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.
From the Budongo Eco-lodge in northwest Uganda, we made the long drive to the rolling hills and volcanoes of Southwest Uganda near the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwandan border, stopping at the Equator along the way. At this point one our friends (Gene) left us to return to his pesky job, so he would have to miss the science experiment that featured on an episode of the Simpsons. On the equator you can pay to see a little experiment being conducted regarding the Coriolis effect. Sure enough, only five meters either side of the Equator water drained down the hole in opposite directions, but directly over the equator is drained straight down. Weird as I don’t think it’s an actual effect that should have worked on that scale, I now believe he fooled us by pouring the water in a particular way.
The next major stop was Lake Bunyonyi in the southwest corner of Uganda near the town of Kabale and the Rwanda border. A good way to describe this place would be to take a green agricultural valley of rolling hills, flood it, put some palm trees around its edge and a few small resorts with wooden canoes and you’re pretty close to what the Lake Bunyonyi area looks like. We enjoyed a relaxing few days at the lake side guesthouse with about 75% of our conversations topics during the trip: gay jokes and camera/photography tech talk. Don’t ask me why… but very funny all the same.
The Southwest of Uganda is the apparently the ‘prettiest’ part of Uganda, with many of the 30 million inhabitants living off the land, however we had ventured to this far corner of the country to climb one of the Virunga Volcanoes, in particular the 4,127m high Mt Muhabura. The climb was steep in parts but we blitzed the 1,800m climb in about four hours to reach the summit which has a small Crater Lake and fantastic views across Uganda and Rwanda.
The Lake Mburo National Park was another chance to get back into Game Park mode (and camp near dangerous wild animals). In the main the new animals we spotted at the Lake Mburo National Park were impala, Zebras, Vultures and really spiky thorn bushes. That’s about it. From the Lake Mburo National Park near Mbarara we headed back to the capital Kampala, before heading down to Entebbe to fly back to London. With that flight, late on the 7th of September, the sun set on our African adventure where I left the 'stash and mullet' behind (may they rest in peace). Who knows when I’ll be back in Uganda, but if this trip is the lasting memory I have of Africa then I’ll take that to the bank any day. To the boys who I travelled with, especially Kevin, thanks a million for a once in a lifetime intrepid African adventure, it was one hell of a trip guys.