Home Magazine Issues July-Sept 2018 Trip to Uganda – Paradise – a true story

Bugembe Jinja from Harriet’s front porch

Paradise A.K.A. Uganda – a true story by M.M. Ngemu

Before the summer of 2018; I didn’t believe it was possible to fall in love with a place. Now I do. I took a trip to Uganda with my friend Harriet, mainly out of boredom; too much time to spare and an eternal search for sunrises.

I am born and raised in the neighbouring Kenya; but I never really gave much thought to the other countries in the East African region; and even when I said I wanted to see the world; I meant oversees. But as luck would have it; I had an opportunity to travel in Uganda; from the East to West; from Jinja, through Kampala to Hoima.

ISU international school of Uganda -

After twelve hours on the bus; we finally arrived at our stop Jinja town at five in the morning. Left by the bus in the middle of nowhere, or so it seemed to me at the time; amazingly at that hour; we got swamped by a fleet of motorcycles offering to deliver us from the cold morning air to our home. Harriet negotiated and soon we were both on the bikes and speeding toward Harriet’s home. It was thankfully, a short fun ride.

Two cups of tea later I fell deeply asleep in my allocated bedroom. Harriet woke me up at ten AM, she was headed into Jinja town and wanted to know if I was coming with her, of course I was. I jumped out of bed, had more tea, a cold shower to wake me up in the absence of coffee and stepped outside the house; just from the front porch of Harriet’s house; I was looking at the magnificent Lake Victoria; it’s quite to a view to wake up to.


Jinja town has the makings of any small town in Kenya. We ran a few errands and headed for money changing; then the market. The market is under a roof; well organised and no fishy smell. But the best part is the fresh produce and affordable pricing. I was overwhelmed by the food; I bought only what I had not eaten much of back home; Matoke, cassavas, a big watermelon and pineapple. I was eager to get home and find out if they tasted as good as they looked. I will tell you this; buy a lot of them when you are there. I took time to visit Lake Victoria, it is beautiful and in the words of my motorbike rider; that thing is huge. I also visited the source of the Nile; wow.

After two days in Jinja, we were off to Hoima. As we were leaving the town, we crossed the Nile through a breathtaking view. It is so beautiful; I could hardly believe my own eyes. We were in Kampala in an hour’s time, thanks to it being Sunday traffic was minimal; we made a connection from Kampala to Hoima. Straight from our arrival there; I kept busy eating more food with plenty of groundnuts and rice. I went around the town, eat more fruits and we were on our way back to Kampala the next morning.

An early start guaranteed us that we would avoid the city rush hour traffic ahead.
The magical moment happened at 6:53 AM. A magnificent sunrise; the sun displayed its might shinning bright orange before emerging like a giant bright yellow circle. I stared at it until I could not see anymore. That moment made an otherwise long trip seem so short and meaningful. After three hours on the road; we were in Kampala. I was very excited to see the capital; so far all the other places had made a wonderful impression; Kampala would not disappoint.


It is a buzz of activity. Busy as expected of any capital. After a morning of errands and gloomy weather; the afternoon turned into a semi-sunny time of exploration. I was at this point so happy to see a coffee shop; I went in for a cappuccino; which without a doubt is the best cup of coffee I have ever had. With a threat of a heavy downpour; we rushed through the streets to buy a bus ticket to Nairobi. After we headed to Naalya neighbourhood were our host for the night in lives; it was there I learned how to properly say hello like a Ugandan Lady; on bended knees. Our host happened to come from the Toro Kingdom which was involved in a news story that was the talk of the night. After dinner and a lively three hour debate about moral values, we went to bed past midnight.

Trip to Uganda -learning to say hello like a Ugandan Lady

Mary Mwende learning to say hello like a Proper Ugandan Lady

I never wanted to leave. 
While everyone was asking me if I was happy to be going back home; I was assuring them that I had found a new home in Uganda. It was actually sad to be leaving rather so soon; but I am going back; for a longer stay in my kind of paradise; for I long to see the green terrains; gaze at the Nile; walk in Mabira forest; revisit the Lakes; eat the fresh food and drink the wonderful coffee again.

Contact Me:  Mary Mwende Ngemu

Mobile: +254 724 388600

Email: marymwende@icloud.com

Address: Nairobi, Kenya

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