Uganda Bike Ride 2013

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Jinja to Kayunga Town

Breakfast at 6:30 just before dawn and as the light comes quickly we watch the last feeding and then roosting of a large colony of fruit bats.

The usual calisthenics from Henk, tour leader, were followed by a start at 7.45. Sunny with a few high clouds.

We rode through the outskirts of Jinja as the town was starting to wake up. There were plenty of people on the streets going about their business. A woman stopped to take a picture of us on her iPhone.

A memorable feature of the morning was the number of children, some very small, who would run to the side of the road and greet our team with loud cries of “hello”, “bye” and some times “hello-how-are-you” and grins and waves. Today being Saturday, no-one was at school and it seemed we might be the best entertainment in town. One of the most marked differences in comparison to Zambia four years ago that we noticed is the number of people. Uganda is about a quarter the size of Zambia but has three times the population and so far we have spent much of the time riding through villages that sprawl along the road.

But there is plenty of countryside. It is lush and green with banana and pineapple grown, often on the same plot. Where the land is not cultivated we see a large variety of trees some of which display vivid purple and pink flowers. It is a land of rolling hills (the cycling is what may be termed “undulating”, which means a lot of hills) with green valleys, part cultivated and the rest wild.

Our second stop had us at the Nile again,after a short diversion off the road along a dirt track through a village, busy with its weekly Saturday Market. Here the river is a raging torrent, much changed from the broad, placid river we had seen upstream. Just beside us, the Nile thundered past in a narrow channel between the shore we were on and the bank of a small island, providing the idyllic location for a holiday lodge.

The push north west along the road after we had retraced our steps through the local market sees the team spreading itself out along the way, as the constant undulations begin to take their toll. This is to the apparent amusement of many villagers who shout encouragement as though we are in the Tour de France, not a charity bike ride in Uganda.

Our stop for the night is at the Hotel Katikomi in Kayunga Town, which is an undistinguished, though nonetheless thriving, township, marked for us by the absence of water when we arrive (we learned to use a jerry can to shower) as a result of a power cut affecting the whole town. Power and water were eventually restored using generators. A good exposure for us to life as it is lived in these parts of Africa where power cuts are the norm.

60 km. Total ascent 580m. Maximum temperature 38 C.

With thanks to Willam and Glen for this update