Time for the last edition of my Uganda travel diaries! If you ask me, and if you are thinking about visiting Africa, Uganda is the place to go: It’s beautiful, you get to experience the traditional „Africa“ experience and it still feels safe. Here’s a little round-up of the trips I would recommend taking if you decide to go:
A National Park | Yes, of course you need to visit a National Park while you are in Uganda (duh!). We went to the Queen Elizabeth National Park in the South-Western part of the country and it was beautiful. One day is enough in my opinion (if you’re not an animal freak) as it can get quite pricey and it’s still only animals. We saw elephants, antelopes, hippos, so many birds, buffalos and even some lions far far away! Go as early in the morning as possible, we went at 6.30 am with a guide (in our own car, so cool!), had breakfast while watching the lions – it was so much fun. The best part of the day for me was a little boat tour we did in the afternoon because we saw the animals even closer. Highly recommended! The next day we took a little hike around the villages which was also really beautiful (pictured above) and we even saw some salt lakes – I loved that too, you can imagine.
Your local village | Don’t just stay at your hotel but visit your local village, go to the shop, maybe to church, visit the market place – it’s so interesting and doesn’t cost any money at all. If you take somebody local with you, you might even be able to take a look around the ‘most important spots’ – we got to visit a hospital and talk to some doctors, two different schools, the health centre etc. It was really interesting to see those places and learn more about them since everyone was so friendly and welcoming!
Kampala | Kampala is loud and busy and not very pretty, so if you don’t have time to come here, don’t worry. If you do go, I’d recommend going to the Arts & Crafts Market, it’s huge and you can get lots of pretty souvenirs (like salad bowls, jewelery, little bits and pieces) for very little money (especially if you go with locals). We also went to the Ndere dance show, where they show you a “round-up” of the traditional local dances – it’s a stunning show and your entrance fee goes to the education of the dancers. Little tip: The hotel at Ndere is really good and surprisingly cheap if you decide to stay the night!
Time for part two of my Uganda travel diary! As I mentioned in my first post about our stay at Our Children and our Future, we mostly spend our free time with the children at the project (apart from a few trips around the country). As cliché as it sounds, I seriously fell in love with those kiddos in those few weeks. We got to cuddle with the little ones (after they got over their fear of our white skin), play games with the 10-year olds and study and learn Luganda songs from the older ones. There was also one geography lesson of East Africa involved (and I definitely failed ;)
I don’t know how to describe it, but our whole trip felt like a happy little bubble with no major worries in the world – of course, some of the children have experienced horrible things, but you could never guess seeing them play and laugh with their friends.
It’s almost been a month since I returned from Uganda and it’s finally time to share some pictures and stories! Before I say anything else: We had the most amazing time. It was interesting and relaxing, challenging and beautiful. The minute we arrived at Entebbe airport (the only international airport in Uganda I think), we felt like we were in another world with people living such a different life. The curvy unpaved streets, the smells, the colors, everything. A lot of my memories from Kenya 2012 came back!
One of our lovely hosts, Rose, picked us up at the airport and we continued our way to the project. On our way we even passed the Equator! Travel Tip No.1: find someone to pick you up! Getting a taxi or worse the bus is really overwhelming if you’re not aquainted with the culture and only speak English (especially after hours of flying!).
Yay! I’m leaving for Uganda this evening! Currently, I’m packing, writing lists of things I still need and still need to buy (yes, I’m a total last-minute packer and always resolve to get stuff done earlier, but oh well). I’m super excited, slightly freaking out and can’t really believe I’ll be in the sun in about 24 hours. Eeep!
So, I just wanted to say good-bye, see you guys on the other side! I will travel for about a month, help out at a shelter for children and see a little bit of the country. I’ve been missing Africa since going to Kenya in 2012 and I can’t wait to get to know a new culture and escape this dreary winter for a bit. We will probably be completely cut off from the internet and social media so that will be a nice change as well. I kinda think I am not too addicted to my phone, but you never know if you don’t try, right?
Since I know that you guys are travel lovers and might go on a long trip this year as well, I thought I’ll share a few of my favourite travel tips from around the internet. Enjoy!