The birding paradise that is Lake Victoria, a resort for getaway options

The birding paradise that is Lake Victoria, a resort for getaway option. PHOTOS/ EDGAR BATTE

What you need to know:

  • As we further sailed, the lake opened up to more life, of grey herons, a little egret patched on a leafless tree branch then a long tail cormorant and Pied Kingfisher flying in the open skies that made for a good photography moment against the blue clear skies.

At 11:04 pm on Sunday night, the sound of rain as it hit the leaves on a flower bed outside my bedroom window was therapy. It was in natural unison with the sound of rickets and from afar that of dogs.

As the window swept through the trees, the skies broke into a spark, lighting the skies in a split second and with it, a grumbling sound from the clouds. Then there was the silence again, with rickets going silent as if to let the raindrops have their turn as offering peace to dwelling residents of the resort.

The nostrils could only take in the smell of fresh earth while the eyes lay on white and golden lights that dotted different spots of Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa.

Sitting by the balcony of room 054, I poured myself a cup of coffee to indulge my taste buds and keep the chill at bay as it poured and soaked the ground and watered nature that’s landscaped around the expanse of the resort.

The blessings of the rains were well taken on my last night on a weekend away, my mind was at peace and my heart was joyful after observing local countrymen and women enjoy their time at the tourist attraction in encouraging numbers.

My belly was full on an organic culinary treat I had treated myself to, of the garden eggs, eggplants, well-done groundnut sauce and matooke prepared in a wrap of banana leaves.

The buffet had more culinary options. Well, in that moment and at that time, it felt good to be sensitising my spirit in nature’s splendour knowing that I had freshened up enough to face another week of pacing through the busy city life that defines Kampala.

The change of environment had afforded me the opportunity to connect with birds on a cruise on Lake Victoria.

Right at the mouth of the marina, marabou storks stood on tree branches looking down as if to pass just on the folly of humanity that has cost them part of their homes by cutting trees.

As seen from the marina, the tree stands out prominently, its dark buttress in strong contrast with the well maintained eye-catching green Bermuda grass that’s the turf for golfers in the Kigo area.

At the early morning hour, two long tail and great cormorants are seen pecking into the ground to feed on some insects. That’s on the right side. On the left-hand side, African open billed storks and more cormorants seem in the good company of each other as their feet gently and slowly strutted on a small island that overlooks a hill with upcoming real estate facilities.

The lake was tranquil and the cruise smooth. The calmness was favourable for a group of Egyptian Geese, young and old, to take a swim, a few minutes from their resting place that’s composed of stones along an oval part of the curving Professional Golfers Association (PGA) rated, 18 golf course.

As we further sailed, the lake opened up to more life, of grey herons, a little egret patched on a leafless tree branch then a long tail cormorant and Pied Kingfisher flying in the open skies that made for a good photography moment against the blue clear skies.

Then came a heart-breaking moment as we came face-to-face with a group of people with pangas cutting plants, perhaps for herbal use, on the ‘Mayinja/Rocky Island’.

Captain Achilles Aliaku stopped the boat and the look on his face told of a sunken heart as he looked at an empty bird nest on a big tree and lost shrubbery where a number of birds lived.

The locals-only continued to wield their machetes to destroy the natural habitat. The mind sought solace in clicking the camera to capture images of fishermen who were out to cast their nets at the evening hour as the sunset and shied from the skies in a beautiful manifestation of their golden side.

The sun was generous to share its beauty by kissing the lake in a long stretch that colorfully illuminated the waters on which the cormorants flew and occasionally took a dip into the waters.

For every hour on the lake cruise, the resort charges US150. You can choose to make a trip to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary which is two to three hours from the resort.

While captain Aliaku sails you away, you can sip on a soft at Shs4, 000 each or frothy drink; local beers at Shs10, 000 while imported beers go for Shs12, 000. If you choose to stay at Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa, you will part with US$165 for a single and US$185 for a double room.

The rates are on a bed and breakfast basis, taxes inclusive. Children of five to 12 years can stay in their own room, pay 75 per cent of the adult rate while if they are to share a room with an adult, are charged 50 per cent.

Dinner or lunch is charged US$25. While at the resort, you can use gym and spa services, take health walks or jog along clearly designed tracks. There are gym and spa services too. And like St. Augustine of Hippo observed, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Go travel.

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