Reasons why you should visit Uganda

March 14, 2014

“How would you feel about riding a bodaboda (motorcycle) that are commonly used as mode of transport in Kampala, the commercial and administrative capital of Uganda?” my Canadian friend asks. “That would be the great,” I reply without really stopping to think that I haven’t actually rode on one for almost three years. Still, it’s no different from riding on a bicycle. Once you’ve taken a ride you never forget and galloping across Uganda’s endless hills after a sedentary life in the cool town of Entebbe sounds like much too good an opportunity to pass up. And so it is that on a cloudy March day, I find myself with a group of a friend from Montreal who came visiting. The country’s largest city, Kampala remains the fashion capital of east and central Africa and is a charming place boasting historic architecture, a beautiful landscape, friendly citizens and local and foreign cuisines. Uganda has one of the fastest growing urbanization rates in the sub Saharan Africa, combined with one of the highest rates of density of population. Whenever in Kampala you should try and discover these two aspects while traveling around. There are so many things for you to see Uganda, from the incredible landscapes of the western Uganda to the crazy nightlife of the cities like Kampala, Entebbe, Gulu, Jinja and Mbarara among many others. It is no wonder,Uganda was voted in 2012 as one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations.

The sad part is it also means that you will most likely not have enough time to see everything. Among the sights not to be missed is the beautiful Kampala Cathedral, a 19th-century Buganda Kingdom headquarters that’s located in Mengo area and the Owino market that see tens of thousands of Ugandan flock there every day.  With Jinja’s river Nile location in the eastern Uganda offers a variety of outdoor activities are available to entertain the visitor. Bungee jumping, the outdoor speed skating and bandy rink are some of the most fascinating stuff to experience in Eastern part of the country. Traveling to western Uganda from Kampala from Queen Elizabeth national park up to the Ruwenzori mountain means the stomachs will be rumbling nervously before managing to enjoy the amazing views of the snow peaks and glaciers that scientists have recently claimed is receding at alarming rate. Today, urban folks in Kampala enjoy an easier bodaboda ride in every sense of the word and many still choose to take to have fun in their leisure time. Eating Bananas is normal in Uganda. At the fresh market, locals enthusiastically shop for bananas, which surprisingly is more expensive than Irish potatoes of equivalent.

My Canadian was totally unaccustomed to a matoke dinner but it’s impossible for a visitor like him not to at least sample it and take a sip of an Ankole’s cow milk. Like most western countries food, Matooke tastes good but my Canadian friend found it a little tough to chew and according to him a strong smell that was definitely unappetizing(I disagreed with him) – talk of him being posh. The milk tastes a bit sour and was relieved when our guide warned him not too take too much, as it could upset his ‘delicate Canadian stomach.’ You get an idea of just how modern Kampala city is from the tower of Namirembe guest house and that leads me to five reasons why you should visit Uganda.One is the natural beauty – Uganda ‘s landscape is highly diverse, encompassing dry upcountry regions like Nakasongola, the high plateaus of the western and eastern parts of the country as well as the rainforest that separates the fertile Lake Victoria strip central region from the dry and dusty interior.  Also, the appealing climate makes Uganda weather seasons easier to plan for and has a wide range of climates with generally no extremes. The average maximum temperature is 25.5C and the average minimum temperature is 19.7C as at 2012 data. Uganda has very unique wildlife and has a unique collection of fauna which is a must see and is worth seeking out.

Monkeys like Baboons, the rare Gorilla and such as the emblematic crane, the most coveted in the country described by the late Winston Churchill as the ‘pearl of Africa.’ Gives value for your money. Beyond the cities, in rural Uganda, it’s not unusual to see mobs of famous Ankole cows grazing in the late afternoon sun. Uganda is one of the few African countries where multiculturalism has thrived and as such offers every type of cuisine from Indians, Indonesians, Malaysians, Thais to Chinese doing business in the country. To accompany the fine cuisine Uganda also boasts a range of beers, producing some of the best in the region and that’s why it has one of the highest rates of drinking in the world. Uganda is a shopper’s delight for both locals and foreigners. There is plenty to accommodate all tastes and budgets, from simple souvenirs and gifts to fine arts and crafts, fabulous gemstones and jewellery, bush-style clothing and designer fashions all with an unmistakable Uganda flavour. That and many others makes Uganda a worthy tourist destination.

Contador Harrison