Sunday, November 19, 2006

Bed with a view

Soon after waking this morning I unzipped the tent flap and peered from my comfortable bed across the still waters of the Nile just as the first sunlight reflected across it. A fish eagle took off from its treetop perch swirled in the air and dove into the water. Flocks of snowy egrets swooped low over the river and cormorants cruised along inches above the river dipping down over the thundering rapids. Two otters paddled beneath us. (Jan – I initially thought they were crocodiles and nearly dropped my cup of tea, brought to us in the tent by a very nice waiter, as I’d been happily swimming yards from the spot minutes earlier). This was much better than telly!!!
We spent the weekend with Frouke and Petra exploring the source of the Nile where it leaves Lake Victoria at Jinja. Saturday night’s idyllic campsite was at The Haven, a small encampment 10 miles north of the busy colonial town of Jinja. The Haven sits high on the bank of the Nile, above a set of its famous grade 5 rapids, as the river courses through lush green countryside. There are yet more goat shed style buildings here, beautifully decorated and finished, so they provided plenty of inspiration for our next venture.
There is no hint of development in the surrounding area. Small hamlets of brick and mud huts melt into the matoke and sugar cane plantations – the land is heavily cultivated but not in a manner we would recognise. From a distance it appears like an open woodland. Up close the trees are a mix of productive trees including many laden with impossibly large Jack fruits.
We’ll be going back and we are also definitely going to go over the rapids in a raft!

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