Another eventful day. After a good night’s sleep at the Sun Beach Resort Hotel, Stu and I were up early (6.50am) and wandered into town in order to find a razor for me (the one we eventually found must’ve been used by Sweeny Todd). We said hello to an assortment of locals, most of whom were very pleased to see us. I was called ‘Wayne Rooney’ and Stu ‘Peter Crouch’. Stu wrestled successfully with a man nicknamed ‘Rambo’ (all in fun) and Rambo’s friends found it highly amusing that their boy lost. We were invited to watch the Olympic opening ceremony at a bar on Friday night, but obviously we were moving on.
After a nice breakfast of omelette and chapattis we loaded up the van and moved on. The weather gradually improved and as we reached the outskirts of Queen Elizabeth National Park the humidity really kicked in. This was mitigated by the incredible views. No camera can do justice to the stunning scenery! All I can say is that I have now lived a David Attenborough documentary. It wasn’t long before I saw an elephant and we also saw baboons and monkeys in the trees and by the roadside.
We entered the National Park with Larry in the front of the van and were directed to the Ugandan Wildlife Authority headquarters where we met several members of staff including Nelson, the man in charge, who gave us a detailed talk all about the work of the UWA in the National Park. I asked him about how they dealt with people in Kafuro who poisoned lions and he told me that community rangers talk to the people about tourism and that most people come to see the lions. If there’s no lions to see then there will be no money coming into Kafuro from tourism, so the people lose out in the end.
We then drove to Hippo House, our home for the next ten days, which is basic but comfortable. I went with Charles (our driver) up to Kasese to get a new battery for the van and some supplies while the others went on a river cruise with Larry to see some of the animals close up. Larry reports that he had a wonderful time, but has not yet seen any of his brethren.
In Kasese we picked up a battery without a problem while I had fun (NOT!) trying to find more mobile dongles. Not wanting to cut myself to ribbons with my newly acquired razor, I went into a local barber shop and encountered a ‘tumbleweed’ moment when everything stopped as a ‘Muzungo’ entered. After recovering from the shock of seeing me, they were very friendly although the lad assigned to shave me was very nervous and took nearly half an hour. I then tried to buy a floppy hat at a shop, but my head was too big (cue a round of abuse from assorted teachers, pupils and family!).
As we left Kasese enthusiastic people were jumping up and down to welcome a local election candidate (nothing like the UK), but Charles told me there would be fighting later as the opposition would try and disrupt the rally. We got back to Hippo House after dark and then I held a torch while Charles fitted the new battery. It was at this point that I got to see millions of mosquitos at close quarters. My insect spray is clearly working so far as I didn’t get bitten.
By this point I was exhausted so I went to bed. Wednesday would be my first visit to Kafuro Primary School.