Our first full day of leisure and I was up early at 5.55am as we were being picked up by Tadeo at 7.00am to drive to Kyambura Gorge. The gorge is located in the midst of miles of savannah, so unless you knew what you were looking for it would be easy to miss. The gorge is famous for its chimps and monkeys who inhabit the lush rainforest, but we only saw one chimp in the entire morning and he was nearly camouflaged by leaves. Our guides were Moses, Jane and Ben, who are the rangers who will be visiting the UK in September. For the first time this trip I saw one of them use their AK47 in order to drive off an elephant who got too close. We also saw some huge nests up in the trees which belonged to black ants. When we returned from the gorge we met a Czech couple who had been in the mountains for several days. They were delighted that I had taught someone from Ostrava (Katie Ball) as it was their home town.
Tadeo was on his usual good form and nicknamed me Njojo ‘The elephant’ much to Stu’s amusement. I have to say that his reasoning behind this nickname was as subtle as a sledgehammer, and I will upload film of it when we get back to the UK. Stu was nicknamed Mbogo ‘The buffalo’, but Tadeo’s reasoning was far nicer. To make up for this slight, the rangers took us all out for lunch at a local restaurant and I had chicken with rice. Tadeo recommended I try out a local pepper on my rice. I regretted this immediately as it nearly took my mouth off to his obvious delight.
Our afternoon was spent at Maramagambo Forest, which on first appearance looked very much like a British wood. Our guide was Godfrey who showed us a leaf that although it looked smooth, was actually rougher than sandpaper. Ugandans use it for sharpening knives and cleaning saucepans. We also saw leaves for soothing babies’ rashes and for helping with ulcers. When we reached the bat cave the stink of ammonia was terrible. We sat behind a glass screen to watch the bats. They didn’t half make a noise! Godfrey told us that the big black ants’ nests took nearly twenty years to make this size. Tadeo showed me the tiny chilli plant that had made my pepper earlier. No wonder it was hot!
We returned to Hippo House to begin packing for the trip back to Entebbe tomorrow after our final activity, a game drive.We have a farewell reception for some of the rangers tonight and there is a small chance Stu and I could be involved in a very special activity. If this comes off I will let you all know about it!