“We love the people, the animals, birds and the landscape,” confided Deja Levy Eliyahn. “This park is out of the ordinary. Those huge herds of buffalo are stuck on my mind.
True to CNN declaring Uganda being the fifth best destination in the world, Kidepo Valley National Park (KVNP) is keeping two ladies from Israel camera-click happy, shooting anything that crosses their paths.
Armed with their cameras they are not sparing elephants, giraffes, ostriches, monkeys, mothers and children. On discovering they come from Israel, they are being referred to as Jesus’ relatives by the rangers and tour guides.
“We love the people, the animals, birds and the landscape,” said Deja Levy Eliyahn. “This park is out of the ordinary. Those huge herds of buffalo are stuck on my mind."
Uganda needs more than a month to exhaust to capacity its attractions. Kidepo has taken us four days and we are just starting.”
They were seen beaming with smiles during a Safari drive, shooting photographs, laughing and visibly having fun.
Come nightfall, the two were marveling at the star studded sky, a yellow moon, insects and bats in flight.
They sat by the camp fire and swigged chilled beers as they shared experiences with other tourists.
“I cannot have enough of Uganda,” interjected the other partner Tall Lapid. “Kidepo has been a starter but we are yet to get to grips with what Jinja, Mgahinga and Mbale have in store for us. Someone told us the Bayudaya (Uganda Jewish Community) here adhere to the mores, rules and ways of life more than their counterparts in Israel!”
Destined to celebrate the Jewish Passover Feast in Mbale, come April, the two ladies are excited about what they will find there.
So far they have fallen in love with the people like Paul Okot their driver, technology of women grinding food on stones or cooking using three stone stoves.
“We loved the Jesus’ style of sandals recycled from tires by the Karamojong. Our driver is a tour guide of sorts who knows the destination like the back of his hand,” added Lapid.
“Endowed with the the source of the Nile, Mount Rwenzori, Mabira Forest and Kidepo – what more can a human being ask God for? You just have to thank him!”
Come nightfall, they were seen around a camp fire with; warthogs, foxes, lions, elephants and zebras foraging the bushes.
Destined to Uganda after being recommended by the social media and word of mouth, the two are taking loads of photographs shot along the way.
They are amazed by the women in northern Uganda using calabashes to screen their babies from the sun rays.
While there they met Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) executive director Andrew Seguya who told them times are gone when Uganda was in the media for the negative news.
The state minister of ethics and integrity, Simon Lokodo, bragged about Kidepo residents who utilize the resources from tourism to improve the lives of the communities in the park.
“Make the Jesus style sandals more beautiful and inscribe them with something Ugandan,” tipped minister of state for tourism, Godfrey Kiwanda. “That is how Uganda can ring in the minds of tourists from abroad.”
Location is eight hours drive from Kampala City. The destination has won several accolades in the recent past from TripAdvisor, CNN and several tourism gurus.
Accommodation is affordable in the UWA bands at sh30, 000 - sh60, 000. Apoka Lodge is on the high side with a price tag of $580 (sh2, 0880, 000) full board. Expect to come close to Bulbul a “habituated” elephant that sip wine and beer before dancing to the beat.
More lodges and camps for tents are in place offering service at good rates. It can be accessed from Gulu through Kitgum. But travelers from the central region get there through Mbale via Namalu or Soroti. It all depends on the climate, state of the roads and one’s location.
Attractions in KVNP comprise the birds, reptiles and the landscape. Lately the lifestyles in a Manyata (Homestead of 50 -150 huts) have been elevated to tourism packages by tour operators.