Thursday 09 November 2017

On the first weekend, we got on a bus and headed up towards Murchison Falls which is about a 6-hour drive! We got to know all our fellow travellers – lovely bunch of people.

Just a short hike up to the head of the waterfall – it is absolutely beautiful, and you really appreciate the power of the water. After seeing the Waterfall we then head off to Base Camp and meet Wally the Warthog who lives on the base camp – we have strict instructions not to leave ANY food in the tents as Wally has an incredible sense of small and will happily trample over your tent to reach even half a biscuit!

Also, we’re told that the hippos will come up from the river and graze – reassuring to know that if you need to get up in the night you may well meet one, but just to ignore them!! Kirsty and I install ourselves in our tent – Kirsty was not happy that there were no mosquito nets over the camp beds – even though it’s a high malaria area – I tell her to “Man Up”.

We all gather round the campfire (well, bar) and meet up with our fellow travellers – the evening was a good time to really get to know each other – so the eternal ice breaker – two truths and one lie went around the table to great effect. Clearly these will not be revealed here – “What goes on tour… stays on tour”!

Next morning up at 5 to leave at 6. Get used to putting on your make up by the light of your mobile phone!! Forget about styling hair – it’s the ‘au naturel’ look all the way!

So, we get on the bus and off we go to see the animals and guess what! The first animal we see is an Elephant – so that was me happy as a confirmed elephant lover! The first day was the day to be a Giraffe lover; they were everywhere and came really close to the bus.

We saw Warthogs, Antelope of every size and description, and Buffalo. There was also an assortment of colourful birds, which pleased our resident ‘twitcher’ on the bus. On the second day we did another, shorter safari drive, but did not see many animals. There were some Elephants in the distance and we completely missed out on seeing Lions – our guide (Dennis) told us that because it was a full moon the night before. The Lions will hunt at night, so they were all asleep in the thickets and were not going to come out and see us! In the afternoon we go to catch a boat – but not before we saw some impromptu dancing from the local ladies, all shaking their booties!

So, we take the boat down the Nile and what a fantastic trip that was, we even saw a family of elephants on the side of the river. I thought this was amazing, and a privilege, and something I’ll never forget. We also saw a huge Crocodile basking in the sunshine with his mouth open to cool himself down – as well as some little Crocodiles scurrying about in the river. Hippos galore – they look so chubby and friendly, but they are not!

Although, our guide did say that you’ve got more chance of making friends with a Hippo then you have a Buffalo – something you always wanted to know, I’m sure! So back from Safari and back to work on the Monday. Kirsty and I are going through our training materials and keep coming up with more things that we think would be useful tools for the staff in the future – such as a resource file, therapeutic play, attachment training, stress and anxiety in children, self-harm and transition, fostering through to adoption (and everything in between!).

I’ll tell you more about how the training was received in the next blog.

In the area we are calling home, Makindye, we now have a favourite coffee shop which we call in to on our way home from work. This Café does a very decent cappuccino and good food at reasonable rates – on average we spend about 60,000 US (£12) for both of us. We have discovered that wine is quite expensive, but G & T’s are not! There is also a Country Club here which has nice food – you can also use the facilities for the day. Gym, tennis, swimming pool for 20,000 US (£4).

Venturing further afield – in the middle of Kampala there are loads of bars, restaurants, and shopping – including the Banana Boat which sells all things African. There is also a Craft Market selling the same sort of stuff. Always remember to negotiate in the markets…

I would recommend a Boda City Tour – it’s a bit hairy but keeps your adrenalin levels up! You can visit a couple of mosques, the parliament building, the Ugandan museum, a craft market and everything in between – a great way to see the chaos and colours that is Kampala. We paid 100,000 US each for that (£20), so great value.

I’d also recommend going to watch the African Traditional Dance at the cultural centre which is mind blowing. Every dance tells a story from different parts of Uganda – and wow, can they dance! It cost 50,000 US for the show and 30,000 US for a BBQ. A great experience.

Next time I’ll share what kind of training we delivered and how helpful this was for the local staff.

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