It was a sad morning saying our goodbyes to some wonderful people we had spent such a good time with. There may have been a few tears, but after emails were exchanged, we knew it wouldn’t be the last we heard from our new friends. Moses, our African Adventures’ driver for the rest of the trip, loaded us all up in his van and began the trek to Budongo Forest, a rain forest in Murchison Falls National Park. We’ll be spending our next few days in Murchison Falls on our safari and enjoying some free time experiencing the wild of Uganda. Once we got to Budongo, we began our adventure. Sam, our guide, led us on a three-hour trek throughout the rain forest tracking chimps. We experienced a lot while in the rainforest and finding chimps was not one of them. Apparently, the ants in Uganda don’t mess around when they bite you. We know this from being attacked first hand. While trying to find the chimps, we ran into a baboon that actually fell from the tree it was so afraid of us. Now, who would’ve thought two and a half hours into the trek, it would start pouring! We don’t mean sprinkles, folks. We mean full, blown out, torrential down pour. After running through the forest, almost stepping on snakes, to get back to the lodge, we definitely were “adventured-out” for the day. As Moses would say, “It isn’t called African Adventures for nothing.” Too bad all we saw of the chimps were knuckle prints and their dung. Mikie lifted our spirits a bit with some Nile Specials, but on a really lucky, positive note, we saw a leopard lying on the side of the road on our way out of Budongo! Moses said he’s only seen seven his whole life and he has been through the park more times than he could even count. Once we got out of the forest area of the park, we finally reached the Lion King-esque grasslands. In just a couple short hours, we saw elephants, giraffes, gazelle, water buck, buffalo, warthogs and hippos! This was all in just the ride to our lodge for the night.
Here’s just some interesting facts we learned today:
1. A giraffe’s color gets darker as they age.
2. There are 150 leopards in the park, but you don’t see them because they hunt alone and stay hidden.
3. The oldest, biggest lion in the park got caught in a poachers trap and died last year. Poaching is a huge problem in the Uganda national parks.
4. Baboons are like the squirrels of Africa…everywhere
SAFARI TIME!!! Today was our first game drive! Yep, that’s right. On the hunt for lions and you can bet we saw one, but sadly this poor guy got caught in a trap and lost one leg. First, we picked up our game drive guide, yet another man named Sam. Popping up the roof of the van and driving through the savannah of Uganda was definitely surreal to all of us. Words can't even describe how amazing it was. Besides a three-legged lion, we also saw more elephants, buffalo, crocodiles, giraffes and Ugandan Kob, a type of antelope found in sub-Saharan Africa. You can also find it on the coat of arms of Uganda. It was incredible seeing so many giraffes in one place. We had no idea they travel in such large groups. I think Jennifer ended up counting twenty-two all together. We also got to see the “necking” of giraffes, which is used to establish dominance in males.
After the game drive, we made our way to the "paradise" of Murchison Falls...Paraa Safari Lodge. Deep tissue massages, real showers, "infinity pools", real toilets, poolside with an ice cold Nile Special all while seeing the beauty of the Nile River behind us, you could easily say we were in heaven. It was a great way to relax from all our adventures the past couple weeks and a great time to reminisce on our favorite parts of the trip.