I never thought that I could be in love with Uganda. During two years my stay in Africa, I visited Uganda for several times. But, during those visits, I never did exploration of the beauty of the country. So, for this time, I decided to know more about Uganda.
Uganda is a lovely country. It’s safe to walk around and Uganda people are also very nice and friendly. The UN aircraft which was taking me to Uganda landed safely in Entebbe. Entebbe is not the capital. It’s small city, approximately 27 km before Kampala, the capital one. Entebbe is also used as logistic base for the United Nations. That’s why, when you’re going around, you will see the vehicles, air craft with the big UN sign on it.
It was 3 pm already when I stepped out of the airport. The weather was not cold and not too hot either. But it was too late to explore the city. After check in my room hotel, I and my Spanish friend, Olivia went to UN Log Based to have some drinks with other colleagues. We did talking, laughing while enjoying a bottle of drink. The sound of night animals also accompanied the sound of music from cafeteria. Once time showed 9 pm, we decided to leave since Olivia had to continue her flight to Zanzibar in the next morning.
Jinja was my first visit in the next day. This city is located 87 km from Kampala. It is located on the shore of Lake Victoria and can be reached by car in two and half hours from Entebbe when the traffic jam is not too much. To reach Jinja, I used taxi which enabled me to get pictures and photographs as many as I want. Henry, my taxi driver was very nice and excellent tour guide. The main road towards Jinja is good and smooth. As Entebbe, Jinja is also surrounded by the hills. Anytime I looked around, I saw the beautiful green hills with the sound of birds. After driving for almost three hours, we’re arrived in Jinja.
I’m in Jinja
Jinja is also known as the source of Nile River, the longest river in the world. When you hear the famous story of Nile river in Egypt, you should know that the sources come from Uganda instead of Egypt. To see the source, I rent a small boat and paid 80 thousand Uganda shilling to see around for thirty minutes. While cruising along Nile River, I found many kind of varieties of birds. No wondering if the country uses the bird as their national symbol. In my way back to the river bank, I met several fishermen did fishing in the river. Tilapia is the kind famous fish in the country.
Varieties of bird along the Nile River
The fishermen doing fishing
In the main entrance of Jinja, I found some attractions done by orphan group. The children did dancing and playing the music to attract tourists. To get their picture, the tourists are expected to give the donation five thousands Uganda Shilling. The money will be used to pay the school fee and the education of orphans.
The orphans group in Jinja
After finishing my trip in Jinja, I and Henry drove to Itende to see the water falls. It’s around 37 km away after Jinja. It’s not the big ones, but it’s beautiful. And my journey to this place was amazing. We passed several villages, jungles with the bumpy roads. Sometimes, our car was the only vehicle that passed the road. Along the way, I could see the real African villages and how they live in.
Some pictures taken on my way to Itende Falls
In the next day, I went to Equator. It’s one and half hour driving from Kampala. There was not much to do and see in this place. It was only Equator statue and some shops selling the art crafts. But still, I was enjoying my journey there. I still have many times when we reached Kampala. I used this opportunity to visit Uganda Museum. Inside the museum, I found some artifacts in the past, the traditional music tools, traditional armies, traditional cooking tools and traditional architecture of Uganda. Time flied so fast did not enabled me to see more interesting places in Kampala.
I’m in the middle of Southern and Northern Part of Uganda
Uganda Traditional Architecture in Uganda Museum
I continued my journey in the next day. Kampala is the capital of Uganda. When the first time I visited this place, it reminded me of Bandung, the capital of West Java, one of provinces in Indonesia. Traffic jam is the common thing in Kampala, especially after closed of business. Boda – boda is a motor bike public transport that you can find in any places in Uganda. It’s cheap and very effective to reach some places especially in the traffic hours. But, I can’t say it’s a safe public transport since the drivers don’t prepare the helmets for their passengers. My advice is, bring your own helmet if you want to feel the sensation ridden by Boda – boda. Some shopping malls could be found if you want to find something to buy.
Kampala. It’s like Bandung, Isn’t it?
In Kampala, you can find African Village Craft where people sell some handmade crafts such as statues, accessories, African clothes, bags, table clothes, wall decoration and many more. The prices are variety. Try to bargain to get the good prices.
African Craft Village in Kampala
Christian is the majority community in Uganda. However, don’t think that they don’t respect other religions. When we drove around, I could see some religious houses such as cathedrals, mosques and even temples. Henry took me to Gaddafi Mosque, the national mosque in Kampala. This mosque was donated by the former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi where the mosque named after him. There are some tour guides that showed me around the mosques. The mosque can be visited by everybody by using the proper clothes. For women, it is really expected to use the long clothes and cover the hair. If you come with the short pants or something like that, the mosque people will give you the scarf to cover you. When I did my visit, I met Russian girl that also visit the mosque with the scarf covered her hair. After Gaddafi mosque, we went to Kibuli mosque. It’s not as big as the previous mosque that I visited. It’s located at the other side of Kampala, a little bit far but not really from Gaddafi mosque. In my way back to Entebbe, we passed Namirembe Chatedral.
In the next few days, I just spent my days in Entebbe. I used this chance to visit Uganda Wild Life Education Centre (UWEC), a famous zoo in Entebbe. It has some animals inside, but they’re not many. I found white rhinoceros, giraffes, zebras, deer, camel and many kind of birds. Even it was not like having safari, but I did enjoy walking inside the zoo. Feeling the breeze on my face, enjoying my freedom to walk without disturbance from others and seeing the beauty of Lake Victoria.
Some animals at Uganda Wildlife Education Centre
During my stay in Entebbe, I stayed in Sienna Beach Hotel, next to Lake Victoria, the biggest lake in Africa. When I didn’t have many things to be done or too tired for walking, I just sat in the hotel’s veranda, watched the lake by accompanying a book and some glasses of juices. Tilapia fish was always my first choice for the food. You’ll find Tilapia menu in every restaurants in Uganda. I never get bored to eat them every day no matter how it was served.
Lake Victoria, view from my hotel
Fish Tilapia. I love it no matter how it’s served
This is how it ends. Aziza and me
In my last day in Entebbe, I spent the night with my friend, Aziza at Faze 3 Restaurant. I can say that Faze 3 is the best restaurant in town. To end this amazing holiday, I and Aziza ordered the big Tilapia for each of us. I spent precious moments in my visit to Uganda by this time. This journey also took me to see and realize how beauty Uganda is. The beautiful country with the nice people live in. I fell in love with the country and wish I could stay there. It’s not wrong if people say that Uganda is the Pearl of Africa.