Far away from the busy, dusty, noisy, smelly metropolitan that Kampala has come to signify, like any developing country torn between adaptation to new lifestyles and preservation of cultures, lays a beauty of regal magnitude.
And walking slowly on the sandy beach with the ever advancing and reclining yet peaceful water of Africa’s biggest fresh water body-Lake Victoria, I cannot help but wonder about my German friends. Having chosen to travel thousands of miles only to end up here on this small island. Would I make a similar decision if I had a choice to make?
Yet it is such priceless beauties that we often overlook in the quest for a peaceful time we cannot find in the excuses of investing in modernity. But we can all at least agree on one thing; that when it comes to treatment, on nature has the best cures.
It is these cures of various nature that have become the driving forces of entire nations as they scramble for the tourist’s dollar. And Pearl Gardens is not being left behind in the game.
Located in Kalangala district, Ssese Islands in Lake Victoria, this beach resort is one of the very many treasures that always appear hidden, only with the purpose of springing a pleasant surprise upon the visitor.
And having seen them, one never gets away without the silent emotion of a small discoverer. My German friends are in the meantime also wondering how I could be so near such a beauty for so long, and not know about it. I also ask myself.
Getting there however does not require a rocket. It starts and stops with a short trip via Entebbe Nakiwogo aboard the ferry MV Kalangala which leaves Entebbe at 2.00p.m and arrives at Kalangala at 5.00pm.
The three-hour sail on Lake Victoria with MV Kalangala is a marvel in its own right. After setting sail on the serene waters of this massive lake, the worries of the world seem to dissipate and are unnoticeably overcome by the peace that can only be engineered by sights and sounds of the vast waters.
The ferry canteen is at hand to give you eats and drinks of your choice. The crowd is perfect, boasting a salad of French, English, German and other dialects had to tell. The fun isreal, and yet this is only the beginningof the journey.
Finally we get to Pearl Gardens. My mind, I find, has not betrayed me in the pictures it has been drawingof the place.
It is the perfect get away for anyone who would love to be sandwiched in for days away from home. The staff at Pearl Gardens are always there and go an extra mile to ensure that the guests get value for money service. We were exceptionally impressed by their presence and inquiries about our well being.
There is a wide range of rooms, catering for families, students, holiday-makers, honey-mooners, etc, but we went for the cottages. These are self-contained beautiful apartments, very well furnished and very clean with running water.
The meals are unquestionable, offering different types of dishes, both intercontinental and African. The beach bar is well stocked and just near this bar is a campfire which is always lit at night. Sipping your drink in the company of the campfire as you gaze at the waters of Lake Victoria is a rare experience.
There is big palette of activities which includes canoeing, beach games, nature walks into the heart of the virgin Kalangala forests. Indoor games like billiard are also available for the guests.
Bird watching is also one of the activities that make this place unique. During our three day stay at Pearl Gardens beach resort, one could not fail to note that this place is ideal for the romantic hide away.
Conference facilities are available with a 250 seater conference hall. Those that enjoy camping can be provided with tents, single or multiple, according to the guests’ choice.
The MV Kalangala ferry plies this route once a day, and this leaves out so many potential guests who cannot make it to Entebbe before 2:00 pm, and it leaves Kalangala at exactly 8:00 am and reaches Entebbe at 11:00 am. If only there were two or more ferries plying this route.
By Edward Ronald Sekyewa