Diary week 13, 14 and 15 | Our last weeks in Uganda and Kenya

Our last weeks in East Africa! In the previous diary blog, you could already read how we saw chimpanzees in Rwanda and did a self-drive safari in Uganda (Uganda). After reuniting with our Canadian friends, we travel through the rest of Uganda and we go back to Kenya where we mainly relax on the beautiful island of Lamu.

>> Be prepared: this is a long diary-blog … three weeks is a lot for one blog! <<Kiko Tea Estate

Uganda: Dutch bread and tea plantations in Fort Portal

After being reunited with our Canadian friends Erin and Carlann in Fort Portal we leave for Masindi, a village on the edge of Murchison Falls.

But not before we have made a stop at the Dutch bakery hotel The Dutchess, where we stock up two large brown loaves of bread. The bread that we normally buy in Uganda is mainly white, sweet and has a long shelf life (not really tasty). Ries and I have been fantasizing for weeks about crispy brown board and are very happy to have found this in Fort Portal.

As soon as we leave Fort Portal, we drive through the rolling tea plantations. Unfortunately, we have not visited a tea plantation in Rwanda and so we spontaneously decide to pay a visit at Kiko Tea Estate to see if they are willing to give us a tour of the plantation. Kiko Tea Estate has been here for decades, but don’t normally do guided tours. However, the manager likes our spontaneously visit and he welcomes us and arranges a visit to the plantations! It’s a very nice experience! An hour later, the four of us get back in the car and drive towards Masindi.

Click here for all our Uganda blogs!

Kiko Tea Estate

Uganda, Masindi and the Murchison Falls

We spend the rest of the afternoon and the beginning of the evening bouncing in the car. The road from Fort Portal to Masindi is very bad and is currently being worked on, which means that we have to drive partly through the slurry and the half-excavated asphalt. Just after sunset, we arrive in Masindi, a town near the Murchison Falls National Park. Tired we drive up to Murchison Backpackers, a new hostel where we are warmly welcomed by the young owner May. She tells us everything about her business plan, arranges pizzas for dinner and helps us get started with arranging our self-drive safari in Murchison Falls Park.

On our way to Murchison Falls National Park

It has been storming all night but luckily May allowed us to camp inside in one of the rooms. And so we stayed nice and dry. We say goodbye to May and the four of us get back into the car. Off to Murchison Falls National Park. The first night we sleep outside the park. Unfortunately, it starts to storm again in the afternoon. We arrange with the lodge where we sleep that we are allowed to sleep with four people in a house instead of raining wet in our tents.

And then it’s time for our self-drive safari in the Murchison Falls National Park. It’s a beautiful area full of palm trees and outliers of the Nile, completely different from the other national parks we’ve seen before! Spending a night in the middle of the park with a ranger who stays on guard all night makes it an exciting and unforgettable experience.

Reading tip: free travel guide on the Murchison Falls National Park! Murchison FallsMurchison Falls

Uganda, Relaxing at the Rhino Sanctuary *

After two days of safari and a week of sleeping somewhere else every night, it’s time to relax. And we do this at the campsite of the Rhino Sanctuary*. A few years ago the last wild rhino in Uganda was killed by poachers. Fortunately, people started to return the rhino to Uganda, currently, 30 white rhinos grow in the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. When there are enough rhinos, they are released into the wild and the rhino is back living in the wild in Uganda! The rhinos roam freely in a large, protected area but are monitored by rangers 24/7. This is to protect them against hunters.

Rhino’s in Uganda!

We stay here for two nights, most of the time enjoying the sun, doing some laundry and playing cards. The highlight of our stay here is a hike with a ranger to see the rhinos up close. The animals are beautiful and so large. We see a mother with two babies. They graze quietly and then one of the babies (one-year-old but already a few tons in weight) decides to drink milk with its mother, a very special thing to see! The hike only lasts an hour and is not necessary to do. On our second night, we wake up several times because of the noise the rhinos make who are grazing just a few meters away from our (fenced) campsite.

Sidenote on the Rhino Sanctuary

Even though we had a good time in the Rhino Sanctuary, we didn’t like the atmosphere there. There is a big focus on selling as many tours as possible. And one of the employees told us that not everything is done in the interest of the rhinos and their conservation. The area where the rhinos live is actually too small for the number of males that live there. This causes the males to fight each other, sometimes with severe wounds as a result.

However, if the rhinos are deported to another park, the Rhino Sanctuary no longer has a “monopoly” on rhinos in Uganda. According to the employee, the company, therefore, tries to prevent this from happening, with negative consequences for the well-being of the rhinos. We don’t know if everything this employee said was 100% correct, but it did match our impression of the Rhino Sanctuary. Something to keep in mind if you are considering visiting the Rhino Sanctuary.

Curious what it costs to travel through Uganda? Check out our budget Uganda blog!

Rhino SanctuaryRhino Sanctuary

Back to Kenya: disappointed by Kisumu

Seeing the rhinos is a nice end to our time with the Canadian Erin and Carlann and to our time in Uganda! The next day we drive back to Kampala where we say goodbye to them and then return the car to the Roadtrip Africa rental agency.

A long bus ride and border crossing later, we arrive just before midnight in Kisumu, a city in Kenya on Lake Victoria. No idea why we went here, we thought it would be a nice city, but it is a bit disappointing. There is just not much to do and so we decide not to stay four nights, but only two and then continue to Nairobi. Because we are still in Kisumu for a whole day, we go to the well-known Dunga Hill Camp, a restaurant/beer garden on Lake Victoria where we have a drink and enjoy the bands that perform. A nice place and a must if you are in the Kisumu area.

Kisumu Kenya

Kenya, meeting Dutch friends in Nairobi

The next day we board the bus again and drive to Nairobi in just under eight hours. We freshen up quickly in our hotel (we stay the coming days in the nice Bush House and Camp) and then go out for dinner with Philippe and Eva, friends from the Netherlands. They are in Kenya for work and vacation and it is nice to chat and exchange experiences.

The following two days we enjoy the city life of Nairobi. The city is really nicer than we expected before coming to Kenya! We don’t do anything special. just visiting some malls, where we go to the cinema and spend hours in coffee shops. At the end of the day, we marvel at the large supermarkets. Looking at the mouth watering versatility of cheeses, bread and products that we haven’t had recent months. With baguettes, various cheeses, hummus and other Western products, we go back to our hotel. While watching Netflix, we eat everything! It feels a bit like home where we would also spend some of our evenings like this.

A tropical ending of Kenya: Lamu

We have been looking forward to this moment for months: our last nine days in Africa, we spend on the tropical island of Lamu. Staying in the lovely Jua House, enjoy the sun, the sea and the delicious food (there is fresh tuna here!). But we also practice yoga on a daily basis, work on new blogs and take long beach walks.

Lamu is one of the first Swahili settlements and has long been a protectorate of Oman. And you can clearly see that in the beautiful buildings, which have a completely different style than the rest of Kenya. In addition, the island is predominantly Muslim and there are no cars. A nice place to relax something we do for sure! Read more about our time at Lamu here!

Click here for a free travel guide for Lamu in Kenya!

Lamu Jua House

Back to the Netherlands

After a last day in Nairobi, where we buy some souvenirs, we board the plane to go back to the Netherlands. We missed our lovely little country a lot, but our time in Africa was amazing. Curious about which trips we planned for the coming period? Then read this blog.

For now, a short break regarding diary blogs, but you will hear from us soon from Turkey!Lamu Dowh

Where did we sleep these two weeks in Uganda and Kenya?

  • Masindi: Murchison Backpackers is a brand new hostel where the owner May does everything to make you happy! We stayed here for $ 10 per person per night (camping).
  • Murchison Falls: The first night we stayed in the new Twiga Tales Lodge, price $10 per person per night for camping. We then stayed in the National Park at UWA Campsite 1 in Murchison Falls where a ranger was on guard all night to protect us from the animals. The camping costs $10 per person per night camping, the ranger we paid $20 for his help.
  • Rhino Sanctuary: We camped at the campground of the Ziwa Rhino & Wildlife reserve for $10 per person per night.
  • Kisumu: The first night we stayed in Sooper guesthouse, a basic hostel where we paid $20 for a private room with bathroom. The next day we stayed in the Family Nest Guesthouse, a nice place. Price: $30 for a private room with bathroom and breakfast.
  • Nairobi: Nairobi Bush House and Camp is a nice hotel in Karen with good breakfast for only €31 a night. Our last night we slept in Nairobi Mansionette Home-Stay, just outside of Karen for €27 a night.
  • Lamu: Jua House is one of the nicest B&Bs I have ever stayed in. It feels like home with a delicious breakfast and spaces rooms! €82 for a double room including breakfast.

Lamu Jua House

Statistics for these two weeks:

↠ Number of hours in the car / bus / boat / plane: +/- hour. 49
↞ Number of km traveled: 1800 (excluding the flight to Lamu and to the Netherlands)
↠ Number of nights camped: 4
↞ Almost once robbed by a donkey of our lunch: 2 times!
↠ Number of times sick: I have had some problems with my stomach. Nothing serious but very annoying. At the time of writing, I am on the train to Amsterdam where I go to the doctor to have it checked.Lamu Kenya

Crazy discoveries about Uganda and Kenya

Uganda: the land of gas stations!

We don’t know of any country that has as many (different) gas stations as Uganda. A gas station looms up every 100 meters. Usually, there are two or three next to each other. The prices of gasoline and gas vary considerably. But beware, that is mainly because the cheaper gas stations add water to the gasoline. If you want good quality gasoline or diesel, refuel at known brands.

Kenya: the hundreds of donkeys from Lamu

The island of Lamu off the coast of Kenya, seems like a completely different country! A large part of the population is Muslim, there is a completely different architectural style than in the rest of Kenya and the island is car-free. All transportation is by donkey. Hundreds of donkeys live on the island. If you walk through the narrow streets of Lamu Town, you will come across a donkey every few minutes. Most walk around freely and some are rather stubborn about blocking the road or trying to steal your food!Lamu donkey

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