Central Region

Here you’ll find travel reports about Central Region. Discover travel destinations in Uganda of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

28 travelers at this place:

  • Day120


    September 3, 2017 in Uganda

    We broke up the long drive to Jinja by overnighting in a hotel a little over half a day’s drive from Fort Portal. In hindsight, we wish we’d pushed on through as blaring music, drunk people and a loud generator made for a very bad night’s rest.

  • Day36

    My Faith has been Restored

    February 6, 2016 in Uganda

    I am loving Uganda! The people have been incredibly nice, and actually wanting to help us! The kids still sometimes say hi, but with a smile, authentic attempt at just saying hi! Who would have thought. None of them have tried following us. None asking for anything. Just saying hi. Actually many of the Ugandans, kids or not, say hi. As if to welcome us to their homes. Maybe Ethiopia has made me excited at simple things, but this is wonderful. I'm still getting gender mix ups, but none of which have made me feel awkward or judged.

    Our walk around Entebbe started off very positive and light, but after 2 hours of me expressing my hunger and not finding anywhere that serves breakfast, I got slightly frustrated. It's hot, humid, and I'm hungry! We're not used to this heat and humidity in the morning, we actually had our sweaters on in the morning in Ethiopia because of the altitude, temperatures dropped at night. Here, it's 9am and we're already sweating. Water was available everywhere in Ethiopia, you couldn't pass 2 shops without water bottles being sold. Here I actually walked 3-4 blocks before finding someone who sold small bottles of water, odd.

    In case it was too much suspense for you, we found food, lots of little street vendors set up in front of a construction zone. I got to try my first chapati, and I loved it! Rolex (eggs rolled into a chapati), also amazing breakfast! We finally got to the botanical gardens, and they were so worth it! As soon as you come in, you spot the area all the monkeys hang out in, we just sat with them for like 30 minutes while they played around us...

    The walk through these gardens brought us through incredible trees and tropical like forests, to the water front of Lake Victoria. Peaceful and wonderful. We had to eventually boda boda (motorcycle taxi) back to our hostel because Jack was exhausted, it was her first full day out since she was sick.... Well full, it was 1pm. But she did amazing! This same boda driver waiting while we grabbed our bags from the hostel to head out to the pier where we would head to the Ssese Islands. The 3.5 hour ferry ride should be relaxing enough for Jack... Lol.

    We bought the second class tickets, having read there's no real difference between first and second... Of course once on the boat, there's no signage as to which is where, so we make ourself comfy on a seat, the rest of the seats fill up, and just before leaving they come around checking tickets, and sure enough we're in the wrong section. There's no seats left in our section. Damn.

    Eventually people were curious to see outside and get some fresh air so we score 1.5 seats. Jack sat down, exhausted, and I get half a butt cheek on. Just enough to be able to read my book, and watch the bags as she slept with her head against the table. She's absolutely amazing in her abilities to sleep anywhere, anyhow. Again, the people on the boat, no stairs, no awkwardness. The people on our bench squished in to make space for us. Honestly wonderful people. Some saying hi, trying to practice whatever English they can manage, some of which actually welcomed us, and said "I hope you like Uganda" or "you will love Uganda". I do already.

    Ssese islands, more specifically Baggala Island, was peaceful, beautiful, and welcoming. We arrived at the dock and there was literally a line up of women with signs from all their accommodations. Jack and I started from opposite ends, asking each of them about their options. There was about 10. Turns out, literally the first place to our right, where we had already wanted to check out since we could see it from the pier, was the least expensive. A third of the next best price actually. Camping it is! They had these strong, sturdy tents up, with an actual running shower and flushing toilet... Seems like a lot of luxury for such a tiny, not developed town at all! We've gathered, Uganda and Ethiopia are very different, different in its people, in its weather, in its religion, in its humidity, but also in it's finances! Uganda has money. For 30,000 shillings (12$CAD) we had flushing toilets and a running shower!

    No actual beach at our camp site despite being at the water front, but we had read that we could just go to the nicer ground places and pay for pool access. Walking through the downtown (which is a funny statement if you look at the picture), we got some local food and met a man that would take us on a tour the next day! The food, which was the only thing this particular place sold, was boiled plantain, white rice and a fried fish. Mmm mm good. Surprising what I'll allow myself to eat when I'm travelling. FYI Jack and I have been sharing every meal since day 3 of our trip. Portions are huge. We have yet to pay for 2 meals in a restaurant. Not a budget question, there's just too much food... And kind of a budget question....

    Because of Jack's rencent stint in bed, we were both looking to get active, and not just lounge on a beach or pool side all day, so we got Abraham Thompson (awesome name) to tour us around the island from his motorbike. The whole tour brought me back to the day my dad and I spent riding in the Gatineau hills, he brought me for ice cream, I always remembered that day so fondly... 4 hours with this guy, we saw a pineapple farm, palm tree plantations for palm oil, a mini cave in which a "medium" stayed and helped communicate with spirits of the dead ancestors (an ancient religion here, still practiced by some), some view points, some villages, fishermen prepping their boats and nets... Abraham was able to explain everything, it was fascinating. He drops us off at the resort next to ours where we paid for their pool access (after bargaining it down of course) and had a late, but wonderful lunch while enjoying the water and the sun by the lake side! Absolutely beautiful day.

    We watched the sunset from the pier, having brought over our lawn chairs from the camp site and bought a beer in town. Talk about québecer! Lawn chairs and beers on the pier. Beautiful sunset. To finish the night off, like the previous night, our Lovely King Fisher camp site staff made us a bonfire. Just for us 2. 4 employees running around every time we just mentioning wanting something. At the fire Jack mentioned to me she'd like some tea. Next thing you know, there's a kettle on the fire and we're served fresh ginger and African mint... Perfect! I did some laundry using the buckets that were left in the shower, and they ran over with laundry soap. Funny bunch. All for a whopping 30,000 shillings (12$CAD), after negotiating from 40,000 of course.

    Fantastic staff, fantastic people, and a true rural Ugandan experience.
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  • Day2


    July 6, 2017 in Uganda

    We drove from Jinga to Kampala, starting on mud roads before we reached the main road. Enjoyed passing the villages before we went around the capital of Uganda, stopping at a massive local market which we loved. There were lots of lovely looking veg, not so nice looking offal, clothes... Stayed at a campsite just outside the city near the lake and had a relaxing couple of hours by the pool, after trying to clean off some of the mud our tent got covered in.Read more

  • Day60


    March 1, 2016 in Uganda

    I guess 140$ goes a long way here... At least considering prices elsewhere. Confirmed via email the day before, Nile River explorers picked us up at our hotel, brought to their rafting headquarters/hostel in Jinja, fed us breakfast after a briefing (I asked for a second breakfast and got it!), followed by 3.5ish amazing hours on the river, a snack along the way, and a BBQ to end it all with free unlimited drinks. Yep, free beer. That never happens here. Usually they know it's their opportunity to make money so they charge even more then regular price because you're isolated. But here, free! We even arranged for our night in their dorm to be free! They used to do it but stopped in July last year apparently. But because we "asked nicely" according to our emails, we got a night for free!

    Their camp side hostel is absolutely beautiful. Restaurant and deck overlooking the river from on top on the hill, outdoor themed showers, there's a slide and zipline at the water... Just beautiful. Complete with a view of monkeys.

    The rafting was great! 8 grade 3-5 rapids, we fell out once and the boat flipped once... Good times! Bright sunny day, of course our legs got burnt despite sunscreen... They aren't used to being exposed! There was a lot of "dead" river between the rapids, so lots of rowing... Arms kind of tired... My workout of the week! Working out is easy when you just think back on your week!

    This morning we're off to our last stop in Uganda... I'm sad to leave but I feel quite satisfied with our time here. I feel I have a good idea of what Uganda is, and who Ugandans are... Almost time to move on.
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  • Day58

    More of Kampala

    February 28, 2016 in Uganda

    We've been taking it easy in this big ol' capital. We walked over to a place called 1000 cups of coffee yesterday since both Jack and I have been itching for a good latte. So, so rewarding. Along the way was a little craft village with all your typical and repetitive tourist aimed crafts like wooden giraffes, drums and bags. We've decided to keep our shopping for our last stop - Nairobi. Thats hoping we'll find what we want there... You find yourself weighing the pros and cons of having to carry things for another month or not finding them again later.

    Visiting the Mengo Palace and Bulange Royal building gave us a good bit of new knowledge of Ugandan history and their attachement to their tribal history. The monarchs reign over social and cultural issues here, and are incredibly respected by the people. As our guide from yesterday put it, in newspapers here you will find many caricatures of the president, mocking him, but you will never find anyone saying something negative or mocking the kings in Uganda. The Buganda King, based in Kampala, has the largest Kingdom, was given the crown at 16 years old. It is passed on to the son of the Royal families chosing, and can not be given to the first son, unlike your usual royal line.

    Each Ugandan identifies to a tribe and a clan. The clans are all represented by animals or insects and such. It's interesting to hear them introduce themselves - I'm from the Buganda tribe, and the elephant clan. To this day, even the youth, are proud of their clans and follow the tradition (mostly) of never marrying someone from your clan, yet marrying within your tribe. They ask about Canadian clans and tribes. It's hard to justify that I know so little about our First Nations that I can't really contribute to that conversation.

    The visit at Mengo Palace also led us to this old underground torture chamber used by Idi Amin during his time as general commander. They say in the 6 years he used it, over 15000 people were killed here, mostly by the use of electricity run through the body of water kept along the corridor... It was marking.

    We made our afternoon into an art gallery one, quite like in Kigali. Free art galleries, why not. Again, having the money and space for these things, my apartment would look so eclectic and wonderful...

    Topped the night off with a movie - DeadPool! I was so excited! I've been talking about seeing a movie for a while, it's a way of letting go and really relaxing. My mind, which never usually stops working throughout that day, can finally stop and enjoy the movie. I laughed the entire time, loved it. I was probably in an extra good mood since I got to chat my sister thanks to the great Wi-Fi in the mall. It's was therapy of its own to get to hear her voice.

    Last day in Kampala before heading to Jinja for some River rafting... Wish me luck!

    FYI - I didn't elaborate yesterday, but the national mosque was beautiful! It had contributors from around the world, chandeliers from Egypt, carvings from Marrocco, stained glass from Italy... We even got to climb the minaret and had incredible views of the city. Only down side is the coverings they give - made me feel incredibly awkward to have to cover up into a hijjab and skirt... Like Halloween.
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  • Day37

    Onwards we go!

    February 7, 2016 in Uganda

    Still keen on keeping active, we decided we had seen what we needed on Baggala Island, and wanted to move on! While getting my new favourite quick breakfast Rolex, our friend Abraham came to see us and offered us a free ride to the town from which we could get a shard taxi over to the ferry. We are now heading to Masaka which was west, so getting the ferry from a different town on the island. The shared taxi was an experience of its own!

    The driver very casually tried to point as to who goes where, but really we just followed suit. I was pointed to go in along with the other boys. I didn't make anything of it at the time but eventually I noticed all the women were on top of the boys - I of course being on the bottom (there's a first! wink wink). So the back seat consisted of 4 boys (that's including me) on the seats with Jack and another lady shared amongst our laps. Funny part is, boy or not, I'm small and don't weigh much. They lady sitting on the guy next to me was relatively large and heavy. I just remember telling Jack the second time we got into the car to make sure she was on top of me because I don't think I could support that lady for the hour long ride! There was another 4 people in front, leaving just enough room for the driver to drive while squeezed against the door, head bent sideways. We added in a 10ish year old boy once back in the car after the ferry. In case you're not following, this taxi brought us to a ferry, on which we sat on benches, then we sat back in the car and it continued onto the town we wanted, Masaka.

    11 people total in a 5 seat passenger car. And let's not forget the 3 lives chickens in a box in the front seat. Even the driver had trouble closing his door once seated because of the 2 women and child next to him. I couldn't feel my right leg for most of the trip. Jack being on top had her head pined against the ceiling of the car, sitting half on my lap and half on the guy next to us. Funny how all ideas of a personal bubbles and space melts away in these countries. Even when your sitting on a boda boda, you hold onto the guys waist in hills or press your thighs against his to hold on. You become friends very quickly!

    The ferry ride, being just under an hour, was a welcomed, open and breezy moment of freedom before getting back into that car. As for Masaka, and once the feeling returned to my leg, we walked around with our backpacks and found our lunch spot. We had Greek! Legit and wonderful Greek! Fresh Greek salad. Actual feta cheese. Tzaziki! We even allowed ourselves to go all out and order desert - ice cream! I was in heaven. After ordering it, we noticed it had been 1 month since our departure from Ottawa. Desert for a celebration!

    The rest of the day was just spent walking through this wonderful, busy, small shops kind of town, eventually stumbling upon what became our accommodation for the night. According to the travel book, there was not much to do but wonder around in this town, and it was right. But we both loved it! It's hard to explain why one town hits you in a really positive way, more then another. Especially when you don't have reference points to compare. I can't say the museum was nicer, or the restaurant better, or the parks nicer, just the feeling of the place was great. Still, Ugandans are impressing me. No one bothering us, everyone actually giving us real pricing for things like accommodation and transportation. We walked by a minibus station and were approached by two men, I automatically though they would sell me something but they just wanted to help - gave us the information we needed for tomorrow's bus to Kabale.

    The evening was spent having a drink on a patio, people watching, and eating food from the street vendors around. It's cool, here - you can sit in any restaurant or coffee shop, buy something or not, doesn't matter, bring in something from outside, anything goes. Food with the vendors was cheaper and more interesting, do that's what we ate at the bar! A slight miscommunication - Jack wanted to try a different bier, so she asked the waiting if she could have his favourite beer. He got so excited, thanked us both and walked away. Maybe 10 minutes later, no beer, I call him over again and say "the beer, she wanted to try your favourite beer". And he goes "oh! She wants to try?" and again very happily walks away, eventually to return with Bell beer. Once the bill was in, turns out I had bought him a beer! Lol oops. He seemed so happy about it, I guess it's one good deed.

    I've actually noticed - Ugandans drink... A lot... Well men do. I've seen an incredible amount of men drinking straight from these tiny mickeys of vodka. Even our spiritual medium from yesterday was drinking from his mickey while he was telling us about his religion. According to them, if you drink and have a job, no problem. If you drink and don't have a job, that's an issue. More often then I probably should, I find myself wondering "is that guy off or waisted?"

    Side note - traveling is surprisingly tiring. We thought jet-lag was the reason we were in bed so early at first. I think at this point, it's safe to say we're just old! In bed by 8-9pm. Up by 630-7am. Going out for those drinks, we thought we would have a night on the town! 9pm, we're in bed, lights out. Party!

    Second side note - check out the big ugly birds we keep spotting everywhere! They're literally everywhere. They're balding, long necked and about 3-4 feet tall... Creepy.
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  • Day58

    Museums 101

    February 28, 2016 in Uganda

    Apparently Jack needs more sleep then I do! We've been going to sleep at the same time, yet every morning I wake up around 7-730am and she's still sounds asleep. Around 8am I usually end up waking her to start our day. She made the request last night to sleep in today so I obliged. She finally got out of bed around 910am when I told I was going to breakfast (free with our hotel) without her. We took our time, read the news, brushed up on some Facebook time... By the time we actually stepped out of the hotel, it was 11am. Talk about a lazy morning. But after 2 months of travelling (there's a big difference between vacation and travelling), it feels nice and relaxing.

    We decided to walk to the National Museum of Uganda today, taking an hour to do so. By the time we arrived, 12pm, hot and sweaty, we did lunch instead. Lol. Lazy day. We went to a more "white people" filled place for lunch, a coffee shop with again - great coffees and fresh salads. Being in a big city allows you to treat yourself to the more westerner luxuries. Latte! I'm surprised at the limited amount of tourist we have come across in Uganda. Yet this coffee shop was probably half white, half black, the most whites I've seen yet. There were about 5 white folks at the movies yesterday and both Jack and I felt surrounded by them. We are so used to being the only white folk around, this shows how much expats and NGO workers only stay in the capital. It's quite nice to feel like we're surrounded by the people we are here to get to know, and that's the feeling you get in the rest of Uganda. Kampala is so big, so busy, there's no in between city. It makes everything else we've seen so rural and so real.

    Back to the museum we go. It's absolutely hilarious. This is the order in which things were presented : an old Ford car, next to a manually pulled 2-wheeled cart, then presentation of wood from different types of forests in Uganda, then medicinal plants, then the new petrol and oil digging going on in Uganda, expected to start expecting oil in the next few years, then a presentation on malaria with a really interesting "severe malaria algorythm" for us nurses, then of course - Ugandan participation in Olympics. Yep, that's that for the first section. Posters on the ground leaning against the wall, boards covered by furniture pilled in front, dust everywhere... And this is their biggest museum. And of course Justin Bieber's "Sorry" playing on repeat. That songs has been EVERYWHERE.

    There were 2 other sections slightly better presented, showing your typical archaeological findings, tribal history and traditions. Outside was a "cultural village" with representations of huts according to different geographical areas. If anything, this museum has been a good laugh. We spent almost 2 hours here, knowing that we needed to stay around this area all day.

    Since we got out just before 4pm, and we wanted to see a show (diner and theatre of sorts) in this area of town, we now have 2 hours to waste... Beer! Beer garden with micro brewery short walk away it is. They give you a shot glass of their different brews to taste. Unfortunate thing is, most of the beer is quite bland in Uganda, and this was no exception. They all tasted similar or bad. Lol. But ah well, the place looks nice.

    Finally time to make our way to Ndere Centre, a cultural dance show and food! After a little price negotiation (we thought food was included, it wasn't, so we paid the local price which was almost half off!), we got to sit back and enjoy an absolutely incredible show! To think we almost missed it because of the price... There were at points maybe 30 people on stage, either dancing or playing an instrument, with a pretty funny host telling which region they were representing. They even did an Intore dance from the people of Rwanda, a dance Jack was so disappointed we didn't get to witness in Rwanda. It was absolutely fantastic. I also enjoy the idea of paying a dance group to do a representation of their traditional dances and music instead of paying a tour guide to bring me to a village where they mascarade around as if they still live in the days where these costumes were worn. Much less of a "human safari" as they're called around here. It was fantastic and we loved it.
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  • Day57

    Finally the Capital

    February 27, 2016 in Uganda

    We made it to Kampala! Busy, tons of people, impossible to walk effectively Kampala!

    I'm a small town kind of gal when it comes to travelling. I like peaceful, simple places. Big cities are sometimes overwhelming. But there's a certain character in Kampala that really needs to be experienced first hand. The streets are lined with street vendors everywhere, and that's on top of the multiple markets. As much as I'd like to say you can find anything you need around every corner, most of these vendors just repeat themselves. Fruits, second hand clothing, snacks, and a bunch of handkerchiefs.

    There's people everywhere. Again, we haven't seen that many tourist though. Maybe that's because of the size of the city. Who knows. But the vendors will grab onto you, they'll use pitty tactics like buy from me, help me. You basically have to ignore everyone talking to you because responding to everyone would take too much time.

    Jack has an incredible sense of direction, so she managed to get us to the hotel and get us to a mosque and Hindu temple we wanted to see... It was impressive. Because of the size of the city, I'm afraid we will have to take boda-bodas to get from site to site. We're currently in a very central hotel, 6 floors up, broken elevator of course. According to lonely planet, it's the best deal you'll find in town. Whether or not that's true, who knows, but the location is fantastic. The fan wasn't working, and in this room you need a fan! So when we returned from our walk around 7pm they came to replace it. 10 minutes and we had a new fan. Then the TV, which is wall mounted, had no electrical plug around it. Whoever thought that through should be fired. So we asked for an extension cord and eventually got it, only to realize there's 2 channels - one with really boring news, mostly a list of statistics, and one with football highlights. Hm. Then the hot water never made its way up. Good thing the location is great... And there's Wi-Fi!
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  • Day6

    Red Chilli Camp

    June 14, 2017 in Uganda

    This camp is my favourite by far, it is absolutely beautiful! It has a bar inside as well as beside the pool and really nice facilities (flushing toilets and warm showers) which is a big tick! We all set our tents up, showered, had dinner and then sat at the bar talking until they closed.

  • Day39

    Uganda Equator

    June 14, 2017 in Uganda

    We crossed the equator into the Northern hemisphere for my second time on this trip. The first time was in Nanyuki and it's really evident how the water moves in opposite directions depending on which hemisphere you're on! Super interesting. I did a little bit of shopping here, finding some cool African colored tops and shorts plus some delicious samosas!Read more

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Central Region

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