On the Way to Uganda
We headed out from Lake Nakuru to Kembu Camp. This is part of a working farm which has been in the family since the early 1900s. Kembu means chameleon in Swahili, and Fred and I joined the children of the family and some guests for a chameleon hunt that night. They are very hard to spot - the older boy, the expert chameleon spotter, said that you look for something that looks like a dead leaf. They spotted several for us, but every time, I saw something that looked like a dead leaf, it was.
We also had a guided tour of the farm. And what a diversified farm! One of the workers showed us around the dairy, the horse breeding and the calf feeding. They also grow all their own hay and straw, their own grain and other animal feed, as well as flowers for wool dying. One of the owners taught the local women to knit to supplement their income, and the project has taken off. There are now about 60 women employed and about 250 working at home who spin, dye, knit and finish goods, about 90% of which are now exported with the remainder for sale in exclusive shops around East Africa. What started out as a small local enterprise has escalated beyond anyone's expectations.
From there we headed out to the main road to Uganda. The short stretch from the camp was an obstacle course of car-swallowing potholes! And once we reached the main highway, it didn't get any better.
Roadworks on a grand scale meant dust on a similar scale. Trucks without lights on loomed up out of the dust travelling at frightening speed, seemingly right at us. Potholes were ever-present (and vicious) but invisible in the gloom. We were 4 wheel driving on the main highway! Once we reached the tarred sections, there wasn't much improvement - the road looked like someone had built it by hand with handfuls of flattened bitumen. There were more patches in the road than there was original surface. At one stage we actually got up to 55kph and 4th gear, but alas that lasted for all of 200 metres and then it was back to 35kph and 3rd gear.
The lovely farmland of the Rift Valley gave way to a steady climb up the western escarpment. Huge, heavy (meaning over-loaded...) trucks belched out diesel fumes all the way as they struggled uphill. So slow were they that bicycle riders hung onto the back to get a free ride. There were broken down trucks every few kilometres - some with flat tyres, some with engine and gearbox bits all over the road while the drivers fixed them, and one with a completely broken chassis in the middle of the road. Not infrequent were trucks on their sides in ditches beside the road. And easy to see why too. We saw much swerving of many badly loaded trucks - no wonder they end up toppling over.
And so with great care we drove to Uganda.