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.

Friday, 13 April 2018

BEST PLACES TO EAT OUT AND TO FIND PIZZA IN KAMPALA


Looking for a perfect place to eat out and to find pizza within Kampala? If you love pizza and you are within Kampala, there is no need for you to keep wondering about which places to visit to purchase pizza in Uganda. Kampala is indeed a busy business centre with variety of restaurants, hotels, cafés, take ways and visitors of all kinds find their dreams achieved once they land in this amazing capital city. To help you find your preferred pizza in Kampala, we have listed some of the incredible places that you can easily walk in while on safari in Uganda.

Café Roma

Café Roma is located along Tank Hill Road, Muyenga-Kampala and visitors have opportunity to taste authentic Italian cuisine and pizza at pocket friendly prices. This café is owned by Italians and it is also credited for its tasty salads as well as homemade gelato for visitors who are interested in ice cream.

Olives Pizzeria
Olives Pizzeria won the Kampala Restaurant Award for best pizza 2015. It is situated in the posh village mall Bugolobi food court and offers pizza of all sizes and flavors, ranging from beef, cheese and chicken pizzas and many more.

Mediterraneo Restaurant
This is situated along the Acacia Avenue and offers the best menus in Kampala city. It comes with lovely décor and serves as the perfect place to meet and interact with friends and loved ones. This is Italian restaurant and offers the best food and ideal relaxing atmosphere. This restaurant is known for its wood fired pizzas, pastas and fillets as well as imported food items especially rock lobster and prawns.
MEDITTERREANEO RESTAURANT
Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut is another amazing place for you to have the tastiest pizza that has globally won the hearts of many travelers in Uganda. Pizza Hut is situated in Village Mall Bugolobi. Pizza Hut is a multinational food chain that runs in more than 100 nations including Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Around Kampala, it has about six branches for you to grab your pizza.

Palm Café
Palm café is a Kampala Restaurant Award 2015 nominee for best pizza. It offers wide range right from barbecue pizza, cheese pizza, beef and many more.

Café Mamba
Located in a garden courtyard near the swimming pool and bar of the Urban by city blue hotel in Kampala just on Nakasero hill, Café Mamba provides wide range of tasty dishes from across the world. This place is known for its pizza.

Cayenne Restaurant and Lounge
This is situated at the heart of Bukoto and provides mainly Italian, Indian, Pizza and continental cuisines. Cayenne Restaurant and Lounge allows visitors to enjoy its food in its ideal surrounding area.

Smokey’s Restaurant and Lounge
The Smokey’s Restaurant features bar and gaming lounge around its greenery and sound environment. It offers several cuisines comprising of Indian, Pizzeria and continental.

Bamboo Nest Bar and Restaurant
Bamboo Nest Bar and Restaurant is situated on Bandali Rise, plot 61 Bugolobi Kampala. It is perfect for the best music and food especially sizzling pork relaxation ambience, vast plasma screens and projectors.

La Foret
This is located away from Tank Hill Road, Muyenga Kampala. The services offered at this area include sauna, steam bath, massage, swimming, gym, camping, outside catering, bar and restaurant as well as parties, seminars and conferences.

Romeo’s Restaurant
Romeo Restaurant is situated at the center of Ntinda and offers several cuisines, pastries, fast food and well brewed coffee and many more.

Other restaurants include Antonio’s Grill, Bush Pig Backpacker Kololo, Café Ceylon-Kamwokya, Gatto Matto, Le Chateau in Nsambya, Nickys Pizza Restaurant in Entebbe and many more.

In conclusion, if you are looking for the best areas eat out from while in Kampala then the above listed restaurants are the best options that you take a choice and you won’t regret in life.


Friday, 6 April 2018

DRUM MAKERS IN UGANDA?


Searching for the most exceptional place to make stopover on your safari to western Uganda? Ever heard about the drum makers? If you are a cultural enthusiast, visiting the Mpambire village should be a must while you are on safari in Uganda. This village is popular for its drum makers and it is worth exploring while on your Uganda cultural safaris. Mpambire Village lies just outside Kampala on Masaka-Mbarara road and it is undeniably the perfect stopover for travelers on wildlife and primate safaris to Lake Mburo National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park respectively. The area offers visitors with amazing opportunity to explore in depth ways in which the locals make drums. You will spot out most of the drum makers’ shops as they sell hand made drums of varied shapes and sizes. A drum in Uganda’s cultures is one of the most important instruments a fact that it plays a significant role in various cultural rituals and celebrations.
DRUM MAKING IN MPAMBIRE VILLAGE
Mpambire village consists of more than 1000 local residents whose life depend on drum making and crop cultivation for their sustenance as you will spot out while on Uganda safari. Traditionally, Mpambire used to make the royal drums for Buganda kingdom however; things have changed today and given the increase in opportunities from safaris in Uganda, the local craft men had to diversify their market to meet the needs of the travelers on Uganda tours and safaris. The aspect of drum making involves high degree of dexterity and keen attention to what raw materials to be used. It is because of this that local craftsmanship skills are always attractive to everyone who undertakes a tour to this area. It is strategically located along the main route to Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and for visitors on mountain gorilla adventures in Uganda this should be your stopover point as well as those who are heading to Lake Mburo National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park for wildlife viewing experiences.


In conclusion, if you are looking for the best places to make a stopover while on mountain gorilla and wildlife safari to western Uganda, the Mpambire village should be a must to include in your bucket list. This village is famous for its drum makers and a visit to it rewards cultural enthusiasts with lifetime experiences.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

THE UNDISCOVERED PYRAMIDS IN UGANDA


Are you aware that Egypt isn’t the only destination with pyramids? Ever heard about the Ibanda Pyramid Galts? If you are interested in exploring historical and cultural heritage sites while on your vacation in Uganda then Ibanda Pyramid Galt should be a must for you to include in your bucket list. Like most of the pyramids in Egypt were constructed with the blood and sweat of the Jewish slaves, the Ibanda Pyramid Galt/the Galt stones on the other hand feature products of the harsh treatment that the former colonial government inflicted on the locals at Ibanda after killing Harry St George Galt on 19th May 1905-the former tax collector and the sub commissioner for western Uganda province at a time. While most of Egypt’s pyramids are famous to the world, the Ibanda Pyramids aren’t that popular and yet they are also worth exploring. These forgotten pyramids are situated in western Uganda and they were built using slave labor in memory of the brutal governance at a time. There is a pile of stones in form of a pyramid just in Ibanda district and it is worth visiting while on safari to western Uganda. This historical treasure is about 113 years old and it famously known as the pyramid of Galt. The site is however; very bushy that it has even offered refuge to most of the snakes. There was first attempt to upgrade these historical treasures into tourism spot by Ankole kingdom around the 1950's but unfortunately the move didn’t succeed till the kingdoms were removed in 1966. As well, at the time when the districts succeeded over the administrative units, Mbarara district local government tried to develop the area but didn’t achieve its dream till it lost jurisdiction to the newly created Ibanda district.

Harry George Galt served both as a British colonial officer and the sub commissioner of the western province of Uganda. He was born on January 28th 1872 in Emsworth in Hampshire in Great Britain. He became a tax collector in Ankole Sub region up on reaching Uganda. He was then appointed the sub commissioner for the western Uganda province and he is known for his cruelty to the locals while in the office at a time. On 19th May 1905 being a newly appointed province officer, George Galt then forced the locals to carry him on their heads from Fort Portal to Ibanda. 
GALT BEING CARRIED BY LOCALS
At a point when the locals became tired, they asked him to given them time to rest but he refused and ordered them to walk till they arrived at Ibanda. They danced to Galts tunes until they reached Katooma about three kilometers off Ibanda town just after the Kagongo Catholic Church where he made a stop to have a rest at a government house. As the local people rehashed his cruelty, Rutaraka who was also one of the natives became irritated by Galt’s actions and then picked a spear, headed to Galt where he was relaxing in the government house compound and then speared him in the chest and after a short while he was dead. Investigations were conducted by the colonial government and they believed that his death was politically geared and 2 (two) Ankole chiefs were sentenced a death penalty but it was cancelled afterward on an appeal by the British East African Court. Rutaraka was found when he was dead after committing suicide due to fear of what would have followed. Galt’s body was then taken for a burial and colonial government punished the locals making them to pile stones to cover the blood of Galt. Stones were piled in form of pyramid with a length of five meters and the height of about three meters and they exist up to date. There is also a street named after Galt in Mbarara and begins on Stanley road on Boma hill just opposite the public library.
A PILE OF STONES AT IBANDA PYRAMID
In conclusion, like any pyramids, the Ibanda Pyramid Galts also feature a bit of negative history but the area is worth visiting as you explore more what took place at the time of British colonial government in Uganda.