First they had to drive a long way in the big Landcruiser. Eventually they arrived at a lake and parked at the edge. Charlie peered across it. He was hoping to see flamingos so that he could give them a message from his friend Olive.
Charlie couldn't see any flamingos. However, he could see lots of children gathering round the Landcruiser. Abba kept a good eye on it in case it got scratched.
'Sorry, boys,' said Abba. 'We're just about to go for a boat ride. Will you look after our car?'
'Of course we will,' said the boys.
Abba was relieved that no one would take the wheels off the car now.
Granny, Abba, Uncle Tim and Aunty Ruth all climbed into the boat and put their life jackets on.
'Oh look!' said Aunty Ruth. 'What are those animals in the water?'
They all looked very closely.
'I don't know,' said Uncle Tim. Shall we go a bit closer?'
Then all of a sudden, an enormous animal got out of the water.
'Look out!' called Abba. 'It's a hippo. It's rocking the boat. I hope we don't tip over!'
'I think we should steer in the other direction,' said Uncle Tim. 'It's a bit safer.'
Soon they could see lots of birds, but not one flamingo. They could see black birds and white birds and lots of black and white birds, but not one pink bird.
'What's that big white bird?' asked Charlie.
'It's a pelican,' said Aunty Ruth.
'Hello pelican!' called Charlie. 'Are there any flamingos around here?'
'Hello young chimp,' said the pelican. 'What do you want with flamingos? They're very snooty creatures and keep themselves to themselves. Look, they're right over the other side of the lake.'
'Oh dear,' said Charlie. 'I wanted to speak to one of them. I met a flamingo called Olive when I was in England.
She wanted me to say hello to all the cormorants, herons and other birds on the crater lake.'
'Hmm, I dont' really like being called "other bird". Still, I'll keep a look out. Oh, there's a flamingo coming over just now!' said the pelican.
'Hello, did I hear you say "flamingo"?' said a big pink bird. 'I'm in a dreadful hurry and can't stop for long.'
'Do you remember Olive?' asked Charlie.
'Oh yes, she flew to England and never came back,' said the flamingo. 'I'm her cousin Fred. We really miss her. Do you know where she is?'
'She's in the Yorkshire Safari Park,' said Charlie.
'Well, send her my best wishes' said Fred, 'and give her this worm. It's a particularly juicy one. Goodbye.'
'I will!' called Charlie, 'Goodbye!'
Charlie was quite glad to get back to dry land. Chimpanzees don't like boats very much. Abba was quite glad when he found out that the car still had its wheels on.
'That was a wonderful boat trip,' said Aunty Ruth.
Charliesat down to write his first postcard.
'I wonder if I'll see any more of the animals I saw in Yorkshire,' said Charlie.
'I hope so,'said Granny. 'Oh, look, I can see a huge herd of Ankole cattle.'
'We saw some Ankole cattle in Yorkshire,' said Charlie. 'I wonder if they know any of my friends from the safari park.'
'Hello!' he called. 'Do any of you know a cow called Christabel?'
'Moo, moo,' lowed one of the cows. 'I know Christabel. She's my best friend. I was very sad when she went to live in England. I really miss her.'
'I met Christabel in Yorkshire Safari Park,' said Charlie. 'She said she missed you too. She didn't think the grass was as good as in Uganda. I agree with her. Would you like me to send her a message?'
'Oh yes,' said the cow. 'Tell her you met Caroline - that's my name. Send her our best wishes and tell her that we hope she's not too cold.'
'I will, said Charlie. ' Goodbye Caroline.'
'Goodbye, Charlie,' said Caroline, and all the cows mooed together.
Charlie quickly wrote his postcard.
5th November 2011
You’ll never guess who I saw today! I saw your best friend Caroline and the herd she lives with.They Were very excited when I said I had met you in Yorkshire. They sent their best wishes and hoped the weather wasn’t too cold. Caroline hoped that you had managed to find a good Supply of grass.
Love from Charlie xxx
'There are lots of animals here,' said Granny, 'but you've got to keep a good look out so you don't miss them.'
'Look over there,' said Abba. I can see giraffes.'
'Hmm,' trumpeted the elephant. 'Why should I help you?'
'Because we've come a long way,' said Charlie 'and I've got lots of messages to give the animals here.'
'Oh all right,' said the elephant, flapping his ears. 'What is it?'
'Are there any zebras here?' asked Charlie. 'I've got a message for them.'
'They're right behind you,' said the elephant.
Charlie turned round and there among the trees was a whole herd of zebras.
'Hello zebras!' he called. 'Can you spare me some time?'
'We're very busy eating,' said one of the zebras, 'so be quick about it.'
'I met a zebra called Zachariah in Yorkshire,' said Charlie. He asked me to tell you that his holiday is turning out to be a bit longer than expected. He doesn't like the grass but they keep the lions well away so he's quite safe.'
'I remember Zachariah,' said the zebra. 'My name's Alice. We were best friends.'
'Lions,' rumbled the zebra next to Alice. 'There's nothing you can't tell me about lions, horrible creatures.'
'You can say that again,' said a nearby impala. 'If there are any lions near here, I'm running away at once. Lions are an absolute menace. Remember me to my friends in Yorkshire!' Then the impalas sped away.
'Well, at least Zachariah's safe from lions,' said Alice, 'though I really miss him. Give him our best wishes.' And then she too disappeared into the trees.
'I will,' said Charlie. 'Goodbye.' Charlie wrote another postcard.
7th November 2011
I saw your friends at Lake Mburo today. I passed on your message to your friend Alice. She was sorry to hear you wouldn't be back from your holiday for some time, but she is glad you're safe from lions. She thinks lions are a real nuisance.
Love Charlie XXX
'What's that?' said Granny.
'It's a lion,' said Charlie, trembling.
They all looked out of the window and there it was. It's mouth was wide open.
'I hope it doesn't want to eat us,' said Granny.
'It's just yawning,' said Aunty Ruth. 'Lions are very lazy creatures.'
'Good afternoon Mr Lion,' said Charlie nervously. 'I have a message from England for you.'
'From England?' repeated the lion. 'Is that a message from my old friend Leo?'
'Yes, it is,' said Charlie. 'He said that he's doing quite well, though Yorkshire is quite cold. However, one good thing is that he doesn't have to chase after animals over there. He gets readymade meals.'
'Lucky Leo,' said the lion. 'We lions are really quite lazy. Suits us if someone else does the running around. Look at my brothers over there.'
Charlie looked. There were the lions, just lying around.
'Quite a good life being a lion,' said Uncle Tim. Charlie thought so too. He wrote his last postcard, to his friend Leo.
10th November 2011
I am having a lovely time on safari in Uganda. I met some of your friends. I told them that I had met you when I was on my holidays in England with Miho. They were glad to hear that you are well. They thought you were lucky getting readymade meals every day.
Love from Charlie XXX
'That was a wonderful safari,' said Charlie.
'Yes it was, wasn't it,' said Granny. 'And now it's time to go home.'