Africa - Day 7 - Queen Elizabeth national park

This morning the alarm went off at 6am, I expected it to be bright outside but it was still pitch black and the moon and stars were beautiful as there is no light pollution to spoil the night sky. The sun rises really quickly here so I enjoyed probably the most picturesque shower as the moon shone above and the sun started to rise over the mountains. The showers were open top so excellent views of the sky and mountains in the distance. It was then back onto the truck for the three hour drive to the park. I am still amazed at whenever we drive past children how excited they are and run out of their houses to wave and cheer at us. We stopped off at a local market along the way for cosmos to stock up on fruit and veg for our meals. It was lovely to interact with the locals and watch the tiny children stare at you from behind their mother's skirts. The market sold everything from fruit and food to knives, clothes, soaps and more. All the trip I have been wondering where and how many of the locals get their hair cut as it is so short. We walked past a make shift barbers where they had clippers running off a generator. Al bought a grilled banana from one of the stalls, it tasted like a potato with sweetener. Some were brave enough to try the goat skewers, let's hope it doesn't come back to haunt them. I tried one of the mini bananas which are beautifully sweet and almost have a taste of pineapple to them.
Back on the truck and we headed to the campsite as we approached we saw impala, a lone elephant in the distance and a really cute warthog. We also learnt that pumba from the lion king is the shortened Swahili word meaning stupid. As we continued something flew out of the truck, turns out it was our dry bag with my camera, the tablet and kindle in it! Luckily all were fine but just a good job someone saw it fall out.
Once at camp we had the option of upgrading to cabins, everyone except Julie jumped at the chance to have some space to sort out their belongings, not have to put up the tent for a night and a proper bed to sleep in. They were worth the $50 extra but the only downside was the lack of hot water at this camp even though the chalets are en suite. A quick lunch and we were off to the boat cruise straight away we came across hundreds of buffalo, tens of hippos and a couple of Nile crocodiles. The resort we are staying in is called hippo hill and it sure is. We spent quite a bit of time and took thousands of photos of the hippos. We saw a baby hippo next to its mum and dad, it kept very close and must still be so shy. There are over nine hundred species of birds in this park and 98 different mammals. Not sure how many of the 900 we saw but there were loads. We then came across a couple of buffalo not with the herd and apparently these are the sick or old which are abandoned by the group as they are vulnerable. Then the usual mid afternoon rains came down heavy, luckily this only lasted around ten minutes and when it stopped we came across a herd of elephant. They were amazing, we can't have been any further than 20 meters away. We watched them playing and bathing, a couple of young elephants were play fighting and kept dunking each other in the water. Further on we came across another few elephant and more hippo. It was as if the hippos were doing more tricks so we would watch them and not the elephant. In total we had around 2 hrs on the boat and when we got back to the truck we were told that due to the rain some of the roads had become impassable and we had to cancel our evening game drive. We weren't too bothered given what we had already seen from the boat. Half way back to camp we spotted more elephant and stopped to watch, there was a baby with the group. It was really hard to see her as the parents kept her between them at all times but the small glance we did get was adorable. We kept on driving when all of a sudden the truck slid along the mud track and we were in a ditch heavily leaning to one side. We all switched to the far side of the truck while Chris tried to get us out but we were not moving and had to abandon the truck. It took around 25 mins but we finally managed to get the truck out which was greeted by huge cheers. As we were almost back at camp a herd of bull were blocking our road so we had to take a small detour through a tiny village which seemed to bemuse the locals. Back at camp Chris was careful to choose a parking spot where we hope not to get sunk down in by morning. As I lie here in this comfy bed having had a really good scrub in the shower I can hear creatures running across the roof. I have no idea what they are nor do I wish to, I am hoping for a creature free night.