Uganda Travel News

Their massive trunks give rise to irregular, exuberant crown, seasonally festooned with grapelike clusters of fruits. Their roots jut out at impossible angles- angles made all the more remarkable by the tons of structured mosses and lichens borne by those limbs during most of the year. More frightening still was the fact that so many hagenia limbs hung over our frail cabins

Karisoke’s natural vegetation attracted a variety of animal’s species. The Lobelia outside our cabin produced a three-five foot tall spike of purple flowers and buds that boomed from bottom to top over the course of the month. These attracted a stream of northern double-collared and scarlet-tufted sunbirds- Africa’s answer to hummingbirds, though sunbirds luck the ability to hover. Cinnamon bracken warblers and Rwenzori turaccos hopped though the canopy above and emerald doves ripped the air like-low flying jets. White-naped ravens came on occasional scavenging forays, usually in pairs making raucous calls. Far more irritating than their vocalisations, however, was the scraping of their claws on our tin roofs

The most endearing of the local mammals was the black-fronted duikers. Standing on more than knee-high, this small antelope boasted a lustrous coat of rich chestnut over most of its body, with blaze of black on its snout. Delicate black and white markings decorated the inside of its ears. a pair of slightly curved , dagger-shape three- to four inch horns provide its only defence , while elongated hooves afford support in mashes. Elsewhere in the forest, duikers where extremely shy because of their status as a prime target of hunters. Around karisoke, however, the protective presence of researchers and staff allowed them to tiptoe quietly about their lives with little concern. The bushbucks, a deer-sized antelope with foot long spiralled horns, also lived in the surrounding forest but were rarely seen. Most commonly it made its self known through its did concerting habit of barking exactly like a dog. More than once in our first few months, we were startled into poacher alert modes by the sharp bark of the bushbuck, imagining instead the hunter’s dog

Occasionally we were rewarded with the sight of its and lines against a coat of reddish brown, with black and white markings on long elegant legs

We rarely spotted a cape buffalo around the camp, but its abundant dung piles reminded us that it was a common nocturnal visitor. What this half-ton

savannah- dweller was doing at ten thousand feet in the rain forest was never clear to us , but the presence of Africa’s most lethal creature was to be respected. And its tracks along the forty-yard path to our outhouse meant that only the most necessary trips were taken their at night. Other animals tended only to just stay away from the camp, although elephants passed within fifty-feet of our cabin one night and gorillas came within two hundred yards on our first Christmas day. a leopard was seen by others less than a mile away

Those animals that did wander into the karisoke complex walked were they wished , free of fences and other barriers. People generally walk on stone trains. the imperfect solution to life in a swamp was a minimal network of slightly raised trails , reinforced with rocks of various sizes . around Dian’s house, built on the highest grounds , these worked quite well. For those of us at the lower end of the camp, it was futile to try and stay dry , especially at night when the risk of sprained ankle from rock-hopping in the dark far out concern about awareness. Equipped with army jungle boots that allowed water to flow freely in and out , and good wool socks, it was bill’s standard practice each morning to stomp into the first pool of standing water or mud and proceed with the day . once dry again at night , though , there was strong urge to stay that way. Amy eventually joined Dian and several others in wearing rubber boots around camp, but local markets didn’t sell bill’s size thirteen

THERE WERE ACTUALLY few destinations within the bounds of the research station. with the vegetation , the condition of the trail, and the state of our relationship, though , the one hundred some yards of our cabin to Dian’s could seem much longer. The building s at karisoke differed in size, but all shared the same style

additional support came with construction of the floor; a platform of rough hewn planks raised about three feet above the bare ground . smaller hypericum saplings, laced together with vines or wires , provided support for the roof

thin sheets of mabati, or corrugated tin , were then nailed onto the Skelton to complete the external structure for both the roof and the walls . interior designs where quite similar across all buildings , with a layer of stiff bamboo mats providing a false ceiling for false insulation, while papyrus mats draped the walls and covered the floor. Our cabin measured roughly thirty by twelve feet with a partial partition erected between our sleeping quarters and the combination kitchen-office . we also had three windows and ill-fitted , but functional , doors. Two very noisy metal spring bed frames, one desk , three chairs, and a counter, a stool completed our furnishings. It offered all that we needed and offered suitable habitat for the seven species of rodents that shared our cozy home

The karisoke building did little to keep out the elements. Direct rainfall was generally warded off, but at the risk of severe hearing impartment’s during intense storming. And while the rain might not get in from above , the humidity from below was constant companion. Kerosene lamps helped if you sat close, but mostly we just dressed warmly. When Amy was alone in camp, she commonly slept in sweat pants, wool socks, a turtleneck shirt, vest, and even a knit cap

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