Uganda the pearl of Africa
“For magnificence, for a variety of form and colour for the profusion of brilliant life, -birds, insect, reptiles, beasts-for vast scale- Uganda is truly the pearl of Africa,” said Winston Churchill when he visited Uganda and was quite impressed. Other travellers have experienced the vast beauty of this flourishing land. You too can be a part of the experience and you will surely understand the justification of the Pearl of Africa slogan the moment you lay your feet on the red fertile soils and experience the wall to wall Technicolor blue skies, radiant endless green fields and plantation where the staple foods grow almost effortlessly, the crystal clear lakes and river that draw from the numerous small springs and the even more vibrant warm loving people.
Uganda casts its spell as soon as you land at the airport with the cold breeze from one of the largest freshwater bodies in the world competing against the warm rays of sun that symbolizes the warmth of its people. The beautiful smiles, the warm welcome, the graceful dances and the prolific bird and wildlife. The air is crystal clear with absolutely mind-boggling landscapes, delicious food, amazing aurora and magical light. In simple terms, you could say Uganda is Africa condensed, with the best of everything the continent has to offer packed into one small but stunning destination.
The country’s charm lies in the astonishing diversity of attraction ranging from wildlife, vegetation, landscape, and cultures. Within an area 240000 sq km, an area no larger than the United Kingdom or the state of Oregon in the United States. The country’s largest tourism potential area based on the National Parks and reserves. These are magnificent, encompassing not only conventional Savannah, mesmerizing tracts of wildlife teeming with antelopes, buffaloes, elephants and big cats- but also the snow-capped peaks of Africa’s tallest mountains, tropical forests, of mind flabbergasting biodiversity and atmospheric lakes and rivers heaving with hippos, crocodiles and birds. Subjects of wildlife and tribes, each with its own history and culture equally grace this land. Not to mention that these people are popularly known as the most friendly and hospitable people worldwide.
We could proudly say Uganda is the most welcoming and varied safari destination. The remarkably long list of wildlife creates a great appeal for the landlocked pearl and yet the numerable and incomparable list of over 1,040 bird species is no exception for bird lovers. The primates’ numbers (18 species) exceed numbers in any other African country. They include 13 diurnal species, 2 great apes the chimpanzees and the gorillas with half of the world’s remaining population in the world in Uganda.
The varied habitats spread over authentic dazzling landscape explaining the biodiversity, from forest to the woodlands, the wetlands to the moorlands, Savannah to the lakes and river: the western rift valley, the remote plains of Kidepo, the slopes of the largest free-standing volcano and continent’s highest mountain range. They also flank the islands studded expanses of the world’s second largest freshwater and the turbulence lake and the longest river
Primates’ seekers can trek the endangered mountain gorillas in the forests of Bwindi and Mgahinga- the equally rare golden monkey can also reliably be trekked in the later and chimpanzees trekked in the Kibale forest, Kaniyo Pabid, and Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Trekkers climb to the giant Caldera of mountain Elgon and the glacier peaks of Mountain Rwenzori, the legendary snowy source of the Nile while at the more conventional source of the Nile rafters and Kayakers negotiate Africa’s finest stretch of whitewater rapids below the river’s exit to Lake Victoria. If more adrenaline is what you crave for, then you can get more personal with the mighty Nile on a jet boat cruise, bungee jump on the Nile high bungee jumping site, mountain biking, quad biking, horse riding and for families who are not that brave you could have a family float.
Bird watchers seek the talismanic shoebill in wetlands and roam forest ticking off Albertine rift endemics and Congo-Guinea biome species at the eastern limit of their ranges. Prime birding destinations include Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, birding on the royal mile, Murchison Falls national park, which was ranked number one by travel African magazine in its list of the top ten birding sites in Africa.
Cultural tourism sites and events celebrate the diversity of about 50 ethnic groups and the rich history of the traditional kingdoms.
And when the travel excitement is more than you can take, you can rest at the calm retreats on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi and hang out with the numerous birds from which the lake derives its name. Beside the white sand beaches of the Ssesse islands, or overlooking the crater lakes in Fort portal.
Coming full circle large mammal populations in the grassland parks are once again worth watching, happily so for there is more to game viewing that a game drive in Uganda. In the 1960s, launch trips on the Nile below the Murchison fall and on the Kazinga channel in queen, Elizabeth National Park was a highlight of a visit to the National Parks and refurbished launches once again expose visitors to the memorable concentration of the waterside wildlife and birds.
Although Uganda’s major foreign exchange earner is the vibrant and expanded tourism. Uganda remains refreshingly unaffected by mass tourism. Encounters with wildlife and interaction with local people in the revived pearl of Africa retain a refreshing degree of exclusivity. The pearl of Africa, as universally regarded as the brightest prospect in East Africa has recovered from its lustre, to stand not only at the forefront of the African renaissance, but also one of the continent’s safest, friendliest, and most rewarding tourist destination. Sooner or later because of all the diversity there is to offer, the mainstream masses will discover Uganda and its delights- so book your safari to Uganda and get here before they do.