Once notorious for the tyranny of Idi Amin, immortalized in the film The Last King of Scotland, Uganda has, for the last twenty-six years or so, struggled to overcome its negative image. It has largely been successful. Rated the best country to visit in 2012, it was one named of the best tourist destinations of 2013 by National Geographic magazine. In addition to its game parks, home to the Big Five, Uganda has one of the largest numbers of recorded bird species of any country. It is also the home of the famed mountain gorillas, and the mighty Nile River provides some of the best whitewater rafting in the world. Add to this an almost perfect climate and spectacular sightseeing, including the source of the Nile, Murchison Falls, the “little Switzerland” of Kabale, the volcanic lakes, and the Rwenzori Mountains, and one can understand why Winston Churchill called Uganda “the Pearl of Africa.” But Uganda not only has wildlife and natural beauty to offer—the Ugandan people are what makes it different. Drawn from over fifty tribes, they make up a rich blend of traditions. You can sample this in dance and song performances by groups such as the Ndere Troup, or you can wander through the capital city, or any village, and get to know the local people, as English is widely spoken. You will find them sociable, warm, and hospitable. Kampala is famous as the social capital of East Africa, the city that never sleeps, where every kind of nightlife is on offer, and Ugandans have now been officially rated the happiest people in East Africa! All this is what makes Uganda special. Inevitably there are cultural pitfalls for the unwary traveler—differences in expectations, mores, and ways of behaving. This book provides key insights into Ugandan life and offers practical tips on how best to meet the Ugandan people on their own terms, vital information for tourists and businessmen alike.
About the Author
Ian Clarke has lived in Uganda for over twenty-five years. Born in Northern Ireland, where he trained as a doctor, he is a naturalized Ugandan citizen, and as the Mayor of Makindye Division of Kampala, is the only elected white politician in the country. He first came to Uganda after the civil war ended in 1986, and has witnessed the country’s development over the last quarter of a century. He writes a weekly social commentary in the Sunday Vision, Uganda’s leading national newspaper, and is the author of two books about his experience of Uganda, The Man with the Key has Gone, and How Deep is this Pothole. The founder of Kiwoko Mission Hospital, International Hospital Kampala, and International Health Science University, Dr Clarke lives in Kampala with his wife and family.