KAMPALA, UGANDA – Well, well, well, it’s just about that time of the year when Boney M’s tunes sound again, upcountry routes get busier, our beloved relatives fly back home, we get set for colorful shopping and bond with family and friends, while celebrating and remembering the birth of Christ of Nazareth and party along to the New Year, but so many questions linger in our minds on how best yet experiential and exciting we should be spending this festive season.
This year, we bring you the top 10 best ideas to spend your Christmas, New Year’s Eve and holiday season in Uganda. From the amazing sceneries, entertainment hubs, city hopping and adventurous experiences, the Pearl of Africa is really the place to spend your festive season.
- Kampala & Entebbe – the entertainment capital of East Africa:
From dawn to sundown, year-round, Kampala & Entebbe have remained the focal places for all those interested in being entertained within Uganda and the East African region. Music concerts, colorful bars, vibrant lounges and discotheques are worth listing on your bucket-list this festive season. Internationally proclaimed artistes, disco jokers (Djs) and widely available drinks are some of ingredients you wouldn’t like to miss on this buffet, as you party for two years in a row, 2017 to 2018.
- Recharge yourself in the adventure capital, Jinja City:
Whereas Kampala & Entebbe are the entertainment hubs of the region, Jinja city is the adventure capital. Like we say, ‘you haven’t been in Uganda if you haven’t visited the source of the mighty river Nile,’ but wait a second! Water rafting, bungee jumping, quad biking, horse riding, cycling, kayaking, oh, we almost forgot zip-lining, as some of the recipes on your trip to Jinja town & this year’s festive season buffet. Why not serve yourself?
- Sailing away, on boat cruises along the Nile and on Lake Victoria:
Imagine a sunset boat cruise sailing down to the source of River Nile, to the bottom of the squashing Murchison falls, along Kazinga Channel or to the various Islands on the largest lake in Africa, with fireworks ready to usher you into the new year. Such cruises are arranged for guests at various locations including source of the Nile in Jinja, Munyonyo, Luzira & Gaba landing sites in Kampala, Entebbe, Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Parks. Don’t say we didn’t inform you.
- Island hopping and beach paradise in the tropics:
You’ve worked so hard since the year began and all you desire as the year ends is to wind down in the most liberating environment possible, and that’s exactly what the exotic beaches around the Pearl of Africa offer. From Bulago Island to Ssese Islands and Entebbe, a soothing breeze off the winds of Lake Victoria awaits. You can book your stay with vacation hotels and lodges around these places for a memorable holiday.
- X-mas in the wild:
You probably heard them sing ‘in the jungle, the mighty jungle the lion sleeps tonight,’ well, you won’t have to sing along with a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, but mix seeing tree climbing lions with tracking primates like gorillas, chimpanzees, taking a game drive, a boat cruise or listening to the whistling birds of over 1070 species in one or two of the ten National Parks Uganda has. From Kidepo Valley through Murchison Falls, Semliki, Mt. Rwenzori, Kibale, Queen Ezliabeth, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga, Lake Mburo to Mt Elgon, the Pearl of Africa offers an exhilarating wildlife experience – a perfect salad for your holiday season. You can book with one of the tour operators for this festive tour or through Christmas offers being provided by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. For those on a budget, the same experience is provided by the Uganda Wildlife Education Center in Entebbe.
- Dining and wining:
Feasting is eating, and that’s what the ‘festive’ season is about! Surely Uganda is the melting point for all your international desires. From Chinese, Indian, Asian, Italian, Lebanese, Turkish to the best African dishes, restaurants are spread around for your choice. Want to taste the Kentucky chicken (KFC), why not try Javas, Java House, Nanjing, Fang Fang, Shanghai, Tamrai or the Lawns. Hotel menus this season are such a delight for you, your friends and your family, so you can find your way to Kampala Serena or Sheraton Kampala Hotel, Protea, Pearl of Africa Hotel (Kampala); Lake Victoria Serena Golf & Spa resort, Lake Heights (Entebbe), Mbale Resort (Mbale); Lake Side View, Igongo Cultural Center (Mbarara), Acholi Inn (Gulu), Source of the Nile Hotel (Jinja) and in so many others across the country.
- A meeting with your soul & spirit – the true meaning of Christmas:
Amidst ups and downs throughout the year, you probably saved little time to meditate with your spirit and soul in the presence of the almighty. With the strengthening spiritual … Uganda offers the best avenue to reconnect with God through the different worshiping centers spread across the country. Indigenous Roman, Anglican, Orthodox and Adventist churches and the increasing Pentecostal establishments are the right places for your journey through this festive season. The Bahai temple and welcoming marsqueds are also open for your spirit this season. Why would you miss a variety of New Year’s Eve Passover services in Nambole and Nakivubo stadiums, Kololo airtstrip, Namirembe, Rubaga cathedrals and in so many centers across? Why not spare time and enjoy the annually awaited Christmas Cantata at Watoto Church.
- Shop till you drop:
Hasn’t it been a custom for so long now that we almost set ourselves ready to shop the best during festive seasons, and that this is a season for giving? Well, with widespread shopping centres around Uganda you’re bound to find the best offers on market. While you visit modern centres like Garden City, Oasis Mall, Forest Mall, Lugogo Shopping Mall, Capital Shoppers, Quality Shoppers (all in Kampala); Freedom City, Victoria Mall, Imperial Mall (Entebbe) and all others spread around the country; don’t forget the delicacy you’ll get in different indigenous markets like Nakasero, Owino, Nakawa, Wandegeya, Kasubi, Busega, Kibuye, Kawempe (Kampala), Gulu, Arua, Mbale, Mbarara and Masaka among many more cities.
- Time to laugh in comic Christmas
When you want to experience authentic African culture, Uganda is the place to go! But you won’t have to traverse the whole country for this experience since our theaters shall serve you the best Christmas & cultural dinner. Add the Uganda National Cultural Center (National Theatre), Theatre LaBonita, Bat Valley, Laftaz, Diners, on your ‘to-visit’ list for live drama, cultural musical shows and theatrical plays, but don’t miss the spectacular Christmas Cantata at Watoto Church Downtown.
- Recreate and recuperate:
We know you would like to know why this land is called the Pearl of Africa, well there’s no better time than visiting us during this festive season. Imagine yourself on top of the hills surrounding Lake Bunyonyi or unwinding in the hills of Kabale and Kisoro or splashing Sipi Falls in Kapchorwa, what about the striking sunset views on Ssese islands? Oooh we almost forgot the mesmerizing crater lakes of Fort Portal and the Rwenzori region.
Important tips on your trip:
- A small camera to keep the memories
- A power bank to keep you charged and going
- Uber, Friendship & Quick Taxis, are a call away
- Travel with a friend or family
- A helmet for your experiential ‘boda boda’ city rides
- Don’t miss the Rolex