From Queen Elizabeth NP we headed back home to Buloba for a couple of nights to do some washing and to have a second try for the Shoebill at Mabamba Swamp. Then we headed off on the final leg of our safari - to Murchison Falls NP and to the Budongo Forest west of Masindi. We stayed three nights at Red Chilli Rest Camp and one at the New Court View Inn, Masindi.
|A guest at Red Chilli Rest Camp.|
|The ferry was in great demand.|
|Getting up before dawn most mornings had its rewards.|
Unlike our previous visit in December 2016, the park was very busy and we were unable to get onto the boat trip the afternoon we arrived as we had hoped. We booked in for the Falls boat trip for the next afternoon. Otherwise we drove the tracks on the north of the river - taking the first ferry over each day.
|Hartebeest enjoying the lush grass but not the tsetse flies|
|Nice to find our own elephants on a drive|
|Rock Pratincole (immature)|
I was expecting the park to be dry and dusty as Lake Mburo NP was a week or so earlier. However the wet season had arrived late and good rain had fallen right up to our visit. Everything was lush and green but there was no mud. Perfect - except for the tsetse flies that seemed to relish the conditions and the opportunity for fresh Australian blood.
|Fishermen in the Victoria Nile Delta|
|Dung Beetles doing what they do best.|
|Borassus Palms and lush grasslands.|
By far the best birding was on the morning drive out south to Masindi where we detoured via the track to the top of the falls and the Honeymoon Track. Unfortunately birding from the car (and the tsetse flies) made it hard to get onto everything and there were a few that went unidentified - we still saw 41 species.
|Black-bellied Bustard and Abyssinian Ground Hornbill|
|Tsetse Flies on the car bonnet|
After lunch at the New Court View Inn, Rob and I headed out towards Budongo Forest for a recce prior to the next day’s Royal Mile walk. It was lucky we did as we encountered a 2 km stretch of road that had been graded but not yet compacted and heavy rain in the morning had turned it to deep mud. One large truck was stuck midway and we only just managed to get through. A slide onto either roadside and we would have been going nowhere. We pushed on to the Busingiro section of Budongo Forest and picked up a few species then headed back to Masindi searching for a way around the bog. A detour through the big sugar cane farm did the trick.
Next morning we met up with Royal Mile guide Vincent and spent a productive 3 hours walking the road through one of the best patches of rainforest in East Africa. It was quieter than on our previous visit in December 2016 but I was happy with great views of a pair of Chocolate-backed Kingfishers. A Marsh Tchagra and a Grey-headed Oliveback were bonuses in a patch of scrub on the way back to Masindi.
|Chestnut Wattle-eye (the female has chestnut back, wings and chest).|
|Red-tailed Bristlebill building a nest|
Next we drove home to Buloba, had yet another morning at Mabamba Swamp, a night in Kampala and saw Rob and Lou off to the airport on Friday morning. The whole trip was a great success with all of our objectives met.
|Nearing the end of our journey|