Uganda’s Tourism Beyond Wildlife
Over the past decades, Uganda’s tourism industry has been largely depending on the wildlife attractions in Uganda’s 10 major national parks. In fact if you were to ask any one around what tourism is like, people will tell you that it’s about going to the national parks to view the various animals, which is not the case. Many foreign tourists visit Uganda and head for gorilla tracking or game drives and some activities around the Nile especially white water rafting and end their trips yet they could have a lot more. The domestic travelers have had the worst tourist options because the park fees seem quite expensive for them.
Referred to as the pearl of Africa by Winston church hill, Uganda has many potential tourist attractions embedded in the major cultures of the people, the food, historical attractions, religious attractions, city attractions and many others which means that it is totally wrong to just keep depending on uganda wildlife tourism. Below is a brief description of the potential tourism attractions and destinations that are most times under looked and missed by many tourists who visit Uganda.
This the largest fresh water lake on the African continent with a potential of having many recreational tourist activities like boat cruises, water trips to the different islands in the lake, birding activities and many others. The lake just has few beaches in Entebbe that are developed but usually overcrowded especially during the weekends. Some ports around the lake are even not fully developed especially port bell and yet they could be better ports with standard restaurant and relaxation places offering the great views of the lake.
The only well developed resort is in Munyonyo and trust me it can not fully accommodate all the luxurious tourists interested in staying near the enormous lake.
Tourists visiting Uganda should at least be considering visiting one of the many islands in the lake especially Bulaggo island which at least has well developed resorts with beautiful sand beaches and good views of lake victoria.
Uganda has other lakes that could be developed in to major and leading attractions for example lake Kyoga, lake Edward and lake George. All these are potential cruising lakes and if well developed could positively impact the tourism industry through increased visits.
Uganda has over 56 tribes each with unique customs, cultural practices and taboos that could attract many tourists especially those interested in learning about the unique cultures of the Ugandans. Cultural tourism in Uganda is a little developed all thanks to the Bagishu initiation ceremony that attracts many individual to witness a mega circumcision of the Bagishu boys being from childhood to adulthood and manhood.
The other over looked tribes include the northern tribes and communities that have unique dancing skills and styles especially Larakaraka dance that greatly entertains viewers showing the strength, love and passion of the Luo and Alur people of Uganda. Home stay programs have been fully introduced in Uganda and therefore tourists interested in culture should try to explore the various divergent cultural practices of the Ugandan tribes.
This is another kind of tourism tourists can look at instead of only wildlife. Uganda has many major towns that can be explored by tourists going for shopping, to the movies, going for social gatherings like music concerts and performances and major events and festivals like carnivores, street bashes and games.
The major tourist towns include Kampala that is the capital city and Uganda’s most busy and business center. Kampala has many shopping centers (malls and arcades) with all the items one can be interested in, cinemas showing and premiering new movies, many monuments around, hotels, museums and many other attractions. Kampala city excursions are usually organized giving tourists a chance to explore the pearl of Africa’s capital.
Entebbe town is also well developed with beaches (Entebbe botanical beach, lido beach, spennah beach among others), great views of lake victoria, many bird species, and also with standard shopping malls that have major tourists commodities and cinema halls. Other towns that could be visited by tourists include fort portal, Mbarara town, Mbale town and Gulu town in the north.
The 56 tribes in Uganda have their own traditional delicacies that are prepared using local recipes’ and can leave any one’s mouth watery. All these foods can be got in the major eateries around the major towns of the different regions in Uganda. The outstanding foods a tourist should not miss out on a Uganda tour include Kalo, Luwombo, Nsenene (grasshoppers), Rolex (chappati and eggs) Kalamaleewa (bamboo shoots), Ugali (posho), groundnuts and many others.
If all these tourism attractions are well marketed and included on travelers’ itineraries, Uganda’s tourism industry will greatly develop and reduce reliance on wildlife attractions only. All tourists should therefore note that visiting Uganda is not just about viewing the mountain gorillas or other big games like lions, elephants and many others.