The Switzerland of Africa

Passing beautiful people, exotic birds and breathtaking scenery we climbed. The familiar hum of the boda boda engine rose and fell with the alternately ascending then descending terrain. Each twist and turn of the road opened a window to yet another spectacular vista. This is the place known as the Switzerland of Africa, where the neatly manicured terraces connect vibrant greenery and sprawling villages. The journey from Kabale to Ruhija took my breath away. I tried to take it all in since time constraints prevented me from taking too many photos. For those of you who know me well you know how hard it was to fly past such beautiful scenery, over one pothole and around another, without snapping pictures. I'm convinced that there couldn't have been a better way for me to get to Ruhija than on the back of a motorcycle. The unhindered view enabled a constant visual feast. When I first visited the Uganda Wildlife Authority they said that they had a gorilla trekking permit for me out of Buhoma. Since it is the main place that people go to see the gorillas, transport to Buhoma is much easier to secure. When I came back with cash the next day to buy my "reserved" permit, however, the lady who agreed to hold it for me was out of the office sick and everyone else said that there was only a pass for Ruhija. Since I was going to have to hire a private driver to Ruhija, a rural town that cannot be reached any other way, I was initially disappointed.

switzerland-of-africa1Then I met Allan. Among the many voices offering me a ride to my guest house in Kabale, it was Allan who won my business. Driving along on his boda boda, he then offered to drive me to Ruhija for a comparable price to the other local drivers. I initially hesitated because of my bags but when I learned that I could leave them at the guesthouse, I agreed to hire him. Along the way I asked if he had ever done this before and he said no. I don't think anybody else is crazy enough to hire a ride on a small motorcycle meant for the road over 51 kilometers off-road.

I couldn't be more happy with my decision because it was one of the most beautiful drives I have taken in my life. The mountainous area around Kabale is definitely the most scenic countryside I have encountered in Uganda. For someone who loves Switzerland, you know that it has to be a good thing that this area constantly brought the Swiss Alps to mind. Maybe it was partially the the power of suggestion but I'll never forget my boda boda ride through the Switzerland of Africa. switzerland-of-africa2