Transport and commuting in upcountry Africa

John Otim


We entered the small northern town in the heat of noon. We were surprised at the heavy smog cover even here. We thought we had left all that behind, in the sprawling capital city to the south with its teaming millions where un-serviced used cars from Japan clog the streets and where unregulated factories pollute the air.  

Our five hour journey in a crowded and speeding bus where a preacher man delivered the message of Christendom and blessed us had been mercifully uneventful. Delightful sceneries of green hills, forests and marshland   relieved the boredom. In this country even here hundreds of kilometers away from the higher altitude of the south the land was still green. Now we were in the gently undulating landscape typical of the north. In this town they call the bicycle capital of the world young and sinewy bicycle men pressed in upon us demanding to convey us at once to our destinations. Bicycles and motorbikes are the taxis in this town. Everyone rides them.

We opted for the motorbikes and now once in motion again, cool winds assailed us, cancelling the effect of the heat, as we rode the 5 kilometer stretch to our destination. We loved the experience and decided to return to town the next day just for the fun of it. We carried our cameras and we took some pictures, plenty of it.  They show people as they commuted and transported goods on bicycles, on motorbikes, on trucks and some on their head as they trekked. Here are kids too doing the things kids love to do. We thought you would be interested and made a selection from our huge album especially for you. It wasn’t easy; we had to leave out plenty of good stuff. Take a look: (photo by James & John)