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Home arrow Uganda's "A-Z"

Uganda's "A-Z"

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Uganda has such a wealth of attractions that a single visit to this wonderful country will not be enough to discover all of the many unique tourism attractins that it has to offer. Here is a customised " A-Z"

A is for Ankole  cattle, which have played a pivotal role in the lives of various African tribes providing food, currency, and tribal status. The horns act as a cooling system for the animal by circulating blood through to the ends of the horns to disperse heat before returning the blood to the body. In addition, their digestive systems have the ability to utilize poor quality and limited quantities of food and water. These survival abilities have allowed them as a breed to  survive over the centuries in Africa.

B is for Bwindi’s “Impenetrable Forest” National Park. It is so aptly named because of the dense undergrowth, vines and other vegetation that makes it an almost “impenetrable” rain forest. The jungle-swathed hills of Bwindi support half the world’s mountain gorillas, where one can experience the wondrous tracking safari in search of the gorillas in their natural habitat.

C is for Coffee – Both Arabica and Robusta coffee is grown in Uganda and is one of Uganda’s main exports. The best place to find this wonderful but hard-to-find product is in Kampala Cafe Pap and Ban cafe Coffee Shops . They have many Ugandan varieties freshly roasted and at reasonable prices to take with you.

D is for diversity- Bisected by the equator, Uganda would probably give one a picture of simmering heat, but thanks to her high altitude, Uganda has an amazingly mild and pleasant climate. To the west of the Great East African Rift Valley in western Uganda rise the massive and perpetually snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains. The national parks are comprised of many lakes, swamps, dense forests, mountains, rich savannah grasslands, woodlands and rolling plains.  

E is for Mount Elgon National Park. The joint fifth highest peak in Africa (Mt. Wagagi 4,321m), is an extinct volcano located in the eastern part of Uganda, bordering Kenya. Most of the park is covered with montane vegetation with giant groundsels and bamboo forest. It is possible to get to the summit of the mountain in as little as three days. The Sipi Falls that drop off Elgon are a magnificent sight worth checking out.

F is for Food. Each region of Uganda has its own local cuisine. The most common traditional foods are green cooking bananas (Matooke) which are steamed, sweet potatoes, cassava yams, and posho, normally served with beef or chicken stew, groundnut (peanut) sauce, beans or peas. Go Ugandan by tasting traditional Luwombo, a delicious stew (normally chicken), steamed in banana leaves served for special occasions, or try matooke, binyebwa (ground nut sauce), chapatti, and smoked beef stew. These dishes are from Buganda, Central Uganda. If in Kampala one must try one of the “pork joints” for roasted pork with “Irish” potatoes, cassava, avocado and tomato or whole baked Tilapia (fish) and chips. You should also try the various snacks like: Chapatti (a salted pancake), Rolex (like an omelette rolled in a Chapatti, Sumosa (meat or vegetable pies) and Mandazi (similar to Donuts) and the fresh passion and pineapple juice. If travelling up country try some chicken, goat or liver mchomo (meat on a stick) .

G is for Game Fishing. Either in Lake Victoria or on the Nile at Murchison falls, large Nile Perch have been caught weighting over 100 Kilos!

H is for Hot Springs found in Semliki National Park (known as the Garden of Eden which is the only Lowland tropical rain forest in East Africa.) It is also known for the Sempaya Hot Springs – which are known as either male and female hot springs. There is also hot springs in the crater of Mt. Elgon.

I is for Impala, where the capital city, Kampala, gets its name from - Kasozi Ke'mpala, interpreted as “the hill of the antelopes” The origin of Kampala goes back to 1891 when the Kabaka of Buganda held his court on Rubaga and Mengo Hills. While Kampala is often referred to as the, it is also the heart of Uganda, serving as the center of commercial life and the seat of government.

J is for Jinja, the adventure capital of Africa. This is where one can participate in some of the most exciting white water rafting/canoeing in all of Africa, starting downriver of the Nile’s source. The rafting excursions,that take one through a series of Grade 3-5 rapids, are utterly exhilarating. Other activities include horse riding, bungee jumping, quad biking and kayaking.

K is for Kidepo Valley National Park Tucked away along the north-eastern border with Sudan, this underrated savannah reserve supports Uganda’s last populations of dry-country species such as cheetah and kudu. It possesses unusual scenery unsurpassed by any other park in East Africa.
L is for Land of Lakes - which take up  almost one third of the country. Uganda is home to Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa. One can sail across Lake Victoria and make a stopover to the Ssese Islands. Lake Mburo National Park is unusual in that it contains an entire lake providing a broad diversity of habitat from the lake shore to the savannas.
Only 3 hours drive from Kampala, one can observe  herds of impalas, zebras, antelopes, hippopotamus, crocodiles, as well as the uncommon topi.

M is for Murchison Falls National Park The visit to the top of the falls is a breathtaking natural spectacle, the most powerful rush of water anywhere in the world. The awe-inspiring Murchison Falls. A highlight of Uganda’s largest conservation area is a boat trip down the hippo-infested Nile to the base of the dramatic falls. There’s also great game-viewing at the Nile Delta, with lion, elephant, buffalo, the most amazing Rothschild’s giraffes with groups as large as 50.

N is for the Nile River. The mighty Nile flows from Lake Victoria all the way to the Mediterranean. N is also for the Nile River Crocodiles. These beasts grow up to 6 meters in length and are a common sight in Murchison. N is also for the Ndere Centre in Kampala, a centre of culture and dance.

O is for Ornithology. Uganda is a “twitchers” paradise with a wonderful diversity of birds, and over 1,000 exotic bird species - more than anywhere else in the world.. Queen Elizabeth National park has over 600 species and Bwindi’s “Impenetrable Forest” National Park has 23 bird species endemic to the Albertine Rift. Of special interest is the Shoebill or whale-headed stork. A giant, solitary bird, it is an aggressive predator that feeds on fish, frogs, water rats, lizards, snakes and even small crocodiles. It has binocular vision, its yellow eyes that stare without blinking indicate that the shoebill is mainly a nocturnal hunter.

P is for Primates. Apart from the mountain gorillas, Uganda is home to a variety of primates. Kibale Forest National Park, which provides the world’s highest primate densities is where you can track endangered chimpanzees, as well as see the red colobus monkey and the rare L’Hoesti monkey. The tropical rainforest also has black and white colobus, blue monkey and grey-cheeked mangabey, red tailed monkey, bush babies and pottos.

Q is for Queen Elizabeth National Park - Set below the snow-capped Rwenzori, this is East Africa’s most ecologically diverse game reserve, as evidenced by a 600-strong bird checklist (exceeding that of many African parks ten times larger). Teeming with Elephant, Buffalo, Hippo and Uganda Kobs and the rarer giant forest hogs, resident along the Kazinga Channel.

 R is for the Rwenzori Mountains National Park – or “Mountains of the Moon” which are capped by three glacial peaks over 5,000m high . Rwenzori is the third highest mountain in Africa, The Rwenzori runs for almost 120km along the Congolese border north of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and can be explored along a challenging six-day loop trail through some of the most lushly surreal vegetation Africa has to offer.

S is for Semliki Valley. Nestling between the Rwenzori Mountains and Lake Albert, this scenic stretch of the Albertine Rift is home to two underrated conservation areas. The forested Semliki National Park harbours 40 Congolese bird species unrecorded elsewhere in East Africa, while Semliki Wildlife Reserve offers plains game-viewing from the country’s most luxurious tented camp.

T is for Tree Lions, for which Ishasha (The southern tip of Queen Elizabeth National park) is renowned. They are also found in Kidepo.

U is for the Ugandan people. Their heritage lives on in the hearts of the people and their traditional customs, languages and practices are unmistakable in the life of the Ugandan people today. There are some 18 tribes in Uganda which vary from the hunters-gatherer Bantu, Batwa (pygmies) and Banyankore in the South West to the Nilotic tribes of the North such as the pastoralist Acholi, Langi and nomadic Karimojong in North East.

V is for the Volcanic peaks of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. This scenic park on the Rwanda-DRC border forms a popular alternative gorilla-tracking destination to Bwindi. Other attractions include challenging day ascents to the volcanic peaks of Muhavura (4,127m), Sabinyo (3,666m) or Gahinga (3475m).

W is Welcome. Above all other features, is the cordial welcome that comes from the heart of the Ugandan people who are among the most hospitable in all of Africa. Their nation is a result of the unification of ancient kingdoms, as well as many independent chieftains.  

X is for Xylophone. Know locally as the amadinda . Some are so large, such as the one played by The Baligashima Xylophone Group, it takes eight people to play it, in a pit. Another common instrument is the adungu, a nine-string arched (bow) harp of the Alur people of north-western Uganda.

Y is for Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s President. He had emerged as one of the most significant leaders in the developing world. Under his helm, Uganda had distinguished itself as a model of post-conflict reformer, relatively reducing poverty, decreasing the rate of HIV/AIDS infection, increasing primary-level education and  probably leads the developing world in empowering women.

Z is for Zoo, known now as Entebbe Wildlife Education Centre. For those who do not have time to see all the wonders mentioned above, the centre is great for viewing a lion or python snake. Entebbe is also the main port of entry to Uganda, situated on the shores of Lake Victoria and has a scenic botanical gardens. It is also a good springboard for day trips to Mabamba Swamp, a reliable locality for sighting the bizarre shoebill.

SOURCE:The Eye Magazine-Uganda

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