Days 327/328, Monday/Tuesday 26 and 27 November 2012 – Lake Bunyoni, Uganda
It was a very noisy night with the uber-loud music from somewhere down in the valley below us going until 2:30, I ended up reading in the night as there was no way I was going to be able to sleep. We had an early start planned, but I was up earlier at 5:15; as soon as I heard some claps of thunder, I wanted to get packed down before any rain came. Driver Will wanted to get out early as the traffic in Kampala is notoriously bad so we were on the road for 6:00, it was a tight squeeze out the camp ground and at one point I wasn’t sure we were going to make it !
We made it out of the campground just before rain started, quite lucky I guess as the driveway was steep and dirt and would have been impossible to get up in the wet. We managed to escape the city without too many dramas and stopped at a charity cafe on the equator for breakfast, we had barely got out of the truck and under the cafes awning before the heavens really opened and I experienced a real African down pour.
I was the only who braved the rain to run up the road to get a quick picture of the equator sign, and no one wanted to pose next to it!
The rain slowed and finally stopped as we drove but it got quite cold, at one stop I put my polypro, beanie and some socks on in an attempt to keep warm.
As seems to be the norm in Eastern Africa there were a lot of road works happening, in some cases the roads were just dug up for miles and mile, I loved the hand painted sign !
I also really like the long horn cows, I haven’t really seen many of them before, and have never seen them close enough to take pictures of, but the horns on some of them are massive. This is a heavily cropped shot taken out the window, so hardly a classic, but you can see the horns !
We stopped for lunch at a cafe and found they had no power, but they did let us use their tables and chairs and have our own lunch, which was nice – we gave them the left-over food when we had finished. The road started to climb soon after lunch and just seemed to go on and on, through road work after road work, through mud and over speed bumps. Outside it all looked very tropical, in reality it was wet and cold !
We turned off to Lake Bunyani at the town of Kimable.
The sign said 8km, which seems such a short distance until you see the road ! it is very narrow, very rough, muddy and after a section of flat – climbed yet further into the hills.
I was surprised we made it to the top! We stopped to take photos down towards the lake.
It was 2.5kms from the top down to the lake, after about 100 metres it was deemed to unsafe for us passengers to continue and we were advised to get out the truck. The road was quite slippery and steep and a 16ton truck steers like a stone on ice. You can see in the first photo where it had been sliding down the hill, Will was a brave man…
Our truck was passed by a Nomad Adventures truck on the way down, it was a lot lighter than ours and had no problem managing the track, however it was a different story at the bottom when we found it stuck trying to get a narrow road in town… Once it was out, Will had a chat with some of local guys and then just blasted our truck up and through! We weren’t in it BTW, having stuck trucks was a source of great amusement to most of the village who out offering advice, and cheering once we were all back on the way.
The campground we were staying was not much further and was very muddy and wet, luckily only half of us wanted to put tents up as there wasn’t much room. We had a good dinner and a couple of drinks around a very nice fire, I didn’t stay up late. I am loving my gumboots !
I slept well Monday night, I have started to read a bit before sleeping and this seems to be making a bit of a difference, temporarily I am sure! We have all day here at the lake, we had a discussion with one of the local guides about doing a tour around the place but he didn’t turn up again. It was sunny so I got a load of washing done – always take the chance when I can!
The power is really sporadic here and for a short time it was on, which meant the internet was on so I had a good Skype with my mum and my boys. My eldest son has not worked for a while and had been doing some door knocking (pun not intended) and had got himself a job trial at a local door maker, which he had passed and now has a few hours a week till Christmas and a full time job in January. I was very proud of him for getting out there and finding himself a job – awesome Dom !!!
The power did die soon after which turned out to be a problem as I had no camera batteries and even my phone was flat!
A few of us went for a walk into the hills before lunch, we managed to pick up a guide, well he just sort of attached himself to us! It was probably good thing as there were loads of trails in the hills and while we not have gotten lost we would have surely taken some wrong turns. Maria took this photo of me. The lake is quite stunning, with numerous islands all with different stories – including Punishment Island, where they used to put the unwed pregant girls; effectively to die as there is no water or food on the island. Though it was suggested that more often than not the father used to go out and rescue them, not sure how true that be was though. As I have said before, it is a tough place.
We got most of the way to the top before it hammered down with rain and everyone got soaked. As did my almost dry washing back at camp, oh well. After lunch I did nothing much; dozed and read, there was no power so I couldn’t even walk and take photos or write blog posts. We had a few pre-dinner drinks and I managed to clear out all the accumulated booze in my locker – there wasn’t a lot left. After dinner I sat in the bar talking to the guys from the Nomad truck with Brett and Martina until I wobbled off to bed about midnight.
Almost to the gorillas !!!