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Uganda - The Pearl Of Africa

One thing is for sure, Africa as a continent has nowhere near enough credit or publicity it deserves to the rest of the world. Whilst it is the place where it all began for humanity, there are many parts that have been simply untouched or altered by the human race. One country which really stands out is Uganda, referred to by Winston Churchill as "The Pearl of Africa" for its beauty, natural wonders and welcoming people in his book "My African Journey" published in 1908.

Global Dream Travel can certainly identify with this having spent just over week here. After a long flight it was wonderful arriving in Entebbe, situated by Lake Victoria. It is so beautiful, the President of Uganda houses himself here on his very vast and picturesque estate. The first thing you notice here is the incredible greenery and lushness of the terrain. Apart from the dry season in July and August, there is regular rainfall here which allows for a stunning array of trees and plants due to the regular and consistent levels of sun because of the proximity with the equator. After relaxing in the hotel enjoying the views of the lake (below) and a welcome dance, it was time to head to the mountains.

The journey to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park started with a stop at the Equator, where we enjoyed a coffee sat right across the line with a foot in each hemisphere. After a sumptuous buffet lunch, we headed east where the landscape was constantly changing. One minute we were seeing bustling settlements with vast markets and small businesses, other times we were halted by hoards of farmyard animals sprawling across the road. We also took advantage of the multiple banana trees by making a roadside purchase of sweet bananas which were extremely tasty! There are so many fresh fruits available to purchase including mangoes, pineapples and passionfruit. It doesn't take many meals to notice the freshness and flavour of the foods here - typically as a main you would have beef, goat or chicken in a stew or a curry served with rice, potatoes and vegetables - all locally sourced. There is always fruit available too which helps maintain a balanced diet.

As we got closer to the Impenetrable forest, we really noticed the drop in temperature, so it is imperative to bring warm clothes. However you will soon be taken away by the views, such as the above where you can see the Blue Mountains of the Congo in the distance. As evening draws closer, the mist begins to emerge and the reality of the proximity of the gorillas begins to set in. The Silver Back Gorilla trekking can be done here and comes highly recommended, although it can take up to 7 hours to locate a family. We opted to engage with the local community, purchasing some of the handcrafted ornaments and learning about their past. Many people here have had to flee the Congo and re-build their lives, which is very harrowing to hear about, particularly considering how young some of the children are.

Our journey continued north as we headed to Queen Elizabeth National Park for the start of the safari experience. It wasn't long before an elephant interrupted our drive, casually strolling out into the middle of the road before staring right back at us. It was quite a sight to see such a magnificent creature just a few metres away, before it continued on to convene with the rest of their family. As we proceeded further, our eagle-eyed driver Richard slammed the vehicle to a halt, spotting something in a nearby tree. Incredibly, we were able to witness 2 tree-climbing lions taking an afternoon nap. With the guidance of a local park ranger, we were able to get very close to them, as pictured below. To see such majestic creatures in their natural habitat was a real privilege and a truly unforgettable moment. What we considered to be a very special day got even better when we arrived at our lodge, where we were further immersed into nature in our hut, situated on a river which was home to a hippo! After a sumptuous dinner looking out at the Kingfishers swooping down collecting their very own nutrition, it was time to enjoy a sunset in front of a campfire before the thunder came rolling in.

Our safari continued, with sightings of hornbills, leopards, more lions, water buffalo, warthogs and even hyena, who aren't seen that often in the daytime.

Next up for us was a boat trip along the Victoria Nile, where we saw a small crocodile, dozens of fish eagles and kingfishers, as well as getting within metres of an African Elephant that was feasting on the verges of the river (pictured above). It was a little intimidating to have a trunk pointed right at you but thankfully we didn't get soaked! We were soon heading towards the Murchison Falls, however being the most powerful waterfall in the world we couldn't get too close - it was better to see it by land the next day. On our way to Jinja, the second largest city in Uganda, we got right up close to the Murchison Falls where you could really feel the full force as the spray washed over us. It was quite a sight to behold with multiple rainbows adding to the view.

After a spectacular week or so, we used the time in Jinja to relax and prepare for our next adventure over the border in Kenya, however it was really great to meet the family of our super driver Richard, and see his high street office. In the time to reflect, it really struck us how breath-taking and spectacular the diverse scenery of Uganda is, and that's before we even start thinking about the incredible wildlife. Every day was a truly unforgettable one, and we're so glad we were able to get the key insights to ensure our customers have a wonderful time. It is so important to have a local expert / guide with you on a visit here, but we are pleased to confirm that the itinerary we have specially crafted is now available to book here.

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