Many an explorer lost his life in Africa during the 19th century. Some sought power. Others the gold mines of Solomon. Others still, sought the source of the Nile. in 1859, Speke and Burton were the first europeans to “discover” Lake Victoria as the source of the Nile. Burton, Richard, (not Elizabeth Taylor’s repeated husband) was a well-known explorer, spoke 29 languages and rendered the first english translation of the One thousand and one nights. The Arabian nights as it is better known in English.
There are several additional tributary sources to the White Nile flowing from Lake Victoria including the Mountains of the moon. (A fabulous name!) and a separate source to the Blue Nile in Ethiopia.
Those photographs were taken a long, long time ago at Murchison falls in Uganda. (They’re now called, I believe, Kabarega Falls. Makes it hard to follow the constant changing of names!) The year matters little. We were living in Kenya under the rule of President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. Milton Obote was in power in Uganda. I was about 14 or so. (Do the math!) We took a safari (just a simple Swahili word meaning “trip”) to Uganda and the Murchison Falls. The source of the Nile. Or close to.
Buffaloes along the White Nile
The lodge we stayed at had a visitor, as often happens: a young, immature elephant had taken the custom of visiting the lodge grounds and raid the corn fields the lodge employees grew nearby. This one was probably 8 or 10. A biiig baby!
Facing us tourists with an intimidation pose. We were intimidated. Well-done job.
Turning around for the camera. Thank you.
Not so small was it? You can judge the distance from where I took this shot. Right afterwards, the elephant grabbed the chair with its trunk and flung it at another tourist who’d gotten too close. Elephants – though only slightly larger – are like monkeys (see a previous post): don’t mess with’em!
By the Falls proper. A small rainbow was forming in the centre.
See the slightly dilapidated wooden fence. Do not go beyond that point!
My mother, always armed with her latest model 8mm camera, and my “little” sister.
Murchison Falls in all its grandeur.
The next morning we took a flatbed boat at dawn from the lodge to the falls. Jungle Joe at its best. Though the engine ran on petrol and not steam, but close.
Crocodiles everywhere! Never seen such massive concentrations. Lying by the water with their jaws open. Crocodiles don’t perspire, that is the way they “exchange” heat with their milieu.
And, oh! Do not believe the story about crocodiles being slow on the ground. No, no! They run veeery fast on the ground!
Then as we were coming close to the Falls, the boat captain spotted a group of hippos. Pushed the boat towards the hippos to make them come ashore. Raised considerable interest as you can see below:
There’s an elephant in the tree line to the right. The captain pushed the boat closer. But there was a baby hippo. See below in the centre:
Most of the hippos fled to the shore, but one turned around, underwater, and charged the boat! BAM! The boat shook. The captain turned around. And so did the hippos…
The hippo in the foreground is the one who turned around and charged us. Mean pink stare. 🙂 Adult Hippos can weigh up to 1.5 ton. And ours was a small, thirty feet long boat at best. A nice thrill.
That’s all for to-day.
The usual (c) text and photos by yours truly.
Have a lovely week-end wherever you are!
17 thoughts on “Into the heart of Africa. The source of the Nile. Murchison Falls.”
I enjoy reading this especially the part of the little elephant 🙂 What a nice trip it was!! I love these old photos, it’s cool that your family and you still keep them even after moving around to different countries!
Hi Indah. You can’t possibly imagine the weight and bulk involved between the old photo albums and the 8mm movies.
Photos and negatives are almost all digitalized now. Pfff!
I need to the same with my mother’s 8mm movies. Already edited and sound tracked but I need to digitalize them. Still have her old projector, but the colours are fading. I’ll try to get it done by next year and then I can share some “video”.
Wow! What an adventure. Love the hippo pics. So awesome. 🙂
Entertaining and thrilling story! Thank you so much for sharing it with us, together with the amazing photos!
You have a wonderful weekend too! 🙂
Thanks Dragos! (I’m a bit slow in answering. Almost close to the next week-end now!)
No worries, Brian. Life can be like that, shifting our attention from one thing to another, according to their importance.
I hope you feel better already. Be safe! 😉
I will love to visit Africa some day, hippos are very aggressive when it comes to trespassers- which the boat was!
Thanks for sharing this fascinating series Brian, and your memories of the safari. That hippo sure looks mean!! 🙂
Absolutely amazing photos, Brian. That’s one baleful stare from that hippo. Priceless shot, that one. I’ve heard that they can be very aggressive. I think my sister visited the source of the Nile when she was in Uganda a few years ago. Your photos have heightened my anticipation of (hopefully) visiting Africa later this year. Though I’m not sure I’ll see hippos in Namibia.
loved them 🙂
Glad you did!
Glad you did. Thanks for the visit!
These photos are treasures … Especially that beautifully black-and-white with the crocodiles basking at the reflective edge of the water.
Magic, indeed. 🙂
That trip was pure magic. Very few tourists still, and the boat trip on the Nile with the hippos was pure Vintage, even then. 😉
It truly sounds magical. 🙂 Can’t imagine. So much wanderlust in my heart these days … But the woods here at home are lovely too. ;). Maybe someday!
Wow Brian,I enjoyed this link to an old post of yours! That captain of the boat was very silly to chase the hippos.We also encountered some guides who tried to be smart to impress tourists. I actually get very cross if people interfere with the animals, because I respect that it is the animal’s territory and we are the imposters!
You are absolutely right. Very… stupid. One of the hippos actually charged the boat from underwater and hit the hull. 😦
We have to acto like guests not intruders.