We were out late on our drive last night, getting home after dark having been treated to a fabulous sunset over the African Plain, and we were back in our bus again at sunrise, after a breakfast fit for a king.
We had a close encounter with a herd of giraffe yesterday afternoon and, this morning, had the opportunity to stop by a group of elephants, mothers and babies, browsing in the bushes. They eyed us up but decided that we were of little interest and went back to their elephant business.
We had a close-up view of a brown snake eagle, magnificent in his tree-top perch, and later a black kite. We enjoyed the sight of many antelope, storks, bee-eaters, buffalo and pumba - warthogs. Pumba, the name of the laid back warthog in Disney's 'The Lion King', is the Swahili word for warthog, as Timon is for mongoose and Simba for lion. Of course, we were all keen to see a lion, but, having had no luck yesterday afternoon and asking a number of other bus drivers if they had seen 'Simba', we were not optimistic.
We had to stop for a 'comfort' break in the bush and, once we were comfortable, we spent a few minutes enjoying the experience of being out in the gentle, early morning, Ugandan sunshine, seeing the light on Lake Albert and listening to the bird and insect song. Suddenly a jeep passed us, kicking up a dust storm as it raced along the path. Behind, was following a convoy of buses, all travelling at great speed. As we hurried to be seated, our driver span our bus in the dirt, and we set off apace, taking our place in the race. As we hurtled over bumps and ruts, we considered the possibility that the lead car was merely in a hurry to get back to the lodge, but soon enough we saw the buses gathered and there, lying in the grass, was Simba - a beautiful, honey lioness. Clearly aware that she was the centre of attention, she turned her face this way and that, like a red-carpet star in for the paparazzi, and lazily yawned, just to show us her impressive teeth; in case we missed it, she did it again.
By the return drive we were becoming quite used to the wildlife, although I was still enjoying the Orimbi: tiny antelope, so small they are only a snack for a hungry lion -we nicknamed them the 'Pringles'.