Godfrey, my driver, and I were all set for an adventure. He had figured out that it will cost me 150 dollars for a day’s travel around Uganda to see wonders such as the game reserves, Lake Victoria, gorillas and much more. After a quick hair cut at the local mall, we headed for the town of Jinja to see the point where the river Nile enters into Lake Victoria, which is also popular for being the largest lake in the region. We drove through the dense traffic of Kampala and into the misty woods of the largest forest in Uganda known as the Mabela forest. The scene really reminded me of the film ‘Gorillas in The Mist (1988)’. Uganda is so green and lush with tea plantations, sugar plantations and banana trees. It is a fertile region with dark reddish brown clay soil. The flowing Nile and the great Lake Victoria has made the region a very fertile and prosperous land.
It got hot in the afternoon, but then it rained in the evening and again in the morning. It felt a bit like the weather in Bangalore. We strolled down to the Bujagali Falls which have two dams built around it. These are the biggest dams of the country and supply electricity to Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya as well. I and Godfrey came to a decision to take a motor boat around the Nile and the dams.
What amazed me the most was the astonishing variety of birds that have made this region their home. The beautiful birds really enjoyed taking dips in the river as well as the lake. I managed to capture a lot of great shots of these birds up close in their natural habitat. Colourful kingfishers, eagles, cranes and birds of all kinds were dancing away at the sound of the flowing Nile.
I sailed past boats, boatmen and even urchins who were swimming and playing in the river stark naked like they were blessed by nature. The women were picking wood from the banks and the eagles were diving into the lake to catch a snake or two. Our boat meandered towards the dams where the current was a bit heavy, but we managed to hold on till the waters calmed down. We also laid eyes on elegant well-cut rock caves yawning at me from afar.
After the boat trip and on our way back up the hill, I saw a kind of dance performed by a local tribal dance group. The dance, coupled with beer and fish, was how we enjoyed the evening after our trip around the mouth of the river Nile. Truly a wonder of nature and man’s will to carve his own destiny, a constant battle between Man and Nature, not to miss the birds and other animals that thrive in this bountiful land.
The next day, I was invited over to dinner by an old friend, Mohit Dhondiyal, from Welham Boys’ who has been living in Uganda for over fifteen years. We sipped away Single Malt whiskey as we talked about the old times when we were naughty little kids.