My journey to Reno – Nevada for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders began on 18th June 2015 when I left home at 6pm for the Airport. Or it probably began much earlier when I applied for the fellowship last year in October/November.
My friend offered to drop me at the airport to which I was super thankful. The usually jammed roads gave way for me – it was surprising that there was much less traffic than usual. We arrived in Entebbe about 8 pm. After a quick bite at Javas – Victoria mall we proceeded to the airport. The check in was not dramatic except that the handle of one of my suitcases gave way. I then joined the other Ugandan fellows heading out to different Universities in the US for a last ‘catch up’.
The entire trip was about 27 hours and that took a toll on me. By the last connection flight I was so worn out and getting irritable. The first flight was 8hrs 30min to Amsterdam, Netherlands and next was 10hr 15min to Salt Lake City, USA and lastly 1hr 15min to Tahoe International Airport, Reno-Nevada. I am thankful for journey mercies and looking forward to such a rich experience as I interact with business leaders and fellows from across Africa.
Uganda is the Pearl of Africa. The features and activities of interest are numerous. If you only have one time to visit this country, choose to at least one of these activities depending on your interests. They are not in any particular order.
Gorilla tracking – Mountain gorillas found only in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo in the whole world. They are endangered species, which have received protection from several conservation agencies. Uganda hosts half of the entire world population. Tracking the gorillas will lead you into the dense Bwindi Impenetrable forest where you will have an opportunity to watch a gorilla family go about the daily life as they feed and groom each other.
Uganda is home to 10 national parks and numerous game and forest reserves. The national parks are mountainous, forested, and savannah. Four national parks are savannah therefore providing opportunities of game drives – Kidepo Valley, Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, and Lake Mburo National Park. A game drive allows you watch the animals in a comfortable open roof vehicle in their natural habitat – such a breathtaking experience. This provides numerous opportunities of water sports and other activities. It is only in Uganda where you enjoy a safari on the boat. Cruise along the Kazinga Channel, River Nile and Lake Mburo and enjoy the beautiful scenery, animals on the banks and the in water plus numerous bird life.
River Nile Take a visit to the source of longest river in the world, river Nile on Lake Victoria – Jinja, Uganda. There are various activities that take place on this river which include; boat ride to the source, white water rafting, bungee jump and kiss the Nile, kayaking, jet boating
This beautiful lake is nestled in the southwestern corner of Uganda. It has a rich history and traditions of the Bakiga people. The breathtaking scenery of the interlocking hills and 29 islands scattered on the lake is unmatched. Visit the Batwa people are believed to be the original inhabitants of the forested areas in this region.
Kampala City tour
Kampala is the capital city of Uganda and a cultural melting pot. All the national and international cultures meet in this tropical city with an all year perfect weather. It is also home to one of the remaining Kingdoms, Buganda Kingdom – visit the Palace and Parliament of the Kingdom. Enjoy the various cuisine and night life of Kampala – the city that never goes to sleep.
Take a ferry to Ssese Islands
Ssese Islands located on Lake Victoria will invoke your best memories with their virgin romantic space. The boat ride on Africa’s largest lake is a memorable one. While on Ssese the activities include; forest hikes, biking, squad bikes, fishing, kayaking and beach sports.
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is located 23km offshore from Entebbe, in Lake Victoria Uganda. It is nearly 100 acres in size and hosts over 50 different types of vegetation that chimps use: the chimps are free to roam at their will, exploring their environment and foraging for food. On arrival, you will receive an orientation talk from a staff of the sanctuary. Thereafter you move to the viewing platform to observe the Chimps during their supplementary feeding times. After the feeding program, you are free to explore the visitor’s area and enjoy the facilities.
These were named as the most romantic waterfalls by Lonely planet. Nestled in Eastern Uganda on the slopes of Mt Elgon, Sipi falls offer the ultimate hiking and scenery experience. In addition, you will an experience of the Sebei culture and a coffee tour.
Uganda is home to over 1050 bird species, which is 50% of the bird species found in Africa. You are able to find the central African species not found anywhere else in East African. It is host to many migrant birds from Africa and Europe. The small size of the country implies that one can have a record of over 700 bird sightings when they take a trip of 2-3 weeks across the country.
Engage with local community and Cuisine
A visit to Uganda is not complete without time with the locals. Ugandans are the friendliest people on earth. Uganda has the freshest and most organic foods and fruits that are available all year round; this is due to fertile soils and tropical weather. Because the different regions have rains at different times it ensures that, there is food supply all year round.
For diversity and great scenery – Uganda will serve you a balanced diet. Welcome to Uganda where the East African savannah meets the West African juggle offering the best of both worlds.