Day 149 Uganda : Kakemega - Jinja

Day 149 Kenya

Trip Distance 248 km (154 m) Total Distance 17216 km (10700 m)
Road Condition 100% tar    
Time to travel 5hrs    
Cost of diesel USH2000    
Stopover
Jinja
Nile River Explorers N0 29.048 E33 09.820 US$10 - hot showers (sometimes), flushing loos, great restaurant and bar, fabulously friendly & helpful management, magnificent water sports. Costs include electricity hookup and free internet access.
Highly recommended!

We awoke at reasonable hour this morning and made a huge steaming pot of porridge. hhhmmmm.  After tucking into our favourite breakfast, we set off and made our way towards Uganda.  We had a real surprise this morning - pleasant, in that we found some Kenya Shillings that we didn't know we had, not so happy that we now had loads of currency for a country that we were leaving that day.  On arriving in Malaba just before the border crossing, we spent 80 minutes at the Kenya Commercial Bank, changing our Kenyan Shillings into US$.  Unfortunately they didn't have Ugandan Shillings so getting that currency would have to be with the money changers at the border.

So with a pocket full of dollars, we headed for the border crossing.  It turned out to be rather fraught as we discovered that we hadn't paid any Kenyan Road Tax.  But after a "deposit" into the Customs Officials benevolent fund (hahah!!) we set off for the Ugandan side.

You can read all about our crossing but suffice it to say that it was a huge surprise that we had to pay US$50 each for a Ugandan visa. Changing money turned out to be a bit of a trial as well.  The Lonely Planet warns of the dangers of the money changers at the Malaba crossing and everything they say is true!!  Turns out that they first of all tried to hoodwink us (as they do in every country) with a rubbish exchange rate.  Once we had sorted this out, we agreed with one money changer to do the deal but gaggles of the miserable human beings crowded around us to try and confuse us.  Luckily Jorg and I were working together so we refused to be confused and kept everything simple by constantly cross-checking and checking each other and ensuring that any money changing hands, was counted into our hands first, we checked it again aloud and then counting the US$ into the money changers hands.  Once we had completed the transaction, to confuse us, the 1st changer said he didn't want small notes, so gave us our money back.  Reverse the procedure with Jorg and I again and we double checked the money, then onto the 2nd money changer who would accept smaller notes and repeat the checking procedure again. sigh.

The it was off to have the carnet completed and pay road tax. As we came out of the Ugandan Customs office to go back to our cars, Money Changer 2 rushed up demanding a new US$50 note because he claimed I gave him a torn one - he could prove it he said because he marked the note with a pen!!!  My god, how stupid do they think we are!!!  In my best "bugger off" (although the thoughts and words were MUCH stronger!) voice, I tried to chase him off but he only let up eventually when I got into Sully and locked the door. 

We set off for the final boom and after checking that we had paid Ugandan Road Tax we finally made it, unscathed, into Uganda.  It was another hour or so's drive before we arrived into Jinja, drew some money and headed off for the Nile River Explorer's Campsite overlooking the White Nile.

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A well-deserved beer or 2 later and we had settled in looking forward to the next few days of water sports.