Friday evening, after a hard work day at a construction site, we enjoyed a Mexican themed dinner. Stephen, from the Peace Corps, killed a couple chickens for us and we each helped prepare a part of the meal. We had chicken and refried bean burritos, veggies, fruit, and chocolate cake. Everything homemade! And the technology used to prepare everything was very old fashioned. We don’t have an oven so Kelly used a Dutch Oven to bake the cake. It was so great to finally have a dessert in Africa, as we have not really come across one yet. It was a great end to a productive week.
Early Saturday morning, we left Oyam for Kidepo Valley National Park. It was a 6 hour ride to the park and it was definitely the bumpiest ride we’ve experienced in Uganda! The potholes and muddy, rough roads are aweful! That’s the one thing every Ugandan complains about. As we got closer to the park, we were surrounded by gorgeous mountains from all sides. We finally arrived at the park and saw tons of baboons crossing the road not too far from our car. We also passed countless buffalo and waterbacks (a big deer-like animal). We unpacked our things in our bandas, a hut with 2 beds and mosquito nets, with a communal outdoor bathroom. A family of warthogs roamed freely on our property. We headed over the hotel next door to make dinner reservations, but it turned out the plane didn’t come to deliver the food. Phillip, our park guide, used his connections and assured us we’d have dinner. Then we hit the road again with Phillip and just a few minutes into the ride we passed many zebras. Phillip then lead us down a side road and our Land Cruiser got stuck in mud! After about 45 minutes of trying to get the car out a million different ways, we finally pushed it out (with plenty of muddy clothes and shoes to wear for the rest of the evening). Phillip got a call from a fellow guide to come to a certain spot in the park. We drove up to a rocky ledge and there were a couple majestic lions lying on top overlooking the landscape. Most of us climbed on top of the Land Cruiser to get a better view. We all agree that standing just a few hundred feet from lions was one of the most amazing moments we’ve experienced. That evening, we enjoyed dinner under the stars which made us feel like we were in a planetarium.
On Sunday, we decided to spend a few more hours in the park in the hopes of seeing a few more animals. Elephants were spotted in the distance, so we searched for a side road to take us closer. The side road we took brought us a few hundred feet from a huge group of elephants as they walked across the savannah. That was a great last sighting before we left the park. On the ride home we picked up our cook (Olivia) in Lira, which is a little less than an hour from where we are staying. She had just picked up our groceries for the week, which were loaded in the land cruiser. To our surprise, there were 6 chickens tied under the seats of the land cruiser! Ania was terrified to go near them so we all became really close on the ride home, practically sitting on top of one another. It made for quite a hilarious ride home.