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The Muzungu’s travel highlights of 2011 – Uganda travel blog

Jan 1 • 3208 views • 4 Comments on The Muzungu’s travel highlights of 2011 – Uganda travel blog Adventure, Africa, anti-poaching, Conservation, Diary of a Muzungu, East Africa, Ethiopia, Hash House Harriers, Johannesburg, Kampala, Kenya, Lonely Planet, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rwanda, safari, South Africa, Travel, Turkey, Uganda, Uganda Conservation Foundation, wildlife

Nairobi to Lake Naivasha Relay - local people watch on. Uganda travel blog

Nairobi to Lake Naivasha Relay – local Maasai watched bemused as 100 Hashers ran through Hell’s Gate National Park

If 2011 was busy, 2012 looks set to be busier still! Here are a few of 2011’s highlights for Diary of a Muzungu, Uganda travel blog …

TRAVELLING – Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Ethiopia, Turkey – and of course, Uganda.

Kenya – The  Naivasha Relay (84km from Nairobi to Lake Naivasha) is one of the highlights of Nairobi Hash House Harriers’ calendar.

40 Ugandan Hashers travelled from Kampala to Kenya for the week-end  party (I mean run!) I did my share – 3km to be exact  – ‘good enough’ as we say in UG.

The weekend started with a 12 hour bus journey:

The real ‘boda boda’ experience – travelling sidesaddle into Kenya

Rwanda – a full day’s travelling across Uganda, through Kigali, and onto the fabulous  Volcanoes National Park (Parc Nationale des Virungas) to stay at Le Bambou Gorilla Village.

The Doctor enters Rwanda - Uganda travel blog

The muzungu travelled with her personal physician

Rwanda’s reputation precedes it in many positive ways nowadays. The smooth tarmac in Kigali made a pleasant change from Uganda’s potholes; the legal obligation to wear  a helmet on a boda boda (motorbike taxi) in Kigali came as a bit of a shock after Kampala’s very relaxed attitude to road safety!

Kilimanjaro at dawn - Uganda travel blog

Daybreak at 30,000 feet – Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance

TIP: next time you fly, look at the map before you select your seat – choose a window seat, check which side of the plane to sit and have your camera ready. Some of my most memorable travel moments of 2011 have been from on high (and I haven’t even joined the Mile High Club yet!)

  • Mount Kilimanjaro through the clouds;
  • Traversing the seemingly endless azure blue of Lake Malawi;
  • Skirting around the edges of Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater;
  • Seeing volcanoes emerge over the horizon as we approached Nairobi;
  • The shot of Kilimanjaro – en route to Johannesburg – is a favourite. Sigh …

South Africa – U2′s ‘Beautiful Day’ will forever remind me of a great ten days in Johannesburg, with a great friend and her beautiful daughter, and something deeper – retracing my political and musical roots:

South Africa – Under a blood red sky with U2

Thank you Holly! For the trip, for the friendship and for being a part of my VSO journey.

Traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony overlooking Tissisat Falls. Uganda travel blog

Traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony overlooking Tissisat Falls

Ethiopia – Hashing – the ‘drinking club with a running problem’ – led me on a very merry dance (hic!) around Ethiopia for two truly memorable weeks. I can’t stop reliving and writing about Ethiopia, here’s one of my posts:

Africa Hash, Ethiopia – Feeling IRIE in Addis Ababa

Turkey – On a trip back home to the UK, I stopped over in Istanbul for a dayIstanbul looks like my kind of place.

A day in … Istanbul got me thinking about how much I’d like to be travelling and writing about travel full-time.

Muzungu with Mongooses at Mweya, Queen Elizabeth National Park. Uganda travel blog

Muzungu with Mongooses at Mweya, Queen Elizabeth National Park

Uganda – This year, I was excited to take part in the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s new tourism experience: Walking with Mongooses, a really fun and informative day out in Queen Elizabeth National Park. You may have watched the BBC’s ‘Banded Brothers’ TV series, all about these fascinating fellas.

WRITING – articles for The Eye Magazine Rwanda, Uganda’s Business Today magazine and writing and producing Uganda Matters, the annual newsletter for the Uganda Conservation Foundation.

Diary of a Muzungu has been featuring on Lonely Planet since 2009 (PHEW! no wonder I’m knackered!)

CONNECTING  – with published authors, Lonely Planet bloggers and the global travel blogosphere. Thanks in particular to Todd Wassel at Todd’s Wanderings, for the beautiful and fantabulous Around the World with 40 Lonely Planet bloggers ebook; Mazarine Treyz of Wildwoman Fundraising for her boundless creativity and energy; Wandering Trader Marcello Arrambide who dropped by Kampala and shared some awesome tips on travel blogging. Writing and blogging can be an introspective way to  spend your spare time – but you guys keep me motivated. Thank you so much!

CHANGING CAREERS – I’ve always said that in Uganda, “business is social and social is business” and I like it that way…

After two and a half years as a VSO volunteer for the Uganda Conservation Foundation, it was time to move on and employ a local man to take over my role. I’m so proud to have been part of UCF (work trips to the Bush – safari yeah!)

Despite the global recession, UCF’s donors continue to support our work with the Uganda Conservation Foundation. The Uganda Wildlife Authority is so pleased with UCF’s work in Queen Elizabeth National Park that UCF is now working with them to tackle poaching and human wildlife conflict in Murchison Falls National Park. (Damn, that’s one trip I missed out on!) As you can see, I still talk about UCF in the present tense and I’ll continue to do as much as I can to promote this fantastic charity.

Life as a VSO volunteer in Uganda has certainly had its ups and downs. It’s been a truly incredible three years so far. I love life in Uganda – but it does sometimes get the better of me:

Shotgun wedding – a surreal and intense day

Here’s a bit more about life as a volunteer in Uganda –

Still counting myself lucky! 2 years on …

So why am I still in Uganda? Here’s one reason – one of my favourite blogs from last year:

Early morning sights and sounds

Happy New Year everyone!

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4 Responses to The Muzungu’s travel highlights of 2011 – Uganda travel blog

  1. Todd @ Todd's Wanderings says:

    Ah, thanks for the mention. Looks like you had a great year. I’m sure nothing but bigger and better things for 2012 as well!

  2. Sally says:

    You are amazing Charlie! Xx

    • the muzungu says:

      Hey Sally, tx for the comment, it means a lot, esp when I’m sweating over a candle with slow internet, during a power cut, trying to upload everything! Why did I chose to write a blog in a developing country??!

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