Total Distance: 8454 km
Distance covered today: 413 km
Start: Nile Safari Camp, Murchinsons Falls National Park, Uganda
Finish: Nile Explorers Camp, Jinja, Uganda
First thing was to drive by road to the Murchinsons Falls. One get much closer to it than by boat and the sound is quit explosive. The Nile comes rushing from the higher lying plateau racing towards a very narrow crack in the basalt rock and blasts at a tremendous speed through this gap to the new level some 30 - 40 meters below. From there it flows again as timid as a chameleon oblivious to the tumultuous rapids behind it. We backtracked to Masindi and headed with a very good tarmac road to Kampala. Some 10km before we reached it, we hit the outskirts and immediately we were crawling forward at snail's pace through hundreds of taxis, cars, trucks, busses, carts and anything with a wheel or even half a wheel.
We have heard from various people coming from the north that one needs a letter from one's embassy to state that you and your vehicle should be assisted travelling through Ethiopia and you won't sell it. Some people had to sit 3 days at the border post from Sudan to Ethiopia trying to extract this letter from their embassy. So, off to the SA embassy. Why is that one's own people are the most unfriendliest in Africa?!? No, according to them they do not have a mandate to write such a letter. Is that not what embassies are there for to assist travellers to travel safely through other countries? Obviously not the SA Embassies. All the other embassies - English, German, Italian etc are helping their citizens - but our own can't be bothered. What will happen if I have an accident in a foreign country is something that scares me because our own government to whom we pay taxes to provide this service, just ain't interested. Anyway, begging, pleading and speaking some harsh words only drew blank faces so I left with a very clear 'Thanks for nothing'. Headed afterwards to Shoprite to get a sense again of home shopping but soon realised that prices are super crazy that we had to unpack half of what we bought. Decided that there was no point in staying in the capital if Jinja, our main objective in the area is only 80km away. Now, to explain to you the traffic will be hard. Imagine doing full speed and not 100m ahead of you a truck is heading your way and another vehicle decides to overtake him flashing headlights at you to say: I am coming whether you like or not but if you don't stop we will collide. We saw cars literally being rammed of the road in order to avoid an accident. I have just lost 5 years off my life on this short stretch of road. To make things worse we were stopped when we overtook a truck doing no more than 10km per hour just as we were approaching a police barricade and crossing the barely visible solid white line was the perfect reason for me to be stopped by the cops. My stutter trick of 'S-s-s-o-o-r-r-y I-I-I did n-n-o-t see the s-s-t-t-ripe' and Arina crying crocodile tears did not work this time and US$20 smeared the officer's pocket better than the best brand of oil in a car. We arrived at our camp site high above the Nile and we can see and hear the rapids below and another idyllic setting (apart from the locals playing their tunes at full blast from behind the fence line until 2am). Here one can go on full day kayak and white water rafting trips surrounded by the lush hills. According to the Ugandans this is the official start of the White Nile as it leaves the Lake Victoria.
22 December 2010
Staying for a 2nd night at Nile Explorers Camp, Jinja, Uganda
Had a thunderstorm during the night but when we got up it was quite warm and as there was nothing planned for the day, we just relaxed in the camp grounds, chatted to other campers and were told by the driver of an overland truck that we don't need this letter for the vehicle when travel from the south, so that is a relief. Met a whole variety of couples and groups travelling through Africa and one couple from Australia bought a vehicle in Cape Town and criss-crossed all way from there to Uganda and now back again for a total of 6 months.
Tomorrow we are heading towards a waterfall called Sipi on Mount Elgon before spending a relaxing 3 days in Eldoret where we will be for Christmas as well.