Uganda part II – Up to the North

Yesterday we arrived in the Nile River Camp ( after sunset when it was already dark. So with the first light it was exploration time. The camp is obviously located in a very nice spot above the river Nile.


The tents were slightly away from the main building somewhere in the jungle.


From above you could also observe the fishermen in the river trying to catch some fish.


And I could satisfy my daily dose of action photography (Pied Kingfisher)


As yesterday we didn’t get as far as planed, so we reduced our target for today and just wanted to get to Sipi which is a small village at Mount Elgon which is close to the boarder to Kenya. But before leaving the area we wanted to see some close-by rapids of the River Nile. That was easier said then done as nobody was able to tell us the direction. We tried several roads and asked people but it looks like the people of Uganda usually can’t read maps nor tell the direction. But since today’s drive was not too far we didn’t give up and tried another road. Eventually the road turned into a path and we decided to leave the car behind. But it looked respectively sounded promising as you could already hear the roaring of the river.


Eventually we reached the rapids! Well done!




Some were kayaking down the rapids.


On the way back I was taking a picture of two boys on a bike. They had a lot of fun and wanted to be photographed. What I didn’t see at that time was that the bike actually had no chain and saddle and was flat. But they had so much fun. Big cheers to them! Smile 


Road from Jinja to Sipi


While approaching Sipi the usual find-some-place-to-stay for the night started. We decided for a small lodge which was very basic but had everything you need: A bed, some beers and a nice view.


View from our house.


You could even request hot water for the shower which would mean lighting a fire below the water barrel but we skipped that show part as we wanted to spend more time with the beers …


… and the nice sunset on a nearby hill.


There I tested my new pocket sized printer I had with me for the first time. You can immediately print a picture you have take on your mobile. This girl (carrying her brother) was obviously very happy.


Words spread fast and I had to print some more pictures …


The food was once again very good. Cabbage seems to be a common vegetable here and you obviously also have to transport it from one place to another.


So far the roads have been very good but from now on and all the way up to the north was on unknown territory. We knew that the roads can be impassable at times after raid and requires a serious 4 wheel drive. And then there was the question about the fuel. Don’t expect a fuel station in every village and even if there is one it can be out of fuel or broken or not nobody around. And our car wasn’t a double-tank Landcruiser but a Toyota RAV4 with an approximate range of 500 km. And then there was this small hole in the tank … which was discovered when we did the first refuelling … the guy at the fuel station was getting nervous when he saw the fuel on the ground (aaahhh, oooh, explosion … you need to move the car quickly… ) but actually it was not that bad as the hole was at the very top and we were only leaking maybe 1 litre of fuel. At the next fuel station we said that we would like to have it “almost fuel” which created even bigger confusion.

Our journey from Sipi to “Kidepo Valley National Park” with a night in Kotido.


There was another new component on our journey: the dust. Almost all the roads in the north are gravel roads so durst is everywhere.


Yes, the dust is eventually everywhere. Even if you play Mr. Super Smart and close the windows of your car when another one is approaching it will find its way to the destination. My mobile phone after half a day of driving…


The traffic in the north is very light. Usually it take 15-30 minute until you see another car. This is an “official” bus which is also operating up to Kotido



We reached Motoro by lunch time which was fast than expected. That was obviously too early to stop so we adjusted our target to the next bigger village which was another 2 hours away and started to search for a restaurant to eat something. Google was pointing us to a nice little restaurant which even had a web site with an A rating on SSllabs … We enjoyed a really delicious meal of some beef stew, rice, cabbage and sweet potato which was costing less than 10E for 2 people…



We were also visiting a local market very a lot of different things were sold. Most people are wearing very colourful dresses.


Transporting animals this way would not pass any review at home …  This looks painful … sheeps tied to with ropes on the top.


In Kotido, the destination for this day, options for sleeping were already greatly reduced. We figured out that there was a nice quest house and were driving into that direction but as there are not street signs we could only find it after some people were pointing us into the right turn. We were the only guests tonight and looking into the guest book this can happen to you on most of the days.


Sun setting in Kotido. Don’t get his wrong: The weather was perfect, there were just some clouds over the horizon.


Before leaving Kotido we were visiting a local village where around 1000 people are living at the moment.


The moment we are leaving our car we were surrounded by many kids which were following us on our walk through the village.



Many people in this area have those markings in their faces.


The drive to the park in the north was getting a bit rougher at times but nothing we and our car could not handle. We had a lot of time to enjoy the beautiful landscape.


… and also stop from time to time to say hello to the people living in the area. You should have seen the old man smiling with the few remaining teeth when he got his picture printed!


Eventually we reached the Kidepo Valley National Park. And here, really in the middle of nowhere we could pay for the first time with credit card which is not a common way of payment in Uganda. After paying the park fees we found ourselves in an interesting situation: Our car didn’t want to start again. The battery seemed to be dead! Zero power. And since our car had automatic transmission we could not even started the car by rolling down  somewhere. We had the inverter running during our stop which converts the 12V of the car to 230V so you can charge laptops in the car. But that should not have drained the battery in 15 minutes. After checking all the fuses we found the problem: The connector to the car’s battery was loose. That was easy! Nothing can stop us now from entering the park!