A Relaxing New Year with Ugandan Lakes

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January 7th 2009
Published: January 18th 2009
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As the more geographically aware amongst you will have realised, in our quest to get to Hong Kong we have thus far only succeeded in travelling in roughly the opposite direction! Therefore, one month into our trip it seemed like high time we started heading back through Uganda and hence in the right direction. After an enjoyable, but not particularly relaxing Christmas we went in search of some serious R&R and succeeded in finding a couple of excellent spots for putting our feet up and doing not much at all.

First stop was Lake Bunyonyi, located some 80km to the east of Kisoro. Here we found an excellent place to stay on an island on the lake, which was reached by a complementary dugout canoe transfer from the mainland, the only catch being that we needed to help with propulsion. The place we stayed at was a fantastic little set-up, which very impressively donates all of its profits to the local community. Equally impressive was their food, which ranks as probably the best we’ve had on this trip and we set about making up for our below-par calorie consumption over Christmas!

The lake itself is beautiful, with steeply terraced and forested hill-sides sloping to the water and is also home to an impressive array of birdlife. Apart from enjoying the views, food and our books, we did very little other than one day when we hired a dugout canoe and took a trip around some of the islands. At something like 20 foot long they are very difficult to control and it was at this point we realised how small a contribution our “help” must have been on the trip from the mainland!

After a fantastic few days relaxing we went in search of a change of scenery and found this in the form of another relaxing lakeside spot, the Ssese Islands on Lake Victoria. Although another island on a lake in Uganda, it seemed a world away from our previous port-of-call and was much more the classic tropical island, complete with palm trees and white sand beaches. The journey between these two places was a painfully slow, two day affair, involving a dugout canoe, three matatus (one of which had 30 people sharing the 15 seats!) and a ferry.

The campsite we stayed at was basic, but excellently located next to a beautiful private beach. The owners of the site were an aging German hippy couple, who appeared to have got very much stuck in the ‘70s and, as we discovered on New Year’s Eve, so had their musical taste. However, this didn’t prevent us from having an enjoyable and memorable (well mostly!) time seeing in 2009 with a multi-national cast sat drinking round their ramshackle bar. New Year’s Day and the following couple of days were leisurely to say the least and largely hammock based.

Before we got too stuck in the very stress free, laid back way of life on the island we decided to move on and get the ferry back to Kampala. Unlike our previous stay in the city, we stayed right in the city centre and certainly got to experienced the hustle and bustle of life in what appears to be a very dynamic and pleasant city. Our main activity in Kampala was feasting on some world-class Indian cuisine, provide by the city’s once again large Indian population. After much deliberation and a fantastic three weeks, we decided it was time to say goodbye to Uganda and booked ourselves tickets for the long bus journey back to Kenya.

Additional photos below
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19th January 2009

Everything is fine in Risley; the drizzle is glorious. Thanks for asking!
20th January 2009

Hello fellow islanders!
Hey Alex and Sarah, was great to see in the New Year with you. Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip - your photos are great! Take care, Adam

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