I left Tororo, Uganda in 1973 and recently visited the town I was born in. Moses along with Jackie from Nature Adventure Africa Safaris customized our trip so not only could I visit my hometown but also go the safaris that my parents had taken me as a young girl. Our vacation included a game drive to Murchison Falls along with a boat cruise, chimp trekking at Kibale National Park, evening nature swamp walk at Bigodi wetlands, Game drive at Queen Elizabeth National Park with a boat ride on lake Edward/George along the Kazinga Channel. All this happened between February 5th and February 12th 2015 during our Uganda Cultural Tours. Emma our guide was wise and full of patience on the numerous questions we asked and had a wealth of information about the country. He took us on a ‘Ugandan massage’, on unpaved roads that was topped with murum – a red dirt that holds well with the weather and traffic. The trips were long and bumpy but having Mike with us, we were entertained as he pointed out the landscape, the people, the animals, and the food. I was especially surprised that Uganda grows rice – Tilda, Indian rice. I was aware of tea, sugarcane, maize (corn), groundnuts (peanuts), bananas and pineapple. You can get rice with every meal. And if you do order a hamburger you have to specify a beef hamburger and a cheese burger would be bread (not bun) with cheese. As for Indian food – I was tempted to teach the chefs on how it should be made. Chicken with bones and fat and in a soup does not make it a chicken curry and extra oil does not make it a butter chicken. I suppose it goes with the experience of the culture. The fish was fabulous and is available at most restaurants. Nicky pizza in Entebbe was amazing.
A few things to consider if you do book with lodges in or around National parks. Most run on solar power so if there is no sun than you have no hot water. They may have generators that may provide some electricity. Remember to carry a flash light with you. One of the lodges we stayed at heated the water with wood and we were told when we would have hot water at an appointed time. Also, we had to pre-order breakfast, lunch or dinner. Most lodges are prompt on getting the food to your table at the appointed time. Some of the lodges also could provide you with pre-packaged breakfast or lunch options.
We were surprised to not find mosquitos since were well armed with all kinds of lotions and potions, each of the lodges we stayed had mosquito nets over the beds. Be aware of the African ants. I got stung and the bite hurts. Not all lodges had wall outlets so check at the desk if you can plug in your camera, camcorder etc… to recharge your batteries. Wine is expensive but beer is very reasonable.
As for Tororo, I was amazed to find that my old house was still there along with the Primary school and Boarding school that I had attended. I even managed to find my old teacher family. The town has changed some but most of it is as I remember. I was at home. This was my town. The people through-out our trip were very friendly, polite and ready to help. English is spoken everywhere so it is just a matter of understanding the accent. Ugandans do not like to be photographed so ask for permission. I still remembered some Swahili words. I got to try out the Ugandan food of ‘matooke’ and sweet potato. Unfortunately, I did not get an opportunity to try sugar cane and roasted corn. Maybe next time… And all is was possible because we booked with Nature Adventure Africa Safaris. Amazing trip with Amazing people.