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The launch of three free maps, a free mobile app and a book of photography gives unprecedented information about Uganda’s architectural heritage at 60+ sites across Kampala, Jinja and Entebbe. This is your chance to explore – and help preserve – Kampala, Jinja and Entebbe’s 60+ historical buildings and sites – and it’s nearly all FREE!

One of the (few) things that I miss about Europe is the architecture. The continent’s rich history is preserved and celebrated through houses and office blocks, castles, and palaces. The collective history of these buildings can be traced back centuries.

My early career was spent working with architects in London and my mantra was always to ‘look up’ – to explore what was going on above street level, beyond the modern signage and the shop facades.

Uganda has some interesting old buildings but many are under threat from developers who would rather put up something new than re-purpose an existing structure. Although some buildings may look dilapidated now, there’s no reason why most can’t be given a face lift. In Europe, heritage is a big business.

I was therefore delighted when Verity from CCFU told me all about a brilliant initiative that aims at preserving what remains of Uganda’s unique built heritage. I have visited the Baha’i Temple and Jinja’s old buildings fascinate me; I often wonder at the history of the old buildings along Kampala Road. It’s now easier than ever for you to explore these and many more places yourself. If you work in tourism, how can you include these places on a tour?

Uganda’s Built Heritage – a free mobile phone app

The app features over 60 buildings that represent Uganda’s architectural history, covering the pre-colonial era and post-independence Uganda.

Uganda’s Built Heritage app brings Uganda’s history to life as you walk or drive down the street!

The “Uganda’s Built Heritage” app is free to download

A view of the Kampala section of the “Uganda’s Built Heritage” app

  • See photos, descriptions and contact information for historical sites and buildings
  • Read overviews of each town and city
  • Plan walking or driving routes between historical sites
  • Set up alerts to notify you when you pass historical places
  • Share your discoveries with friends online

Click here to download Uganda’s Built Heritage app from Play Store (Android) or App Store (iPhone). The app is free

Maps – explore the historical sites of Kampala, Jinja, and Entebbe

Three high-quality maps have been produced to help tourists and members of the public understand and appreciate the history around us. The maps detail the historical buildings and sites for each of the three cities with a clear annotated street plan.

Map of Jinja’s Historical Buildings and Sites from CCFU

  1. A Map of Kampala’s Historical Buildings and Sites
  2. A Map of Jinja’s Historical Buildings and Sites
  3. A Map of Entebbe’s Historical Buildings and Sites   

Click on the links above to download PDF versions of each map or visit the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda

“Beyond the Reeds and Bricks – Historical Sites and Buildings in Kampala, Jinja and Entebbe” photographic book

“Beyond the Reeds and Bricks: Historical Sites and Buildings in Kampala, Jinja, and Entebbe” presents beautiful pictures that were taken exclusively for this project. The narrative sets the 60+ locations in their historical, social and political contexts and highlights why they still matter today.

This book bears witness to the richness of Uganda’s historical buildings and sites (some hidden, some prominent) surrounding us in Kampala, Jinja, and Entebbe. From the legacy of pre-colonial kingdoms to the introduction of western education, medicine, and religions, the growth of commerce and industry, through to Uganda’s forging a new independent identity, this book documents the country’s story through those historical buildings and sites that still stand today.

“Beyond the reeds and bricks” a photographic book about Historical Sites and Buildings of Kampala, Jinja and Entebbe

The book is available at Aristoc, Kardamom & Koffee (KAR Drive in Kololo), Entebbe airport departure lounge bookshop and from CCFU’s office on Makerere Hill. The book is priced at 150,000 UGX.

Background to this project

Urbanization, rapid population growth and the drive for modernity have created a constant demand for higher-density development (such as multi-story apartments). These are often on plots which are already occupied by historical buildings and sites. As a result, many heritage sites have already been lost forever. The risk of losing more of the county’s heritage is real and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Loss of historic sites means a lost connection with a shared past. Without the unique features of the built environment, one Ugandan city risks becoming indistinguishable from any other. Each building has a story to tell about the people who lived or worked there and about the history of Uganda.

This issue is recognized internationally through Sustainable Development Goal 11, reflecting a global realization that many urban cities are expanding fast and risk losing their historical and cultural identity if heritage infrastructure and associated cultural values are not preserved and promoted.

National and local government are strongly encouraged to “identify, list, protect and promote historical properties in their respective cities and to serve as examples of preservation champions to other municipalities.”

Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda. European Union launch event May 2019 CCFU

On African World Heritage Day 2019, the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) with support from the European Union together with Ugandan partners launched a mobile app, three maps, and a photographic book. The aim of the project? To protect the posterity of historical buildings and sites in Kampala, Jinja, and Entebbe.

The three products illustrated here are the result of a year-long collaboration to mark the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage “which provided an ideal opportunity to share the European experience with like-minded Ugandan institutions.” The Embassy of Ireland is also acknowledged for its role in the early days of this project.

The Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) is a national not-for-profit NGO, dedicated to promoting the recognition of culture as vital for human development that responds to Uganda’s national identity and diversity. CCFU was founded in 2006, premised on the conviction that positive aspects of culture can be harnessed to bring about social and economic transformation. For more information visit the CCFU web site email ccfu@crossculturalfoundation.or.ug or call +256 (0)393 294 675 / 7.

If you enjoy history, you might like my pictures of Kampala railway station and Nairobi railway station.

Take time to explore these great resources from CCFU. Our children may thank us one day.

The post History in your hand – exploring Kampala, Jinja & Entebbe for free with maps and a mobile app appeared first on Diary of a Muzungu | Uganda & East Africa Travel Blog.

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Uganda tourism supports Uganda Cranes at Africa Cup of Nations 2019 in Egypt

This week a team from the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities (MTWA) and the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) are in Egypt – this year’s host of the Africa Cup of Nations – to promote and market Destination Uganda alongside the Uganda Cranes, the national football team.

The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) attracts travelers from all over the world providing a great opportunity for Uganda to market her tourist attractions.

“Egypt is a well-known world over for the pyramids and the River Nile. As the country that has the source of the Nile, we feel that this is a great opportunity to market the source of this river as well as our tourism potential to the rest of the world while utilizing this sports platform,” says the State Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda.

The Uganda Tourism Board has set up a hospitality tent in Egypt to provide information about the Pearl of Africa’s tourism attractions, with emphasis on the uniting attraction that is River Nile.

Lilly Ajarova, CEO of UTB explains: “We have invited dignitaries from all the AFCON 2019 participating nations and we shall treat them to the Ugandan experience. We have also planned an open day where everyone will be invited to try out the Ugandan cuisine, learn the Ugandan culture as well as experience Ugandan hospitality.”

“Football is the world’s greatest sport viewed by billions of fans across the globe. In Uganda, Cranes is the greatest football brand”

The Uganda tourism team’s presence in Egypt follows the Ugx 200m ($50,000 +) sponsorship agreement signed between the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) and UTB, the official tourism partner. This partnership gives the Uganda Tourism Board the chance to brand Uganda Cranes and work together to promote both domestic and international tourism.

Ajarova adds “Football is the world’s greatest sport viewed by billions of fans across the globe. In Uganda, the Cranes is the greatest football brand – but more importantly, they are the leading sporting ambassadors to the region and the world. We want to open up brand Uganda to the massive sports audience where our national team participates.”

FUFA 1st Vice President, Justus Mugisha said that “We are using the power of sports to position Uganda on a global scene. We are proud to be in partnership and we hope to continue building our nation through sports and tourism.”

Opening Ceremony of Africa Cup of Nation-2019

Earlier in 2019, UTB signed a partnership with the Uganda Golf Union to promote countrywide golfing tours. It is likely that additional new sports tourism activities will be launched.

We go, we go, Uganda Cranes, we go!

The Uganda Cranes are making a second consecutive appearance at the biennial AFCON event. They won their first match (against the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and today – June 26 – the Cranes play Zimbabwe. The final group A game will be against the hosts Egypt.

2019-Africa-Cup-of-Nations-Fixtures

The post Uganda gets a sporting chance to promote tourism globally appeared first on Diary of a Muzungu | Uganda & East Africa Travel Blog.

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Rwanda’s commitment to protecting and investing in its National Parks is phenomenal. The annual Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony is one example of that.

“On Sunday June 23, five critically endangered Eastern Black Rhinoceroses, born and bred in European zoo environments, will be flown 6,000 km to Akagera National Park in Rwanda. This is the largest ever translocation of rhinos from Europe to Africa.

This historic journey will begin at Safari Park Dvůr Králové (Czech Republic) where all five animals have been gathered since November 2018.

Map showing Black Rhino transfer from Europe to Akagera National Park in Rwanda #rhinostorwanda

While their flight departs on Sunday June 23rd, their journey began years ago, through EAZA’s vision to supplement wild populations in secure parks in Africa with genetically-robust individuals who have been successfully bred and cared for over the years by the EAZA Ex Situ Programme (EEP).

This is a unique collaboration between the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), the Government of Rwanda and conservation NGO African Parks.

Fewer than 5,000 wild black rhinos and only 1,000 Eastern Black Rhinos remain in Africa; and their future is severely threatened by poaching for the illegal demand for their horns. This translocation project represents an urgent and valuable opportunity to expand the range and protection of the black rhino, and demonstrate how captive rhinos can help supplement and repopulate wild populations within secure landscapes.

Three female and two male black rhinos, ranging between two to nine years old, were chosen. Jasiri, Jasmina and Manny were born in Safari Park Dvůr Králové (Czech Republic); Olmoti comes from Flamingo Land (United Kingdom) and Mandela is from Ree Park Safari (Denmark). The rhinos are being donated to the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the government body that manages Akagera National Park, the rhino’s new home in Rwanda, in partnership with African Parks.

All five rhinos have undergone months of sensitisation to prepare them and minimise stress to ensure the safest journey possible. During the voyage, which will be approximately 30 hours long, they will be inside custom-made crates, and fed and watered regularly. Experienced zookeepers from the Safari Park Dvůr Králové as well as veterinarian Dr. Pete Morkel, a world expert in rhino translocations, will accompany and monitor the rhinos throughout the entire trip, as well as their release into the Park.

“By undertaking a highly supervised and well-planned gradual acclimation process, we believe these rhinos will adapt well to their new environment in Rwanda. They will first be kept in bomas – enclosures made by wooden poles. Later, they will enjoy larger enclosures in a specially protected area. The final step will be to release them into the northern part of the national park where they will roam free,“ said Přemysl Rabas, Director of Safari Park Dvůr Králové.

What a beautiful creature! Back where it belongs, an Eastern Black Rhino, Akagera National Park, Rwanda. PHOTO RDB

Akagera National Park is an ideal destination for the reintroduction of the animals.

Rhinos were first reintroduced in 2017 – a decade after they were last seen in the country. In that year, African Parks successfully translocated 18 Eastern black rhinos from South Africa to Akagera in collaboration with RDB and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. The translocation entailed a 2,485-mile journey. This success is testament to both the potential of the park to sustain a rhino population, but also to the high levels of security and effective park management. You can read more about that translocation on the African Parks website.

This video is from 2017.

African Parks - Rhinos Return to Rwanda - Vimeo

Since 2010, the Park has undergone a revival with poaching practically eliminated, allowing for key species to be reintroduced. In 2015 lions were reintroduced and have since tripled in number [see photo below]. Strong community conservation efforts have resulted in tremendous support for the Park, and tourism is now leading to Akagera being 80% self-financing, generating US $2 million a year, which goes back to the Park and surrounding communities.

“We have been preparing for this moment for years and are excited to build on our efforts to revitalize the Park with the RDB and the successful introduction of the first round of rhinos in 2017,“ said Jes Gruner, Park Manager of Akagera National Park. “This transport of five rhinos from Europe is historic and symbolic, and shows what is possible when dedicated partners collaborate to help protect and restore a truly endangered species.”

These conditions also will allow for the ongoing study of the five animals from Europe and the existing population as they gradually integrate to contribute to a stable population of black rhinoceros in East Africa. The Park is a key component of the Government of Rwanda’s strategy to foster economic growth while providing a secure future for wildlife in the country.

“The translocation of five rhinos from European zoos to Rwanda will further enhance the natural ecosystem in Akagera National Park. This partnership with our European friends is a testament to Rwanda’s commitment to conservation. Today, poaching is almost non-existent in our four national parks and we are confident that these rhinos will thrive in their natural habitat in Akagera. They are a positive addition to Akagera, a Park where tourists can now visit the African Big Five,” said Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer, RDB.

The Rwanda Development Board is responsible for ensuring that the tourism and conservation goals of the Government of Rwanda are successfully implemented.

The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria comprises more than 400 zoos, aquariums and other institutions across 48 countries, collaborating for the advancement of conservation, research and education. EAZA Ex Situ Programmes is responsible for the planning and administration of over 200 programmes.

Safari Park Dvůr Králové is one of the best rhino breeders outside of Africa. So far, 46 black rhinos have been born there and the park coordinates efforts to save the northern white rhino. The park assists with conservation of rhinos, even in the wild. In 2014 and 2017, the park organized public burnings of rhino horn stockpiles to raise awareness of the plight of rhinos.

The Akagera Management Company (AMC) is a public-private partnership between RDB and African Parks and has been responsible for fully managing Akagera National Park since 2010. African Parks manages 15 national parks and protected areas covering over 10.5 million hectares in Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zambia.”

To follow the progress of the rhinos follow #rhinostorwanda on Twitter.

The rebirth of Akagera

Akagera is almost unrecognisable today from what it had become 20 years ago when it seemed destined to be lost forever. While peace was finally restored after the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis, Akagera’s demise was just starting. Refugees returning to Rwanda after the genocide were battling to survive. Forests were cut for timber and the park’s savannah became home to tens of thousands of long-horned cattle that displaced wildlife. Rhinos disappeared and lions were hunted to local extinction. The park’s value was “diminished to the point of not existing at all.” This makes Akagera’s revival even more remarkable.

Three lions crouched in the long grass next to the track and watched us. What a highlight of our Akagera safari

To be honest, I didn’t expect to see a lot of wildlife when I first went on safari to Akagera National Park three years ago (working in conservation in Uganda may have spoiled me!) I was therefore thrilled beyond words to see a leopard (just a few metres from us). Later we spent half an hour in the company of three young lions, offspring of the first lions reintroduced to the park.

Every safari in Akagera is more interesting than the first – I can’t wait to revisit!

The post Rhinos to Rwanda: the largest ever transport of rhinos from Europe to Africa begins today appeared first on Diary of a Muzungu | Uganda & East Africa Travel Blog.

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Oranges and Ebola – a night crossing at the Uganda Rwanda border

Tonight we’re listening to rumba. It’s a pleasant change from the constant hawking and violent spitting of last week’s driver. Packing my earplugs in the hold – far away from me – was a very bad idea.

Kampala traffic is intense. It takes us half an hour to exit Namirembe Road where we alight, and two hours before we are on the main road out of the city. The driver is clearly stressed and puts his foot down at every opportunity, beeping loudly for other vehicles to get out of his way.

The VIP night bus looks brand-new. The seats are very comfy and the seatbelt works. Regular readers may recall my frequent cross-border trips. “No hurry in Africa” is a favourite.

On the small TV monitor next to the driver, Bukedde bursts into life. My heart sinks. This popular show is the bane of my life (and I don’t even have a telly). In each episode, a foreign film plays, with subtitles displayed underneath. Over this is a commentary in Luganda. Ugandans LOVE this show and, at a certain time of day, far and wide across the country, Bukedde blasts out from shopfronts, bars – and buses. It’s always played very loud. It does my head in so it’s the last thing I want to hear when I plan to sleep for a few hours en route to Kigali. Today’s Bukedde is a Chinese movie, played on a Chinese screen in a Chinese bus!

With the continued punishing sounds of spitting emanating from the driver’s mouth, I’m amazed that he is allowing the passengers to break for five minutes.

“Short call,” he growls, as we pull into a petrol station near Mbarara.

The muzungu is first to jump off the bus and head for the women’s toilets. As I exit the toilets, I hear the word muzungu and murmurs in Luganda. My crime? I can only guess that in my rush to have a short call, I have forgotten to pick up a jerry can and sluice the toilet behind me, not that there is any trace that I have even been in there. Still, I allow the ladies their moment of disapproval. (The funny thing is, wouldn’t you take the time to explain the error if it really mattered?)

Back on the bus, tiredness gets the better of me. I wake up at the border.

Crossing between Uganda and Rwanda is a lot easier now we have a computerised immigration system. Gone are the days when groups of men would clutch handfuls of biros to sell to help us fill out immigration forms. On a good day, it now only takes ten minutes to exit one country and ten minutes to enter another.

No man’s land – the border crossing at Katuna (Uganda) and Gatuna (Rwanda)

Regardless of how quickly I disembark at the border crossings, I always find myself at the end of the line. I put that down to my misplaced British sense of fairness (as a nation, we are obsessed with queuing) that allows people to push past me. There’s little point in complaining.

The woman at Uganda immigration gives me a dirty look and throws my passport back at me with contempt. Why? I’ll never know.

I walk through the mist that rises from the river; the natural feature makes the perfect border delineation but No Man’s land is a desolate place at four in the morning. I feel safe however. I’ve walked across here many times.

Six men approach me, wanting to exchange currency. They’re harmless, but annoying nonetheless. They see white skin and swarm. I dodge them as best I can but one of them is insistent (or bored). He thinks it’s funny to jump out at me.

“Fuck off!” I shout (for only the third time in Uganda). He doesn’t care. In fact, he laughs. I’m usually nice – but I have my limits.

A few paces further through the gloom, I pass the barrier that marks Rwanda. Without warning, out of the surrounding darkness a skinny man shines a torch straight into my eyes. “Ebola” he says. (Is that supposed to reassure me?)

A few paces further on, the Rwandan immigration officials sit laughing in their office. It cheers me up, a lovely antidote to the negative attitude I’ve received in Uganda a few minutes before.

Customs order our bus to be emptied and searched. I smell fresh oranges.

I recall my first road trip to Rwanda a few years ago and how the bus was emptied out for a search. Are they looking for bombs or weapons? I had asked myself. I was gobsmacked when border staff wanted to confiscate a cavera carrier bag! I know the routine now (and you can expect the same routine when you enter Tanzania after June 1 2019).

Hauling a sack of (green) oranges is a two-man job. One of the sacks splits and oranges roll in every direction. Immigration formalities behind us, the passengers stand around watching. There is nothing for us to do but talk football, of course

The bus conductor comes over to say hello and asks where I’m from. As soon as I say I’m British, he excitedly chats Premier League. “We Africans love England because you have given a chance for Africans to play.” “As for the World Cup…” he hesitates, looks me directly in the eye and says “… you let us down.”

Each passenger gets on the bus clasping an orange.

This week’s travel travel tip (courtesy of my friend Julia): if you can’t afford the airfare and have to take the bus, splash out and purchase two seats next to each other! You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes.

This is about a journey I took in September 2018. Ebola checks continue at East African borders. Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya are Ebola-free. For the latest information on Ebola, I follow World Health Organization (WHO) Uganda on Twitter.

The post Oranges and Ebola – a night crossing at the Uganda Rwanda border appeared first on Diary of a Muzungu | Uganda & East Africa Travel Blog.

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Oranges and Ebola – a night crossing at the Uganda Rwanda border

Tonight we’re listening to rumba. It’s a pleasant change from the constant hawking and violent spitting of last week’s driver. Packing my earplugs in my bag in the hold beneath me was a very bad idea.

Kampala traffic is intense. It takes us half an hour to exit Namirembe Road where we alight, and two hours before we are on the main road out of the city. The driver is clearly stressed and puts his foot down at every opportunity, beeping loudly for other vehicles to get out of his way.

The VIP night bus looks brand-new. The seats are very comfy and the seatbelt works. Regular readers may recall my frequent cross-border trips. “No hurry in Africa” is a favourite.

On the small TV monitor next to the driver, Bukedde bursts into life. My heart sinks. This popular show is the bane of my life (and I don’t even have a telly). In each episode, a foreign film plays, with subtitles displayed underneath. Over this is a commentary in Luganda. Ugandans LOVE this show and, at a certain time of day, far and wide across the country, Bukedde blasts out from shopfronts, bars – and buses. It’s always played very loud. It does my head in so it’s the last thing I want to hear when I plan to sleep for a few hours en route to Kigali. Today’s Bukedde is a Chinese movie, played on a Chinese screen in a Chinese bus!

With the continued punishing sounds of spitting emanating from the driver’s mouth, I’m amazed that he is allowing the passengers to break for five minutes.

“Short call,” he growls, as we pull into a petrol station near Mbarara.

The muzungu is first to jump off the bus and head for the women’s toilets. As I exit the toilets, I hear the word muzungu and murmurs in Luganda. My crime? I can only guess that in my rush to have a short call, I have forgotten to pick up a jerry can and sluice the toilet behind me, not that there is any trace that I have even been in there. Still, I allow the ladies their moment of disapproval. (The funny thing is, wouldn’t you take the time to explain the error if it really mattered?)

Back on the bus, tiredness gets the better of me. I wake up at the border.

Crossing between Uganda and Rwanda is a lot easier now we have a computerised immigration system. Gone are the days when groups of men would clutch handfuls of biros to sell to help us fill out immigration forms. On a good day, it now only takes ten minutes to exit one country and ten minutes to enter another.

No man’s land – the border crossing at Katuna (Uganda) and Gatuna (Rwanda)

Regardless of how quickly I disembark at the border crossings, I always find myself at the end of the line. I put that down to my misplaced British sense of fairness (as a nation, we are obsessed with queuing) that allows people to push past me. There’s little point in complaining.

The woman at Uganda immigration gives me a dirty look and throws my passport back at me with contempt. Why? I’ll never know.

I walk through the mist that rises from the river; the natural feature makes the perfect border delineation but No Man’s land is a desolate place at four in the morning. I feel safe however. I’ve walked across here many times.

Six men approach me, wanting to exchange currency. They’re harmless, but annoying nonetheless. They see white skin and swarm. I dodge them as best I can but one of them is insistent (or bored). He thinks it’s funny to jump out at me.

“FUCK OFF!” I shout (for only the third time in Uganda). He doesn’t care. In fact, he laughs. I’m usually nice – but I have my limits.

A few paces further through the gloom, I pass the barrier that marks Rwanda. Without warning, out of the surrounding darkness a skinny man shines a torch straight into my eyes. “Ebola” he says. (Is that supposed to reassure me?)

A few paces further on, the Rwandan immigration officials sit laughing in their office. It cheers me up, a lovely antidote to the negative attitude I’ve received in Uganda a few minutes before.

Customs order our bus to be emptied and searched. I smell fresh oranges.

I recall my first road trip to Rwanda a few years ago and how the bus was emptied out for a search. Are they looking for bombs or weapons? I had asked myself. I was gobsmacked when border staff wanted to confiscate a cavera carrier bag! I know the routine now (and you can expect the same routine when you enter Tanzania after June 1 2019).

Hauling a sack of (green) oranges is a two-man job. One of the sacks splits and oranges roll in every direction. Immigration formalities behind us, the passengers stand around watching. There is nothing for us to do but talk football, of course

The bus conductor comes over to say hello and asks where I’m from. As soon as I say I’m British, he excitedly chats Premier League. “We Africans love England because you have given a chance for Africans to play.” “As for the World Cup…” he hesitates, looks me directly in the eye and says “… you let us down.”

Each passenger gets on the bus clasping an orange.

This week’s travel travel tip (courtesy of my friend Julia): if you can’t afford the airfare and have to take the bus, splash out and purchase two seats next to each other! You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes.

This is about a journey I took in September 2018. Ebola checks continue at East African borders. Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya are Ebola-free. For the latest information on Ebola, I follow World Health Organization (WHO) Uganda on Twitter.

The post Oranges and Ebola – a night crossing at the Uganda Rwanda border appeared first on Diary of a Muzungu | Uganda & East Africa Travel Blog.

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Tanzania bans plastic carrier bags – travellers take note!

Visitors to Tanzania should take note that the government has just announced the banning of plastic carrier bags, meaning you risk having them confiscated when you land in the country. The ban takes effect 1 June 2019.

The letter reads:

“Visitors to Tanzania are advised to avoid carrying plastic carrier bags or packing plastic carrier bags or items in plastic carrier bags in the suitcase or hand luggage before embarking on visits to Tanzania. Special desk will be designated at all entry points for surrender of plastic carrier bags the visitors may be bringing to Tanzania.

Plastic carrier items known as Ziploc bags that are specifically used to carry toiletries will be permitted as they are expected to remain in the permanent possession of visitors and are not expected to be disposed in the country.”

Tanzania plastic carrier bag ban from 1 June 2019

“The government expects that, in appreciation of the imperative to protect the environment and keep our country clean and beautiful, our visitors will accept minor inconveniencies resulting from the plastic bags ban,” said a statement from the Vice President’s Office.

This is a good development for environmental protection in Tanzania. Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda all have similar laws banning the use of single use plastic bags or ‘cavera’. Enforcement however differs across the region. In Uganda, the plastic bags were first banned in 2009.

Rwanda is particularly strict on enforcing this ban and does indeed remove any carrier bags found on visitors travelling to the country. (I know, it’s happened to me). Kenya too is reporting success in removing the bags from circulation but in Uganda implementation is hit and miss. One excuse I heard is that all the alternative (cloth) bags have “been exported to Kenya because they need them!” What is Uganda doing about this? We are handing out plastic carrier bags again! Let’s hope Tanzania implements the law strictly and serves as a better example.

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A window onto Kibale Forest

This month marks a year since I left Kampala to move (temporarily I thought!) upcountry. We often wake to the sounds of the forest: chimpanzees, black-and-white Colobus monkeys and Uganda Mangabey. Olive baboons would get into the compound were it not for the ever-vigilant dogs and mid-year, we can expect to hear hungry elephants walking across Julia’s land sniffing out our neighbours’ crops. As I write, a Great Blue Turaco coos from the thatch above my head.

I’m a country girl at heart and love life on the edge of Kibale National Park. Every few days there’s something new to see as changes in the weather attract different insects and birds.

I’m therefore thrilled to mark my anniversary month with my little home cum office “Auntie Charlotte’s cottage” featuring in “Amazing views from workplaces around the world” on bbc.com

Sarah Treleaven writes:

“Charlotte Beauvoisin first came to Uganda from the UK 10 years ago when she was fundraising for a conservation charity that focused on the prevention of elephant poaching.

She now lives in what is affectionately called “Auntie Charlotte’s cottage”, a tiny building made of wood with a thatched roof. Beauvoisin works from a desk with a view of the surrounding forest.

She spent her first few years dividing her time between Kampala and national parks, but more recently decided to move “up country” to a property owned by a primatologist friend.

She now lives in what is affectionately called “Auntie Charlotte’s cottage”, a tiny building made of wood with a thatched roof. Beauvoisin works from a desk with a view of the surrounding forest. The property has a stream and solar power. Neighbouring farmers grow cotton, pineapple and maize – but under the constant threat of elephants and baboons, which emerge from the forest and destroy crops. In recent years, the Ugandan government has launched a successful programme to reverse deforestation that involves paying farmers not to cut down trees.

Sunset reflected in the pond at Sunbird Hill on the edge of Kibale Forest. PHOTO Julia Lloyd

When the Internet works, she keeps a blog of her experiences. But mostly, she enjoys being immersed in nature. “We built a pond to increase biodiversity by attracting birds and butterflies, and within a week the pond was full of frogs and water scorpions,” she says. “It’s inspiring how nature just gets on with it even as we humans try our best to destroy it.””

The muzungu adds:

It’s 10 years since I arrived in Uganda as a VSO volunteer with the Uganda Conservation Foundation. That was my dream job – on paper at least!

The community of Kikarara near Ishasha in Queen Elizabeth National Park dance a thank you to the Uganda Conservation Foundation

Work trips took us to Queen Elizabeth National Park where we hung out with the rangers and learnt first-hand from impoverished farmers how elephants would trash their crops and thus their entire livelihoods. It’s quite humbling to live on the edge of such a community now.

Julia’s land touches Kibale National Park and we even have an elephant trench at the end of our garden. It’s funny how life goes full circle isn’t it?

The ‘esteemed’ primatologist referred to in the article is Julia Lloyd, highly regarded in conservation circles for leading the team that first habituated chimpanzees for tourism in Uganda. We’ve been buddies since Uganda Conservation Foundation days. She now runs the NGO In the Shadow of Chimpanzees which is based at Sunbird Hill.

If you’d like to read more about life on the edge of Kibale Forest, read A bed full of wings, or read about Sunbird Hill on Love birds, butterflies and chimps? 

This story was published by @BBC_Capital in April 2019.

The post Auntie Charlotte’s cottage features in “Amazing views from workplaces around the world” BBC.com appeared first on Diary of a Muzungu | Uganda & East Africa Travel Blog.

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Why every blogger needs CoSchedule!

Travel blogging has opened up a world of incredible experiences across East Africa. (Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I think of all the amazing places I have seen!) People see me swanning round living the good life but few people realise how much hard work is involved in writing, posting consistently and attracting readers.

In the ten years I’ve been writing Diary of a Muzungu, I realise I’ve wasted a lot of time.

Until now, blogging has been a hobby (read obsession!) and I have spent most evenings and weekends for a decade writing, researching, editing photos and uploading content. By the time it comes to promote it, I’m exhausted, and I just want to click publish and be done!

I’ve followed numerous tutorials on how to make a living as a travel blogger, how to grow your blog audience, and more and one bit of advice that jumped out at me (a few years late!) was that for every hour you spend writing a blog, you should spend three hours promoting it.

CoSchedule is a great tool for marketing content!

That little phrase blew my mind! It was like I had totally missed the point.

Some of my blogs have been epic undertakings and the thought of putting even more hours into my blog had me running for the metaphorical hills.

Take this one: I started off with a travelogue about a 23 hour train journey in a heatwave. It was a catalogue of errors from start to finish. As I did my fact checking online, I became so drawn into the history of the railway in East Africa that I ended up spending weeks crafting this one blog post.

Have you travelled on the Lunatic Express? Kenya’s historic train

Should I have spent three times that amount of time promoting it? This will forever be one of my favourite adventures, why then I didn’t promote it more?

CoSchedule Dashboard

Back in the real world, deadlines beckon and it’s not always possible to spend as much time as you want on every blog. Frequently, I’ve just clicked publish and relied on Google to find my content.

For 10 years, I have written, researched and uploaded every item on my blog. Shouldn’t I now be focusing my time on promoting it and monetising it?

Well I’m over the moon to have radically changed this approach recently by signing up to CoSchedule. It’s like having a third arm, and an extra me!

CoSchedule_Social-Analytics-Report

What is CoSchedule?

I’m a big fan of WordPress and recommend it to everyone who is starting a blog (or developing a website). Forget using any other kind of blogging platform. I’ve managed a number of WordPress sites for other people and adore the easy functionality of some superb plug-ins. Coschedule is one of them.

How does CoSchedule work?

CoSchedule is like having your in-house planning team. It talks you through scheduling your blog content and integrates with your social media channels. You even get weekly reminders prompting you to add and schedule more content if it thinks you’re not doing enough. You can give team members access as well. Rather than getting lost in a series of back-and-forth emails, we can edit each other’s content, add tasks and see exactly where we are with creating new content – all within your WordPress dashboard. We can see which social media updates are planned for the coming days, weeks and months in the CoSchedule calendar too.

CoSchedule_Wordpress-Calendar

Introduction to CoSchedule

I have a lot of stories that I want to show to people who have just started reading my blog. CoSchedule helps me bring out this popular and ‘evergreen’ content and schedule it to new followers. Neat! Resharing once-popular content is something I always mean to do; somehow it just always falls off the to do list.

Managing your blog with Coschedule

I can’t tell you how much I love this software!

As much as you may have spreadsheets, HootSuite, scheduling within Facebook and more, this is the best single solution I’ve found to integrate your blog content (past and present), your social media channels and your calendar into one place. As a Chartered Institute of Marketing manager and trainer, I’ll definitely be recommending CoSchedule to my clients and trainees.

Give it a go yourself. Click here to get a free trial and see how it works – and if you have any questions, just get in touch with me!

The post Why every blogger needs CoSchedule! appeared first on Diary of a Muzungu | Uganda & East Africa Travel Blog.

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Do you work in tourism? Arusha is the new, bigger venue for KARIBU KILIFAIR June 7-9 2019

Billed as “East Africa’s number one tourism B2B event,” this June the East African tourism industry and its promoters will gather in Arusha, Tanzania, the new home for the jointly billed KARIBU KILIFAIR.

I’ve heard good feedback from Ugandan tourism industry friends about previous events. According to the organisers, the new venue will have space for over 450 exhibitors.

Over the past few months, I’ve noticed how Ugandan safari companies are starting to include Tanzania on their itineraries. Until now, Ugandan safaris may have included Rwanda, or occasionally Kenya but Tanzania has been a rare inclusion. That’s another reason why this event is so appealing to me: Tanzania is reaching out to us.

Dancing Maasai. Tanzania tourism. KiliFair Karibu Fair Arusha. 2019

What is KARIBU KILIFAIR? #KARIBUKILIFAIR2019

KARIBU KILIFAIR is an international tourism fair that promotes companies based in the Kilimanjaro region, Tanzania, East Africa and Central Africa. Opportunities include fam trips, buyer lounge and press area. There is also a new buyer “cash pay back” programme for 500+ international travel agents / buyers. At the weekend, the fair also attracts local people and their families and expats looking for entertainment and holiday offers.

I’ve been following the growth of this tourism business networking event with interest and hope to make the journey from Kampala to Arusha – by bus? by plane? by ferry across Lake Victoria? – who knows quite how yet.

This is why I travel… to sit at a table overlooking the beach at the Serena Inn, Stone Town, Zanzibar. Want a glass of mimosa? “You just have to ask.” Fresh frangipani flowers, custard apple juice and ‘madafu’ coconut juice decorate the Diary of a Muzungu, Swahili-style!

Are you interested in learning more about KARIBU KILIFAIR 2019?

KARIBU KILIFAIR is FREE to international and East African travel agents who pre-register. Follow this link to pre-register. (If you register at the event, the fee is TSH 50,000 / US$ 25).

To exhibit or rent a stand, click here.

To see the seminar programme, click here. Seminars cover diverse topics such as conservation, sustainable tourism, social media and networking for hospitality.

Here’s all the info you need to know!

Event dates: June 7-9 2019

Venue: Friedkin Recreation Center, (formerly known as TGT grounds), Arusha.

Email: info@kilifair.com

Telephone: +255 (0)754 200 580 / +255 (0)764 627 799 or landline +255 2727 51006

Are you ready to book your flight to Arusha?

Click here to take advantage of Ethiopian Airlines special promotional rate.

My turn to drive… (I wish!) What a superb game drive – from the luxury tented Selous Serena Camp to our private boat for Serena Mivumo River Lodge…

I never say no to a chance to chat about travel and tourism. I can’t wait to learn more about the Great Migration across the Serengeti, the Selous, Mount Kilimanjaro Africa’s highest peak, the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Natron, Stonetown and the beaches of Zanzibar. I’ll be there with some of my colleagues from Uganda, hoping – as always – to catch up with tourism friends from Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and West Africa too. In the meantime, read some of the Muzungu’s top reasons to visit Tanzania.

How well do you know Arusha? What are your top Tanzania travel tips?

The post Do you work in tourism in East Africa? Let’s meet in Arusha! KARIBU KILIFAIR 2019 appeared first on Diary of a Muzungu | Uganda & East Africa Travel Blog.

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