We went on a 3-day journey to do a Safari in Murchison Falls National Park. It was our group, plus Emmanuel (Sylvia’s husband), and Amos (our driver) and his family. 10 people in an 8-passenger van, plus a bit of luggage…tight! It’s ca. 250km from Kampala to the town near the park, but it took us half a day to get there: we had to get through Kampala traffic (a mess!), then we had our tires fixed at a gas station, which took 1h. After finally getting out on the road a while, we took a break in Emmanuel’s home town, where we tried our first “Rolex” for lunch: it’s a common street food in Uganda, a wrap with an egg-tomato-cabbage-omlette inside. Very tasty!
Next day, we took an all-day Safari. Luckily, the tour guide had a special safari-van with enough seats, so we didn’t need to crowd so much. Most of the roads to and in the park were unpaved dirt roads. We signed in and drove through a large stretch of jungle, before getting to the Nile. We took a short ferry ride across and then drove through the grass lands. We saw baboons, buffalo, several kind of antilope, giraffes, elephants and even a lion, among more things. The landscape, plants and animals were amazingly beautiful! After a lunchbreak, we saw the Murchison Falls. I have never seen more beautiful waterfalls in my life! Everyone enjoyed this safari, but I think it was the most special for Emmanuel: he has never been in a hotel or on a special trip like this. For the first time, he could see that his country, with all its problems, could be amazingly beautiful.
The next day, we stopped at Emmanuel’s farm in his home town, Kakoge. He has 8 acres of land that he wants to develop. He currently lives in a rusty shack when he is there, together with a few farm workers. And the property needs lots of work. But I was very impressed by how much they have already done, and all without machines, too: They cleared a huge area of jungle thicket and built a fence for goats and cows. They grow sweet potatoes, bananas and coffee, as well as raise and breed pigs. The place has incredible potential.
We went back to Kampala with a new passenger: It’s a common practice to serve a new mom chicken soup, and since Sylvia just had a baby, Emmanuel brought along one of his roosters to cook for her. The chicken sat in the front seat on mom’s lap. That combined with the ridiculous chaos of Kampala traffic must be one of the most bizarre experiences I’ve had to date :)
We dropped off Olive’s family at their house and visited for a little. They invited us to a collegue’s wedding, which is normal, here. Then, the 1-year old baby boy from the neighbors walked in the door. When he saw us, he was in complete shock: He had never seen a white person before.
By the time we got back to the appartment, it was late afternoon. But traffic was as strong as ever. There were motorcylcles everywhere, even squeezing through on the wrong side of the road. Nothing could move people into cooperation, not even the ambulance with a siren horn on. The ambulance was behind us for literally 20min, and nobody let him through. We were praying that whoever needed the ambulance would be kept safe. It was awful!
We finished the day with a dinner at Café Javas and some prep for tomorrow. As with the other days, good and bad are side by side. But overall, it was a great 3 days.