Uganda: alternate reality

  The first hurdle in preparing for Rwanda is to go completely plastic-less. Plastic (bags, especially) is banned from Rwanda, a rule which is strictly enforced at the borders. Customs searches which yield plastic bags inevitably lead to public humiliation and a lecture in front of one’s fellow travellers – a fate we would rather(…)

Uganda: Toro Pet Names

  Another Toro custom is the granting of “pet names” (Empaako in the Toro language) to everyone. Granted at birth, these names can change to reflect each person’s accomplishments or personality. There are 12 Toro pet names and these are used among Toros as soon as they have moved beyond the initial formality. They can(…)

Uganda: The Toro Kingdom

  Centered around Fort Portal, the Toro Kingdom is the youngest of Uganda’s remaining nine kingdoms, having been born in 1825 when its southern principality split away from the Bunyoro Kingdom. As we visit the rather forlorn Royal Tombs (the last entry in the visitors book dates back to September), we encounter the Guardian of(…)

Uganda: Fort Portal

  Founded in 1893 by the British to protect the newly founded Toro Kingdom, Fort Portal is a pleasant highland town where we spend a relaxing week not doing very much. With the Mountains of the Moon as a backdrop, old colonial bungalows dotted around the town and quite a few good restaurants, there doesn’t(…)

Uganda: Mountains of the Moon

  The geographer Ptolemy called them the Mountains of the Moon, in the 2nd century AD and thought they were the source of the Nile. The massive mountain range between Uganda, Rwanda and the Congo is perpetually shrouded in mist and looms like a dark and mysterious presence over the Rift Valley. Its two peaks(…)