Kampala to Kasese

Arrived in Kasese finally at 8.30pm after 7 hours on the road.  If you could call it a road that is. I was picked up at the airport by Samson and my driver Johnny.  We drove through chaotic traffic for a while until we reached a restaurant Samson knew, he and Johnny were quite hungry as they had arrived about three hours early to pick me up at the airport at 12.30pm.  I could tell they were concerned about the prices so I offered to pay for lunch in appreciation for them guiding me to Kasese.  Here is Samson eating a type of beef stew cooked in banana leaves.

I ordered something called matoko which is basically fried green bananas and beans with a side of stewed chicken.  The matoko was good, the chicken however was decidedly tough and stringy.

We started out from Kampala in the sweltering heat, Johnny attacked the road in a style that would continue for the next 7 hours.  Driving in Africa is nothing like what we know in North America.  Its a war.  It's you against the road, the mission is to maintain the highest speed and forward motion possible.  This requires constant use of the horn, daredevil timing, weaving, dodging, pushing and constant challenges to oncoming vehicles.  Solid lines, blind rises, bends in the road, potholes, speed bumps, oncoming vehicles all mean nothing in the battle for forward motion.  Within an hour my legs were stiff from pumping airbrakes as I tensed and squirmed as we pulled out against oncoming traffic overtaking slow moving overladen trucks and taxis,  swerved potholes and attacked the numerous speedbumps in the road designed to slow the Johnny's of the world.

Part of the road to Kasese was under construction, which basically means there was no road.  A dirt track on one side and piles of stone and sand on the other.  If a vehicle approaches from the opposite direction you have to both squeeze by in the dust.  Pretty hair raising when its a giant truck approaching you at breakneck speed.

The road takes you through many villages which are nothing more than rows of crumbling blockhouses housing pubs, general stores, repair shops and other small cottage industries.

Towards the end of the drive we began to climb through the beautiful Rhinzori mountains.  The area reminded me a lot of Natal, in South Africa, green rolling hills and valleys.  Many slopes were covered in tea plantations.  I have been told that at the height of British colonialism Uganda was planned to be the bread basket that would feed the British Empire this however never transpired.  Kenya instead became the trading powerhouse of East Africa.

Nearing Kasese I was surprised pass by the equator, I knew it was nearby but it was a pleasant surprise to actually stop on the Equatorial line.

After a tense but short stop at a police roadblock were waved on and arrived at the orphanage in the dark.  My eyes strained to make out where I was and get a senses of the surroundings.  Alas this would have to wait until morning.  I was greeted by Aunty Milly who offered me some tea and fruit and after we had sat and chatted I was offered a warm bucket bath and a some supper.  Lovely.  One of the house mothers had made fried green bananas, some stewed chicken and potatoes with pineapple for dessert.  Delicous.

I thanked my hosts with great appreciation and set of down the track lit by a very bright moon to my room in a small converted school room. I went over my gear for the next day, brushed my teeth, popped an anti malaria pill and flopped into bed under my mosquito net.  I planned to be up at 7am to start shooting.  Excited


Popular Posts