Time to reconnect with nature

Friday August 28 2020
travel01pix

The Rainforest Lodge Mabira is one of the facilities that have great offers for tourists. Photo | Edgar R Batte

A forest is a cool place because the sun only seeps through the canopy. If you are to spend a weekend, like we recently did in Mabira Forest, be sure to connect with nature.

I love primates, monkeys in particular. Monkeys seemed to have got word that an admirer would be visiting. As we chatted with the manager of Rainforest Lodge by City Blue, Hannington Abaho, they were in their continuous chatters as they groomed each other and hopped from one branch to another.

Later on, as I relaxed on my terrace, waiting on the stunning perspective of the sunset through what looked like an artistic enclave of a tree canopy, a monkey couple stood by and waited on too.

There we were to take in the splendour of the golden sun as it made its way to bed within colourful clouds. The playful jungle residents are beautiful in their way.

Activity
Abaho says visitors can take guided nature walks.
“Professional guides will tell you about the history of Mabira Forest, medicinal plants and shrubs and three types of monkeys, including the most common one- the red-tailed monkey.”

The other types are the grey-cheeked mangabey monkeys which are slightly bigger than the red-tailed ones. At the edge of the forest, you will also see vervet monkeys.

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The walks take between 30 minutes and one and a half hours. If you are into adrenaline rush, you can go zip lining, 18 kilometres from the lodge.
Locals part with Shs60, 000 while foreigners are charged $50 (about Shs180,000).

In Jinja, you can go horse riding at Nile Horseback Safaris or quad biking, another thrill through the virgin Jinja countryside.

Covid-19 perks?
Whereas Covid-19 has had a running effect on travel and tourism, a positive side is manifesting; lodge owners are focusing their efforts towards attracting the domestic tourists.

Yasir Alam, who runs Rainforest, has reduced the lodge rates to $70(approximately Shs252,000), for full board which includes three meals, swimming, sauna and badminton.

Days before that, I was at Brovad Sands Lodge in Bulago, Ssese Islands and they are also running an enticing rate of Shs280, 000 and will be going lower than that.
It is amazing to see Ugandans filling local hospitality facilities as they take weekdays and weekend gataway excursions to take nature walks, zip lines, canoe tours and more.

Accommodation is a big factor for a traveller since it determines their decision to travel in hindsight of the cost implication.

Plan
Well, while government ponders when to reopen the airport, domestic tourists are being considered. This is a trait that is worth considering by tourism stakeholders who have hitherto mainly targeted foreign tourists.
The encouraging response is that many facilities are running campaigns online calling in Ugandans to explore Uganda on incentivised packages.

Mabira Forest is for example, a dream destination which offers therapeutic nature walks and tours during which you will learn about various tree and plant species and purposes, see butterflies, wild animals and more.
It is a photographer’s paradise. For a writer, the forest tranquility offers you peace of mind to concentrate and author in a fruitful way.

Otherwise, things can get a little loud too, for instance, on the weekend we were there, a group of friends hosted a birthday party and played some cool jams that nostalgically threw me back in time thanks to the ‘old skool’ music selection.

My wish was the party went on and as Karyn White, Aaliyah, Donell Jones, 2pac, and many more dominated the playlist. After a weekend in the wild, the mind is soothed enough to face another week and the routine it comes with. Take some time off to reconnect with nature, kick sand and get playful.

FYI
This is the ideal time for most travel lovers who want to explore domestic tourist sites.
Stakeholders in the hospitality industry have had to get extra creative to make it happen for their clients.

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