It would be the first Christmas away from our families for some time, and with the MAF office shut for the festive period we thought we should make the most of a few days off. And so, we headed to the town of Jinja, a couple of hours away from Kampala, to stay in a hotel called the Source of the Smile for a couple of nights before the new year.
The hotel was a beautiful and peaceful place, and we soon found ourselves unwinding from the frantic busyness of Kampala life. Our room had its own terrace; the perfect spot to sit with a book and a cool drink to listen to the birds singing.
That’s how we spent most of our time, but we couldn’t stay so close to the Nile and not have a bit of fun as well. On our second day we ventured out and discovered a big game themed crazy golf course!
The competition was fierce. By the final hole our scores were tied, and so we played sudden death on the last hole until Becky emerged triumphant with a, let’s face it, very lucky shot straight into an elephant.
After our sporting endeavours we felt it was time for a leisurely cruise up the Nile in a little boat, with our own guide to tell us all about the local wildlife, people and customs.
It was a fascinating hour and a half, with many different species to spot, and fishermen plying their trade upon the relatively still waters. This part of the Nile was very wide, predominantly due to two large dams which have bottled up the river to provide electricity.
We were able to see many types of bird, but also bats in a cave system on one bank of the Nile, and even a sneaky monitor lizard enjoying the sunshine.
Jinja is quite a tourist haven, with many activities to keep wanderers occupied. We chose the sightseeing this time, but river rafting, quad biking and even bungee jumping over the river are all options. It is likely to be a place we return to, given its closeness to the city we call home.
Bungee jumping anyone?
After two nights in our lovely room we started the trip home. The dusty roads around Jinja coated our car, and local plant-life as well. Every tree was a two-tone mix of green and the red-brown colour of the soil.
It was a good run for our new car as well, which performed admirably on the bouncy roads. Our RAV 4 has good ground clearance to overcome any bumps and uneven patches of road, but that doesn’t stop the locals making their way around in whatever vehicles they have to hand!
All in all, our first trip outside of Kampala was a highly successful and relaxing one. We returned to our home in Kampala refreshed, and ready to face this new year.