The final act of our African adventure was to go on safari to Murchison Falls, where aside from hippos with no concept of personal space there was a setting straight out of The Lion King.
We were in a group with 2 German girls, a Brit, a South Korean and another Canuck. First stop on the safari, after a 4+ hour drive, was a guided walk to the top of Murchison Falls. After having seen our own "Big 3" of the Falls (Niagra, Iguazu and Victoria) I kind of doubted that Murchison would have anything different to offer.
I was wrong. The view from the top down the Nile river was spectacular.
We then wandered down to the actual waterway. I was again struck by how, if I was in Canada, there would have been fences and signs to protect people from doing something stupid. Not here, You could go straight over to the actual river and even attempt to dip your hand in to see how warm the water was.
After a quiet hippo-free night at the camp we set off for the game park. The open savanna setting reminded the group of the Lion King so much that the Germans broke into a spontaneous version of "Hakuna Matata", brought on in some part by having numerous Pumba the warthog sightings.
The usual suspects soon presented themselves. Buffalo, baboon, giraffe, warthog and various versions of deer. Even though we had seen them all before there was a deep appreciation of each sighting, probably because it would be our last for a while.
After a bit we were treated to something special. A lioness was stalking an errant deer. We watched as nature unfolded before our eyes. The lioness exhibiting such a fantastic degree of patience (more so than some of the viewers). Finally the moment of truth came, and the deer was able to narrowly escape. We watched as it scampered away and the lioness trudged off with the consolation prize of a warthog carcass.
In the afternoon we were able to actually cruise the Nile up to the base of Murchison Falls. Along the way we encountered many locals who liked to hang out on the shoreline to beat the heat.
As Chloe wrote, the second night brought a big surprise to the campsite. I couldn't believe I had missed it (I was watching Young Adult). Turns out I was mistaken.
A while after the hippo had wandered off I was lying in my tent when I thought I heard chomping, Peering out my mesh window I really couldn't see anything definitive, but there was definitely something out there. Then the chomping got louder. Which either meant my hearing was getting better, or the source of the chomping was getting closer. Gradually a big, round shape came into view. It was the hippo, and it was headed right for me. I watched as it came right up to the each of the tent. Like Chloe I was separated from it by just a thin canvas wall. I debated photos but didn't want to tempt that the flash would send it into a thunderous rage. Then, just like before, it was gone. And I was again reminded that my daughter is way braver than I ever was.
The last day had us going on a trek to find White Rhino's at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. Rhino's were hunted to extinction in Uganda, and are now being re-introduced. Each rhino is guarded 24/7 by a park reanger and a member of the local indigenous tribe. After a safety briefing which advised us that in the event a rhino charged our group to either climb a tree or hide behind a big tree/shrub, we were off. Along the way I closely evaluated the environment to determine appropriate exit strategies. Then we got the word there were 3 rhino close by. Thankfully it was mid-day, and they were all taking it easy.
Now our safari adventure has come to a close. We have loads of memories, a ton of photos, and most of all a desire to someday return.