By Simon Naulele
ENEKU Village, Madera is a great get-away for the holiday season. Located 5km from the heart of Soroti town, along Moroto road, Eneku village provides a sanctuary from the daily grind of living.
With luscious greenery, and a relaxing atmosphere, it is a really cool place, with a large thatched roof bar area (capable of holding at least 100 people) and a little pond in the middle of the complex.
They have self-contained rooms with running water, flushing toilets as well as pit latrines. The place also has a stand-by generator.
One can enjoy the cool breeze while watching birds and animals.
â€œIt is not about getting money from people, we want people see value for their money,â€ says the manager, Rose Luma.
She says for the festive season, they plan to have prominent Teso artistes entertain people.
On the menu will be both foreign and traditional cusine, including roasted whole turkey, turkey stew, ecadoi, emolokony, emalakany, emutula, ecomai.
There is also a gift shop on the premises; as well as an Internet cafÃ©.
Located along old Mbale road, about 150-200 meters from the centre of the town, the hotel is the largest in the Teso sub-region.
It has a good view of Mountain Elgon and is secure. The hotel has sprawling gardens in a cool environmen. Soothing music keeps you entertained.
The hotel has professional staff, so you are assured of quality service with pocket-friendly prices.
A visit to Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) will treat you to a Chimpanzeeâ€™s Island, rhinos, lions, zebras, buffalos, among other animals. One can also enjoy a walk through the forest which is sanctuary to 250-plus bird species and butterflies.
The director, Dr. Andrew Seguya says there are over 50 different animal species represented by over 200 animals.
Families can also have picnics along the lovely shoreline of Lake Victoria. The children can delight themselves with bouncing castles and face painting.
There are also boat rides at a small fee.
There is a also a canteen for those who need a drink and snacks or local food to eat while watching different types of monkeys playing.
There area many beaches one can relax at. Activities include swimming, sports like beach volleyball, boat cruises and evening musical shows on special days.
Resort Beach is high class with a three-star hotel; the Botanical Beach is more of a nature park with expansive gardens and a forest stretch. Ssese Gateway and Lido beaches are cozy affairs with no gardens.
This festive season would be ideal to discover the flora and fauna that Uganda is endowed with. Besides, it is the ultimate get-away for the entire family.
The national parks include Murchison Falls in Masindi, Rwenzori in Kasese, Lake Mburo in Masaka, Queen Elizabeth in Fort Portal, Kidepo in Karamoja, Mt. Elgon in Mbale, among others.
Entrance fees to the parks are at an average of about sh10,000 a day per person, while lodging ranges from sh20,000 (per night) upwards.
This is for the very adventurous, as well as the well-prepared since it entails special equipment and reasonable sums of money.
In the Rwenzoris, mountain climbing, biking, bungee jumping and hikes are all riveting, so are the tours around the villages where one can discover the hidden culture and lifestyle of the Batwa and other tribes.
On Mount Elgon in the east, one can do similar activities. The town of Mbale provides an alternative for those who prefer not to go up the mountain.
Other places to try include:
Commonwealth Speke Resort, Munyonyo
Nabugabo Sand Beach (on the shores of Lake Nabugabo, about 120km from Kampala) is the liveliest spot in Masaka over the festive season.
Satellite Beach, Mukono (about 30km from Kampala)
There is also the opening of One Love Beach at Busabala on December 26.
Gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
That the forest hosts the largest number of mountain gorillas is reason enough to visit it. Located in south western Uganda, it holds half the entire remaining population of mountain gorillas in the world (about 350). Tracking the gorillas costs sh250,000 per person. Tracking through the dense forest is no mean feat, but finding the gorillas is all worth the effort.
Ngamba chimp sanctuary
Lake Victoriaâ€™s Ngamba Island Reserve holds more than 40 chimpanzees and is accessible from Entebbe (23km and 50 minutes away from mainland Entebbe). A dayâ€™s trip to the island from Entebbe costs about sh200,000 a person.
Compiled by G. Kalibbala and J. Ssemutooke
Take a trip away from home this season