Bushara Island, Lake Bunyonyi

Benon drove us from Rwasesi into Kabale and insisted on finding us a special hire himself. He was unfortunately unsuccessful, and also found that his car was no longer starting. After an hour or so of speaking to mechanics and calling his garage at the other end of Kabale, we decided to walk down to the Highland Business Centre and pick up a special hire from there (in the meantime, we popped into the supermarket to buy some water and heard Moloko on the radio and noted that the supermarket was run by some Ugandan Asians – felt a tiny bit like being back home. Fi says that some of the Ugandan Asians who left under Amin have since returned).

On the way down to the Highland, we passed the Little Ritz Restaurant, and the Hot Loaf Bakery (both of which were haunts of Fi’s when she lived in Uganda). The Highland used to have internet access, so I was quite hopeful of being able to make contact with the nearest and dearest, but it was not to be. 15 minute drive in a minibus (just the three of us) up to Bunyonyi, passing people breaking rocks by the roadside, washing clothes and drying on bushes. The road up to Bunyonyi is very steep, and due to the (typical) state of the roads (i.e. full of potholes), meaning that the journey was a little hairy at times (as the road fell away to the side). Frequent and urgent prayer seemed to get us through though. At the top of the hill was a little sign saying ‘humps’ (which seemed a little superfluous by that stage…). There is also a small petrol station (a development since 2003/4 says Feeble).

At the top of the hill the driver stopped to enable us to take photos of Lake Bunyonyi. Another couple of minutes took us to Bushara Island Camp jetty and we had a choice of a motorboat (with canopy) or dugout canoe (hollowed out tree trunk) to take us across. We chose (wisely) the motorboat) given the weight of our baggage and arranged to meet the special hire driver on the Friday at 2pm (not really believing that he would be there). It took about 10 minutes to go across the lake to Bushara. Looking over the water to the mainland we could see the bright red jumpers of schoolchildren and Friesian (obviously posh over there) cows grazing on the hillside alongside the ubiquitous Ankole. We offloaded at the jetty and walked up a long steep hill (actually not that far, but with backpacks and at that altitude – not fun) to get to the Swallows Restaurant (a circular, reed-covered, open-sided area with about 30-40 seats. We sat down for a Krest Lemon and perused the menu (which was a mixture of Ugandan and msungu food). We tried to stifle our laughter as a group of 3 Irish girls declared “42 items” when handing over their washing to the receptionist (doubting that we had 42 items between us) and then were asked to itemise them. Still no internet access (although technically available), but with an indication that it would be available the next day. We then took another tiring 10 minute walk down to Fireeater and Cisticola ‘luxury safari tents’ (read – two large single beds inside a safari tent, under a reed roof, with a verandah and wash basin and a separate long drop [WITH SEAT!] and shower) which were on the opposite side of the island.
Unfortunately, no mosi nets supplied here, or any obvious points to which one could attach the mosi nets we brought with us, so Adrian and I set about trying to string one up. Not the world’s most stylish attempt, but reasonably functional.