Monday, 15 October 2007

Hippos in the Night

If there is one fact that people know about African wildlife, it is that the hippopotamus kills more people per year than any other animal. Surprising when you consider that for the vast majority of the time they are not unlike semi-aquatic cows, basking in fresh water sources for hours on end doing very little. However, hippos are territorial and highly protective of their young, thus having a tendency to charge anything that gets in their way. You can imagine, therefore, the not inconsiderate panic that I felt when one of these creatures, after spotting the torch light, started buffeting the tent I was sleeping in on Saturday night. Fortunately it soon got bored and took its one and a half tonne frame somewhere else.

Murchison Falls NP was one of Uganda's key tourist attraction until the rebel group, the LRA, began operating in the area but they have since moved on and visitor numbers are on the rise. The waterfall that the park takes its name from is incredibly powerful, squeezing the entire infant Nile into a ten-metre wide gorge. Although animal density is nowhere near the levels of, for example, the Masai Mara, now it is being protected properly (we saw three poachers being arrested on Saturday) there is every chance it will increase.

On Saturday evening, after a 'gift' of three bottles of Nile Special, our driver took us to the workshop of the Ugandan Wildlife Authority where they have satellite TV set-up. After a bit more persuasion we managed to get the rugby on to see England scrape past France, although I don't think the sport ever has a chance of being as popular as football here. George, the chief engineer of the UWA, is himself named after Best, has a brother called Bobby (after Charlton) and has gone even further in naming his first two children Terry and Lampard respectively (nb. not John and Frank). I somehow doubt these these Premiership stars have any idea of the dedication they attract here.

Having been away I will not do a news round-up this week, suffice to say that the tension between the leading political factions in Northern and Southern Sudan continues to dominate the headlines here.

1 comment:

Atin said...

Interesting infor about hippos killing more people per year...

BTW - did you take the picture and did the man escape?