Emerging Destinations: Uganda

Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda

Given our natural curiosity, our ease with different cultures, and a willingness to trust, Canadians have been known to venture off-the-beaten-track in search of the most authentic travel experiences.

Such adventures, say vacation pundits, are readily found in “emerging destinations”, a reference to the undiscovered up-and-coming places now emerging into the global spotlight. It is, in places like these, where authenticity is found in simple happenstance:

Happenstance: Gorilla Trekking remains one of the most magical and rewarding wildlife experiences in the natural world, one that I know is high on the wish list of Uganda’s visitors. An estimated 800 mountain gorillas remain on earth, approximately 320 of which reside in Bwindi National Park here in Uganda.

I had an opportunity to join a UWA team to visit the gorilla population in the park. Bwindi is nicknamed the ‘impenetrable forest’, and I’ve got to say that it’s easy to see why; at times it was literally impossible to make your way through the vegetation, even with the trackers carving a path for us with their machetes.

Heavy rains and dying plants nourish this dense forest, but the benign gentleness of the morning and gently stirring grass and vines along the trails cunningly hide the never-ending dramas of the impenetrable forest. In this very small forest there are some 350 bird species, as well as 120 mammal species.

After about three hours we came to a flat, open area in the jungle, about 5m in diameter. “This is where the gorillas slept last night,” the tracker told us. We all studied the area with a new interest and excitement.

As we came into a slight opening, suddenly I heard branches to my immediate right snap as if a tree was falling. There was nothing to see but the “raspberry bushes” in the gloom. Another glimpse, and then appeared a couple of square inches of black fur. And this was the moment … We got a glimpse of a female with a baby balanced on her back.

The day was strenuous, but one of those that make being born and living seem fully worthwhile”.

Ugandans like to refer to their country as “The Pearl of Africa”, (In 1907 Winston Churchill called it the ‘Pearl of Africa’) a country with implausible natural scenery and a rich mosaic of tribes and cultures. Travelling through Uganda, you will be captivated by its beauty, safety, accessibility and friendliness. The natural beauty of its people and its landscape are marvelous. It is one of the most appealing nations and often referred to as one of Africa’s friendliest country.

Uganda is Africa personified, providing visitors with the best of everything the continent has to offer. Uganda is home to the highest mountain range in Africa, is the source of the Nile River, and features the best white-water rafting in the world. You will find the highest concentration of primates on earth, including the majestic mountain gorilla, one of the rarest animals on the planet.

Stability has returned to most parts of the country and tourists are welcomed with open arms. The people of this up-and coming tourism destination often smile and say ‘Hello Mzungu!’.

Did you know …

  • Uganda’s largest export is coffee.
  • There are large reserves of crude oil and natural gas in Uganda that are still mostly untapped.

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