Saturday, June 20, 2009

Winnie's Winning Combination of Kew Gardens + Zoo*

Murchison Falls, Uganda
May 24th & 25th, 2009

Our next stop was Murchison Falls, a National Park which was frequented by the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, Sir Winston Churchill and Ernest Hemingway. This of course was before the massive fighting occurred- the park is now in a period of regeneration. The main reason I especially was keen to go, was because of the boat safari you can do.

We spent the night of the 23rd just outside of the park gates at a camp site with a brilliant view of the river, and headed inside the next morning. Our first stop was to see the falls from a viewpoint. Off we drove seeing men with machetes cutting the grass in the ditches of the road. We arrived and made our way down a trail leading to the view. It was noting short of amazing. The waterfall has been described by some as the most exciting thing to happen to the Nile and it certainly earns that reputation. The roar of the falls was spectacular and the foam you could see below was stunning.

After we finished ogling the falls we made our way to the ferry port where we could take our cruise. At 2:00pm we boarded. Deciding we wanted to avoid the German tour group sitting below we climbed up a small staircase to the top deck. After standing for a few minutes I had a brainwave and thought we should get our camping chairs for ultimate comfort. Karel asked the park staff if he could quickly get something and off he ran to collect our chairs. Sure we looked like hill billies but we had the best seats in the house and had the feeling like we were the only ones on the boat.

The cruise was great. Along the way we saw buffalo, elephant and buck along with tons of hippo and some Nile crocodile. We also had great views of the falls and saw amazing amounts of foam beaded along the river.

The next morning we took a ferry over to the other side of the park where the highest concentration of wildlife live. It was stunning scenery with palm trees and lush grasses. We saw tons of buck,giraffe, elephant and buffalo. More interesting though, was seeing some fisherman who came across from the Congo. They were using simple netting and dhow boats. Karel and I spent time speculating on what their lives must be like on 'the other side' and what do they think about seeing white people or any people really in game vehicles taking photos. What a different world they must live in.

a.k.a. The “Pearl of Africa” as coined by Sir Winston Churchill himself upon visiting Murchison Falls which he described as Kew Gardens and the London zoo of infinite scale

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