I visited Uganda in 2008. While that might not be at the top of most bucket lists, there are great ecotourism opportunities there that aren’t available elsewhere. The highlight is to visit the Virunga Mountains to trek to see mountain gorillas, a critically endangered species living in a tumultuous area bordering the militia controlled Democratic Republic of the Congo. Next on the agenda is usually to visit one of the game parks for safari. The best way to travel around Uganda is with a private safari guide who will pick you up when you arrive and who will take you every where you want to go. While traveling with our guide, I mentioned my desire to see a shoebill stork. The shoebill stork looks like a cross between a duck, a stork and some sort of feathered dinosaur. It lives in the swamps and marshes only in east Africa. They are solitary birds who hunt like herons by standing still and waiting for their prey, usually fish, to approach too closely before striking. There are an estimated 5,000-8,000 individuals alive today, so the species has been classified as vulnerable. Sightings, even with a knowledgeable guide, are rare. So, when I suggested to our guide, Moses, that what I really wanted to see was a shoebill stork, he let out a sigh and explained that the chances of spotting them were remote. Though he had lived in Uganda for his entire life, he had only very rarely seen them himself so he was pessimistic about our chances of finding one. It was with muted hopes of seeing a shoebill that after a great day of safari at the Mbarara game reserve, we returned to the luxurious Mihingo Lodge. Enjoying a refreshing beverage in the pool overlooking the watering hole below the lodge, I struck up a conversation with an Israeli couple. We shared stories of our travels and I mentioned my hopes of seeing a shoebill. They, as it turns out, had just seen one traveling from the Virungas, where we were heading next. They described landmarks to watch for, but weren’t quite sure where it was. The next day, I kept vigilant watch as we drove the Kabale-Mbarara Road. Just before we reached the village of Mungenyi, I noticed a tiny gray dot about a kilometer away. There it was, a solitary shoebill stork, standing perfectly still. Had I not made friends with two complete strangers, I never would have found it. In traveling, often we miss the opportunity to meet new people as we see the sites, but I’m sure glad that I didn’t miss that chance.