The Picturesqueness of the Irresistible Mount Moroto

Written by Lorna http://lornasadventures.com

“I have forgotten my handbag in my bedroom” I uttered out in dismay as Ivan our Uber driver parked the car in front of the Namayiba bus park where we were meant to board the bus to Moroto. Cyndee pelt, an amazing friend of mine that works for the American embassy in Kampala, said to Ivan and I, “Let’s drive back to your home and pick it up’’.  With that, we put our seat belts back on and began to hurriedly drive back to Bukasa a Kampala suburb where I reside.

“I forgot to re-fuel the car and it looks like we are running out of fuel’’ uttered Ivan as we glanced at him in distress. It was about 02.45am and the bus was meant to leave at 3am.  I wondered why any driver would drive clients around with a tank that was almost empty but at the same time I didn’t want that to heap blame or lose my cool as it was not necessary. After trying and failing to get fuel at three different petrol stations In Kabalagala one of the liveliest suburbs in Kampala, we were lucky to finally get a fuel re-fill at the fourth petrol station along the road. We hurriedly rushed to my house shortly after to fetch my bag and rush back to the bus station.

The air in the bus was quite stale as some of the passengers had been sleeping inside for hours, myself, Cyndee and Paulinas, a brother from the Tapac monastery in Moroto, were seated closely to each other at the back of the bus. Frederic Lepron, a former sports journalist & professional photographer in Paris and Les herbiers in France was also coming along with us. He was luckier than us, as he had found himself a much more comfortable seat at the center of the bus.

“Are you sure you never want to get married?” I asked Paulinas again (I have asked him this same question several times before). “Yes! I want to be free and dedicate my life fully to God.” He responded as Cyndee and I looked at him in dismay. I still have difficulties understanding why a young aesthetic man like himself would choose that path in life.

‘Do you have mountains in Burkina Faso?’ I continued to pester him with various questions. ‘Of course, we do, but they are not as high as the ones you have here in Uganda. “You should Google about it and learn more” he responded as I laughed. I have never met anyone from Burkina Faso before hence was intrigued with Paulinas and wanted to find out as much as possible about his country, the people, culture and lifestyle.

We were in Soroti at about 1pm; the scorching heat could be felt from within.  The driver halted to take in more passengers in a bus that was already bursting with passengers. More passengers poured in carrying plenty of luggage, chicken, food stuff and children. The bus was carrying more passengers than the legal limit opting some to sit on tiny stools and buckets along the bus corridor rendering movements within the bus almost impossible.

By about 4pm we had safely arrived in Moroto town, the alluring mountain ranges could be sighted at a distance. After bargaining for several minutes with the boda-boda riders we finally heaped our bags on bikes as we sat and headed out for the 47km ride to the Monastery in Tapac where we would rest for the night.

The surrounding mountain ranges were prepossessing; I have always considered Moroto as one of the most unique districts we have in Uganda ranging from the semi-arid climate in some months of the year, the pastoralist background of the locals and their unique form of dressing, culture and lifestyle which they have maintained to date. The Karamojong can easily be compared to the Masai of Kenya and Tanzania who are among the most admirable tribes in Africa.

“I think we are going to fall!” I said to my boda-boda rider as we fidgeted through a muddy path on the road. He narrated how the heavy rains had poured in the past few days rendering some parts on the roads impassable. “I think it’s best if I get off the bike and walk a bit ahead to make it easier for you to ride through”, I continued to say to him as I got more and more uncomfortable. I was seated with a heavy bag, a tent, hiking sticks and a sleeping bag. I felt like the weight on the bike needed to be lessened especially during the slippery part that we were heading for.

“Don’t be afraid Madame we are going to pass” said our rider. As soon as he had completed that statement, the bike gave way making us fall hard in the middle of the road! I watched as my oranges scattered all over the place, my bananas were mashed into a pudding, my elbows and knees were grazed and bleeding. Luckily for us an ambulance was passing by and offered to clean and disinfect my wounds to avoid an infection.

“I think I will walk to the monastery “I said to him as he urged me to jump back on to the bike. “It’s almost 8km between here and the monastery Madame. It is very far come and we go’’ he insisted.

“Don’t worry about it, I will still pay you fully for the entire journey” I insisted and grabbed a bottle of water from one of my bags and started the long walk to the monastery. Frederic and his boda-boda rider caught up with me and he decided to get off the bike and walk with me.

I was in a bit of pain but tales of France from Federic played a great role in keeping me distracted. We walked for about 2km until Paulinas caught up with us riding a massive CTX200 Honda motorbike. “Let me carry you Lorna, the monastery is still far ahead. I will come back and pick Federic up as soon as I drop you off.’’ Paulinas said to us as I jumped on to the back of the bike without any hesitation. I insisted on wearing his red helmet and comfortably held on to him as we set off. I was fascinated by the size of the motorbike, I have always been a huge bike lover but I would never attempt to ride one.

“Am glad you kept your word and came back” Father Hans said to me as I arrived at the monastery. Father Hans is a German priest who has lived in Uganda for almost 20 years, serving in different monasteries within the country.

“Are you all okay?” Cyndee asked. She had arrived an hour earlier before the rest of us and was worried about us, as we had taken a while to arrive. She was relieved when we all safely got to the monastery.

After settling into our rooms we sat down for dinner at the monastery living room. Being International Women’s Day, Cyndee and I were treated like royalty by the gentlemen. They set the dinner table for us, served us food and even offered us a tasty bottle of whisky to celebrate womanhood. Cyndee and I felt quite honored, but were careful not to drink too much as we had a long hike the following day.

We were up by 7am Friday morning and by 7.30am we were gracefully walking past the fields and on to the trail that led to the ascent of the mountain. The distant views of the mountain peaks got clearer prompting us to take out our cameras and capture some memorable shots. We had agreed to hire some local porters from the community to help carry our bags so we could pay them in return; money they could use to buy food and cater to their personal needs.

There were plenty of massive cactus plants along the trails that highly fascinated all of us especially Cyndee. Our first stop was at a small Tepeth community of Karamojong that spend most of their time in the mountains and rarely descend to socialize with neighboring communities and villages that surround the parish. They barely go to the health center when they fall sick; they would rather visit the neighboring forest to hunt for medicinal roots and leaves to treat their illnesses.

“She is asking you to give her soap or salt as a token’’ one of the guides translated to me as an elderly woman pulled out her hand towards me and spoke to me in the local language. Federic was kind enough to give away a bar of soap with a lovely floral scent that got her excited and the rest envious of her. We gave out salt, biscuits and oranges to the rest of the women and children as we taught the men how to hold the camera and take pictures.

We got to the forest and pitched our tents leaving most of our luggage behind alongside two guides. We recruited 2 more local Karamojong guides who diligently led us through the various trails within the mountain.

I rated this particular hike as one of the easiest I have ever done because we set a comfortable pace for everyone and hiked as a group, unlike a few previous hikes I have done before where some hikers were a bit too fast and others too slow.  We put emphasis on sticking together as a team, which is usually much easier when hiking in a small group. The sun was not as strong as it was in the previous months and this worked to our advantage.  The skies darkened at some point threatening rain but luckily there was no downpour, whilst the distant views of Mount Kadam and other ranges were mesmerizing.

I noticed Federic was extremely excited, he was constantly recording videos of the views and speaking in French. I imagined he was eager to share the beauty of the mountain with his friends back in France, probably entice them to visit the country and do the hike themselves. Cyndee on the other hand pulled out her camera and was busy capturing photos of various bird, insect and plant species. Uganda boasts about 1,000 various bird species, making it an ideal birdwatching destination for bird lovers like my dear friend Cyndee.

We successfully summitted the Imagit peak by 2pm, captured lovely photos with the Ugandan flag and later begun our descent towards our camp in the forest. The Karamojong guide and I were feeling exceptionally energetic and opted to compete by running down the mountain towards the forest every now and then, until we got to camp. I could tell he was impressed with the fact that I was running after such a tiresome day of ascending.

We were all settled in at the camp by 6pm. The guides were busy cooking beans at the fire they had set up, Federic was making some tea and noodles on a tiny stove he carried along, the rest of us were munching on various snacks to get our energy levels back as we sat around the fire to keep warm. We hung a speaker on the branch of a tree and started to play and dance to all sorts of music from France, Uganda and West Africa. The best moments of every hike to me are the excitement and celebrations that come after the descent; the feeling of accomplishment is always so good that it makes me want to dance and be merry. I barely slept as it was extremely cold in the night and the guides could not stop laughing and cracking jokes by the fire, this went on till dawn. It was a beautiful experience for me, very different from my usual comfort zone.

We were up by 7am, had some coffee and begun our 2-3 hour descent back to the monastery where we were welcomed back with a feast fit for a king by Father Hans and Father Jimmy. After lunch and a few beers, we took showers and jumped on motorbikes in preparation of the 47km journey to Moroto town to board the evening bus back to Kampala.

 

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Hiking Mount Napak The Third Highest Mountain in Karamoja

The alarm tone on my phone was so loud that it made my heart skip a beat. I was certain I had set the alarm for 3am but was shocked and started to panic when the time on my phone read 3.20am. I had asked the driver of the bus we had hired for the trip, to come pick me up at 4.00am yet I had barely packed any of my hiking equipment. I had no idea where my hiking boots were, I could barely find any matching socks in my drawer, I needed to have a shower and a strong cup of coffee to keep me sane and awake yet time was not on my side.

It was 4.30am and the cold outside was unbearable, I was hesitant to go back into the house and pick up a sweater as my mother was fast  asleep and I didn’t want to wake her up with my frequent movements in and out of the house. I had sat at the balcony in front of the house for almost thirty minutes, impatiently waiting for the driver to show up. I had rung him about six times and all he said was “Madame will be there in five minutes.” Thirty minutes had passed and there was still no sign of him and the vehicle. At about 4.45am I started to get suspicious and decided to ring my friend Charles who was meant to be our leader for the hike to voice my concerns. “The driver is still not here. What if he has tricked us? I think he has run away with the cash deposit we gave him for the bus’’ I whined to Charles as he quietly listened to my concerns.

“I think you are over –reacting Lorna, he will show up’’ he responded to try and calm me down. “I think he is here, I said to Charles as I heard the bus come towards the compound. “We are coming to pick you up, I hope you are ready” I said to him as soon as I saw the bus trying to park on the compound. I hung up on Charles immediately without waiting for a response, I was relieved and disappointed at the same time because the driver had not kept time yet we had a long journey ahead of us. After countless apologies from the driver and the conductor for showing up late, I hurriedly carried my bags inside and asked them to quickly drive to Charles’s residence to pick him up and later head to the Fat back packers in Kisementi by 6am to pick up the rest of the hikers.

Matt Battani the secretary of the Mountain Club of Uganda had requested Charles and I two months earlier to lead the mountain hike up in Moroto on his behalf as he was unable to do it. A few representatives of the mountain clubs of Uganda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya and South Africa were merging together to do this exciting hike. After introducing ourselves to the group and exchanging all the necessary pleasantries we boarded the bus at exactly 6 am and set off for the Karamoja region which is located on the North Eastern part of Uganda, about 10-12 hours drive from Kampala with a few stop overs along the way. The team in the bus was extremely friendly and cheerful, we all spoke about the political situations in our various countries with our favorite topic being Robert Mugabe ex-president of Zimbabwe, and we compared cultures and economic situations among many other topics.  Michael the team member from Zimbabwe was receiving plenty of questions from me as I have been intrigued by Robert Mugabe’s governance in Zimbabwe for a long period of time.

We stopped at Java’s café in Jinja for breakfast and later on had lunch at the Endiro café in Mbale where some members went out shopping for food supplies and safe drinking water for the week ahead of us. We arrived at the Pilas primary school which is situated in the Iriri trading center in the village of Lothaa in Napak at around 6pm; this was meant to be our camping area for the night. My phone had been ringing frequently as 2 of our group members from Japan, Ryutaro and Taiju had gotten into a bit of trouble with the local police and sub-county officials. They had travelled before us and had somehow been arrested for looking ‘’suspicious’ as the police explained to me over the phone.

Miha a Slovenian-Ugandan who owns a lodge at Lake bunyonyi, Charles and I rushed to the sub-county office to try and rescue the situation. After several arguments, debates and tempers flaring left and right with the various officials at the sub-county we decided to make peace and offered them a UGX 200,000 fee instead of the UGX 1,000,000 they were demanding to allow Ryutaro and Taiju to return with us back to the camp.

We were up and ready by 6am the morning of Sunday the 14th of January, we posed for a group photo with the Ugandan flag and begun to walk towards the starting point of the mountain. Mount Napak is the third highest mountain in Karamoja with a starting elevation of about 1,268 meters and a summit elevation of about 2,530meters. It is also considered to be one of the toughest mountains to climb in Karamoja as it has stiff cliffs and a few scramble sections that may require hikers to use a rope of about 15 meters to aid with the ascent. The ascent and descent on Mount Napak is about 18.9km if it’s hiked in a day like we planned to do, it takes a good 12 hours, 10 hours of hiking and 02 hours of breaks during the hike. The view of the sun rising in the horizon was spectacular; it colored the skies with a beautiful golden-brownish color.  The pathway was bushy with plenty of tall grasses; we occasionally stopped to greet the locals who had their homesteads at the base of the mountain, took plenty of photos and kept on trekking.

The hike started to get really steep at about 10 am. Steep rocky parts usually make me nervous as one wrong move could result into serious injuries and even death if the fall is severe, but luckily we had excellent team work and helped each other up where it got difficult. Charles, Wieslaw a skilled polish hiker and the local karamajong guide were extremely helpful and ensured all of us were safe.

The decision to make Charles the leader of the hike was a good one.  He is one of the most patient people I have ever met, he always stayed at the back of the group, whistling, singing and cracking jokes to ease the tension and fatigue that was starting to slowly build. Karamoja is a very dry semi-arid region and the heat is a bit extreme, the gruesome weather conditions made our ascent really challenging.

We were at the peak of the mountain by 1.30pm the views from the top were perfect for photography as it unveiled jaw dropping panoramic views of the famous Alekilek rock, distant Karamoja plains and Mountain ranges. The breeze was calm and relaxing providing the perfect environment for us to relax and have lunch. Most of us were falling asleep shortly after lunch when Wieslaw decided it was best we begun our descent to avoid hiking in the night.

We had assumed our descent would be much easier compared to our ascent but it turned out to be equally challenging.  Some paths were slippery making some of us lose balance and slide every now and then luckily there were no injuries. By 5pm we were all exhausted and extremely dehydrated, we had run out of water and our pace had slowed down slightly.

I was forced to sit down at a rock for about 15 minutes as my head was spinning and my sight had gotten blurry, I was extremely dehydrated, luckily the hikers from South Africa and Malawi had some spare water and rehydration tablets to share that aided in getting me back on my feet.

At 7.15PM we slowly walked towards our camp site at the school, extremely exhausted. I remember being so dehydrated and fatigued that I could barely talk. After an hour of taking a power nap, having dinner and a cold shower we sat at the bonfire with some cold beers and vodka to celebrate our success. Mount Napak had been successfully conquered.

“I appreciate MCU members for giving me and Taiju an opportunity to trek Mt.Napak and for having us released from Jail”-Ryutaro Onda a member of the mountain club of Uganda

“A huge THANK YOU to matt Battani for the invitation to Uganda and the planning, to Charles and Lorna for being our local charming hosts (the charm extending to the smooth release of our friends from the authorities at the Napak base camp), to Weislaw and Carolina for the daily nourishment, and lastly to the delightful group members with whom we hiked and shared stories and laughs. From the first Rolex in Jinja, through our interactions with the fascinating Karamojong, to the stunning top of the mountain we were smitten by this interesting and diverse country, Uganda. We had FUN-representatives of the mountain club of Malawi.

 

Ngamba Island -Chimp viewing and Birding

Ngamba Island is a chimpanzee sanctuary for 49 orphaned chimps currently. Numbers may continue to grow because of the illicit trade of chimps. Lucky enough there is an organization like the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and wildlife trust (CSWCT) an NGO that has taken it upon themselves with the support of donors to provide exceptional care to the chimps.

The chimps are confiscated and rescued throughout Uganda. They are later handed over to the wildlife authorities who entrust the chimps with the NGO.

Chimp viewing and Birding

A visit to this island is such a wonderful experience. My visits to this place have always been exciting. On my recent trip with friends we extended our trip to neighbouring  Koome Island for bird watching where we were surprised to see the Black bellied Bustard mostly seen at Lake Mburo National Park. Seeing the chimps feed is such a humbling experience. What impresses the onlooker is the time keeping and the gesture requests for food. Indeed they are man’s closet relatives .Chimps are fed four times a day on the Island. Chimp Intelligence is 98.7%.

These chimps are held behind an electric fence so that they do not escape. The NGO has done its best to keep them in the forest habitat alongside caged shelter. This is done to enable the chimps to assimilate to its original environment and also have a chance to closely look after them.

It is humbling to listen to the sanctuary care taker stories about their behavior especially the battle for the Alpha male position, grooming and looking after the young chimps. The rivalry for this position reminds me of the various leadership rivalries at School, Sports arenas and Politics where individuals compete for positions. The chimps are no exception since they are man’s closest relatives.

There are many activities at the Island available to the visitor that includes Chimpanzee feeding, visiting the nearby fishing villages, become a care giver for a day, go for a sunset cruise. If you are bird watching enthusiast, you can go birding at the nearby Koome Island.

Voluntering

Volunteer programs are also available at the Island and other natural habitats in western Uganda. This program gives you a firsthand insight into the conservation activities of these endangered species. This enables you the visitor to further educate yourself and the public about the importance of chimpanzee conservation .Meet Medina the chimp artist and other chimps with interesting stories. You have to be there yourself to capture the real stories.

Any visitor Restrictions: No visitor age restrictions. All are welcome.

Accommodation: Tented accommodation is available with additional camping tents.

A Night visitor will also be able to enjoy an evening camp fire.

Booking: Book directly with the Ngamba reservations office or tour operators like Rafiki Eco Safaris.

How to get there:

Ngamba Island is 23km on Lake Victoria. It can be accessed through Entebbe by boat. The boats cater for various groups and budgets. Traditional motorized canoe takes 90 minutes. Speed boats travel for approximately 45- 50 minutes. Half and day boat trips leave at 9:00am or 12:45pm.

Amabere Caves- Explore history and Crater lakes

This is a popular historical site about 10 km from Fort Portal Municipality. There is a legendary tale that has kept it lively till today. Waterfalls and Caves welcome you. The picturesque crater lakes nearby are breathtaking. This tourist site in Kabarole district.It is preserved by the Rubombora family. They have preserved it for the future generations. The guides at the site are quite knowledgeable about the historical and scientific formation of the breast like formations on the rocks.

The locals explain that these breast like features hanging below the cave are associated with a legendary tale of a daughter who disobeyed her father.She was an attractive beautiful girl.It is told that King Bukuku of the Cwezi dynasty that gave birth to the current Tooro and Bunyoro Kingdoms cut off her breasts for refusing to marry the husband chosen for her. She later fled to this place and disappeared without trace. Therefore it believed that the oozing pillars on the rocks represent her breasts and milk.

Scientists call the hanging pillars that look like breasts, stalagmites and stalactites. The site guide explains that the oozing milk is calcium that rolls over the rocks as a result of the waterfalls over the rocks. He cautions you to avoid touching them, because they take several years to grow to their current size otherwise you risk breaking them thus hindering them from further growth. Stalactites and stalagmites are considered as part of a Country’s natural heritage and are protected by law in some countries.

The largest stalagmite in the world is in the cave of Cueva San Martin Infierno, Cuba. It is 220 feet high (62.2 metres).

Guide explaining the formation of Stalagmites and Stalactites

Guide sharing information on Stalagmites and Stalactites

As you walk down the caves you will enjoy the Nyakasura Waterfalls that pours its waters to the basement of the caves. During the rainy season the paths are slippery so it is advisable to watch your steps.

An extended walk to the surrounding is quite enjoyable and requires physical fitness. You will enjoy the crater lake scenery and have the chance to view them at the top of the hill.

How to get there

Amabere caves can be accessed by private transport. Since it is a short distance you can hire a taxi or tour operator to the site from Fort portal town. If it is part of your itinerary to other destinations, most tour operators will drive you there.

Accomodation

The Rubombora family has B&B accommodation on the site.

More accommodation is available in Fort Portal town that fits your budget.

This site combines well with nature walks, culture and cave exploration.

Other destinations that can be visited alongside the caves include Semuliki National Park, Kibale National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Mabira Forest Eco-tour

Mabira forest is a perfect destination out of the City Centre. It is 60km away from Kampala. It is one of the largest forest reserves with over 315 bird species, 312 tree species. It is also home to butterflies and primates that include the Uganda Mangabey monkey, Red tailed monkey. It is a popular birding destination for the birding fraternity. It has accessible trails which can be accessed with the company of a guide who is knowledgeable about the forest.

It is a forest reserve managed by the National Forest Authority which has encouraged the promotion of forest tourism in the recent years. It was gazetted as a forest reserve in 1932 .Over the years several organizations have campaigned to restore it .Ecotourism opportunities have been advanced and developed thus supporting the communities around the forest.

Other activities include Mountain Biking, Environmental Education and Research, Camping and Picnics, Primate Watching, Butterfly Identification and general Forest Exploration.

Our birding group has continued to explore places to hone our birding skills. Mabira forest was yet another destination we explored away from Kampala city. It is an ideal place for nature lovers.

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Our main objective on this trip was birding, forest walks and tree species identification. Lesser striped swallows welcomed us at our accommodation. They stayed nearby till night fall. The weaver birds too in the neighborhood caught our attention nesting. The Male weavers are known to be family nest builders before a female weaver “fully” accepts to visit. The female will check ‘thoroughly’ the ‘comfort facilities’ in the nest before accepting ‘matrimony’. This behavior is similar to human beings(Male) who are known Bread winners. If a man does not have the required resources and facilities to support the woman, the woman will not visit.

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Lesser striped swallows

 

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Black headed Weaver

During this trip, 45 birds were seen. Among the 45 birds sighted, some the birds included the Brown eared woodpecker, Yellow crowned woodpecker, Blue shouldered Robin chat, Red capped Robin chat, Black throated Apalis, Forest wood Hoopoe, Forest Robin, Jameson’s wattle eye.

Red tailed monkeys and tree squirrels were sighted.We enjoyed the long forest walks too enabling us breathe in fresh air thus boosting our oxygen reserves.

Accommodation: Self catering accommodation and camping facilities are available at the eco-tourism site for budget travellers. Mabira Rain forest lodge is also another eco –friendly within the forest with 12 independent timber cabins, Swimming pool, Sauna and massage and Conference and seminar facilities ideal for the mid –range/luxury  traveler.

Location & Accessibility: Mabira can be accessed by both public and private transport off the main road to Jinja at Najjembe trading Centre at 60km from Kampala City or 24km from Jinja another tourism Haven, home to the Source of the River Nile..

 

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Our safari van

Other ecotourism sites near Mabira that can be visited include the Griffins falls Camp also known as the the Mabira forest camp  located near breath taking falls. This camp was founded by the Mabira Forest Intergrated Community Organisation (MAFICO) to improve the livelihoods and welfare of the community by conserving the environment. The “Star” activity at the site is the Canopy “zip line” that sends you soaring high in between the rainforest trees.

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Group Smiles at the end of our trip

Source of the Nile at Jinja Uganda

The Source of the Nile is the the original place where River Nile starts its maiden journey to Mediterranean sea. It travels 4000miles.It takes  3 months to complete the journey to the Mediterranean sea.

Jinja town is best known as the location of the source of the river Nile and as a famous business hub for Asians in the 1970s. However the Asians have been returning in good numbers to resume their trading. Unlike in the 1970s where they dominated the trade, today even locals have since joined business mainly in the retail shops and supermarkets. Jinja is also attractive to other investments in the hospitality industry.

Jinja is about 84km away from Kampala City. You can travel by public means or private car. Travelling time is about 1hour 30minutes to 2hours.

During my two day trip I was able to visit the Source of the Nile, which is a popular place for both locals and foreign guests. The main attraction is the genuine point of the Source of the Nile where the River Nile starts its maiden journey to Mediterranean sea through Sudan and Egypt. The source of this mighty river is Lake Victoria a lake named after Queen Victoria by Explorer John Speke after an expedition to locate the source of the Nile.A monument has been erected to mark this event on the western side of the river where he stood and identified the source of River Nile in 1862.

It is such an exciting experience to travel by boat to the exact point of the source of the Nile. Not only can someone enjoy the photographic experience but also enjoy the ride on the River Nile and Lake Victoria. You will also see birds hovering above the river trying to spot fish for a day’s meal and fishermen drawing their nets in water to catch fish for an evening meal and trade.

The excitement among the visitors feels the air. Travelling on water is fun for the revellers. A boat cruise can be for 30minutes to 2 hours.

Another place visited is the Mahatma Gandhi Monument. This Monument is associated to the ashes that were poured into the Nile to fulfill his wish. Gandhi’s ashes were scattered in selected places across the world including at the source of the Nile River near Jinja, Uganda, and today a memorial plaque is in place to mark the event.

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Gandhi, a Nationalist and renowned advocate for civil liberties led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. A Hindu nationalist, assassinated Gandhi on 30 January 1948 by firing three bullets into his chest.

Another historical place visited is the World War cemetery, where World War One and Two Ugandan casualties were buried. These veterans were part of the colonial regiment,King’s African Rifles.

For an enthusiastic reveler you will also want a variety of activities after a day’s adventure on water. At the source of the Nile, there is a recreation park similar to the Entebbe Zoo that has recently opened to provide an additional travel experience for its guests. It has snakes, a crocodile, donkeys and also a cultural village exhibiting a Basoga tribe (natives of the area) homestead (hut) and its handmade tools used for cooking and hunting.The items are labelled with the English name and its equivalent local name.

Restaurants at the river side can give you a place to relax as you enjoy the fish delicacy, fries and drinks as you view the river and lake activities.

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Accommodation

Jinja accommodation favours the backpacker, midrange and luxury travelers, like Jinja backpackers,2 friends Guest house, The Haven, Gately on the Nile,The Holland park among others.

Other activities availaible in addition to sightseeing is Kayaking,Water rafting, Horse riding and Quad biking along the Nile or through the Ugandan villages.

Women Integrated Empowerment Development Group (WIED)

A Visit to a women community group concluded my trip. These hardworking single mothers and care givers have made progress despite all odds. Its mission is to help women attain self reliance using sustainable livelihood approaches. They have specialized in recycling paper ,banana fibre, Kitenge materials and cow horns to produce handcrafts like ear rings, neckalaces, money purses, shopping bags, Table mats Aprons, Toliet bags, head scarfs, desk organisers, sugar and sauce bowls.

The group was started in 2003 with 17 women. It currently has over 200 members. Business was going on well from 2006.However in 2012 the market was saturated by competition with recycled paper products ,their main business line thus making them redundant from 2012 to 2015.

In late 2015, a lucky member of the group through a friend got the chance to go for training at Uganda Industrial Research Institute. Despite the tough training, the member benefited from the training and network. She was able to make sample products out of cow horns a new raw material to replace horns like earrings. The product was later shown to the members who were excited and later agreed to continue making products. Fortunately a Good Samaritan arrived from the USA who had earlier interacted with them.Samples we given to the Good Samaritan who supported the group find donors to fund the new project. Like the say the rest is history, the group finally secured funding for the new machines that could cut & mould the cow horns in April 2016.Beautiful Handicrafts have been made from the cow horns. The group is very happy about their new innovation, however more funding and market is needed for the products preferably overseas. Plans are underway to seek more funding for project expansion and acquisition of land to establish a new permanent home, with own workshop rooms, conference rooms, offices and also set up other income generating projects to boost their revenue and also act as a demonstration site for the group members.

For any donations, support or visit to the women group Contact: Dorothy Wakabi Email:dorothywakabi6@gmail.com Tel: +256773106728/+256706106728 or Judith Talitwala +256782488996/+256703878593.

 

Why visit Uganda

“Uganda is from end to end a ‘beautiful garden’ where ‘staple food’ of the people grows almost without labour. Does it not sound like a paradise on earth? It is the Pearl of Africa.”Winston Churchill

Beautiful Country

Tourists coming to Uganda will meet  its beautiful people, its beautiful culture, the dances, the different tribes and the diversity that cannot be found anywhere else.

Adventurous

Uganda is full of a variety of adventurous activities like Whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, jet boating and river surfing on the Source of the Nile near Bujagali Falls in Jinja. It is an opportunity for the brave ones.

Affordability

Tourists to Uganda will enjoy an affordable holiday be budget, medium range or Luxury and have enough to purchase souvenirs or can always extend their trip.

Good Climate

With two seasons of rain blended with sunny seasons and spectacular vegetation, Uganda’s weather is admirable across the country; you will enjoy the tours and travels.

Culture and heritage diversity

With a varied rich culture, of over 56 tribes, and each one has their own dress, their own language, their own food. We have a very hospitable people, very beautiful country, all year-round summer-like conditions.

A Variety of Wildlife

Uganda is Gifted by Nature .It is a home to the world’s largest concentration of primates. Half of the world population of Gorillas is in Uganda. Other Primates include Chimpanzees, monkeys, baboons.

Memorable experiences

Uganda with an open heart and a good mind gets you far because the people are extremely generous, very friendly, giving you a relaxed stay in Uganda.