Letters from Sonja:  Murchison Falls in 1965
Bridge we had to cross on our way to Murchison Falls.

Letters from Sonja: Murchison Falls in 1965


A great adventure to which I was looking forward all these years.

By Sonja Winklmaier
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First published: September 17, 2007


Click Here: Previously on "Letters from Sonja: Aunt Gudrun and Ugandan Television in 1964"


January 18th, 1965 -

Customs is very strict these days. For most imported items - especially textiles - they ask 45% of the value. With Christmas presents they are, however, rather lenient.

Gerd, Gudrun and Andreas were here for Christmas. They actually stayed until January 8th.
Our house is just too small for that and it was a real hustle and bustle.

Crocodile at Murchison Falls
Crocodile at Murchison Falls.

After Christmas we all went to the Murchison Falls National Park. It is very beautiful there. We were specially impressed by a boat trip on the Nile, which took about 3 hrs. It was very hot. We drove there one day, spent one night and after the boat trip on the second day we drove back to Kampala. There are many herds of elephants. Crocodiles and hippopotamus are there in abundance. We saw herds of buffalo and a very large rhinoceros.

Elephant visiting the veranda of Paraa Lodge
Elephants at Paraa Lodge.

Especially attractive were the uncountable kinds of birds from very tiny ones to all kinds of storks, herons, eagles and so on. This certainly was a great adventure to which I was looking forward all these years.

We never went there before because of the children. But now they are both big enough and can handle such a safari and also enjoy it. You must ask the children about it next year.
Barbara sometimes felt a bit uneasy and me too. Exactly like you see the elephant on the postcard, we have seen one very close. We were on the veranda of the hotel and a couple of steps away from us this huge elephant has emptied the rubbish bins.

Elephant near the lodge
Elephant near the lodge.

Elephant visiting the veranda of Paraa Lodge
Elephant visiting the veranda of Paraa Lodge.

Mother and Child
Mother and Child.

February 11th, 1965 -

Michy has not much time to play. When he comes home in the evenings, he still has some home work to do. After that it is already bed-time. Even during the week-ends he is rather busy and he can now watch TV only on Saturdays.

On Wednesdays after school he is playing football with some other boys and his teacher.

Ferry across the Nile to Murchison Falls Paraa Lodge
Ferry across the Nile to Murchison Falls Paraa Lodge.

Now... quickly back to our family-excursion. The Murchison Falls National Park cannot be compared to the Wilhelma. (Wilhelma is the zoo in Stuttgart.) It is a really large protected area were the game lives in its natural habitat in absolute freedom. Hunting in this area is not allowed. On the other hand the game is increasing in numbers so much that this year alone 2,000 elephants have to be killed in this area. This "cropping" is done by professional hunters according to a special plan as otherwise the parks would get overpopulated and the game could not find enough food anymore. Visitors who come to Uganda for hunting are allotted special hunting-areas. The National Parks are only meant for "hunters with a camera".

Herd of buffaloes
Herd of buffaloes.

Hippos going for a walk
Hippos going for a walk.

Hippoes with buffolo in the background
Hippoes with buffolo in the background.

The river Nile is flowing through this area and is quite a stream there. The Murchison Falls, which give their name to this park, are waterfalls in the River Nile. Murchison Falls National Park is an attraction for people from all over the world. Today it is almost cheaper to visit Murchison Falls as a tourist, for instance from Germany than for us from Kampala. We travelled in a VW bus and so could split the price for the petrol. From Germany they offer an organized holiday for instance to Mombasa, the East African Riviera, for 1,250.00 DM including the flight both ways and 14 days including full pension in the most luxurious hotel in Mombasa. This is a real bargain. If we, however, would spent a night in the Oceanic Hotel it would cost us at least 50 DM per night and person for bed and breakfast. East Africa is really doing every thing to attract tourists.

Next: 100% Sepsis

By Sonja Winklmaier
more from author >>
First published: September 17, 2007
Sonja Winklmaier moved to Uganda in the 1950s to follow her husband, Hubert Winklmaier, as the German Volkswagen Factory sent him to work with their agent, Cooper Motor Corporation.

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