Travel Report to The Nyege Nyege Festival in Jinja, Uganda courtesy on Modern Coast – Report by Saif Kutif 31st August, 2017

Part I : Mombasa to Nairobi

 

Am sitting idle (like I always do) and running “errands” on Facebook and its there that I come across a post on Modern Coast’s page stating their “willingness” to sponsor 4 guys to Jinja in Uganda for the third edition of NYEGE NYEGE international music festival. I comment and tag several friends who respond ASAP and now am left waiting for the D-day. I kept refreshing the page now and then. Soon enough I had garnered enough likes to put me on the course to winning the tickets. At last winners are declared and I sat right at the top of the list. I gave out my details and was excited to get several calls from Consolata, she has awesome customer service skills and a voice to kill for. Calls that leave you smiling from ear to ear. I then received an email from Jared with my ticket to the festival attached. I already had travel tickets from Mombasa to Jinja and back.

I’d say I was so lucky, why? You’ll realise soon.

Fast forward to the traveling date and I rush to town to board my bus and guess who shows up, MODERN 7 with no “make up” just a blue and white painting. All pax board only for the crew to realise that the left terrias had a puncture. We leave the office for the yard at Makupa and the conductor quickly gets into an apron ready for the task. It’s here that I realize there is a machine used to loosen bolts but It couldn’t work since they were so tight. After some struggle and help they manage to loosen the bolts and the good thing about a p410 is that it can lift the tag axle and that makes things easy. Everything is fixed and we already have an hour and some minutes delay since we were supposed to leave by 9pm yet it was now 10:17pm according to my watch (checks to see if I have one, lol). This only means one thing, there would be many buses on the highway and that only means one more thing, the League will be lit. turned out that was not the case.

At Makupa we met Modern Coast’s Gemilang, a grey Tahmeed and Dreamline’s blue Zhongtong (I guess it was the 611). The two were first into the roundabout and the Gemi’s driver gaive us way and like that we went. We encountered a snarl up at Kibarani and the Gemi overtook us but at the climbing stretch he took the wrong lane and we effortlessly resumed the lead before the roundabout. We exit the round about to their Changamwe office.

We take so much time at the office for reasons I’ll keep to myself. Tahmeed parks behind us, picks a pax and leaves. A white Mash poa zooms past us and finally we can leave, we get to Miritini and still I cannot trace the buses ahead of us. Mazeras, Mariakani and here we go past a blue Genesis, Scania or Man I couldn’t tell, he tries catching up but this is a P410. After 30 min or so we go past the Tahmeed and 2 trucks all with a single sweep.

The Omata keeps beeping and you all know how irritating it can get at times. I spot the Gemi at a distance, we trail it for what feels like a very long time and I am just about to get bored, our driver goes for the kill. The Gemi falls behind and it does feel super to be leading the buses. Not much action from there on and it’s easy to conclude that we are leading the 10.pm departures. We encounter trucks, trucks and more trucks and at around 1:29am somewhere before Voi we go past Coast Bus KBK 802J parked by the roadside. We get to the Voi office and soon we are joined by Modern Coast’s Oxygen (800). Off we go again into the night, Coast Bus is ahead now and the Oxygen is trailing us closely. We overtake Coast Bus and he (Coast Bus) overtakes us after a while, the game is repeated several times but at last we decide to pull away. As I look at the time its 2:39am and I see flashing lights on our right side and it’s the Oxygen who goes past us. They always do that, tail you, play with you then pass and disappear into the night.

It’s 3:20am we are at Mtito and we find the Oxygen there, parked and seemingly well rested. 2 Gemis pull over after us (CE 043L and 044L). Our stop/rest lasts only 15 minutes. We’re out considering we lost an hour at the yard and we have to make it to the city early for pax who are connecting to Kampala. The Omata keeps beeping as we go past trucks and its 4:50am as we get to Kiboko. The trucks have stopped, we too stop and the conductor gets out to assess the situation and I see him signaling the driver to use the left side shoulder of the road and we go past a Mombasa Raha and Dreamline who had decided to use the right side of the road and got caught up. Later realised it was an accident. I didn’t know between who and who.

6:15am we pull over for a short call and CE 044L goes past us and later we catch up and leave them trailing us. Its 6:35pm and we go past a KBZ 790P. After Syokimau we meet traffic and this made us get to the city late. At last we make it to Accra road and its there that we are to get our next bus to Jinja, its Modern 2.

Ratings (Modern 7)

The ride – 9/10

Entertainment – no entertainment

Crew – 6/10

 

Part II Nairobi – Jinja

The engine is running and the conductor is tagging everyone’s luggage.  The driver (Captain Kiplimo) seems to be in a hurry urging Brian (the conductor) to close the door so that we can leave. We hit the road and I am still strong despite having travelled through the night. Everyone else on the highway seems to be relaxed and doing speeds of around 50km/h. Kinungi, still not much action, this machine has power. Naivasha and at 10:50am we pull over at Falcon petrol station Nakuru. This is the day the Supreme court is ruling the petition and the ruling was set for 11:00am. Outside the bus pax are huddled in groups discussing whether is safe to pass through Kisumu. The driver makes calls I understand to the manager in Kisumu and is warned not to take that route. We’re back in bus and comfortably cruising at 80kph. The ruling is read and I hear some ‘Tibim’ at the back of the bus and even without asking I can tell which way the ruling went. I guess it’s now safe to use the Kisumu route and after some time the driver receives a call and given the go ahead to use the route.

Sachangwan and I want to feel the mighty P410 going uphill, someone sitting at the back can’t even realise we’re doing uphill, the machine is powerful mein. We go past an Easy Coach with ease and leave it struggling (looked like it was doing 1st gear, hehee). I still wonder how this Easy Coach Company is so obsessed with these Mitsubishis. Muhoroni and we meet a huuuuge crowd chanting tibim and calling out Baba’s name, people are so happy on this side of the country. They are so peaceful though and some are even hanging on a police land cruiser and the officers are just smiling, it takes us around 30 minutes to go past the crowd and by the time we’re out the bus looks like it’s headed for a wedding ceremony, the guys decorated the bus with all types of leaves, twigs and branches. Ahead of us is a Transmara Bus but he is picking and dropping pax everywhere and couldnt keep up. In Kisumu it’s the same scenario with so many guys in town chanting, but all peaceful and slowly we make our way into the town and we break then proceed with our journey. Maseno, Luanda and then Busia. We get to Jinja late. My journey to Jinja had many unavoidable delays though.

Ratings (Modern 2)

The ride – 9/10

Entertainment – no entertainment once again (but the pax were so active and engaging)

Crew – 8/10

 

I get to the festival late (11 pm I guess), meet up with Marvin who was with Medad (I christen him “Slay King”) and the turn up is massive. The ratio of white men to black is 3:1. Everything is fine and the following day I meet Jared. The event was so successful, 72 hours of pure partying at the source of river Nile.

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