Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Oh my goodness, it was amazing! But it’s kind of funny/sad. I knew before I came to Africa that I was kind of a chicken, but that has all been heightened to like a million since I’ve been here and especially on this safari. It all started with the Rhinos, wait hold on, it actually started with our drivers. Jack was the man. But he liked to drive fast… and we’ve seen so many car accidents here because of this very same thing. Driving is always a spiritual experience here, you have to pray so much, it’s better to just not look. At one point we were going over 120km/hr. I don’t know what that is in miles, probably not as fast as I think, but in a rickety old van and African roads, it’s a very scary speed. Anything over 100 just gave me this creepy feeling. But no more about driving. We survived and Jack did an awesome job on the actual safari, we had the front row view for all of it, amazing! And only broke a few laws =)
So, the Rhinos. Those things are huge! I think they said some of them get up to four tons! Their horns actually weren’t as big as I thought, but their bodies definitely made up for that. So we’re in our vehicle headed for the rhino’s so I think we’re going to drive to the rhinos and see them through our cars… no. we got out, and on foot walked this little/long path into the raw African terrain to seek out some rhinos. We were so close to them, some people got about 15ft away. There were two of them. One from Kenya and one from America. Oh and some crazy facts: there are only ten rhinos in all of Uganda and none of them are native. Rhinos were poached to extinction here and they are just recently starting to bring them back. Oh and another funny fact, the first Rhino was born in Uganda since they were all killed and guess what this new little Rhino baby’s name is… Obama. Yup, that man is like a god here, it’s ridiculous. But, moving on, so we’re standing here in front of these two giant rhinos, on foot, in the middle of who knows where and our guides don’t even have a gun or anything! This is where my chickenness comes in. And this is where you can meet William.
William is the guy who watches over one of these rhinos (all the rhinos have someone who watches over them right now so people don’t poach them). But yeah, he was my buddy, I hid behind him in the moments when I thought we were going to die… which happened to be many. Rhino’s are just so huge! And then you here of Rhino’s charging and I’m like, well I don’t want to be charged/gored. So then they tell you not to worry because if anything does happen just climb a tree, well maybe if there had been big enough trees close enough that would have comforted me but we were surrounded by all these little twigs. The Rhino’s were being shaded by a rather large tree but there was no chance of running to safety into that thing, it would have been easier to ride the rhino (or trampled by it) than to get in that tree.
But thanks to all my praying, we all survived =) And the rhino’s were pretty cool to see, they were kind of complacent/boring by way that they didn’t really do anything, but in my mind I imagined them doing many things so I would not ever claim to have been bored while we were there. I was either praying or thinking of ways to escape, I took a few pictures too.
But man mom and dad, what did you do to make me such a chicken?? I just don’t understand it. There is this part of me that wants to be adventurous… but it is far less dominant than my fear of actually doing it. I think I just have to accept the fact that I’m not brave, it’s a sad sad reality, but I must face it. I’ll take it as my way to be holier =) Just kidding =) but I do pray a lot when I’m scared =)
But now for the rest of our safari! Especially since we haven’t even reached Murchison National Park… I think that’s what it was called. Our specific place was Murchison Falls with Matoke Tours… combined to create the name matoke falls! But oh my goodness can you imagine a water fall of matoke… well probably you can’t because you don’t really know what matoke is, think a water fall of really hard mashed potatoes… yeah. And this waterfall we saw oh my goodness it was the most raging giant crazy scary beautiful waterfall I’ve ever seen. Imagine the entire Nile, all the millions of gallons of water that it holds, and squeezing that down this narrow path that drops… and that’s Murchison falls. It was just raging. Beautiful and crazy. I loved it. And the boat tour we went on to get their was just amazing too. Well actually it was slightly traumatizing… I prayed a lot there too. But to me it seems understandable cause we were in this little boat and were like surrounded/on top of these huge hippos! And sometimes we get stuck on the bottom and sometimes there’s crocodiles around us too… It was beautiful and amazing but oh man, I just saw the million ways in which a hippo was going to bump our boat (which happens quite often) and we were going to become it’s lunch, well more like it’s chew toy because they aren’t meat eaters… just meat killers.
The scariest/most amazing part was when we this family of like four elephants were on the shore. So of course we got as close to them as possible. And getting as close as possible to the lions meant floating right into a hoard of hippos on all sides and basically right where we floated too. I was examining where we would go/how close we could go and saw two hippos stick their heads up and then go under water again, and where did we go… right where those hippos were. We just continued to get closer and closer…we had to have been on top of them. And then this huge crocodile swam beside us and then we were stuck on the bottom of the Nile for a while too. Being stuck on the bottom when you’re surrounded by elephants on land, and hippos and crocs in the water… is a slightly creepy experience. Have you seen a hippo? Those things are not something you want to mess with. They make the crocodiles look friendly.
And at night they would often come into our campground. We are sleeping in tents. A tent stands no chance against a angry hippo, or a hungry warthog (which were there all the time). And neither do I. It was so scary. I could have sworn I saw a huge hippo the first night walk past the back part of the campground. Nobody believes me. But I about peed my pants I was so scared. I was shaking all over. I didn’t want to die by a hippo mauling. There was a really funny encounter with the wild animals though too, before my hippo sighting a warthog stole Drew’s backpack! It was sitting in front of his tent and the thing just grabbed it and ran. Drew had to chase down the warthog! It was hilarious. Poor drew only had these cheep shower shoes on his feet. But luckily for him the beast dropped it after awhile, but oh my goodness it was just hilarious. There went this warthog with a bright red backpack in its mouth. And those things are ugly. Pumba was much cuter looking. Disney deceived us.
But now for the best part, we went on two game drives. It was just amazing. We saw so many giraffes. They are such beautiful creatures. And huge! They were my favorite I think. Just so interesting to look at.
Now the Lions, they came with the best adrenaline rush. You could just tell that they knew they were ‘bad’ and untouchable. The first day we like stalked them. It was awesome. Apparently you get a fine if the rangers see you go off the path so what does Jack do? He waits for all the others vehicles to be out of site and drives us right in front of a male lion with two of his little ladies. It was such a blur. I was so scared it was going to like just jump into the vehicle and eat us. We were so close. Like 15 feet from them. It was awesome. And then the second day we saw two more lions. First a female was in the road and then a male was just posing for us a little later. It was awesome. And yet again, Jack made sure our van had the best view of the lion. It ran right in front of our van. It was so exciting. But it’s also kind of funny because as soon as someone spots a lion like every vehicle in the park comes to see it too.
The second day we also saw this huge hoard of elephants, there were at least thirty elephants right in front of us. They were so cute. Mommas, poppas and babies. Just struttin their stuff. But of course me and my nervousness was slightly creeped out and prayed that all the elephants wouldn’t decide to charge us. But we were safe… I attribute it to my constant praying =) lol!
We also saw water buffalo, water bucks, bushbucks, jackals, tortoises, all kinds of birds and antelope, monkeys, baboons, and I’m drawing a blank on all the rest. The two things we didn’t get to see that we wanted to were snakes and cheetahs. Jack said that black mambas and anacondas were the most common snakes there, but sadly they only move around at night. The cheetahs were hiding too, they said you can usually find them in trees but sadly we never found one. And we didn’t get to see Zebras either, but that’s because they don’t have them in Murchison, not because we missed them.
It was such an amazing trip. Definitely a highlight of my time in Africa. I loved it. But I'm sorry, there are just seriously way to many pictures to look through right now so I’ll just post this one… I took it, I’m proud of it. And I'll show all the other one's when I get back for anyone who's interested!