De Addis Abeba a Ciudad del Cabo (From Addis Ababa to Cape Town)


A piece of paradise (revised and reworked)
January 27, 2012, 4:10 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Please note: This is a revised entry in addition to the one I excitedly posted on 23 January shortly after arriving at Byoona Amagara where I muddled up some of my facts. Now after having spent a few days here, I thought I’d expand on my thoughts about this beautiful little place and correct some of the information previously provided.

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The last few mornings I have woken up to the light seeping in from our balcony and the sound and sight of the birds chirping and hopping about on the railings. If I lift my head just a little bit, I look out on to the great expanse that is Lake Bunyonyi (also aptly known as ‘Place of many little birds’). As soon as we arrived at Byoona Amagara by dugout canoe, we knew we would be staying here for a while – we’d found our little piece of Ugandan paradise.

Geodomes of Byoona Amagara, as seen from the dugout canoe

Geodomes of Byoona Amagara, as seen from the dugout canoe

Byoona Amagara Island Retreat (B.A.) sits on a hillside on Itambira Island, one of the 29 islands located in Lake Bunyonyi at the southwestern corner of Uganda, close to the borders of Rwanda and the Congo. All proceeds generated from B.A. support education and sustainable community development in the lake. The location of B.A., the accommodation and the good food all make it easy to support this worthy cause.

As previously explained, our room is a geodome, a spherical like hut with only three walls which opens out on to a balcony from where we get to watch the birds and life on the lake go by. It’s definitely one of the coolest ‘rooms’ we’ve ever stayed in! The showers are outdoors (and cold – we were counting today and we think we’ve only had two hot showers in the almost three weeks we’ve been in Uganda) with a gap in the wall so you can watch the last of the dugout canoes heading back to the surrounding island villages as the sun starts to set. If nothing else, it helps to take your mind off the cold water!

Our home for seven days

Our home for seven days

How we've been spending our days

How we've been spending our days

Shower with a view

Shower with a view

Our days on the island have gone something like this – waking up to birds and lake views before a hearty breakfast of either pancakes with banana and chocolate or the healthier option of fruit or eggs, then a bit of reading and relaxing (or washing – we seem to do a lot of washing in Africa – and man, the bars of African laundry soap are amazing!) either on the terrace of the restaurant or by the swimming dock before lunch. Lunch has been great – the menu includes avocados filled with freshly caught little Bunyonyi crayfish and topped with (real) cheese, stuffed eggplant or potato chapatis crammed with vegetables covered with more cheese. Then to ease the guilt and our slowly expanding waistlines, we climb into a dugout canoe and paddle around some of the neighbouring islands for a couple of hours before heading back to shower and to watch the sun shimmering over the water as it starts to set before ordering dinner.

One of the toughest decisions to make on the island

Probably the toughest decision to make on the island

Lake Bunyonyi crayfish - delicious!

Lake Bunyonyi crayfish - delicious!

One of the reasons for our expanding waistlines

One of the reasons for our expanding waistlines

The mode of transport in the lake is the dugout canoe and although they’re pretty sturdy (they’re carved out of eucalyptus trees), they’re very sensitive to the wind as well as the slightest movement from inside the boat. Alberto practised quite a bit the correct way to steer to enable us to travel in a straight line and to avoid going round and round in circles, which is known as the ‘mzungu corkscrew’ (white man corkscrew)! Slowly making our way around some of the islands (most times with no one else around except a few birds) and marvelling at the cultivated hillsides and looking out across the lake is a great way to spend the afternoon.

The dugout canoe master

The dugout canoe master

Sometimes I paddle too . . .

Sometimes I paddle too . . .

The view from our balcony

The view from our balcony

One of the islands closest to us is called Punishment Island which is tiny and easy to recognise as it only has one tree in the centre of it. Sadly, this is where unmarried pregnant women were dumped to die (and most of them did as they didn’t have the stamina to swim to shore). Not a nice bit of knowledge in the midst of all the surrounding beauty.

Now that we’re feeling relaxed and like we’ve had a proper holiday, we’re ready for the next destination – Tanzania (we’ve decided to give Rwanda a miss). We’re leaving paradise on Monday and it should take us about a week (ferry and train timetable dependent) to get from the Ugandan border to Dar Es Salaam but we’re both pretty excited about the prospect of our first bit of beach time.

It’s a hard life . . .

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5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

You little bit of tranquility by the lake looks and sounds beautiful! So good to have a holiday within a holiday eh! You going to Zanzibar too? Always thinkgs that just the sound of that island sounds so exotic, mysterious, exciting and promising! Hope that leaving the canoe behind isn’t too difficult and happy travels to Tanzania ! xx

Comment by Berni

I love my home comforts – but I think I could give those up for a cold outdoors shower overlooking a lake! Food looks good – if you’re not weight watching – but that’s all part of a holiday & experiencing new tastes! Further happy travels in Africa. x x

Comment by Cheryl

Well you will know from my love of sunsets that my fav pic is the view from your balcony (I think it’s a sunset or sunrise?) Love it! The food sounds delicious – I’m going to try and make my own. I’d say we definately showed the Laoations our white man cork-screw – I didn’t even know there was a term for it but at least I know it’s not just me :) I love the idea of the geodome! I did some volunteer work in the village of Bunju which is an hr from Dar Es Salaam, they have a bakery which we helped to build not far from the side of the road if are aware you are near it. x

Comment by Valerie McIntosh

Hi there – I have been out of touch with your blog since before xmas and you seem to have done loads !! since then !! Simone am sitting this at desk at EY so you can imagine how dull dull dull life seems here compared to your lovely pictures and stories! It transports you to another world reading your blog! The huts by the lakes look gorge! and the outdoor shower – A real back to nature experience….so good for the soul. You must be getting very good at the canoe handling by now ! It is very interesting to hear what the food is like having never ventured to that part of the world. Sounds tasty !

Comment by Tracey Smith

Wow!

Comment by Cheryl P.




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