9/8/05. Murchison Falls National Park.
120 miles of reasonable tarmac and 100 miles of baboon-strewn dirt track from Kampala to Murchison. I've been in Uganda three days and it's very endearing. Kampala is a proper city. Jinja has death-defying white water rafting, which I intend to do on the way back to Kenya.
And God said, "Let There Be Pigs". And He looked at the pigs and saw that they were too damn pretty. "People Will Think I'm A Nancy" said God. "Let There Be Warthogs!"
One difference between the dusty endurance test that is West Africa and the lush, facility-laden semi-paradise that is the East, is that white people in the West talk to each other in bars. Over this side, a lot of the tourists are in coach parties and they fear the outsider, which is fine with me as they're all either 60 year old Teutonic vegetarians or braying West London twonks.
You don't know what "green" is until you've seen a tea plantation in morning sunshine. I hate to sound like a "you don't wanna do it like that" type, one of whom said to me in Kenya;
"I always maintain, the most fun you can have
pause for imagined comedic effect
with your clothes on ah ha ha ha,
is blah blah blah blah".
Do these people really imagine that their audience has never heard the "with your clothes on" line before? What level of self-absorbed leaden-mindedness does that imply?
Coming out of Kenya on Sunday, the guy that takes money for the spurious $20 "road tax" makes the classic mistake of handing me back my change and receipt before demanding 200 Kenya shillings "overtime". I'm in the clear document-wise, so a shouting match is on the cards.
"If you don't pay my overtime the office is closed!" he threatens, failing to grasp the fact that I don't give a fuck. Steam begins to emerge from his capacious ears. I intone the word "Bribe" very loudly indeed as I pull away towards Uganda and freedom...
Nile Special* is without a doubt the best beer in Africa. But don't make any elaborate plans for the next day...
At the Ugandan border, I'm told that the absolute minimum I must pay for 3rd party insurance is 70,000 Uganda shillings. After 30 minutes of stony-faced intransigence they accept 16,500.
Up at dawn and back down a fifty-mile dirt track to the town of Masindi. On the way I stop at Murchison Falls. Blimey! That's a lot of water.
Er, "clumps" of baboons hang about along the road. Photos don't do them justice as they scarper by the time I get my camera out.
In the PM I dawdle in the general area of the bar of the very nice Court View Hotel. The woman that runs the place - let's call her Sybil - is one of those intolerable grotesques who cringingly asks one if one's breakfast sausage is to one's liking, and then in the same breath turns to one of her staff and publicly humiliates them for inexact napkin arrangement. Whore.
Paint the whole world with a Rainbooooooooow!
11/8/05. Kampala, Uganda.
Back to the capital for a few days of R&R, bike maintenance, big-city necessity purchasing and mental preparation for the frankly terrifying white-water rafting at Jinja. It's supposedly the second most hairy bit of rafting in the world (after the Zambezi) and the number of times I've done it before, rounded up to the nearest whole digit, currently stands at nearly one.
16/8/05 Jinja, Uganda.
Rafting tomorrow. Gulp. The leaflet produced by Adrift, the rafting company, features quotes from such feeble nanocelebs as flaxen haired goof Prince William ("That was brilliant!" Um, thanks, your Highness); well-known human Geri Halliwell; the suspiciously long-serving President Museveni of Uganda; and Cro-Magnon-browed BBC squawkstress Kate Thornton ("I thought I was going to die!" And yet, annoyingly, you didn't).
The bar at the Adrift campsite is another contender for Best One In Africa.
View from the bar with bungy platform
Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.
"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."
"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.
Next HU Events
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!