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The Glamorous Cable – Stayed Bridge

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It is well known as the Source of the Nile Bridge or the New Jinja Bridge that replaced the deteriorating 1954 built Nalubaale Bridge. The Source of the Nile Bridge is the longest bridge in Uganda and 5th longest bridge in the African continent at 525 metres (1,722 ft) long and 22.9 metres (75 ft) wide

The glamorous cable-stayed bridge across the Victoria Nile located at Njeru, a suburb of the city of Jinja – Uganda; aroused excitement among people after its completion in October 2018. One of the aims of constructing this bridge was to enhance tourism with the addition of this iconic signature beauty of the gigantic concrete and steel structure is 72 harp-like white cables connecting the bridge deck to two 69-metre tall inverted-Y pylon towers that are well lit in the night. It is said to look like the ‘Anzac’ Bridge in Sydney, Australia.

 

Anzac Bridge – Sydney, Australia
Source of the Nile Bridge – Jinja, Uganda

The overall width of the New Jinja Bridge is 22.9m wide. It has a dual carriageway 7.0m wide with a pedestrian walk way of 2.25m wide on both ends with a projected lifespan of 120 years.

The traditional dance for the Bakonzo Culture

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The Bakonzo sometimes called Banandi is a group of the Bantu speaking people living in the districts of Kasese, Bundibgyo, Bunyangabu and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bakonzo mainly have two types of dances which are ceremonial.

Ekikibi Dance

This is the dance which I would call breaking of the chest and the back, it is for both men and women, it is majorly performed in functions that attract happiness say during marriage functions, music competitions among others.

It involves dancing together of a man and a woman, its best attractive when performed by people who know how to break the back properly while standing on one and a half feet.

It has a specific drum beat (the medium or the biggest of all the drums) and then other more two which makes it attractive or possibly one may work in absence of others.
The traditional dance for the Bakonzo Culture

Omukumu Dance

This is the dance performed mainly during the closing out of a burial ceremony (erisesya ekiriro), it may take up to one week while dancing, every day people go early to the home of the deceased to perfume this ritual.

This dancing has other many categories including, omukobo, eluma, amasinduka, amahande among others

Omukobo involves dancing while turning to the next neighbor as you keep rotating in a circle form as well as singing. There’s also beating of three drums, xylophone and other instruments.

Eluma evolves all the omukobo instruments with flute leading them all  to compose different songs.

Mukumu dance is neither for women nor for uncircumcised men

Mukumu dance is not performed in every one’s burial but for men who went for circumcision in Bwamba, Bundibughyo district (elhusumba) and not performed for women.

This type of dance has a leader called “Kabira”, is the person who is in-charge of everything involved in the dancing process say if you are to dance with a neighbor then you start with him among other things.

In early years of 1930’s and later, men would arrange and go to Bwamba (lhusumba) in Bundibugyo district for circumcision, this was one of the things to prepare for descent burial rituals and respect in public.

They would walk in the mountains of Kasese district, through upsides of Nyakigumba, Katebwa and then to Bwamba for the Circumcision function and return later after recovering.

The function would be organized for those returnees’ recognition of being rightful men to stabilize in public.

During those times and up now, men who are not circumcised are not considered in public like normal ones, they can’t even be recognized to speak in public.

ESUUKA; An Adorn of Royalty

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Esuuka is one of the most precious ornaments a woman can wear especially that from Tooro, where beauty and royalty are a daily observation. An emblem of a true Mutoorokati (woman from Tooro), this easy wearing distinctive attire is the crown of beauty – solely the main reason Tooro women stand out on many occasions – traditional or elite worldwide.

Ever wondered what a sexy elegant woman with holiness looks like? A woman adorned in a Tooro Suuka will strikingly stick in your mind and hypnotize your personality as you appreciate the true likeness of being African.

Generation to generation, Esuuka has managed to prevail the test of time and threats of modernity – growing stronger and more popular among adults, young women and girls. It is the official wear for women and girls from Bunyoro , Tooro and those attached comprising of three major components including; ekiteteeyi (dress) wore on top of ekitambi (wrap skirt around the waist) and the Suuka (sheet of cloth between 5 to 6metres long) from where the name of the whole outfit is derived usually wore up to the feet.

The Tooro Suuka is more so like a red carpet gown, it covers full body length including the feet.
What makes it special is the way the Suuka is wrapped around the shoulders with its flap falling on one of the shoulders mostly on the right.

The Suuka is folded over the collar bone then tucked under arms wrapped around the whole body to the feet. The folds are kept in place by hand or pressed by the upper arms in position as shown by images in this piece

       
Left, the length of esuuka, dress and rapper (ekitambi), right batooro women rocking esuuka

Esuuka’s influence on women is one of the most significant in Tooro Culture; it portrays a well groomed woman with respect and humility – on the minds of everyone before they set out to an official or traditional event.

The Suuka is fabricated in such a way that keeps a woman habitually modest and respectful; it is by design a woman wearing Esuuka cannot jump out of her seat, run, speak or dance offensively in front of people. She can only walk or dance (if she has to) majestically with the lowest pace exuding the highest sense of privilege and admiration.

On an official Tooro ceremony or event, women not wearing Esuuka are ushered in at the back where they are not easily visible while those wearing the treasured Suuka are honoured in front row seats.

On a Kweranga (introduction) ceremony, the bride to be is obliged to wear the Suuka every time she comes out for presentation; it is unethical for a bride to walk out of the house dancing, raising her head and moving fast – the reason slow sentimental music is required to facilitate a majestic dance or walk of honour locally known as kuhuubya.


Batooro girls walking out of the house in esuuka on an introduction

It is eminent reality this phenomenon must be observed and respected since it’s the window that
exhibits the true essence of traditional fashion in Tooro. In recent times, Esuuka and its respects have been faced with immense infiltration from other cultures – not wearing it properly (imitating other cultures), dancing and moving fast while wearing it or dressing otherwise among others to official and traditional functions.

This has been largely due to lack of heritage education and influence of modern fashion trends that are on the
high rise every time. However, the current generation is realizing the value and uniqueness of this special tradition and is working so hard re-embracing it and lifting it up to where and how it is supposed to be alongside modern fashion inclinations.

It is actually OK accessorizing Esuuka with jewelry –necklaces, bracelets and crowns as long as they do not affect its etiquette.

 

The Queen Mother of Tooro Kingdom Best Kemigisa Akiiki is  the most iconic woman that has graced the Tooro Suuka diligently for all time, she has epitomized and showcased the core of the Tooro Suuka worldwide. She is rarely  seen  on a public function without the Tooro Suuka.

 

By Nelon Gerrard

Bakonzo names and their meanings

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For every Mukonzo, the surname must tell the position in birth counting whether the child is the first, second, or third, up to the last born.

Who they are?

The Bakonzo, sometimes called Bayira or Banande, are a Bantu-speaking group of people in western

Uganda and eastern DR Congo. In Uganda, they are concentrated in Kasese and Bundibugyo districts.

Others live in Bunyangabu and Ntoroko districts. The Bakonzo are the subjects of Rwenzururu Kingdom, whose king is Charles Wesley Mumbere.

The Bakonzo name their children according to their order of birth.

IN SUMMARY

The number matters. According to Grandfather (sokulhu) Stifano Bwambale Murokole, a resident of Kakone village in Mahango subcounty in Kasese District and a veteran Kikonzo culture advisor in the Bahira clan, the names of the Bakonzo were given to boys in seven birth ranks, whereas those for female children are eight.

Culture.
Have you ever considered the origin of your name? Fred Stephen Bwambale of Enganzi news writes that for anyone schooled in the culture of the Bakonzo, it is easy to tell the order in which someone was born just by knowing that person’s name.

 “Birth ranks” in this regard, it is the order in which the children born of the same mother and father follow each other, ranging from the oldest to the youngest.

For every Mukonzo, the surname must tell whether the child is the first, second, or third born, up to the last born.

Some other names are given depending on the situation like war, famine or massacres at the time the bearer was born.

According to sokulhu Murokole, “The Bakonzo women have for a long time been among the most fertile in Africa. By the 1990s, some strong women were producing up to 16 children. Such a woman would have a chance to finish all the male and female names”.

He listed the names given to the boy children, from the first born, as; Baluku, Bwambale, Masereka, Kuule, Thembo, Mbusa and Ndungo.

The female names are Musoki or Masika , Biira, Kabugho, Mbambu, Ithungu, Kyakimwa, Nziabake and Bulhubasa.

“These names are not given without considering who was born before who. You cannot name your first born Masereka. This will be a disorder because Masereka is the third born male child,” Murokole said.

One must be wondering where the name “Mumbere”, which is sometimes mistaken for a king’s title because Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere is not mentioned in the order.

“Mumbere” is another name for “Baluku” (the first born male child). Others say “Kambere” to refer to the same person – Mumbere.

However, the same child can be named “Nzanzu” if both parents were virgins at the time they consummated their marriage. A first born female produced by such parents is named “Kanyere”.

Murokole further explains that “Kasoke” and “Musoki” are names for a first born who is male and female respectively, if the child’s paternal and maternal grandparents are still alive by the time he or she is born.

The first time the parents produce a child of a different sex from the first one, the child is named “Muhindo” if male or female, and “Mbindule” if female.

 Bakonzo names given depending on the situation at birth

“Bethubanji” is another meaningful name given to the first born who is able to see the same light with his or her parents’ grandparents. This means the baby has its grandparents alive at the same time their parents are also living. This child is referred to as “Akatsukulhu,” meaning a person who has two generational grandparents.

Much as death is something that everyone fears to associate with, the Bakonzo have names that tell that someone was born after the other child/children had died. If this person is male, he is named “Kibaya”, “Kyithi”, “Bisogho”, “Kamabu” or “Bisiika/Kyirere”, whereas females in that category are named

“Mutsuba”, “Kyabu” or “Bisiika” and other names like bahwere.

The twins are named according to their order of birth too. The first to come out is named “Nguru”, while the second is “Ndobya”. The child who follows twins is named “Kitsa”, followed by “Kamalha”. These apply to both sexes.

There are also situational names such as “Muthende” for a child born when boys had gone for a circumcision initiation ceremony, “Byerire” for one born during time of great harvest and many other proverbial names like Byanzira when one is born in along the way.

However, despite the unique way of naming children, this culture is facing extinction because of factors such as the modern campaign of family planning in which parents are encouraged to produce a number of children they can easily provide for.

Amos Bakalhania Kule, a resident of Kaberere in Kyondo Sub-county in Kasese District, attributes the fast extinction of some of the names to people drifting away from their culture by opting to copy names whose meaning they have no idea of.

“Our people are running away from their culture and that is why our culture is facing destruction. Why should someone copy a British or American name and make his child known by that imported name instead of popularizing the name Baluku, Bambale or Masika?” he wonders.

Amos said much as family planning is now necessary because of the prevailing economic situations and scarcity of land for production, it is important to preserve the culture by giving the few children the original names.

For Stifano Murokole, the Bakonzo naming culture will only persevere if all [birth ranks] children are produced and bear the names.

“It is not preserving when you produce five and give them the right names. What we need to do is to produce all the children because these names were given by our ancestors for a reason,” Murokole suggested.

Fr. Balinandi Kambale Raphael of Kasese Diocese, also a Lhukonzo literature author, said the Bakonzo women are still fertile to fulfill God’s command to “produce and subdue the world”.

“It is poverty that forces the people to produce few children but it is also ignorance of culture that they are not giving those few their real names. The women are still fertile and if possible, they should produce all [birth ranks] the children to fill these names,” said the priest, who also teaches Lhukonzo language and culture on local radio station Kasese Guide Radio every Tuesday.

He said very soon, he will release a book giving the names of the Bakonzo, with their meanings with the hope the young generation will understand and use them to make the culture consistent.

Rwenzururu kingdom speaks out:

The prime ministerial commission Rt. Hon Guardi Mbayahi, is another man disturbed by the near extinction of some of the names of the Bakonzo.

He said copying other names from the neighboring ethnicities is “poisonous to our culture,” adding that children need to be named according to their birth ranks.

“People are copying names of our brothers the Banyankole and directly translate them to name their children. The Bakonzo have not been having names such as “Lwanzu”, which is from Rukundo,

“Athwanzire” from Natukunda and “Apipawe” from Ahimbisiibwe among the Banyankole. These names are fronted by parents ahead of the birth rank names such as Baluku, Thembo and Mbusa,” he said.

 

The OBR premier also said the kingdom cabinet has already deliberated on this growing concern with a view of officially writing to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to advise on how to preserve the names.

“The cabinet has already discussed this concern. As Bakonzo, we have a unique culture worldwide because we are well named according to our birth ranks. We need Unesco to help preserve this culture that is now threatened,” Rt. Hon Guardi lamented.

There are fears that with the names of the Bakonzo being ignored by parents while naming children that the 14 clans may also be at the brink of not being cherished.

Each clan among the Bakonzo has a totem and “fake enemy”. The “fake enemy” is another clan that is jokingly an enemy of the other.

For instance, the Bathanji clan members will joke that “Balegha bahwere” (the Balegha clan is finished) when they see a new moon. These jokes, elders say, were used to make the young ones understand their clans better. The Bakonzo clans that give the same names are Abakira, Abasu, Abahambu, Abahira,

Abaswagha, Ababinga, Abathanji, Abaseru, Abanyisanza, Abalegha, Abahinda, Abakunda, Abalumba,

Abasongora (not the cattle keepers’ tribe).

AFRICAN TRIBAL PRINT

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African print has different names based on where it is from (East or West Africa) like Ankara fashion print that is popular in the west or Kitenges/Chitenjes/ Kikoy/Kangas popular in the East.

It doesn’t really matter where the print originates from but the flair the print adds to your fashion sense. Either you wrap it around your chest or waist, a headscarf, baby sling, dress or shirt, rest assured you will look outstanding.

Best part is that this print can be customized or tailor-made to any style or shape your mind can imagine or skillful tailor can conform it to.

Different Uses of the African Fabric;

  • They are used as a sling to hold a baby across the back of a mother. They can hold the baby at the front as well, particularly when breast feeding.
  • Given as gifts to young women.
  • Decorative pieces at dinner tables.
  • Can be is wrapped around the bathing suit for modesty or to shield cold air.
  • Framed or hung up on the wall as a decorative batik artwork.
  • Incorporated in clothing items such as hoodies, trousers, and accessories such as bags.
  • In Malawi, Chitenjes are customary for women at funerals.

The Connotation of the Independence Monument

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For over five decades ever since Uganda got its Independence, the independence monument has imposingly stood height of 6 meters at the heart of the capital between the Sheraton Kampala Hotel, Grand Imperial Hotel and Stan-Chart bank whilst staring down at the Grand Imperial Hotel to the right and Standard Chartered Bank to the left.

It is one of the most distinctive landmark of Uganda, a work of art that shows a woman with wrapping all over her body standing firmly on the ground with her legs slightly parted while hoisting a child in the air. The child looks like a little boy with his hands raised in victory. This signifies a new born country let free from colonialism and bondages.

This was the work of Gregory Maloba, a Luhya sculptor from Kenya who studied and taught art at Makerere University from 1939- 1965. He executed this work using from cement, sand, iron bars and wire mesh in the months towards the day of Uganda’s Independence, October 9, 1962. Gregory Maloba was one of the better-known artists then with a well-documented track record in art at that time. Gregory was assisted by John Kisaka, one of his graduate students, now a retired teacher.

It is said that this monument was deemed incomplete as the initial sketch had two human figures at each side, each playing a trumpet, perhaps as a sign of jubilation. Despite this, the Independence monument turned out to be of much artistic and symbolic significance to Uganda.

In time for the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the Independence Monument was revamped and the wall behind it painted with a few stripes of the Uganda Flag colors.

The Independence monument is a must see if you are travelling to Kampala. With the beautification around the monument, you need to carry your camera for the memorable capture of the sight. This is among Kampala’s top Attractions and best sight when doing city walks

BUGANDA TRADITIONAL WEAR

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Clothing is part of culture because it defines who people are. A Muganda woman typically wears a gomesi. This is a floor-length, brightly colored cloth dress with a square neckline and short, puffed sleeves.

The first Gomesi was made of bark cloth however today they come in materials such as silk, cotton and other fabrics. A gomesi is not a single clothing but rather one that is accompanied with several garments to make it whole like the Kikoy which is an undergarment that is worn to add weight.

The garment is fastened with a sash traditionally known as a kitambala placed around waist over the hips, and two buttons on the left side of the neckline.

The indigenous dress of the Baganda man is a kanzu, a masculine outfit looks similar to a tunic and is mostly composed of a white or cream fabric. It’s made from silk, cotton, poplin, or linen. Linen kanzus are the most expensive.

The Kanzu unlike other specific attires cuts across several tribes and almost all ugandan men wear it during cultural functions. The Kanzu has a make of a dress and the men usually wear trousers beneath it plus a coat over their shoulders to match with it.

Traditionally, the busuuti was strapless and made from bark-cloth. The busuuti is worn on all festive and ceremonial occasions like introduction parties, giveaways, coronation ceremonies .

The Significance of the Gomesi and Kanzu is to promote decency and respect in public. Different tribes around Uganda and world wide have a adopted this traditional wear. The Gomesi and Kanzus are easily customized into different designs and colors as preferred by different individuals.

Put in mind that when wearing these traditional cloth that you have to be gracious. Men ought not to hold the kanzu when walking to avoid it from touching the ground. Never let the under garment be seen. And never alter the traditional design of the gomesi or kanzu because it ceases to be the known traditional wear.

These traditional outfits can be bought from shops in the city centre of Kampala at places like; Mukwano Arcade, Kiyembe shopping centre, Craft village and several shops around Kampala town.

In order to own one, you’ve got to buy a material of your preference, then take it for measurements to a tailor who then sews it into a Gomesi but for a Kanzu, the gentleman has to fit in to find the perfect size and height of it. The Busuutis are quite affordable but the material you want will determine how much you will have to spend.

Entebbe Town and its Features.

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Entebbe is a pleasant town built on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda. Entebbe offers a relaxed stop-over alternative to Kampala if you’re flying into or out of Uganda, as the air is clean, the streets are safe to walk, and the old colonial gardens and parks with the lake in the background make for a serene atmosphere. Despite its quiet exterior, you view the State home and some beautiful wildlife at any turn if you’re not in a rush to the capital city, it’s worth a stay.

Entebbe is also a major town in Central Uganda. On a Lake Victoria peninsula, approximately 37 kilometres southwest of the Uganda’s capital city, it was once the seat of government for the Protectorate of Uganda prior to independence, in 1962.

Entebbe is the location of Uganda’s International Airport, Uganda’s largest commercial and military airport. It is also the location of State House, the official office and residence of the President of Uganda.

Entebbe sits on the northern shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake. The town is situated in Wakiso District, Wakiso District is a district in the Central Region of Uganda that partly encircles Kampala, Uganda’s capital city.

Wakiso District lies in the Central Region of the country, bordering with Nakaseke District and Luweero to the north, Mukono District to the east, Kalangala District in Lake Victoria to the south, Mpigi District to the southwest and Mityana District to the northwest. Wakiso, where the district headquarters are located, lies approximately 20 kilometres, from the road, northwest of Kampala,

The olden times of Entebbe

It first became a British colonial administrative and commercial centre in 1893 when Sir Gerald Portal, a colonial Commissioner, used it as a base.

The word Entebbe came from Luganda language entebbe which means ‘seat’ / ‘chair’. Entebbe was the seat of the colonial governor in the early 1900s, when the country was a British protectorate, and is now the location of the official office and residence of the President of Uganda, thus the name Entebbe is the seat of power in the country

Entebbe is perhaps best known to Europeans as the home of Entebbe International Airport, the main international airport of Uganda, which was first opened in 1929.

Tourist Attractions in Entebbe
1. The extensive National Botanical Gardens.
The National Botanical Gardens of Uganda, commonly known as the Botanical Gardens Entebbe, are located in Entebbe, Uganda. They were laid out in 1898 by the first curator, A Whyte, close to the shores of Lake Victoria. The gardens are divided into different zones, including a rain forest zone.

2. The Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI).
The Uganda Virus Research is a medical research institute owned by the Uganda government that carries out research on communicable diseases in man and animals, with emphasis on viral transmitted infections. UVRI is a component of Uganda National Health Research Organization (UNHRO), an umbrella organization for health research within Uganda.h Institute (UVRI).

3. The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC)
The Uganda Wildlife Education Center is a fun and exciting place to see and learn about the animals of Uganda and the ecosystems in which they live. Take some time to learn how they live, eat, play, and talk.

Originally founded in the 1950s to accommodate confiscated and injured wildlife and to look after orphan animals which have been taken away from smugglers it has grown considerably in recent years. Many say its destined to become the most important showcase for wildlife on the African continent.

Created by the government of Uganda with the help of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York and managed by a Wildlife Trust, it never fails to delight. At UWEC you will come across free ranging Vervet monkeys and a family troop of DeBraza monkeys in the jungle of our hillside forest. Over 120 bird species can be watched ranging from the famous African fish eagle, over the Great Blue Turaco to Hammerkops, Giant Kingfisher and even the smallest sun birds.
UWEC is not a zoo in a conventional sense and neither is it a Safari Park but it is a center where wildlife education is combined with leisure. Our main aim is to model the main ecosystem of this country in open range exhibits. Not only can you observe many of our most exciting indigenous species here, but comprehensive interactive interpretation and briefings on them are also given. (UWEC)

4. Entebbe is the location of Nkumba University
Nkumba University (NU) is a private university in Entebbe, Uganda. It was established in 1994 as part of a group of schools and colleges which originally grew from a kindergarten set up in 1951. The University is dedicated to the promotion of excellence in applied business education. Creativity, Confidence, Competence and Character. The university is not affiliated with any particular religious organization, but it accommodates several religious associations, which allow the students to fellowship along religious beliefs and to devote adequate time to God.
The university campus is located on Nkumba Hill, in Wakiso District, approximately 10 kilometres, by road, northeast of Entebbe International Airport, along the northern shores of Lake Victoria, the second-largest fresh water body in the world.

5. The State House.
The President of the Republic of Uganda is the head of state and head of government of Uganda. The president leads the executive branch of the Government of Uganda and is the commander-in-chief of the Uganda People’s Defence Force.

6. Entebbe is also home to the historical site in Kigungu where the first catholic missionaries Brother Amans and Father Mon Maple Lourdel landed to establish the catholic faith in Uganda.

7. Entebbe is home of the oldest golf course in East Africa called Entebbe Golf Club, which was established in 1900. Entebbe Golf Club is surrounded by the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, (formerly Entebbe Zoo), on its south side.

8. Entebbe International Airport
Entebbe International Airport is the principal international airport of Uganda. It is near the town of Entebbe, on the shores of Lake Victoria, and about 41 kilometres by road south-west of the central business district of Kampala, the capital and largest city of Uganda. The headquarters of the Civil Aviation Authority of Uganda have been relocated to a new block off the airport highway.

9. Lake Victoria.
Lake Victoria (Nalubaale in Luganda) is one of the African Great Lakes. The lake was named after Queen Victoria by the explorer John Hanning Speke, the first Briton to document it. Speke accomplished this in 1858, while on an expedition with Richard Francis Burton to locate the source of the Nile River.

And lastly Entebbe is the home of beaches on the shores of lake Victoria.
Government and infrastructure

10. The head office of the Ministry of Works and Transport is in Entebbe.
The Ministry of Works and Transport is a Cabinet level government ministry of Uganda, that is mandated to plan, develop and maintain an economic, efficient and effective transport infrastructure, and transport services by road, rail, water, and air. The ministry is also mandated to manage public works including government structures and promote standards in the construction industry. The ministry is headed by a Cabinet Minister. The current Minister of Works and Transport is Engineer Monica Azuba Ntege

The headquarters of the ministry are located at the corner of Jinja Road and Old Port Bell Road, in Kampala Central Division, in the Industrial Area of Kampala,

11. The head office of the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Uganda (CAA) is the government agency responsible for licensing, monitoring, and regulating civil aviation matters. It is administered by the Uganda Ministry of Works and Transport.

Ok, you can only make your fantacy a reality only if you take time off and visit the beautiful Entebbe town and you have a holiday or a tour. visit the Ugandan your best online info.
By Kabagambe Gerald.

WHITE WATER RUSH – JINJA, UGANDA

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From a truth or dare game, I was dared to go rafting on the White Nile.

“How hard could it be?” I said to myself then. That weekend my friend and I set off from the suburbs of Kampala city by bus to Jinja.

We got to Jinja by mid-morning. There were different kinds of people. You could tell the nervousness in folks that were going to go rafting the first time. For folks that had done it before, they were thrilled to be at it again. I was a little bit of both; thrilled yet nervous at the same time.

After picking up life jackets, paddles and helmets provided; a crash course on safety precautions were laid out for us. We formed teams and with our captain assigned, we set off to size up with our first rapid. The rapids were of different levels , that’s to say the higher the number the meaner the rapid.

Over time we bounced and shimmed a lot, we spent more time in the air than sitting on inflatable rubber. A level three rapid which was high for us the unprofessional rafters caught us swiftly; trying as hard as we could to adhere to our captain’s instructions, the raft eventually overturned and we were all submerged by roaring white water.

Luckily our life jackets pushed us afloat and the stationed kayaks that paddled fast to our rescue where good at their jobs. We were soon reunited with our raft.

With scenery of beautiful green forest, it felt like being alone in the wilderness. We paddled further across the White Nile to a designated location where we had lunch and talked about our white water rush experience felt few moments ago.

If you are searching for a sense of excitement and adventure, adrenaline push experiences to share, Jinja is certainly a good start.

By Bridget Namaganda

Sip nature’s beauty at Sipi Falls

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The interesting difference between Sipi and Murchison Falls, in my opinion, is that of the two, Sipi is more accurately named. The thing about Murchison Falls is that the water there just doesn’t fall. It fights, froths, and foams its way through the rocks.

At Sipi, however, the water really does fall. The flow never touches the cliff at all, but simply drops, in a lacy, diaphanous veil, to crash into the pool at bottom, creating a constant fine mist in the process. It’s a beautiful, elegant ballerina, stretching top to toe a slender 100 meters; Murchison by comparison is a stocy, meaty beast, more awe-inspiring than mesmerizing.

And should you decide to visit this delicate aquatic ballerina, you could do worse than stay at the quaint and comfortable Lacam Lodge, along the road, from Mbale to Kapchorwa. The Lodge, constructed on the slopping cliff, is moderately-priced, with a relaxed wooden bar, and lots and lots of steps (which is good for the knees, but very bad if you need the toilet at 3:00am)

There are two main reasons why this place is so good, the first of which is the food. The quality is pretty good- I particularly enjoyed my honey pancake, though it would have gone down better hot- but the quantity is the real bonus, if eating is what you like to do. It’s the sort of place one would got to if one had just wandered out of the Sahara, where you could walk in on Monday rake-thin, and walk out on Tuesday heavy as a hippo.

On Sunday morning for breakfast, I was served up pineapple and banana for starters, then toast as a second course, and finally bacon, eggs, and sausage as the grand finale. I could quite happily have shared the meal between another two people and still left the table feeling satisfied.

The second reason for choosing Lacam is that it’s very convenient for abseiling, the location of which is only a five-minute walk from the lodge. Organized by a company inexplicably known as “Rob’s Rolling Rock”, I never saw Rob, or any rolling rocks – this is a must-do for those visiting the falls. You lower yourself rather scarily backwards over the 100-meter drop, suspended by a couple of ropes, and then basically lower yourself down by feeding one of your ropes through the harness.

The feeling about half-way to the bottom, when you look all around you and are basically hanging in mid-air, is particularly memorable. Intelligently, the site for the abseiling is also quite close to the falls themselves; not quite close enough for them to make you wet, but close enough. If you’re feeling energetic, you can also, from the base of Sipi, go on a three-hour or so tour of two other falls upstream – similar in appearance to Sipi- and “the cave”.

This last is a big fat cavern in the mountain, which is apparently filled with bats; however, you need to take your torch in there to see them, and do take one yourself. Guides, mine included, sometimes forget to bring a light themselves, which can be a bit of a pain.

Just the same, this place is still one of the best experiences I have had in Uganda, mainly because the abseiling and three-hour country trek appealed to my energetic side. Be warned of a couple of things though: the abseiling co, have not, as yet, got gloves as part of their kit, which can result in nasty burns as the rope zips through your palms. Second, don’t expect to be able to watch the falls as you eat your dinner, they are only visible from one point at the lodge, so they are usually heard, rather than seen.