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.

Feeding the chimpanzees their morning porridge. Uganda

Onapa, one of my favorite chimps ... the most experiential and interactive.

Onapa, may favorite chimpanzee, chillin' under a tree. Uganda

Matoke, the alpha male of the group. Absolutely beautiful animal, intimidating yet also very contemplative.

Matoke, the alpha male. Uganda

Me with Sara trying to grab peanuts from my pocket, and Nepa, my other favorite chimp, sitting on top of me.

Playing with the chimpanzees. Sara and Nepa. Uganda

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.

Tying to hold up a gigantic python on my shoulders. Uganda

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.

Vervet monkey chewing some leaves. Uganda

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

The magnificent shoebill stork. Uganda

Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Young gorilla feeding. Mostly that's what you watch them do ... eat.

Young mountain gorilla munching leaves. Bwindi NP, Uganda

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)

Close-up of mountain gorilla, Bwindi NP, Uganda.

Gorilla that toppled the tree nearly on top of us, with whom I got to spend an extra 5 minutes beyond the allotted hour.

Mountain gorilla who pushed the tree down almost on top of me. Bwindi NP Uganda

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.

Small hut on the shore of Lake Bunyoni, Uganda

School children eating porridge at the lake side. I wonder what's in their sweet little minds.

School children in colorful clothing on the shores of Lake Bunyoni, Uganda

Child being served porridge. Perhaps her only meal of the day.

Young child receiving porridge at primary school on Lake Bunyoni, Uganda

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.

School children crammed into one room with a chalkboard, Lake Bunyoni, Uganda

Fort Portal Area

One of many crater lakes (termed "explosion crater lakes") near Fort Portal formed by volcanic activity.

Crater lake on the Uganda currency note.

Typical scenery in the Fort Portal area, the Rwenzori mountains in the background.

View of lower Rwenzori range near Fort Portal, Uganda

Typical church structure, Fort Portal area.

Church near Fort Portal, Uganda

Shepherd with cows along the lower Rwenzori range.

Shepherd with cows in the lower Rwenzoris, Uganda

Traditional mud, thatched-roof homes in the Rwenzoris.

Typical thatched-roof mud huts in the lower Rwenzoris, Uganda

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 witch doctor inside his home in the lower Rwenzoris, Uganda

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.

Sheepskin bellows in a blacksmith's hut, lower Rwenzoris, Uganda

Murchison Falls National Park

Nile River at sunrise.

Nile River at sunrise, Murchison Falls NP Uganda

Murchison Falls from above.

Murchison Falls, Uganda

Me at the top of Murchison Falls.

Me at Murchison Falls, Uganda

Elephant. One of many that come very close.

Elephant at Murchison Falls NP Uganda

Giraffes. There are many in Murchison NP. But you won't find them in Queen Elizabeth NP.

Giraffes in Murchison Falls NP Uganda

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.

Buffalo with oxpecker at Murchison Falls NP Uganda

Typical rural scenery of traditional housing (bandas). I took photo between Entebbe and Murchison.

Traditional rural family compound, Uganda

Budongo Forest National Park
Between Entebbe and Murchison Falls, Budongo it makes a perfect side trip for chimpanzee tracking.

Chimpanzee toddler, Budongo NF Uganda

Very thick rainforest. Upon entering, you must dip your shoes in an anti-bacterial pool to try to keep out foreign organisms.

Dense rainforest in Budongo NF Uganda

Me inside a hollowed-out tree.

Me inside a tree, Budongo NF Uganda

Queen Elizabeth National Park

The grey crowned crane, national bird of Uganda.

Grey crowned crane, Queen Elizabeth NP Uganda

Hippo with an oxpecker on its back.

Hippo with oxpecker and egrets, Queen Elizabeth NP Uganda

One of many hippos you'll see if you take the boat ride down the Kazinga Channel.

Yawning hippo, Queen Elizabeth NP Uganda

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.

Mother elephant with infant, Queen Elizabeth NP Uganda

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.

Child filling water can in Kazinga Channel, Queen Elizabeth NP Uganda

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