Things to do:
- Buziika is a very small town, and one that I love dearly. It is home to the Canaan Children's Transit Center, a primary school, and vibrant night market, and several small shops. The people are very welcoming and sweet, and truly made me feel like it was a second home.
- In recent years, it's also become home to the Extreme Adventure Park! I can't give it an endorsement because I haven't been, but it does look like a cool way to have an adventure in a small town.
Things to do:
- Source of the Nile: This is literally the very beginning of the Nile River!! How cool is that!? You can white water raft, kayak, horseback ride or hike along the water, take a boat tour, and even bungee jump! Hysterically, if you agree to bungee jump naked it's free ;)
- While I didn't stay the night there, I did spend a day at the Source of the Nile Hotel, and it was absolutely wonderful! I hung out at the pool, walked along the river, and had a great lunch! Plus there were tons of adorable monkeys.
Foods to Try:
You have to try all the local foods, including matoke (plantain mash), ugali (maize porridge), posho (kind of like polenta), fried cassava, and sugar cane (you can pick this from the side of the road and it is awesome!)
Fish, fish, and more fish. The fish is incredible and served whole! To eat it properly, run your fork from the top of the spine straight down toward the stomach so that the prongs run parallel to the ribs. This will pull the meat off without breaking the bones or accidentally getting them in your bite.
Meat is a really big deal here and not something often eaten by locals. It is very expensive and hard to come by. You can certainly get it, but the fish is much more common and cheaper.
As in a lot of developing nations, it is completely fine to cut a deal when buying street goods and food.
If you're interested in seeing the wildlife and national parks, you'll need to go to the Western or North Eastern side of the country.
Before you go on a trip to any new areas, it's always a good idea to check the State Department's Travel Advisory for specific safety tips.
To be perfectly clear, I spent the majority of my time in rural areas, so I can't say with any authority what it would be like in a big city. From my experience, it was not safe to go out as a woman on your own. However, if you have a man in your party you are usually good to go.
Be aware that police and military officials are on most street corners and they carry very big guns. That is not to scare you, it's just the way it is.
There are a lot of stereotypes about safety in African countries. Check them at the door! I found everyone to be incredibly kind and willing to help. Keep your wits about you, be aware of cultural differences (ie: women should not show their knees or thighs, especially in more traditional or rural areas, and throwing a peace sign is not okay), and you will be fine!
Transportation in Uganda:
It's all about the Boda-Bodas! They are basically motorbikes (as pictured with Buziika profile) that act as taxis to get multiple people around town at a time (again, see the picture below). When I asked why they were called "Boda-Bodas" I was told it's because they can take you from border (boda) to border (boda). Ha! Who doesn't love a good transportation pun!?
You can also rent or ride in mini buses pretty easily!