could have communicated that cause that’s been different than any other Gate one trip that we’ve done. And then also because in the past we’ve like gone and met our tour manager, they’ve said, you know, there’s an ATM here if you need to grab money or whatnot. Well we had to do that while we were still inside the airport so we weren’t sure how much to pull, where to pull from. So we kind of just went inside the airport and found what we needed. But the next day they were taking us to a bank and they never relayed that information that like don’t worry about getting money at the airport or exchanging money at the airport the next day you’re gonna go to the bank before you transfer and you’re gonna go to like a better exchange rate and all of that.
1 (18m 40s):
So I think they could have done a little bit better job with that communication but it is what it is. We did just fine. But if anyone’s taking this trip, those are just good pointers to know. I also didn’t realize that you could really email Gate one your questions before you go on this trip. Like there was a lot of people on this tour that said they reached out to Gate one asking specific questions and they were getting some of the answers. So like some people knew that already but they didn’t show share that with the whole group.
3 (19m 8s):
And you also mentioned that normally Gate one has a lot of individuals that are on tour. I don’t even think you mentioned how many people were on ours yet. The person picking us up told us that there was only gonna be seven people including us on this tour, including that’s very small, right? So the discovery tour through Gate one, which we did is maximum 22 people, but we were a tour of only seven. Two of that seven included Brit and I. So we were told by the person picking us up as he took us to the airport that one other couple had actually arrived. They came in the day before because they wanted to get in early and not have to worry about flight delays, which proved to be a valid concern. Luckily nothing happened to Britney and I, but again somebody was supposed to be on our plane that solo traveler and then another couple was supposed to come in a little bit later and their flight ended up having issues too.
3 (20m 1s):
And so they barely got any sleep that night that they arrived themselves.
1 (20m 4s):
They really found 48 hours of travel with all of their delays. So that really sucked for them. We didn’t have that at all. So we were really fortunate, we were really happy about that. But by the time we got to the airport and went to bed, it was probably like 1:00 AM we were exhausted from like a full day of travel and then they said we’re having breakfast at seven and we’re meeting with our group at eight. So at breakfast is kind of fun because when you’re at breakfast you’re kind of trying to scope out like oh who do you think’s gonna be on tour with you? Yeah like and there’s not that many, there’s only five other people that we’re gonna be in our group cuz Jamal and I make up the other two to make the seven. But we’re just like looking around the breakfast area like you know they’re a potential fit to be on our tour.
1 (20m 46s):
We’re looking around scoping things out and then we had a really nice breakfast with views of Lake Victoria. It was really nice. The food was great and that’s when we learned they actually have a decent Indian population there and a lot of the Indians are chefs from India and they served a lot of Indian cuisine for breakfast that was really good.
3 (21m 5s):
And the big cities, that’s really the case. And so we really were surprised to be like, oh man, such great Indian cuisine out here. So that was enjoyable to to have at breakfast and obviously other times during the trip itself. So we had breakfast scoping out who was on our tour. We picked one couple and thought like okay they’re probably on the tour. But what we were advised that when we’re done with breakfast we’re supposed to go up to the conference room area that the hotel had cuz that’s where we’re meeting our, I don’t wanna say our tour guide cuz our tour guide was gonna be at the next location we went to. This was just the airport pickup person and really transfer to our next location. But he was giving us a debrief.
3 (21m 44s):
So the five other people was Jeff and Melissa from Texas, Bob and Lorraine from New York and they were the ones that came in the day before and solo traveler Jerry from Florida. So we got the typical debriefing, got to know everybody who was gonna be on tour with us, told us what we can expect, et cetera. So we were advised that day and obviously it was in our itinerary that we knew that we were only spending really a half day in in Tabe before we hit the ground running to go do a Safariing that day as a matter of fact. So the only thing that we really did in in Tabe was go to the botanical gardens, which were right by our hotel and just kind of do a walk of the botanical gardens.
3 (22m 28s):
It’s a long lake. Victoria saw our first wildlife sidings. There’s some monkeys and primates that are in there, even though they were saying like 90% of the trees in the botanical garden are non-native trees. But it doesn’t matter. I mean you all have that wildlife that was there and you know I I’m I’m just gonna bypass the botanical gardens. It was what it was and it was to kill time before we caught our little bush plane at the airport to fly to merchants and falls.
4 (22m 51s):
Would you rather have slept a little bit longer or seen the botanical garden?
3 (22m 57s):
I think it was nice to see the garden in hindsight now that we did. But it’s one of those things where in that moment I could have been like yeah I’d rather sleep and just let’s fly. But the fact that we saw it was good cause I mean we did see some wildlife, I’ve kind of brush over it so we can get into the meat and potatoes of what’s exciting but it looks like Britney has something to say about the botanical garden.
1 (23m 17s):
Well I mean we did see, we saw plants, trees, flowers, we saw monitor wizards, monkeys, birds. But what’s really funny and why I wanted to mention the botanical gardens is they said there’s gonna be a lot of buds. And I was like oh my god, there’s gonna be a lot of bugs. Like why are they taking us to a botanical garden with a lot of bugs? But the way that they pronounce birds is like buds.
4 (23m 40s):
3 (23m 41s):
Was thinking bugs. So it’s a little bit of accent and lost in translation even though you know they’re speaking English a little bit right there. I
1 (23m 49s):
Love the way they pronounced it bugs. But at first I was like oh my god, bugs what? And then from the botanical garden they took us to the bank like I said and then from there they took us directly to the airport and we went back to the in bay airport, which is where we flew into and we were going to be flying on a bush plane to Merchants and Falls National Park, this bush plane that we took fit about 20 people. So it was pretty small. The bush planes don’t have bathrooms so you go through security, you need to use the bathroom, then you take a little shuttle and they take you right up to your plane cuz they’re small and then you walk on the tarmac onto the steps of the plane and then just board like
3 (24m 30s):
That, this 20 person plane, the seats were one by one, you know like one seat on one side of the left side of the plane and then one seat on the right side and it went all the way back. So it was us seven obviously who were on tour and then a group of Canadians who were actually on their way. They weren’t getting off where we were flying into. They were continuing on the bush plane to another location and they were actually about to be doing the Gorilla track themselves at that point in time. Like oh that’s gonna be the last thing that it is that we’re doing and everything like that. So we were talking to them a little bit, but it’s a little nervewracking to be in those types of planes. That is for sure. Yeah. But it was only an hour flight from in Tabe to merchants and Falls, which again is where we were headed to first.
3 (25m 18s):
And for context, like our entire tour was going from minus in tab A when we went to Merchants and Falls was going north to south all along the west side of Uganda that borders the Democratic Republic Congo. So we pretty much followed the border all the way down from north to south at that point. And when we arrived or were landing at Meison Falls, the airport was a dirt runway in the middle of the national park. And as we look out our window, take a guess on what you think we saw Kim as we’re looking out the window
4 (25m 52s):
3 (25m 53s):
Unfortunately we didn’t see rhinos but you’re kind of on the right path. We saw tons of giraffe just fucking galloping like as we’re coming in low just galloping elephants munching on like leaves and the trees and everything like that. And it’s just like holy fuck, I’m on this tiny little plane, I’m landing on a dirt runway and I’m seeing all this like wildlife beside me. It was like intense and so exciting to just get, you know me in the moment.
4 (26m 20s):
I picture it from like the movie of Jurassic Park when they’re about to touch down and they see all of the dinosaurs eating and playing.
3 (26m 29s):
It’s kind like, it’s a great analogy actually. It’s kind like that
1 (26m 33s):
For sure. And so right there is where we met our tour managers. We had two of them, Yona and George and they set up a little lunch for us at the airport. The airport is like like a one bedroom building kind of thing, like it’s a very small building. So outside they set up a whole bunch of chairs for us, a little table. And they had asked us earlier in the day what we wanted for lunch and they had spinach, dumplings or meatballs with like a sauce. Everything was really good. They set up the little buffet station for us, we got to eat and then just kind of really meet our tour mates and just chat a little bit. And they were like, well from here since we’re already in the national park, we’re just gonna start a game drive.
1 (27m 15s):
So the entire time that we were in Uganda, the vehicles that our tour managers drove were also our Safariing vehicles, which was different than what we did in South Africa. Whenever we would did a game drive, we would drive our tour bus to some place, then we would go into groups into like the Safariing vehicles. But no, our vehicles for the entire trip were also our Safariing vehicles.
3 (27m 37s):
Right. And we were in two Toyota Land cruisers and if you actually Google like Safariing Toyota Land Cruisers, you’ll get a good image of what it is that we actually had. But they’re really cool, they’re nice rugged vehicles. And I mean that like in a good way, obviously you’re gonna be on Safariing, you want it to be a rugged durable vehicle. But what’s really cool about them too is the roofs actually like kind of pop up and create a little awning of sorts. So when you’re on Safariing it could pop up, you can stand look out, but when you’re driving of course that snaps back down and you clearly have a covered vehicle. But I don’t even think you can do buses in Uganda. Yes, again, certain portions, we were on those main highways and their highways are great, don’t get me wrong, but certain locations when we got off the highways, you’re on the dirt roads again.
3 (28m 26s):
Eventually we’ll get to the point where we’re going to the gorillas and we’re on cliff’s edge dirt roads and there’s no buses going on that so like it’s conducive to be in these small vehicles. So we just kind of kept with that. But after lunch at the airport sitting under a tree, which was actually a really cool experience because the airport is obviously fenced off and you can see the wildlife that’s kind of around you at that point too, even while we’re sitting there eating, we started our game drive
1 (28m 52s):
And we saw a lot of animals right off the bat. We saw antelope like animals, Ores Cobbs and then the Jackson Habe. But we also saw like Cape Buffalo giraffes, lots of giraffes, wart hogs, monkeys, baboons. And then from there we visited the top of Meson Falls, which is what the national park is named after. And Meson Falls is the most powerful waterfall in the world. It is the most powerful. And when you’re standing there you can feel how powerful it is. Like you can, you feel all of the mists like come up while you’re standing there you can get soaked just standing at the edge looking over.
1 (29m 33s):
And the reason why it’s so powerful is because it’s one of the longest rivers in the world and it squeezes through like a seven meter gap and drops down 45 meters into the Nile River,
3 (29m 45s):
Right? So the falls is part of the Nile River because Lake Victoria is the start of the Nile. Yes the Nile that goes to Egypt and everything like that. But it flows through these regions of Uganda in which we were going to. So like Britney said, it’s not the tallest, it’s not the widest, but because of where all that water is forced to go through kind of like a little narrow bottleneck, it creates such force coming through there. So it was really unique to actually see up close and in person but also knowing that all this wildlife is around you at the same time. Now granted where we were to get to the top of merchants and falls, you know you’re not expecting to encounter any wildlife that could hurt you there.
3 (30m 25s):
But down below, kind of along the banks of where the waterfall actually is, that’s where you can expect to see Nile crocodiles, a whole bunch of hippos that are waiting really. And other big gay men. Oh yeah. They’re like if you fall down this one, if the waterfall doesn’t kill you, you’ll for sure be trashed by whatever is waiting down there below
1 (30m 45s):
They said the waterfall will kill you. They’re like 100% you go in this waterfall you will die and then your body will be eaten by crocs and hippos like they will fuck you up down there. They were just waiting for the prey to come down.
3 (30m 59s):
So in this area of merchant and falls, obviously Britney mentioned what we had seen all those animals. We even saw elephants too, but not close up. True the the next day we were gonna see ’em a little bit closer but obviously we’re looking for lions. So what we really missed seeing this day, even though they were in the park, was elephants up close lions and even leopards. We didn’t get to see that at this point in time, but the next day we were also gonna be doing a morning game drive at Meison Falls also. But after we went to the waterfall, did our Midafternoon game drive, we checked into our lodge and this was like our first lodge experience staying within the national park and everywhere where we stayed was such a unique cool experience and maybe one of the more unique ones that we had was here at Merchants and
1 (31m 47s):
Balls. Yeah, the lodge we stayed at was called Twia Safariing Lodge and it sat literally on the banks of the Nile River. It was so close to the Nile that in fact at night or any time it was dark. So it was dark in the morning when you got up or it was dark at night after dinner, you had to be escorted from the main lobby to your rooms. And when I say rooms, they’re not truly rooms cuz this was a glamping situation as well. So what they had done was they had built these elevated platforms, so probably like five steps up there, then there’s like a flat surface and they’ve put a really large glamping tent and they’ve really done up this tent like you think tent, it’s gonna be very rustic to some extent.
1 (32m 31s):
It was a little rustic but there was a king size bed in there with the mosquito netting around it. There were two chairs to sit in with a table on the floor. It wasn’t the tent floor they had put down like mock hardwood floor. It was really nice. It
3 (32m 46s):
Was, you had your rugs that were thrown out in the seating area also, they even had like shelving for acting as like the closet itself, things like that. Yeah. Oh
1 (32m 56s):
3 (32m 56s):
Yeah and you had a nice porch too. So again you’re on the elevated platform and then obviously you have the tent but you did have an area that was kind of like lounging for your porch and they had one of those like little hanging egg swings like that was right there also cool. So you can just look out at night and look at the Nile River and see all the wildlife that is there.
1 (33m 17s):
So you were allowed to be on your porch?
3 (33m 19s):
Yes you are. And
1 (33m 20s):
The, I think it’s
3 (33m 21s):
Elevated because it’s elevated. So again, the reason why it’s elevated I guess is twofold. The wildlife you wanna avoid obviously the hippos and the crocs because they’re right there along the river and they can’t really go up those steps. And two, it’s a river, it floods. So they’re kind of like when you see certain homes that are built on stilts and flood areas even here in the United States or other places. So that’s why it’s built on an elevated platform.
1 (33m 46s):
And you might be wondering what the bathroom situation is because I was wondering like this glamping situation, but on that elevated platform, that concrete platform, they’ve built a building that is a huge bathroom, like a really large bathroom with big shower toilet sink area, plenty of space inside of it and it’s like the same width as the tent. And so the opposite side of your tent has a doorway and it matches up to the doorway of the bathroom and they’re just kind of like stuck together. So it was interesting cuz it’s like if you’re making the effort to build a bathroom that’s truly a building, why aren’t you building a room and why is it a tent?
3 (34m 28s):
I think they just really wanted to keep a glamping experience and give you a comfortable bathroom. So the bathroom was attached, beautiful shower, not only was it like an attached building, like they had beautiful stonework in the shower and like different styles in the sink and this and that and it was like an impressive bathroom. So we were really in a glamping experience in the middle of the national park with wildlife around. And I can’t wait till we get to day two and talk about like going to the room in the evening. But let’s not jump ahead and get to,
1 (34m 58s):
Well the reason why you can’t go to your room at night is because you’re right along the banks of the Nile River and so they wanna make sure that you’re safe because there’s a possibility of a crock or hippo encounter. So we’ll just tease you with that a little bit. And so we got to settle into our lodge, have dinner, really spend time with our tour mates, go to sleep because the next day we were gonna go on an early morning game drive.
3 (35m 24s):
So we had breakfast in the morning, you get to pick what it is that you want. Now our rooms are separate. I should mention that all these lodges have a communal like dining and lounge area where everyone can sit. And that’s actually the only place that we had wifi was in these areas. So everyone in the morning came from the rooms sitting in the communal lounge area, dining. And so I mean the food everywhere we were at was exceptional. We got our choice to have like omelets, so it was omelets, coffee, tea, fruits, toast, et cetera. We had a very nourishing breakfast everywhere that we were.
1 (36m 1s):
Yeah, the breakfast game is always good with Gate one. I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed but we knew we were gonna have like an early morning. I think we started this morning like we were gonna leave by six 30. So it was an early day, an easy day and we were gonna go back into merchants fall. Well we were in Meson Falls National Park, but we were gonna go out to explore more, to do more of a game drive. And this national park has like over a hundred species of animals and over 450 species of birds. And we did gain a new appreciation for birds. We don’t do a lot of bird watching in general, but some of the birds out there are super beautiful, you
4 (36m 41s):
Know and there’s just something about a beautiful bird that makes you
1 (36m 46s):
Appreciate it. Yeah and there were some really small but colorful birds that were like called weaver birds. So they would make these nests and I wanna say the male was the one that made the nest. Yep. But they basically weave almost what looks like a lantern of sorts and the birds come then enter from the bottom and if the female doesn’t like it, she’s like nope, this isn’t good enough, I’m not going in kind of thing.
3 (37m 12s):
And she’ll go onto the next male,
4 (37m 14s):
You built her house and if she doesn’t like it, she leaves
1 (37m 17s):
Him. She leaves him. Yeah, yeah,
3 (37m 19s):
1 (37m 20s):
At this national park we were able to get more into the game drive and this is where we saw Kate, buffalo, elephants, giraffes, lions and monkeys. Like we saw so much wildlife and in so much abundance in this national park,
3 (37m 37s):
I’m not gonna lie, I was a great spotter. Like with those binoculars I was seeing things fucking left and right and I was like, oh my gosh, like what is that? And I looked off in the distance, I was like, are those elephants pulled out the binoculars? They were So we were able to be like, oh yeah they are. And he’s like this is perfect. There’s a road up here, we can cut two of them. So in the morning we were just watching a herd of elephants, just grazing, seeing the little babies and everything. And I mean they’re right up close to us, you know what I mean? Like really within several feet, I’m not gonna kid anybody on that. So they get really close. Obviously you can’t get out of the vehicle but just for perspective of how close these wild creatures are to you.
3 (38m 16s):
And so we were really excited about that. And I mean tons of giraffe here. I will say like I can’t even believe how many giraffe in comparison to what we saw when we were in South Africa.
1 (38m 27s):
And giraffes are really beautiful. Like their coat is so nice and like pretty, I could stare at giraffe hours and I didn’t realize that. Like I’ve seen giraffe obviously at the zoo and on other vacations, but these ones were just so beautiful and they were telling us about like how you can tell if they’re young giraffe because it looks like they’re wearing white socks versus as they get older their coats get darker. And so it was just really interesting to learn about the animals and kind of just learn a lot about the species out there. So that was really cool. And then we were driving down this dirt road and we come across a mama lion and her three cubs and they crossed the road super fast so it’s not like you couldn’t even get pictures of them in the road, but they went into a bush and the bush was literally no more than two to three feet from the car.
3 (39m 21s):
I didn’t see the mama at all across the road. I think I only saw the two baby cubs across the road and they go into the thicket of the bush and we’re looking at them. I mean this is later in the day, this whole time we’re seeing all this wildlife and we’re like where the fuck are the lions? Like obviously wanted to see lions, leopards, some big cats of some sort. And then it just happened so fast to where they crossed it and then they stayed close to the road but didn’t go in the bush right away. They were kind of just like walking around a little bit. And then finally they nestled into that bush and like Brittanie said, like if we wanted to stick our hand out and like touched the bush itself and put it in like we could really do it because the road we were driving it’s not like oh here’s like a little bush like the road you were driving through tall bushes and trees.
3 (40m 5s):
So they were all like elevated up if that kind of makes sense. It’s like the road carved out a straight line but you had everything kind of up to the side of you, right? In terms of like the okay vegetation growth. And so they were just in the bush itself. And again if you wanted to reach in you could of, obviously you’re not, but they camouflaged so good well in there and were so close looking right in and it’s difficult to see by the time they nestled in there and it makes you wonder how many other animals you pass and have no clue where the fuck they are. Oh yeah. And imagine being out there walking for whatever reason if you had to, you know like you don’t know where anything is.
1 (40m 47s):
Like it made me scared to even be like if I have to use a bathroom in the middle of nowhere, a bush is not safe.
4 (40m 53s):
Right. So the local people that live there, are there a lot of animal attacks?
3 (40m 59s):
Well there always is going to be animal attacks. There’s lots of villagers that live kind of like on the outskirts of the national park or some indigenous tribes that they allow to still stay within it cuz the government’s not necessarily going to kick them out. But to the point of what we’re gonna get to a little bit later, I’m sure there is animal attacks of sorts, but the deadliest animal to humans in Africa is the hippo. And that’s why at our lodge, which we’ll get to a little bit later, they are very concerned about those hippos cuz hippos are in water. I mean when we see images of hippos, they’re in the water but they’re in the water during the day. At night they come to land because they’re vegetarians, they graze on the grass. So those are the deadliest animals that kill people is really gonna be the the hippos for people in
1 (41m 44s):
Africa. Yeah, so after we saw the lion, we were pretty hyped up because they wanted to see more and we went to an area where we could see a leopard in a tree but we were only able to see it with our binoculars. And I was really happy at this point because I was like, at least we saw a leopard, that’s the only animal we didn’t see when we were in South Africa last time. And I knew Jamal would be super excited about it but we couldn’t get close to it. We could only see it from a distance with our binoculars. So not great views but we did get to see it. And then by this point we had been doing the game drive for probably three or four hours. We had seen a lot of exciting things like the monkeys and the the lions and the elephants and giraffes.
1 (42m 24s):
So at this point we left and went back to our lodge and then we had a lunch there because we were gonna prepare to go on a three hour Nile river boat cruise later in the day.
3 (42m 36s):
And that Nile cruise was going to sail us to the foot of merchants and falls. So we saw it from the top on land and now we were riding a boat to go to the foot of it to see the base. But it was really cool cuz not only do you get a different perspective of it, there’s tons of wildlife that’s one in the water and two coming to the banks of the shore of the Nile to drink water, do this and that. So we saw lots of wildlife on that and shout out to Gate one, they included a couple free cocktails on this little adventure on the Nile.
1 (43m 8s):
Yeah, with Gate one every night you do get a free beverage. So usually it was a glass of wine, they had both white and red. Or if you wanted a beer you got two beers. So either way, good choices. But when we were on the small little excursions for this river cruise, it wasn’t just private to Gate one, it was open to other tours as well. So we were actually the last group to arrive. We did get not the best seats on the the river cruise and we’ve been on one before and when we were on the one in South Africa, it was a smaller river mostly with crocs and hippos as the focus. So I thought oh it’s gonna be like that again cuz we’re doing an Nile River cruise.
1 (43m 49s):
But we saw so much more wildlife, like we saw elephants right next to the water. We saw wart hogs and monkeys. We did see crocodiles. But the crocodiles were far and few in between in comparison to what we’ve seen in the past. So it was totally a different type of game drive in a sense. But on a
3 (44m 8s):
River I would say the highlight of this one minus seen the waterfall itself is we were really close to a family of elephants. And by that I’m not talking like a herd, it was like a mom, a dad, a baby. Oh And they like literally we were so close, our boat was right by the shore where one of them, I don’t know remember if it was the male or female was eating leaves off of a tree that was like growing in the river itself. And we were right by that tree and we were a little too close for his comfort. He was trumpeting and doing mock charges at us even Really? Yeah, as we’re obviously we’re safe on the boat but within like 10 feet, you know and he’s doing mock charges, which is definitely a sign to stay the fuck back, you know?
3 (44m 57s):
1 (44m 57s):
It was also really interesting because his trunk was a little bit shorter and they said if you notice his trunk is shorter than the rest of the elephants, which means that it probably got caught in a snare earlier and damaged his trunk. So that was interesting to see too. What’s a
3 (45m 13s):
Snare like a little trap if somebody’s hunting like illegally within the national park or it’s there to catch something else. But then the elephant like almost like a bear trap. You know what a bear trap looks like? Imagine like an elephant’s trunk getting stuck in something that’s like, So
4 (45m 28s):
It was kind of chopped
1 (45m 28s):
Off. Yeah, not, not super noticeably but like probably a foot shorter than the rest of the elephants I’d say. So we did see that We also, which is very interesting and I wanna mention before I forget, we did see a few elephants that did not have tusks. You know elephants are known for their huge ivory tusks and that’s often why they’re hunted because they are thought to have medicinal properties. So people cut them off, kill the elephants and then use their ivory tusks to sell on the black market. Essentially
4 (46m 1s):
If a tusk is removed that will kill the
3 (46m 4s):
Elephant. No but they’re so big that no one cares to like euthanize it, well I should say euthanize it, put it to sleep with anesthesia or something like it’s just easier to kill it, chop it off. So it’s not like if they remove it it will you know, kill it by itself that way. But basically what Brit’s saying too, and by the way male and female elephants have tusks. A lot of people think it’s just like one or the other. But the elephants that we started seeing without tusks, biologists now are actually starting to think elephants are escalating their evolutionary evolution process. Yeah, to actually get rid of it cuz they know that they’re being hunted for it. So they’re like, this is new. Like you don’t see elephants without tusks.
3 (46m 45s):
So some of them have no tusks when technically the generation before has tusks. Oh
1 (46m 51s):
Wow. Yeah. So that was really interesting to see and learn about too. Cause like you can hear about it but when you actually like see it and you see one with tusks and like the one next to it with none, you’re like, oh wow, evolution has happened here.
3 (47m 4s):
So after that Nile boat ride, we ended up going back to the lodge having dinner. But let’s talk about our wildlife siding at the lodge and again showcasing the purpose and why you need that escort Brittany to
1 (47m 17s):
Be Yeah, so after dinner, Jamal and I were just using the wifi because also the lobby was the only place to charge your phone with a traditional charger in our room. We only had USB plugs, we didn’t have have any like true outlets. So there’s no hair dryer here. You no, you can’t do your hair at all.
4 (47m 35s):
So the new iPhone doesn’t use usb,
1 (47m 38s):
3 (47m 38s):
4 (47m 39s):
And you can’t charge it then in your room?
1 (47m 42s):
4 (47m 43s):
1 (47m 43s):
We were had to be in the lobby to charge and so that’s also where you can use the wifi. So we had stayed a little bit after dinner and then when we were done with dinner, you have to let one of the people in the hotel know that you need an escort back to your room. So they sent an escort for us. Jamal and I are going down the path. The guy is in front of us, he has this huge flashlight and we’re tracking along going down the path to our room and he stops us and he shines a light and it’s a mama hippo and her baby.
3 (48m 11s):
Oh within 10 feet of us.
1 (48m 13s):
And we’re like, oh shit. He’s like, oh, oh we gotta go. So there’s another glamping tent situation like right to the left of us. He’s like, we need to go up these stairs. So we go up the stairs, get outta the way cuz they can’t climb those stairs. And we basically had to shine the light on them to like make them move off of the path. And so we went to the edge of the balcony and we were able to look over that balcony and look down at them and then they started to like go into the bushes and whatnot and he was like, Okay, now it’s safe to go. She could have easily charged us for sure. And she’s protecting her baby. So that’s why you need your escort at night and in the morning when it’s dark cause they come up to grace.
4 (48m 53s):
When you told me you could hear hippos outside of your room when you were on this trip, I thought, oh wow, that’s cool. I didn’t think it was a tent. But now that I know that it’s a tent, it makes it like much cooler because I’m sure it was a lot louder than if it was a building and then it’s just a tent. There’s a thin material there, not like a building. So it’s kind of a little more scary
1 (49m 17s):
Too. Well at night you can hear them like stomp around the rooms and like make noises
4 (49m 23s):
Throughout the whole
1 (49m 24s):
Night. Yeah, you can. Wow. I mean they’re not super loud all the time, but there was one night that we woke up at like 3:00 AM and we heard a hippo right outside.
3 (49m 34s):
We even tried to wake up early this morning before we even had to to see if we can see hippos outside of our room and just sit on the deck in the little hanging egg chair. But it’s so fucking dark out there like you really, really can’t see whatsoever. So once that sun is finally up, they’re already in there. So by like that little bit before dawn is the time, but it’s still dark and couldn’t see it unfortunately.
1 (50m 1s):
And our tour mates, they had the tent next to ours, they had gone down right after dinner and when they arrived to their tent, when they looked down from their balcony, there was like 15 to 20 hippos in front of their tents. Oh my gosh. And they heard it like on the radio that there was, when we arrived on our tent balcony, there was a guy standing there in the dark with a gun and it scared the shit out of me because I wasn’t expecting it. But he was on Hippo patrol. Oh my
3 (50m 30s):
Gosh. Yeah. And he’s the private security for the lodge too. But he just happened to be on our deck looking out, watching the Nile, watching the hippos and everything like that. So that was our experience at Merchants and Falls. We went to bed that night, woke up, had breakfast, day five here. We were really excited because we did Safariing, but now we were gonna get some primate action. We were driving to Kabbali National Park, which is home to the chimpanzees and we were gonna do some chimpanzee Trekking in the jungle. Ooh.
1 (51m 1s):
Yeah. So it does take six to seven hours in the car to get from merchants and falls to Kabbali National Park. And on other Gate one tours you get to talk and chat with your other tour mates and you know, you have lunches and dinners together. But on this small group guided tour, we had two cars. So, and there were seven of us. So in one car there was always three people and in one car there was always four people. So you really get to know your tour mates because when you’re on these long drives and whatnot, that’s all you have to do is like learn about each other, chat away, all of that. Did
4 (51m 34s):
You guys switch spots or did
3 (51m 36s):
You stay Oh yeah, we rotated. So we rode with everybody different times during our travels. So sometimes we were in the car of three, sometimes we were in the car of four and there was two other couples. So we would rotate who that couple is that we would be with. And everybody was rotating along getting to know each other. And you know, Gate one, they required to kind of do C, they mentioned it but it was so small that no one was enforcing it. But it’s one of those things we all wanted to do because we wanna talk with everybody.
1 (52m 4s):
And that was really great that everyone did get along and meshed really, really well. Like I felt that was really nice. Like we didn’t have anyone that was like an outcast or like that was rude to us where we’ve had that on other Gate one tours. Yeah. There’s been some
4 (52m 19s):
Interesting people on some of
1 (52m 20s):
These tours. Yeah. But being able to be in the car with, with the tour guides and with our tour mates, we learned so much about the country and the culture. Like they still make you do Dory. So if you wanna get married, he has to provide the father of the, the lady, he wants to marry six cows as a dory. And so the father of the bride then takes those cows and then typically sells them to make money to pay for like the wedding and help pay for the wedding and the party. Hmm. And so like I didn’t know do, were still a thing out there. And also we also learned that smoking is prohibited in Uganda.
1 (53m 0s):
Like you can’t smoke cigarettes and so only 2% of the population smokes because the cigarettes are so expensive and you have nowhere to do it.
3 (53m 11s):
Interesting. Although they let tourists do it in the lodges because I noticed that, you know, a lot of times when you’re on these tours, you’ll ask your tour guide questions as you’re driving places they’ll tell you things. And so I asked him, I said, I, I’ve noticed I don’t see anybody smoking. Why is that that the case? And so he went into it like yeah, it’s strongly discouraged. Like you’re not allowed to do it in public. Yeah, you would have to do it in private. So that’s why you don’t see people too. It is very expensive to actually do it. And in comparison to what the general population makes, he’s like, it’s too expensive for them to buy cigarettes. So that’s the government’s way of preventing people from smoking.
1 (53m 48s):
It’s like $14 a pack there. And in context there’s a lot of farms in Uganda, one US dollar is equivalent to 4,000 Ugandan chillings and the typical farm worker only makes 5,000 shillings a day. So they make a dollar 25 a day. Wow. So if they wanted to smoke cigarettes, I mean that’s like 14 days, half a month’s pay to go just to cigarettes. Wow. So it was really interesting. Even though we had these long drives, we learned a lot about the culture, the population, our tour managers and all of that. And they had packed us lunch this day. So this day they had packed a lunch from our previous lodge and then we stopped at a restaurant but didn’t eat the food at the restaurant.
1 (54m 33s):
We ate our packed food there.
3 (54m 35s):
And I think that kind of gives you a little bit of context. You know, when we’re talking about the bathroom situation earlier in what she was saying for a squat, you know, when we’re on Gate ones they always wanna stop at the best restaurants along the way, the best restrooms that they have available along the way for those scheduled breaks, they
4 (54m 53s):
Already have partnerships with
3 (54m 54s):
These places. We know what would be there. But here in Uganda it’s one of those things where, you know, the best restrooms were at gas stations, which weren’t very good at all and they were squats and situations like that. And two, the one time here where it was such a long drive that we needed a lunch, they’re like, No, we’re bringing the food from the lodge where you only have a partnership of a place where we’re only going to sit and have you use the restroom. So they don’t even want you to eat the food out in public.
1 (55m 22s):
They did serve us fruit, it was bananas. So they’re in the peels and then pineapples that have like the casing on the outside. So they did cut us fruit but we didn’t eat the food there. We had like our packed lunch. Interesting. And then we did a shortcut, which I don’t know how much of a shortcut it was, but we went through a tea plantation after lunch and we were actually able to see them do like a tea picking demonstration in the tea fields and the tea plantations. So that was really cool. They were talking a
3 (55m 49s):
Lot tons of tea out in Uganda, like it’s a big staple crop. Most people work in tea farms, if not banana farms.
4 (55m 55s):
Did you have it available at most
1 (55m 58s):
Of the places? Yeah, we did have tea available and then on one of the stops we were able to stop at a tea shop and buy tea to bring home as a souvenir. So we did do that as well. But then it got really exciting because as we got closer to Kabbali National Park, that’s when we started to see more wildlife. We were seeing monkeys on the side of the road, bad boons on the side of the road. And as we were approaching the national park, we slowed our car because we saw a family of baboons on the side of the road. And then a baboon hopped up onto the top of our car like on the front. And our tour manager goes, Put up your windows. Put up your windows. So we put up our windows and he just straight is chilling on the top of our car.
1 (56m 38s):
He’s not moving. So we start to drive really slow looking straight in at
3 (56m 42s):
You. He’s looking at us a little bit. Of
1 (56m 45s):
Course, of course. And so he starts to drive slowly cuz he is like, Is he gonna get off? Is he gonna get off? And he like stayed on the front of our vehicle for probably half a mile I’d say. Oh yeah. And just caught a ride from us and then decided to jump off eventually. But that was really exciting cuz they’re like baboons, they can be aggressive, you know, so make sure you don’t stick your hand out to take like a picture or like anything you want the windows up because they’re clever. Clever creatures.
3 (57m 14s):
Clever little bastards. And this guy was staying on the hood and popped a little ride. But eventually he did jump off and we got to where we were staying in Kabbali National Park. And that’s what was really cool. All of our lodges were inside the national parks. So we had this really cool fricking lodge in the middle of the forest really, really done up. And we went from a glamping experience to a more luxury like lodge hotel experience in the forest. So we got acclimated a little bit and then we weren’t doing the chimp Trekking that day, but we were doing something else.
1 (57m 47s):
Yeah. We went to have a swamp walk or a wetland walk. We went to a wetland sanctuary and they had this elevated wooden boardwalk through part of the sanctuary. So we walked on that and we got to see monkeys and a whole bunch of birds and it came across some really big spiders as well. But one of our tour mates as we were walking in this swamp, he was a big guy
3 (58m 13s):
For Bob. Bob
1 (58m 14s):
Is like, I don’t know,
3 (58m 16s):
Six, Oh he is like six four.
1 (58m 18s):
He’s a big tall guy. He’s walking on this tiny little boardwalk and his foot goes through one of the planks. The planks. And he probably went like shin deep into the swamp water. Oh how did he
3 (58m 32s):
Go through the plank? I just, it wasn’t a very sturdy board that he stepped on and
1 (58m 36s):
It broke through.
3 (58m 38s):
And like I said, he’s a tall guy so imagine you know what type of weight somebody who’s six four has, you know, he’s not big in that sense but like in terms of the height definitely went through right on that board a little bit. So for Bob. But this area was really cool because we were seeing all sorts of different primates. Again, not the chimpanzees cuz we were in an area that was kind of really outside the thickness of the forest that is Kabbali National Park. So a lot of like the, the smaller monkeys that you would expect, like the co monkey, I think there’s
1 (59m 13s):
Like a red tail
3 (59m 13s):
Monkey. Yeah. So we saw good variety of like four or five different types plus really cool ass fucking birds. Like birds that you would almost think like tropical locations. Like even in the Amazon, how they look with the bright colors, bright color, different types of bees, bright boys and things like that. So it was really, really awesome. We went back to the lodge after that and everyone’s excited with anticipation cause we know tomorrow is going to be the big primates, the chimpanzees.
1 (59m 40s):
And you know, we haven’t talked a lot about the alcohol that they offer in Uganda but this night we did try in African alcohol it’s called Amaru and it’s a cream leco from South Africa and it’s really good. It’s like really creamy. Almost like a Bailey’s kind of milky kind of creamy
3 (59m 59s):
But better than
1 (1h 0m 0s):
A better than a Bailey’s. And so we did try that. I did ask that
4 (1h 0m 5s):
You just said, what’s it called
1 (1h 0m 7s):
4 (1h 0m 8s):
Amaru. As soon as you said that it reminds me of Amato. Is it the same kind of creaminess as
3 (1h 0m 14s):
That? To some degree I would say it is. But one of the reasons why it’s famous if I remember correctly, is they utilize in it a leaf also that maybe an elephant chew that
1 (1h 0m 26s):
Use, it’s a fruit from the arru tree.
3 (1h 0m 28s):
Ah it’s the fruit from the tree and
1 (1h 0m 30s):
Elephant’s like that.
4 (1h 0m 31s):
That would be Epic if they use the saliva covered leaves from an
3 (1h 0m 37s):
Elephant. Oh from the elephant it spits it back out or something like that. I knew there was something about the elephant really being drawn to it. So it’s made from the flower of that tree. I thought it was the the leaf but it’s the flower itself
1 (1h 0m 48s):
And on the bottle it’s a big elephant on the bottle. So it was really delicious. I was trying to ask them like do you guys have a word for cheers? Because we like to in different countries like learn those words and they said they don’t, it’s not a a culture tradition that they have. Really? Yeah. So they don’t have that.
4 (1h 1m 5s):
I think that’s the first time I’ve ever heard of a a country culture of people that didn’t have the cheers. Wow.
1 (1h 1m 12s):
So we didn’t cheers or like if we did cheers it’s just like cheers. You know? Cuz they didn’t have that. So that was interesting. Hey Travelers, let’s take a quick detour to talk all about our travel Itineraries that we’ve created just for you. We now have six different trip Itineraries one week in Kauai,
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1 (1h 2m 8s):
We have story highlights on our Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast where you can see the full guides. We’ve done all of the research and have taken these exact trips taking out all of the guesswork from the planning. So all that you have to do is show up and have
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1 (1h 2m 34s):
But while we were at primate Lodge, we were so excited because the next day we knew we were gonna be Trekking with the chimpanzees. We were so close to the chimpanzee trek that we could walk to the starting point from our hotel. Wow.
3 (1h 2m 46s):
They’re like, like we were in the thick of the forest, like we were really in the middle of it. They were like it’s common for the chimpanzees to even migrate in this territory. Maybe you’ll see them, maybe you won’t, you’ll for sure see other monkeys but sometimes they even come through here themselves. But that wasn’t the case for us. And even if they did we wouldn’t be starting the trek then, right? Because the trek has to be one with your permit and with your ranger guides from the national park.
1 (1h 3m 12s):
We walked down like it was only two minute to where the starting point was. We got a little briefing with the guide and they told us like make sure that you’re not making the same sounds that the chimpanzees are making. Don’t try to mimic their sounds because they might be doing an aggressive call and if you’re mimicking that they’re gonna come down wanting to like fight you essentially. You can’t hike with hiking pools because they think that is like a threat. They wanna play with a stick too. They think you’re there to play and fight. So you had to be very careful with what you did in front of the chimpanzees. So we learned a little bit about them and essentially we were told that they were going to be primarily in the trees and then if we were lucky, the chimps would get hot and climb down the trees later in the day and we could watch them on the forest floor.
1 (1h 3m 56s):
So that’s what we’re heading out to do. So we start to drive from where we were being briefed to a location closer to hike with them. And we’re coming down the road not very far and we see a whole bunch of people looking up in the trees. So we park, we get out and there they are just right in the trees above us right off of that
3 (1h 4m 14s):
Road. They’re eating in a giant fig tree. And when you think of fig trees here in the United States, like you can’t even compare it to this fig tree that was in Africa. I mean it was like a hundred, 150 feet tall. So wide like a big giant umbrella. And there’s literally a full trou of them. I would say at least 30 plus in that tree just munching on their figs. Having breakfast. That’s again where the binoculars come and clutch cause it’s a very, very tall tree. High up. I mean you can see them but obviously it gives you a lot better context with the the binoculars and everything. And so we were watching them there for quite a while and and actually where we came across them is not where we were supposed to be.
3 (1h 4m 54s):
We were supposed to go, if I remember correctly, to another troop because they have trackers that go out in the morning but they’re like, these ones are so close, they’re on the road, we’re just going to go ahead and stay here. And we watched them for a little bit and then at one point the majority of them were still in the tree but only one for whatever reason like was coming down. So you gotta watch him do his typical chimpanzee swing from like branch to branch, tree to tree. That’s cool. And like come down slowly but surely. And then as soon as that one came down, our ranger guides said, come on, we’re gonna go into the forest. So then we start with this adrenaline rush like fuck yeah like and so we just start following the chimpanzee into the thicke of the forest.
1 (1h 5m 36s):
Yeah. And they move fast. Like they’re not slow. Like he is like Trekking on the forest floor and we’re trying to keep up like where’s he going? You know?
4 (1h 5m 43s):
So he’s like saw you and he’s like, Oh time to go
1 (1h 5m 46s):
3 (1h 5m 47s):
Follow me. And so he is like, let’s follow this one. It’s on the ground. And then we were following for a little bit but he had a good pace and not everybody could keep up. And I don’t mean that in a mean way. I mean they’re agile creatures, they move fast. Right.
4 (1h 5m 59s):
Were you doing like a slow jog or a fast
1 (1h 6m 2s):
Walk? Fast walk walk. Like a power walk for sure.
3 (1h 6m 4s):
A fast walk. And it’s one of those things too you don’t really wanna run because then you can scare them and think it’s like an aggressive tactic for them also. And so eventually he kind of settled down and
1 (1h 6m 14s):
He climbed a tree in the for,
3 (1h 6m 16s):
But before he climbed it, he actually sat and posed for us for a quick little second, like he knew and then he just kind of started to climb the the tree a little bit and then eventually he got out of sight far enough in the tree and it was only one. So our guide said, okay, let’s back actually, well not at that point we started to go a little bit further in cuz we were trying to find maybe another troupe and then he decided that we’ll go back. And why did he decide that we’ll
1 (1h 6m 42s):
Go back? Because he knew that the rest of the chimpanzees would eventually come out of the troop and he said it was a good day and the reason why is cuz it was a sunny day. So when it’s sunny outside, after they have breakfast, they get warm and they wanna come down to the forest floor to nap. If it’s a rainy day or an overcast day, they’ll stay in the trees all day because the sun’s not bothering them. So when we got there he goes, it’s gonna be a good day, it’s already sunny.
3 (1h 7m 5s):
He’s like, I usually don’t make guarantees, but he is like, I can guarantee you that the chimpanzees are gonna come down. So he said, we’re not gonna go try to find like another troop. We know where one is. Like they’re gonna come down soon. As soon as we arrived. Then they started coming down out of the tree in masses. There were already some on the floor, but then they started coming down out in
1 (1h 7m 24s):
Masses. Well before we even got back to the road, we started to see just chimpanzees come to the forest. And so we kind of did this back and forth of like starting to go back but then getting distracted because there’s chimpanzees coming right next to us. One of them got so close to me that like I was taking a video of it, I had to move out of its way or else it would’ve just knocked me over. Like that’s how close it. Oh
3 (1h 7m 47s):
Yeah. And it ended up brushing up against me. And I’m trying to think, was it Jerry or Bob or Lorraine who bumped both of us? I don’t know. I think it might’ve been me and Lorraine, but like it walked between us and bumped us. Wow. As it was making this
1 (1h 8m 0s):
Way. They were so close and obviously you can’t touch them, but if they touch you you just go with it kind of thing. You try to get out of their way but you don’t wanna like startle them either. So that was really cool because it was, it wasn’t scary but it was an adrenaline rush because you’re seeing them, you’re following them. Like it’s a whole experience. And I wasn’t expecting that. Like I didn’t know what to expect. I thought we’d see them and they say you get an hour with them once you’re there with them. But I didn’t think we would be like going back and forth and like tracking them essentially.
3 (1h 8m 29s):
I think it really just depends on the day. And that day we got really lucky. So again it was that little bit of back and forth that finally we went to the face of that big fig tree where a lot of them were just lounging at that point, like
1 (1h 8m 40s):
Started to nap. They started to groom each other playing with each other. We did see a mama chimp in her baby. She was kind of trying to hide in the bushes. They were saying like stay a distance away. But we were close enough to like really see them. And then whenever we were in their presence, we had to put on our masks because they were worried about transmitting diseases from the monkeys to
3 (1h 9m 4s):
You and vice versa.
1 (1h 9m 6s):
Oh yeah. So anytime we were close to the primates and we were watching them, we did have to put our masks.
3 (1h 9m 12s):
So when they were up in the tree we didn’t have to, but when we were down on the forest floor with them in close proximity, and when I say close proximity, I mean we were within 10 feet of them. Like that’s as close as we could approach them. Clearly they got closer to us at that point, but we couldn’t just approach them in that type of closeness. So we were down on the forest floor with them. That’s when we had to put on our masks and just for future reference, same with the gorillas for that matter, we had to do it with all the primates. So I mean that was just really intense. But I mean once they were down on the forest floor, we watched them or amongst them for quite a bit of time, maybe about an hour, an hour. And then they gave us certificates saying that we completed the chimp track.
3 (1h 9m 53s):
And like it’s, it’s actually really cool. I’m, I’m really stoked about those souvenirs and I’m gonna be framing them. It has the date, it has the national park, it says that you’ve successfully completed the chimp truck and saw chimpanzees in the wild. Like it’s a, it’s this whole like fucking certificate that I’m stoked and hard on right now. Like it’s really cool.
1 (1h 10m 13s):
So after the chimp truck we went back to primate lodge, we had a quick lunch and then we were driving to Queen Elizabeth National Park for later in the day and it was about a three hour drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park. And along the way we saw some beautiful volcanic crater lakes and then we checked into a different lodge and this lodge was called the elephants plane lodge. This was definitely my favorite lodge. It was so luxurious, it was so beautiful. When we arrived, you can just tell the ambiance was just different. And they had this big outdoor deck with seating area that overlooked these lakes and for dinner they put down like flowers and petals on the table.
1 (1h 10m 55s):
Aw. And then you go down these paths to these private cabanas, huge room, huge king bed. You have a balcony that overlooks the lake. Immediately Jamal saw an animal in the lake. We pulled out our binoculars. It was an elephant in the water. Wow. The bathroom was massive, beautiful stonework. It even had a claw foot tub in it. It was just the most beautiful lodge. Loved it here.
3 (1h 11m 24s):
I love the elephant plain lodge too, minus the luxuries that the lodge itself had. I think what was really cool of the dynamic of it was we were literally right outside Queen Elizabeth National Park on an elevated hill. And you look down and like Britney said, you could see the lakes but you’re looking down to flatland. And so it’s that flat like African bush of a Safariing itself. So there’s the lakes, there’s the elephant in it and then you can see the the typical African trees that you expect to see on like the Savannah planes. And here I am at my lodge in the dining area and recreation area just overlooking this vastness that I know is like Queen Elizabeth with all this wildlife that’s down there.
3 (1h 12m 5s):
And it was like a really, really intense feeling. And this was a very big day. I mean we did the chimpanzee trek, we made our way to Queen Elizabeth and we were going on an evening game drive that night. So we went from chimps all the way to true traditional Safariing. And just for a little bit of context, this park is called Queen Elizabeth National Park because Queen Elizabeth herself actually was staying at this national park when she was Princess Elizabeth. And she was actually notified of her father’s passing and that she was gonna become queen when she was here on royal tour at this park. So it had a different name. I forgot what it was called. Was it called Kaga? I think so. I think it was called Kaga.
3 (1h 12m 46s):
And she was here when she found out her father died. And just also for context and reference, Uganda is a commonwealth commonwealth of the United Kingdom. Basically. Meaning it’s like one of their territories that they still have even though they are independent. And another little fun fact when we left the lodge, we started talking obviously about the name with the person who was in our jeep with us, which was Jerry at that time. And just kind of like the British monarchy. And come to find out when we get back from our game drive that day and we have internet access, the queen died. So we were in Queen Elizabeth Park the first day the queen had passed
1 (1h 13m 23s):
Away. Yeah, that was crazy. She had been there when she found out that her father had passed and we were there when we found out she had passed. But this evening game drive was amazing. We went at dusk, we saw elephants, we saw Cape Buffalo in these water holes and they were doing these mud baths. They were having a spa day for sure.
4 (1h 13m 44s):
Does it get to the point where you’ve seen such amazing things and animals that you’re like, oh, another elephant, another hippo.
3 (1h 13m 54s):
Big deal. You know, I don’t think like the elephants giraffes and the bigger stuff get old.
1 (1h 13m 59s):
It’s the antelope that you’re like, all right, we’ve seen that.
3 (1h 14m 2s):
Yeah. And even the buffalo, like if you see like one buffalo and what’s ironic is when we were in South Africa we didn’t really see a lot of the Cape Buffalo.
4 (1h 14m 10s):
Cape Buffalo. I Google image searched a picture of them and they are so cute. It looks like they’re wearing like a little wig that comes out on the side.
1 (1h 14m 19s):
Oh yeah, yeah. So you can actually tell, tell if it’s male or female based off of like the helmet and horns that they have. Like the males have like a full helmet where the females don’t have like the full helmet
3 (1h 14m 31s):
Like Yeah. Where the horns come all the way across. Right. But when we were in South Africa, we really didn’t see a lot of Cape Buffalo. We saw them but they were Cape Buffalo that were ostracized from the herd. So they were like solo ones and you see it and it’s like okay, it’s there. It’s one of the African Big five. But it wasn’t very exciting. But here at Queen Elizabeth and even when we were at Merchants and Falls, like this was the first time that we actually saw them in herds. And when they’re in herds and in the watering holes and even if not in the watering hole like in herds, they’re a lot more cooler to watch. So I didn’t get tired of them. It’s really like Britney said, the antelope that you get tired of seeing, but everything else is just fucking exciting cuz it’s nature. It’s like what are they gonna do next? What’s gonna happen in this moment?
3 (1h 15m 12s):
You know? So I don’t think it ever really got old. But the highlight of this evening, Gabe Drive was, and again it’s one of those things at the very end is when we saw the lions as we’re kind of heading back towards the entrance exit of the park to go back to the lodge, we come across a herd of lions
1 (1h 15m 32s):
And they’re pretty close to the roadside. Like we didn’t need our binoculars to
3 (1h 15m 36s):
See them like within 20, 25 feet would you say? Oh my gosh. Yeah. And so they’re just laying next to the road and then you could see the male head distance off in the distance just enjoying the sunset. We were watching them for quite a bit of time and we were talking like, well there’s a herd of buffalo over there. Like I feel like they’re probably going to hunt them. And everyone was like speculating like are they gonna do anything now in this moment? What’s going on? This, that and the other. And the buffalo actually I don’t even think saw them.
1 (1h 16m 4s):
No they didn’t or anything.
3 (1h 16m 5s):
They had no idea anything like that. And so, but
1 (1h 16m 8s):
They were talking about how the direction of the wind was in favor of the lions so that the wind wasn’t blowing, the lions sent towards the buffalo, it was blowing it away. So they didn’t even know that
4 (1h 16m 19s):
They were there. Oh wow. And I felt like the pictures that you posted of the male lion, he looked so much healthier, beefier, better fur than the ones that you posted in South Africa.
1 (1h 16m 30s):
Well at South Africa we went to a reserve where they were rescued ones. So people had tried to breed them and then keep them as pets and then had to give them up versus these were out in
3 (1h 16m 43s):
The wild. Yeah, I mean the lions that we saw in South Africa, we only saw cubs and females, we didn’t even see a dominant male lion in South Africa except for one. Often the distance too far to take a photo, he stood up, walked and then like collapsed back down. But otherwise we didn’t see one. So I think the photos you’re referring to is exactly what Britney said when we went to the sanctuary of the, the ones that were actually rescued at that point versus the wild ones. But we were just so entranced with these lines. I mean it’s that culmination and excitement like you have a dominant male pluses pride and it wasn’t just females, he had juvenile males that were still with him. Right? So those juvenile males, you know, in time are either gonna challenge him or get kicked out of the pride itself cuz he only keeps adult females if they’re not like cubs or adolescents.
3 (1h 17m 31s):
Right. But eventually, and it was so upsetting cuz we knew Hunt was probably gonna go on Park Rangers came and said we had to leave the park because again it was an evening game drive and unless you have a night permit you can’t be in the park at night. So they kicked us out but we knew we were coming back in the morning for a morning game
1 (1h 17m 49s):
Drive. Yeah. So we knew we were coming back the next morning for a morning game drive. So we went back to our hotel, had dinner rested and this was probably one of the most exciting days of this trip. And right when we entered the national park we saw the lions that we saw the night before pretty close to the same area that they were at. However, they were more in the distance and so we saw them on their binoculars, we knew that they were close and we were like, we wanna get closer to him. And they’re like, oh well you know they’re over there. But then all of a sudden we see a whole bunch of Safariing vehicles and caravan drive right up to the lions
3 (1h 18m 23s):
1 (1h 18m 24s):
And we’re like, how do we do that? And he was like, Oh that’s a special permit. We don’t have the permit for that. We have like the onroad permit, we don’t have the offroad permits and like how do we get them and like how much are they? So he starts making calls and he is like, it’s $110 per person if we wanna go offroading.
3 (1h 18m 42s):
Well it was a hundred, it gets to be 110 for a different reason, which will tell it was a hundred dollars per person.
1 (1h 18m 47s):
Okay so a hundred dollars per person if you wanna go off-roading. And I was like, can we do like can we pay as we exit kind of thing. And he called and got everything set up and then all of a sudden like we made a consensus, both vehicles were gonna go off-roading and we got to drive right up to the lions.
3 (1h 19m 4s):
It was so freaking And they were still there in that same area because they had gotten a kill. They’ve got the kill like after we had left. So it’s one of those disappointing things. I wish we could have seen the hunt but they were still in an area protecting the carcass so to speak. So then we just joined the caravan, went off roading and our heavy duty Toyota land cruisers and we were just like right by the lions. And so again, the male always really stays solo to some degree. So we went to where the, the pride actually was the females and the adolescent males and then were amongst them for a little bit and then we drove towards the male lion and as we drove towards the male lion, he got up and started walking away before he collapsed and just was like basking in the sun and joined his kingdom that is before him.
3 (1h 19m 53s):
I mean it’s such a cool experience to be like these fuckers are wild and like you’re in their element. It was really, really cool.
1 (1h 19m 60s):
And they were so unbothered by the Safariing vehicles, they were so close to us that one of the lions got up and started rubbing its body against our tire of our to our vehicle. Oh my gosh. Like that’s how close they got. Like they didn’t care about us, they were just like chilling. But this is also where we got to see some lions climb into a cactus tree. Oh
3 (1h 20m 21s):
Yeah. So in Queen Elizabeth National Park and Queen Elizabeth is so vast, there’s actually chimpanzees in Queen Elizabeth. Some of this park actually extends up into a mountainous region, not where we actually were. You need a separate permit to see the chimpanzees there. And then there’s another region within the park where the lions are known to climb specific types of trees. But we weren’t in that region either. But he’s like, they sometimes climb trees here but not the trees that they’re known for. Like if you google it to see that they’re in, they’ll climb in these cactus trees. And I’ve never seen a cactus tree before. I mean this was intense. It literally has a normal tree trunk and then it branches out to be like a giant tree that looks like those thin like cactuses but in such high concentration.
3 (1h 21m 7s):
But our guides were telling us like yeah like the, the needles and thorns of the cactus aren’t very thick and long in the areas in which they go. So they don’t really feel the pain but higher up. You know they do get a little bit more pointy and thick so they climb up into these trees and then we got to watch like three or four of them climb up into the tree.
1 (1h 21m 28s):
Yeah. So that was really cool. So we got to spend a lot of time with the lions. There was probably at least eight lions in this area that we were observing like at different parts of the day. And then while we were there near the lions, there was a whole bunch of other cars there too. One of the cars had a guide who was a tracker. So he had a satellite tracking system where he had, he could track the other big animals that had collars on them. So he was like, Next we’re going to the leopards. And we’re like, yes. Because the only leopard we had seen at this point was the one that we saw with our binoculars
3 (1h 22m 3s):
1 (1h 22m 4s):
Distance in Meson Falls. So everyone goes in a line following this tracker, we’re going like complete off-roading into the bush like we have no idea where we are. And he pulls up to another cactus tree and as we look into it we see that there’s a leopard lying in this cactus tree branches. Oh. So that was really exciting. And then each car that was there had a turn to go right under the tree, had time to like take photos, really just observe the leopard. And we all just took turns doing that. And then he did take us to one more leopard as well that we got to do the same thing for How cool
3 (1h 22m 45s):
I was so excited. But you know, I mean we got really lucky because one of those vehicles, again, they paid to have the tracker who can go and find the animals that are tracked via satellite or chipped with the collars et cetera. So that’s the hundred 10 that Britney was talking about because it was a hundred for the permit. But then the tracker let us tag onto him. But realistically how upset would you be if you were the one who paid for the tracker? Now whole caravan of fucking strangers are following you. So he said if you wanna follow like I’m going to actually charge you guys some money. So it was 10 bucks per person, but I think the 10 bucks per person was well worth it to see the leopards. And so then we were talking to our guides like why doesn’t Gate one like just automatically get the off-road permit, embed it in the price?
3 (1h 23m 31s):
No. Like no one’s really gonna know. And he says, well quite honestly no one’s ever asked for it. I mean it’s nature, it’s one of those things you never know what you’re going to get. And he said last tour the Leo was just lying in the middle of the road, like not even in the tree, like it was actually moving, lying in the road, this and that. So he said no one’s ever asked or thought about it before, but when we saw how close those people were getting to the lines like off in the distance, like we had some fomo, we were like fuck this, we want to like get up to it. So we were willing to pay and that was the best investment I think that we did on the trip was to actually do that little off-roading portion
1 (1h 24m 8s):
And our entire group had the same mentality like we’ll pay. And they kind of seem to be surprised by that. They’re like, you will. And we’re like yeah, I
4 (1h 24m 15s):
Mean I kind of think it’s a little crazy too. I get why you did it because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to get that close to lions and see that. But the same time time it’s kind of like let me pay a hundred bucks to get what? Like 50 yards closer, a hundred yards.
3 (1h 24m 32s):
I mean it really depends. I mean in that moment they were definitely, I would say a little over a hundred yards but they’re lying in like tall grass. So when they’re there and if they’re not moving, like you just kind of see a blur. You know it’s not like the day before when they were close to the road and even still lying down and you can like appreciate them even though they were close the day before, they weren’t as close as we got that day because one, we wouldn’t have seen them in the tree. Two, they wouldn’t have come up to our vehicle and brushed up against it and like we’re looking like right down onto the line in that moment versus okay they’re 10 feet, 20 feet away. So it’s just a different dynamic. So I can see how you can see that they would think differently but at the same time I think it’s well worth it to have done it in that moment.
3 (1h 25m 18s):
And I think even put it on as part of a Gate one’s thing to just automatically include it that way you can always not disappoint and just kind of like go find it and do what you need to do if you have those sidings.
1 (1h 25m 30s):
Yeah. So we had a really exciting morning
4 (1h 25m 32s):
And I’m just surprised they don’t pay the tracker, not the off-roading because I get that like there’s no guarantee you need it. But the tracker you feel like you probably always need that.
3 (1h 25m 41s):
That’s true. But I don’t think like everybody who goes on Safariing doesn’t pay for the tracker. You know what I mean? This was just
4 (1h 25m 48s):
One I know. But I’m wondering, I’m wondering why Gate one doesn’t include it automatically.
1 (1h 25m 53s):
Well our guides are actually really good spotters. Like they are trained to know those roads and how to spot animals. And so for the most part, like while we were in Merchants and Falls National Park, we didn’t need a tracker. We didn’t have a tracker the entire time. But this national park, they were a little, the animals for us were a little bit more elusive. So I think it just depends on the animals and where they are that day. But it was well worth it. We had a super exciting morning, we saw those lines of clicks, we saw the leopards up close, it was really cool. We went back to the lodge for lunch and then we had another river cruise that afternoon and this time we were going down the Kaga channel and it was a two hour boat ride.
1 (1h 26m 34s):
And along the boat ride we were able to see hippos, crocodiles, cape buffalo birds. And then we even got to see an elephant swimming in the water.
3 (1h 26m 46s):
Aw. And this is a region. And again from our lodge at Queen Elizabeth, when we first got there I was like, what is that in the water? And I pulled the binoculars. But Jerry, who was on our tour with us, the one who was solo, she missed that from the lodge number one and two, it was far away. But she really wanted to see the swimming elephants and they’re known to swim in this region and that’s why she’s like, I really want to see it. And so as soon as we get onto the boat and actually start moving, I have my binoculars. I notice, oh shit, there’s an elephant swimming in the distance. So I go and tell the captain of the boat and the guys, they’re like, Oh wow, good eye. And so that’s the first thing we did was beeline it straight to the elephant like swimming.
3 (1h 27m 28s):
And we were within about 15 feet of that, maybe even a little bit closer. And it melted my heart to see how excited Jerry was for it. Like she was, she was so ecstatic. And so even before we got up close, I was like, Jerry, you have your binocular. She’s like, Yeah, I said, There’s an elephant swimming in the distance. So she was already like peering at it through the binoculars and everything like that. And again, another amazing boat cruise here with booze included from Gate one. Awesome. Yeah, I know.
1 (1h 27m 54s):
Yeah. So that day was such an exciting day, day seven. And that was just leading up to kind of our final few days in Uganda. And so after the riverboat cruise we went back to our lodge, we woke up for breakfast the next day, day eight. And after breakfast we drove to windy impenetrable national park. And this is the mountainous area, the jungle area for where the Gorilla Trekking is. And is it impenetrable?
3 (1h 28m 20s):
They call it impenetrable because if you really see how dense this forest is, that’s why they call it impenetrable. It is like going into a thicket of just forest of trees and it’s actually quite impressive and sad at the same time. So just a little bit of context of like windy and the, the mountain gorillas as a whole, if you actually Google how many mountain gorillas there are in the wild and there’s a difference between mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas. Right. Mountain gorillas obviously live in the mountains. Lowland gorillas live in like little flat areas. Right. And what
1 (1h 28m 53s):
Else is the difference
3 (1h 28m 54s):
Besides, I mean there are different subspecies and just different locations, but that’s really kind of about it. But the, the lowland gorillas aren’t going to migrate up into the mountains. Right? So I mean they’re, those ones are more adept to that environment and the mountain gorillas are more adept to them and they are technically separate subspecies of gorillas. However, there is less than I believe 800 in the wild. Maybe there’s up to like 900 in the wild with the most recent census. And that spread amongst three countries, Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Which unfortunately over there it’s not the best place for them because there’s an ongoing civil war in that region.
3 (1h 29m 37s):
But Wendy has 400 plus of those mountain gorillas. So they have more than half realistically of the population here in Uganda in this specific national park itself. And what makes it really, really sad is we mentioned earlier there’s lots of farming that goes on over there, like the bananas, the tea and these mountainous regions, the mountains are really, really steep and it’s so pretty to see the terrorist farming that they have going on. But as pretty as it is, it’s fucking really sad to see because you know, they cut down so much forest and habitat for chimpanzees gorillas.
3 (1h 30m 16s):
And now the Gorilla population, the mountain Gorilla population is fragmented, right? Because the mountain gorillas are only in this one corner. So where blendy is, we’re tucked in the corner of Uganda and Congo and now their habitat is fragmented because of all the farming that’s actually going on. So they can’t go from one area to the next and they’re stuck there simply because, well there’s farmland in between there now. And so that makes them a lot more critically endangered is because their habitat is in that situation and it’s because of the farming and the people around them.
1 (1h 30m 50s):
And Wendy is a UNESCO world heritage site. We’ve talked about UNESCO world heritage sites before. So the whole national park is one as well. Jamal mentioned there’s about 400 gorillas in this national park, but only about five groups are habituated to humans. The other ones are wild, they’re scared of humans, they will run away. There are about five groups and a group has like eight to 10 Gorilla family members in it that are okay with humans being in their presence and observing. So
3 (1h 31m 22s):
When you have the permits, the rangers are only taking you to the gorillas that are habituated to human presence and they’re purposely leaving the other groups wild.
1 (1h 31m 32s):
Wild. And so we were going to be hiking to a group named the Christmas group, the big silver back male. He was 23 years old, his name was Christmas. And as we started the hike we were actually going down through villages and then we went through a tea plantation. And then you just see, like when you’re in the tea plantation, you see the barrier of like the tea plantation and then all of a sudden it just becomes the forest and you just see how dense it is and
3 (1h 32m 1s):
It’s just, it’s this thick clear cut line of like here’s the T and then here’s the impenetrable forest that you’re asking. Is it really impenetrable? And then it’s just this thickness Yes. That you’re walking into.
1 (1h 32m 12s):
So we are actually hiking downhill Gate. One provided all of us with a porter, that porter carried our backpack and was also there because it was very muddy and slippery. So most of the women in our group used their porter to hold their hand and they would just like guide you down and guide you up the mountain. That sounds lovely. Jamal And Bob like did not have their porters hold their hand. I did not.
3 (1h 32m 37s):
I did. I didn’t need it. You know like, I mean Brittanie and I are avid hikers. The troubling part of this environment was twofold. Like I said, it’s really fucking steep. These mountains are steep, right? I mean they’re doing terrorist farming for a reason. Second it rain forest. So even though they’ve cut down, unfortunately most of the forest and it’s farmland, it still rains a lot in that area. So it’s muddy, it’s steep and muddy. So that’s what creates the problem of where you can potentially be going a little bit slow. Yeah. And making it difficult.
1 (1h 33m 9s):
So Gate one provided us with the porters and then once we got to where the forest starts, that’s when you really need your porter. If like you have balance issues or you’re not used to hiking. Cuz it got even steeper in the jungle area. And this is what we did on day nine. So I think we had kind of skipped on day eight. We just drove there. We did like a cultural village walk and then we spent the night near Blendy. But day nine is when we started the Gorilla track.
3 (1h 33m 36s):
Right. And real quick on day eight, cuz you’re right, we did kind of brush over that cause we’re so fucking excited to talk about the gorillas here. But this is where it was really off-roading. Like at one point, once we got off the main highway again, we’re talking steep mountains. They have roads, but they’re not paved roads. At least not yet. They are dirt roads on shear cliffs. And when it rains they’re muddy. They’re, they had landslides the day before in a certain area close to this because there was actually rain. And so this is the point, like people were like, Oh are you scared of the gorillas and hiking with them? Absolutely not. I was more scared of these fucking roads that we were driving on to get here.
3 (1h 34m 17s):
It freaked me the fuck out driving on these roads.
1 (1h 34m 21s):
Shama was having an anxiety.
3 (1h 34m 23s):
I remember back to Rainbow Mountain and we almost slipped off the edge and those fucking sketchy roads in the Andes, I felt like that. But 10 times worse over here. I mean it’s safe, but I get into my own head. I’m not gonna kid myself. But I was kind of panicking a little bit. And then that village walk that she talked about that we did was actually really unique because when they created the national park, there was an indigenous tribe that was actually living in that forest. The Ugandan government kicked them out cause they’re like, you can’t be in here anymore. Like you set up traps for other animals, you can hurt the gorillas. They
1 (1h 34m 57s):
Had killed a few gorillas on
3 (1h 34m 60s):
Accident. On accident with their traps. So they’re like, fuck this, you’re out. So the government kicked that indigenous tribe out. Now
1 (1h 35m 7s):
They bought ’em a piece of land. They bought them a piece of land. But they, all of the resources previously came from inside the national park or the forest. Yeah, well the forest. And so now they’re on a piece of land, but they don’t know how to farm. They don’t know what to do. So they’re learning that from other tribes. And so when you go to this national park, what you pay and your permits and your fees, some of it goes back to this village because the government essentially removes them from their home.
3 (1h 35m 34s):
I mean, imagine being a person living the majority of your life with not having to worry about paying for electricity or farming or what currency or money is. And all of a sudden, hey you’re kicked out and here’s this land and make do for yourself. Right. So that community walk was kind of just to highlight the indigenous people that were in there. And it was a very unique and humbling experience just in general to see how people live in certain places, especially when you’re not in the big city.
4 (1h 36m 5s):
Yeah, I think it’s kind of unfortunate that they did that. You know, if they had been existing in this national park in this forest for so long, then they probably have killed gorillas for years accidentally or on purpose. But now all of a sudden we put our human brains on and think, oh, a couple gorillas have died. They have to go when they’ve probably been existing like that for
1 (1h 36m 26s):
For years and years.
4 (1h 36m 27s):
Years. Hundreds and hundreds of years.
1 (1h 36m 29s):
Yeah. It was unfortunate to see because you can see the amount of poverty that they’re living into. And like we saw inside a hut and a hut houses for people, it’s the size of like by bathroom at home. Like that’s how small it is. You know? So it, it is sad to see, but they are very resourceful. We got to see them start a fire with literally just bare materials and they try to use everything that they have. So that was interesting to see. And one of the other reasons why I think they were kicking them out is because the population is growing so much, they’re starting to get larger and larger. So now they’re making a bigger impact than what they were previous in previous years.
4 (1h 37m 10s):
Yeah. And I also wonder too if over the hundreds of years of the past, if they’ve gone through influxes of higher population, lower population by natural
3 (1h 37m 19s):
Culture. Well, and not only that, like I said, they’re doing major defor, not anymore of course cause the park is protected. But they did major deforestation in terms of the actual habits. So where they were left living in the forest itself is becoming smaller and smaller and they’re using more and more of those resources. Their population is growing. So that was,
4 (1h 37m 37s):
They target the family living in the forest and not the farmers destroying it. Well
3 (1h 37m 42s):
And now And now they don’t anymore. And you know, so that was an interesting perspective. And that’s even what they were saying too, is the reason why they have tea in that area around the forest is because none of the forest primates or other animals in there actually eat the tea leaves. So there’s no incentive for them to come out. And then even around the tea then they have like these thick bushes that have thorns that the primates and other animals won’t want to come through. So they’ve created kind of this natural barrier to keep the animals that are in there still in there from coming out and basically saying, All right, here’s farmland for you with the tea. That way you can make income also, so to speak.
3 (1h 38m 22s):
And so it’s kind of like that delicate balance now. And I know we started talking about the hike cuz we got excited. Went back to day eight cuz we skipped it. But let, let’s get back into the Gorilla track.
1 (1h 38m 32s):
Yeah. So day nine was Gorilla track. This was like our last full, full day in Uganda. It was a big day. We were really excited leading up to this. Jamal did not sleep well this night. His anxiety was really high because of all of the rain. He was afraid that we were gonna be able to get to the Gorilla safely.
4 (1h 38m 48s):
Jamal, Yeah. Can’t sit there worrying about things that haven’t happened like that. I know,
3 (1h 38m 54s):
I know. Well that’s how I am in my head. But our lodge, our lodge unfortunately in terms of the accommodations wasn’t the best coming from where we came from. It wasn’t bad. But after everything that we had that was like five star, it was like ugh. You know? But what was really cool about it is we weren’t in the forest, we were just on the outside and from where we were in our balcony, you can just see it and you’re just like, I know fucking gorillas are in here. And it’s this thick impressive forest with just like going up the mountain with tall canopy trees. But then it was like raining and they told us that we had like another like 30 minute drive from where we were to where we had to do our briefing and actually start our hike. And so it was raining so hard that night.
3 (1h 39m 36s):
I was worried about the road conditions cuz the roads coming up to the lodge were a fucking mess and a treacherous.
1 (1h 39m 42s):
Yes. Yeah. So that’s where we met our guide. They told us about hiking. We were told that we could be hiking up to seven hours in an elevation up to like 8,500 feet. They said like it’s gonna be a pretty strenuous day depending on how long it takes you to find the gorillas. And so the hotel that we had been staying at, they had packed us a lunch with like, I think I picked a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and they had a hard boiled egg and some nuts and some water and some pick-me-up. They had a soda for like a sugar rush to just to give you like energy through the day.
4 (1h 40m 16s):
That’s all they had for this major hike.
1 (1h 40m 19s):
3 (1h 40m 21s):
It’s not spoiled. Egg your sandwich. Your sandwich your wa Yeah absolutely. So they said eat up big at breakfast.
1 (1h 40m 27s):
Yeah, they said eat a good breakfast and then you’ll have your lunch.
4 (1h 40m 31s):
What happens if you eat that good breakfast and then all of a sudden things are moving and grooving and you’re out in the thicke of the forest?
3 (1h 40m 39s):
Well that’s why I say have an antibiotic and antidiarrheal always, but very good question.
4 (1h 40m 44s):
3 (1h 40m 45s):
Neither one of those and we actually have a great story to kind of go with that.
1 (1h 40m 49s):
Yeah. So they said let us know in our briefing they said if you have to go to the bathroom, let us us know. You have to let us know if you’re gonna go number one or number two because if it’s number one we’ll just pull you off the trail. You can go behind a bush
4 (1h 40m 60s):
Open and honest out there. Yeah.
1 (1h 41m 2s):
Yeah. They’re like if it’s number two we need a shovel. Like we’re gonna have to go off trail dig you a hole. They
4 (1h 41m 10s):
Dig it for you.
1 (1h 41m 10s):
4 (1h 41m 12s):
It’s a little like, like just gimme the shovel. I’ll handle this.
1 (1h 41m 16s):
You go do your business, take a number two, you cover up what you did and then you, you go back like
4 (1h 41m 22s):
Do you have to just be one with the forest and use the leaves as your natural?
3 (1h 41m 27s):
Well I mean ideally you brought your own toilet paper or baby wipes or something, but if not then yeah, it’s either forest and a wife and you better hope that your guide knows that that leaf is safe to put on your skin. And especially in that area or Yeah, so I mean they, they gave us the briefing of what to do. But as we were hiking down, like we said, where we started was quite interesting obviously clearly we got into the forest but we went down through the farmland downhill through like a couple villages and we noticed on the trail I noticed it too. But then Bob said to like one of the guides that was next to us, he’s like, Oh I think I like there’s some scat that’s on the trail. Like what is this?
3 (1h 42m 7s):
And then he realized, do
1 (1h 42m 8s):
You know what scat is? Kim poop.
4 (1h 42m 9s):
3 (1h 42m 10s):
And then he realized like, oh they’re probably not gonna know like scat, like even though they know English, maybe they won’t know that term. And then so he was like, I noticed that there’s number two on the trail here. Like what animal is this from? And then Brittany, you take it from here.
1 (1h 42m 25s):
Yeah. He was like, there’s poop on the trail number two on the trail, like what animal provided this? And the guide was like, oh number two you have to go number two. And Bob’s like no, no, I just wanna know what animal. And he’s like Oh you gotta go number two. So he’s radioing in
4 (1h 42m 41s):
1 (1h 42m 41s):
Two, someone’s gotta go number two, we need the shovel. Bob’s like no I don’t need the shovel. Like it was just so funny cuz they just like escalated it from what animal had this poop to this guy needs to go, we need to get the shovel, bring in the big
3 (1h 42m 58s):
Guys. And and it’s so funny because our tour guides from Gate one are not coming on this hike with us. Right. We have our ranger guide. The trackers were in there earlier, several hours earlier looking for the gorillas et cetera. But they need to know when to pick us up. So our guides from Gate one have the radio too. So then when we got back after the Gorilla track, our guide basically said, Oh yeah who who needed to go number two? Cause he heard
1 (1h 43m 25s):
The radio call for the shovel. It was hilarious. No one had to go but it was
4 (1h 43m 32s):
Shit’s on trail.
3 (1h 43m 33s):
No shit’s on
1 (1h 43m 34s):
But shits were allowed on
3 (1h 43m 35s):
The trail. Yes. But me and Jeff had to piss on trail so we pissed on trail.
4 (1h 43m 40s):
Very nice. Now I’m glad we went over that but let’s get into these gorillas what we’ve been waiting for this
1 (1h 43m 46s):
Whole time. Yes. So we’ve gone down through the village, we’ve gone through down through the tea plantation and then you just see just the edge of forest and you look down and it’s like completely dark and like almost like black in there cuz it’s just so dense. Like you know you’re going into a different environment and this is where it starts to get steeper, more muddy. People are grabbing onto their porters a little bit more so that they’re not slipping and sliding.
4 (1h 44m 10s):
Are they grabbing up here in the bicep area or mostly staying
1 (1h 44m 13s):
Mostly like your hand and like my guide, I really didn’t need my porter much but every time he knew it was gonna be slippery he would like lend his hand to me so that he knew to help me not slip. That was really nice. Some people did slip on the trail, they were briefing us and said like expect to fall a few times. So some people did fall a few times but we were only hiking in the forest for maybe 15 minutes max when we heard a really, really large branch just snap. And we all got quiet like oh my god. Cuz we knew it wasn’t a human snapping that branch we knew that it was a Gorilla up ahead. So we all got quiet.
1 (1h 44m 53s):
The guy turns around and she goes, we think there’s a Gorilla up ahead. I we think like we found
3 (1h 44m 58s):
Them, well not we think she’s like they’re here.
1 (1h 45m 0s):
So she is like let’s keep going. You know? So we start to get closer, we start to see them kind of in the distance. And so at this point we have to give our backpack to our porters. You can’t eat or drink in front
3 (1h 45m 14s):
Of them. This is where we mask them.
1 (1h 45m 15s):
You have to mask up and then they’re basically like you’ll see your porter in an hour cuz now you have an hour to spend time with the gorillas. Aw. Once you get down there, the people that had been tracking the gorillas that they had machetes and stuff like that. So they start to make clearings of the bush so that we can all stand and view the
3 (1h 45m 35s):
Gorillas and good view of where they are in relation to us.
4 (1h 45m 39s):
So they’ve protected this forest, kicked a family out, but now are chopping the forest down for tourism.
3 (1h 45m 46s):
Well they’re not chopping the full tree, they’re just chopping the leaves and stuff that’s hanging over. Okay. And vines. And they said even to us like don’t worry, they said you come here in three days, this will be regrow back. Like that’s how fast it grows.
1 (1h 46m 0s):
And so we got to see the Christmas group, the silverback was 23 years old, his name was Christmas and he had a family of like seven or eight. What was really cool was he had a lady and they had a baby and the baby was still pretty small. So we got to see that as well. We got to see the baby play. He was also very affectionate towards his lady. Like he would sit there and he was like a human almost. Like he was putting his hand on her side. Come on. They were hugging each other. Didn’t
3 (1h 46m 30s):
At one point they fuck they,
1 (1h 46m 31s):
She mounted him. She
3 (1h 46m 33s):
Mounted him, she mounted him. He
1 (1h 46m 35s):
Was sitting down and she put, she swung her leg over
3 (1h 46m 39s):
With the baby still like on her and the baby in between. And they were just kind of like having a little intimate moment right there for all of us to go ahead and view. But it’s so interesting to see like to an extent, even with the chimpanzees human, like they are, Yes in terms of their demeanors and things that’ll get them going happy, sad, upset. Like
4 (1h 47m 0s):
Videos online of monkeys, especially monkeys with puppies. Oh my god they, they use their real hands, they pick them up, they cuddle them, they kiss them, it’s like like
1 (1h 47m 10s):
3 (1h 47m 11s):
So cute. And it was so interesting to go ahead and see that. So once we got there, we are allowed an hour in their presence. And again you can only get within 10 feet of them if they come closer to you, it is what it is but you can’t approach them. And so they got pretty close to us. I don’t think the silverback got more than like 10 feet to us. Yeah. But some of the other gorillas got a lot closer to us. I would say maybe within four or five there were some juveniles that were playing with each other like play fighting and as they were play fighting, they kind of like rolled over into our general vicinity and as they were done like kind of like eating, relaxing in one area, they would move to a next, not very far off, then we follow them to that next area and get to watch them.
3 (1h 48m 0s):
At one point we got a little too close for the silverbacks liking and not purposefully like we encroached them, they were moving and got closer kind of to us and he gave us kind of a look and sound to back up a little bit. So then our guy’s like, we gotta back up, you know, this, that and the other. And so it’s just this interesting dynamic of just being there watching them and this excitement and enjoyment and also knowing like shit these are critically endangered animals. You know like I hope I’m wrong but I mean they could be extinct in a hundred years. You just don’t know. And here we are having this moment of like, holy fuck, like I’ve seen them in zoos now I’m here in the wild and enjoying the presence. And not only that, like I hiked to them
1 (1h 48m 42s):
And the juveniles are really funny cuz like they’re like little kids. We saw one put his finger in his nose and then like lick the booger off of it. No. You know like things like that where it’s like a kid would do that. So it was really interesting to see how human like they were, how they lived as a family, how they cared for each other, groomed for each other, played with each other, cared for each other. I mean the mom was holding the baby and one of the other juveniles like came up and was kissing the baby too. So it was just like so human-like in interaction and it was so humbling to be in their presence and to be able to watch that. We did go farther into the forest cuz they moved a little bit and when you’re there you do have to wear long sleeves and long shirts.
1 (1h 49m 25s):
You wanna tuck your, your socks over your leggings, all of that. We came across some fire ants while we were in the jungle
3 (1h 49m 32s):
And if you step on their nest, they’re crawling up you and biting you.
1 (1h 49m 35s):
And a few of them crawled up me and bit my stomach and they they definitely, they’re like probably a centimeter long. They’re pretty big and they hurt. It burns when they bite. Oh my gosh. Yeah.
4 (1h 49m 47s):
How did they get onto your stomach?
1 (1h 49m 49s):
Well they crawled all the way up my pants and then went under
4 (1h 49m 52s):
My shirt. So your socks were not tucked over
3 (1h 49m 54s):
Your pants? No they were, they crawled upper pants. But I mean even if your things oh on the like tucked in, I mean you know a button up, there’s a way to get through the button up. Right. It’s not like a complete seal. So that’s probably how and where they ended up getting in on Britney. But they were,
4 (1h 50m 9s):
You guys were wearing pants and long sleeves. What was the temperature?
1 (1h 50m 13s):
Well it’s a little bit cooler in the forest. So like the outside temp says that it’s like in the seventies
3 (1h 50m 20s):
4 (1h 50m 20s):
Yeah that’s really not bad
1 (1h 50m 22s):
At all. Yeah. But once you’re in the shaded canopy area it it is cooler
4 (1h 50m 26s):
Because you think about Africa, you think hot now that
3 (1h 50m 30s):
Sound like right. But we’re at high elevations, I mean up to like 8,000 feet in elevation up in the mountains. So it generally it’s cooler but like when we’re going through the farmland area, even though it’s 75 your sun exposed, you’re moving, it’s still kind of like warm when you’re in the jungle trying to track and climb over a whole bunch of stuff. Cuz again, I just wanna reiterate like how thick it is in there. You know you gotta ducks or your face isn’t hitting stuff crawl over like logs and branches et cetera. So it builds up a sweat. So, but it is a very temperature when you’re in there. But wearing long sleeves, I mean obviously you do get warm but I’m not, no one was sweating buckets so to speak.
1 (1h 51m 7s):
But we had such a good time. Like this was definitely the highlight of the trip for sure. Everyone had a good time. It was amazing unforgettable experience. I’m so glad we did it. It was definitely a bucket list trip for us then we had to head back after we spent the hour with them. So total time Trekking and spending with the gorillas, I would say it took us about five and a half hours. Okay. It wasn’t even a long distance, it was just that the terrain was so different and difficult And you know with Gate one tours most of the population there is a little bit older so it takes ’em a little bit longer. If it was Jamal and I hiking it, we would’ve been in and out a little bit faster in terms of like being able to move up and down the mountain.
1 (1h 51m 53s):
But we were waiting on people to hike up
3 (1h 51m 56s):
And down and not even from our group. We had an outside couple that got thrown in with our group and they were the ones, I shouldn’t say they, it was the white, she was the one that slowed down the group and not necessarily like in a bad way. I mean everyone’s going at their pace, we’re all here to have a good time and wanna enjoy it. But she’s the one who made it go a little bit longer. I feel like if it wasn’t for her, it for sure could have been done quicker. But all in all it still enhanced the experience cuz you know, it’s like the excitement of the hike, like in and out we’re gonna go see them. And so once we got back to the lodge, I mean obviously we’re exchanging stories of the entire trip amongst everybody traveling with us. Pictures, pictures, et cetera. Had our farewell dinner that Gate one is known to have.
3 (1h 52m 38s):
4 (1h 52m 38s):
Always loved the Gate one last night. Dinner drinks. Everyone’s just in such good mood and
1 (1h 52m 43s):
Yeah and they
4 (1h 52m 44s):
Needed to go home. They
1 (1h 52m 45s):
Did something different too. Right before dinner they sat our group down and they said like what could we have done better? What did you like, What did you not like? How would you change the tour if you could? And so it was like a mini survey before the survey they send you in the, in an email after you get back. So we just had to have like good conversation with them about like things that we liked or things that they could have improved on. And so it’s helpful for them so that they know how to be better guides. And then kind of like they said to us too, if you have any specific requests after you take this trip, email Gate one and they start to really look into those things. Like we said, we would really like a second night at Primate Lodge.
1 (1h 53m 26s):
It was one of our favorite lodges that we stayed on. We didn’t feel like we had enough time there. Kind of like when we were in Ecuador and would’ve liked a second night in their must papapa. So they said recommend that. Would you recommend adding another day? Would you recommend taking something away?
4 (1h 53m 40s):
Well why don’t you try this email? Cause we’ve emailed gay well and a few times about a potential collaboration. Yeah, maybe they’re still looking into it.
1 (1h 53m 51s):
So yeah, we’re gonna have to reach out to them and tell them about Uganda and be like, Also would you like to sponsor our podcast? But that was really like the highlight. We had that farewell dinner. And then the following day we had an early morning had breakfast and our guides drove us to the airport. We went on a bush plane back to in bay. This plane was much smaller than the Bush plane we already had taken previously. This plane could like see eight people. It was much smaller, but our flight was only an hour and 20 minutes. We got transferred back to our hotel,
3 (1h 54m 25s):
Really functioned as a day room because we were leaving that evening. Like our flight was at 1130. 1130 at night. So by the time we woke up in the morning, caught our flight and we’re back in in te, what was it like 11 30, 12 o’clock in the afternoon. So it was really just a place for us to stay rest and relax before our evening flight. And then we all kind of had a farewell dinner back at the hotel at the rooftop and in Tabe, nice overlooking Lake Victoria. Granted it was nice. So really couldn’t see too much of the lake anymore. But that hotel that we were at in in Tabe is such a great evening atmosphere on an open terrace where they have the pool bar, restaurant. And we mentioned this earlier, lots of Indian cuisine cuz a lot of Indian chefs.
3 (1h 55m 7s):
And we had an amazing Indian dinner before we had our flight and it was really, really good. And I mean this is definitely number one on our trips right now, like Uganda. If it’s not on your bucket list, you need to put it on it. That is for sure.
4 (1h 55m 22s):
All right. Questions of the week. We got one question in from Reagan on Instagram and she was asking if all the meals were included and if they weren’t all included, what did you do for meals?
1 (1h 55m 33s):
Yeah, so the majority of our meals were included. The only meals that weren’t included were on the very last day when we flew back to INE at the hotel. Lunch and dinner weren’t included. They were on your own. And so the entire time, Gate one did provide food for us from the start of the trip to that very end portion. But that hotel that they had us stay at had a really nice restaurant lounge area. So we ate there and it was recommended to us to eat there. They had a different variety of food. They had the Indian food as well as American food. And then that our day guide, he also said, if you don’t wanna eat at the hotel, I can recommend you a place in town if you’d like.
1 (1h 56m 13s):
But we didn’t go for that option. We were comfortable on our hotel roof. Oh, okay. You know, lounging with our other tour mates.
3 (1h 56m 20s):
And I think in generalities too, like if we’re on a guided tour and the meal isn’t included in a certain location, we’ll always ask the tour guide like, Hey, where’s a good place to eat? And like usually a safe local place, right? Cause I want something that’s off the beaten path. Not like where they say, Oh, tourists will like this. Like I want to try something. So that’s usually what we’ll do. But on this tour, everything was provided except for that last meal. That’s awesome. And it was fucking amazing. All the food at the lodges. The lodges were great. The whole experience here on this Uganda Gate one was absolutely
1 (1h 56m 51s):
Amazing. No one in our group got sick, no one needed. That’s good. The medications at all. When we were in South Africa, some people did get sick and had to take medication. So the food was great and amazing. All
4 (1h 57m 1s):
Right you guys, that was amazing. I’m so glad you got to check that off your bucket list. It sounds like a really cool trip right up your alley. I’m sure that there’s other people who are listening and will take your advice and take this trip too. So thank you all for tuning into our episode this week. Keep the Adventures going with us on Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast. If you’re gonna go to Uganda Tagus in your trip so we can see it and send us in your questions of
3 (1h 57m 27s):
The week. If you found the information this episode to be useful or if you thought we were just playing funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too. And as always, please subscribe, rate and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes.
1 (1h 57m 41s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode. We have some more amazing Adventures and tips in store for you.
3 (1h 57m 45s):