After a few hours of this we made it to Murchison Falls. We all climbed out of the vehicle and had a good stretch before setting off on a guided walk around the top of the Falls
. Pretty amazing how powerful the waterfall is when you get up close right at the top of it. After nearly an hour of walking around we headed back to the Red Chilli Rest Camp for the night. Sorted out my tent pretty quickly then spent the rest of the night having dinner and playing cards with some of the group from my vehicle. The camp was pretty, it was unfenced so was open to any and all wildlife that wanted to wander around. There were warthogs everywhere scrounging for food, lots of birds, and even a few monkeys watching from the trees. The staff there also warned us about the hippos that came up from the river at night and warned us to carry torches after dark. Eventually everyone went to sleep for the night. Of course the warnings given to us by the staff proved to be correct. I woke up at 1am to the sounds of something right outside the tent. Curiously, I opened one of the tent flaps to check out what was making the noise and no more than 2 metres away was a giant hippo, just enjoying some delicious grass and wandering around. These creatures are huge and you do not want to mess with them so I just stayed inside the tent and watched it for a while, then went back to sleep eventually. Pretty random.
The next day we started very early for a 4 hour game drive. We had to be up early to be near the front of the queue for the ferry over the river as it was first come first served
. We made it on time and were one of the first 8 boats ferried across the Nile. From there we continued our game drive. It was a bit underwhelming for me since I had already done the Masai Mara. There weren't nearly as many animals to see in Murchison Falls as there were in the Masai Mara but we did manage to see quite a large number of giraffes and elephants, and even one lion and her cub. When we were waiting for the boat to come back to camp for lunch we got out of the vehicle and walked around. The baboons came out of the forest then and they were not afraid at all, posing for lots of pictures. At one point one of the large baboons even jumped into the front of seat of an unguarded vehicle and sat up there for a few seconds before the driver ran back to his car and the baboon scampered off. Failed attempt at a car-jacking but pretty amusing nonetheless. We returned to camp for lunch and then after a few hours there we set out again just as it was getting very hot. We drove back down to the river where we had a 3 hour river cruise organized to take us to the base of Murchison Falls. This was one of the highlights of the weekend for me. I saw a crocodile straightaway, and there were hippos everywhere. But it was really just a great feeling cruising up the Victoria Nile and taking in the sights and sounds of the river. After two hours we made it to the bottom of the Falls for a great photo opportunity before we set off back down the river. Then some of us from the trip cracked open a couple of beers
. We obviously went for Nile Specials since we were cruising on the very same river. The weather turned on the way back and rain started bucketing down in sheets. It was a tremendous downpour, and I enjoyed every second of it. I just stood on the top deck getting drenched because I figured I would never be back there and I tried to just enjoy the moment regardless of the rain. The rain never let up till the morning so getting dry was a bit of a challenge, but no big deal. It actually became quite a vicious thunderstorm during the night with the lightning and thunder waking up nearly every single person in camp numerous times. I had to go to the washroom once during the night, in the pouring rain, and let me tell you, pretty scary when you know there are hippos lurking around, so I finished my business as quick as possible before rushing back to the <relative> safety of my tent.
Finally in the morning as we finished breakfast the rain stopped and we set off to head back towards Kampala. We drove for 3 hours to get out of the park and waved goodbye to all the baboons. After 3 hours we made it to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and pulled in there. We were lucky to be doing some rhino tracking. This involved taking a guide in the vehicle with us and driving to within 700 or 800 metres of the rhinos. Then we left the vehicle and walked to the rhinos. It was pretty amazing we managed to get to about 10 metres away from a family of 3 rhinos and we were allowed to spend 30 minutes with them
. They were white rhinos and it is a project at Ziwa to repopulate Uganda with these endangered animals. It was great to be able to see rhinos in the wild from that close up.
After the rhino experience the safari was over, so we took a quick lunch and then hit the road again heading back to Kampala. Another 4-5 hours later we made it back to Kampala and the Murchison Falls adventure was complete.
On Friday morning I was up early to go on my 2 night adventure to Murchison Falls National Park. I had a quick breakfast then met up with travel group. We started off and spent quite a while on the road before stopping in Masindi for lunch. After that we turned off the main highway and started getting closer to the Park, which also signified the end of good roads. As we entered the park we still had about 100km to go before we got to the waterfall. The road there wasn't very good so it was a bumpy ride but it was very interesting. There were hundreds upon hundreds of baboons in the forest we were driving through that would just scatter off the road and then peer at you from the bushes just off the side of the road as you drove by.