Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"Old Africa" Charm

In the mood to try the “Old Africa” lifestyle? You'll find it at Ndali Lodge in the Bunyaruguru crater lake region of Western Uganda. It’s an intimate family-run place full of small pleasures and the atmosphere of the way things used to be.

The lodge sits in a spectacular location on the rim of an extinct volcano that filled with water to become Lake Nyinambuga. It is surrounded by villages of the Toro people and tea plantations, some still owned by the family of the builder of the lodge, Mark Price, whose father settled in the region in the 1920’s.

There is a main thatched lodge with bar and sitting room, reception area and dining room flanked by cottages built of local stone and thatch. The cottages face west to offer a panoramic view of the Rwenzori Mountains, also known as the Mountains of the Moon.

The lodge has no electricity, but the dining room and cottages are lit with candles and lanterns, giving it a wonderfully romantic “Old Africa” air. Fruit bats swoop through the open passage ways and in and out among the rafters in the dining room. Three rather fat and spoiled dogs wander in and out and sleep on the cottage verandas, lending a homey touch to your stay.
Ndali Lodge provides guides for walks around the 1000 acre farm and local banana plantations, coffee terraces, plots of cassava, groundnuts, sorghum and millet. You can also visit the Mahoma Waterfall. Below the lodge is a sturdy jetty set in a secluded spot on the crater lake that’s frequented by five different species of kingfisher.

Kibale Forest National park, home of what’s claimed to be the largest concentration of chimpanzees in Africa, as well as a bewildering variety of other primates, birds and butterflies is about 45 minutes away. Also close by is the Bigodi wetland sanctuary, a community-based conservation project. Ndali is an ideal stopping off place between Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls National Park.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Home For Me - Great Destination For You

I've lived in Westchester County just north of New York City for almost thirty years now, but I'm still amazed at the sheer number of attractions that make this not only a great place to live but to visit as well.

The arts, the architecture and, above all, the history of Westchester delight visitors of all ages. New York State celebrates its 400th birthday in 2009, but among the historic places you won’t want to miss right now are the many American Revolution sites in Westchester. George Washington didn’t just sleep here, he fought a major battle in White Plains! Saint Paul’s Church National Historic Site in Mount Vernon served as a hospital during the Revolutionary War. There's Thomas Payne's Home and several other great places to visit while you're contemplating the formation of our country. For a quiet moment of reflection, see the Gold Star Mothers monument in Yonkers.

Westchester offers an unparalleled variety of experiences. Within ten minutes, you can go from the bustling skyscrapers of downtown White Plains to the serene forested banks of Cranberry Lake Preserve, driving past historic Kensico Dam and the inspiring 9/11 memorial, “The Rising,” along the way. You’ll never exhaust Westchester’s many possibilities. For a wealth of information, visit westchestertourism.com.

From world-class museums to world-renowned golf courses (Winged Foot sound familiar?), Westchester offers something for everyone. There’s history, nature, thrilling attractions, art, music, fine dining, shopping…the things to do, places to go and experiences to enjoy in Westchester are endless.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the