Friday, 15 February 2019

10 Do's and Don'ts in Kampala

Kampala is known as one of the busiest city in Africa and well as among the cheapest. The city is less populated with tourists  but it can be an interesting one to discover.

DON'T: Carry dollars printed Pre 2009.... 

Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous but no one will accept them. Make sure the dollar notes are crispy clean and not folded.

DO: Carry some cash with you at all times.....

Not all facilities accept payments by Visa cards like its done in the west. Most transactions are done by cash. Having some money on hand will save you sometime and frustration when they refuse your card.
Have some cash on hand.

DON'T: Get on a boda boda without a helmet.... 

I know you might be curious to use one of these bikes which is fun if you are using a good rider but you have to put your safety first. Accidents by boda's are common and nasty. Keep safe.

Keep safe.

DO: Experience the night life in Kampala.

Kampala has a reputation of having the best night life in the East African Region. People love to party and have a good time everyday. Check out some live bands, bars, clubs and performances in the city. I kid you not, you will not be disappointed. Who knows how many dance moves you will discover?

Kampala Walking Tour's Pub Crawl.

DON'T: Stop eating.... 

You have to try a Rolex before you get out of the city. It is Uganda's favorite snack sold every where on the street, its probably the cheapest Rolex you will ever have. And have you had our fruits? I will say no more. Betcha you just can't have one.

Our favorite snack.

DO: Keep your valuables in sight...

You should carry your bag in front of you and keep a hand on it. Keep your wallet and phone where you can watch or feel them all the time. Pickpockets in Kampala are very smart, so your valuables should be given the first priority once you are roaming around the city.

This is how you carry your bag in crowded areas.

DON'T: Miss out on the markets.....

Markets are always interesting areas to explore in Kampala. This will give you a little taste of our daily life.

One of Kampala Markets full of colours.

DO: Avoid the rush hour....

I don't know if you heard about Kampala's traffic jam but you do not want to get caught up in it. We do not have so many traffic lights which makes it worse.  Always do what you have you have to do and leave the city before the rush hour. If your last resort is the boda boda, remember the helmet.

Kampala Traffic Jam.

DON'T: Hunt for WiFi.......

Free WiFi is hard to find. Forget the internet and slowly feel this city which is overwhelmingly interesting in its own ways. You will not regret it at the end of the day. Stay electronically unplugged when you do not have to be.
Forget the WiFi, enjoy the city.

DO: A walking tour with Kampala Walking Tours........

What better way to discover the city with the first, best and original Walking Tour company in Kampala. This tour will take you from the Uptown, downtown and the suburbs. You will discover so much in a short time and you will learn more about the city and country. What better way to discover the city on foot one step at a time?

Enjoy and learn more with the fun guides.

Friday, 1 February 2019

Exotic Namibia and what I did.

Namibia had always been on my list. My aim was to visit the world’s oldest desert but when I got there, I checked off more than I expected. I flew into Lusaka, Zambia and from there took a long bus ride (nearly a day) along Botswana then to Namibia. 

Just before my long ride.

It was quite refreshing to visit Windhoek. The city of nearly have a million people was quite spacious. You can go long stretches from 6 pm without seeing anyone, and the streets are clean with great infrastructure.

It’s not an easy country to explore on public transit though. I relied on my hostels to get around, writing a note on the noticeboard looking for fellow travelers to share a ride and split costs. I did a free Windhoek walking tour, visited an at gallery and on day three I was on the road to the Namib Desert.

Christuskirche built by Germans.

Spotless clean street in Windhoek.

It wasn’t easy to get there; we got a punctured tire along the way and the road was so long. We stopped for lunch at The Solitare, a small settlement offering a gas station, bakery and cafĂ© along with a view of vintage cars baking in the sand.

Seeing the big dunes at sunset was a revelation. Some are over 170 meters high (more than a 30 story building) with sand 5 million years old. To get a great view we had to climb up what was known as “Dune 45,” not an easy thing to do with the wind blowing and your footsteps not being stable. The sunset was just spectacular, and a magical bonus was witnessing the Milkyway with my own eyes later that night.

Entrance cost was N$180 and camping was N$220 at Sessriem campsite.
Climbing dune 45.

Yoga moves on Dune 45.

Beautiful sunset from Dune.

In the morning we set off for the Sossusvlei/ Dedvlei region to see some magnificent trees, resplendent in the sky with some believed to be over 800 years old. How have they survived without a consistent water source? It was Mother Nature working her wonders. This area is simply amazing, make sure to go before it gets too hot.

800 plus old trees in Deadvlei.

Big Daddy dune in the background.

Visiting the Himba tribe in Opuwo, North Western Namibia, was unforgettable. They’re a proud culture who have withstood the centuries and are still thriving. I was struck to see bare chested women in public. A guide brought us to the village to spend some time with a tribe. Beware of tourist traps- snapping photos will cost you. Most of the women were surprised I was not married or had no child which is uncommon to them. They were also curious how I protected myself this long without a child. Women take care of the home while the men take care of animal grazing, we did not find any single male in the village except the village elder.

One of the respected ladies in the village.

Cute kids in the village.

Mama and her beautiful little ones.

I spent five days in Etosha National park. I don’t usually travel to see animals but this was incredible! The scenery is gorgeous. Lions, wildebeests, impalas…it was like living a scene from the Lion King. I learned that elephants as well other animals in arid regions are larger than those in humid temps.

Zebra crossing in the park.

King Lion roaming around.

Herd of elephants.

Are you afraid of ghosts? You have to visit Kolamanskop 10 km away from the coastal town of Luedtritz. There you’ll find a silent community named Kolmanskop. Back in the day (until the 1940’s and the start of the Second World War) this former German diamond mining town had a quaint population of 400. Today all that’s left are echoes of what was, with weathered shops and schools and places of worship amongst sand and strong winds. Everybody left town once the loot ran dry, but their footprints remain. It’s eerie but so captivating. Bring a ghost buster if you can! Kidding, no ghosts,

If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll come across some precious stones, but you’ll be asked to return your shiny discovery. They will reward you with 50% of the cash value.

Fun times in the Ghost town.

Sand filled room in Kolmaskop.

Dias' cross.

A drive down Elizabeth Bay enabled us to say hello to some pink flamingos amongst amazing sunsets. The day concluded at Dias's point, where a Portuguese explorer named Bathlomew Dias put down his cross in 1488 as the first European to discover Africa’s southernmost tip.

Namibia is such an exotic country with so much to see. If ghost towns and sand dunes and tribes don’t capture you, visit Walvis Bay where you can surf amongst the seals. Did I mention the Fish River Canyon, the Caprivi strip, or the bushmen and Epupa falls? Nope. There’s so much to discover. You’ll love Namibia, just remember to bring a jacket and hat as there’s lot of sun,sand and wind at night.