Uganda is shining in the foreign media again. Fifty years after the creation of National Parks in Uganda, one of the pioneer conservation areas, Queen Elizabeth NP has touched the hearts of a group of north American tourists with some of them swearing that they want to move to Uganda, a country appropriately described as “The Pearl of Africa” by the British Premier Sir Winston Churchill at the beginning of the 20th century.
“I felt safe everywhere. I’d recommend Uganda to anyone”. These words are from a tourist who recently visited and was fascinated by Uganda’s rare fauna and flora. A team of tourists including Tom Carter- Assistant Foreign Editor, Washington Times (based in NY), Judy Clark, Executive Assistant for Nimmo Bay Resort, Canada, Sherry Grondky, works with Judy Clark, Deborah Simmons, Deputy Editorial Page Editor, Ricky Simmons works on a cruise ship, Cynthia Case, a World Bank Officer based in Washington D.C were taken by a famous Ugandan tourist attraction organization, Great Lakes Safaris (GLR).
The story “Human herds bypass Uganda” by Tom Carter appeared in the Washington Times of 11/23/02 and reflects what the group saw: The story begins with a narrative, “The safari van is bumping along a dusty dirt track through the high savanna. When driver and game guide Geoffrey Mutuma brings it to a sudden halt.
“Something is wrong”, he says intently scanning the surrounding countryside of high grass and acacia trees. It is a glorious African morning and in every direction we see wildlife: warthogs, buffalo, waterbucks, an elephant lumbering in the distance, and infront of the van, at least 100 kobs- small antlered antelopes that resemble impalas- standing shoulder to shoulder , all looking off in the same direction. The over 150- word picturesque narrative goes on from bird watching to gorilla tracking and spanning the Bujagali falls white water rafting.
“The people of Uganda are very hospitable, and when looking at city safety, our clients are very free in Kampala as compared to Nairobi or Johannesburg,” says Martin Okot, (their guide) whose view is echoed by numerous Western expatriates living in Uganda.
“A total of 547 confirmed and 15 unconfirmed bird species (including 54 raptors) have been recorded in Queen Elizabeth, one of the highest totals in the world and a truly remarkable figure for a reserve that is relatively small by African standards, “the Brandt Travel Guide says. Judy Clark of Port McNeil, British Columbia, who works at Nimmo Bay , a five star fly-fishing resort in Canada’s Pacific wilds, says she would recommend Uganda to well-heeled fishing clients as well as to budget travelers.
“It hasn’t caught up with the rest of the world, but the people here are so incredible. Sherry and her husband are talking about moving here. I felt safe.