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Published: February 26th 2011
With Lauren's family before we left for Bujagali
My first bit of travelling around Uganda was to Bujagali Falls and a chance to finally see what all the fuss about it being a beautiful country is about. Thus far, I had only really seen Kampala and the places where Lauren and I live, Nansana and Kazo respectively.
The journey from Kampala told us a lot about the differences between the two places. It took us nearly three hours, half of which was spent in traffic coming out of Kampala which has grown much faster than its road and transport infrastructure can handle. When we arrived in Jinja I immediately was struck by the space. Though it is supposedly Uganda’s second city, it is around one twentieth of the size of Kampala and in the couple of hours we were there the difference seemed immense. You could walk around the taxi park without the constant fear of being crushed between two taxi buses and the walking along the streets was less rushed without the same desperate money-making buzz of the capital.
We moved onto our destination, Bujagali Falls, which is the kind of place you instantly feel that you were always supposed to have stayed at. We stayed
Sunset over the nile
Courtesy of Lauren!!
at the Nile Rivers Explorers campsite, one of a few hotels and campsite that overlook the Nile in its early stages. There are safari tents that sit on the hill overlooking the river and you can just sit out and watch the river flow past. Immediately we both rushed for a shower and it was a wonderful relief to have unlimited water and not to have go through the trauma of pouring the clod bucket over myself
We spent a couple of days relaxing, exploring the waterfalls and going swimming at the private ‘beach’ below. It was nice to get some lighter food and go easy on the carbohydrates for a couple of days. I guiltily welcomed the number of tourists/travellers without the social uncertainties or language difficulties when being with my family or at work. It was a bit of a shock to have to make an effort to socialise with strangers though.
The main purpose of our trip was to sample white water rafting before a new dam is completed close to the source that will mean that most of the rapids on the current route will no longer be available. I have never been before,
Kayaking on the Nile
We weren't quite up to this (these people don't seem to fall in!) but it's the closest I could find.
it’s something I wanted to do for ages and it did not disappoint. Some of the routes were terrifying as was being pulled underwater when the boats capsized but it was thrilling and I felt that it was safe as long as you followed the guides instructions.
Our guide called C was a fascinating character. From Karajomong, in the far North-East where you are warned not to venture by the Embassy and most Ugandans, white water rafting guiding was just a hobby, his primary work was clearing landmines for a British company. He could not believe his luck in finding such well-paid work and was praying for more of it, “a few more small wars where people leave landmines and I will keep making money.”
He also enjoyed answering when someone in our boat asked if Ugandans ever came white water rafting, “No for a Ugandan that is 3 months wages and we Ugandans are clever, we do spend all our wages on trying to drown ourselves in a river. We buy food, a house, things like that.” His other funny little anecdote was of a friend from nearby that told him, “these Muzungus , they are very clever, they find all these minerals in the river we Africans have found nothing in all the time we have been here.” He explained to him that people were not looking for minerals but in fact half-drowning after capsizing. His friend was not convinced, “but when I see them come up they are very happy, shouting for joy, I think they must be finding something there.”
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