By Aggrey Nshekanabo
Katosi is not a common destination for indigenous Ugandans but to the expat community, there is Pines @ Katosi, a magazine perfect lakeside resort that is a competitive destination for weekend escapes. Pines @ Katosi is off the Mukono-Katosi road turning left as you enter Ntenjeru town.
The drive from Ntenjeru to the Pines @ Katosi is a winding first class murram road. Keep driving past the Fancy Fruit Farm until you meet a sharp T-junction with two signposts: one for Pines at Katosi and another for Kijiiko Estates. The road is freshly worked on and offers a smooth ride up to Kijiiko village. where Pines@ Katosi is nestled just before Kijiiko trading centre.
A sense of peace and tranquility enveloped you when you set foot on this resort and according to Sadrack Kiplimo, the Resident Manager, that is the true definition of Pines @ Katosi . My family of 6 and I were booked in Family cottage 1 which, takes up to 11 people in its generously spacious three rooms with expansive windows. The lounge can swallow another cottage while the patio sits up to 12 people with three beach flat beds to relax on as one reads a book. Next to the kitchen is a six-seater dining table. Arriving late, we prepared a light dinner as children wondered if this was our secret home.
Pines @ Katosi is a self-catering resort that was meticulously conceptualized and designed by the late Phillip Wilson Dennis Nagenda and his wife and was opened to the public in 2019. Unfortunately, the late Nagenda only enjoyed it for only one year as he passed on in mid-2020 at a prime age of 65. However, he had already set up a team and had a supportive wife to keep his vision alive.
Pines @ Katosi is a manifestation of clean thought and insight where every corner of the property is designed with dexterity of hand and mind; from the walkways to the parking lots of each of the four cottages. Cottage 2 takes in a maximum of 5 people, cottages 3 and 4 take in a maximum of 8 people. Each cottage has its own courtyard and fully shielded from the other with shrubs. In all, Pines @ Katosi comfortably host up to 32 people inside the cottages. Bigger families are allowed to carry one or two tents and pitch them up in the front yard. There is camping spaces away from the cottages.
What you can do while there
Pines @ Katosi is generally an outdoor resort with a remarkable adherence to environmental conservation with a 200-metre buffer from the shores of Lake Victoria. It is hidden in pine, eucalyptus and natural trees and shrubs with expansive well-manicured lawns for weddings, picnics, camping and other outdoor team activities including a tennis, badminton, and basketball court. There is a 25-metre-long swimming pool to simply soak in on a hot day. You can take bicycle rides or walk to the landing site or visit the nearby farm; the Kijiiko Estates, which supplies the resort with much of the fresh foods including eggs and milk. There is a motorized boat for those who want to explore Lake Victoria and there is already a an 8-seater marine boat that is waiting for construction of the pier.
According to Shadrack, keeping Pines @ Katosi in its forested form was the intention of Mr. Nagenda; not to interfere with nature but harness it with minimal disturbance. “Mr. Nagenda loved nature to a fault. For him, he would rather preserve the papyrus reeds as home for birds and aquatic life than have a waterfront. He would rather create a curvy walkway around a tree than cut it. He was a nature curator of sorts. It is our job to keep his legacy and not so much about the money;” Shadrack says.
Indeed, Pines @ Katosi is not about the money because for a cottage of 5 that goes for US$100 and that of 8 at US$200 while that of 11 people is at US$275, this is not about income but just to conserve a legacy. Indeed, from the linen to the books that align the lounges, the rugs and the wooden floors of each of the cottages, for every night spent here, you are soaking into the legacy of nature craftmanship and to get close and personal with nature to re-energise as the breeze from the lake sweeps over you. It was worth the two nights and the two-hour drive from Kampala, and I cannot wait to go back and read all the books.
Aggrey is a Travel Writer and team leader at Kyambura Safaris Ltd
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