Kampala and goodbye Uganda

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

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

By some amazing stroke of luck a day previously a new ferry service had started up leaving Kalangala and going direct back to Entebbe (20 miles from Kampala). This saved on a whole day of nightmare road journeys. Molly and crew were on the same boat. Had a good chat with Les, an interesting fellow who was an agriculture journalist and public speaker. He was also a bit of a traveler and had started writing books, he very kindly gave me a copy of his latest one, On the Right Track. A self-published book about his Trans Siberian rail journey, something I had always dreamed of doing. His new book was based on his present trip, I doubt I did anything interesting enough to get a mention, but I'm sure Barry and some of his stories will make the book!

Back in Kampala and it was back to Backpackers. Did a bit of souvenir shopping down in Kampala and booked the 22 hour bus ride to Arusha via Nairobi. The buses were filling up quickly but after shopping around at a few companies I managed to get a trip for the 20th, a few days before the elections. It seems like plenty of other people also wanted to leave for the elections!

Met a good group of people that night and stayed up to the wee hours drinking. Wendie a teaching volunteer from Masaka kindly lent me her cell phone to call Erica and gave me the low down on how cell phones work in Africa. I think I may be making a purchase when I get to Tanzania!

Feb 19th and I stayed in the dorm room the previous night as there were no single available. Realised how glad I was not to me staying in the dorm room all the time as Dave and his buddies alarms went off at 6:30am and Dave spend the next 30 minutes trying to persuade his buddy that he should get out of bed and try the shower as it was fresh with a capital 'F'!.

All the ladies who I'd met the previous night headed off to Lake Nkuruba on my recommendation, I hope they enjoy it. I think Wendie and Laura like their creature comforts and that place is pretty basic!

On the other hand I headed out to Entebbe for the botanical gardens and wildlife education center (or zoo as it is more popularly known in the west!). The gardens were pleasant. Lots of Vervet monkeys and Black and White Casqued hornbills. Learned the egrets I'd seen on the Ssese Islands with the black beaks were Small Egrets whereas the ones here with yellow beaks were Cattle Egrets. Lots of other birds here and I had a guide who was knowledgeable and good at pointing them out. Other things of note were the Cannonball Trees and Dragon Spiders.

Next on to the zoo, and besides the usual array of African animals, the highlights for me were 2 White Rhinos and the highly endangered Shoe Billed Stork.

I spend an evening with Les, Amanda and Molly again, we went to see some very colourful and energetic traditional dancing for what will probably be my last day in Uganda for a long while.

The last day in Uganda and it was first down to the post office to mail home the dodgy Congolese woodwork and the souvenirs from Kampala. Something else for my sister to have a laugh over. I had a few hours spare before my mammoth 22 hour bus ride to northern Tanzania where I sat down to contemplate the trip so far. Besides the power was down as was the Internet, what else was I going to do with my time?

Just thinking about my 5 weeks in Uganda/Rwanda so far I had managed to see gorillas, many species of primate, go on my first ever game safari and see lots of big game, birds galore, fantastic scenery and interact with fantastic set of local people.

2 months down - 4 to go!

I went down to the bus station thinking Kampala was definitely not as mental as the first time I had visited. I think it was just that I'd gotten used to it. I got prime spot behind the driver and started to read Les's book. One of the quotes I loved and could relate to was 'The more you have, the less you share'. Why was this?

Dickens, who was sat besides me, was a customs official at my border crossing - he wanted me to share my money with him! He was getting married the next week and thought I should be a donor at his wedding. True to the quote from above, I didn't share with him, but he wasn't really a person in need. He was also telling me how he was going to help me quickly get through customs at the border and how I could take a photo of him on the border crossing and send him the photo. Like I really wanted to get my camera out and start snapping away at a sensitive border crossing - I though a bribe was wanted! Luckily it was raining by the time we hit the border and another request was made for money. I stood my ground and made it out of the country bribe free.

Finally tried the dodgy BBQ beef kebab turned out to be quite tasty and not as fatty as it had looked. Hope to see them in Tanzania.

Over on the Kenyan side and there seemed to be a good number of roadblocks. The cops liked the old place a bed of nails across the road trick just to make sure people did actually stop. The road here were so well worn, that where the trucks had passed the contour of the road looked like a 'w' with the bottom of each 'v' where the tyres went.

It was a dark night and the land flattened out. Across the plains a number of spectacular lightning storms could be seen in all different directions. Eventually a half moon rose, that low on the horizon and across the plains it looked so much bigger than any moon I had ever seen.

We stopped late on for snacks, a lady barked orders at a Kenyan man very rudely, but he took it in his stride and even joked with her in a subtle enough way that she didn't know, but his friends could see the joke. Maybe Kenya would have been a fun place to visit for a while after all!
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sunberrykid on

bee stings or head splitting
jonny have you witnessed any nasty accidents while hiking? i know how caring you are when people hurt themselves...whaddapp..

jonclark2000 on

Re: bee stings or head splitting
Well no bee stings or headsplits - but I think I overworked my poor guide up on Kili, I ended up thinking I'd have to turn back because he couldn't make it! More to come on that little story though!

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