10.10.2005 30 °C
Following a tearful reunion with my backpack, I booked seat #13 on the "Executive" bus to Kigali and prepared to finally leave Kampala...but of course, as I awaited my taxi downtown, I changed my mind and wound up tackling Grade 5 rapids at the source of the mighty Nile.
Of course when one tries something for the first time, it's only sensible to take it easy...do it in moderation, work your way up to it so as to not be too utterly gobsmacked by it... though that's just for the faint-hearted isn't it?....so I just jumped aboard the raft and hoped that when the vessel inevitably slam-dunked itself into the carnage, that I would eventually find myself atop the foam, and not being torpedoed to the bottom of the river, or sucked in a hydro-willywilly whirl. And thankfully my life jacket retained its buoyancy and my swimming lessons as a baby fared me well...though it certainly was more white-knuckle than your average jacuzzi.
Extremely enjoyable and really not that scary!
After a rivetting day on the rapids, we retired to the relative
serenity of the Adrift bar/restaurant... or so we thought, for it was there that we were to meet "The Overlanders". Ah yes, the mostly antipodean mob of hooligans, who arrived on their bullet-proof beige truck, and cavorted about in the netherclothes in the shower-block, before rocking up to the bar
for their daily ritual. Now, some people settle for their daily doppio with a croissant. Others are satisfied by ogling the silicone-enhanced Jordan-lookalikes in some lads' magazine. I'm quite happy with a bottle of Krest (bitter lemon) and a pizza! ah but the overlanders...they liked to SPANK each other.
As in with a whip!
Made of leather.
It was rather like watching a David Attenborough documentary.
The head hoon plucked a whip from the back of his trousers and called up the first in a line of many inebriated neanderthals. One by one, the lads parted with their trousers to be spanked with the leather whip....
I fear I shall forever be traumatized by the pasty-buttock slapping experience..
So after a brief stop in Kampala, I headed up to Murchison Falls, in Northern Uganda. Here we had a walk through the virtual papillonerie of the Budongo Rainforest, went for a game drive around Murchison Falls national park with views over to the friendly Democratic Republic of Congo, and took the launch trip up to the falls...a 2 hour journey up the Nile river past
bloats of hippos (yep, that's the collective hippo noun), floats of crocodiles, black and white colobus monkeys, herds of elephants and a token shoebill stork (a seldom seen national bird), somewhat akin to a prehistoric pelican. Before quite arriving at the falls, their thunderous sound screamed out at us. When we rounded the corner to finally view them, it was obvious why we weren't allowed to white water raft their. Death
rapids. Truly. Amazing though.
Apparently this 6 metre gorge spectacularly spewing out water is the fiercest natural surge of water in the world. A great place for a swim! Incredibly beautiful to see.
We disembarked the vessel to wind our way up the steaming,
silicone-glimmering trail to the top of the falls, where, we could stand above them, and be refreshingly soaked from their spray...
Early the next morning we wandered from our campsite into the Budongo Forest to track the chimpanzees, and came upon a family of 15 or so of our relatives hanging about the treees, staring down at us, and occasionally getting a little antsy by our presence, screaming, and running away (rather like a child who hasn't before seen a mzungu!).
So again, I returned to Kampala, and again booked my bus ticket to Kigali to visit the mountain gorillas of Rwanda...