So after two days of pretty much solid driving it was time not to get in a car but to sample the delights of Kampala and relative civilisation. We had booked the 9am shuttle to take us to a shopping centre which took 45 minutes to get to. Having arrived there we then decided to get a taxi to another shopping centre which was much bigger than the first and offered far more in terms of ‘western’ creature comforts. First stop: security, where everything was searched thoroughly. There were also armed guards everywhere. Second stop: a coffee shop to have some nice drinks and cake, or in my case, crème brûlée – even though it was 10.30am!
Paul wasn’t feeling too good so we left him there and the 3 of us, Karl, Gil and I, headed off to do a bit of sightseeing at the National Mosque. It’s really worth a visit and boasts a minaret which has 272 steps to reach the top – the view from which is well worth it. The main hall of the mosque can apparently take 10,000 people and is a really impressive structure – very beautiful.
After the mosque we tried to get a taxi as we were heading back to the shopping centre to watch a film – only the second one since coming to Africa. Lots of boda boda (motor taxi) riders tried to convince us we would be safe with them but having seen them drive past with people carrying car windscreens on the back and hearing that up to 7 people die in accidents each week we declined. The traffic was mad with people driving on pavements, the wrong side of the road and pretty much anywhere.
We finally managed to get a taxi thanks to Karl disappearing on a boda boda (brave man!!) and finding one for us. Finally made it to the cinema and watched Spongebob Squarepants in 3D – not my choice clearly and possibly not an Oscar contender. After the film it was another nice coffee and then back to Red Chili for dinner and bed!
Having planned this trip meticulously someone in our party realised that actually March had 31 days as opposed to the 30 I had written down – so we had an extra day to find something to do. We were Kampala’d out so decision made – it was eastwards to Jinja – source of the Nile. Not that far to drive but it was hell to get out of Kampala – why does nowhere in Africa have any real road signs? Made Jinja by lunch and booked ourselves into the very lovely Gately on Nile – luxury accommodation at a price – we were all sharing the same room. They kindly arranged for us to go kayaking on the Nile in the afternoon which was fantastic. Watching the birds and generally having a very lovely, relaxing time on the river and taking in the views. And bumping into the Long family – who were also travelling around Uganda and teach / learn at Isamilo !!