Monday, August 17, 2015

Safari in Queen Elizabeth Park

We chose to do a safari in Queen Elizabeth Park because it was on our way from Fort Portal—and the epic Fourth of July BBQ—to the city where Amanda is living while serving in the Peace Corps.

We stayed at a lovely place in Kyambura, called the Omwani Training Café. A Peace Corps volunteer lived there in the past and it is set up as a place to help train people to work in resorts and hotels. I’ll make another post about it, because it’s a beautiful compound run by very kind people. Plus, they have excellent coffee, which is hard to find in Uganda.

The lady who runs the place set Spencer and me up with a driver to go on a game drive. He came by the night before to work out the details, and the next day we woke up before the sun to go see some wild animals in the bush. After paying the entrance fees at the park’s office, we were off on our safari. I recently learned that safari means “journey” in Swahili, which I think is lovely. Anytime we go somewhere, I want to call it a safari, just for fun.  

Right in the beginning, I spotted some lions overlooking the plain below. We were the first car there and had them all to ourselves. It was a group of females; I think we spotted 4 of them. They were incredible and almost seemed to glow in the early morning light. Soon other cars of early morning safari goers showed up to see them and we were off in search of other animals.

We saw male impalas battling with their horns, baby impala leaping through the grass after their mothers, and warthogs down on their front knees eating away. We saw massive water buffalo with their dopey looks and drooping horns. There was a short glimpse of a water buck as it disappeared in to the bush, and too many birds to count. I noticed some of the birds were the same or close cousins to, some we’d seen in Ethiopia.

The van we had hired for the day had a sun roof so we could stand up and see all the animals without having to look through windows. It was a beautiful morning, but we still hadn’t seen elephants and I really wanted to see elephants.

While at the office paying the park’s entrance fees, we bought tickets for a boat cruise that evening. All the people we’d talked to who had been to Queen Elizabeth Park had recommended it. The driver kept saying, don’t worry, you’ll see lots of elephants in the afternoon on the boat cruise. I was skeptical, but thought he probably knows best since he lives there, so he dropped us off at a resort for lunch where we had made plans to meet up with Amanda and Matt, her boyfriend.

The resort is called Kingfisher LODGE and it is so beautiful. They have sweeping views of the park, a pool, gorgeous landscaping, and the price to go with it! We definitely couldn’t afford to stay the night there, but lunch was doable. We had some food and hung out by the pool for an hour or so, before it was time to get back in the safari van to go to the boat cruise.

Next up from Uganda: the Queen Elizabeth Park boat cruise.

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