Somewhere along the silent mass of Nile water flowing all the way to Egypt, something snapped.
Maybe it was the time we were spending with our overlanding friends, and what is to us their magnitude of comfort and gadgets, or maybe it was just time. Whatever the reason and despite our happiness to be back in Uganda, for the first time we regretted all the limitations our bike puts on us.
We were sitting under a tree next to the river Nile, cooking on our cheap kerosene stove with our only spoon, two dirty plates and a handle-less pot when it happened. Consumed by the fumes from the kerosene, which had crept into all our belongings, we watched the ants running around us and our food, cursing the wet muddy ground we were sitting on and stared at the strange looking corned beef we were trying to heat up. But it was only at round about the fifth or sixth time that the hot pot burned my fingers when we both decided to step back, throw the junk we were attempting to cook in the bin (as soon as we could find one) and just enjoy our trip.
Uganda made and broke us. For the first time since our departure we decided to throw all reserves in the water and just enjoy. Enjoy translating to spend; we realised how few luxuries we have, how much discomfort we are in and that it is not always necessary to rough it to the extreme.
So, we went for a dinner and a show, rafted on the Nile and tracked the mountain gorillas. We rented mattresses and towels from the campsites and even paid someone to do our washing. We ate in restaurants and we drank, we drank without counting our pennies (or shillings) and even drank at places where you don’t have to worry about how dirty the glasses are. We ate and drank and wore clean clothes without thinking about money. The result was a memorable week filled with absolute fun and bliss, which also made a mentionable gap in our budget! It did however lift our spirits enough for us to continue this journey on less than a shoestring.
Uganda was filled with highlights, brought new and now cherished friends, gave us breathtaking sites and helped us to create unforgettable moments. Eleven days after we entered the Pearl of Africa we stood at the border with Rwanda, looked back at a country which is very dear to us, touched our (now empty) wallets and with some sadness, said goodbye.
Read more about Uganda in Sean Messham’s Overlanding East Africa article in Safari interactive magazine.