We headed out from Kampala Early at 7am, but due to a forgotten passport, picking up of tents and the vehicle boarder pass combined with epic Kampala traffic we didn’t hit the outskirts of the city until 10am! A gruelling 7 hour drive later we arrive in Queen Elizabeth National Park, within minutes we see; Baboons, Ugandan Cob, Waterbuck and Warthogs!
We set up tents with a view straight out over the lake and we are the only people staying in the campsite, even our driver announces he’s not camping with us and will be staying in a nearby hostel. After we return from dinner that evening we realize why; its pitch black and there is an ominous lion growl which seems to be amplified by the dead silence of the night! Laying in the dark listening, you can hear Lions, Warthogs and a wild boar the size of a horse milling about in the undergrowth outside our tent making all manner of noises throughout the night, never the less I’m asleep almost as my head hits the pillow and sleep right through until 5.30am which I am rudely awoken 😉 by my friend shaking me awake and saying “Shit, there is something next to our tent, like right outside, do you think it’s a lion?” We listen for a minute and decide it’s not a lion but an elephant, so I get up to check. I stick my head out of the tent door and as usual get my bearings wrong and I’m looking to my right for ages and I can’t see anything, as I look to my left I turn to see a huge daddy elephant a couple of meters from our tent, it looks straight at me and flaps its ears as a warning and I jump back into the tent (as if the flimsy tents gonna save me?!) But it was an amazing sight and definitely turned out to be the best wakeup call I’ve ever had….
Luckily we had an early start anyways for our Game drive, and we set off just as the sun was coming up. About 10 mins in we see a huge heard of about 12 elephants with 3 tiny baby ellies in tow! Closely followed by buffalo, Cob, Waterbuck, warthogs and finally a gorgeous male lion lazing in the sun (Nice to put a face to the growls!) He didn’t look in the least bit scary to be honest, rolling around on his back batting playfully at grass he looked more like an overgrown version of my dog than a vicious predator. If he were a Lion King character he’d definitely be more Mufasa than Scar material!
Later than afternoon we went on a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel between Lake Edward and Lake George. We saw more elephants but we could get so much closer in the boat as they were stood in the shallow water keeping cool, definitely an amazing chance for photos! We went on to see hippo, buffalo, crocodiles, monkeys, African eagles, kingfishers and Komodo Lizards.
We spent the night camping again, falling asleep to the sounds of loins growling and elephants munching on a small forests worth of trees. Epic!