By Olive Nakiyemba

June! Where is this year flying to? We’re half way through! It seems like just the other day, Evelyn and I were looking for adventurous ways to usher in the New Year, 2015. We didn’t have people to kiss into the brand new year and I remember jokingly suggesting that we go away to an island, kiss a few frogs and some monkeys; return to Kampala city after all the New Year’s craze has passed.

On the boat to Ngamba Island
On the boat to Ngamba Island

One of the perks of working at a radio station (as a producer) – I’m one of the first few people to hear about the holiday offers advertised before they even go on on air. Last year’s festive season, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary offered a 50% discount to its guests! Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity. Frankly speaking; the idea of chimpanzees wasn’t very appealing but we were curious. So we booked one night, New Year’s Eve.

As we packed, swimsuits were the first in things in our bags… They are always the first things to get packed seeing as we are on a constant beach body program of some sort. I slack, I often do but somehow, my support group always reel me back in form of a challenge or the other.

Eve and I
Evelyn and I searching for Kodak moments…

Since we were the first to book; we were told they would have to confirm our booking if more people were going to utilize this offer. They couldn’t send a boat to pick just the two of us. Luckily a family and a couple had made reservations as well and our cottage was reserved. Ngamba Island has four cottages perched by the shores of Lake Victoria. Evelyn drove us to the Waterfront in Entebbe where the boat would pick us up from for a 45 minute ride to the island. The holiday started as soon as we set foot on the boat.

Ngamba Island Cottage
Our Cottage

There is something about water that is so calming to the soul. Evelyn had spent the previous days packing and storing her stuff because she was moving to India for a fellowship a few days later. She instantly fell asleep when the boat started moving.

Lake Victoria is beautiful! The way the sun rays hit it, the reflection, the waves, a handful of fishermen in their canoes casting their fishnets.

Entebbe Waterfront
Entebbe Waterfront

When we reached the island, we were briefed; the manager gave us a history of the Chimpanzee Sanctuary. That it was established in 1998 and it’s now a home to 48 orphaned chimps rescued from throughout Uganda. They welcome day and overnight visitors for an exceptional opportunity to closely observe and interact with the chimps in a  unique setting. When the manager was done with the orientation, he asked if any of us had a question. Evelyn raised her hand and asked for the directions to the swimming pool! Well, the facilities don’t have a swimming pool and it’s not advisable to swim in the lake at the risk of catching bilharzia. So, Kodak moments in swimsuits were out. Our swimsuits were packed in vain!

We didn't take any bikini photos but the jumping shots were a hit!
We didn’t take any bikini photos but the jumping shots were a hit!


We enjoyed interacting with the fascinating apes. Watched them feed, fight for food and return to their holding facility. The food wasn’t something to write home about but we were excited about the bonfire that night. We had hoped to sit by the fire, share stories while counting down to the new year but we started dozing as early as 9 pm! We decided to go back to our cottage, take a short nap and come out for the countdown…

The countdown didn’t happen. We woke up at 5 am the following morning to the sound of waves and chirping birds. It was a cloudy morning, which meant no picturesque sunrise… It was wonderful to get out of the city though, as always.

Now that we’re halfway through the year; how are those resolutions? Did you try out the new things you said you would? How have you challenged your self?

Here’s to hoping to all our dreams come true. I’ve never really kissed anyone on New Year’s Eve (blame the movies for evoking the desire to do so) but I hope this New Year’s Eve will be different 😉


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