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Posted on June 24, 2016
Here, near Jinja, we are slightly north of the equator (at Bwindi we will be south of the Equator) and so the sun rises and sets about the same time each day. At six it is quite dark but by 7 the sun is up (or what we can see of it through the forest).
We are away nice and early at 8. Soon we have to cross a major road to get to the riding area. At this small village there are many stalls preparing food for the minibuses and trucks passing by. Our horses are quite bomb proof.
This is the rainforest and it rains all year round. The rains last night have made everything vibrantly green. There isn’t much wildlife, but we do catch a glimpse of a couple of tiny monkeys high up in the trees.
One of the hazards we have to negotiate on this trip are the cows which are tethered by the side of the tracks. Although the cows have probably never seen a horse before, these ones are quiet.
On our very first morning a bull had become a little agitated and broken his tether. We “galloped out of danger” being pursued by a very fast running bull (fortunately with no horns). When we reckoned we had tired him out we stopped and turned to see him off and he meekly ran past and back to his owner ( we hope).
We continue to see many happy friendly people. There are no working horses or donkeys in Uganda, most likely because of the risks associated with Tsetse fly. Natalie takes her horses’ temperatures every morning and at the slightest increase will treat the horses for suspected Tsetse fly sickness or tick bite fever. Fortunately the treatment has good success if caught early.
Who can resist a photograph of another excited bunch of school children.
When the sun comes out you can almost feel the grass and crops growing. This open area in the forest is along a clearing for the hydro power lines.
But we also walk through the dense forest. The huge trees grow straight up towards the light and underneath is a thick vegetation. It is muddy underfoot.
Barbara is smiling here but not long after at our coffee stop, she accidentally stands on some fire ants. These little things quickly run onto your boots and trousers and bite like fire. But they don’t do any lasting damage – the attack is just surprisingly quick. With plenty of hands to help, we quickly got all the ants off her.
Later back at River Lodge I tried to take a photo of some crossing a track, but even though I was about 2 feet away, some quickly changed direction and headed for my feet. But the rule of walking in the forest is to always check where you are walking and have a torch at night.
Although Uganda has two main rainy seasons in April/May and again in November, actually it can rain at any time and it does.
We get a couple of minutes notice to get our ponchos out of our saddle bags and they keep us (but more importantly our saddles) mostly dry through an incredibly heavy tropical thunderstorm (the heaviest I’ve ever ridden in). The horses aren’t phased at all and so obviously such heavy rain is nothing new to them as we trot and canter back to the lodge.
I think reception at River Lodge were incredibly accommodating to allow us to bring the horses underneath the porch so that we could get the saddles off in the dry.
Tomorrow we head out of the forest and back to the Nile.
To read about other days on this trip, click below.
Riding by the Nile and Lake Victoria
If you would like to join this fantastic riding adventure in Uganda, here is a link to our website with more details of the ride, the itinerary and the forthcoming dates and prices.