After our memorable stay in Bwindi, the Muzungus were back on the road ( yes you guessed right, we are referring to ourselves as this is the term Ugandan use to call us white people, or literally translated means”someone who roams around aimlessly” :)). This time we were heading to Lake Bunyonyi, in south western Uganda close to the border with Rwanda.
Located at 1,962 m above sea level, Lake Bunyonyi is also called “Place of many little birds” and we found it to be extremely relaxing and calming. We spent 2 nights doing nothing except for sitting on our porch, relaxing and bird-watching (OK and also eating).
Above: Speckled mousebird
We had a few game drives left in our 2-week safari trip so after resting for those 2 days we headed towards our last park, Lake Mburo, known for its healthy population of zebras.
We passed many markets on the way, anything from your roadside butchers to your regular fruits and vegetable stands, pineapple bike vendors, and mobile mini marts.
But we chose to buy our fruits and vegetables at what we called the drive-through: just stop your car in the middle of the road and let the market come to you -see below
Mobile mini-mart above, Below: video of our drive through of the veggie market
We got to Lake Mburo National Park in mid-afternoon and did a 2 hour game drive that delivered zebras, impalas, pumbas (sorry we can’t call them any other names), topis, black-faced vervet monkeys, bushbucks, and even the timid and elusive eland (one of the largest antelopes).
Eland, the second largest antelope in the world
We relaxed back at our cabin on our balcony and watched the vervet monkeys and impalas eat side by side till dinner time. The next morning we did a quick game drive (seeing the usual suspects from the day before) and then started our long drive back to Kampala which would mark the end of the safari. Along the way, we noticed fish hanging on the front bumpers of cars, and our guide explained it was the only way for people to transport them without them rotting. People cannot afford an icebox, so this method is the best next thing.
One of the many “fish cars”heading out of Kampala for the holidays
As we passed different towns, our guide would also point out each town’s area of expertise: stools, drums, potatoes, etc., and stall after stall of their goods would line each side of the street. Slowly but surely, the evidence of nearing Kampala showed itself until we were in a sea of people, boda-bodas, mini van taxis, bikes, dust…chaos. Thankfully our accommodations for the next 3 days was in a more serene area of the city where we could just relax and catch up on laundry, blogging, banking, email, etc. We even had a friendly dog, Maxie, who followed us everywhere.
We did have a rather funny (we can say that now) Christmas dinner. We walked to a nearby recommended restaurant only to find the gates closed but yet some activity within its grounds. A couple of locals were yelling at someone inside asking if they were open, and we heard a gentleman responding “in 30 minutes”. As we were walking toward these two men and they knew we were also trying to get in, they told us (since they didn’t think we had heard) it would open in an hour, and then walked away. Odd…we thought. Then as we stood there trying to decide where to go, the man inside the restaurant told us to come on in and his armed guard (which we’ve gotten use to now) opened the gate for us. So I guess they were open for tourists but not locals yet!
We sat down and ordered dinner: Sylvie made a daring move and ordered a fresh garden salad and James BBQ pork chop. The waiter kept mentioning BBQ goat to James, to which James answered and made clear to the waiter”Pork, no goat!”. The waiter said ok and repeated “Pork, no goat”. After waiting for over an hour and wondering if they were actually slaughtering the pig or looking for one, our food finally came. First Sylvie’s salad, which looked good ,and 10 minutes later James’ dish. James took one bite and right away knew it wasn’t pork at all but perhaps rare goat! We called our waiter over and told him it wasn’t pork, but he absolutely assured us it was. We’ve never seen red pork in our lives nor had one that tasted like this unless it was some special cut of the pig we don’t want to know about. Anyway, at least the salad tasted good and at that point we just wanted to leave the restaurant and were just hoping we wouldn’t get sick!
There’s been soooo many times on this part of the trip where communication just doesn’t flow through and we can’t figure out why as most Ugandans speak English very well. The only conclusion we’ve come to is that they don’t want to offend you or lose face or tell you they don’t know, so they tell you what they think you want to hear. Even if it’s not true!! So lesson learned: ask the same question many times in different ways and you might get the real answer!
Our B&B was full up the last night, so we had to move accommodations. We stayed in Entebbe close to the airport figuring it was a safe distance to assure we made our flight and not chance the tangled traffic jams of Kampala. But Sylvie didn’t do her homework very well and we ended up in an Entebbe B&B that wasn’t good (noisy, shared bathroom with 3 other rooms- 9 people total). So after talking to the owner for a few minutes (he was nice enough to let us out of our reservation), we took off on foot and found another guest house that was much better!
That evening, we had a nice dinner in a restaurant overlooking Lake Victoria.
Overall, we had a great time in Uganda and found the country to be beautiful, lush and very safe. It also boasted a wide variety of wildlife. We are now headed to Tanzania for a couple of weeks.