Kampala, Uganda - This place is bonkers.

Trip Start Dec 16, 2005
Trip End Jun 12, 2006

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The water is still not working - toilets not in a good state by now. Managed to get the hotel next door to allow me to shower there. Was going to go to the Ethnographic Museum in the morning but luckily just before I set off I realized I couldn't read the 24 hour clock and my flight was 2 hours earlier than I thought. So I settled in for a cake, coffee and a surf of the net to relieve me of my final few birrs. Still have about $10 left in birr if anyone is going to Ethiopia soon?

Met Steve at the airport, he's going to put a few of my photos on his tour web site - shoot me to stardom!

The rest of Africa is going to have a lot to live up to after Ethiopia!

Tusker beer on the Kenyan Airlines flight and some quite decent, if not rather salty fish. I was transferring through Nairobi (or Nairobbery as my guide book liked to call it). A crappy airport but the place is full of British stuff, Union Jacks and quality British papers, so it certainly got my vote of confidence.

Shared the 45 mile taxi ride into Kampala from Entebbe airport with some crazy Nigerian who lived in London. Arrived at The Backpacker Hostel (That is it's name!) and had a big bottle of the strongish Nile Special Beer while watching the Geckos on the wall. First thoughts on arriving in Kampala was the taste and moisture in the air made for a totally different feeling and although it was dark it looks green out there and plenty of people.

I know I'm going to like it.

Next day took the Matatus (minibus) into town and all I can say is the place is absolutely bonkers, especially around the bus station and the market. There are hundreds of people intermingling with buses, matatuses and motorbikes on the road, all somehow managing to avoid each other. How more people don't get killed is beyond me, I feel like I'm constantly fighting for my life! Luckily I managed to make it out of that area in one piece but I knew at the back of my mind all that day I would have to go back to that area at the end of the day to get back to my hostel.

Looking up in the sky in Kampala was a bit different to Ethiopia, the cities skies were full of Malibu Storks. They had huge nests up in the trees throughout the city and were some of the dirtiest shabbiest looking birds I'd ever seen, probably as a result from delving through litter all day!

This place is so green compared to Ethiopia with palm and banana trees all over the place. Early afternoon and I soon found out exactly why - the heavens opened and stayed open for about an hour with some of the heaviest rain I'd seen. Nobody seemed to carry umbrellas, so everyman and his dog took shelter wherever they could. As quickly as it all started it stopped again and life went back to normal.

Later I got some money changed and withdrew some from the bank machine. Very few places outside Kampala change travelers cheques and the places that do have awful rates, so I was forced to change about $1.5K into Ugandan Shillings. I became a millionaire instantaneously, in fact I became a multimillionaire just like that. 2.5M to be exact! The wad of 10,000 notes was so big I couldn't fit it all in my money belt. Let's hope I don't get robbed!

I managed to dispose of 1M pretty quickly paying for my 7 day trek in the Rwenzori Mountain (the Mountain of the Moon). These are the tallest mountain range in the whole of Africa (Kilimanjaro is volcanic) and one of the main things I wanted to do in Africa. I booked for the 30th Jan for a 7 day trek.

Had a bit of a mix up with the taxi driver when heading to the park HQ, he said 500 beforehand but meant 5000. I was quick to tell him where to go, but after speaking to a guy at the park HQ I was told this was a good price. I had to eat humble pie and cough up the cash, he should have told me the correct price in the first place, that way we wouldn't have got in such a pickle!

I took the matatus back to the hostel, I still haven't plucked up the courage to take a boda boda (backseat of a motorbike), it all seems a bit too life threatening to me, although I have seen a couple of westerners on them!

Power cut that evening although at the hostel there is a generator so at least the light are on. Murchison Fall National Park is the destination for the next day in search of wildlife!
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Where I stayed
The Backpacker
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