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Digital Subscriptions > Tread > Sept/Oct 2019 > UNFORGETTABLE UGANDA


Persevering Through The Most Unexpected

I’m exploring an isolated gravel track in Uganda alone when the stunning Lake Albert comes into view over the crest of a hill. I strategically park the Jeep to get the best photo possible, and walk away with camera in hand.

As I climb the rock bank for a photo, I see the Jeep move. Almost before I can react, it has travelled an entire Jeep length, and is picking up speed fast. I desperately scramble after it, hoping without reason there is a way I can fling myself into the driver’s seat to stop it. Seeing the inevitable, I keep clear, utterly helpless.

Within three or four lengths it hurtles out of control into the ditch on the left before striking the rock wall, very hard. The tire takes the full impact, violently flipping the Jeep over onto the passenger side before it skids to a crunching stop. I crumple to the ground, terrified that I may have just ended my African expedition, with no idea what I will do now.

Into Uganda

A few weeks earlier I completed another straightforward border crossing from Rwanda into Uganda. After finishing the paperwork and starting the Jeep, I think for a second before turning off the engine and walking back to the armed military man guarding the boom gate. “Which side of the road in Uganda?” I ask. “Keep left,” he says, “not like Rwanda.”

After swapping sides multiple times now, I figure it never hurts to double-check, and the lack of signs makes me not trust my own memory of which country drives on which side.

Mgahinga Mountain Gorillas

A couple of friendly armed park rangers hitch a ride with me to the national park on the border of Rwanda and The DRC, where mountain gorilla sightings are all but guaranteed. At $600 USD it’s not an easy choice, though I rack it up as a ‘once in a lifetime,’ and as soon as I have paid, I can’t wait to get started.

At a very brief introduction I’m told there is only one gorilla family here, consisting of eight gorillas. This group contains two full-size male silverback gorillas — which is not at all common — and the leader is the second-largest gorilla in existence. Together with four other people, we set out hiking through the thick forest up the gentle slopes of the volcano. After an easy 45-minute walk, we hear and then see the men tracking the gorillas sitting calmly on the ground.

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About Tread

Tread Sept/Oct 2019, A Guide to Automotive Adventures & Outdoor Lifestyle, Unforgettable Uganda : Exploring the pearl of Africa, Diving in Deep : Map & Compass Navigation, And More....