Oh wow, where to begin. It was such a beautiful time with my parents while we are out on Safari. We spent a wonderful time at Pakuba Safari Lodge. We did an evening safari the day we arrived, then we did an early morning safari the next day followed by pool time for the boys and massages for the women. The next day we did a water safari and spent some more time at the pool and playing card games. While we could have done some more Safari time we were blessed in the time that we did go out seeing almost every animal we possibly could besides a male lion, rhinos (have to go to special parks for that) and chimpanzees (special safari searches for that)... We saw more animals than I knew existed. There is this one that looks like an elk called a water buck. There is another that is in the deer/antelope family that has a giant grasshopper lookin face. There are these full grown miniature antelope family things called Oribi, literally they are literally full grown and smaller than a baby antelope lol That was a fun time with our guides trying to figure out which were which.
We had a great time is the point. We took advantage of the quiet location of the lodge and embraced what it is, living in the middle of the African wilderness. We had warthogs, elephants, water bucks and tons of birds that came around the lodge space. It was literally wild lol
We had a designated table and waiter the whole time. I got a tsetse fly attack while we were on the water safari and when we got back the waiter brought dinner (without being asked) all the way to my cabin so that even though I was in pain and couldn't attend dinner I could at least eat something. The front desk staff brought soothing body washes and lotions for me, they even brought a plastic chair so I could sit in the shower rather than have to stand while trying to soothe the pain. Let me tell ya folks... AVOID Tsetse Flies at ALL costs!! Holy crap what a reaction, I swelled everywhere, huge allergic reactions with severe nerve and bone pain. I'm telling you what a weird reaction to a fly bite. I wore Black and I later learned black attracts the flies, so fore warning... don't wear black, cause you don't want to get bit... it is NOT fun.
BUT that water safari.....
We took the afternoon boat so that we could enjoy the morning in the pool and relax at the lodge...but it rained. and come afternoon it was bright sunny and beautiful and perfect weather for a water safari. We couldn't get too close to Murchison Falls as the falls themselves are simply too powerful and the water has risen to a level that the boats cant maneuver to the landing spots any more. The drivers just maneuver and try and navigate all the whirlpools from the power of the enormity of the water cascading down the big rock cliffs. While we were riding there we were on the look out for black monkeys, hippos, crocodiles, Elephants, & Baboons. I saw a black monkey in the trees but it was too far to capture. We saw hippos like you see bodabodas in Kampala ... a joke from the driver... it's funny cause it's true. There wee so many hippos and we saw quite a great deal of elephants as well. We saw a small clan of baboons eating along the edge. You cant get too close in many areas as the water has risen so much you don't know what lies beneath, you look around yourself while on the boat and you can see the old shore lines, feet under water.
We saw some crocodiles. Enough that I was pleased and far enough away that I felt safe. We weren't too close and they were still huge. Funny tidbit about elephants, they aren't like Asian Elephants, the African Elephant is very dangerous, so I was pleased to have the distance we did with them as well... The camera didn't come with but the phone did. We chose to be fully present using our eyes in every way rather than capturing it all. It made it a lot more enjoyable. We loved being on the look out for whatever we could find. On a normal safari when you see something you can't really make much noise as it scares them, but the animals willing to be in the river also see boats all the time and seem to not be bothered by our presence in their territory. We couldn't get too close to the falls but we could see it, we could feel the power of the water while on the boat as you can see the boat seemingly loosing control. Thankfully the men that drive the tour boats are familiar with the water, they do two tours a day (each tour is three hours long) 6-7 days a week. We were on a small pontoon like boat that fits 15 people and even with that as the vessel we were able to maneuver through the water because of our drivers knowledge of the river. Not until we were headed back in "full force" as in no longer searching for wildlife - our time had expired- did I notice that I felt some type of irritation.
The irritation was there for most of the ride, I was fidgeting with my clothing constantly to try and relieve the irritation but truthfully I was so focused on not peeing myself. It was probably the hottest day we had yet, and were in Northern Uganda where it is much hotter than down by the lake where I live, so I had been super hydrating with water that day and greatly needed the services of the bathroom at a lodge near the landing site for the boat tour. I was driven up to the bathroom and not until I was able to use the facilities did I realize how much I itched and how uncomfortable I was. It felt like what my skin feels like if I work with certain plants in the garden. I get itchy, kinda rash like symptoms but once I wash off the area that is bothering me I am fine. This time in the bathroom however, I washed off my arms which only seemed to make worse. There was burning in my arm, what felt like down to the bone, there were sores and swelling around my entire legs - I had giant welts on my butt and shoulders. Oddly enough the pain was mostly in my left arm and the bites were primarily on the right side of my body.
We went back to our lodge and the entire staff stepped up, the front desk brought me special washing supplies, our waiter brought me dinner to my room. The staff also grabbed me medicine to relieve the pain and the discomfort that I was experiencing. They were all so kind toward me. I was checked up on throughout the night. Dad hung out with Robinson at the pool when we first got back, then they played games with him in the main lodge area while I rested. Mom was with me the whole time until dinner. As anyone that knows her she wasn't too keen on leaving me when I was in such discomfort but she also knew there wasn't anything else we could do at the time, and she was so dearly patient with me as i struggled to have kind or civil discussions in such pain. But after she prayed over me I was able to calm down speak civilly appreciate what was being done for me and try to mentally escape from the pain I was in.
I am blessed beyond belief to have the parents that I do. They made that whole safari experience more than I could have hoped for. We loved every minute of it. There were moments that tested us moments that drew us together that made us laugh that made us cry that caused deep conversations and goofy card game antics. I loved that time with them so very much. I know that both Robinson and myself made life long memories that will be truly cherished for the rest of our lives. An experience not many get to have, and opportunity not many get to take, views few get to see, blessings many want to know.
I will forever be grateful to my parents for giving us such a blessing.
Best Christmas ever... even with everything that happened. Good or bad... Best Christmas Ever!