Murchison '08

Murchison Falls National Park Travel Blog

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A view from the river Nile.

It was in the month of March, we were half way through of correcting the student’s assignments and entering marks in the system. On a chat among our staff members we decided to have a small trip after the examinations, but we don’t have long holidays and that made us to have a small trip that should not exceed more than 3 days.

                Africa is well known for safaris and in Uganda there are more than five safari parks. So we have to select best among them which can be covered within our available time and we concluded with the Murchison Falls. I was accompanied by six other friends of mine who were also very much interested in travelling and we were waiting for the exams to be over.

                From that day onwards I read through the internet about Murchison Park, the animals in the park, reviews about the place and the best place for accommodation. All the reviews says that Para safari is the best but we found that it is little expensive for us to afford. Again the search continued, at last we found a best place for accommodation which can suit for our budget, The Red Chillies. The next day I went to the head office of Red Chillies at Kampala where I booked for seven people for two nights and a day but now the question is about the transport. They were ready to provide transport but for me I like self driving that made me say no to them. I met my friend Alfred who introduced me to a driver called Sam. He owns a (matatu), a small van, Sam often made trips to Murchison. He agreed for self driving with the condition that he will accompany us. That made me happier. Also the charge was affordable.

                It was 6th of October, almost one day to travel; we were so much excited because that was our first experience for a safari. For me another excitement was the photography, with my new Sony DSCH50. I was learning more about photography through the internet. The day before the travel we went for some purchase like mosquito repeller, bread and jam, drinking water, first aid kit and some other snacks. Sorry, I didn’t introduced our gang members, those were Ebbin and Kalpita, Milka Singh and Karen, (those were the couples), Shinoj Paul, Sebastian and Myself (bachelors).Really I didn’t slept that night because of excitement.

                Some how I managed to sleep and wake up early in the morning and we all were ready by early morning 5.30. Soon after some time I received a call from Sam (driver) telling that he is waiting for us down our home. On the way we picked Ebbin and Milk and we continued our journey. I was seated in the front near to Sam. I asked him about the kilometers to cover and the gaming inside the forest. Everything was interesting to hear from him. Also, I realized that he is not only a good driver but a well experienced guide. Every one asked to seat me behind as they planned for some games. We played cards inside the van and after that some antakshari (a game using songs). Every one enjoyed the trip. Out of 7 hours drive we covered 3 hours. It was 10 in the morning we stopped the vehicle for breakfast and soon after some time we continued our journey. After 2 hours we reached a place called Masindi, which is the only town nearby Murchison, also we came to know that the road from Masindi to Murchison is a muddy road. That made us a little worry, but when we started our journey from their we realized that it was not that much bad as we realized. Thank God. It was totally a new experience for all of us.

                The journey was totally through woods. After a short while we reached the entrance of Murchison, whereby we need to get the tickets for entering inside the park. After that procedure was over the journey continued. Again we need to cover another 60 Kms to reach red chilies (our accommodation).We felt the real experience of travelling through the forest. It was totally muddy road covered with long trees on both the sides. After a few minutes of journey from the gate we saw some gang of Baboons on the road which we thought those will block our way, but when we reach nearer all the baboons give out their way and stood on both the sides of the road as a sign of welcome. This was the first animal we saw in Murchison. Also we saw some wild birds on the way.

                We continued our journey, some of us were enjoyed the beauty of nature and some others took photographs of the different species of birds on their way.Suddenly,Sam asked us to close all the windows because of the flies that came inside the vehicle. Those flies are not poisonous but they are harmful. The bite can make swollen skin and pain. It was almost 4'o clock; suddenly Sam took diversion from the road. He told us that we are heading towards the top of the falls.

                We reached the top of the falls where we can have a small forest walk. We were worried about reptiles. At the entrance we were welcomed by Sam, the security guard and guide of the fall. He explained us when the falls was discovered, the width of the falls and the areas where to visit and where not to visit. We came to know from him that there is no worry of reptiles. Slowly we started walking towards the falls. We were so excited to see the falls. Thank god for his wonderful creature. What a beauty? We cannot take bath in falls but the sparks of water that came out from the falls made us to have shower. After having some nice photographs we continued our journey towards The Red Chilies.

                We reached at red Chilies at about 7PM where they received us with a warm welcome. We can see some bandas on the ground separated by few feet distance also some tents on the ground and a dining hall. This is what all about the Red Chillie, but the service provided by them was quite more than we expected. We booked for 2 bandas and 2 tents. After a short while we gathered at the restaurant where we had nice dinner. We were wondered to see the warthogs wondering inside the campus also it walked near by the tents. It is having a single horn over its nose which scared us a lot. Other friends told us that it won't harm humans unless until we hurt them. But the one thing we need to remember is that we should not carry any food items inside the tent, whereby it can smell the food and it can pierce inside the tent. We were informed that the power will remain up to midnight and after that we need to use the kerosene lamp provided. We were so much thrilled to have such a wonderful experience inside the forest. The two couples of our team took the bandas and others slept inside the tent. Tents were provided with three cots with mosquito net in each. We were scared to be inside the tent. The roaming sound of the warthog scared us a lot.

                The next day we all were ready by 6.We were searching for our driver, Sam.We were wondered to see him ready seated inside the vehicle. After our breakfast we started for the game. It is just half a kilometer to reach the Ferry from Red Chillies.The sweet sound of the humming birds, welcome us in their own language. The ferry was ready to carry us. The river Nile was heading towards Lake Albert which seems like the Boss saying hi to their fellow workers. We can see hippos at the other end of the river. We were busy taking photographs mean while we are asked to get inside the ferry. After a short while all the vehicles were parked inside one by one as per the instructions of the ferry operator.

                We reached the other end of the river within 10 minutes of travel. We saw a few gangs of baboons and school of hippos. For the first time I saw hippos other than from the zoo. After a short while we were accompanied by Paul, he is the guide and Security guard as well. At first he instructed us what to do and what not to do. He explained about the animals found in the forest. We were curious to know whether Lions and Cheetahs are available and the answer by him was that it depends upon our luck.

                We started our drive. Sam already opened the roof of the vehicle so that we can stand and watch the exciting view of the forest. For me I can say that the excitement was little more than others because of my cam. Whenever I watch discovery or animal planet my dream was to be one among those photographers. One or another way that became true. The view inside the forest was wonderful as I had seen in the Discoveries and Animal Planet. The savannahs, every where we can see the long grown grasses and some scattered bushes. I wished to see some Leopards or Lions in the bushes.

                At a long distance we saw some group of wild buffaloes with huge horns. All of a sudden they made a scary look towards us. They can harm the humans only if we go nearer this was the instruction given by Paul. Then we headed towards the savannahs where the next animal waiting for our arrival is the Giraffe, really wonderful. We saw them very nearer whereby they are busy eating the leaf of an unknown bush. Though the bush is very thorny the hard tongue of them made it a soft bread.

                After taking some snaps of Giraffe we moved further. On the way we saw some Antelopes and Deer’s which was busy eating the grass, some cute wild birds and lion faced monkeys. It was 9 in the morning. We stopped for breakfast at a place which was told to be safe Paul. I made a call to my parents to express my happiness, but I was worried about the signal for the mobile. Thank UTL (One of the telecom provider in Uganda).The range was full. I expressed my joy to my parents, but they were very scared to hear as I told that I was inside the forest. Later I realized that the call was not needed. Somehow I managed my parents with the promise that I would call after the journey.

                After the breakfast we started our journey again in search for elephants. Paul asked Sam to drive towards the lake side. On the way, one of our friend who sat at the roof of the vehicle shouted to Sam to stop the vehicle. We all thought something happened to him, but it was a surprise for all of us. I thought that guy has got an extra ďż˝" ordinary eye. He told us that he saw a couple of lion resting below the bushes, but it was not visible to us. Paul confirmed it by his binocular. We all conveyed thanks for him and then Paul asked Sam to drive near to the bush. Now we were very close to the lion hardly five to ten feet distance. Every one kept silence except the sound of cameras flashing. A sudden jump can make the lion to climb over our vehicle, for a while our God was Mr. Paul. He gave us courage a little earlier. After five or ten minutes the couples made love together which made our safari a real excitement.

                We continued our journey again in search of elephants. One way we were enjoying the sight of these wild forest and animals but the other side the heat of the Sun was too horrible. At a long distance we were able to see an elephant walking near by the Lake. We were nearing towards the elephant at once Paul asked Sam to stop the vehicle. The elephant gave a strange look towards us and shook its head as if it is saying that no one can touch him. We all were scared for a moment and at once it walked towards the left. All of us were wondered to see a huge group of elephants, Yes the real African elephants. They were more than forty in number. Really speaking I was totally scared but I can’t show it in front of others. Sam drove the vehicle near to the group. No one in my team was speaking. Totally a pin drop silence except the engine sound. Paul asked Sam to off the engine, Later I came to know that the sound of the engine can sometimes make the elephants anger. We took enough snaps in our cameras. We were able to see the elephants in all our sides except back. The small, the big, the old, the young, the mum, the dad like that the whole family. Among them one of the elephant had its trunk broken when asked about to Paul later he replied that it might had broken during fighting. We held our breathe for almost fifteen minutes. That made our Game drive a very successful one. While driving back Paul told us that we were one among the luckiest batch to see all those animals especially the Lions. Once again Thank God! Who gave us a nice opportunity? We reached back to Red Chilies at around 12 PM where by some of us took sodas and some others had beers which gave us a nice relaxation.

                The boating was planned on the same day at 2PM. They informed us that the lunch should be ordered at the earliest so that it would be ready before boating. Even the God of Nature was very kind towards us. After a while all of a sudden it rained heavily which made the place totally cool. It lost for about 30 minutes. After our meal we all were ready for the next journey. It was totally 2 hours boating in which it carries us from the ferry point to the bottom of the falls.

                The boat started exactly at 2PM whereby we all were given instructions that we are not supposed to put our hands in the water. The river Nile is famous for its “Nile Crocodiles”. The first sight we saw is the white Eagle. It was called as the Fishing Eagle. The guide gave us another interesting story about that Eagle. It lives in pairs and once if one them died the other one won’t look for the other. An example of true love…??? We were amazed to see the huge crocodiles. It lied on the bank of the river, taking rest after a huge meal with their moth opened. We were able to see its sharp tooth. Also, we saw some alligators’ swimming in the river. The difference between the alligator and the crocodile is the difference in their long mouth. For crocodiles we could see its tooth even while the mouth is closed but for the alligators’ it won’t.

                The boat moved very slowly whereby we were able to see school of Hippos on our way. But in some places we could see single Hippos which we came to know from the guide that those Hippos we saw as single were separated from their group as a result of ageing. Otherwise, Hippos live as a group that we called as school of Hippos. The boat suddenly changed its direction towards the right whereby we were able to see the Exciting beauty of the Murchison Falls. The wide river Nile flows through a narrow path from a height of seven meters gave us an wonderful experience in our life. We enjoyed the gift of nature from a distance of about half kilometer from the boat. That makes the end of our boat trip. Anyone who wishes to have forest walk can get down at that place and those were guided by the forest guard towards the top of the falls.

                We returned to the shore at about 5PM. Again we were back to our Bandas. For me I made a call to my parents and told them that not to be in worry and I was back to my place. After refreshment we all gathered together in the restaurant and shared our experience. The next day we once again visited the top of the falls also made a forest walk. From the top of the falls we could able to see another one small falls named as Umuru falls.  We started our Journey back to Kampala at about 11 Am in the morning. We were sharing our experience on our way back. It was really an unforgettable Journey in my life. Dear friends if you get a chance to visit Uganda please don’t forget to visit Murchison Falls..!!!.

Africancrab says:
Great blog, thanks for sharing.
Posted on: Mar 25, 2010
kalpita says:
Good blog. Have a happy writing with TB
Posted on: Mar 24, 2010
ebbin says:
Nice one. Keep writing. Have a hppy travel.
Posted on: Mar 24, 2010
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A view from the river Nile.
A view from the river Nile.
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Murchison Falls National Park
photo by: Africancrab