Blog touring Uganda

UGANDA’S ZZIWA RHINO SANCTUARY

Before i tell you about Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary,did you know that the world has only about 30,000 rhinos left in the wild? In just about 40 years humanity has exhausted almost 95% of the world’s population of rhinos to poaching. In the case of Uganda the many years of political turmoil in the 70s and early 80s paved way for uncontrolled poaching leading to a great loss of wildlife. Several wildlife populations were reduced to endangered species while the rhinos were poached to extinction.

This unfortunate predicament underpins the idea of Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU) a Non-Governmental Organization established in 1997 with the aim of reintroducing Rhinos into Uganda’s wild on a breed and release program. The efforts of this organization led to the arrival of 6 southern white rhinos from South Africa and settled at Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary which has successfully protected and bred the rhinos to 19 animals at the moment.
Tracking at Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary can be arranged as a day’s excursion starting and ending in Kampala or added as a stopover activity en-route to or from Murchison Falls National Park. Right beside the Sanctuary is a great stopover location for lunch and a comfortable accommodation facility for overnight stays. Amuga Lodge is built in a cozy rustic African style to offer comfort and refreshment to help unwind at the completion of a long Uganda safari or enjoy a weekend escape from Kampala.

Uganda the Pearl of Africa.

A prized thing is to be handled with care because of its preciousness and is often referred to as a “pearl”A pearl is formed after a unique formation process that separates it from any other gem to give it the high value that makes it a pearl. Uganda was baptized “pearl of Africa” by Winston Churchill a visiting member of parliament from the UK in 1907and is indeed a prized country with lots of natural resources and marveling unspoiled beauty. The country is endowed with the snow-capped “mountains of the moon” wildlife that consists of mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, antelopes, lions, leopards, zebras, Rothschild’s giraffes, crocodiles, hippopotamus, a unique variety birds and more. The other features entail the source of river Nile, Lakes, tropical rain forests, rocks, hills and a diverse culture. The vegetation consists of Savannah grasslands, mivule trees, dry thorn scrubs, acacia trees, and euphoria shrubs of the northeast, elephant grass and papyrus which grows in the swamps. An account of Uganda’s physical features paints an outstanding picture which can only be rightly referred to as the pearl of Africa.

Lake and Rivers
Uganda’s abundant water bodies consist lakes, swamps, rivers and streams with almost one-fifth of it as bare water or wetland moreover all East Africa’s four Great Lakes lie within the Pearl of Africa’s borders.The four big lakes consist Lake Kyoga, Lake Victoria, Lake Albert, and Lake Edward besides other smaller ones like: Lake Bugondo, Lake Kwania, Lake George, Lake Bunyonyi and Lake Opeta besides many others. While Lake Victoria is the largest Lake in Uganda it’s also the second largest fresh water lake in the world after Lake Superior in the USA and feeds the River Nile waters to form the Victoria Nile. Its flow continues further through Lake Kyoga into Lake Albert to become Albert Nile on its great journey to the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the water bodies here are also hosts to wildlife providing enchanting boat rides for memorable experiences. In addition to that the River Nile also provides an opportunity for a world class white water rafting experience besides kayaking, bungee jumping and marveling views of one of world’s loudest waterfalls known as the Murchison Falls.

Mountains Hills and Rocks
Uganda is largely plateau area with a blend of rolling hills, mountains, wide grasslands plus volcanic foothills in the eastern side of the country.Big mountains with beautiful wild vegetation and snow-capped peaks plus amazing craters abound here in the Pearl of Africa. Some of these mountains are Mt Elgon which has the largest intact caldera in the world, Mount Rwenzori with a snow capped top, Mt Mgahinga which is capped by a swamp-filled crater and a vegetation of giant lobelia and bamboo forest.Uganda’s rocks include but are not limited to: Rwoboko rock, Tororo rock and Nyero rocks plus more. Rwoboko Rock situated west of the country is nestled on a scenic ridge with breathtaking views of Lake Mburo National Park while Tororo Rock is located nearly 5 kilometers southeast of the town’s business center. The coordinates of this rock are: 00 41 06N, 34 11 01E (Latitude: 0.6850; Longitude: 34.1836). A climb to the top of Tororo rock is a great hike that brings you to see the great views of the town and as far as across the Kenyan border. The Nyero rocks are located in Eastern Uganda 8kms out of Kumi town and their site is renowned for the display of ancient art and the activities believed to have been written carried out as far back as the Iron Age.

Forests
Uganda has a big forest cover although records reveal that it’s being depleted at a high rate due to population pressure. Despite the down ward trend it’s amazing that the World Conservation Monitoring Centre reports that, Uganda’s biodiversity has a total of about 1592 known species comprising of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles etc. Of these the species endemic to Uganda add to about 1.1% while 3.1% are endangered. The pearl of Africa is also home to at least 4900 species of vascular plants and covers a total forest area of about 2988 ha which is about 15% of forest cover.

People
The Pearl of Africa is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse countries and some of the friendliest people on the planet. Uganda’s culture is very diverse containing over 50 tribes and emphasized by the variety of food types and tropical fruits like: pineapples, mangoes, passion fruits, jackfruit, and oranges etc. Additionally the country is blessed with organically fertile soils, and 2 food growing seasons in a year giving it the potential to be Africa’s food basket. The Country consists of different sub regions which are also the defining lines for the varied cultures and tribes. The Bantu-speaking tribes consist of Baganda, in the central region, the Banyakole, Batooro, Bakonjo, Banyoro, Bakiga, Bafumbira, Batwa and Bamba, in the western region, while the Basoga, Banyoli, Bagishu, and Bagwere are from the eastern region. The Nilotic tribes include the: Alur, Acholi, Jopadhola, Jonam, Sebi, and Pokot from the northeastern area, and the Nilo-Hamites who consist of the Langi, Iteso, Kumam, Karimojong, and Kakwa on the north side of the country among others. All these tribes have different cultural practices expressed in traditional dances, songs, and folk tales. Cultural dances in Uganda include: courtship dances, marriage ceremony dances and harvest songs among others. Some of the traditional dances are: larakaraka a courtship dance among the Acholi, called Runyege – Entogoro among the Bunyoro. The Ekitaguriro a dance from Ankole while Agwara is the social dance of the Lugbara tribe besides many others. Uganda’s traditional dance performances are filled with the beat and excitement to draw audiences to the dance floor irrespective their country of origin. Visiting the pearl of Africa for a cultural experience will give you a raw form of some of the most amazing cultural encounters in Africa.

Wildlife
Uganda is blessed with a variety of wildlife that exceeds the description“destination of the big 5”. The Country has an unequalled bird population in Africa with over 1000 bird species moreover many of them are found nowhere else in the world. Some of the unique birds in the pearl of Africa include: African Broad Bill,Shelley’s Crimson wing, Green-breasted pitta, the elusive Shoe Bill Stork, Great Blue Turaco, Bar-tailed Trogon and more.Several mammal populations have Uganda as their home and consist several primate species at a count of 13 types so far. The pearl of Africa is also host to slightly over half of the world’s remaining endangered mountain gorillas nestled in the amazing Bwindi impenetrable Forest National Park on the southwest part of the country. The wild animals consist of, hippopotamus, crocodiles, elephants, cape buffalo, lion,leopards, warthogs, antelopes, snakes, mongoose, zebra, Rothschild giraffe, chimpanzees, baboons, mountain gorillas, black & white colobus, l’hoest, mangabey, golden monkeys, besides several monkey species and pangolin which are the only scaly mammals in the world besides many more animal species. To exhaust the wonders of Uganda in a short write up like this is one is unjust, Uganda still has a lot to be explored and is your off the beaten path destination. Karibu!

Uganda And Oral Tradition.

uganda culture

In Uganda oral tradition was the sole medium of communication for centuries and writing did not start till about 1832 and 1859. Oral tradition hence profoundly shaped and formed the institutions of different societies in Uganda for a long time. The young sat around fire places with their elders in the evenings to listen and learn from them through story telling. This medium of communication generally seems to have taken more primacy in Africa which perhaps illuminates the old adage “if you want to hide something from an African hide it in a book.” In Africa we did not express the facts of life silently through writing, we spoke them out, and we gathered our children and toldthem. We met and talked about life in clan meetings held to provide guidance and resolve conflict. We have always talked and talked and talked. The fire place evening stories were life equipping lessons and disobedience was abominable and punishable by public flogging, excommunication and sometimes death. The African culture operated in a system of total obedience with a smooth handover of tradition from one generation to another.Moreover I can hardly identify a word that clearly translates the word dictator among the native languages of Uganda. Oral tradition seems to have played it’s role well except for the disorder that resulted from misunderstood communications on inheritance besides other concerns.

Sometimes am prompted to think that oral tradition was more deeply rooted in Uganda in comparison to other African countries. Ugandans like to talk and several of my “muzungu” friends think we talk too much! Ceremonies in Uganda are dominated by speeches. At graduation parties it’s normal to have the primary, high school and university teachers of the grandaunt giving speeches. It’s normal for all your aunties, uncles, fathers and mothers to give a speech on your wedding ceremony because, our best wishes cards are oral. A man promoted to a ministerial position in the Uganda government once walked up a church pulpit with his extended family to give thanks. My muzungu friend was quick to observe that the minister had come along with his relatives on an affair that was a concern of his wife and children alone.Moreover we don’t have words like nuclear and extended family in our native languages here. We don’t have a word for cousin and here is why; all your father’s brothers are your fathers hence all their children are your brothers and sisters. All your mother’s sisters are your mothers hence all their children are your brothers/sisters fancy that!

Coming from a talking culture Ugandans are very warm people. In Uganda we say hello and easily start conversations with new faces at the market, shop, on the bus and at the party. This again reminds me of my mzungu friend. I keep referring to her because I have always found her concerns “strange”. At a party I attended with her in Kampala, she wondered how to start off conversations with the new faces all around. This came as a shock to me because in Uganda we just exchange greetings and that’s where it all starts. Be sure you have the patience to listen before you go starting conversations in Uganda we surely talk and talk.

Just when you maybe convinced starting conversations with Ugandans may turn out tiresome a new trend is unconsciously usurping our talking culture. Wattsapp and face book are changing us into a silent lot that only writes and posts pictures to express ourselves to a people not our own. The word stranger is slowly taking root. Parents and grandparents no longer have a chance to pass on their heritage through oral tradition. The fire places have been put out and new words like uncle, cousin auntie have been coined to seem like they always had a place among us. Fathers and mothers no-longer know or understand their children because the effective communication linesof talking about things are broken. Silence is becoming trendy and people can barely look each other in the eye because they might miss the next facebook and wattsapp post. If this is what living the “modern and civilized” life entails am intentionally going to be very picky because, if I don’t my Uganda might lose its cultural charm soon.Who lets that happen?

Uganda’s Baby Gorillas

Uganda’s natural habitat of Mountain gorillas on the southwestern part of the country has seen the birth of 3 baby gorillas this year, between the months of August and September 2016. Another baby gorilla has been born this November which is a fourth addition to the gorilla population. The birth of the baby gorillas calls for a round of applause to the conserving energies of Uganda Wildlife Authority, the managing body of Uganda’s National Parks. The conservation bodies that work to increase the population of Apes globally equally deserve to be congratulated.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists mountain gorillas as one of the critically endangered species. Moreover over half of the remaining mountain gorillas on the planet are found in southwestern Uganda’s tropical rain forest. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park are the only hosts of mountain gorillas in Uganda with a total population of about 480 individuals. This reveals why the birth of three baby gorillas is such an immerse addition and a great achievement for conservation.

Uganda presently has a total of 12 gorilla families for visitors to track with 1 family in Mgahinga National Park while 11 families are in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The baby gorillas cannot be celebrated without highlighting their families of birth: habinyanja, bushaho Bikyirigi and fourth addition which is from Rushegura family. The Bushaho and Bikyirigi family are still undergoing habituation hence are not yet available to visitors for tracking.

A brief insight about the reproduction of gorillas is useful to appreciate why baby gorillas are worth celebrating.A female gorilla first reproduces at about 10 years of age with a gestation period of about 8 and a half months. The spacing between gestation is about four years moreover almost 26% of baby gorillas do not make it to reproduction maturity. A Baby gorilla will most likely get killed if its mother joins a new family or her family is taken over by another silver back. This is besides other natural causes like diseases that cut the life of baby gorillas short.This means that gorilla populations grow slowly hence every recorded increase is valuable.

Book Your Safari to Uganda With a Reliable Tour Operator

Planning a trip to any part of the planet can be exhausting and tricky sometimes. Right from deciding on your travel destination, travel dates, accommodation facilities and even tour activities. If you lack the right information regarding your travel destination, your trip might not go as planned and might be a disappointment to say the least.

Some travelers at times prefer to travel on their own, book accommodation on their own and do everything else on their own without hiring the services of a tour operator in the name of saving costs but what they do not know is that tour operators are given fairer prices on most booking which means that hiring a tour operator often saves costs instead.

In addition, all the travel information necessary for a great safari is provided by the tour operator, therefore hiring one saves you the hustle, costs and even getting lost on your safari.

At Offroad Safaris, our services are top-notch in all aspects. We deliver exactly what we promise and we don’t give up until our clients are fully satisfied. First of all, we have got a professional staff driven by passion to serve. From tour managers, to guides and drivers everyone knows the best ways to ensure that our clients are happy after each safari we run.

Our safari vehicles are a force to reckon with. They are readily available for hire for as long as you may wish and they all in excellent condition. Some of Uganda’s tourist attractions are located in places with not so friendly roads which at times require strong vehicles to access especially in the rainy season and luckily enough, our vehicles are made for those kinds of roads. Our expert drivers not only know the exact routes to Uganda’s tourist attractions, but they are also well poised to take you exactly where you need to go and bring you back safely. Uganda as a country is gifted with the rarest of attractions like the mountain gorillas, the source of the world’s longest river among so many others, which is why people travel from all around the world to witness firsthand these wonders of nature.

In Africa, Uganda is ranked as the friendliest and most attractive country and therefore as a tourist you can be sure of receiving the best care and hospitality possible especially if you book your safari with us.