A day after arriving in Uganda, we met a girl called Amina and her younger sister Jenati. Amina had dropped out of school to work as a Kayak instructor in order to feed her mothers huge family. We were invited for dinner at their hut a couple of nights. These are some family and neighours: Madina, Swabura, Figi, Pelus & Arima.
A never-ending line up of kids wanting to play helicopter swings.
I can now understand why everyone who goes to Africa ends up with a million photos of themselves holding babies or children. In Uganda you can’t walk more than 10 metres without being asked for a photo holding somebody’s child. Bizarre, but pretty cute. These are some of Jenati’s neighbours.
The girls take us on a walk down to the banks of the Nile River and make themselves the official trip-photographers.
Marion and a giant jackfruit.
Bujagali’s pottery centre. Very labour-intensive compared to our standard electric wheels, but some beautiful work being produced by the Bujagali potters.
Marion is destined to be a hairdresser, I’m sure. He wanted nothing more than to spend hours plaiting my whole head. I managed to convince him and Fiona that 8 plaits were enough for now, as combined with the increasingly bad colour regrowth, I was starting to resemble a close friend of Britney Spears mother. Marion moved onto a slightly more patient Keira instead.
Turns out everyone’s had the plait treatment.
Amina took us to play netball with her friends. Needless to say, their fitness levels (even playing braless and in long skirts), taught us a thing or two!
We were all pretty hungry after the game, and who can resist Uganda’s chapati’s. A combo of fresh tomato, fried egg, avocado, cabbage and chips rolled in a thick chapati for less than $1. No wonder we stayed in Bujagali so long.
Netball and helicopter swings don’t make for fresh armpits.
Grooving to some ace beats at Kampala’s National Theatre. A great night of music and learning how to move your ass…
One of many amusing slogans found on buses in Uganda’s capital city of Kampala. Back to Home
Birds and buffalo in Murchison Falls region, northwest Uganda.
Wallowing hip-hop-o-potamus in the Nile River, Murchison Park (plus a hungry crocodile sunbathing in the corner).
Warthogs enjoying a scratch along the banks of the Nile river, northwest Uganda.
Tyre trouble on the bus from Hoima to Fort Portal. The 3 very entertaining bus muskateers – officially titled Conductor, Inspector and Engineer, got onto fixing the problem quickly. We were back on the move within a couple of hours.
92 year old Ana from Kabamba village had the bus muskateers and I playing a game of ‘guess my age’ to while away the time.
Hanging out at the Mugusu markets, west Uganda.
Heavy loads of plantain are wheeled to the markets for sale. Once cooked it becomes ‘Matoke’ which is the staple food along with posho and beans in Uganda.
1. Enjoying the novelty of the image, Mugusu markets Uganda.
2. Women at the funeral of Marsereka Zakalia-Syendya, Ruboni community, Rwenzori mountains.
A Quick Mobile Disco is available should you need one, in the town of Fort Portal.
Vervet monkeys grooming and teaching youngsters how to climb.
A juvenile monkey makes use of an old Coke sign to get closer to the action.
Uganda’s crater lakes. So tranquil during the day, and so full of life by night! This particular lake lived up to its name ‘Lake of Frogs’. I’m not sure how many frogs there were in total, but the noise they made after dark was completely deafening.
View across the valley of crater lakes.
Swarms of butterflies in the Bigodi Wetlands.
A treetop full of quite rare Red-tail monkeys, Bigodi Wetlands.
Fiona – the over-worked daughter of a man called Tinker. We somehow wound up camping in his backyard near the Bigodi Wetlands, and for 2 days watched in horror while he commanded his wife and young daughter to slave away for him and his sons all day and night. We diplomatically tried pointing out to him how hard they were working, but he seemed pretty proud of his ‘chief of the household’ status and insisted that was the natural order of things. On our final morning there, Tinker took his sons off to school and we managed to get his Fiona to lie and rest. (We also tried unsuccessfully to get her to run away camping with us).
Tinker’s place had the strangest coloured chickens. Back to Home
This might just be the best place to camp in Africa. Ruboni community, Rwenzori mountains in western Uganda. It was a mission to get to but well worth it: Nothing but lush forest, streams and snow-capped mountains as far as the eye could see.
1. Beautiful fresh water on the trek through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
2. A grey Vervet monkey puts his less grey parts on display for mating season.
The big splurge for the trip…tracking Endangered mountain gorilla’s in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The Gorilla group had moved closer to Park Headquarters overnight, so we found them within a few hours. They were the cuddliest looking creatures imaginable. More recently (the day before leaving Africa in mid-December) I was offered a trip up into the volcanoes of Rwanda to film them properly. The chief of the national park whom I was interviewing that day apologised for the lateness in timing, but promised me the offer will stand should I ever return.
Gorilla poaching guards in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, southwest Uganda.
Car journeys can be just as grueling as buses sometimes. This particular trip from Bwindi Forest back to Kabale took three times as long as it should have. Turned out the vehicle we’d borrowed had a hole in the radiator, so we had to keep stopping at huts along the way to ask for water to cool the engine. Children for miles around came to peer down at us from the hills as we sat waiting in the mud beside out dysfunctional car. All of this on its own would have been fine, but the car stereo happened to have one tape stuck on repeat for the entirety of the trip… Kenny Rodgers ‘The Gambler’, and ‘I heard it on the Radio’. Like it or not, we came to know every word off by heart (and were close to hitting someone with our empty water bottles by the end of the trip).
Women hard at work in the maize fields around Lake Bunyoni.
3 generations of women from the Bunyoni region’s Batwa pygmy tribe. Not many years ago the group was forced to leave the forest due to their hunting and gathering lifestyle impending on mountain gorillas’ livelihood. The Batwa now rely heavily on tourists to bring them an income for buying food. They were amazing singers and dancers, and featured in a music video I put together called Oh Mama.
Looking across Lake Bunyoni.
Tree millers, lizards and an early morning start on misty Lake Bunyoni.
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