Uganda and the last week on the road

This post takes its beginning in Mwanza, Tanzania. After a week on the road it felt good to reach a city again, and especially a city next to lake Victoria. Our idea of this trip was to cycle around lake Victoria, but it had taken until now before we even saw it! We stayed in Mwanza for two nights. We found a cheap hotel (20 Swedish kronor per person and night), and they even had a shower! (even though it was a horizontal shower instead of the more classic vertical, but still, we were clean again!) Besides showering we spent our days in Mwanza drinking fruit shakes, eating a lot of meat, reading and just walking around in the city. Mwanza was a lot nicer than Arusha. Cleaner and not as many people who wants to “help” you.

Thursday evening we jumped on a boat that would take us to the western shore of lake Victoria, to the city Bukoba. We got a small cabin on second deck with a bunk bed where we put our stuff before we head to the stern where we found the bar. We spent a few hours there, drinking beer and whiskey and getting stung by 15 mosquitoes each. At 11pm we fell asleep to the sound of diesel engines and the water from the great lake Victoria smashing against MS Victoria.

Jonas and MS Victoria

Jonas and MS Victoria

Securing our bikes on MS Victoria

Securing our bikes on MS Victoria

Our cabin

Our cabin

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Reaching Bukoba

We woke up at 6 or 7 and saw Bukoba in the horizon. The scenery had changed a lot from Mwanza. Bukoba was a city surrounded by white beaches in the east and untamed jungle in all other directions. It was hilly, foggy and mysterious. This is what we thought Uganda would look like, and we got it 80 kilometres in beforehand. In Bukoba we found a café where we bought chapatti and tea before we were on our way. We cycled west to Kyaka where we crossed the river Kagera and had our last meal on Tanzanian soil, a chips mayai. Now it was only 30 kilometres left, and they went pretty fast, and at 3 pm we reached the border. Unlike a typical European border, this was just chaos. We had no idea where to check out from Tanzania and where to check in to Uganda, and suddenly we were in Uganda without having checked out of Tanzania, so we had to turn back again. It took us maybe an hour, but then we were finally in Uganda! We exchanged all our Tanzanian shillings to Ugandan shillings on the black market (no ATM or licenced exchange office for miles). We biked for a few kilometres, bought mango, avocado, pineapple, bread and water along the road (dirt dirt dirt cheap!) and then set camp behind some trees maybe 50 metres from the road. We ate our fruit, read our books and enjoyed having reached our final country. Then we fell asleep to the sound of crickets .

First night in Uganda

First night in Uganda

Ugandan cows

Ugandan cows

We are not alone on the road

We are not alone on the road

The following morning we felt full of energy and turned left onto a dirt road. It was a beautiful road, but also very hilly, and when we reached Rakai we were tired and stopped for lunch – chapatti and tea again. Some kids were interested in us and played with our camera, and we gave them some biscuits to chew on. Uganda felt a bit more developed than Tanzania with real fences along the road and fewer houses made from mud.

Water break near Rakai

Water break near Rakai

Lunch in Rakai

Lunch in Rakai

Lunch in Rakai

Lunch in Rakai

After lunch we biked for an hour on tarmac and then got caught in a thunder storm, so we took shelter in a restaurant in Kyotera. The rain never stopped, so we checked in to a cheap guest house where we spent the night. Unfortunately the guest house was also a bar, and this was Saturday night, so we didn’t get much sleep. But however, the next day we were full of energy after a breakfast consisting of toast, omelette and coffee, so we took a right onto another dirt road. The rain had made the road hard and great to cycle on and the scenery was extraordinary. We stopped at a hill and shared a fresh water melon, overlooking the beautiful landscape. After lunch we reached Masaka, the last big city before Kampala, and from there it was tarmac all the way. We biked another 50km before we set camp in a swamp just north of Lukaya. We found a good spot to pitch our tent, but the swamp was infested with mosquitoes, so we had to crawl into our tent pretty fast!

In the morning we had breakfast in Kankobe before we crossed the equator near Nabusanake. We took some pictures at the equator and then biked to Mpigi for lunch, and then it was only 30 more kilometres to our final goal! The 30km went fast and we were in Kampala at 3pm. It’s always interesting to reach cities. In the bush you have most of the road for yourself, but in cities like Kampala you have to share it with buses, trucks, cars, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. And they are everywhere, and honking all the time. All your senses are on high alert. You try to plan your way crisscrossing through the crazy traffic, and usually it works just fine. But in an intersection Christofer got hit by a car that was in to much of a rush. It was actually more of a “push” than a hit. The car hit Christofer’s rear panniers from the side, which made Christofer’s rear tire jump 30cm to the side, but Christofer managed to keep balance, and the hole thing was over in the blink of an eye.

Crossing the equator

Crossing the equator

Outskirts of Kampala

Outskirts of Kampala

We biked into the city centre and found a fairly cheap hotel were we decided to stay for a week, until our flight home would depart. It felt good to have finally cycled the last metre on this trip. Our plan for the night was to celebrate with a few beers, but tired as we were we fell asleep at 8pm in our twin bed.

Cycles parked for the last time

Cycles parked for the last time

Here in Kampala we’ve packed our bikes in boxes. We have been up the minaret in Gaddafi mosque. We have gone to the cinema. Twice. We have had some shirts made at a tailor. We have slept, had a lot of showers, eaten a lot, done some shopping and sightseeing. Tomorrow we’ll head to the river Nile for some rafting! Looking forward to that a lot!

Love,
Christofer and Jonas

 

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One thought on “Uganda and the last week on the road

  1. Det är verkligen kul och intressant att få följa med via datorn på era äventyrsresor.
    Tack så mycket, kommer att sakna era brev! Själv cyklar jag Åbo-Helsingfors 11-14/8.
    Ha det bra!
    Per-Inge Björn, Mariefred.

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