Former Land’s Minister now Chairman of the Uganda Tourism Board Chairman, says that as a people, we must understand tourism. “Sometimes when we talk about tourism and many people think you must be talking about foreigners visiting Uganda,” he spoke in an interview with Capital Radio. “But there is also
Speaking of the decision to celebrate the just concluded World Tourism Day Celebrations in Gulu, he said that the government is looking to showcase the various products that the country has. “The other issue is to be able to review our performance in the past,” he says. “Up until now, how have we been performing?” He adds that only then can the country appreciate the weaknesses but also identify what other things could aid the tourism industry to prosper.
Asked what the Uganda Tourism Board had done to this point, he said that they had run adverts publicizing the attractions that the country has to offer. “But we have also arranged trips to some of these places,” he says. “We have been able to get opinion leaders involved to visit the Game Parks, the mountains… all sorts of places.” He adds thusly: “There is also the famous Tulambule!” He said that programs like those that Miss Uganda and Miss World Africa have been conducting.
Tasked to explain what the future has for the country’s tourism, he tells of a time when tourism wasn’t taken seriously and compares that to a far better reality. “…now everybody has been able to understand that tourism is the leading foreign exchange earner for the country,” he says. “If in the past we hadn’t taken tourism very seriously, now we have to take it very seriously.” He argues that the benefits from tourism are very clear. “It is a low-hanging fruit, which we just need to go and harness,” the Minister adds passionately. “Within no time if we focus on tourism, the economy of this country will be doing well.”Read More
Since its inception, the chair has morphed into shapes, fascinating shapes. But as you sit on your comfy couch in your sitting room today after a long day at work, in Karamoja, people swiftly sit on wooden stools after, well, a long day in the field. It’s the way of life. And the Karamajong has an attachment to these
wooden stools. To them the T-shaped masterpiece curved off tamarind trees, they are all they have.
No, they are not complaining, why would they? They are not. They are contented with them, because these wooden stools, old-fashioned as they are, perform diverse duties. Traditionally called Ameto, these wooden stools are viewed as historical tools in Karamoja. They are symbols of history. That’s why, like the rest of the world races to buy those fancy couches with cushions, the Karamojong don’t join the queue. With these wooden stools which can last as long as 15 years if kept well, they are covered. In them, they find comfort.
Talking to people in Karamoja, they will tell you heartfelt stories about these wooden stools. Each one of them has a story, a good story about the stools. Me? I use it as a pillow. For me, I use it when I am grazing my cattle. For us, we use these stools at parties. And many more stories. They could be wooden and hard in the eyes of other people, but not to the Karamojong. For them, they look at them as pillows to sleep on.
As the rest of the world rests their heads on cotton-made pillows to sleep, people in Karamoja rest their heads on these wooden stools. And all is fine with them. No one will complain about a backache or an ache in the neck. No one will complain of being an insomniac either. To them, it is a normal routine. The Karamajong are renowned cattle keepers.
As they herd their cattle for pasture, they use these wooden stools for resting on them. It’s a good sight to capture; as they sit on these stools and watch over their cattle, their hands across their stubble, wrapped in their traditional attire. It’s spectacular, the sight. Also, as they go milking; they put the stools on the ground, sit on them as they pull the cows’ udders for milk.
Even as they hold parties and different ceremonies around the region, these stools help them. They have no plastic chairs, like the rest of the world. These stools aid them to accommodate guests. To them, these stools are part of them. Yes, they could be wooden, but nothing beats history. Having it is a symbol of maturity and a ticket to mingling with elders as they discuss fundamental issues of the tribe. As they sit on them, unbeknownst to the rest of the world, the Karamajong are seated on history.Read More
Though it boasts of a 200-year-lifespan, this will be a brief one, albeit a must-read. See, the Old Kampala Mosque is one of the places you must visit whilst out here in the City. For most adventurers in pursuit of religious tourism, it is just right— offering a sophisticated taste of elegance, architecture, and brilliant artistic
inscriptions from all the six continents of the world
It should have been up and proud by the time the current Museveni-led government came into power, but the construction of the mosque stalled after Amin fled Uganda following the overthrow of his government in 1979. The politics of it all would be that the president then, Milton Obote who more Christine-inclined didn’t think this pertinent whilst Iddi Dada Amin put it on his radar. Historians tell of how fast it was erected whilst Amin was on the throne and how quickly the construction came to a screeching halt under the Obote government and the others that followed.
But its savior, the fallen Muammar Gaddafi was decades away and would come to its rescue. Aside from offering an impressive history and culture, the house of worship which was named after fallen Libyan President Muammar Gadaffi has a distinctive Minaret that stands at over 100 feet atop old Kampala Hill and 1,210M above sea level. From here, adventurers can get some much-needed fresh air from the hot day plus the most breathtaking 360 degrees of Kampala and the seven Hills of Kampala. No other hill in Kampala offers such.
And yes, today, it is one of the largest mosques in the world and seats up to 15,000 worshippers and can hold another 1,100 in the gallery and over 2,000 in its lower terrace. Its lighting is a beauty to partake in the night, adding to a glorious scene that makes for Kampala’s hills by the night.
Women need to be prepared to wear a dress and cover all their hair if visiting the Mosque (provided). While exploring the holy sanctuary is free for Ugandans, it comes at a fee of shs10,000 for non-citizens.
Time check: 8:00 PM. Location: Nsambya. You dear folks can call this, time for Malwa aka Ajono. Or what you fancy people will call a millet, maize, or sorghum brew, it sits okay. A group of men leisurely amble into a reed enclosure that is slightly thrown out of the barracks. Inside the enclosure sits a group of about
18 men and women around a pot of frothy local brew, commonly referred to as Malwa.
One of the men, a chap whose potbelly was slapped with hyperbole, seems to run things here. When I enter, he is saying something about a Sacco the group should start.
He speaks with authority because he is the chairman for the week. A chairman voted to orchestrate the activity that ensues at the joint every week. But still, he looks special. His words seem more calculated than most of the questions he is receiving. The way he carries himself exudes elegance. It says he is studied. And before he mentions that he works for a big corporate company, your imagination has already put that question out of the way for you.
Yet, tonight, none of those things matter. He is having his finest drink. Heck, as he caresses his lengthy straw, occasionally thrusting it in and out the Malwa pot to mix up the concoction of hot water and other ingredients of the fermented millet, one question seems to linger in his head; “Can life get any better than this?”
Back in his village in Gogonya, his gramps is seated with village elders around a bigger version of the Malwa pot, Ndombolo Ya Solo, the Lingala classic is blaring from the stereo. Hot water is brewing from a nearby fireplace as his gramps waxes lyrical about his success in the city.
He is among a group of men who choose to remain true to their cultures. A breed that maintains a deaf ear to the noisy train of civilization and the trivialities that drive the cyber era. The districts of Soroti, Kumi, Kaberamaido, and Katakwi which make up the Teso region are believed to be the only ones where the local brew referred to indigenously as Ajon, is celebrated. But they are not. The districts surrounding it like Mbale, Pallisa, Budaka, Bududa, et al, according to Okiring Jameson, a teacher in Soroti, are also ardent consumers of the beverage.
Yet because all those districts have relatives who chase dreams in the dusty city that Kampala is, the nostalgia kicks and as such, many are minting off it.
The joints in Kampala.
Kampala is littered with many Malwa joints. So much that a lucky lot of entrepreneurs have registered their success through selling the local brew to the very demanding market.
The most famous area for Malwa joints in Kampala is Nsambya. According to a regular at one of the joints there, the place above the Nsambya barracks on Ggaba road has withered the storms of the investor-scheme-money-induced evacuations, certainly because the people that make those decisions deem the place special and regardless of the meals it might put on their tables, they are skeptical about evacuating tones of good memories fwaaa.
Kitintale is also famed for hosting a number of corporates in their Malwa joints. A place called Kataza in Kitintale, however, stands out. Certainly, because according to Jackie Nandudu, a local and constant customer to one of the joints, it is the one place where people have garnered fortunes over brewing the beverage.
According to Sam Ogunum, a seasoned brewer of the Malwa beverage on Limoto Village, Pallisa, the preparation of Malwa for the Itesots is not the same way other regions of the country prepare it. “We, the Itesots use a combination of millet and sorghum, while the Langi use a similar formula that they are yet to muster, while the people in the west use strictly millet’” relays Sam Okuda.
“Millet kernels are soaked in warm water until they sprout, with the goal to increase the content of maltose in the grain. The millet is then dried out to arrest the germination process. The malted grain is then pulverized and mixed with water. This mixture is commonly known as wort. The wort is later boiled in order to remove any potential bacterial threat. Once the boiling process is complete and the wort cools down yeast is added. The mixture is then allowed to ferment. The entire process takes five days,” adds Sam.
There is, however, a mushrooming habit that the urban Malwa joints are adding to the formulae. According to Joyce Akidi, a brewer at a Malwa joint in Nsambya, other intoxicants are added to meet the expectations of the urban breed of consumers. “Some urge us to add vodka to enhance the alcohol levels in the beverage. While some want so badly for their friends to get intoxicated so they insist that we add weed. Some Malwa joints do it on purpose, while others do it on request,” relayed Akidi.Read More
The memory of climbing Kagulu hill stays arched in our brains. See, just like the Great Wall of China, climbing the rocky Kagulu Hill might look easy on the eye but quite the opposite. Standing at 3,600ft above sea level, Kagulu Hill is found in Buyende District (Busoga Kingdom) about 30kms from Kamuli Town in Eastern Uganda.
It is said to be at the center of Busoga’s cultural heritage because the hill is believed to be the first migration and settlement center in the Busoga sub-region. It is said Bunyoro kings sought sanctuary and spent their leisure time on Kagulu hill. The hill also comprises caves, small crater lakes which are said to have formed the first settlement of the earlier traditional rulers of the Babiito clan, which governed Busoga. Word also has it that Prince Mukama was among the first Bunyoro traditional rulers to conquer Busoga and to settle in the caves of Kagulu hill.
The hill, with gigantic rocks, offers adventurers a challenging climbing experience. In fact for the last two years, Busoga Tourism Initiative has been organizing the ‘Kagulu Rock climbing challenge’ where people from different walks of life take part in climbing the hill to the top. The challenge is indeed a test of one’s patience and resilience because 30metres uphill, one begins to feel the intensity of the climb. Most at this point begin walking 17 View Uganda Apr-Jun 2014 on all fours and the breathing gets heavy. Some are saved by small rocks bundled together which act as a source of support on which they clutch as they climb. It is at this point that climbers are sieved. Those determined to climb to the top go ahead whereas to some this marks the end of their experience.
The steep climb eases as one approaches about 100 meters to the top. Here you can stop crouching and move on your feet although with great caution because you are almost halfway through your journey and it gets tricky stopping to look behind where you have come from.
The best news is that at this point man-made stairs come in handy to the climber’s rescue. These help you to move close to 200 meters to the top.
Considering how steep the stretch of bare rock on which the stairs are, the person who had them constructed clearly had tired climbers at the back of former president Iddi Amin who ordered the construction of the stairs in 1975. From this point onward, climbing to the top of the hill is a walkover of sorts.
The only shortcoming at this point is the one set of stairs because those making their way downhill always scramble for space with those fighting their way up. But at the end of the day, everybody is sorted either way.
Finally, at the end of the stairs stands a monument building, this signifies the end of the challenge. This is after approximately one and half hours! Many may say, one and a half hours is a short period but unless somebody has participated in the challenge or otherwise climbed Kagulu hill, they will not know how long one hour can get.
At the peak of the hill is a monument that all climbers anticipate reaching. Although ideally, the monument should mark the end of the adventure, a keen climber will notice that about 200 meters from the peak are another attraction. There are rocks beautifully piled in a way you could think gigantic men arranged them.
Aside from this, those who reach the peak can view the beautiful waterfalls that flow from the top of the rocks, the ancient historic caves, and Lake Kyoga as it joins with the River Nile. A view of the Soroti District is also clear at the peak.
All in all, climbing this rock is an experience of a lifetime. It tests your stamina and endurance but more exciting and memorable is the way one is soaked in sweat by the time they descend to the foot of the hill.
The Kagulu adventure has become an excellent experience even for those who have been taken on the challenge several times. In fact, one should not rest until they have reached the summit of Kagulu to experience the splendor of nature at its best. Whereas it is not a must to get to the top, it is a worthy try and all tourists should endeavor to reach.Read More
The day was Saturday, April the 18th-2015 when Letaba the lion first landed in Uganda. The Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC) would tell of the joy that defined the moment. A then 6-year old Letaba, a donation to Uganda by the Lion Park- South Africa had arrived to help save the Lion numbers from
dwindling. Glee laced every word that came out of UWEC in that it could have been mistaken for the arrival of a human king.
Of his journey here they wrote: “Letaba went through the normal customs clearance and was immediately handed over to the waiting crew that largely comprised Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities officials, UWEC staff, South African Airways- Uganda Representatives, animal enthusiasts, media who drove the king of the jungle to the quarantine facility at Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) popularly known as Entebbe Zoo.”
It was infectious, and tourism, wildlife, and travel enthusiast really should have felt as excited as the UWEC folk were. Even the China-based CGTN would later join in with footage of a healthy Letaba observably at home. “Letaba, a seven-year-old lion has quickly made himself at home in his new zoo in Uganda. Letaba was successfully integrated with the lionesses at Uganda’s Wildlife education center. Conservationists are now hoping the lion will help grow the numbers of the country’s declining lion…” they captioned footage of Letaba.
UWEC further reported that while addressing the visitors that turned up to receive the giant cat, Mr. James Musinguzi, the Executive Director informed the guests that the donation was granted at the Pan African Association of Zoos and Aquarium Conference held at UWEC in May 2014.
“It was during this conference that the Director of Lion Park saw the need to replace our aging male lion, Kibonge, and offered their support for a male lion,” he said.
Even as we continue to mourn the death of Letaba, we can only hope that his cabs continue the work that he had started. Note that only recently a census was undertaken in Murchison Falls, Kidepo, and Queen Elizabeth national parks found that these big cats have reduced by 33% in Uganda’s game reserves over the last 10 years. They also found that the numbers here were down to 400 600 to 400 with Murchison falls losing the lion share and now down to just 130 animals.
You can therefore imagine how frustrating it was for conservationists to read that Letaba, a 10-year-old lion that would have probably helped sire more cabs had to be put out after a failed attempt to tranquilize him after he was in Mubende district. Many have argued that though it is doing a lot to educate the public, UWEC should have done better by Letaba. If not for anything, it should be because Uganda needed him.Read More
News of the death of an Uganda Wildlife Education Center Lion came ploughing through the online streets like a wildfire. It started as a rumor that would soon be confirmed by a statement put out by UWEC itself.
“Uganda Wild Life Authority with deep sorrow announces the death of Letaba, one of her male lions, aged 10years- that passed on 13th September at 9:00 am,” it began before the narration of what happened unfolded.
Apparently, it started when the authorities travelled to Fortportal on a sensitization trip during Toro Kingdom’s cultural celebrations dubbed Empango. On their way back, in a bid to avoid a collision, their truck swerved and the animal crates collided somewhere allowing the lion to escape into the animal farm in Mubende district’s Kalenga village. Immediately, a search was mounted only to find the lion now fully charged.
They wrote: “The Lion was later cited in the community at around 7:00 am highly charged and had already killed 3 pigs and injured 1 cow. The veterinary doctor tried to dart him in vain and since he had already become highly agitated, dangerous, and threatening human life, a painful decision was made after consultation to put him out of action at 9:00 am.
While many Ugandans understood and were quick to pass their sympathies, many more thought UWEC should have done better. One Kate Walugembe implored UWEC to stop transporting the animals at such great risk to them. “Please reconsider making them a spectacle. Leave them be in their home at UWEC,” she wrote. “It is not his fault he escaped and he only did the natural thing to hunt!”
She went on to suggest that putting an end to the transportation of these animals be put before the board. “They can be viewed in safety from Entebbe. The travel is a stress to them,” she further wrote before giving a suggestion. “Let his death not be in vain, let it bring positive change!”
Journalist and wildlife enthusiast, Rafsanjan Abbey couldn’t hide his disappointment. He wrote: “Efforts to dart him failed,” but they effortlessly shot him dead?! Crap! Yes, I genuinely applaud UWEC for this bold statement and am super happy that no human life was lost in this tragedy. But we still lost Letaba. A male adult LION! A lion we begged SA to give us following the demise of alpha male Kibonge.”
Abbey lamented about how at 10 years, Letaba shouldn’t have been on such trips. “Take cubs for these roadshows; if people want to see the big ones, then they should come to the zoo or better still visit the game parks,” he wrote. “How people in Fort Portal (a stone-throw away from wild lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park) would eagerly and excitedly wait to see a caged one from Entebbe just beats my understanding.”
Though this particular death stung, the UWEC officials were quick to console the public. They wrote thusly: “The good news is that Letaba sired offsprings whom he leaves behind, including a son, so his legacy lives on.”Read More
Are you a traveler, is it a holiday you seek or just Safari somewhere in the Ugandan jungle? Well, we have deals in abundance as we look to subsidize for you and give you deals to die for.
Ever heard of Serenada Eco Resort? This is a gem of a destination for those looking to avoid the long journeys and yet still experience the destination Uganda. Located at the shores of Lake Victoria in Mukono District’s Buvuma Island, it is arguably the closest eco-lodge resort to Kampala City. And its foremost features are 2 tropical forests, a jungle of papyrus, a Lake Victoria waterfront, 4 beautiful gardens, a beach, and part of Kyasa Mountain of 1,200 meters above sea level. Not to mention the over 220 birds species, rare butterflies, and animals.
Or you could venture further into Jinja, and seek out the shores of Lake Victoria to explore Samuka Island. One Trip Advisor calls a place for a retreat. It further describes it as a boutique lodge within a bird Sanctuary with over 50 species of birds. “A gentle boat trip from Rumours at the Source of the Nile in Jinja will take the discerning traveler to Samuka Island,” they write. “With a spectacular waterfront setting, natural beauty, and the option of relaxing in a secluded spot, all combine to make your stay the perfect way to refresh the mind, body, and delight the senses.”
We already had mentioned this, but we thought we should re-share it. Is it Brovad Sands Lodge you seek? Nestled in the charming island of Bugala in the Ssese Islands on Lake Victoria, this lodge is synonymous with providing the right blend of service, luxury, and quiet efficiency. Acclaimed for all-around excellence and unparalleled levels of service, Brovad Sands Lodge has received innumerable awards and accolades. And yes, we have a couple’s deal out there.Read More
The African Primatological Society Conference, the second of its kind, recently took place at the Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel, in Entebbe. Running under the theme “Primate Conservation in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities” with a focus on policy, practice, and sustainability, the conference affirmed many decisions.
When he spoke, Uganda’s Tourism Minister Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, noted that a total of over 10% of Uganda’s landscape is gazetted for conservation. “This definitely shows our commitment towards protecting the gorillas and other endangered primate species,” he said. “There is hope for the conservation of primates and I am happy that this conference aims to strengthen, position, and serve as a platform for knowledge.”
He added that the knowledge shared therein would be beneficial among researchers, conservationists, education practitioners, donors, and decision-makers and has been hosted in Uganda; the primate capital of the world. He was quick to add about his worry of how easily the great apes could get exposed to human-related diseases.
“A concerted effort is needed to address these threats, through increasing the level of involvement and commitment from stakeholders,” he said. Minister Kamuntu said that besides research, proper and special conservation areas ought to be gazette and health environmental practices adopted. He believes that this shouldn’t be a case of just Uganda, but Africa as a whole should be deliberate about this.
The Vice President of Africa Primatological Society (APS), Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka gave some practical ways in which the primates would be protected and allowed to thrive. She used examples of what Uganda and its partners had done to achieve this goal. “The involvement of locals in wildlife management decision making, sharing of Protected Area revenues (20%) with adjacent communities as well as the establishment of wild animal barriers like trenches (237km), buffalo wall (16km), Mauritius live fences (192.5km), and crocodile cages (12) electric fencing (10km construction ongoing at Rubirizi),” she listed. “The other measures that stood out are the use of beehives (8,557 hives), chili cakes, buffer crops like tea to prevent human-wildlife conflicts, regulated protected area resource access and empowerment of communities to engage in alternative livelihoods like community tourism.”
Facts about Uganda’s primates
According to information retrieved from Uganda Tourism Board, Uganda boasts of a rich and diverse wildlife heritage owing to its unique location at the zone of overlap between the savannah of East Africa and the rainforests of West Africa. The country is distinctly blessed with spectacular landscapes of unrivaled beauty ranging from the great rift valleys to lake basins, rolling plains, tropical forests, and vast savannahs to permanently snowcapped mountains. The numerous landforms and habitats support rich and varied wildlife species and communities.
In terms of primate richness, Uganda is host to 53.9% of the world’s remaining population of Mountain gorillas, and 8% of the global mammal diversity (which is 39% of Africa’s mammal richness). Uganda has 15 species of primates of which four of them are endangered, the mountain gorilla, chimpanzee, red colobus monkey, and golden monkey.
This rich wildlife biodiversity has been conserved through a robust policy and legal framework including the establishment of a network of wildlife Protected Areas covering about 10% of the country’s total land surface. These include 10 National Parks, 12 Wildlife Reserves, 10 Wildlife Sanctuaries, and 5 Community Wildlife Areas.
Besides the rich primate diversity, Uganda also has 19% of Africa’s Amphibian species richness, 14% of Africa’s reptile species richness, and 1,249 recorded species of butterflies. The rich wildlife endowment is the number one competitive edge to develop Uganda into a top tourism destination in AfricaRead More