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Visualize a bonfire under the stars, Pack a bag, hit the road, pitch a tent, and camp out under the moon for a short weekend or a week long expedition just to explore the earth’s best varied magnificence. Hike or take a road trip and just get lost in the moment capturing the moments, taking in the mind-blowing views and writing your own planet story.

Hellooooo people 🙂 🙂

The African continent is a great piece of art waiting to be explored and whose story is best experienced by you. Having been a solo backpacker myself and even better taken all the risks I possibly could, I can guarantee you a lot of fun and indulgence in random ideas and more discovery of yourself in backpacking while trailing through those enchanting places.

Just like waking up, backpacking is also one of those decisions you got to make without looking back. Take a leap of faith, set off and the rewards are memories that will last you a lifetime and leave you wanting more and more.

BACK PACKING TRICKS

  1. Pack so light that someone will mistake you for just someone running errands in town. (I’ll have to do packing hacks on a more detailed post later.)

  2. If you are from a different country or even a local back packer, carry necessary documents (this helps you to identify yourself and get easy access.)

  3. Water bottle, small light source, binoculars, camera, Hat, Shuka and a few re-energizing snacks go a long way.

  4. Check the weather, know before-hand what to expect and plan your trip. Leave a few flexible slots and do a bit of research earlier.(Google is your friend)

  5. Join a Group and get a local tour guide (This always works for me especially if am solo traveling.), You get cheaper rates for transport and even accommodation and you definitely have a fun crowd that makes the trip more fun and you are likely to indulge in more activities safely.

WHAT TO DO AS A BACKPACKER IN KENYA.

Road trips

Where do you want to pitch tent? This is one of the best things to do as a back packer and even better if a first timer. Kenya is a massive masterpiece of picture square landscapes that need exploration and recognition. Take a drive from Nairobi and head over to Samburu, there’s so much of the diverse rugged landscapes to see, the culture transition and lifestyle and if you feel more adventurous make all the stops you can along the way to engage in other activities like community interactions, follow forest trails chasing waterfalls and rivers and even just quench yourself with those random stopover fruits. I guarantee a variety of too many of those.

Hiking

Be a light packer, have the right pair of hiking boots and with a tropical weather to die for, Hiking is the real definition of backpacking. Kenya has a number of great hiking spots ranging from a few hours in Ngong hills, to a day’s camping in Mt. Longonot, three days in Kilimanjaro to a week’s camping in Mt. Kenya. The Views are rewarding and determination to conquer is key. I’d recommend the more fun and easy sightseeing ones like Hells gate National Park and Aberdare Ranges if you are not up to the climbing task.

Wild Safaris

An African Safari is the ultimate Safari and Kenya is the centerpiece. Imagine sleeping in a small tent or a luxurious campsite with wild animals taking night patrols around your camp, the cry of a hungry hyena somewhere in a faraway bush, late night bonfires and conversation over mouthwatering barbecue and waking up to the coolest wild sunrise and birds dancing under it (that’s the most amazing silhouette ever). Taking that dawn bush chase ,driving through muddy trenches and catching a glimpse of the Fastest cheetah  drag an antelope to a bush or the fiercest lion pound on some sleepy Zebra in the Mara plains. It’s all in A Kenyan Safari.

Lakes

The Rift valley stretches its magnificence from Fresh water lakes to salty water lakes which all have different stories to tell. Being a center piece, Naivasha is one of the greatest places for any back packer and has the highest rating in terms of back packing campsites, offshore tents and adventurous activities from Lake Naivasha’s Hippo hunting on Boat rides to Lake Nakuru’s floating pink flamingos. Lake Magadi is another trail with a great rugged story, rich cultural interaction and hot springs that will take your breath away.

Beaches

The Campsites in Diani are so dreamy that they leave your imagination wild and lost in the blue waters. Having the best weather and a great shoreline, the Kenyan Coast has great backpacking activities you can indulge in. Sands at Chale is a must see if you want to have the ultimate ocean experience, Diving in Watamu for some marine life, Dolphin Seafaris at Wasini Island or just the cultural Swahili experience in Lamu. This has to be your ultimate back packing experience to relax and there are numerous backpacking hostels and hotels all ranging from small budgets to more luxurious holiday resorts.   

HOW TO BUDGET

  1. Transportation: 50%? Of any trip budget is how to get there. Book your travel tickets early and depending on your destination this will help you get discounts. To move around get a tour company and join a safari group, it is safer and way cheaper. If you feel more at home you can even use a matatu or taxi for more convenience.

  2. Accommodation: I find this to be the easiest for me, because when traveling for adventure I don’t fancy exotic. There are lots of safe accommodations places that range prices depending on the services you want. Have you heard of Airbnb?

  3. Meals: Eat out, have local meals during the day, cook your own meals if camping as a group or get that bed and breakfast with a dinner inclusive (It saves on cost.)

  4. Gate Fees: Most places have entrance fees and varying rates on different activities within, so find information early to help you budget well.

  5. Health: Some countries require certain vaccinations like yellow fever, so get the cards early. Take Anti-malarial (seek medical advice from a pharmacist on this) and Also carry some painkillers/medication with you if you normally get any random and regular mild pains.

  6. Extra shopping money: Everyone loves souvenirs from a trip. It’s the only way to keep the memories alive.

All said and done 2018 is a great travel year. Pack that bag and hit off the road.

🙂 🙂

Just to Stray a bit 🙂

Am here thinking about my Birthday Month and trying to figure out where I want to camp for my birthday.  Feeling guilty for bailing out on two semi important plans with friends this past weekend, but more on the one I committed to. Do you know what my reason was, “I was Sleepy”. Before you crucify me, let me just explain ,: First  me and sleep are inseparable that at times I wake up just 30 minutes to work  because I keep looking at the watch and pushing for 5 minutes more. Who else can relate?

It’s weirder that I don’t use an alarm and my brain is just time conscious but I keep clinging to the cold lonely duvet.

Halloo FEBRUARY 🙂 🙂   

On the Shores of the largest Fresh water Lake in Africa, Lake Victoria, Sitting about 2 Kms from Kisumu CBD, this quiet and hidden treasure is a lake-shore walk with Impalas as the name suggests. Home to free ranging and captive wild animals, swampy night grazing for hippopotamus and a variety of flora and diverse bird species this sanctuary is a wild nature haven that is part of Sights & Sounds from Kisumu.

TRAILS of IMAPALA PARK, KISUMU

Main Attractions: The free ranging wildlife, Animal orphanage also home to the Big 5, Quiet picnic sites (named; Impala, Albizia, Baboon, Sunset, Fig tree and Simba), Lake Victoria Views and Hippo Views. Open to picnics, Camping, Boat rides, Bird watching, game viewing and even corporate events and weddings.

After Taking in all the Lake’s scenic views at Dunga Bay  I decided to check out Impala Park and take some alone time to reflect before I head back to my town. I turned this walk more into a photo shoot of myself and it would be funny if you saw how in 10 seconds I’d set the timer then run to the other side to be the object of capture.

Arrival inside the park is marked by some jumpy Impalas or strutting zebras who welcome you to the walk that leads from an open  stone pavement with the animal cages on the right and lake on the left to a more quiet and endless lush green nature trail leading you all the way to the Safari lodge and  sundowner tower.

The Impalas, Endangered Sitatunga antelope, Zebras and Giraffes are free ranging while Maasai Lions, Cheetah, Leopard, Hyena, serval cats, buffalo, African Grey parrots and Vervet monkeys are cage captives. I can say KWS has done a good job taking care of these wild animals as they are noticeably bigger than their free ranging wild counterparts in parks.

Some of the animals here have been rescued by KWS from the wild and I was able to see a Wild hyena that had been rescued a week ago from some nearby Bondo village, it was still trying to adjust to being in a cage and was scared by any human presence nearby after it had received a thorough beating by villagers and still had fresh wounds on its head. Also On a small fee, a friendly guide and an adventurous spirit you can be let inside the cage to hold the friendly cheetah and take a selfie perhaps (For me, maybe next time ha-ha am not yet on a death wish.)

IMPORTANT INFORMATION.

Open: Daily 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and managed by KWS.

Entry: Charges are Kes 215 for Kenyan Adults only payable on Mpesa or Card, No Cash allowed.

 It’s a safari walk by foot not necessarily guided. There’s a parking zone for vehicles.

The Sanctuary also has camping sites and several picnic sites with a great view of the Lake and a great Sundowner tower overlooking the railway trail that is a perfect place to watch the sunset sink into the lake.

The Impala Eco Safari Lodge sits right in the sanctuary, is a 24 bed capacity lodge offering state of the art accommodation and meals. Also State lodge campsite offers a public campsite ground.

Image source: CasoLodge Travels

Impala is a must visit if you are in Kisumu. It is neighbor to Dunga Bay, Kiboko Bay Resort and even Hippo point. Take a stroll, cool from the breeze and enjoy the views and quietness away from the city.

Do you remember me saying how my friends are literally inhuman i had to stay away from them to avoid the birthday “washing” as they call it. Well I came back from Kisumu and for the love of food, and to be specific chicken, i found myself in the middle of it all and was literally dipped in cold everything. Do i need to mention how am star struck by this man i fell hard for who keeps surprising me by outdoing himself.

Thank you for stopping by.

Enjoy the photo shoot I turned this visit into.

🙂 🙂

Hot and humid , 3rd largest Kenyan city  lies on the sloping shores of the largest fresh water lake in Africa, connected by regular local airline flights, road and linked by ferries from Kendu Bay, Homa bay and Mbita. Kisumu is not only a Port city but an urban diverse city full of cultural integration and scenic beauty.

Being a City that has been a core Centre for opposition politics in Kenya, Kisumu is an interestingly peaceful City that is on about business as usual. Every businessman from every part of the country goes on with their daily business routine while trying to escape the heat which is the only mean thing here.

I wanted to do a single post about what to do in Kisumu but I realized I can’t fit it all in a single post  because I have so many beautiful photos from my Kisumu birthday trip that I’d like to share with you. This year I chose Kisumu for my destination because I felt maybe it’s time to go back after 10 years and see what has changed in this old colonial, railway terminal city.

SUNSET SILHOUTTES AT LWANG’NI.

Arriving in Kisumu at 6:00 p.m. just in time to catch the sunset and satisfy my hunger for Lake Victoria sunsets and lakeside fish there was no better place than Lwang’ni Beach. I was afraid at on arrival because the clouds were really trying to challenge my mission, the sun was completely covered and there was no sign of a sunset. I still went Straight to the beach and hoped for an opening and at around 6:40 p.m. rays started to appear on the west side of the lake, the sun came out to show its last glamour for the day and my Camera has never been this amazed with sunset views.

I had forgotten about my hunger for a while, going all crazy with sunset photos n silhouettes. Arrival of our dinner brought me back to reality that the photos could never be enough. We sat down to catch Large plates of fish (my first ever biggest fish meal) while overlooking the last rays just before the sun sunk into the lake.

We then took a street walk before heading to cool the evening off and it’s noticeable how this city is quiet at night and with just countable people walking down the streets. One thing I Liked about Kisumu is the wide street space and lack of human congestion.

SUNRISE VIEWS AT DUNGA BAY.

Up at 6:00 a.m. the next day on my Birthday and like the Bird I was born to be, I head over to the Lake to catch the sunrise. This time on the other lakeside at Dunga Beach. With the current weather already changed to a rainy season, the clouds trying so hard to compete with its rays and it rising from the Land side and not the lake side, the sun is not so appealing. There is also more of hyacinth action at this side of the lake which I was told that at times it clears and other times even covers a more wider area. Still the rays and sunrise views were amazing.

Dunga beach is full of life at this time; everyone with their part to play is here trying to catch the early worm not mesmerized or even noticing the sunrise. The fishermen are sailing their boats to go draw their fishing nets, hoping that the night was a lucky catch. The women are here waiting on the fishermen coming back to pick the best catch. It’s a quick and organized trade, with everyone having their own entrusted customer, I guess by who gives them a better deal. They are not friendly to photos though, so we just observe and only stick to sunrise photos.

The sun is totally up by 8:00 a.m. and most fishermen have sailed back by this time and even cleared their sale. We leave Dunga beach and walk towards another side of the lake at Dunga bay with more amazingly clear lake views.

We also find some of the women who’d already bought their catch on this other side specially cleaning the fish and paying attention to finer details before taking it to the market for consumers like us.

The Lake views from here are so breathtaking and for a moment I get lost staring and mesmerized at how magical this place is. The quietness and calmness sends some kind of peace down my soul and I could not have asked for a better way to turn 26.

I also found some really cute friend on the beach, i seem to have some good vibes with these beach dogs 🙂 🙂

Enjoy the Kisumu photos

🙂 🙂

Scooped off the airport to a bush camp, hiking on great picture square landscapes with a tropical warm climate, trailing through cold dewy grass on early mornings for a picnic or gazing and sleeping under millions of glimmering stars are part of any dreamy camping adventure to take in with the fresh moist morning air. Whether it’s for meditation purposes, just bonding with friends or team building, camping tends to be one of the most refreshing activities to the human soul. With the thought of waking up to a great landscape view outside your tent and taking in some wild silence, Yogis would take up this activity any day and you should know why.

Am not really talking about the luxurious camps that are already all set and act up as a shift house in the wild today, but I’d like you to really be down for the whole rugged camping experience whether you are whizzed off to the Mara or you just took a local road trip to Kicheche camp. Camping is really about setting up that tent in the middle of the wild, sleeping in a sleeping bag and circling out a fire at night pushing pieces of sticks in and cuddling around to grab any warmth. The big Question is:

WHAT DO YOU NEED?

CAMPING ESSENTIALS

Sleeping gear: (Tent, Sleeping bag, air pump, Shuka, Rope)
Meals: (Food, Drinks, disposable utensils, napkins, coolers, fire, foil, water container, Spice Rack, Water purification tablets)
Supplies: (Flashlight; glow in the dark does magic here, wood, lighter, Camera, Telescope, Sharp pocket knife, Plastic bags)
Personal items: (Map/Compass, First aid kit, Raingear, Insect repellant, whistle, Water bottle, toiletries)
Dressing: (Alternate weather wear, Comfortable hiking shoes; shoes are everything, Socks, Gloves, scarf)
Positive attitude, energy and good health.

Photo source: Oloiden campsite

WHERE TO CAMP?

Most camping sites are well located within other scenic sites and attractions, widespread through national parks and preserved within boundaries that are favorable for outdoor fun activities and adventures. All you need is space to choose your favorite spot to pitch a tent.

1. Sagana Rapids Camp

Outstanding view points of the rapids falling at Sagana river, dewy air and evergreen scenic landscape offer a reason to pitch a tent here and wake up to take it all in. As a plus the grills offered are perfect for a bush breakfast and the foodies team just out to relax, enjoy and have loads of laughter, while bungee jumping and water rafting is calling for adrenaline junkies.
More info: Sagana camping

2. Ngare Ndare Forest

Swing on rusty rickety ropes across trees on a boardwalk in the indigenous Ngare Ndare forest then set up camp on a seven meter tall tree platform overlooking the forest, lazing elephants and the blue pool. Wake up to some dewy air and take a leap of faith into the icy blue pool for some refreshing bath.
More info: Ngare ndare Camps

3. Carnelley’s Camp Naivasha.

The shores of Lake Naivasha have numerous camping sites, from luxurious tented camps to various camp grounds that are hard to choose one from. Camp Carnelley’s offers a unique outdoor experience for any adventurer whether looking for some quiet time by the lakeside or some adventure fun activities to bond with family. Wake up to hippos trying to have their last bite before the sun goes up or just some cold breeze from the lake and swinging monkeys. A Fully stocked kitchen and bar are a plus at the campsite for your comfort.
More info: Camp carnelley’s
Also visit OLOIDEN CAMP SITE on the shores of Lake Oloiden, Naivasha for an almost similar experience.  More Info: Oloiden Camp

Photo source: Oloiden campsite

4. Hell’s Gate National Park.

Take a walk through beautifully textured gorges that have a rich history of geological activities over time. Enjoy some rock climbing at Fischer’s tower or bike riding up to the geothermal power station and take a dive into the geothermal spa pool then pitch a tent on one of the escarpment tops overlooking the heavenly lush park that is Hell’s gate. Wake up to a misty landscape and wild animals busy grazing on the foothills of numerous escarpments.
More info:  Hells gate Camping

5. Rowallan Camp,Nairobi

A scout’s campsite located within the capital city, 9km away on Ngong road overlooking the Ngong hills and Ngong forest. It offers a short hike into Ngong Road forest reserves caves, bird watching, lush scenic view of the Ngong forest and monkeys swinging dances from one tree to another. It is quite a rewarding pocket friendly camping adventure within the city.
More info: Rowallan scouts camp

6. Mt. Ololokwe, Isiolo

Camping in the Northern parts of Kenya offers a different experience. It’s not the usual dewy morning and drizzly night but a rather cold and dry evening with raging winds over the drier savannah. Samburu has quite some cultural experience and coupling that with a camp out would make for a total fun Samburu adventure.
Camp at the table of Mt. Ololokwe, a sheer cliffed 2000ft flat topped mountain that offers a scenic view to the whole Samburu region far and wide after a 4hr hike or at the foothills for a rather comfortable camp experience. If you camp at the top you’ll need to carry all your camping essentials.
More info: Sabache Camp

Photo source: Scrapbook journeys.

7. Wildebeest Eco-Camp Nairobi

An eco-camp on the outskirts of Nairobi offering all budget travel services. While its luxurious and deluxe safari tented camps are so tempting, they also offer personalized camping services. You can pitch a tent that’s just a stone throw away to the City’s national park, airport and malls for all your city adventures while still enjoying the wild experience. It offers a quiet experience away from the noisy city Centre, beautiful gardens to relax and some peaceful time away.
More info: Eco-Camp

8. Chyulu hills, Campi ya Kanzi

Wake up to countless lush green hills popping out of the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro that forms a massive backdrop and the red head Maasai strolling with his livestock. Camp out near the Kisula lava caves and experience the thrilling cave adventures or at the hill top and enjoy the beautiful green rugged and varied landscape scenery.
At the foothills Campi ya Kanzi offers more luxurious and prestigious tents and services for a more authentic and comfortable wild experience.

9. Kembu Farm, Nakuru

Photo source: Kembu Farm

A farm that is designed to offer a more unique outdoor experience. Camping in the backyard, in the woodlands or on tree tops, pitch a tent and take in some quiet time. It is characteristic of Beautiful and peaceful gardens and personalized self-sufficient services on request.

10. Naiberi River Campsite and Resort

Just outside Eldoret town this resort is rated a top tourist destination in Eldoret for a quiet chill out place. Popularized by a massive pool and a fully stocked bar it are ideal friends hang out fun place.
You can set up a tent on request and get any other personalized services intended for a more comfortable and fun stay. It is a must stop for any visit to Eldoret.   More info:  Naiberi campsite

Photo source: Naiberi campsite

 

CAMPING RANGES

Special Private camping

Offer a more comfortable personalized and private camping experience mainly involving all essentials provided from tents to flush toilets, wood and even hot showers and a kitchen and bar facilities. More luxurious and easy to manage. Need to Check for advance booking.

Public Park Camping

Most national parks and reserves offer camping grounds for guests to pitch tents with just basic facilities like a toilet and zero other essential facilities. You have to carry your own stuff. Some may provide bandas and movable tents for hire and they are mainly shared with other campers.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A CAMP SITE.

Location:   How far it is, how you’ll get there and if it’s favorable for you.
Accessibility to tents:  How to access the campsite, whether its uphill and you need to hike, or it’s on an island and you need a boat ride or it’s near a river and if you are okay with the surrounding and how to access it.
Water supply and other amenities:  Availability of clean water and if you need to carry your own tents, kitchen supplies and any other essentials not provided.
Attractions and scenic sites:  The nearby scenic beauty and fun activities you can indulge in while camping.
Safety: As much as you want a wild experience, you don’t want to be trampled over at night by an elephant, so check out the safety standards and measures of the campsite location.

                                                                                                 🙂    🙂
Camping is all about sleeping in the wild with the wild. Whether you decide to pitch a tent or just sleep under the stars around a bonfire, the experience is always authentic and memorable.

Share your camping experience on the comments.
Look out for the more luxurious deluxe camps in a next Post. 🙂

There’s a reason one of the most vibrant cities in Africa was given the name The Pearl of Africa’. I was in Kampala for the 2nd time 🙂  and to be honest just like i didn’t know its called The Pearl of Africa, I wasn’t so excited about this trip either, one because it was a repeat and two because I didn’t have so many to do’s. I actually didn’t even shop as much as the first time when I was here though that is the major reason I came back to the city. Then I started thinking why they even called it “The Pearl of Africa” after someone mentioned it.

THE  CHILLY  ROADTRIP.

Set out from Jinja at 5:00 a.m., motivated to be in Kampala by 7:00 a.m., Cold, half asleep, dark and chilly but no one was going to stop us. But then like in Nairobi you don’t know what to expect on the road and the Traffic had us in Kampala Town at 9:00 a.m. Am not even mentioning the Old taxi park yet.

We had a plan to visit the Martyrs shrine whose direction we started asking after navigating our way through traffic for two hours and unluckily we had left it way behind just before the start of traffic.  Dream killer I tell you.

And since there was no way we were going back , We decided to look for an option B which led us to Gaddafi mosque (read full story HERE) and it was such an amazing experience.

After coming back I decided to have a quick Review of Kampala must do’s for you not to miss out.

1. OLD  GADDAFI  MOSQUE.

Located in Kampala hill just 2 Km from town is the outstanding 2nd largest mosque in Africa with a very rich history and culture you wouldn’t want to miss.

2. UGANDA  MARTYRS  SHRINE.

Located 15Km from Kampala or before Kampala  (that’s if you are driving from Jinja), in a place called Namugongo is a famous historical  shrine with a story about  the  growth of Ugandan Christianity and a memorial  of Ugandan martyrs who died for their faith.

3. OWINO  MARKET

Have you heard of Old Taxi Park in Kampala? CHAOS! is the word! While cars are not moving, every human is literally trying to move in-between congested shops to get a buy or deliver an item or two. It’s quite a hectic place and if you are in a group you just have to  consider subdividing  yourselves, agree on meeting point and time, otherwise you will come out alone not even knowing where the rest are.The Market is a good buy for literally anything especially clothes and shoes and am totally an addict for Jeans and dresses. Leave your phone in the car, hold your money and items safely and close and enjoy the hectic shopping experience.

There is also a craft market on Buganda road for gifts and African stuff if you need souvenirs. A collection of art pieces, jewelry, sculptures and even fabrics.

4. BAHA’I  TEMPLE

Located on Kikaya hill off the Gayaza road on the Northern bypass far outside town sits the only Baha’i temple in Africa with perfect lush scenery, singing birds and the Ugandan Baha’i faith story and maybe a little bit castle feel.

5. KASUBI  TOMBS

Nothing beats any UNESCO World Heritage site and the Kasubi tombs for disappeared (actually dead) Buganda Kings in terms of the story it offers is one perfect example.

6. BULANGE PARLIAMENT  &  LUBIRI  PALACE

Being Buganda Kingdom’s parliament and Lubiri being the Kabaka’s residence. These are statues that stand for the government and no one hates a photo with a “Whitehouse”. The Palace is on Mengo hill, one mile up from parliament.

7.  UGANDAN DISHES.

MATOKE…!! I repeat MATOKE!  Kampala is the Banana city, HA! Okay not literally but there’s a point in being called the food city. The restaurants here have some good food at affordable prices and if you are a foodie take a break from French fries and have a taste of the African dishes. Am not a foodie though, hence no specific or unique recommendation. But! CHAPATI was my favorite and a single Ugandan Chapati knocks you down. I won’t even talk about the Rolex.

8. LAKE  VICTORIA.

Am not sure but I think Uganda is one of those Landlocked African countries with a very large percent of water mass. Sharing the 2nd largest freshwater lake in the world with Kenya and being the source of the World’s 2nd Longest River you are presented with an opportunity to enjoy all kinds of Cruises, Sunset or Tilapia. You can take boat rides from Port Bell or canoes if you are up to the “Row your boat” challenge.

9. NDERE  CULTURAL  CENTRE.

Music is art and art is a mental touch, feel and personal expression and live music is the Art. Ndere offers traditional dances and music and is a cultural Centre showcasing all Ugandan cultures from meals, to music and lifestyles on specific days (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday). Remember to book your place earlier.

10. KAMPALA CENTRAL.

Have you ever walked around in town looking for nothing specific or anything in particular, well me neither. But a number of times I’ve walked around all towns I’ve been to just to take in what the town offers, sight see, window shop and capture a few moments while staring at the monumental features and buildings.

This post is already long enough but I thought I could sneak in a few 2 things that you could do in Uganda not specifically in Kampala. Did you also notice and count the number of hills I’ve mentioned; well I hope you are not wandering away yet.

GORILLA TOURS.

This has been on my bucket list but I need a better plan and more days. The best gorilla tours are on the western side of Uganda and need like a whole day to the forest.  It’s the ultimate primate experience, a jungle trek with a breathtaking rainforest. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the Ideal adventure.

SAFARIS & WALKING TOURS.

Am not into National parks if they don’t have a unique experience and well every National Park has at least one. Murchison Falls, Ruwenzori Mountains, and Lake Mburo national Park look good in photos I’ve seen, HA!  And I wouldn’t miss to tell you that.

Or a take a drive down to Jinja, Bungee jump on the Nile, Visit the Source of the Nile, Boat ride at Itanda falls, Sunset cruise on Lake Victoria and Raft on the Nile.

There’s no reason you haven’t been to Uganda.

Love & Love 🙂

Credit to the photographers who took some of the photos.

Hey 🙂 today’s post is a quick one on Kakamega Tropical Rainforest.

I Love Easter holidays so much though personally I don’t go to church at this time, but a four day weekend is anything every employee wants like twice every month.  Am relating this to my 7-6 day job and not my travel or blogging life. It’s a perfect mini holiday with family especially for those of us who live away independently or a perfect sleep away holiday or a camp out if you feel adventurous.

So currently I’ve been up and down travelling and working, that type of multi-tasking that gets you put down you can’t even do laundry and would rather part with that  500 shillings for a cleaner. I’ve talked about blogging being fun and relaxing to me but it becomes work at times, especially when i have too much on my plate.

Back to today’s post.

‘The living tall tales’. Am talking about the stories of ‘us indigenous trees‘ of Kakamega forest and the many years “we trees” have been standing here providing rain to you, natural resources, food, good scenery and even home to a variety of wildlife yet we still don’t ask for much back other than for you to respect us and give us life. Maybe if you come visit us and listen to us you will understand what we have to offer to humanity.

Back to ‘as a human’, I’ve always wanted to camp in the Amazon forest in Brazil but that goes without thinking of the horror movies I’ve watched about disappearing in the forest or being eaten up by supernatural plants.

With gently seeping sky-blue streams waving their way under old rusty wooden bridges, perfect hiking trails for walking, camping, hiking, bird watching and monkey games; Located in between Kakamega and Kisumu and bordering Uganda is Kenya’s only Tropical rainforest ‘Kakamega Forest’. It is a perfect day out from the congested and noisy towns and if you are up for a mini hike as I’d call it then it offers a great walk. Real hikes are done on mountains with your mouth breathing instead of your nose Ha-ha you can sneak peek into my Mt. Longonot post if you missed it. Sprawling trees staring at you, its thick and lush canopy calling out for you over your head, misty grass giving shine to your shoes, deadening sounds of singing birds and  winding trails ending up in glades and opening up the blue skies is just one of those Garden of  Eden dreams come down to Kakamega Forest.

The forest offers a great variety of flora and fauna species with its trees being mainly indigenous, some of the birds here are not found anywhere else. The most outstanding wildlife species is the primates which had me seeing the black and white colobus and De brazza’s monkey for the first time in my life. The colobus has black and white fur which makes it so pretty and as we were told the numbers have reduced due to hunting for their skin.

The locals here just live by the forest and I mean some literally in the forest, which is endangering to the forest as they depend on the forest resources and even for cattle grazing in the glades. This clearly makes it the most endangered ecosystem by human activities and justifies the scale in which the forest has been reduced.

Then you are hit by a tinkling sound of a stream, flashing through the leaves swishing around rocks and sliding down into a milky chocolate pool. The small waterfall in the forest is a perfect cooling place after your long walk, though the weather here is cool and wet hence not so tiring for a long walk. The rain actually caught us in the forest, so you might consider carrying perfect cover just incase.

You can take a walk around the forest and get to enjoy the ambience and views it offers. The charges areKsh300 for adults, Ksh125 for children, Ksh1000 for a guide and you pay for the car depending on size the normal KWS rates. But I’d prefer you walk instead. There’s also a camping zone for the night if you want to, which I’d also just prefer maybe a lunch out with friends.

What amazes you? Is it the colorful forest butterflies, pretty coloured birds and monkeys, the fresh air and quietness of a forest or is it the strangling fig trees? Or swinging like a monkey on winding and strangling branches? Get a day down at Kakamega Forest.

I actually dropped my phone while swinging like the monkey i am and didn’t figure that out till i was 2km out and had to retrace my steps back in the bushes up-to under this branch which i didn’t figure out till i got it. That meant an extra 4Km for me, being scared and crushed. Haha the only motivator was the distance already covered was much more than the one left, so i chose to go on and then the heavenly showers caught us in the forest.What more experience would i ask for. Just say i now leave my phone in the car ever since

HAPPY EASTER!!

Rippling over rocks, splashing and squeezing through gorges, curving gently around forests and lush green islands, gushing into waterfalls and calming into pools, the view of the River Nile is so breathtaking and more magical at sunset.

While Famous is one thing and Popular is another, I can’t really define what River Nile is apart from it’s the World’s Longest river at 6,650Kms and Runs from Uganda through 9 other countries, Via 4 main African cities and into the Mediterranean sea.  It is a major source of electricity production and a source of living to a very large population in all the countries it goes through. It is also a major tourist attraction in all the cities it goes through.

The Other main Reason for this trip apart from my Bungee jumping (next post) was to cruise at the famous Source of River Nile and capture amazing sun shots (if you’ve been reading by now you know am so into sunsets and rises) .

So, on one of the mornings, up early and set out for the day we headed out for breakfast. I don’t take tea; rather I generally hate hot drinks, so I ordered for Juice and a chapo (i always forget to take food pics, i should do this more in 2017). Ugandan Chapos are life, one chapo and you are down, actually this became my meal throughout my stay cause am not the person to experiment with foods and I’d found my perfect happy place.

We then headed out to Bujagali falls and ancestral site where we were given some history of River Nile and the Busoga Kingdom and culture. The falls here are now submerged due to a hydroelectric dam constructed, and are now the Bujagali Lake which is interspersed by Lush green tree covered islands.

After walking around the respected historical site we took a boat ride to see the cave where over 80 years old ‘Nabamba Budhaghali’ their spiritual leader, traditional healer and witchdoctor lives.

You can only access the cave via boat, one simple slide from the cave and you end up in water, and the water is quite deep here, don’t be fooled by these photos we took. We didn’t find him in the cave though, so we took a walk around then headed back to the shore.

We then drove off to the Source of River Nile which is  a few Kms from Jinja town like 10Km or less  I guess and unlike our previous Itanda falls search this was easy. We drive downhill and for a moment you think you might end up in water, as the road literally ends up in water.

The locals here are selling fresh fish, but we ask them to take us fishing with them. Unluckily it’s not fishing time but they agree to show us their fishing grounds and set ups. We then get on a boat to the source. (I lost count of boat rides I took in Uganda). Boat rides, Sunset cruises and Jet skiing there’s just too much playing with water in the Nile.

The source of the Nile is from an underground spring at the Neck of Lake Victoria, and with a Large signpost marked just before the lake there is no way you can miss it. You can actually clearly see the bubbles from the spring and difference in water movement from the spring and that from the lake. The spring contributes 30% of the water while the other 70% is from the lake and other sources.

There is a small hut constructed at the source where you can get out of the boat and have a view of the source and even walk around and take photos. We sailed the boat across the source and for a moment I thought, “what if we sink!” but hey you can’t and it’s quite an amazing experience.

We then sailed off to the fishing zones, and I’d never seen this fishing setup before. We came across several bird species and quite a huge number of kingfishers taking advantage of the laid fishing traps.

We also got to see a variety of bird species, and ooh! i learnt that these birds excretion can burn down a tree over time, because of  their fish consumption and concentrated uric acid and like cats if a large population of birds excrete over and over at the same place.

We also got to see the Ugandan Lake Victoria Port  and Power generation plant but we were not allowed to go near , (Did i ever tell you we were once caught taking photos near an airstrip  and the Ugandan police are not friendly). There are so many places you shouldn’t take photos; like the Nile bridge which upto now i think is so unfair.

Our next stop was at a recreational park at the shore of Lake Victoria. It is a small privately owned park just after the Source, perfect for a walk and view of the sun setting.

A walk around led us to see some wild animals in cages, Reptiles majorly (I feel like posting snakes but i’ll spare you the horror). Who else like me Loves those NatGeo animal horror  programmes that get your adrenaline high. Ha-ha!

We also got to learn more about the ugandan lifestyle and traditions, including their tools and structures.

By now the sun was setting and we were so lucky to witness the sun set over the source of the Nile and Lake Victoria. We then went to the restaurant had some fish and Proceeded back to Jinja.

Don’t forget to read my other Uganda escapades HERE and on my next and last post about Uganda.

Have you been to Jinja? What activities did you do and what was your experience? Leave a comment.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017.

Love and Love.

We could hear whistles and a distant humming sound from miles away as we drove along the winding path marveling at the green canopy of trees. This had been a foggy, drizzling and cold morning and we were not sure if our hunting spree would be worth it.

We had asked for directions more than 8 times now till we resolved to only ask school kids we came across; “The Ugandan school uniforms look so bad by the way.”  Our trust for strangers had been broken way earlier (read my next post), but then two of the people we asked for direction  told us we couldn’t find the waterfall as it is far and in a remote area and we were totally crushed. Eh!

Discouraged but determined we kept driving on, I had read about the falls on Google anyway and I was sure they existed. There’s no way Google can lie, “Right? “ Haha! I always do Google map search before I embark on any trip.

We finally saw a signpost to the falls and this was it, we finally made it “Mama”.

The humming sound changed to more of rumbling as we got closer. A Breath of fresh air and chirping birds were our welcome sign. We arrive at a small gate “made of barbed wire and posts” and this Ugandan masculine guy greats us in Kiganda.

Well its either there’s no way a Kenyan can find this place or Africans are not tourists, but I excuse his ignorance, we also do this in Kenya, “assume every black person knows Swahili.” Anyway can’t he read our number plate, “thinking  to self.” I answer back in English, ask a few questions, pay our entrance fees and then he lets us in.

We walk down the edge of the rocks to the river, luckily the sun comes out. The rays hit over the smooth liquid silver pouring and flowing down the rocks.

The gem-blue water was swishing over the rocks throwing up bubbles of spray.  The rustling leaves  wave gently  to the magical river and birds fly over the river to the trees ‘singing’ and ‘dancing’ for the art of God. “Pure Bliss”

I’ve never seen a perfectly beautiful scenery like this before. For a moment I lost words. There are quite a number of waterfalls in the river as it flows down. The waterfall is actually made up of the river flowing down a continuous series of rocks.

This is the Longest River in the world at 6,650Kms and Runs from Uganda through 9 other countries. And Uganda being the Source of it, the energy portrayed by the Nile water here is amazing.

“OK” Let’s get back to the fun bit of it.

I take off my shoes, Sit on a rock and dip my legs in the freezing water and just gaze at the ambience while taking in the fresh air (*Perfect relief*) after a tiresome morning drive.

There are quite a number of birds to view and listen to and they’ve formed a home on a tree in the river.

So I sit there watching and try throwing stones at them, but am not a sharp shooter, all my stones end up in the water making the coolest  “shubluu” splash  sound and this turns out to be a stone skipping game which is usually  a lot of fun.

Our tour guide then offers to take us on a boat ride to see the other waterfalls. I help him push the boat into the water and we start paddling upstream.

“I Didn’t know paddling  a boat is that hard, leave alone doing it upstream against the flow of water, I actually sweat, but  “What a man can do a woman can do 10 times better, and I got muscles.” Haha! After one hour enjoying the boat ride he takes us to see the waterfall divers.

Eh! Some People have death wishes my friend, (Wait until you hear my Bungee jumping story on my next post). Jumping from a cliff into the waterfall and being washed down by the waterfall to like 100 meters downstream, the divers show off their skills. This is actually quite interesting for adrenaline junkies.

Diving in a pool scares me enough but diving into a waterfall is just something else. I didn’t even take a good photo of this as I was shaking and couldn’t even fully look at someone sign a death wish that way.

After diving three times, they then take us to a settled river section which acts as a pool where people can swim. At this point I get so jealous when everyone else jumps in the water, “By now u all know I can’t swim”. They even forget they didn’t have swimming costumes. All I can do is take photos of them and answer their phone calls. Too much for fun, “I know right?” “*Sulks*”

After two hours of swimming and playing water games we have to leave.  Hey, i hadn’t taken breakfast by the way, “Am remembering this now” I buy some bananas from a local to hold my stomach at least because it’s a long rough drive back to Jinja. On our way out we come across the famous Ugandan ‘Ankole’ cows and we just have to stop and take a picture, I’ve only seen them at the Nairobi showground before anyway.

We had spent a total of 5 hours at Itanda and by the time i left, I knew some Kiganda “which I’ve already forgotten” Ha!. I have tried to write about my trip to Uganda severally but every time I try I fail on how to express myself, so am sorry this article has come late. But hey!, Look out for two more posts on my Ugandan trip.  Well they say a place is the most beautiful until you see another.

Thanks for stopping by, Feel free to leave a comment.

Love and Love