As you may recall, I ended Part 1 of this journey in Murchison Falls with our fun Nile River Cruise. Our next leg in our journey was to embark on 2 11 seat Cessna Model 208B Caravan aircrafts that would transport us from Murchison Falls to Kasese Airport near Kibale National Park.
The plane ride was exhilarating as always, never flying much higher than 10,000 feet so that we had such beautiful scenery below us at all times. The flight was smooth and just a little over an hour. We were happy to avoid the bumpy, muddy roads with this option. ;)
We stayed at an absolutely delightful place called Ndali Lodge perched on the rim of an extinct volcano with the majestic Rwenzori Mountains on one side and a lovely crater lake on the other. This estate dates back to the 1920's when the current owner's Grandfather, Captain Trevor Price, bought the land after being discharged from the British Army after serving in Egypt during the Great War. He worked hard along with a friend to establish flourishing tea plantations until Idi Amin and his regime took them over in 1972.
Fortunately, 20 years later, Captain Mark Price was able to reclaim ownership under a parliamentary repatriation act and decided to build a lodge. Sadly, he passed away before being able to enjoy it for long, but his son, Aubrey Price, has since taken it over and is doing a wonderful job along with his wife and fabulous Team of caring individuals. The place has a wonderfully British flavor with fabulous home cooked meals, an incredibly warm hospitality, along with the outstandingly stunning views all around. From a culinary perspective, they were the absolute highlight of my journey with yummy "gluten free" cookies, banana bread, desserts, pancakes, and everything required to cater to my allergy. They even have 3 lovely dogs resident there so that I could finally also get my 'dog fix'...
The following day was our next exciting 'first time ever' experience for us, that is, Chimpanzee Trekking in the Kibale Forest National Park. It was an absolutely amazing experience seeing these Chimpanzee families in their natural habitat.
We hiked in 4 different groups of 5 with our guides and a porter to help carry bags and water. The terrain was quite rough with some steep climbing and lots of areas where we were creating the path ourselves with our guide. We happened to have a young female guide aptly named 'America'. She had a gun with her but she indicated it was only to scare off elephants and such and would be shot in the air if need be. Fortunately, she didn’t need to do that although we would have loved to have seen some more of the forest wildlife.
We were all required to wear masks and keep our distance from the Chimps although we ended up getting pretty close and personal with them as they went about their business. They were fun to watch and they seemed very comfortable with our presence.
The trek seemed very challenging for those of us not used to trekking through forests, but we later realized it was ultimately a warm up test and a 'piece of cake' vs. what we would later contend with in the final leg of our journey.
After a long hard day of trekking, we had hot showers, cocktails & tasty appetizers 'with a view' and then a beautiful meal to end the day and our time at Ndali Lodge. This spot is so very special, that I would highly recommend it for anyone wanting to 'get away from it all'! Simply stunning!
I'll carry on with Part 3 of our Uganda journey next week, so please stay tuned!