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Saturday, July 21, 2012

There's nowhere like Ndali

Back to the west of Uganda again and a wonderful restful weekend before a solid week of work, every day in a different place.



Where had we not already stayed? Ndali Lodge, south of Fort Portal, set amidst one of the many groups of crater lakes in this part of Uganda. You can see the cluster of lakes - about sixty in all, some big, some small - at the top right-hand corner of the map below. Sensibly, it only shows the main ones.



Ndali Lodge is set on the rim of one of these lakes, Lake Nyinambuga. As you navigate the bends at the end of your forty minute drive from Fort Portal, you catch your first sight of it. Wonderful, you think, but you will see far more spectacular views than this when you eventually arrive at the lodge itself.


The lodge consists of a dozen thatched cottages set in woodland along the rim of the crater. Here is the dining room...




...with its verandah...


...and its view.


And you will see that view from various different angles during the course of your stay.




The breast-shaped hills are volcanic cores, as are the other similarly-shaped mounds all around you. Below are the two crater lakes which we could see from our own comfortable verandah. Beyond them are more hills and then the invisible Rwenzori Mountains, all seen through the warm haze of the west.


And this is our verandah from which we gazed at the view with good books on our laps and good gin in our glasses.


Ndali is a place to come and relax. The setting is lovely and the gardens bright with flowers, among them, as one would expect, lots of African marigolds and many others of whose names we are entirely ignorant.




So what does one do at Ndali Lodge, given that we were too lazy to repeat our experience of chimp tracking just down the road at Kibale? What does one do apart from drink and gaze at the flowers, that is?


Well, eat, of course - some of the most delicious food in Uganda, much of it grown on Ndali's own farm. Here is Stuart at breakfast, exemplifying healthy eating, his bowl piled with mango, watermelon, banana and pineapple and his hand stretched towards the fresh passion-fruit juice. I would expect no less.


One can sleep, though who would want to stay inside on a hot sunny day?


You can swim, of course...

...and sunbathe.


You can watch butterflies...





...dragonflies...


...and chameleons, some showing off...


...and some lying low.


You can visit the farm to find the bananas used to make your warigi (gin)...


...the ingredients for your bedtime cocoa (on the tree, the ripened 'fruit' and the drying 'nuts')...




..traditional remedies for any illnesses you might have (bark, in this case)...


..but most important of all, the fair trade vanilla you buy in Waitrose or Tesco, or eat in your Ben and Jerry's ice-cream. First the vine with its long green pods...


...the sorting process...


...the drying process...


...the grading process...


...and finally, the packing process.


I now know a lot about vanilla.

And the highlight?

Well, for me it had to be the birds: the wagtails...



..the weaver birds (black rather than yellow, unless I am mistaken - see the rather smudgy photo below)...



...the sunbirds...






...but best of all the wonderful exotic Great Blue Turaco...





Will we be back? Just try and stop us!






You may be interested in the following post about the area around Fort Portal and the road to Kamwenge, its people and its animals, including its famous chimpanzees.

Living together in Kibale Forest
Chilling out in Kyaninga
Fort Portal, Semliki and Toro Golf Course

2 comments:

  1. Amazing blog about Ndali. Many thanks for choosing cool photos.

    We at Guide2Uganda look forward to visiting Ndali Lodge sometime.

    ReplyDelete