Trip Start Jul 09, 2010
22Trip End Nov 04, 2010
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Where I stayed
Hippo Hill Camp
An early 6am start this morning meant we awoke before sunrise, quick breakfast and then were out for an early morning game drive in the Queen Elizabeth NP to catch the sunrise and start tracking game. Safari is basically is a game of pure luck and we were very lucky this morning to witness the mating ritual of the Ugandan kob. This cousin of the deer has a unique dating strategy to entice the lady kobs. He finds a personal patch of grass, urinates in a circle and then sits in the middle of this circle of love and waits for the women to approach
After viewing this marvel of nature, the safari yielded some more warthogs, some more lonely kobs (their urine needed some work) and some African buffalo, it was back to Hippo Camp to prepare for the Chimp trekking which was to take place at Chamburu gorge. This meant I caught a 2 hour snoozey and Ali read her book. Everyone else in our group read up on itineraries, chimp behaviour and other such useful information. It wasn’t far to Chamburu gorge where we met our guide, Stephanie, who was armed with an AK-47. We were assured this was for our protection and after descending into the gorge, I believed her. It was like a scene from Jurassic Park. We were wandering through this dimly lit jungle with the sound of hippos groaning and moving through the foliage. It could have been a dinosaur given the sound it was making. Throw in rustling trees, branches breaking as the baboons run for cover, the biggest elephant footprints ever and the sound of an approaching thunderstorm made for a pretty spooky setting. Ali turned to me for reassurance and I laughed. Unfortunately, we tried and failed to track the chimps. The translation for chamburu is "to try but fail", an old Ugandan folklore
The game drive at sunset was also like a scene from Jurassic park, but the one were the tour bus is going through the park and the guests can’t spot any dinosaurs. I guess that’s the point about safari, you’re not guaranteed to see any wildlife, but just as disappointment was about to set in we crossed paths with a herd of elephants and we got some good shots of the guy bringing up the rear as he crossed 15ft from the back of the truck.
We have a huge drive tomorrow to the park where the gorillas are. Apparently there are lions en route too. I’ve already started to dismiss game such as kobs and warthogs as common, I’m turning into a safari snob and I’ve only been here two days!