Thursday, November 7, 2013

Murchison Falls National Park Wildlife - Wow!

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Aren't they beautiful? I've seen giraffes in zoos and pretend wildlife parks in the USA and never gave them a thought. In the Ugandan bush where they really live, they brought tears. They lope in slow motion, they neck, they play. They're shy but seem aware of admirers. Through much of this magical two-hour game drive, I was overwhelmed and the giraffes.....well, I have a new love.  We saw hundreds. This photo makes me want to be there again. I did not expect African wildlife to affect me so deeply. But it did. Giraffes! If reincarnation is real, let me be one. We saw so many that they became almost commonplace. What we were really looking for that morning after bush camping was a lion.

Kara and PK are keen on sighting lions from their perches atop the Land Rover. They're hopeful, but they are not the tracking experts. The expert? That would be Dennis.

Dennis brings out the binoculars, but what he mostly did to find lions was read the tracks and the signs. He sniffed the air. And then he directed Pete Meredith to go this way or that, down the rutted road or off into untracked territory, around bushes, back onto the red mud road. We made numerous twists and turns and then............

It was breathtaking to see a lioness and two cubs. We weren't this close, of course. It's the  telephoto lens effect. Dennis estimated the cubs to be about two months old.

One of the cubs turned to look after the other had slipped into the tall grass. 
Then mama checked us out before they all disappeared into the brush.

We were patient, and finally, the cubs crept forward to satisfy their curiosity while mom, her blonde haunch visible behind them, settled down for her morning nap. Not long after this photo was taken, another safari vehicle arrived and the lions hid. It was 9 a.m., and we headed back, in triumph, I must add, to our camp a mile or so away. 

I've taken thousands of photos and never had such an emotional response to capturing a good image. There isn't time to set up a shot; on game drives, or game treks, it's pretty much luck and trying to keep the camera still and not tearing up or shaking with excitement. I took hundreds more photos than I will ever display. What do I have for my efforts? Visual reminders of some of the best moments in my life. More of them are below, most captured in Murchison Falls National Park between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m on Monday, October 7, 2013.  Best Monday ever. 
The Crested Crane, Uganda's national bird.
Totally lucky shot. This gesture lasted a second or two.

Moments later, they all flew off. 

Cape buffalo are a big presence in the national parks we visited. In their protected state, they appear healthy, although no animals are completely safe from poaching, if only by villagers, for food.
A more sober looking buffalo, this one about 10 feet from the vehicle.

We came within a few feet of this elephant in a small boat on the Nile River
as we made our way back to our night's lodging.
On a morning boat trip in Murchison, this elephant came down to the river to feed.

A rhino named Obama (his father was African, his mother imported from a Florida zoo.) We did not see him in Murchison but en route to the park at the Ziwi Rhino Sanctuary. There are currently no rhinos in Uganda outside of sanctuaries. They have all been poached because stupid people think their horns have aphrodisiac qualities. 

Hartebeests pause from their incessant eating to take a look. They are prime lion fodder, I think. 

A jackal, one of a pair, doesn't seem too concerned about us.

Cheeky little oribi, about 3-feet tall, taking a leak in the middle of the road. Pete stopped
the Land Rover and we watched and waited. 

After a lengthy discharge, the little beastie
decided to deposit some pellets as well. Then he bounded off.

Hippos (river horses) are thick along the Nile River in Murchison. We saw this family on a morning boat ride. Hippos secrete a reddish goo that acts as a sunscreen. They spend most of the day partially submerged and venture onto land at night to feed. They mate and give birth in the water.
Nice job, honey. Leyla Ahmet Meredith gives Pete Meredith a bit of a boost.
The Meredith team does river, game and hiking trips as TIA Adventures.

This day, and several more, made possible by TIA Adventures. 


  1. Mary, thanks for these gorgeous pictures. I had no idea one could actually see such a wide variety of animals, in such large numbers, in a national park. Let's hear it for national parks and lots more of them, here and there! This truly will be a trip of a lifetime for you and Mr. Paul.

  2. Oh, Mary, Love seeing your reports, it brings back such memories of being there, the sheer power if simply being in that place and experiencing the presence of the wild creatures. YOur photos are stunning. I fell in love with the giraffes too. Fun to run into you at the airport too, hoping our paths cross again very soon! xxoomarcy