The sporting world never seems to go on holiday. At almost every single time, there is a major sports event happening somewhere in the world. As you read this, the ICC Cricket World Cup, the Copa America and the FIFA Women’s World Cup are happening at the same time as the Africa Cup of Nations.
Uganda Cranes not only made the cut to be at this year’s edition, they also won their first game at the tournament since the great days of 1978, when they made it to the finals in Ghana. Let me first talk about the win against our neighbours the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). You see, DRC are not just our neighbours, for many years they were our main source of entertainment with their addictive Rhumba and Soukous sound. However when the whistle was blown for the opening game between Uganda and RDC, the Ugandan players did not allow to be distracted by any ‘kwasa kwasa’ moves. They pulled off a win so emphatic that the DRC team had to apologise to their fans for the loss. I swear I didn’t make that up.
One strange thing about this game was how the two teams seemed to have donned jerseys that were not easy to tell apart. Was this an oversight on the part of CAF or just a subtle way of reminding us that there are more things we share with our neighbours to the west. Take for example the amazing gentle giants that reside in the Virunga massif. The Mountain gorillas.
Uganda and DRC share these gorillas and the animals do not even need travel documents to cross from one side to the other. Gorillas are one of the top attractions that Uganda has to offer. Just like in the game, Uganda has something more than DRC on this front, for we have mountain gorillas in Mgahinga National Park that is part of the shared Virunga massif but also in Bwindi impenetrable forest. Tourists therefore have a choice on which gorilla community they can visit and at quite affordable park fees.
By the way, if you’ve ever met a silverback gorilla, you would agree with me that these are indeed the kings of the jungle. Not the lions that roam the Savannah while claiming to be the kings of the jungle.
Back to football, the next game Uganda has is against Zimbabwe. When one thinks of Zimbabwe, their mind may go to Comrade Robert Mugabe or the stunning Victoria falls. I choose to think of the falls for they will certainly outlive uncle Bob. Interestingly many tourists spend quite a while trying to figure out whether it is better to visit these falls from the Zimbabwe side or the Zambia side.
To save time, I would say, how about you just choose to head to Uganda. And make your way to the magnificent Murchison Falls. You will be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery from below the falls and from on top of the falls without having to cross to another country. I have been there and trust it is really breathtaking.
At the top the roar of the Nile as it negotiates the narrowest spot on its journey to Egypt will be your soundtrack. Yes, the same Egypt that is hosting the AFCON relies on water that starts its journey from Jinja. At the bottom of the falls, the water continues to flow in a gentler man towards the Lake Albert.
As you enjoy a boat rides downstream you will be sure to see Elephants gracefully grazing as well as crocodiles basking on the bank. And I am not talking about any crocodiles but the Nile crocodile. The largest crocs you can ever set your eyes on anywhere in the world. If you are a bird lover, this area is well known for so many bird species including the famous shoebill.
There is so much you can see while in these spaces that it can feel like being at a buffet table with so many tasty dishes. If you have a good appetite for travel, then Uganda is the meal your dietitian would recommend.
“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 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.” – UTB CEO, Lilly Ajarova
Known as the “Pearl of Africa,” Uganda is located in East Africa and offers some of the continent’s most diverse wildlife viewing, dramatic landscapes, and immersive cultural experiences and warm people and hospitality. Uganda is home to more than half the world’s population of endangered mountain gorillas, and trekking to observe these gentle giants in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the world’s top bucket list travel activities. Safari opportunities abound in savanna, forest, and wetland settings throughout 10 national parks, where visitors can come face to face with “The Big Five” – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo – as well as giraffe, zebra, chimpanzee, hippopotamus, crocodile, and more than half of all bird species found in Africa. Among Uganda’s extraordinary natural attractions are the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains; expansive Lake Victoria, which forms the source of the Nile River; and Murchison Falls National Park. For more information, please visit; www.visituganda.com.