South Sudan Trip 2015
Getting There (Feb 11-12)
For this trip to Africa I was traveling alone. I planned to acquire dogs in South Sudan around Nzara. I flew out of Seatac to Washington Dulles to make a connection with Ethiopian Airlines. I was expecting to fly in a Boeing 777 but they instead used the new 787 for this flight. The plane was not crowded and the seats next to me were not filled so I was able to lie down during the flight. I was not the only one going to South Sudan. A college aged women was going there to do aid work.
Arrival in Kampala (Feb 13)
We landed in Addis Abba and I transferred to a flight going to Entebbe. I took a taxi from the airport to Kampala. Traffic was very bad. The driver took back alleys to get around some of the worst areas but it still took just under two hours to get my destination traveling 30 miles. I was staying at the Red Chile Hideaway. They had arranged for a vehicle and driver to get me to South Sudan and I would also being doing their tour of Murchison Falls Park for three days before going to South Sudan.
Murchison Falls (Feb 14)
The next morning I had to awake before sunrise to get breakfast before our tour group left for the Park. I met my six fellow travelers. School was out in Uganda and most of them were teachers taking advantage of the break to do a tour of the park. They were English, Swiss, Dutch, and American. We traveled to Masindi and stopped for lunch. This is the town that Hepburn, Bogart, Huston, and the film crew stayed while making portions of the movie African Queen. After lunch we traveled to the entrance of the park and after brief stop went on to Murchison Falls. We walked to the fall and then after short time took a hike downstream and back to the fall. We then traveled to the Red Chilli Camp and were shown our accomodations. I was staying in a tent and had one other traveler staying in my tent with me. Later I had dinner at Red Chilli's restaurant.
Murchison Falls National Park(Feb 15)
The next morning we had to wake before sunrise. We crossed the Victoria Nile on a ferry. By the time we had crossed the sun was just rising. We drove through the western part of the park and saw many animals and birds. We crossed back to the camp just before mid-afternoon.
Red Chilli Rest Camp (Feb 15)
Back at camp we had time for lunch.
Boat trip on Victoria Nile up to Murchison Falls (Feb 15)
We went back to river and boarded a boat. It took us up river and we saw plenty of animals and birds and a view of Murchison Falls. After returning to the camp we had dinner and warthogs showed up looking to get into garbage. Later on the hippo that shows up regularly in camp was grazing behind my tent.
Murchison Falls National Park (Feb 16)
We woke early on the last day in the Park and crossed over the Nile. We traveled up to the park northern entrance and again saw animals along the way.
Karuma Falls (Feb 16)
Once out of the park we traveled east to Karuma Fall. We hiked to the falls. After visiting the fall the rest of the tour was returning to Kampala. I was being picked up by Hassan who came up from Kampala and was waiting at the fall for my trip to South Sudan.
Travel to Juba (Feb 16)
Hassan and I traveled up to the Nimule crossing. It took us a few hours to pass through the Ugandan and South Sudanese customs. We traveled on to Juba and arrived after sunset. We had difficulty finding the AFEX Camp where we were staying overnight. We paid a motorcyclist to lead us there. After paying for our room and leaving our baggage we went to the dining hall. It was closing so we had very little choice in what was available.
Travel to Nzara (Feb 17-18)
In the morning we went to the Ministry of Interior so I could register with government. This took most of the morning and we started late to Nzara. The roads are not paved outside of Juba and are in poor shape. There were wrecks off the road of mostly of trucks and some cars. In one place the hole in the road was low enough that the top of a truck would be ground level. We traveled all day and night into the next day. I had made arrangements to stay at the Episcopal Church compound in Nzara and we arrived there around 2AM in the morning. I felt bad waking Bishop Peni and his family so early in the morning. After sunrise the Bishop had to say goodbye because he was flying to Juba for a Peace Conference. He introduced me to Jeremiah who would assist in translating while I was looking for dogs.
Travel to Sakure (Feb 18)
After breakfast we traveled to Sakure. We could not go past the village due to a road block put up the SPLA (South Sudan Army). There were not many dogs available to look at. According to the locals less people are breeding dogs. I decided to wait and see if traveling to the west of Nzara would give me more choices.
Travel to Basukangbi (Feb 19)
The next day we traveled to the west on the Ndormo Road. The road was not in as good of condition as the road to Sakure, slowing travel, but we saw more puppies than the previous day. At the first stop there were two puppies and one adult, all having white collars. One puppy had masking on its body and both had dark hairs on their tails. At this point, I discovered I had left my South Sudanese Pounds behind so we had to drive back. Luckily, it was not far to return to the church. Setting out again, we continued past our initial stop so I could see what else was available. At the next location, we saw three adults and four puppies. I was especially interested in the two female puppies and in the end I purchased one. I named her Kiri, which is means "palm bell" in Azande. Jeremiah informed me later that the family, from whom I purchased Kiri, really needed money to pay for their daughter's care in the hospital and my purchase of Kiri provided them the funds. We continued on to Basukangbi and stopped there. We walked to a compound
a short distance from the road, where we had been told there was an available puppy. It turned out he was a 3 month old male puppy. I was hoping to get a male, as well, and decided to purchase him. I gave him the name Nzoro which means "bell" in Azande. Later that evening I emailed Dr. Alex Mugisa in Kampala so that he could generate transit papers for the dogs to pass through the border to Uganda.
Nzara and Yambio (Feb 20 & 21)
The following day was Friday and we took the puppies to Yambio to get certificates allowing them to travel. We went to a vet clinic and they directed us to the State Ministry of Agriculture, Cooperatives, and Environment offices. They inspected Kiri and Nzoro but could not complete the document immediately; they had to print them so they told us to come back in the afternoon. After lunch at the Tourist Hotel, we returned to the Ministry; I paid the fee and received the completed, signed documents.
On Saturday we found a tire was low so we went into Yambio to have it looked at. We ran into the official who had done the documents getting tires for the Ministry vehicles.
Nzara (Feb 22)
Sunday was my last day in Nzara. Jeremiah offered to help me find some dog bells before I left. He started calling various contacts on his mobile phone and learned of a man that had some bells. We drove out and I was able to purchase three palm bells.
Travel to Kampala (Feb 23-26)
On Monday we left for Juba at 4AM. I was hoping it would be ready by the time we got to. On the way past Yambio I saw several very nice looking dogs along the road, including the only tricolor I ever saw. After Meridi I saw a man with a bow and arrows and two dogs with him. The diesel engine died just before we entered Mambe. There were trucks parked up ahead, so Hassan walked there and came back with one of the truck drivers. The engine cranked but did not fire up. We pushed the vehicle to the shade where the trucks were parked and they looked at it some more, but they could not fix it. Hassan called the tour company to send up a mechanic. We pushed the vehicle up the road to a very spartan hotel in Mambe, where we stayed. The mechanic arrived from the south via bus and hired motorcycle around 9PM the next evening. After working for three hours, he determined the problem was with the glow plug, but he did not have the part. Two more people were dispatched by the tour company in a car, and they arrived from the south the following evening. At last, the part was replaced and the vehicle started fine. We decided to travel to the border on the road going south out of Mambe. At Yei we were trying to find the road south and heard the cocking of a gun when we stopped at an intersection. It was contingent of SPLM soldiers who asked why we were out at night. They ordered us out of the vehicles and inspected our passports and vehicles. They seemed satisfied with our story of trying to make the border to get to Kampala for my flight and then pointed us to the correct road to the border. We arrived around 6AM and had to wait until 8AM for the border to open. After crossing the border, we stopped in a town and had tea. I called the airline to reschedule my flight for the next day, since it was not going to be possible to make it to Kampala in time. We arrived in Kampala around 7PM at Red Chilli Hideaway.
Kampla (Feb 27)
At 9:00 the next morning, I hired a car to take me to the vet and airport. Dr. Alex was out on a call, but I had planned to be there until noon, so we waited. Nzoro and Kiri played with another dog and explored. Just before noon, Dr. Alex came back and I officially handed the dogs over to him for their thirty-day quarantine.
Travel to U.S. (Feb 27-28)
I traveled to Entebbe and flew to Addis Abba on Ethiopian Airlines. From Addis Abba we flew to Rome for refueling, and then on to Washington Dulles. Arrival was in the morning and I had to wait for the late afternoon Delta flight to Seattle.
Kiri and Nzoro Quarantine (Feb. 27- March 30)
A week before the puppies were to travel to the U.S. Nzoro came down with acute hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. Even with treatment, he died that evening. Kiri did not show any signs of illness.
Kiri leaves Kampala (March 30)
Kiri flew from Entebbe to Amsterdam. She missed her flight and stayed overnight at the Pet Hotel at the airport.
Kiri's arrival in the U.S. (April 1)
I picked up Kiri at the Delta Air Cargo and brought her home.