Uganda: Camping on the Nile - Part 1


*Picture I took of the Nile on a campground in Jinga.

About a week ago, I found myself telling a good friend about my time abroad and forgot that I hadn’t told her about one particular trip that I knew would blow her mind as it did mine. Uganda! It had been 8 months since I returned from what seemed like a Euphoria and I realized although I recorded my experience through Instagram Stories, I hadn’t actually written about it. So, with 4 hours to spare before I boarded my plane back to Spain from NYC, I narrated my trip to her while we sat in a small, but familiar Thai restaurant that I used to go to when I lived in NYC almost four years ago.

Let me start off by saying, my dream of going to any country below northern Africa was written down in my bucket-list journal three months prior. With that said, I have to give my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ a shout out for giving Daddy Warbucks aka my father, the heart to sponsor that trip until my funds got in order. And just to let you know, it's not easy squeezing a penny from that man. So, I knew it was divine intervention (Jk. Not Jk) I could afford traveling once there, but the plane ticket was definitely the most expensive part of the trip which inclined me to ask him for a loan. He sponsored my dream of going to the mother of all lands and for that I am grateful. Also, I'm grateful for the fact that this loan doesn't come with interest. Right Dad? OK. Now that we got that out the way, let's begin.

When the day of the trip arrived, I spent 24-hours flying from Madrid to Brussels to Kigali and finally landing in Kampala, Uganda. Alas!! I had arrived with one of my best friends (Let’s name her Wanda) waiting to pick me up from the airport. We embraced each other with a hug and began a 45-minute drive to Entebbe where she lived and in what seemed like a flood because it was pouring heavily outside. After arriving to her house, we talked a bit before falling asleep because we had planned to take a camping trip together with another friend, Paul, early the next morning in Jinja.

The next morning I woke up; not by the angelic customized ringtone I set for us to wake up to, but by roosters. Because 5:30/6am was the perfect time they decided everyone should be up. So, as a light sleeper I was in and out of sleep until my actual alarm woke us up at 7am. The time arrived for us to be on our way and I was exhausted from the flight and lack of sleep but super excited!

Jinja is about a two and a half hour ride from Entebbe and upon entering Jinja around 11:30 am the streets were bustling with people trading fruits, vegetables, cloth and other merchandise handmade or homegrown. There was so much greenery from fields of teas, coffee, fruits and vegetation that it prevented me dozing off even with extreme exhaustion. I was so enamored by something I’ve read and heard regarding what countries in Africa possess, but to see it with your own eyes was beautiful and sad at the same time. Why? Because the majority of its own citizens can’t even benefit from their own land on a global scale due to the fact that the West continues to rob from it. It’s just facts. A country that rich should be booming economically, but again, with the given history of colonialism and continuous corruption starting from the West, hope of ever being self-sufficient without “help” from the West is nearly dim. With heavy truth glaring at you straight in the face, I attempted to focus on the beauty and learn as much as I could about the country.

We all ended up stopping at a coffee shop before putting our bags down at the campgrounds. I had some of the best coffee I’ve ever had as it shocked my system to stay awake for several more hours before crashing in the car later that afternoon. When we got to the campgrounds, called Nile River Explorers, there was barely anyone there, but it was perfect because no one was obstructing the beautiful view of what lay ahead. The Nile River! Bruh, at that moment I really couldn’t believe I was on this trip. I’ve read about this river in religious texts and history books, but to be right on it was surreal. You can even take a look at my pictures here.

After putting our stuff down, we decided to go horseback riding at Nile Horseback Safaris, which was offered down the road for an hour for $40. We were taken on a path that gave us an even closer view of the Nile as we trotted on a path that was paved alongside it. The whole experience was so fun and I was even able to pick a guava off a tree for a snack. After the adventure we went somewhere to get lunch and on our way back to the grounds is when sleep hit me like a ton of bricks. I was out cold! That night we decided to stay on the campgrounds, have dinner there and call it an early night after we took a shower. Now this is where the story takes a turn.

After taking a shower we go to the front desk to turn in our towels and this handsome man meets my friend and me. Sanyu was his name, and tall, dark, and handsome was his game. I mean Glowin’, even though it’s dang near pitch black outside. His light shined on us and we embraced it like two teenage girls who had just run into their crush on the blacktops. I quickly noticed that he was very much into my friend and rightfully so. She’s gorgeous, intelligent and funny and not to mention I was and am takin’. I think he could smell my boyfriends’ presence. So, like the Spongebob meme...

Anyway, as he took our towels and made small talk I observed what I thought would be my future brother-in law flirting with Wanda. It was innocent and cute to see them a bit giddy. Meanwhile, I was figuring out whether to take myself out the picture by leaving or nudging her to come along. Y’all know I’m a good friend. So, I nudged. I was tired and we don’t know em’ like that, or so we thought. Turns out he is Paul's’ cousin! Jackpot! I could get some sleep knowing she’ll definitely see him in the morning and they would get a chance to pick back up where they left off. Morning arrived and pancakes were served. Yes, pancakes with French pressed coffee! Delicious. We ate breakfast as we watched the sun rise over the Nile. When it was time to head home, as suspected Sanyu came to wish us safe travels back to Entebbe and talk to his cousin for a bit. Moments later after packing the car up and starting the engine, Paul asks us if we want to come back next Friday as Sanyu had invited us to celebrate his birthday. " Yea, that's cool." we reply.

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