Beach Life, just chilling!

Nach der Zeit in der staubigen Maasai Steppe und dem quirligen Leben vom touristischen Arusha sehne ich mich nach einem ruhigen Strand. Ich fand ihn in der Nähe von Tanga. Ein Camp in der Zwischensaison verspricht Ruhe und Abgeschiedenheit. Mein Landy durfte ich direkt am Strand unter Schatten spendenden Bäume stellen. Strom bekam ich von einem nahen Unterstand und hatte somit meinen Kühlschrank versorgt. Nun folgt nur noch ein kurzes. erfrischendes Bad im Meer und dann in den bequemen Stuhl mit einem Buch in der einen, einem Getränk in der anderen Hand. Relaxing pur.

Das Personal der Lodge, zu dem dieser Camping gehört, lässt mir meine Ruhe. Nur das Wachpersonal hält sich in meiner Nähe auf. Neugierig beäugen sie jeden Schritt und jede Bewegung, die ich mache. Im Schatten sitzend sprechen sie untereinander in ihrer gutturaler Sprache. Englisch sprechen sie nur gebrochen, trotzdem versuche ich einiges aus ihrem Leben zu erfahren. Ob es an der Sprachbarriere liegt oder an ihrer Schüchternheit mag ich nicht richtig zu beurteilen, aber viel mehr als ein freundliches Lachen bringen sie mir nicht entgegen. Daher gehe ich zur Abwechslung an die leere Strandbar und halte einen Schwatz mit der Managerin aus Südafrika, die sich ebenfalls hier aufhält. Sie alle geniessen die ruhige Zeit, bevor wieder mehr Touristen sich in dieses paradiesisches Fleckchen verirren. Auch ich gehe zurück zu meinem ruhigen  Strandstuhl, beobachte die vorbeiziehenden Dau mit ihren dreieckigen Segeln oder Strandkrabben beim Höhlenbau. Dann versinken meine Gedanken wieder in mein Buch und meine nackten Füsse in den Sand.

The Sipi Falls

From Kampala leads a wide, tarred road to the Kenyan border, but on my way i decided to drive a detour to the Sipi Falls. The camp was settled opposite the falls with stunning view to the scenery. Even a sprinkling rainbow appeared with the setting sun. Unfortunately it’s a typically ran down campsite, as many others in Uganda and in Africa in general. The staff tell me from a owner living far away, not interested to invest in facilities, nor seems the employers really keen on keeping it nice and tidy. they only count on customers coming (and paying) for the scenery up here. Probably i would had stayed longer if the campsite would been better maintained. However, that one beautiful night i enjoyed the place.

Moyo’s Refugee Camps

There’s a beautiful landscape far north of Uganda, just at the border to South Sudan, i read. Off i go, and many bumpy kilometers later i reached Moyo, a dusty border town. Dozens of big, white Toyotas and trucks with blue UN letters or red crosses crossing my way. It’s not a sleepy town anymore since thousands of Sudanese refugees fleeing from the war and passing trough here. I stopped for a bitter lemon at a bar, watching busses with refugees coming from reception camps, get somewhere out of town. Young men hanging around, drinking cheap liquor from small plastic bags. I need a tourist camp to stay overnight, i tell them. Helpfully they explain me the way, spell the name of a place and show me the spot on the map. Just at the river Nile. Looks great to me. When i arrived the place it turns out as huge refugee camp. It’s too late to turn back, so i ask around for a real „tourist camp/lodge“. Another friendly guy shows the direction, just to end up in another refugee camp, even further away from next town. I felt lucky to see a bunch of big, expensive Toyotas with the emblem of a NGO. I asked friendly to stay at the carpark, where a guard is watching at night anyway. A young white guy called himself in charge, but refused to take any responsibility and sent me away. When i turned for another help, he gave me the advice to ask the neighbors, but offer them some money for their help. „sure“, i smiled to him, but thought ‚fuck you off with your cheap advices while too cowardly to let me even stay here, you white prick‘.

The locals were more helpful, sent me to the police station midst of a refugee camp. In front of a few round houses some police officers were sitting in plain clothes. After i got the allowance to stay, i sat with them and listen to their stories. The current camp opened only three months again. Every day hundreds of more refugees are coming, flooding the camps and plans for extending the area already existing. While we spoke, some armed officers arrived in uniforms, turned back from their patrol by motorbikes.  In one of the round houses the prisoners are kept until there’s a transport to Moyo to the bigger jail. Some of them move relatively free, others were with hand chains. They get out of the house to help carrying water or doing some minor jobs. When night falls over the camp, all went silent. No light, no noise. I felt like sleeping in a completely remote area.

Murchison Safari Camp

Crossing the Victoria Nile over a bridge with the view of Karuma Falls, i got to the north of Uganda now. I noticed a Camp, just at the northern gate of Murchison Falls Nationalpark, where wildlife seems to cross. At that remote and quite camp is a waterhole. The manager, a young, smart lady, confirmed sometimes elephants, giraffes and more wildlife are to observe here. Despite my patience to watch out for them, the recently rain didn’t gave them the urge to come to the waterhole. Instead big animals i found big spiders, cats, chicken …and then yes, some antelopes came shyly closer. However, some relaxed days in peaceful nature.

bugs in bush

A couple, both biologists, invited me in the bush to show me more about the research they’re doing there. For once it’s not about big mammals or colorful birds, but about bugs and insects. That’s the chance to learn more about the small creatures around us. My macro lens wasn’t really used often, so i get a chance to gain some skill in photographing tiny creatures, who wanders unexpected fast. Termites in there housings, ants which lives in bush shells, ant lion catching ants who falls in his hole. Incredible dens life in the bush, but one has to look closer…