The Ultimate Road Trip #Day4 (Kigali)

Early morning on the tour of Kigali

Early morning on the tour of Kigali

On this day I woke up quite excited that it was the last day of the year 2014, we would soon be ushering in a new year and this is always seen as an entry into new beginnings and clean slates for next twelve months. Unlike me, many make new year resolutions on this day listing down things they will never do again and those that they intend to do more often. I made a resolution to always preach peace wherever I may be. I dreamt of a world dwelling in peace and harmony. I resolved to push on with my photo-project (https://askmyshoe.wordpress.com/) which is my little contribution towards fighting tribalism in my beloved country, Kenya.

Genocide

Genocide

We visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial. I really did not know what to expect, and the silence in the truck that morning confirmed to me that all the other adventurers were also quite anxious about the visit. On a hill with neatly manicured grounds and intentionally arranged rows of flowers stands a large white building that has stored in detail the horror that befell Rwanda in the year 1994.

The Kigali Genocide Memorial

The Kigali Genocide Memorial

We were welcomed by the very friendly staff of the memorial centre and they gave us a quick introduction to the facility. We were going to take a self-guided tour of the museum aided by a map of the facility and a hand-held audio play gadget that has a voice recording narrating about each numbered stop of the centre.

The map and audio play hand-held device

The map and audio play hand-held device

From the movies we have watched about the atrocities that happened during the Rwanda genocide, nothing comes close to the horror that is recorded in the memorial centre. It left me wondering what would fill a human mind with so much anger and hatred to yield into a massacre of a people. It made me sad to imagine that bad politics sort of has the power to reduce men into animals! Rwanda saw it, and made an effort to ensure that future generations understand how dark those times were for their country so that they can endeavour to never go back to that.

The main entrance into the Kigali Genocide Memorial

The main entrance into the Kigali Genocide Memorial

Just before we started the tour of the museum, I had to pay a small fee so that I could be allowed to take photos inside. I wanted to bring you some of the shots so that you can have a feel of what is recorded;

The peaceful and beautiful country Rwanda was before the war. They are on their way well back to recovery.

The peaceful and beautiful country Rwanda was before the war. They are on their way well back to recovery.

European tourists follow the horror of the genocide in the pictures

European tourists follow the horror of the genocide in pictures

Identity cards previously indicated whether each Rwandese person was a Tutsi or a Hutu

Identity cards previously indicated whether each Rwandese person was a Tutsi or a Hutu

The genocide spared no one. Not even children.

The genocide spared no one. Not even children.

Tourists drawn into the story of the genocide told in the museum

Tourists drawn into the story of the genocide told in the museum

A room that holds some photos of people who lost their lives during the genocide

A room that holds some photos of people who lost their lives during the genocide

Skulls and some personal belongings of those massacred in the genocide. Some skulls have bullet holes while others have clear machete cuts

Skulls and some personal belongings of those massacred in the genocide. Some skulls have bullet holes while others have clear machete cuts

Clothes recovered from mass graves where a majority of the victims had been buried

Clothes recovered from mass graves where a majority of the victims had been buried

Some of the innocent children killed in the genocide

Some of the innocent children killed in the genocide

A section of the mass graves where some of the many victims are buried within the centre

A section of the mass graves where some of the many victims are buried within the centre

Some names on the wall where the genocide victims are listed

Some names on the wall where the genocide victims are listed

An adventurer takes a guided walk around the genocide museum

An adventurer takes a guided walk around the genocide museum

It took us slightly more than two hours to tour the facility. My heart bled for what Rwanda had gone through, and it was great to see a people so united on the path to recovery and building a strong nation. I prayed that all leaders in this world may lead selflessly and for the sake of their citizens and not their selfish interests. I said a silent prayer for my country Kenya, that we may slay the monster of tribalism so that it may never threaten the peace we know like it attempted to in 2007/2008.

Adventurers catch up after a tour of the museum

Adventurers catch up after a tour of the museum

The integrity of Rwandan people was to also come out while we were on a tour of the museum. As Ali the biking adventurer sat at the museum’s lobby,  a lady who was one of the curators walked up to him and asked to know his name. She engaged him in a conversation finding out if he had ever been to the museum before and where he was from. Ali, being who he is was totally into this conversation. I mean, she was a beautiful lady, he’s a biker and most often than not those two find their way to each other either by accident or intent. 🙂 When Ali told her that he had visited the place about two years ago, she went into the office and came back with a wallet which she handed over to him. Ali was ecstatic! He had lost it on his last visit here. It was intact. Not a single coin or card was missing!

His wallet was intact after losing over two years ago at the genocide museum

His wallet was intact after losing it over two years ago at the genocide museum

The day raced past me. There was so much to see and to reflect on at the genocide memorial. Soon it was time for lunch and as usual, the Bunduz.com crew did not disappoint. We had a picnic lunch right on the museum’s beautiful grounds overlooking a section of Kigali on a neighbouring hill.

Lunch is served

Lunch is served

We later left the genocide museum and took a truck tour of the Kigali city. We then ended up at the Kigali Serena Hotel which would be the venue for the new year’s eve party. The adventurers were all excited about it and procured tickets to the party right on the spot, with the help of our trip Captain, Mukhtar Sidi.

Kigali Serena Hotel

The venue of the New Year’s eve party, Kigali Serena Hotel

I bet most of you have watched the popular movie about the Rwanda Genocide dubbed Hotel Rwanda. While on our way back to where we were putting up, we stopped by the Hotel Des Mille Collines where the movie was set!

Hotel

Hotel Des Mille Collins

Later that night we attended the New Year’s eve party at the Kigali Serena Hotel! It was an awesome party! Our trip Captain (Mukhtar Sidi Bunduz.com) through his many connections was able to secure a VVIP party section for the adventurers. We danced, drunk and had loads of fun as we ushered in the new 2015!

The ladies arrived dressed to kill!

The ladies arrived dressed to kill!

Mukhtra (Bunduz.com) with some of the adventurers at the New Year's party

Mukhtra (Bunduz.com) with some of the adventurers at the New Year’s party

Ushering 2015 in style!

Ushering 2015 in style!

Ladies enjoying the ambiance of the Bunduz.com VVIP party section

Ladies enjoying the ambiance of the Bunduz.com VVIP party section

The faces of joy! Happy 2015!

The faces of joy! Happy 2015!

Mash and Mukhtar of Bunduz.com at the Kigali Serena Hotel.

Mash and Mukhtar of Bunduz.com at the Kigali Serena Hotel.

Happy New 2015! May it be filled with blessings and adventure enough to constantly rejuvenate your soul!

Road Trip Organized by: http://www.bunduz.com/

Documentary and Photos by: Macharia Njuguna (https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/)

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The Ultimate Road Trip, #Day3 (Lake Bunyonyi – Kigali)

She’s dazzling in her beauty. As she basks in the tantalizing Africa morning sun, I can’t help but notice the reflection of the inviting lumps around her. The sun soothes her in the day but also takes up her water, but the night often creeps in and wets her with a gift of the very water in form of rain. In her calmness, she’s silent of her unrivaled depth. She attracts many, and on this day Nicki and I were trapped in her web of charm. No rush, we were taking it nice and easy. Like many she has cast her spell on before, we had to leave after our morning session with her. She will however be forever etched in my mind with indelible ink. I also left with a promise to return and enjoy more of her. Oh beautiful Lake Bunyonyi!

Lake Bunyonyi (The Place Of Many Little Birds)

Lake Bunyonyi (The Place Of Many Little Birds)

Reflection of the lumps around the beauty of Lake Bunyonyi

Reflection of the hills around the beauty of Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi boasts of unrivalled depth at 2,952ft (2nd deepest lake in Africa)

Lake Bunyonyi boasts of unrivaled depth at 2,952ft (2nd deepest lake in Africa)

On this day we needed to cover approximately 141km  of good road to make it to Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. We therefore took our sweet time and enjoyed the morning at Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort with a plan to head out at 1100hrs. Some of the adventurers opted to take boat rides, while others strolled around the resort and the rest just whiled the morning away somewhere close to the ‘watering hole’ – the bar 🙂

On a narrow jetty at Lake Bunyonyi

On a narrow jetty at Lake Bunyonyi

The cabin houses at Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort

The cabin houses at Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort

Cottages overlooking Lake Bunyonyi

Cottages overlooking Lake Bunyonyi

I had been hopeful of doing a jet ski ride here, but the management had a disappointment in store for me; the machines were out of order. What a bummer!

A statue of a fisherman returning home from a fishing expedition. He sure got some love form the ladies :-)

A statue of a fisherman returning home from a fishing expedition. He sure got some love form the ladies 🙂

The group was quite excited about the trip. It somehow gave me a feeling that, to many Kigali was the highlight of the safari. I bet because that’s where we would usher in the New Year. Soon we all gathered around the Beast and off we took the road towards Kigali.

The fellows having a chat on what they expected in Kigali just before we left Lake Bunyonyi

The fellows having a chat on what they expected in Kigali just before we left Lake Bunyonyi

On our way out of Bunyonyi the Beast came to a halt and one of the adventurers shouted from the back, ‘Mash! Hapa ndio mwisho ya pesa yako!’ (Mash, the money you paid can only get you here!) That was his funny way of saying that Mukhtar our trip Captain was calling me outside the truck. So I climbed down and he requested that I take a photo that will include Beast and the biking adventurer (Ali) in one shot. I was elated at this request as it connoted that he was appreciating my photography work 🙂 I took position, Nicki in hand and I could almost feel her smile as I clicked away at the moving motorbike and the growling beast in the background. Little did we know that those would be the last shots Nicki took for the trip. Happy with my work, I climbed back into the truck. When I got to the top of the side ladder, Nicki suddenly flung off from my shoulder as I swung to jump into the truck. I stretched out my left hand and let out a yelp in a desperate effort to save her, whilst my right hand held firmly onto the ladder. I missed and down I watched her go. Everything in my world went silent as she cut through the air on a flight to the ground, it all happened so fast yet it seemed to be in slow motion to my eyes. Blaaam! Nicki hit the ground and I saw her body parts fly away from the impact. I climbed down the truck and into a bush to retrieve the broken parts with the help of our trip Captain. We found them. Nicki suffered a severe crack right across the front of her body. This was devastating for me, as we were just getting to know each other, and so far it had been so good. I sunk into a corner seat and silent mourned Nicki. I however quickly consoled myself that my insurance would take care of her, and also that Nicki wanted me to have fun on this trip. This consolation and a few encouraging words from some adventurers got me back into action, only that this time I used my Samsung cell phone to take the photos. She turned out well too, and for this purpose I christened her Sally!

Ali, the biking adventurer and Beast in the woods of Bunyonyi. (The last photo I took with Nicki)

Ali, the biking adventurer and Beast in the woods of Bunyonyi. (The last photo I took with Nicki)

We went through rural Uganda on our way to the country’s border with Rwanda. Of note is the fertility of this land and the work ethic of it’s industrious people. We saw busy rural towns with evidence of thriving business, construction of buildings and roads, as well as cultivated lands which I can foresee providing lasting food security for the Ugandan people.

A busy street in Kabale, rural Uganda.

A busy street in Kabale, rural Uganda.

A church under construction on a hill.

A church under construction on a hill.

Before long, we arrived at Gatuna. The border town in Northern Rwanda. We thought that this would be a quick stop where our passports would be stamped and we head on our way. However, this changed when the Rwandan immigration officials decided they needed to check every single bag and the truck for any plastic bags. Plastic bags are not allowed into Rwanda. I lauded them for this noble step in consciously safeguarding their environment from pollution, but I also think it would be advisable for them to communicate this to travelers well in advance to avoid delays at the border.

Gatuna, the border town between Uganda and Rwanda

Gatuna, the border town between Uganda and Rwanda

Two hours painfully spent at the Rwanda border, we proceeded into the country towards Kigali the capital city. Rwanda surely is the country of a thousand hills. There seemed to be a hill jutting out of the ground everywhere one turned. The green vegetation on the hills went on to make the complex of hills quite a breathtaking sight!

Beautifully cultivated hills in Rwanda

Beautifully cultivated hills in Rwanda

The Beast gently came to a stop at a beautiful spot, carefully selected by the Bunduz.com crew as the place we’d have our picnic lunch. The elegant Beast rested as the adventurers stepped out of it’s belly. This was a rare sight in this remote village of Rwanda and shortly we drew a group of curious youngsters who arrived on bicycles. The boys cycled and some had lady pillion passengers who were plastered in roughly applied make-up, adorned in shiny earrings, dressed in slightly mismatched clothes and clutching to their threadbare handbags. They were dressed to impress, beautiful in their village innocence. We mingled with them, shared our lunch and soon some adventurers came up with ideas of keeping busy with the village bicycles!

The picnic lunch spot overlooking tea fields in rural Rwanda.

The picnic lunch spot overlooking tea fields in rural Rwanda.

Beast resting in front of one of the beautiful hills of Rwanda

Beast resting in front of one of the beautiful hills of Rwanda

The curious youngsters with their bicycles

The curious youngsters with their bicycles

An adventurer cycles away

An adventurer cycles away

'If this bicycle gets a flat tyre!' an adventurer warns another. :-)

‘If this bicycle gets a flat tyre!’ an adventurer warns another. 🙂

As the Bunduz.com crew prepared the lunch, I took time to really acquaint myself with Sally. I had neglected her since Nicki came into my life 🙂

Ladies jump, loving the beauty of the tea fields.

Ladies jump, loving the beauty of the tea fields.

Mukhtar our trip Captain arrives in style.

Mukhtar our trip Captain arrives in style.

Lunch is served!

Lunch is served!

I could somehow make out what his t-shirt read. 'Blame the dog' ha ha

I could somehow make out what his t-shirt read. ‘Blame the dog’ ha ha

Ladies enjoy lunch while overlooking the tea fields

Ladies enjoying lunch while overlooking the tea fields

We continued on the road towards Kigali. The adventurers were in high spirits and they downed the lunch time meal with an assortment of drinks as the ‘DJ’ played music as chosen by the ‘revelers’. It was a party allover again! As we entered Kigali, the adventurers couldn’t contain their excitement and they broke into song and dance. We made a grand entrance drawing more attention to ourselves than we needed to. As the pedestrians turned to look at Beast in awe, I could almost hear his growl bellow full of gloat now that he had ferried some jolly fellows from a far land. Rwanda, most of us loved you before we even met you! From the tales of angelic beauties gracing this land, to gigantic beer bottles served in their bars and exquisitely clean streets, we were here to take it all in. Rwanda, show us what you got!

Ali zooms past the Beast on our way to Kigali. He was certainly excited too!

Ali zooms past the Beast on our way to Kigali. He was certainly excited too!

An informal settlement on a hill in the outskirts of Kigali

An informal settlement on a hill in the outskirts of Kigali

The view as we entered Kigali

The view as we entered Kigali

We were soon settled in Hotel Beausejour which is friendly and very welcoming. We settled in and already started loving the Kigali hospitality.

Hotel Beausejour in Kigali

Hotel Beausejour in Kigali

This would be my resting spot for next two nights in Kigali.

This would be my resting spot for the next two nights in Kigali.

While in Kigali, I contacted and met up with some friends from Kenya. Accompanied by a few of the adventurers, we sampled the beer, partied and danced the night away!

Skol and Primus. Popular beers in Rwanda.

Skol and Primus. Popular beers in Rwanda.

Good times at CarWash 2 in Kuchira.

Good times at CarWash 2 in Kigali

Adventurers out at a club in Kigali

Adventurers out at a club in Kigali

Event: The Ultimate Road Trip
Period: #Day 3 (30th Dec 2014)
Distance: Lake Bunyonyi (Uganda) – Kigali (Rwanda) Approx. 141km
Organizer: http://www.bunduz.com/
Documentary (photos & writing) by: Macharia Njuguna (https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/)

The Ultimate Road Trip, #Day 2 (Jinja – Lake Bunyonyi)

At the River Nile view point on the early morning of #Day 2

At the River Nile view point on the early morning of #Day 2

Throughout the night of #Day1 I could almost feel Nicki tagging on my hand and purring in my ear saying ‘Mash, we are in Jinja!  You have to take me out early and capture the spectacle that the great River Nile is..’ I was therefore up very early that morning. The river however conspired with the fog against Nicki and I to have it’s splendour concealed in a coy manner. It was as if Nicki and the river were playing a game of hide and seek like two potential lovers out in the woods! Right there I concluded that the Nile is male because my Nicki is certainly female.. 🙂 With little cooperation from the River Nile, Nicki and I insisted and managed to get some shots for your viewing;

Fog hangs over the magnificent River Nile in Jinja, Uganda

Fog hangs over the magnificent River Nile in Jinja, Uganda

A lone fisherman boats across the vast River Nile on a dull morning.

A lone fisherman boats across the vast River Nile on the dull morning of Day 2.

On this second day of the Ultimate Road Trip we needed to travel through Uganda (from Jinja through to Lake Bunyonyi) cutting across from the east to the west of the country, covering about 544km! This was quite a journey ahead of us, and we had been briefed as much on the previous night by Mukhtar (the trip Captain). Everyone got up early, and by the time I got to the breakfast area the tables had been neatly laid out by the Bunduz.com crew and the adventurers were enjoying the meal served out under the open morning sky.

Breakfast is served in Jinja, Uganda on #Day 2

Breakfast is served in Jinja, Uganda on #Day 2

Going by the adverts posted around the camp, it was clear that there are many activities that guests can undertake in and along River Nile. There is kayaking, white-water rafting, Quad biking and mountain biking. We however did not have the opportunity to indulge in any of the activities due to the time factor. We aimed to arrive at Lake Bunyonyi within the afternoon.

Kayaks positioned at the entrance of the camping grounds in Jinja

Kayaks positioned at the entrance of the camping grounds in Jinja

We hit the road early on this day, and the adventurers were upbeat. The Beast cruised the roads of Uganda with the prowess of a local adventurer. The mood within the truck was elated and this was certainly a good thing as we had a long road ahead of us going by the brief given by our trip Captain. As we drove across Uganda, it was evident how fertile this land is. The many hills spread all over the country were covered in deep healthy green vegetation that made entire way quite scenic.

Leaving Nile River Explorers Camp in Jinja

Leaving Nile River Explorers Camp in Jinja

 

Ali Said, the biking adventurer prepares to leave Nile River Explorer's Camp in Jinja

Ali Said, the biking adventurer prepares to leave Nile River Explorer’s Camp in Jinja

A briefing from the trip Captain, Mukhtar Sidi of Bunduz.com

A briefing from the trip Captain, Mukhtar Sidi of Bunduz.com

The road soon led us to a dense forest on both sides of the road which is popularly know as the Mubira Forest. This area hosts an informal market of hawkers who majorly sell foodstuff. Top on the list of items sold is the ‘kuku choma’ (roast chicken) on sticks. In my many travels into Uganda, I have always noticed that these chicken pieces are way larger than the regular size. It also caught my attention that they only sell the roasted thighs. Why not sell the rest of the fowl too? Anyway, curiosities aside; this chicken has a succulent burst of slightly charred and smoky flavour which keeps travellers buying more! Is this chicken or a wild bird? This question has always been left pending on all my travels and this was no exception.  Mukhtar (http://www.bunduz.com/) went down into the market and bought pieces enough to feed any adventurer who was curious to have a taste. We had a ‘kuku choma’ party, which came in handy for some of the adventurers who had indulged in some liquids that led to their body systems craving for something ‘meaty’.. 😉

A lady presents her chicken to the adventurers aboard the Beast at Mubira Forest Market

A lady hawker presents her chicken to the adventurers aboard the Beast at Mubira Forest Market

Mukhtar our trip Captain, negotiates with hawkers while making a purchase

Mukhtar our trip Captain, negotiates with hawkers while making a purchase

I zeroed in on the 'kuku choma' kitchen. The yawning couldn't wait to get his piece! :-)

I zeroed in on the ‘kuku choma’ kitchen. The yawning fellow couldn’t wait to get his piece! 🙂

Ali the rider became an instant hit to the idlers at the Mubira Market. :-)

Ali the rider became an instant hit to the guys at the Mubira Market. 🙂

The 'Kuku choma' party in the truck. Oh, that succulent roast chicken!

The ‘Kuku choma’ party in the truck. Oh, that succulent roast chicken!

The next stop was at the point where the Equator cuts through Uganda. Splitting the north and southern hemisphere within inches of each other! One can literally have their legs spread over the two hemispheres at this point. Due to the frequent tourist visits to this site, a sprawling collection of curio shops has come up selling all sorts of African art in form of sculptures, ornaments, musical instruments and fabric. The adventurers, particularly the ladies got an opportunity to shop here.

Adventurers at the Equator in Uganda.

Adventurers at the Equator in Uganda.

'I am excited that I can shop!' She said.

‘I am excited that I can shop!’ She said.

We were soon back into the truck and proceeded with our journey. We had covered quite much of the intended distance by now. Inside the truck the adventurers were a buzz with activity. Chitchat was loud as some people preferred to enjoy their drinks, few decided to keep to themselves by either listening to music, reading or taking a snooze. Whatever one chose, the Beast had just the right space for it. Talk of comfort on the road!

At the drink corner where the 'DJ' had his post.

At the drink corner where the ‘DJ’ had his post.

Taking it easy as she reads a book

Taking it easy as she reads a book

The ladies comparing items they bought at the curio shops along the Equator

The ladies comparing items they bought at the curio shops along the Equator

Soon the Beast came to a halt at an open field, and it was time for lunch. The crew quickly disembarked and laid out the tables in record time.

Adventurers help themselves to the well stocked table, thanks to the Bunduz.com chef

Adventurers help themselves to the well stocked table, thanks to the Bunduz.com chef

There had been several stops on the way, and therefore we rushed through our lunch in order to make up for lost time.

Mukhtar reiterates that we need to rush to make up for lost time in the schedule

Mukhtar reiterates that we need to rush to make up for lost time in the schedule

We continued on our journey, and I enjoyed the view of the picturesque landscape of Uganda which is dotted with many hills. We came a cross an interesting structure atop a hill which looked like something out a UFO movie. Well, see it for yourself and be the judge if fatigue was slowly building images in my overly creative mind. Anyone who may know what this structure is, feel free to share.

The strange structure atop a hill on our way to Bunyonyi in Uganda.

The strange structure atop a hill on our way to Bunyonyi in Uganda.

A beautiful mosque I spotted on our way

A beautiful mosque I spotted on our way

The long way ahead to Lake Bunyonyi

The long way ahead to Lake Bunyonyi

We unfortunately couldn’t cover up for the lost time on this day. We got to the Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort after dark. Again, I couldn’t do much of site seeing here as it was pitch dark, and the clouds were hanging low. We were quickly assigned to our rooms as the crew got ready to prepare dinner. Just before dinner, there was a heavy downpour which instantly changed the temperatures to a deep low. Not even the rain could dampen our adventurous spirit, we went on to keep it going!

An adventurer watches the heavy downpour at Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda

An adventurer watches the heavy downpour at Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda

A sumptuous dinner is served at Lake Bunyonyi

A sumptuous dinner is served at Lake Bunyonyi

We had to enjoy a drink at the inviting bar, despite the heavy downpour

We had to enjoy a drink at the inviting bar, despite the heavy downpour. Looking forward to #Day3

 

Event: The Ultimate Road Trip

Period: #Day 2 (29th Dec 2014)

Distance: Jinja (Uganda) – Lake Bunyonyi (Uganda) Approx. 544km

Organizer: http://www.bunduz.com/

Documentary (photos & writing) by: Macharia Njuguna (https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/)

The Ultimate Road Trip, #Day 1(Nairobi – Jinja)

‘Hello Mr. Macharia. I trust that you are all set and ready for the ultimate road trip. We shall be meeting tomorrow at 6am so that we can be well on the road by 6:45am. Kindly, keep time.’ This call from Mukhtar Sidi of (http://www.bunduz.com/) who was to be the road trip Captain kept ringing in my head as I slept on the night prior to the safari. Needless to say, I was up by 5am and on my way to the meeting point by 5:45am. I was excited about the trip! I found a few of the other adventurers already boarded onto the truck. The Bunduz.com staff was at hand to receive me and pack my luggage into the truck. It was actually nice being in the middle of the city Nairobi so early in the morning. The air was so cool and fresh. The skies were clear, and the streets appeared so clean and beautiful without the mammoth crowds that ‘invade’ them during the day. I couldn’t help it but take a few shots with my newly acquired ‘baby’ Nikon D5200 that I christened Nicki.

Bunduz.com staff assist with the loading of luggage just before the start of the eight days road trip

Bunduz.com staff assist with the loading of luggage just before the start of the eight days road trip

Some of the adventurers sadly did not keep time, and this did not go down very well with the trip Captain who is quite strict about the itinerary schedule. One actually had to catch up with us while well on our way out of the city!

Mukhtar of Bunduz.com calls clients to make sure they arrive at the meeting point on time.

Mukhtar of Bunduz.com calls clients to make sure they arrive at the meeting point on time.

The overland truck smoothly growled it’s way out of the city. It felt sturdy, just as it looked with it’s large all terrain tyres and the compartments that swallowed into storage all our supplies and luggage for the eight days journey. It’s angelic white body created an impression of cocky confidence like that of a matador who chooses to wear a white suit into a dusty bullfight arena. On both sides of it’s belly were the words ‘Life On The Wild Side’ that stood out like tribal tattoos on the arms of a mighty wrestler. These words quietly promised us an adventure of a lifetime. From how it gracefully handled bumps and bends on our way out of Nairobi, to how the gears shifted smoothly in silence, and also how cushy the seats felt; I was certain we were in the vehicle right for the job! A rugged wrestler, that moved with the grace of an angel, and gave the comfort of a mother. I named the truck ‘Beast’.

The 'beast' that made it all possible. Early morning on the day of departure

The ‘beast’ that made it all possible in the early morning of departure

As we made our way further out of the city, I learnt from Mukhtar that my good old friend Ali Said would be joining us on the safari. He would however not be with us in the truck, but on his motorbike! I thought he was insane to conjure up the idea of riding on two wheels over 3,200km, but being a biker myself I secretly envied him as I knew he would experience the adventure with all his senses on alert. No chance to snooze or booze!

Ali Said, the adventurous rider on his African Twin motorcycle (750cc of raw power)!

Ali Said, the adventurous rider on his African Twin motorcycle (750cc of raw power)!

We needed to travel from Nairobi all the way to #Jinja in Eastern Uganda. A distance of about 580km. This seemed like it was going to be one long day, noting that no one was quite speaking to the other. I knew that something had to be done to break the ice. Usually, the camera sort of does the trick and so shortly I was clicking away on Nicki. Taking shots of the truck occupants at random. This sort of shook up things a little bit and I started getting a smile here and there.

Adventurers each minding their own business as we started the safari. This wouldn't last :-)

Adventurers each minding their own business as we started the safari. This wouldn’t last 🙂

Before the 'Bhajia' ice-breaker, Beast did a good job of comfortably accommodating the adventurers who to escape into work or reading :-)

Before the ‘Bhajia’ ice-breaker, Beast did a good job of comfortably accommodating the adventurers who chose to escape into work or reading 🙂

The best ice-breaker however came when one of the adventurers (Shakeel) left the truck, boarded Ali’s motorbike and came back with bags of ‘Bhajia’ (an indian delicacy prepared by frying slices of potatoes in a spicy paste and served with chilli). He threw a potato party and invited everyone to it! Going by how the adventurers dug into the food, I could bet my money on that few if any, had taken breakfast that early morning 🙂 Food certainly got people talking! From then on I baptized Shakeel as the ‘Bhajia Hero’.

The 'Bhajia Hero' invited everyone to his potato and chilli party. What an ice-breaker!

The ‘Bhajia Hero’ who invited everyone to his potato and chilli party. What an ice-breaker!

Conversations started, laughter was audible and people started moving around in the truck. Friendships were being formed and this clearly indicated that we were on for an awesome trip! I was drawn into the beauty that our land Kenya is, as we drove further up country and Nicki did not disappoint in capturing this for your viewing;

A scenic section in between Naivasha and Nakuru

A scenic section in between Naivasha and Nakuru

The beautiful tea zones of Kenya in the Rift Valley

The beautiful tea zones of Kenya in the Rift Valley

A street in the beautiful city of Kisumu, Kenya.

A street in the beautiful city of Kisumu, Kenya.

On this day, we were in a race with time. We needed to make it to the Malaba border between Kenya and Uganda. The aim was to get to Jinja before dark. Packed lunch was served in the truck. A well balance meal of sandwiches, an apple and a packet of juice which I really enjoyed. The sandwiches were made with love, thanks to the Bunduz.com team. We made it to the border, and I really wanted to test the new pass-card that allows Kenyan, Ugandan and Rwandese citizens to cross into any of the three countries by just producing an identity card and not necessarily having a passport. I was issued with the pass immediately I availed my Kenyan ID card and conveyed my intention to cross into Uganda. I can confirm that this works efficiently and it is an indicator that the East African Community is making paces in the right direction. It is however sad to note that Tanzania is yet to sign up to this!

Adventurers enjoying the scenery on our journey to Jinja

Adventurers enjoying the scenery on our journey to Jinja

Soon we were in Uganda and headed to Jinja. By now, most of the adventurers knew each other by name and were already talking and sharing drinks which they had certainly not carried in short supply 🙂 Some of us were slowly being soothed to sleep by Beast’s clam and steady growl. Then suddenly someone shouted out , ‘Mash, look! Calvary is in Uganda!’ I immediately jumped up and instinctively grabbed Nicki ready to swing into action. I managed to get a good shot of the cross on the hill. I however still do not what it’s all about. Kindly anyone reading and knows what the cross on the hill is, feel free to share.

'Mash, look! Is this Calvary in Uganda?'

‘Mash, look! Is this Calvary in Uganda?’

An imposing hill that looks like a giant warrior protecting the village at it's foot

An imposing hill that looks like a giant warrior protecting the village at it’s foot

Time seemed to fly past and eventually the sun hid behind the hills as darkness crept onto the land. It would soon be dark. Unfortunately we wouldn’t make it to the camp in Jinja early this evening as it had been planned. The several stops along the way delayed the intended schedule.

A golden African sunset in rural Eastern Uganda

A golden African sunset in rural Eastern Uganda

We eventually got to the Nile River Explorers Camp where we put up for the night. The place was dark, and I could not quite explore much since I was quite tired. The Bunduz.com team quickly set up our kitchen and prepared us a sumptuous dinner which was served underneath the stars and beside our faithful Beast.

The trip Captain, Mukhtar allocated tents to the adventurers at the Nile River Explorers Camp

The trip Captain, Mukhtar allocated tents to the adventurers at the Nile River Explorers Camp

Dinner is ready!

Dinner is ready!

Adventurers munching away underneath the stars as Beast takes a rest besides them.

Adventurers munching away underneath the stars as Beast takes a rest besides them.

Finally I had my space to lay down and rest in readiness for #Day2

Finally I had my space to lay down and rest in readiness for #Day2

Event: The Ultimate Road Trip Period: #Day 1 (28th Dec 2014) Distance: Nairobi (Kenya) – Jinja (Uganda) Approx. 580km Organizer: http://www.bunduz.com/ Documentary (photos & writing) by: Macharia Njuguna (https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/)