What you need to know:
- Rooprai says police and other security agencies did not disturb him while driving on the road, except in countries like the DRC, and Rwanda where driving a right-hand vehicle is “tricky”.
An adventurous British man has spent six months driving through over 30 countries to reach Uganda.
Malkit Rooprai, a 63-year-old Kenyan-British data migration consultant, said he left the United Kingdom (UK) on October 6, 2022- driving a Toyota Land Cruiser Invincible bearing UK number plates, and reached the East African nation last month.
Since his arrival in Uganda, Rooprai says he has visited Bwindi National Park where he tracked mountain gorillas, Jinja City, Kakira Sugar Limited, and Sipi Falls among others.
From Europe, he drove through Ghana, Angola, Gambia, Senegal, Zambia Sierra Leone, Mauritania, Namibia, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Africa, Rwanda, and Kenya among others.
According to him, he at some point used a ferry to cross to France, Portugal and then Morocco as he aimed to reach Uganda- which was named the Pearl of Africa by former British Prime Minister, Sir Winton Churchill.
“I wanted to discover what others have not tried; It is sort of an adventure,” he noted at the weekend, when asked about this seemingly bizarre undertaking.
He said in 1967, while he was aged 7, his parents were invited to Uganda for a family member’s wedding party and he still has vivid memories of a photo opportunity that was taken in the then Kakira Sugar Works.
“I have read books and heard much about the history of Kakira. So, when I saw the billboard and the sugarcane plantations, I remembered the photo taken when I visited the factory as a child.”
Rooprai says he was driving along the Jinja-Iganga Highway, when he saw the signpost to the factory and decided to pay it a visit. At Kakira Sugar Limited in Eastern Uganda, he was welcomed by the Managing Director, Mayur Madhvani.
“I was so happy that when I toured the factory, I discovered that some of the products in UK markets are from the factory,” he added.
According to Rooprai, his car is fitted with satellite equipment for easy communication, accessibility by security and to allow his family to track his journey’s progress.
“I drove 350km daily and if the night got me on the road where there is no community settlement, I’d park the car near a roadside café,” he explained, adding: “Africa has developed and is rich in resources, beautiful scenery and welcoming people unlike the West.”
Rooprai says police and other security agencies did not disturb him while driving on the road, except in countries like the DRC, and Rwanda where driving a right-hand vehicle is “tricky”.
“I had wanted to go back through Sudan, but the war there could not allow me to use the same route for going back, depending on logistics at my disposal,” he added.