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Travel to the wilds of Uganda with Dr Helen Senn

28/02/2020 in RZSS

This October, join Dr Helen Senn, RZSS Head of Conservation and Science Programmesfor the trip of a lifetime to see giraffes and chimpanzees in the wild.

You’ll fly into the Ugandan city of Entebbe where you’ll stay for one night before travelling on to Murchison Falls, home to an abundance of wildlife including Nubian giraffes.

For three nights, you'll be staying at the Pakuba Safari Lodges, nestled in Murchison Falls National Park overlooking the spectacular River Nile. The lodge location affords panoramic views of the water, sweeping vistas of the surrounding riverine forest below and captivating surrounding wilderness where guests get the chance to see giraffes, elephants, antelopes and occasionally leopards that pay regular visits to the lodge. The tastefully furnished rooms offer comfort, style and serenity.

Whilst staying at Pakuba, you will visit the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in the field, enjoy a safari trip through the National Park, a Nile river boat trip, as well as a scenic hike to the falls themselves.

On departure from Murchison Falls, you’ll take a three-hour minibus drive before arriving in the Budongo Forest. Here, you will stay in the field station in the heart of the forest for the next five nights.

Budongo Forest is ranked among the top five tourist destinations in Uganda. It is a hot spot for species diversity and home to the country's largest chimpanzee population, including a habituated population living directly around the field station. The forest contains the Royal Mile, named for its popularity as a traditional stopover for Uganda's royalty. The Royal Mile is a superb bird watching spot, with many West and Central African species in addition to the local East African species, and there are four other major primate species in the Budongo Forest.

You’ll team up with field assistants at the Budongo Conservation Field Station to follow and observe chimps and other primates up-close as they forage for food in the morning and late afternoon. You will have the chance to learn how to identify local trees and work alongside researchers to monitor trees, set and empty insect traps, and label and preserve the collected insects for later identification. You can also help write up the data. Equally, for those that prefer, you can simply relax and watch wildlife at the research camp, walk the Royal Mile to take in the natural beauty of the rainforest, and visit the local community to understand more about living alongside this incredible wildlife.

The camp consists of several simple buildings in a large clearing in the Budongo Forest. You’ll stay in a choice of single or double rooms that contains a bed, bedding, mosquito net, reading desk and chair. All rooms are connected to solar electricity. There are three pit latrines on the site, which are shared by all. You’ll have access to a warm shower every evening, though water used at the camp is harvested off the roofs, or taken from the Sonso River, so frugal use is necessary.

Meals are simple and include rice, chapatis, potatoes, spaghetti, beans, beef, fish, peanuts, cow peas, assorted fresh vegetables and fruits, and eggs. You will also be served local foods such as cassava, stewed bananas (matooke), and maize bread (ugali or posho). Breakfast will be Western style.

The activity level for this trip is moderate, including walking, possibly in sand, through dense forest or uphill, with a light backpack up to 5 miles/day (8 km); ability to stoop, bend or kneel often required; dexterity, agility and good balance required. However, as this is a small group size, there will be opportunities for varying levels of fitness, with both easier and more challenging activities available.

Date: Between 20 October and 20 November 2020, exact dates tbc shortly.

Cost: circa £3,000

Full cost (to be confirmed) will include:
• A donation to giraffe and chimpanzee conservation
• Accommodation, meals, guides and travel within Uganda.

Please note, this cost does not include international flights, travel insurance, visa, drinks with meals or single supplement at Pakuba Lodge. Group booking for flights from Edinburgh will be available.

Booking

Only 7 places available - contact supportus@rzss.org.uk for more information.

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