24th/August“Ameya” sounds like “ a mayor”. Or perhaps “ Lordi Meeya” (Lord Mayor), Kampala’s ceremonial head, Erias Lukwago, the flamboyant and sometimes verbose (often with legal terminologies and Latin maxims) leader that betrays his background as “ a lawyer”.
It is in fact the bullet colored (off copper) ceiling fan. Ameya must be the company brand. It faces downward, toward the navel of an adult lying at the center of the bed. The fan is decorative, the way that expensive cutlery is. No doubt the choice of this fan, its four fingers secured by a vase shaped ornament to a central ring, was meant to suggest a special occasion.
Luxury is that occasion that stands everywhere like a patient waiter (except for the actual waiters whose outfits seem rather badly matched to their art décor surroundings) here at Chobe Safari Lodge. Its punch line of “ a jewel on the Nile” is well deserved if because it lacks competition in this category. The Madhvani family runs both Chobe and Paraa Safari Lodge. Chobe is the newer and more modern of the two and sits a few kilometers off Kamdini corner, the unofficial borderline between the rest of Uganda and North and West Nile.
From my view below the fan, it appears that like Paraa, Chobe, is also rustically decorated (the waiters wear Khaki or Khaki colored uniform and “Safari boots, while kerosene lamps, wild life of which bats are the most welcome on the compound) which gived it that colonial stately-ness. Materials found in Uganda are cleverly adopted. The rooms have square mosquito nets made from soft material like a wedding veil finished with embroidery that conceals their real purpose. Instead every bed is like a royal bedchamber on which the ornate fan sits like a crown. Ordinary wood is used on the wall lining to complete the effect. The pillows are four large pieces and two brown smaller ones, which have expensive bead embroidery. The closets have bamboo finishing like miniature rafts on hardwood (probably mahogany frames). This lodge is likely to Gulu (which is some 80 kilometers away) what Serena Kampala is to city elites. Sadly it has no Wifi and the only phone service here is MTN Uganda. In the gym, i met a real lawyer based in Gulu, initiating a group of women on the intricacies of the two treadmills there.
Lunchers today seemed mostly business or civil society types. The room next to hours may hold the clue to how they view the place, which is built downstream from the famous Karuma falls. It has a family (woman, two maids, three children all almost 10 and a baby). This must be as it should be a treat and it would have been nice save for the ruckus the children made. I should say the two lodges couldn’t substitute each other. Paraa is less luxury but its location deep in the park gives it superior access to the game, which next to the views of the wild here are the main attraction. Just outside Chobe we run into some Uganda Kob, a handful that cannot compete with the thousands one encounters on the game drive. The pool here is bigger and more luxuriant (hippos below seem to grunt its praises) but the poolside generates noise for one side of the riverside of the hotel. I definitely suggest going to Paraa first and leaving Chobe as a final jewel on the crown of your Murchison safari.
Now back to feeling like a Mayor or Lordi Meeya in this Lord of the Manor surroundings.
P.S Pictures and thoughts while at Paraa coming.