Kidepo NP, Murchison NP and Lake Albert

Kidepo NP

This park is right on the Sudanese border and takes a day to travel there including an overnight stop, which we spent at a South African owned campsite called Fugly’s based in Kitgum. The last bit of the oad to Kidepo was slow-going but we managed and arrived there in the afternoon. Not much longer after that we whipped out the biltong and beers and set out for an afternoon game drive. We did not see much but were not disheartened at all as we knew this was a park that holds many opportunities. We had to fetch our guide who stays with you if you wild camp, and at first we thought that was a bit unnecessary until we started hearing the Lion and Hyena around our campsite that night. After a it of nosh we headed up to bed and our guide stayed in a tent in on of the bandas. Later that evening a Lion came so close to our camp and roared so loudly you would have thought he was right next to us. I felt so relieved we were up in our rooftop tent and felt quite desperate or Dennis down below. It was quite exciting though!!! We awoke in the morning only to realise our Lion was perched up on some rocks overlooking our campsite. He was lying in the morning sun and looked so content with life. We met two South African managers of the Lodge at Kidepo and spent the afternoon with them up on the deck over-looking so much game, more than we had seen since we arrived. They also treated us to a boerewors pizza and lemon pie for lunch….. after many a beer and some of Keith’s hartebeest biltong we headed back to camp after fetching our guide and ran into our Lion a few meters away from the campsite. He was on the prowl for sure but headed into the dense bush that surrounded us. Nadia and Keith offered to take us on a game drive with them in the morning, Keith studied conservation and so knows his birds and animals backwards and both of them have spent two years working at parks in Uganda, so we were in good hands.

Muddy roads in and out of Kidepo

A lodge built by Idi Amin and never completed

The lion who came into our campsite, only to be looking over us when we woke

Murchison NP

We had such a good feeling about this park, but I must honestly say we were a little disappointed. The poaching at Murchison continues to be a massive issue and UWA and the government do not do much to stop this. Villagers living on the other side of Lake Albert ( a natural boundary for the park) make their way across the waterway and enter the park to poach meat for eating and if they are fortunate enough to have caught the Elle, well we all know what they are after there. We saw Ele with tiny trunks and scarring on their legs from being caught in snares which have been set up by the poachers, we saw monkeys with stumps for legs and one of the resident Lions in the park, Bushman, only has three legs. For me, I must say I have never seen such obvious signs of poaching in a NP before. On our second night in the wilderness camping area a buffalo had obviously got caught in a snare and wailed for about two hours. I heard a big stone hit our tent which I can only think were the poachers checking to see if we were awake or not and soon after that, the bellows from the Buff died. We got up immediately to try and see if we could make out if our suspisions were indeed fact. We parked by  the river by the hippos and saw a big black bag on one of the canoes and about five guys (as apposed to the normal 2 on a “fishing” canoe). Mike was telling a South African guy who has lived in Uganda for 13 years about this and he said they were definitely poaching and all the signs were there.

Besides all this commotion we got to see new animals we had not yet seen in other parks like Kob, Nile bushbuck, Oribi, Patta monkeys and a black Giraffe.

Our black Giraffe

The Crested crane – Uganda’s national bird

Trunkless Ellie

Uganda’s Pattas Monkey

Jackson’s Hartebeest

Lake Albert Safari Lodge

Owned by Bruce Martin, A South African who has lived in Uganda for 13 years has built a beautiful lodge on a piece of land that crashes down an escarpement that unceils a beautiful valley. Unfortunately they have discovered oil on  the bottom on Lake Albert so this is not much of a secret anymore. Bruce managed to secure funding from USAID a couple of years ago to fund the relocation of antelope (Jackons Hartebeest and Kob) from Murchison to his piece of land to protect the area, the species and encourage breeding. We spent an evening with Bruce at his lodge eating poitjie, drinking beer and solving the problems in Uganda until thunder and lightning sent us all to bed. Bruce offered us a bungalow to crash in for no charge, and we obliged with big smiles.

 

 

3 Responses to “Kidepo NP, Murchison NP and Lake Albert”

  1. Solly says:

    Firstly, Murchison NP is really a heart sore story. For some reason, poaching stories never settle well nor get easier on the ears.

    A black Giraffe, never in my life have I ever heard of such a thing, funny, because my street cred dictates that I am pretty much the Kingley Holegate of SA, just saying.

    Bruce from Lake Albert Safari Lodge, good on you for taking a bit of Initiative. Its always a breath of fresh air to come accross stories of men like Bruce.

    Much Love xxx

    • Our African Footprint says:

      Hey Dan,

      So impressed you are reading all my stories!!! The poaching stories are always very sad and
      bruce was an awesome guy indeed!!!

      Hope you are well, what is happening in your life. Send news?

      Love you boy xoxo

  2. Irene says:

    Truly amazing! You guys need to write a book about your travels seriously. You must been a little scared hearing the buffalo bellowing?
    A truck-less elephant; a black giraffe!? no ways!!! How does the elephant drink water then? amazing! such special people along the way! want to kick myself i didn’t go to Rwanda and see you guys. sniff sniff! i’ll make it up to you!

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