Long Drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park
Trip Start Nov 03, 2011
38Trip End Dec 10, 2011
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We got our early start for a long 7-hour driving day. In the beginning we came upon some construction on the mountain roads. Quite difficult driving and not helped by the rain...it IS the rainy season. We were all enthralled by the mountainsides covered with the terraces of small farms...it was gorgeous landscape. The hills/mountains were pretty barren of all except a few trees after we crossed the border into Uganda. Then we drove over the mountain pass to a jungly valley of green trees and bamboo until we came into more terraced countryside. This area was different ...instead of individual homesteads, there were large banana plantations, a huge greenhouse with roses and even an area with a tea estate...some of the tea bushes were clipped very short.
We stopped in town while the crew got groceries
Later we stopped for lunch along the roadside. A group of children in uniforms returning home from school stopped and congregated to watch us prepare and eat lunch. This made us rather self-conscious. The more sensitive among us lost their appetites because they found it hard to eat when the children appeared to be hungry and want our food. There were differing opinions as to whether the children were hungry or just curious.
It started to cloud over after lunch. We finally arrived at the plain where Queen Elizabeth National Park is located. Our Gecko's tour leader Frederick explained that Ugandan rebels held this area while fighting off years of dictatorship and the animal population of the park...founded in the 50's...suffered. The elephants remember man's cruelty and are known to be quite hostile to people.
We had an informal game drive on entering the park, .i.e., the truck stopped once or twice, as we saw an elephant herd on the way...quite hostile, some waterbuck, as well as warthogs too. We had dinner shortly after we arrived. Juliet and I didn't upgrade to platform tents and left our tent to go to the bar to hang out with the group....just as the thunder started. Then came the deluge. I thought about the tent briefly but didn't worry because I thought our flaps were partially down...they weren't. Juliet suffered the worst effects...her things were all wet. She got us some dry mats. My sleeping bag was wetter than I thought..and some of my stuff got very wet in the corner. We used my towel to bail the water. We (or I) finally managed to get to sleep for another 5:30 am wake-up.
Juliet heard the hippo who roamed the campsite. I, of course, did not.