Lonely Plant have a fabulous book out called BEST in TRAVEL 2012; the best trends, destinations, journeys and experiences for the upcoming year. Uganda takes pride of place as N0.1 in their list of Top 10 Countries. They say it’s, ‘The Cinderella of East Africa’ and ‘Just make sure you discover it before everyone else does.’
Where have they been, I wonder? It’s been many years since the Amin dictatorship and it’s as quiet and stable a country as you are going to find in Africa. I have been around the whole country top to bottom twice (you can see the report of my last visit here) and each time I go, I realise what an amazing gem it is. Have no fear, they have a tourism industry set up for visitors with amazing people like Robert Begumisa, MD of Abacus African Vacations who knows everyone and organises a country tour in 4×4 that will take in all the many sights, which of course incudes wild chimps, mountain gorillas, tree-climbing lions, lakes and waterfalls and lots of bananas!
Uganda is a land of bananas and huge clusters of them get loaded onto bicycles which dissappear under the fruit with barely enough space for someone to sit on the seat. Oh Uganda, a land of many contrasts, shy rural people and such fecund beauty that a whirlwind 10-day tour just scratches the surface. Take 2 weeks, because the distances you need to travel are too much and you will feel exhausted by it. The trouble is the MUST SEES are spread far and wide but you can’t miss any out. For example Murchison Falls is in the far north and the gorillas are in the far south! What can you do? You must see them both!
Lonely Planet sum it up when they say, “Uganda certainly isn’t short of superlative thrills…..But it’s encounters with nature that are the defining experience of this country – none more so than coming face to gace with a silverback gorilla in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.”
What about health? There are some pretty revolting diseases in Africa, one of which is Ebola. This flares up from time to time but read this to put your mind at rest. Malaria – yes you need to take precautions and a yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for any African country, so is a having your rabies vaccination up to date. These are all things you need for international travel so just get the jabs, take the pills and enjoy the travel.