top of page

It's been a while since the last one...

As we headed for Uganda, all I could remember about Uganda was the rule of Idi Amin. Can you believe that was from 1971 to 1979?

For anyone who doesn’t remember him, he was considered one of the most brutal dictators of his time and allegedly killed and tortured around 300,000 people for being part of Ethnic groups. He was a total dictator who committed some unspeakable atrocities on his people.

A misty morning looking onto a green valley in Uganda.

Tea plantations cover vast areas of Uganda.

What a terrible way to remember a country but once we entered, it was a different story. It was mountains, lush and green although the poverty throughout Africa remained evident and when we stopped in the first town we came to so we could buy SIM cards, I witnessed a group of kids hurriedly collecting Chicken food that a shopkeeper throughout to feed his Chickens. The kids scrambled hurriedly to fill their pockets. What a terrible sight.

From seeing this I bought 5 loaves of bread for these kids who giggled with delight at the offering they had been gifted, but within less than 1 minute, I was surrounded by a group of 20 or 30 kids all begging for bread. A terrible dilemma then ensued.

Street kids picked up the Chicken feed to eat.

Barefooted and dressed in rags.

Hunger is not the only issue and HIV is still a big killer for the country when it was first discovered, the Government told the people that HIV was a western disease and that if they washed after sex, it was enough to stop it from having any effect. A position it has since corrected.

Ebola was just starting up again when we visited and we were careful not to make any physical contact with anyone!

Without a doubt, though, Uganda has a lot to offer with beautiful scenery, undulating hills, Tea plantations and beautiful sunsets, but, the jewel in its crown. The Mountain Gorillas.

To see the Gorillas you have to do a hike through the Mountains (no surprise there then) and the day we went we spent 7 hours trekking the mountains and were rewarded with an hour spent watching these creatures in very close proximity.

Just hanging with dad whilst he has a nap.

They were completely oblivious to our presence and just carried on eating and moving around and one even pushed one of the rangers out of the way to get passed him.

We were briefed that we would be allowed one hour with the Gorilla family and that we must not eat or drink during the visit and face masks must be worn at all times to protect their health (you were that close).

A Dutch lady who made up the other couple in our group decided to take a sip of water and was reprimanded for removing her mask.

The experience was amazing and the memories I will never forget nor the cost. We paid directly at the office before heading out but many book packages including transfers and hotels.

We paid $700.00 each for the privilege whilst we heard stories of packages costing up to $2000 each!

The experience also took its toll on Charlotte, who after 7 hours of mountain trekking through rainforest and mountains that was something like you see in a movie and exceptionally tough going and at altitude as well so when we reached the road eventually and our pick-up bus, Charlotte collapsed through shear exhaustion but well worth it she later said. There are no Mountain Gorillas anywhere in the world in Captivity and that made it very special indeed.

Next up was Rwanda, Burundi and then Tanzania.

The capital of Rwanda, Kigali is not as we expected and is a beautiful city with manicured lawns, great restaurants and bars and a huge ex-pat contingent. A place I would consider living and I mean that.

Well-stocked shelves in an up-market Delicatessen in Kigali - the Capital of Rwanda.

Beautifully manicured gardens are everywhere in the city.

Even the curb stones look good

Orderly and clean. Is this Africa?

It has to be said that we drifted through Rwanda and Burundi quickly as we had our hearts set on reaching Tanzania.

Tanzania held special meaning to Charlotte and me as we had sponsored a young man through University some years ago whom we met whilst backpacking there.

The must-do photo of Phillipo and I

We had been to the main sites in Tanzania and then literally put a pin on the map to decide where next and took public transport to a small town called Ifakara, a town that we know to be Phillopo’s home town. The young man we now know as Phillipo.

Family and friends

We met Philippo by chance in Ifakara town as we were hiring a couple of bikes to have a look around the place and bikes seemed a good option. He offered to show us his town and his home where he lived with his Grandma. Philippo explained that he split his time between looking after his family whilst trying to finish his University degree. He was struggling as money was tight and he thought he would have to forfeit his education to look after his family and tend the small plot of land the family used to survive on. The rest is history as they say.

Philippo has stayed in touch ever since and we promised we would go back one day to meet him and that's exactly what we did.

Phillipo is in his suit. Not many Africans wear a suit in their home town.

Then and now with Phillipo and Grandma. We haven't changed at all ???

Philippo, is now a grown man and has a daughter and is marrying his partner, Angel, he has a job and a micro business selling clothes on a market stall and when business is slow, he takes to his bike and cycles hundreds of Kilometres to outlying villages to sell his clothes.

After all these years, what a great treat to meet him and his family again and I'm sure we will remain friends for a long time.

The family come to inspect the truck.

Grandma looking after a youngster.

The last time we went his Grandmother was sitting peeling onions outside her house and now, 15 years on, we meet her doing the same.

Life is very special sometimes. What an opportunity we had.

We planned to spend more time with Philippo, but our friend, Henrietta contacted us to tell us she had Malaria and needed to get to Kenya as she had to go home for a few weeks and had booked a flight out of Mombasa back to Denmark, her home. She told us she couldn't ride her Motorcycle as she didn't have the strength and so we diverted and headed for Dodoma, the capital of Tanzania to help out.

By the time we arrived, Henrietta was out of the hospital but still very weak and so we hatched a plan. Henrietta rode in our cab and I rode her motorcycle towards Mombassa. It worked a treat and after a few days, she was able to ride her bike again.

Henrietta before she, unfortunately, contracted Malaria - Check her out at For the love of wheels.

Charlotte and I then headed east towards Lamu island, a small island off the coast of Kenya and very beautiful apart from to get there we were very close to the Somalian border and security was tight and many roadblocks were set up by the Army and police all wielding guns and many with there faces covered for their protection.

We didn't stay long but the level of security was nothing against what was to come later in our trip.

We also encountered water poverty on a grand scale with people begging for water at the side of the roads. As we only have a limited supply, we weren’t able to help so much but it was shocking truth. Another face of Africa that isn’t often reported on.

Another glimpse at what poverty means.

A few random shots of Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Kenya.

Street vendors selling to us through our widow.

Kenya, near the Somalia border.

Superb craftsmanship

Donkeys are used widely for transport and for pulling carts

Does my bum look big in this?

A busy shop displaying a selection of goods

Pineapples growing ready for harvest.

A group of Maasai. A common site in East Africa.

bottom of page