Friday, 23 October 2015

UGANDA TOURISM BOOSTING COUNTRY ECONOMY




By Edward Nankunda


The annual review of the performance of the tourism sector recently released points to a growth in the past year. This is despite the fears of a drop in earnings following terror threats and the ebola outbreak in West Africa that scared tourists.
Tourism contributed sh6.3b to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the financial year 2014 – 2015, up from sh5.6b in 2013 – 2014. Uganda registered an increase of visitor numbers from 1,206,334 to 1,266,046. This is in part a result of enhanced marketing strategies and improved infrastructure, among others.

The sector contributed 592,500 jobs to the economy, which was an increase from 551,100 in 2013. The Minister of tourism Maria Mutagamba, said tourism is able to turn around the economy with continued government support. She also urged local governments to budget for tourism activities. She said there are plans to improve tourism infrastructure in areas such as the Rwenzori sub-region which have beautiful scenery that visitors find attractive.

The chief Executive Officer of Uganda Tourism Board, Stephen Asiimwe, explained that the organisation’s strategy is to find more innovative tourism products to entice visitors to spend more while in the country. He also suggested that reviving a national airline would boost tourism in the country.
The sector is expected to grow by 8% in 2015 and by 6.6% in the next 10 years.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Buganda Kingdom’s 1 mile road of Loyalty.



By Edward Nankunda.

The historical lane commonly known as Kabakanjagala Road is a magnificent stretch from the official palace of Buganda’s king (the Kabaka) to the Kingdom’s administrative centre at Bulange, Mengo. It is located in mengo, Rubaga division, about two kilometers from the city centre.
It is more striking when you are descending from Lubiri Palace viewing Mengo hill with the towering Masengere and Bulange parliament buildings framing the horizon.
Down the road between Buganda Kingdom’s Lubiri palace and the parliament, is a roundabout called Lukoma Nantawetwa which was recently redesigned with a monument of a long drum (engalabi) hoisting a shield and two spears. These represent the historical symbol for Buganda’s mighty protection against adversaries. This unique monument stands 11meters tall.
This roundabout is unique in that it has a gateway for the Kabaka to go through instead of driving around it. The gates are kept locked and inly opened when the Kanaka’s motorcade is to go through them.
The road was used by Ssekabaka Mwanga II, who reigned in the 1880s. People used to line up along a path on the same route to welcome the King as he passed. The same route was used by successive kings, including Kabaka Daudi Chwa and Sir Frederick Mutesa II.

This road’s name came from the fact that the king’s subjects always stated, while using this road. That the king wanted to see them. For decades, the stretch was lined by over 70 mature candle nut trees, commonly known as Kabakanjagala. The trees are said to have been planted along the stretch by Zakariya Kisingiri who was Kabaka Chwa’s regent and treasurer. Kisingiri’s residence was located along that same road and the house still stands today. He is also said to have brought the seedsto Uganda from the Seychelles when he visited the exiled Kabaka Mwanga on the Indian Ocean island.

Originally, there were 52 trees and each represented clan. But the reigning Kabaka Ronald Mutebi added another four to make 56. The century-old trees, were however felled by Kampala Capital City Authority in 2013 for the expansion and beautification of the road. Solar-powered street lights have been added. After the road was refurbished, new trees of the same tree species were planted in a campaign led by the Kabaka.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Relax on The Nile at Living Waters Resort.



By Edward Nankunda.

Living Waters Resort boasts of a beautiful view of the source of the Nile among many other spectacular things fit for the curious tourists. At the point from which John Hanning Speke beheld the source of the Nile, lies a spectacular monument which also features on the back of the Sh 2,000 currency note. It gives a clear view of the boundary where Lake Victoria, Africa’s biggest freshwater lake ends and where River Nile, the world’s longest river starts, going through Sudan and Egypt before eventually joining the Mediterranean sea.

Living Waters Resort features luxuriant bandas and a restaurant not to mention a vast camping space with plenty of trees, whose fresh air and green cover combined with the magical view of the Nile, make the Resort the ideal hideout for anyone looking to relax, loosed up and be relieved of any stress. This place presents a great getaway for families and honeymooners in quest for privacy and intimacy.

Sightseeing around the Nile is done on a wooden engine-powered boat and it ushers in the floating village, the statue of Mahatma Gandhi’s bust, fish farms and fascinating historical pillars. The bird watching expedition downstream is always a delight to those who love the avian species. Many of the birds there are from the Kingfisher family and the excitement lies in seeing them hover over calm stretches of water for as long as two minutes before taking a swift dip to catch fish that is almost twice their body size.

Entrance fee to the source of the Nile is shs3,000, shs5,000 and shs10,000 for Ugandans, foreign residents and foreign non-residents respectively. Camping at the gardens of Living waters Resort Costs sh15,000 per night (own tent) per person. A night in the bandas costs $110 for bed and breakfast per person. Full board is $150 per person.

Getting There
From Kampala, turn right at Nile Breweries in Njeru Town. Do not cross over the bridge at Owen Falls Dam, but keep going on Nalubale Road. Go past Picfare Industries, Nytil and Vitafoam and thereafter follow the signs for Living Waters Resort.
   

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Lake Bunyonyi: An Island-dotted charming crater Lake.

By Edward Nankunda.
Uganda Safaris and Tours.



A drive to the Southwestern part of Uganda can be quite eye-catching. Vast stretches of plantations, modern country homes, Mount Muhabura, a smooth highway and an enormous expanse of green all combine to provide beautiful scenery as one travels to this part of the country.
Known as the Switzerland of Africa, Kigezi highlands are a leading holiday destination. One of the beautiful holiday stops is Lake Bunyonyi, lying between Kisoro and Kabale districts in Southwestern Uganda. It is the second deepest lake in Africa with a depth of 900 meters in some places. This picturesque lake, decked with beautiful green islands, hills and valleys is a haven for a number of foreign and domestic tourists.

Getting To Bunyonyi.
From Kampala, there are a number of regular buses to Kabale. Once at the Kisenyi bus terminal, the bus touts will swam a traveler, dart for your bag and literally drag you to their buses. Depending on your bargaining power, the journey will cost you between Shs 25,000 to Shs 35,000.
Once on the road, the beautiful scenery provides a soothing effect; you easily forget the trouble you went through. From Kabale, there is a short distance to Lake Bunyonyi via Rutinda by bodaboda or using a hired vehicle. The trip costs between Shs 50,000 and Shs 100,000. The journey to the shore of the lake from the town is eight kilometers. It is an up and down expedition on a dirt road and all you see are trees, terraces, hills and swamp cover. One minute you are uphill looking down a steep slope and the next you are making descent, the different heights making the trip even more exciting.
On getting the first glimpse of the lake with its fairytale dark and charming calm, the journey to the shores continues downhill, leading to a number of exotic resorts and camping sites. Another uphill climb leads you to Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort.

Activities on the Lake:
Besides camping, most guests love going for motorboat rides or canoeing to get a good view of the surrounding area. The prices vary depending on the time you are going to spend on the lake. With 29 islands on Lake Bunyonyi, guests can go island hopping.
Guests can also go swimming and bird watching. Lake Bunyonyi (which means, a place of many little birds) surrounded by steep sided, heavily cultivated mountainous scenery, has also attracted 200 species of birds that flap their wings endlessly. The lake is a great place to see colonies of weavers, as well as bigger birds such as, herons, egrets, the grey crowned crane, the crested crane among many others.
The Batwa, an indigenous tribe of the area can also be visited to learn about their culture and lifestyle. Lake Bunyonyi is a swimmers paradise, a bird-watchers dream come true and a great place to be outdoors.


Monday, 23 February 2015

Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich Shows Olympic Spirit in Tokyo.


By Edward Nankunda.
Uganda Safaris


Ethiopians Endeshaw Negesse and Birhane Dibaba kicked off the 2015 Abbott World Marathon Majors season by both winning their first majors in Tokyo.
On the men’s side the leading contenders stayed together until 35k, when defending champ Dickson Chumba made his move. Soon it was a two man race between Chumba and Negesse, but Negesse had more in the tank and pulled away from Chumba the final 3km, as Olympic champ Stephen Kiprotich rallied back to pass Chumba for second just before the line. Tariku Bekele dropped out in his debut as he was off the pace by 20km.