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The Top Best Attractions of Uganda’s Most Visited National parks

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By Ellington safaris 

This article comes to introduce you to the best/ famous safari attractions of the pearl of Africa. It is not a sales advert; but rather a word from a friend who likes you and loves nature, and wishes you to have all the fun on your next safari trip to East Africa. Our attention today is directed to two of the country’s top national parks; Bwindi Impenetrable forest on the extreme border with Rwanda and DR. Congo and Murchison falls National park along the great river Nile. These parks are the crown of Uganda’s pride; and truly the magnificence of their attractions simply cannot be matched on the African continent. Murchison falls is the world’s most powerful waterfall located on the majestic river Nile, the world longest river and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Bwindi is the famous park that inhabits half of the world’s remaining population of Mountain gorillas.

Top Safari activities at Murchison Falls National park;

1. Waterfalls viewing

Nothing represents the majesty and power of the great river Nile better than the gush and tumble and roar of Murchison falls [https://ellingtonsafaris.com/national-parks/murchison-falls-national-park-3]. Of course, a waterfall viewing will always be a mesmerizing and bewildering spectacle. But Murchison falls is not just any ordinary waterfall. This is the most powerful waterfall in the world we are talking about. The waterfall occurs at a point where the youthful waters of the Nile force their way through a seven-meter gap between two powerful rocks. Waterfalls viewing is usually accomplished together with other activities in the park which include; Boat rides, game viewing, birding, sunset cruises, spot fishing, nature walks, and hiking. Powerful boats will lead you close to the calm pool at the bottom of the falls a few meters from the plunge. There is also an option of hiking to the top of the falls through well paved trails. Both options offer wonderful bird watching opportunities though the hike gives you the advantage of seeing Uhuru falls, a smaller waterfall close to the main Murchison falls.

Book a 3 days Murchison falls Safari 

2. Game viewing

Game viewing at Murchison is done both at river and on land. Game drives are conducted early in the morning at 7:00am and in the evening at 4pm. Evening drives are the most rewarding. Sit on a boat and follow the White Nile northwards to the loveliest animal herds you will ever see in your life. If your boat sets off at 4pm, you will reach Buligi Delta on the southern shores of Lake Albert at round 4:30pm.  It is at Buligi that the White Nile joins Lake Albert to form the Albert Nile. Buligi is the park’s most excellent spot for game viewing. Its verdant pastures attract large animal populations, especially the grazers. Examples of gorgeous animals found here include; Giraffes, waterbucks, antelopes, Cape buffalo, Elephant, Uganda Kob, Hippo, bushbuck, reedbuck, Jackson’s heart beet, and Sitatunga.  You will also have a chance to spot a few predators such as lions, Leopards, Jackals, Hyenas, and African hunting dogs.

3.Rhino tracking and birding at Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary

The Rhino is the first of ‘the big five’ African mammals that you will see on your trip to Murchison. Uganda has 22 White Rhino are conserved and bred at the Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary on your way to Murchison falls. The sanctuary also has more than 300 bird species. Ellington Safaris makes it a point to stop over at the Sanctuary each time there is a trip to Murchison. For 2018, the price of Rhino tracking is $45 for non-resident visitors. This price entitles you to three hours of Rhino tracking. East African residents are charged $35 for the same viewing time while Ugandan citizens will pay Shs.30, 000. After the activity, vistors will quickly embark on the lingering journey to Murchison falls to view the remaining four of the Big five which are; the Lion, Leopard, Cape buffalo and Elephant. The drive will take about an hour.

4. Spot Fishing

Angling is one of the activities that have earned Murchison Falls National Park its prestigious position in continental top safari rankings. Allow us introduce to you the Nile Perch, Africa’s largest fresh water angling fish species. This massive fish that can weigh up to 100Kg’s is endemic to the Nile basin, and is the biggest catch at Chobe angling grounds in Murchison Falls Nation Park. Other fish species found at this world-class angling zone include Yellow fish, cat fish and Tilapia. This immensely rewarding activity will cost you just $14 for two hours! A free fishing boat will be provided together with baits and other fishing equipment. None of the fish caught, however, will be yours to roast. Regulations require that all fish caught be returned to the water alive to avoid fish depletion. If this is one of your passions, sleep at a lodge in Chobe or Paraa. They are the closest to the angling spots.

5. Chimpanzee tracking and Birding in the virgin woods of Pabidi

Are you older than 10? Good, because you have no other excuse for missing out on this enthralling activity. Murchison Falls National park also provides enjoyable Chimpanzee tracking trips at just USD85 for nonresidents and USD45 for Ugandans. The Chimpanzees are habituated at Kaniyo-Pabidi forest, an extension of the famous Budongo forest in the neighborhood of the Park. Kaniyo Pabidi is also popular for its large population of Mahogany and iron wood trees which are listed as Africa’s most endangered hard wood species. The chimpanzees thrive in the woods alongside 9 other primate species, 25 mammal species and 359 species of Birds. The number of Chimpanzees in the reserve is estimated at 800. The activity is done throughout the year, though May-August is the best season. The park conducts two tracking sessions per day; one at 7:00am and another at 4:00pm.

 

6. Bird Watching

You have probably noticed how frequently the word birding has been mentioned in the preceding paragraphs. The conservation area around Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s most rewarding destination for bird watching. The most wanted spots for bird watching around Murchison Falls are: Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary (300 species), Murchison-Nile Delta (450+ species), and Kaniyo-Pabidi reserve Budongo forest (360 species). These comprise mainly of savannah grassland species, Albertine rift endemics, Tropical forest species, Afro-tropical highland species, and Open water species. The Rare shoe bill stock is quite common at Buligi and at Zziwa Sanctuary. Boat rides and hiking are the most preferred means for bird watching at Murchison. There are more than 10 prominent trails for bird watching in the area.

7. Hot air balloon Safaris

We usually thought it takes an hour at least to enjoy a safari but that is not true, it turns out. Hot Air balloon safaris have completely revolutionized our idea of safari and fun. We are not satisfied with terrestrial game viewing anymore. Hot air balloons fly over the park for an average of 45 minutes per trip, offering picturesque aerial views of the Nile, Lake Albert, and Murchison falls. Dream Balloons, the parks’ distinguished hot air balloon operators, are licenced and monitored by Uganda Civil Aviation Authority. Safety is 100% guaranteed. This is one of the most fascinating activities for large groups of 7-8 people. Do not leave Murchison falls with a half picture. Sit in a hot air balloon with your best friend and get the full dose wilderness fun. Are you at Murchison for honey moon? Don’t miss this one. The flights happen twice a day. Sunrise flights from 5:30-9:30am and sunset flights from 4-6:30pm.

Book a 3 days Murchison Falls Hot air balloon experienc

8. River cruise/Boat ride

Wake up to a warm morning in the wild and join the Paraa jetty for the Delta Boat cruise, or the Fajao gorge glide (waterfalls cruise) for only USD35 per person. Explore the rich wildlife center of Murchison falls for 3 complete hours, or go the extra mile to hire your own boat for the day. What better way to search the true exquisiteness of Murchison Falls National Park than get on a boat with a life jacket, a simple first aid kit, a pair of binoculars and follow the Nile as it leads you to the hidden treasures ahead. Several animals – Nile Crocs, Hippos, Elephants, and more – will be seen feeding and playing on the river’s forested banks. This will be the dreamiest sail of your life.

Top Safari activities at Bwindi impenetrable National park;

1. Gorilla tracking

The Gorilla is an endangered large, tailless ape closely related to the human race (98% DNA). This fascinating and remarkably gentle animal thrives in the dense montane forest of Bwindi in south western Uganda where it feeds on succulent bamboo shoots, wild celery and stinging nettles. There are less than 1000 individuals left on the planet and Uganda has more than half of their remaining population. Tourists interested in Gorilla watching have to obtain a trekking permit from the Uganda wildlife authority. But you do not have to travel Uganda physically to process your permit. Ellington Safaris does the booking of permits for all interested clients upon payment of an initial deposit. The permit will later be handed to you at the start of your trip. Mountain gorillas can also be seen at volcanoes National Park in Rwanda though the cost of permits in Rwanda is 3 times more expensive. Offering more gorilla families, in a more breathtaking habitat at a significantly cheaper cost, Uganda remains the world’s top destination for gorilla tracking. Make your bookings now.

Book a 7 days primate wildlife safari 

2. Hiking and Birding in the area

Bwindi has enough beauty to mesmerize you for days. After you have visited the gorilla, which is only the starting point of a Bwindi visit, put on your boots once again and get into the woods for a more immersing experience. There are well-paved trails that lead southwards from Buhoma to Nkuringo; crossing the five rivers of the forest, and taking you up to the peaks of its highest hills. Hiking is the perfect time to discover the inimitably stunning bird species of the Park which number 350 and more. Compliment your bird watching experience with game viewing along the trails to Rushura range in Buhoma. Meet beautiful antelopes along the trails, duiker, elephants, bush pigs, and more primates. Follow the trails to Rushura range, the highest hill within the park, for the most magical views. Short hikes range from 1 hour to 3. The longer hikes go up to 9 hours or an entire day. Marvel at spectacular sights of ridges, valleys, rivers, waterfalls, and the distant forests of Rwanda, all viewed at a single thrilling moment!  You don’t want to miss this!  

3. Canoeing; Swimming, and more birding Lake Mutanda

Extend your bird-watching pleasure to Lake Mutanda, Uganda’s most popular destination for canoe trekking located on the fringes of Bwindi Impenetrable national park, about 6Km from Kisoro town. Arrive in time for the sunrise canoe cruise at 9:00am for only USD10. Dugout canoe cruises are also offered at sunset for the same price (5:30 pm). Add even more zest to your trip by embarking on a 4-hour tour of the two islands at the lake. Enjoy, among other things; spectacular views of the Virunga ranges of Congo, memorable nature walks, and cultural encounters at the fishing villages. Highlights on this trip include caves, African rock pythons, otters, and an unforgettable fishing experience. I bet you will ask for more!  

4. Nature walks, community tours and monkey watching

There is a lot to see at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, but the most lasting memories will be your encounter with the pygmies of Buhoma village. Spare some time and hike to the villages deep in the forest for an insightful interaction with the charming jungle people. You will have to cross a few ridges and really tough slippery inclines before reaching the villages, but this will pay off in the end. Free primate watching awaits you along the way to Buhoma. The forest connecting to the village shelters beautiful large families of Blue monkey, Black and white colobus, baboons, and red-tailed monkeys.

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Five ways youths can be champions of peace in their societies.

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By Staff Writer

Uganda is dominated by the youth going by their population size in the country. Having the largest percentage,  it is vital that the youth are involved in all or most of the country’s development initiatives including peace building. Youth involvement cannot only be externally initiated. Youth by themselves can be champions of peace building in their societies. Here are the 5 things youth can do to achieve this:

Embracing communication, listening, and empathy skills – To champion peace, youth should listen to each other and get ideas and perceptions of people regardless of ones background. These ideas are put together, discussed and the outcomes used to build a solution. The solution can be used to solve conflict and create peace in society.

Dialoguing and consulting the experts – There are always those who have the expertise and have seen more. Try and get help from them. In the process of dialoguing you can share ideas and come up to one solution. To champion peace, you can also work with the peacebuilding champions who have gone through training and have networks embracing youth initiatives.

Networks and Forums – Embracing networks and forums within your scope can go a long way in helping you champion peace in society. When you are united in a forum or a network, it is easy for you to reach out to national forums. The ideas from the dialogues are able to have a strong solution that will be able to champion peacebuilding initiatives and give a voice to the voiceless.

File photo: A youth-led peacebuilding training session.

Use of IT for development – Using IT and digital platforms including Social Media to spread peace and not conflict goes a long away in peacebuilding. Youth leaders can communicate with varied audiences and those that are far from them using the internet in order to spread the peacebuilding message. For example, if there is a proactive group and a network in Kampala, they can easily link up using ICT and share those ideas with another group in Bundibugyo or Kasese. Trainings can also be done online and out of the training people that the leader has trained can share ideas as they are empowered through the skills and knowledge.

Gender consideration – Consideration of gender equality is a must for youth to champion peace in society. Women and girls must be an integral part of the initiatives for peacebuilding. As a youth if you are planning to do a peace building mission in Kampala, look at the percentages of how many women are on the team verses the men. Women must be considered as part of each and every peacebuilding element that the youth are involved.

About ACORD Uganda

The Agency for Cooperation in Research and Development – Uganda (ACORD-U) is a Ugandan National Non-Governmental Organization that has worked in Uganda since 1979. With headquarters in Nsambya-Kampala and several other offices across the Country, ACORD-U aspires to contribute towards Uganda’s Development and Humanitarian Responses for Vulnerable Communities in Rural and Peri-Urban Areas. Currently, ACORD-U Implements interventions in more than 23 Districts in the South-western, Western, Northern, West-Nile, and Eastern Parts of Uganda. Promoting peace building and peaceful co-existence are part of our mandate in Uganda.

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Specials/Features

Online Media Publishers’ Association statement on arrest and illegal detention of Mr. Ronald Nahabwe of The Capital Times news site

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By Staff Writer
The Online Media Publishers’ Association (OMPA) has noted with concern, the arrest and continued detention of Mr. Ronald Nahabwe, a journalist at Capital Times, a news website operating in Uganda.


We are aware that Mr Nababwe was arrested this Monday, 22nd June 2020, and is still being held at the Uganda Police Force’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Kireka in connection with publishing a story about a confidential letter authored by a church leader to the head of state.


As at today, 25th June 2020, Nahabwe, will have been in detention for over 72 hours without being produced before a competent court of law. It is our understanding that the police are in the meantime subjecting him to coercive means so that he can reveal his sources.

Mr Ronald Nahabwe of thecapitaltimes.co.ug


The Online Media Publishers’ Association strongly condemns the abuse of Mr. Nahabwe’s rights and wishes to remind the Uganda Police Force that journalism is not a crime.


We demand that he be allowed access to legal counsel and immediately be produced before courts of law or he be released unconditionally, if there are no credible charges against him.


While we continue to assess the matter, we take this opportunity to reiterate to all Ugandans, including those in positions of authority, that #JournalismIsNotACrime.


Giles Muhame
President, OMPA

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Engaging the youth is a big part of peacebuilding in Uganda

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By Staff Writer

Ugandan National Non-Governmental Organisation, ACORD Uganda (The Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development) recently held a webinar where they shared lessons on peacebuilding in Uganda. The lessons were drawn from the Generation for Generation (G4G) dialogues between youth and local government leaders in the districts of Bundibugyo, Kasese and Wakiso. One of the key take-outs from the webinar that was attended by youth representatives and ACORD Uganda staff, was the issue of engaging the youth as a big part of peacebuilding in the country.

Speaking to the youth through the webinar, ACORD Uganda’s Project Officer for M&E who was also the moderator of the session said that with support from UNFPA, they are organizing a very proactive engagement with the youth leaders and potential youth leaders who are enthusiastic in making sure they expand the peacebuilding initiatives in key conflict hotspots in Bundibugyo, Kasese, and Wakiso.

John Okwera was supplemented by Catherine Muhindi Atwine, a Program Coordinator in ACORD by saying that they are talking peace and peacebuilding with the youth in Uganda as a focus since the youth make up the biggest percentage of the country’s population.

“Uganda has seen and suffered all types of conflict. It is not just the political conflict but includes things like tribalism, land disputes among others. The biggest part of the population in Uganda is youthful. This project comes in to make sure that this big part of the population is engaged and is at the center and is empowered and supported to take charge of peacebuilding where they are involved.”

Catherine went on to add that; “This project is funded by UNFPA and we are well aligned to the SDG 16 which talks about peace and justice and strong institutions, for the young people to encourage their voices to come out.”

“What do the youth understand by peace, are we speaking for them or they are actually speaking for themselves. We are counting on them to be the leaders of tomorrow because they matter and we want to create a platform where their voices are heard. This is being done through their leaders and institutions.”

It should be noted that people are always saying that the youth are at the forefront of everything, but sometimes they are incited and they don’t know what is going on much as they are taking part in it. ACORD Uganda wants to bring young people on board for them to come out and be involved in peacebuilding processes. They also want to empower the youth because this means they are empowering an entire future generation.

As a nonpartisan organization, ACORD Uganda does not subscribe to any political, religious, and pressure institution, but is an NGO that seeks to work to empower the vulnerable communities by playing a facilitation role. Through training and capacity building of the youth leadership in the focus districts, the youth have been helped to understand issues of peace and how the youth can be brought to the forefront. This has also been extended to issues of gender equality since inclusiveness is an important part when discussing peace for everyone.

Catherine finished her submission in the webinar by quoting one of the youth leaders who had this to say during one of the G4G. “The youth are always being ignored and they are looked at negatively even when they try to do positive things in society, they still need inspiration for everyone to recognize that they have contributed positively.”

The webinar
was also attended by Lapwony Patrick Loum( Project officer), Wenaheereza Conrad
(A youth leader, Kampala), Kwagala Moses (Staff in charge of the project in
Kampala) and Kiconco Annah (Project Officer in charge of the project in Kasese),
among others.

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King’s College Budo: An Era of Misogyny, Sexism and Discrimination

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King’s College Budo may not be the Heaven that it is sold to be. Last week, old girls of Budo took to Twitter to reveal the hell tales from their experiences studying at Budo. For many souls, the experiences came as shocking revelations. Parents with hopes of getting their girls to Budo had to rethink their choices. Other parents with daughters at Budo were forced to reconsider their decisions.

But what really happened at Budo? How did the school roll down the ugly alleys of abuse, misogyny and discrimination? It is said by the old girls that the boys and teachers never stopped reminding the girls of how they should count themselves lucky sharing a class with the boys. The concept of male superiority was drilled into everyone at the school. Girls considered it a privilege if a male student talked to them. The boys ran a rating system fully endorsed by the school administration. In here, they rated the girls on the scale of beauty and brains.

In addition to this sexism, the low-income students didn’t have it any easier. The caste system at Budo didn’t spare them either. It was a crime for one to be broke at Budo. “You could see it when Budonias joined other schools at A-level, they would try to import the same caste system,”says someone who studied with former Budonians.

According to the girls, “it’s institutional sexism. All we are seeking is a better life for the girls who will enter the gates of Budo. Girl lives, broke lives, all these lives matter, and they should really matter at Budo,” Paula noted. Budo is in the limelight for failing to live up to the values that it espouses. Many girls’ lives and self-esteem was crushed by the mere fact that they studied at Budo, just like the lives of many low-income students.

Budo is also the only mixed school in Uganda that has prom with other girls’ schools in the country. It doesn’t happen anywhere else. The fact that this is actively encouraged as culture is proof that the situation is almost beyond redemption.

If one is looking for patriarchy at display, they should look no further than Budo. “Basically the guys would call us ‘men in skirts’, to them, we were to ugly, that they would rather spend weeks talking to their fellow boys than to us. Budo is nothing but the capital of emotional bullying. Parents should know that their daughters are going through constant hell,” says Trisha, an old girl. “Can you imagine a girl is not allowed to be a Head Prefect at Budo? The post is reserved for the boys. When a boy sexually harassed you, you had to keep quiet. No one would believe you. You would end up suffering even more,” Trisha continues.

As many noted, this is just the beginning to unpacking years of trauma.

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