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Sep 08 2013

The beautiful Lake Bunyoni

After tumbling down the mountain from Rwenzori, we intended to spend some time in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Especially, we wanted to go on the Kazinga channel cruise – a two hour cruise on the channel that joins Lake George and Lake Albert. This was, however, not to be.

Stopping briefly in Kasese to check emails and do some admin, we found the park office for QENP. One of the guides helped us with information, and provided us with a quote for one of the locals to take us down to the cruise the next day. US$100! On top of park fees and activity fee! Yes, US$50 cheaper than taking our own car in, but still too expensive for us. We declined, and headed to Simba Safari Camp to spend the night. We had hoped that they would provide a shuttle to the cruise, but no such luck. Our stay in QENP was therefore reduced to the drive through the park on the main road. We did see buffalo, waterbuck and elephant on the way through which helped a bit on the disappointment of not doing the channel cruise.

The drive south towards Lake Bunyoni took us through some really scenic landscape towards the town of Kabale. We drove through the town and headed over the mountain down to the lake. A stunning view of a beautiful lake. The first campsite we tried – Kalebas – did not have space for Brodie and our roof-top tent, so we continued on to the Bunyoni Overland Resort. Here we settled in at the campsite – a circle at the bottom of a hill, overlooking the lake. Just as we had finished setting up camp we were treated to a very pleasant surprise as Ram and his wife came to say hello. We last saw Ram in the UK at the Overland Show just before we left! What a small world it is. Ram grew up in Uganda and moved to the UK when he was 15. We spent the evening together, and Ram treated us to breakfast the following morning before they left.

After seeing Ram and his wife off we went for a walk to explore the area around the campsite. We had a lovely walk, adding more birds to our growing list. Our walk also took in a few of the other hotels and lodges on that part of the lake. There really are some nice places to stay. On arrival back at the campsite we noticed we were not alone any more: two overland trucks had joined us and a small city of tents had sprung up. It was not too noisy or too many people, but it put quite a bit of pressure on ablution facilities not really able to cater for such an influx. The last half of them showered in cold water. The two trucks really displayed the difference in travel standard – the one was a luxury Spanish/Portuguese truck with three staff and table cloths; the other one was a budget truck out of Botswana where the driver was also the guide and the cook, and where everyone had to pitch in.

The next morning we saw the overlander trucks off before going in to Kabale to stock up a bit and continue towards Mgahinga. As we left the campsite, the rain started and by the time we reached town it was coming down in buckets. High street was like a river necessitating a bit of planning and agility to reach the front of the store. In the five seconds it took me to run from the bank back to the car I was soaked through – not really fun.

Heading out of Kabale we again took the road towards Lake Bunyoni, turning at the lake and following the lake shore along a dirt road. We almost reached 2200m before descending towards the lake again. The drive was beautiful, undulating along the lake side, passing small villages clinging to the steep shores amongst agricultural fields plastered to the hill-side, really showing off the Ugandan country side.

We soon reached the town of Kisoro, our last stop before finding the turn-off to Mgahinga National Park. In Kisoro we stopped for a cup of coffee at the Gorilla Junction to gather some strength before starting the very bumpy and rocky road up towards the park to find a place to stay for the night.


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