[Kampala & Nairobi]
Y’all know that recently my program ended and I am simply living in Rwanda.
Also, most of y’all know that I took a brief trip outside of Rwanda just after my program finished.
On this brief trip, I visited 2 countries in 4 or 5 days….by bus….
This was quite the Great Lakes Adventure.
So, here’s how it went:
My program with SIT officially ended on May 12, around 9am.
And, because I needed to leave on May 12th for this adventure, I went to the bus depot to buy my bus ticket to Kampala the day before.
I got to Nyabagogo (the crazy huge, main bus park in Kigali) and had 2 options for busses to Kampala for the next day. I walked into the first office of Kampala Coach and automatically, the guy at the counter looked at me, smiled, and said, “Good morning sweetheart!” I was a little taken aback and thought I misheard him…but when I asked him what he said, he repeated the same thing and then just continued to tell me how beautiful I am and calling me pet names as I tried to ask him serious logistical questions on what time the bus to Kampala leaves and whether or not I can buy tickets. Finally, after asking the same question like 48 times, he told me that they had 2 buses going to Kampala—one of which leaves at 5:45am and the other at 7pm…Not the right options for me…
So, I left the creepy Kampala Coach man and went to GaaGaa Coach.
Once I finally found this place, I figured out that I could take a bus to Kampala at 11am. Perfect! The only problem was that they wouldn’t let me buy tickets that day (because sometimes the bus gets filled up on the way to Nyabagogo from Butare). So the guy working at the counter told me to come back in the morning and buy tickets and he would call me around 7am to let me know if there were any available.
So, the next morning, I called the agency and was told that tickets were available so my friend Kalvin went to go pick up our tickets. Then, about 2 hours later, the guy at the counter called me and scolded me for not coming to pick up the tickets. When I told him that my friend had come to pick up the tickets for us, he denied it to no end and told me that no one had come into the office and they had sold no tickets and that I wouldn’t be able to get a bus because I never came in to buy the tickets. After him scolding me for 5 minutes or so, I hung up the phone, confirmed that Kalvin bought our tickets, and said goodbye to my group before heading to the bus.
I met my friends Becky and Kalvin there and then we hopped on our bus to Kampala.
Let me tell you, this bus ride was pretty terrible…
The three of us were squished in the back row with three other people (a row that probably should have only fir 4 or 5 people) and the roads were crazy bumpy and it was just the most uncomfortable thing ever.
But after 10 hours or so, we made it to Kampala. Once we got there, we found a hostel to stay the night at and all went to sleep in one bed without dinner.
The next morning, we woke up at 4:30 am to go to the bus station again and buy tickets for a bus to Nairobi that morning. Well, it turns out that was a complete waste of time because the ticket office didn’t even open until 7—which really meant 7:30. But after waiting a few hours, we got tickets to the earliest bus to Nairobi—which was the best bus ride I have ever been on—EVER.
There was a total of about 6 other people on this bus that fit at least 25-30 and the seats were really comfortable (and they reclined!!!), and they gave us free water and snacks!
It was beautiful.
The scenery was incredible too. Absolutely amazing.
After 12 hours on this bus, the three of us made it to Nairobi and got a taxi to our hostel where we met our friends Cleo and Maria.
This hostel was quite surprising and really beautiful.
It was called Wildebeest Eco Camp and we stayed in a huge tent with 7 beds inside – and they had hot water and wi-fi and animals and babies and a trampoline and so much fun stuff J It was awesome.
Our first full day in Nairobi, we ate an incredible breakfast at the camp, walked to town, and had quite the debacle at Western Union (where my friend Becky yelled at the teller guy for me, called his manager, called the Kenyan Western Union headquarters, and then called the international Western Union headquarters and yelled at them for a while). After all the drama cleared, we walked to the animal orphanage in Nairobi where we saw monkeys, warthogs, lions, giraffes, hyenas, cats, dogs, cheetahs, leopards, etc. That was the best thing ever! Then we went back to the camp and hung out until bed J
I left for the bus station at 6am the next morning to catch the 8am bus back to Kampala to meet Jesse.
This bus ride, though, was nothing like the amazing bus ride on our way to Nairobi…this bus ride was really not so great. My seat was stolen by this Muslim man who sat next to me (with his smelly feet) cleaning his teeth with a wooden stick and spitting the wood pieces on the wall next to him and sneezing every 20 minutes. This went on for the first 10 hours of this bus ride. The last 2 hours, the man made me move out of the isle seat into the window seat that should’ve been mine in the first place (the seat that he had his smelly feet and spit out wood pieces all over) and wasn’t even nice about it.
I was so annoyed at this man. Ugghh…
But anyways, after 12 hours, very little sleep, no real meals, and no phone credit, I made it back to Kampala where I found Jesse waiting for me at the bus station. Oh man, it was the greatest sight ever – to see the guy I love waiting for me in a city I have yet to explore after a really crappy bus ride – so nice.
So Jesse and I dropped my stuff off in our hostel and went out for a lovely dinner of pizza and strange, yet delicious, Indian sandwiches. The next say, we went and bought our bus tickets back to Kigali, and then spent the day exploring the city. It was chaotic and dirty and noisy but so much fun.
We found a great little bookstore with some pretty amazingly offensive books, made a new friend named Esther, ate an incredible Indian dinner, had ICE CREAM, and just had fun exploring J
We got on a bus that night around 11pm and arrived back in Kigali around 10am the next morning.
From there, we went back to our place, and slept for the rest of the day, pretty much.
In this Great Lakes Adventure, I spent at least 48 hours on a bus for a full 36 hours in Nairobi and about 24 hours in Kampala…So worth it!