The first thing that struck me about Uganda was the rain. I hadn’t seen rain since arriving in Africa and as they say, “when it rains, it pours”. But that did mean that everywhere I looked the scenery was green.
My first port of call was Jinja, the source of the Nile. Having cycled the length of the Nile, and seen the source of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia, it was great to now be camped at the source of the White Nile, officially completing my journey with the longest river in the world, a river of legends.
We camped right on the river, with monkeys and fish eagles all around and we enjoyed a few cheeky rest days to raft the Nile and to soak in the view over sundowners.
Then we were off to the Sisse Islands on Lake Victoria. We camped on our very own white-sand-beach on a tropical island on Lake Victoria and as one would expect, the weather was humid and wet, the scenery hilly and green. It was amazing cycling across the island and towards the next port of call: Lake Bunyonyi, an idyllic spot near the Rwandan border.
I’m not enough of a writer to explain the beauty of this land, and cycling it is superb. Mind bogglingly beautiful campsites abound, the end of every day left me speechless.
One evening I sat on a jetty jutting out into Lake Bunyonyi with a kingfisher eyeing the waters not two metres from my perch, in the hopes that breakfast would break the surface. The gardens were filled with sounds of bird chatter and flowers of every hue stole my attention away from the main event – the lake itself. Green hills dropped steeply into the glassy waters, which mirrored the scene for a second glossy time upon its surface. And in my mind I knew just beyond those hills lay the land of the mysterious mountain gorilla, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
The last, and most spectacular show of Uganda was to be tracking and finding the mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park. It was a crazy trek into, and through the “impenetrable forest”, which as it turns out, is aptly named. After bashing our way through the jungle in torrential rain for what could have been hours, we arrived at the scene of the gorillas.
We sat amongst a family of eight gorillas for more than an hour as they moved around us. Being with these magnificent creatures, who look into your eyes with human-like emotion and intelligence, was an experience that will remain with me forever.
Uganda was a true highlight, and as it was originally off my intended route, I will be forever thankful that the universe so conspired to bring me to this unforgettable country, this the Africa I so love and adore.
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