Posted by: Ewan McGregor | Date posted: 16/07/2007
Ewan and his new friend ©
Ewan and Charley visited a wildlife sanctuary in Uganda, and met up with Lola - a baby rhino. She made quite an impression on the guys, as you can see from the clip.
'This is Lola,' explains their guide, 'and she is 56 days old. She's come from a blind mother called Mowingo.'
'And what happens to her now, tell me what's the story?' asks Ewan. 'What happens with her to get her back into the wild?'
The guide goes on to explain. 'We'll just be with her for about four to seven years, until she can take care of herself. For now we are just feeding her a special formula milk for human babies. In 24 hours we feed her every other three hours on the bottle.'
'I'm just like her mother,' the guide continues, 'at night I sleep next to her under a blanket.'
Stroking Lola, Ewan is in awe. 'Solid, my goodness. Just every part of her is so solid. Do you just stay here with her or does she wander all over the park?'
'For now because she's still young, we're not to go too far away' he replies. 'We just go like 300 to 400 metres. Just around this place here.'
Back in the truck, Ewan and Charley marvel at what they've just seen.
'I envy the guy,' says Ewan. 'I think, what a lovely job. He and one other guy take shifts and they look after her for the next four to seven years, make sure she's alright, and then one day she'll just wander off.'
'24/7,' adds Charley. 'She's just like a baby she's so, so cute.'
The guys called in to speak to Jonathan Ross on his Radio 2 show on Saturday. You can listen to the show again on his website. Here are some of the highlights.
They are calling from Tanzania. How is the weather there, Jonathan wants to know.
'It's pretty good actually,' replies Charley. 'It's kind of sunny. It's very, very dusty though, we're kind of covered in red dust at the moment.'
It must be quite an experience, seeing Africa first-hand?
'Yeah,' replies Ewan. ‘We were very keen to just paint the true picture of Africa, you know? I mean I think at home we've got some very vivid ideas of what Africa is, and it's generally to do with famine and poverty, or wildlife, and I think we wanted to travel through Africa and just be honest about what we saw, which is what we did on Long Way Round.
And so far it's been quite amazing, you know. We have come across some really desperate situations, but we've also come across some really fantastically optimistic, like Rwanda for example. It was amazing, you know, the country that 13 years ago was absolutely devastated, is now really forward looking, optimistic, an unbelievable place to visit. That country has really got itself back on it's feet.'
As this is their second journey, Jonathan thinks it won't be long before the guys get itchy feet again. What does Ewan think?
'Yeah, there's certainly a trilogy of them,' agrees Ewan. 'We've done Long Way Round, London to New York, and now Long Way Down, John O' Groats to Cape Town, and then I think there's probably Long Way Up, isn't there? From the very south of America, to North America.'
Like The Motorcycle Diaries?
'Yeah,' says Ewan, 'but we'd do it on more modern bikes I think!'
Talking about sleeping arrangements, Jonathan asks – do they give each other a hug at bedtime?
Charley replies, 'well the whole thing is, what happens in the tent stays in the tent, so I can't comment any further on that.'
Before they go, Charley wants to add, 'anyone who's thinking of coming to Africa, you should absolutely come, you'll have such a laugh here. Really nice people, and it's a safe, nice place to travel. It really is.'
'It is beautiful,' Ewan agrees, 'but I've just noticed, I've got a dirty great nail sticking out of my rear tyre!'