You can visit Uganda- but never be in touch with Uganda
Here is How not to visit \uganda, the Pearl of Africa
How not to Visit Uganda, the Pearl of Africa: Many visitors to Uganda come with the baggage of wrongful preconceived ideas shaped by what they might have read or seen about Uganda.
“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries. “- Aldous Huxley. Upon leaving Uganda, many who came with preconceived notions and ideas will state as they leave the Country, “How wrong I was about Uganda.”
There is a wrong way to visit Uganda and a proper way. The wrong way is dipping your toes into the pool and calling it swimming; the right way is to immerse yourself. Explore Uganda and discover the Pearl of Africa.
Fortunately, 99% of Uganda’s visitors are satisfied beyond their expectations with their time in the Pearl of Africa – Uganda.
The wrong way to visit Uganda – an example is Katharine Hepburn!
Katharine Hepburn came to Africa to make “the African Queen” movie. She did not come on a Safari, and Katharine Hepburn did not abide by the “Know before you go” Safari Rule.
She did not thrive on the Chaos that awaited her. Unlike Humphrey Bogart and John Huston, Katharine Hepburn did not numb herself. She might have been spared from ongoing dysentery if she had taken some Scotch or Ugandan Waragi, and she would not have been frightened by snakes hanging in the pit latrines and other horrific experiences.
It is what she wrote in her book “The Making of The African Queen, or: How I went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall, and Huston and almost lost my mind.”
“The Country is like a great sponge—it finally absorbs you. Eventually, you will get malaria, or you will get dysentery. Whatever you do, if you don’t keep doing it, the jungle will grow over you. Black or white, you’ve got to fight it every minute of the day.”
The wrong way to visit Uganda: Katharine Hepburn came to Uganda uninformed, and she did not have a guide at her side as you would on a Safari with us. Katharine Hepburn had a problem with expectations and attitude, and she was not a role model when visiting Africa. One can be sure that she was never asked to be a “poster person” for tourism. If she had read the “what to avoid in Uganda page,” Things might have gone more manageable for her if she had.
The Right Way to Visit Uganda – an Example is Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill visited Uganda in 1907. He was well prepared for the journey, knowing what to expect, and Uganda was beyond his expectations.
He, like Katharine Hepburn, wrote a book. Here is an excerpt from his “My African Journey.”
“For magnificence, for variety of form and color, for profusion of brilliant life — bird, insect, reptile, beast — for vast scale — Uganda is truly “the Pearl of Africa.”
The Kingdom of Uganda is a fairy tale. The scenery is different, the climate is different, and most of all, the people are different from anything elsewhere to be seen in the whole range of Africa….what message I bring back….concentrate on Uganda.
Uganda is, from end to end, a ‘beautiful garden’ where ‘staple food’ of the people grows almost without labor. Does it not sound like a paradise on earth? It is the Pearl of Africa.”
Katharine Hepburn visited Uganda and nearly lost her mind. Winston Churchill seemed to have gained a new perspective on Africa. Unwittingly he has become the poster boy of Uganda’s Tourism Industry by popularizing the term “Pearl of Africa.”
Two Visitors to the same Country and two different views. Africa, you either love it, or you don’t. Fortunately, most tend to be on the side of Winston Churchill.
Our Advice on How not to Uganda:
Know about Uganda Before you Go!
Our Advice is “Know before Our Advice – become informed about Uganda before you. Do not stumble down onto the tarmac at Entebbe, clueless as to what awaits you.
Your visit to Uganda becomes more enriching if you are informed about Uganda. Our site is information-rich when it comes to Uganda. You can also use the Uganda Bradt Guide, which has excellent information, though it is geared toward the Backpacker.
Know a bit about Uganda, its history, and culture. Watch the movie “Queen of Katwe, which is one of the more positive films in Uganda and is an ongoing success story that is still taking place. Read Winston Churchill’s “My African Journey” as to what he discovered in 1907 in Uganda – his book popularizing the term “Pearl of Africa.”
Do not Visit Uganda superficially – Immerse yourself:
Africa, Uganda, is like the ancient River Nile. You cannot just dip your toes into it and tell people you swam in the Nile. You do not have to get as radical as doing a Bungee Jump into the Nile. But it takes some thoughtful planning for a Safari.
President George W. Bush, who did more for Africa than any other American President with his HIV-Aids support, visited Uganda for 4-Hours. He met President Museveni and visited the TASO organization in Entebbe, which was instrumental in reducing AIDS. He watched the Watoto Choir perform and left the Country. He did not even have time to enjoy a famous Rolex.
President Clinton spent a night in Uganda. The only exploration while in Uganda was to go to the hotel lobby and buy a few souvenirs.
Uganda is like an exquisite cup of Arabica coffee grown in the terraced hills of Southwest Uganda near Bwindi Impenetrable. Before drinking it, get a whiff, smell it, taste it, and savor the flavor. Uganda is not experienced like a horrendous Instant Cup of Coffee, and instant coffee is like dancing without music.
There is nothing instant about Uganda. The Pearl of Africa is an experience that most relish. You cannot jet into Uganda, do a 3-day Gorilla Trek and say you visited. In our humble estimation, you visited the Gentle Giants of the Forest but not much else. Get a taste of Uganda and authentic Africa, and immerse yourself in it.
Do not come to Uganda with a sense of Western Superiority but be willing to learn:
Come to Africa, to Uganda, to learn, to experience. Bring a touch of openness, a dash of humility. Like most of Sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda is relational, and Ugandans focus on relationships.
A traveler to Uganda who is open to learning new or ancient ways will have the time of their life. Those willing to listen with humility will find their time in Africa most enriching.
Gustave Flaubert said it so well. “Travel makes one Modest. You see what a Tiny Place you Occupy in the World.
Bill and Melinda Gates were visiting Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. They took time out to sit on a mat, often used for visitors in homes of humble means and Uganda, and listened.
Attitude – the inner attitude determines the quality and richness of your African Experience in Uganda.
The Swahili Word Safari is still used today. For Swahili Speakers, it means going on a journey to see relatives.
Welcome to our Uganda – the Pearl of Africa
Angelique Kidjo, the Grand Diva of African Music, has a beautiful song “that speaks of “Welcome to my House.” In it, she talks about “my house is your house.” That is the essence of Africa’s spirit, welcome, stay awhile, eat, meet, share heartfelt conversation, and physical presence.
Uganda has a lot more to offer than Safaris, wildlife, gorillas, chimpanzees, and incredible scenery. It has amazing people with amazing stories to tell – my personal experience has been only being with people – chewing the beef (Nyama Choma), having a piece of chicken and sharing stories – sharing cultures – forming lasting friendships – getting to know the real Africa its Pearl Uganda – its people.
The Wrong Way to Visit Africa and its Pearl Uganda: Don’t leave your common sense at home. Come willing to learn beyond primates and wildlife and get to know its people and cultures. Be enriched by your time in Uganda. Not long ago, we had 17 Women hiking the Nile Safari, following the footsteps of Winston Churchill. One of them had a concerned husband. Partway during her time in Uganda after trekking Gorillas, she stated…” Uganda is nothing like my husband thought it would be.”