Pineapple Bay: Tropical Paradise on Bulago Island
There are a few resorts in Uganda on islands that have that je né sais quoi factor or an unspeakable presence about them. Pineapple Bay Resort is but one of those resorts. What’s surprising is that for a resort of its caliber and services rendered very few people know about this gem of a resort, bearing in mind that it’s located on Bulago Island a 500 acre piece of land which is just a 45 minutes cruise away by boat from Munyonyo or 8 minutes by air from Kajjansi airstrip.
On a Wednesday morning, Joshua (Photographer) and I had a 9AM boat pickup appointment at Speke Resort Munyonyo bay. One of the Managers and an experienced Skipper, Dawid Scholtz, picked us up and 45 minutes later, the boat pulled into the crescent-shaped bay and right in front of us in all its gorgeousness was Pineapple Bay.
For a second I thought we had left Uganda and we were perhaps on the coast. I could see a white sandy beach and real coconut palms. Yes really! “Are those real coconut palms?” I excitedly asked Dawid to which he smiled, nodded his head and replied “Yes they are”. As soon as the boat came to a stop, Desire, our butler was waiting for us on the jetty and she helped take our bags.
As we set foot off the jetty and onto the island, we got welcomed to Pineapple Bay in impeccable style with warm towels to clean our hands and we were offered fresh (organic) pineapple juice by Judith who we learnt would be our house keeper over our stay at the Pineapple Bay. For a split second in that moment, we felt like we were Kings of a ‘Banana Republic’. I thought to myself “It can’t get any better than this surely”. But boy was I very wrong because we were in for the time of our lives.
Taking a quick look at the surroundings around the beautiful resort, to the corner of your right eye is a sign that warns you not to swim in the lake since there is a crocodile that looms in the waters around the island. To your immediate left is the swimming pool, a large spacious compound. To your right are the cottages for those who wish to stay at the resort and straight ahead is the Moroccan architectural style building that houses the lounge area, two dining areas; one for lunch and the other for dinner which are strategically set up to avoid lake flies, a bar area and on your right hand corner as you walk into the lounge are the bathrooms.
Behind the building is Pineapple Bay’s pride and joy, their organic vegetable garden where they get all their fresh vegetable produce from. As you move straight ahead is the air strip.
As we sipped on the fresh pineapple juice, Antanazio ran us through the activities that he said would enhance our experience and stay at the resort:
First up was swimming. Antanazio stressed that unless we wanted to become a midafternoon snack for the huge crocodile around the bay or get bilharzia, we should avoid swimming in the lake but rather use the pool overlooking the lake which was specially put there for that purpose. Secondly, there are the nature walks which offer a different experience on the 500 acre island. With a variety of over 450 birds that visit the island during different seasons of the year, bird lovers are in for a treat. The island has no wild animals and is completely safe during day or night. “You could also opt to take part in the Sun cruise” he said.
For the sport fishing fans, Pineapple Bay offers fresh water sport fishing activities of the largest fresh water fish in the world the Nile. Fishing has two categories namely:
– Half day fishing: Half day fishing costs are 200$ inclusive of a fishing permit of 50$)
– Full day fishing: Full day fishing costs are 350$ inclusive of a fishing permit of 50$
There’s sailing for those that know how to sail, chimpanzee tracking at Ngamba Island which is just 30 minute boat ride. There’s also viewing of the sunset on top of a hill on the island which sets around 5PM and it is a must attend activity! For the equestrians, they do have a horse and a donkey and they offer horse rides for ‘light weight’ people.
The food and cuisine
All their food is gourmet quality. Your house keeper will politely ask if you have any dietary issues or if you are allergic to any foods and then go ahead to what you prefer served for lunch or dinner and you get to choose what time it’s served and where you want it served. The breakfast menu has a wide variety of choices, such as fruit platters for vegetarians, Cinnamon flavored pancakes served with pancake syrup, Spanish Omelet and Scrambled eggs on toast with bacon and baked beans just to mention a few. All are served with fresh white bread, toast, muffins, cereals, fresh juice and milk.
They have separate menus for lunch and dinner which are all served as three course meals. For the starters I would recommend either the Mezze or the Chicken Caesar Salad. For the main course you can have the Classic Fish and Chips or Steak and Chips and for those that can’t go a day without burgers, they also serve Mozzarella Burgers. For desert make sure to try out the Banana Tart Cake if you have a sweet tooth but make sure to watch those calories.
The cottages have a simple but detailed architectural style made specifically to keep out lake flies. They are right next to the lake so you have a beautiful view of the large mass of water. The setup and bright colors in all the rooms is both attractive and impressive. We found personalized cards addressed to each one of us signed by the managers in our rooms; a gesture I felt was pretty niche. All rooms have a neat layout with a small living room area, beds, and a simple closet with a safe where you can keep all your valuable items. But the most impressive area is the bathrooms, with walk-in showers, large mirrors and spanking clean bath tubs that are next to large glass windows overlooking the lake; they do have a ‘wow’ factor about them.
It is imperative to note is that rack rates differ according to the seasons and in this case rates are classified into two seasons: A low season (15th March – 15th June & 15th October – 15th December) and a high season (1st July – 14th October & 16th December – 31st December). For those that have vacations during the months that fall in the low season, you should take advantage of the discounted prices.
During the low season dates, rates are 275$ for a single and 195$ sharing per person and for high season, rates are 325$ for a single and 230$ sharing per person.
Please note that all prices are exclusive of drinks and boat transfers to the island ($80 per person, two-way). Air transfers are quoted on request.
For Ugandan residents and work permit holders of Uganda, enjoy a special discount rate of 155$ per person sharing inclusive of all 3 meals! Offer valid until June 14, 2014. Book Now!
Overall Pineapple Bay makes the cut into the top 5 resorts in Uganda. They offer you a 5 star experience at a 3 star rate/price. For couples looking for a honeymoon destination or a vacation, Pineapple Bay should be on the top of your list. For those looking for an exclusive wedding reception place, special rates can be arranged for you. I will definitely be visiting the resort again soon.
Make sure to travel light. For the guys, carry a pair of shorts, sandals, a light cardigan, sunglasses and a camera to capture your experience. For the women, a bathing suit and a changing dress plus sunglasses and your make up can do. From Kampala, make your way to the boat yard at Speke Resort Munyonyo and Dawid will pick you up from there. For those that have cars, you can leave your car in the Speke Resort parking lot and it will be safe.
For more information about Pineapple Bay Resort, please visit their website.
For reservation and enquiries:
Tel: +256 (0) 414 251 182 (Booking office in Bugolobi/ Kampala)
Mobile: +256 (0) 772 489 497 (Booking office)