Kim Jackson ITWPA Member When you finally decide you want to travel to Africa and experience a safari, you automatically think of Kenya, Tanzania, or South Africa. But there is another country with many choices for safaris as well as many other sites to see. That place is Uganda, the Pearl of Africa! During Winston Churchill’s tour in Uganda in 1907, he actually became very inspired by what he found there and wrote in his book that “For magnificence, for variety of form and color, for profusion of brilliant life — bird, insect, reptile, beast — for vast scale — Uganda is truly the Pearl of Africa.” I spent two amazing weeks in Uganda with a very full itinerary. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting to see once our plane landed in Entebbe, but I was pleasantly surprised by how green it was. The people were very friendly and welcoming, especially the children. I felt welcomed in every town we visited throughout our tour. What surprised me the most was the poverty. Until you experience it, it’s hard to imagine the terrible living conditions and the lack of clean water. Getting an education is a privilege, as school is not free. The world I know back home was not the world I experienced on my trip. It has opened my eyes.
Murchison Falls National Park
Our tour started in Kampala, the capital city. One of the highlights of our tour was to visit Murchison Falls National Park, which was approximately a 305-kilometer drive on mostly red-clayed bumpy roads. We stayed at the Bwana Tembo Safari Camp in Pakwach, just 6 kilometers from the park. There were six self-contained cottages and four self-contained safari tents with two twin beds, a bathroom with a toilet and shower, and a private balcony. It was a very peaceful place to lay our heads. During the night, I had heard quite a lot of noises outside of my tent, only to find out the next morning that some elephants had been roaming around the grounds. The restaurant’s menu had a strong Italian flavor due to the Italian family that owned it. They were very accommodating to our schedule and had a hot meal waiting for us upon our return.
Boat tour along the Victoria Nile to Murchison Falls
One of my favorite excursions while visiting Murchison Falls National Park was taking a boat tour from Para to the base of Murchison Falls, which is part of the Western Rift Escarpment. While waiting for our boat to arrive, we enjoyed listening to a group of men singing and playing instruments. I absolutely love waterfalls! I couldn’t wait to experience the deafening roar of the water. Cruising along the Victoria Nile, we saw crocs and hippos in the water, as well as elephants, buffalo, kob, and many different species of birds. I also noticed a strange-looking tree with oval-shaped pods hanging from it. I later found out that it was called a sausage tree and that the fruit is very poisonous to humans. While making our way upstream, you could see from a distance the powerful falls. The Devil’s Cauldron is one of the most beautiful scenic views in Murchison Falls National Park. The Nile squeezes itself through an eight-meter gorge, forming a 45-meter waterfall, and then forming into a tranquil stream to Lake Albert. As we neared the base of the falls, the amount of cascading water and misty spray was truly breathtaking. The water surrounding the boat was filled with a sponge-like foam from the force of the water falling to the bottom. It was a fun-filled boat ride, with my camera ready to capture the sites in front of me.
Hiking to the top of Murchison Falls
Unfortunately, the boat could not stop at the foot of the falls as it was just too dangerous. We disembarked at the landing point on the cliff, which was the beginning of the trailhead for our hike up to the top of the falls. Our 45-minute hike was named after Winston Churchill, who, in 1907, trekked down the same path. With our guide leading us along the trail and sharing his stories, we were cooled and refreshed by the misty spray from the falls. We stopped at various viewpoints along the way to rest and take some photographs of the amazing scene before us. Once we got to the top, the sound was almost deafening. I had to stop a moment to just listen to the force of the water, moving downwards to the water below. It was such an amazing experience. After exploring the area and breathing it all in, I sat on a gigantic rock and just took it all in. This was nature at its best!
This one tour was only a fraction of the excitement I had within my two weeks in Uganda. Murchison Falls National Park also offers an amazing safari, I tried. For those of you who love waterfalls, I highly recommend that you experience Murchison Falls. It’s hard to put into words how I felt while there. You’d have to experience this force of nature for yourself. I was also very lucky to have had an amazing driver and a very knowledgeable tour guide with us throughout the two weeks. We got to really experience Uganda and its people, and its beauty. Interested in experiencing Uganda? Visit Rwenzori Safaris. ~TPMAbout Kim Jackson—Kim is a new travel writer with an article published in the Travel Post Monthly in 2017. Her style of writing is nature at its best, as well as the people and culture of each place she visits. Next year Kim will travel to South America and visit Rio De Janeiro, Iguazu Falls, Machu Picchu, and the surrounding areas.