“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned upward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), painter, artist, engineer & Renaissance genius, Florence, Italy.
The Muzungu was looking forward to escaping the sticky city of Kampala for some cool weather and the distant hum of village life. In fact I was so excited about my imminent departure to Kisoro (and then onto Mgahinga, Virunga and Kigali) that I was ready early: 24 hours early to be precise! Yes, my family may tease me for the missed flights and the missed trains, but not this time. At 5.15 in the morning – indeed! – I stood outside my house, bags packed, waiting for the driver to pick me up…
The Sunday morning flight from Entebbe International airport took off at 7:45 AM.
The check-in process for domestic flights in Uganda is the same as for international flights; however, once you’re through security in the departure lounge, you are up in the air within minutes.
Clean, and with plenty of legroom, there were enough free seats for everyone in our group to have a window seat.
One of the pilots welcomed us on board and told us the emergency procedures. “Behind the seat in front of you, there is a sick bag, in case you need it.” I couldn’t help but notice his tiny, cheeky chuckle.
But we weren’t to need it, the Aerolink flight was smooth as smooth can be.
Our flight took us over Uganda’s former capital of Entebbe. As we flew over the shore of Lake Victoria, we passed over Uganda Wildlife Education Centre UWEC and the departure point for the boat to Ngamba Island, home of the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Wildlife Trust.
The low, early morning sun glimmered on the lake beneath us.
Islands – inhabited and non-inhabited – spread out below us, caught in outline by the rising sun.
Small wooden canoes passed beneath our plane, en route to fish in the depths of the lake.
Flying west, we flew inland over dozens of lakes and waterways, swamps and wetlands. Lake Mburo is a popular weekend destination for Kampala expats, and a convenient stopover en route to gorilla trekking in Bwindi, Mgahinga or gorilla trekking Rwanda, but is in fact just one of many lakes in this part of the world.
Beyond the lakes, the topography changed. I love the way the shadows outline the contours of the land.
I was surprised to see geometric lines – defining land boundaries I assume – not a style I have seen in Uganda. I would love to know why this particular area of land has these straight lines. I wondered if the inhabitants of the area are from outside Uganda?
A newly tarmacked road passes through a trading centre. The road west from Kampala to the Rwandese border has been improved significantly over the past few years – but flying is so much more exciting!
The occasional hill and raised terrain give way to an uninterrupted mountainous area.
The morning sun glints on the tin roofs of houses below us.
There was a sense of anticipation as we approached our destination: Kisoro.
Low cloud or early morning mist?
You have to admire the ingenuity of humans who can live and farm at this altitude. Note how steep many of the terraces are.
On our walking safari in Nkuringo, south side of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, we couldn’t believe how steep the potato fields were. One day we watched a young boy dragging a huge sack of potatoes up quasi-vertical terraced fields. How he managed to stay upright, I don’t know.
The first of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga chain comes into view. Mount Muhuvura is known as ‘the guide’ – this photo clearly shows you why.
Like water lapping at the edge of the lake, mist half covers a village.
Lake Mutanda is an increasingly popular tourist destination in South West Uganda. It’s a great base for hiking volcanoes, walking safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, mountain biking, trekking the mountain gorillas or trekking the Golden Monkeys. Its proximity to Kisoro and the Rwandese border makes it a convenient stopover for anyone trekking the gorillas in Rwanda too.
And she was still asleep! An hour and a half later, this lady passenger was still sleeping as the plane descended to land.
Coming into land at Kisoro airstrip.
A perfect start to a perfect day.
Next stop, Mt. Gahinga Lodge, Mgahinga – and breakfast!
Are you looking for domestic flights Uganda?
Aerolink offer daily flights to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Kihihi and Kisoro airstrips), Queen Elizabeth National Park (Kasese, Semliki and Mweya airstrips), Semuliki National Park (Semliki airstrip), Murchison Falls (Bugungu, Pakuba and Chobe airstrips) and Kidepo Valley National Park (Kidepo airstrip).
For more information on domestic flights Uganda, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +256 776882205/2/3