Mt Elgon: Home to one of the largest intact calderas in the world.

Mt-Elgon-National-Park

Mt Elgon is the second tallest mountain in Uganda with snow peaks scaling up to about 4,320 metres above sea level.
At the slopes lies Mt Elgon National Park stretching to more than 100 kilometres north east of Lake Vitoria along the Uganda-Kenya border.

 

On the other side of the slopes are inhabitants mainly from the Sabiny and Bagisu tribes occupying the districts of Kapchorwa, Kween, Bukwo and Bududa, Manafwa, Mbale, Sironko and Bulambuli respectively.
Two other minor tribes – the Benet and the Shana – also live sandwiched within the same communities.

You Can  begin your journey at about 1pm, walking through shrubs and besides water streams that flow downwards.
The target is to reach the peak of the mountain but also visit the bamboo forested areas that lies about 2,800 metres above sea level.

The bamboo forest is the main source of malewa, a local delicacy that is popular among the Bagisu.

At about 2,800 metres above sea level the effect of height will begin to set in.
From here, the grasslands and thickets are so visible overlooking the bamboo forest and the slopes.
Our intention is Wagagai, the highest peak of the mountain.

From the bamboo forest, you need five hours to trek to the peak and darkness is already setting. So, it is only caution that you camp for the night before you resume your journey the following day.
At 9.30am, you begin your journey up but it is a long one and the effects of height are now so real.
Breathing is now a little hard and there is this unusualness in everything as we climb further.
It is a tough journey full of rocky stretches and shrubs.

At about 2pm, you begin to see the peak but it is about 30 minutes walk away. The vegetation here is not the usual; it is flowery on one side but with swathes of rocks on the other. Beautiful rocks curved in all formations cover the mountain top and the sky that now seems to be so near illuminates the crater lake on the other side of the mountain.

The breeze, though cold, is so condensing to wash away the tiredness that is spread in every joint on your body.
You will be so tired and I believe it is the same with everyone. However, the adventurous side in you cannot give up easily. “I am here to explore and see the world from above”.

The day is rolling by and darkness is setting in. You have been moving since you arrive at the mountain top and it is only fair that You begin preparing for the night. On the other side, you will light a bonfire as you set up tents where you shall spend the night.

Supper has already been served and the only thing waiting is , to slide into your sleeping bags to see off the night.
You will be there for three days and this feeling will give you the determination to adventure such that you have experiences to share.

zebra-uganda-wildlife-safari

Is it safe to travel? : Conquering fear

Whenever there is a terrorist incident, international travel sees a decline. These are thoughts about the common fears that can hold people back from taking that long dreamed-of trip, and why we should continues to choose adventure travel despite these concerns. 

Life is full of risks (well, maybe?) and we all want to avoid them. But we are not good at judging real risk. We are not good at looking at the real (mathematical) chances of something (either good or bad) happening to us.We eagerly buy a lottery ticket where my odds of winning are one in 250 million. The Law of Really Big Numbers says it ain’t gonna happen for you. It will happen for somebody, it just won’t be you. We don’t seem to understand that, and we line up to buy a ticket to reach into that enormous pile of money and pull out one ticket saying “Well, somebody has to win it” (no, in truth, nobody has to win it).

 

Every day we hop into our cars and head out on the roads. In the process, we Americans kill about 33,000 people each year, yet some still refuse to use a seat belt, because we are so convinced we won’t be a part of that statistic. If, by comparison, 1,000 people were killed in a foreign destination, we would hide under our beds, refusing to go there. Yet we’ll still keep our driver’s licenses valid and continue to drive, with a much higher chance of being killed on our own highways. It makes no sense! We are bad at judging real risks.

So let’s say the country  u want to see has incidents of terrorism (we got ’em here too but I still don’t worry about going to the store). When the incident happens, what are my chances that:

  1. I am even in that country — pretty small
  2. That I am in that city — really small
  3. That I am at that location — really, really small
  4. That I am at that exact location (not in the store next door) — really, really, really, really small
  5. That I am at that exact location, at that exact time (two seconds later or two seconds before is a miss) — really, really ………….really, really,…….really small!

So what is my real risk of something going wrong? To get that number you have to multiply the chance of each of these things happening: I have to be in the wrong country, in the wrong city, in the wrong location, at the wrong time, at exactly the wrong time. Multiply all these together and you get that proverbial “snowball’s chance” that it will be you. Certainly somebody will be there, it just won’t be you. Somebody will pick the right ticket out of that enormous pile of money — it just won’t be you.

antelopes in rwanda

On the other hand, if I don’t go, I am guaranteed to miss everything that country has to offer. I miss the experience of seeing things I can see nowhere else. I miss all the stories I would be able to tell my friends as we sit on the back porch and talk about our lives over the $10 bottle of wine I buy. I would miss meeting people who, like me, enjoy adventure and seeing places and people I can’t see here. For me, I would miss a good part of life.

On the bright side I would have more time to hop in my car, drive to the store, and buy a lottery ticket, sure of my chances of winning because “Somebody has to win, don’t they?”

It is a short drive so I don’t need that stupid seat belt.

Everybody has their own definition of what it means to live and we only get one chance at it. Mine includes trying to see as much of the world as this life allows. If that involves some risk, so be it. To me, a life with no risk, even the smallest, is no life at all. My wife and I have met some wonderful people scattered all over the world, seen some incredible places and had unforgettable experiences. We will take those memories to our graves. I could have missed it and avoided the risk, but I would also have missed a good part of life.