Few travelers know about the Bayenda waterfalls hidden away in the magnificent Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. So you can imagine my shock when we got to the park and the wildlife rangers assured us that we are too late to go gorilla trekking but they had something as exciting in mind.
“Do you know there are waterfalls within the park? Let us show you a part of Bwindi that you hardly hear about and if we are lucky we may meet gorillas and forest elephants along the way,” the ranger said. Honestly, this was like music to my ears, did he just say what I think he did? My heart was filled with joy as I rushed to pick up my walking stick.
As we began our trek to the waterfalls, it didn’t take long before we started noticing the elephant footsteps and I remember getting to this gigantic step and I just couldn’t help myself but put my foot in. “You have got to be kidding me” was I all could say after I put both my feet in and there was still so much space around. If elephants wore shoes, I wonder what size it would be, my mind drifted.
It was also at this moment when I remembered the story of the drunk elephant from my visit to Kibale National Park and started paying keen attention to the footsteps. All I wanted to see was some criss-cross steps and my day would be made. A few minutes later we came across a slanting thicket and our ranger told us that an elephant forced its way through it.
Guys! I looked at this space and I wondered how the elephant made it through. You know how people tuck in their stomachs and tiptoe when they’re trying to pass through tiny spaces, well, I imagined the elephant doing the same. Taking in a deep breath, lowering its trunk, tucking in its stomach and then tiptoeing through the thicket. All my efforts of tracking its footsteps through the thicket were in vain which only showed how sleek this elephant was.
After a long trek which saw my sweat dry up, we could finally hear some waterfalls from a distance. I was ecstatic as I thought about the possibility of finding gorillas and elephants relaxing by the water side with their little ones. From a distance, one of my friends pointed at a stream of water and said, “you won’t believe it guys but that’s the waterfall we came to see.” This wasn’t a joke we wanted to hear at least not after the hectic trek, the death stare he received from my other friend was enough for him to start apologizing.
Hidden away in between massive trees and rocks, there it lied. Bayenda Waterfalls offered a scenic view like none other, the feel of the water drops on my face, the sound of the water crashing onto the rocks and fresh air was all that I needed. After taking it all in, I decided to do the sanest thing and that was to take a nature shower. Have you ever showered ice cold water? Well, two minutes into the shower I could literally feel the chills running through my body and that was the end of it.
As I walked down from the falls re-energized from the shower, one of the rangers noticed my t-shirt and wondered what time it is (it had 40:40 written on it). I smiled and went on to tell him about the charity organization (40 Days Over 40 Smiles Foundation) behind the design and how they are helping vulnerable children access all-round education through their Angaza literacy program. He was so amazed and wondered how he could help in a small way and also wished for more programs like it in his region.
Having failed to see any primates on our way to the falls, I was quite pleased to find some baboons when we made it back to the base camp, it felt like a welcoming crew. Thank goodness none of us had food in our hands because they would have totally made a run for it. Trust me, I once witnessed them grab food from a person, so I’m always extra careful when I meet them.
This walk with nature totally nurtured my mind and body. It’s an ideal getaway and I would totally recommend it.