Today we got up at 5am to slowly get ready for another long drive day back into Uganda, with breakfast scheduled for 6am and our departure for 7am. We started heading towards Kigali before taking a shortcut through the mountains to cut some time from what was to be a very long journey. The shortcut was a fairly bad road but showed us some amazing views over the tea plantations and valleys that made up this part of the country. We stopped a couple of times for some photo opportunities, and to ask for directions to Byumba –on the road to Uganda. It did indeed save some time but wasn’t a pleasant journey other than the photo opportunities it provided.
When we got back onto the main road that we entered the country on we increased our speed and arrived at the border in no time. The Rwandan side was efficient but the Ugandan side made us pay again despite us never leaving the East African Community. We should have still been valid to travel on our original visa and the Ugandan High Commission in London said this too but she was the lady on the border that could stop us from entering if she wanted – the leaflet she showed us to make us pay was very out of date but this is Africa. Al remembered to ask for a receipt so she couldn’t pocket the money herself.
After crossing the border we made our way to Kabale where we were met by Jennifer the banana girl again. We talked to her for a bit but didn’t buy anything as we had already eaten lunch in a bakery in town while Den shopped for supplies. I wouldn’t recommend buying from street sellers like Jennifer while in Africa as the quality of the produce can be questionable – her bananas were well past their best.
We tried to get diesel but the station had sold out so we left Kabale in a bit of a rush. Even though we started early we weren’t sure if we would get to Lake Mburo in time as it’s a long drive and the National Park closed early. A few people kicked up a fuss and demanded that we try to get there on time so the drivers put their foot down while we decided whether to rush, bush camp or find somewhere on the way. A few tantrums later nothing was decided to when we arrived at Mbarara Jono made the decision to stop at a motel with an adjoining campsite at the side of the road. We were the only people staying there that night and it was a nice place with nice showers, decent toilets and a nice bar which the locals also used.
The place looks quite secure, is dry, has a nice bar, sells Mountain Dew, has darts and also a pool table which some of our group played tonight against the locals and it was a nice opportunity to mingle and relax so to tell you the truth I’m glad we decided to stop here. The plan seems to be head off early tomorrow to see Lake Mburo anyway so we won’t miss anything that’s on the itinerary.
Tomorrow we have to be up at 4am ready for a 5am departure so an early night for me tonight but a few of the group are having drinks in the campsite so I might join them for a bit first.