The Journey to Uganda…
With our discovery tour beginning on Monday, we decided to fly in a day early to allow some time to acclimate to the time zone and rest. Uganda is not an easy place to reach as it took about 28 hours to reach. We began our travels flying out of Lexington, KY to Atlanta, GA, then to Amsterdam, then a brief stop in Kigali, Rwanda before finally reaching Entebbe Uganda. It was so good to finally arrive and the hotel contact person was waiting outside the arrivals to take us to The Boma Hotel. I would highly recommend this boutique hotel. It was nestled in a lush garden setting with air-conditioned rooms and a nice restaurant on site.
After a great night of sleep, we decided to explore Entebbe and opted to walk into town which was about a mile walk. The walk was easy and we headed towards the Botanical Gardens. Along the way we met a local college student named Isaiah and he became our guide for the rest of the afternoon which was very helpful. The botanical gardens are very raw with no paved walkways or roads and filled with many types of trees. There weren’t many flowering plants there. The gardens extend to the shores of Lake Victoria where many people were picnicking, swimming and just enjoying the scenery. There’s a portion of the gardens where the original Tarzan movie was filmed. See picture below with the vines hanging down for Tarzan to swing from. The velvet monkeys were found on the Entebbe golf course on the way to the gardens. The big fruit is called the Jackfruit and is about the size of watermelon. We ate one later on in the trip and it was sweet with a rubbery composition to it. It’s worth a try.
We ended the afternoon at 2 Friends Beach Restaurant & Bar with a great meal of tilapia, the local fish in Lake Victoria. This restaurant was a cool place to hang out with great views of the lake. There is a hotel here as well.
Later in the day, we were reunited with our travel buddies from our 2015 safari in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. It was great to see Jean and Bruce again.
The Adventure Begins…
The tour officially started on Monday morning with a group meeting at the main lodge. We finally got to meet the rest of the group and our guides. We were a group of 10 representing Orlando, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Ohio and Arizona. Everyone was very well-traveled and had been to a lot more places than I had. It’s always fun to share travel stories and tips with each other. Our guides were Jonah and Wilson and were great!
We loaded up into two Land Cruisers and set off for Murchison Falls National Park which would take about 8 hours to get there. Even though the trip description had warned us about no air conditioning in the vehicles, I so wanted air conditioning as the weather was quite warm and we had to close the windows frequently due to the dirt roads kicking up a lot dust by passing vehicles. This was a hard day due to the long drive and warm conditions.
Murchison Falls on the Nile River
We finally arrived at Murchison Falls National Park close to sunset and headed to the top of Murchison Falls. This part of the Nile River is known as the Victoria Nile River and the falls is where the river narrowed to 8 meters with gushing rapids barreling through. It was impressive to see and the sunset was the perfect background for photos.
The End of the First Day
After a long day, we finally made it to our lodge along the banks of the Nile River. The accommodations were nice except for the room fan that worked off a timer and turned off every hour. That made for some restless nights with interrupted sleeping. It only makes you better appreciate what you have back home. At this lodge, we had to be escorted to our homes after dark due to hippos grazing outside our rooms. During the night, I heard a lot of noise right outside our room and it was a hippo. Hippos are one of the most dangerous animals to humans.
The first day was long but we saw along the way was quite intriguing as we learned about Ugandans’ way of life and observed what was so different from the way we lived. See my previous blog about the People. It was my first time seeing the Nile River. I remember studying the Nile River in Geography class and Sunday school at church. It’s always surreal to actually see things like this in real life. The adventure had officially started and our first safari was the next day which included a land and water safari and did not disappoint.
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