Kibale Forest National Park

In the morning before we left to head to Kibale I encountered these creatures.

Meet Karen Flanagan and Remmy our driver/guide.
Black-headed Heron, look at those feathers, gorgeous.
Giant Kingfisher, male, up to 19 inches . The largest of Africa’s kingfishers.
Heading into the forest to see monkeys.
Meet Dan Flanagan.
Did you know banana plants bare blossoms? The flower is edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. It does not taste like the banana but more like an artichoke. A banana is a fruit and comes from the berry family.
Meet Dominique and Gilles Leclerc from Calgary, Canada. They joined us on our safari. We were so lucky because we all were up for whatever and loved all the birds and mammals and everything we experienced.
An Ant Highway.
The village where we stopped to do our walk.
Black-headed Weaver
Black-winged Red Bishop
Gray-cheeked Mangabey Monkey
Great Blue Turaco, this is the largest Turaco in Africa. This picture does not do it justice. The head is blue with a blackish blue crest and a red tipped, bright yellow bill. Upper parts are blue with a green Breast which merges into yellow, and the belly is chestnut. The tail is very long and is greenish-yellow with a black band.
Loved these yellow flowers.
African pied Wagtail, he wags his tail.
Black-and-white Colobus
As we walked on this hillside, we were walking through a vegetable garden. These boys used this hut for protection from the weather while they protect the garden from the monkeys.
These kids came for the corn.
This is scat (poop). Do you see the ball toward the top to the right? That ball is the work of the dung beetle. The black spot to the right of the ball is a dung beetle. Dung beetles clean up scat in the forest, the benefit is that it keeps the flys population down. The beetle rolls the ball home where it is buried. They then lay their eggs in the ball where the eggs hatch, the babies eat their way out of the ball. In turn the dung enriches the soil.
From yuk to beauty, Speckled Mousebird.
More beauty.
Baboons along the road, notice the baby underneath hanging on to mom.
This youngster is preening the adult along the road. The baboons are attracted to the roads for heat.
Babe with mom.
This baby is clinging to mom’s back. We don’t see these guys at home. Never got tired of seeing them.

With this post, we are still in Murchison Falls National Park.

Another kill, looks like a horn and an ear with dismembered body. My guess is that it is a Ugandan Kob because of the big ear. Any other guesses?
These giraffes are majestic.
Young warthog
Female Warthog called a sow.
This is a male warthog. The male has two sets of facial warts, mostly bald except manes on their backs. It tusks are longer and is much bigger than the female. Adult males are less social and are territorial.
Egyptian Goose, the Egyptian goose was considered sacred by the ancient Egyptians and was often portrayed in their art. It was pretty small bird for the goose species.
Never tired of seeing these elephants. There are 5000 elephants in Uganda. Uganda elephants numbers are rising unlike other African country’s.
The Nile Crocodile. We saw this crocodile on the Nile River. He is a man eater and lives in fresh water.
A sleeping hippo, a Spur-winged Lapwing and open mouthed young crocodile.
Another crocodile under a rock shelf.
Black Kite and a starling.
A Ruppell’s Vulture.
Black-chested Snake Eagle, the only eagle to hover over Savannah’s and woodlands. It feeds mostly on snakes but will eat lizards and small rodents.
African Grey Hornbill
African Wattled Plover, notice a touch of red above the beak with yellow wattles.
Whenever I capture a bird in flight, I am happy. But because I can’t remember what the head looked like, I can’t identify it. I love the tail feather design. Mrs. Terwilliger always said V for vulture so it may be. See how the wings form a V???
The kingfisher is one of my favorite birds. This one is a Grey-headed kingfisher, I think.
Grey-headed kingfisher, back side.
Long-crested Eagle, the eyes are yellow, female is larger. Feeds on rodents.
OMG, what a beautiful bird. Northern Carmine Bee-eater.
Earlier I said that these wholes were swallow nests, I was wrong. They are pied king fisher nests.
The pied Kingfisher, in my opinion, it is the most common kingfisher we saw.
Eurasian Roller, this bird is migratory and is Africa from October to April.
Black-headed Heron
Sunset over the Savannah.

Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls, also known as Kabalega Falls, is a waterfall between Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert on the Victoria Nile in Uganda. At the top of Murchison Falls, the Nile forces its way through a gap in the rocks, only 7 m (23 ft) wide, and tumbles 43 m (141 ft), before flowing westward into Lake Albert. The outlet of Lake Victoria sends around 300 cubic meters per second (11,000 ft³/s) of water over the falls, squeezed into a gorge less than 10 m (33 ft) wide.

Samuel Baker and Florence Baker were the first Europeans who sighted them.[1] Baker named them after Roderick Murchison, the President of the Royal Geographical Society.[2]The falls lend their name to the surrounding Murchison Falls National Park.

During the regime of Idi Amin in the 1970s, the name was changed to Kabalega Falls, after the Omukama (King) Kabalega of Bunyoro, although this was never legally promulgated. The name reverted to Murchison Falls following the downfall of Idi Amin.[3] It is still sometimes referred to as Kabalega Falls.[2]

Ernest Hemingway crashed a plane just downriver from Murchison Falls in 1954.[4] In August 2019, Uganda rejected a hydropower project by South Africa’s Bonang Power and Energy. The reason was that Murchison Falls is one of the country’s lucrative tourism sites. Above Information from the internet.

This park was a first for many of the animals we were to see in Uganda. This was a Very thrilling game drive and a great way to start our day.

We saw our first giraffes. The giraffes in Uganda are the Rothschild giraffes.
Peek a boo…
We don’t know if this giraffe died naturally or what happened.
This is also the day we saw our first elephants. Notice all the generations in this one picture.
We also saw our first kill. I think it is a Kob. If I remember correctly, Kobs are the easiest antelope to kill. This kill is Proof that lions are around.
Yep! There is the lion.
This is a male Kob.
This is a red hartebeest.
Red hartebeest again, head on.
Female hartebeest with a youngster. Yes, the females have horns.
Another view of the same hartebeest. Notice the black on the legs and black tail.
This an Oribi. You can tell by that big dot under the ear plus it is a smaller antelope.
Abyssinian hornbill.
Abyssinian ground hornbill in a tree?
Southern ground hornbill

Sacred Ibis. Considered sacred by the ancient Egyptians. Fly in a V-formation, you can see black and white wing tips.
We viewed Murchison Falls from the top of the falls. Later we took a river cruise and viewed the falls from the bottom of the falls.The force of the water was powerful and breathtaking.
We walked further to another viewpoint and the force of nature seemed even more powerful.
This is the view from our cruise the next day at the base of the falls.
These guys were found at the base of the falls on the rocks.
Look at the log used to get vehicles off this ferry.
A globe located at the ferry.
We were entertained after we returned from the ferry. All the women in the rural areas wore skirts or dresses. Can you guess why?
Could be many reasons. Could be because dresses are cooler. Could be because all the toilets are stand up toilets with foot platforms with a hole in the floor for one to squat. They must not wear underwear. Darn I should have taken a picture but instead we tried to avoid those toilets.
Look at this handmade instrument and the smile on his face. They say the the Ugandan people are the happiest in all of Africa and I believe it. They were also the sweetest people.
This big instrument in front is played by two people, one plays it as a drum.
This is their handmade version of a violin.
I think this monkey is a young Patas Monkey.
This is a mother proved her baby. Can you see the little foot?
Black and White Colobus Monkey
I don’t know what got this guy so excited? He is an olive baboon and is a member of Old World monkeys.

Enough porn today.

About me, I am not a professional birder and or biologist or zoologist but I am an enthusiast. The point is, I can make mistakes and I apologize if I get things wrong in this blog.

Rhino Tracking…

sanctuary is located approximately 180 kilometres (110 mi), by road, north of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city. This location is near Nakitoma VillageNakasongola District, in the Kafu River Basin, off the Kampala–Gulu Highway.[1][2]

Overview[edit]

We stopped a rhino sanctuary. As I mentioned, presently there are no longer any rhinos in the wild in Uganda. The purpose of the sanctuary is to eventually release these rhinos back into the wild.

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is a collaborative effort between the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Rhino Fund Uganda, a Ugandan NGO committed to the restoration of Uganda’s rhinoceros population and Ziwa Ranchers Limited, a private land management company. The sanctuary offers a secure place where rhino populations can be expanded by breeding, protected from human and non-human predators and gradually re-introduced into Uganda’s national parks, while at the same time, allowing the public to enjoy these majestic animals, as the project moves forward.

Rhinos in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary (2012): Bella and Donna (the calf)

A team of approximately 78 park rangers and security guards keep a 24-hour watch on the rhinos to ensure their safety. The 70 square kilometres (7,000 ha) sanctuary is surrounded by a 2 metres (6.6 ft) electric fence to keep the rhinos in and the intruders out. The sanctuary is home to at least 40 mammal and reptilian species including monkeysantelopeshippopotamusescrocodiles and numerous bird species Tourist facilities at the sanctuary include a safari lodge, guest house, budget accommodation, and camp grounds. The accommodations are two separate businesses and both have restaurants that offer meals to tourists. In addition to on foot rhino trekking, tourist activities include birding, canoe rides and nature walks.[3]

History[edit]

Both the Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli) and the Northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), are indigenous to Uganda. However, due to a number of factors, including prolonged armed human conflict, poaching and the mismanagement of their natural habitat, by 1982, both species had been wiped out in the country. Ziwa Rhino sanctuary was established in 2005 to reintroduce the southern white rhinoceros to Uganda. The long-term goal of the sanctuary is to “build a sustainable rhinoceros population and relocate rhinos back to their original habitat in Uganda’s protected areas”. As of January 2010, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is the only location in Uganda, where rhinos can be observed in their natural habitat.[4]

Starting with a total of six animals,[5] four that were bought from Solio Ranch in Kenya and two donated from Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, in the United States, the rhino population had grown to thirteen as of June 2013. Following the birth of another calf in April 2014, the total rhino population at Ziwa Ranch rose to 15.[6] As of March 2018, the rhino numbers at the sanctuary had increased to twenty-two animals.[7]

This informative was copied from their website. Our guide told us that they named one of the rhinos donated from Orlando’s Disney World, Obama. They do love Obama in most of Africa.

Another new baby rhino in addition to Donna as seen above and born in 2012. This one was born in 2019.
Mom and babe.
We had to stay pretty far away from these guys to protect their space. Humans are the predators!
Mom and baby, again!
Rhino “scat”!
This Candelabra cactus Tree was prevalent in Queen Elizabeth National park. Notice the termite nest close to the tree.

We did not see any other animals here because we only had eyes on the rhinos. Presently JB and I are sitting in the Brussels Airline lounge waiting for our flights back to the states. Watching the sunrise in Brussels. Can’t hold a candle to Uganda! I miss it already. Tears to all.

White Water Rafting on the Nile River…

Finally downloaded pictures from our rafting trip on the Nile River. From Kampala, we drove to Jinja full of anticipation and the jitters. We heard that the Nile River has some class 5 and 6 rapids and we were quite anxious. The kids in the other raft were looking forward to it. I think they were making bets on whether or not we would survive the river.

Great adventure. We felt very safe. Nalubale Rafting team taught us all the safety tasks beside being secure in the raft but also how to use the kayak in emergencies.
Very well trained and friendly staff.

Youth vs the young at heart.
This is where we boarded our rafts.
The raft in the foreground was the safety raft just in case of anything bad happening or if you chickened out on running the rapids.
They also had kayakers to pick us up if we got thrown out of the raft.
Our guide Abby, was excellent. He must have been trained in geriatric rafting. He taught us how not to fall out of the raft. When we hit a big rapid, he would signal for us to grasp the rope, secure the paddle and get down into the raft. Great fun.
Ready or not!
If I remember correctly, this was a class six rapid on the right .
We had to walk around or should I say got to walk around the dangerous class sixes and the when the water was to low for the fives. That is when too many rocks were exposed and it was too dangerous to run.
This rapid was indeed a class 6.
So much fun.
This one was really fun. Can you see our raft under all that water? Exhilarating!
Exuberance!
Just like a lady! (Little old lady!). Pitiful, yes!
Dan
We had the practice how to save your life with the help of these kayaks.. it isn’t just grabbing on.
The water was perfect. Can you believe we are swimming in the Nile River!
Notice ! We are all sitting down inside the raft not on the outer tube. Much safer that way for geriatrics.
At the finish and we are still ambulatory!
The cameraman caught this Fish eagle with a fish in its talons.
The fish that did not get away.
Great end to an amazing and fun experience.
Unbelievable!

On the way to Queen Elizabeth National Park, we stopped by the palace of the king of Tooro, near Fort Portal.

Tooro is one of the five traditional kingdoms located within the borders of Uganda. The current Omukama of Toro is King Rukidi IV. The people native to the kingdom are the Batooro, and their language is likewise called Rutooro.

Unfortunately the king was expected at any time so we could not get a tour of the castle. Uganda is made up of many tribes. Each tribe has their own language but because of the British influence, many Ugandans speak English.

Tooro Palace. a representative met us and gave us a very lengthy lecture with pictures but none of us understood much of what he was saying. We were clueless about the protocol and politics of the region.
A mother Spotted Hyena with her two youngsters.
Such a sweet face but look at those jaws.
Lizard
Bananas on the way by boda boda to a fishing village.
Male Waterbuck
Female Waterbucks
Female Kob, a kob is a type of antelope.
Water buffalo with baby. Looks like it is nursing.
Heartebeast
Water Buffalo and hippos. Looks like a warthog in background. The water buffalo spends a lot of time during the day cooling off in the water. They are fast and extremely aggressive. They are not afraid to fend themselves from lions. Mozzarella cheese di Bufala is made from buffalo milk.
Hippos are the second largest land animals in the world. Only elephants are larger. The name Hippopotamus is derived from the Greek and means river horse.
Pied Kingfisher on water buffalo Horn.
Male Kob
Bushdiker
We visited a Rhino Sanctuary. There are no wild rhinos left in Uganda.
We tracked this mother and baby at the sanctuary where we had to stay far away and not invade their space.
I am guessing that the birds on the water buffalo are starlings and could the other one be a Yellow billed oxpecker?
Saw lots of warthogs. In Lion King they called them Pumbaa, meaning dumb. According to our guides they are very dumb. They will be fleeing from a predator and see something to distract them and forget why they were fleeing.
We called this hippo, Smiley.
Female Kob with youngster.
So happy to see many elephants.
Adult with a juvenile.
Yellow throated Longclaw
African wattled lapwing
Palm nut Vulture Juvenile, many types of vultures in Africa.
Grey backed Fiscal
White brewed coucal
Eastern grey plantain eater
Grey headed heron with African skimmers and water buffalo
African Fish Eagle, they mate for life.

These birds and animals were all seen in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Some In the Kazinga channel between lake Edward and lake George where we did a boat cruise. This safari has been an incredible journey. So sorry to have it be coming to an end. Presently We are in Mburo Lake at rwakobo rock lodge. On our way to another boat cruise on the lake and a game drive after. Off on another adventure.

Just updated and made corrections.

landscapes and flowers

Uganda is very tropical. Unlike a lot of Africa it gets a lot of rain and where the gorillas live it is considered a rain forest. Even though December is considered the end of the rainy season. The country of Uganda has been getting a lot more rain than usual. It could have something to do with the warmer ocean waters caused by what some call a hoax and we call climate change.

Girls eating mangos. Fruit is abundant.
These were my mom’s favorite, she would plant every year. Here they grow in large bushes.
Just a sample of how pretty the flowers are here. Sorry I can not name them. Not enough time, energy or flower books. This is just a sampling. Lots more to come.
By the way we are now in Lake
Bunyonyi, 1, January 2020.
Happy New Year!

The Market and Delivery Systems..Boda Boda’s and ground transport

We hired taxis and did not risk flying off the boda Boda’s. Many did not supply helmets and the roads were rough. Most road had deep holes and many bumps to slow down the vehicles. One of our drivers was very proud to have saved enough money to buy his own car. Not many cars in the rural areas. They either walked, used boda Boda’s or hired 20 seat taxis which were actually like local buses but piled high with people and goods.

Bananas were on the way to the trade center but this boda boda had a broken chain.

Boda Boda’s are used for transport of food and people. Also a form of taxi but not recommended for tourists, it’s a safety thing. Our friend saw one with matresses on it, he called it the Uganda RV.

Merchandise to market or actually called trade centers.
You can also see boda Boda’s carrying the
Entire family of six or seven.
Pineapples for sale at a local market.
Remmy, our driver and guide at the market.
A fruit stand…
At Christmas, chickens at in danger because Ugandans serve them for Christmas dinner.
Theses ladies were dressed up for Christmas. It seemed to me that Ugandans women and men were well dressed, clean and fit.
They walk everywhere and food is all produced fresh and locally, delicious.
John returning to the land cruiser after checking out the market.
Karen waiting for the rest of us at our transportation, a Toyota Safari land-cruiser.

Botanical Gardens Uganda

Update: Tried to send a video but it did not work, darn. Lost those pictures somehow. The garden had trees and flowers from around the world. Hard to capture the beauty. It was a very gray day. Added some new fun photos with some help from our friends.

This is a Vervet Monkey. They greeted us on arrival.
Karen was feeding the monkeys with food provided by Bright who guided us throughout the park. He knew all the trees and flowers. A really good guy, great guide and really well educated.
So many monkeys. Can you find a baby?
Lots of babies.
Never pass up free food.
Taking time to smell the flowers.
Now that’s using your head. Cool picture.
This photo captured the essence of the park with all the beautiful trees and a termite nest.
This was the park dog. He seemed to be in a lot of the photos.
It was a beautiful garden and we met Bright. He arranged a trip for us to go Chimp Island the nest day.

Entebbe Wildlife Santuary

Fondly called “The Zoo”…We took the Behind the Scenes tour. We were in for a very special treat!

These two rhinos were raised at the center. They have not produced offspring but they are very close.
We got to feed them and give them rub downs.
Loved the pads.
And little hairy ears.
She decided she had enough of our loving and laid down.
He had to join her and laid down too! I think they love each other but maybe they are not into sex?
This is Dan. He was told not to sit down but did anyway. The Shoebill climbed up on his shoulder and then attached his ear. This shoebill was raised at the center. We read later that Shoebills can be very aggressive, dangerous and decapitate their prey.
His ear survived.
We feed the giraffe.
And the elephants
OMG…this bird is incredible. The Gray-crowned Crane, it is the national bird of Uganda. Stands 42 inches tall.
Wingspan, 6 foot 5 inches.

Because this Shoebill was raised here, we were able to pet him. His feathers were amazingly soft. What a great experience.

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