Source of the Nile (Jinja)

We let Kampala’s rush hour pass and hit the road about 10am. We’d picked our guesthouse strategically based on location – it was on the side of the city we needed to leave from – to reduce the traffic we’d have to make our way though. It still couldn’t have got any worst for the first few miles, we were at a standstill for quite some time and junctions were a complete free for all as vehicles of all description filled any gap there was. We slowly picked our way through until we were on the road out and moving relatively well.

We’d planned to only go a short distance to the city of Jinja, it has a reputation for being a relaxed place and is also the source of the Nile – where Lake Victoria feeds the White Nile (the Blue Nile starts in Ethiopia and the 2 later join).

We were there by lunchtime. The place we’d picked to stay was aptly called ‘Source of the Nile’ as it overlooks where Lake Victoria spills into the river. They allow you to camp on the grass and use the toilet by the gate (which was surprisingly nice). They also have a lovely open sided cafe/restaurant looking out over it. We could also see the Gandhi monument on the opposite bank too, marking it as a place his some of his ashes were immersed in the Nile (his ashes are a complicated affair but the majority were immersed in the Ganges, with other portions immersed in other major rivers and others, which should have been immersed as per his wishes having turned up in various places over the years).

The whole place was dead, we were the only ones staying again. Though we did see a couple of other people during the course of the afternoon as on the property they have the source of the Nile monument commentating John Hanning Speke who discovered the Nile (and one benefit of staying there was we saved ourselves the entrance fee to visit).

But first things first, we ordered a coffee. Which worked out well as shortly after a storm swept over and it poured down.

With thunder storms still rumbling in the far distance when it had stopped we headed to see the monument while the going was good. The display was informative but otherwise the monument itself wasn’t much to look at. There was however also a path down to the river. There was something quite tranqil about standing on the bank of the Nile, it was peaceful; there was a lone fisherman out on his boat in front and kingfishers flitted about the banks.

We’d been joking about crocodiles, particularly after seeing plenty further down the river at Murchison Falls, when something suddenly popped up near the bank and it was moving towards us. Assuming it was a croc’s eyes we moved away from the bank fast, by the time we stopped and turned round for a better look it had gone back under. We asked later, and there are no crocs there, what we had most likely seen was an otter – who would have guessed?!

We spent the afternoon hanging out. Marie had had the squirts since we got to Kampala and they’d slowly got worst until they reached a crescendo the night before so she didn’t feel like doing much and we were waiting to see if that was the finale or if it was something that was going to require a dose of antibiotics.

It rained on and off as storms rolled through, but we were happy drinking coffee and watching the fishing boats. It did start to feel a bit boring after a while as it was just so quiet but we figured some enforced rest and a chance to do some writing and some looking ahead to our next stop of Kenya could only be good for us.

As the light started to go we set the tent up, we figured that if the weather carried on as it had we might be in for some heavy showers in the night so were pleasantly surprised when there wasn’t, we heard a couple of light showers as we fell asleep, but nothing more. Sleep however took a while to come as somewhere across the bank and down river just like everywhere in Uganda even in the quietest of places there was a party going on. It wasn’t super loud but the played the same song on repeat many many times…

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