The last 6 days

Its been 6 days since I have written anything about what we have been up to. We have been very busy though, so there is a lot to write about!

From Entebbe, we went to visit the chimpanzee sanctuary on Ngamba Island in Lake Victoria. The boat ride to get there was an hour and a half each way, but it was very nice to see the chimps at feeding time. The whole experience seemed a bit artificial when compared to the gorillas, but we got a clear view of about 40 chimps playing and feeding. Chimps share 98.7% of our DNA and we could see many human characteristics in their behaviour.

That night we stayed in Red Chilis Hostel in Kampala. It was a very lively place, and I bumped into some people from Warwick there who had been in Uganda for a month on an engineering field trip. I was very surprised to see people I recognised there.

A very early start took us to Jinja in time to meet the people who were taking 19 of us for a full day of white water rafting on the Nile. In total, there were 100 people rafting, a guide for each boat of 7-8 and safety boats and kayaks. After the included breakfast, we were taken to the river were we got onto the water almost straight away. Safety briefings and instructions were given as we floated along the river towards the first gentle rapid section. We rafted along a 32km stretch of the river with some flat sections and many different rapids. The rapids ranged from grade 1 to 5 and included a 4m waterfall. I fell out once and the boat whole boat capsized only once on the last rapid – more successful than many other boats! We had lunch on the boat and were able to swim in the gentle sections. When we arrived back at the campsite there was a huge bbq waiting for us. That campsite had a very lively bar. Lots of people rafting and it was also the birthday party of one of the guides! An awesome day overall!

The next day, Sunday, was a free day. In the morning some of us went to explore Jinja town centre. It was nice to have a bit of spare time to just chill out and catch up on washing and other things. The campsite bar had a balcony with stunning views over the river. In the evening we ate at the campsite restaurant where I had a very nice fillet steak for not much money at all.

Nile View

The next day we crossed the border from Uganda to Kenya! After buying supplies in Eldoret, we stayed at a campsite nearby which was definitely the nicest campsite so far! It was all very nicely landscaped, with great facilities, an awesome bar and a swimming pool!

From Eldoret we set off early for Lake Nakuru National Park. In the afternoon we did our first game drive and saw loads of animals! Including a second drive the following morning, the animals we saw included water buck, impala, thompson’s gazelle, eland, zebra, giraffe, baboons, hippo, both white and black rhino, a leopard, black backed jackal, hyena, flamingo, pelicans, vultures, ostrich, vervet monkeys, black faced velvet monkeys, buffalo, warthog, a colourful lizard of which I have forgotten the name, and probably plenty of others which I have forgotten too!

The reason we did 2 drives over 2 days was because we stayed inside the national park that night. We had to put our tents in a “D-formation” around the truck and lit a camp fire to scare off animals. Once it got dark, we were strongly advised not to venture too far from the tents. We were also warned about the sounds we may hear including the possibility of buffalo munching grass outside our tent during the night. In the evening we could see zebra the opposite side of the clearing and 2 pairs of eyes watching them!

That brings this log almost up to date. This evening, Wednesday, we are staying near Lake Naivasha. Earlier we made a second stop at a craft market in Nakuru where there was lots of bargaining and many souvenirs were bought very cheaply. I am going to wait until a bit later in the trip before I started loading up my bags with souvenirs. After arriving early to this campsite, which is another good one, we went to Elsamere to to learn about the life and work of Joy Adamson of “born free” fame.

Over the next few days we have more exciting activities coming up, including visiting a Masai village, a game drive in the Masai Mara during the migration and carnivores restaurant in Nairobi. In Nairobi we lose some people from the tour and pick some more.

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