Eastern Uganda: In a bid to promote the Elgon region as a top tourist destination, the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities, with agencies Uganda Tourism Board, Uganda Wildlife Authority, UWEC, UHHTI, and UWRI, and private sector players, with a team of more than 300 people embarked on a journey to explore Eastern Uganda.
The route started at the Uganda Museum in the domestic tourism promotional drive dubbed “Explore Elgon.”
The official raising of the flag was done by Martin B. Mugarra, the State Minister for Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities.
The team began the journey en route to Eastern Uganda with stops at Namawojolo, a popular spot for sampling sumptuous roasted chicken and gonja via Mabira Forest.
On the same route, the team stopped at the Iconic Jinja Nile bridge for scenic views of the mighty River Nile and picture moments, later proceeding to Mbale, Eastern Uganda, where the convoy was welcomed by motorcyclists clad in the Explore Elgon green reflector jackets and a Kadodi treats as a signature welcome to the land of Imbalu.
The team, led by Mugarra, the State Minister for Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities, and celebrity influencers from the entertainment industry, undertook a climbing expedition to the summit of Wanale Hill, where they also visited Kawuka Cave, the site of the beginning of the Bagisu tribe’s customary circumcision rituals.
Commenting on the tour, Mbale City Mayor, Mr Cassim Namugali, praised the ministry of tourism, wildlife, and antiquities and its partners for the initiative, which is aimed not only at promoting tourism in the region but also at creating jobs for the majority of youth and increasing tourism revenues in the Elgon region, which will impact various livelihoods.
“The Explore Elgon initiative is here to showcase what Eastern Uganda, and in particular Elgon, has to offer the world in terms of tourism.
The campaign also serves as an invitation to both local and international visitors to come to the land of Bamasaba and immerse themselves in amazing adventures ranging from Wanale hilltop climbing to visiting Mt. Elgon national park and enjoying a lump sum of thrilling tourist life adventures at Sipi, as the region is rich in a bouquet of captivating tourism activities to enjoy,” he said.
Mbale RDC, Asumin Nasike, welcomed the initiative, citing it as a great opportunity to showcase to the world Eastern Uganda’s unique natural endowments, culture, circumcision rituals, culinary, beautiful landscapes, and natural sceneries, among others, with a 24-hour operating day and nightlife economy.
Later in the evening, guests among other revellers were taken on a night full of laughter with comedians Madrat and Chiko, Kickboxer Moses Golola, Mbale’s finest local music superstars, DJ Slick Stuart and Roger, plus an exhilarating performance from Queen Sheebah and female DJ Lynda Ddane.
The new campaign by the Ministry seeks to tap into the domestic market and create awareness about the Elgon region as an attractive destination worthy to pay a visit by highlighting the beauty and hidden treasures of the country’s prized tourism sites and attractions strewn around the Eastern region, including Mt. Elgon National Park, Sipi Falls, and Wanale Hill as possible tourist destinations.
The Elgon region provides the best opportunities for travellers to see one of Uganda’s best altitudes in the world thanks to its abundance of breathtaking big caldera landscape, heart-pounding Sipi Falls, and breath-taking Wanale Hill.
In Mt. Elgon National Park, there are more than 300 different bird species, including the Tacazze sunbird, Black-collared Apalis, Kite, and Jackson’s Francolin among others. Rock and tree hyraxes, blue monkeys, defassa waterbuck, oribi, bushbuck, duiker, forest hogs, leopards, civets, serval cats, spotted hyenas, and other rodents are just a few of the animals that live in the area.
Mt. Elgon is home to two popular tribes in Eastern Uganda: the Bagisu and the Sabiny, who co-exist in the mists of Eastern Uganda.
Mt. Elgon measures an elevation of 4,321 m (14,177 ft.) and is ranked 17th on the African continent, with its highest peak known as Wagagai.
Before the pandemic, Uganda’s tourism industry was growing robustly, contributing 7.7% of GDP in FY2018–2019 and being the top foreign exchange earner for the previous five years.
In addition to collectively protecting and conserving the country’s abundant natural resources, the sector employed over 677,000 young people.
Photos by Marvin Miles Photography