Teso is a region in north eastern Uganda. The main towns are KUMI and SOROTI. Smaller towns are Ngora, Bukedea, Katakwi, Amuria and Kaberamaido
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 Entebbe and 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; there is now an excellent, new tarmac road all the way from Soroti into MFNP via Lira
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 one or two days, staying overnight in villages
• Rock scrambling – most rocks can be walked up, the best being Tididiek, some rocks around Ngora and Soroti Rock)
• Bird watching
• Cultural and village experiences – staying overnight with families
• Volunteer tourism opportunities (eg: teaching, building, medical – contact TESS through their websitehttp://www.tess.uk.net or Charles Etoru through http://ugandavolunteers.org/default.aspx)
• 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 as it offers so much variety and an intimate experience of Uganda which is often lacking on the more widely used tourist trails around western and southern Uganda. For help with arranging your tour, contact Charles Etoru at firstname.lastname@example.org. He has years of experience of organising tailor-made tours, having worked for the Uganda Wildlife Authority before coming to the UK and comes from Teso.
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 (less than £10 per person for full board). 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 so welcoming. Being by the main road, public 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 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.
We will update this information as the tourism opportunities in Teso develop.