Saturday, April 17, 2010

Murchison Falls National Park

We spent about 4 days at Murchison Falls National Park, and part of the time we were with the de Jongs and were able to go on a game drive with them.

The park was pretty disorganized and we almost didn’t make it to our lodge/campground on time. We had to cross the ferry over the Nile River by 7 pm and park officials hadn’t told us that. But we made it just in time for them to make an extra trip across for us. This is the national bird of Uganda, the crowned crane.

It was a great trip. My favorite memory is 3 huge elephants running across the road in front of our car. The other highlights were the game drives, and boat trips to Murchison Falls. Also, the baboons and warthogs getting very close to us in the living areas was very cool.

We wanted to hike every day, but unfortunately the park only had one hike, which was 1 hour long. Ugandans clearly don’t have much access to the park, which is really sad, because they don’t own their own vehicles and most of the activities are very expensive. Luckily, we were able to hitch a ride on a 2nd game drive with a generous French couple who had some extra seats. The game drives were good but we didn’t see any lions or hyenas. They have very few at all in the park so they are very hard to see.

An interesting thing we found out was that the LRA was in the park in the past. They completely destroyed a really nice hotel there. We learned that park rangers fought the LRA while they were in the park. Also in the past, rebel and government armies shot animals in the park for target practice, which is why there are no longer any rhinos in the park, but they plan to reintroduce them soon. Below is an interesting animal called a hartebeast with a really narrow head.

We almost didn’t make it out of the park on Friday. I almost got hit by a startled warthog that I just about stepped on as I passed around the corner of a building in our lodging area. Then we had to take a motorcycle out on the extremely muddy roads. The driver had to rev his engines to scare the water buffalos away so they didn’t charge us.

We are very glad to be home after traveling all day on public transportation. I think I was out of a vehicle for about a total of 60 seconds between 10:30 and 6:00. And that whole time I was smashed into half of a seat, with 1 or 2 bags on top of me, and very sweaty. So we are glad to be back home.

1 comment:

  1. well it looks like my church is going to be helping support some of your missions work (Calvin CRC)

    Isn't Murchison an amazing place!? the animals are just astounding. But I can imagine that taking public transportation there would be quite a long journey. So glad you you are such a regular blogger!