HELLO + WELCOME as we stall in our journey from Sydney to London, via Africa.
It’s Kirsty typing today.
After exhausting all options in Kampala and Nairobi we made the decision to send our passports home to Australia in order to get our Ethiopia visa. We spoke with the embassy in Canberra and the bloke on the other end of the phone indicated that we would “definitely” get the visa with a processing time of two to four days.
We estimated the whole thing should take about two weeks. 4 days processing, plus 8 days of international couriering with DHL and a handful of days chucked in for forwarding and weekends.
After already being in Nairobi for a week and a half we were keen to get out of the big mess of a city. Cities are definitely not Africa’s best features and the local vibe in Nairobi was tense. During the time we were in Kenya two terrorists attacks took place where 80+ people were killed on the coast. The opposition party was calling for protests. Locals told us their biggest fear was that the terrorists would open up fire in Nairobi’s notorious traffic jams. Not an ideal place to be ‘stuck’ without a passport.
With our favourite camp just a days drive away in Uganda it was a no brainer. If we had to wait two weeks, we might as well do it in style. With a view over the Nile, swimming pool, loungers, delicious food, spotless bathrooms and lounger chairs.
^ Spending two weeks by the Nile, rather than in Nairobi.
We were on the road as daylight broke in Nairobi, Kenya and by sunset we were swigging back beers overlooking the Nile in Jinja, Uganda! It was a long drive: 11 hours to cross 550 kilometres of potholded roads, insane drivers and an international border.
This time around the border was full of huge trucks and we had to weave our way through. It was de ja vu as we entered the same offices and were greeted by the same officers. They remembered us and pushed us through quickly. A speedy twenty minutes later we were on our way again! While there we saw other tourists hanging about scratching their heads, while we felt like old hats 😉
DHL took our parcel the next day and just like that we were passport-less in Africa.
Over the past two weeks the campsite and lodge have been relatively empty, except on weekends. It’s been the perfect place to wait. And we’ve been grateful for our own space.
Most days looked something like this:
Wake up to sunrise over the Nile.
Sing to each other ‘Just another day in Ugandahh’ (To the tune of Manic Monday).
Go for a walk in the local village and stretch it out.
Eat a four course breakfast.
Hook up to wifi.
Dip into the pool and laze about on the loungers.
Repeat morning activities.
Three course dinner.
Rinse and repeat.
Staying so long in one spot we noticed the small things. How fisherman would come around each day to sell their catch. How the same man would coast along the nile in his dugout canoe through the ray of morning light that hit the river at approximately 6:20 am. How at sunset a fisherman wearing a bright orange shirt would come out onto the water and try his luck in exactly the same spot before disappearing into a side channel.
When we heard from Gareth’s brother that our Ethiopia visas had been issued it was a complete non-event. We should have been celebrating but instead it just felt like it was about time.
^ The view from our tent window each morning looked like this.
^ DHL international couriers, saves the day!
^ Busia border crossing
^ Sunrise overlooking the Nile in Jinja, Uganda
It has been a very low key couple of weeks. It will be strange to get moving again, especially heading north (our more challenging stage of the trip) but we just want to go now. The troopy has had a complete spring keen and is raring to go as well.
All up it looks like playing the waiting game for our Ethiopian visas has cost us 4 weeks and $1200.
As always thanks for being here guys, we love sharing the journey with you.
Now… let’s go North!!