By Jonathan Benaiah (The Ugandan Tourist)
Once upon a time…
There was this little-known kingdom; miles and miles away from the south and North Pole; a heartwarming paradise veiled on all sides, a special small region blocked from the rest of the world but radiating light to several corners of an unexplored continent that sprouted forth with an overwhelming abundance of life.
At a time when the global political structure dictated that men and women lived side by side with males being the masters of home; and in an age that had more than three thirds of a planet (called earth) organized in a monarchical setting governed by kings, queens and emperors, a growing desire prevailed to travel far and wide to the ends of the world in search of new lands. Little known at that time, but true, this aspiration would forever transform worldly perceptions but also change the politics of that dark and un-visited continent.
The winds generously blew them from their homes in the north down to many access seaports at which they docked their vessels, laced their sandals and began the foot adventure that would have them eventually discover that the once perceived dusky landmass, actually was only darkened by the night. During the day, the daylight shone beams on the continent’s stunning beauty. In many places they were greeted with friendliness, while in other places nature gave them a spanking of many challenges including pests and diseases, harsh weather conditions, impenetrable forests, attacks from wildlife and challenging topography.
Several miles from sea, many hours inland, and relatively centered on the Dark Continent, sat a little but hugely heartening heaven that the visitors from the North Pole would easily fall in love with. The explorers that came here would quickly drop jaws in awe at what manner of brilliance and rich contrast this special place dictated!
The people were different, warm and wore smiles of conviviality. The landscape was mind-boggling, the weather was like a love song, and the water-bodies sparkled with crisp clear waters. The vegetation burst with several shades of green, the people’s authentic traditions were incredibly fascinating. The countless species of birds sang a melodious soprano remixed by crickets and harmonized by the sounds of primates along the bassline of the lion’s roar maxed out by the trumpeting of gigantic elephants, with a sweet crescendo of the African harp and xylophone played by the natives of this land. This was a free but pomp concert back dropped by golden sunrises and unforgettable sunsets.
The explorers quickly fell in love with this paradise that illuminated the Dark Continent. In this paradise they felt at home, and right at this point in the heart of the Dark Continent they knew they had seen it all. They saw nothing like they had seen before
Fast forward to about a century ago, a British Conservative, Statesman and Prime Minister, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill visited this little nirvana. Awestruck at the beauty beheld in its boundaries, and at the profusion of life, the beautiful geography, the smart climate and the hospitality of the people that inhabited it, Winston Churchill exclaimed in amazement about how this country was an invaluable gem.
In his own words, Churchill, Sir Winston wrote: “The Kingdom of Uganda is a fairy tale. You climb up…and at the end there is a wonderful new world. The scenery is different, the climate is different and, most of all, the people are different from anything elsewhere to be seen in the whole range of Africa.”
Several years that follow Churchill’s appellation, Uganda still sits in the very bosom of the African continent right at the center of the earth along the Equator, with some of the world’s most iconic wildlife including the best points on earth to see the great apes and all the Big Five safari animals, beautiful people with fascinating cultures, rich heritage and history, the one true source of the Nile River, outstanding geography, adventure hotspots for adrenaline junkies, a city that never sleeps all in a politically safe and secure environment.
Away from the tranquil settings of the national parks, far from the wild mesmerizing nature, and away from the remarkably diverse cultures, and into the urban centers, Uganda offers a fat menu of entertainment, city getaways and slack nightlife.
Welcome to Uganda, the little paradise in the heart of the once Darkened Continent now referred to as Africa, a warm welcome to this once-veiled heaven continuously referred to as a summary of Africa and historically called the “Pearl of Africa”.
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