What you need to know:
- Getaway. Born during the lockdown due to the pandemic outbreak, Bush Baby Lodge makes one connect with nature, writes Edgar R. Batte.
Children happily rode down the slope barefoot. They kept beating their hands on the rough old bicycle tyres to speedily cycle them downhill.
Calling each other by name, and stealing quick glimpses at each other, none would let the other beat them at the race. The youngsters were only disrupted by a motorcycle horn that prompted them to veer off the dirt road into fairly overgrown shrubs that hedged gardens of maize.
The evening sun illuminated the sweaty lines on the faces of the children who were perspiring from the noticeably fulfilling game. After cycling downhill, they ran back up to the top and repeated the pattern.
Then, a breeze wafted to cool their bodies.
Arrival and nature takes over
Onwards we rode and, in a few metres, Google Maps announced that we had arrived at our destination: Bush Baby Lodge. A cheerful committee of dogs wagged their tails as they awaited one of their masters to lead them to the parking.
After we had exchanged pleasantries, dogs escorted guests to the reception area in a grass thatched shelter with a semi-open plan. In there, a bar, lounge, and restaurant, stood out with African décor which comprised small drums and metallic handicrafted colourfully dressed man on a bicycle placed on one of the bookshelves.
From the ceiling hung green potted plants that befit the purpose of nature curtain given their length and placement. At a closer glance is plant life décor in white containers on each of the dining tables whose table mats are woven from banana fibres.
The floor is red earth. On one side of the shelter is a well-tended hedge of multicoloured plants while the other opens to a hammock tied to tree and further on, a fireplace surrounded by sitting furniture.
There is still enough space for children to come alive as they cycle, run around, feed, sit and chat.
On the lower side of the compound is a herd of Friesian cattle tended by white egrets which peck and rid cattle of ticks.
The paddock stands in the foreground of a forest that forms a curve at the bottom of the compound. Within an inner fence of the paddock is a swimming pool that gives visitors an aura of enjoying a splashy adventure in sight of greenery thicket that the lodge owner, Alice Namuli recalls having been part of the larger Mabira Central Forest Reserve.
In the pool, a father and son swam and took turns to throw water bubbles at each other and laugh loudly. In this neatly mowed compound is a children’s play area with a slide, a climb adventure board, a volleyball court as well as cycling and horse-riding tracks.
In this rural countryside, it is peaceful and quiet, tranquil for relaxation within spaces that are homely just the way the proprietors wanted it.
Bush Baby Lodge, situated in Kyaggwe, Mukono District, was born during the lockdown that was occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak that affected life in the sense that social interaction was limited.
At the time, Namuli and her husband, Blazevic left Kampala for Kyaggwe in Mukono where they were able to develop their land an eco-friendly tourism spot that would draw in nature lovers who sought to getaway from the city bustle.
Besides relaxation, the lodge is a place purposed to bring out an educational eco system in the sense that away from the leisure, a visitor can appreciate how a cattle farm, piggery, poultry project, vegetable garden and more, do play into the self-sustenance model that allows tourists to engage in activities such as milking cows in the morning. If you are a fan of organic foods, the lodge sells to you vegetables grown on the property.
And for bird lovers, the chattering weaver birds excite. A little more attention, will lead one on a birding journey within the compound and further on into the forest where Isaac Jjuuko, the resident guide and nature lover will gladly take you around to identify and capture several birds.
During our stay, I was inspired to go birding thanks to an Australian birder who told us that he had managed to see 47 birds on a morning excursion. Indeed, there were sightings of some beautiful birds as we combed through the green shrubbery and open-air points in the forested area.
In there, I was able to see four red-eyed doves, one blue-spotted wood-doves, two great blue Turaco, one dideric cuckoo, one African emerald cuckoo, four hadada Ibis, one lizard buzzard, one African pied hornbill, two black-and-white-casqued hornbill and one woodland kingfisher, plus many more varieties.
When night fell, fulfilled from the sightings, connection with nature by allowing my feet to touch the earth as I walked around, my mind was relaxed. How kind nature is to provide so much and all we can do is preserve, conserve, and protect it.