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Kenyan Leader Excited By Ugandan Boda Boda, Says Country’s Eco-Tourism Is Unmatched

Boda bodas in Kampala/Courtesy photo

Clara Ningome Chonga, the tourism minister for the coastal county of Kilifi, described her first-time experience on a Boda-Boda in Uganda, as simply amazing.

Ningome was part of the Kenyan group of tour and travel enthusiasts, who have just concluded an eight-day familiarization trip to Uganda.

The trip is part of the Kenya-Uganda coastal tourism conference that took place at the Diani Reef Beach resort and spa in Kenya. Tourism sector players from Uganda were the first to familiarize themselves with Kenya under the same arrangement.

Ningome said that despite having many friends in Uganda and staying just next door, she has never put Uganda on her bucket list as one of the countries to visit, however, she was surprised by what she unexpectedly found out on the familiarization trip.

Ningome says this was her first time to use boda boda, and the experience was amazing.

She even told the rider to take all his time so she could enjoy it to the maximum. ”I have had so many firsts, just like boda bodas, I would like to announce that I have experienced that today, when the bus left me and I opted for a Boda-Boda,  and  told the guy I was not in a hurry.”

Besides boda boda exciting her, the minister acknowledges that Uganda has an edge over Kenya when it comes to eco-tourism.“Your eco-tourism is at another high level that we Kenyans need to copy,” she said. “Uganda is a place where you want to come to relax, talk to nature and God only.”

The rain that showered the visitors was also an experience on its own,  because in Kenya when it rains people run for shelter because the rains are usually not friendly.

The other first the minister had was being at close range with the famed long-horned Ankole cattle whose picture she even took and bragged about on social media.

She adds that the hospitality and the well-manicured compounds in the accommodation facilities she slept at made the entire visit worth a story to tell.

Meanwhile, the minister also highlighted the areas of improvement, for the country to fully benefit from its tourism potential. For one, hotels and lodging facilities should be planned for younger children because parents travel with their children, and the absence of facilities can limit a tourist.

She insists that the Ugandan tourism story has to be told because a lot is not known about Uganda.

The Kenyan leader’s enjoyment comes just a week after the Irish ambassador to Uganda, Kevin Colgan, advised tourists to embrace Kampala city tourism, especially the road potholes which had been described as “breath-taking sceneries of crater potholes.”

“You don’t need to go outside Kampala to see crater lake, all you need to do is to drive around the industrial area and you will see the crater lakes you need,  from herds of game in Murchison Falls to herds of Boda-Bodas on the streets of Kampala, there is wildness to it all that we love dearly,” he explained.

The Kenyan group that visited Uganda included  central and local government officials, private sector players as well as tour operators.

For Lilian Thom, one of the tour operators who were with the group, Uganda was not among the destinations they sell as a tour company,  which she says was mainly because of a lack of awareness about what the country has to offer to the tourism market.

Thom’s first eye-opener about Uganda as a potential tourist destination was the level of standard of accommodation facilities, which she says was “up there”,   compared to the markets she has visited during her 15 years of experience in tours and travel business. Then came the women tour guides which to her is very unique to Uganda,  as well as exceptional, and it is in high demand in the tourism market.

After the experience,  the tour operator promised to include destination Uganda as a package on her itinerary, because “it has low-hanging fruits that are easily reached.” However, she was concerned about the domestic flight system in Uganda, which she says needs to be worked on  for the benefit of the tourism industry.

Chirema Kombo the deputy governor of  Kwale County who has over 17 years of experience in the tours and travel business said: “At Ngamba Island the Chimpanzee viewing experience was one of the best there is. In Mbarara in Western Uganda, I fell in love with the food. We were served with original matooke with ground nut sauce,” said the deputy governor.


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