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It was a bright and beautiful Thursday and it was *drum rolls* Wanderlust Thursday!!!!!!!!!!

But at first, I was worried about how I was to engage more than 5,000 African bloggers without making a fool of myself while at it *phew*

Little did I know what was in store for me. It was Wanderlust Thursday and the country we were wandering to was none other than the great pearl of Africa, UGANDA!

Turns out it all started well with different Ugandans contributing to the live chat. Uganda is a very beautiful country and quite a lot of experiences were shared. Some travel nomads joined the conversation late but were assured that all the tips and must-see places in Uganda would be together for them.

At this point, I really appreciate Evelyn Masaba @NoirEnBlanca for coming through. She created a massive thread about must visit places in Uganda.

Evelyn also shared the following:

  • You must be ready for anything while traveling in Uganda. For lazy wildlife drives, go to Kidepo, Q. Elizabeth, Murchison, L. Mburo. You will see lions, elephants, giraffes, buffalo et al. My favorite is Murchison, as it has everything from meerkat and warthog to elephants and of course, the gorgeous roaring falls.
Murchison
  • There you will find so many Elands, Zebras, Meerkats, Warthogs and whitewater bucks at the Lake Mburo Park. No elephants here though
  • Queen Elizabeth is the actual Queen of the parks because of the amazing wildlife, the Lions lazy up in the trees plus there are lots of buffalos.
  • I haven’t been to Bwindi or Kidepo yet, but the former has so many chimps, gorillas whilst Kidepo has leopards and giraffes et al. For bird watching; the Mabira forest will be your favorite location and make sure you head on to the Elgon where rare bird life is spotted., hike through Rwenzori Mountains National Park and explore the largest Mahogany Forest in East Africa right in Budongo Forest Reserve.
  • Relax on the shores of Lake Victoria and visit the Ssese Islands. The Ssese Islands are an archipelago of eighty-four islands.
  • Jinja will thrill the life out of you. Go white water rafting, kayaking as well as Bungee jumping on the thundering Nile.
  • Mountain climbing? Uganda got you! Mountain Rwenzori is also known as mountains of the moon and the dormant volcano Mount Elgon are scale worthy.
  • In Kampala: pass by the Munyonyo shrines (in the photo), visit the Baha’i temple, make your way to the National Museum, Kisubi tombs.
  • So much culture to explore around Uganda, the tribes are colorful and have a strong heritage that you will want to soak it in. Try tasting all the food you find around Uganda too because it all comes with a story and tradition. Street food? Try Rolex, TV chicken, lusaniya

At this point, I had to ask……

‘Why are we eating ‘Rolex’ and what’s TV chicken guys?!’

I was told Rolex – is a street food/quick snack. A combination of eggs and vegetables wrapped in a chapatti…

  • Ever been to Soroti? It became my favorite district after Manafwa and Fort Portal. It’s so sleepy and rocky. 😍

Nvannungi @Nvannungi_ handled the travel tips and gave lifesaving insights and things to put in consideration while planning your travel to Uganda.

1. Time

Our people in and out of Kampala have a much-skewed view of time. It gets worse as you draw further away from town. Plan your trip with a provision for delays; that includes issues arising from random road works to bad weather, late arrival of meals, etc. If a guide who spends most of their time in districts outside Kampala says a hike will take 40 minutes, make that an hour and 20, and factor in numbers and physique or fitness of your travel party. #Travel #Uganda.

2. Weather

It’s not the culture in Uganda to pack and plan travel with the weather in mind so people end up hiking with rubber sandals on rainy days. Tour guides too never think to mention the season when you make bookings so do it for you and your could-be dope vacation.

3. Travel Party

Are your people tourists, travelers, storytellers or other? Understand your travel party before letting a tour operator pursue you into certain (possibly amazing) adventures. Your people might just be happy to be driven around & not walk/hike. Luckily #Uganda offers so much to do and to see for all types of travelers. Indigenous, Bougie, etc.  #Travel #Uganda

4. Travel. See #Uganda

Whatever you fancy, you can find it. Uganda is so rich and so beautiful. Plus, you’ll be wiser for it! Most importantly, learn something & tell that Ugandan story in a picture, a caption, or a blog.  #KoikoiUg

Kalangala islands have White sand beaches, great stories by the locals, boat rides. It’s a place away from the bustle of town noise. Gorilla highlands are rich in history, nature and you’ll return so relaxed. There are about 29 islands to visit, adventure awaits you.

Image credit: JoelJemba , Raft Uganda

*Re-write, original crashed with the old server*

I  have appreciated art right from a very young age. Even though I can hardly pick up a brush to paint to save my life. I took 3 months of photography lessons some years ago, I can still remember some basic things as I plan to get a lovely camera someday. Came across Aaron Kajumba images from a Ugandan friend’s page, Aaron is part of a team of young Ugandans who created a platform called KoikoiUg which they use to bring creative people together to explore their beautiful country and show it to the world. Aaron’s work is amazing and I had to listen to the story behind his art. Enjoy!


A little bio about Aaron.

Hey! I am a pastor, yes haha a pastor living in Uganda on a mission with Fishers Of Men Uganda. My passion for the art started when I was given an iPhone 3G in 2009, which had a great camera at the time. Soon after, Instagram was launched! Through the years, I was able to culture my own unique style and even added drone photography to my belt. I grew very fond of capturing the raw emotion of when, where, who and what I shot. I guess I shoot for the feels.


What drew you to Photography?

I think it was being able to immortalize moments. To make people feel how that moment felt years later.  I thought that was awesome.


What inspires your kind of photography? In what way do you intend to inspire Africans with your photography?

I love to shoot for emotion, would love that my photography inspires Africans to stop and see the beauty in the simple things around us. There is so much color, life and character in our communities to revel in as people. We just need to take the time to stop and look.

Do you feel there’s a relationship between your art and Uganda?

That’s an interesting question. I believe my eye did change when I moved back here because of the ten thousand things I had missed growing up. People, places and was able to appreciate the beauty of Uganda much more through a photographer’s eye.

Which Photographers inspire you?

I don’t particularly follow anyone religiously but there are a few people I was amazed at when I started out.

Joel Nsadha, he started #soulofman, an online portrait gallery of people he has met. He is also from Uganda and currently lives in New York.

Brian Woeffel is a photographer I like truly for hos Lightroom edits! Till this day I still edit off of my phone using the VSCO app. But this guy’s stuff always moved me to make that Lightroom switch. Maybe I will this year!

Now, Temiloluwa Coker is widely known for his creative approach in photography and design. Being creative is more than just a hobby to him, it’s his passion and everyday he gets the opportunity to teach the younger generation the power of creativity and how it can change the world. He is originally from Nigeria.

Pei Ketron is a photographer, educator, speaker and traveler based in San Francisco. What really caught my eye back then was that she was getting these really professional looking images shot off her iPhone! Her work encouraged me to push the boundaries of my iPhone photography.

Isaiah Kajumba is definitely on this list. Haha yes, we are brothers. Photography for him is a creative outlet that lets him be much more expressive. We actually got dslrs in 2015 and shooting with him has definitely matured how I see life through the lens.

Mutua Matheka is a Kenyan based photographer who became known because of his architectural photography. His pictures of Nairobi at night blew my mind and totally gave me a new perspective on what African cities could look like through a creative eye.

What is the Photography scene like in Uganda?

There are a lot…literally myriads of upcoming photographers in the country and workshops to help people grow their craft. It’s really cool to see people enjoying what they are doing and learning from each other.

Other photographers will you like to work with?

I would love to work with, (by work with I mean even carry the lens of) Mutua Matheka. He was one honestly one of the African photographers that I saw truly embodied what it meant to be a photographer and love it!

kampala city                            Evening view of Kampala city (credits: Joel Nsadha Isababi)

Uganda is commonly referred to as the Pearl of Africa which is not far from the truth considering her natural resources combined with a very hospitable population. Here are some crazy facts about her;

  1. Caesarian sections were being performed in Uganda way before 1879 when R.W. Felkin observed his first successful operation by indigenous healers in Kahura. (reference: Notes on Labour in Central Africa” published in the Edinburgh Medical Journal, volume 20, April 1884, pages 922-930.)
  1. There are about 880 mountain gorillas in the whole world and half of them are found in Uganda.
  1. Ranked as the world’s most entrepreneurial country with a rate of 28.1%. This means that 28.1% of Uganda’s population own or co-own a business that has paid salaries for more than 3 months but less than 42.
  1. Lakes and rivers cover 26% of Uganda which is 91,136 mi² (241,038 km²) making her the 81st largest country in the world by area. You could say Uganda and Oregon are roughly the same sizes.
  1. The preservation of the umbilical cord and the jawbone among the Ganda and Nyoro ethnicities is similar to the customs of the ancient Egyptian kings.
  1. Mountain Rwenzori (Margherita peak) is the 4th highest in Africa and reaches 5109m (16, 761ft). Interesting to note is it’s covered by snow throughout the year!
  1. Uganda is among the top ten coffee growers/ producers in the world as well as the world’s 4th largest exporter of Robusta coffee (2015).
  1. Grasshoppers are an important and popular seasonal delicacy!
    grasshoppers
                                             Pan fried grasshoppers (credits: Pinterest)
  1. Ranked as the world’s most ethnically diverse country (2013), in other words, if you randomly picked any two people from any part of Uganda, they would be of different ethnicities.
  1. Uganda is among the top 16 holiday destinations for 2016 by CNN. Also ranked as a top tourist destination for 2012 by lonely planet.
  1. Unbelievably true is the fact that Ugandans enjoy their alcohol (2013 study). Uganda ranks as number 1 in Africa and number 8 in the world.
  1. Lake Nalubaale (a.k.a Lake Victoria) found in Uganda is the source of the Nile and is the largest tropical lake in the world. The lake is also considered the second largest freshwater lake.
  1. The British christened Uganda its name, which is a Swahili word meaning land of the Ganda. (1900 Buganda agreement.)
  1. The Batwa, one of the endangered ethnicities, is believed to have lived for close to 60,000 years in the forests of southwest Uganda.
  1. Uganda is UNESCO’s sole representative of Barkcloth. It used to be common in Indonesia, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. Important to note is, Uganda’s one of the countries that have preserved the custom of bark cloth making.
  1. Is home to rare earth minerals (REE- aluminous clays, yttrium, gallium & scandium) valued to be as much as 300 million tonnages. These minerals can be used in the manufacture of cars, airplane parts, and electronics. Other deposits can be found in China and Canada.
  1. The Luzira head that was discovered at the prisons in Luzira dates back to AD 1000. It is one of the oldest Sub-saharan sculptures yet discovered in Africa. It has been part of the British Museum’s ethnographic collection since 1931.
    luzira head
                                              The Luzira head (credits: britishmuseum.org)
  1. Mutesa II, the first president of independent Uganda, was instrumental in funding the Mau-Mau rebellion against the British rule in Kenya.
  1. The story of the Uganda martyrs and their shrine built at Namugongo is a fascinating one. Thousands of people from East and Central Africa flock the shrine on 3rd June every year to honor the martyrs.
  1. Uganda is known as Africa’s premier birding destination. There are over 1000 bird species recorded in Uganda. It is even believed that some of the birds living in Uganda’s forests may not be classified as yet.
  1. The Kasubi tombs, in the central region, are a classic site of 13th-century architecture in Africa.
    kasubi tombs
    Kasubi tombs (credits:http://www.buganda.com)
  1. There are about 150,000 chimpanzees in Africa and a third of them are found in Uganda. In fact, a significant number of chimpazees across Africa are found in only 4 countries.
  1. The Nile perch is not indigenous to Uganda and was introduced into Lake Naluubale (a.k.a Lake Victoria) round about the 1950s.
  1. Uganda has huge deposits of over 50 precious minerals and most of them have not even been mined or refined.
  1. Uganda is one of the few countries in Africa to design her own car, the Kiira that was unveiled in 2011. The prototype was first designed by students at Makerere University and has since then undergone a couple of improvements and modifications.
    kiira ev
                                        The Kiira (credits: evbud.com)
  1. Misaki Wayengera, a Ugandan, developed a 5-minute Ebola test kit. This fantastic breakthrough is expected to reduce the Ebola death rate through quicker diagnosis.
  2. Uganda is the second youngest country in the world with about 70% of the population below the age of 25.
  3. Bazilio Olara Okello was Uganda’s president (de facto head of state) for two days from 27th July to 29th July 1985.
Flag 3d map of Uganda, physical outside.
                            Flag 3d map of Uganda, physical outside. (credits: map hill)

Courtesy: Oneafricangirl.com

This article was first featured on TravelStart Kenya.

Africa is well known for its raw beauty and exotic scenery. If it is not the gorgeous tropical weather, it is the lush greenery that makes up most of the continent, or it is the unspeakably breath taking sand dunes that take hold of our deserts; or maybe it is the rough terrain and high mountains that touch the sky? Or the pristine white sand on our beaches being lapped up by salty, turquoise colored sea water. Whatever the reason, more and more film producers from all over the world have started seeing this continent as the next best location for shooting big blockbuster movies.
Just recently, Netflix shot one of its best performing series’ so far (Sense 8) on location in Nairobi, Kenya. That is not all, ‘Homeland‘, one of the best shows ever to grace our TV’s had a street scene shot in Cape Town CBD. So did ‘Black Sails’ and a host of other popular TV shows. Thanks to the beautiful climate, exceptionally friendly people and gorgeous landscapes that will have you gasping for air, Africa has become a prime location for movies and big budget series. Our beautiful Motherland is set to grace our silver screens more frequently now as more and more producers realize that we have that ‘picture perfect’ kind of land. That being said, here are 10 of the famous movies you didn’t know were filmed in Africa:

Out of Africa: 1985 (Kenya)

Out of Africa
Photo Source: wwwcinemastyle blog

Arguably the one film that portrays Kenya’s awe-inspiring beauty the way it should be portrayed. Shot on location in Karen and the Maasai Mara, Out of Africa is a film based on the life of Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) and the exploits she had on her coffee plantation and colonial Kenya. Meryl Streep and Robert Redford bring the best out of this film that is teaming with love, conflict, colonial politics and betrayal. As good as the story is, it is the beautiful shots of the spectacular Kenyan plains that will get you!

Mad Max: Fury Road: 2015 (Namibia)

Mad Max Fury Road 001
Photo Source: Collider.com

Currently in Cinemas, Mad Max: Fury Road is set to be one of the most popular movies this year. Fury Road is the 4th installment of Mad Max and it stars Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron. Based on a post-apocalyptic world, Mad Max: Fury Road was shot on location in Namibia after the original Australian location became too lush and flower filled to suit the kind of dystopian sand filled carnage that goes on in the film.

Lord of War: 2005 (South Africa)

lord-of-war-south-africa-film
Photo Source: Schaap.st.st

Lord of War tells the story of Yuri Orlov, played by Nicholas Cage, an infamous arms dealer who thrived in the most war tone and conflict ridden parts of the world. It was shot in Cape Town and it captures a side of Africa that many have come to know (War, corruption and dictators). That, notwithstanding, the picturesque shots of South Africa in this film will drive you wild with awe.

Blood Diamond: 2006 (Mozambique/ South Africa)

Blood Diamond
Photo Source: highdefdiscnews.com

Leonardo Dicaprio plays a rogue mercenary in this film set in war tone Sierra Leone in 1999. He teams up with Solomon Vandy, played by Djimon Hounsou, who plays a Mende fisherman, to recover a huge pink diamond that will set them both free from their different sets of problems. There is war, love for family, moral gray areas and conflict in this film. It portrays an ugly side of Africa and humanity as whole, it does however portrays exceptionally beautiful terrain in Mozambique and South Africa.

The Last King of Scotland: 2006 (Uganda)

Last_King-movie
Photo Source: Stephenharen.com

Forest Whitaker plays ‘Idi Amin’, Uganda’s most infamous dictator. The story is told by Dr. Nicholas Garrigan, played by James McAvoy, who was hired as the dictator’s physician. He leads us through Amin’s life and through most of rural and urban Uganda as it were in 1971. Of course, the lush terrain and beautiful African weather does not disappoint.

African Queen: 1951 (Uganda and Congo)

African-Queen
Photo Source: welovemoviesmorethanyou.com

An amusing adventure between a riverboat captain, played by Humphrey Bogart and a missionary spinster, Katharine Hepburn. The bunter, the scenery and the thrilling adventure that ensures here is nothing short of classically entertaining. So, if you are a fan of classic films, you might want to look this up and enjoy.

Cry Freetown: 1999 (Sierra Leone)

cry freetown

Not to be confused with Cry Freedom (set in Zimbabwe), Cry Freetown tells the story of the civil war in Sierra Leone in 1999. Told by local journalist, Sorious Samura, this is a film that will yank your heart out of your chest and make you doubt the good in humanity. It does however, showcase a beautiful, albeit, war tone Sierra Leone.

The Constant Gardener: 2005 (Kenya)

constant-gardner

Shot in Nairobi, this is the story of Justin Quayle, played by Ralph Fiennes. Quayle was a UK diplomat trying to explain his wife’s murder. His wife, played by Rachael Weisz, was an amnesty activists who was investigating a dangerous drug trial that would have implicated and exposed the torrid malpractices of a huge pharmaceutical company. The film feature Kibera, Kenya’s hugest slam and beautiful shots of Nairobi, Kenya’s Capital.

Invictus: 2009 (South Africa)

invictus-
Photo Source: Hbo.com

You probably knew this one was shot in South Africa. It is a story surrounding the events that led to South Africa’s 1996 Rugby World Cup victory. Morgan Freeman portrays a charismatic Nelson Mandela who motivates the South African ‘Springbok’ rugby team and all but demands that they win the Rugby World Cup in the name of the national pride and unity. Matt Damon plays Francois Pienaar, the team Captain. It is shot on location in beautiful Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Robben Island.

Hotel Rwanda: 2004 (Rwanda and South Africa)

hotel-rwanda_scene-600x370
Photo Source: Canadianchristianity.com

This heart wrenching film will restore your faith in humanity as a Don Cheadle plays Paul Rusesabinga, a humanitarian hotel manager in Kigali who saved hundreds of Tutsi and Hutu refugees from certain death during the genocide. Born a Hutu father and a Tutsi mother, Paul put his own life in danger to save his fellow countrymen from marauding militia members who looked to tear the country apart. This film was shot on location in Kigali, Rwanda and South Africa.
The physical beauty and amazing climate in Africa makes it the perfect continent for many movie sets. Adventure films like Tomb Raider II had scenes from Kenya’s very own Hell’s Gate National Park as well as Amboseli. More and more film producers, both local and international, are realizing that these beautiful scenes make for picture perfect silver screen moments and are heading to Africa for gorgeous footage for their big blockbuster movies.
If you have seen a wonderful film, both locally or internationally produced and shot on location in Africa, do not hesitate to share that with us in the comment section below. Also tell us your favorite scene from a big blockbuster film shot in your country.

 

 

 

 

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