At least 45 Rotarians visited Murchison Falls National Park on what turned out to be a fun-filled trip last weekend. They were taken on game drives during which they viewed the wild and natural beauty in Uganda’s largest conservation area.
The other trip highlights included a picnic sundowner at the Nile Delta point where the buffaloes busk in the sun and swim in mud pools as the birds tend to them by picking ticks from their tough, dark skins.
The other highpoint was a boat cruise to the bottom of the Murchison Falls, after which the national park gets its name. It is transcendent beauty as Victoria Nile River powerfully and loudly explodes, plunging into a seven-metre gorge onto a peaceful 45-metre riverbed.
At the sight of it, Rotary Uganda members were glad to digitally capture some moments. They comprise of top company executive, the business community among other distinguished members of society.
And as the boat captain cruised us to a smooth sail, the ‘Fellowship on the Nile’ was on. The Rotarian shared items with children of rangers whose parents play a pivotal role of protecting and conserving the wildlife, fauna and flora resources in the national parks, sometimes at the risk of losing their lives to poachers.
Uganda has 10 national parks. It was a trip on which some experienced Uganda pristine beauty for the first time.
“For some of us, this is the first time in Murchison Falls National Park. I visited Queen Elizabeth National Park while in secondary school and I have never visited again. I encourage Rotarians to make it habitual to visit. It has been adventurous. I call upon Ugandans to visit and enjoy seeing the beautiful animals,” narrated Rotarian Lameck Nambaale Kibi who works with the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
“It has been breath-taking. Travel is something everyone must experience themselves to know how good it is. It is not the pictures or videos. I liked the outdoor shower then the falls, the trek, and a feeling you cannot out in words. You can leave Kampala on Friday and enjoy a weekend away. There is so much adorably beauty we are not exploring,” a jolly Rotarian Phyllis Kwesiga summed up her three-day experience in Murchison Falls National Park situated in Northern Uganda.
“So many Rotarians are CEOs and businesspersons who have the money. They have travelled the world, but 75 percent don’t know the beauty their country has. Uganda is endowed with beautiful sceneries. I would say that the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak was a blessing in disguise because when we were cut off from the rest of the world, we had to discover our country and it’s beautiful sceneries,” businessman and incoming District Governor, Rotarian Edward Kakembo Nsubuga observed.
He was making his second trip to Murchison Falls National Park in a period of one month. “I visited it for the first time, and he had an awesome experience of adventure. I call upon Ugandans to come and visit their country,” he added.
Regional tours and travel company, Adventure Vacations Safaris, run by Rotarian Farouk Busuulwa, organized the trip by Rotary Uganda with support from Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), government’s agency mandated to promote destination Uganda.
At the flag off of the safari motorcade at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel in Kabusu, Private Sector Foundation Uganda’s (PSFU), Chief Membership Officer, Francis Kisirinya expressed excitement that Rotarians were happy to go and explore Uganda’s natural tourism offerings, and was glad that MasterCard Foundation through PSFU, had introduced a resilience fund to subsidize travel packages for local travellers as an incentive to make tourism affordable.
He was glad to be taking time off to relax. At the tail of the trip, he elatedly said that he had seen Uganda at its best, thanks to its diversity of natural resources that should attract the attention of more Ugandan and international travellers, alike.
“You can’t believe the fauna, animals you can see in Murchison Falls National Park. We’ve seen a lion, giraffes, hyenas, kobs, antelopes and then the waterfalls which have great history, geography, and geology about how it split into two to also form Uhuru Falls that are misty. You must be here. It’s magical,” he narrates.
UTB’s deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bradford Ochieng would like to create more awareness to interest and attract more of such group travel experiences to local travel and tourism destinations hinging on the lesson Covid-19 has presented were Uganda was under lockdown for two years without foreign travellers.
As the marketing agency, he reiterates their committed towards improving the tourism products in terms of five As, namely attraction, accessibility, accommodation, amenities, and awareness.
Rotarian Patricia Nambalirwa who is also Principal of Ndegeya Primary Teachers College (PTC) argued that the school syllabus needs to accommodate tourism studies for pupils to appreciate and value and beauty of their country from a tender stage.
Hannington Segirinya, president of the Rotary Club of Rubaga and Country Representative of ‘Assist International’ said that the weekend was fulfilling, refreshing to the mind and body.
“It is a wake-up call to appreciate and visit our country and invest in its tourism. We can do quite a lot in terms of encouragement others to visit this beautiful Uganda and enjoy it. It is a free country. It is so beautiful. We have had a great time in Murchison Falls National Park where we’ve seen a lot of things, networked and seen friends we haven’t in a while due to Covid-19 which we won’t forget but need to live a new life and support one another,” President Segirinya explains.
Rotarian Flavia Mujurizi works with the Electoral Commission in Mpigi district and has always wanted to see nature in its pristine condition. “When I got this chance, I said why not. If foreigners can come all the way from Europe and America why not me from Kampala? It has been a great experience. We have many treasures in Uganda. The animals in herds, the waterfalls and nature trails are all awesome,” she shared as she caught her breath from a nature walk.