Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Masaka and Western Uganda

 After church on Sunday we drove three hours South of Kampala to Masaka.  We  were asked by  President Collings to do the Branch audits by the fifteenth.  Rick had already finished up with Mbale and Busia and so we needed to travel down to Masaka so this one could get done.  We knew that we would be within a few hours drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park and we were hoping to get there before our time is up in April.  Rick talked with President Collings and he said it would be ok for us to drive over to the park.

On our way to Masaka we stopped at the equator and gave each other a kiss from two different hemispheres!  We stayed at the Brovad Hotel and it was adequateJ  Monday morning Rick was at the church by nine and I just waited at the hotel.  He was finished by 12:30 and off we went to Western Uganda! 

Western Uganda is beautiful!!  It is filled with mountains, jungles, crater lakes, and beautiful plantations.  It is so much cleaner over there.  The small mountain towns remind me a little of small towns in Hawaii.  The houses are not as nice but it is still the same feeling!

We stayed at the Park View Safari Lodge just on the edge of QENP.  The back of the lodge overlooked the Savanna.  We couldn’t see any game from there but it was such a beautiful view!  We stayed in a little cottage named Selassie.  I forgot to ask what the meaning of that word is.  It was a round hut with tent type windows so that it felt like we were half lodging half tenting.  It was really cool!  Our bed was so comfy (unlike our stay in Masaka) and the pillows were so softJ

The Park View is all inclusive so we enjoyed all of our meals there.  The first night our appetizer was an amazing mushroom soup.  I don’t even like mushrooms but this soup had marvelous flavor!  For the main course, I had chicken stew and Rick had Tilapia.  We finished off our meals with a delicious banana pancake!  I couldn’t finish mine so Rick helped me out with that! 

After a good night’s rest we got up early for our chimpanzee tracking.  We left at 6:45 and had a boxed breakfast to eat along the way.  After reaching Kalinzu Forest (about 40 minutes from our hotel) we rented some galoshes and were on our way with our guide Franklin (who is a femaleJ)  She said it might be about four hours and after the first 20 minutes I thought I was in over my head!  It was a bit strenuous but for the most part it was ok.  At first we found a couple of L’Hoert’s Monkeys way up in the trees.  We walked for about an hour and a half before we found the chimps.   At first we heard the Blue Monkey grunting but we never saw him.  We also found the Black and White Colobus and they soft of growled.  We were able to see them up high in the trees as well as a red tailed monkey.  Just after that we saw our first chimpanzee.  It was so exciting!   We saw a good sized male swinging in the trees from limb to limb.  He looked just like a chimpanzee should look.  Imagine that!!  He looked SO big compared to the smaller monkeys.

We were able to see somewhere between ten to twelve and got some good video footage of a couple of them shimmying down the trees.  They were SO fast!  Another exciting part was to hear them screech and scream in the jungle.  The chimps were moving pretty fast and we had to keep following off the path into thick jungle!  Wow!  It really felt like we were going where no man had ever gone before.  The forest floor was thick with old leaves and dead debris and we were in thick vines.   Franklin was really fast and I had a hard time keeping up with her!  We were able to get back to the van after about 3 ½ hours of hiking.  My feet and legs were tired!

This is the best picture we have of one of the chimps.  We took mostly video and this is a screen shot.
We got back to the hotel and had lunch.  At this point we could hear thunder in the distance and I was thinking how much I would love to just hang out at the lodge until our scheduled afternoon game drive.  We had planned to take a boat ride on the channel between Lakes Edward and George.  Well, it just so happened that the van we were supposed to go in broke down with a bad fan belt.  I wish I could say I was sad about that.  I went and had a massage instead! Rick swam in the pool for a bit then went to our room for a napJ! 

After my massage was over I was sitting on the bed and the therapist asked where I lived.  I told her Mbale thinking she was just curious.  She then said, I asked because you have a jigger on your toe.  I sat straight up and said, “NO WAY!”  She then showed me and I didn’t have my glasses so she showed me my toe magnified on her phone.   At the tip of my toe just by my toenail I could see a little something and she assured me that it was a jigger . She said it was very old.  I remember a long time ago that my toe was really itchy.  This is not unusual.  My skin itches ALL of the time.  Between my naturally itchy skin and mosquito and bug bites who knew this was something different? 

Apparantly, jiggers are more common in Mbale and Jinja areas.  Jiggers are parasites that come from fleas.  The female flea lays her eggs and they imbed themselves in the skin.  They are mostly found in homes with dirt floors.  I told her that I wash my feet all of the time and wear closed toed shoes.  I do remove my shoes to go into people’s homes but only when they have a concrete floor.  One thing I do not do is to wear socks.  She said, “ You probably got it from someone’s home.  You will wear stockings now.”  “Um….Yes. Yes, I will!”

I layed back down and she got a pin to dig out the jigger.  It did not hurt until she poured some type of disinfectant on it.  I asked if she just poured alcohol on my toe.  She laughed and said, “No, it’s just spirits.”  Whatever that means.  I thought about it later and it occurred to me that she thought I meant drinking alcohol.  That’s why she laughed.  Anyway, there’s my jigger story!

After being able to relax for the afternoon we left around four for our evening game drive.  Our goal was to see a lion and WE DID!!  We actually saw two of them but the first one was just sitting right along side of the road within about 40 feet of us.  It was so amazing.  She was lying there on the side of the road and she was preening herself and licking her fur and feet.  After about twenty minutes she got up and lazily crossed the road and eventually found a tree to climb.  Once she was in the tree we could not see her at all!  She completely disappeared!  The other lion was pretty far away just sitting on a termite mound.  She never did come close but we got some good pictures of the first one!

On this drive we also saw lots of elephants, kob, bush buck, warthogs, baboons and cape buffalo.  We were so happy to see lions.  They were the best!  Rick and I were talking of our good fortune and I mentioned that if we had gone on the lake tour we most likely would not have seen the lions.  He told me that in his prayers that morning He asked Heavenly Father to help us to see a lion.  Rick told Him that he knew that it was not something very important but that if it were possible that He would allow it.  And he did!!

We returned back to the lodge hungry and happy that we had found what we were searching for.  For dinner we had THE most delicious pumpkin soup ever!  We both just raved about it.  We also had pork chops and roasted potatoes.   The service at this lodge was superb!  I think it kind of helped that we were THE ONLY guests staying there for those two nights!  I highly recommend this place if anyone is interested in coming to QENP!!


  1. What an INTERESTING time you've been having!! I'm DELIGHTED that you're getting to see these fun animals without even going way into the deep woods on a Jungle Safari!! And I'm SO GLAD you're staying safe and being so BLESSED!!

  2. Wow--I sure don't know why my comments sometimes publish and sometimes DON'T!! I wrote a big long comment a couple days ago "oohing and aahing" about all the wonderful experiences you were having, (and the nice Marriott you were getting to stay in...), and then it wouldn't even publish when it was time to....

    But regarding THIS post--I wanted to comment on that delicious mushroom soup you had--Isn't that funny how soups can taste so marvelous sometimes?? I know when we were in Cancun, staying out at that Villa--I had a mushroom cream sauce that I still DREAM about!! It was SO fantastic--and I thought I didn't care for mushroom ANYTHING!! :) And I bet that pumpkin soup was really smooth and soothing. Kamber can do amazing things with strange soups! :) I'm glad you're having such a great time here lately--and sorry about your "jiggers".... :)
    Love, Karen