After a fun night out back in Kampala, we set off for Kanungu, ten hours or so away. To break the journey up, we were to spend a night camping half way, in a place called Masha near Mbarara, on land owned by a gentleman known only as ‘the General’. The group went into two vans with our drivers for the next three months, Nicholas and Apollo.
Nicholas got his group to the General’s house in good time. I was in Apollo’s, and despite his confirmation that he knew the way, was given a tour of most of east Africa before we arrived at our destination. Actually, to be fair to Apollo, it later became evident that most of the land around which we had been driving in circles seemed to be owned by the General.
That evening we went for a walk guided by the man himself, and what a friendly, interesting person he was. As his name suggests, he was of high rank in the military, and had a Bear Grylls-like knowledge of the various medicinal benefits of the plants and trees on his land, including the Viagra tree…
The next morning we went on a long walk up a mountain, on top of which we had breakfast. Or everyone else did; by the time I had helped an exhausted Rebecca reach the top, the rest of the group had polished most of it off!
We went to a little hamlet of houses where the General entertained us of stories from his youth and taught us what to do in the unlikely event we ever encountered a lion while out walking. In case you’re wondering, ‘Don’t take a backward step. It is a defensive move and the lion will sense your fear.’ There you go then – don’t turn and run. Face up to it like a man apparently. Not sure I want to test out that theory.
We were then shown around the accompanying banana plantation, and saw how the locals carried huge bunches on their heads. We were asked if we wanted to try…’Sergeant’ Mike was the obvious man for the job, but even he found it a struggle. Fortunately for him, it’s unlikely to be a requirement for his Army fitness test at Sandhurst.