Uganda - "ehhh"

The route from Kisumu to Busia is not far, we spent our last Kenyan Shillingi for food, then faced our next boarder crossing. The Kenyan side was well organized, only a road tax led to some confusion but this tax has only to be paid if you stay longer than two weeks in Kenya. The Uganda side was more confusing and we faced a major scam. A guy trying to make friends with us and offered his help for free, showed us the custom office, a container with no signs, there everyone was talking about an insurance called COMESA which is valid in all Eastern African countries. They asked for 220 USD each, after long discussions and negotiations, they offered us the exact same insurance for 90 USD. So something had to be wrong. Instantly we found out, this is not even the custom office, it was the National Insurance Agency. Alex went off to the real custom office, while Rolf was searching for other insurances, the helpful police lady let him pass the boarder and there where plenty of other offices, that offer the same insurance for as less as 19 USD. In the end we drove off without any insurance. So be careful if you travel the same route.

Uganda is full of Boda Bodas that are motorbike taxis which reach barely 50km/h, beside that they have crazy Minibus Taxis, Trucks and big coaches. And the highest speed bumps in whole Africa. So driving on a main road is a big challenge and probably the most dangerous we had to ride so far. As we later found out, it is common to pay for your driving license without getting any test done, so even half blind people can be on the road. We made it to Jinja, the source of the White Nile and famous for river rafting. We booked a raft the next day. It was a fun day on the river, however we have to admit it is fucking dangerous. At a 2.5m waterfall, Rolf almost lost a thooth, at an other rapid our boat fell over and Alex was hit by waves, almost couldn’t breath. Anyway we had adrenalin pumped in our bodies and a sunburn. The Overland Camp we stayed was spoiled by a group of Texans, they drive with big Trucks for 3-4 weeks through Eastern Africa and cover huge distances each day. Normally they get drunk in the evening and yes they are very loud. Not our kind of traveling. We try to stay away from these kind of camps. From Jinja to Kampala it is not far. At a road construction we had to wait for 45min. Dorian let his lights on and once we could drive, his Africa Twin was not starting. So Alex and Rolf where already on the other side of the construction site, enjoyed a “Chicken in your face”, fresh grilled chicken on sticks and Fanta, while Dorian was push starting his bike. Once in Kampala’s suburbs, the traffic gets immense. For motorbikers there are no rules at all, so every centimeter is used to pass the traffic jams, but we are fast in adapting and managed to reach the city center. There suddenly a GS1200 rider started to talk with Dorian while driving through the traffic. We stopped and it turned out that he is “Mark Milage” a local guy and president of the Pearl Riders Uganda a local motorcycle club. He showed us their outdoor garage and came with us to Red Chillies Hideaway where we stayed for the next three nights. With another friendly guy, Ronnie, we met at the “Chicken in your face” place we went out for a concert of local artist Bobi Wine to celebrate Dorians birthday. What a brilliant night with a lot of dancing, conversations and good music. In the end he said “you guys must be Africans” what a compliment! White people are called “Muzungus” which means people on the move so the term was adapted to address white travelers. We hear it every day and it is quit funny. The locals don’t hide their emotions so they often are impressed about our bikes, or trip, or whatever so they use some kind of expressions that sound like “eh”, or “ah” or “hmmm”. It is funny and we started to use these terms as well. From Kampala we drove to Fort Portal, again a brilliant ride and our first heavy rain. It is very green. Most houses have nice little gardens and the people are shy. Most of the time they just look at us, as were from another planet. In the evenings you either watch football games or you play a billiard pool game.

National parks are expensive but Uganda is the only country that allows motorbikes in parks. So we went to Queen Elizabeth National Park for a safari ride. The way to Mweya was all off road trough a stunning landscape with crater lakes, jungle and beautiful little villages. In the park we where overwhelmed by the first elephant. We saw Buffalos, Kudus, Springbocks, Impalas and a landscape like in National Geographic. It is definitely more intense to see all these creatures on a bike than in a car.

Uganda is also famous for Gorillas, so we went the next day to Biwindi National Park. Again a day with unpaved roads only, constantly keeping the concentration up for 200 km, can even make the strongest tired. And the price for Gorilla trekking went up from 300 USD off season till end of November to 600 USD from 1st December. Stupid it was exatly the 1st December when we arrived. Well the jungle was good enough and we left Biwindi the next morning, after a typical local breakfast with a ton of cooking bananas and a sauce made of beans and chestnuts. To be honest 8 Days are not enough for the beauty of Uganda.

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