Niamh's best friend came out to Uganda, hot on the heels of our unexpected visit to Ireland. In fact, we ended up on the same flight from Holland where, on a quick stopover, we stocked up on cheese, stroopwafels and cigars.
Introducing Caroline to the intricacies of our east African country, we vowed that this was the last time we visited Murchison Falls National Park. Yes, the park is very nice, but the drive in getting there is a huge pain. And, when not staying at Red Chilli's, the alternatives aren't worth writing home about, particularly in the value for money department.
On the up, we had a rather adrenaline pumping experience by having to brave torrential rains when going for a game drive.
Our previous two trips had convinced us it would be fine to drive into the park in our regular Toyoto Corona, as opposed to a fancy 4×4. Now, with the rains, several of the roads were flooded while the more sandy roads had turned to mush.
Still, according to the ranger we did finally get into our car, having a much lighter Corona could be a good thing. And, if not, the ranger was having all the fun anyway ("Let me bring two shovels, just in case!"). At some point, we were about to get stuck right next to a herd of elephants. The ranger, with one hand on his what seemed an AK47: "Ha HA! We are almost stuck in the mud right next to a herd of elephants! Ha ha ha!".
Still, without Francis, we would not have had nearly as reasonable a trip. Besides seeing almost all major animals, he also on several occasions was essential in getting us through puddles, swamps and, through grassland, from road to road. At some point we were stuck behind an overlander truck sliding down the road, nearly overturning. We skirted the truck by veering off the road, first following an old track, then venturing off on our own. "If you can't see the road, just make your own!"
Our second trip was spent at Sipi Falls, in the foothills of mount Elgon in eastern Uganda. The falls are really three connected waterfalls where the last one has a near 100m drop. Gorgeous views and, at Lacam Lodge, a very pleasant stay.