By Titus Kakembo
Fans of Telenovelas from Mexico, there is an actor, influencer and conservationist Arturo Isias Alleude who falls in love with everything he claps his eyes on in Uganda. After seven days, he is already plotting to come back with his entire family and some country folks.
“It is my first time on the African continent,” Arturo says. “I just do not know why it has taken this long to sniff attractions on this side of the world. It is a small package, but endowed with what even bigger destinations do not have.”
After gorilla/chimp tracking, white water rafting, bird watching and nature walks, Arturo hit the African Village to shop for artefacts, head masks, batiks and abstract art pieces. He stumbled upon Batik maestro Nuwa Wamala Nyanzi who enriched him with the history of bark cloth that existed in Buganda long before the advent of colonialists.
“We had oral literature told by the fireside,” Nyanzi narrated. “Wrestling, boat regattas and omweso (board game) were our forefather’s ideas of leisure. You ought to have visited the museum to see the wealth of history different tribes had.”
“Kintu and Nambi were our ideas of Adam and Eve,” narrated Nyanzi as Arturo dug in his wallet for cash. “The themes here include traditional dances. The abstract pieces are subject to your interpretation. Dances used to be occasions to celebrate a good harvest, marriage or a newly born baby.”
Arturo left saying everything he sees in Uganda is social media content material that can keep millions of his followers glued on the screen for hours on end.
Arturo and his video crew of two say they have footage to run more than 30 comprehensive stories.
“I had to put away the camera to make sure I was this close to a Silverback gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest,” Fransisco Verges confided. “These are primates I have only seen on Nat Geo. But here I was a few metres from them for an hour.”
Asked what he would tell a stranger interested in Uganda, Verges sucked in a deep breath and thought deeply.
“You need to speak some English to communicate with the guides and rangers,” Verges said. “But have enough memory space to get shots of a lifetime. Uganda has mammals, birds and mountains. Uganda is a small country on the map, but we have failed to have it covered in the seven days spent here.”
The guests were told about the Luwombo (steamed chicken) in banana fibres that was a preserve for special guests. There are awesome things the Spanish tourists are finding hard to delete from their minds.
“There is the gorgeous landscape in Kabale and Kisoro that my camera loved recording. Those winding roads show you where you are driving from. Then the mist floating as if one is in an aeroplane.”
Fanny Martinez of Afrik Hub tours says one cannot talk about attractions and not mention the tree-climbing lions, rift valleys and the friendly people.
“It is still free from the tourist crowds you get in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa,” Martinez sums up the experience. “Therefor everyone gets VIP treatment from rangers, guides, hotel staff and the entire chain, especially now as the industry staggers back to its feet.”