I’m sad to say this is the last day of the Schaffer family 3-country trek through Central Africa. We had a great time and, more importantly, nobody fought, nobody got sick, and everybody survived. In fact, we may even do it again soon (Spain!?).
Tag Archive for Uganda
Today was another big driving day, as it took 7 hours to get from Kisase to Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. We got started at 0930 and didn’t arrive at our hotel, the Emin Pasha Hotel, until 1700. We stopped for lunch for about 45 minutes at an orphanage in a small village, and Marv made a donation. Leslie picked up some shawls at a vendor at an earlier stop, where we also picked up some Fantas.
Upon leaving the lodge, we saw elephants, buffalo, and antelope but moved on without stopping: “That was so yesterday,” Leslie remarked.
The drive was unremarkable, but did include beautiful rolling hills and vistas, tea and banana plantations, and a variety of farming. We also noticed that a lot of the infrastructure development was foreign managed. Robert explained that the Ugandans still had close ties to the British, who had leases to run industrial endeavors, such as cement factories. As we got closer to Kampala, we noticed Chinese road crews building roads and undertaking construction projects.
We also noticed the influence of Indian culture in the cuisine, the look and feel of the businesses, and the advertisements. For example, samosas were on every menu and the presence of large Indian conglomerates manifested themselves in architecture and marketing.
The hotel was is called the Emin Pasha Hotel, a German Jew who had quite an interesting and adventurous life in Africa (but not much to do with the hotel that bears his name). It was a walled oasis/villa amidst the capital city.
Lush gardens, immaculate, tasteful, and luxurious furnishings, and delicious food. I had dinner in while Marv and Leslie went out with Robert for Chinese food (I wasn’t feeling well – slight stomach cramps, which Cipro ultimately cleared up). I also watched the first television in many many weeks (CNN), and learned about the freezing weather in the US (including my home city, Boston).
When Marv and Leslie returned from their outing, I learned that they went to the Fang Fang restaurant, and that it was outstanding.
Tomorrow we fly out of Kampala and I begin my adventure alone in Ethiopia.
We woke up early and a cup of coffee fueled us for the morning safari drive, where we opened up our Land Cruiser top and to spot animals. Our drive started at 0630 and we returned around 1000. We actually ended up seeing more variety the night before, but here’s what we found that morning:
Today was a driving day since we had to get from Gisenyi, Rwanda, to Lake Albert in Uganda, where we’d be spending two nights at the Mweya Safari Lodge. The drive took 10 hours and ate up the entire day, not including an hour stop for lunch and the border crossing (45 minutes).
It’s the night before my trip and I am psyched, but also a little anxious. I notoriously over-packed, but in my defense, one whole bag is dedicated to photography equipment (on the right) and of course I have to bring my laptop also for blogging and post-processing.
I’ll be taking my Canon Rebel T3i and tripod (and several lenses) on this trip and I’m going to be experimenting with different techniques. I’ve spent the past week over Christmas break finally learning about my camera and the science behind photography. This will be my first real chance to put my studying into action. Here’s are a few of my favorite shots from the past week:
As usual, I feel like I didn’t have enough time to plan out the details for this trip, knowing full-well that half the fun lies in the spontaneity of what unfolds and what can be discovered in the spur of the moment. when left to chance (read=awesomeness).
That said, I did do a little homework on other travel blogs to pool some recommendations of others in the know for things to do in Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Ethiopia. Especially because this trip I am not on my own – I’ll be traveling to the first three countries with my grandfather (an intrepid world traveler) and my aunt , who also got bit by the travel bug – which means things needs to be a little more fleshed out and organizing than I normally am used to.
I am mostly set for Ethiopia because I will be staying with family for a few days and already have my flights mapped out for Lalibela and Gonder – and I’m sure my cousins can provide some great recommendations and help once I get there. But, for the other countries, it seems that I have no direct friends that currently live there (which is actually surprising considering the breadth of my Thunderbird School of Global Management MBA network) – nor do I have many friends of friends that have ever even visited….so, blogging research it is! TGFTB (Thank God For Travel Blogs)
Here’s what I’ve collected in my perusals, in order of the countries/cities we’re visiting (much of this is a note to myself to go back and re-read these upon arrival).
- Bujumbura and Lake Tanganyika: 28 Dec – 30, Morgan in Africa Blog– Great tips on dining and shopping in particular.
- Butare: Dec 30-31, Ravi Rwanda Blog – note to self, take canoe/kayak out on the lake. Also this Cynthia Chung Photo blog recommends good walking shoes:
- Kigali: Dec 31 – Jan 1, Stepping String Blog. In particular I want to remember to check out two art galleries, Ivuka Arts Studios and Yego Arts, that the author recommends. Buying interesting art is an activity that the three generations of our family on this trip can agree on being an agreeable activity.
- Ruhengeri: Jan 1 – 2, Gorilla tracking, Muni and Molly Blog
- Gisenyi: Jan 2 -3, Muni and Molly blog
- Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo National Park: Jan 3 – 5, Stepping String Blog
- Kampala and Entebbe: Jan 5 – 6 Stepping String Blog
- Addis Ababa: Jan 6 -7, staying with family
- Gondar: Jan 7 – 8, Sam Thomson blog
- Lalibela: Jan 8 – 10, Scott’s Next Adventure blog
- Addis: Jan 10 – 11, staying with family
Feel free to pass along any advice, contact information of friends’family, or travel blogs about any of these places. There a surprising dearth of information on the web.