The border crossing into Uganda was simple with the usual road tax charged in these African countries. We decided to ride to Jinja which is where Nile or White Nile supposedly starts…I won’t get into that because it seems people take the location of the Nile source pretty seriously. We ended up camping out at the Adrift Camp which had a great location on the river with a beautiful view of the Nile below. But on the way to Jinja, we noticed the greenery. There was sugar cane, rice, corn growing everywhere. Seems like wherever you throw a seed, something will grow. There’s also some pretty good white water rafting in Jinja but it’s pretty expensive compared to other places.
We headed out for Kampala, only to be caught in rain. And it proceeded to rain for the next couple of days. Thankfully we were camping out at a place that had great wifi, so we were able to catch up a bit on pics. Kampala is like any other crowded African city, but people in Uganda were really nice and again, lots of English speakers. There is a liveliness at night, especially on the weekends. Weird enough, we ran into many Indian Army and Pakistani Army soldiers that were stopping in Kampala for a couple of days after serving as UN peacekeepers in South Sudan before heading home (my guess is to take a look at the gori mems…essentially white girls staying at the guest house).
Thankfully the rain stopped for a day and we headed out, we were in the mood for some hills so we headed for the Fort Portal area. Fort Portal is situated in a hilly,cool place where you can get some views or arrange trekking to the Rwenzori mountain range. The Rwenzoris, believe it or not, get annual snow and also have huge glaciers. We took a dirt road full of ruts in search of a campsite up in the scenic hills, which was surrounded by beautiful old trees, tea plantations and flowers. It ended up being a beautiful place to camp. Only thing is in Uganda, there was always moisture in the morning and our tent would never dry! Talking about the tent…It’s become pretty routine for us to put it up. But as husband and wife , although we might pitch it every day, folding it back together is always a fire starter 🙂 But the tent is definitely cozy no matter how cold and sometimes we’d rather stay in our tent with our own sleeping bags than in a yucky guest house! The next day we headed out on an awesome trail that began to get more narrow and rough as we headed out. It was cool though, we were able to get a glimpse of village life and whizz through farms and tea plantations…something you couldn’t do on 4 wheels. We did hit some patches of sticky back mud but we were able to waddle our way through. It was actually Christmas Eve and we hoped to hit a nice place to spend the night. Villagers were also getting ready for Christmas. Each village had a butcher shop that had slaughtered cows and goats. It seems that meat is kind of a special occasion thing. I talked to a few kids on the Uganda side of the border with Kenya and asked them what they did for Christmas. Their answer was simple…”I ate some meat and I watched a movie and went to sleep.” This same kid asked me for Indian rupees to buy some bananas. He just wanted to collect different money from around the world. He was so sweet he broke my heart. All kids around the world are sweet and precious, sometimes I wish I could whisk them away on my motorcycle and show them the world. Again, beautiful green hills with dramatic clouds dominated our ride. Oh and we did encounter sticky red mud and rain along the way…and the red mud is really something else…I had to get off the bike a couple of times and it was more difficult to walk since it was like ice skating…that slippery! You could definitely feel the back of the bike fishtailing!
Eventually we got to another hilly area that was once surrounded by volcanoes. We decided to camp near Lake Bunyonyi. Luckily the place we were camping at was decorated with Christmas trees, lights, and Santa Claus! There were tons of Indian families celebrating and we felt a bit homesick. After opening a bottle of rum and gorging on a creamy, pesto pasta (courtesy of me!) we sat around a bonfire along with an older couple originally from Bangalore, but now doing business in Kampala. Talking to them made us miss the family further. We retired back to our tent after warming up near the fire, had some Cadbury Fruit n Nut and curled up together and slept.
We didn’t have much back tire left and had one front waiting for us in Nairobi that we thought we’d change in anticipation of the road to Moyale (Ethiopia). We also needed the Sudan visa so we needed to get the process started hopefully. So, on Christmas Day we decided to head towards Kampala and then on to Kenya. We usually don’t like to ride at night but we were determined to get to Kampala because it felt in reach. Along the way people were really out and about since it was Christmas. It was obvious people had been drinking so we were really on alert. Along the way I got a bit sleepy and my eyes closed for a minute (I usually don’t like to sleep on the bike) and I felt Nick put on the breaks suddenly, I felt the rear of the bike going in the air and then landing hard. I lunged forward and felt my left foot flat on the ground and sparks flying. There was a bike and a man sliding on the ground right in our bike’s path. We stopped right before the guy’s body. Nick, very worried, asked me if I was okay and my dazed and confused answer was, “Wait, ek (one) minute…” and Nick was like what the heck….By the time we got to Kampala, it was dark. We decided to go to a backpackers place and found there was only one room and no food. We walked down to the street to find a lively street stall scene. We decided on a couple of Rolex’s …basically an omelet with veggies wrapped in a parantha. We had our simple Christmas dinner and fell asleep, feeling thankful to get to Kampala safe and sound and to have each other.