Swimming in a volcano, and animals.

by cpdaghlian

We have been on the road for the past few days. After the party, which was great, we went to the Kyaninga Lodge in the crater area near Fort Portal. The real draw was the opportunity for Barb and Emmett to swim in a dormant volcano cauldron.

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The water is safe to swim in due to the sharp drop off to depth so there is no area for schistosome-bearing snails to live, and the gas emerging from the slightly active volcano keeps the water slightly acidic. Here is Barb enjoying the water.

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We then had the four hour drive back to Kampala. Emmett and I rode with Rebecca, Barb, while Lib and Dennis followed in their car. No unplanned stops, just a long, hot ride. At seven the next morning we we arrived at the Red Chilli Hideaway in Kampala for the start of the trip to Murchison Falls National Park. There we joined by a nice couple from Munich, Eva and Achim, and loaded into a Toyota 4WD Diesel van. Our driver, Sam, seen here next to the machine, proved to be an expert driver. He managed the tedious drive to to the park, and the game rides through it with great skill.

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First we went to Murchison Falls where the Victoria Nile (source Jinja, where the River starts from Lake Victoria, which we saw three years ago) crashes down about 43 meters through a 7-10 meter gap. In the past the entire river went through the gap, but since the 60s there has been a secondary falls, Freedom Falls, to the north that takes some of the flow. It is still rather impressive.
The falls from above:

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With rainbow:

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The falls from below:IMG_4355

The next morning at seven am we took a ferry across the Nile to the north shore of the park, the delta region, for our first game ride. The ferry with twin 150hp engines. That is the Nile:

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We saw many animals.
Elephants:IMG_4418

Buffalo:IMG_4402

Warthogs, both large and small, this at the camp:IMG_4383

Ugandan Kob, of which there were many:IMG_4193

Lion, injured:IMG_4144

Giraffe:IMG_4517

Borassus palm forest, with elephants (iPhone cameras are nice, but aren’t real cameras):IMG_4432

This a great place! The elephants disperse the seeds and palms spring up everywhere. I don’t quite understand why there are only Borassus palms and grasses. To my surprise the elephants also eat the leaves of the palms. Palm leaves, particularly coryphoid palm leaves, are incredibly fibrous, and have loads of silica bodies. I cannot imagine there is much in the way of nutrients in them. Perhaps they are eaten as a long lasting chew. Even after we left the park we saw elephants:IMG_4527

There is a large nature preserve around the park allowing the animals to come and go as they like.

We saw Hyena:IMG_4230

Baboons (they and the warthogs liked to eat food from the tourist cars at the ferry landing):IMG_4268

Hippopotamus:IMG_4275

Then we drove back to Kampala. We are off for home tomorrow night, arriving in Montreal at around 1pm, Sunday, 24 hours after starting. I’m sure I missed lots of stuff, but this is it for now.

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