By Gavin, a visitor to Chameleon Hill Lodge
We drove through the majesty of the sun rising in Bwindi, to reach our first view point (which really looked like something from Game of Thrones) and arrived at our destination – Chameleon Hill Lodge – to pick up our mountain bikes and meet our amazing guide, Godfrey. Godfrey was a gentleman from the word go and with a brief introduction to the bikes and himself we set out on our journey. We had in our mind that we would be cruising around a lake edge on a flat path, stopping for snaps every so often – this was most definitely not the case. We found ourselves pretty quickly doing some pretty serious mountain biking. Godfrey did offer several options to make it easy, including various points where you can finish and complete your journey with a lovely boat trip back to the lodge; he also accounts for the more eager beaver amongst us by patiently waiting and helping people up hills. We are both quite fit but to do the full lake circumference put us to the test. We were exhausted by the end and probably would have quite 2 or 3km before the end if there had been a boat at that point! Be warned, the full lap does require a high level of fitness.
That said, we made it, we wouldn’t change it for the world. The journey brought us through the most beautiful landscape with captivating views. We met a group of school children that followed us on foot for some time before stopping to join us on our water break – they kept their distance as they weren’t used to tourists but after some time our amazing guide Godfrey convinced them we weren’t all bad and they took our photo. We cycled through sugar cane plantations and bought some cane from a local farmer, stopped off in a village for a well deserved coke in a small hut and we cycled, cycled, cycled.
I came off the bike at one point (over the handle bars!) much to my wife’s ultimate delight…there was concern at first, then when she saw I was ok she decided to laugh and scold me for going to fast downhills…she probably had a point. Never fear, Godfrey was on hand with antiseptic wipes and we were back on our journey in no time.
Every local person we passed had big smiles for us – I guess like anywhere ‘untouched’ it’s only a matter of time before tourists become less of a novelty, but even then the scenery will still be among the most breathtaking you are ever likely to see.
We highly recommend this trip to anyone and everyone – do consider your fitness level though when Godfrey offers you the option of taking the boat trip home!