Observing African Wildlife from a Small Fishing Boat

On previous trips to Ugandan national parks, we have observed riverine wildlife from larger tourist boats.  However, on our most recent trip to Murchison Falls National Park, we traveled the Victoria Nile in a small aluminum fishing boat.  This gave us the opportunity to get much closer to the wildlife, perhaps too close.

Larger Tourist Boats Don't Allow for the Close Personal Experience of Smaller Boats

Larger Tourist Boats Don’t Allow for the Close Personal Experience of Small Boats

Our first venture was an evening cruise.  We had arrived too late for our boat trip up to Murchison Falls.  So, we signed up for an evening adventure.  They put us–my daughter-in-law, my granddaughter, a Ugandan friend, and I–in a small boat, instead of a larger vessel.  At first, I was disappointed.  But the smaller boat was perfect.  We saw wildlife up close and personal.  And our guide was wonderful; and we didn’t have to share him with a boatload of tourists.

Water Bucks Eyeing Us from the Shores of the Albert Nile

Water Bucks Eyeing Us from the Shores of the Victoria Nile

The highlight–and conclusion–of the evening trip is observing the hundreds of birds, including herons, cormorants, and egrets, that nightly congregate on 2 small islands in the river.  While heading for this island rookeries, large flocks of egrets flew close to our boat.  As we neared the islands, the squawking intensified.  It was all very impressive, enhanced by a beautiful sunset.

Heron and Cormorants on an Island in the Albert Nile

Heron and Cormorants on an Island in the Victoria Nile

The next day, for our trip to Murchison Falls, we were again put in a small aluminum boat.  This adventure was even more memorable.  We got up close and personal with large crocodiles, hippo colonies, and a wide variety of birds.  Again, the guide was terrific and was an excellent boatman.

Enjoying the Victoria Nile from a Small Fishing Boat

Enjoying the Victoria Nile from a Small Fishing Boat

Large Croc on the Shores of the Albert Nile

Large Croc on the Shores of the Victoria Nile

Hippo Taking a Brief Respite from Its Watery Daytime Home

Hippo Taking a Brief Respite from Its Watery Daytime Home

Near Murchison Falls, our small boat docked and we climbed to the top of falls.

Murchison Falls

Murchison Falls

By all means, if you have a chance to take a small aluminum boat on the Victoria Nile, you should take it.  It is a great adventure; something you don’t get with larger tourist boats.

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