A new month – October – has come quickly, yet at times has taken a while (which is good when on vacation). We of course got up nice and early this morning, 5:30 am, to get ready, eat breakfast, and all be in the safari van to meet the ferry at the crossing at 7 am to the north side of the Nile where the animals mostly are. We all made it on time and we were about the second car in line. There was time to take some pictures of a couple hippos hanging out in the water just off the shore, (hippos are becoming very common place for us now), and to find our home countries on the giant globe on our side of the river. Eventually the ferry came across. It is not like any ferry you’ve probably seen before. It was a small flat platform with two engines, independently driven from opposite sides of the “ferry”. We watched the two ferry drivers maneuver it into shore, then back up and do it again. Funny, and oh so pollution strong with those black smoking engines. The cars drove on, we walked on and had a quick little 5 minute jaunt across the river to the other side.
Now on the other side we picked up our park guide for the morning, piled back into the van with the roof now popped up, and took off to see some animals. This drive was very different than our previous drives as for one we were not on the open plains of the Serengeti and it is rainier season here so there was lots of green plants and growth for animals to hide in. Our first sight was a few elephants disappearing into the bushes a little ways in the distance. It turns out they would be our only elephants of the day which is sad as I love elephants. As we continued on the environment opened up a bit and our guide pointed out Rothschild giraffes (which we hadn’t seen yet), Jackson Hartebeest, (an extremely ugly antelope), and the Ugandan kob, (they’re a cool antelope on the Ugandan money). Most of these animals we rushed past fairly quickly as our guide wanted to find the “good stuff”, saying that we could see them all on the way back. In hindsight we knew better and you should always stop and see what you can see as you never know if you’ll see it again or not. As we pushed on farther into the park, myself standing up out the window for the ride, we managed to see a spotted hyena lope across the road and off into the plains.
Eventually, after a few chats with vehicles going in the opposite direction, we heard where a lion was, so we headed that way. We then came upon the saddest lion I’ve ever seen. It was a male lion limping down the road. Why? Because he only had 3 legs anymore. He apparently lost one hind leg to a poacher’s snare. He was found in time by rangers and his leg was amputated. Apparently his brother and the pride hunt for him and keep him alive, which is working as it has been two years now. This is a rather impressive feat in the wilds of Africa. Soon after this we saw 2 young male lions, pre mane growth, playing and wandering down the road and amongst the grass on its edges. This was a lot of fun and they were very cute. We were all very excited that we got to see cubs, Lindsay and I in particular as it was one of the few things we hadn’t seen yet. I took some video and pics which I’ll post when all edited, so come on back in a while to see pictures.
Along the rest of our morning safari we saw Orebe, Sunbilled Store, Crested Cranes, Hornbill, Sausage trees, Savannah monkeys, a group of Malibu Storks, Black Headed River Birds, Battela Eagle, and Vultures, amongst a lot more Antelope, Waterbuck, and Giraffes and Hippos and Warthogs and Cape Buffalo. I’m sure most of those animal names are spelled wrong but we went with how they sounded. Shortly after the Lions we headed to the water’s edge, not the Nile I believe, and found a whole crap load of Hippos hanging out. We got out and stretched our legs and took some pics of the giant pigs and we even found some foot prints of the giant pigs that we compared our hands too. On the way back we also came across a bunch of giraffe heads poking up out of the long grass. It looked hilarious. Turns out most of them were sitting down resting which of course makes them much shorter. It is quite comical scanning the horizon and seeing head after head just popping a few feet above the grass (very long grass). Continuing back towards the ferry we were a bit sad that we didn’t have more time to sit and watch other “less interesting” animals because our guide was so eager to find the lions. On the way back I asked Nole to stop at one spot where there was a large variety of animals and a Buffalo with some birds on it, which was a picture I was trying to get all trip, so we had that for a bit and saw a good mix of everything.
We made our way out of the game driving section and back to the ferry. Back across the Nile we went and just up the road to Red Chili for a 3 hour break where we had lunch and cheap large beers of course while relaxing and chatting, checking out the view, showering, and occasionally watching the resident warthogs, which are about the size of a large dog but come out of the bush deceptively quiet for their size. Lindsay decided she would have a nap so went back to the tent, I followed her about 10 minutes later and discovered it was deathly hot inside so I made her get out so she didn’t dehydrate and die. We decided to chill at the bar instead and I spent some time throughout this day, and in the evening giving out photo taking advice for the DSLR users. Regina had a brand new camera that she really didn’t know how to use yet, and Amber’s was capable of many of the same things so we had some impromptu photo workshops. It was kind of fun to actually know what I was talking about in regards to cameras.
Around 2 pm we piled back into the van and headed down to the river once more. This time we walked down along the banks to our river boat. It was essentially two flat decks with chairs on them. On on water level and the other was upstairs. Downstairs was of course covered so it was cooler and upstairs was open to the sky so you had a very unobstructed view, however it was hot as hell in the sun. Then our 3 hour river tour got under way with Me, the skipper too, a rather rich looking American (a millionaire?) and his wife, Regina (the tv travel movie star), a couple guides (professors if you will), Lindsay- Anne, here on the River-Nile. So, just sit right back and you’ll here a tale, a tale of a fateful trip, that started from this nile port, aboard this tiny ship. So join us here each sentence my friends, you’re sure to get a smile, from many sunburnt castaways, here on the Mighty Nile!
I believe there was even a toilet on board…
Next post has the details.