Thursday, August 22, 2013
We left Gulu and headed out to the national park for our safari amidst pouring rain - which was worrisome given that we had a 5 hour drive on unpaved roads. The rain seemed to bring out the animals, because within minutes of entering the park, we saw elephants, giraffes and water buffalo all along the side of the road.
We made it through some sketchy mud holes, water pools and dramatic bumps when we arrived at a long muddy hill. The bus started leaning precariously to the left as the tires spun out and the engine whirred. Apparently we made enough noise to attract attention because suddenly nine men in fatigues appeared out of the bush. Given all the stories we have heard about Kony and the rebels, some volunteers thought for a second that we were under attack. In reality, they were National Park police who were stationed up the hill and were coming to our rescue. We all got out of the bus, and the police worked with our driver for about an hour carving out mud, throwing down rocks and literally pushing the bus. Between the eight of them, they only had one a tool: a hoe. In the mean time, the park sent a Land Rover that picked up half the group. When we were finally liberated, we gave our helpers a tip and drove off to great applause.
We then made it to the dock in time for our Nile river cruise in a small two-story ferry. We rode the Nile for about three hours and had a stunning view of Murchison Falls. Along the way, we also saw dozens and dozens of hippos, fat crocodiles, warthogs and tons of brightly colored birds.
"One Good Thing":
Melissa - Seeing an elephant in the wild
Stacy - Seeing a giraffe NOT behind glass or bars
Kiera - Seeing a giraffe, so that I can finally tell my four-year-old Benson that I have seen one!
Jessica - Hearing Suzy yell out, "What the crap?!" When we hit a bump and she bounced out of her seat.
Becca - Reaching the paved road
Jen - Watching 8 men silently appear out of the bush to help rescue our bus
Suzy - Getting transported away from our bus in the "rescue" Land Cruiser: an off-roading adventure
Holda - Just as I had read about in my book about the first European Nile explorers, we rounded the river bend in our little Nile cruise boat and had a dramatic view of Murchison Falls.
Leah - Being so close to a crocodile
Ali - My 17th birthday!
Shantall - Celebrating Ali's birthday
Sophie - Eating an indredibly delicious pineapple