Wayward Bigodi Wetlands – A Calamitous Adventure near Fort Portal

Since we arrived in Uganda we had given little thought to the many incredible national parks and focused all our attentions on Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary in the hope of doing some serious bird watching.  To our surprise Africa has inspired the twitcher in us both and when we heard DSCF2553it was the Serengeti of the sky, the yearly migration of birds from northern Europe and the USA, we were all in a flutter. Considering trekking with the gorillas is $500 and the chimps are keeping their feet dry high up in the trees at this time of year this was the perfect budget wildlife option (40,000Ush each but we got the resident price of 30,000Ush) with over 200 species to see… or so we thought! Continue reading

Chewing on a Grasshopper

With rainy season in full swing it was not only the ripening mangoes that everyone was looking forward to but also a slightly more unusual treat…grasshoppers! Although we had heard about this delicacy it was not until we reached Masindi DSCF2913in west Uganda that we got to sample some of these renowned insects. When alive these creatures are jumbo sized, at four times the length of the average garden cricket they are akin to the locus of the apocalypse! Continue reading

Two life changing grassroots projects, One amazing couple

Not only did Henry and Agnes Onaba welcome us into their home but they also introduced us to the NGOs they founded. Agnes Onaba is an organised, competent and stylish woman DSCF2896who is the head of PVC (Partners for Vulnerable Children), an organisation which tackles the problems of school attendance by improving family incomes, the school environment and access to school meals. All PVC’s initiatives are community driven with sustainability at heart. Henry is a ridiculously friendly fellow who set up and helps run the SHOA (Soroti Hotels Owner’s Association) Institute which is dedicated to providing access to vocational skills and business courses. In a country where many children leave school without qualifications and the chance of a stable income this institute offers vital opportunities. We were extremely impressed by the work the Onaba’s do and it was a real privilege to get the chance to see what a difference two people really can make. Continue reading

Meeting the Onabas

DSCF2895Beatrice or Susan as she is known here is a Ugandan lady who has worked for my/Harry’s Mum for over ten years. When she heard we would be adventuring through her homeland Beatrice insisted we meet her family. We were only too pleased to take her up on this kind offer and headed to Soroti to meet Uncle Henry, Aunty Agnes and Mamma and spend a few days getting to know them and their local area. Continue reading

Sipi Falls – Terrifying and Beautiful

DSCF2724Three waterfalls pound down from the brink of the Mount Elgon range into a valley that stretches as far as the eye can see.  These spectacular cascades are why most people come to Sipi Falls and we were lucky enough to catch them in their full glory at the end of the wet season when they run swollen and fast. Not only did we explore the three mighty tiers on foot but we also somehow ended up dangling 90 meters off the ground from a thin rope next to the plummeting water of the third fall. This waterfall excursion has to be one of our most adventurous and terrifying yet! Continue reading

Plan Uganda – Kamuli

DSCF2297This was our last visit with Plan in Africa and we were delighted to learn we were to be visiting agricultural projects. This was the project area we had first seen with Plan, nine months ago in Senegal and one that we instantly realised had life changing potential; not only in terms of nutrition and food security but also as a vehicle for social progress and economic stability. Since then our travels have taken us across Africa and in this time we have repeatedly seen how important projects of this nature are on a continent where the majority of people depend on the land for their livelihoods. Continue reading

Sparklers, a 25th and Boda-Boda Thrills in Kampala

DSCF1844Kampala is a busy modern city and the best (if most dangerous) way to get to know it is by motorbike or as they are known here boda-bodas. People and traffic congest the pavements and roads, with cars and buses barely moving at a crawl in the inner city. Boda-bodas swarm in their thousands and are able to zoom in and out of the jams fighting each other for the best path between the choked vehicles. Travelling by boda-boda is fast and exhilarating though also rife with near collisions and at times down right terrifying! We had come to this big city not only for motorbike thrills but also in search of 25th birthday celebrations in the capital’s much acclaimed night life. Continue reading

Steaming Across Lake Victoria

DSCF1712After our railway adventure had taken us to the lakeside city of Mwanza we were not quite ready to get back on the bus. Luckily for us we had arrived in time to board the twice weekly steamer that crosses Lake Victoria. Before booking our tickets we went to check her out. There she stood in all her glory floating in the murky waters of the lake, a 1960’s passenger cruiser fit for the stars of her day. The M. V. Victoria may now have lost some of her former grandeur but we thought she was magnificent! Continue reading

Traveling the Train in Tanzania

DSCF1670Trains are a part of the great adventure that traveling in east Africa entails and ever since we arrived in Tanzania we had wanted to jump aboard. Our chance came as we needed to get from Dar es Salaam, all the way across the country, to Uganda and a train to Mwanza conveniently covered most of the distance. This two day epic saw us chugging through the stunning heart of Tanzania in a six bed sleeper cabin and has to be one of our favourite journeys yet. Continue reading

From Dusk til Dawn…We Love Dar

DSCF1563Dar es Salaam (‘Haven of Peace’) is Tanzania’s thriving de-facto capital city and probably our favourite in Africa. We found it easy to imagine living here as its multiculturalism and high rise skyline gave us a sense of home whilst its warm vibe and chattering population remains completely African. The fact that we were less than an hour from finding white sandy beaches was another of the city’s big draws! We have met many people who found it easy to fault Dar however we thought it was modern, vibrant and a complete contrast to the other big cities we have visited in Africa. From the organised chaos of its morning rush, to it’s delicious lunchtime vendors, to the lively Asian quarter that comes alive in the evening Dar has something to offer from dawn till dusk and we loved (briefly) making it our home. Continue reading

Moseying Around Northern Mozambique

DSCF1553Although we had greatly enjoyed the comfortable back seats of MARco and Dan’s Toyota we were pleased to be back bumping along with the locals. As buses are few and far between in Mozambique our first journey saw us clinging on for dear life to the sides of a pickup truck. Open to the elements our already dehydrated brains frazzled as our fingers, noses and toes crisped up like pigs in an oven. In spite of the insane dry season heat and the barrage of dust which clung to skin, matted hair and changed the colour of our clothes it would be hard to find a funner way to travel. Continue reading

The Quirimbas Archipelago – Cruising Around a Quintessential Island Paradise

DSCF1387The Quirimbas archipelago is everything your imagination would conjure up if you tried to picture paradise. This collection of islands emerge from an ocean of every blue conceivable, from luminous turquoise to deep marine, and their white sand beaches are so pristine it is as if you are the first to discover them. The Quirimbas should be on everybody’s Mozambican agenda and we had the excellent luck to hop around them in a wooden boat with a marvellous crew. Continue reading

A Taste of Island Hopping off the Beautiful Ilha de Moçambique

DSCF1097Ilha de Moçambique has to be one of the most picturesque places we have been. With the feeling of a forgotten Mediterranean town, the off whites, egg yellows and pastel tones of the classic architecture lends the island a distinctly romantic air. Arched and columned walkways line the sandy streets and narrow alleys link plazas bathed in bright sunshine. Locals recline in the cool shadows of trees and doorways, a respite from the burning heat and an air of tranquillity envelops the town. Although we did not stay very long it was long enough to fall for this islands bygone charms. Continue reading

Border Bureaucracy and A Police Compound Party…Welcome to Mozambique!

Although we had heard wonderful things about Mozambique, time, money and especially passport pages had prevented the country being a part of our plan. Its azure coastline DSCF1007however had always held an allure, so when unexpectedly the opportunity of a lift and the discovery of only needing one passport page arose we jumped straight into the back seats of Dan and MARco’s Toyota. We had met them and their friend James at the City of Stars festival and before they really had time to consider we had hitched along with them. Continue reading

A Mighty Lake, a Music Festival and Meeting Muzungus in Malawi

After winding our way along smooth mountain roads in a clapped out mini bus we got our first view of magnificent Lake Malawi. Rippling into the horizon and seemingly as vast as an ocean this body of water stretches almost the entire length of the country and is so large the moon effects its movements. Dotted with small fishing communities along its shores and boats in its crystal waters the lake’s picturesque lazy pace makes it the perfect place for a spot of relaxation. We had not only come to Malawi for a dip in its bilharzia infested waters (apparently it’s ok to swim if you take the pills) but also for its renowned music festival. Usually on the lake, this year the beats had moved to the capital and the City of Stars festival promised relief for feet itching to dance. Continue reading