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Sunday, October 6, 2013

A memorable trip to Queen Elizabeth National Park with the Pathfinders

It was on a cool Saturday 5th November 2013 that Kasese Humanist Primary School staff together with the Pathfinders had a tour aimed at visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park located in Kasese district. 

This place is among the treasures that the Ugandan government cherishes so much as it is a tourist destination offering a variety of attractions ranging from a variety of tree species, birds, magnificent views of craters, wild life animals, Aquatics and a variety of geographical features like craters, escarpments, cliffs and a mini museum.
Mweya Safari Lodge seen from a distance ( Photo by Bwambale Robert)
At exactly 9:00 AM, Our Journey started from the KHPS Railway campus where we boarded a mini van that accommodated 18 people comprising of the 4 Pathfinders Conor, Wendy, Michelle and Ben , the School Director and his wife plus the rest being staff members.

We took the Kasese Mbarara road and moved through Kikorongo where we had a stop over at the Equator, one of the land marks that separates the northern and southern hemisphere. 
Pathfinders team with KHPS Staff 2013
This point is at 0 Degrees. Both the Staff and the Pathfinders posed for several photo shots and were all happy visiting this place, the stop over lasted for 12 minutes and we proceeded to Katunguru which is one of the fishing villages around Lake George where we had chance to make another stop over and visited the Kazinga Channel which connects Lake George and Lake Edward. On this channel, there is a giant metallic bridge. We had chance to view a series of canoe boats and engine powered canoes and divers. We spent close to 20 minutes in this place.
Visiting the Katunguru bridge on Kazinga channel

We proceeded with our journey and headed to Queen Elizabeth National Park , as we were moving through the road to the Uganda Wild Life Authority Katunguru Gate road we saw a number of animals and among them were Uganda Kobs, Elephants, Buffalos and some birds. At 11:20 AM, we reached the Mweya Safari lodge and were warmly received by Assistants at the Visitors Information Center where we cleared the charges for visiting the park. An official working for UWA had an introductory lecture about the Queen Elizabeth National Park, explained about the geographical features located within the Albertine rift valley all the way from Lake Albert to Kisoro in South western Uganda and thsi was made possible by an already prepared, electrified diagrammatic chart with buttons and markings of different features like lakes, volcanoes, mountains, rivers, craters in this region. The lecture was very well presented and illustrative, there is a lot we learnt there. We also had chance to view several historical and scientific tools which are well tagged which are educative and informative.
Giant Elephant grazing in Queen Elizabeth National park

At 12:30, we had lunch which we had carried along which was fried rice with meat and sliced irish potatoes accompanied with bottled water. the meal was very tasty and the fact that we had it outdoors under a tree shade made everything lively.
The fact that we reached a bit late in this area to see the animals, we were rather disappointed. The park staff told us that they normally conduct game drives twice in a day and are conducted between 6:00 AM in the morning and from 4:00 PM to night time. We were left with the option to fix a tour of the animals in the evening something we agreed to do.
Lions resting in Queen Elizabeth National Park ( Photo by: Bwambale Robert)
In an effort to kill the boredom, we came up with the idea to visit the nearby attractions gifted by nature. We moved briefly to Katwe, a nearby trading center known for a fishing village, salt mining and small business trading. we came by to the offices of the Lake Katwe Salt mines where i paid the entrance fees to the mines and we proceeded there. We were moved along the mines by an official from the Salt Mines who acted as our guide. He explained to us about the history of the mines and the processes gone through with the extraction of the salt from the lake.
The Pathfinders at lake Katwe Salt Mines together with KHPS Staff
We spent there some good time and we headed to the Lake Katwe Fishing village where few of us had a boat ride paid for by the Pathfinders.
Katwe salt mines

From there, we proceeded back to Queen Elizabeth where we were joined with a Tour Guide provided to us by the management of Queen Elizabeth National Park and this time we moved the Kasenyi side where we had chance to see a variety of animals like the Uganda Kobs, bush bucks, water-bucks, warthog, lions, squirrels, Swaswa and a variety of birds plus magnificent scenery. we went up to Kasenyi landing site and saw another active salt mining lake . At this moment, it was past 6:15 PM and darkness was almost coming so we had to board our taxi through the park and reached the Mbarara - Kasese Road  and headed back to the school. 
Listening to briefs about Queen Elizabeth N. Park at museum
At 7: 30 PM, we reached at the school.
It should however be noted with concern that the Pathfinders Project Team sponsored the trip by meeting all the costs for the 18 Sitter van, paying for the Tour Guide costs to the park while the KHPS management contributed in paying for meals, bottled water and entrance fees to the salt mines.






Nyamunuka Crater Lake pictured from above (photo by : Bwambale Robert)
On behalf of Kasese Humanist Primary School, i appreciate the support and generosity the pathfinders have extended to my school project. The trip indeed was very much welcome and has refreshed and equipped more knowledge in addition to what they teach to the children.

With science, we can progress.




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