11 days down the track and we find ourselves in Fort Portal, East Uganda. After rudimentary inspection we can find neither a Fort nor a Portal. If there is a case to be made for this being a portal then the case is that this area leads into the Rwenzori mountain's. That is silly though or else every second town in the South Island would also be a portal.
Anyways, before we left Kisumu we had the doubtful pleasure of the Kisumu musuem. We were optimistic as we had heard that they had a real "stuffed lion eating a wildebeest." We turned up full of this optimism to find out prices had trebled since our guide book was written. Undeterred we pressed on and saw a range of highlights. The most magnificent of these was perhaps the aquarium - (worse than an average pet store in NZ) or the turtle sanctuary (small square fenced off area with zero shade and 30 turtles. very sad) The funniest part is that these were way better than the snake park (where the snakes were actually plastic) and the authentic tribal village. The taxidermied lion was very impressive though. I can only imagine how much more impressive it would have been if it wasn't missing an ear and a significant part of it's flank.
Right, so from Kisumu we had a delightful day of minibus torture and headed into Jinja. Ugandan visas now cost $50 each which is frustrating. Obviously the rationale is that it's way easier to collect revenue from tourists at each border than have a taxation system in your country. Jinja was nice. The hostels were overpriced and underclean but the location was superb. We got a little exercise there and visited the source of the nile which was sourcy. nice. We wandered to Bujugali falls one day and had wild rice salad another.
From Jinja we headed onwards to Kampala. Getting there was easy but oh man, the bus depot was incredible. So many people yelling that you could barely think and could only really join in the yelling as a method of coping. Needless to say that Kate doesn't enjoy being yelled at and thus the stress levels peaked. We ended up taxiing on out of there and heading to a hostel called the Red Chilli. We ended up in a tent there which was cool. From there we got a room next day in mighty Dewinston St at the Hotel City Annex. We explored Kampala quite a lot over the next few days. We made it to the movies twice, an irish bar, a thai restaurant and generally overspent and overindulged. It was nice.
The best part of Kampala was the fact that we scored Gorilla permits. Previously we had been told this was not going to happen since they were booked out til November. Undeterred (we are undeterred a lot at the moment) we went to the actual offices of the permit people. There a nice lady took a shine to Kate and promised to help out. The next afternoon she rang to say she could find two for as at Nkuringa, Bwindi on the 5th of August. Hurrah. Double Hurrah. Once we stumped up with a thousand fine USD we were secured.
To celebrate we came to Fort Portal. From here we need to fill in 5 more days between here and the Impenetrable forest. To fill this in we'll prolly play cards, read books and drink Nile Specials which at 5.6% have quite a kick. We'll then head from the Gorillas into Rwanda for another fortnight. Then it's back to Kampala and eventually home in just under a month.
Congrats to Casey, Julia and their new arrival. Love it.
Jeff and Kate.