Mrs Green writes:
Breakfast at Tembo as usual. My usual breakfast of fruits and toast consisted of watermelon, pineapple and papaya. My usual breakfast drink of mixed fruit juice, today was papaya (bright orange!). After breakfast we walked back to the visitor centre to see the Rangers and find out what activities were available today. We could go to Maramagambo Tropical Rainforest. So we all jumped in the Van and headed off. We arrived at the forest, which reminded us all of a British forest. It was very luscious and green. Our guide (Robert the Ranger), made sure he had a gun with him as there were dangerous animals free to roam through the forest with us. We set off on a shorter to walk to a find a Bat cave (oh goody! – those of you who are fans of the blog will understand the irony). It was very humid in the rainforest and very much reminded me of being in a biome at the Eden Project in Cornwall. We came across a beautiful waterfall that was laden with stepping stones across so we could get to the other side. Soon we were to come across the bat cave. What a noise! There appeared to be thousands of different types of bat living in the cave. I could see some flying out too. There was no way I was going to get any closer to the cave. So I waited for the others to return. Thereafter, we continued on our trek up a steep hill. On our way up, we came across a collared monkey. We continued up again in very humid climates, but were soon to be rewarded with the most amazing views. We could see two lakes and most of the rain forest from where we were standing. Further on, we came to some cotton plantations, and more monkeys!
After a long while of more trekking, it began to rain! It really did make us think of home. It was cooling and refreshing. We eventually made it back to the carpark and climbed back in the van. On our way home, back to Hippo House, we stopped off for a little shopping in Katunguru. Again, we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset before we parked the car at home for dinner.
Mr Stanley writes:
After a terrible night’s sleep I did not feel good at all! In the end I got up really early, did a lot of blogging and did all my washing. Breakfast at Tembo was a laid back affair and it was nearly midday before we received confirmation that we were going to Maramagambo Forest, somewhere I first visited two years ago. Maramagambo is a 90 minute drive away, you drive almost all the way up to Kyambura and then take a turn on to a mud track for about 12km before you reach the forest itself.
Robert, the ranger who was accompanying us, took us on two walks. The first one (if I am brutally honest) wasn’t personally that interesting to me as it was to the bat cave. There is an observation deck which we didn’t enter, but you could still get close enough to the bats to see them flying around their cave and screeching. Poor Mrs Green had to face her fears head on and got admirably close before deciding enough was enough. I did manage to find some of the chillies that I had eaten two years ago; that brought back some painful memories!
The second part of the walk was much better. We followed the Cormorant Trail around a lake. What marks this trail out is that there is a very old tree which rises above the rest of the canopy and from a distance appears to be completely white. When you get close you realise that it has been covered with cormorant droppings and the stench is horrendous. The other thing that amazed me was seeing the patchwork of smallholdings and fields growing various crops on the side of the escarpment. How farmers managed to walk up there in the first place was amazing to me let alone produce successful crops. Ugandans are so resourceful.
After a while it began to rain (it was the rainforest after all). Everyone was delighted about this except me. This was due to two reasons: a) If the same thing was happening in Mweya my washing would be soaked and b) the mud track would be very difficult to navigate. There had already been a couple of occasions on the drive down where I had had to work very hard to drive the van, any vehicle that wasn’t a 4×4 would’ve really struggled. There’s also been an ongoing ‘joke’ between Mrs Green and myself that I would return her safely home to her dad at the end of the trip. Right at this moment it didn’t feel like a joke. My washing now didn’t seem so important after all.
Fortunately, after three or four minutes of driving the rain stopped and I very carefully navigated the bus through the first couple of miles. Suddenly there was bright sunshine and the track almost instantly dried out. By the time we reached the main road it was a glorious day again. We stopped off on the way home at the honey and craft store on the escarpment and the women’s craft collective at Katunguru to buy gifts. As we drove back onto the Mweya peninsula it began raining again and there was lightning in the sky. By some miracle some of my clothing was dry and the rest could be ironed and hung up inside Hippo House. Disaster averted as I was on my last clean clothes!
By 7.00pm I was absolutely out on my feet and I should have skipped dinner and gone straight to bed. Instead I dragged myself down to Tembo where I resembled a zombie and was not good company at all. It was with great relief that my head hit the pillow at about 10.30pm.
And now some answers to some questions. The Green family have been in overdrive during the last couple of days so there has been plenty of thinking for us to do:
George asked about what Liss children could learn from Kafuro children. Mrs Green replies:
There are so many things Liss children can learn from the children in Kafuro George. Be prepared for Mum to come home! Anyway, the children at Kafuro know so many life skills. At a very young age the children learn how to build themselves shelter, collect food from the fields and gather water. The children have to collect water from distances that can be half a mile away, and no matter how heavy the cans that they fill are, they never complain and they never take the short cut. Mr Stanley struggled up the hill with these very heavy cans which tells you how determined and motivated these children are to do the basic jobs. When Mr Stanley got to the top of the hill, a small child said to him “you look tired, shall I help you?” All the children stick to pathways and never cut corners as every spare piece of land is taken up with growing crops, plants, feeding animals etc. They are very very resourceful.
I will keep blogging and replying to your questions George! Thank you for posting, and I am very much looking forward to seeing you soon!
Love Mum x
Mr Stanley writes:
George, the favourite sport is football but your mum played another game which involved having a ball thrown at you while trying to twist a stick. The weather has been very hot and humid both day and night, but has cooled over the last couple of days as the rainy season is approaching.
It is fairly hot at night, mostly because we have to sleep with mosquito nets tucked in all around our bed. This contributes to keeping the heat in. At night, temperatures usually drop to about the same temperature as the day time in UK. The locals here feel it is fairly cold! I was walking around the rainforest yesterday, wearing a vest top and feeling very hot. One of the Ugandan guides was walking with us with his coat on! There isn’t a lot of difference between temperatures during the winter time here as we are so close to the equator. But there is a ‘wet’ season when it rains a lot.
Thanks for your question George!
Love Mum x
Henry, there is popular Ugandan music, but there is also western music played. I’ve heard Katy Perry (much to my displeasure) and a few other tracks in some of the towns. We’ve been treated very well and as we’re part of the Twinning Project we have received some VIP treatment, mainly free trips. The airport was fine, no hassles there. Lastly, the Kazinga Channel is about 30 km long and wide enough for sailing on. However you would have to worry about hippos capsizing you, lake flies eating you alive and worst of all crocodiles eating you (and believe me we’ve seen some very big crocodiles). There are some fishing boats allowed but only in small restricted areas.
Mr Stanley has answered about the size of the Kazinga Channel. It joins two lakes that are so vast you cannot see the other side of them. They are like looking across the Atlantic or the English Channel. If it were not for various animals wanting to eat you, it would make the perfect place for sailing. There is lots of breeze across the water, but rarely blows more than about a force 3. Loads of room for long tacks and gybes!
See you soon,
Love Mum x