Uganda Photographic Safari 2017

We're back from a fantastic photo trip to the last, wild gorillas and chimpanzees in the world. The two-week photo tour, accompanied by SIGMA reference photographer Andreas Knausenberger, our customers could take home unique experiences.

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The first part of the journey led the group to Kigali in Rwanda, from where the trip then led to the North and over the border to Uganda. The starting point for Gorilla trekking was the Bwindi National Park. We enjoyed the fantastic views over the Virunga volcanoes and the travelers got the first photographic instruction for the upcoming trekking the following day. The day ended with a very good evening meal.

The day of Gorilla trekking began for all of us fairly early with an extensive breakfast and coffee. After the briefing in one of the UWA Headquarters we directly started down into the valleys of Bwindi National Park. The Nkuringo gorilla family was tracked and after over one and a half hours we reached the gorillas. They had migrated into the buffer zone of the park during the night and ate well on a pretty steep terrain. This made the trekking something more challenging for the group, which masterfully mastered the challenge and could shoot great pictures. After around five and a half hours we were back at the lodge and able to analyze the results of the photos.

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The next day we hiked through the Bwindi National Park. The group was quickly on the road and so we arrived at Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Ischascha Gate at noon. Specifically, we looked for the tree climbing lions, which we found quite quickly. So, the participants had plenty of time to shoot great photos of lions sleeping in the tree. Then we headed to our lodge on the Kazinga Channel, which we then arrived at dusk. For the next two days extensive game drives were available. Highlights of game drives in the Queen Elizabeth National Park were the lions and the beautiful leopard lady, which we could take pictures of on the very first day. But also the weaver birds, hippos and the fighting Uganda cobs offered great photo opportunities for the travelers.

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After our days in the Queen Elizabeth National Park we continued into the North and to the Kibale Forest National Park. This is home to over 1200 chimpanzees and other primates. It is the best starting point to photograph the chimpanzees. Our great camp on the outskirts of the National Park was also a place to take photos of lots of colobus monkeys and birds. Boredom didn't come up so of course. We used the time to discuss the previous pictures and to prepare for the coming day.

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We had two fantastic days to photograph the chimpanzees in the rain forest. During the two days we had been lucky to find the chimps on the ground. Thus we could accompany them and shoot great photos. On the first day, there were two old males that came to rest on a tree trunk on a small clearing after a good half hour walk. So, the participants could closely photograph the chimpanzees. On the second day it was raining in the morning and the chimpanzees spent their time high up in the fig trees. We waited for a good hour and a half, before two chimpanzees came down on the ground. We followed them and could shoot again great photos. After two days in Kibale we then set out again north to the legendary Murchison Falls!

After a six-hour drive, we reached the Murchison Falls National Park and enjoyed our views of the River Nile. The next morning we went to a full day game drive on the north shore of the park. Here we could photograph the cobs in the battle for the best seats on the mating place. There were also lots of antelopes, giraffes and elephants. In the evening we experienced a storm with heavy rains, which created a phantom mood. The ferry took us back to the South Bank and with a great dinner and campfire atmosphere the group ended the day.

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The last day at Murchison Falls National Park was all about the rare Shoebill stork. Of the species threatened by extinction, there are only a few specimens left in the wild. The Murchison Falls are one of the best areas to photograph these birds. In the early morning it was towards the Delta by private boat, where the nesting sites of the Shoebills are located. We drifted along the papyrus and reed banks and could shoot great pictures of various species of birds. Including the Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, as well as African Jacanas, Openbill Stork and more species of birds, and of course a lot of hippos.

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In the afternoon we then went back by private boat up to the Murchison Falls. These are available in perfect light in the afternoon. On the way to the waterfalls, there are lots of wildlife along the shore like hippos, buffalos, crocodiles, elephants, and of course lots of birds. The highlights of the afternoon were the gambling hippos, as well as the elephant family, which came to drink the water. The impressive Murchison Falls were also one of the many highlights of the afternoon boat trip. We enjoyed the last sunset of the trip and could still reminisce about all our experiences.

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The last day took us back to Entebbe, which we reached in the afternoon. After a short stay in a guest house, we went directly to the airport and back to Nairobi.

For next year we have planned another photo trip to Uganda and the last of its kind. More information about the dates and the travel can be found here: Uganda Photographic Safaris 2018