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East Africa on a scooter | Part 11 | Hoima – Murchison Falls National Park (120km)

Who dares to drive more than 3.000 kilometers on a scooter through East Africa? Visiting mountain gorillas? Scooter safaris (does this word exist?) in five National parks† To admire lions, buffaloes, hippos and elephants up close, among other things. My name is Eric and I like to travel around on a scooter. Read here part 11 of the unique report of an amazing scooter adventure Uganda, Rwanda en Kenya† In the eleventh part of this trip I drive from Hoima to one of the most beautiful national parks in Africa: Murchison Falls National Park.

Also read:

East Africa on a scooter | Part 1 | From Kampala to Kigali (180 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 2 | Bugala Island – Lake Mburo (170 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 3 | Lake Mburo National Park – Kabale (230 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 4 | Kabale – Ruhija – Gorilla trekking (50 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 5 | Bwindi – Kabale – Kigali (160 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 6 | Kigali Genocide Memorial – Kabale

East Africa on a scooter | Part 7 | Kabale – Queen Elizabeth National Park (175 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 8 | Queen Elizabeth NP – Fort Portal (120km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 9 | Fort Portal – Muhorro (100 km)

East Africa on a scooter | Part 10 | Muhorro – Hoima (100 km)

Ankole cows and a lot of local interest

Several times I slow down, because another Ankole cow is grazing with insanely large horns. It's a beautiful morning. I drive through an incredibly beautiful scenery with termite mounds, grazing Ankole cows and amazed villagers. Would anyone have ever seen a white man on a scooter? I doubt it when I see the eyes of the adults.

Termite Hills on the way to Murchison Falls National Park
Termite Hills on the way to Murchison Falls National Park

In dry weather, the red clay-like dirt roads are no problem. The ground is rock hard. When it rains it is a slope.

Just before the village of Biso, a few children cheer me on exuberantly. 'Mzungu, mzungu!' Barefoot they transport considerable amounts of firewood on their heads.

Children transport firewood near Biso
Children transport firewood near Biso

In the village of Kigorobya I make a short stop. Immediately I am surrounded by villagers, who want to admire my scooter.

Villagers of Kigorobya admire my scooter
Villagers of Kigorobya admire my scooter

It's a repetition of moves, but I can't get enough of it. What fantastic horns those Ankole cows have.

An Ankole cow (bull) grazes on the roadside near Biso
An Ankole cow grazes on the verge near Biso

By an hour I have almost 40 kilometers there when I again take a short rest in the village of Kapapi. It again provides a nice picture with enthusiastic villagers.

Villagers around Kapapi, Hoima district
Villagers around Kapapi, Hoima district

Arrive at Murchison Falls National Park

Around four o'clock I almost reached the end goal of the day. The ferry to Murchison Falls National Park is 35 kilometers away. In Buliisa I ask if there is accommodation anywhere near the national park.

The village of Buliisa, the southern entrance to Murchison Falls National Park
The village of Buliisa, the southern entrance to Murchison Falls National Park

A villager offers to guide me to a beautiful lodge on the Nile. 'It's called Murchison Treehouse and my brother owns it. I just called and you can stay overnight for $25. That's a bargain. Follow me.' I can barely keep up with him on his motorcycle. At half past six we arrive at Murchison Treehouse† A great place to have a day or two as a base for the national park.

The dirt road to Murchison Treehouse
The dirt road to Murchison Treehouse
The restaurant of Murchison Treehouse on the Nile
The restaurant of Murchison Treehouse on the Nile

It's time for a sundowner at Murchison Treehouse's restaurant. Somewhere from the Nile is the sound of hippos. From the bank a crocodile slides into the Nile.

Globe with location Murchison Falls National Park
Globe with location Murchison Falls National Park

A morning scooter safari in Murchison Falls National Park

The morning starts with a delicious breakfast on the Nile. Then it is time to drive towards the ferry in Paraa. The southern entrance to Murchison Falls National Park is only accessible by ferry. From the falls, the Nile flows 40 kilometers in an easterly direction via Lake Albert in a northerly direction.

Map Murchison Falls National Park
Map Murchison Falls National Park

There is quite a bit of surprise among the passengers on the ferry that crosses the Nile at 10.00:XNUMX am. "Are you taking that piki piki (Swahili for scooter) into the park?" The captain can't stop laughing. "Picture me with that thing." A few others follow.

Scooter on the ferry to Paraa
Scooter on the ferry to Paraa

Ten minutes later I drive the scooter off the ferry and report to the entrance. I'm with a local motorcyclist and that saves a lot of nagging. We both pay 20.000 UGX (Ugandan Shilling = approximately 4 Euro) for our vehicle. The entrance to the park is $40 per 24 hours.

Elephants pass the road in Murchison Falls
Elephants pass the road in Murchison Falls

This is my third national park on the scooter and it seems to be getting used to. Yet a minute later I was already shocked. I drive over the bridge and notice just in time that from behind the bushes two adult elephants with a baby elephant in their middle are crossing the road. So turn around and wait until the coast is clear. That takes a while because a whole herd follows.

Murchison Falls is home to over half of all Rothschild giraffes!

I'm a bit shocked when I drive up the bridge again. The elephants have walked about ten meters and are pulling branches from the trees with their trunks. After a fairly steep hill I look out over an enormous grassy plain. What a lovely park this is.

Rothschild Giraffes in Murchison Falls National Park
Rothschild Giraffes in Murchison Falls National Park

My morning safari lasts more than three hours, during which I regularly meet residents of the park. Including some very unique ones. What about dozens of Rothschild giraffes? This giraffe species is seriously threatened with extinction. It is estimated that there are still just over 2.000, with a few hundred in Ethiopia, South Sudan and Kenya. Uganda has 1.550 and many of them live here. In Murchison Falls, these elegant long necks really stand out among the graceful palm trees. It produces beautiful photographic material.

Hussar Monkey in Murchison Falls
Hussar Monkey in Murchison Falls

And what about the funny hussar monkey? From a distance it looks like this monkey is wearing sunglasses.

A bluebottle (Southern Grounded Hornbill) in Murchison Falls NP
A bluebottle (Southern Grounded Hornbill) in Murchison Falls NP

A few rare bluebottles (Southern Ground Hornbill) also report. The bromine is by far the largest hornbill. They can grow to almost five feet in length. Their infectious hum is a feast for the ears and reaches more than three kilometers.

Cleaning for the scooter in Pakwach

Bridge over the Nile towards Pakwach
Bridge over the Nile towards Pakwach
Bridge over the Nile towards Pakwach
Pakwach near Murchison Falls NP

Around an hour I leave the park on the north side and pass the bridge over the Nile to Pakwach. Just after the bridge is a military checkpoint. 'We have a lot of trouble with Congolese gangs and smugglers. But it looks like you're not Congolese and you can't do much smuggling on that little piki piki.'

Roadblock at Pakwach
Roadblock at Pakwach

The soldier has to laugh a lot at his own joke. "How fast can it go?" 'Fifty to sixty km per hour with a tailwind, but it can no longer be burned forward. Do you know a mechanic?'

Scooter repair in Pakwach
Scooter repair in Pakwach

I'm lucky, because the soldier points to a truck that just came out of Murchison Falls. 'Ask the driver, because he's the park's mechanic. He can fix anything.' In just over half an hour he turns the scooter inside out. 'Can I give you a tip,' he reports when he has tested the scooter. 'Have your scooter cleaned regularly when you drive on dusty roads. There was really dust everywhere. Your exhaust was almost closed. You don't want bad luck between the buffalo and elephants.'

An Afternoon Safari and Sunset on the Nile

With peace of mind I leave Pakwach for the afternoon safari. Once again it is fun. Until I spot a large group of vultures near the airport. I also smell a pungent smell. There must be a cadaver somewhere. And that turns out to be the case. A little further is a dead young elephant.

Vultures wait in the treetops at an elephant's corpse
Vultures wait in the treetops at an elephant's corpse
A dead elephant cub in Murchison Falls
A dead elephant cub in Murchison Falls

At six I pay a visit to the five-star Paraa Lodge. I take a dip in the pool and a nice cup of fresh Ugandan coffee.

Swimming-pool Paraa Safari Lodge, Murchison Falls
Swimming-pool Paraa Safari Lodge, Murchison Falls
Welcome to the Paraa Safari Lodge
Welcome to the Paraa Safari Lodge

The last ferry leaves at seven o'clock. The sunset on the Nile is enchantingly beautiful. Half an hour later I report to the restaurant of my guesthouse on the Nile.

Sunset on the Ferry from Murchison Falls
Sunset on the Ferry from Murchison Falls

Also read:

East Africa on a scooter | Part 1 | From Kampala to Kigali (180 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 2 | Bugala Island – Lake Mburo (170 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 3 | Lake Mburo National Park – Kabale (230 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 4 | Kabale – Ruhija – Gorilla trekking (50 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 5 | Bwindi – Kabale – Kigali (160 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 6 | Kigali Genocide Memorial – Kabale

East Africa on a scooter | Part 7 | Kabale – Queen Elizabeth National Park (175 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 8 | Queen Elizabeth NP – Fort Portal (120km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 9 | Fort Portal – Muhorro (100 km)

East Africa on a scooter | Part 10 | Muhorro – Hoima (100 km)

Eric on a scooter in Uganda

Eric

What is it like to drive more than 10.000 kilometers in Madagascar on a locally bought scooter? Or on a pikipiki (scooter in Swahili) through East Africa? In more than 20 years I have visited more than 100 countries. This has resulted in a lot of priceless travel experiences, which I would like to share with you.

ERIC – OVER 100 COUNTRIES
– Currently in Kenya.
– Share unique travel experiences.
– Favorite destinations: Madagascar, Uganda, Japan, India and Colombia.

Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!

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Eric on a scooter in Uganda

Eric

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