After all our hard work it was time for a weekend off.
The Budongo forest is adjacent to the Murchison Falls National Park. The quintet of Earthwatchers were very keen to make a visit there and the director of the research centre, Geoffrey Muhanguzi, very kindly offered to arrange our transport and accommodation.
Saturday morning came and Godfrey was waiting for us in his van. Geoffrey, in his quiet way, made it plain to Godfrey that, although we would only be doing this trip once, he would be organising similar trips in the future and would be keen to hear our opinion on our return.
Godfrey was very keen to impress and I’m sure he would have if his van hadn’t broken down 20 km up the road.
He rang a mechanic who arrived on a motorbike. And after about 45 minutes was able to get the van going … after a fashion.
But not for very long. A taxi was sent for. We reached the park shortly after midday. $50 US each buys 24 hours in the park. We could have spent a week there.
First stop was the Nile cruise. Disembarking at the foot of the falls and then climbing to the top where our new driver and his taxi would be waiting.
The Victoria Nile flows northwards from Lake Victoria into Lake Kyoga. Then from the western extremity of Lake Kyoga it takes an arc through the national park into lake Albert dividing the park into a larger southern and smaller northern section. Along the way a lot of water tumbles 140 metres through a 6 metre gap, Murchison Falls.
The falls were put on Europe’s map by Sir Samuel Baker and his dearly beloved, Florence, in the mid 1860’s. They named the falls after Sir Roderick Murchison, president of the Royal Geographical Society.
The White Nile flows north out of Lake Albert.
If you take the cruise remember the action is on the north bank, try to get a seat on the left side of the boat. Where better to see Nile Crocodiles and Sacred Ibis than on the Nile?
The hike up the falls was hot and steep, but worth the effort although the best view is from the boat just before it docks.
Our accommodation for the night was at the Yebo Safari camp. The authentic Africa, dirt floor, thatched roof but with flush toilet and shower en suite. The shower even had a hot tap, but just for decoration. I guess they come as a set and it would have seemed a waste not to put it on the wall.
I shared the room with a scorpion. I understand that if the pincers are small the sting in the tail is potent. It had very small pincers.
The sheets were clean, the food was excellent, the staff very pleasant.