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East Africa on a scooter | Part 7 | Kabale – Queen Elizabeth National Park (175 km)

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 5 of the unique report of an amazing scooter adventure UgandaRwanda en Kenya† In the seventh part of this trip I drive from Kabale to Queen Elizabeth National Park a journey of about 175 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)

Ankole cows and speed bump lesson

Lynn and little David van Kabale backpackers wave me off. 'Watch the road carefully. There's a lot of holes in it," Lynn warns. The road is fine for the first 75 km towards the exit. I can drive through. Every now and then a herd of Ankole cows graze along the road, with or without guidance. The sun is shining and there is not a cloud in the sky.

A herd of Ankole cows along the road
A herd of Ankole cows along the road

I just haven't fallen asleep yet, but it doesn't matter much. Apparently I missed a warning sign as I am now bouncing over the six 'rumble strips' announcing a speed bump. I brake automatically and that's exactly why these strips are here. At too high a speed I cannot pass this speed bump without being unscathed or a broken scooter.

I can now dream the scenario of the speed bumps. Outside built-up areas they occur sporadically and are fairly flat. Rumble strips announce a speed bump immediately before and after a built-up area. In the large villages there are then another three in the center, of which the middle one can only be passed at walking pace.

The exit to Queen Elizabeth NP
The exit to Queen Elizabeth NP

Heaven comes down in Ishaka

In barely fifteen minutes the blue sky has given way to a dark gray cloud cover. As I enter Ishaka it starts to rain. Quiet at first, but then the rain swells. Just in time I can hide with my scooter under a shelter along the road to witness a real cloudburst. Even a truck doesn't see a chance to continue driving in this weather.

Showers in Ishaka
Showers in Ishaka

Scooters and rain don't mix. “Don't drive right after the rain is over. Wait for the road surface to dry," one motorcyclist advises. “You're bound to fall if you don't. The road is slippery.' After an hour and a half the rain stopped. Half an hour later the road is almost dry again. I still have 50 very nice kilometers to go…

One of the many tea plantations along the road from Ishaka to Queen Elizabeth NP
One of the many tea plantations along the road from Ishaka to Queen Elizabeth NP

Baboons, poisonous green tea plantations and 52 crater lakes

It is a pleasure to drive here. Especially now that the rain has shrouded the area in mysterious mists. This has to be one of the most beautiful routes in Uganda. The road runs through the area of ​​the 52 crater lakes of Bunyaruguru.

Ankole Tea Estate, Ishaka
Ankole Tea Estate, Ishaka
An Ankole Tea Estate employee makes his way through tea fields
An Ankole Tea Estate employee makes his way through tea fields

There seems to be no end to the tea plantations. Only after 30 kilometers does a mountain gorge put an end to the poisonous green 'violence of nature'. Well, it's not real nature, of course, those tea plantations, but it sure is beautiful.

Just past the village of Lutoto I first have to work to avoid a few baboons. They don't know I'm coming from the right. It does get me a few angry looks.

Baboon mother with young near Itoto
Baboon mother with young near Itoto

More and more baboons are now appearing. They prefer the dry road to the wet forests and reported en masse on the road.

Baboons on the road near Lutoto
Baboons on the road near Lutoto

I am now at the first crater lake of the 52 of Bunyaruguru. Unfortunately I can't get a picture of the main features of Lake Nkugute. The lake is considered by some to be the deepest lake in Africa and it is shaped like the African continent. Both features are not visible in the photo.

Lake Nkugute, one of the 52 crater lakes of Bunyaruguru
Lake Nkugute, one of the 52 crater lakes of Bunyaruguru

One last bend and I suddenly look out over part of Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Edward. A nice place to immortalize my perky scooter.

My scooter on the edge of Queen Elizabeth NP and Lake Edward
My scooter on the edge of Queen Elizabeth NP and Lake Edward

The Ugandan banana blues in Kichwamba

And now it is high time for a remarkable activity of many Ugandan women: the Ugandan banana blues. For this episode I traveled to the hamlet of Kichwamba on the border with Queen Elizabeth National Park. That's where it happens every day. Those banana blues. From sunrise to sunset…

How are those blues put together? Now take a look. In the absence of passing vehicles, the banana blues briegade sits along the road with their merchandise. They wait patiently…

Ugandan banana blues brigade in Kichwamba
Ugandan banana blues brigade in Kichwamba

I am of course very curious and ask one of the ladies if no one comes up with the idea of ​​selling something other than bananas. "Yes, we have mangoes too," she replies. "It can't have a name," I say. "That couple?" 'Wait a minute mzungu (white man). Trade is coming!' Gone are they…

The banana blues brigade in action in Kichwamba
The banana blues brigade in action in Kichwamba

It would drive you completely mad as a driver. Of all those banana women. When my interlocutor returns after the car storm, she smiles broadly. 'I didn't sell a banana, mzungu. There were too many others who also sold bananas.'

A matatu (minibus) arrives. The banana blues brigade is once again throwing itself into it en masse.

The banana blues brigade crashes into a minibus in Kichwamba
The banana blues brigade crashes into a minibus in Kichwamba

“Mzungu, you bring good luck. I sold a bunch of bananas.' I shake my head and say, "I don't get it. Why is everyone peddling the same thing. A banana is a banana. Why don't you sell chips, chapatis or sodas?'

'Mzungu, you really don't get it. Did you really think we care if we sell bananas? We have the greatest fun all day long. That's what it's about. Those bananas are just an afterthought.'

The ladies yell loudly as I get back on my scooter. And for the record: in many villages in Uganda the banana blues is a daily ritual. The blues is always a women's business (sometimes with a few children) and there is a lot of laughter.

A kilometer away I still find it. There, three young men are grilling delicious pieces of meat under the supervision of female management. I'm in the mood for some chicken thighs.

Delicious chicken legs and more on the way to Queen Elizabeth NP
Delicious chicken legs and more on the way to Queen Elizabeth NP

On a scooter safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park

The potholes in the road have meanwhile become such that many cars drive more on the verge than on the road. I overtake them all on my scooter and honk a friendly horn. 'SLOW DOWN ACCIDENT AHEAD' I read a sign on the road. A little further on, a trailer has been pulled behind a truck.

A scissor truck on the hole road near Queen Elizabeth NP
A scissor truck on the hole road near Queen Elizabeth NP
Impressive potholes and a scissor truck near Queen Elizabeth NP
Impressive potholes and a scissor truck near Queen Elizabeth NP

This is delicious. I circle deftly past the many holes, enjoying a genuine safari. In front of me a safari vehicle drives into the roadside. A baboon looks at it with interest.

A safari vehicle in Queen Elizabeth NP
A safari vehicle in Queen Elizabeth NP

It is now half past six and I am well in time at the Engiri Safari and Game Lodge, where I will be staying for the next two nights. Plenty of time to admire all the wildlife and more in the area.

Welcome to Queen Elizabeth NP
Welcome to Queen Elizabeth NP

End part 7.

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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