Uganda - Murchison Falls
Thu 30 Oct
Got a lift with the camp vehicle on it's way to the nearest market town and at 0830 got dropped (still in the park) at the junction for the mighty Murchison Falls. It seemed that hours passed between vehicles and none were taking the 12km dusty track. I considered walking briefly before having a sobering reminder that I was I a game park with no armed ranger. Alone that is apart from the two buffalo standing on the very road I wanted to go down. They were impatiently watching me watching them. We stared at each other for over an hour; the sun beating down.
I decided that if there was no lift before 1300 I should abandon the idea and look for a lift back to the camp, and then with 3mins to go, luckily a park vehicle turned up, heading for the falls. It seemed reluctant to stop and even more so to give me a lift. "But how will you get back?" they reasoned. We made a deal. They would take me. Then we'd radio the park HQ to confirm the afternoon cruise to the foot of the falls would be running. If so I'd return by the boat. If not I'd return in their vehicle.
I was assigned park ranger David who showed me where the falls were and then went back to his quarters to prepare us both some lunch. The falls were spectacular and the spray refreshing. After lunch we set off once again, this time taking the 3km walk to the bottom of the falls and to the point where the cruise boat would land. We were there in good time and waited patiently, watching the waterfowl and scintillating sunlight on the water, and enjoying a lazy hour or so in the shade of pepper trees.
By 1700 we decided for that for whatever reason the boat was not coming and so we returned to the top. Back at the rangers quarters no one could tell me what had happened to the boat that had been confirmed as making the journey just a few hours before. Neither did anyone have any idea how I might get back to the camp. In desperation I rang Red Chilli and they offered to send a vehicle to collect me but it would be charged at the standard day excursion price of US$60. I told them I'd think about believing my only alternative was to sleep on the rangers' floor. Just then a pick-up truck arrived with two tourists. They thought they would stay about 45mins and then they would be making their way to Red Chilli and of course I could have a lift. Phew! What a relief.
As it turned out it was probably the most spectacular sunset I have ever seen. The sun dropping into the 6m gap in the rocks where the mighty Nile tumbles 60m
Fri 31 Oct
Albert Feisel and wife were travelling down from Arua to Kampala through the park and kindly collected me from the camp mid morning. We were in Kampala by 1400 and after doing a few errands in town they kindly dropped me at the Red Chilli Hideaway on the outskirts of town.
Uganda - Murchison Falls