Going to the Movies

Uganda is like a movie character.  You know the one- the girl who has her hair in a ponytail, wears unfashionable glasses, unflattering clothes.  With a little work, this country, with its violent history, turbulent present, and questionable future quickly sheds its dumpy image and shows itself for the beauty it really is.  The people are wonderful, the scenery is breathtaking, and the riding is anything you want it to be.

After Sipi Falls I went to Jinga, the commonly accepted source of The Nile.  Going along a terrible road I was so busy with riding that I luckily missed the turn-off to my planned campsite and rode further down the road to another campsite.  I spent two days there watching The Bujagali Falls

Sheltering from the daily mid-afternoon showers..

And hanging out with locals.  For the first time in Africa, I had to fight to buy a round.  At their mothers request, I let a couple of kids sit on the bike and twist the throttle- 5 minutes later their dad returned with a couple of beers he insisted I take.  Later, a mixed group of mid-twenties people came by and asked about the trip while plying me with scotch-in-a-bag (think a bag full of large McDonalds ketchup packs, maybe 2oz., that you open with your teeth and squirt into your mouth).  After that an Indian family (Despite persecution during Idi Amins rule, Uganda still has a large Indian population) came by to eat next to the river and didn’t give me a choice but to share in their meal.

It took some effort to get back on the road, but I had a long ride that day to Murchison Falls, so early in the morning I rode off.  The first 5 or 6 hours were on good tarmac and fairly relaxing.  Turns out it was a sneak attack- get me all fuzzy and warm and then- WHAM!  100Km of dusty dirt where pot holes would fill with powder that looked solid, but that a tire would sink right through.  100Km to which I added another 72km by taking a wrong turn and having to backtrack.  100Km of washouts that dug World War 1 trenches across the road and dared you to make the run across no-mans land.  100Km of that’s why you’re in Africa… Dumbass!    

The goal was amazing and worth even the exorbitant price to enter the national park.  The campsite wasn’t quite a picturesque as my last few, but the baboons and warthogs making it their home certainly made it lively.

The falls were stunning.  A massive river being forced through a gab narrow enough that every year a few hearty souls (read: idiots) jump across…  And mostly make it.

After a quick stay in Kampala, I headed off to Lake Bunyonyi.  I was cutting my Uganda stay a bit shorter than I wanted to, but the 2 months in Nairobi made me want to keep moving.

Lake Bunyonyi was again a beautiful stop.  The ride from Kamapala was easy, with just a bit of problems with road construction.  Turning off the main road and down to the lake was another story and made arriving feel like an accomplishment.  It was helped by meeting up again with The Dutchies- a couple from The Netherlands who were driving down Africa.  I first met them at JJ’s and seeing them again was a treat- enough of one that we ended up at the same campsites for next 5 days!

A after a quick a breakfast the next morning it was time to head to Rwanda.  The Duchies and I planned to meet up in Kigali, but would spend the day making out own way there- the best way to travel!  While looking forward to new sights and such, I couldn’t help feeling that I was leaving early- not since Sudan had I enjoyed a country as much as I enjoyed Uganda.


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