Google+ Photo Essay: Murchison Falls National Park Safari | Travel & Happiness I by Jenn Smith Nelson

Photo Essay: Murchison Falls National Park Safari (part 2)

Welcome back to the safari party! In case you missed the first post on the beginning of my African safari at Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda and stay at Paara Lodge, you can catch up here. Basically I had to split the posts as I had so many images to share (these really are just the tip of the iceberg) and wanted to include as much of what was a wonderful adventure with you.

Day Two
The incredible sights and sounds of the next morning
Up and at ‘em early, I was truly excited to get going on the morning safari. As I made my way to breakfast, it was still dark and as soon as I got outside my hotel door I was dive-bombed by bats. This didn’t scare me though as I thought it was cool and although this is likely a minority view, I find them rather cute. Breakfast was wonderful as well. Sitting in a large dining room with windows that allowed for a morning gaze at the River Nile, while eating the best food I had during my time in Africa – (a surprisingly delicious all you can eat buffet) made for a good start to the day.


On the way out the door, the sightings from the day earlier were noted on the outside chalkboard. It had me at lions. I started to vibrate again.

I didn’t keep a detailed log the second day as I decided to just take it in for once and not try to document every single thing, besides I had my camera to capture some memories. I really have trouble with this sometimes. Anyone else? And the second day started off in the best way possible, proving just as exciting as the first …


We would get very lucky on day two, spotting not one but two young lions.


Only about 15 feet from me, I remember shaking from excitement and I can still recall the feeling I had as this lion and I shared a moment.


A handsome young male lion.

We saw A LOT of giraffes. They were everywhere and we stopped multiple times to wait for them to clear the road. What magnificent, majestic animals!


It was truly difficult choosing only a few select images for this post. I had at least 5-6 giraffe shots that I really like. But I chose this image because of the silhouetted duo in the background.



And of course, like day one we saw our fair share of incredible birds. I think that I added 30 or so ‘lifers’ to my list with this trip!


Such a cool bird and the tallest of the storks: a Saddle-billed stork. This is a male stork. The sex of this species is distinguished by its eye colour. Females have golden-yellow irises and males have brown.

Another one of the big five … the Cape Buffalo.


Rashid called this group of cape buffalo we happened upon “bachelors” and compared them to older men who get together to watch football and chit-chat. In all reality, these older buffalo band together when they have left their herds likely because they were ousted by younger, more aggressive bulls. Ok, maybe they seemed a bit lazy.


Close up of a cape buffalo attempting to escape the day’s heat by cooling down in the water.

Day 3 Murchison Falls Safari by Land  – Cruising the River Nile Hoping to have a different but equally good experience, the Nile River cruise promised to offer a slower pace than a safari drive. As we stepped onto our boat I made sure I had a front row seat. I knew that sitting beside Simon, our guide for the day, would be a good idea especially to help me identify bird species. It turned out to be the best decision as this three-hour cruise is known as a highlight for avid birdwatchers and Simon was indeed an expert! Highlights of the Nile river cruise included: Hippos galore. I mean everywhere. They are like the giraffes of the water around these parts. So many and so big!


There are a lot of hippos (and crocs) in the water! Our Nile River guide Simon explained that crocodile attacks are very common in the Victoria Nile (Approx. x6/year people are killed!). He shared some good advice, “Never talk ill of a crocodile while your feet are in the river.”


A small grouping of hippos munch on shore side grasses.


My first Kingfisher spotting! This Pied Kingfisher was an exciting addition to my life list and throughout the cruise I felt so spoiled to see these amazing birds diving high from the sky into the river for food.


Our guide Simon’s favourite bird – A Grey Headed King Fisher. What a cutie!


We spotted more elephants (a small herd in fact!) from the boat. This was my best image as the group didn’t stick around long.

bee eater

The Red Throated Bee Eaters are truly beautiful little birds.


Large colonies of bee eaters call burrows tunneled into the side of sandy banks (like this one) home.


A view of the Murchison Falls from the water.

I really enjoyed revisiting this trip through my photographs but it does make me long to go back to Africa.

If you are ever in the area, the River Nile cruise is an experience not to be missed if in the Murchison Falls area. Beyond the species noted above we also saw many more, especially birds (fish eagles, Egyptian geese, black kites, grey herons, darters, etc.). There truly was never a dull moment. I really hope one day to can return with my family so that together, we can visit this extraordinary destination in Africa.

Question of the day – What do you dream about seeing on a safari?    

7 thoughts on “Photo Essay: Murchison Falls National Park Safari (part 2)
  1. Ms. Boice on said:

    I totally LOVE that Red Throated Bee Eater. And those Kingfishers. WOW! Oh yeah, and all that other wildlife stuff. (Heh.)

    What do I dream of seeing on a safari? Well, the birds, natch, but I think Giraffes and Elephants would be cool. I think the other stuff would make me nervous. I’m such a Nervous Nellie. Were you?

    • Um, I wasn’t nervous that I would get hurt but was jittery from pure adrenalin and excitement.

      The giraffes and elephants were really incredible to see. I wish I had spent more time there and had the ability to do even more birdwatching – just so many neat species!

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