Travel in Africa - A Travel Tale from Uganda involving volunteering

It's late 1996, and I arrive in Uganda for the first time. Leaving the airplane for the short walk towards the terminal building on that October morning we were immediately struck by the temperature – and the level of humidity. I say we, because I was there as part of a voluntary conservation project with a London based NGO. Arriving with a group of around thirty volunteers we travelled, via Kampala, to the Pian-Upe reserve which was to be our home for the next ten weeks. This proved to be a remarkable ten weeks which, I am glad to say, has encouraged me to return to this continent again and again.

Prior to my departure, what I'd learnt about Uganda was that this country seemed to be famous for three things. The first being Idi Amin, who'd famously pronounced himself as the King of Scotland.

The second was Entebbe Airport which, during the rule of Idi Amin, became the scene of an Isrealli commando raid after a civil airliner was hijacked en-route to France. The third, was the source of Nile River near the town of Jinja. A place which is one of the final resting places of the ashes of Mahatma Ghandi.

Unfortunately, I also learnt that the images which people have of the African Continent are often borne through misconceptions and sometimes ignorance. Often this is due to the reports presented by the media – covering stories of war, famine and illness.

As with any country, Uganda has had its ups and its downs, but I am thankful that I had made this first voyage. For anyone I have met who has travelled to any part of Africa, we all agree that we return better and wiser for the experience we gain.

As for the demise of the Ndejje frog? Well, that's another story!

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