On Boxing Day (DEc. 26) we were all invited to the Ndali Lodge high up in the hills. The owners, Aubrey and Claire, have folks from Fort Portal over every year after Christmas for swimming, pizza and relaxing. Ndali is only about 45 minutes from Fort, so the drive was tolerable. The last bit of road is along narrow ridges above volcanic lakes, each one the remains of a mini-caldera. The volcanos were active between 10,000 and 3,000 years ago. Some of you may recall the post from our last trip about swimming in a volcano. We did not make it to the lake this time, but the pool water was pumped up for our enjoyment. Here are a couple of panoramas from the lodge.
Although not visible in the first pano, the Rwenzori Mountains are in the distance. They are obscured by dust from the Sahara and local smoke and haze, but extend to over 16,000ft. They are the western edge of the Great Rift.
The land of the lodge (on the order of 1,000 acres) belonged to Aubrey’s grandfather, but was confiscated by Idi Amin. In the 1990s it was returned to the family, and Aubrey’s father ran the lodge, and Aubrey in turn took over from his father. It is a small lodge (not a restaurant, as they have to remind folks who stop by unannounced looking for food), with accommodations for about 25, although they consider it full with about 18 lodgers. The clients include, in addition to the non-paying extended Daghlian-Kaduru clan, people such as Kathryn Hahn, who is, I am told, a movie star. I have heard of none of the movies she has appeared in, but that proves nothing. She and her family were off to view chimps in the chimp preserve. Here is a guy (not in our group) who looked a bit too colonial for my tastes.
Here are Libby, Dennis and Chloe-Rose relaxing near the pool.
Nearby are Baby Ma (Kathy), Blondie (Lucy) and Baby Ma’s fiancé Faquil.
And, Chloe and parents ready to party at the pool.
Dennis was quite fond of the wireless headphones Barb gave him for Christmas on his raft.
We made our own pizzas, which were cooked by the staff, while we ate cheese (very good local cheeses). Very civilized.
There was more swimming, here Eric relaxes on the raft while Blondie swims, with Dennis at the far end of the pool. Barb did her laps early on in the day.
The plants are great here, not mention the birds, but I willingly show a few pictures that might be of interest. Amongst the other plants, and on a pergola, there are many Aristolochia vines. Very nice flowers.
Also, there are a number of big euphorbias on the grounds. John can only dream of plants this big.