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Struggling through the mud in Uganda (video) | #pipikikitour2021 (6)

In part 6 of the #pipikikitour2021 in Uganda we really have to work. We drive from Kitgum to Kidepo Valley National Park (no less than 229 km) and on the way the rain hits. It only comes to an end around half past one and we still have more than 100 km to reach Kidepo Valley NP. The asphalt road is long gone by then. We plod and plow our scooters over cobblestone paths, loose sand, mud and other hotseknotse begonia variants of roads. By dark we are almost there and I completely collapse in the mud and a guard from Kidepo refuses us the passage… And then there is Betty!

To give you an idea of ​​the extremity of this bizarre ride in Uganda, Chris the video above put together. Worth a look!

The route of part 6 on Google Maps (in Swahili)
The route of part 6 on Google Maps (in Swahili)

Also read:

pikipikitour2021 ? (1) Buying a scooter in Uganda & ViaVia Guesthouse
pikipikitour2021 ? (2) Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Refugees & Scooter Breakdown
pikipikitour2021 ? (3) Murchison Falls NP | The first scooter safari
pikipikitour2021 ? (4) Drone images scooter safari | Murchison Falls
pikipikitour2021 ? (5) Bad luck in Pakwach and Gulu Central Market
pikipikitour2021 ? (6) Struggling through the mud in Uganda (video)
pikipikitour2021 ? (7) Kidepo Valley | The Legacy of Idi Amin

It's pouring rain in Aswa

In Gulu it rained quite a bit during the night. The puddles of water in front of the entrance of Bomah Hotel speak volumes in that regard. 'What fell in the night, can no longer fall today,' is my logic. Full of fresh courage, Chris and I mount our scooters for a fairly long drive of almost 230 km to Kidepo Valley NP, on the border with South Sudan.

In Aswa it comes with baking from the sky
In Aswa it comes with baking from the sky

The sky changes rapidly and after forty kilometers we only hope that the dark gray cloud cover will pass us. Of course that does not happen and after a quiet start it is now pouring out of the sky. For more than three hours we are waiting in the hamlet of Aswa under a shelter. We study numerous rainfall radars, but it does not make us any wiser. Just 'pole pole' or 'wait and see' is the motto.

Chris listens to music in Aswa and studies the storm radars
Chris listens to music in Aswa and studies the storm radars
A 'Ugandan Popemobile' in Aswa
A 'Ugandan Popemobile' in Aswa

The torrential rains stop after about three hours. It is high time to continue in the drizzle, because there are more than 150 km to follow.

Finally on the way to Kidepo Valley NP

In Kitgum and another 134 km to Kidepo Valley NP
In Kitgum and another 134 km to Kidepo Valley NP

Just before Kitgum we take the exit to Kidepo. It immediately means the end of the beautiful asphalt road. From my two previous scooter trips here I know that there are now more than 130 km of sand, gravel and cobblestone paths. In general, it is a dry area and most trails are easily accessible. Until the mountains of Kidepo, because there it rains almost every day.

A freshly prepared Rolex is prepared on a former car wheel!
A freshly prepared Rolex is prepared on a former car wheel!

By half past three we made reasonable progress. It's time to rest and have a late lunch. We take a rolex (rolling eggs is a popular roadside dish in Uganda: a chapati with eggs, tomato, onion and bell pepper). This time the cook has a very special casserole. It is made from a car wheel (note this was noticed by an employee of Mnarani Resort in Kilifi when I showed him the photo.. We did not notice it). How about recycling?

Chris with lollipop (yes, he liked them too) has a chat with some villagers on the way to Kidepo Valley NP
Chris with lollipop (yes, he liked them too) has a chat with some villagers on the way to Kidepo Valley NP

Darkness is falling… and we cannot go any further…

We continue our way, but we can't drive really fast on the challenging trails. We are almost there by six o'clock. I recognize the rock at the entrance of Kidepo Valley NP. Chris films me literally plowing through the mud as darkness falls (seen in the video at the top of this page). On the slippers I balance my scooter through the mud (later when it's dark, I go pretty on my mouth). Fortunately, the rock just before Kidepo is approaching.

On the slippers on the scooter, plodding through the mud
On the slippers on the scooter, plodding through the mud

In the pitch dark we arrive at the entrance of Kidepo Valley NP. Two heavily armed guards have seen us and are walking towards us. "We can't let you drive any further, because it's dark."

'But we're almost there! We've driven over 200 km and are almost at the Kidepo Savannah Lodge.' Chris doesn't seem to have it anymore. He curses the guards. But they are adamant. 'No way. A herd of elephants just walked that way. What if you have an accident? Then we've done it.'

The guards are, of course, absolutely right. What idiots of mzungu's… Then a jeep from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) appears. "Hey Eric," I hear from the jeep. 'You are back. I am so happy to see you. Mandela (her son) will be delighted. He still talks about you!' Then I see the face of Betty, the manager of Apoka restcamp.

Betty, her son Mandela (in NL team shirt) and me in August 2018 in Apoka rest camp Kidepo Valley NP
Betty, her son Mandela (in NL team shirt) and me in August 2018 in Apoka rest camp Kidepo Valley NP

I tell her we can't go any further. That problem is solved right away. Betty's jeep will escort us for the remaining 17 km. On the way I slip completely in the mud.

We are warmly welcomed in the brand new Kidepo Savannah Lodge. After a three-course meal we go to sleep. The next morning we are amazed. Where have we ended up now?! in a natural paradise pur sang…

Our beautiful tent in Kipdeo Savannah Lodge, Kidepo Valley NP
Our beautiful tent in Kidepo Savannah Lodge, Kidepo Valley NP
The beautiful welcome sign at the driveway to Kidepo Savannah Lodge
The beautiful welcome sign at the driveway to Kidepo Savannah Lodge

In part 7 we explore the beautiful Kidepo Valley NP and spend the night in the rest camp. I visit the former (and beautifully situated) private lodge of Idi Amin, who from here managed to wipe out the game population in Kidepo during his hunting trips. We meet anxious Karamoja kids, who are on their way home with jerry cans full of water on their heads. They aim it at the verge and run. Oh and then I conjure up my lollipops…

See you soon, see you soon in Uganda.

Chris poses at the new gate of Kidepo Valley NP (Betty is standing near him)
Chris poses at the new gate of Kidepo Valley NP (Betty is standing near him)

Also read:

pikipikitour2021 ? (1) Buying a scooter in Uganda & ViaVia Guesthouse
pikipikitour2021 ? (2) Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Refugees & Scooter Breakdown
pikipikitour2021 ? (3) Murchison Falls NP | The first scooter safari
pikipikitour2021 ? (4) Drone images scooter safari | Murchison Falls
pikipikitour2021 ? (5) Bad luck in Pakwach and Gulu Central Market
pikipikitour2021 ? (6) Struggling through the mud in Uganda (video)
pikipikitour2021 ? (7) Kidepo Valley | The Legacy of Idi Amin

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.

1 comment

  • Yes very nice weather. See the real country and not just where tourists go. That's right, you're the landmark.
    But that is the harrowing poverty. Sometimes a water pump somewhere between 2 villages, where little girls run with water and sometimes, so young, they carry a baby with them… very intense to hear and see. But what can those children against the village head…….. and with a little luck a small school

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Eric on a scooter in Uganda

Eric

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