Merry Christmas everyone!!!
We arrived at our accommodation in Murchison early evening and spent a hot night waking up often because of the heat and music coming across the lake from a nearby town.
The next morning we left at 7:30 am for a game drive in Murchison Falls Park . The drive started out on a dusty note with many trucks on the dirt road that service the oil drilling sites within the park. It’s a very unfortunate situation that they are drilling for oil in the park and it scares wildlife away. Despite the noise & dust, we finally got on a track away from the traffic where we saw many giraffes, 2 lions, water buffaloes, warthogs (we called them Pumbas), oribis (a small antelope), Uganda kobs (a larger antelope), hartebeests (even larger antelope), waterbucks (another large antelope), an elephant, and all kinds of colorful birds.
Red throat bee eater
We stopped at the boat launch area on the Nile to eat lunch and catch our boat ride upstream to Murchison falls. Our lunchtime entertainment included a friendly pumba, and a band of mooching baboons that had to be driven away occasionally by threatening them with sticks and rocks. It wasn’t a relaxing meal to say the least but it was cute to watch.
The boat ride was very good with close-up views of hippos, elephants, crocodiles, black-n-white colobus monkeys, and countless bird species. At one point, a hippo came up under our boat and almost dumped us in the river! Another time, Sylvie was splashed by a croc who had gotten his snout stuck under a log while trying to escape off the bank, and had to wiggle & wreath its way out. We had a photo opportunity at the base of the falls and also saw the site where Earnest Hemmingway’s plane crashed.
Water buffalo above and below taking a mud bath
Southern ground hornbill
Black and White Colobus monkeys
The next morning we did an early game drive before catching the ferry accross the river and stopped at the top of the falls but it was drizzling so we didn’t linger. The drive was bumpy and muddy and we almost got stuck a few times with our 4×4 but thankfully our driver-guide is used to the “roads”. How foolish of us to have even considered renting a car and driving on our own, we would been lost and stuck not before long!
Villages scene (above and below) on the way to Hoima
Boda boda carrying a goat!!
We arrived in the small town of Hoima in the afternoon and settled in our room at a hotel named Kontiki. We were surprised to learn that the hotel had a horse on site for tourists to ride, so of course Sylvie was all over it. We went to see the horse and were sad to find what could have been a beautiful horse an underfed animal used for working on the farm mainly. We decided to take it on a ride mainly to let it graze and the guide who was following us on foot wasn’t sure what to think. We also gave it the oats we had left over from our breakfast stash.
We had an interesting dinner that night- we were led into a large room and seated in the middle, isolated from the other guests who were on the patio (which we realized later and didn’t know why). Just was as our food was arriving at our table, the electricity went out and the waitress froze with the platter of food as it was absolutely pitch black. We had brought our headlamps fortunately, and she was able to set the food on the table. A couple minutes later we heard a generator start up and the lights turned back on. A bit later, we motioned a young man and told him we needed two glasses to put our drinking water in. He came back to the table with the two glasses and just stood there. Sylvie finally urged him to put the glasses on the table. When he did, he only put one in front of James and was about to walk away without giving Sylvie her glass. She asked him what she was suppose to drink out of, and told him she needed the other glass. After some awkward hesitation and blank stare, we finally got the other glass. This was to be one of many strange, awkward, and weird interactions with locals. To top off this memorable evening, we went to bed hearing rustling somewhere in the room and dismissed it as a gecko. We found out the next morning that our packs had been chewed into by a rat, so we now both have holes in our backpacks. Nice souvenir!