Uganda stop-off

Trip Start Jun 08, 2005
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33
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Trip End Aug 18, 2005


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Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Day the Twenty-eighth - in which we leave Kenya and hardly see any of Uganda.

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Not needing to be at the bus depot particularly early meant we could lie in a little. However, we were aware that we should get out reasonably early in case we couldn't escape when the time came. Also, why hang out at the hostel when you can go to Will's Bar? Not to mention the state of the toilets probably had the local rats evacuating. Ick. This is a serious competitor for the worst Ethiopia had to offer. And that's saying something. I can't figure it out. They weren't that bad last night. Maybe door-lady lets all the local strays and waifs in at night to use the non-flushing/blocked toilet? As I prefer not to have to stand in/wade through urine if at all possible whilst using the bathroom [or ever, in fact], we waited until we got to the bar.

We found a bakery which sold some pretty decent bread and other delicacies which we bought and tried in the name of science.

At Will's we had, yes, milkshake and lunch, and then headed off to the Akamba bus depot. We ended up sitting and waiting for 2 hours, surrounded by glue-sniffers and fellow passengers. The boys would ask us for money, but we could see them holding glue pots behind their backs, so the answer was always 'no'. Poor buggers.

The bus sets off from Nairobi, which is why it wasn't due with us until midday. We finally set off at 1pm after quite a bit of faffing on behalf of the driver. Sat on the bus we were treated to the unparalleled sight of a teenage kid strutting around outside with the word 'SPAZ' emblazoned on his woolly hat. Love eet.

The journey was pretty uneventful. Eldoret is only about 100km from the border so it wasn't long before we all had to get out and do the immigration dance. Typically it started to rain heavily and so when we got into the office we resembled drowned rats. I'm sure this is one of the things on the list of things not to do when appearing at border immigration wanting a visa on arrival. Huh, oh well. As it turned out the Ugandan official was very nice, even suggesting a cheaper transit visa since we were spending a maximum of 2 days in the country. He did ask, though I can't decide if he was being serious, whether my parents knew I was in Africa. I gleefully replied that they couldn't stop me coming to Africa even if they wanted to.




The countryside got lusher and lusher, with stretches of papyrus and banana plants. We saw some Grey Crowned Cranes - the national bird of Uganda I think.




Also near Jinja we crossed the White Nile - both Niles in one trip!







It was getting dark when we got to Kampala and we spent quite a while snagged in traffic, both on the bus and in the taxi to the backpackers.




Red Chilli Backpackers came recommended by Rachel back home in Bangor. Since we have no guide book, and no real knowledge of Uganda, it was good to be able to say "take us there" and not worry about it. Red Chilli was *packed* with backpackers all sitting on sofas and chatting. It was a bit overwhelming - out first real backpacker enclave of the trip. We could only get dorm beds but that was fine. We had a money problem - namely we had none. Well, not Ugandan shillings anyway. Fortunately the staff were very helpful and let us change what we hoped would be enough to get us to the bus station tomorrow morning and blag us two tickets to Rwanda. They arranged the taxi for 6am and also made us dinner even though the kitchen was shut.

Now that we are back at a lower elevation, mozzies are a problem, so out came the nets. We set an alarm and fell into bed, making sure any packing for the morning involved a minimum of plastic bag rustling, since that's not popular at 5.30am. If the other occupants came in late, we didn't hear them.
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