A Guide To Kidepo Valley National Park, Uganda

Since the Easter weekend trip to Kidepo Valley National Park in Karamoja, my friends that I meet on the daily hustle normally ask how it went, because apparently, they saw a certain “fire portrait” of me on the timeline with location saying Kitgum or something. Yes. Going on a #KoikoiUg trip means finally having portraits of you that you have never experienced before, and probably won’t, for the rest of your life. You will suddenly adopt “Kodak” as your middle name. People will tell you that you have a Khoisan skin complexion and that you should get on the next “Generations” 2018 drama series. They will also suggest to you that you should get on a modeling career. For them, life decisions are just like that. Easy peasy. That’s what #KoikoiUg does to you, and you internally nod your head…but I digress.

The view of the landscape that welcome to the kidepo national park
Photo credit: Ninno Jack Jr

It was my first visit to the Kidepo Valley National Park, under #KoikoiUg, and I have since recommended that everybody goes to visit, even just for a quick weekend getaway.
Here’s what you definitely need to know about Kidepo when you get round to planning that trip;

LOCATION:

The national park is located in the Karamoja Sub-region of North-Eastern Uganda in Kaabong district, approximately 11 hours away from Kampala. What I mean is, you have to prepare yourself for an 11-hour drive, and that includes the “bathroom” breaks, the lunch, the stretching, and a smooth and responsible drive for the rest of over 500 kilometers. The park is mostly rugged savannah with a few trees littering the flat landscape and lots of shrubs.

GETTING THERE:

I just feel the need to warn you of the bitter-sweet feeling of arrival at the park; you will keep seeing signposts, but relax and sit tight because you still have a 30-minute ride. At some point, you will even drive through the actual National Park gate, but again, wait some more. By that time, it will be (at the earliest) 6:30/7:30pm if you left Kampala early enough, and I would advise that you start looking out through your window because that my dear, would be your first game drive via the Park’s marram road before you can reach the Uganda Wildlife Authority Campsite about 15 minutes later.

It is a long journey but you will enjoy everything the park has to offer.
Photo credit: Ninno Jack Jr.

ACCOMMODATION:

On your way in, you might go past one or two guest houses; but for the ultimate experience, you can book accommodation from the main accommodation area inside the park. The Uganda Wildlife Authority Campsite, being that Kidepo Valley National Park is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Everyone there is English speaking, so you should be comfortable communicating.

Accommodation is mainly in small cozy huts called Bandas; most of which are self-contained, so if you book early, you might have no problem travelling with your whole family. Cost varies, such that if you are on a budget, there are rooms that are not self-contained. If you are the extra adventurous type, you can carry along your camping tent. There’s plenty of ground for those!

Karen being one with the wild. – Talk of untamed beauty. Photo credit: Ninno Jack Jr.

This particular campsite gives you the ultimate experience because it is literally surrounded by the park and the animals. Warthogs cross your paths, and if you go a little further away from the Bandas, you might see a couple of Kobs, or Buffaloes in the near distance. Every night, there’s a huge campfire that burns all night that can accommodate campers with warmth and storytelling moments.

ACTIVITIES:

There are two activities you can do at Kidepo; the game drive, and everything else in between. I say in between because the best time to view game, according to the park guide, is either early in the morning, or later in the evening from 4 pm. You can book a game drive vehicle if you are a small group. This is the ideal option since it’s an open vehicle and allows for the better viewing experience. If you are a large group, or if you came with your own car, make sure everyone on board can access the windows. (If you want to catch sight of some lions, look out for vultures, and the Lions could be a few feet away!)

Look out through the window and snap a moment. Photo credit: Diamond Karen 

During the day, you can make a mid-morning visit to the Karamojong local community and experience a day in their life. One of the community leaders will take you through the rich K’Jong cultural norms and practices through narration. Only a couple of people there can speak English; otherwise the locals speak aKarimojong. Later, you can participate in different organized K’Jong dance performances by the youth. Everybody loves some dancing!
Remember to carry some money such that you can take back some beaded or copper iron jewelry/souvenir with you.

Travel far, learn the language, live the culture and snap the moments.
Photo credit: Ninno Jack Jr.

The other activity you could do during the day is to make a visit to the Ik people who live on the mountains. The Ik are an ethnic group of people who were displaced to the mountains in order to create Kidepo Valley National Park. They were no longer able to hunt the wild animals, so they suffered famine in the mountains and their population kept dwindling. The hike to the Ik tribe in the mountains is about 4 hours, so warm up!

FOOD:

You will mostly dine with food from the kitchen at the national park. There is a small eating area around the kitchen, otherwise, food can also be eaten at the campfire that is burning all night. You will basically find local meals, apart from matooke and groundnut stew. A few fries on the side as well, depending on the menu. The food is actually great. In the morning, you can have yourself a Rolex or, a chapatti with an omelet. You can travel along with your additional choice of snacks for breakfast. There’s a bar too, for those that like their drink. Teetotalers are catered for as well!

 

About the author:

The first thing Karen likes to say is that she loves God. She is glad to write her heart and mind because she doesn’t speak much. She loves to hug the whole world, eat rice and beans, and is a firm believer in Teetotalism.

5 Things You Should Know Before Heading To Kidepo Valley National Park

Hyperbole and all forms of exaggeration are all fair game here if you have had the kind of weekend like my Easter. Also, I am giving free advice so I can do whatever I want. Kidepo Valley National park is already a piece of work. It involves covering 700km, 150km of which is marram and not the smooth kind. You sit until it hurts to breath. You stand until you realize that a combination of a bumpy road and a tired body is a recipe for a fall and you are nowhere close to a health facility if that happens. So you tell your butt to hang in there, give it a few more hours, remind it that it’s strong, African, and it’s capable of resilience. It will be over soon. You fix your eyes on the road for signposts of Uganda Wildlife Authority informing you of how much distance you have left to cover;

The road to Kidepo Valley National Park.
Photo Credit: Nze_Eve

“Kidepo valley national park 115km” the first one reads, and about 1000kms later another says, “Kidepo Valley National Park 75km”, after 69900kms, another one reads,  “Kidepo Valley National Park 64km” and a billion hours later finally the last one, “Kidepo Valley National Park 20kms”.  Hope is on the horizon as well as lights. You are leading a team of 22 people into a jungle you have never been either and your faith is in Betty a person you have exchanged about 10,000 hours of phone conversations with and Chef Sisto another voice at the end of your telecommunication device since January when you started planning this adventure. You called them to confirm that you are indeed going to show up every day of the week leading up the trip. You promised to call when you were on your way to give them a head start but between splitting yourself into 22 pieces for everyone and sneaking in a minute to sip some orange minute maid, you forgot. Anxiety is at an all-time high. Someone at the back is asking why they don’t have network on their phone, another one at the front wants to know what’s for dinner, while photographers are asking what time the sun rises so they can wake up and catch it, and of course the last person to arrive at the bus during departure is so mad about arriving so late in Kidepo.

This is not a narration about my 4 days “womaning” a team of creatives in one of the farthest and most beautiful parks in Uganda, rather it is 5 things you should know before our pictures and stories from #KoiKoiNE dupe you into heading to Kidepo Valley National Park.

  1. Plan, plan and when you are done plan again. We started preparations for our trip in January and even then we were a little late to get the most convenient accommodation available inside the park in Uganda Shillings. Kidepo is one of the most coveted parks to see in Uganda maybe because it is the only park where you have an 80% chance at interfacing with the king of the jungle. If you are planning to visit during the peak season like Easter or Christmas, I suggest you start making your bookings at least 6 months in advance even if you generally suck at planning.
  2. Prepare yourself mentally for all kinds of people if you are travelling in a group. What is it they say, that you don’t really know a person until you sit in a bus for 13 hours? (Of course, I made that up). Even the most patient people tend to lose it after hour 10, plus heat, dust and a disappointing lunch is such a great soundtrack to irritation. On my bus, there was a bit of everyone. The ones so happy to escape their routine that they could have walked to Kidepo if that was an option like Anne who stated, “I am just here to get away from my life. The helpful ones, the party bringers like Cindy, the entitled ones and the quiet ones, whose silence is their presence. My advice if you have the privilege to choose who travels with you to Kidepo, take less of the entitled ones. Your mind will thank you after it’s all done.
    Anne getting away from her life Phot
  3. Manage your expectations. This is something the Ugandan service industry will generally school and graduate you in but the hospitality and tourism sector will offer you a PHD in. I can almost guarantee that chef doesn’t always mean somebody who can cook great food, neither does hotel mean a place where you can sleep. In Kidepo you have about two option. The Uganda Wildlife Authority serviced place and the “glamourous-300 dollars a night”- Apoka lodge. The UWA conservation area was good to us but it was also overwhelmed by us and 100 other Ugandans trying to see their country in their country’s currency. The food isn’t going to be winning any culinary awards so it helps to carry additional food and a shell gas where you can make something up real quick when Chef Sisto forgets to serve the breakfast you agreed on 4 months in advance.
  4. Get a good driver. Ours was Mzee Nsubuga Paul who knows a thing or 6 about driving on wild tracks and stopping in time for sunrise and sunset chasers to get great shots. He is also gifted with patience a trait you will be grateful for that many hours on the road.
    Our driver on the wheels.
    Photo credit: Ninno Jack Jr.
  5. See the lion or don’t leave Kidepo. I have been to almost all Uganda’s national parks. I remember the game drive in Queen Elizabeth when we were told that the lion was hiding behind the bushes and if we waited long enough we would see it. We waited but no lion showed up. But I went to Kidepo with one goal.
    See lions or don’t leave.
    Photo credit: Joel Jemba


    TO SEE A LION
    . And behold the lion and the lioness 10m away from the bus chilling in “after-killing-a-buffalo” bliss. It was surreal. We had a moment. I didn’t even get my phone out to take a picture. It’s like every trip I have ever taken was leading up to that moment. To a staring contest between this powerful hairy being and a little person that could easily turn into its dinner. It’s a feeling you have 80% chance of ever getting in Kidepo Valley National Park, so forget every other thing I whined about above and go, see a lion or don’t leave.

About the author:

Komusana Fiona | Sunshine – She loves to have an opinion but more than that she loves to give it, so she writes. The idea that she gets to express her opinion without looking any one in the face is motivating.

The Tastiest Salad With Edible Rat | The Anyer Salad

Anyer is one of those meats that are so out there and would be revolting to anybody that is unaccustomed to. Let us just call it game meat that comes in small sizes.

This game animal is hunted in the wide expanses of northern Uganda in the rainy season where men and boys follow the anyer’s foot prints on the wet ground and dig up the burrows in which the Anyer live. It is smoked for preservation and then carried home to be cooked into a sumptuous stew.

We have taken this meat a whole notch higher. With our increased consciousness to health, we have turned this once simple stewed meat into a world class salad that would hold its own on any fancy restaurant menu.

The Anyer is delicately filleted to reveal tender strips of meat that will provide a whole load of flavour the otherwise bland salad greens. Finished off with a tangerine vinaigrette, the Anyer salad is something to kickstart your meal like any other salad.

The anger Salad as seen through the lens of Nze Eve.

Here is the recipe: 

Ingredients

  • 200g game meat (cut to strips)
  • 1 carrots (Finely grated)
  • 1 onion (cut to strips)
  • 2 tomato (1 sliced, 1 deseeded and cut to strips )
  • 1 cucumber (Sliced)
  • ½ green pepper (cut to strips )
  • ½ yellow pepper (cut to strips)
  • 2 tablespoon tangerine juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Place the meat in a pan and add one cup of water, a pinch of salt, 1 clove of garlic and place over fire and allow to simmer uncovered for 20 minutes until most of the water has evaporated. Remove from the pan and allow to cool slightly
  2. Make your vinaigrette using the tangerine and olive oil. Add the salt and pepper for taste. In a large bowl, toss your vegetable strips and the meat. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat all the vegetables
  3. Arrange the tomato and cucumber slices in rings, one on top of the other in the center of a clean wide white plate and place the salad on top of this.

Eat up before your neighbor comes knocking

The Ugandan Rolex With A Twist In The Ingredients

Finally Uganda got a fast food that was marketed as being authentically Ugandan. The Rolex was credited to a hungry young Ugandan who in an attempt to make a quick hearty meal rolled a chapati with an omelette and the rolex was born. It was designed to cater to the needs of the financially constrained market but the rolex has been embraced by nearly everybody, from the boda rider for lunch to the bank executive leaving the bar at 5am. The rolex is made in nearly every part of the country and new varients of the classic and iconic dish have been created.  Who are we not to make it bigger and better?

Uganda has been credited with being the largest consumers of pork in the world which is surely no mean fit.

To celebrate these two items that make Uganda stand out, we have merged them to deliver The Porlex!

Made with pulled pork, the prolex is a dish to savor. Picture the succulent pork strips with notes of ginger and lemon tied in with a perfect fluffy two egg omelette with “Nyanya Mbisi”. Simply something to die for.

The porlex as seen through the lens of NZE_EVE

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 200g pork (Fat removed)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 small onions
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon chopped green pepper
  • 200ml water
  • 1 large chapati

Method

  1. Into a pressure cooker, add the pork, 1 tomato, 1 onion, garlic, black pepper, ginger, lemon, soy sauce and water. Cover and place over fire and allow to cook until the pan hisses twice, about 25 minutes. Remove from fire and displace pressure valve to allow the steam escape so you can open the pressure cooker
  2. Remove the pork from the cooker and remove the flesh from the bones. The pork is cooked on the bone to increase the flavour and improve the flavour and taste of the pork. Place the pork in a bowl and mix with the mayo. Add a bit of the cooking liquid if necessary to make it easy to mix the contents of the bowl. Set aside.
  3. Finely chop the onion, tomato and green pepper; break the eggs into a bowl and add the chopped onion, green pepper and half the chopped tomato. Beat and fry the omelet on a hot pan ensuring that the egg does not brown. Flip and cook the other side.
  4. Place the chapati on a clean plate or board and place cooked egg over the chapati. Spoon the pork mix over the egg and sprinkle with the remaining raw tomato aka nyanya mbisi. Roll up tightly and slice the porlex diagonally in half and place on a clean white plate.
  5. Lock your door and turn off your phone. Call your ex and tell them the story after you have eaten. Jealousy will bring him or her back into your arms if only for a taste of the porlex.
You want Nyanya mbiisi on the side, well you can.
Photo credit: Nze Eve

Introducing Chicken Katogo

Katogo was invented as an all in one pot meal. Katogo was primarily made from either matooke or cassava as a starch base and beans or groundnut paste as the protein-based stew. It was the poor man’s solution after a long day in the garden. The perfect medley.

As times changed and appeal for katogo increased, meats, offals, and vegetables substituted beans and the ground nuts. I have even been served Katogo with pork and it was delish.
Because of the view that Katogo is a meal for the poor, chicken is considered a no-go when it comes to the making of Katogo. We do not see it that way!
We are taking it higher!! Introducing chicken katogo.
We have substituted the beans with chicken and created a dish fit for royalty.

The New #KoikoiDelicacy Chicken Katongo
photo credit: Nze Eve

Here is the recipe:

Summary – The chicken is let to simmer in a pan with carrots and leeks for 30 minutes; then set aside to cool. The matooke is boiled in this stock for 20 minutes until just cooked. The chicken is pan seared to a crisp golden brown and served with the matooke and a consume from the stock and host of seasonal vegetable.

Full details; 

Ingredients

4 drumsticks
8 fingers matooke
1 large onion
3 tomatoes
1 green pepper
2 clove garlic
2 tablespoons oil
Salt and pepper

Method

Place the chicken in a pan with the 1 teaspoon salt, garlic, onion and tomatoes, all finely chopped and cooked covered for 15 minutes; stirring frequently to keep the contents from sticking to the bottom of the pan
The chicken should have turned whitish by this point. Remove it and place it on a plate and put the matooke into the pan and add water to cover the matooke. Cook over medium heat to cook and leave to simmer for 20 minutes until just cooked but not mushy. Remove the cover from the pan and allow the cooking liquid to reduce
On a clean skillet or pan, add a tablespoon of oil and leave to heat up. Add a teaspoon of chopped garlic and fry til tender. Add chicken to the pan and cook until evenly browned
Serve the matooke and chicken with a garnish of chopped tomatoes and green pepper. Add the cooking liquid to coat the matooke and chicken.
Lick the plate when done

People Embracing Phone Photography In Uganda.

Most of us keep our phones with us almost all the time. They have become an extension of us. Our clocks, our planners, our mirrors, our doctors and the keepers of our most intimate thoughts. Of recent because of our constant dependence on our phones, they have been receiving a lot of negative publicity or is that social media. Anyway, despite the flack, phones have also come with the liberalization of Photography.This, coupled with a million and one editing apps, and the ability to self-publish with the emergence of social media networks and affordable data like Airtel data blast, phone photography is on the rise in this generation. And because of the advancement in the camera technology packed in our phones, pro photographers can no longer look down on people taking pictures with their phones. For many, they have even started to refer to them as their second camera. Phone photography has become an art form of its own.

Recently, we asked different phone photographers to share with us their best shots in a questionnaire thread we did on our Kafunda Kreatives Twitter account, the responses and the pictures were both overwhelming! We have put most of these shots in this article to; showcase these people’s craft, to inspire many other emerging phone photographers, and perhaps learn a few things from each other.

In no particular order we give you;

Angella Atwine a Journalism and Communication Student, phone Photography started for her when she didn’t own a camera then yet she wanted to shoot, she decided to try the phone camera out and it worked. She is a multitasking beast who loves doing so much and like to live.

Angella‘s Submission

“I believe and know phone photography can take you places.”

Amanyire Innocent aka Ninno Jack Jr. a Graphics Designer and Photographer,  Initially he could not afford a DSLR camera, he had to maximize with what he had, the phone. Currently, he is working his way up with a $1000 Nikon Camera.

Ninno Jr.’s Submission

“Learn, learn with whatever resource is available, if you are passionate about photography, your skills will be noticeable on a $100 phone then work your way up to a $6000 camera.”

Eddy Atum Benjamin but more popularly known as Benjaah Edwards, he studied Horticulture at Makerere University but gravitated towards writing and blogging as a passion, but soon, it shocked him by becoming a major source of income. He is also a certified Digital Marketing professional. He works in the digital creative space, as a content creator, PR personnel and so much more. Phone Photography is something he stumbled upon. Of recent, he has become a fitness enthusiast literally, he is officially a fitness addict.

Eddy‘s Submission

“I happen to love photography as a means of telling stories. Sometimes, you are presented with a moment that you wish a professional photographer captures because it may not be repeated. That, and the fact that I like playing with photo-editing apps drove me to phone photography”

Sidney Natuhamya a student at Makerere University. He started loving phone photography after learning how to use a DSLR two years ago. He started doing phone photography because he has not yet acquired his own DSLR camera. However, he got access to cameras when he started working with photographers like Aaron and Isaiah Kajumba, Pacutho Andrew, and they mentored him under the Beohrt’s Beard umbrella, really dope guys. So they taught him how to shoot, edit and exploit my strength, which is basically seeing beauty in the things that look normal to the naked eye. Besides school he does cinematography with Beohrts Beard, that includes documentaries, photo shoots, video shoots and more. We can be found at beohrtsbeard.com  (This AD is on us – we gotcha)

Sidney‘s Submission.

“make due with what you have, you don’t need a dslr, though it is better or a very nice camera to create good art but love what you do and think of the images you take with your phone as a way to express yourself.”

Faith Mulungi a radio host, online producer PowerFm and digital manager, phone photography is a hobby she picked up, and boldly said it is a beautiful journey. She would love to own a DSRL camera with ‘lit’ lenses and grow her craft!

Faith‘s Submission

“The learning never stops but never settle, always try out something new”

Lumaama Godfrey a freelance IT Specialist with a passion for photography. He got into phone photography around 2015, but it’s until 2017 that he started getting serious about it. Phone photography has also simplified backing up and editing of pics. Because there are many photo editing apps now Other than photography, He likes reading, playing rugby and traveling. He has a passion for programming too (Java)

Godfrey‘s submission

“Phone Photography is one way of art that few people have discovered, phones with good cameras can do capture moments the very way cameras do.”

Marega Hannington a Telecommunication Engineer. He has grown up to love photography especially nature so he decided to use what was in his hands, the phone camera. He occasionally plays football especially goalkeeping and any position apart from defence. He is also an upcoming self-made DJ.

Hannington‘s Submission

“composition, the rule of thirds and be a full-time photography student anyday”

Nobert Aleti an architecture student and a visual artist. Phone photography was jumpstarted by Social Media activities but then, he couldn’t own a camera, so he embraced limitation with what he had. He also likes traveling.

Nobert‘s submission

“It’s good to always review your pictures, gives you a new perspective each time.”

Tibaweswa Stuart Mathew he does Documentary and conceptual photography. he got into phone photography when he realized that phones can make amazing silhouettes which he is super obsessed with. Besides other hustles he does filming.

Matthew‘s Submission

“Photography is not having a dslr camera but having a sense of observing things with your eyes to freeze them on camera.”

Mwondha Ashraf Kweyamba a Civil Engineering student at Kyambogo, He was Influenced by his old friend Sidney Natuhamya into phone photography. He does a lot traveling.

Ashraf‘s submission

“It is not about how good the phone camera is but about the creativity of the photographer”

Blair Davis Mugume Kwehangana from Kabale and Kanungu, Uganda is a fresh Graduate with a Petroleum and Mineral Geoscience degree. He is Currently based at an Accounting and Taxation firm where he does freelance Geology and Geoscience consultancy. He has a Passion for general photography and he is still a budding photographer, thirsty to learn from any and everyone. He is an addicted reader with undesired phases of rehab. He also loves travel, philanthropy, and a game of pool.

Blair‘s submission

“More less a skill attained than a lesson; It has enabled me to train my photography eye to notice things, perspectives, light tricks that I would otherwise have missed without the practice”

Here Are 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda

It is the nearest national park to Kampala. It is only 240km away from the city and in comparison to other national parks you can set off, depending on how much time you spend taking pictures of your self at the equator or stuffing up on chicken in Lukaya you can be one with the wild of Lake Mburo in 4 hours. It’s also not too far away from major towns in Lyantonde and Mbarara district

Zebras. Lake Mburo is home to most of Uganda’s Zebras. There is an entire zebra track after the Nshara gate in Lake Mburo National Park. It is like after paying your park entrance fees, herds of them come to welcome you to their territory.  Zebras are beautiful and from their demeanour, they love to have their pictures taken.  Someone joked that the zebras have been trained by UWA to work their angles and show their good side, whenever they see a camera.  You may not come out of Lake Mburo with the answer to whether zebras are black with white stripes or white with black stripes,  but you will see enough of them to choose a side to this argument and defend it.  For example, I think they are brown with cream stripes.

The Zebra welcoming you to Lake Mburo National Park.
Photo Credit: Pipes | Kreative Adkit

A leopard. Not leopards but one leopard. We did our game drive in the morning and according to Immaculate our guide, we had zero to none chances of seeing a leopard because they are nocturnal. (Just a fancy word for they feed at night). She didn’t lie about that. However later in the evening while we drove out of the park, we saw one. Chilling by itself below an anthill probably aiming for its dinner.

The leopard in the Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda
#KoikoiUG Photo credit: Nze Eve

The bus got excited.  Fingers started being pointed. Yelling at the driver to; stop, reverse a little, go slightly ahead all at once ensued until everyone caught a glimpse of this big cat with spots (If you have no idea what I am talking about, at least you have seen leopard print fabric.) Cameras were aimed at it and all the wows and “did you see it(s)” managed to scare it away, or as I like to think we saved an animal from being dinner.

The Lake. First of all the UWA boat is new. All the life jackets are still intact so are the seats and paint so it gives a false sense of safety like crocodiles give a damn about, seats paint and inflated orange jackets but that’s not the point. The point is we love water or at least most people do. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone who stopped going to the beach why they did and I will bet that the answer will be they were too crowded.  Taking pictures on the water with your shades on gives “life eater” bragging rights,  plus the breeze is refreshing.  A welcome change from Kampala’s sewer filled air ( especially if you don’t live or work in Kololo).

The Aerial view of some part of Lake Mburo
Shot by Mu | Mugasha Arnold

On Lake Mburo, you will see hippos and maybe two crocodiles and several birds. You will make jokes about whether falling off the boat will scare the crocodile away or send it running towards you piece of meat.  You will take several pictures while you are posing and others while you stare at the waves. The kind that you will put on Instagram with long “deep” captions about reflecting on life and how it’s like the waves or if you are me,  something about God being a genius. You will hardly hear anything, Rebecca, the guide, and her megaphone will say about the lake unless she is thanking you for being a lovely crowd and telling you to get the hell off her new boat. You will have spent 1 hour and 30 minutes on the lake and that will make you feel things. Good things.

Joanne and Jeddy on the #LiveThe4GExperience plan, next to Lake Mburo.
Photo Credit: Pipes | Kreative Adkit

There is nothing wrong with being a tourist. Maybe if we all gathered some Shell fuel Save and our favorite people every few months and became local tourists the people in charge will stop giving us rates in US Dollars. And when you do, load some Airtel Data Blasta and share your authentic Ugandan story. There are not very many out there.

About the Author:

 

Komusana Fiona | Sunshine – She loves to have an opinion but more than that she loves to give it, so she writes. The idea that she gets to express her opinion without looking any one in the face is motivating.

Why Travel Is The Truest New Years Resolution.

It’s January. The festivities are done, and its back to our realities, whatever those are. And in the tradition of the new year, we are working hard on our new year’s resolutions. We want to be happier, healthier and achieve more. We want to be a better version of ourselves and we have written down strenuous methods we do not find the least bit interesting to carry us to this personal fulfillment we seek. Methods we shall quickly desert a few weeks into the year and get back to mere existence. But maybe there is another way, travel.

A group of travelers doing a hacking in Kapchorwa, Eastern Uganda. #KoikoiUG
Photo credit: Pipes | Kreative Adkit

So you are trying to evaluate your relationships. 2018 is the year of more meaning friendships. Travel. Think about it. All this time you spend together will be particularly revealing. You are out of your routines and your comfort zone. People are their truest selves. You learn what things they are enthusiastic about and what they do things get stressful. You learn how you work together, whether you are a good team or not. It’s an easy, mostly fun, and sure way to make decisions on who should or shouldn’t be in your life.

Or maybe you are looking to be happier. What makes us happy? Above anything else, it’s our Worldview. Most of our life is a bubble. Work, favorite bar, church, home and the cycle goes on for most of 365 days. Living in this bubble, with the same drama, same stresses every day can take its toll. This is where traveling comes in. Uganda is blessed with a diverse culture, over 55 different tribes, most with different philosophies and viewpoints on life. There is no better way to center your priorities quickly bringing you to the realization that the shit you worry about is simply just that, shit. So maybe if January is already overwhelming, pack a bag and join us on one of our #KoiKoiUG trips.

Travel light with everything you need in your backpack.
photo credit: Pipes | Kreative Adkit

So maybe you are saying there is no way travel can work for your fitness goals. But that’s because of how you look at travel. Travel doesn’t have to be too distant, far away lands, it just has to be to unfamiliar places. Most of the times, people drop out of workout routines not because of the pain, but mostly because of the monotony. Switch it up. Combine your enthusiasm to see different parts of your town with the desire to burn that fat and build that muscle. Working out will quickly move from a chore to a pleasant, relaxing experience.

This Heritage Sarafi lodge Packwach and this was Shot by Mu | Mugasha Arnold.

Any way you look at it, a decision to fill up your tank with some Shell Fuel Save travel can only be good for you, and good on the pocket too. Let us encourage you to start with your own backyard, Uganda, the most beautiful place in the world. The Pearl of Africa holding fast to the truth that traveling, beyond ANYTHING else, is a catalyst for personal growth, reflection, and a deeper sense of connection. And isn’t that what we are really looking for.

 

 

Ghost Tales | Abasezzi

Mythical creatures and ghosts are probably a part of many more childhoods than adulthood. Nonetheless, we have all heard, and at best experienced them.
In Uganda, it’s probably the famous Bukalabanda or perhaps the Basezzi commonly referred to as night-dancers. Whatever your encounter with Mystical creatures, you have one! Let’s explore some of these stories here.
Buckle up! These stories have made grown men wet their pants.

Abasezzi;

“I come from central Uganda, Buganda in particular and those that hail from the same are no strangers to the fantasy or reality of Abasezzi, the night-dancers, not crawlers, these guys actually dance around at night.

The most fascinating technicality to their dance is the that they do this stack-naked, Adam’s suit. Oh! And often in graveyards. Which is where they’re said to take their next meal from. Aren’t we glad they’re not killing and eating? hehehe…at least they’re only taking the dead. Still, these guys are said to be cannibals. Truth be told, many villagers have found their loved ones’ recently dug graves turned inside out only days after their funerals” Joanne Nvannungi narrates.

These night-dancers are thought to be demon-possessed, or as my people say “balina ekitambo” (they’re under a spell). In their element, they appear taller than usual, very swift & posses charms and powers.The demon that possesses these abasezzi is said to be contagious, and can possess another person especially if you in the vicinity.

“I first came to hear about the basezzi when I was 6 years old, visiting my grandparents deep down in Bukomansibi (now a district, yaaay), then a part of Masaka district. Yoh, the stories left you numb & a tad curious, but you know we are not cats, we only got one life.
If you think I’m lying, wait out by the banana plantation in the night & maybe you’ll hear the rustling of dried banana fiber. Next you’ll see the fire. When they clap their hands, fire comes out. And then they’ll merge, dark shapes of naked grown-a** men & women. Yoh! And if you stick around and let them touch you, you’ll become one of them. You’ll catch ekitambo! By the way, you can’t outrun them. They’ll catch you and maybe even just appear in front of you as you scatter.” She added.

Do you have any basezzi tales? Share with us.

Ghost Tales | Obukalabanda

Mythical creatures and ghosts are probably a part of many more childhoods than adulthood. Nonetheless, we have all heard, and at best experienced them.  In Uganda, it’s probably the famous Bukalabanda or perhaps the Basezzi commonly referred to as night-dancers. Whatever your encounter with Mystical creatures, you have one! Let’s explore some of these stories here.
Buckle up!These stories have made grown men wet their pants.

 

Bukalabanda;
“Kaka-kaka-kaka-kakalabanda . . . Kaka-kaka-kaka-kalabanda…”
That is the sound you will hear shortly after the lights go out.
Students who attended boarding school, especially the ‘traditional’ ones, are no strangers to the tale of the Kakalabanda. A ghost that visits students’ dormitories in the dead of night, to ‘put in line’ students who were naughty or disrespectful or in some circles students who had a distinct spiritual attachment.

At the peak of the night, 3 am to be exact, many of these ghosts surface and walk among the living; attacking, disturbing and oppressing them.
Intense winds, rustling, and falling leaves rattling on the dormitory roofs and the clack of bones like sounds against the floor was the signal to shut your eyes tight and not peek. You then started to pray that you weren’t the target of the Kakalabanda that night.

“The clacking sound made by the Obukalabanda as they walked the halls of dormitories are similar to the sound made by famous shoes in the 1880’s called Kalabanda, hence the name. – Kakalabanda”Bukalanda are said to attack certain schools, apparently schools on the hills are said to be prime. Hills for generations and in different locations seem to be the best gathering places for spirits and ghosts.

Bukalanda are said to attack certain schools, apparently, schools on the hills are said to be prime. Hills for generations and in different locations seem to be the best gathering places for spirits and ghosts.

However, this led some people to believe that these were just urban legends, created by bullies to terrorize and steal from unsuspecting newer students.

What have you heard about the Kakalabanda?