Friday, 19 March 2010


The lesson learnt last week was avoid budget safaris. 10 people in a rickety old saloon car may break world records but isn't very conducive to viewing the 13 types of primate that supposedly swing through the branches of Kibale Forest Reserve. However, while contorted into the back seat amongst four generations of one family, I did get a good look at the gums of the smiling and oblivious grandma.

This was not enough to deter us from hiring Safari John, along with his clapped out taxi to take us through the savannah plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Within the first five minutes of our 'game drive' it became apparent Safari John knew nothing about safari. Within 15 minutes we were informed there were neither zebra or giraffe and interest shifted to picking my nails.

Safari John, however was determined to show us a good time and cranked up the radio. As Ugandan pop music blared out the car, the entire wildlife population of QENP migrated to Tanzania. On the odd occassion we saw some non-descript deer like creature run in the opposite direction, Safari John would slam on the brakes and reverse, warning beeper on just in case any animal was thinking of crossing our path.

An afternoon boat trip turned out to be more lucrative. The guide shouted out as we passed elephants, buffalo, hippo, hyena, lion and more birds than you could shake a pair of binoculars at. These calls would be accompanied by a chorus of excited shouts as the fellow spectators - consisting of 50% OAP birdwatchers, 40% bum bag wearing Americans and 5% German pornstars - would wield their long zoom cameras and elbows as they made for the side of said animal. The boat would tip us dangerously towards the water and my thoughts turned to my weighing up the chances of making it to shore. What if I did and then got finished off by warthogs? There isn't half as much glory as wrestling with a crocodile and no-one would be able to keep a straight face at the funeral.

I never thought I'd be so relieved seeing Safari John back at the dock. After a swift embrace he revved the engine, put the volume on max and we sped out the park, sending warthogs flying in our wake.

A gorge in QENP

A non-descript deer like creature

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