Updates from the De Berrys

We visited Uganda last month and just want to say a huge THANK YOU for your guide which was invaluable. We offer these comments for updates

Kampala Our best night in Uganda in Bugolobi in the new Primrose Suites. VERY quiet and away from the hurly burly of noisier Kampala. Yet only 20 mins to the centre See www.primrosesuites.co.ug

Ssese Islands P201 Ferry from Entebbe. Leaves promtly at 14.00 but takes 2 hrs 40 mins Very comfortable but beware – we had ALL our luggage searched before embarking for a security check! Onward journey Kalangala to Masaka. We made a mistake….. and were hustled on to a matatu (19 passengers too) that insisted on leaving at 5.30am but then missed the ferry and we had 2 hours plus to wait for its return! There is a Kalangala to Kampala bus that leaves at 6.30 to 7.00am – a MUCH better option.

P203 Pearl Gardens Beach resort. We stayed mid week and it was VERY peaceful – some younger travellers we met found it rather dull – it’s marketing hard for Ugandan honeymooners Food was unexciting but adequate and edible! Management – very impressive and kind. They got up at 5 am to wake us up for our onward journey and provided us with a warm ‘packed’ breakfast too.

p232 Buses to Kabale. A tip Catch one from Kampala that is going through to Kigale in Rwanda – they are much quicker and not as full.

p243 Arcadia Cottages The BEST view of Lake Bunyoni We had a lunch here but it wasn’t as special as we expected from the write up in your guide. The prices too for B&B seem to have shot up. I think you might need to move the hotel into your Upmarket section

p290 Mweya Hostel Adequate and busy. The restaurant must have improved dramatically though, we had our best fish and chips here of our whole visit and the service was speedier than anywhere else too. We hired a guide early the following morning and saw 7 lions out towards Kasenyi – 3 were up a tree! The park is doing a great job. The elephant population now restored to 4000

p318 Fort Portal Stopped for a good lunch at ‘Gardens’ Restaurant. A great place for a break Good toasted sandwiches

p346 Mubende Following your description in the guide book we decided to have a break here. It’s now a dump! We moved on in haste.

p402 Jinja Hotel Triangle Annex Thanks so much for your map. We would never have found this hotel without it. Modest pricing for sound accomodation. Running buffet for both dinner and breakfast with plenty to eat. VERY busy though hosting a conference.

p437 Mbale. We remember the town of old and planned to have lunch there. Sadly it is now a tip and decidedly chaotic. We found Oasis of Life but that was closed – being refurbished they said. The Princess Royal Guesthouse next door is derelict! We do not recommend a stay in Mbale any longer

p455 Kumi Had a late lunch at Greentop Our best lunch in Uganda. Quiet, leisurely, great chesse and tomato toasties and were able to watch Indiana Jones at the same time. The new Kumi Hotel looks great too. A much better option than Mbale

p458 Soroti Small town charm with some very smart new shops We stayed at a the new comfortable guest house ‘The White House’ on the Church of Uganda compound.

Again – thanks for your guide

Best wishes

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One thought on “Updates from the De Berrys

  1. Margaret Stevens says:

    There will soon be another alternative for good, cheap accommodation in Teso, half way between KUMI and SOROTI! Teso Educational Support Services (TESS, website http://www.tess.uk.net) is building a new model school at Kapir between Kumi and Soroti. One of the first buildings which will be completed at Shalom School in Kapir (hopefully by May 2012) will be the Guest House, next to Atiira Primary School and only 150m from the main road. It is exactly half way between Kumi and Soroti, only 23km from each. It offers 5 twin bedded en-suite rooms, with meals provided if required. Phone Rev Jeremiah Acelun on 0772 330601 for more information and booking.

    Staying there will help benefit the local community and the development of Shalom School which is only just beginning (see http://www.tess.uk.net/shalom_school_.html). An MSc research student will be based at Shalom in June-July 2012 working on developing an eco-tourism project with the local communities. Unlike staying in towns, you will be able to meet and interact with the local community who are very welcoming. Being by the main road, transport to and from Kumi and Soroti is very easy although the main road (which is part of the Great North Road from Capetown to Cairo) is currently being re-built.

    There are lovely walks around the Guest House, up the rocky hill nearby and down to Awoja swamp and lake. Atiira Primary School welcomes visits. It is also possible to arrange to go out on the lake near Ngora (Agu or Akuja) to look for the rare and prehistoric-looking Shoebill Stork – phone Bishop Charles Obaikol (0772 557909) or William Ojulong (0772 581913) to arrange a visit. The fascinating Rock Paintings at Nyero are not far away and are well worth a visit. Climbing some of the huge rocky outcrops (especially Tididiek between Kapir and Ngora or several around Ngora or Soroti Rock) are well worth the effort as they give fantastic views over the whole of Teso and beyond to Mount Elgon and the mountains in Karamoja.

    Teso is overlooked by all the tourist guides and tour operators, and yet it has so much potential and is the ideal stopping off place for an alternative and exciting round tour of Uganda instead of going south and west of Kampala. So, for a new experience, try going east and north, as described below:

    Circular tourist route through Teso
    1. Kampala to Jinja (for source of the Nile, Bujagali Falls, white water rafting, horse riding, quad biking, bungee jumping etc)
    2. Jinja to Sipi Falls (short and long walks in the foot hills of Mt Elgon to three spectacular falls, climbing Mt Elgon, village walk to experience all stages of growing to drinking coffee, dramatic abseiling)
    3. Sipi Falls to Teso (see next paragraph for activities in Teso)
    (4. Teso to Kidepo National Park is a possible extra, by road or air from Soroti)
    5. Teso to Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP) for game drives, boat trips on the Nile (to Murchison Falls) & Lake Albert etc
    6. MFNP to Budongo Forest Reserve (chimpanzees, birds, butterflies, forest walks)
    7. Either return direct to Kampala via Masindi or extend by visiting other reserves on Lake Albert and/or Kibale National Park, Katongo Reserve, Fort Portal and environs (Semliki, Rwenzori Mountains etc)

    Activities possible in Teso
    • Canoe/boat trips on the lakes/swamps – anything from a few hours to a few days, staying overnight in villages
    • Rock climbing (most rocks can also be walked up, the best being Tididiek and Soroti Rock)
    • Bird watching
    • Cultural and village experiences – staying overnight with families
    • Volunteer tourism opportunities (eg: teaching, building, medical)
    • Easy walking trips (perhaps with overnight stay in a village)
    • Nyero rock paintings (between Ngora and Kumi)

    The people of Teso are renowned for being perhaps the friendliest and most welcoming people of Uganda. Doing this tour will be very rewarding.

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