Thursday, 21 June 2018

RIVER NYAMWAMBA AND ITS MYSTERY


While on safari in Uganda, expect to enjoy more than just wildlife species! If there are a few unique destinations that you shouldn’t miss to pay a visit while on safari in this beautiful country then Kasese is one of them. Like other destinations, Kasese is credited not just for its splendid and extensive savanna plains, the magnificent mountains of the Moon, parks especially the famous Queen Elizabeth National Park but its dramatic River Nyamwamba is such amazing place with unique traditions and mysterious history for you to explore. It runs from Mount Rwenzori via Kilembe Valley, Kasese Municipality and Queen Elizabeth National Park and finally empties its water in Lake Edward.

Its existence comes with both positive and negative impacts especially for those that stay along its banks and not to exclude the region as a whole. Interestingly, it offers them water that helps in irrigation purposes, home use and influences the climatic conditions of the area. However, mystery attached to it may make one to wonder if there is any kind similar to what this River has had. Its flooding is another thing! But traditions of the Bakonzo have a lot more to tell. There is a belief that severe shining in the region denotes the River will consume a person and because of this, children are never allowed to get in it or even just near this water body and this information is always told to all generations. For those who ignore the alert have ended up being consumed while others get stuck in it till goats and chicken are sacrificed as away free them. Others simply disappear.

The Bakonzo who live here are deeply into traditions and this water body has become a worshiping ground for most of them. They believe that Ndyoka the god of all rivers lives in this water body and in case he is not happy with what locals do, he expresses his annoyance further. It has had more impacts for the last few years compared to what it did around 2013. Locals believe that danger is occurring given that the spiritual mediums ‘Batahwa’ who are responsible of cleansing the river are losing their lives so quickly that the community remains with no mediator with the water body. Unfortunately, the prominent leaders especially Mburamushenyi could study more about the behavior of this river, throws herbs and sacrifice animals as away to appease its gods but when passed on, the water body isn’t easily controlled.

In conclusion, River Nyamwamba is dramatic in its own way and a visit to it while you are on safari in Uganda rewards you thrilling traditions and history.


Friday, 8 June 2018

UGANDA'S 2018 BEST MUSIC FESTIVALS



Are you interested in the most thrilling cultural or musical festivals? Did you know that Uganda is one the best destinations with the most amazing and exciting festivals in East Africa? If you are planning to visit Africa to spend your next holiday and you are interested in cultural and musical festivals then Uganda is the best destination that you should consider a must to include in your travel plan. Not only is this remarkable country known for its most thrilling wildlife safaris and primate adventures but also for its varied festivals. Interestingly, the Kampala Capital City Authority’s biggest festival ever is back for you to enjoy. This remarkable event is due to take place on 5th to 7th October along Kampala road and over shs.1.9 billion is expected to be used to organize this year’s tremendous event. This year’s Kampala festival is largely meant to renovate schools. Following the previous years, Uganda’s music festivals have become famous not only in Uganda but also regionally something that has made this event a huge business for most of the organizers, social media and it is one way that most platforms can identify newly talented musicians. The event attracts thousands from within and East Africa at large and several tickets are purchased. Come and be part of this excitement together!

Other exciting festivals that are knocking at your door this year include the Nyege Nyege international music festival. This is set to take place on 6th and 9th September in the shores of the mighty Nile-Jinja. The popular Nyege-Nyege International Music Festival has been remixed this year as the MTN Nyege Nyege after they entered into a partnership with MTN Uganda. This tremendous event began in 2015 just as a brainchild of Arlen Disizilan and Derek Debru and ever since, it has attracted huge numbers at the source of the Nile for the most thrilling music experience ever. Variety of music performance is expected during this event and intends to attract hip hop, dance, RnB, Afro Beat a mention but a few. This year’s festival will attract the best performers across different countries right from Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, South Africa, UK, US, Belgium, Tanzania, DR Congo especially the Orchestre Les Mangelepa, the Congolese band which formed around 1976 and others.

The milege world music festival 
Equally, the milege world music festival is also back and it is scheduled to take place in November at Entebbe Botanical Gardens. If you have ever wished to enjoy the beautiful setting of the expansive Entebbe Botanical Gardens then don’t miss this incredible event. This music festival has existed for over 6 years. This is mainly intended to boost cultural music in the pearl of Africa. It will attract several participants across the world right from Europe, Asia, America as well as Uganda’s cultural musicians and also from other African states. The full list will be out by August!
 
Bayimba International Music Festival
If you are wondering about what to do or where to spend your leisure time around August then the Bayimba International Music Festival should be a must to attend for you. This festival will take place from second to fifth August along the shores of Lake Victoria. This event is usually shortened as Bayimba festival and it is conducted each year and you too can be part of it.

In conclusion, if you love culture then attending one of the above listed musical festivals should be a must for you while on safari in Uganda. Each event rewards you with a distinct experience and you will live to have a memory in your life.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

KAABONG WOMEN GROUP GETS BUSINESS TOURISM CULTURAL CENTRE


If you are planning to head to the further north eastern side of Uganda to spend your next vacation and you are interested in cultural encounters then count visiting Eteteunos Moruita Conservation Cultural Centre a must and you will be rewarded with lifetime African experiences. This program was initiated with an aim of strengthening conservation area management in Kidepo Area plus the Kidepo Valley National Park. This park is located within the rugged, semi arid valleys between Uganda border area with Kenya and Sudan. It stands at elevation between 914 and 2750 meters. It was established in 1962 mainly to offer refuge to about 77 species of mammals, 475 avian species and it is also famous for its extensive savanna landscape. This cultural project is set within Kaabong district around the splendid landscape of Naseperwae village, Kawalakol parish; Kapedo sub country.

This new tourist cultural centre lies near Kidepo Valley National Park and it was set up largely to facilitate Global Environment Facility (GEF), Uganda Wildlife Authority, UNDP under Kidepo Critical Landscape Project and Government of Uganda. Besides strengthening conservation area management around the Kidepo region which includes the Kidepo Valley National Park, this program also aims at enhancing community livelihoods which in a long run will aid conserve biodiversity in the region. It is believed that the residents who lived around this area and were once hunters, never killed wild animals anyhow compared to today’s case. Kaabong Women Group was given about 86 million to aid strengthen the protection and sustainable utilization of the threatened savanna woodland.

The tourism centre will feature bandas where budget travelers on safari to Kidepo Valley National Park can spend a night after or before embarking on safari activities of their choice at the park. Besides, the group members also make crafts that they display in the shop and when visitors pay a visit, they purchase some of them and the income generated is saved and invested towards maintenance of the cultural village.

In conclusion, if you are interested in cultural encounters while on safari to Kidepo Valley National Park then consider Kaabong women group new tourist cultural center a must to include in your travel plan.

Friday, 25 May 2018

THE UGANDA MARTYRS


If you love faith tourism and you are planning to spend your next vacation in Uganda then count visiting Namugongo Martyrs Shrine/Uganda Martyrs site a must in your travel plan. Third June of every year is remarkably a day that Uganda is joined by the rest of the world to mark and commemorate the Martyrs who were murdered on the orders of King/Kabaka Mwanga the second king of Buganda at a time due to their love for religion. Today, thousands of Christians and believers across the world take tours to Uganda to join the rest of Christians in the annual celebrations. 
Pilgrims during Martyrs day
Incredibly, May is usually a month that several pilgrims from different religions-Anglicans, Catholics, Moslems take a walk up to Namugongo to join other believers who traveled from different areas in Africa and across to mark the third June Martyrs day which makes Namugongo an incredible centre of Great religious importance in Uganda and the world at large hence worth visiting if you are planning for your vacation in Uganda. Namugongo Martyrs Shrine is more like a national park in terms of Uganda tourist sites. It features as one of the most dramatic and incomparable faith based tourism center and also generates a lot more revenue just it is a case with the national park where most of Uganda’s wildlife tours and mountain gorilla tours are conducted. Efforts have been put to familiarize the site world wide and more than 30 million devoted Catholics are intended to be covered with a digital video disc reflecting the entire mystery of the Uganda Martyrs. They include Brazil, Italy, Argentina and many others and at end, this will boost the tourism sectors due to increase in Uganda safaris. Most believers from various religions have kept on gaining interest in walking up to the Martyrs centre and recently, more than 400 pilgrims and approximately 25 million Uganda shillings were realized from sale of T-shirts and corporate contributions.

Notably, the Anglican and Catholic Missionaries started arriving in Africa around the 19th century and the first Catholic missionaries to come were the white Martyrs. It from this that they felt Christianity was a turning point for most people in the Kingdom. As a result, Mutesa disliked Christians and after his death, Mwanga his son also felt that the missionaries were reducing his powers. Around 1885, Mwanga had 3 missionaries dismembered and their bodies burned and during this period, the Baganda featured as one of Uganda’s largest ethnic groups. This was the endowed cultural group with strong statesmanship, an artistic community and a rare architecture. But the darker side of it is that, when he (Mutesa) ascended to the throne, it is said he buried nearly 60 of his brothers alive for him to be a strong political survivor. He passed on around 1884 and that was the same period that Anglican Bishop and his caravan were killed when one of his advisors Joseph Makasa confronted him on killings, Mwanga had him beheaded and Makasa became the first black Martyr.

The Martyr’s day start with a Novena at different areas allover Uganda and usually ends from 25th to 2 June. Various pilgrims come to Novena’s from different areas like Tanzania, Kenya and Burundi and several also walk for kilometers. The archdiocese of Tororo is however expected to head this year’s (2018) celebrations. This will be concluded with a Pontifical High Mass arranged by various dioceses and this also comprises of the liturgical dances and speeches from various dignitaries.

The Uganda Martyrs day celebrations are conducted in remembrance of the 22 Catholic and 23 Anglican Martyrs who lost their lives on the commands of Mwanga the Second the King of Buganda around 1885 and 1887. This occurred when there was a 3 way religious struggle for political influence at Buganda royal court.

In conclusion, the Uganda Martyrs is one of amazing annual events that attract thousands of believers and visitors not only in Uganda but also from in and out of Africa. However, collective effort is needed to make Namugongo a true religious site and in the long run, it will become one of the best religious sites for faith based tourism. It is from this that you can discover the faith Ugandan have for religion and you too can realize a great impact once you pay a visit to this amazing site.

Friday, 11 May 2018

THE HIDDEN SECRETS OF BUBEMBE ISLAND


Bubembe Island is one of the 84 Ssese Islands also popular as islands in Lake Victoria. This dramatic Island is situated within Kalangala district, northwestern side of Lake Victoria. Religiously, it is popular to the demi gods of Buganda as a home of the temple of Mukasa. Mukasa was a known giver of oracle a kindly deity who didn’t need any human sacrifice and this island served as an ideal area where messages were got from Mukasa. Myths have it that during Mukasa’s younger age, he refused to feed on ordinary food and disappeared from home but he was found on this island while sitting under a huge tree. He was taken to a garden where he was lifted on to the rock as most people feared to offer him refuge in their houses with assumption that he was a spirit. However, they constructed for him a hut on the rock. They never knew what to offer him to eat a fact that he refused eat their food but when they slaughtered an ox, he asked for its blood, heart and liver and this made them realize that he was a god and consulted him in any kind of challenges. Mukasa stayed on the Bubembe Island for years, got married 3 (three) wives, was cared for by priests and at the end disappeared just he did at the time he came. His temple was a conical reed hut that was re-constructed at intervals under orders of the King. Initially, it is believed that Mukasa spoke his will directly to the priests though after they used mediums who disclosed his messages. The medium didn’t enter the temple but had a special hut in front of it. While seeking to know about his will, the medium smoked some tobacco till the spirit appeared before her and then she announced in the shrill voice what was to be done. The medium wasn’t permitted to marry or even walk about in the sight of men or communicate to any man but the priest and once selected held the office until death.

Bubembe Island is remarkably a hidden treasure that you should consider a must to explore. Besides its dramatic cultural treasures, the island also boasts of its rare wildlife species, forests and swamps. For birders on Uganda safari, this island is one of the best birding areas that you should pay a visit to explore variety of unique birds. The virtually untouched land is endowed with bird species like the whale headed stork, herons, geese, grey parrot, kingfishers, fish eagles, weaver birds, flycatchers, horn bills, Turacos, paradise catcher and many others. There are several wildlife species for you to spot out in the island especially waterbucks, hippos, crocodiles, colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys and several beautiful butterflies.

How to get to Bubembe Island
Bubembe Island can be reached within 9 (nine) hours from Port Bell or 45 minutes using a local ferry from Bukakata. From Bugala Island, you will spend about (3) three hours on boat ride to Bukasa Island or two hours to Bubembe. Banda Island is another remarkable island of the Ssese group and it is 3 hours if you are using a boat from Bugala.


In conclusion, Bubembe Island is one of the most spectacular and dramatic natural wonders within the large fresh Lake in Africa-Lake Victoria that you should count a must to visit to explore variety of its hidden treasures. Visit this island and you will be amazed by unique attractions right from cultures to wildlife species that make this island very special on its own.

Friday, 4 May 2018

EXPLORING THE MUNSA EARTHWORKS


Have you ever wondered or imagined why some places are considered more special than others? If you are a cultural enthusiast and you are looking for the most exceptional sites to pay a visit in Uganda then look no further than Munsa Earthworks. The site is located approximately 3 kilometers north of Kakumiro Trading Center in Kibale district. It was named after the legendary King ‘Kateboha’ the renowned Bachwezi leader of the area. The valuable feature at the site is the rock which measures about two (2) meters deep which is also famous as the Kateboha’s beer pot. It is very significant since the Munsa Earthworks have become the most active shrine in the Bachwezi cult and several people visit this site for healing and divine worshiping. The area features signs of the early pottery for the Stone Age period where archeologists have excavated pieces of pots and other small pieces which date millions of years.

Unlike the usual fortresses, the Munsa Earthworks aren’t fortresses as such but rather than constructing high walls they utilized some of the granite boulders to establish a fortress. The Munsa Earthworks feature among the oldest fortress and the boulders were used as a combined shelter living quarter and lookout. Within the boulders a deep ditch was dug just like moat making it very challenging for water to fill it that even no attack was possible to be mounted on the fortress and it is of no doubt that the site features as the second largest in Uganda. The earthworks comprise of a system ditches at the center where the rocky hill Bikegete is found. The excavation of the 2 test pits in this site in 1994 featured the 90 cm stratified deposits with artifacts and poorly kept bones. The Bikegete summit was the scene of several activities most of which include the iron working, burial of the dead and some settlement. There are also numerous features, activities and other items like glass beads and the predominance of cattle bones which suggest that this site was reserved for ritual, economic and craft activities which were done by a group of elites probably acting on behalf of the wider community.


In conclusion, the Munsa Earthworks feature among the most incredible fortification sites in the Bunyoro regions and for visitors on safari to Kibale or western Uganda, this should be one of a must for you to make a stopover.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

CULTURAL ENCOUNTERS IN SEMULIKI NATIONAL PARK


Is Semuliki National Park one of your dream safari destinations in Uganda? Are you a cultural enthusiast and you are interested in the most thrilling cultural experiences but you do not know which local communities to visit? Wildlife safaris in any destination are never complete without cultural experiences! For nature lovers and cultural enthusiasts on Uganda safari to Semuliki Valley National Park, adding a cultural experience in your bucket list will reward you with amazingly the most memorable experiences. If you think of a safari to Semuliki National Park, never miss to pay a visit to one of the adjacent local communities and interact with the natives. Cultural safaris in this park offer you opportunity to interact with the amazing and the most welcoming Batwa people. A cultural tour to Semuliki National Park mainly takes you through exploration of incredible traditional norms and cultures of the rare Batwa people in their community. These dramatic human creatures are renowned hunters and gatherers in the Semuliki and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. They depend on Semuliki Forest for food, tools, medicine, shelter, despite the increased interaction and intermarriages with most tribes. Due to continued interaction with other local communities, the lifestyle of these unique human creatures has started changing.

However, tourism provides alternative sources of income for this marginalized group of people and offers them a chance to restore and display their endowed cultural history through music and traditional dances especially at Ntandi. Besides, they also make most of the handcrafts products that they sell to visitors and you can also grab one for your own memories. Interestingly, there is a Boma/cultural village which was built to help the Batwa in their cultural and traditional demonstration. While on a cultural safari in Batwa community, you will learn their ancient ways of hunting, live, work and you can also add village walks.


In conclusion, Semuliki Valley National Park is one of the least national parks in Uganda and yet it offers variety of amazing attraction and the most dramatic experiences. Not only is it popular for its rare wildlife but also for the most thrilling and authentic cultural experiences. This park is also ideal for game drives, birding, exploring the most powerful Sempaya hot springs and many more.