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/)

The Ultimate Road Trip (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda)

New Year's Road Trip 2014!

New Year’s Road Trip 2014!

Three Days in 8 days of an overland trucking adventure!

Three countries in 8 days of an overland trucking adventure!

Like every journey, this one of 1,600km and 8 days of overland trucking adventure has started with the first step! Off to Kigali, through Jinja. The ultimate New Year’s adventure thanks to Bunduz.com @[504978663:Mukhtar Sidi Bunduz.com] #Adventure #Kenya #Uganda #Rwanda Get updates on adventurewithmash.wordpress.com

#Day 1 (28th Dec 2014)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/the-ultimate-road-trip-day-1nairobi-jinja/

#Day 2 (29th Dec 2014)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/the-ultimate-road-trip-day-2-jinja-lake-bunyonyi/

#Day 3 (30th Dec 2014)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/the-ultimate-road-trip-day3-lake-bunyonyi-kigali/

#Day 4 (31st Dec 2014)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/the-ultimate-road-trip-day-3-kigali/

#Day 5 (1st Jan 2015)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/the-ultimate-trip-day-5-kigali-lake-bunyonyi/

#Day 6 (2nd Jan 2015)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/the-ultimate-trip-day-6-lake-bunyonyi-kampala/

# Day 7 & 8 (3rd and 4th Jan 2015)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/the-ultimate-trip-day-7-day-8-kampala-eldoret-nairobi/