WILD AFRICAN QUEST 15
16 – 17 January 2020
About 80km east of Kampala is the picturesque setting of Jinja on the banks of the magnificent Lake Victoria and it was here at Explorers River camp that Morgan, Sudanese visa in hand, nestled in for the night. Formerly known to the Arabs as Ukerewe, ‘meaning place of a small island’ British Explorer John Speke renamed the lake in 1858. Believed by them to be the source of the Nile it is the largest lake in Africa and is exceeded in size only by Lake Superior in North America. Though other headwaters in the mountains of Rwanda and Burundi are being researched, the mighty Lake Victoria is still seen by many to be the source of the Nile. Of course, the original claim to it being the source dates back to an ancient map from 1160 known as the Muhammad al-Idrisi map.
“I spent the evening at a camp site at Explorers, full of young student adventure seekers, hanging on the bar trying to look cool until it dawned on them that I am probably older than their fathers. Funny thing age…you definitely don’t feel the way you are portrayed the mirror. It amazes me how these kids afford these trips as all they do all day is sit around and drink copious amounts of alcohol.
We had a horrendous thunderstorm last night and I came outside to find my bike lying in the hedge. The bike stand had slowly sunk into the mud and fallen over!!! Recalling the reels of laughter at me trying to pick up my bike in Lusaka with Glenn standing by yelling…there is a technique, I went into a flat panic. As luck would have it, just as I thought I was about to burst a valve or two some kind, partially hung-over young man offered his assistance. What luck? So now it is onwards and upwards to Kenya and the Busia border post.”
It is hard to believe that a great lake can span three countries but by midday Morgan once gain found himself near the shores of Lake Victoria at Kisume. Not that Lake Victoria is one of the greatest attractions as Kenya boasts no less than 54 National Parks and reserves and it was not long before Morgan found himself surrounded by them.
Passing by Lake Nakuru, once famous for its iridescent pink dancing flamingoes, he headed north to Thomson falls at an altitude of 2360m and spent the night at Uaso Narok Forest reserve.
Amidst rumours that the Moyali border may be closed, he rodw out at sunrise along the western flanks of Mt Kenya. Second-highest mountain in Africa, after Kilimanjaro, Mt Kenya rises to 5 199m. It is Kenya’s national pride, attested to by the fact that when Kenya gained independence in 1963, Kenya’s flag was mounted at the peak by a local climber, Munyao Kisoi. As a once active volcano, it is said that its original height was closer to 7000m. How different the narrative of her ascents would have been and no doubt the 30 000 pairs of feet that now lumber their way to the summit of Kilimanjaro, would have been routed instead to Mt Kenya.
“I rode about three hours this afternoon and only saw 3 vehicles. I am heading into the boonies now so if you don’t hear from me I don’t have cell coverage in fact I don’t even think I have seen a cell tower! The border might be closed tomorrow and I am hearing conflicting stories so I am going to head there and find out. If it is closed it is going to be a suspect night hanging around the border past.”
Post by Debra Bouwer