Posts Tagged ‘Lake Bunyonyi’

I left the campsite (adrift) in Jinja quite early the next morning, knowing that I have about 500km ahead of me to get to Kabele, just north of the Rwandan border.

I sat off and mistakingly, but maybe unavoidable, the GPS routed me straight through the Uganda capital, Kampala … what a mess. From now on I will make a point to miss all major cities and or capitals on my journey if possible.

Anyway, through Kampala and off I went .. the road wasn’t the best, roadworks in the middle of nowhere with no signs, the road just disappears all of a sudden and this went on for quite some time, maybe the majority of the 500km. The worse thing was hitting thunderstorms around 100km before Kabele and going through the mountain passes, the temperature dropped to around 15c. I couldn’t see anything, I was wet and cold and maybe a little irresponsible, I sped up just to make it to my destination, dodging potholes as much as I could in the pouring rain.

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Veiw from the restaurant at Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort

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I arrived at Lake Bunyonyi at a place ironicly called Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort. Very nice place .. cold and wet I decided to take a bungalow instead of pitching my tent … all I wanted was a hot shower, food and straight to bed I went .. I think around 19h30.

Beautiful sunshine the next day, so I hanged all my wet clothes from the thunderstorms the night before to dry out. I got word from Lindsay and Delilah that they are heading my way. When they arrived, we decided to stay one more night at Lake Bunyonyi, but I pitched my tent the second night as it was considerably cheaper.

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In an attempt to get them dry again …

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Our tents next to the lake

The next morning, we had breakfast and headed to the Rwandan border. I was amazed at how developed Rwanda was … especially the capital Kigali. We reached Kigali around lunch time, so we stopped, had some lunch at a very nice coffee shop … some bickering in the camp with no one able to make up their minds were to go next, we just headed straight out of Rwanda again .. all in one day. Did not see much of Rwanda, which is a shame as it looked awesome, maybe one day I will go back 🙂

We reached the Rwanda – Tanzania border just before sunset … which none of us really like .. never nice to reach a place so late at night. Immigration done, passports stamped, we walked over to customs to get our Carnets (Motorcycle “passports”) stamped and to our disappointment, they were closed already … maybe 5 minutes too late. Lindsay asked if they could phone the customs official to just stamp our carnets so we can get on our way, but no luck … they just refused. We couldn’t go anywhere.

Stuck in “no mans land” between two countries was probably not something I would have imagined on this trip. I love the idea of going into a new country, but I hate borders … and some how all the dodgy people hang around borders and now we were forced to camp there until the next morning so we can get our carnets stamped. No facilities, no toilets, nothing … I should have taken a photo.

Next morning we found out that the customs official actually lived directly opposite the border post, but I assume being a clock watcher, 7pm he was out of there.

Carnets stamped, we headed into Tanzania … not sure if we should go down the western route, the B8 or head east towards Dar Es Salaam and then go down towards Malawi. One thing I didn’t have, was money ! With only $5, 50EUR and very little Tanzanian shillings, we headed for the first town Kibondo, but found out I couldn’t use my visa card to draw money or exchange euro anywhere in town. Stuck again !! Luckily Lindsay had some cash, so I could get around 6 liters of petrol, which should hopefully last me to the next town where there is supposedly a bank which accepts Visa cards. This town was Kasulu which was down the B8 (western route) …. maybe our minds were made up for us … western Tanzanian road down to Malawi it is then.

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Beginning of the B8 route going south in Tanzania

I was actually quite glad as that western route was the way I wanted to go from the start. Some of it you actually ride through a National Park .. with potential lions and other wild animals next to the road … was looking forward to it. The others were not so keen on this road … they probably didn’t say much, but I could see it.

As we reached Kasulu, I found out it was the same bank which doesn’t accept Visa, dammit ! … Tracks4Africa (GPS maps) have it sometimes so wrong … Luckily they agreed to change the euros for me. While I was waiting in the bank for countless papers they have to fill in just to exchange some money, a massive thunderstorm was brewing outside. Money in hand, we quickly headed for the Kasulu Motel just outside the town in pouring rain and yet again, soaking wet.

That evening the discussion came up about the possibility of taking a ferry from Kigoma in Tanzania to Mpulungu in Zambia, skipping the whole western route. Like I said, not my first choice, I came to ride my bike in Africa, not spend time on ferries. Slightly to my relief, we found out that the ferry does not run this week, maybe only in 2 weeks time, so that meant we had to take continue down the B8. I think by this time we realized that what we wanted out of this trip is slightly different from each other.

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At Kusulu Motel, Tanzania

Anyway, still wanting to try their luck … we are off to Kigoma tomorrow to try and find out if there is a ferry or maybe if they can organize one .. at least I can get some cash in Kigoma as they promised me there will be a bank which accepts Visa cards 🙂

After we left Camp Carnelleys we wanted to camp on Lake Victoria .. but we decided to head straight for the Ugandan border. We arrived quite late in the afternoon at Malaba, the border between Kenya/Uganda.

After all the formatilities at the border (-$40 later for third party insurance as well) it was quite dark and it decided to piss down … massive thunder storm. We stayed at the border for a while, just attracting more attention. I wonder why all the dodgy people always hang around borders ??

As soon as the rain stopped, we headed for a town called Tororo, about 7km from the border and stayed a night at the Rock Classic Hotel … not too bad, nothing works properly, but at least the rooms had aircon and I watched some DSTV (South African Satellite TV) … While watching Australia the movie, I fell asleep and it was soon the next morning.

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Views of the Nile from the Bar/Restaurant

We packed up and headed for Jinja, Uganda. We arrived at the camp site called Adrift. It is really nice and at $5 camping per night we decided to stay for some river rafting the next day. The bar area is really cool with views of he Nile. We pitched out tents, had some beers, food and just relaxed.

The next morning we signed up for a $125 full day river rafting …. seems like a lot of money, but I think it was well worth it. We spend all day on the Nile, going from anything between grade 1 to I think some grade 5 rapids. Halfway they provided a nice lunch and at the end of the day some nice kebabs and some beers after which they drove us on a 40 minute truck ride back to camp.

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Holding on for dear life … was fun though !

I was completely knackered and soon passed out on the nice couches in the bar area. I am also now known as Batman at Adrift … as my bar tab is in the name of Batman, Lindsay is Superman 🙂

This morning, Lindsay and Delilah left for Kesese, Uganda, about 500km from here where they will visit their CompassionUK sponsor children. Since I didn’t have to go, I decided to stay at Adrift, I should meet up with them at a later stage … maybe just before the Rwandan border.

Andrey (the russian) also left today to get his new camera in Kampala after which he will go back to Nairobi as Chris at Jungle Junction messed something up on his bike which he is not too pleased about, so I doubt it we will ever see Andrey on the trip again … Bon Voyage my friend … hope to visit in Moscow one day !

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My view while typing this blog … sunset over the Nile

I am now on my own, sitting in the bar overlooking the Nile at sunset… I think I will be heading to Kabele, just north of the Rwanda border tomorrow morning early first thing … it’s about 430km and I found quite a decent camp site there on Lake Bunyonyi.

Only Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Botswana left for me … then I should be in South Africa, hopefully around the first week of December ….