Four Wheels Around - A Road Trip from the UK to South Africa

In February 2009 we are setting off on the trip of a lifetime from Brighton, E-Sussex, UK to South Africa. Furthermore, we are raising money for the British Red Cross along the way. This blog will cover our preparation until we leave and our adventures whilst we are on the road.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

From being a farangi to a muzungu, 3 weeks in Uganda

Being a ‘Muzungu’ in Uganda was very different to being a ‘farangi’ in Ethiopia. ‘Muzungu’ seems to be used in a more affectionate manor than ‘farangi’. Uganda people at once struck us a being lovely and as a whole this rung true the whole 3 ½ weeks we were based in Uganda. We based ourselves in Kampala, at our delight we were settled at Alex’s friends bungalow not too far from the centre where we enjoyed such luxuries as a fridge, oven and dvd player for our time there.

Much of our focus in Uganda was centred around the eagerly awaited arrival of my Mum and younger sister. They were scheduled to join us inEast Africa for just 9 days so we knew our time with them would be action packed. We let them discuss and decide what they wanted to see and do and we just came along for the ride. Well Alex was chauffer and I was navigator.

We spent a night in Jinga, hopping onto an overpriced muzungu tourist boat to see the ‘true’ source of the White Nile. It was vaguely momentous for Alex and myself since we have been following the Nile on and off for months since leaving Cairo. We stayed at a fantastic old colonial house in a quiet suburb of Jinga. Beautiful gardens where we parked old Carol. It was in Jinga when we discovered to our dismay that Carol the landy was still using a LOT of engine oil. This was the problem that we had supposedly had fixed the week before in Kampala. We were left with 2 main options considering this revelation;

1) Give up! Drive to the nearest port –Dar as Salam in Tanzania and ship the car and us fly home. It would be disappointing but with a vehicle like ours who can blame us…
2) Carry on…..

After some discussion between Alex and myself, we both realized how much we really want to make it all the way to SA. We worked out we have roughly 4500 miles to go and considering we have already covered 12000 then we really are on the home straight so to speak. We decided on the 2nd option and put our minds at ease we headed into Kampala and purchased 40 litres of diesel engine oil (cheaper in bulk buy!) to set us up for the rest of the journey!

Anyway, back to the Ramsay’s trip to Uganda. Post Jinga we headed off to the Queen Elizabeth National Park, stopping off close to Fort Portal to see some waterfalls, crater lakes and caves. Very nice they were too. In the QENP we headed off for a game drive. Although we only had the patience to continue for 2 hours, (It had been a long day, there were bloody tetse flies aplenty and it was very hot) we managed to spy a leopard! Or rather Lucy managed to spy a leopard and it was not just one….but 2!!! It made it all worth it and we were all quite happy! That evening due to a lack of affordable inside sleeping arrangements, Mum and Lucy were victim to a very small, A frame tent Alex and I brought along for emergencies. It was unfortunate that they were rudely awakened by a large and terrifying elephant in the middle of the night who decided he wanted to get a little too close to their tent. He explored around it and sneezed on the tent which was too much for my poor Mum who came knocking at Carols door shortly after.

After all the dramas at the national park, the last few days of my family's holiday passed uneventfully. After they left Alex and myself got Carol some new shock absorbers, tinted her windows..... and set off in the direction of Rwanda. Last night we spent an afternoon and evening at Lake Bunyoni. It was absolutely stunning. It is possibly the nicest, most beautiful place we have visited yet. The lake was so still. We hired a canoe. Not that you can call it a canoe it was more of a hollowed out tree trunk and we set off oars in hands for a little row across the lake. A pleasent afternoon was spent rowing and on our route back to camp we came across some fellow overlanders sitting within some trees. Sue and Stu. Fellow Brits we have heard a lot about then but not actually met them up until now. We moored up and a nice few hours was spent trading tales and sharing advice.

This morning we set off for the Rwandan border. It was a pleasent surprise not to incur ANY costs at the border. We already have COMSA insurance and British nationals are not required a visa. We were through within 10 minues and off onto the fantastic Rwandan roads to Kigali. Rwanda is as beautiful as Uganda if noticeably poorer. The Capital Kigali is modern, with shopping malls. Remarkably it has boda-bodas (moter bike taxis) with registered boda-boda drivers who not only wear helemts themselves but provide them for their passangers! A bit of a change after the mad boda-bodas in Uganda! We shall spend a couple of days here, getting used to driving on the right and seeing and hearing the French language before we set off, Tanzania bound!

Before I go I must alert you all to go forth and buy the september edition of Land Rover Monthly which should be out in the shops (W H Smiths sell it for sure) any day now..... there should be a nice feature all about us and Carol for your enjoyment!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice and interesting....

10 August 2009 at 06:34  
Anonymous Martin said...

Great article in the Land Rover Monthly magazine!

19 August 2009 at 07:19  

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