Our angel called Stabex

Kidepo is a very remote National Park in the North of Uganda. The road to get there is not very good, and neither is the way back. We had meticulously calculated how many kilometers we could drive on a full tank of gas and we should be able to make it to Kitgum, where we could find our next Shell or Total. We tend to use these stations, as the local stations are not always as trustworthy with the fuel they put in people's tanks. 

What we did not account for however, is that the activities we did around Kidepo arranged by the lodge, were planned with the use of our car. We expected to use a lodge car, but instead we had to drive some 70 extra kilometers with our car. When we left the lodge, we quickly entered the location in our phone and were on our way.

We seemed to easily make it to our preferred gas station and even passed another, decently looking gas station without topping up the fuel. However, with still 50 km to go, the 'low fuel' indicator started shining very bright. We carefully watched as the fuel indicator seemed to move down quicker than our remaining kilometers.

With about 20 km to go, the indicator seemed to show us that the tank was almost completely drained. We tried to find other gas stations, but Google did not help us very much. The closest one was 30km away, and that was the one we had passed before. With only 20km to our destination and 30 km to our closest gas station (behind us), the math did not add up. On top of this, we found out that the destination we had put in our phone was not correct. We were going the right way, but Kitgum was even 20 km further than we thought and what the previous route was telling us. This meant 40 kilometers to our gas station on an empty tank.

We had given up. There was no way for us to make it to Kitgum on this tank. So we decide to just try and go as far as the tank would get us and then get on a bodaboda (motorbike) to go to Kitgum with our jerrycan to get it filled. Yes, we have a backup fuel jerrycan, but we decided not to fill it as it was 'not necessary', since we had calculated the distance and it did not seem necessart. Another lesson learned! 

So, we just decided to see how far our tank gets us. We drove for not even 5 meters and then it happened:

As if we have an angel (or multiple) sitting on our rooftop tent, we suddenly see a gas pump. STABEX. This is not even a gas station, just a pump. We ask the clerk and they have diesel! We decide to break our rule of only using Total and Shell and put a few liters of Stabex fuel. We cannot describe the relief we felt at that moment. This is more than enough to get us to the correct Kitgum, where we fill up further (at a Shell) and we continue our way to our stop in Gulu.

Gulu was a lovely stopover. We spent the night in a nice guesthouse called Palm Garden, which had several manyattas, larger versions of the traditional houses that are still widely used in northern Uganda. We still have to do some editing on the photos and videos so we spend our afternoon behind our laptops. We had a nice lunch, dinner and continued our way to central Uganda the next morning for our next stop: Ziwa.

Fortunately, except for this little fuel moment, after more than 1500km and 20 days we still have had no major incidents on the road, no police stops and zero bribes. We are counting our blessings on this one.

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