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Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by michnus, Jun 11, 2011.
Hope you are OK.
Hell that is sad to hear about this.
Strange thing is, those ferries are brand new high speed aluminium types and surely they must have been able to handle the conditions. There are some older ferries that the locals use it might have been one of them.
Actually, it looks like it was one of the boats tourists and locals alike routinely use. According to this article from the Seattle Times, it was a 112 foot passenger ferry that was in service in Washington State until 2009. I suspect they'll find out the culprit was the driver, as usual, probably maxing the engines for all they were worth, regardless of the hairy conditions that were out there yesterday. Tragic, but not surprising in the least if you've ridden public transport in Africa or ever tried to reason with a bus driver...
Your ride reports are top class. I still read Angola.
It will for sure have a huge impact on tourism to the Island. I can not figure out if it is one of the new ferries or an older one, but if it is a 2009 then it is one of the older ones. The new ones the skipper looked like he knew what he was doing.
I agree with you, Tanzanian and Kenyan truck drivers are satan's kids man, they are dangerous.
btw I like your RR's, great rides you do there, I spend the afternoon reading them
Simply- Uganda Rocks!!
The road to Uganda through Kenya took us to Suam river border post on the foot of MT Elgon between Kenya and Uganda. It’s a beautiful green area with lots of trees, forest-like. In Kenya the roads towards the border were either full of potholes or very dusty, in bad condition, the surroundings flat and vegetation dry. This lush forest welcomes you as the road descents to the border post at Suam.
Uganda border Suam river
By now we got used to custom officials utter idiocy and incompetence. *I had to show the friendly customs guy at the Kenya side how to book our Carne de Passage out from Kenya and then the very friendly official at the Uganda site buggered up one page because he stamped it wrong. But, they are a friendly bunch and can be forgiven for not been taught as a customs official what a Carne de Passage entails.
Double story mud house
Mount Elgon vistas.
As luck had it Neil and Silvie were also at the border post when we arrived they also wanted to do some of the route we are taking. It was actually nice to have companions that were going to do the type of dirt roads we were hoping Uganda would offer. They are South Africans who worked in the UK for 5 years and were on their way back to SA by road in their big ass Toyota kitted with a huge freezer box. We met them at Jungle Junction in Nairobi when we did the servicing on the bikes. Did I mention they have a freezer in the car … this knowledge made me and Elsebie smile, and hoped that they planned to route through Uganda sort of the same way than us. Trying to get cold beers are a mission and if you come across a freezer with a 4x4 for a few days, you latch on as good as you can.
Neil and Silvi's big ass 4x4 in front of the official Customs building at the border post
Sipi falls Mount Elgon
Our first night in Uganda was spent in the small border town at the park facilities where it turned out cheaper to rent a bed for about 5usd than to camp. *Cold showers and pitted toilets are familiar to us by now. Toilets was a strange affair in Uganda. This was our ablutions at the local community camp site.
How do you squad on this toilet?
Before I carry on, I need to mention that it was election time in Uganda. Everywhere were posters, literary on almost every flat surface available obviously no bi-laws regulations in action. Speaker-equipped vehicles promoted their choice of candidates loudly and followers rocked up in bright yellow t-shirts and their Sunday’ best for the voting. All of this actually added to a wonderful visit for us – tourists were less and roads on election days quieter. Local food are quite good and tasty and you can have a decent meal at a local dive for around 6usd which will feed two easily.
Voting in Uganda
We headed out to Sipi Falls the next day and from there towards Murchison Falls. For us it turned into an unusual experience our first national park where we were ALLOWED to enter with our motorbikes. *Game viewing on bikes is a strange experience, coming up close to elephants, buffalo and Lion makes your mind race and keeps your hand not too far from the throttle
Nothing like a Mirinda on a hot day, but beers is better
On our way to the park Elsebies bike decided to call it quits and stop. Its bloody hot in the sun and while getting the entire luggage off the bike I remembered Johan a good friend and Dakar aficionado mentioning a while ago to me if the bike stops for no reason check the fuel pump first. Apparently whoever supplied the fuel pumps to this model bike wanted to make up some cost and the wire supplying the power was a mm or two to short so eventually it just vibrates off. It was still attached by the plastic insulation on first inspection the wire still looks in good shape just have to wiggle it and it just comes off.
Where's the matches honey, I want to burn a Beemer?
The roads in the park closer to the river areas were quite sandy and both Elsebie and I had our share of falls and bush bashing! *All good and fun but tiring and thirsty work, luckily we found a beer or two and some local company before we took the ferry back to the camping site. *We camped on the banks of the river only to realise later that evening while taking a wash in the river theres hippos in a pool just 50 meters up from us. We chatted till late that evening having the freedom to ride around in game parks and enjoying a country where you can get up close and personal with animals. The camps in the parks also do not have fences and baboons and hyenas stroll through the camp at night.
Heeeere kitty kitty!!
The best way to watch game is by standing
There's lions and leopard in the park, I had a leopard run out infront of the bike but no luck scaring lions with our bikes.
How it is suppose to be, sort out your own way around the park
Biiiltong!! What they call in the USA beef-jerky?
Just love it!!
We tried to stay clear of the animals because of our loud exhaust on the bikes, we also tried to keep the rev's low. It eventually turned out they were not in the least worried or scared by our bikes or the noise.
Beer for lunch in the delta and its ice cold!
Yes I know I was looking for the Rare yellow speckled bearded Cape flying Squirrel when this donkey came pass.
More biltong, there's no better feeling being this close to Buffalo and viewing them from the bike!!
Came back from buying some beers before we head back on the ferry to find this lot tearing up the trees
Before we got on the ferry back to Murchinson falls,we had plenty of time chatting to some locals. They are all impress with these huuuge bikes. And this guy could not help himself, he had to try it. In the end he rode the bike onto the ferry with great flair and cheers from the others, I have yet to see a man with a bigger grin on his face.
Charlie and Ewan wanabee
Uganda is a dirty dusty place, but we love it.
Dusty ZA boobs!
Our camp just above Murchisons falls, it was suppose to be a camp site but I doubt it has seen a camper for the last couple of years.This is what makes Uganda such a stunning destination for overlanders, you can camp nearly everywhere without listening to your next door neighbour farting and beating his wife as in some SA site.
Wild camping at Murchisons falls. We had to trek a laager, hippo hole about 100 meters up river
Murchsinson's falls quite an impressive place
In a small town called Masindi we stayed over before heading South to Fort Portal. The local hotel is a real treat, the look and feel is proper colonial style with waiters in black trousers and white shirts and white gloves galore. For around 4USD p/p we could use their lapa to sleep and the food in the restaurant was cheaper than we could do ourselfs.
The weird thing at this pace was the statues they had under the veranda. Why it was done like this and if the artist had a fettish for toursist only he would know.
The size is about right, except it's a midget size statue.
will continue part 2
From Misindi to Bwindi
Our next destination was Fort Portal, a small town situated South West close to the Congo border. Now, Niel and Silvie are bird watchers and very serious about it – they really tried to draw us in but for us, all is better on two wheels and chicken is the only birds we check out when ready for a meal! *We set out without our ‘back-up’ for a few days to visit with our new Dutch friends in Port Fortal.
Bush mechanic extraordinaire
We were on the gravel for 10kilometers and Elsebie’s bike again stuck its head between its legs like a stubborn mule. Again same story, the electric wire giving power to the petrol pump vibrated off, this time I cut the power outlet wires and extended it. We knew the drill and it only took us 20min or so to get going again.
Proud owner of this 125cc taxi, pimping my ride Uganda style
These guys needs special mentioning. There's thousands of these Pikipiki's running around as taxi's. Not long distance but between towns and mostly on dirt roads. The one remarkable thing about it, they carry easliy 2 to 3 passangers and the rider sits on the tank to make space for the passenger and luggage. They ride on dirt roads with these loads where most South African die hard dual purpose owners will think twice of going. They do not have knobby tyres or such luxuries, only normal road tyres.
There's Pikipiki repair shops in every small town and parts shops are like cell phone outlets, littered everywhere.
Trading in the Dakars for better reliable transport. Se moer kan ek Afrika op n 125cc doen.
Now these are horns!
The road toward Port Fortal is all gravel, grated into a rounded heap over the years. *To make a long story short – here is a picture of Elsebie’ bike with newly fitted, local indicators …
New 2011 Dakar
Most of Ugandas 29milj people live close or next to the roads and like Murphy would have it a pedestrian decided to step into the road as Elsebie passed him, in her efforts to avoid hitting him she had to swerve quite aggressively and ended up face flat on the gravel and the bike slid up against an embankment. When I got there it got to riot stage as some of the locals started fighting and screaming with each other and two clever sirs wanted to know what's the procedure from here as its a crime scene now and we must wait for the police.
I just told Elsebie to get on her bike and go, luckily the bike was still ride-able except no front brake as the bolt came loose and dropped all the brake fluid on the ground. Crime scene my ass, since when having an accident all by yourself becomes a crime scene? Why they fought amongst each other must have been because the man she tried to avoid was nowhere to be seen, took his bicycle and run.
Not to much damage, luckily, most just cosmetic and the headlight unit was bend
We rode the last 50km into Fort Portal with the limping bike. Martijn helped me repairing the worst of the stuff. Getting the front brake to work again. We bought new stylish indicators form a local shop for R30 for two! The headlight had to be bend back into shape.
I must add besides that altercation the Ugandan people are the friendlies warm hearted people from all the countries we have visited so far. Since we rode into Suam River the kids and older people go off their heads when they hear the bikes past. They love it they wave and scream while running next to us. When we stop everybody wants to know from where and to where. Its different with Ugandan people, its no zoo effect for them as in the other countries they speak English very well and ask clever informative questions.
School is out, bright colours make up most of the schools attire.
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Overlanders Uganda party 2011 it ended with lots of not so clear heads
Having a relaxing few days in Fort Portal, babana porage with goatmeat taste as funny as it sounds
Hanging around for a few days at one place allows us to really take in the local vibe. You get to talk with the locals where we buy our beers everyday. The old grocer who sells us our eggs and bread every morning greet us with a huge grin everyday.
False advertising?! yes they lie the fuckers, this stuff is like petrol!
Stay out of big African cities, the small ones are the better choices you get to meet the real locals in these towns.
Port Fortal is a charming little African town. *We ended up stay for 5 nights, enjoying the local cuisine and drinking spots. *We found beef fillet for less than 5$ a kilogram, beers at about .50$ and a camping spot walking distance from town.
Many of these shops in small towns
There's the odd Custom bike build off specialist. Using sheet metal cut off's
This one runs a BSA engine, hell knows from where, what year or cc's,the welding on the bike was scary stuff
Vespa's, Chinese bikes, British bike's they work e'm all
Scary or not, I like this bike! Different and cool.
Still totally digging this report, keep it coming!
The Ugandese love their bikes. They do not have to be fast but they must look American-ish and have lots of colors.
Close up of the engine of that same bike
Loads of hotels in Uganda, not the best but the names make up for lack off luxuries
The new iSelf drive banana bicycle----------------------------------------------Older model push banana cycle
Ugandans got a real "can do" attitude, nobody wait for the goverment or others to help them
Real wood rapped in cloth, cost around 20usd all one size----------Ugandans are hardworking people and use whatever they can to manufature products.
The two Dutchie's with their new fire place, cheap cheap, 1$
Uganda Croc's this is where Alibaba got his shoes
Time to leave for Bwindi forrest..............
Are they spear heads?
Yes, many Africans are still very strong on tradition and having or carrying a spear is a sign of man hood. They do not use it much for hunting any more.
In Kenya and Tanzania you will not see a Masai without a spear, all of them carry spears.
Awesome...keep it coming.
....this ride report makes me homesick! I can't wait...I'll be eating Biltong & Prawns this Thursday, headed home for a week
I will keep this brief... Absolutely Amazing!!!
halfway! And travelling just above the speed of sound
Although we were allowed in the parks with our bikes, we found it too expensive to overdo. At $120 per visit for the two of us on bikes it can become a bit hectic, especially if this excludes all other expenses in the park like ferries, camping and guided tours. Again – we fail to see where all this money is going! Campsites and lodges are mostly run privately, roads are not maintained and facilities run down. We did however found quite a few roads that borders or crosses the parks. This made for some interesting riding.
Gorilla trekking is for the rich American and European travellers. $500 per person to trek is not cheap and then you still need to pay for park fees and very expensive accommodation. Visitor stats show that most of the trekkers are from the USA and UK. In 2009 11000 people did the Gorilla walk, you can do the maths on that excluding all the other money they earn. We hoped to get the gorilla experience the ‘cheaper’ way and ended up staying at the Bwindi Forest, Buhomo Community Lodge for three days in the hope that the gorillas would visit the border of the park. No luck, but we stayed in a ‘tent’ lodge with an amazing forest view, visited with the locals over Nile beer and learned more about how the community supported themselves and the school.
On our way to Bwindi the road we wanted to take on T4A showed on the GPS bad roads do not drive. In the end it was one of the best decisions we took to go that route. They are really scenic and traverse through the most beautiful hills and forest and small villages we have ever seen. Most of the dirt roads and in bad shape but do-able at slow speed, in fact it is possible to circumnavigate Uganda and never see a tar road.
Mountain and more mountains near the Congo border. The thousand year old volcanoes offer stunning views
Before descending into antoher river crossing, the roads were really bad. It's muddy red soil when dry allows good traction on the switch backs and steep descent
Roads to Bwindi snake through some stunning forest roads, it was some of the best days riding in a long time.