Only in Africa

All of us here at Nile River Explorers have a special love for Africa, and especially Jinja our home in Uganda. There’s something nearly everyday that will put a smile on your face and wish you could share with a friend.
So we have put together a collection of our favourite, oldie but goodie photo’s and funnies that have bounced around the world wide web over the last few years. Some are even on our doorstep.
Please feel free to share this page with friend …

Or if you have any of your own 'Only in Africa' signs you would like us to include, please send them to us.

Signs that don't quite work

Have you ever tried to learn a second language – it’s not easy, but with so many languages throughout this continent, English has in many places become not only a second language but also a common language. As a result, sometimes the translation to English doesn’t always work or is just brutally honest. Here are some examples of signs you won’t find anywhere else in the world except Africa.


We know what you mean but …..

Thanks for the warning.In a restaurant in Zambia:
"Open seven days a week and weekends."
On the grounds of a private school in South Africa:
"No trespassing without permission."
On a window of a Nigerian shop:
"Why go elsewhere to be cheated when you can come here?."
Thanks for the warning.


So when did we get 'Drive-In' toilets?In a hotel in Mozambique:
        "Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9.00 am and 11.00am daily."

In a Zimbabwean restaurant:
         "Customers who find our waitresses rude ought to see the manager."

So when did we get 'Drive-In' toilets?


Funny looking baboonOn a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo:
"Take note: When this sign is submerged, the river is impassable."

On a poster in Ghana:
"Are you an adult who cannot read? If so, we can help."

A sign seen on a hand dryer in a Lesotho public toilet:
"Risk of electric shock-Do not activate with wet hands."
Funny looking baboon

Which way do I go?In a Botswana jewellery shop:
         "Ears pierced while you wait."

On one of the buildings of a Sierra Leonne hospital:
         "Mental Health Prevention Centre."
Which way do I go?


Well at least they're honest.In a Malawi hotel:
         "It is forbidden to steal towels please. If you are not a person to do such a thing, please don't read this notice."
In a cemetery in Uganda:
"Persons are prohibited from picking flowers from any but their graves."
Well at least they're honest


Well I suppose if you're in a hurry?In a maternity ward of a clinic in Tanzania:
         "No children allowed!"

In a photo studio in Chitungwiza(Zimbabwe):         
         "Photos taken while you wait"

In a Namibian nightclub:
         "Ladies are not allowed to have children in the bar."
Well I suppose if you're in a hurry?


Thank you for explaining.A sign posted in an Algerian tourist camping park:
"It is strictly forbidden on our camping site that people of different sex, for instance a man and woman, live together in one tent unless they are married to each other for that purpose."

Thankyou for explaining that.

And our favourite one of all because it is literally in our own front yard:

I think the word they meant ws strive.



More signs ....

Dangerous descent for people in wheel chairs
Lucky ostriches
Apparently it makes you lazy at work
Dr Ekpo Miracle Worker
Blunt but honest
Now that had to be on purpose
Always good to get helpful information
Take Away?
What you need is counselling
Must be Zimbabwe
Okay. You have been warned
A bargain is one thing but ....!!

On the road ....

Driving in Africa is an experience itself- here's some examples of why


A truck with an afro - cool
I hope its not an emergency
Very nice idea to go out for a drive dear
And they said they would not last
Standing room only
You'll need good brakes for that
Good thing I don't know my left from my right
Sorry officer was I speeding
I think that is called a serious African massage
Which came first, the chicken or the egg ?
You have been warned
And proud of it
Come join us there is still room
A picture says a thousand words


It really is a jungle out there ....


Fill her up
I hope the elephant doesn't have an identity crisis
Mmm haven't used a mac before
Just passing, thought I'd stop in
I must say I am looking exceedingly handsome today


The law of the wild says kill only when you are hungry!!!

Photographer Michel Denis-Huot, who captured these amazing pictures on safari in Kenya's Masai Mara in October last year, said he was astounded by what he saw:

"These three brothers (cheetahs) have been living together since they left their mother at about 18 months old,' he said. 'On the morning we saw them, they seemed not to be hungry, walking quickly but stopping sometimes to play together. 'At one point, they met a group of impala who ran away. But one youngster was not quick enough and the brothers caught it easily'".

These extraordinary scenes followed.

Kill only when hungry Kill only when hungry


kIll only when hungry Kill only when hungry


But you can always rely on African ingenuity ....


You missed a spot
What ? It works
Its great when I'm driving - hands free
Meals on wheels
Re-cycling at its best
A boda boda from a whole new perspective
The original Walkman
So much better than expensive shampoo
What they fit!


And here are some just for fun ....


Trust Me !
Damn! No reception
Not giving me a lot of confidence


African Space Research

BBC News (Kampala) 25th August 2011, By Anna Cavell

Uganda Space ShutlleIt would be easy to laugh at Chris Nsamba, founder of the African Space Research Programme.
For a start, his research centre is based in his back garden where there's not much evidence of the type of sophisticated tools and machinery I'd imagine you need for this kind of work. When I was there, most of the engineers were equipped with just sandpaper and paint brushes.
They haven't even started work on the shuttle yet, at the moment it's more of a theoretical project.

They have begun to build an aircraft though, apparently to test their engineering skills before they begin work on a shuttle which they hope will send a Ugandan cosmonaut into space.
The plane they've built is sandwiched tightly, nose-to-tail, between two single-storey buildings which house Chris and his team. It is painted blue and white and has the Ugandan flag proudly displayed on the side of the cockpit.
It's far from complete, there's still no engine - just a pile of bricks to simulate weight, and a mass of wires hang out underneath.
But it still seems like quite an achievement and if this hadn't been a space programme I'd have been pretty impressed. Chris believes that if his team is successful, this will still be the first aeroplane designed and built in Uganda.

Jackfruit tree

Chris's team is made up of volunteers, mainly engineering students, and when I visited all of them were busy at work, each furiously rubbing away at the fuselage with sandpaper. All except for one man whose job appeared to be to paint the same spot on top of the cockpit over and over again.

I asked Chris how far away he thinks he is from his dream of sending a manned shuttle into orbit.
"Let me tell you", he replied, "building a space shuttle is a big job." He thinks he'll have it done in four to six years.

Ugandan Space ShuttleStanding in the garden, watching the team labouring away beneath a jackfruit tree, tarpaulin fence gently flapping in the breeze, I was fighting back cynicism pretty hard.

Uganda is not known to be a big player in space exploration. In fact, Chris will need to certify the would-be cosmonauts himself as there's no-one else in the country able or qualified to do so.

He's even having to do the training himself. His course draws heavily on his background as a student of astronomy - he's been teaching them how to calculate the distance between planets for example, telling them what the Karman line is, and educating them about the dangers of re-entry.

A lack of local facilities is hampering the project and I asked Chris how he plans to simulate zero gravity, for example, in Kampala.

"Easy" he said. "I've got a jet engine on order so I'm planning to build a tunnel, put the engine at one end and when I throw a guy in he'll float in a similar way to how he would in space."


Another challenge is finance. A recent decision in the US to reduce funding to Nasa provoked a public outcry, yet the space agency will still receive many billions this year and next.

The African Space Research Programme relies on donations from its members, of whom there are 600 or so, mainly in Uganda. They'd need to give pretty generously for Chris's craft just to get off the ground, never mind make it into orbit.

So, it's easy to mock, and to dismiss Chris as a dreamer, and to say that an African space shuttle is a fantasy. But many Ugandans feel differently, and they look with pride to the country's contribution to space exploration.

Ugandan Space ShuttleUntil last month, the first black flight director at Nasa was Kwatsi Alibaruho, a Ugandan national. The country's president has been known to refer to Alibaruho as an example of what his country's people are capable of achieving. His father is an academic at a Ugandan university, and according to President Museveni the achievements of his son confound the world's view of Uganda as underdeveloped and backward.

Walking away from the African Space Research Programme, I had to feel some sneaking admiration for Chris's ambition, if not a great deal of confidence that Uganda's first manned space shuttle will be lifting off from Kampala within the decade.

It made me think of a line from a Robert Browning poem: "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"


Top African news stories over the years....

The Cape Times ( Cape Town )

"I have promised to keep his identity confidential,' said Jack Maxim, a spokeswoman for the Sandton Sun Hotel, Johannesburg , "but I can confirm that he is no longer in our employment.

We asked him to clean the lifts and he spent four days on the job. When I asked him why, he replied: 'Well, there are forty of them, two on each floor and sometimes some of them aren't there'.

Eventually, we realised that he thought each floor had a different lift, and he'd cleaned the same two twelve times. "We had to let him go. It seemed best all round. I understand he is now working for Escom."

The Star ( Johannesburg )

"The situation is absolutely under control," Transport Minister Ephraem Magagula told the Swaziland Parliament in Mbabane . "Our nation's merchant navy is perfectly safe. We just don't know where it is, that's all." Replying to an MP's question, Minister Magagula admitted that the landlocked country had completely lost track of its only ship, the Swazimar: "We believe it is in a sea somewhere".


"At one time, we sent a team of men to look for it, but there was a problem with drink and they failed to find it, and so, technically, yes, we've lost it a bit. But I categorically reject all suggestions of incompetence on the part of this government. The Swazimar is a big ship painted in the sort of nice bright colours you can see at night. Mark my words, it will turn up. The right honourable gentleman opposite is a very naughty man, and he will laugh on the other side of his face when my ship comes in."

The Standard ( Kenya )

"What is all the fuss about?" Weseka Sambu asked a hastily convened news conference at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport . "A technical hitch like this could have happened anywhere in the world. You people are not patriots You just want to cause trouble." Sambu, a spokesman for Kenya Airways, was speaking after the cancellation of a through flight from Kisumu, via Jomo Kenyatta, to Berlin.

"The forty-two passengers had boarded the plane ready for take-off, when the pilot noticed one of the tyres was flat. Kenya Airways did not possess a spare tyre, and unfortunately the airport nitrogen canister was empty. A passenger suggested taking the tyre to a petrol station for inflation, but unluckily the jack had gone missing so we couldn't get the wheel off. Our engineers tried heroically to re-inflate the tyre with a bicycle pump, but had no luck, and the pilot even blew into the valve with his mouth, but he passed out."

"When I announced that the flight had to be abandoned, one of the passengers, Mr Mutu, suddenly struck me about the face with a life-jacket whistle and said we were a national disgrace. I told him he was being ridiculous, and that there was to be another flight in a fortnight. And, in the meantime, he would be able to enjoy the scenery around Kisumu, albeit at his own expense."

From a Zimbabwean newspaper

While transporting mental patients from Harare to Bulawayo , the bus driver stopped at a roadside shebeen (beer hall) for a few beers. When he got back to his vehicle, he found it empty, with the 20 patients nowhere to be seen.

Realizing the trouble he was in if the truth were uncovered, he halted his bus at the next bus stop and
offered lifts to those in the queue. Letting 20 people board, he then shut the doors and drove straight to the Bulawayo mental hospital, where he hastily handed over his 'charges', warning the nurses that they were particularly excitable.

Staff removed the furious passengers; it was three days later that suspicions were roused by the consistency of stories from the 20. As for the real patients: nothing more has been heard of them and they have apparently blended comfortably back into Zimbabwean society.