January 24, 2012
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Kiboko Bay Camp
Our 6am wakeup call this morning was actually a bit nice compared to the last couple days. Before brekkie we had to pack a lunch because we were doing an all day game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park. On our way to the park we stopped at the Equator marker for a photo op. It was sort of exciting as it was my first (but hopefully not last) time crossing the equator.
The game drive itself was actually a bit disappointing. We saw water buffalo, some warthogs, lots of Ugandan kobs, but no lions or elephants. I think most of the group was pretty bummed.
Our guide explained that the animal population in Uganda is low because during a civil war roughly 40 years ago the guerilla fighters wanted to make a point to the government so they started killing the animals. Work is underway to restore the population but it’s still a long way off. Your eyes start to play tricks on you after a while and you start to see animals in every bush, tree and clump of dirt.
After a brief lunch break (and soda stop at a super posh lodge within the park) most of the group opted to take the Kazinga Channel Boat Ride ($25 pp), which was actually quite good and worth the trip to the park itself. Again we saw lots of water buffalo, but this time they were hanging out with hippos…lots and lots of hippos.
We were able to get quite close in the boat, especially to a little baby hippo and his momma.
I think most of us were keen to see some elephants and we weren’t disappointed. We saw several families searching for food and drinking from the channel. For such huge beasts I was surprised at how graceful and purposeful they are when they move. I could have watched them all day.
The boat ride lasted about 2 hours (we also some a couple alligators, giant lizards, warthogs, birds and giant hogs) before finally making our way back to camp. It was another early night because tomorrow is a 5am wakeup call to get back on the truck and head to Bwindi/Lake Bunyoni. It’s sad to say I’m getting used to the early mornings.
Breakfast: bacon, hard boiled eggs, toast (yay!), cereal, cantaloupe, bananas, coffee/tea
Lunch: packed lunch – pb&j sandwich, banana
Dinner: boiled potatoes, pork chops, Ugandan stew