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.


Wednesday, 11 July 2018

UGANDA OPENS A CULTURE PARK IN CHINA


In an effort to boost Uganda’s tourism sector, a cultural park has been established in China. The park lies at Shaping Street, Kaifu district in Hunan province in China one of a few most forested parks that straddle within a 40 hectare land. It is bordered by water bodies and consists of several sculptured art pieces of Ugandan wildlife species the rare mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, lions and many others. This however offers Chinese opportunity to explore what Uganda has in offer and what is interesting is that, there are still plans to extend the exhibition room where Uganda’s art pieces, cultures, history and painting can be displayed.

Recently, Uganda and China signed a memorandum of understanding for Investment and Trade Cooperation and the key sectors included mining, agriculture, tourism and industrialization. There is need however to train and equip nationals in embroidery and also promote domestic tourism by locally marketing Uganda’s tourist attractions. Uganda is popular for its big game-Lions + the tree climbing lions, African elephants, buffaloes, leopards, rhinos as well as other incredible wildlife species such as mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, golden monkeys, red tailed monkeys, antelope families, and birds that are widely distributed within its 10 national parks and several game reserves. Besides, it boasts of its diverse cultures with each ethnic group offering unique cultural and traditional experiences.

In conclusion, culture is one of Uganda’s major tourist attractions and a fact that it still remains not fully exploited; visitors on cultural safari in Africa are rewarded with authentic experiences.


Monday, 2 July 2018

THE WORLD’S LONGEST ROLEX MADE IN UGANDA



Do you love Rolex and you wish to have the best of it while on safari in Africa? Did you know that Rolex is Uganda’s newly introduced tourism product? While the rest of the restaurants and hotels are still making the usual Rolexes, the Best Western Premier Garden Hotel is that one place that you need to visit for something new. Just of current, it innovated the longest ever Rolex snack in the world that measures about 5.4 meters making it the first of its kind. This was during an event that was conducted at Entebbe Victoria Mall to make the longest Rolex under the theme “Reach out to the needy; teach to cook not to beg!”

This unusual food recipe was made by a total of 8 (eight) chefs and about 100 eggs were used plus five kilograms of wheat flour, six kilograms of tomatoes, five kilograms of onions, 2 liters of cooking oil and two kilograms of cabbages. Rolex is a Ugandan street food recipe consisting of omelets rolled in a chapatti and it is popularly eaten in most East Africa’s countries at large. The ever increasing fame that snacks gained around globe made Rolex a new tourism product that was introduced of recent by the tourism board. Best Western Premier Garden Hotel is situated at Victoria Mall in Entebbe and it was opened in June 2016. It lies about 7.2 kilometers away from Entebbe Airport just along Entebbe-Kampala route. This 5 star hotel is American chain facility that comprises of more than 4200 hotels all distributed in more than 100 states in the whole world.


In conclusion, Rolex is that one snack you need to try out while on safari in Uganda. You can have a taste of this mouth watery recipe at various points-restaurants, hotels and others.

Monday, 25 June 2018

THE BANYOLE AND THEIR UNIQUE CULTURE


While Uganda has become a prime safari destination, its unique culture still remains unexplored as majority of tourists frequent mainly for wildlife viewing making it one of a few countries in the world that guarantee you with authentic cultural experiences. And while on safari in country, you will enjoy the hospitality of its people and Banyole are such humble and most welcoming people that you should consider interacting with. This group lives in Bunyole county-Tororo district and while they are a sub group of Basoga, they have a lot in common with the Basamia-Bagwe especially their customs, language and origin. The Banyole are said to have originated from the Banyala of Kenya and their marriage, births and burial celebrations are related to that of the Basamia Bagwe.

In Banyole culture, the newly born baby's placenta could be buried at an area where no one can see due to fear that when an evil person gets to know about, she or he can use it to harm the child or bar the mother from becoming pregnant anymore. The mother remains in the house till the umbilical cord gets dries and the remains are then kept in a special gourd and the mother is tasked to keep as many as possible depending on how many children she has to produce. And food that is prepared for a mother isn’t given to anyone else. If a mother happens to give birth to twins, a special porridge is given to her.

When it comes to marriages, a girl was tasked to present her man before parents and bride price plans are put forward and later, she gets married officially. If the husband passes away, the clan members had to select a potential husband to marry her among the man’s brothers.  And if a person (man) dies, 3 days were a must and no one was supposed to bath whereas for a lady, people could spend 4 days. The Kasanja ritual could then be conducted along the road junction to summarize the mourning.

However, in a move to boost tourism in this region and Uganda at large, the Tororo cultural center has been commissioned in Nyasigala, Mulanda Tororo district. This was part of the ‘Tulambule’ initiative that is aimed at creating awareness among locals so as to boost domestic tourism in the country.

In conclusion, if you are planning to pay a visit to Eastern Uganda, exploring the Banyole culture should be a must for you and you will be rewarded with unique cultural experiences.