My first attempt at intentionally touring my country

It’s a Friday on the 27th of Dec 2019. We set off at around 2 pm to Mbarara with our final destination being Kabale for our brother Kanye Osbert’s Kuhingira. He had told me about this in October so I asked my other brother, Timothy Agaba, if we could use this road trip to do something new for the first time. Unbeknownst to me, this nigga already had a plan to “formula-one” his adrenaline at some adventure park on some island on the magnificent Lake Bunyonyi.

From my small experience of designing tourism websites, this marvel of nature that is Lake Bunyonyi always came up accompanied by that famous picture of the many islands on this lake. Having been severely intrigued by this lake, it was not hard for Timo to sell me into the idea of ziplining across the 3rd deepest lake in the world, after Baikal in Russia and Tanganyika in Tanzania. 

To be honest, I was completely horrified by the idea but again, what’s life without some goosebumps? I was like, if I die I die…Timo, let’s do this! He booked for 3. His wife couldn’t let him cry alone so she graciously tagged along, which in hindsight was a fortunate happening considering that was the coldest night of my entire life, even with our hosts providing 2 heavy duvets.

After the Kuhingira, we head to Bunyonyi with directions from our courteous contact, Sam, until we reach the shore.

“Oh, at last, we here. I am tired, need to go and rest”, I mumbled to myself. “Hello Sam, we here. Where is the boat guy? We need to get there and sleep for tomorrow is a busy day.“ Timo inquired as he called Sam.

At this point, I am thinking my friend is trying to pull my leg because I am sure I am not getting on a boat at 9 pm to cross this lake. Long story short, I am praying, “I will not die but live to proclaim the goodness of the lord in the land of the living.“ For a divine reason every time I say this prayer, I get so sure I am living to see another day. The boat arrives and we get in. I cross as I am holding Timo’s leg and praying earnest prayers.

Finally, we reach our resting place for the night, the so cozy and cold Supreme Adventure park in Bunyonyi. We are served a sumptuous and generous dinner which I didn’t “feel” because the Bakiga had served us like Viking royalty. Being so full I asked for a glass of red wine that I sipped on before retiring to my comfy king size bed to rest. 

In 30 minutes of diving into the bed, it dawned on me that this would be the coldest night of my entire life. It was so cold that I didn’t want to move my leg, hand or any part of my body to another part of the bed. I kept in one position to preserve the warmth that I had taken time to build up even with 2 heavy blankets.

In the morning I wake up to walk around and experience the magical mist that is on Lake Bunyonyi in the morning. This sight was surreal as I always imagined while writing about it in the numerous travel websites I had designed. Lake Bunyonyi was as dreamlike as I always imagined it would be. I basically moved around the whole island before Timo and his wife woke up. 

After our very generous breakfast, we headed out for the activities we had chosen that included zip-lining, hike to the highest point to see all the 29 islands on Lake Bunyonyi, and then the high rope course. It was the hike first and then came the high ropes. We were briefed by our very animated instructor, Benson, and led to the platform to take on level 1. 

Timo’s wife Lillian went first. She surprisingly took on the challenge with gusto as I wobbled and whispered prayers behind her. Timothy, who I thought was our macho and daredevil, after making the first step to the swaying boards quickly stepped back to the launch platform and I immediately grew confident by seeing the terror on his face, his bubbly self turned into a mass of fear. I believe he continued with the challenge because his wife had conquered the 1st level with little hustle and he couldn’t take the taunting when they get back home.

Lillian went on to conquer level 2 with even less struggle than the 1st. Marvelled at her steadiness and confidence, I followed her lead and behind us like by 10 stages was Timothy. After level 2, I counted my losses and zip lined to the ground. To my shock, Lillian started level 3 as Timothy was struggling to finish level 2. After taking about 3 steps into level three, Lillian was reminded that she is still loved and therefore she was helped down by an instructor. Timo and I didn’t try level 3 let alone level 4 which was being added because we respected ourselves enough not to scream in the middle of a course after sliding off swinging buckets.

Next on the agenda was zip lining across the 3rd deepest lake in the world and second in Africa. Being the festive season, many wannabe adventurers flock to these places to experience adrenaline rushes and you actually do if you determine to respect yourself and not waste the 5 hr drive and actually do something about your fears.

At the zip lining course, some fancy looking girl clad in a short short with an anklet (I always notice them) was given the harness and the whole gear and taken to the launch pad. All over a sudden, she starts crying, unsure about her readiness. If I was the instructor I would have advised her to first get back to the ground and get her priorities straight because many were waiting for the harnesses. But these instructors are so kind and solicitous that they convinced her to take the leap of faith.

We later followed and took on the challenge with zest. For this challenge, Timo had the most picture-perfect moment as his helmet and back fully kissed the water while he ziplined back.

Our preferred activities were done and it was now time to check out and go back to the hustle, but not before we had another extravagant lunch from Supreme Adventure Park. Our connect, Sam, was one the most courteous and passionate young people I have met. The owner, Mr. Rukirande, is equally affable and of course not forgetting their imposing resident German shepherd, Roxy, whose presence added homeliness to the experience.

A good experience that I wouldn’t hesitate to repeat. It’s my earnest yearning to go around my country and experience the infinite extent of its beauty. Let us go!

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Written by Emmanuel Mwesigwe (0)

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