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Blogger phil said...

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12/02/2006 12:08:00 PM  

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murchison day 3

since we couldn't bring our car across the river and hiring a ride on the other side was cost prohibitive, we decided to do the next best thing and take a walking safari instead of driving. a little boat brought us the couple hundred yards across the river where we met up with dennis and set out in to the bush. we have yet to meet a ugandan wildlife guide who doesn't really know their stuff, and dennis was no exception. we learned a lot about flora and fauna alike and added some new birds and beasts to our checklist. most of our walk was along the banks and bluffs of the nile, and dennis was really careful about checking for water buffalo or hippo that might surprise us. it was the first time that i realized that we were not in the safety of a zoo. apparantly hippos kill more people than any other animal in the world. and water buffalo are no picnic. it was great to get such a personal view of the area and the wildlife, made all the more clear once we were on a boat with 10 other people which felt a little more like a canned tour.

back to the camp for lunch and cokes and shade to sit out the mid-day heat until our boat launch began at 2.

the trip upriver to the falls was very cool. tons of animals and birds. dozens of schools of dozens of hippos, red-throated flycatchers and kingfishers by the dozens, water buffalo, huge crocs, water buck...and elephants! africa for real. there was wildlife galore and this was during the wet season when animals don't have to come down to the banks of the nile to get a drink. a highlight was seeing a water buffalo walking up the path that we had been on with dennis only three hours before. yikes. the boat stopped about a km from the falls but you still get a pretty good idea of the magnitude. besides, The Plan was to camp at the top of the falls that evening, so we'd have a closer look soon enough. on our way back a not so minor squall blew in and we had to run aground and wait out the wind. cold and soaked but fun nonetheless.

another new bird on the drive to the campsite at the top of the falls. a pair of abyssinian hornbill. huge prehistoric-looking walking along the road.
101phil 101africa
the falls in person are amazing. the nile is a huge river and not slow-flowing and meandering. and at murchison falls, the entire thing shoots through a gap that a decent college long-jumper could clear. after catching the sunset, we set up camp right on rivers edge above the falls by a pool with three or four hippos. how did they get there? how do they leave? it's class 4+ rapids above and the falls below. it was a little hard to sleep that night wondering what hippo vs tent would be like. i don't know if i buy the adage that they're more scared of us than we are of them.

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