When I found out I’d be visiting Uganda for a science conference, I was excited yet daunted. One reads about the politics of a country and assumes that the generalisations written about in the media will be true. My experience was far from anything I expected or read about.
I was in Entebbe, a major town in Central Uganda situated on a peninsula of the Great Lake Victoria. What struck me was the friendliness of the people. Everyone was kind, gentle and welcoming. The fast-paced aggression I’m used to in South Africa was nowhere to be found. I wasn’t cat-called once. The women walk the streets alone in the dead of the night, fearless in dark streets not even illuminated by street lights. It was different, and I enjoyed it.
One sight I will never forget is a young girl, no older than 14, walking the two full grown Rottweilers on a leash. An absolutely badass sight I wish I had captured. The security guards are also fully armed and no-nonsense. I felt safe and that was so important to me. The weather was the best part. Warm and sunny in June! A South African dream. Travelling gives such perspective and helps one appreciate home and away. It helps you to open your mind to different ways of life and also appreciate what you have.
There’s always this chill of nervousness when the plane takes off, that excitement for the next destination. We flew Ethiopian Airlines. Great service, beautiful cabin crew but the stop over at Addis Ababa Bole airport was so uncomfortable. Something they must really think about given the great airline they have. My colleague ended up feeling nauseated due to the heat and crowdedness.
I stayed at Papyrus Guesthouse which was a beautiful, quaint accommodation with great staff and service. Breakfast was served every morning at the time of my request and they took my order every night when I came back from the conference. They also offered me a driver who remained on call for all my travelling needs at a small fee. If you’re ever in Entebbe for business or pleasure, this is a wonderful place to lay your head.
Everything is sooo green
They have such beautiful pillows.
The balcony dining area at Papyrus Guest House. Look at the rich green trees behind me. Amazing!
The tea is a tea lover’s dream. Mellow and just refreshing. Uganda Teabags a Proudly Ugandan Product.
Sweet tropical fruit was given to me before the usual breakfast fry-up. The staff at Papyrus really make you feel like royalty.
Palm trees along the boulevard of the Imperial Resort Beach Hotel.
I challenged myself to try new food items at the hotel buffet. Lunch was a large spread of new taste sensations daily. Here I have cream of mushroom soup, braised chicken, lentil and bean curry on spicy rice, goat stew, plantain, spinach, and potatoes. The green bottle had a delicious soft drink called Novida by Schweppes. Coca Cola South Africa must come up with such stuff because it was so delicious. A grown cool drink.
I went shopping in Victoria Flea Market. The items were very affordable due to the exchange rate, I ended up going mad with the shopping. 1 South African Rand = 275 Ugandan Shillings. We went back the next day for some more shopping.
The conference was held at the Imperial Resort Beach Hotel on the banks of the Great Lake Victoria. This lake is majestic. We debated on whether the body of water was a lake or the actual sea but we quickly remembered that Uganda is landlocked and of course, duh, it’s called Victoria LAKE. The crashing waves and sheer vastness of it was a remarkable sight. We need to discuss that name at some point though. A topic for another day!
Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the chief reservoir of the Nile River, lying mainly in Tanzania and Uganda but bordering on Kenya as well.
I had my selfie moments enjoying one of Africa’s great lakes. Lake Victoria Nyanza
There is still a lot more African countries to visit but I would go to Uganda again. I would love to see the markets in the capital city of Kampala and go gorilla tracking in the jungle.
This was a fun, beautiful but brief time in Entebbe. I highly recommend going to this beautiful country so aptly named, The Pearl of Africa.
By Cleopatra Rakgantsho