Weekend Recap: Garuga Resort Beach Hotel.

Garuga Beach on Nam Lolwe (Lake Victoria), is one of our favourite places to take a weekend drive to. It is beautiful, pristine and not so crowded, which makes it perfect for a family getaway.

This is one of the views of the lake as you drive to the resort.

The first time we went there was over a year ago. It was quite empty then, quiet and peaceful. It is nice for a weekend getaway if you long for some silence. There are many vervet monkeys around so you have to make sure your keep your room door locked unless you want some uninvited guests. And do not forget your mosquito repellent and some warm jackets as the mornings can be a bit chilly.

This is the path headed to the beach.

The pros of the place. It is beautiful, quiet and serene. The proximity to the lake is their biggest asset. They have a beautiful beach and one can wade on the sandy shores comfortably. The views of Lake Victoria, the sound of the waves, the cooling breeze, the variety of birdlife, are this place’s best features. There are some stone benches outside the rooms overlooking the lake that are such a pleasure to sit on in the morning as you meditate or pray.

The grounds are not too big but perfect for a picnic and some frolicking around. There are some swings for the kids and a small play area too with some climbing tyres and bars. You can have a picnic or order from their restaurant then play your own family games, which is always so much fun. I love having my son chase me around barefoot on the grassy slopes. There is a small swimming pool too with a baby pool, and a gym though it doesn’t look like it has been in use for a long time. Their pool is small but ok, the first time there the kids and I had the pool to ourselves the whole time. Bliss!

Their food is delicious. Usual hotel fare and freshly caught fish that can be steamed, fried or stewed, and their pork chops are some of the best I have ever tasted.

This is my favorite spot, right under this tree.
It is hard to resist wading into the water and walking around barefoot.
There are some benches and chairs to sit on, or you can carry a mat, but I love the grass as it is. Perfect to sit, walk and run on, even roll and sleep on.

The cons. The road to the resort is rough and very rocky but one can get through with an ordinary vehicle. It is one bumpy ride though. The service is well, slow. Very slow, EXCRUCIATINGLY slow, but their food is great which is such an oxymoron. When we first spent a night there, the breakfast buffet was non existent, the staff made us feel like we were a bother when we should ask for what was supposed to have been ready for us. We had to order hours (I kid you not, HOURS in advance), so the food would be ready by the time we were hungry. Can you imagine having to order after breakfast so that your kids’ food will be ready by lunchtime? I remember on one of the mornings there, my daughter asked for sausages, and we were told that the chef was tired and done making sausages for the morning, never mind that some of us had not had breakfast yet. Sigh. And it was not as if it was busy at the time, we were a party of six adults and four kids, how can you not be prepared for that?

If you are wondering why we would go back to that. We have found a way to go round the poor service- You would rather go for the day, when you have already eaten, or pack some food, instead of having to spend the night there. They charge for having a picnic on their grounds but it is pretty affordable. As a family, we love their beach more than any other here so far. We go for the views, the sound of the water, the feel of the waves lapping on our feet, the cooling lake breeze, the sand that sticks between our toes, and the fact that it is off the beaten path, so does not get crowded.

You will spot some egrets, pied kingfisher, cormorants, weaver and sunbirds, or some fishermen in their canoes in the distance.
Sandplay on the grass.

This is one of my favorite places to hide away. It is about an hour’s drive away for us, so not too far for a weekend drive. The sight of the water never fails to take my breath away, and the kids’ delight at playing in the water gives me so much joy.

This is the life!

Flashback Friday.

Kampala and Uganda as a whole is not short of places to visit and have fun for both kids and adults.

Since we cannot move much at this time, here is a flashback Friday post of some of the places we have been so far. Not many but worth a visit.

For breakfast and brunch options, there are many restaurants to choose from and the best thing is food is not expensive here. The portions are also hearty at some places (Cafe Javas to be specific). I have never been able to finish a complete meal and they have great food and service.

Holy Crêpe is another great option for breakfast and brunch. Though portions are not as generous as CJ’s. It’s a nice option when you want to have a quiet chat with a friend or enjoy your coffee in a laid back environment.

Caffeserrie found at Acacia Mall is another place with great vibes and the food is also delicious and fresh. I really wish I had a photo of their blueberry cheese cake it is yummy!

Lunch options are endless, from the roadside kiosks called “Kafunda” to little hole in the wall joints that offer both traditional Uganda food as well as fast food options. Spectrum Restaurant is a must try in Kampala! From Matoke, Fish Luwombo, Chicken tikka curry, meatballs stew, beans and peas, traditional green vegetables, their roasted pork and goat; their buffet options are sight to behold and partake. Wear loose fitting clothes when you go there; your tummy will be grateful.

The Copper Chimney Restaurant is another great place to enjoy your naan bread and curry in a beautiful atmosphere – that is if you are lucky to be sitted facing the cricket pavilion, with a lovely breeze to boot. If you’re with the kids order the mixed grill meats platter and butter naan and let them enjoy! I’m getting hungry thinking about this!

Pizza and cocktails on your mind? Caffe Roma is the place. Don’t want to cook? Caffe Roma will come to your rescue. Their chicken pollo is one of their best selling pizza and worth a try with generous toppings.

Want to swim then take a walk and have a meal facing Lake Victoria? The Munyonyo Commonwealth resort is a must visit.

Take a stroll around the grounds and enjoy the sunset over the lake.
You can enjoy traditional dances from across Uganda performed at Munyonyo on some Sundays.

You can also take a drive to Entebbe and visit the Entebbe zoo. They also have a play area for kids and a small restaurant you can order meals from. The zoo also has a botanical garden and it was interesting to learn of trees and plants that can heal or help with easing epilepsy symptoms, dysentery, malaria, even STIS and fibroids and many more. They also sell seedlings of the herbs and some of the indigenous trees.

Don’t forget to say hey to the Chimps at the zoo; if you’re lucky you may find them trying to NOT share pineapples with each other which is quite a sight.

Craving some charcoal grilled fish or more pizza as you enjoy the lakeside breeze? You must try Goretti’s Beachside Pizzeria. But please note, you must book ahead and they do not accept card payments; cash is king. It is a must visit when in Entebbe. Period.

Can you finish that? Goretti’s makes the drive to Entebbe worth it.
You cannot access the beach from Goretti’s this is as close as you can get but still awesome!
This is Garuga Beach between Entebbe and Kampala. A hidden resort that is a great picnic site too.

I am now missing all this…