Uganda Trip Report Jan 2021

Hi everyone,

Finally, I managed to complete my Uganda trip report:

Uganda Jan21-updated

Holy shit it’s long – But that’s because I want to put out as much info as I can for whoever is interested in visiting, as the country is so diverse!

One note – Alex Meyer will make his own complementary report/photo guide, as his pictures are all way better than mine. I included some of my own pics and some of his…

**Update – I made some changes regarding the CTC based on what we found out here.






  • Alan Dahl

    Congrats on such a great trip Tomer. Thanks for posting such a detailed report. I love reading these.

  • Samuel

    Very nice report with some cool pictures !
    Glad to hear you could visit the country during these covid days.
    Indeed Semuliki is a nice area and you were morte lucky than us for the DeBrazza monkey. We actually presumably saw a Pousarge mongoose at the Semuliki safari lodge (see my trip report) but not 100% sure…
    Impressive list of primates and very nice observation and pics of the Palm civet

  • Samuel

    It also looks like we had the same guide in Semuliki Forest: Moses !

    • tomeslice

      Thank you Samuel!

      Yes, Moses is great, and together with Semliki Guide-Alex they’re a great team. I think they’re now better at finding De Brazza’s monkeys than they used to, as they actually found them for us 3 times (2 times being the same place on 2 subsequent mornings).

      That park has so much potential! As more mammal watchers visit it, I think we’ll see some more interesting things out of it, including rare stuff! I don’t think I emphasized the fact that Lord Derby’s anomalure wasn’t on the park’s official mammal list, and we saw one. If someone accidentally rediscovers okapi there, everyone will go flocking in…

  • Charles Foley

    Great write-up. That’s quite a tome you’ve written there, err, Tomer. I’ve always thought Uganda is very underrated when it comes to mammal watching. The massively different habitat types means that it has a really diverse array of mammal species, many of which are not too hard to find. The Queen Elizabeth mammal list is staggering – probably one of the largest mammal lists for any National Park in the world.

    • tomeslice

      Thank you Charles!
      Yeah – I have been fantasizing about going there ever since I was a kid, I think… or at least since I discovered mammal watching. I hope more mammal watchers visit so we can see more reports from there. My own exploration was a blast, but I’m thirsty for more – I want to explore further through more people’s reports with thermal scopes and spotlighting every habitat!

      BTW – do you have the full mammal list for Queen Elizabeth? I have a brochure which lists a nice amount of them but I doubt it’s the full list:

  • Luke Hunter

    Nice report Tomer,
    But there are issues regarding the CTC of which you should be aware. Thomas Price pays local guys $500 per cat- locally, a significant sum- specifically to catch wild golden cats with dogs and nets. He says their forest habitat is disappearing around the Mpigi area and thus claims to be ‘rescuing’ them. Actually, he is driving demand, removing individuals from the wild forever, and certainly contributing to their decline. His motivation is to breed them, almost certainly so he can sell them to zoos and collectors.

    Ditto the servals, bat-eared foxes etc which are also removed from wild populations in Uganda but he doesn’t claim their habitat is disappearing (he cant): he has them because he is a breeder/collector, these species are popular in the pet trade.

    As far as I know, his operation is legal but he has been convicted previously of wildlife smuggling, see:

    In my view, there is zero conservation value in the CTC, and travelers should be aware of the facts if they choose to visit.

    • tomeslice

      Jeez, I didn’t know this was such a controversial business…
      He did mention he captured them with dogs and nets, but I thought it was to save them… well, I don’t want to shame him, since he was nice to us, nor promote him if what he’s doing is bad… But how can it be legal if it’s anti-conservational?

  • Israel

    The Galapagos iguanas at CTC – both Marine and Land Iguanas – are 100% smuggled animals as well, being smuggled from the Galapagos to Mali and then laundered through Price’s home-country of Switzerland as “captive-bred”, then he imports them to Uganda. He has on-sold them to Thailand and Japan. He has Crested Iguanas from Fiji as well, which are also laundered through Switzerland. The place is just a sham “conservation centre” owned by an animal smuggler.

  • tomeslice

    Hi everyone,
    Thank you for pointing this out to me.
    I have done a little bit of reading, and it sounds like – indeed this guy is no good.

    I will revise the trip report to remove and change some of the description about the place, but without totally leaving out everything I learned about golden cats.

    It’s important to mention that Alex and I didn’t know this ahead-of-time, and that at least we didn’t pay money to go to the CTC, so we didn’t support it financially. But yeah, knowing what I know now, I probably wouldn’t have visited…Ok – shit happens. I will update the report.
    Thanks again!

  • Jon Hall

    Great report Tomer! Thanks for putting all the effort in to such a mega report. Really very useful for whoever goes next. And thanks to Alex for all the bat finding in particular. Super useful! Oh and get your camera fixed … imagine if that failure to focus had come when a golden cat jumped on an otter shrew?

    • tomeslice

      Thanks Jon!
      Haha you’re right! I need to practice manual focus… you can see in my crappy Facebook videos that the focus keeps going in-and-out…

      And yes – i’m really looking forward to people going there and seeing even more cool stuff that I missed. Semliki holds enough surprises to turn into Danum Valley #2…!

      Oh, and on another note – I updated the report to include the less-preferable info I found out about the CTC, and removed the pictures of Alex and I playing with the palm civet, as they now seem inappropriate.

  • Lennartv

    Hi Tomer, I don’t know which type of camera you are using, but have you tried working with backbutton focus? It took me some time to get used to but now I don’t want anything else. It’s great when your focus keeps shifting and also makes it much easier to work on your composition in the field.

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