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Home » Africa » Uganda » East Africa on a scooter | Part 8 | Queen Elizabeth NP – Fort Portal

East Africa on a scooter | Part 8 | Queen Elizabeth NP – Fort Portal

Who dares to drive more than 3.000 kilometers on a scooter through East Africa? Visiting mountain gorillas? Scooter safaris (does this word exist?) in five National parks† To admire lions, buffaloes, hippos and elephants up close, among other things. My name is Eric and I like to travel around on a scooter. Read here part 8 of the unique report of an amazing scooter adventure UgandaRwanda en Kenya† In the eighth part of this trip I drive from Queen Elizabeth National Park to Fort Portal in a drive of about 120 kilometers.

Also read:

East Africa on a scooter | Part 1 | From Kampala to Kigali (180 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 2 | Bugala Island – Lake Mburo (170 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 3 | Lake Mburo National Park – Kabale (230 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 4 | Kabale – Ruhija – Gorilla trekking (50 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 5 | Bwindi – Kabale – Kigali (160 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 6 | Kigali Genocide Memorial – Kabale
East Africa on a scooter | Part 7 | Kabale – Queen Elizabeth National Park (175 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 8 | Queen Elizabeth NP – Fort Portal (120km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 9 | Fort Portal – Muhorro (100 km)

Short course: How to deal with a ferocious elephant on the main road

The Queen Elizabeth National Park is a bit strange. In any case, there are no fences to separate the park from the inhabited world, but that is not unique for this park. The layout is unique. There are several sectors that are not connected to each other. These are anyway separated by the main road from Mbarara to Kasese.

It is half past eight in the morning when I leave my lodge and drive onto the main road. In the distance I see an adult elephant on the roadside. A few minibuses wait patiently. They let the elephant have breakfast in peace.

An elephant having breakfast on the main road towards Kasese
An elephant having breakfast on the main road towards Kasese

After a few minutes a boda boda driver gets impatient. Despite a warning from a minibus driver, he starts his engine. 'Do not do it. You never know with an elephant.' It falls on deaf ears. The boda boda driver makes an attempt. The spectators, including me, watch with excitement from a distance. Especially because the road is of such quality that he cannot pass the elephant at high speed on the other side of the road.

A failed attempt to pass an elephant
A failed attempt to pass an elephant

The elephant flaps its ears furiously and gives the impression that it wants to attack the motorcyclist. He can turn right just in time.

Never disturb an elephant during its breakfast (Katunguru, Uganda)

Moments later, the elephant crosses the road and disappears into the bushes. The lesson is clear: Don't disturb an elephant at breakfast.

Katwe . Salt Crater Lake

After the incident with the elephant I drive via Kikorongo in the direction of Mpondwe on the Congolese border.

T-junction in Kikorongo towards the Congolese border
T-junction in Kikorongo towards the Congolese border

After about 20 kilometers I take a murram road towards Katwe. (A murram road is a road that has a hard surface such as gravel or red earth).

Near Katwe is a very curious natural phenomenon in the form of Lake Katwe. This lake contains salt water. The villagers extract salt from it.

Salt production in Lake Katwe
Salt production in Lake Katwe

Although Katwe is not in the national park, it is teeming with wildlife. Katwe is located on Lake Edward. Herds of elephants regularly come to Katwe to drink water in the lake. Hippos in turn often walk ashore to graze.

A marabou stork watches as a hippo grazes on the shore of Lake Edward
A marabou stork watches as a hippo grazes on the shore of Lake Edward
Elephants and Wild Boars in Katwe on the Shore of Lake Edward
Elephants and Wild Boars in Katwe on the Shore of Lake Edward

Hamukungu Fish Market and a School Visit

After a day with (illegal) Scooter Safaris in Queen Elizabeth National Park, a boat trip on the Kazenga Channel (connecting Lake Edward and George) and a wonderful night at Engiri Safari & Game Lodge it's time to go.

The morning begins with a casual safari in the Kasenyi area. To be honest, I've stopped trying to understand what is and isn't part of Queen Elizabeth National Park. In any case, I have spotted most of the wildlife outside the official park boundaries. Now I come across a herd of buffalo again. Five kilometers further I drive onto the grounds of a school. There I talk to the teacher who regularly tries to restrain his rebellious students with a branch.

Pupils in a school class near Hamukungu
Pupils in a school class near Hamukungu

The teacher advises me to drive on for a couple of kilometers. 'The morning market at the lake is going on. You can buy delicious freshly caught fish there.'

Fish Market in Hamukungu, Lake George
Fish Market in Hamukungu, Lake George
Baskets of fish at the market in Hamukungu, Lake George
Baskets of fish at the market in Hamukungu, Lake George

How colorful can a fish market be? Hamukungu's is definitely one. Again, it is the women who are in charge. They negotiate the price with the fishermen.

The fish market in Hamukungu, Lake George (Queen Elizabeth NP), Uganda

The equator and itinerant vendors on their way to Fort Portal

I don't know exactly how many monuments on the equator Uganda has. At Kikorongo I pass at least one again.

Wear a smile at the equator near Kikorongo, Uganda
Wear a smile at the equator near Kikorongo, Uganda

There is not much to report when I reach Kasese after an hour of chugging. Or it must have been the quality of the asphalt road with the many potholes. The banana man on the way actually made the most impression.

The banana man on his way to Kasese
The banana man on his way to Kasese

That's actually the whole way of more than 120 km from Katunguru to my destination Fort Portal. According to the map I have the Kibale National Forest almost all the way to my right. To the left, the peaks of the Ruwenzori Mountains National Park gleam. Mount Stanley on the border of Congo en Uganda is the highest mountain with 5.109 meters.

Also read: The Roof of the World | The mighty Himalayas in Nepal and Tibet

Farm workers with the Ruwenzori Mountains in the background
Farm workers with the Ruwenzori Mountains in the background

I have a great time when I invariably stop in the villages with the local saleswomen. In the village of Kibito I treat the potato ladies to a delicious lollipop.

Potato ladies in Kibito
Potato ladies in Kibito

At the end of the afternoon I see a cheerful lady somewhere in no man's land with a colorful collection of baskets. I have no idea how this lady ended up here, but I think her baskets are very funny.

The basket lady near Fort Portal
The basket lady near Fort Portal

Is it wise to buy one? Not really. Where should I put that basket on my scooter. The feeling, however, trumps the mind. The basket lady is visibly pleased. She hasn't sold a basket all day. She immediately decides to stop at a matatu (minibus) to go home.

The basket lady in a matatu on her way home
The basket lady in a matatu on her way home

At sunset I reach my final destination of the day: Fort Portal.

Also read:

East Africa on a scooter | Part 1 | From Kampala to Kigali (180 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 2 | Bugala Island – Lake Mburo (170 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 3 | Lake Mburo National Park – Kabale (230 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 4 | Kabale – Ruhija – Gorilla trekking (50 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 5 | Bwindi – Kabale – Kigali (160 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 6 | Kigali Genocide Memorial – Kabale
East Africa on a scooter | Part 7 | Kabale – Queen Elizabeth National Park (175 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 8 | Queen Elizabeth NP – Fort Portal (120km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 9 | Fort Portal – Muhorro (100 km)

Eric on a scooter in Uganda

Eric

What is it like to drive more than 10.000 kilometers in Madagascar on a locally bought scooter? Or on a pikipiki (scooter in Swahili) through East Africa? In more than 20 years I have visited more than 100 countries. This has resulted in a lot of priceless travel experiences, which I would like to share with you.

ERIC – OVER 100 COUNTRIES
– Currently in Kenya.
– Share unique travel experiences.
– Favorite destinations: Madagascar, Uganda, Japan, India and Colombia.

Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!

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Eric on a scooter in Uganda

Eric

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