My family isn’t the kind to drive by the source of the Nile River and not stop for a look. So look we did. Jinga, Uganda lies on the northernmost shores of Lake Victoria. By car it’s on the one road that is a direct shot from Kampala to Nairobi. If you look it up on your computer, you will find that Kamapla is about 350 miles from Nairobi. On American interstates that might take you six hours of driving. Here, we made it in twelve hours over two days, plus we had the stop at the border.
Jinga is a small city with a population of about 71,000. There seemed to be a lot of tourists. “A lot of tourists” is relative. This isn’t Disney. I’d guess that we saw at least a dozen westerners.
Friends had given us the phone number of a contact who could arrange a tour for us. After calling him we waited about fifteen minutes before he rode up on his motorcycle and met us along the side of the road. We followed him to the boat. The boat launched from what I can best describe as a lakeside slum. I didn’t take any pictures from the dirt road as we walked between shanties to the boat’s shore launching point. I wasn’t scared to whip out my I-Phone. I was embarrassed. I struggle daily on reconciling issues such as the cost of my phone being just under half the average Ugandans annual income (based on current exchange rates and a report from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, 2009/2010). Oh and to help alleviate my privlidged guilt let me assure you that I just purchased my first smart phone this past summer so I could access Google Maps as I attempt to navigate the streets of Nairobi. Getting lost in Nairobi, well, it can result in a car jacking costing you more than the loss of your stolen smart phone.
But I digress.
Once we were on the water I took plenty of photos .
There were other boats similar to the one that we were on. All the boats are primarily used as transportation for the local population to cross the Lake. For those living in the rural areas around the lake this is the quickest way to reach Jinga.
With recent rains the lake’s water levels are high.
The bags on the shore are filled with charcoal that has been brought across the Lake and will be sold nearby. Charcoal is a big business in eastern Africa. One of the city’s mosques is in the background.
It’s always 5:00 somewhere and somewhere there is always laundry to do. (At least at my house there is.) How is it possible for those sheets to be so white?
Nearby is the city’s official dock. There was a lot of rust,
and a ship in from Tanzania,
and a boat from the Uganda Marine Police Unit,
and a warning to stay away from a tilapia floating fish farm.
You had to go a wee bit farther before you could begin to appreciate the natural beauty surrounding us.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondorous works, I will meditate. – Psalm 145:5
There is always a huge variety of birds.
Can you see the monitor lizard?
How about the monkey?
A few villages and individual homes were along the shore.
Then in the distance you could see a narrowing of the water.
A few minutes more and you are there, the start of the Nile River.
The sound was the best part. After crossing a flat Lake Victoria you become acutely aware of the sudden choppiness of the water. The chop comes from two contributing factors. This is where the Nile River begins its northward flow against the southward rotation of the lake and underground there is a spring that pushes up and out. A beautiful sight to behold.
I love, love, love, the titans of capitalism that never let an opportunity pass to sell a trinket to a tourist. We didn’t shop. I was afraid the hut might float away. It’s not on land but an outcropping of rocks in the middle of the river.
For me, for now, this was a five star day.