Day One-Murchison Falls
Well, it’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do to restore one’s soul and enhance one’s desire to continue living. I’ll admit the trip over was a toughie. By the time I crawled into bed after that ordeal I could hardly count to three without messing up and operating complicated things like doors, toilets, etc. was becoming a real challenge.
But I awoke refreshed and to the realization that the morning involved nothing more difficult than breakfast, a shower and free time spent lounging around the pool reading. The afternoon would be spent sitting in a covered boat cruising the Nile, observing wildlife along the way and ending up at Murchison Falls. I really didn’t have much of an idea about what to expect from either of those. Both turned out to be pretty cool.
I was actually surprised at the amount of wildlife we did see and really enjoyed seeing every single hippopotamus along the way. I couldn’t believe there were so many of them and they are really photogenic creatures, they are my favorites. We also saw several crocodiles, buffalo, elephants, baboons, wart hogs, and several species of interesting birds, not to mention a whole gaggle of Germans.
The Falls, while certainly spectacular are not the highest, widest, nor do they have the greatest flow rate. What is truly interesting is how narrow they are. At the top of the falls, the majestic Nile River is squeezed into a width of just seven meters (about 23 feet) and then gushes down a gorge 141 feet high. The falls, approached from down river, bursts into view suddenly as you round a bend in the river. The frothing water creates a tremendous amount of white foam that floats on top of the river and can be seen for quite a distance downstream. Joan made me laugh…she called it “cappuccino plants.”
Day Two-My First Game Drive
The early bird gets the worm. And if you want to see the early bird get the worm I guess you got to get up early too. When we asked the evening before at the front desk what time our driver would be here for a game drive we were graciously told that we could “take our coffee and tea” at 6:00 a.m. and we’d depart at 6:15. So Joan and I pile into a Range Rover with “Chris” around 6:20 which is pretty prompt here in Africa. We were on the road before sunrise.
Calling what we drove on “roads” is being very generous. They are dirt, rutted, potholed, and one-laned even though you often meet oncoming trucks and cars. It was twilight when we left and we were immediately rewarded with spectacular vistas of the savannahs and scrub bathed in the warm pink glow of a rising sun over Africa. As I bounced along with my head poked through the viewing portal of this delightfully rugged vehicle I truly had a sense of awe at the whole thing.
Already stirring are the graceful giraffes and a bazillion Ugandan Kobs. Mixed in are plentiful African Buffalo and several other species of antelope/gazelle-like creatures. I was really struck by how trusting they were allowing us to get quite close. Later on we saw an elephant albeit from a distance. But the piece de resistance was seeing my first lion in the wild.
The driver/guide knew one was about because there was a herd of Kob who had all stopped grazing and were all looking in one direction as if they knew something was up. And then we saw her and she was quite close. I at first thought we were going to witness the rare treat of seeing a kill, but she just sauntered through the herd as nonchalant as could be and moseyed on her way. Even though my stomach was rumbling from lack of breakfast she’d evidently already had hers and was simply looking for a good nap spot. The early bird catches the worm.
Day Three – A Total Eclipse of the Sun
I’m sorry, but this topic deserves its own post. Standby.