I think the worst set of events happened to us in Kabale, Uganda. Us, here means Onetouch. This cool bunch of photographers and cinematographers that took to the road on a 17 day East African roadtrip to see new places, experience new cultures, meet new people and shatter mindsets about the places (even when the shattered mindsets were our own).
Kabale is a town South West of Uganda near the Rwanda border. We got to Kabale at around 7pm and in 10 minutes, we had already been stopped by cops for allegedly obstructing traffic (even though our car really was on the side of the road, but since there was no tarmac you really couldn’t tell). The cops were very annoyed and we had to accompany them to the cop station. We had not even oriented ourselves in this small town yet. Meanwhile, one of us, Paul, who joined us while we were on the road, was on a bus from Kampala to meat us in Kabale, we had no idea how far he was (neither did he), last he asked (which was an hour ago) he was told Kabale was 15 minutes away.
So we are now at the police station and it’s around 7.15pm. The game of pleading for our lives begins. The fine for our offense is UGX 200,000 which you have to go pay at a bank then come pick up your Driving License.
As the negotiations with the officers go on, (now the situation is under our able negotiator, Esmeralda) we go try call Paul and find out where he was and how long he still had to get here. I should mention that our campsite for the night is Bushara Island in Lake Bunyonyi so we have to be taken there by boat. We have no idea when the boat stops operating. Back to Paul whose phone is almost dead and he still has no idea where he is or how far he is because the guys in the bus keep telling him 15 minutes. We have to decide whether or not we are going to leave Paul and go to Bushara if the boat has to leave soon. We figure he could sleep in Kabale and we meet up the next day. We need to tell Paul where to find us because we have no idea where the bus stop is. We call Paul, his phone is dead!!!
It’s around 7.45pm. There is progress with the cops, we see laughter and hope for a quick release. We want them to let us off without a fine or a bribe. We are not yet out of the muddy water.
Finally at around 8.00pm the cops let us go. No bribe was given and no fine either. We quickly leave in case they change their mind. We call the boat operator, he says latest we have to be there is 9.30pm. Since the Lake is 10km away, we figure we have time for dinner and to figure out the Paul situation. We go find food and clear a restaurant of their remaining food, chicken and rice for most of us. Not bad.
It’s 9.00pm and we have to get going if we are going to catch this boat. Mwarv and I decide to go see if we can find the bus park and see if Paul may have arrived. We find some guys hanging out at the bus park and they say the bus that comes from Kampala gets there at 10pm. “We are definitely leaving Paul”, we secretly think. Suddenly a bus whizzes past and stops a few meters ahead. The same guys say that is actually a bus from kampala. We cross fingers and go check. As people start standing and getting their luggage, Mwarv sees a tripod, then I see a black hat and Paul’s bearded face. *phew* one problem solved.
In a few minutes we have everyone and start heading to the dock to go to Bushara Island.
It’s 9.45pm and we are driving upward even though typically you are supposed to go downward to a lake. But the map says we go on. In 10 minutes we know we are lost for sure so we turn back and start looking for the dock again, in pitch darkness, this is hard work. At some point I doze off. I wake up at 11.15pm and we are still looking for the dock. We must have driven to all corners of that hillside before finding a clearly (well, not too clearly) labled signage leading to the dock. Thankfully, the boat guy waited (I don’t think he was happy about this though). Finally.
We quickly offload and load the boat and get in. The guy tells us to switch of our lights so he can see better. In pitch black night. I thought we were going to hit an island but 15minutes later we were getting off the boat at Bushara Island.
That was the toughest few hours of that trip, I think.
Nothing prepared us for the view we got that next morning when we woke up to photograph the sunrise.
Lake Bunyonyi has 29 islands inside it. Most are used for farming. The views early in the morning were eerie and beautiful. We decided to go around the island (it wasn’t that large) to explore. We stumbled upon some few other interesting gems as you can see from the shots below.
The question we had by the time the sun was up and burning was whether we could swim in this water. The question was answered soon when we found a rope for swing diving into the lake. We needed no more convincing. We rushed back to camp to set down everything, have breakfast and rush for some dipping before we had to leave. It ended up being one of the most exciting things we did on this trip.
That was fun!!
Shortly after, we had to leave the island to continue our trip. We needed to be in Kigali by night fall.
It costs $6 per person to camp in Lake Bushara camping site. Food is cheap and made when you order so you have to give time for that. They have power points in the staff office so you can get your stuff charged there or go work from that office. Transport to and from the dock is included in the camping fee of $6 a person.
Have a less stressful day y’all. God bless.