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Ngara, Tanzania

Posted by: Ewan McGregor | Date posted: 16/07/2007


Ewan and Charley visited a wildlife sanctuary in Uganda, and met up with Lola - a baby rhino. She made quite an impression on the guys, as you can see from the clip.

'This is Lola,' explains their guide, 'and she is 56 days old. She's come from a blind mother called Mowingo.'

'And what happens to her now, tell me what's the story?' asks Ewan. 'What happens with her to get her back into the wild?'

The guide goes on to explain. 'We'll just be with her for about four to seven years, until she can take care of herself. For now we are just feeding her a special formula milk for human babies. In 24 hours we feed her every other three hours on the bottle.'

'I'm just like her mother,' the guide continues, 'at night I sleep next to her under a blanket.'

Stroking Lola, Ewan is in awe. 'Solid, my goodness. Just every part of her is so solid. Do you just stay here with her or does she wander all over the park?'

'For now because she's still young, we're not to go too far away' he replies. 'We just go like 300 to 400 metres. Just around this place here.'

Back in the truck, Ewan and Charley marvel at what they've just seen.

'I envy the guy,' says Ewan. 'I think, what a lovely job. He and one other guy take shifts and they look after her for the next four to seven years, make sure she's alright, and then one day she'll just wander off.'

'24/7,' adds Charley. 'She's just like a baby she's so, so cute.'

The guys called in to speak to Jonathan Ross on his Radio 2 show on Saturday. You can listen to the show again on his website. Here are some of the highlights.

They are calling from Tanzania. How is the weather there, Jonathan wants to know.

'It's pretty good actually,' replies Charley. 'It's kind of sunny. It's very, very dusty though, we're kind of covered in red dust at the moment.'

It must be quite an experience, seeing Africa first-hand?

'Yeah,' replies Ewan. ‘We were very keen to just paint the true picture of Africa, you know? I mean I think at home we've got some very vivid ideas of what Africa is, and it's generally to do with famine and poverty, or wildlife, and I think we wanted to travel through Africa and just be honest about what we saw, which is what we did on Long Way Round.

And so far it's been quite amazing, you know. We have come across some really desperate situations, but we've also come across some really fantastically optimistic, like Rwanda for example. It was amazing, you know, the country that 13 years ago was absolutely devastated, is now really forward looking, optimistic, an unbelievable place to visit. That country has really got itself back on it's feet.'

As this is their second journey, Jonathan thinks it won't be long before the guys get itchy feet again. What does Ewan think?

'Yeah, there's certainly a trilogy of them,' agrees Ewan. 'We've done Long Way Round, London to New York, and now Long Way Down, John O' Groats to Cape Town, and then I think there's probably Long Way Up, isn't there? From the very south of America, to North America.'

Like The Motorcycle Diaries?

'Yeah,' says Ewan, 'but we'd do it on more modern bikes I think!'

Talking about sleeping arrangements, Jonathan asks – do they give each other a hug at bedtime?

Charley replies, 'well the whole thing is, what happens in the tent stays in the tent, so I can't comment any further on that.'

Before they go, Charley wants to add, 'anyone who's thinking of coming to Africa, you should absolutely come, you'll have such a laugh here. Really nice people, and it's a safe, nice place to travel. It really is.'

'It is beautiful,' Ewan agrees, 'but I've just noticed, I've got a dirty great nail sticking out of my rear tyre!'

The team were after suggestions for places to visit in Zambia and Botswana. Head into the fact files to find the recommendations you sent in.


Comments 1 - 10 of 26

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  • At 03:28:07 PM on 16/07/2007, Richard AW Tortorella (Langley, BC, Canada) wrote:


    I am in awe myself, what a great way to see Africa! to be able to bottle feed a baby rhino - wow! Thank-you for sharing. Looking forward to the last 3,000 mile leg of the journey - and to the 3rd installment of the “Long Way” series … Richard T.

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  • At 04:04:00 PM on 16/07/2007, Tom Smith (Victoria, BC, Canada) wrote:

    Babies are our future

    Hi guys! Your story of Lola and the people who are dedicated to taking care of her until she can be on her own is inspirational. As it applies to animals and humans, it helps reinforce in us the need to take care of babies and children so they can grow into healthy, productive adults. Particularly with our own species, it fosters HUMANITY - the productive mindset of helping others with their odyssey through life. You are doing a great service through LONG WAY DOWN! (as you did with LWR... and, no doubt, through upcoming LWU!) Ride safe. Ride true. Cheers! Tom, the round-the-world-on-a-scooter guy.

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  • At 04:39:00 PM on 16/07/2007, Allie (Yoda, Old, Unwise and Knackered Is) (Colchester) wrote:

    charley's july horoscope!

    this made me laugh - You've taken on a personal challenge to improve every aspect of yourself and your dedication should be rewarded. July will see you coming up against your biggest vices and this month is a turning point for you. Be firm with yourself and keep your committment as you will be much happier when you have reached your goal. Now is the wrong time to slow down - the results will be phenomenal if you just keep going. Spooky eh? All I got is that I will get an invite to an event that could enhance my professional status - yeah, my end of year nursing exams. whoopee do Keep safe and happy, esp the Love God that is ....... xx

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  • At 06:00:52 PM on 16/07/2007, Andrea LaRock (Santa Rosa, CA) wrote:


    The pics and video of Lola just melted my heart! She's adorable!! Just incredible scenery too! I really feel as though I'm on this trip right along with you. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. :) Be Safe! XX

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  • At 07:04:54 PM on 16/07/2007, Jessica (London) wrote:

    Great work!

    Hi guys! Two days ago I sat on a bike for the first time in my life and I can only say you guys have my respect (and all other bikers by the way too), I was so rubbish, didn’t even pass my CBT ( I’m not giving up thou). You are doing great work riding your bikes and drawing attention to the UNICEF but at the same time giving us a nice picture of other parts of Africa. I have a question for Ewe, what kind of riding have you done the last 10 months and how often have you been riding to prepare yourself for the trip? I wish you lots of fun and excitement with the guys and that you all will have a save journey. Take care! Jess

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  • At 07:50:34 PM on 16/07/2007, char (Michigan USA) wrote:


    Isn't is wonderful, in this crazy world of ours, that there are such dedicated people to take care of the most vulnerable of little children and baby animals. Ewan and Charley both are so sweet with children and now with this baby rino. It must be a great exprience to be able to do this on your adventure. Visiting all of the Unicef projects, and now these beautiful animals, is really to your credit for careing about more then just youselves. You are truly great guys. I enjoyed your audio visit with Jonathan Ross too. I think Charley will survive shareing Ewan with Eve!!!! It's hard to believe that 2/3s of your trip is over. It has made the time go faster with all the great videos and updates that you are shareing with us. So continue to have fun, and I hope you will see lots more wonderful sights. And I hope Eve enjoys herself too. Ride safe and be safe.---char

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  • At 08:14:41 PM on 16/07/2007, Ute (Stuttgart, Germany) wrote:

    Baby rhino

    You are so very lucky! I've been following your progress down Africa and enjoying it very much, and now you've shared with us another VERY SPECIAL moment. I've had my wildlife moments, but nothing like this. Wouldn't everybody want to hug a baby rhino?!

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  • At 08:36:09 PM on 16/07/2007, Morgan (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) wrote:

    lo lo lo Lola

    I met her in a club down in old Tanzania she drank milk from a bottle, it tasted just like Cherry Cola C-O-L-A Cola. She trundled up to me and asked for some more. I asked her her name and in a grunting voice she said, "Lola" L-O-L-A Lola, lo lo lo Lola Well, I'm not the world's most physical guy, but when she stepped on me she nearly broke my spine Oh my Lola, lo lo lo Lola, lo lo lo Lola *with apologies to The Kinks*

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  • At 09:00:54 PM on 16/07/2007, Michael Lobodzinski (Toronto, Ontario - CANADA) wrote:

    ...Long Way In!?!?!

    Is it crazy to want a Rhino as a pet!? Keep up the great reporting. Looking forward to Long Way In!!! ;) BTW, I think Eve's opening the door for the lady in my life... hoping I can convince her moto's are not death traps.

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  • At 09:11:50 PM on 16/07/2007, Paul Tulloch (Ottawa, Canada) wrote:

    Is that a Rhino Riding In Your Pannier

    Simply amazing video footage. It is good to hear of such positive endeavors like that of Lola. You people sure have done an impressive job in picking things and places to visit. (or did you just drive by and it sounded like a good idea), whatever the case, it is working well and it will be making the editing desk a rather hot seat when the time comes. Speaking of which, when I visit your site, I seem to put on my Long Way Round or Down head and it is nice to get to share the live stuff this time round. However, I must admit when you are interviewed by the BBC reporters it make me think of the stark contrast the two spaces that your travels and group work is seeking to connect. By the way it sounds like Mr. Ross couldn't handle himself on a tricycle, so don't sweat the ribbing, Charley and Ewan. hehe

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