Here's a photo sampler from my time in Uganda. I put this together to accompany my podcast interview on the Amateur Traveler. Listen to the podcast here: Episode 360
Photos by category. All photos copyright Shara Johnson
Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC) where I volunteered for a month.
Feeding chimpanzees their porridge each morning before letting them onto their island.
Onapa, one of my favorite chimps ... the most experiential and interactive.
Matoke, the alpha male of the group. Absolutely beautiful animal, intimidating yet also very contemplative.
Me with Sara trying to grab peanuts from my pocket, and Nepa, my other favorite chimp, sitting on top of me.
A new python arrived at the UWEC mistreated and abused; we put her in an enclosure with a healthy python ... this is the healthy python under whose weight I am staggering, even with the help of another keeper. Notice the huge head head just behind me. Be it known, I am petrified of snakes. I was pulled into this situation for the amusement of the keepers so fast I couldn't resist ... I imagine only in a Third World zoo could we get away with such casual silliness just for a fun photo opp.
Vervets are the pests of the UWEC, and pretty much anywhere in Sub-Saharan Africa. Akin to raccoons in America. Cute as the dickens, but can be aggressive. Attacked me on several occasions.
Shoebill stork, one of the rarest birds to still exist in the wild. This one was rescued from injury by the UWEC. I was fascinated by him, spending time each day just staring at him. I think would be a major coup to see in the wild
Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Young gorilla feeding. Mostly that's what you watch them do ... eat.
Close up of adult gorilla contemplating ... who knows what. Me? (p.s. image isn't cropped in ... I was really this close to capture with a 250 lens)
Gorilla that toppled the tree nearly on top of us, with whom I got to spend an extra 5 minutes beyond the allotted hour.
Lake Bunyoni (couch surfing experience)
View from outside my mud hut containing one sloping bed, which I had to continually pull the covers back up from having slid off the downhill side. Peace factor ... off the charts.
School children eating porridge at the lake side. I wonder what's in their sweet little minds.
Child being served porridge. Perhaps her only meal of the day.
Children in class, learning English by reciting words written on the chalkboard. Two larger classrooms (still without desks or any learning accessories) were ruined in a storm; now all kids cram into this one room.
Fort Portal Area
One of many crater lakes (termed "explosion crater lakes") near Fort Portal formed by volcanic activity.
Typical scenery in the Fort Portal area, the Rwenzori mountains in the background.
Typical church structure, Fort Portal area.
Shepherd with cows along the lower Rwenzori range.
Traditional mud, thatched-roof homes in the Rwenzoris.
Traditional witch doctor living in the lower Rwenzori range. He divines answers to questions by interpreting the patterns that sticks fall into water. If his prophesies for me are true, I'll be pretty psyched. He helped me blow away an evil spirit inhibiting my career.
Traditional blacksmith in the lower Rwenzoris .. making a knife for me. The bellows (foreground) are made of sheepskin and must be constantly stoked to maintain the tiny but hot fire.
Murchison Falls National Park
Nile River at sunrise.
Murchison Falls from above.
Me at the top of Murchison Falls.
Elephant. One of many that come very close.
Giraffes. There are many in Murchison NP. But you won't find them in Queen Elizabeth NP.
Buffalo. I spent a lot of time with buffalo (one of the "Big 5" animals) in South Africa; I genuinely believe the buffalo in Uganda are much more attractive.
Typical rural scenery of traditional housing (bandas). I took photo between Entebbe and Murchison.
Budongo Forest National Park
Between Entebbe and Murchison Falls, Budongo it makes a perfect side trip for chimpanzee tracking.
Very thick rainforest. Upon entering, you must dip your shoes in an anti-bacterial pool to try to keep out foreign organisms.
Me inside a hollowed-out tree.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
The grey crowned crane, national bird of Uganda.
Hippo with an oxpecker on its back.
One of many hippos you'll see if you take the boat ride down the Kazinga Channel.
One of many elephants to be seen in QENP. Unlike a more savanna area like in Kenya or South Africa, they emerge suddenly out of the bushes.
Several tribes who already lived in the QENP area where allowed to remain after the establishment of the park. The numbers of villagers who disappear in the jaws of lions, crocodiles and hippos seem astounding. But in truth, it's less than auto traffic fatalities in America.