Africa – Week 8 Back to News List

Crossing the equator, we eventually made it into downtown Kampala, with possibly the worst traffic, outside of the Western Ring Road, in Melbourne, that I have ever seen, the joint was utter chaos. We scrambled up a dirt track, wondering where we would end up, until we reached the gates of the superb Latitude 0 Degrees Hotel, an absolute oasis from the swirling chaos all around. We rubbed shoulders with diplomats, businesspeople and UN officials and I can’t wait to see their reactions next year when 17 scruffy bikers arrive. We ate fine food, sipped whisky in the whisky room and watched Australia get flogged in the soccer in their inhouse theatre. This hotel is a destination in its own right and we momentarily forget we were in Africa.

Unsurprisingly, the traffic hadn’t improved overnight and the drive out of Kampala was the worst yet of the entire journey, it took us an incredible 4.30 hours to do 70ks. The hardship was worth it however as we stood on the banks of the Nile River at the very source of this 6600ks long river, at Jinja. We organised a boat and were quickly out on Lake Victoria and onto the very source of the Nile itself as it begins its epic journey northward to Alexandria in Egypt.

Leaving Jinja didn’t exactly go as planned the next morning as a “boda Boda” (motorcycle taxi) swerved in front of me then slammed on his brakes with the inevitable outcome of me hitting him, but just, he didn’t fall off and there was no damage, the rider was about to ride off when he noticed a white fella (me) driving the 4×4 and must have thought all his Christmases had come at once, scheming how much he could extract from me. “All good mate” I yelled out to him, “no sir all is not good” he replied, feigning damage to the bike, he tried it on, and I wasn’t falling for it, we both parted ways!

We were sad to be leaving the “pearl of Africa”, but the show must go on as we crossed into the tourist mecca of Kenya stopping overnight at the legendary overlander’s hangout, and Bill Gates, who stayed here, the Nairberi River Resort. A wonderful night was had by all as we huddled around a campfire inside a bar / restaurant that’s inside a cave, only a few 100 kilometres north of the equator, it was cold, but we were over 2300mt in elevation!!!

We drove along the mighty Great Rift Valley, the cradle of civilisation, amongst coffee and tea plantations before descending to the renown Nakuru National Park where we spent the next 2 nights at the wonderful Sarova Lion Hill Resort, inside the national park. The drive just to get to the lodge was via wandering water buffalo, zebra, warthogs and when we can’t identify what we were looking at we refer to them as “hooved herbivores”.

We spent the following morning on safari viewing a handful of the pink flamingos that this park is renowned for, Rothschilds Giraffe, rhino, hippo, Water buff, warthogs, zebra and much to Veronica’s horror a huge python as it slithered across the track in front of us.

The scenery was astounding, a landscape of acacia trees set against a backdrop of a rugged escarpment, it was from a viewpoint on this escarpment where Out of Africa was filmed and Meryl Streep said, “I had a farm in Africa”.

It was a short drive to Naivasha and from the highway we could see a lake tinged with a ring of pink around it edges, it was indeed thousands of pink flamingos that had relocated themselves from Nakuru to Lake Elemantaita, incredible that such wildlife was virtually roadside.

We took the long way round Lake Naivasha via a rough dirt track lined with acacia and giant fig trees, which supported huge populations of baboons. We stopped for ‘high tea” at Elsamere, the former residence of the renown George & Joy Adamson of Born Free fame before spending a night lakeside watching hippos wander into the grounds and giraffe stroll by.

The insanity of African roads continued unabated as we crawled along behind a huge convoy of gutless trucks that couldn’t pull the hat off your head, never mind a heavy load, this only got worse as we all inched along at 20kph up the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley. Numerous photo stops offered epic views of the valley but offered those lumbering trucks that we had just passed the opportunity to pass us, only for the entire “dance” to be done all over again once I caught back up with them

Nairobi is the official halfway point of this incredible 80-day Cape Town to Cape Town Expedition (C2C) however we have only 3 weeks to go on this research trip as we had completed the southern C2C section prior to Nairobi. It’s difficult to put into words what we have seen & experienced in this amazing continent.

Read about the final week of Africa or check out the Safari Africa tour itinerary!

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