Map of Uganda

Map of Uganda

We have been on our travels again, down to Kampala, across to Lira, down to Amolatar which is right on Lake Kyoga and then back to the Nile.

Collecting Water, Early Evening Lake Kyoga.

Collecting Water, Early Evening Lake Kyoga.

The lake is rich in huge fish (Tilapia) and beautiful, but poor and isolated in everything else. The college principal put us up for the night, ‘real village life’ as he called it. It was a privilege to spend the night with him and his wife and daughter although, as always, some of the protocol was slightly baffling. I still can’t quite cope with the women kneeling to greet me when I enter a room, nor the woman of the house getting to her knees to wash your hands before a meal either. Later, washing (alone this time)   under the stars and watching the fireflies dance as you clean your teeth was another, rather special, first as well.

Early Evening, Lake Kyoga.

Early Evening, Lake Kyoga.

We have already been down to the Nile for a day, to a very fancy ‘Lodge’ where we spotted a herd of Elephants.

Elephants at Chobe Lodge.

Elephants at Chobe Lodge.

Over Easter we travelled further south to Murchison Falls with some friends from Juba, South Sudan. They had intended to fill their cars with produce from Gulu for their return. After some discussion we realised that all the good stuff already makes it way across the border to Juba anyway, where it can fetch twice the price or more. They feast on Ugandan cauliflower, leeks and other exotic vegetables up there, whilst we make do with tomatoes and onions; the operations of the market distort all our lives.

Murchison is the biggest wildlife park in Uganda; exciting scenery. On our trip up the Nile to the fabled waterfall, we saw many more elephants.

Elephants on the Nile 1

Elephants on the Nile 1

Sadly the guide told us that several had short trunks, the ends having been caught in poachers snares, but they survive reasonably well.

Elephant on the Nile

Elephant on the Nile

Also many Nile Crocodiles; evil looking things.

How doth the ... etc

How doth the … etc

You can get rather blasé about elephants after a while, perhaps not about the babies. But Hippos are different, there are hundreds of them slowly rising up through the water.

Hippos on the Nile 1

Hippos on the Nile 1

They make wonderful grunting noises and have a fearsome reputation,

Hippos on the Nile 2

Hippos on the Nile 2

but from a suitable distance seem rather splendid.

Hippos on the Nile 3

Hippos on the Nile 3

From below the Falls are appealing,

Murchison Falls from the boat

Murchison Falls from the boat

but from above, especially from the southern bank they are truly impressive,

Murchison Falls from the North

Murchison Falls from the North

huge amounts of water forced through such a small gap.

Murchison Falls from the South

Murchison Falls from the South

You can see why Sir Samuel Baker (the Nile explorer who ‘discovered’ them) and later Victorian explorers got so excited.

Murchison Falls from the South, at River Level.

Murchison Falls from the South, at River Level.

It is always a good idea to keep your donors happy, so he named them after the President of the Royal Geographical Society. Probably no chance of finding an equivalent water feature to name the DFID Falls.

On our game drive the next day ((which is exactly what it says, driving around looking for ‘Game’) we came across more giraffes than were really necessary.

Giraffe at Murchison Falls 1

Giraffe at Murchison Falls 1

As the cliché goes, they are super models of the big game world, beautiful and elegant creatures batting their huge eyelashes at the world and appearing to do everything in slow motion.

Giraffe at Murchison Falls 2

Giraffe at Murchison Falls 2

It has been rather hard to come back from such a green and pleasant world

The View Down the Nile, Early Evening.

The View Down the Nile, Early Evening.

to dusty, busy, noisy Gulu. We are not lulled to sleep here by frogs and crickets and curious bird calls, as we were from our lodge by the river.

Down the Nile to Alexandria

Down the Nile to Alexandria

The wildlife parks are definitely somewhere we will return to many times I think. Although those Victorian explorer tales (Burton, Baker, Livingstone, Speke et al) of hardship, disease, violence and the ravages caused by the Arab slave traders contrast rather strongly with the luxury of our accommodation and the frivolousness of ‘Game Drives’ and eating fancy suppers as the Nile slips by into the night. More evidence of the unexpected effects of the market I suppose. Time to go and see the market ‘ladies’ and start bargaining over tomatoes and onions.

Monkeys at Breakfast Time

Monkeys at Breakfast Time

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