Today we woke up at 7a so we would have time to eat and leave for our boat safari on the Nile river at 8a. The problem was it had been raining since at least 5a. Ssepuuya was able to change that time by request of Joanne. So we relaxed around the Pakuba lodge until lunch time. We left around 1:30p to head to the boat. When we arrived, there the whole top of the boat was full and the bottom was half full. I talked to one of the ladies on the other side and she said they are from Belgium. They are safari park hopping for 12 days. The only park they are not doing is the one with the gorillas because it is so expensive. During the ride we saw a giant crocodile laying on the shore with another younger one. Not long after we left the crocodile, the rain, thunder, and lightning came. It poured for quite a while, but was fun to watch. The first three rows became empty pretty fast as they were getting soaked. The second row empties for a short time of everyone except Jen because she had a rain jacket. We also saw many hippos and even some babies too! Most of them were in the water, but we did see about 5-6 on the land eating. They told us the hippos are usually the old, very pregnant, or mom and new baby. While recording a group of them, one popped his head out of the water and blew it out of his nose. It made me jump as I was so focused on the other hippos and watching for one to open its mouth. About 3/4 of the way to the falls, we saw an elephant on the bank. It was pretty far away, but we asked if we could go there and the captain turned for us. I was afraid the other boat that was by it would scare the elephant away, but thankfully they did not. The captain pointed out its short trunk. He said it had been caught in a trap, but they are so strong it was able to free it’s trunk. The n it healed and was able to be used again. The elephant became frustrated with us disturbing its meal and trumpeted at us before walking away. Tony told it that he understood how it was feeling. At one point, I asked why a bunch of trees were dead on one side of the river and the other side were very green. They told me that the water flooded that area in 2020. Those trees were not able to survive being under water. They are starting to grow now. We made it to Murchison Falls. I can never get over how powerful it is. God can truly show himself in water. He can be and is more powerful than Murchison Falls and as gentle as a lake. There were also a lot of birds. The main one I saw and knew was the pied kingfisher. At one point we also saw a giant kingfisher. They actually turned the boat around to see it better. Destanie thought it was stupid to turn around just for a bird. Then we learned that it was very rare to see that bird. It was very hard to see the color because it was high up on a branch. A few minutes later I pointed out another one from the front of the boat where I was sitting. The captain said thank you and told everyone about it. Destanie appreciated this one more because we could see it much better. I did as well. It was beautiful.
Upon arriving back at the dock Wilson and Ema were waiting for us. I rode with Wilson again because I love his safari driving! (Mom don’t read the next couple sentences) He drives very fast and is always on a mission. He does slow down to stop when asked or it is needed. Neil, Rachel, Destanie, and Susanna were with me for this drive. Wilson was on a mission today for us to find lions, so he stopped once for us to take pictures of giraffes. We also had to stop in a bunch of bushes because there were elephants there and one was right by the road. We waited awhile and took pictures. Then Patricia, our guide, started hitting the side of the door with her hand. This helped distract the elephant from its eating and made it move. As we drive by it trumpeted at us from behind the bushes because we disturbed it meal. Not long after that we saw a vehicle and Patricia got a call to go to it. They had found two male lions. One of them became irritated with us and got up to move away. When he did he sneezed and all of us jumped and then started laughing. A bunch of other vehicles came then. I thought one was going to run over the second lion because they were so close and were looking at the first one. We decided to head out and saw one of our vehicles, so we told them to go out because there were two male lions. We drove back through the brush with the elephants again as it was getting dark and was time to go back to the lodge. On the way back, each of us was hit in the face by at least one bug. It felt like someone threw a rock, when it hit. I think this may have been the best safari year so far. Although, on my first trip I did get to watch a lion eating it’s fresh kill. That was pretty cool.