Add A Little Luxury To Your African Safari

African Safari Lodge
©Exploramum and Explorason – Africa – Uganda – Queen Elizabeth National Park – Mweya Lodge – exterior

It is time for us to ‘hit the road’, after several weeks volunteering with mission work in remote Uganda.  We are excited to see Africa, and I’ve been really brave in what comes next.

We have hired a 4WD from a fabulous company called Expedient Car Hire who delivered it right to our hotel, and at the best rate we found by miles (I did a LOT of research to find this company and I am delighted with their professional service so far.)

4WD
©Exploramum and Explorason – Africa – Uganda – Expedient Car Hire

I think the worst part was managing to drive a big vehicle out of the mad Kampala traffic here in Uganda.

But we took our time and finally we were driving in the countryside on a pretty good tarmac road. I was glad it was automatic, and it had air-conditioning. In fact it really is a great vehicle to drive.

Explorason thinks it is quite fantastic to have a “beast” he has named “Zeb” (in the hope of seeing a Zebra).

But instead of seeing Zebra’s, we found ourselves driving through forests with quite a few baboons. Fortunately we had bought a big bunch of ‘Mbogoya’ bananas (many bunches together), so we had fun throwing them out the window at a safe distance across the road, so they would scamper and get them.

Some of the males sitting on the side of the road were huge! Throw the bananas well away from your vehicle, or they will climb all over it, even as you are moving !

baboons
©Exploramum and Explorason – Africa – Uganda – Baboons

But the biggest fright came when we hopped out of the vehicle in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, and found ourselves looking at an elephant!

elephant eye
©Exploramum and Explorason – Africa – Uganda – Queen Elizabeth National Park – Looking straight at an elephant

It was eating the garbage out of the trash, and fighting with a plastic bag at the time. Explorason was absolutely thrilled.

This was right behind the Mweya Safari Lodge, which can easily be reached from the Kasese township.

African elephant
©Exploramum and Explorason – Africa – Uganda – Queen Elizabeth National Park – up close to the elephant

We were quite ready for a drink after that the excitement of the elephant, so we headed into the distinguished bar area of the Mweya Safari Lodge, where Explorason promptly delighted in racing around photographing all the African artefacts.

Cosy African Bar
©Exploramum and Explorason – Africa – Uganda – Queen Elizabeth National Park – Mweya Lodge – bar area

We were hot, dusty, even a little sun-kissed, and tired.

So to sit out on the hilltop balcony and enjoy a drink at sunset was just incredible.  Explorason didn’t sit for too long.  Monkeys were below us in the trees, and hippo’s, elephants and water buffalo lazed in the lake below.

It was a perfect place to watch the sun set with a glass of wine.

We needed a bit of luxury, and even though I looked a mess, I soon forgot about it here.

African Lodge
©Exploramum and Explorason – Africa – Uganda – Queen Elizabeth National Park – Mweya Lodge -drinks on the balcony

Soon it was time to move inside, as the mosquitoes were enjoying my flesh a little too frequently for my liking.  But we loved the surroundings so much that we chose to snack in the bar at Mweya Safari Lodge rather than formally dine.

We caught up using the wi-fi and had a great evening talking with the informative local staff.

bar snack - African style
©Exploramum and Explorason – Africa – Uganda – Queen Elizabeth National Park – Mweya Lodge – bar snack

We decided on an early night, and so glad we did. Before the sun rose we were up at 5:00 a.m. for our safari.

We had organised a guide (named Robert), and so glad we did. Best money we could have spent – $20 US.  He knew exactly what to do, and where to head.

sunrise
©Exploramum and Explorason – Africa – Uganda – Queen Elizabeth National Park – sunrise

But I was driving! Yes – it was me behind the wheel on the safari ! So I was a little slower than other vehicles, but steady on the tracks – I was pretty pleased with myself.

We joined other safari vehicles, and before long we were all parked and watching a pride of lions in the distance.

tailor made safari
©Exploramum and Explorason – Africa – Uganda – Queen Elizabeth National Park – our own safari

Explorason had a great time with the camera. We took about 500 photos I think in one day!

lioness
©Exploramum and Explorason – Africa – Uganda – Queen Elizabeth National Park – lioness

We saw so many animals, and Explorason had a ‘African wildlife animal list’ he was writing out as he was seeing them all. He learnt so many new animals – it was just the best education!

This is world – education at its best. Never again will we desire to visit a circus, or see a zoo I think!

He was proud to learn there are over 600 birds in the Queen Elizabeth National Park.

A highlight for me was watching this pregnant lioness having a drink.

pregnant lioness
©Exploramum and Explorason – Africa – Uganda – Queen Elizabeth National Park – drinking lioness

After 4 hours with our guide it was time to return back to Mweya Safari Lodge.

Myeya Lodge
©Exploramum and Explorason – Africa – Uganda – Queen Elizabeth National Park – Mweya Lodge – sign

We had a few hours rest, something to eat and drink, and then we were heading down to “Hippo”, our Boat Safari for the afternoon – we booked this through reception, but it can also be booked through the National Park.

Even on the way down, there was amazing wildlife to be seen.

Kob
©Exploramum and Explorason – Africa – Uganda – Queen Elizabeth National Park – Kob

The boat safari was extraordinary! We saw so many elephants, hippo’s and water buffalo – to name a few.

Boat safari
©Exploramum and Explorason – Africa – Uganda – Queen Elizabeth National Park – Mweya Lodge – Boat safari

It was an incredible time, and we were on a high as we left our double decker safari boat.  And this is just the start of our time in this park.

As we leave for the day, and drive on to a new place to stay and relax, we take with us fabulous memories of our first day on Safari.

Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda is an amazing place to stay.

I’m really quite proud of myself as a single Mum that I have managed to conquer Africa as a new place to drive too.

Because we have decided that we want some ‘us’ time and not be on a formal tour, I have organised our own tailor made African Safari.

This has taken me a lot of time, so I am quite OK with sharing with you how we made this happen. Hopefully this will save some of you who are planning a trip to Africa some great ideas and contacts.

Tip #1 – Stop on the side of the road – a huge ‘Mbogoya’ bunches of bananas on one cut off piece for 5,000 Ugandan Schillings or about $1 – you will be glad you have the when you pass the monkeys, and baboons on the side of the road.

Mweya Safari Lodge Queen Elizabeth National Park, Near Kasese Main Gate, Uganda  Phone:+256 31 2260260

Expedient Car Hire – We have hired a 4WD on a par day basis and I have been delighted with the vehicle and professional service and thoroughly recommend them.

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