An African Tale

Trip Start Jul 24, 2012
Trip End Aug 19, 2012

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Hippo Campsite

Flag of Uganda  ,
Tuesday, August 7, 2012

(Andrew) After an awesome nights sleep the alarm went off at 05:45 to signal another early morning. Having drank nothing but water I should have felt a lot better than I did. The truck left site at 06:30 and headed off for an early morning game drive in Queen Elizabeth Park, after seeing the arid dry landscape and lack of herbivores our hopes of the elusive leopard were not as high as they could have been. We opted for a different part of the park. The grass apparently was shorter and better suited to the grazers. And hopefully therefore the carnivores and predators. We started by seeing a lot of Ugandan Cob a native gazelle type species.

The grassland here had been burnt back by controlled fires which had meant just about every creature in the park had come over, we saw Elephants, Buffalo lots of birds and then boom we saw something. Quite a distance away it was 2 Lions (females), one was prowling and the other lay down. We spent quite a while just watching.  I got a bit of abuse for pointing out a large rock and claiming it was one of the lions, that was until it walked off and we all agreed it was a lion.

We headed off in search of our elusive leopard and whilst watching some of the Ugandan Cob mating noticed another couple of lions in the background. We sat and watched them basking in the morning sun again (mainly due to their slow metabolic rate which means they are only active for about 3 in every 24 hours). We went on and saw more elephants, buffalo, grazers, warthogs etc before heading back to camp for an afternoon of catching up on chores. Obviously ours was this blog and I tasked Erica of stepping up to the mark, for she claims to write about half of our blogs but until this stint had managed about 1 in 10 days. Never mind the afternoon was hot (we were so grateful that we had got a hut as the tents were so hot everyone had to sit on the truck for some breeze) we are almost back up to date with the blog and I have slept during the day (no doubt dreaming of leopards).

Tonight we were in for a treat as it was Africa night which involved a big traditional meal of goat with tales of Africa around the camp fire. Hippo campsite is renowned for animals coming on to the camp site and tonight was no different. As we retreated to our cabin we saw a warthog grazing straight in front and thankfully it ran away. We kept thinking back to a dark night with 'Bud' in Puerta Princessa in the Philippines, who was retired from the army on the back of being hit by a wild pig.

Anyway after our African dinner of ugali, cabbage and barbequed goat we retired to the camp fire to listen to the start of some stories about the African tribes and customs and rituals of various tribes. Far too much info to post on here but subject matters revolved around European settlers and empires, the birth of mankind, movement of people across the continent, male and female circumcision, choosing a wife / husband, marital rituals (aka feeding up the potential wife to get a bigger ‘dowry’ "what use is a woman without a large backside to rest a child on when in the ‘backpack’", religious beliefs and the way modernisation, economics etc are all leading to quite a fast pace of change amongst tribes, large family sizes meaning inheritance and land is becoming much smaller portions per child, polygamy and how children of second and third and further wives children may get no share of the inheritance. So many subjects so little time. We walked back to the tent straight away, but couldn’t get to sleep due to the number of animal noises and screams from the tents in our group a short way away. Oddly we didn’t only hear hippo’s, warthogs, snakes etc but also chimpanzee’s. Wildlife in camp …. Glad we got the upgrade.
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Vic on

Having an amazing time down in London with Mum, Dad, Arti and Ed at the's amazing and thanks for passing the tickets on. Looks like you are having a fab time. X

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