Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bush Camp / Entering Uganda

Day 18: Kampala, Uganda
We camped in the bush on the third night of the overland tour in Eldoret, in western Kenya. It was pouring rain, and it was my first night in cook group. Oasis Overland asks travelers to participate in certain tasks, such as cooking and cleaning. There are 14 people on our truck, including our tour leader, Carol, and two drivers. Carol plans the meals, and each cook group rotates every few days, cooking dinner and breakfast one day and cleaning the truck the following day.

Bush camp isn't really that different than a campground, except there are no showers or toilets. Every day when we arrive in camp, we set up the tents. We have three-person tents that are very easy to set up, but we only have two people per tent, so it is fairly spacious. The rain cover did a good job of keeping the interior of my tent dry last night. Even though it was raining, we had a campfire and sat nearby under a tarp playing some drinking games and just enjoying the outdoors.

Village along road between Nakuru and Eldoret, Kenya © Matt Prater
A village along the road between Nakuru and Eldoret, Kenya

Today we had our first long driving day. In the morning we packed up camp and left at 6:30 for the four-hour drive on a horrendous pothole-filled road to the Ugandan border. This drive was our first true taste of Africa – we passed villages with bustling markets, pastoral landscapes, and countless round huts with thatched roofs. Every time children spotted our truck, they would run towards the road, waving and shouting mzungu, the Swahili word for "white person." The smiles on the kids' faces were so genuine and enthusiastic that I couldn't help but smile and wave back.

Market in Kipkaren, western Kenya © Matt Prater
Market in Kipkaren, western Kenya
Pothole in road between Eldoret and Uganda border, western Kenya © Matt Prater
A car evades a huge pothole in the road between Eldoret and the Uganda border, western Kenya

After we went through immigration and crossed into Uganda, which took about an hour, the people seemed even more friendly and welcoming. The landscape of Uganda is gorgeous, lush, and green. After five hours, including a lunch stop, we reached the capital, Kampala. Our campsite here is very nice and has hot showers, a rare luxury. Tomorrow is another long driving day.

Sunrise near Kampala, Uganda © Matt Prater
Sunrise near Kampala, Uganda

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