Uganda taught us a lot of good things, but it also opened our eyes to many harsh realities. Cycle-tourists will probably be familiar with many of these already. Here are five hard facts of life, as documented by Axel.
Uganda was recommended to us as being many cycle-tourists' top cycling spot in Africa, and we can state categorically that it most certainly lived up to this. Even though it has hills. We started came in at the bottom from Rwanda and made our way along a hilly but exquisite dirt path to Lake Bunyonyi, the most magical lake in the world. It is impossible to quite describe the lake except by saying that dragons and fairies should live there.
This was followed by a five day ride up to Kampala, along a newly tarred but kind of trafficky highway. Highlights of this stretch include surprise lightening and thunder storms, crossing the equator, and staying at a fancy guesthouse that advertised on its big signboard outside that it 'repaired broken hearts' but did not 'repair broken eggs'. This guesthouse would not allow Carla and I to share a room because we were the same sex. Unclear whether this was homophobia or fear of incest.
We arrived in Kampala (despite the best efforts of the ever-creative adventure gods) where we stayed with Marlieke and Thijs, a lovely warmshowers couple from Holland. Carla and I met up with Angus and Nick, two English cycle tourists who had also more or less cycled up from Cape Town, and joined them and two thirds of Kampala's expat community at a music festival on an island. Stuart and Diana, left alone for a day for the second time this whole trip, went on a great adventure to see a giant mosque and some other interesting things with a delightfully energetic Ugandan civil engineer called Dorothy. They went to 'the best buffet ever' and Carla and I have yet to forgive them for doing this without us, even though we were not their by our own choice. As offspring, we don't need reasons to get indignant (at least, we usually don't have any).
Then we started cycling to Jinja, the source of the Nile, which Stuart estimated to be 'not so far away' because it 'didn't look far' on the map. Of course, nothing looks far on a map that doesn't have a scale. Here we were lucky enough to stay with Angus and his mum and sister at Angus's friend's 'little place on the Nile' and we all spent a few blissful days reading books and drinking wine and swimming in the Nile, which bore an unusual resemblance to an ordinary big river. Life was chaos-free for a short while, and then we decided to catch a bus to Kenya. Said bus left with approximately one of our bicycles, all of our panniers, and two members of our family. And that was wonderful old Uganda.