Back to continuing my tales of South Sudan. This morning, there was a group of German tourists staying in the guest house where I am now. They rocked up in a massive safari van with all the gear (shoes, waterproof jacket etc…) you would need for a safari. In Kenya.
Safari in South Sudan is a slightly different experience.
One weekend my friends and I decided to take a road trip to Nimule National Park. For those who are thinking to themselves why I have termed it “road” trip, because you think that this must involve actual roads and in many a blog post have a I complained about lack thereof in South Sudan. BUT there is an actual ROAD in Nimule. Tarmaced. Lines Painted. Railings. I actually had them stop the car so I could get out and take a picture.
After you have lived in South Sudan for a while, these things become sights to be seen and noted.
I mean, just to emphasize the point, this is a “road” in Juba.
Do you now understand why the road to Nimule warrants its own special mention in this blog post?
But back to the safari. Nimule National Park is famous for its elephants. Well famous for people living around here and for those reading National Geographic. The elephants, who like the humans were greatly affected by the long civil war, left South Sudan and migrated into Uganda. Now they are coming back into South Sudan (here is National Geographic’s full story on The Lost Herds of Southern Sudan). So we decided to go see these elephants.
First we picked up our rangers, who are trained by the South Sudan Wildlife Service. And of course, being South Sudanese Wildlife Rangers, they carry AK-47s (which I was told afterwards would be pretty useless against charging elephants). Both our rangers were called Michael.
Then we went to see some of the sights of Nimule National Park, starting with Fulaa Falls:
Then we took a boat along the Nile. Something worth noting about this boat was that it was actually a pretty leaky boat. But being on Safari in South Sudan, we took it anyway.
At one point one of the Michaels pointed out a hippopotamus, who submerged under water before we were able to get a picture. So to help us get our photo, they kindly steered our leaky boat towards the massive hippopotamus. Again, one of those things that makes you stop and think for a moment about whether it is a good idea, as hippos are notoriously bad tempered animals. And you are on a leaky boat. But then it is happening anyway, so you literally go with the flow.
At one point, we saw what could have become of our leaky boat. Thankfully this was the time after we passed the hippos.
We then got off the boat and went, by foot, to see some more animals.
Ok, the pigs were not part of the actual safari, nor are they quite as cool as elephants, but I thought the piglet was cute so have decided to include it under the sites seen.
On the note of elephants, yes we did see what we came for. They were spectacular.
And of course, as soon as we saw them, the Michaels suggested we get out of the car so we could get closer to them to get a better look.
Only on Safari in South Sudan.