GiraffBeautiful people, beautiful nature, unique environment and serenity are some of the descriptions that will spark you when you set foot in Fort Portal, the now famous Uganda’s Tourism City in the making.

I remember a story that we were told while growing up, about the Europeans who came to our motherland in the search for colonization. They wandered and roamed our land like butterflies, or at least with little sense of direction. In amazement, our forefathers then referred to them as Mzungu. This swahilli word is loosely translated as wanderer. Today we still refer to whites as Mzungu. re completely by nature found in Fort Portal on top of the Batooro who are naturally hospitable, beautiful and the most peaceful ethnic group in Uganda creating a whole exciting welcoming tourism environment capped by the endless and numerous tourist activities and sites.

But as they wandered on, they saw the wonder that is in Uganda. Little wonder, Winston Churchill wrote back describing Uganda as “The pearl of Africa”. This should have been the start of tourism in Uganda.

Tourists on boatBeautiful people, beautiful nature, unique environment and serenity are some of the descriptions that will spark you when you set foot in Fort Portal, the now famous Uganda’s Tourism City in the making.

I never dreamt of showing up as a safari specialist, but the defining moment leading to my current love, was that school trip we took to western Uganda in the Queen Elizabeth national park when I joined the wild life club. We were not wandering but this awakened the inner wanderer in me. Our first stop was at the Equator, the imaginary line that divides the world into two- the Northern and Southern hemispheres. I stood at this point with one leg on either side of the line. Its amazing, how one becomes lighter while on this line. Here water runs down in sinks to the clockwise in the Northern hemisphere and anticlockwise in the Southern hemisphere. The guide called it the coriolis effect… I called it the Equator magic. Then we were on our way to the queen Elizabeth national park, overnighting in the dorms. We saw elephants in the night by our camp.

leopard in a treeBeautiful people, beautiful nature, unique environment and serenity are some of the descriptions that will spark you when you set foot in Fort Portal, the now famous Uganda’s Tourism City in the making.

In the days that followed, we went to the katwe salt works to see how salt is mined, we took morning and evening game drives and a boat cruise on the Kazinga channel. Queen Elizabeth has a variety of Flora and Fauna and it’s acknowledged to be a habitat for over 95 mammal species with about 612 species of birds. The various species in this park, has made it a unique park most liked by tourists. It has five levels of vegetation. Namely bushy grassland, Acacia woodland, Lakeshore or swamp vegetation along with forest grassland. We saw wildlife such as Cape buffalo, Uganda kob, waterbuck, warthog, lion, leopard, hyena, giant forest hog as well as elephants. Then it was time for us to return home. And this time, we took a train. This ride showed me Uganda. The wonder of Uganda. Our country is a land of contrasts. In half a day, you can drive from mist shrouded volcanic mountains to hot hazy savannah, dappled with wild life, serene undulating hills of tea plantations, lush but ordered giving way to tangled jungle and rain forests with the musical accompaniments of chaotic, cacophonous bird life. It indeed presents Africa in one small place. It is amazing! At this moment, I realized, promoting Uganda tourism starts with me.

campingBeautiful people, beautiful nature, unique environment and serenity are some of the descriptions that will spark you when you set foot in Fort Portal, the now famous Uganda’s Tourism City in the making.

This formed my current opinion of our country and it was from this trip that I was determined to show Uganda to every one willing to visit.

Tourists taking photosBeautiful people, beautiful nature, unique environment and serenity are some of the descriptions that will spark you when you set foot in Fort Portal, the now famous Uganda’s Tourism City in the making.

People are very friendly, welcoming and the food is awesome. I have since travelled the whole country to learn more so as to tell this story. I have indeed wandered this wonderland. Up north, we have the Kidepo valley national park and Murchison falls. This region is famous for the big five and exclusive lodges. The iconic BIG FIVE – lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard – have long dominated the list of must-sees on a Ugandan safari.

warthogs drinking waterBeautiful people, beautiful nature, unique environment and serenity are some of the descriptions that will spark you when you set foot in Fort Portal, the now famous Uganda’s Tourism City in the making.

But that’s not all that Uganda offers. The Mountain Gorilla and Chimpanzee that have increasingly become a “bucket list” item for many a traveller to this part of Africa. The adventurers will want to try Bungee jumping and white water rafting in Jinja, horse riding and mountain climbing. The leisure and honeymooners have the luxury of lazing away at the beaches of Lake victoria, the worlds second largest water body. Uganda has it all. And our mission at the Uganda Safari Chapter is simple… It is complete understanding of Uganda, why it is as it is. And why it exists as the Pearl of Africa. As we always say, out of Africa, there is always something new. When visiting Uganda, choose the Uganda Safari Chapter, and lets take you on a Safari. Only with us, it is not wandering like the Mzungu. It is an African Safari full of wonders.

Special note to the LGBT

We specifically put emphasis that the LGBT travellers coming to Uganda with The Uganda Safari Chapter are safe and must have no second feelings about visiting. Our guides have been trained on this front and we choose our accommodations carefully as we ensure they are LGBT friendly. The Uganda Tourist board, while responding to comments by “The Economist’s pride and prejudice website in 2014” insisted that “all out tourists are safe and welcome, and that all in all, Uganda accommodates all people. In fact, there is no record whatsoever of any gay tourist being arrested or harassed I Uganda. For the record, The Uganda Safari Chapter, and indeed many in Uganda believe that being gay is a blessing, and it is something we are thankful for every single day. We are an LGBT friendly entity and fully support their activities and rights . This is the only way we can all be free. Lets go on a safari!

Peter Mwanja The writer is a director at The Uganda Safari Chapter.

Safari Reviews