The Mvule Boat photos taken by Brett Pennefather
Lake Victoria and her untapped magic! By Jacques Dippenaar
The Mvule Boat
We arrive at 9am at a big green gate and I think to myself this cannot be the place, but the askari smiles and waves us through as if the startled confusion on our faces is a regular sight. A muddy track through an industrial estate guides us to a gate and some parking, boats surround us, from a particularly awkward barge to a speedy red (we all know that red makes things faster) jet boat and nestled amidst these sits the beautiful Kaya, The Mvule boat.
Megan greets us with a massive smile and introduces us to her crew and whilst having a chat start to go aboard the Mvule Boat.
Playfully bathed in blues with beautiful natural Mvule trim from which the boat gets her name. Kaya is a locally made wooden boat, approximately 50foot long with a bar for drinks and a delightful menu. We immediately made ourselves at home at the games table that has a chessboard, Gammon board and noughts and crosses inspiringly inlaid into the pretty worktop. Soon we feel right at home, the colourful Masaai-blanket pillows mixed with the chatter from the boat crew as they ready us to set off simply put us at ease and soon there was playful banter and relaxed chit chat all around us.
As we marveled at the Lake and its treasures we had cold drinks and simply relaxed. The crew was knowledgeable and always ready with an answer or a story. We saw pelicans (which I did not know you could see on the Lake) fish eagles and a multitude of birds and creatures, we were told that on some trips they were lucky enough to see otters. We moored near a rainforest and anchored for the most unusually delectable lunch, a Mongolian BBQ. The lunch is a walk up affair, where you can go to the front, pick what you want from the wide range of fresh ingredients, pick the sauce you want your food to be fried in and within minutes you have a delicious Mongolian stir fry, I can personally recommend the plum sauce.
There were Stand Up Paddleboards, canoes and simply a great opportunity to swim. We frolicked, we swam and we paddled next to a magnificently untouched rain forest. At one point I had to marvel at the unique nature of this experience and as I was floating on my back looking up to the boat I couldn’t help but smile whilst thinking of all my friends working at that moment.
We easily made our way back onto the boat and we started to cruise back to the mooring, soon they brought out some more coffee, tea and biscuits and as we basked in the warm afterglow of a trip well enjoyed we made our way back to Jinja. Back at the mooring we all greeted like friends and made our way back to our respective destinations.
This trip is well worth it. It is a delightful time on the lake and a beautiful experience. I for sure will be going on the Mvule boat again ….