Entebbe to Queen Elizabeth Park: Camping with the Hippos
Sep 13, 2011
|Drive to Queen Elizabeth Park Photos
When the alarm went off I took a few minutes to assess where I was and how I got there. To this day I have no clue how I remembered to set the alarm for the correct time. The original plan for Entebbe was to take advantage of the showers but as you can imagine, this wasn’t going to happen in my hangover stupor and on my stumble to the washroom to clean up I realized when I stubbed my toe on the cement stair that I didn’t notice that I left my tent yet again without putting in my contact lenses (again…the fact that I remembered to take them out the night before…no clue!).
Most mornings Kristella and I were in sync in terms of having our gear packed and out of the tent to start taking it down. Today not so much, she had to wait while I was still packing and rolling up my mat before being able to dismantle the tent. Feeling guilty for being the slow one, I was the one that got down and rolled up the muddy disgusting tent. Little did I know at the time that this was going to be my last time taking down the tent!
We had a long drive day ahead of us as we were headed to Queen Elizabeth National Park where we’d be for two nights and I’d be having my final safari of my trip. The end of the trip was so close now and I was already starting to dread having to leave and go home. As with most trips, when you reach the end it always starts to feel like it has passed much too quickly. Opposite to how I was feeling in the middle when it felt like I’d been away for so long already and there were weeks to go.
As I’m sure you can imagine in my state, I got on the truck and promptly went back to sleep. We had a stop today at the Equator though, where we were able to get off the truck, stretch our legs have a cup of tea, do some souvenir shopping and of course get our photo straddling the Equator.
We drove through another rain storm on our way to our camp and that was when Kevin asked for a show of hands for upgrades, without giving it much thought I popped mine up and so did my roommate. Kristella and I would be in a permanent tent for the two nights. Then I discovered that this was the last place where we’d use our tents. After this camp we were headed into Rwanda and we would be in dorm rooms there (unless we upgraded).
When we arrived at the camp, of course the sun was shining and it appeared that my upgrade to avoid the rain was unnecessary but then we had the tour and were shown our accommodation. These permanent tents had beds and bedding – we’re talking two double beds! Electricity – only a light no outlets but still and the highlight, our own bathroom! They were the coolest things ever! You’d pass through the room part of the tent and unzip the back and walk out on a back porch area that had a toilet, sink, mirror and tub. We had been promised hot water as well but that didn’t quite pan out.
Since I didn’t have to set up a tent I wandered over the field area where every one that didn’t upgrade was pitching theirs and helped them out and then helped get the rest of the kitchen etc unpacked before trying to get some writing done. This was a miserable fail as it had been most of the trip since everyone ended up in the bar area and chatting away so I quickly gave up and joined the conversation instead.
It was when I attempted to take advantage of our private bath that I discovered that hot water really meant lukewarm and there was no pressure from the handheld shower head so there would be no hair washing being done. I high jacked one of the tenters cold showers to handle that later.
The camp was near a lake and there is a large population of Hippopotamus’ in the area. Kevin had warned us that at night they often wander through the camp – right down the path dividing the bar area from my tent. Fun stuff!
That evening after dinner while we were sitting at the bar – there was our group and another Geckos group that was coming from the other direction at the camp that night – we could hear the snorting of the Hippos. Immediately all of the people from the other group that were in the bar jumped out of their seats and ran to where the noise was coming from. The rest of us stared after them with our mouths open then looked at each other confused. Did they really just run towards a pack of Hippos? Hippos. The animal that is known to have killed the most humans? Really?
Just as the people were running screaming towards the Hippos, Kevin walked into the bar. He looked at us and asked where the others were going. When we told him they were running to see the Hippos that were out in the road he gave the classic tour leader sigh – you know the one that they give every time they encounter a stupid tourist. He shook his head, told all of us not to follow suit and then headed out to speak to the others.
I went back to my book and secretly hoped one would get charged to add some excitement to the evening. Ok well not charged in a serious way…just hoped that the Hippos would give them a bit of a “back the f*ck off” warning. On my way to bed that evening I flashed my headlamp around really well before crossing the path.