Corn and humans
Right at the border crossing I noticed that in Uganda things are a bit different. The lady from the immigration office had no more visa glue left and did not want to send me to the next border. So she just punched an entry stamp into my passport, I paid $ 100 and I was officially in Uganda. African bureaucracy can be really nice sometimes!
A less beautiful section followed immediately afterwards in terms of street. Here they manage to build even more missile roads than in Kenya. In general, it always goes from the lowest point in the landscape to the highest and immediately down again. Often I could only get off and push my bike. Asphalt is extremely scarce, which is why it is permanently dusted by passing vehicles.
After two days, I got totally dirty and settled in Sipi. The Mount Elgon area is because of its high rainfall and fertile soils for centuries a preferred settlement area. Mount Elgon is one of the highest mountain massifs in East Africa. He is the oldest of the Great Rift Valley belonging volcanoes. His last major outbreak occurred about 12 million years ago and has not broken out for 3 million years.
The people here in Uganda are extremely friendly, speak very good English and I felt pretty safe from the start. The main problem is that there are just too many of them. Certainly someone is sitting behind every bush. A family with 8-12 children is quite normal here. If the children do not find work, they get a piece of land from their parents so they can build their own house on it and do some farming. As a result, virtually no single spot here is undeveloped or unmanaged. Most of the time I had to ask in the villages if I could pitch my tent there. As a rule, the whole village came to look over my shoulder. Even when I was already in the sleeping bag, there were still some 200 people around the tent.
Most people here are very interested in me and always want to know where I come from and what the purpose of my trip is. Actually, I think that's really nice. However, if you have to answer the same questions over and over a thousand times a day it will be quite tedious over time. Too much hospitality can sometimes turn into the opposite.
In Jinja, I first wanted to recover for a few days at Nile River Explorers Camp. The property is owned by the company, which also offers river rafting tours on the Nile. At night, the bar turned on the music to full volume and party until 3:00 in the morning. This was definitely not my cup of tea. The next day I drove to the other side of the river and found my paradise there.
Rainer, the owner of the plant, traveled from Germany with his motorbike through Africa a few years ago. The place here at the first rapids of the Nile he liked so much that he decided to build a luxury accommodation. He was quite excited about my trip and offered to spend a few nights in one of his houses. This was definitely my best accommodation on the whole trip so far!
Lake Victoria only formed about a million years ago in the shallow depression between the two main branches of the East African Rift. After the end of the Würm glacial period, the lake overflowed to the north about 12,000 years ago and found contact with the river system of the White Nile. The White Nile is a source river of the Nile, the longest river in Africa. Its source river above Lake Victoria is almost 900 km long, between Lake Victoria and Khartoum it has a length of 2870 km.
Actually, I just wanted to stay here for two days. At the end I spent a whole week in this wonderful place. I especially enjoyed the peace and just to see no people. Thank you Rainer and the whole team for the great time!
The reality caught up with me on the first day of the onward journey. On the side streets, the traffic is quite pleasant and many people transport their bikes through the area. However, in every village the children always call "Muzungu" in full volume when they see me. Strictly speaking, all of Uganda is one huge village and that's why I have quite a Muzunga trauma at the end of the day.
In the evening, the police often stopped by and was often not sure if they could let me spend the night in the village. After an exhausting day on the bike, in the evening you usually end up with nerves. With a loud roar, I often drove the uniformed, incompetent idiots to finally sleep in peace.
Alone on the experiences with the police here in Africa, I could already write a book. Meanwhile, I have developed my own method to deal with them. I constantly make new jokes about them. For example: "What happens when you place 10 African policemen next to each other? -A wind tunnel! "
Actually, I wanted to take the ferry to the Sesse Islands at the port of Kampala (in Port Bell). However, I was told at the harbor that this is no longer in operation. So I had to cycle another 70 kilometers to Entebbe to catch the only working ferry.
Bugala is the largest and main island of the Ssese Islands, in the Ugandan part of Lake Victoria. Bugala is the second largest island in Lake Victoria after the Tanzanian Ukerewe.
At the campsite in Kalangala, I wanted to recover for a few days. However, the operators put on loudspeakers at night and let music roar at full speed. So after just one day I got back on the pedals and cycled across the island. The island was definitely a beautiful spot with lots of rainforest. Meanwhile, however, palm oil is produced here on a large scale and the once beautiful jungle had to give way to the plantations.
My next destination was Rwanda. Therefore, I drove on a fairly direct route to the next possible border crossing. Uganda is not a flat country. I would most likely compare it to Appenzellerland in Switzerland. On the main roads it is already a less pleasant in terms of people. However, it is going on without regard to it. Especially the bicyclists paid little attention. Luckily, the traffic in this part of the country is not that extreme, which is why I got a little bit off the hook. I was particularly surprised by the good infrastructure. Practically in every major town I always found a supermarket with all the important things. So I did not have to constantly carry food and water with me for several days.
My last night before the border with Rwanda I spent in a banana plantation. The owner was not particularly pleased that I wanted to set up my camp here. I gave him and the other 200 people (including the police) a detailed talk on what I think about their family planning and the way they treat nature in this country. After that, the matter was settled. Unfortunately, somewhere in the valley, a club made music all night, so sleeping was out of the question anyway.
Uganda was for me a country where I felt very safe and welcome. Individual tourism is definitely still in its infancy. Maybe other travelers will get along better with so many people than me. A little less people and more nature would make Uganda, for me personally, almost a dream destination.