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the Degree Confluence Project
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Uganda

3.7 km (2.3 miles) E of Rubirizi, Western, Uganda
Approx. altitude: 1676 m (5498 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 1°N 150°W

Accuracy: 7 m (22 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: View to the North #3: View to the East #4: View to the South #5: GPS #6: Phil, on the way to the point #7: Claire at the point #8: This track takes you to 250 m from the target #9: Unidentified crop at 1S 30E #10: Tiny scarecrow next to the point #11: Locals keeping their distance from the strange muzungos #12: The sensible route from the road to the CP #13: Scenery nearby #14: Google Earth (c) image

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  1°S 30°E (visit #1)  

#1: Overview and view to the West

(visited by Phil Boyle and Claire Halperin)

21-Dec-2007 -- After the success of our first equatorial CP at 0 30E, we became more optimistic about the chances of us getting our first in the Southern hemisphere. So, after an amazing visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP), where we saw a lion, lots of elephants, warthogs, kob, waterbucks, hippos, and many other interesting things, we set off for Lake Bunyoni on the Rwandan border. We planned to take the scenic route, which we reckoned would pass very close to 1S 30E.

Our Ugandan map described three categories of road: red, orange, and yellow. Red generally have some sort of a hard top (albeit often heavily pot-holed) for most of their length. Orange - in practice - are variable, but generally dirt surfaces that may or may not be passable in the rainy season. And yellow are surfaces that I wouldn't normally choose take a Land Rover over (in any season), let alone our little hired Toyota Corolla. We followed the red road linking QENP to Mbarara as far as the small village of Ishaka, then turned South onto the 30-km yellow road 'short cut' to Kagamba. This was something of a frazzling experience, with many alarming bangs and scrapes along the way, but we lived and both managed to avoid bursting into tears (which was not necessarily the case for some of the other roads that we attempted in Uganda later in the trip... but that's a story for another time...)

Time then for a bit more red - from Kagamba to Kebisoni, before turning South towards the village of Kisizi (and the CP) on an orange road. Interestingly, 1S 30E lies extremely close to a (sort of) tourist site - the Kisizi Falls. This is a 30-m high waterfall on the Kyabamba River, and is currently used to provide hydroelectric power to the local hospital (in fact, this has made Kisizi one of the few places in the country that has a reliable electricity supply round the clock). But the falls have a darker past: the local Bakiga custom known (rather inappropriately, some would say) as 'damping' traditionally took place at the Kisizi Falls. Damping involved the binding together of the limbs of a girl who had become pregnant before marriage, and then hurling her over the falls to drown in the pool below.

At around 3 km from Kisizi, the nerve-jangling 'orange road' (more akin to a yellow, in our somewhat jaded opinion) takes one to just 250 m from the CP. We stopped the car, and realised that the point lay somewhere in the valley below. All we had to do was descend in some way. A lot of the area between the road and the target was clearly private property - homes and farmland - and it took quite a bit of trial and error before we were able to find our way around (and in one case, under) fences, pass down some narrow trails, and jump over a small stream. We then walked up a slight gradient to take us into the farmland in which the point lay. We found 1S 30E in a small patch of freshly planted crops, close to a tiny scarecrow. There were beautiful views of hills and trees in each direction, and a few farmhouses to the South and West. Some female farmers and their children waved at us and allowed us to take a photograph, but kept their distance.

After documenting the point, we waved goodbye and made to leave, but the women made it clear that they wanted us to go to speak to someone else in a hut off to the SW. This was Denis Jambwe, a very friendly chap who kindly walked with us back to our car along a much more sensible route through a shady grove of trees (banana? Yam? Mango? Really, one of these days I should do something about my appalling knowledge of botany...) We took a picture of the entrance to this grove from the road: this is a much better place to start the walk to the Confluence!

After saying goodbye to Denis, and tipping him for his troubles, we carried on through the lovely scenery of the area. I was keen to visit the Kisizi falls, as the closest point of note to the Confluence. Alas, although we could hear it in places, and asked lots of locals, we never found the right turn-off. On the way to Lake Bunyoni we rumly mused on our ability to find imaginary points, but not a 30-m high waterfall...


 All pictures
#1: Overview and view to the West
#2: View to the North
#3: View to the East
#4: View to the South
#5: GPS
#6: Phil, on the way to the point
#7: Claire at the point
#8: This track takes you to 250 m from the target
#9: Unidentified crop at 1S 30E
#10: Tiny scarecrow next to the point
#11: Locals keeping their distance from the strange muzungos
#12: The sensible route from the road to the CP
#13: Scenery nearby
#14: Google Earth (c) image
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)