Thursday, May 26, 2011


You all are well aware that I am a shit-bag at posting pictures with any regularity. Months can go by, and then 30 will pop up. A few weeks after that, perhaps 20 more will appear. By this point, you've probably ascertained that you are never fully aware of what is going on in my day to day life, what I did last weekend, the weekend before it, or even the month before that (unless of course you are Michelle, who we can all agree is RAD).

The good thing about my delayed posts is this: When I do post pictures, my guilt for having left you in the dark so long gets the best of me and the picture counts are usually pretty good. Right? Right?! Right.

(In my defense, uploading just the following 25 pictures took me close to 5 hours because of the maddeningly slow internet speeds.)

The following pictures are my favorites from a trip I took with friends in early February (I could have said last weekend to make you think I was changing my ways, but I frown on dishonesty).

I'm gonna go ahead and quote the Uganda Wildlife Authority website to introduce you to the magic that is Murchison Falls National Park:

"Uganda's largest national park protects a chunk of untamed African savannah bisected by the mighty river Nile.

It is named for the dramatic Murchison Falls, where the world's longest river explodes violently through a narrow cleft in the Rift Valley escarpment to plunge into a frothing pool 43m below. Wildlife populations have largely recovered from the poaching of the 1980s; in the lush borassus grassland to the north of the Nile, elephant, buffalo, giraffe and a variety of antelope are regularly encountered on game drives, while lion are seen with increasing frequency.

In the southeast, Rabongo Forest is home to chimps and other rainforest creatures.

The Nile itself hosts one of Africa's densest hippo and crocodile populations, and a dazzling variety of waterbirds including the world's most accessible wild population of the rare shoebill stork."

Altogether, we spent two days in the park, entering early on a Saturday morning from our friend Jake's house, spending one night at a small lodge in the center of the park and leaving the following day after a 5 hour game drive the following morning.

A momma warthog with her babies.

This is a crop of an already zoomed shot. I dig the hair.

As the mass stampes off, the lone buffalo stands his ground. Renown as Africa's most dangerous animal, these guys are BURLY and aggressive. On seeing you in the land cruiser they usually grunt and shuffle away only to turn, buck their head up and try (with their terrible eye site) to see just what in the hell you are. If you are anywhere CLOSE to their size or smaller, look out.

This trip gave me my first glimpse of giraffe's in the wild. Let me say: If there is anything more graceful than a Giraffe sprinting across the savannah, I've not yet seen it. So smooth was their gate that it wasn't until I compared their speeds to the wild bush bucks sprinting alongside them that I realized that the "fast walk" was an all out run.

Approaching the river, we stopped to snap pictures of three elephants gobbling up leaves on the trees.

One of many baboons hanging around the river crossing site. Of course stupid tourists are keen on feeding them. And then the stupid tourists get pissed when a jealous baboon who WASN'T fed runs up and snatches their pineapple.

He must be thinking: "Washu lookin' at BISH?!"

Elephants on the riverside. At this point we were on a boat headed up the Nile towards Murchison falls. For $15, we got a three our game float up river followed by another 2 hours down the river.

Another animal you should NOT mess with. Hippos. The rule: don't get between a hippo and water lest ye be trampled.

I know what you're thinking. No. It's an African Fishing Eagle. We saw one of these guys on Lake Victoria while kicking back on Banda Island for July 4th last year. Very fitting.


These guys were all over the place as we approached the falls. All of us were hoping for a Planet Earth-worthy kill, but it was a no go.

A heard of elephants.

The crew with Murchison falls in the background. From this angle, they don't look big. In fact, for anyone who only sees them from this angle they usually scoff at the statement "Murchison Falls is recognized as the most powerful waterfall on the planet (in terms of water pressure)." The next pictures show why...

After the river cruise, we hopped into the land cruisers and drove to the top of the falls. We could have hiked up there and saved time, but the hike is only 2k-ish, and it wasn't even CLOSE to worth it for the 10 USD they were charging. These are awe-inspiring rapids. Your chin drops, and you gasp a bit when you see them. My first thought was, "I wonder if anyone has ever sent them in a kayak." This the Nile river at its most furious!

Brennan washing the feet gives the river some scale.

This answers the kayak question. HELL NO! no one has paddled through this.

Looking up river just down from the rapids. Ferocious.

Murchison Falls at Sunset: "Where soul meets body."

Another sunset pic.

On the following morning, we set out early to cross back over the river in hopes of seeing some lions. Epic fail. But we did see more bucks of all sorts, and we hung out a bit at the delta where the Nile meets Lake Albert. (I got bit on the foot by something with much stronger than I and got a few of my friends worried that the injury was fatal with my cussing.)

It is this type of territorial flex-nutting that leads to...

...enormous hunks of flesh being ripped out of your side!

I LOVE the trees in Africa!

That it, and that's all! I'll do what I can to have more pictures up soon (but don't hold your breath).

Thanks for reading/looking!

I love you all (but especially you, Michelle!)


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