Thursday, October 28, 2010

More than just lions.

I don't think I will ever get tired of going on safari and spotting animals.

I have even become a bit of a twitcher and will be able to name you the birds we would you know if I was wrong!? We were lucky enough to spot a leopard and a shoebill; I have no photographic you'll just have to believe me. My friend has some great photos of four legged creatures, so we are going to have a 'photograph of the safari' competition. I will keep my best shot for then!

Actually, I didn't seem to take many photographs of animals. I think I am still enjoying seeing so much colour after living in a sand-pit for four years.

Relaxing by Lake Albert

Taking in the sights around the crater lakes

Ndali vanilla

Our last sundowners spot

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The long and winding road..duh, duuuh,duhh.

I am a bit of a scatter brain at the moment. I have just not settled back into my work routine yet and I'm wishing I was still in the bush, searching for lions.

My first guest, in my new role as safari guide, is now safely back in the Western world, although I think this took a while; she seemed to spend more time on the ground with the "the world's favourite airline" than in my car (the aptly named Gorgonzola- a bit beastly) whilst on safari! And we did spend many hours on the road; thank goodness my friend and I had 15 years to catch-up on.

There is never a dull moment on a self-drive safari. And we started off well; getting stuck in mud behind three school buses and two safari trucks, fearing we would be camping by the road-side. By day two we were pros. Not once were we lost or dazed, although the driver (yours truly) was often slightly confused.  Only on our return to the city did we  read all that we SHOULD have read before setting out on a self-drive safari...I'm sure that if we read it first we would have decided to fly!

Being able to enjoy morning coffee on the roof of your car whilst admiring the elephants and giraffes is a safari highlight, but we still managed to stretch our legs during the road trip. Horse riding in plains with Ugandan kobs;  sipping on Bombay Saphire whilst getting up close and personal with the hippos; tracking for the chimps; getting boda-bodas around the town; swimming in the crater lakes and rafting down the River Nile.

My first guest, Tania, has promised to write a glowing reference for my next blog, but I know that now my safari skills are being developed (and my photos are soon to be posted), friends and family will be knocking on my door.

A few snapshots of the long and winding road...and some of our adventures along the way!

Sunday driver!

Stretching our legs to check out the hippos -
we liked them...over there!

The red roads of Uganda

Oh-it looks so romantic...until a hippo bashes into you!
Gin...straight up!

Watch out Nicole Kidman!

We stopped for a break in the bush, where we then ate the
Ugandan Kob we spotted. Yum!

Our warm-up before the chimp tracking- a visit to a
local tea plantation. Hard work!

We had a quiet time at Ndali lodge, so visited the coffee
and vanilla plantation for a tour.

Time for a swim in the crater lake!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Safari stories to come...

I'm just back from 8 days on the road. My dusty car is in need of  some TLC and proof of  roads well travelled!

This was my first opportunity to be a 'tour guide' and I proudly showed-off My Africa. Roles included; scenic Sunday driver, safari rally-driver (when there was a hope of seeing lions!) twitcher spotter, accommodation manager, health and safety advisor, general local expert and of course safari game-park guide. The later I easily coped with in Murchison - "there is a giraffe, oh, another giraffe, now you see a family of giraffes" etc.

The adventure began by getting up-close and personal with hippos and giraffes and ended with a leisurely float (!) down the River Nile.
There are many stories to share and tell, but first I must dust off my 'teacher hat' and adjust to Kampala city life once more.

A day with the animals.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Misled as I am, I think of myself as a healthy person. I exercise (on good weeks), my meals are cooked from scratch (no jars,no frozen meals), I have my 5 a day, I take supplements, I drink plenty of water and I sleep lots. I  might drink too much wine (sometimes!!) but I am not prepared to give that up, and I heard it was good for you!

That being said, I am not having the greatest month in health.

I am now google-diagnosing what is wrong with me.
At first I thought perhaps my bilharzia hadn't been 'killed off' as I am constantly tired. But my killer headaches and back pain don't fit into that category.So, perhaps I have Malaria. Everyone in Uganda gets Malaria...or is it just our teaching-assistants that it effects???
I wake up with a headache, think a glass of wine will help (not in the morning of course...!) and go to sleep with a headache. I can't read my book-club book because the words are too small and I just want to sleep once I am in bed.

My self-prognosis...ageing.

I have spent the evening checking my BUPA benefits plan and surprisingly enough, I am not covered for either Ageing or Puberty!


However, my Psychiatric Care is!

I need a holiday!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Shopping, Kampala style.

As I have written previously, shopping does not give you the same joy, here in Kampala, as it does in the shiny western world. Sweat beads form on my brow if there are more than two jobs or items on my 'list' in any one Saturday morning. Numerous shops have to be visited before any meal is prepared, especially for cook-club! This is now made more difficult with the temporary closure of our local goodmarket...super would be too strong a term! But, having said all that...I have picked up some great buys through car windows, road-side markets and other wonderful places in Uganda.

Some recent top-buys:
  • A battery-operated-mosquito-zapper-racquet . Not the most aesthetically pleasing item in my sitting room, but the most useful by far! I have actually just found out that I paid way over the odds, for this through-the-car-window buy...hey ho!
  • Papaya, by the truck load. Ever since I discovered that papaya can indeed taste good, once copious amounts of lime has been squeezed on them, I have been enjoying them while I wait for mango season!
  • Ugly Betty, Season 3 -  to be honest, this one wasn't even bought! Until recently I had never watched, or been inclined to watch this, but I have enjoyed all of two episodes so far!
  • A mobile phone with a flashlight...yes, it is worth spending all of $20 for this nifty addition! 
  • Belgium creme-fraiche ice-cream...can you believe you can find such a thing here...this, I think, is reason enough to stay for one more year in Uganda!
I'm sure I have forgotten lots of fantastic Ugandan buys. I'll update the list when I think of more!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Weekend in Kampala

This past week I became 'mum' for two days and one night; when I went camping with 36 (which became 35 before midnight) eight year olds! Lots of fun was had in deepest, darkest Africa...Entebbe! We were all suitably exhausted and dirty when we returned to school, to excited parents, on Friday. I came back feeling a bit flat, realising how much I would miss the gang and was also thinking of all my friends reuniting at Lomond after 10 years.  I was well and truly ready for company to get me out of the end of week slump!

My perfect Kampala weekend commenced.
A recipe for a great weekend:
Great friends and new friends; good wine, great food, Belgium ice-cream, beautiful views of Lake Victoria, a comfy bed, dips in the pool, a morning run and fresh coffee. Lots of silliness, seriousness and laughter.

Only 5 days until the next!

Enjoying the views of Lake Victoria on Saturday