One of the many famous tree climbing lions at Queen Elizabeth National Park
OK, you’ve made it this far…we’ve worked alongside our partner communities to make sure students have an education and nutrition. We've bought land, built some farms, clean water wells and latrines, given some goats, pads for girls, uniforms, scholarships and emergency food relief.
Now, we get to the part of the journey that most people envision when you tell them you’re going to Africa-we’re going on safari! This is a long haul from Sipi Falls, and many hours in the van, across red-dirt roads, past numerous small towns and villages until we reach Queen Elizabeth National Park. We approach the park from above, and you immediately conjure the opening of The Lion King in your mind. There is a vast expanse of grassland pulsing with wildlife. But first, we are welcomed into the lodge where we have a beautifully prepared dinner with wine and Nile beer before settling into our banda on the perimeter of the savannah. You can hear the animals signaling one another, and you feel a bit vulnerable, because it’s dark. Like, no-city-lights- anywhere-nearby dark, so the stars are breathtaking.
Kyaninga Lodge on the outskirts of Queen Eizabeth
Our guide has instructed us to wake extra early to have the best view of the wildlife in the park, especially if we want to see any lions.
Elephants and Ugandan kob at Queen Elizabeth National Park
Our guide is waiting for us when we get to the dining room for coffee and breakfast, and then our safari begins. The first elephant pod sighting takes your breath away, then the giraffes gracefully meander by and you’re amazed. There are warthogs and Ugandan kob, African water buffalo, and majestic lions. At 3:00, we take a boat ride down the Kazinga Channel. Many of the animals wander to the waterfront in the evening, and there is a smattering of small fishing villages along the shore. We see hippos bathing and elephants playfully spraying water, as well as crocodiles yawning lazily. There are monkeys and multitudes of exotic birds, and all the while, you’re feeling beyond blessed to get to witness this part of the world.
Hippo and water buffalo at Kazinga Channel
Ugandans take great pride in the natural beauty of their country, and the essence of the tagline “The Pearl of Africa” is abundantly clear. As the sun begins to set, we stop for a sundowner and let the soothing tone of Samite’s voice sink into your soul. Safe travels.