Tom’s Homestay

Tom Karemire; photo by Marcus Westberg

Tom Karemire is a character! After a long career of a prison warden and guard, he now hosts visitors on a remote Bunyonyi island. You can camp on his compound (in a spacious tent with mattresses, blankets and sheets) or just come for dinner and a bonfire with traditional music. A full-blown tour with a professional guide.

Edirisa‘s trekkers have been coming to Tom’s since 2005 and over time he developed a brilliant campsite. In 2013 Habukomi Island finally became accessible to guests who might not opt for hiking but still crave for a unique island experience. On the other hand, you can nicely combine it with two activities: half-day Culture on the Crest or 1-day Islands of Miracles.

Highlights

• community overnight visit hosted by a local family
• traditional dugout canoe ride to Habukomi Island and back
 tour of a beautiful island that is completely off-the-beaten-track
 great local dinner enriched by crayfish, Lake Bunyonyi’s specialty 
 campfire with the sounds of enanga, a string instrument
 camping on the island or night return by motorboat


Facts

duration: one night; difficulty: easy
area: Habukomi Island, Lake Bunyonyi
departures: daily at 4pm

Price
: USD 55 per person 
Includes guiding, all activities, dinner and breakfast, tented accommodation and water.

Itinerary

Tom’s family; photo by Marcus Westberg

Your starting point will be Edirisa on Lake Bunyonyi or any of the lodges and hotels nearby — if you don’t see Edirisa in the beginning of the trek, we will show it to you at the end, as it is an attraction by itself. This picturesque site that mixes simple life with advanced technology is the birthplace of the Gorilla Highlands initiative. A short tour around the forested peninsula will show you an ingenious submerged swimming pool built for teaching life-saving skills, grass-thatched huts erected for volunteers, a rural primary school and many other things. 

At 4pm our guide will take you by dugout canoe to Habukomi Island (45 minutes) where Tom will show you around. This is an intriguing island that is fast becoming two islands; the rising level of the lake is making its thin bottleneck centre increasingly marshy. For reasons unknown, Habukomi is the island of pelicans. That doesn’t mean that the pelicans are extremely many, all pelicans of Lake Bunyonyi just seem to reside on the island.

Habukomi Island pelican; photo by Marcus Westberg

A long dock will help you enjoy a swim in Bunyonyi’s safe waters, there are simple sitting toilets available but no showers. On request the family can heat up some water for you to bathe in.

The tents pitched for you on a substantial meadow under Tom’s house will have ample blankets, fresh sheets and mattresses.

Meal at Tom’s Homestay; photo by Ash Dumford

The dinner will be served around a bonfire. In addition to crayfish, there will be typical local dishes served: beans, sweet and Irish potatoes, ground nuts and dodo (local spinach). Tom also has a couple of crates at hand, to sell you some beers and sodas.

Next morning, Tom will prepare you breakfast with local honey, bananas and chapatis before you return to the mainland by canoe (the timing will be adjusted to your preferences).

Campfire at Tom’s; photo by David Esteban.jpg

There is also the night motorboat option, for those who wouldn’t want to camp. 

More information: miha@gorillahighlands.com or +256 776 558 123