We reach the crater lake at noon. Magical Lake Nyinabulitwa.
Tiny little birds the size of pinky fingers flit gleefully from reed to reed. The birds are so slight, their touch so gentle, that the stalks barely bend as they land.
A warm breeze shimmers through the still air. Clusters of lakeside reeds and tree branches yield in soft, sweeping succession, surrendering to the winds in a rippling Mexican wave. Birds chirp, insects hum, leaves rustle. The chorus of the universe.
I slip my sleepless bones into a terrace chair and breathe a sigh of bliss. Eyes closed, body open, the moment unfolds. My soul stirs with the breeze.
A secluded lake sits a stone's throw away from our cottages, blue-green and gold and round. A staircase trickles down to the water, where a rustic pier leads nowhere and everywhere.
Creaking wooden slats beckon the avid wanderer.
Heart in throat, I slip off my shoes and tiptoe to the end of the pier, barefoot. Words of the locals echo in my mind: “Watch out for the hippo.”
Balancing at the very edge, memories of cities melt away.
All I want is to fall from the sky into the glorious navy depths of the crater. I want to plunge beneath the waters with mermaid eyes and marine lungs and sweep my fingertips across the concave of the bowl. I want to drink in the magic and say hello to the hippo, maybe.
My heart skitters when the sun inevitably begins to set. The day can't last forever.
An enviable man boats peacefully across the lake. River flies glisten in the fading light.
We drink it all in with wide, thirsty eyes.
Before long, golden dusk fades to twilight fades to night, which slips easily over Nyinabulitwa like a sheet of black velvet. The sky turns dark, indigo, black, and the stars shimmer with life.
From our terraces, we stare upwards together at the unreal skies.
The stars wink back.
During my unreal month in Uganda, I stayed at Nyinabulitwa Country Resort & Safari Camp for a night. It sits on Nyinabulitwa Crater Lake, a short drive away from Kibale Forest. I urge you to stay there if you’re going bird-watching or chimpanzee-trekking at Kibale National Conservation Forest. The scenery and the lodges are stunning. The owner is a gorgeous, generous woman. The staff are happy and relaxed. I yearned to stay longer. Thank you, Nyinabulitwa, for your magic.
Mel left London to chase summer around the world, one country at a time. She loves the ocean, writing postcards, and solo exploration. Travel with her on Instagram.