Sunday, 27 September 2009
Into the Wild...
We headed out of Kampala into the country on a road trip that combined work and pleasure. Along with Alison’s sister, Nicola, and another doctor from IHK, Rob, we took Jasper out West to visit 2 of the regional health clinics and take in a couple of National Parks en route.
We stopped at the equator crossing for the obligatory photo and demonstration of how water flows in opposite directions down a plughole on either side of the equator. We then stayed a night under canvass amongst the wildlife in Lake Mburo NP. There were zebras, hippos and warthogs aplenty, as well as some rarer hyenas and leopards that were slightly harder to spot. The tent was rather remote and the nocturnal walk for Bella’s toilet trip seemed a bit long to Alison who was unsure whether she would find baboons waiting in the loo for her!
We then went to Mbarara where Alison and Rob did a day’s training with the clinic staff. We stayed 2 nights on the Mweya Peninsula in Queen Elizabeth NP in the hostel. On the first evening we took a stroll to a nearby restaurant armed with torches for the walk back in the dark. A few steps into our return, a Land Rover pulled up alongside and told us to jump in immediately as it wasn’t safe. We thought they were being overly cautious until later that night we heard lions roaring a few feet away from our room! The next day we went out in the car on a game drive and saw a number of lions up close, having taken a particularly hairy drive off- road, with which Jasper coped with surprisingly well. We also took in a great boat trip and spent some time relaxing by the pool at the upmarket Mweya Safari Lodge, whilst Alison went to the clinic in Kasese.
The last night of the trip was spent at Fort Portal, which occupies a lovely location in the rolling foothills of the Rwenzori mountains. We went out for dinner to celebrate fellow VSO volunteer Geoff’s birthday, and headed back to Kampala with a Dutch couple who hitched a lift. Jasper made it back without any problems and we are looking forward to the next trip out into the beautiful Ugandan countryside.