HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW KAMPALA?
Some time last year, while I was somewhere in the jungles of Bwindi, I received a strange text. “Tim. I’ve sent something on your email. Check it out as soon as possible.* I had just concluded a 6 hour Gorilla trek on behalf of National Geographic. We had been rewarded with an encounter with a large group of Mountain Gorillas afte the encounter, and I was in a high spirits. I was getting ready to cool the day down at the hotel bar. I was in no mood to read mail. It was time for pombe.
I opened the mail anyway. I was curious. It turned out to be a link to an article, which I found even more curious. I did not know this friend of mine to be a reader, and it was a long article. I was amazed. Read it here for yourself and find out why.
As a guide, one of the things I love most about my job is sharing information, so you can imagine my excitement when upon reading this article I discovered that I had been born and raised in Kampala but knew virtually nothing about this history.
I handle tours for National Geographic and G-Adventures, and throughout my adventures with them I have encountered many foreigners who know more about our country than many of us do, and many more who are more interested in its beauty than we who live in it. I had been asking myself what I could to get my fellow Ugandans more interested in travel — I do freelance local tours themed around trekking/walking, which is why people call me Trekking Tiimmy — and when I read this article, I had a Eureka moment.
This Easter Monday I am organising the Uganda Colony Trek. It’s a trail that starts in Lugogo, through Lugogo Bypass/Rotary Avenue, goes int Kira Road at that famous police station, all the way to Kampala Road through Bombo Road, onto Jinja Road, and back to Red i at Lugogo Showgrounds where the trek will begin at 10.30hrs.
Have you ever sat in taxi from Ntinda or Bugolobi and heard the conductor say, tugenda Kampala? That conductor may not have known what they meant, but this ring, around which we will walk on Easter Monday, is the original Kampala, and the original Uganda colony.
This trek goes around the boundary of what used to be Kampala during the colonial days. Yes. In the days before independence, everything within this ring was for white people exclusively. Only blacks who worked as servants or clerks could cross this road. This is actually how the Britain’s colonial system worked everywhere in the world.
Do you want to know something they never taught you in school. Everytime you’ve have the words colony, or protectorate, Come for the trek.
In the coming blogs I’m going to share with you stories about buildings and activities that took place in Kampala back in the colony days, and compare them what happens today.