Murchison Falls

Murchison Falls is a wildlife reserve in west central Uganda. Lake Albert separates parts of the reserve from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lake Albert incorporates both the Victoria Nile and the Albert Nile rivers, the Victoria Nile originating in Jinja and the Albert Nile flowing out of Lake Albert. My understanding is that the two combined are referred to as the White Nile.

As we waited to cross the Nile River into the park on the ferry at first light this morning, a pod of hippos and a baboon or two greeted us in the early morning light.

From that point forward we saw primarily giraffes, water buffalo, warthogs, hippos, and kob…lots of kob. Occasionally you would find a pair of oribi, however they aren’t as easy to find as they run in pairs as opposed to herds. Unfortunately we didn’t see many elephants and those we did see were usually turned away from us.

Then we spotted a lion. First there was a lioness walking among some antelope. They must have known that it had already eaten or that the day was heating up. They kept their eye on the lion, but never ran. As we followed her we found her join a small pride that included a male. Our guide told us that there are about 300 to 350 lions in the park and it can be hard to find them given the size of the park.

After watching the lions for a few minutes we ventured on toward the Nile River and Lake Albert where we would turn around and head back to our campsite. We continued to see many of the same animals as before and I am amazed that you see multiple types of animals in the same line of sight. The above image of the lioness walking among the antelope is just one example.

After lunch and a bit of time to rest we took a ride up the Victoria Nile toward Murchison Falls.

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Along the way were the usual suspects. This included hippos and crocodiles. There were numerous birds of various types, including this African Fish Eagle.

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As the tour was ending it became more and more of a reality that tonight is our last night in Africa. I am not ready to go home. I would stay longer if I could, maybe permanently.

 

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New Faces, New Names

Today we traveled to Murchison Falls park. We are staying the last two nights in the park at Red Chili campsite. We met up with Philip and our guide at the Paradise Hotel in Jinja before starting a drive that took most of the day.

Along the way Mary Jo decided we should stop at a roadside stand and buy some mangos. Philip introduced himself to the young woman, probably in her teens, selling the fruit. When he got back in the van he said that based on her name she belongs to a royal family in Uganda.

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Along the way we saw scenes that could’ve come out of a prior time in American history. At the same time the scenes are nestled in settings that are much more distinctly associated with Africa.

Along the way we stopped in Masindi to meet up with two men that Philip has been working with. One is a pastor in South Sudan and the other works with refugees from South Sudan who have fled to the camps along the border with Uganda.

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One couldn’t help listening to the two share their stories of life in South Sudan, of the wars going on and ultimately of the work being done to bring the country back together.  After lunch, the two men joined us to finish the trip to Murchison Falls.

As we approached the entry into Murchison Falls we began to see glimpses of what I hope we see more of tomorrow. A group of baboons greeted us at the entry checkpoint of the park.