The night was colder than I expected. Anyway, I still had to recover from a COVID-19 illness, which would have made this motorcycle trip almost impossible. So in the morning I was still croaking a lot. The evening concert of forest insects, on the other hand, had been enormous, but diminished as the night progressed, and towards morning it was quiet. After breakfast, some drove to Kibaale National Park to see the chimpanzees there. On the other hand, I wanted to do an off-road tour with a few others and climb a mountain called "Top of the World" with a magnificent view of the surrounding crater lakes. However, my 1150 GS, which I have been able to call my own since yesterday, no longer started. It didn't surprise me, because yesterday, according to the fuel gauge, I had rolled into the hut camp of the Rweteera Safari Park with the last drop of gas. The mechanic's assertion that the fuel gauge was wrong was not correct himself. Without further ado, I switched to a 650 GS belonging to a fellow passenger. A lighter vehicle was the better choice for the forthcoming hard-baked clay track. In fact, in some places the path was washed out by the water to form deep grooves. If you slide into one with a wheel, you have to be very lucky to get out of there without crashing first. Too much for the Colombian Alejandro, who was riding a heavy R 1150 with a boxer engine and his wife on the pillion. He fell on a fairly steep climb. The machine's cylinders were protected by artistically but uncompromisingly welded crash bars and Alejandro and Monica were also dressed in proper motorcycle clothing, so that the mishap had no consequences. The road was wonderfully dusty, so the morning of that second day was enough to make us all look like we'd driven up from South Africa without a single shower.
When we arrived on the mountain, we still had a little "hill climbing" test of courage to do, in which a steep slope had to be climbed so that we could park our motorcycles off the road. Everyone succeeded.
It was at least as steep and a much longer route to hike uphill. After the corona infection recently, my condition was miserable, but finally I reached the hilltop with a view over the crater lake called "Nyinabulitwa".
If we were on the "Top of the World", then there are at least two of them, because in our back there was an even higher crest of a hill looming over the landscape. Presumably the area uses such designations liberally so that everyone can benefit from the few visitors who come here. My need for altitude records was satisfied anyway and I was looking forward to the off-road fun on the way back.
Tea plantation in western Uganda
Back at the safari camp we showered, had lunch and got back on the bikes. This time we were complete and the monkey visitors who had spent the morning with their ancestors were now with us. My 1150 GS was refueled in the meantime and in casual leisure clothing we roared the asphalt road to a tea plantation. In fresh, light green, the neatly trimmed tea bushes lie like a blanket over the hilly landscape. We learn from local tea pickers that the tea plant can live 400 to 500 years and needs to be cut back every three years. If you don't do this, the low hedge will grow into a sizable tree that will no longer produce the tender new tea leaves.
Back in the safari lodge at our hippopotamus lake, there was still time in the late afternoon and before sunset to sit on the bank with a cold coke and let our thoughts dangle alone or together.
The Walking Group - Maarten and Jessica from Whinding Wheels rear left
One of the nicest encounters of the day was with Jessica and Maarten from the Netherlands. The two quit their jobs and shipped two 700 Ténérés to South Africa. Since then they have been traveling overland through Africa as overlanders for their charity project "Winding Wheels". Many motorbike travelers often radiate a serenity that even goes so far as to be bear-biting. Quite a few like themselves in the role of ascetics and lone wolves. All traits that don't apply to me, which is why the refreshing, practical and good-humored open-mindedness of the two Dutch motorcycle adventurers immediately struck a chord with me. If it hadn't gotten too cold around the campfire in the evening, the three of us could certainly have sat there for a few more hours exchanging experiences, ideas, stories and dreams.