Friday, 14 September 2018

THE HIDDEN SECRETES AT BUBEMBE ISLAND



If your dream has been to explore that one magical and secretive island on earth then it is high time you realized it. While many head to Uganda’s parks to see wildlife species or the rare mountain gorillas in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park in particular, a trip to Bubembe Island ideally rewards travel endeavors with mesmerizing experiences. This spectacular island is one of the 84 beautifully distinct islands in Lake Victoria that make up the Ssese Archipelago. This island lies within Kalangala district, northwest of Lake Victoria. Most of these islands in most cases comprise of fishermen and also feature some stunning forests and swamps which offer ideal habitat for bird species and the notable ones include the whale headed stork, grey parrot, kingfishers, fish eagles, herons, geese a mention but a few thus making these areas perfect not only for one to relax out with their dear ones but also do bird watching. Besides, they are endowed with abundant and yet untapped plant species that are worth exploring if you are a botanist. 

Culturally, visitors on safari to this island get a warm welcome from the humble and hospitable locals who live in this area. Mostly, life at this place revolves around religion, fishing boats and trading centers. Religiously, this island is refuge to temple of Mukasa. Besides, there are some wildlife species for you to catch a glimpse while on tour in Bubembe Island and they include among others colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, hippos, crocodiles, sitatunga antelope, chimpanzees, forest birds such as weavers, flycatchers, turacos, horn bills, fish eagle and paradise flycatcher. This island features among a few visited islands in Lake Victoria. It features many well-kept grass thatched houses, where most rituals are conducted for fortunes. Most locals confine in this area to seek for wealth, fertility and partners for those who are single. Most people from in and around Kalangala visit the sacred trees in the island blessings and there is believe that if someone doesn’t respect rituals linked to these sacred sites, he or she won’t avoid misfortunes. The other significant place to visit is Buwa forest which features a rare and popular stick Damula is named. This forest equally features as significant cultural site and comes with a spring water where the stick is cleaned and it is believed that this stick has been passed on to all Buganda Kings.

How to reach to Bubembe Island
This island is reachable within nine hours especially when you set off from Port Bell or spend 45 minutes using a local ferry from Bukakata. If you are around Buggala Island, you will spend about three hours on a boat ride to Bukasa Island or two hours to Bubembe Island. Banda Island which is also part of the Ssese Archipelago is reachable within three hours by boat on Buggala side.

In conclusion, if you are interested in exploring unique cultural sites while on safari in Uganda, Bubembe Island should be a must to visit and you will have a lifetime experience.

Friday, 31 August 2018

MYSTERIOUS PUNISHMENT ISLAND



If there are a few most mysterious tourist sites you should pay a visit in Uganda then the Punishment Island is one of them. This magical heritage site features its own harrowing story that is worth sharing while you are on Uganda safari. The island lies within the splendid Lake Bunyonyi, south-western Uganda and for those of you who are planning to go for gorilla trekking in Bwindi or Mgahinga National Park it is that one tourist site not to be missed to explore. This magical island is also famously called Akampene Island and its history of unmarried pregnant girls that were abandoned to die is what makes it remarkable that today many are attracted to explore more about it while on safari in Uganda. This island is just 215 square foot and it is believed to have 2 trees one of which is said to have died. This is one of the 29 spectacular that are distributed within Lake Bunyonyi.

The island was a dumping ground for girls who would get pregnant before marriage time in Kigezi sub region. They either starved to death or drown while attempting to swim to the mainland the fact that swimming was something unique amongst locals at a time. Those that were lucky enough could be saved by the poor men who never had dowry to pay bride price. Today, the island has kept on reducing in size and local believe that it is the spirits of the girls that were abandoned here at a time. This tradition was however left out in the 1940s mostly due to impact of the missionaries that arrived at Bwama and Njuyeera Islands. Dr. Len Sharp stayed at this point in the early 1920s while treating people suffering from leprosy especially those who gathered in Bwama Island.

How to get to the Punishment Island
You can reach this island within half an hour while on canoe. Boats or canoes plus a tour guide can be hired to take you to this island at a relatively affordable cost. The island features as an incredible tourist attraction not only to the locals but also to foreign visitors who confine in the area to explore more about its mysterious history.

In conclusion, Akampene Island features among a few most significant natural wonders on the planet that you shouldn’t miss to explore while on Uganda safari this coming season. A visit to this island rewards travelers with its amazing and mysterious history and also you will explore the stunning Lake Bunyonyi.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

11 GIRLS QUALIFY FOR MISS TOURISM


From over 11 contestants, only one is expected to be crowned miss tourism in Uganda this year in the Ankole chapter queen 2018-2019. The contestants have been selected from the Ankole districts and after, they will go through auditions over the weekend at Mbarara information center in Mbarara town. They will however join the boot camp where they will be prepared in different aspects that are intended to nurture them for the finals on 8th September 2018 at Lake View Hotel. The contestants will go through different destinations in Ankole region such that they get to learn and explore different tourist sites. Besides, they will go through modeling lessons, communication skills and others.

The search was done and ladies aged between 18 and 28 were given the opportunity to be part of this amazing event. It supported by Ministry of tourism, Uganda Tourism Board and other partners. The districts that were covered include Sheema, Bushenyi, Buhweju, Ibanda, Mbarara, Rubirizi, Ntungamo, Isingiro, Mitooma and Kiruhura. Generally, ankole region features variety of tourist attractions a reason most safaris are conducted in western Uganda but this doesn’t mean that other regions don’t have any tourist destination. For authentic cultural experiences or wildlife safaris or mountain gorilla adventures, chimpanzee trekking, birding and many more don’t miss to Uganda the pearl of Africa!


Thursday, 9 August 2018

IMBALU FESTIVAL TO BE LAUNCHED BY PRESIDENT MUSEVENI AND KENYATTA


Are you a cultural enthusiast and you are interested in that unique cultural experience? Have you ever heard of the Imbalu circumcision? Perhaps you have ever heard of it or read about it and you want to witness what takes place during this rare event. Well, come 11th August 2018, Mbale will have yet another breathtaking cultural event of a lifetime popularly called the ‘Imbalu’ ceremony. If you are heading to Mount Elgon National Park-Eastern Uganda this season, it is such amazing event not to be missed in life! This year’s event will be launched by H.E. President Yoweri K. Museveni plus his counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta. They will also launch the Bamasaba cross border cultural center that is still under construction at Mutoto Sub County in Mbale-eastern Uganda. This center will serve as a place where all documented Bamasaba history and tradition will be kept. The Imbalu circumcision is an amazing and unique cultural practice in which the young are initiated into manhood. This periodic cultural event comes with lots of fun and also sorrowful moment a fact that boys have to show their manhood at that time of circumcision. It is such a unique experience not to be missed while on safari in Uganda. The Mutoto cultural site is yet to be improved to help boost the tourism sector in the region a fact that this event has become a few most significant cultural experiences that attracts not only the nationals but also foreigners.

The event will be conducted at Mutoto cultural grounds in Mbale town and preparations are underway to make it a colorful event. Over 10 different cultural leaders across various cultural institutions are also expected to be part of this ceremony. In addition, a team of Bamasaba from the diaspora is also expected join and the Bamasaba cultural leader ‘Bob Mushikori who is based in Canada will be part of this lifetime event. This year’s celebrations are organized by Namisindwa district together with Inzu Yamasaba. During this event, about 6000 boys are expected to be circumcised which will launch the circumcision season. This will be in addition to more than the 10000 Bamasaba from Kenya who are to be part of this ceremony.

The Bamasaba ceremonies hold a strong cultural value among the Gishu and it is an ancient traditions that brings together the different peoples within the Bugisu region. This region covers areas of Sironko, Mbale, Manafwa, Bududa and Bulambuli district. Regardless of what age someone is, provided he has not been circumcised, the person can’t have any respect and usually, a person can be called a boy. This cultural festival usually kicks off mainly during even years and starts in August and it reaches its climax around December and attracts large numbers of people. The candidates are always moved to different communities for about seven day prior the actual circumcision and in the course of the movement, different gifts are given ranging from livestock, cash, food and many more as one way to congratulate such persons for fulfilling the tradition which indicates their brevity, courage and also motivate them endure with the pain during circumcision.

In conclusion, Imbalu is such a unique cultural experience where the young and the grown up are initiated into manhood. Come and witness this remarkable event and you will have unforgettable experience. It is conducted every even year and this year happens to be for those few lucky ones.

Monday, 30 July 2018

EXPLORING THE GRAPHIC GANDHI STATUE IN JINJA


While majority of visitors on safari to Jinja think it is only about them engaging in breathtaking adventures at the Source of the Nile, perhaps most of them have missed something incredible and none other than the Mahatma Gandhi shrine. Based on his wishes, at a time he passed on around 1948, his ashes were separated and scattered in most parts of the mighty River Nile in Uganda. To commemorate his life, there was need to set up a monument and this came into fulfillment an idea that was invented by the Indian community in Uganda and that of the Indian government. The site has for long been maintained by Bank of Baroda an Indian owned bank in this area. It is representation of his influential work while in Africa and his decision to have part of his ashes spread in the Nile at a time. He played a significant role towards spreading message about peace across the globe and also the virtues of non violence influenced leaders for instance Nelson Mandela and many others.

He spent about 21 years of his illustrious career in this continent where he led the rights of the downtrodden and marginalized communities. He wished his ashes to be spread in the Nile which indeed happened and probably to cement the ever lasting relationship with Africa which impacted on his career. Today, this memorial site is visited by both nationals and the Indians. However, there are also plans to establish the Gandhi heritage center. Its establishment led to increase in a number of unique and exceptional tourist sites in this area making it perfect for one to spend a holiday.

This memorial site lies in Jinja, Hindu temple along Bell Avenue just in the western side. It features a full figure statue of Gandhi while holding a stick in the right hand and a book in the left while tracing his popularly simple traditional Indian dhoti and shawl. This stunning site stands along the raised red brick pedestal that indicates Gandhi probably taking a step. Its dark monochromic rendering offers this work peace and simple viewing point.


Friday, 27 July 2018

BARLONYO MEMORIAL SITE


Situated about 26 kilometers north of Lira lies a beautiful Barlonyo village, a calm trading center adjacent River Moroto, Lira district-Lango sub region. Behind this tranquil village, there is Barlonyo memorial site which harbors a dark past the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels caused when hundreds of innocent people lost their lives. Over 121 LRA victims were buried in this memorial site making it one of significant tourist sites in northern Uganda. It was late in the afternoon on 21st February 2014 that the LRA rebels under the command of Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen waged an attack in the Barlonyo internally displaced persons camp thus leaving hundreds of people dead. It is alleged that the rebel group burnt civilians live while inside their houses, hacked, clubbed, stabbed and shot. For those who survived killing, were abducted and marched north into Acholi land but most of them passed on while in captivity. The population of those who were abducted isn’t certain.

The rebel group overpowered the local Amuka militia and left about 18 soldiers dead, a militia group that had camped to offer protection in this area. At end, the rebels moved to the camp and set it on fire while beating the locals to death while killing children. The local residents at Barlonyo then came back home around 2006. Despite all the attacks waged in this area, critics allege that Barlonyo isn’t included in the list of incidents that Dominic Ongwen is charged with of current. Additionally, this area also served as one of the prime investigative sites for the ICC’s office of the prosecutor during the early days of investigation in northern Uganda. This has left many wondering why regardless of the evidences this area has been excluded.

In conclusion, Barlonyo memorial site is that one remarkable monument that you need not to miss to visit to explore what more about what occurred during the insurgency in northern Uganda at a time. This monument was established in commemoration of hundreds of the victims who lost their lives when they were attached by LRA rebel group.


Monday, 16 July 2018

WHERE TO STAY-HOIMA CULTURAL LODGE


If you are planning spend your next safari holiday in Uganda there is no need for you to be worried of which accommodation to spend your night. Hoima Cultural Lodge is that one unique safari lodge you need to consider a must to include in your travel plan for your overnight stay. This cultural lodge is strategically situated just in front of the King’s palace of Bunyoro kingdom and consists of about eight (8) cottages with two triple rooms, six twins and four doubles. Its rooms are spacious and properly ventilated with wide windows and fully furnished with comfortable beds and seats. This lodge serves best for visitors on Uganda safari from Murchison Falls National Park to Kibale National Park for chimpanzee trekking. It is situated along Butiaba route.

A fact that it is strategically situated opposite to the King’s palace; it is a perfect place for one to experience true African culture while on safari in Uganda especially for cultural enthusiasts. Its cottages are en-suite grass thatched and well furnished with African art pieces that reward travelers with that feeling of being in Africa. This lodge also offers visitors opportunity to engage in a number of exciting cultural activities especially by exploring the palace, Mparo tombs as well as practically prepare local food with the residents, participate in cultural dances and music performances, interact with the locals at their community that allows them to explore more about their culture and traditions. Besides, its balcony rewards visitors with dramatic views of its gardens. It is situated about 700 meters away from the local market in Hoima and Hoima hospital about 1.3 kilometers.

The price of accommodation
The cost of accommodation at this lodge differs depending on the type of room. The double goes at around 200 dollars full board, $180 for half board and $120 for bed and breakfast while a single costs $150 for full board, $140 half board, $90 bed and breakfast.

In conclusion, Hoima Cultural Lodge is one of the newly set up safari lodge that you should consider a must to spend a night while on Uganda safari.