In this latest series, I will be going through all the countries I’ve travelled to on my mission to visit every single country in the world. In this article, we will be covering country #80: Uganda. If you haven’t gotten a chance already, read this story first to find out why I’m trying to visit all 193 UN-recognized countries.
My main goal when I travelled to Uganda was to do gorilla trekking to see the endangered mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park.
VIDEO – Country #80: Uganda
Blog post on Uganda
- How To Go Gorilla Trekking In Uganda (A Comprehensive Guide!)
- Complete 9 Days Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda Spending Breakdown
- 9 Days of Travel To Rwanda, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of Congo
- Ugandan Food – The Strange Way Of Ordering Food in Uganda
- How To Go Gorilla Trekking In Uganda (A Comprehensive Guide!)
- Why You Should Train Before Going Gorilla Tracking (Don’t Be A Jerk!)
Crossing the Rwanda and Uganda border
We started our trip to Uganda by crossing over the border from Rwanda. Despite feeling tired from our long flight going from Nha Trang to Ho Chi Minh to Bangkok to Ethiopia to Burundi and finally landing in Rwanda, we wanted to reach Uganda as fast as possible. This is because jet lag tends to be a lot less worst after exercising and we figured, after going gorilla trekking, the jet lag won’t affect us as badly.
Crossing over to Uganda was a painless process and the driver we hired took us all the way to Kabale where we would be staying the night.
Upon reaching Kabale, we tried talking to the tour company we joined which is African Adventure travellers. While the company is legitimate, I can’t say I like their customer service. Their communication is quite poor and we had to contact them several times before finally getting the information on who will take us to Bwindi National Park.
After dealing with the annoying tour company, we dropped off our stuff in our hotel and went into town to exchange our Rwandan Francs for Ugandan Shillings. It was quite neat to drive around town and walk around looking for a shop that offered good exchange rate.
Afterward, we went back to our creepy accommodation. We stayed at King’s Hotel Kabale which left us feeling conflicted. On one hand, their customer service is superb. I can’t say enough good things about how awesome the hotel staff is at helping us. On the other hand, the room had cockroaches, insects, and it felt dirty and dingy. I guess for one night, it’s good enough but I wouldn’t stay here long term.
Rolex for breakfast
We woke up very early the next morning because the drive to the national park would be quite lengthy. Despite the terrible communication of African Adventure travellers, they had sent a driver to pick us up. The driver was friendly and easy to talk to. He took us to get some street food for breakfast. In Uganda, they served this street food called Rolex which is vegetables and omelet rolled together. It was freaking delicious.
Driving to Bwindi National Park
The drive to Bwindi National Park is your typical African driving style. Basically, you drive on unpaved roads and your car is shaking the entire time. The Africans call it African massage.
Despite the shaking, it was a rather scenic and enjoyable car ride. Eventually, we arrived at the office which is the launching point for gorilla trekking.
They gave each of us a card as our “ticket” for this trek. We also rolled up our socks on top of our pants to prevent fire ants from biting us. And of course, we sprayed a liberal amount of insect repellant on ourselves since we would be trekking deep into the forest.
Before starting the gorilla trekking, we were treated with a cultural song and dance by the locals. Many tourists also joined in the dance. I like how they barely had any instruments yet they were able to make fantastic sounding beats by stomping on the ground and clapping their hands.
Not long after, we drove to the trailhead where the gorilla trekking would start.
At first, we hiked up a hill and through what looks to be a cell phone tower. Before long, we would be hiking deep in the forest.
Seeing gorillas is completely random. Some tourists get lucky and see them within 1-hour and some could take 10-12 hours. We were the lucky tourist to see them within 1-hour of hiking.
The gorillas were docile and were mostly eating plants. They barely even noticed us. At one point, a gorilla did jump in front of my sister and she freaked out. But I think the gorilla was just passing by and didn’t even glance at us.
Annoying American woman
After spending 1-hour hanging out with the gorillas, it was time to head back. We had a great time with the gorillas but I can’t say the next part was pleasant at all.
One of the individuals that trek with us is this unfit American woman who spent the next 2-hours bitching and complaining. She acted very rudely and self-entitled while talking to the park ranger. Despite being unfit, she decided not to hire a porter. It was clear she needed a porter more than my group since she was not in physical shape to do this trek.
After what seemed forever, we finally got out of the forest. And thank god because we never have to see her again.
The park ranger presented my sister, girlfriend, and me the certificate of completing the gorilla trekking experience.
Delicious Ugandan food
Not long after, the driver from African Adventure traveller took us for lunch at a local restaurant. It was a fun experience eating local Ugandan food. Their ordering style is also interesting. Basically, carbohydrates are free if you order protein. When you order protein, you’re allowed to pick four pieces of meat. If you only order carbohydrates, then the food is very cheap. You can basically get a plate full of carbohydrates for about $3 CAD.
Back to Rwanda
After a memorable experience of gorilla trekking and eating local Ugandan food, it was time to head back to Rwanda. We gave the driver a big tip and he was extremely happy.
Then, we met up with the driver we hired from Rwanda and headed back to Kigali to finish our adventure in Uganda.
Travelling in Uganda was a great experience and we loved it. Besides the creepy hotel and the obnoxious American woman, I can’t say anything bad about travelling in Uganda.
I also don’t regret the length that we stayed in this country. Sure, it would have been nice to visit Kisoro or Queen Elizabeth National Park. But, we can always get a similar travel experience in the future in other African countries like Tanzania.