We began our full day in the park early taking our breakfast as soon as the restaurant was open. Sitting on the veranda overlooking the forest down to the Victoria Nile is a fabulous way to get a day going.
I had asked Henry to join us since he had done so well on Tuesday. It was a good decision. As we drove through the savannah, seeing all sorts of animals, we discovered he was a bird expert too. That delighted Catharine, who is also a birder. There some others in the Lodge, and more stereotypical birders: dress in odd clothing, totally earnest, carrying telescopes and large lens cameras. Not a smile in the group.
The White Nile came into view as we crossed the high ridge, but our interest was else where: the antelope were running for no apparent reason. That signals lions on the move. Henry and George, our driver, lead us in searching through our binoculars. We drove further. At one point George climbed up on top of the Range Rover peering intently up the hill.
â€œThere they are!â€ he cried excitedly. They were far away, but there was no doubt about it. Henry directed George to drive up that way. As a senior ranger he could over rule the â€œdo not drive off the roadâ€ rule. We went up the hill through trees and savannah, toward the spot they thought the lions might come out.
And they did! A lioness emerged from the trees moving purposefully. We watched intently only to see her look back and call her cubs. First there were three and then another larger one came. Henry explained the last one was probably not her cub, but one that had joined for some reason.
Even through it was getting big enough to be really dangerous, I could not but think, â€œhow cute!â€
They kept moving behind a tree and then into view again for a bit. Finally they were out of sight, looking for lunch. Who cannot marvel at such things â€“ well I guess antelope donâ€™t!
Our three hour game drive turned into more than five hours. There was so much to see thereâ€™s no way to get it all into a journal entry. There are more pictures here if you want to take a look. I will put videos into the final travel blog when I get to cheaper internet.
After lunch, we went down to the boat to journey up the Victoria Nile the see the bottom of Murchison Falls. The day was beautiful made even better by the fact that there were not many people so we got to take the new smaller plush boat with soft seats.
The hippos were everywhere, their distinctive snort rolling across the water. This was just one of the many hippo families we watched feeding in the afternoon sun.
The crocodiles were large but quickly slid into the water as the boat approached. It wasnâ€™t until nearing the end of the trip that I was able to catch one on video.
The elephants are always fun to watch. Catharine caught the picture of the day when this big one decided the sun was a bit hot and he needed to cool down â€“ or maybe to wash up.
I loved seeing all the exotic birds. The two that were most fascinating to me were the Fish Eagle â€“ related to the American Bald Eagle â€“ and the Malakite King Fisher. Both are super colorful and a complete delight to watch.
As we continued up the river the foam thickened, indicating that the falls were near. We pulled up to a small island near the trail that you can hike up to get to the top of the falls (next time?). The captain maneuvered the boat carefully and finally he allowed us to step off and climb up a rock to get the best view of the falls.