Sometimes you need a holiday from your sabbatical… Luckily for me, I had some friends from London going to Uganda to run a marathon (!!!), so I decided to join them for a week of adventures. Here is a snapshot of some of our fun times
White water rafting on the Nile
My dear mum didn’t realise that I slept on top of a volcano until she read my blog, so this time I prepared her a bit better – basically… mum you’re not going to like this! I haven’t experienced anything quite like it – the fear, the adrenaline, the complete lack of control. And yet somehow I still managed to have the best time!
We did eight rapids on a stretch of a few kilometres on the Nile. Throughout this, we managed to flip twice and I had to be ‘saved’ by a safety canoe during one of those times as I slowly waved bye to my fellow rafters as the current swept me off.
The crew was a amazing – a special shout out goes to Juma – he really knows how to handle a group of 25 screaming mazungus!
Getting our TOWIE on
Who knew all you needed for a Tango-tan was to ride a bicycle through Ugandan villages for a couple of hours… and hey presto – your skin is a beautiful shade of terracotta. Our Jinja village bike tour was absolutely brilliant with a couple of firsts for me – I had never seen how passion fruit are grown (its a vine!); also I saw my favourite creative kids toy yet – a maize cob turned into a wonderful doll with a bit of plastic wrapped around as a dress. By the way… these legs aren’t mine – just had to mention it!
It took a good rubbing to clean off all the dirt… luckily no one cares how Tango you are when you’re drinking Nile on the Nile!
Getting up close and personal with rhinos… and chimps… and elephants… and giraffes… and crocs… and hippos
Yes, we really went for it with all the animal experiences and it was so worth it!
Being less than 5 metres away from six female rhinos is just a little bit daunting. The Ziwa rhino sanctuary only started with a handful of rhinos and have now grown to 16 rhinos in total – one of which is called Obama as his mum is American and dad Kenyan! The long term aim of the sanctuary is to get to 30+ specimen in order to release them back to the wild
Our chimps visit was a bit bitter sweet as it truly demonstrated the devastating effects that humans can have on the animal kingdom. A group of 40 chimps are forced to live in a 150m stretch of forest, surrounded by sugar cane fields, which previously were all beautiful lush forests. They are becoming hungry and frustrated and keep on attacking village kids who collect water from the well in the chimp forest. I was left saddened and frustrated… Greed just isn’t worth losing these beautiful chimps over!
Unfortunately my iPhone camera isn’t good enough to capture the chimps – I have a lot of pictures of dark forest with some black blob in the middle of it.
Our loose cannon driver Moses fashioned himself as a bit of a tour guide, so we ended up on a short game drive throughout Murchison before our Nile boat cruise. We ended up seeing herds of elephants, buffalos, giraffes… and my favourite – warthogs! But the real treat awaited us on the Nile – never have I ever seen a crocodile smiling or a hippo yawning before. I felt like a little kid again, giggling away!
Getting soaked in the Murchison falls
Picture the entire force of the Nile trying to squeeze itself through six metres worth of space… and you get the magnificent Murchison falls! We got absolutely soaked by the falls as we were hiking alongside it, amazed by the beautiful rainbow right in the middle of the falls!
Oh and a random fact for you… Hemingway’s plane crashed near the falls as well
My final destination – Kampala – and its air-conditioned malls
It was time for another Kiva reunion, as I joined Sravya in Kampala. I was so pleased to experience another Kiva fellow’s life! And when I say experience her life, I mean eat pesto pasta, ramen, chocolate mousse, tiramisu… drink red wine… have air-conditioning… enjoy a power shower!
I did manage to squeeze in a couple of cultural experiences among the eating galore… For example, I visited the second largest mosque in Africa, the Gaddafi mosque. I also climbed the mosque’s 100m tower – as I clung to the tower walls, my guide Yussuf suggested I don’t look up or down but only at my toes… I am definitely not a fan of heights!
Uganda, you have treated me well – I shall see you again in a few days at Lake Bunyonyi for another adventure!