I arrived at the Bus Park at exactly 6:00am and the action was already on; touts courting passengers. One sought me out shouting, "Mbarara?" I nodded no and he continued, "Kabale?" Still no. Another guessed, "Fort Portal?" This time I responded "Kotido". As if it was a joke, he cut in, "Soroti."
"Kotido via Nakapiripirit," I insisted. He took one look at me, wondering whether I knew what I was talking about. Not with the dreadlocks, headphones, jeans, boots and knapsack. Reluctantly, he took my hand and led me away. After delivering me safely to the bus stop, he said, "Okay wait here. But mama, nga you come from far!"
After 30 minutes of waiting, the bus arrived and we boarded. Almost everyone in the bus spoke English, occasionally spicing it with the local language. By eavesdropping on my neighbour's conversation, I was able to learn a few things about the unfamiliar place I was headed for.
The road spreads out before us like a wet glistening mamba snake; winding around the hills ahead of us in a sort of engulfing embrace. The thick nimbus clouds seem to be fighting their way, in and around each other in preparation for yet another mighty downpour and I begin to take the driver's words seriously about Kapchorwa being an extremely cold place.
I am thankful for the cool breeze that greets us as we enter Sironko District. It is doing a lot to clear my lethargic mind caused by the heat we encountered in Jinja, Mbale and Gulu before that, along the way to Lacam lodge in Kapchorwa District.
Lacam lodge is built on the slopes of Mount Elgon in eastern Uganda. Lacam means cliff in kupin, the Sabiny language. There are no wild animals or snakes to see but Lacam is absolutely child-friendly. I am enthralled by the breathtaking scenery of the green rolling terrain of Sironko. It is obvious that the air on this side of Uganda is a lot cleaner than that in Kampala.
As we drive on, my eyes stray onto a road that branches off the main road we are travelling on. Out of curiosity, I inquire where it leads. "It leads to a powerful trading center on top of the mountain," the driver says, pointing in that direction. We finally turn off the main road that continues to Moroto and take a narrower road. We are greeted by a host of signposts to the various inns, hotels and lodges.
Of all the countries in Africa, Uganda is beyond doubt gifted by nature. Favored with regions of impressive distinctions, the country is every explorer's dream. From the out-of-this world scenery and abundance of wildlife, to the warm welcome that is characteristically Ugandan, it is obvious to see why this has grown to be a sightseer destination of increasing popularity.
There is something impressive for all and sundry to see in Uganda. Be it the seasoned and perceptive tourist or the thrill seeking traveler, there is adventure and discovery waiting across the length and breadth of a nature's paradise that was appropriately named "Pearl of Africa" by Winston Churchill.