We were up before the sun on day 3. The land cruisers were scheduled to pick us up from the hotel to begin our travels north through Uganda at seven in the am. It definitely wasn’t easy getting up that early considering our relative lack of sleep on two plane journeys! Nevertheless we washed before coviening at breakfast to fuel us for the road. Our first destination was the Rhino sanctuary, guess what we were doing there?! Then we would drive further north to Murchison Falls National Park for full on animal action!
Very impressed with our rides! I’ve never wanted a veteran off roader more now! I doubt this squeaky clean polished Toyota will stay pristine for long in the clay dust bowl that is the Ugandan outback… Safe to say though it got us all very excited about the trip ahead. This was it, it was finally happening! We also met driver number one called Silver.
Whip, team approved.
The other cruiser was delayed so we had time to mess around a bit and set up a new Twitter account for Tommo (Tony) because we found it amusing how the dinner ladies kept pronouncing his name wrong! Give it follow for an alternative look back at Tony’s adventures – @tonyinuganda
The journey was long due to heavy congestion and general geographical distance, so it was a good 3 hours of napping to the Rhino sanctuary. Tommo, Ian, Liam and Jas stopped to pick up some roadside fruits for very attractive prices!
Not something I thought would be saying on our third day abroad, we got out of the cars at the sanctuary walked for five minutes and watched five rhinos grazing about 2m away from us. We had a great sanctuary soldier called Robert to guide us to the Rhino grazing happenings. He prepped us with the history of the sanctuary, that Rhinos were hunted to extinction in Uganda and this project was to breed and reintroduce white rhino. They got their first breeding pair in 2003 which has grown to 15 today. Robert explained we would probably see one or two due to the size of the sanctuary and the rhinos tendency to split off into smaller groups based on their age. We must have accumulated some good karma since we came across five!! I looked around and everyone had huge smiles on their faces, such a surreal experience being so close. The rhinos were so content with us being present whilst they grazed. Well, content or blissfully unaware due to their incredible blindness. Definitely sight if the day.
We walked away happy beans. We enjoyed a delicious lunchtime meal back at the ranch. Me, Jas and Liam being the veggielords we are mashed some vegetables in a curry sort of sauce with chips. Muchas yumas 😛
Having left the sanctuary, it was a fairly long drive passing baboons as we drove deep into Ugandan countryside, away from towns and villages towards small isolated settlements in the jungle. Ian poses while we wait at a checkpoint to Murchison National Park. Shout out to the very friendly guard man who we chatted to while papers were exchanged.
The aforementioned jungle roads took us to the spectacular Murchison Falls. I don’t think I’ve ever seen raw power anything like that of the river Nile here. The waves stormed down the river which was a good 50 metres across. The force with which they crashed through the landscape over the rocks down the waterfall was something to behold. It puts the fragility of regular existence into perspective with the reality of the power of nature. We some really cute group pictures here.x
Our driver Bosco is fantastic. He’s great at spotting aminals, giving us information and having a bant with on the long journeys. He asked me to take this photo of him and send it over WhatsApp. He’s great.
Post falls exploring, we still had to get to our overnight accommodation which was another red chilli, this time deep in Nile territory rather than just skirting Kampala. To do so we needed to cross the Nile via car carrying ferry. We had a wee wait before the next departure, so we spent it admiring the descending sun painting to sky pretty purples and oranges.
Tony’s beautiful face showing us where the Nile is
Luckily we crossed safely without anyone becoming croc or hippo meat. The remaining drive to the lodge was a fair mileage. What we didn’t expect after the river crossing was to immediately come across so much wildlife just chilling around the plains. Buffalo, Ugandan Cobb and waterbuck, giraffes and elephants.
After dark, one elephant decided to reveal itself inches from the side of the road where we were driving. I can easily say it was the biggest living thing I have ever seen. This thing was massive, comfortably one and a half times the size of our land cruiser.
On arrival at the accommodation we didn’t expect the grandiosity of the lodge/bush hotel we were presented with. It was like the type of hotel you would pay a lot of money for in somewhere like Crete and be by the sea, but this was in a Uganda nature reserve and that’s not something we expected.
We were sleeping in tents but they had proper beds in and electricity. Me and Tommo took a tent while Liam went on his ones through lack of triple with the couple’s taking two other doubles. I’ll tell you what is a good idea though when you check in, cold towels on a platter ready for my hot sweaty face. Very refreshing, very cool, I like it.
At reception it was announced we were to enjoy a four course meal, with chocolate brownies for dessert!! We were all quite taken aback by this, it seemed too good to be true… sadly that’s what it turned out to be. We were under the false pretention that the meal was paid for. We were not the happiest of beans when it was revealed our posh meal came at a posh price. In the grand scheme of things 50,000UsH is only $14, but we were on limited budgets so this would be an unaffordable spending pattern if it were to be a regular thing. Luckily Willo-Sticks cleared up with the tour company which future meals and accommodations we would and would not be paying for. The situation somewhat put a dampner on the mood at the table, nonetheless the meal was a good one, except for the desert dry brownie. Certainly not the bush tukka highlight of the trip’s cuisine.
Me and Tommo were snuggle buddies for the night