Meeting Point International
“Offering a friendship in which people are not reduced to their problems or sicknesses; they are looked at and embraced for the infinite dignity of their humanity.” – Meeting Point International Mission Statement
The virus that causes HIV and AIDS is harmful to more than an individual’s physical wellbeing. People with the virus risk losing their loved ones and friends as a result of social stigma surrounding the disease. Adults must face telling their wives, husbands and children about the infection, and often fear telling anyone at all.
Meeting Point International, set up in three offices in and around Kampala – Kireka, Naguru and Kintintale, strives to end this stigma by speaking about HIV/AIDS and its consequences openly and honestly. Through home visits and counseling groups, workers reach out to the sick and at-risk. MPI goes a step beyond most aide organizations by educating adults, coordinating efforts between hospitals and providing on-site nursing care and medicine for the sick.
With donations from the United Nations’ World Food Programme, MPI feeds the sick and hungry, as well as more than thirty orphans who live in Meeting Point International’s Welcoming House. AVSI is MPI’s largest donor, but USAID, CESAR and individual contributions also keep the programme running.
AVSI teams up with Meeting Point International to create a sponsorship programme for children, through which individuals from all over the world can provide school fees and necessities for children in need. Sponsors open doors for their “adopted” children and receive photos and letters in return.
Recovering patients often work for MPI, eliminating the shame felt by many newcomers. Workers who are HIV positive provide living examples to those who fear for their futures. Stories shared between workers and patients create bonds powerful enough to lift individuals out of their depression, giving them the hope they need to carry on.
People in financial trouble, the elderly and the orphaned are all aided by Meeting Point International. MPI provides loans so that those in need can begin new small businesses, such as selling fruits and making bricks. Beads for Life, necklaces of hand-made beads created with magazine pages, also provide income for women who have retired from the rock-breaking business because of sickness in their families. No one’s problems are too large or small for the hearts of workers, and a solution can be found for everyone.
At Meeting Point International, people work not just to alleviate the suffering of their neighbors, but to create lasting relationships that foster happiness and good health.
To find out how you can help with MPI, contact the director, Rose Busingye, at +256 (0)77 626 757.Read More
Uganda Ranked 6th Best MICE Destination
Uganda has been the best destination in Africa in hosting international conferences and events. The pearl of Africa ranked the 6th position on July 11, 2020 confirmed by International Congress and Convention Association which heads the world leading association for the global events, conference and meetings.
Historically for the past 5 years, Uganda has been ranked consistently in the 10 top listed hosting international conferences and events in African destinations. Uganda ranked the 10th position in a four point advancement report of 2018. In 2019, Uganda hosted 22 association meetings such as Africa Now Summit, the 64th common wealth parliamentarian conference, 4th African Judicial Dialogue and many others. Due to so many international conferences in Uganda, foreigners, domestic, regional people also contributed on making Uganda the best destination for meetings, events and conferences.
Lilly Ajarova the CEO UTB not only mentioned 2019 conferences but also 2020 conferences that were held in Uganda. She said that in 2020, Uganda had organized and scheduled to host a number of notable conferences and meeting that had to be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These include Africa Climate week, the G77 Summit, CBR World Congress, the AFRAA Conference, Africa climate Week and world Health summit.
She concluded that as Uganda continues to grow its MICE industry, the next few years will see our association meetings increase as the world normalizes in the post COVID -19 era.
How special is Uganda about the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events)?
- Uganda offers the best safety with ease of entry to those visitors who want to access visa upon the arrival.
- There are various connecting flights options on our central location on the Africa continent.
- The pearl of Africa offers a wholesome e international meetings experience for all or large groups with a complete pre and post conference tour experience
- The assured Uganda Airlines are well known to be faster and direct flights to the pearl of Africa.
- Uganda has the large international conferences of upto 2500 delegates on the breezy shores of Lake Victoria and with a quite number of touristic attractions like national parks.
Why book your MICE tour to Uganda?
Uganda is not only known in hosting international meetings, events and conferences. It is a country that is full of amazing wonders. Popular touristic attractions include mountain gorillas that live in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. On a guided Uganda safari, also expect to see the tree climbing lions in ishasha sector, chimpanzees in Kibale national park and the big five safaris in savanna national parks.Read More
One Way Car Rental in Uganda
Find out what you need to know about the fee rental companies charge if you want to pick up a rental car in one place and drop it off somewhere else. A few Uganda Car hire companies charge a one-way fee to cover the cost of taking the car back to its original location.
Want to rent a car in a location and return it to a different one? How about returning the car in another country? Here’s what you need to know.
Different pick-up and drop-off locations FAQ
Can you return a rental car in a different location?
Yes, you can return the car in a different location. Usually, this is called “one-way rental”. However, please note that, an extra fee may be applied to your reservation.
Does it cost more to return a rental car in a different location?
Usually, rental companies charge a return fee, but it depends on the pick-up and drop-off location, date of reservation, car category and more. A good way to know how much the return will cost is to search for the price of the rental returning the car in the same location and with different pick-up and drop-off locations.
Can you return a car in a different country?
This is most common in Uganda, where crossing borders is fairly easy. Usually, rental companies will let you cross borders with the rental car, but a cross-border fee may be also applied in addition to the one-way rental fee. For example COMESA is paid for two weeks.
As the rules vary a lot depending on the location and the rental company, we always suggest you check the specific policies of each city, country and company.
Can you rent a car without a one-way or return fee?
It’s not common, but it happens. For highly popular road trips, this may be the case. For example, a lot of people rent a car from Uganda and drop it off in Uganda no return fee. Depending on the Company’s policy.
What is a one-way fee in car rental?
A one-way fee is what you pay to pick up a hire car in one place and drop it off somewhere else. Car hire companies charge the fee to cover the cost of taking the car back to its original location.
One-way fees can be charged when you take a car between cities or towns, between airports and between countries.
When will you pay the fee?
You’ll be asked to pay the one-way fee when you pick up your rental car. Most car hire companies ask you to pay the one-way fee using the same credit card you use to leave your security deposit. Some will let you pay the fee with another card.
You’ll pay for the one-way fee at the rental desk, not when you pay for your car. So if you’re renting a car abroad, you might end up paying the one-way fee in a different currency.
How can you get a good deal?
To get the best price, book the trip you’re planning up front. So if you know you’re picking up and dropping off in different places, start your search with them. If you book your hire car using the same pick-up and drop-off location, but then decide to change it, you are likely to pay extra charges.
Look out for all-inclusive deals. Some rental companies may include the one-way fee in the price you pay online for your booking but most don’t include it online so it’s better to ask the car rental Company, so there will be nothing to pay when you pick up your car. You’ll find all the information in the Ts & Cs of the car you’ve chosen.
Changing your plans at the last minute
If you booked a straightforward trip (dropping your car off in the same place you picked it up) but then decide to drop off your car in a different location before your rental starts, you’re likely to pay a price increase for the rental itself.
This is because changes to your trip tend to be made using the latest price, and prices tending to rise the closer it gets to the pick-up day. So, the later the changes, the higher the price of the car. The one-way fee will be charged on top of the rental price, when you arrive to pick up the car.
If you decide to drop off your car in a different place once you’ve picked it up, you’ll be charged a penalty fee rather than just a one-way fee. Penalty fees are always higher, so they are worth avoiding wherever possible.
How to find the one-way fee
When you’re booking a one-way rental, you’ll see references to the fee in a few different places. The first mention of it (how much it is, whether it’s included or not) should be in the list of cars available for the places and dates you’ve chosen.
You’ll see more details about the one-way fee in the Ts & Cs of your deal.
When you pick up your car, you should see the fee mentioned in the paperwork you sign at the counter. You might see the fee referred to by its initials.
On your bank statement, you’ll see this fee as a charge from the car hire company. All the fees they’ve charged will be in one amount. You should see a breakdown of all charges in the paperwork you receive when you pick up and drop off your rental car.
If you’ve been charged a one-way fee but you haven’t done a one-way trip with your rental car, you can fight that charge.
Why are one way car rentals so expensive?
The main factor that causes one way fees too expensive is the distance between destinations. The further your pick up and drop off points are, the more expensive your rental will be. This is because you are essentially rearranging a company’s fleet and they have to determine how much it would be to return the car or rent it out from a different branch. One way prices are also often determined by supply and demand. If you are moving a vehicle from somewhere it is in high demand to a location where it is in low demand, you’ll likely pay a steeper fee.
When do I pay the fee?
One way fees are usually paid at the beginning of your car hire, when you leave your deposit at the rental desk, not online during booking. This means if you are renting a car abroad, the fee may have to be paid in a foreign currency. However, this may not always be the case, so keep a clear record of what you paid ahead a time.
Can I always drop off my rental car at a different location?
No, certain restrictions often apply to one way car hires. Suppliers may only allow you to drop off a rental at select locations due to insurance policies and border-crossing regulations. However, even big name suppliers with hundreds of locations may restrict one way rentals based on demand.
Renting a car to enjoy everything in a city and the road have to offer is always a great choice, but sometimes you’ll find yourself thinking returning the rental car in a different location or country, may be easier than driving back to where you picked it up. Now, can you even return it in a different location? Because of the above currently asked questions.Read More
Tips & Tricks for Hiking the Rwenzori Mountains
The Rwenzori Mountains were gazetted as a national park in 1991, recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1994 and a Ramsar site in 2008. These classifications testify to the mountains’ international scientific importance. The word ‘Rwenzori’ roughly translates as ‘Rainmaker’, which clearly illustrates the importance of the mountains to Central Africa.
Rwenzori Mountains, previously called the “Ruwenzori Range” is a mountain range of eastern equatorial Africa, located on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). These mountains support glaciers and are one source of the Nile River.
Rwenzori Mountains has the height of 5,109 meters (16,762 ft.). The highest Rwenzori peaks are permanently snow-capped. The Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Virunga National Park are located in the range.
Climbing Mount Rwenzori is one of the tough adventures anyone could undertake in Uganda. The Rwenzori being a mountain range, it means that reaching the top goes through many literal up and down trails. This isn’t the same case for regular mountains where the ascent to the summits means climbing only. What all this means is that Rwenzoris are harder to climb even though the highest peak ranks third in Africa.
Can beginners climb Rwenzori?
Yes! The best Rwenzori climbing experience as a beginner, you should be fully aware of the conditions, seasonal weather patterns, costs, and requirements to prepare yourself for this challenge.
Here are the tips you should know before climbing Rwenzori.
Skill level and age
If you are new to mountain climbing, there’s no need to worry. Although the climb to the mountain’s summit is a multi-day, high-altitude trek, you do not necessarily have to be trained in climbing to get to the top, especially with a tour guide helping you. At the right time of year, the terrain and trail conditions are smooth enough for most committed hikers to reach the peak. One of the few restrictions you’ll find for climbing Mount Rwenzori is age. Only those over the age of 10 can embark on this climb.
Go slow & drink lots of water
One of the most common phrases you will hear on the mountain is “go slow”. When climbing 10 – 20 thousand feet, it is important to pace yourself. The slower you go, the more oxygen you will get in your body and the better you will acclimatize.
Pack the right gear and bring a headlamp & extra batteries
Packing the Right Gear for Rwenzori is essential when climbing. When you are in camp you won’t have any electricity, so it is important to prepare for low light situations. Whether you are camping or staying in the huts, your eating area and bathroom will both be a short walk from where you are sleeping. When it is dark, this can be very difficult if you don’t have a headlamp or other way to light up the path in front of you.
Tipping is optional yet expected
Tipping is a good gesture, but not necessarily, a common practice. When hiking Rwenzori, tipping is a bit different. The crew that takes you up the mountain consists of a lead guide, assistant guide, chef, and a team of porters plays a huge role in the success of your summit, making sure that you take the proper precautions in what you eat, when you sleep, and how much you climb each day. Tipping guides and porters after the hike is important. You are directly helping their families and local communities with your tip.
Booking a Rwenzori guide
If you want to successfully climb the Rwenzoris on your first try, it is worth booking a local tour agency to help guide you along the way. Climbing to an altitude of nearly 5,000 meters is no picnic but can be accomplished by most hikers with the assistance of a guide that knows the terrain and local environment. Here is some knowledge you can expect your guides to be well equipped with.
The terrain and trail conditions of multi-day treks vary especially on the Rwenzoris. That is why having a guide who knows how to approach each evolving landscape will assure you that you are prepared for anything.
As will be mentioned below, the weather on Rwenzori Mountains will vary. Having the insight and experience to approach the contrasting conditions on your way up to the summit will be vital.
You can count on professional guides to give you and each individual on your tour consistent safety checks throughout the expedition. This is to monitor health-risks such as altitude sickness, fatigue, and other mountaineering protocols.
Safety tips for climbing the Rwenzori Mountains
Even if you have all the gear and meet all the requirements for starting your climb up the Rwenzoris, you still need to know a few safety protocols to ensure you have a safe journey. This is why having an experienced tour guide by your side on your first climb is encouraged; they’ll have all the necessary equipment on hand such as emergency oxygen, should an emergency occur. They can also perform regular safety checks and make sure you’re doing well as you climb higher up the mountain.
However, personally looking after your safety is just as crucial; keeping yourself aware and alert throughout the trek will be just as essential to ensure the safety of you and everyone on your trip. Here are some vital safety tips to keep in mind on your journey:
When you are hiking, especially on multi-day, high-altitude treks, you should remember that it is a marathon, not a race. Taking your time and not being in a rush can help you avoid fatigue. Remember, it is the journey, not the destination.
Take frequent breaks
It is much better to stop, take a breath, and relax throughout the day to keep you from burning out in the end. This becomes increasingly important as you get closer to the summit, where the air becomes thinner and the chances of altitude sickness increase with each step.
If you can acclimatize to higher altitudes before beginning your trek, you will feel more fit and prepared for what’s ahead on your way up the top. An excellent way to do this is to arrive at your destination a couple of days earlier and condition yourself with some day hikes.
There is probably nothing more important than staying hydrated on your Rwenzori climb. Frequently drink water throughout the day and while resting in the evening.
Following these safety tips can amount to having a safe and enjoyable experience on any hike, especially when dealing with long-distance treks that reach an altitude as high as Mount Ruwenzori’s.
How to prepare for Mountain Rwenzori Hiking tour
You cannot wake up one day and start hiking mountain Rwenzori. The adventurous venture needs mental and physical preparedness. Firstly, you have to book this tour through any of the companies offering mountaineering services to Rwenzori Mountain.
Rwenzori Mountaineering services are the renowned agent for hiking Rwenzori hiking safaris. More so, ensure to do physical exercises to ensure you are physically fit for this strenuous hike. Among the recommended physical exercises include jogging, walking, hiking and stretch ups among others. Your mind should be ready to conquer his high mountain. A traveler who begins a hike when not mentally ready stands high risks of failing to reach the summit.
Is it safe to climb the Rwenzori Mountains?
Hiking the Rwenzori ranges is absolutely safe. Its records of the past hikers reveals, it is safe since there are less cases of people dying or getting ill from climbing it.
The accommodation facilities like the huts and the rock shelters are well set up in that the adverse climate does not affect people while sleeping at night.
The guides are well trained and also have the basic skills and tool for the first aid treatment in case one gets a healthy problem. The guides also offer briefing to the trekkers on how to hiker the mountains with maximum safety.
The trek trails leading to the ranges are well established with minimum sloppiness and slipperiness.
What to pack for hiking Mount Rwenzori
Undertaking such an adventure is very brave and it is very crucial that you pack all the essential things you will need. Below is an extensive listing of all the things you should pack and why you should carry them for you Rwenzori climbing adventure.
Since hiking Rwenzori Mountain is an extensive activity with the energy being drained and spending several days on this hike, there are specific tools and items a hiker must have to enhance him/her to complete the task. Below are some of the things to pack for a Rwenzori hike:
Clothing: a hiker is required to carry both light and heavy layer clothes for hike due to changing climatic conditions, the lower part of the ranges are hot and the upper part is extremely cold since it is snowcapped. The temperatures can go as low as 0°C. It is advisable to carry water proof clothes like tracksuits, raincoats and the jackets. Gears like beanies, caps and headlamps should also be brought along.
Footwear: the shoes should be hiking boots with enough studs on them to give a hiker enough grip of the ground while trekking on the trails.
Food stuffs: Since it takes days to complete the Hike to the top of Mt Rwenzori and it is energy draining, you need to carry drinking water, energy drinks, canned and dry foods and also snacks like biscuits to eat in order to compensate for the burnt calories.
Backpack and Sleeping Bags: the hiker should have a perfectly sized backpack to carry his/her equipment and also convenient to carry. The sleeping bags must be at hand and this should be rain / water proof. A woolen blanket for covering yourself since it is cold at the Rwenzori ranges.
Other Accessories: there are some things that a person on an adventurous expedition must possess to make the adventure both convenient and interesting. Things like camera, insect repellents, sunglasses, a portable music player and torch among others.
Best Time to Hike the Rwenzori
The dry months of the year are the best time of hiking Rwenzori in Uganda. Therefore two peak seasons of trekking the magnificent ranges are naturally designed. These are the June-October months and from December-February, this is when the routes leading to the peak destinations are dry and passable and also when the sun is out perfect to visibly see the different wildlife species and also other physical features like the glaciers and cliffs.
It is also possible to trek the Rwenzori Mountains in the wet months of November, December, April and May unlike in the past when the hiking amenities on the ranges i.e. the accommodation Huts, the trekking paths and hiking equipment were less developed. Lately, the aforementioned have been improved and well skilled guides are in place for an ultimate hiking safari. However, sometimes the hikers find it a challenge to climb to the top of Mt Rwenzori in the wet season due to the steep, sloppy, slippery and muddy trails when it rains.
Conclusion, if you are interested in Rwenzori Trekking in Uganda, you will be happy to hear that the experience is open to just about everyone. You just have to be prepared and by following the tips offered above, you’ll be ready to cross climbing Mount Rwenzori off your bucket list in no time.Read More
8 Road Trips to Take on Budget Travel in Uganda
Take a Uganda safari road trip, visiting some of the best ecotourism sites and wilderness with excellent outdoor adventure possibilities. To set off on a road trip around Uganda is a true adventure’s spirit. Even if you have only a day tour or arrange a safari and make reservations a head of time to spend several days on a trip. Visitors will need to check out places, arrange a vehicle from one of the car rental services in Kampala and driver guide or look to use scheduled coaster buses but that would on your trip plans and convenience. There are no limitations before your road trip to experience Uganda. Whether its traditional customs and culture tour for a sweet taste of Ugandan food, bush camping experience, primate tracking, wildlife viewing, mountain climbing, birding, white water rafting, rain forest canopy zip lining or exploring Sesse islands and cities like Kampala, Fort Portal, Jinja source of the Nile, Mbale or Kabale. Expect a rewarding African holiday experience.
The explosion crater lakes Western Uganda
The explosion crater lakes trail stretches in and outside Queen Elizabeth national park including the Katwe crater lakes, the Fort Portal town Crater Lakes, the Ndali-Kasenda Craters and Bunyaruguru craters. It is easy to get, just 5-6 hours from Kampala city on a safari to western Uganda. The crater lakes are one of the top beautiful scenic places in the world, offering wild breathtaking views of rift valley floor and snow peaks of mountains of the moon.
Visitors need to spend a few days to appreciate nature, wildlife and stunning scenery. With bush camping experience at Edward flats, top of the world hike, 10 km hiking trail at Kabatooro in Queen Elizabeth national park, smooth drive through the western rift valley, visiting Sempaya hot springs where you can soak in mineral rich underground Semuliki river and Amabere caves at the base of Mountains of the moon. Spot many birds and primates along the shores of Lake Kigere where a foot print of the Bachwezi kingdom is legendary with opportunities for swimming, canoeing and traditional fishing.
Stay in one of many budget lodges and camps including those with honeymoon safari packages from where you can arrange biking, village walks to Katwe salt mining communities, agro tours in Kikorongo village sharing experience with local women and children support them and buy their hand crafts like baskets. Most of the locals earn from eco-tourism initiatives such bee keeping and making eco-stoves.
On top of exploring the craters if you still have time you can visit neighboring parks like Kibale for chimpanzee tracking, Bigodi wetland sanctuary, game drives for wildlife and boa boat cruise on kazinga channel. Note, however accommodations in Kibale national park or Queen Elizabeth National Park will require to you to make advance reservations.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
No matter which way you decide to travel to Mgahinga National Park where gold meets silver, the drive is not tough with paved roads but approximately long taking 9-10 hours from Kampala or just 3 hours coming from Queen Elizabeth national park or kibale. Visitors who land at Kigali international airport, you can access Mgahinga Park. Take a 2 hours drive across the northern border of Virunga shared by Uganda and Rwanda to kisoro with bumpy volcanic roads to Ntebeko the main visitor center in Mgahinga, where you will check with Uganda wildlife authority guides and pay for your activities.
Once you arrive, it’s clear you will realize that the road trip to Mgahinga gorilla national park was worth the effort. Gorilla trekking is the main activity but there’s much more to see and do including golden monkey tracking, birding, volcano hiking, BaTwa cultural encounters.
During your gorilla trek, choose from a good selection of places where to stay from some of the low cost community camp sites, guest houses, budget lodges to bungalows with nice rooms, private bathrooms and offer village walks.
Mgahinga gorilla national park is an eco-tourism paradise. With its 3 of the Virunga volcanoes shrouded in the clouds at an altitude of 2221 – 4,127 meters above sea level and filled with rare unique animals including golden monkeys, mountain gorillas, big game like buffalos, leopard, elephant, giant forest hogs, Albertine rift endemic birds like Rwenzori turaco, great blue turacos, and picnic swamp filled crater lakes, mysterious ancient BaTwa caves.
Get even closer to the rare habituated golden monkeys on a guided trek observe and take photos of them swinging through the tree. Full day hiking to the summits of Gahinga, Muhabura or Sabinyo is rewarding with scenic views the entire Virunga massifs and rift valley, colorful birds, lizards, jackals and picnic at the swamp craters.
After a day of hiking, take BaTwa cultural trail walk through the bamboo forest. Interact with BaTwa forest hunter gathers, learn about their ancient customs and culture. They demonstrate their traditional dances, hunting skills, fire making revolution and natural healing healthy medicinal herbs and legendary name Mgahinga meaning a pile of volcanic rocks found on Mt. Gahing one of the Virunga volcanoes.
Kampala to Mabira Forest Reserve
Mabira forest is Uganda’s central forest reserve highly threatened by encroachment. You’ll learn how eco-tourism is helping to save its biodiversity including 315 species of birds, rare primate species like Ugandan Magabay, ancient trees, orchids, variety of butterflies and flowers.
This short trip, only 2 hours drive along the Kampala-Jinja high takes to you Mabira forest reserve with best eco-tourism experience including eco-lodges and camps. You will break off from the adventures for lunch or dinner if you want to spend an overnight and the following continue to visit source of the Nile and Jinja city. Spend the day here doing a lot of activities including zip lining through the rainforest canopy is done morning to noon, nature walks along refreshing griffin falls, seeing some of the ancient large trees, butterflies viewing, bird watching, monkey tracking, mountain biking in and outside the forest.
Source of the Nile Jinja
River Nile is the longest in the world and best white water rafting destination in East Afric and this trip takes you to its source in Jinja the adventure capital of East Africa. It is accessible from Kampala city by 2 hours drive through sugar cane plantations and visit Sezibwa falls en route. There are many mysteries regarding discovery of source of the Nile and you’ll not leave minus breaking them with your local guide. Move on with exciting adventure activities. The main highlight is white water rafting but your holiday in Jinja is adventure packed.
Hard core rafters can enjoy the rushing grade five stretches of rapids while family rafters can float on calm waters or use speed jet boats with birding opportunities.
In the morning go for kayaking, boat cruises along Victoria Nile offer sunrise or sunset in the evening or spend 2 days on a house boats with food and accommodation on board. Enjoy horse-back riding across the Nile valley, bungee jumping, and mountain biking, all terrain quad biking. That’s Spend time exploring Jinja city markets and enjoying its fresh cool air from the Nile at the time without missing to relax and chill is riverside camps and lodges with amenities like sport rooms and free wireless internet. There are bars and restaurants that offer a variety of wine, liquor and Nile special beer which is locally sourced from the Nile breweries. The food is tasty and fish is usually caught locally.
Mount Elgon National Park and the hill tribes of Bamasaba
Mountain Elgon national park located in Eastern Uganda on border with Kenya offers a wonderful game viewing and mountain climbing experience. Mount Elgon’s Wagagai peak at 4231 meters above sea level has the largest caldera in the world. Hikers need camping tents to sleep in while climbing to the summit.
It has the most beautiful mountain scenery to experience nature including waterfalls, hot springs, gorges, cliffs, ancient caves and numerous streams make it a water catchment area. The most popular visited are the Sipi falls and Kapkwai exploration center where you spend time visiting villages interacting with hill tribes, then go for forest walks, coffee plantations tour, rock climbing. Mountain biking are great way to make excursions to Nyero rock paintings a special archeological site dating 3000 years indicating Nile valley civilizations and locals call it sacred place.
Mount Elgon is a UNESCO recognised biosphere reserve due to four vegetation zones with diversity of wildlife. The lower forested slopes are teeming with big game such as elephants, buffalos, zebras, waterbucks and over 300 birds providing you excellent game viewing and bird watching.
Mount Elgon national park makes a great road trip that can be done on a weekend. Easily accessible from Kampala by 4-5 hours drive passing via Mabira forest and jinja to Mbale town the largest town at the base of the mountain.
Kidepo Valley National Park
A full day drive through northern Uganda to kidepo Valley National Park takes travelers into a different side of Uganda with semi-arid deserts of Karamoja region, far away from the Albertine rift valley in the western Uganda. Many of the traditional karamajong villages along the way have local food and cultural experiences to enjoy before arriving at one of the few budget lodges in kidepo.
Great game viewing, birding and hiking bounds in the Narus and Kidepo river valleys famed for large herds of buffaloes than any other area in east Africa. You can also lions, leopards; cheetah, jackals, wolves, African hunting dog, elephants and giraffes and you to the dry murongole mountains on the border with south Sudan
Murchison Falls National Park
This trip takes you to Uganda’s largest conservation area Murchison falls National Park including Kaniyo-pabidi eco-tourism sites and Budongo forest reserve home to chimpanzees and other primate species. If you want to visit all of the sites on your road trip, include them in your itinerary. You can visit Murchison first then transfer to Budongo for chimpanzee tracking, primate viewing, and nature walks and make a good end of your trip back to Kampala.
On the way to Murchison you can stop at Ziwa Rhino sanctuary for white Rhino tracking on foot with a ranger, have lunch and enter the park with top of Murchison falls walk.
Murchison falls National Park’s landscape features some of the most beautiful in the world. Murchison falls are the strongest after Victoria Falls, Albert-Nile delta swamp, palm dotted savannah make home to 79 mammals and 400 species have put the park high up on many visitor’s bucket list. There are budget lodges such as pakuba safari lodge, paara safari lodge from where you can embark on game drives to spot lions, leopard, giraffe, buffalo, zebra, and boat cruise to the bottom of the falls offer sightings of hippos and water birds.
A drive around Lake Bunyonyi in southwestern Uganda is so interesting taking in outstanding natural beauty of the lake’s19 islands surrounded by picturesque terraced rolling hills. Getting to Lake Bunyonyi may be a long 8-9 hours drive but the journey is interesting with several stops from Kampala such as equator crossing, igongo cultural museum in Mbarara city and Bakiga museum.
The attractions include 19 islands which are explored by boat or traditional canoeing, visiting the local villages, and participating in traditional cooking experience, schools, picnic hills, hiking, and spotting birds and otters. To do all of them, you could spend the whole day but an overnight stay on the shores of the lake is enough to explore the lake and its surrounding.
Source of the Nile Jinja
Travelers who like to be active or want to spend a weekend holiday with family, Jinja is a perfect place to do it. On this trip you’ll be fascinated by the speeding rapids of River Nile, the longest in the world starts from here. Make your historical visit to the source of the Nile with excellent outdoor adventure activities every visitor on Uganda safari should explore. Top things to do include; white water rafting and identifying birds down the Nile grade five rapids to calm waters for family rafting. You’ll take hikes along the river and horseback riding across the Nile valley. Enjoy bungee jumping, all terrain Quad biking and go for sunset boat cruise as well as 2 day house boat on Victoria Nile.
In addition you can also tour Jinja town, the adventure capital of East Africa with accommodation ranging from camping facilities, bed and breakfast to luxurious. Some offer riverside relaxation, sport rooms and free wireless internet. The 2 hours drive from Kampala is one of the coolest passing through Mabira forest reserve, the only place for zip lining tours in Uganda. Stop at this eco-tourism site take forest walks to view primates, birds, butterflies and learn how human encroachment has affected the forest.Read More
Behind the Basket – A Feminine Art Form
The coolness of the morning quickly fades as we approach a Nubian household in Luwero district. Our group quickly takes refuge under the shade of a musaali tree where armchairs are laid out for us. The journey took us off the beaten tourist track, past swamp, tiny villages and mud wattle homes into the heart of Uganda. An excitement comes over me as I realise I am about to witness the basket making process from dyeing to weaving. Our Nubian hosts, clad in brightly coloured traditional garments called lesus, welcome us with warm smiles and greetings.
Zena, Kalili, Sauda and their group of Nubian artisans produce some of the finest baskets in Uganda. The Nubian basket is distinct from the raffia Kiganda basket as it is made out of a coarser, tougher grass-like material known as dis. A number of techniques are used to create complex patterns including the chequered effect used on a single row. They use four or more colours. Red, black and gold dominate their designs though green, ginger, brown, maroon and cream also feature. These colours have cultural significance associated closely with Nubian identity. Nubian handicrafts rarely contain blue – unless specifically commissioned for export – as it is considered a “private” or “inner” colour that is only used in one craft – a beaded waste band worn by women at night.
Sauda boils water in a large pot over an open fire. The artisans have assembled to dye colours for new basket designs. They have had to adjust to the increasing market demand for new and diverse colours and patterns. Sitting, they decide the order in which they will dye each colour to get the most from one pot. A bundle of small parcels are opened to reveal glittering powders. We un-braid the dis. Kalili pinches one colour to mix it with another using no measurement – just instinct and a keen eye.
The dye is added to the water and three bundles of dis are curled into it like spaghetti. They prod, stir and turn it with long sticks until it is ready. It is then lifted onto the grass to dry out. More dye is added, changing orange water to green. The process is repeated until ten colours lie out under a blazing sun. We can now enjoy a well deserved lunch.
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Technically once the dis is dry it is ready for weaving, but like raffia it has to be cooled, otherwise it will break or be difficult to work with. That is why you see women weaving in the early morning under a tree. Those using raffia leave it in the shade to cool before they go digging while those using dis cool and lubricate it with water.
Zena instructs me on how to weave a basket through demonstration. She is silent and I observe patiently until it is my turn to try. I struggle but I learn. When I make a mistake she shows me again. The craft has been passed down in this way for generations though some learned with no direct teaching. Those with talent learned quickly through experimentation, interest and necessity. Handicrafts provide a vital source of income for families, keeping them just above the breadline.
Zena has fingers like a guitar player – hard and cracked. The coiled rows of her basket consist of dis wrapped and sewn tightly around banana leaf stems. She works from the centre outwards. Stems and dis are added as she weaves, securely fastened with dis. She works on the protruding stems, spiking the row below with a needle to create a hole. She threads the wet dis from the back to the front over the stems and into the hole by hand. She moves with such agility and speed that I am convinced that it is all too easy. The design becomes more difficult, demanding a chequered effect. She continues to thread black dis around the stems but now she also lays cream dis flat on the row alternating whether it is above or below the black dis by folding. She produces two baskets per week – Baganda artisans produce four.
Through my own dismal efforts at weaving I realise how much effort and skill are required. It takes me three minutes to thread the first loop – that tiny hole caused me such grief! It needed strength and patience to mould its shape and design. I kept forgetting to add a colour at a particular place or fold the dis back and forth. Before, I had only seen the design in two dimensional terms, but now I appreciate its 3-D construction, artistry and intricacies. Take a closer look next time you see a basket to admire the culture and skill woven into one of Uganda’s most beautiful art pieces.Read More
Guide to Buying a Car in Uganda
Would you like to buy a car in Uganda? Are you a Ugandan living abroad and you have reached to time of returning back home for a holiday ? Don’t get worried of how to travel around Uganda exploring the new developments and tourists attractions in Uganda! You can even plan to have a long term Uganda car rental that can save you more dollars and enjoy your stay in Uganda. Remember, you may also like to explore Ugandan towns and cities like Kampala. easily move to the best happening city in Uganda with the new trend slogan of “Party after Party” which is only possible when you have a jeep rented from reliable car rental companies. Here are some ideas on how you can buy a car or lease a vroom for your next holiday;
Self drive Uganda is a vehicle web portal dedicated to the leasing of cars to travelers in Uganda while on holidays even on last minute option. Although most the jeeps owned by the company are safari type cars, they have planned a head due to the Christmas holiday that is about to happen soon in December to enable you join the family members on such lovely and long waited holiday well known in African Settings and cultural practices.
The website currently holds more than 836 vehicles for sale, mainly used cars in Uganda from car dealers nationwide. Its mission is to provide a trusted and simple to use portal for new & used car buy and sell needs in Uganda. A total of 29 new & used car dealers from all around Uganda advertise their second-hand cars on Cars.co.ug. Private persons can now also advertise their vehicles for sale on Cars.co.ug Uganda completely free of charge. All autos for sale advertised on Cars.co.ug Uganda come from a network of trusted car dealers and auto exchanges. The selection of new & pre-owned automobiles spans every major and minor brands and includes all types of the vehicles. Buyers can find a wide range of vehicles for sale including buses, trucks, motorbikes, and any other kind of motor vehicles.
The second-hand cars available on Cars.co.ug Uganda cover a wide range of prices accessible to anybody wishing to purchase a pre-owned or second-hand car in Uganda. Cars.co.ug is a leading motoring portal in Uganda, catering for all vehicle buy and sell needs. Cars.co.ug Uganda is a trusted site to find second hand vehicles and automobiles in Uganda
If you want to buy a used car in Uganda, you can search online on the internet or in specialized magazines. You will definitely find a list of brands and models of used cars adapted to your needs. Some televisions have even specialized in the promotion of cars and you will have enough choice.
It is important not to choose your car dealer with lightness because you will regret it later. Make the choice taking into account the brands, prices and quality of available vehicles. Take the time to check the vehicle, especially the engine, and, if possible, have a qualified mechanic who can help you.
An insured car will always be preferable to an uninsured car and it will be necessary to check that all documents of the vehicle are in order. Do not be in a hurry and you will surely make a good deal.Read More
Lake Bunyonyi: Lots of Adventures Await You
Lake Bunyonyi is located in Kabale District which is found in Western Uganda. This lake is considered to be the deepest lake in Uganda, and there are many people who have traveled to this lake in order to have a glance at its beautiful waters. This has greatly attracted many safaris to Uganda hence increasing the revenues of the country. The lake has always given relaxation moments to the tourists especially those who come for birding safaris since this Lake has got many bird species which are so attractive to the tourists.
This lake has got many Islands which are so attractive and they have also got many bird species and many other animals. The lake has greatly encouraged canoe riding by the tourists who enjoy water and viewing of water animals .This Lake is also considered as a crater lake and its near Lake Katwe where salt is done. There are many tourist activities which are done on this Lake and these include; swimming, fishing, boat cruising and many more which are enjoyed by the tourists who come for safaris to Uganda.
Uganda has got many water bodies, however Lake Bunyonyi has got unique features which are adventurous and can provide unique experiences to the tourists who travel to Uganda, this lake has got blue waters that are so precious to any one’s eyes and it’s also surrounded by much species of vegetation which attracts many birds to migrate to the area hence attracting many birders to the Lake.
Apart of this lake, Uganda is also blessed with Lake Victoria which is one of the biggest lakes in Africa, this lake is shared by many countries in Africa, however its biggest part is found in Uganda, this lake has also got many birds around it and other tourist activities which include; swimming, fishing, sports activities which are carried out on the beaches which are found on the shores of the lakes especially at Entebbe. All these have greatly attracted many people to come for safari visits to Uganda.
There are also other lakes which are found in Uganda and many rivers , these include; Lake Edward, Lake Albert, Lake Kyoga and many others which have greatly attracted people to travel to Uganda. River Nile is also found in Uganda and its source is located in Jinja , this River has also attracted many people to visit Uganda since it has also got many tourist activities which include; swimming at the shores of the river, boat cruises to the actual source of the Nile, canoe riding and many more activities which are so adventurous to the tourists who come to safari Uganda.Read More
Visiting Uganda Gorillas: When to Visit
A trip to Southwestern Uganda to track mountain gorillas is strongly an experience that comes once in a life time. Uganda’s mountain gorillas are only tracked in the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. A 600 kilometer journey to the misty valleys of Kabale, Southwestern Uganda comes with tremendous gorilla experiences of a life time for visitors. Although it is a wish of every one around the globe to get a glimpse of these remarkable Giants in the wild, it takes visitors $600 to purchase a gorilla permit to achieve that dream. For visitors who may wish to improve on their experiences further, there is Gorilla Habituation Experience where he or she will be enjoying all the four hours with mountain gorillas in the wild.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is described as an all year round adventure. However, visitors ought to know the best time to travel to visit the mountain gorillas as each season comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Uganda is strategically located within Equator some thing that makes it to have 2 wet seasons; the short wet season starts in October and November while the long wet season occurs from March to May. The other months are dry but due to fluctuating weather patterns, it isn’t easy to forecast the seasonality of the country. In most cases, visitors tend to run away from gorilla tracking especially during the wet season given the fact Bwindi Impenetrable Forest receives heavy rainfall and in turn makes the gorilla habitat very muddy and slippery and hence a block to road connectivity to gorilla trail heads. Tracking gorillas becomes a bit changing for visitors but in most cases, there are visitors who come during this season.
Well, it is possible to track gorillas during the wet season given the fact that rain showers can be experienced in the course of day and at the same time it can take a short time and the sun comes out and gorilla trekking explorer can still continue. Tracking mountain gorillas during wet season is also advantageous based on the fact that there can be plenty of food at the foothills and trackers are able to view them easily. The disadvantage with this season is that it comes with reduced chances of clear views and difficulty in photo taking for the visitors due to dense vegetation cover.
The peak Season:
Most preferably, many visitors travel during this season to track mountain gorillas. Uganda’s peak season is characterized by low rainfall and it falls in the months of January, February, June, July, August, September and December. Because there are many visitors who come to track mountain gorillas, the demand for gorilla permits also tends to be high and visitors are encouraged to book them in advance. The dry season is the best for gorilla tracking as mountain gorillas can be sighted in temperate weathered areas with raised landscapes and this means that the climate remains cool throughout the year.
The Low Season:
This is the perfect time for visitors traveling on budget and many visitors have enjoyed visiting the country during this season. During this season, there are discounted permits that are offered to travelers in the months of April, May and November. The cost of permits for this season goes at $450 for foreign non residents, 400 for foreign residents and shs.150000 for East African residents. What is surprising is that, even the nearby lodges can reduce their prices.
In conclusion, gorilla tracking has no defined season, what may seem to be the best season for one may turn to be the worst time for some one else. However, it is best done during the dry season which offers travelers with incredible experiences. Come and explore what is inhabited within the tropical rain forests of Uganda and you won’t regret in life!Read More
The Story Behind Black Star News: A Diaspora Founded New York Weekly
You may have heard of Black Star News, a New York-based and Ugandan-founded investigative newspaper, whose critical coverage of Uganda and metropolitan New York issues has made a name for its founder, Milton Allimadi. Ugandans Abroad wanted to pick his brain about the business, and share the insights he’s gleaned with other African entrepreneurs in the diaspora.
Black Star News initially ran as a monthly metropolitan newspaper, but transitioned to a weekly newspaper so it could run more current movie listings, which has helped the publication to survive. Although there is a market in reaching advertisers who want to target black consumers in New York, the recent recession took a large hit on the investigative weekly.
When the publication first started, it hit a chicken-and-egg scenario, where you couldn’t get ads without being known, but needed the revenue to invest in your publication.
The publication was founded with an investment by Bill and Camille Cosby, after Allimadi sent them a copy of his business plan. Black Star News’ first ad came from the Independent Savings Bank, which had once advertised with the City Sun, where Allimadi had worked before founding his own paper.
The bank, which is now part of Sovereign Bank, took out two full-page ads in the Black Star News.
Getting the initial first corporate ad was a huge boon. “’You get them, and you want to show that to every other advertiser,” said Allimadi. To figure out the rates for his publication, he looked at rates for other established publications like the Amsterdam News, a black publication that launched in 1909, and discounted them. Back then, he says that it was a question of time.
“Advertisers tell you from the get-go, come back in five years,” he told Ugandans Abroad. “I tried to make the calls as much as possible to sell ads, and do the writing and editing at night.” Now, he has staff members that sell ads full-time, freeing him to focus on journalism.
“The call is very efficient now,” he said, since the paper has been building relationships with advertisers for years. Before, he says, he “was just calling and playing the numbers.” As the paper got scoops, they were featured in media outlets that ranged from CNN to the New York Post and the New York Daily News, which helped bolster his relationship with advertisers. “
There’s some recognition,” he said. The recession, however, really damaged the relationships between publications throughout New York and advertisers, who slashed their budgets. “The recession was really, really bad on us,” Allimadi said. “It almost knocked us down.”
To survive, the weekly reduced its page count and cut their paper size, and cut the frequency that they came out for a few months, combining some of their issues to make ends meet.
Things have improved since the economy began to recover, to Allimadi’s relief. “It’s like night and day,” he said. In a 20-page newspaper, Black Star News typically sells about four to five pages of ads, some with multiple runs. They all sell ads on their website, which they hope to focus on more down the road. The newspaper is still “the bread and butter,” he says.
Their pockets are not as deep as other publication, and they rely only on freelancers, which helps them control costs. “I think our market is relatively untapped for African-American readership,” he said. “You can operate a profitable daily.”
The paper is focused on increasing its print runs and their advertising resources, and hopes to tap into a vacuum left by the Village Voice for investigative journalism. The Village Voice recently let go of veteran city reporter Wayne Barrett and lost Tom Robbins, a loss the newspaper might not survive.
“You wouldn’t believe the number of stories we have in the pipeline,” he said. “We want it to be a decent paper and viable as a business.”
For entrepreneurs interested in creating businesses that cater to African and Caribbean immigrants, as well as Latinos, Allimadi believes that the market is huge. “The demand is here,” he said. “Just create the medium.”Read More