In continuing with my goal to only visit new countries and to focus on African countries I chose to visit Uganda for my past break. Even though there are no beaches there I wanted to be in a country where there were black people; they have beautifully colorful fabrics (because a girl can never have too many African fabric skirts and dresses) and I could squeeze in a day layover to Kenya 😆which I have been planning for quite some time. After living in Cairo where black people are not many, I was looking forward to being in a land of mostly black people. But as the time to go got closer I started to have buyer’s remorse, according to the weather it would be rainy all week and in the 70’s hmmm and I really wanted to be at the beach. But I had already paid for the trip so I decided to find some cool, inexpensive things to do. I did some research and settled on using Kampala Walking Tours, Zulaika was patient in answering all my questions and even suggested some events for me to try. Once I got to Kampala, the drive from the airport to my hotel took an hour and I experienced a moment of panic at how many people lived in this small city. Kampala is a crowded, vibrant city with horrible traffic, beautiful black people, markets, and I was there for all of it😎 and the weather cooperated so only one rainy morning.
Now most people who go to Uganda either go gorilla trekking or do safari. I was not interested in either of these activities and quickly decided against the trip to Murchison Falls when I heard the drive is almost 4 hours one way. I know what you’re thinking but hmmm nah, I just didn’t want to do that drive. Truthfully I needed a low stress, relaxing vacation since I had not been feeling that great and I didn’t want to aggravate my recently healed knee. My first day I went on a combined walking/food tour with Kampala Walking Tours where I experienced the local markets, bus parks, people and traffic. I saw many beautiful children with low afros (what we would call fades in the US) and learned that school children are required to wear their hair this way to minimize hair issues in school. While it does seem to make life easier for the individual and the parents I am not a fan of anything that is forced by others because choice is better. Despite the crowds in the city and all the walking, it was nice seeing the city through the eyes of my guide Joan. I enjoyed learning about the city, sampling local fruit and delicacies like the Rolex 😏- an egg and chapati sandwich, banana cakes, and roasted plantains. The 3 hour tour ended at the mosque where I climbed halfway up (I was tired by then) the tower to get a beautiful panoramic view of the city. Afterwards I had a local meal at a nearby lunch spot which was different but tasty; I had matooke, posho, pumpkin and a fish stew with rice.
Because I travel mostly solo I don’ttypically venture out at night but I was told that Kampala nightlife was great so I decided to go for it. I asked Zulaika about night spots and she gave me a list. I chose the Alchemist because she said it was her favorite place and I got a driver to take me there and pick me up. The place was already busy at minutes to 11, the DJ was already playing music and the good vibes were flowing. I ordered two drinks, enjoyed the music and ended up having such a good time that before I knew it it was time to go. I need to do this more often.
On Sunday I attended this show at the Ndere Cultural center, it was amazing despite being over 3 hours. The singing, dancing and the displays of all the different varieties of cultural dress was wonderful and I really enjoyed it. They even demonstrated some of the different ways various tribes expressed love interest. The host was a comedian and a story teller who kept the crowd both entertained and engaged. These two young ladies were so beautiful and carefree I did something I don’t typically do and asked them if I could take a picture with them.
My trip to the equator line is one of those cheesy, often overly expensive tourist things I like to do. It was an hour and a half drive from Kampala through several small towns and into a small village with a restaurant and a couple of small tourists shops. Surprisingly they didn’t have many adult clothes available for sale but it was worth the drive to me to take these fun pictures. All in all I sat in a car for almost 4 hours to spend less than an hour in a small village and eat fast food but the guacamole was bomb.
On my last day fatigue got the best of me but I ventured out to a craft market where I bought some dresses, and a couple pairs of earrings and had a local meal of cassava, plantain, matooke and fish in a ground nut sauce, then I rested for the remainder of the day. . My stay at the Xanadu hotel was nice, it is in a quiet neighborhood not far from the city center, the staff was really friendly especially the waitresses, asking me about my heritage and my plans for the day. They tried to accommodate my food requests and made me feel welcomed. One of them kept telling me that I reminded her of another guest. It was amusing the way she described him saying we laughed the same and looked similar so much so she thought we were related. When I told them I was leaving they wished me well, we took a picture and they asked when I would return for a visit. Even the taxi driver who took me to the airport asked me the same question about returning. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed my visit to Kampala. While I wish I had made it to Lake Victoria and spent some time in Entebbe my last day, I had a great time in Kampala and wouldn’t mind going back there sometime in the near future.
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