We travelled back with our Ugandan guide and friend Emmy Gongo (rangerafricasafaris.com) to these two wonderful countries for four and a half weeks. For once, the bectrotters were together with one of Jean-Louis' best friends, Pierre Girardin and his son Gilian (11 years old and a promising naturalist), his godson. One of the goals of the trip was to show him our cousins the Chimpanzees and Mountain Gorillas. We landed in Dar-El-Salam as this time we travelled through southern and western Tanzania along Lake Tanganyika, and then up into Uganda via Lake Victoria.
The Southern National Parks we visited are much less crowded than those in the North, such as the Serengeti, but their diversity is just as great. With 646 species of birds observed during our two trips to Tanzania out of the more than 1000 recorded and 52 mammals during this trip, we feel that we could spend years there.
The natural environments are so diversified - tropical mountain forests, miombo, savannahs, ocean, wetlands, lakes, rivers, etc. - the country is huge, its large National Parks very well preserved, that it is always frustrating to stay only a few weeks.
Uganda is also very rich, but the large wilderness areas are less well preserved, and it is rare to find yourself alone there. Unfortunately, there is no government policy on nature conservation. Only the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest seems to be well protected, probably because the mountain gorillas living there bring in a lot of money for the government. Let's hope it lasts...
We started our tour in the Selous Reserve, now merged with the Nyerere National Park, then the Ruaha National Park, Katavi National Park, Lake Tanganyika and the wonderful Mahale Mountains, which are still home to a large population of Chimpanzees. We then headed up towards Uganda to the latest national park to be declared in Tanzania: Burigi-Chato. Until recently, this huge area was still a deadly playground for western hunters. Then we went to Lake Victoria, the largest in Africa, and spent a few days on Rubondo Island and National Park, before crossing the border to reach Uganda. At the border, we lost half a day between covid tests and visa validation....
The few remaining days allowed us to re-visit in marathon mode the Lake Mburo National Park, the wonderful forests of Bwindi, the small forest of the nkima forest lodge http://nkimaforestlodge.com/, the Mamamba Bay and, for the last few hours, before taking the plane back, the Entebbe Botanical Garden which is extraordinary for its rich biodiversity.