We are up bright and early Monday morning as George leaves in the dark to drive the van to the other side of the River as we await our boat ride down the Nile! Once we are all on board we begin the 1-2 hour cruise with sightings of hippos, crocodiles, exotic birds, water buffalo.....everything except the elephants we had hoped to see! Guess we will save those for next time!!
The force of the waterfall keeps us from getting too close but from our vantage point we enjoy the full majesty of these beautiful falls!
Once we return to dry land we climb back into our now muddy van and head about 4-5 hours back to Kampala. When one enters this National Park you are charged a 24 hour fee per person of $40 US dollars .....which means we needed to exit at precisely 1:05 pm .....but with the aftermath of the rains, the dirt road was less than hospitable and as our luck would have it we get behind a giant bulldozer going 2 miles an hour on the single lane pathway! So of course when we reach the exit it is approximately 1:25pm and for that extra 20 minutes the government of Uganda wants to charge us another full $40 fee.....each! George talks and pleads our case....and finally they relent......they agree to only charge us half the amount!! (and we'll always wonder where that extra $100 went!!)
We are now racing back to Kampala to finish out our adventure with a health exit exam and just a little more souvenir shopping! We all passed the exam with flying colors and we return to the van to find it will not start! Our adventures in Uganda continue .......and I now see the 6 hours until my flight ticking away! George makes a phone call that luckily provides the magic to get us going again, so off we go....picking up those last minute treasures before heading west to Entebbe. We should arrive at the hotel in plenty of time for me to freshen up, repack and be at the airport with time to spare before my 12:45am Tiesday morning flight to London and beyond ----back to the good ole' USA! What could possibly go wrong??? Oh that's right.....the traffic in Kampala!! As our luck would have it the Kampala evening traffic struck with a vengence! To say I was becoming a little stressed was an understatement!! We sat in one place for more than 1/2 an hour without moving and no alternative route! With miles and miles to go until Entebbe and the clock ticking away my anxiety level was rising rapidly. The only bright note was picking up George's family to drive with us to the airport. It was delightful meeting his darling wife Irene and adorable daughters.... 2 year old Abigal and baby Malina.
We reached the hotel near the airport after 10pm ....I rushed in and changed, rearranged my suitcase and we sped to the airport which was bustling with travellers at 11pm at night! After 2 security clearances I'm at the baggage checkin desk as they are calling my flight to London! Rushing like OJ I make it to gate and get onboard with a heavy heart as I leave behind many wonderful experiences and people here in Uganda! I hope to return someday.....someday soon I hope!
Thank you ladies for sharing this wonderful week with me!
I left before everyone but the rest of our team left Uganda today with a stopover tonight in Dubai. They will arrive back at LAX around noon on Wednesday....feeling much the same as me I am sure .... blessed by our experience complete with wonderful memories of our awesome two weeks with the special people we came to know in AmazingAfrica!
We all have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend!