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Sunset cruise on Lake Victoria

Uganda’s Kampala is a small capital that can be explored in a single day, but I guess fatigue would pull a number on you before you can complete that mission. It might be a tiny city, but it teems with beautiful sites, one being Lake Victoria and its surroundings.

One sunny Sunday in Kampala, my best friend and I were keen on taking a boat ride across the lake. We left Wandegeya, a neighbourhood within Kampala where we were staying, for KK Beach on the banks of Lake Victoria, approximately half an hour away.

It was buzzing with people, some who were swimming and as we’d heard, it was a popular spot for its entertainment events and plenty of fish to savour.

We wanted to go jet skiing first, but we had a change of mind because the operators insisted we take two different skis, which meant spending more money. We wanted to dash across the lake on one jet ski, but well, that didn’t happen.

We opted for a boat cruise and jumped in after paying, accompanied by the helmsman. The sun was sailing away for the night. Its deep yellow yolk splattered across the sky spilling over into the blue skies with shades of grey clouds. The fish-smelling lake water was calm with a reflection of the horizon’s magnificence.

We rode on in silence, getting lost in the buoyant splendour of Mother Nature. The vast lake shimmered where the setting sun hit its rippling waters.

I wondered what else resided in this great lake’s underbelly besides fish. As we rowed yonder, KK Beach faded behind us with its entire buzz. Birds flocked past us chirping gleefully and I guessed they were relieved by the approaching diurnal pause.

There was serenity in the way the wind flew into us, as the soft glimmer of the sun danced on our faces in synchrony with the boats’ roaring engine. As darkness gently crept in, the city came to life unveiling an illumination by the horizon as lights flickered on.

Fishermen in several boats were rushing to perhaps net their last catch of the day. We soon had to steer back to KK Beach. The ‘captain’ barely said a word, except a few nods whenever we talked to him or asked for his consent when taking photos that he appeared in.

We docked and were about to head for the restaurant to place an order of fish with ugali or posho as Ugandans call it, but were momentarily distracted by an on-going hip dance session. The show soon ended just as hunger kicked in.

Bent on having ugali, we struck a special deal with one of the chefs who granted our request. The menu only had fish, chicken and fries. As we waited for our fix, three Ugandans joined us. One of them was third wheeling and I think he was just happy to chill with us.

Soon, our serving arrived and it was worth the wait. The fish (a tilapia) was fried and sizzled with veggies on the side. I eat fish regularly and I can clearly tell the difference in freshness and this was without question, straight from the lake!

The fish was mildly salted, crisp on the outside and soft inner flesh. Squeezing limejuice on to it tingled my palate and I couldn’t help but eat nonstop.

I couldn’t resist Ugandan food. I tried the famous Binyebwa, a sauce made from peanuts. It was thick and filling.

If you want to have it with a side dish, then you should go for a small serving otherwise your stomach wouldn’t have room for anything else if you go for a full bowl or cup. Matoke was delicious and I had it with tender mutton. I had it for lunch on my first day in Kampala.

The most important thing that makes Kampala amazing is the people. They are so kind and always ready to help. Matatu drivers and touts were genuine, unlike those in Nairobi who double fare prices when they realise you’re a newbie and clueless.

Comparing it to Nairobi, Kampala is not an expensive city and that’s really good because it makes the exploration much easier. Nightlife is best experienced in Kabalagala, a small outskirt town that takes the crown for a popping club scene. All I could say is that my stay was worthwhile.

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