Here I feel I have arrived in Uganda! The last and the next night we spend in the Pakuba Safari Lodge. From here we explore the Murchison Falls National Park today and make a multi-hour drive on the Nile. Zum deutschen Blogbeitrag.
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At Pakuba Lodge
The rooms in the lodge are scattered in the area of the lodge, always at least two together under one roof. Built in traditional style and thatched. Either one or two beds are in it, of course with a mosquito net and bedside tables. A seating area and a desk complete the picture. The bathroom has got a large shower, toilet and sink. Water for brushing your teeth is provided. In front of the door, again a covered veranda to end the evening in the balmy air. With luck, waterbucks move through the garden or even one or the other warthog.
In the entrance area the small reception and the bar are located, the veranda in front of it, with a direct view over the Albert Nile and the wonderful African sunset.
In the next building we find the restaurant, also with a large veranda and many tables for guests.
Getting up early
Anyone who has ever observed animals in Africa knows that they are most active very early in the morning, when it is not yet so hot or just before sunset. So getting up early is the order of the day.
Despite the early hour, we get served a decent breakfast, which we ordered the evening before. In addition, we get a lunch box, because before the evening we will not be back.
On to Murchison Falls National Park
As soon as we have left the parking lot, we are already eyed by a few waterbucks. Obviously, cars are uncritical, because they continue to graze unimpressed.
The Murchison Falls National Park is the largest Ugandan protected area with its almost 3900 km². The park is divided by the White or Victoria Nile. In the north of the park we find grass savannah. That´s where we go. There are many Borassus palms and acacias here. Otherwise only bushland. In the south, dry forest prevails, which we could see well on our outward journey. Here we were also greeted by the baboons. Rabongo Hill is the highest point with 1292 m.
Thus, this area is located in the lowest areas of the country!
We have to drive a little bit until we arrive back in the park. The slopes are still reasonably passable and so we get on well.
Since the rainy season has just come to an end, we are dependent on the trained eye of our guide Joseph, who sees animals where only vegetation can be seen for us. Our roof is already raised and we have a great view!
Animals in Murchison National Park
In the more or less large water and mud holes, the buffaloes have already made themselves comfortable. Giraffes move leisurely across the street. There are surprisingly many, but I have the feeling that they are a little smaller than the ones I know from Namibia. They are Rothschild giraffes, whose coloration becomes darker and darker with age. There are also many young animals.
After many animals were partially exterminated in the era of Idi Amin, a lot of effort is now being made to reintroduce the animal species and the populations are slowly recovering. Far from being up to the level before this time, but it is getting better.
Waterbucks are common to see and many species of birds. Elephants and warthogs occasionally cross the road. We are so lucky that Joseph knows many rangers and as we come across one of them, he points to some bushes, where a lion and a lioness rest. Our first big cats!
Around noon, Joseph probes the area and then stops in the middle of the savannah. Around us waterbucks that look at us curiously, but do not show fear. Joseph spreads a tablecloth on the hot bonnet and serves us our lunch boxes. Well then bon appetit!
Boat tour on the Nile
In the afternoon, a three-hour trip on the Nile is scheduled. We are a little early at the pier and so we keep company to some Marabous. The tour will be about 17 km in the direction of the Murchison Fall, which we can look at from below.
First of all, some hippos greet us lazily. They are obviously used to the small boats and only briefly stick their noses out of the water. Did you know that hippos can’t swim at all! So they only walk on the bottom of the water. And since their skin is not covered by hair, they can very easily get a sunburn. So they spend the hot days underwater and then come out in the evening to graze extensively. They can cover many kilometers during the night. People should not try to escape a hippo while running. Even though they look very sedate, they are far faster than us. They are also quite aggressive, so it’s better to keep your distance!
We observe a few elephants bathing and eating in the water, white-tailed eagles watching the surroundings and colobus monkeys climbing in the trees. A large Nile crocodile lies quite sluggishly on the shore and opens its mouth to cool off. Many waterfowl can be seen, but also a thunderstorm that is approaching quite quickly. A few flashes twitch, it starts to rain a little and then it has already passed.
At Murchison Fall
The Nile has flooded some more of its surroundings after the much too long rainy season and so we cannot get too close with the small boat in the raging current that comes towards us from Murchison Fall. From this distance, it does not seem so imposing, rather quite small. How good that we stood at the top yesterday and got to see and above all, hear all the unbridled power of the Victoria Nile. A wide river that plunges a good 30 meters into the depth, but has to squeeze through a rock opening only 7 meters wide, that’s spectacular!
Back to Pakuba Lodge
The ride back, going with the current, goes much faster and there are now no more stops on the way to observe animals.
Back to the lodge we drive again a good distance through the savanna landscape. But before we are back, we are so lucky to watch a lioness lying in the grass. She is not in the least disturbed by our cameras that make klick, klick, klick.
The sun is already quite low, but we manage to be back at the Pakuba Lodge for sunset over the Nile. A quick shower and then off to dinner on the veranda of the restaurant.
Tomorrow we start early to Kibale Forest National Park, a long drive lies ahead of us. The day after tomorrow we will visit the chimpanzees there!
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