Day 4 and our alarms sounded for the standard 5:30am call. It was still pitch black at this time. The sun rises very slowly, with the sky usually clouding over with a light mist wafting about the countryside. We woke to be greeted by the first view of where we had actually been ‘camping’. Turns out we were situated very close to hippo territory with spots of lakes as far as the eye could see. Here’s a sleepy Tommo emerging from our abode pre breakfast.
Today was our first taste of game tracking – animal spotting! The tops of the Cruisers had been folded up by Silver and Bosco looking sweet af! Int this a cute family photo.
For this drive the cast in car Bosco was me, Liam, Jas and Ian, with Willo, Izzy and Tommo bouncing (…literally, remember these are Ugandan national park roads we are dealing with here) with Silver. Pretty much immediately we were greeted with wildlife. There are Ugandan Cobb for days out here. Everywhere you look Ugandan Cobb…and then something else with four legs. They are one of a number of antelope species we would spot.
Here’s a two legged Liam sniffing out the Cobb.
A solo Waterbuck trots away on the plain
Bushbuck could be recognised by the which specks on their fur. Much like British deer.
Jackson Heartbeast look sort of like horses with horns. Everyone slagged off their long snouts, so I took them to be my favourite antelope species.
This might sound strange but I didn’t expect to see so many animals just knocking about in such close proximity to each other. I thought we would be actively ‘looking’ for the animals between periods of not seeing many, however in Murchison Falls National Park this could not be further from the truth. The environment was incredibly lush with tasty greens for grazing. The many species surrounding us were getting fully stuck in munching on the yummy leaves.
At first we had glimpses of towering giraffe shaped silhouettes over the land on the horizon. It was not long before we were getting well aquatinted with them within smelling distance just a few metres from our vehicles. I hadn’t really thought much of giraffes before. I have come to appreciate them more now having seen them fully in the flesh being all massive right next to me. They move so slowly and gracefully. Their gangaly bone sacks appear to run in slow motion bobbing their heads back and forth like giant chicken mammals. Coolest aminal on tour so far imo.
After we found the first group of giraffes we couldn’t get enough of them! They were literally everywhere.
Within about half an hour, in the distance gathered in a clearing between trees, there were grazing elephants. Again these gentle (most of the time) giants are really quite something when you first see the massive beasts in the real world. It does cause of a moment of pause to marvel at these ancient greats of Africa.
After we set off in the morning Bosco had prefaced the possibility of us seeing a leopard in the park. They are timid cats so we would need a blessing from the Ugandan-game gods to view them. Blessed we were. First, without warning a junior leopard with greyish colour fur darted across the road in front of the cruiser and was gone in a flash. We inched forward in the cruiser, then to our left Ian spotted the mumma leopard chilling on a tree branch. Again in a flash of polka dot yellow she jumped down invisible amongst the shrubs. Our eyes turned to the road expecting her to follow her young. Sure enough she sprinted across, exposing her trademark spotted coat along with another one of her offspring. I cannot stress how lucky we were to see them, even such a brief glimpse. We waited for a while engines off, but by their nature the elusive leopards had gone back to being just that.
Very happy with this cruiser photo, the vehicles don’t sweat despite enduring many African massages on the road!
This was a busy day! We stopped to stretch our legs while noshing some fresh pineapple next to a group of hippos bobbing about the surface of the Nile. I took this opportunity to grab a bit of podcast content, some general safari chit chat which you can take a listen to here if you’re so inclined.
This silly muzungu stole my camera for a selfie
Tony slip slap slopped on to #AvoidTheBurn
Willo sticks on the lookout for hungry hippos
Here’s a sneak peak at the Muzungu 2016 lookbook. Uganda’s hottest apparel.
We had come quite a way deep into the Murchison park over the 2-3 hours of our drive. We jollied along the Nile shoreside finding some more buffalo again accompanied by the standard Cobbo splinter group. Still no crocs though.
We continued on our way seeing many more grazers, including our first introduction to wild buffalo. Elephants and giraffes kept popping up seeming to appear closer and closer to the vehicles each time.
There would have been no complaints if the days agenda had comprised solely of game driving. On the other hand, our bellies were demanding more beans. So back across the river we tracked bound for our second Red Chilli lodge of the week.
Just one night at Red Chilli. Beware of the Pigs, Baboons and occasional hippo that pay visit the camp! No worries, the pumbas are friendly with Tony.
Avin a pree of the greens
We had supper and bant before tucked in for bed. A solid four hours of sleep later, Africa rudely awoke us with a proper storm, sheet lighting and everything. There wasn’t an aspect of Africa we didn’t encounter that day. What a day, ey?