To visit the shrine I was promoting my culture and Uganda’s tourism the Speaker defends her visitation to the witch doctor’s shrine, a few days go.
Rebecca Kadaga, is the 10th (tenth) speaker of the Uganda Parliament after a position she retained unopposed, after the deputy speaker – Jacob Oulanya pulled out of the race following advise from the party’s leadership. She is also a veteran member of the powerful political party National Resistance Movement- NRM, led by the President of Uganda as the Chairman.
Recently after her inauguration into the position, she was seen visiting Nhenda Hill, a home of traditional witch doctors in the Busoga region, a move that caused many to question her christian faith.
In response she said, I only do this to respect my clan elders and ancestors besides advocating for my culture and promoting my country’s tourism. I would like to urge and inspire this generation to rediscover your roots and ancestor respect in order to develop your spirit.
The best time to trek Rwenzori mountains is here!!!
The rain season is ending this May, in Uganda. The community around Rwenzori Mountains and travelers around the world are getting ready for the tourist peak season starting soon. The Rwenzori Mountains is one of the ten national parks of Uganda. This park can be visited any time of the year but it has two peak seasons in each year, and this is when most people trek. The first season covers June to August while the second season covers December to end of March. in Evidence, I talked to some tourism service providers around Rwenzori and they were getting ready for the tourist season. This timing gives the trekkers a whole seven months of good climate trekking season per year. This same timing, the dry seasons from June to August and December to February, covers the best game viewing months in Uganda. Primate walks in the forest are a big part of any safari in Uganda. The habitat of rain forests is, by default, very wet and one can’t avoid rain completely. However, after heavy rain, the skies often open up to bright sunshine. This timing makes it possible for travelers to add Rwenzori mountain trekking to their longer game safaris of Uganda.
However, unlike in the past when the mountain infrastructure was not very good, it is still possible to trek during the off peak seasons. Given the good infrastructure that has been put on the mountains. Bridges board walks and good huts have been constructed on the mountain trails to enable an all year round experience for the mountaineers who choose Rwenzori for their holiday. For those who may want to understand a little more about the Rwenzori Mountains, The mountains hold the highest point in Uganda at 5109m above sea level and permanent glaciers on its several peaks. The highest point is Margarita peak on mount Stanley. Rwenzori is a range of mountains connected with the Virungas on the Congo side. Ashe highest point in Uganda, Margarita peak is also the third highest point in east Africa after Batian on Mount Kenya at 5199m and Uhuru on Mount Kilimanjaro as the highest at 5895 of the three highest mountains.
Those who have trekked the three East African mountains have said that Rwenzori is the most unique and challenging of the three. Besides the uniqueness to other mountains in east Africa, Rwenzori Mountains are the least visited due to low publicity. This makes the mountain less explored or degraded and therefore a perfect holiday destination. Unlike Kenya and Kilimanjaro being volcanic mountains, Rwenzori is a block mountain whose ranges were formed as a result of an uplifted block. The Rwenzori range is about 120Km long and 65Km wide. Recently Rwenzori mountains national park has developed several trekking trail routes that basic to experienced trekkers can explore. With the shorter trails introduced, now trekkers of Rwenzori can experience from one day of trekking and return to the base camp hotel to about 9 days of trekking or even longer for those who want to climb the high snow peaks. Please note that special skills and equipment will be required for climbing the high snow peaks. One can choose to hire these tools from the base camp or come with their own. The park and different concessionaires have provided special mountain climbing skills to the guides and ranger who take tourists to this mountain so trekkers can be sure to be in safe hands.
The different trails one can participate in include the Ibanda central circuit trail and the Kilembe route trail leading to the peaks or you may choose to do shorter days and don’t make it to the peaks. The Mahoma trail loop is at the central circuit gate is a wilderness camping trail that take a maximum of three days two nights. There are also shorter one day nature trails that you can explore and return back to the community. These include the Buraru chimp trail, the Nyabitaba one day nature walk and other shorter trails at the several gates and ranger posts.
Besides the mountains trails in the park, the communities have also established village trails in the hills, forests and villages adjacent to the park. These community trails don’t require payment of the park entrance fees but they are also beautiful showcasing the Rwenzori natural and cultural heritage in this beautiful mountain setting. The forest hikes are conducted in the forests that share the ecosystem with the park, making it possible to see the unique wildlife such as plants and insects, rivers and water falls, birds, the small animals like three horned chameleons and reptiles or sometimes the primates, if on the lucky day they have crossed from the park. These same communities offer cultural demonstrations in the villages. Besides the community tours, the communities and other investors have established lodges and campsites that enable visitors to spend a night in this unique mountain village setting as you take the views and breezes of the high mountains. you can book some of the community holidays at www.pearlsofuganda.org
It was an inspiring three hours walk emulating the martyrs’ journey of pain and faith. The celebration of the famous and highly respected martyr’s day of 3rd June of every year, has started off in different parts of the country and the entire east African region. In Kampala, Uganda’s capital, this has kicked off in high gear when his lordship, bishops Cyprian Lwanga (Host bishop) and Anthony Zziwa (chief guest), representing Kampala and Kiyinda Mityana diocese respectively were joined by the public of mixed religions and the minister of tourism and antiquities Dr. Maria Mutagamba accompanied by the minister for ethics and integrity Fr. Lokodo to take a three hours walk covering 15km on the Martyrs trail. This was named “a journey of faith” to inspire the pilgrims, the public and to join the rest of the regional and international community as they participate in a longer pilgrim journey to Namugongo for the annual Martyrs day to be celebrated on Friday 3rd June 2016. This walk was organized by the Catholic Church with support of Uganda tourism board and other well-wishers institution from government and the private sector. The diocese of Kiyinda Mitayan is in charged of organizing the entire martyrs’ day celebration of 2016.
This 3 hours journey was a joyful moment in which a crowd of over five hundred people walked from Munyonyo to Old Kampala. Headed by a brass band and a team of joyful singers, one could see groups of people standing on the roadsides either waving to the crowd, making the catholic simple of the cross or loudly asking God to forgive their sins. Several drunkard and excited people were witnesses either seeking to see the father or asking for holly gifts from the people of God. The views of Kampala’s hilly terrain was tremendous as we took the walk up and down the gentle hills.
Four different Martyrs shrines were visited. At each sherine, an interpretation of the respective martyr was given and all the pilgrims showered with blessings during the prayers headed by the bishop at the spots. The martyr’s shrines that were visited included those of Saints; Donozio Ssebugwawo, Possiano ondwe, Joseph Mukasa Balikudembe, Atanasi Bazekuketa, Matia mulumba at old Kampala and the last but not list martyr, St. Yowana maria Muzeyi, whose sherine we never visited in Mengo Kisenyi, due to some agreed technical trail and access plans. At St Matiya mulumba, old Kampala the pilgrims were treated to lunch organized by the parish.
After a relaxing moment, the bishop celebrated mass with the pilgrims at 3:00pm at St Matia Mulumba parish. The mass was attended by most pilgrims from Kiyinda Mityan and those of Kampala alike. With wonderful singing by the seminarians choir from Kiyinda Mityana the happy blessed people enjoyed the bishops preaching that was about the martyrs, faith, and the Trinita Sunday according to the catholic faith. Besides the above, the bishop and other pilgrims mentioned that more pilgrims have started their way to Namugongo to celebrate the 3rd June matyers day. Pilgrims are expected to come from the surrounding countries including Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, southern Sudan, DR Congo and other international communities.
From the speech of the tourism minister, at St. Matia Mulumba parish church, the ministry is committed to support tourism including specifically the faith based tourism in Uganda. the minister further mentioned that she took the walk as her personal wish as a believer, but she was happy to represent the ministry, thanking the lord Bishop for showing her the work she needs to do, after being embarrassed by the state of some of the shrines that were poorly managed in terrifying status that need attention of maintenance and infrastructural development.
The mass ended at 5:45pm and that was the end of the journey of faith.
News we are receiving from reliable sources, say the best three marketing firms of foreign origin are set to represent and promote Uganda in the best source market for Uganda tourists.
This comes under the support of competitiveness and enterprise development project (CEDP) under the Ministry of Finance coordinated by Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU). The CEDP project is aimed at promotion and growth of tourism numbers in Uganda. It also seeks to build a local tourism sector capacity with local tourism providers becoming better players on the international market.
This effort will supplement the timely representation on the international scene through trade exhibitions such as the WTM London, ITB Berlin and Indaba. This campaign will be targeting the English and German speaking societies and the PR firms have been selected with critical consideration of their competitiveness while considering the languages, location and the origin of the Ugandan visitor’s from America and Europe. These companies include PHG consulting, Kamageo and KPRN
The primary role of the firms is to leverage Uganda as a prime tourism travel destination and increase tourism arrivals and length of stay in the country. Most likely, as result of this effort, the tourism service providers in Uganda will realize an increase in inquiries and booking from these source markets being targeted by this promotion project that is costing Uganda around 4.95bn shillings. Besides promoting to visitors, the drive is also aimed at attracting foreign investment in Uganda’s tourism industry and also expected to provide training to Ugandan tourism businesses.
In the past, the Uganda government has been criticized for spending very little budget on promoting the country compared to sister countries in the East African Community where they spend higher tourism marketing budgets. With Kenya leading in the highest marketing budget spent annually Uganda was spending a smaller budget. The countries in East Africa are competing on the same visitors coming to the region. With the East African visa now available, multiple countries stand a chance of benefiting from the same visitors since it will be easier and cheaper for them to cross the boarders when they are within the region.
In 1960s, Uganda was East African leader of the visitors intrested to see wildlife. However between 1971 and 79 during the Iddi Amin rule, political instability and massive legal hunting of wildlife, the country’s visitation status fell out of competition to now Kenya and Tanzania that have been leading for several decades. It is hoped that, with such generous efforts of the government towards marketing Uganda as a destination, the industry visitation status could start ranking higher in the region.
It is the double-edged sword of tourism: On the one hand it brings the awareness of beautiful places and and economic development for the local population. On the other, this exposure can lead to uncontrolled numbers of tourists, damaging the beauty they came to see.
As the authorities in Thailand close the island of Koh Tachai because of the toll of heavy tourism, we take a look at some other popular destinations that are at risk of losing their best asset.
Thai authorities are set to close the island of Koh Tachai, saying heavy tourism is negatively affecting natural resources and the environment.
The island, off Phang Nga province, is part of the Similan National Park.
Almost all Thai marine national parks close to tourists from mid-May to mid-October for monsoon season but Tachai will not reopen, the Bangkok Post says.
The park is popular with tourists and divers – who will still have access to a few dive sites in the area.
“We have to close it to allow the rehabilitation of the environment both on the island and in the sea without being disturbed by tourism activities before the damage is beyond repair,” Tunya Netithammakul, director general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation, told the Post.
Local media cited experts saying a beach on Koh Tachai could hold about 70 people, but sometimes the number of tourists was well over 1,000, along with food stalls and tour boats.
That was far in excess of the island’s sustainable capacity and was causing damage that threatened to become irreversible, reports said.
Thailand draws tens of millions of tourists a year, many of them to its beautiful beaches and islands.
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