After the Community Outreach session in Jinja the England Counties XV headed back to Kampala, but out tour party was booked to stay locally at The Nile Porch. It took a while to find but it turned out to be well worth it. We were put up in structures that were half building and half tent with breathtaking views of the Nile. We had arrived late afternoon so we were able to watch the sun go down over the river and hear the noises of the various animals change as the nocturnals awoke.
We had dinner in the restaurant which had a couple of pools just outside, and the noise of the frogs and toads had to be heard to be believed. The range of sounds and their volume was extraordinary and if I can I will upload a recording once I work out how to link to it. Mosquitos were everywhere but the quasi-tents were well equipped with nets and insect repellent so most of us slept well.
In the morning we drove to the riverbank and caught a boat to the source of the Nile. I wasn’t convinced that the longest river in the world was fed solely from one spring but it was clear that this was where Lake Victoria ended and the River Nile began. I’m no ornithologist but there is a huge variety of bird life which you would never see in the UK, the kingfisher being the most striking.
Next stop after lunch was the Nile Brewery, the products of which we had been drinking for most of our trip so far. The brewery produces Club and Nile Special beer made from water from the river and the most fascinating part for me was the bottling operation. After all, watching beer ferment isn’t that exciting.
Back to Kampala and the Sheraton Hotel where the England Counties XV were staying as were the Senegalese football team (I was wrong about them playing on Tuesday, they are playing on Saturday) so it was pretty busy place. However, the next morning we were off early to catch a ferry to a Chimpanzee Sanctuary on an island about 15 miles into Lake Victoria.
The sanctuary has 48 orphaned chimpanzees from around East Africa but they are not domesticated despite relying on their human keepers for food. Five acres of the 100-acre island is fenced off for staff and visitors with the remaining 95 acres left for the chimps to live in. We arrived for feeding time and it was fascinating to watch their social interaction with the humans and with each other, although I was left wondering exactly what the aim of the sanctuary was. When I asked if these they would have survived in the wild as orphans I was told that some would and some wouldn’t, but perhaps I missed the point.
Back to Kampala for what would be my last night in Uganda. Saturday sees another outreach day at a local school to which we will donate the five books we each brought with us, then England Counties play their second game against Elgon Warriors, an East African XV with Ugandan and Kenyan players. This is getting a lot of publicity with posters, adverts and full page newspaper articles and a big crowd is expected.
Afterwards we are invited the the British High Commissioner’s Residence for a reception but I will have to leave during the evening for Entebbe airport to catch my flight to Lagos via Rwanda and Addis Ababa. The rest of the party will stay another night before heading back to the UK in the morning.
I will post scores from the game on Twitter and Facebook and try to post another article from Nigeria in the next couple of days.