KIBALE FOREST: THE FIRST OF MANY

It was the first of many memorable camps to come. But on that maiden night in the cold, I wouldn’t have guessed so!

Lodged in the thick of Kibale Forest, by the shores of one of the many crater lakes in the region, Lake Nyabikele, we happily set up camp. The location wasn’t ideal as it was a somewhat mushy ground at the base of a slope. But we didn’t have much of a choice as that was the available flat camping ground.

The sun set, the night fell and off to bed we went. It was a peaceful, chilly night with no sign of the “lonely Hippo” we had been cautioned about (the guide later said it had relocated to an unknown location) until the heavens blessed us with a light but potentially eternal early morning shower (super early like 4am). That’s when the first of my doubts about this “camping thing” set in.

Maybe it was my poor tent pitching skills or just the light tent, but the rain wasn’t so kind to me. Water entered the tent from all angles and made it impossible to sleep. I had to kneel and curl up at whatever dry angle I could find. Eventually I gave up on sleep altogether and abandoned the tent, heading up to the sheltered general lounge at the reception area. The cold followed me!

We requested the chef to light us a sigiri (Ugandan charcoal stove) in place of a bonfire as the chopped wood was all soaking wet and at that point any form of warmth was welcome. I later skipped the morning walk around the neigbouring crater lakes in favour of hot tea and a “bonfire”. I didn’t regret. As the day warmed up, the board games, jovial conversation and great meals all brought out the alluring spirit of camp and surprisingly stirred an itch in my heart for more. I knew I would do it again, differently though!

That night I pitched my tent in the reception lobby and enjoyed the warmest, driest tent night ever. The glamper in me was unleashed, never to retreat! Twice a year I enjoy such adventures with this amazing group of campers, “Tenters”, as we fondly refer to ourselves. We added karaoke to that list of activities and the talent unleashed leads me to believe we have future Hall of Famers in our midst!

The beautiful campsite by the shores of Lake Nyabikele
A much welcomed sunny afternoon
Watch out for the “lonely Hippo”

Cheers!

Saw Bizzy

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