first part of our trip took us from Nairobi in Kenya through Uganda
From there we headed south ultimately ending in Capetown.
The view from our room of the grounds
of the hotel and the city beyond.
We walked to the central business
district which could have been
mistaken for nearly any city we have visited.
Occasionally there were women wearing
The Masai market gave us our first
look at the handicrafts that could
And the first taste of the
negotiation that was a part of every
The next morning we met our guides
Jodi and Paul, the rest of our
traveling companions and our truck, Claudia.
Claudia was an experienced traveler
with many, many miles in her past.
Paul and Jody had just given Claudia
a fresh coat of paint and repaired
what problems that they could identify and they were ready to go.
We are off.
The great rift valley extends from
northern Syria to
It consists of a series of faults and
and rifts that are slowly tearing
the African continent apart and separating it from Asia.
Active and inactive volcanoes
dot its length.
Facilities were just down the hill
from the overlook and provided and
introduction to the more rustic life we were about to begin.
Many places along the road we saw
markets that seemed to have all the
We visited an orphanage were the kids
drew pictures with supplies that
Nancy had brought for just
such an occasion.
And sang for us.
I gave some of the kids strings and
they taught me some string
figures that they knew.
Here is one. I will be posting
instructions when I get my string
figure page together.
The manager and three of the children
as we were saying goodbye.
On to Lake Nakuru National Park for
our first sight of wildlife.
This Green Vervet monkey was trying
for a handout from the folks in the
car ahead of us.
One of his relatives invaded the
ranger station and came out dragging a
bag of garbage.
These are he first waterbucks we saw.
We saw many here and later in the
Cape buffalo are one of the sub
species of African buffalo.
It resembles but is only a distant
relative of the Asian water buffalo.
It is the first of the "big five"
that we saw.
Impala were everywhere
We were excited when we spotted this
And these Grant's zebras
Some baboons playing in Kenya's Lake
Nakuru National Park.
have watched them all day.
Unfortunately the light was behind them when
they were in the tree so the exposure on this video leaves a lot to be
The view from a rocky overlook in the
We could see some wildlife in the
The rocks were home to hyrax which
resemble woodchucks but are
relatives of the elephant.
Red-headed Rock Agama lizards and
others were there too.
These vervet monkeys weren't as bold
as the first ones we saw.
Rhinos, the second of the big five.
These Black Rhinos were just resting
in the heat of the day.
And this White Rhino was grazing
until he noticed us.
Then he turned and ambled off.
gazelle, young, mature and
one with some zebras so you can see
how small they are.
I don't know what this antelope was
other than moving fast.
If you can tell from this picture send a note.
White pelicans, gulls, a heron, a
stork, a sacred Ibis,
flamingos, and a stilt at the lake.
For pictures of many more birds we
saw throughout Africa click here.
The lake is very salty as evidenced
by these deposits along the shore.
As we left the park we passed these
homes decorated with murals.
Another roadside market.
This one seemed to have nothing but
Our first Equator crossing here in
Africa, going north.
Many of the roads in Uganda were
paved but I have only seen a few dirt
roads that had ruts this deep.
Kids on their way to school and some
We started to see rice being grown.
And then a tea plantation.
We also saw sorghum, banana, sugar
cane and other crops.
These were the first commercial farms
we had seen on the trip.
This roadside market had bananas,
melons and some other fruits.
The "facilities" at this rest stop
were better than most, relatively
clean, with a door, and only smelly not reeking.
A village and market.
The high rent district is up the hill.
AutoZone, Pep Boys Auto Supply, and
Advance Auto Parts, Uganda style.
This high class camp had picnic
This billboard is just one of the
attempts to curb the population
growth that is a source of problems in much of Africa.
One of many opportunities to get to
know Claudia's hardware.
This time it was a problem with the
clutch slave cylinder that was
making gear changes difficult.
We camped at a tea plantation and
took a tour that included
demonstration of how they pick only the top three leaves on the bush.
A freshly planted cutting and one
that has been producing for 50 years.
Some of the plantation fields had
grass shelters for guards.
One of the sheds where the tea is
stored while waiting to be collected
and taken for processing.
Elephant grass is cut and used as
mulch around new plantings.
Battery powered cameras, music
players and GPS units from many
countries required a nest of adapters and cords.
A 1000 watt inverter provided the
Small skittish visitors to camp.
We set out from Kanyanchu Visitors
Center in Kibale National Park to
try to find chimpanzees.
Note the rifle the guide carried.
She assured us that it was to protect
us from buffalo or other wild
She had never had to kill any,
several times she had fired into the
dirt to scare them off.
After an easy walk into the forest we
met these cousins
A chimpanzee mother and baby in the
tree above us.
On the way back to camp we saw a
baboon troop along the road.
We stopped to watch.
As we traveled all the kids smiled
People lined up at community wells to
get clean water.
Then carried it back home.
Children often were carrying as many
liters as they were old. 12 years
old = 12 liters = 26 pounds.
Crossing the equator southbound in
We entered Queen Elizabeth National
Waterbuck were common even before we
got the the Katunguru gate on
We saw these two vying for the favor
of a female who was nearby.
And it was soon evident which one won.
Some of us moved up to the open air
roof seats at the front and back of
the truck for a better view,
even though we had been cautioned to
be on the lookout for tree
climbing lions in the park
We stopped to watch some elephants
cross the road ahead of us.
We actually didn't have much choice,
yield the right of way.
We started to go when another one
announced his displeasure at us for
coming between him and the others.
This cape buffalo also seemed less
than happy with us too.
A small herd of waterbuck crossed the
road ahead of us.
A warthog family.
These African Long-tailed Shrikes
(probably) were common but shy.
Lake Edward forms one boundary
of the park.
The barely visible distant shore is
Mweya resort in the park is
beautifully appointed (not where we stayed).
We did however take a boat ride from
there to see even more wildlife.
Viewing began even before we boarded.
And we could see more animals across
the Kazinga Channel.
We were soon there.
It is hard to show how many animals
we saw here, but this video gives
Sunset over Lake Albert on our way
back to camp.
Guys get together to show off their
rides in nearly every town.
We had shopping duty one day so our
cook Denford flagged down some guys
on motorcycles and we were off to the market a couple of miles away.
Sorry there aren't any pictures of
the trip back but it was hard enough
to stay aboard while managing to hold our bundles and bags without
take a picture.
Our camp at Lake Bunyonyi had a nice
restaurant, dugouts, and a
We stopped here again on our way back
I tried a little astrophotography too.
Lunch in Kigali Rwanda and a view of the
The Kigali Memorial Center was opened in April 2004, on the 10th Anniversary
of the Rwandan Genocide .
The Centre is built on a site where
thousands of people are buried
under these stone slabs
The names of just a few of them.
This is Hôtel des Mille
Collines that was where more than a
thousand people took refuge during the Rwandan Genocide of 1994.
It was the basis of the film Hotel
Then on to
Parc National des Volcans.
SACOLA (Sabyinyo Community Livelihood
Association) dancers performed
for us with grace and energy as we were getting ready for our gorilla
trek in the in the Parc National des Volcans in Vergunga, Rwanda.
Drumming and dancing.
At the very end you can see that one
of the dancers has a baby slung on her back.
We were divided into groups of eight
and driven to a village at about
8400 feet elevation.
There we were provided with walking
sticks for our climb through fields
then into the mountaintop jungle.
After hiking several miles and
climbing 1400 feet (425 meters) we were rewarded with
a closeup encounter with a family of twelve gorillas.
This silverback posed nicely.
This one and a couple of youngsters
were napping together in a pile or just lounging around
They mostly didn't pay attention to
us but occasionally one would stare
at us as intently as we were at him.
A youngster was picking and eating
While we were watching another he
bent over a little too far and
tumbled down from the pile of branches he was perched on.
You can see just how close we were to
them in this video
After a much too brief hour with them
our guide told us we had to leave.
Out of the jungle we stopped to rest
and enjoy the view before
continuing down through the mountainside fields.
On the road again back to Lake
Bunyonyi we saw people lined up at
community wells and standing along the road with their water containers.
Homes and kids on the hills.
Rather than ride in the truck over
the long rough roads around the lake
we hired two boats for a relaxing cruse back to camp.
Along the way we saw several local
folks in dugout canoes.
We stopped at a school on our way
The classrooms were tiny and
overcrowded but the kids were
enthusiastically reciting their lessons.
All except for two who may have been
sick who slept through our whole
I asked the young man who had started
the school why he had done it.
He said that someone had sponsored
him when he was a child and this was
his way of paying that back.
Lessons and dance.
The schools bus/boat looks more than
full but there were still about 10
yet to board.
Back at the camp most all of us went
And a few took advantage of a very
small platform on a very shaky tree for another bit of fun.
A quiet game of Scrabble at the bar.
Some sights as we traveled along. Ankole or Watusi
cattle can be surprising
when they wander up when you are relieving yourself at one of the
informal stops we made.
Produce and livestock
bound for market.
Most towns have speed bumps as you
They have to be big to distinguish
regular old bumps we were getting used to.
Typical of most of the shops in this
The facilities at our camp at Lake
Mburo National Park were less than
ideal but we did have some close encounters with wildlife that
made it worthwhile.
Getting ready for our guided walking
We saw impalas, zebras, warthogs,
topi (classic pose), a hippo (recovering from battle wounds), and
There were hundreds of these Grant's Zebras, also known as Common
They are a subspecies of the Plains Zebra.
A lion's footprint and a kill from
the day before gave us pause.
When we got back to camp we found it
had been invaded by very peaceable warthogs.
Many of us were taking pictures of them.
Overnight these hippos wandered
We were warned that before you got
out of your tent in the dark you should shine a light around the area.
If you saw red glowing eyes you
should just wait for as long as it took for those eyes to go away.
Like most evenings it was dark before
we had dinner.
A female bushbuck antelope and
Some impala were standing along the road.
A few of them then the rest bounded off.
Back across the equator.
Our horseback ride along the Nile
took us past villages, schools, gardens, and more wildlife.
A tsetse fly trap along the trail.
They are lured by the smell from a
bottle of cow urine and fly toward the blue cloth.
When they land they fall into the
trap and die.
Bags of charcoal used for most
We saw a lot of birds during our
excursion on the Nile and several less expected things.
Like this bust of Gandhi where some
of his ashes were placed in the Nile as they were in other major
rivers of the world.
We also saw a monitor lizard and a
black mamba snake about 6 feet long in a tree overhead.
You can see our bird pictures here.
Other activities on the Nile included bungee jumping.
Not for us but four of our companions tried it.
Along the road we often saw the
results of serious accidents.
Markets and a wood shops in a town.
A brief stop at a dairy plant to get
some ice cream and cheese and check out a little of the processing
Raw milk receiving, testing,
processing (2 steps shown), sales, and consumption (the best part).
Some papyrus growing at one of the
Wildlife comes in all sizes.
The last evening in camp on the first
leg of the tour we all had dinner
together and had some fun.
After dinner Jody and Paul were
linked by ropes and challenged to
Jody's wrists were tied together and
and the same to Paul with the
ropes linked together.
Here is one attempt.
They thought they had it solved.
They didn't succeed this time but it
Back across the Great Rift valley,
with storm clouds over one of the mountains.
Time to say goodbye to some of our
companions on this leg of the trip.
Others are continuing on south with
us and some new folks will be joining.
Thank you Andrea, Marielle, and
Willeke for sharing your pictures from our trip.