Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 26, 2012 7:30 AM—Alyssa and Kevin Came to Visit

So Alyssa and Kevin got here on August 16th.  That was the day after I took the GRE.  It was awesome to get to see them and to re-experience some of my favorite things in this country. 

Their trip started off with a trip to Murchison Falls National Park.  Unlike when my parents came, we didn’t get a special hire and a fancy hotel.  Instead we went with Red Chilli, which is a backpacker’s hostel in Kampala that offers really good safari deals.  So we went on their Big 6 Safari.  On the way into the park we stopped and did Chimp Trekking.  This is something I had not yet done and it was really nice to finally do it.  We saw lots of chimps although they couldn’t sit still, so it made it hard to get a good picture.

After chimp trekking, we made our way further into the park.  We were staying at the Red Chilli Camp Site on the South side of the park.  It is really close to the river and that night after we had dinner we saw a hippo walk right into the camp.  I’ve been to quite a few national parks here and they always say “Beware of wild animals”, but you never actually see much.  So this was new even for me.

The next morning we got up early and went out for a game drive on the North side of the park.  So we had to take the ferry across the river.  We really lucked out with the game drive, because we got to see four lions (3 females and a male).  The females were hunting and the male was feasting.  Before I had only seen lions lying around after they had eaten, but to get to see them hunting and everything was really awesome!

After the game drive we went back to the camp site for lunch and then took the boat ride up to the falls.  When we got to the falls we got off and hiked up it.  Just like the last time I did this, it was beautiful!

The next day we left the national park and we started driving back to Kampala.  On the way back we stopped at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and we went Rhino Trekking.  This was another thing I had never done.  So I have a little of a back story…Rhinos became extinct in Uganda in 1983 and in the early 2000’s they created this Rhino Sanctuary and they started bringing in rhinos from the U.S. and Kenya.  They currently have 12 rhinos and they said once they get the number up to 20 they will start to re-introduce them into Murchison Falls National Park.  So we went to this rhino sanctuary to go rhino trekking.  It was a really cool experience.  You can get as close as about 15 meters from them.  There are no cages, just you and the rhinos.  Note: there were only white rhinos there.  Some other kinds of rhinos are much more aggressive, so don’t go out and try to find rhinos to trek because it could be dangerous…lol

After rhino trekking we went back to Red Chilli in Kampala and spent the night there.  The next morning we got picked up by NRE and we went out to Jinja to go rafting.  So when we arrive we got suited up with helmets and life jackets, got some breakfast and headed out to the river.  Just like before, rafting was nothing short of amazing!  We were the only raft that went out that day and we flipped over three times.  At the end, they had a BBQ waiting for us and then we were then taken back to the NRE campsite.

The next day we decided to go into Jinja town.  We went to many of the craft shops and we met up with Kelsey for lunch.  Later in the day we went back to the campsite and went on the booze cruise.  It was very chill and we had a really good time.  After spending the night at NRE we left early in the morning so we could make it all the way back to my site that day.  So Alyssa and Kevin got the opportunity to see my house and my school.  They spent one night with me there and then they got picked up to go gorilla trekking.  I chose not to go gorilla trekking because I had already been, so I met them in Kampala two days later.

Now they only have about a day and a half left, so we are just going to chill out and relax before we have to say our goodbyes.  But it’s been awesome having them come.  Most people won’t really understand me anymore until they come and see this country for themselves, so I’m really glad they got to experience this.  I can’t wait to see them again state-side!

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