Uganda, september 2022
A trip to Uganda was planned all through 2019, and deals was made and plane tickets was booked – and a few weeks before departure the whole world changed in march 2020. And we had to postpone the trip.
In 2022 when things was getting back to normal, we again got in contact with Dadaire Alphar and Herping And Wildlife Safaris Ltd. Unfortunatly because of other travel arrangements from one in the crew, we only had 5 days in Uganda and there for concentraded on two areas relatively close to Kampala.
We arrived in Kampala late in the evening on the 23th of september, and Dadaire picked us up and drove us to our accomodation for the night, directly at the shores of Lake Victoria so we woke up to a plethora of birds and monkeys around us.
Early the next day we got in the car, and headed for Mabira forest where we were to spend the first 2 days – our main targets here would be the big vipers!
On our way we got served lunch at the roadside.
Arriving in a small town just outside Mabira forest we got right to it, along with Dadaire and our local guide William. And it is safe to say that it was a success – even though it was far between the finds.
It only took under an hour before we found a small juvenile rhinoceros viper (Bitis nasicornis)
On our first night the local guide took us to the garden of a house in the outskirts of Mabira forest, and showed us lots of chameleons that lived in the hedge around the garden.
This was helmeted chameleons (Trioceros hoehnelii), and is probably released in the garden – as they naturally do not occur here.
The next day startet walking the outskirts of Mabira forest, looking for gabon viper and other reptiles in the openings and fields.
In the middle of the day, Dadaire gets a phone from a local that had heard we were looking for snakes in the area – and he had seen a gabon viper when he was out looking for his cow. Safe to say, we wasted no time running for this spot! And with some team work, we were able to find it and get the viper out from the roots of a bush.
After our swift success in Mabira, we took the drive to Mityana full of confidence that we also could find the last two viper species in the areas we visited, the variable bush viper (Atheris squamigera) and the hairy bush viper (Atheris hispida).
We met up with local guides Charles, Dadaire’s brother in law, Izzi and eventually Charles two sons – so we were a formidable team in the forests looking!
First we went in to the mamba-zone
Over the next three days we found 2 Jamenson’s mambas – thanks to the sharp eyes of Dadaire and Charles. They were very hard to see, resting on the top of the trees.
Now only two targets remained, and we searched many, many hours for A.squamigera and A.hispida – unfortunalty the latter avoided us completely. But in the end we found 2 individuals of the variable bush viper in forest pathches around Mityana.
One day I need to get back, to find the one that eluded me – but also to look for the great lakes bush viper (Atheris nitschei) which can be found in the mountains further up in Uganda.
I want to thank Tom Dyring and Are Hogner for great company on the trip, and a big thanks to Dadaire Alphar and his team from Herping And Wildlife Safaris Ltd which made everything going smooth!