Thursday, August 09, 2007

to the top of the falls

...and were promptly told that all game drives, boat rides and rides to the top of the falls were completely sold out. A group of 40 tourists had arrived in the area the day before and booked everything solid. We spent fruitless hours on the telephone and were feeling pretty cranky and irritable at the turn of events (or lack thereof). After a failed attempt at an afternoon game drive (we arrived at the ferry that takes vehicles to the animal-laden north side of the Nile only to see it floating happily halfway across the river)...we ended up hitching a ride with some adventure-junkies from Jinja on their way to the falls. It was an hour-long ride but took us directly to the top - where you can teeter over the edge.
The experience caused an immediate sense of vertigo - and also a strange desire to jump in...

Murchison Falls is the place where the Victoria Nile and all its famous volume bursts forth through a 7 meter crack in the bedrock, gushing 43 meters to the pool below. Words cannot describe the force of the water as it churns, drops down and swells back up in a frothing, swirling fury, emitting a constant spray of cool Nile water into the air. I instantly had goose bumps all over - it's one of the most amazing natural phenomena I've ever seen. If you still don't get the force of it - fish that go over the falls are temporarily stunned and unconscious when they hit the pool at the bottom - making it an easy and notorious feasting ground for the lazy but enormous Nile crocodiles waitng at the bottom.

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