Tracking Mountain Gorillas

Together with Rembrand and Margreet from MAF Uganda, we took off from Kajjansi for a flight to Kisoro airfield. Kisoro airfield is hidden in the Western part of the Ugandese mountains and in the border zone of Uganda with Rwanda and the Demoncratic Republic of Congo. We dropped all our luggage and gear at the MAF hangar at Kajjansi airfield and were enroute with the 4 of us to track mountain gorillas.

Just off the Kisoro airfield we hit our first refugee camp with refugees from Rwanda and Congo.

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After flying for 2 hours and a drive in a 4-wheel Jeep we arrived at our lodge. The lodge had a great view on the Virunga mountains and was about 2 hours away from the Gorilla tracking base camp.

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From the lodge we had a great view on the lake. The next morning we left the lodge at 5.30 to drive with a Toyota Landcruiser for 2 hours through the thick subtropical rainforest to go to the base camp and report for the tracking.

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Here we are still smiling as we took off on the hike not knowing what to expect. To be honest, my (Sjoerd Jan) personal fitness was not great at all and I hired two porters to help me carry my bag and support me on the difficult climbs.

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After hiking several hours through the thick subtropical rainforest, we hit a group of mountain gorillas. This was really an unprecedented event never experienced before. Here we were eye-to-eye within a few meters distance from these gorillas.

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Categories: Flying in Africa

Arriving In The Tropics

We love the tropics! Yesterday we arrived from Accra, Ghana in Sao Tomé de Principe. More about our journey there later in this post, but lets start with the fact that Lex smiled again upon our arrival at our Lodge. Sao Tomé isn’t really a wealthy place, but it allows for some good relaxation on western standards, and again some great underwater scenery for scuba diving!

Last Tuesday we flew from Bamako to Accra. The flight took us about five hours in total.  Gradually the ground below turned green again and while flying over some small villages at 800 feet, locals were staring up and waving at us.
What amazed us, was that fires and large smoke plumes were taking away our visibility. Apparently the locals burn acres of wood to the ground to create fertile soil for crops. From time to time the smoke got so thick, we had to increase our altitude to keep a clear horizon.

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At Bobo-Dioulasso we made a stop. Imagine a fully equipped large airport with only two scheduled flights every day.

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Arriving in Accra around 16:00 we were parked amongst Boeings and Airbuses. See how we were refuelled in the local fashion:

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At Accra we found this Dutch-registered Fuji. We have no clue about its history and how it got here. You are welcome to share your information here!

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Yesterdaymorning we left Accra for a direct flight to Sao Tome. Blue up and below, until we had the large island in sight.

Today we will spend the day scuba diving and enjoying everything our luxury lodge has to offer. Tomorrow we will fly to Africa’s mainland again: Congo!

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Sjoerd Jan ter Welle and Lex Versteeg are flying from The Netherlands to South Africa and back in a small Piper aircraft. Read more about the team >here<

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Categories: Flying in Africa

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