After finally getting through Kampala’s crazy Friday afternoon traffic, it was refreshing to get out of the polluted city and enjoy the incredible panoramic view of the endless green rolling fields which paved our long road ahead towards our journey into the Northern territory.
Our first stop was a small town called Masindi, situated just outside Murchison Falls. We’d planned to stay overnight at the ‘Masindi Hotel’, which I was surprised to discover was once frequented by some very famous people like the author Ernest Hemingway, as well as Humphrey Bogart & Katharine Hepburn, who stayed at the hotel while filming ‘The African Queen’. Apparently, Katharine Hepburn even wrote a book about her experience entitled ‘ “How I Went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind”; she attributed the fact that neither Bogart nor Huston got sick during the filming due to the vast quantities of alcohol consumption.
As I walked into the hotel it felt like I was walking onto a beautiful film set , where time had stood still. Just off the main road in/out of Masindi, stood this rather charming, quaint building with a colonial feel, surrounded by lush green gardens, and a very spacious open atrium bar. Some of the hotel staff , who were incredibly friendly and hospitable, also seemed like characters from a film set themselves.
Both my sister Farah & I would loved to have stayed longer as it was just a cool place to chill out. There was even a table tennis table for the kids to play with, as rumour has it that the owner’s children used to love to play table tennis. Unfortunately, our time was limited and we so set off early in the morning to catch the morning ferry across the Nile, where we had an appointment to meet some of the local inhabitants.
After buying some ‘bottled fuel’ from local villagers, we completed the paperwork at the gates and finally entered ‘Murchison Falls National Park’, which is where I’m informed the ‘Africa Queen’ was actually filmed.
As we drove through some of the slippery dirt tracks into the national park, which looked like they are undergoing a significant upgrade, and we cruised down the Nile, every sight was breath-takingly beautiful and every animal we saw was awe-inspiring. Here are some of my pics. Hope you like them .
Next stop: Up North to Gulu and beyond.