We finally saw Meghan’s red pickup truck down the dusty Nyanza road and watched as she excitedly waved and gestured to us from a distance to drive after her, seeing her was a massive sigh of relief for peter and I as we had been fidgeting with the Google map on my phone for a while and were worried we would be late for the boat ride.
As soon as we parked the car just next to the red truck, we were received with a warm hug from Meghan, exchanged the necessary pleasantries and made our way into the boat. The Mvule boat is an alluring colored boat made from hard wood timber from the mvule tree that is commonly found in Uganda. The hard wood was used in the making of the keel and supporting frame of the boat to make it durable and strong.
Three other friends joined us ten minutes after our arrival and we were ready to explore the beauty of Lake Victoria (the second largest lake in the world) aboard the 50ft wooden boat. We were served some tea/coffee and fresh snacks as we gathered around and got comfortable on the seats.
The Mvule boat crew introduced themselves to us and took us through some safety procedures in case of a tragedy; we were all impressed by their professionalism and the surplus provisions of life jackets in the boat. The crew has attended a number of first aid training courses and are all certified in first aid and CPR a sign that the safety of their clients onboard is paramount.
The comfy lounge beds, stocked bar with chilled drinks, sun-deck on the front, clean toilet, warm blankets and charging points provided so much luxury; a kind I haven’t seen in many boats in Uganda. We were served some tea/coffee and fresh snacks as we relaxed on the comfy lounge beds and shared a bit of chit-chat with each other.
The weather was sunny and warm with plenty of sunlight and clear blue skies prompting us to stand at the front of the sundeck to soak up some of the warmth in and take some memorable pictures. The sights of massive jagged rock cliffs, lush forests and untouched distant islands was fascinating, remote fishing villages could easily be sighted from the boat giving us a perfect glimpse of the local culture.
We sighted an interesting variety of bird species as we cruised along the pristine rain forest; the binoculars and birds book on board made it easier for us to sight and identify their names. We saw plenty of monkeys jumping from one tree to the other, it almost felt like they were putting up a show for us. The boat decked at a nice spot where we got off to one of the islands and took a nice hike up a hill to stretch our legs and marvel at the beauty of Lake Victoria and various surrounding islands, this was followed by a swim at a nice spot in the water that was 18m deep but felt quite safe with the life jackets and floating tyres the weak swimmers opted to use. Reggae music blared from the boat as we relaxed in the water and had a few beers; we found a perfect spot and created a little heaven for us on that Sunday afternoon.
We got back on the boat and watched as our lunch was prepared in front of us, we mixed and matched a variety of ingredients and sauces ranging from onions, French beans, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, chicken, lean meat, pineapple and cauliflower. The mode in which our lunch was prepared was a pretty unique experience in itself.
After lunch, it got a bit chilly and most of us wrapped ourselves with the warm blankets on board and fell asleep on the comfy lounge beds as the rest enjoyed some ice cold beers and played some board games like chess, backgammon and cards. We had another round of fresh fruit, tea/coffee and biscuits on our way back to Jinja marking the end of a day filled with an assortment of exciting adventures.