home / diary / Uganda / 18 September 2005
The Pearl of Africa
Martin writes... Winston Churchill once proclaimed that Uganda was the Pearl of Africa.  He did a good job describing this land-locked country.  But first the border crossing which happened yesterday... We opted to use the Suam River border crossing which is located North of Mt Elgon.  The Michelin map showed that the road West from the border was very scenic - just what we wanted!

After paying our US$30 for a Ugandan Visa, I arrived at the Customs office to declare the Landy. The Customs officials at the border were so new at the job that I ended up showing them how to fill in the Carnet, and then the big discussion began about road tax.  An hour later they had discussed, called a friend, and eventually decided that I had to pay US$20 for two weeks entry into Uganda. 

Quick Link


Handing over the Dollars, they then told me that they don't access US$ and only wanted Ugandan Shillings.  Aaaah, this was getting frustrating.  Off to a local vendor to exchange the dollars only to be offered a very bad exchange rate.  Back to the car to collect Kenyan shilling and then back to the vendor.  Finally after hours I was given a receipt by the Customs Officer and proceeded up the road.  Within 10m of the border post, I had to engage 4-wheel drive to get across a muddy stretch of road.  After the first muddy stretch, the only way of moving forward was in low-range gears.

The 40km to the first town took us 4 hours to cover.  It was now 6:30pm so we opted to rest for the night with a local pastor whom we had given a lift.  Amos and his family extended a huge welcome to us. 

Geofrey, Pauline, Friend and Amos

Very wet and muddy

Misty morn

Poor photographic evidence of bad mud!

If we had had thought our first 40km was tough, this mornings drive - only 16km - was tougher.  The muddy was slippery but to make it tougher the camber on the road sloped to the left and right and ended in a huge water filled rut!  I had to lower the tyre pressures so as to get enough traction.  With an average speed of 10km/h we finally reached tarmac but not before we had a few nervous moments sliding towards the ruts!  Low range first gear was essential to limited our speed on the downhill - any touch of the brakes resulted in an instant slide towards the ruts!

Our destination for the day was the powerful Sipi falls...



Layers two and three of the Sipi Falls


The first layer of Sipi Falls

Our route around Mt Elgon (in red)


[ previous page ]
[ next page ]
[ guestbook ]
[ e-mail ]