The East Africa country of Uganda is home to one of the most varied and densely populated habitats of African fauna on the continent that is accessible and affordable while being more authentic and less predictable than the heavy weight African tourist destinations on its south and eastern borders. Famously referred to as the ‘Pearl of Africa’ by Winston Churchill, Uganda was home to Kevin (one of my former university flatmates) for the nine months prior to the arrival of a group of four of us to join Kevin and explore this African gem for 3 weeks.
Some six months prior Kevin had invited his friends to join him for an ‘African Safari’ type holiday, citing that through his contacts and “hook-ups” he’d established, we’d be able to avoid the expense of the normal African holiday while forfeiting none of the experience. Of course four of us answered this call to join forces, (I would come direct from Egypt) bringing with us our ‘weapons of mass exposure’; top of the range Nikon SLR’s. Gene brought his Canon…
After arriving and assembling into the lake side town of Entebbe, we promptly started our adventure by visiting the Entebbe Wildlife Sanctuary which is home to many of the rare or elusive African animals.
Following our time in Entebbe, we headed east to the banks of the mighty Nile River at its source; near the town of Jinja on the northern shores of Lake Victoria some 6,450km from the Nile's terminus on the Egyptian Mediterranean Coast. One of the first activities we would tackle on this epic intrepid African adventure was rafting the largest commercial rapids in the world. We would leave from near Jinja with a New Zealand owned rafting company called Adrift. EXTREME!
We passed through about a dozen large rapid sections during the day, many of them grade five, and yes we did spend a lot of time in the water on account of the flips (some more than others mind you). We were a bit worried about the prospects of crocodiles and hippos, but we were reassured there were none in this fast moving part of the Nile.
Next on the list of firsts for this trip was taking a bungee jump curious of one of Kevin’s New Zealand hook-ups, again you can experience bungee jumping into the Nile from the high cliffs near Jinja through ADRIFT. I recalled being asked “Do you want to get wet?” by Jack (the instructor), “Yeah, just a little mate” I said but I was pretty sure I touched the bottom! Extremely gooood fun!
We would travel 2,200km around Uganda in Kevin’s work Land cruiser (cheers Ugandan Government) passing through many local towns and villages enroute separated by often rough roads, so a 4 x 4 is definitely recommended if you plan to do the same! One of the observations we made was that many of the village shops were painted with advertising for the local mobile phone companies; we figured this was in exchange for having the shop painted at all. After our adventures in Jinja we had a date with Kevin’s Chimpanzee Forest Lodge he managed, but this was further north near the Murchison Falls National Park.