From Queen Elizabeth to Bwindi or "The worst night of our life"


Here is a new account of trip to Uganda what we did in October 2012. On this occasion we will tell you the worst night we have ever lived on a trip. Because when traveling, everything is not always wonderful and in Technicolor and whoever says otherwise lies or has not traveled intensely.

That morning ended the safari we had contracted with Red Chili. Before starting the long way back to Kampala, we did a workshop to learn how to make traditional necklaces with the women of the Kikorongo community. The next destination after the Queen Elizabeth safari was the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, which according to the map seemed to be next. So we thought: “Why do the eight hours drive to Kampala and return again south sucking fifteen hours by bus when we are so close right now?

Do you see how close the two parks are?

So we inquired if there was any way to go from Queen Elizabeth NP to Bwindi by public transport or taxi. From there there was no bus line connecting the two areas and public transport was limited to matatus (shared vans), but nobody knew for sure if that route could be covered by linking different matatus and in a single day. Staying in the middle of nowhere at nightfall was a very big possibility. The only viable option was to go by taxi and the hotel offered to go with a local driver for € 90. In this way we would reach Bwindi in less than four hours. We found the best of ideas.

That morning we learned to make baskets.

Once the craft workshop was finished, we headed to Bwindi. 80% of the roads we traveled were unpaved. We found a road so muddy that a truck had even got stuck, and then a track so dry that there was only dust everywhere. We asked our driver if he could stop at a bank to be able to exchange money and we found one in the middle of nowhere, in a town that seemed taken from the far west but in an African version.

Learning to make necklaces

Later, the car passed in front of a UN refugee camp that reminded us that we were approaching the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A friend says that all countries that have some variation of the word democracy in their nomenclature is because precisely the country lacks it and the Congo is a living example of it.

These pieces are made with magazine clippings.

At noon we arrive at Butogota, a town seventeen kilometers from Bwindi NP and where the bus leaves for Kampala. We asked the driver to leave us there, what was a big mistake and the beginning of the decline of the trip to Uganda.

Our transportation from Queen Elizabeth to Bwindi

Our intention was to have controlled the bus to know schedules, (the bus leaves at 4am, this information was obtained as soon as we arrived) and, why not admit it, as we arrived a day before and sleeping in Bwindi was very expensive, we decided to sleep in Butogota because it was much cheaper. At that time we had the adventurous spirit at very high levels, and hence the fall was so great. You don't know what we get to regret not wanting to spend an extra $ 120.

Stop in Kihihi to go to the bank.

At this point, it is necessary to put some background on the table so that what happened later is understood. This was the first trip we made to a region with malaria and, therefore, the first time we took Malarone, the prophylactic for this disease. Malarone may produce some side effects; for example, in 1 of every 100 people it can give insomnia, in 1 of every 1000 anxiety and in very, very rare cases, paranoia. Well, fate wanted Isabel out of that "1 in a million" and when we arrived in Butogota had days with those adverse symptoms.

Main street of Butogota

We stayed in the only functioning motel in town: the Green tree hotel. It was very basic, the rooms were arranged around a patio and had a bed, a bathroom that instead of a shower had a tap and a bucket, and a mosquito net full of holes. It really wasn't that bad, in the Travel to India Isabel was in worse and much dirtier places.

Green Tree Hotel in Butogota

The hotel only had one bar without a restaurant, so we went outside to see if we could find any place to eat. Butogota is a small town with only a couple of dusty grocery stores and a few buildings lined up on a track street. In fact, it seems that the town has grown because it is the end point of the bus to the capital, so finding a place to eat was almost a miracle. The place was just as basic as the menu, they only had a stew dish of meat and legumes, and the place was so unhygienic that Isabel preferred to fast.

Green Tree Rooms

In Butogota there was little to do and we asked if there was any internet cafe nearby (to ask what would not be left). Soon we were up in some wedding-wedding (motorcycles) that left us in a place with computers located one kilometer from the hotel. There we were connected for a while while the universal flood fell outside.