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uganda photo tour

Uganda Photo Tour 2021 Trip Report

Uganda is dubbed the Pearl of Africa and with good reason. You don’t need to spend more than a few hours traveling through the countryside to be awed by the country’s beautiful lush landscapes. Life abounds at every turn. For this reason, Uganda is one of the most extraordinary and unique photo safari destinations in the world.

Aperture: f2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/400s | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 200mm

Our Uganda photo tour began in Entebbe. A short drive from the hotel brought us to the shores of Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake and hosts an incredible diversity of wildlife. A special bird in particular draws in birding enthusiasts from around the world. The shoebill stands nearly 5 feet tall and is prehistoric in appearance, with only about 1000 of these birds exist in Africa. We were set out to find one.

We were transported by motorboat to the edge of the Mabamba Swamp where resident shoebills are known to be found. Our group of 6 made our way into two dugout canoes. These non-motorized boats allow easier movement through the papyrus reeds where the shoebill wade for their main prey source, the lungfish. Far from a guarantee, we had several hours to find this bird but remarkably were rewarded to two sightings within a short 20 minutes – a male and female pair! In addition to the shoebill, we also spent time photographing the malachite kingfisher, purple heron, african jacana, and pied kingfisher, to name a few.

uganda photo tours1

Aperture: f4.5 | Shutter speed: 1/2000s | ISO: 320 | Focal Length: 300mm

Our Uganda photo tour departed Entebbe after a successful morning, and we began the journey south to the foothills of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home to the largest population of Mountain Gorillas in Uganda. The Buhoma Lodge is jungle luxury at its finest and was our base for the next 3 nights. Each room resembles a treehouse, elevated and nestled into the hillside looking straight across to the forest where the following days would be spent in pursuit of the gorillas.

Bwindi is home to more than 20 habituated Mountain Gorilla family groups. We had two incredible treks with the Habinyanja and Rushegura families. It is always fascinating to watch the similar mannerisms between gorillas and humans. There is such a close connection in our DNA, it provides an incredible glimpse into our evolutionary history. The caring nature of the mothers is perhaps the most beautiful thing to watch. We were lucky to have young gorillas on each of our trek, most notably a one week old baby. It truly speaks volumes to the trust these gorillas have in our presence by the fact that they will show even their most vulnerable to us.

uganda photo tour1

Aperture: f2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/400s | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 200mm

uganda gorilla trekking

Leaving the forest behind, our Uganda photo tour descended into the savannah in Queen Elizabeth National Park, home of the famous tree-climbing lions. In addition to multiple sightings of lions in the trees, we were also very lucky to see 2 leopards as well as the usual suspects for the area: Uganda Kob, Topi, Elephant, Buffalo and Hippo. We also checked off 100+ species of birds during our 3 days. This lodge, the only lodge in the exclusive southern Ishasha sector of the park, was a highlight for the group. It is unfenced and we had regular sightings of hippos, elephants, buffalos, monkeys and birds.

photo safaris1

Aperture: f2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/400s | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 200mm

photo safaris

Aperture: f2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/400s | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 200mm

Our final destination on our Uganda photo tour was Kibale National Park, which has an extraordinary ecosystem that hosts 13 primate species, forest elephants, and 375+ species of bird. There is never a dull (or silent) moment in this forest. The shrill vocalizations of resident chimp troops can be heard any time of day from the Primate Lodge. Our accommodation was tucked into the forest itself and from the decks you have lovely viewing of monkeys and birds.

 

Chimp trekking is an entirely different experience to gorilla trekking. Gorillas may be stationary and are relatively calm. Chimps on the other hand, are highly interactive and vocal. Regularly the forest would erupt with hooting and screaming. It is very entertaining to be placed in the middle of their society trying to make sense of the dynamic interactions around you. The chimps spend a lot of time feeding and grooming. Troop sizes can be over 100 individuals so there is always something happening and it makes for very exciting photography.

 

11 days flew by but this Uganda photo tour was action packed with incredible sightings, good weather and full memory cards.

uganda photo safari3

Aperture: f2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/400s | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 200mm

uganda photo safari2

Aperture: f2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/400s | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 200mm

uganda photo safari1

Aperture: f2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/400s | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 200mm

Aperture: f2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/400s | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 200mm

uganda chimpanzee trekking

Aperture: f2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/400s | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 200mm

Aperture: f2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/400s | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 200mm

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