Ssitting Sserenely On Ssese

Trip Start May 30, 2005
Trip End Sep 30, 2006

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Flag of Uganda  ,
Saturday, July 15, 2006

Two of our Ugandan hosts, Simon and Molly, organised a trip to the Ssese (yes, it does start with a double S) islands for us, very nice of them. All we had to do was turn up outside our hostel with our bags and be whisked away in a bus that they'd rented. This is a nice easy way to travel.

We headed down to the docks at Entebbe and onto a ferry that's only been operating since March '06. It was only a little ferry though, and somehow they managed to squeeze our large bus and several small cars onto it before leaving.

I've come to learn that most things here operate on 'Africa Time'. This usually means that appointments made usually don't happen until at least an hour after the stated time, maybe more. This boat however didn't operate this way, but Molly hadn't arrived yer and the boat was wanting to leave.

Simon knew that she was almost at the boat so engaged in a tactic of talking to and distracting the man trying to untie the ferry. It worked, just as we were about to power off Molly arrived brandishing a few crates of beer and soft drinks, now that's a woman for you!

With the minor stresses out of the way it was time to sit back and enjoy the 3 hour boat journey. It really is amazingly beautiful here. I thought that the lake view was nice until we arrived at Bugala Island, the largest of the Ssese group. It was a true picture postcard, with golden sands, blue sea (well, it's actually a lake, but it's a BIG lake) and surrounding hills. We walked along the shore to our accomodation while our driver took the bus and bags round the long way. I've become a bit bourgeoise, having a 'driver' now. That night we were treated to a superb sunset, everyone from our group came out to enjoy it.

In the morning we all headed out for a nature walk, being taken by a local guy. We immediately found some monkeys before even leaving the hostel area, a great start. The walk up the big hill wasn't much fun, but we had a great reward. We were shown all the different type of plants and animals, including finding a Chameleon sitting in a tree, we couldn't figure out how he'd found it as it was so well camoflaged.

The children around the villages were loads of fun as well, coming out of their houses shouting 'Muzungu' at us. They were shy at first, but would soon warm to us. I spent a while chasing a few of them about, as they ran off screaming, they loved it. The only worrying thing about that was they perhaps thought I was genuinely scarey, perhaps it wasn't such an act on their behalf. There was one little boy of about 2, who was being carried on the back of his 5 year old brother. He really did think I was scarey and whenever I went anywhere near him, or looked at him for that matter, tears would well up in his eyes and a silent scream would come from him.

My other favourite part of this walk was when we walked through a forested area, which had numerous hawks flying above it, and through the tops of the trees. When we left the forest, we climbed a hill and saw the sheer number of hawks there. Hundreds of them. we sat for a while and just watched them soar around.

We had a few hours to kill around lunch time so of course we spent it on the beach, just enjoying the rays. My hammock is my friend.

Simon is originally from the Ssese islands but lives in Kampala now. We set out in the afternoon in our bus in order to go and visit his brother. This is when we found out just how big Bugala was. We drove for about an hour and a half before stopping in a small village. Simon had wanted to show us the fish market that they have in operation here. Apparently a real sight, but sadly it'd finished for the day by the time we arrived.

Back on the bus, we were driving for quite some time again before we stopped. And when we did stop it was in the little village near where we were staying. Due to a load of forestry work going on all the roads had been changed (I use the word road in the loosest of sense of course), meaning that Simon had been unable to find the correct way to his brother's. I'd have been really impressed if he'd actually managed it. Since it was getting dark we decided to admit defeat and head back. It's a real shame that we didn't get to his brother's place, it'd have been really great.

As compensation though we had a huge bonfire and barbeque at the hostel, they really do know how to feed you. It was an early night all round for some reason, at least it gave me a little more time to work on that speech.

Everyone had to get up ridiculously early the next day in order to catch the boat at 8am. We were all sad to be leave The Ssese islands after such a short time, I'm sure that we could all have done with a few more days there. Again, the sailing was great and before we knew it, we were back in Kampala.

Rachel the Bridesmaid arrived that night but it was an early night for everyone as we had another early rise in store, this time for the Safari.
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