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Top -10 Animal Encounters In Uganda
By: Charlie Farncombe on November 23, 2011
Myself, my better half and two of our closest chums spent the last ten days of our lives screaming around Uganda, trying to pack in as much as was humanly possible before holiday time dried up and we would be on our way back home. In short, we ‘did’ Kampala, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Jinga, the source of the Nile, and the Ssese Islands out in the middle of Lake Victoria. And, in short, it was incredible – one of those rare ‘once in a lifetime’ trips.
As one would expect, there were plenty of photo opportunities. But rather than blow them all in one unfathomable blog, I thought I’d break it down into categories. And even better, I decided to create a top 10 because, let’s face it, everybody loves a top 10. Plus, everyone loves animals. So here it is: A top 10 of our animal encounters.
All images were shot on a Canon Powershot S90.
10. The Vervet Monkey.
The first animal encounter, and what set the precedent for the trip was when we awoke on our first morning to find a family of Vervet Monkeys playing happily with one another in our yard.
9. The Spider.
This encounter happened as I was reading at our camp in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It glanced to my left and noticed a small spider crawling along the woodwork. Now I hate spiders, but I couldn’t resist taking a shot. It was only afterwards that I had a look close up and realised what an ugly mutha it was.
8. The Crocodile.
Quite rightly an object of fear amongst some people, the crocodile commands my total respect as a predator. Here on the banks of the Kazinga channel, they were just relaxing. I was informed that crocodiles sit with their mouths open to cool down when the sun is at its hottest.
7. The African Elephant.
We’d only just started a game drive around the Crater Lakes in Queen Elizabeth when our driver, Hassan, squealed to a halt. On our right hand side was a family of African Elephants. It was our first close-up encounter with these magnificent creatures, although they were quite happy to completely ignore us and continue munching branches.
6. The Water Buffalo.
Considered one of the BIG FIVE game species, this encounter with a herd of Water Buffalo began very quickly as we turned a corner to find them cooling off in a mud pool. Understandably disturbed by our arrival, the entire herd took off, but I managed to get a snap before they did.
5. The Fruit Bat.
This encounter should really be considered in plural, as there was not just one fruit bat – there were thousands. As we approached the cave from above, the silence of the Maramagambo forest was interrupted by their high-pitched communication and the air became rank with their smell.
4. The Fish Eagle.
Again viewed on the banks of the Kazinga channel, this Fish Eagle was surveying the area waiting for a kill.
3. The Hippopotamus.
The shallows of the Kazinga channel were literally packed with Hippos jostling for position. Spending most of their time in the water, it took ‘encouragement’ from our boat’s Captain, in the form of prolonged engine ignition, to provoke them onto dry land.
2. The African Elephant (Redux).
Having already scored big with an Elephant family (see number 7), we were driving around the ridges of the explosion craters in Queen Elizabeth, when in the distance we saw a huge black mass blocking the road. Hassan slowed down the approach, but the enormous bull Elephant began to move towards us. In response, Hassan put the truck in reverse and started a retreat – apparently he had been charged by a bull before – but luckily the Elephant moved off the road and became engrossed in eating some branches, allowing us to sneak past and get a really good look.
1. The Queen Of The Jungle.
Having spent a few hours on the savanna looking for lions, our guide received a phone call informing him of a potential sighting. Driving back the way we had came, we eventually turned up at a collection of trees where three or four tour buses had already parked. In the shade of one tree, we could clearly see a pair of ears that belonged to a lioness, and the excitable tails of her cubs. We sat at a distance for a while observing their behaviour, but when Hassan returned to the bus and urged us to move on he drove us, literally, straight into the lion’s den. As we passed, the lioness greeted us with a brief glance and leapt into the shrubbery. As she did I managed to get one photo…