VOYAGE. When we went to Trackers Safari Lodge, we just had fun in southwestern Uganda, writes GLORIA HAGUMA.
June is a special month; not only because it is my birth month, but also marks the end of the first half of the year. So my friend Isaiah Rwanyekiro invited me to join the #BreathtakingUganda team for their expedition to Bwindi Impenetrable forest. I was thrilled to also learn that this is one of many monthly trips that the group will be doing around Uganda this year.
From Kampala, depending on what time you set off and how many stopovers you make, this journey will take between 10 to 15 hours. We set off from Kampala at 8am and arrived at Trackers Safari Lodge, our host at around 10pm. We made a few stopovers at the Equator, and later in Mbarara for lunch.
The most tiring bit of the journey was the stretch from Buhoma, to the forest. It is important that you have someone well-versed with the hilly route; otherwise you could end up driving in circles, as there isn’t clear signage.
The reception at the lodge made the tiring drive worth it. We would be spending the two days of our trip there. The facility which comprises eight self-contained luxurious cottages, offers amenities for all kinds of tourists; whether you are travelling alone or with your family. And the one area that the lodge had managed to score highly on is the views. Strolling out of your cottage in the morning will have you right in front of the impenetrable forest, and its sprawling hills, and misty rain forest. Other spaces at the lodge such as the restaurant and lounge area also boost of these breath-taking views.
On our arrival, we were ushered into the main dining area, where we had the option of chicken or pork, served off the restaurant’s a la carte menu. The three-course meal could easily earn them a five star, because of how tasty the meals were, and the presentation was impeccable. The meal portions are very rational, and in case you were not satisfied to your fill, the dessert, comprising of cake slices made up for that. I looked forward to gorilla tracking, but I was unable to get a permit as these have to be booked ahead of time since tracking is done in groups of eight. You can get your permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices and these go for Shs250,000 for Ugandans.
We were later given a tour of the lodge’s accommodation, and I stayed at a double cottage with Shifra, a lovely woman who I later got to learn was a mother of two beautiful children.
The lodge offers the perfect relaxation space, and its staff is helpful and kind. You may, however, need to devise your own Internet options, as the lodge’s Wi-Fi is not reliable, maybe due to the terrain.
Activities lined up
The next day, those who were going for the gorilla tracking, including my roommate, had to be up by 6am to begin their detour, and the rest of us would take a nature walk later on in the day.
While it may not be as thrilling as the gorilla tracking, the nature walk is also a great activity to engage in.
The three-hour (to and from) walk will take you through the beautiful and quite impenetrable forest, where you could catch a glimpse of some of the mammals in the forest. We didn’t get to see any on our walk, but managed to make it up to the waterfalls, in Bwindi, that make for the perfect photo op back drop. You are given two to three armed guards for the walk. Protection guaranteed. If you are a travel maniac, then Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is breathtaking.
Trackers Safari Lodge accommodation rates range from $500(about Shs1.8m) for Ugandans and $1,000 (about Shs3.6m) for foreigners.