Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wednesday, 7/9

We departed the Mweya at 8:00 after a fine breakfast and spectacular view. Our trip to the Ishasha Wilderness Camp would take about four hours depending on the roads. As we left the Mweya, we encountered a mother elephant and her adolescent standing guard over their fallen child/sibling. It was quite touching, as they formed a protective ring around the body and stood vigil. "They will remain there in mourning for up to two days" our guide informed us. As the mother swayed back and forth, the surviving calf stood erect, almost at attention, without moving. Twenty minutes later, we turned onto Ishasha Road, a tortuous washed out dirt strip that is considered a main road but resembles a gully in many spots. The 80 kilometers took us nearly 6 hours! However, shortly after turning onto the Ishasha, we noticed two Land Rovers like our own approaching from the south. This mini convoy skidded to a halt and out jumped friends from the other group! It was a hug-fest in the middle of a washed out dirt gully in southern Uganda…how often does that happen? "Wait until you see the Mweya!" we told them. "Wait until you see the Ishasha!" they replied in unison. "Wait till you see the tree lions!" they added. "Wait until you see the hippos and warthogs!"we countered. Suddenly, our self-absorbed middle-of-the-road celebration was interrupted as 28 elephants crossed the road one by one about 50 yards away! We turned and watch in stunned silence. Wow!

But we had schedules to keep, and miles to go before we sleep (slept?). We quickly said our temporary good-byes ("See you tomorrow night!) and off we headed in opposite directions. By now, our friends are enjoying the spectacular view over the Kazinga Channel connecting Lakes George and Edward just as we did for the last 2 days.

We arrived at 1:30, and were enjoying a nice lunch by the river when a family of elephants came down for a drink. Our guide Martin tells us that typically these beasts require 45 gallons of water daily…they had at least that much while we ate! In any event, we reconvened at 3:00 and headed out to find the lions. We traveled over rough terrain for about 90 minutes when finally Pam shouted "There! Over there! A cat!," and sure enough, there were six cats splayed out on the thick limbs of a Ficus Africanus. As we approached, they yawned and looked at us with bored disinterest. Later Cort noticed a tail hanging from a distant tree (courtesy of Pam's binoculars)…Martin thought it might be a monkey, but it was a fully mature lion, mane and all, bored senseless by our attention! We've pretty much seen it all now, with the exception of a leopard. Stay tuned though…we still have a day. Anyway, love to you all and see you soon.

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