The only touristy thing I managed to do while in Uganda was to take a day trip from Kampala to the source of the Nile on Lake Victoria.
We had arrived in Kampala Friday, the 9th, in the morning. We went through the whole minister speech thing again at the start of the “trade fair” in the afternoon. Again as soon as the minister left, the place emptied out. Saturday morning we again had close to zero attendance in the hall for the trade fair. By lunch time the exhibitors were in full revolt. One woman took the initiative and organized a trip to the source of the Nile. We, meaning pretty much all of the exhibitors, left the hall and boarded a bus for the river.
I have no idea who that kid is.
We arrived at a little makeshift landing and boarded a boat for a short ride to an island. Our tour guide, some kid of indeterminate expertise. Told us that at its source 75% of the water for the Nile came from Lake Victoria. The other 25% came from a spring that was right at this little island where most of the photos in that flickr stream were taken. If you look closely, you can see the current of the river going around a smooth area of water in this photo below. The water with ripples is the water from Lake Victoria. The smooth surfaced water is the water from the spring pushing its way to the surface.
It was an interesting place as far as tourist sites go. At the landing, as soon as the bus was visible to the people activity started. There was a little band and a group of dancers soliciting donations for a school. They wanted a donation to take their picture. I was low on the local currency so I didn’t get a shot of them. A bunch of people started hawking their wares. It was all very much like any tourist trap that you would encounter in the U.S., but with the local twist.
The island where the spring is located was marked with this sign:
I never saw the counter.
The block structure in the right of this picture is the “official” start of the Nile, again, according to our tour guide.
The Nile runs downstream to the right of the photo. Out to the left is a bay of Lake Victoria. From where we were standing, you could not see the main body of water for the lake.
It was a six hour trip from the hotel to the river and back. The trip was in a bus with open windows and the dust was horrible. Even with the dust, it was a trip that was very worthwhile. I was pleased to be standing on the site of the start of Nile. It was an interesting feeling being at the headwaters of a river that we’ve all read about during our school years. The headwaters of the cradle of civilization.
But I was still amused by the local version of Niagara Falls or the House on the Rock.
One last photo, and there are more over at my flickr page, of our tour guide:
And his shirt was correct. His name was not Mzungu. The gentleman on the left was one of my trade mission compatriots. He was a really fun guy to travel with. I have stories to tell, but it will be best left to tell those stories to interested parties in person.