A walking tour into Murchison Falls National Park and a boat tour provide amazing ways to see the country, especially its wildlife.
LOLIM, UGANDA-Sitting on a patio drinking a cocktail at dusk while watching hippos rise like submarines from the Victoria Nile River is the embodiment of luxury.
Chobe Safari Lodge is plonked in the middle of a thick savannah on the east end of Murchison Falls National Park, a five-hour drive from Kampala, or you can fly in on the resort’s runway, which is an experience all to itself. Along the red-stone gravel airstrip you’ll be welcomed by warthogs, giraffes, Ugandan crested cranes and a whole ton of hippo dung.
The lodge, built in the ’50s, is perched on layered terraces that overlook the river and the resort’s fantastically blue swimming pool.
Staying in the semi-permanent, immaculately furnished tents is an unforgettable experience. In the morning, wake up to a vervet monkey on your stoop and through the tent’s thin walls in the evening hear the ever-present sound of the frothing rapids, punctuated by the grunting and huffing of hippos and water buffalo as they make their way through the resort grounds for their nightly stroll in the surrounding savannah.
You can take a guided walking tour into the park, where you can see scores of giraffes munching on acacia trees, and herds of water buffalo who look at you like angry busybodies with terrible haircuts. Beware of tsetse flies, though. Their sharp bites are painful, and you’re more likely to be bitten while wearing black and dark blue. They are harmless, however, and according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority, no longer carry disease.
On the water, boat tours through Murchison Falls National Park and on to the eponymous falls at the other end feature elephants drinking from the Nile, crocodiles catching flies, and the chance to spot some of the country’s amazing birds.
Uganda is a birder’s paradise. It boasts 1,061 species of birds, which is more than half of Africa’s birds, and 10 per cent of all the world’s birds. On the cruise, you can see kingfishers hovering like hummingbirds over the water then dive bombing to their prey, and prehistoric-looking shoebill storks lurking in the reeds.
The grand finale of your water safari is the mighty and wild Murchison Falls. This waterfall is the most powerful in the world as the water from Lake Albert crashes through a six-metre gorge.
This part of the world is, in every sense of the word, magical.