My morning ride took me up to Fort Portal via Kasese , which was a very good road , the detour down to Kibale National park is around 33 kilometres and is on what Ugandans refer to as a murram road , which means gravel but good . I managed to cover the distance in just under 2 hours to arrive at Primate lodge that offers various accommodation options all a couple of hundred USD per night or camping which was not a great option as you have to pitch your tent on the lawn were all the guests meet for drinks , dinner and all other activities , so they would be in for a bit more than chimp tracking and bird watching with me hanging out in my tent they could add human observation in the semi wild to their list of activities .
The visitors centre is about 150 m from the lodge so I rode down to go and sort out my trekking for the next day . The visitor centre is where the trekking starts from and is the main hub for all people hiking or trekking in the area. One can’t hike in the park without a guide so going for a little rain forest walk solo was out of the question. On enquiry I was told that the fee structure had changed and trekking was now 125 USD per person and you could not pay at the centre. One would either have to go to Fort Portal for the permit or to the wildlife office a one and a half hour round trip back on the road I had just travelled. I was informed that the visitor centre had recently gone to what the ranger referred to as a cashless environment , no payments are accepted here. The prospect of that road with no guarantee of been able to trek the next day because one is allocated a spot that could be days away , I decided to travel a further 6 kilometres to a place called chimps nest that was recommended in my guide book for my over night stop. So it is crucial to get your permits before you just arrive like I did. I found the lodge who just like the National Park to had changed their rates dramatically . After much negotiation they kindly gave me the rate quoted in the guide and I settled into magnificent views of the surrounding rain forest .
It was a very peaceful night enjoying the sounds of the forest as well as the rain storm that surrounded the lodge , which would turn the road home into a three hour affair with Victoria lying on her side , with me trying to recruit bystanders to help me get her up. The rain persisted for most of the road back into Fort Portal that left both Victoria and I very tired and very dirty.
Finally back in Fort Portal it was time for a cappuccino before taking on the 300 kilometres to Kampala . A well deserved treat for me and I managed to find some unleaded for Vic and we were off heading for the city.
The ride to Kampala was fairly uneventful , the road good so we made great time to arrive in Kampala , in the pouring rain in peak hour traffic which gives a new meaning to traffic density and free for all . It was the most terrifying and exhilarating 90 minutes of my riding life making my way to the Red Chilli hideaway .
I arrived feeling totally spent , yet euphoric at the achievement of mastering Kampala Kaos with a KAPITAL K. Wilder than any roller coaster the US of A has thrown at me, Kampala takes them all . A very long hot shower , a delicious fillet medium rare washed down with a glass of SA red and I was off to bed. Up early for breakfast to take on my visa applications with the Egyptian and Sudanese embassies . The day was trying to say the least , over a two hour wait in Egypt just to be told they don’t issue or process applications for non Ugandan’s then arriving at the Sudanese embassy thee minuets before closing , just in time to get the application form to complete at home , I then took my unaccomplished day through the traffic to figure a solution out. As luck would have it Liberty Life have an office in Kampala , I popped in introduced myself and next I had met Joe the MD and found myself treated to a fine Thai style stir fry . Joe has kindly offered me the office facilities to sort out all my visa administration , so I will start a fresh with vigour and fortitude on Monday and get all the visa’s sorted out here and in Johannesburg before moving on to Kenya. I will try and get the Sudanese here and then try for the Kenyan before sending my passport back to SA to get the Egyptian visa . The upside is that while all the paperwork is being processed I will explore more of this fantastic country do some white water rafting , with some R and R thrown in for good measure.
Through the overland forum I subscribe to , I met up with Ian , affectionately known as Parky around the whole of Kampala who now lives here , formerly a Londres local , who was kind enough to include me on a night on the town with him and his friends , and so we painted Kampala red. The city is exceptionally vibrant with an incredible energy and zest for life . I spent the night been whizzed around on the back of a boda boda a 125cc motorcycle that is a taxi . To put the traffic in perspective , I had to get into town for 7pm , if I had taken a taxi I would have had to leave the Red chilli at 530 to make it on time and cover the 18 odd kilometres but on the boda boda it took a mere 40 minutes . So the soloscooterist joined the rest of Kampala commuters on the back of a bike dodging , weaving and manoeuvring through places that defied science . I found myself sitting on the back of the bike in the early hours of the morning taking in the sights and sounds of a city that does not sleep . Thank you Parky for introducing me to your city and a fine one it is.
The next couple of days will be spent sorting out my visa’s , and preparing for the ride North.
Until we meet again