Day 174…Jinja- I left my heart in Jinja!


My route over the last few days.
Nairobi to Jinja

I cannot write the following blog in the words that I would like to. Its been far to amazing for even the best fictional writer to clearly express the absolute beauty that we experienced over the last few days. I’ve seen things that makes you feel that despite all the trouble and destruction in the world that somehow it still manages to function in the smallest of places and in the most awe inspiring way.

My mate Nellie rode up from SA to meet me in Nairobi and join me for the trip and the last leg of my journey back home. He made really great time and drove the 4900km from Johannesburg to Nairobi in 6 days. Its was a great meeting and I was so looking forward to have a partner in crime all the way back to SA.

Nellie and I in Etosha 6 months ago when we split up. I went north and he went home.
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6 Months later in Nairobi
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Nellie had some tasks to complete before we hit the road again. He changed a tyre and gave the bike a good scrub.
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We also braai’d non stop and drank brandy like there was no tomorrow. Catching up was bliss. We didn’t however have all the time in the world to hang around and we needed to hit the road asap as we have to be back in SA on the 14th of September. First things first is we had to go and check out the Masai Mara national park. To be able to enter the park we needed a vehicle as bikes are not permitted to enter the park. We weighed up and few options and decided to rent a 4X4 and head off for 2 days. It was to be an epic road trip.

Getting the Rav4 ready for departure.
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We hit the road at 4:30am and pointed the steering wheel south towards the Masai Mara national park and the Great Migration. We joined a gravel road 70km from the gate entrance and found open planes of Kenya stretch out in front of us.

We hit some serious traffic as all the cattle were on there way to the local drinking spot.
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We entered the park and headed straight for the area on the map that showed the highest concentration of Wildebeest and Zebra’s.

The Great Migration by Wikipedia:
“Wildebeest, topi, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle migrate into and occupy the Mara reserve, from the Serengeti plains to the south and Loita plains in the pastoral ranches to the north-east, from July to October or later. Herds of all three species are also resident in the reserve.

All members of the “Big Five” (lion, leopard, African elephant, African buffalo, and Black Rhinoceros) are found in the Maasai Mara. The population of Black rhinos was fairly numerous until 1960, but it was severely depleted by poaching in the 1970s and early 1980s, dropping to a low of 15 individuals. Numbers have been slowly increasing, but the population was still only up to an estimated 23 in 1999.[3]

Hippopotami and Nile crocodiles are found in large groups in the Mara and Talek rivers. Leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, jackals, and bat-eared foxes can also be found in the reserve.[4] The plains between the Mara River and the Esoit Siria Escarpment are probably the best area for game viewing, in particular regarding lion and cheetah.

As in the Serengeti, the wildebeest are the dominant inhabitants of the Maasai Mara, and their numbers are estimated in the millions. Around July of each year, these ungainly animals migrate north from the Serengeti plains in search of fresh pasture, and return to the south around October. The Great Migration is one of the most impressive natural events worldwide, involving some 1,300,000 wildebeest, 500,000 Thomson’s gazelles, 97,000 Topi, 18,000 elands, and 200,000 zebras. These migrants are followed along their annual, circular route by hungry predators, most notably lions and hyena.”

The great migration was on and we landed smack bang in the middle of it!
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We got out a bottle of Spice Gold and sat for hours just staring at the animals grazing the vast plains of the MAsai Mara.
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Nellie was really feeling it!
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We crossed the Mara river and found the remains of hundreds of Wildebeest that didn’t make the river crossing and drowned.
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Also some Hippo’s. They were alive though.
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We were blown away by the beauty and natural wonder that we saw before our own eyes. There is no Nat Geo show that can show you the hundreds of thousand of Wildebeest and Zebra’s that roam these fast plains in search of grass and water.

With so much food around it wasn’t hard to find the lions sleeping under the trees and the hyenas just lazily walking around the plains. We found so many carcases of animals that weren’t so lucky and had to supply the food chain. It is one of the places in the world where I will return one day with Deidre and show her that in some places in the world there are still beauty beyond imagination.

We camped at Aruba West for the night and was treated to a magnificent sunset.
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We were joined the next day by a local Masai tribesman. He was to be our guide for the day. He showed us around and after lunch we dropped him back at the camp and took the road less travelled back to Nairobi. It was to be a 4 hours/100km gravel track that pushed the Rav4 to its limits. I am glad to report though that we found the Rav4 to be a suburb vehicle. We crossed river beds, proper 4X4 type descents and it passed with flying colours.

Only one problem on the trip.
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We reached Nairobi and started washing everything at 11pm at night. The whole car was a dust bowl and we couldn’t bear the thought of leaving in the morning for Uganda with everything covered in dust.

The next morning we were off and said good bye to our AMAZING German friends. We spent every night together in Nairobi and we made sure the braai was used to its limits.

Martin and Christin
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The road out of Nairobi was a nightmare. The traffic was insane and only made worst by the stupid policemen directing traffic when the bloody traffic light were working. It made no sense. Police directing traffic while all the traffic lights worked, causing havoc with all the motorist as nobody could understand WHY they had to stop when the light was green.

We got out of Nairobi alive and headed for the Uganda border. The road was terrible with trucks and very bad tar roads. To add insult to injury it started to rain. I said to Nellie “screw this lets get a hotel and call it a night”. We did just that and found a lovely hotel in Eldoret. At $15 a night, it was to be the best hotel I’ve stayed at to date. The staff were so friendly and helpful that we couldn’t believe it.

After a good nights rest we hit the road and asked the GPS to direct us towards Jinja and the source of the Nile River.

After crossing the border we were met by only friendly people. They spoke fluent English and even though they were only selling banana’s and had rags to wear. They were clean, shaven and well mannered. We had a great chat to the guys at the border and headed off on what was to be a great days ride.

We stopped along the way and took some pics. I was feeling Uganda. Loved it!
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If you need to paint your shop. Just call the cellphone company. The range of colour is limited but its free.
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We pulled into Jinja and headed down to the source of the Nile. We got a picnic basket with some beers and asked Ronnie our guide to show us around.
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After a little boat ride we headed to what is the best campsite in Africa! (Thanks Martin and Christin) We arrived at The Haven 20km outside of Jinja town. We pitched our tents and the staff got a camp fire going for us. Absolute magic!

The Haven!
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We were supplied with fillet steak and chicked from the local kitchen and like always we chucked it on the braai and sat in the darkness eating fillet steak and looking at the starts above and listening to the roar of the rapids infront of us.

The sunrise this morning. Photo taken from my tent.
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My spot were I am typing the blog from while listening to the fish eagles squawking away…
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Today we are off to Rwanda and also meeting up with Ben.

Cheers from paradise!
jinja, Uganda.

Info: Jungle Junction is a shit hole. Has good internet but we were told Wildebeest Eco Camp is much better. Staff is unfriendly and the owner not much help. Its a bit harse I guess but after a week camping there it was more than I could handle.

Road to Kisumu is terrible and we had to turn around and use the longer road in the north towards the border of Uganda.

3 responses to “Day 174…Jinja- I left my heart in Jinja!

  1. Wow, I just loved this blog….so gonna MISS it!!!!!!! The photos of The Great Migration were UNBELIEVABLE!!!! The BOSPARRA will gladly join the two of you when you return!! Love you longtime and looking forward to the next blog…..

  2. 10 uit 10 vir die mooi sonsopkoms foto by Jinja, en die foto saam die Sumburus in noord-Kenia. ‘n trip van ‘n leeftyd! moenie Lake Kivu in Rwanda mis nie en ook nie die 7 vulkane in die noord-weste nie!
    geniet alles! Seen en voospoedig reis!

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