26.07.2009 - 26.07.2009
We headed across the border into Uganda from Kenya not sure what to expect.... 3 weeks later and it's fair to say we had a ball in Uganda. Took a while to get into the swing of things. We really loved the people in Uganda, really friendly but not too pushy (like the kenyans were constantly trying to scam you... but the ugandans just seemed genuinly friendly).
We started off in Jinja on the edge of Lake Victoria where the "source of the nile" is... whatever that may mean. We of course took the obligatory boat trip to see the source of the nile... not quite sure what we were looking at but it was a good trip anyway!
We then went white water rafting down the Nile. What a great day.... grade 5 rapids, some of the biggest white water in the world! We even went over a waterfall! Rona was a bit freaked out at first but Mike of course thought it was fantastic! After getting thrown out the raft twice, body surfing down grade 5 rapids and getting rescued by a kayak twice then Rona got used to the fact that she wasn't going to drown! We've got a great mini video which we might try to upload to the site now we've worked out how to insert photos and videos properly. We're about 3 months behind with our photo uploading i'm afraid.
From Jinja, we went briefly to Kampala before joining a 3-day trip north with a bunch of other backpackers to Murchison Falls where we went on safari, a river cruise to the base of the falls and a walk along the top of the falls. Pretty impressive place but very hot and humid. Stayed in safari tents and there was a massive thunder and lightning storm one night at 3 in the morning.
Everyone we met in Uganda seemed to be either working or volunteering for a Not for Profit... it's fair to say there seem to be an excessive number of small NFP's in Uganda.
Back to Kampala again... one of Uganda's many surprises was the great indian food, we had great food in Jinja and also Kampala... a real treat after eating bland beef stew in Kenya for weeks on end.
Caught the bus from Kampala to Fort Portal, met a spanish/polish couple on the bus who we travelled with for the next week.
From Fort Portal we got a "shared taxi"... basically a shared car to Kabale Forest National Park. the car had 3 rows of seats and we had 13 adults and 3 kids in it by the end! Unbelievable.... rucksacks were tied to the roof with rope and came off orange... it was a dirt road obviously. So we endured an hour in the car with people sitting on top of us, then walked 45 minutes through local villages with lots of friendly kids... to where we were camping at Chimps Nest. A great place on the edge of Kabale Forest.
Got up early the next day to try to secure some "chimp trekking" permits. Had to take a "boda boda"..... Uganda's name for a motorbike taxi, down a dirt road 10kms to the national park. Turned up to find all the permits were fully booked but they felt sorry for us... so we went chimpanzee trekking through the forest.
Took us about an hour to find the chimps and we were only allowed to stay with them for an hour. It's a very wierd feeling watching a chimp shimmy down a tree then following it through the forest jungle! We spent ages following the chimps through the trees then they eventually stopped, just sat on the trees lounging around and watching us... who was watching who? Great experience. Cadged a lift back to the junction with the people on the posh tour... then walked back to the campsite. Met 3 troops of monkeys on the way back to the campsite jumping from the trees on one side of the road to the other.... great fun to watch... and we were the only people there.
The next day headed back to Fort Portal... took a private car for the 4 of us this time as decided we could do without people sitting on top of us for the whole trip.... Then caught the bus south to Kasese before getting yet another "shared taxi" to the base of the Rwenzori mountains.
Stayed at Ruboni Community campsite, a place run by the local community for the benefit of the community. It was in a stunning location at the base of the mountains surrounded by hills and terraced farmland. Spent a few days there hillwaking and visiting the local village where we got to see people basket making, farming and met the "story teller" who told us a few stories about the history of the tribe, etc. Really lovely place, could have stayed for ages.
Headed back to Kasese town, a not very exciting place, where we aimed to get the bus south to Kabale and Lake Bunyonyi. Were told 5 different answers by 5 different people about what time the bus left in the morning. In the end turned up at 8am, bus came at 10.30.... packed to the rafters of course. We parted company from our new travel buddies as they were going on safari and we had pretty much had our safari quota for one month.
Headed to Lake Bunyonyi, a very pretty lake, where we went on a dugout canoe trip and visited a market where everyone arrived with all the goods in canoes... have some great pics so will try to upload soon... spent a few days kicking back, watching the otters and the birdlife.
We were sort of killing time by this point as we had secured gorilla tracking permits for Rwanda but not for another week so were sort of hanging around waiting before crossing the border.
Arranged a lift across the border with the newspaper delivery guy... who told us we didn't need to wait in the queues since we were with him??? Anyway, after a bit of queue skipping we got across the border pretty quickly and arrived in Rwanda.
Very sad to leave Uganda, had a really good time here and really liked the whole feel of the place, really friendly and nice people. Lots to see and do.