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Jungle Man Ug feeds his curiosity through travel

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Samuel Mugabe Kabyesiza, alias Jungle Man Ug, is a passionate traveller and writer. PHOTO/COURTESY

Samuel Mugabe Kabyesiza, alias Jungle Man Ug, is a passionate traveller and writer. A former police officer, he loves exploring places to see the beauty of Uganda, and beyond. 

He is a graduate of Tourism Hotel Management and has worked with a couple of hotels and tour companies as a marketing manager. He is a die-hard travel enthusiast to see new cultures, topographies and try new foods. Jungle Man Ug is an emotional person who thinks through his heart and is proud of it.
What makes you proud of being a Ugandan?
What makes me a proud Ugandan is that if all fails, I can always return to my village where free food awaits. I can eat organic food and fruit any time, any day. In a public place, I can turn 360° any time and will be met with cheerful smiling faces.

Uganda is the Pearl of Africa. It hosts more than half of the world’s mountain Gorilla population and one of the longest rivers in the world has its source right here. The Equator passes right in our midst. We have the best average weather conditions ever. Uganda is dotted with about 165 lakes. 

Where does the name Jungle Man Ug come from?
When I was joining the tourism industry, I thought of a name that I would identify with and easily become a brand. Nothing is as rewarding as seeing a litter of young wild cats, or a single elephant calf . Watching them interact with the world around them and frolic and jump to think they are not enjoying and are fascinated by their surroundings. 

How much do you love and live the meaning of your alias?
It should be noted that the relationship between humans and jungles dates back to ancient times.

While many people today associate human civilisation with urban areas and open spaces, it is essential to keep pushing and educating the world so that we can live in harmony with the dense vegetation, diverse wildlife, and challenging conditions of the jungle. 

That’s what I decided to do with most of my social media posts. To tell the world that it is beautiful, breathtaking because of nature. Therefore, the world can remain beautiful to admire if we protect the environment.

How and when did you cut your teeth in the travel and tourism industry?
I officially entered the tourism industry in 2019 during the Covid-19 period. I have gained experience and expertise through hands-on work at hotels and tour and travel companies where I have worked as a marketing manager. 

What inspired you to fall in love with tourism?
When I was a serving police officer, I used to travel a lot, including to some of Uganda’s tourist destinations and I love exploring new cultures. I am passionate about travel, relaxation and rejuvenation. 

I am curious about  history of places, art, architecture, and I love connecting with nature.
Where have you been during your travel  experiences?
I have been to 98 per cent of Uganda’s tourist destinations and Kenya, Angola, Zambia, Ethiopia and the UK. 

How do you land or get these travel opportunities?
First of all, travel requires planning and sacrifice. When you decide to venture into travel, you should not expect money to magically appear. Work hard, make sacrifices and save up money from your job or other sources of income. 

So, most of my travels are self-sponsored through my savings and job allowances.

However, there are some instances where companies such as bus companies have reached out to me to contribute to some of my recent travels, especially to Kenya. These companies, followed my posts, reached out to me in the past and offered me bus tickets. These include Buscar Bus Ltd and Modern Coast Express Ltd.

Which of these places have left a lasting impression on you? 
All the places I have visited have left a lasting impression on me. But Angola and Kenya stand out.

I think Portuguese colonialism with its assimilation policies made Angola a melting pot more than other colonial regimes elsewhere. Somehow it managed to make me feel very welcome; one of the first things I was asked in Luanda was if I was Angolan. Even the people who saw me called me amiga (‘friend’) instead of bwana or ssebo as an East African. Just to be clear, I do not think assimilation policies were a good idea, but it was in a way easy to dive into that melting pot.

I loved the nature in Kenya. It was love at first sight. I had been dreaming of travelling to Kenya as long as I could remember, and when at last the chance came, I was so happy to be in the country I call my second home. 

I found everything breathtakingly beautiful, more than I could ever have imagined beforehand: Nairobi City beautiful and hardworking women, trees, roads, and malls. 

Quick notes 

Who do you celebrate in the domestic sector?
Madam Immaculate Wampamba who has contributed in one way or the other to the hospitality industry of Uganda.   

As a director of Terrace Uganda Safaris Tours and Travel Ltd, she has been the driving force behind its success and the promotion of domestic tourism. Her vision, interest and hard work have culminated in many Ugandans picking interest in travel and getting to know their country. 

I thank her for promoting domestic tourism and training many. She gave me a chance while I was still at university.