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Published: July 19th 2014
Today's adventure would begin early. . . oh who am I kidding, everyday on the safari is insanely early. Now we were off to the Queen Elizabeth National park for the next two days, which is home to prides of lions, and would likely be our only chance of seeing them on the whole safari. Any of the African cats are generally the most exciting to see, as they are very rare and many tourists don't get a chance at seeing them. We didn't get lucky seeing a leopard on the game drive at Lake Mburo, but we all had our fingers crossed for lions in Queen E.
As we drove through the park to get to the Kazinga Channel we saw many more ungulates roaming the savannah, including kobs and waterbucks, as well as vast variety of birds. I'm not much of a bird person so I won't go into the list here, but I'll include an extensive, but not complete list of the birds we saw and were able to identify at the end of all the safari blogs. We also had our first elephant sighting! A family of elephants was cooling off from the hot
sun in a mud pit just to the side of the road. We stopped to take photos but always have to be on the look out for pissed off elephants or mothers with babies. Later this day we actually saw a mother presenting some warning signals, by stomping her feet and flaring her ears, signalling she might charge the jeep if we don't keep moving. But don't worry, we got some adorable shots of the baby before driving off! Priorities.
After a fantastic lunch, where I was chased out of a pubic bathroom with my pants undone by a massive African wasp (yes, this actually happened), we boarded a double decker boat for our cruise. We were the first on board, so we took the best spots on top and waited for others to arrive. Luck was on our side that day, and other than two other tourists, no one else showed up, so we moved into a much tinier boat for the trip. A small boat would allow us to get right up to shore to see the animals. So pumped!
The channel cruise did not disappoint and was a highlight of the
safari. Ok, the whole week was a highlight, but this was really cool because we got so close to many animals. Like, not needing to zoom on my camera close. On the cruise we saw hippos, Nile crocodiles, water buffalo and more elephants, and thanks to our small boat we were within only a few feet of all of them. Interesting fact, water buffalo compete for females within their herd and if they lose the match, they are forever banished from the herd and will never get the chance to mate again. Cue sad Charlie Brown music. Many will die alone, but others will form “bachelor herds” where they live with other males who also lost the battle. Also, hippos can stay underwater, holding their breath, for up to six minutes and can swim up to 30km/hr. And now you know.
As we were off gazing at all the animals both on shore and cooling off in the water, we feel a big thud and the boat began to rock. Uh oh, we hit something. A hippo swims up from under the boat, snorting river mist into the air. We ran over a hippo. Only in Africa!
Sadly, the cruise eventually came to an end and as we were heading back to shore the sun was slowly beginning to set on another perfect day of the safari.
Yeah that's a bit of a cheesy way to end the post, but it was seriously beautiful and I was so happy with the day.
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