Our good friend from school, Becca, is currently living and working at Education City in Qatar and decided to use her spring break for a trip to Uganda. Jon and I were really looking forward to having another visitor and we showed her as much of Uganda as we could in a week (with ample time for watching episodes of the Wire, eating Indian food, and drinking wine, of course).

During our time here, we visited several important houses of worship, including the Namirembe Cathedral (Home to the Anglican Church in Uganda), the Gaddafi Mosque (a gift from Libya’s uber-rich “king of kings”, Gaddafi himself), and the Baha’i temple (only one in Africa). We also took a visit to the Kasubi tombs, the burial grounds for the last 4 kings of the Buganda kingdom, Uganda’s majority tribe and on whose land Kampala is situated. Since we live in the Kasubi neighborhood, about 100 meters from the tombs, this was Jon and my third visit, and we’ve learned something new every time!

The main adventure taken during Becca’s visit was a short trip to Murchison Falls National Park. Murchison is home to a variety of wildlife and an impressive waterfall on the Nile River. Murchison is also the only place in Uganda where giraffes are present – very exciting!

To start with, we visited a rhino sanctuary a few hours out of the actual park. We tracked them and approached on foot. Being white rhinos, they did not charge us. In fact, when one rhino started making moves towards our group, a park guide yelled, “Mandy, stop!” And the rhino stopped immediately, patiently, and waited for a few minutes before deciding to go another direction. It was an extremely impressive trick.

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The safari portion of our trip was fun – lots of animals that we’d not seen at Queen Elizabeth National Park on past trips. Lots of new kinds of antelopes, Abyssian Ground Hornbills, and Giraffes! Elephants were also a little more common.

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After two game drives, we took a boat ride down the Nile towards Murchison Falls. On the ride, we saw lots of beautiful birds and a few crocodiles, fully out of the water, holding their mouths wide open. Scary! We finally arrived at the Falls after about 2 hours on the water. The Nile River, which has been making its way from Lake Victoria north, is already a huge river, stretching to 1 km wide at some points. When the water reaches Murchison Falls, it pushes its way through a crevice in the rocks, only 7 meters wide! You can imagine the force that the water has when forced into a sudden drop and such a small space. dsc_0178

Becca left us for Qatar yesterday, so we were sad to see her go! Now we’re really looking forward to making a trip to visit her in Qatar next year. 🙂

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