Day 11 – 23rd June 2007
Dong! it was time to wake up early even on a Saturday! We had to board the Nile Ferry at 8am but this time it was a different ferry! It was going to take us to Murchison Falls itself!
I woke up at half 7, and everything downpoured again since my last close encounter with things that went bump into the night and made everything damp. I found my towel outside in the mud! Damn! Some people stayed in huts, more expensive and enjoyed a good night’s sleep. I quickly ordered breakfast and it took ages to come. By then, we had to leave for the ferry and my fruit salad had to be wrapped in foil for me to take on the ferry. Very kind of Red Chilli! I ate it all up with juice dribbling down my chin…it was soooo good!
So we boarded the boat and we went on a River Safari! It was absolutely amazing as the wildife diversity was massive! saw loads of crocodiles, hippos, buffalo, deers, an eagle and lots of herons! The river was very unusual as the river was full of foamy plant excretions which floated passed us downstream as the ferry paddled upstream. The boat ride was so pleasant and relaxing for the morning as I was unbelievably tired after 2 restless nights. I laid about on the top desk watching the wildlife and soaking up the warm rays of the sun.
We arrived at the Murchison Falls after an hour and a half boat ride and by heck are the waterfalls magnificent! Everyone rushed to the side to take in the views and we were immediately shouted at by the captain! Apparantly, all of us caused the boat to become unstable after standing on just one side. The boat could have captized and crocodiles and hippos would be waiting for us! Eventually, the captain parked the boat against some rapids and all of us got out onto some rocks in which we crossed to get to the bank where a guide ranger was waiting for us! He said he would be making us hike to the top of the waterfalls itself! Brilliant! There’s nothing better than a hike to get me going! I chatted to the ranger as we hiked and he told me a lot about the work of the Ugandan Wildlife Authority. He also said he lived in a hut at the top and his sole income was these hikes. I managed to keep up with him through climbing, navigating and crawling. At the rest stops, there was always the view of the waterfalls as we got closer and closer to the top. The closest we got was actually at the top art the point where the water descends on their tumuluous journey below! I was literally no more than 1 foot away from being swept away and plunged to the rocky depths below. What a thrill! It was certainly an experience to be very close to crashing waters that went higher than your height! Exhilarating! Everyone became snap happy and we all were astounded at the beauty of it all!
Then it was time to get back to Red Chilli Rest Stop by bus from the top of the falls. Everyone slept on the way as we were knackered out by the hike and we were woken momentarily when it was announced that the game safari drive was at 3.45pm. it was 1.45pm at the time and we were certainly very tired. When we got back, I treated myself to not one…but 2 lunches! I had a cheeseburger and a Murchison Hot Dog (really spicy!). Afterwards, we boarded back on the bus and went deeper into the national park across the river. Charles, from the Murchison Education Centre, also a ranger, was our guide to help us spot game. And we certainly saw a lot!
The best attractions were the giraffes! We saw so many…close up and in the distance. they are such adorable creatures..so graceful. They looked like they were funny and having a giraffe (having a laugh…no?). Charles also talked about the National Park, its history, which was really interesting. It was hard to keep concentrating as the bus ride was very bumpy and made lipreading a difficult task! Also, the bus floor was in danger of dropping out so everyone kept grabbing on the nearest post if there was a big bump! On the way back, a herd of elephants appeared on the road in front of us and they had calves wtih them. They ambled slowly across and it was a truly a majestic sight to see. We also saw many baboons picking their noses and came across a bull elephant, which mock charged us as he felt threatened by our presence.
We had to rush back to get the last ferry at 7pm and we just made it even though the ferry had just left. It returned for us thank god! Otherwise, we would have to spend the night on the bus. We met with the others who went into a jeep and they said they saw a leopard. Jealous much!
We arrived back at Red Chilli rest Camp and in desperate need of a good night’s sleep, I moved my stuff to Sam’s tent which only had him in it. After dinner, there was another downpour of rain and son afterwardfs, Sam rushed in the bar and told me to get my stuff out of his tent pronto as the tent proved NOT to be waterproof and water was streaming in! My sleeping bag got soaked (for the 3rd time!) and I moved everything to one of the huts and everyone was rushing around shrieking as more and more tents collapsed. At the end, I assessed the condition of my stuff and wrinkled my nose at my sleeping bag which had a damp smell. African Nights are doing their best!
Dried off in the bar and after my trouser zip broke and a button pinged off. Argh! But I wasn’t going to let that ruin what was a great day! So Jonesy and I decided to cheer everyone up by playing boisterous card games with everyone. It worked and pretty soon everyone was getting involved! At the end, a group of us stayed up into the night clinking beer bottles. I found my way to bed, which was a concrete floor in one of the huts and I slept in my clothes with the mosquito net draped over me. I was the only boy in that hut and I got interrogated for gossip and what i thought of the others. I refused to give anything away but it was pretty hilarious. I thought it would be really funny to create harmless gossip and there were many shocked gasps throughout the hour afterwards. Then finally, sleep found me and brought me into her arms and I didn;t wake up til late the next morning completely refreshed!
Who knew a boat trip, a hike, a safari and a downpour would make me wide awake!