What Makes Uganda the Pearl of Africa
The Kingdom of Uganda is truly a fairytale. The scenery is exceptional; the climate is extraordinary and most of all, the people are very different from anything else to be encountered in the whole range of Africa. For magnificence, for diversity of form and color, for abundance of brilliant life including birds, insects, reptiles, beasts-for vast scale-Uganda is truly the “Pearl of Africa”. These were Winston Churchill’s words in his book-“My African Journey” published in 1908 regarding the safari he undertook to Uganda in 1907.
From sheltering some of the most exceptional endangered primates such as the Mountain gorillas, Chimpanzees and others, over 1061 species of birds to offering the best climbing and hiking opportunities within some of the most magnificent Mountains such as the Mountains of the Moon (Rwenzori), the three Volcanoes within the Virunga Massif and Mount Elgon among others. Uganda is truly indescribable. From its source in Lake Victoria, the Nile River (the second longest River in the World) transverses the East African Rift Valley to provide Uganda with a phenomenal range of idiosyncratic Natural Habitats. Uganda’s outstanding beauty, the natural gem and rich biodiversity have taken tourists’ breath away for generations. Visitors also feel comfortable and always come back due to the country’s gentle and hospitable people and the temperate climate characterized by warm sunshine.
This incredible East African country is truly endowed with a variety of attractions, no wonder Rough Guides ranked Uganda as the 4th of the 10 best destinations to visit in 2017.The top on the list was India, Scotland then Canada which was followed by Uganda. It is for this reason that this Article indulges you in some of the fascinating attractions that make Uganda the Pearl of Africa.
There is no wildlife experience that is breathtaking as tracking and meeting face to face with the mountain gorillas in the dense jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park, both located in South-western Uganda. The opportunity of meeting these exceptional primates costs only $600 per person for gorilla permits. There are currently over 12 outstanding habituated gorilla families available for tracking by tourists.
Having an up-close encounter with primates that share 98.7% of their DNA with mankind is incomparable. You might have seen the Chimpanzees in the Zoos or Sanctuaries, but have you seen over 5000 Chimpanzees in the Wild? Ultimate chimpanzee experience can be achieved from Kibale Forest National Park-Western Uganda and Budongo Forest reserve-North-western Uganda. Chimpanzee tracking permits in Uganda cost only $150 per person and $80 per person for Kibale National Park and Budongo Forest Reserve respectively.
The Source of the Nile
Some people believe the source of the Nile is in Egypt, but it was actually discovered to be in Uganda by John Hannington Speke on 3rd August 1858. Besides exploring the source of the Nile in Jinja, you will be treated to some of the most interesting adrenaline packed activities such as Quad biking, White water rafting, jet boating, Bungee jumping, kayaking and swimming that will leave you breathless.
Hospitable People and Diverse Cultures
Uganda has unbelievably hospitable people and a diverse culture. It is a country where strangers/foreigners are always treated with love and tenderness as Kings. Ugandans are always willing to help strangers in case of anything especially regarding directions or any other help. Not only that, Uganda’s cultural traditionals vary depending on the tribe, but some of the most fascinating cultural experiences you will encounter include the Buganda culture with a captivating dance-the Bakisimba traditional dance and tantalizing food like the “Luwombo” prepared with chicken, beef and the Ugandan groundnut stew (“Ebinyebwa”) among others.
Every culture in Uganda has a tantalizingly delicious dish that sets it apart. When you travel north, you will meet the acholi who will treat you to a delicious meal comprising of the sour-sweet“Malakwang”- prepared from Hibiscus cannabinus and groundnuts paste and served with millet bread (“Kwon kal”), cassava or sweet potatoes. When you travel to the East, you will be amazed by the traditional dish of the Bagisu-known as “Malewa” made of smoked bamboo shoot. This dish is truly a traditional Gishu meat and is served with sweet potatoes, matooke, rice or Posho. When you are in Central Uganda, you will relish the Luwombo-where Beef, chicken, fish or Ugandan groundnut stew is wrapped up in banana leaves and steamed over matooke. Such a meal will always make you come back to Uganda.
Beautiful National Parks
Can Uganda be a Pearl of Africa without its 10 spectacular National Parks that offer the greatest excitement of a lifetime? These National Parks offer exceptional wildlife and bird species that are worth your attention. The National Parks include Murchison Falls National Park popular for the tremendous Murchison Falls and four (Lions, Leopards, Buffaloes and Elephants) of the Big Five animals. Do not miss to pass by the Rhino Sanctuary on your way to Murchison Falls that will complement your safari. Queen Elizabeth National Park will also reward you with sights of several wildlife species including four of the big five animals and is also popular for the riveting boat cruises. Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga National Parks are popular for the Mountain gorillas and other wildlife species. Other Parks worth visiting include Semliki National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park. When you visit all these Parks, you will agree that Uganda is indeed the Pearl of Africa.
Mountains of the Moon
Many people call them the Rwenzori Mountains, but I call them the Mountains of the Moon. This legendary mountain range is made up of 6 massifs separated by deep valleys and they include Mount Stanley, Mount Gessi, Mount Luigi di Savoia, Mount Baker, Mount Emin and Mount Speke, and the highest is Mount Stanley-made up of 11 breathtaking Peaks and Magherita Peak is the highest Peak at 5,109 meters/16,763 feet above sea level. If you haven’t climbed the Mountains of the Moon, then you haven’t lived. Pack your bags and travel to Uganda to experience how heavenly it feels to be above the clouds.
In conclusion, it is undeniable that Uganda is the Peal of Africa because it offers small slices of everything you can ever encounter on an African Safari. From the Big five animals, exceptional Primate Species especially the Mountain gorillas and chimpanzees, diverse bird species, cultural diversity, breathtaking adrenaline packed activities, spectacular National Parks and the Source of the Nile among others. With all these captivating attractions and activities, what more would you desire in a destination?