Bigodi Swamps & Lake Albert

From our base at the lovely Kluges Guest Farm, south of Fort Portal, we made a couple of trips to the surrounding area. First we went through the Kibale NP to Bigodi, where we explored the swamps. The next day, we drove past Fort Portal in direction of Semuliki, where we reached Lake Albert.

In Bigodi, we had stopped for lunch at the Bee Hive Bar, where a tour to the swamp was organised for us. As soon, as we had finished our lunch, our guide appeared with some gum boots and off we went to explore the local wetlands.

The path was mostly through mud and we were thankful for the gum boots, in other parts it took us over a slippery boardwalk. Our guide Caro explained us about the plants, which are still used by the locals to treat many diseases. We even came past a tree with long fruits, which teenage boys pick and use the juice to get longer “privat parts”, as she called it. But she also spotted monkeys and birds for us. Especially the red tailed monkeys with their white noses and the beautiful Blue Turaco where a highlight for us.

Caro also showed us, how the reeds are used to weave mats, an additional income for local women.

Great blue turaco – also called “lipstick bird”

On the way through the Kibale NP, we mostly spotted baboons, but there are also chimps living in this forest. We took some fotos through the open window, when one of the baboons got closer to our car. Luckily we noticed and closed the window in time. He then decided to jump on our bonnet and looked in, pressing his face against our windscreen. Even when we slowly started to drive, he stayed on, until he finally jumped off. I don’t want to know, what wood have happened, if the window would have been open. For sure, you don’t want a baboon getting into your car or close to you.

We stayed at Hornbill Cave Campsite, where we met other travellers and had a lovely night in the forest. The next day, we explored the wetland on another boardwalk, which started at the bottom of the camp. The boards were very slippery and uneven, so we turned around after a while.

The next day, we drove back to Fort Portal, and stopped at “Dutchess”, a nice restaurant, where we could also buy bread and quark. From there we continued to Semuliki, which is a river forming the border to DR Congo. We visited the Semuliki Wildlife Reserve which stretches to Lake Albert but also the Semuliki NP, where we wanted to visit the hot springs.

Driving from the highlands (Fort Portal lies at 1500 metres) down to the Congo basin, we came to a much hotter area, with 36 degrees, something we hadn’t really missed, especially as the cooler nights made it so comfortable to sleep.

Good gravel road through Semuliki Wildlife Reserve

As the road through the reserve doesn’t require to pay park fees, we had decided to drive through to the town of Ntoroko at Lake Albert, of course looking out for wildlife on the way.

Ugandan kob
Wounded waterbuck
Old church of Ntoroko

Finally we reached Lake Albert, where the very high water level had taken a big toll on the village and also the campsite, which was once at the lake shore and is now gone.

Ntoroko filling station
Vervet monkey
Lappet-faced vulture
Marabou stork – drying his feathers after the rain
This bridge is also crossed by 40 tonnes trucks ….

Even there was no campsite at the lake anymore, we had enjoyed the drive through the reserve and our first visit to Lake Albert, hopefully we will reach this lake again further north. Next we will visit the hot springs nearby.

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