This post was originally written on February 6, 2018
The last few days have been a bit of a blur. There have been three really long driving days where I’d often find myself slipping into oblivion while watching the countryside pass me by. (I’m going to credit my narcoleptic moments to the anti-nausea pills I pop as soon as my arse hits the seat… if I could stay awake, I definitely would because only in Africa do you get to see things like a zebra on the side of the road!)
Now let me tell you about the roads … driving in Kenya has been quite frustrating because THE major highway (which is one lane either way) runs through village after village. Every time there’s a crossing in the village, the highway has a massive speed bump. This basically averages to once every kilometer having to slow down in order to go over the bumps. Obviously this is great for the village but it makes a long journey even longer and more bumpy!
Crossing the border into Uganda was another feat in itself. It’s crazy because there is literally ONE road that runs from the major port of Mombasa (Kenya) to several other African countries – Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo. ONE ROAD!!!!! And on this ONE road is the ONE border crossing. It was a complete zoo! At least because we weren’t cargo goods we could skip past the line of trucks that went on for at least 10 km down the road. To be honest I don’t think the cargo trucks would have made it through the border crossing within 24 hours! It probably didn’t help that the computers were down and they were having trouble processing the Visas. It was actually quite comical because at one point one of the guys in my group was behind the Visa counter trying to help them fix their computer troubles…only in Africa!
Anyway, once we finally crossed into Uganda I immediately felt that this country was amazing. It’s so lush and green. The people are friendly and the children light up and wave as soon as they see a mzungu (Mzungu is what they call us Western tourists).
Setting up camp is always rather comical for Ash and I. She is great, but I am just not a natural at the whole wilderness, camping stuff. After setting up our tent we realized that we pitched it right behind the biggest pile of animal shit. Now the challenge will be waking up in the middle of the night to pee and having to avoid the massive pile of dung. Oh mother nature, how I love thee!
After we set up camp a few of us walked into the village. It was absolutely uplifting because all the kids (and many adults) came out of their houses to greet us. The kids are utterly adorable and anything we seem to do makes them laugh. You could probably hear their laughter from miles away. One older girl thought it was absolutely hysterical to say ‘cheeeeeese’ when we took a photo. I tried to hula hoop with a tire and pretended I was a ferocious animal … the laughter truly makes me feel so full.
Today was the day of the chimpanzee trek. I honestly thought that the gorilla trek was the only physically taxing thing I’d have to do on this trip but boy was I wrong. We started the trek through the dense jungle at 6:30 am and didn’t emerge until noon. When we started it was still dark so navigating the terrain was a bit of a challenge. Good thing I have my trusty head torch on me! I kept thinking that maybe it was a good thing that it was dark though, because that way I couldn’t see all the bug infested bushes that I was climbing through. Chimps are difficult to track because they are more likely high in the trees and they are always on the move. The pace was fast and it took quite a while until we actually came across a group of chimps … let me tell you we did some bad ass trekking! This was no ordinary hike – we were climbing embankments and jumping over streams. The dense growth that we were fighting our way through was intense. I felt like a proper Tarzan! I only rolled my ankles twice so that is pretty unscathed in my books!
Now the CHIMPS!!! How can I describe this to do it justice? In total we saw approximately 15 chimps, from the big alpha male to little babies. The screeching they’d make was insane and at one point we saw two mating. They literally fly through the treetops and as we looked up from below them, fruits and leaves would fall from high above us. Honestly it was like being in a dream … well maybe not a dream because my dreams aren’t this physically challenging! But seeing these primates in their natural habitat is pretty unreal. They share so many similar human qualities that watching them is truly bizarre … let’s just be thankful that we don’t share similar bums. Their asses are quite grotesque!
Eventually the trek was over and as I felt like my legs couldn’t take me one step further we emerged onto this large tea plantation. It was so beautiful and green and reminded me a lot of Sri Lanka actually. However let me tell you that after a 5+ hour intense trek I was in no mood to listen to how they make tea! I sat there in a sweaty haze while the locals taught us about tea. All I wanted to do was rip off my clothes and drink water in the shade. Eventually I got to do just that… what a day!
If you are interested in taking a tour that covers the places on my adventure check out G Adventure’s Kenya & Uganda Gorilla Adventure
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