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#ExploreWest Uganda – Day 2 Report

Day 2 of Explore West started off with the realisation that I was not alone on this camping plot. Some other full full adventure chaps had also camped in the same space but on a different terrace. Yay to not being alone. Together we are stronger.

Bags packed, I said bye to the good people at Ntare Gardens and took a stroll to the nearby bufunda – opposite the gate of Ntare School – for breakfast. As the first customer of the day, I got the freshest chai, mandazi and chapati. Early bird life isn’t so bad.

Having supported the local economy, I made my way to the first stop of Day 2, the Mugaba Palace. On the way there, I witnessed an older Chinese dude who was a passenger on the boda in front of me give a cigarette to the rider of a boda carrying a lady, while they were both in motion. I don’t know if they knew each other but it was such a wholesome moment.

Ankole’s old leadership was problematic which is one of the reasons the government hasn’t restored it like some of the other kingdoms. Some say the kingdom just has a new set off rulers and has been expanded to a nation. Anyway, it wasn’t all bad so the former palace of past rulers is being refurbished to become a tourism and conservation spot for the history of the Kingdom and it’s rulers.

The works are still ongoing but they should be done soon and we were lucky to get one of the first tours. The location is atop Kamukuzi Hill which gives fantastic views of Mbarara City. I’ll definitely be back once it’s done and open to the public. An energetic performance of Kinyankole and Kikiga dances by an area troupe topped off the experience.

The next stop was supposed to be Ankole Tea Estates but because we were behind on time, we skipped that and made a beeline towards Queen Elizabeth, our convoy – now with boda bodas leading the way – disrupting traffic in the Mbarara. This VIP life can be sweet. No wonder people don’t want to leave office. Speaking of, the VIPs of the group – the minister’s group and celebs – did manage to tour the tea place since they are a smaller crowd and easier to manage. Must be nice.

Before Queen Elizabeth, we stopped at Kyambura Gorge overlooking the Rift Valley. Around the corner are twin lakes which we also checked out. I’m sure someone gave their history but our group is so big so getting any information is hit or miss. Anyway, google is your friend.

We stopped in Katuguru for lunch and disrupted their economy as well. The one Shell Petrol station in the area was over flooded by thirsty and hungry travelers and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the one lady manning the checkout till. These are good problems to have though. The street food ladies weren’t spared either and chips and chapatis run out in record time. It reached a point were I spotted some action-oriented folks helping the lady to peel the irish potatoes so she could concentrate on cooking. Sadly, I’m one of the few people that missed out on roadside food coz I was distracted by a work phone call. Multitasking is a lie. I mean there was plenty of fried fish considering it’s a fishing village, but my stomach wasn’t feeling that confident.

Finally, we reached Queen Elizabeth. The officials at the take off point had a briefing that I didn’t get any of because numbers and then off we went to look for the wild animals. Elephants, spotted. Buffulos, spotted. Kobs, spotted. Hippos, spotted. Sleeping lions, spotted. Leopard camouflaging in tree, still spotted. Pun accidental. Happy with the days results, we set off to our park accomodation.

This time, I had plenty of company in the camping area. I kinda missed the solitude. Dinner was served around a massive camp fire as a DJ introduced vibuu to the wilderness. As a strategic 30+ year old, I decided to go and take a power nap so I could have energy for parte. The nap was so sweet I even missed comedy night with Salvador, Chiko and Madrat. I’m told they did a combined set. Atleast I caught the tail end of disco around the campfire. The DJ signed out at 2 am despite strong protests from the crowd. We went to their beds with balance on our FOMO. Don’t worry guys, Fort Portal awaits.


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#ExploreWest Uganda – Day 1 Report

#ExploreWest Uganda – Day 3 Report