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Uganda (click to enlarge)

Uganda Program

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Unique Programs To Special Places For Memories Of A Lifetime!

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Note: Uganda has a law requiring people to report anyone they decide is homosexual. Being homosexual or the inability to prove you are not homosexual could result in a 14 year to life prison term. We have suspended our program in Uganda.

Early Europeans writing on Africa usually saw anarchism, barbarians, and blank amorphous space. Yet from the earliest contacts Uganda was seen as an exception. Here was a smoothly running, centralized polity with visible executive, legislative and judicial functions, with titles and ceremony, and with a society divided into recognizable strata. The parliament or Lukiiko selected the ruler, or Kabaka. The Lukiiko exercised real power within a system of checks and balances.

As a society the Baganda were industrious, energetic and intelligent. In 1892, Captain J.R.L. MacDonald, the leader of the survey party for the Mombassa-Kampala railroad, wrote "every chief considers it a disgrace not to be able to read and write." Sir Harry Johnson, one of the country's first governors, called the Baganda the "Japanese of Africa." Long before the arrival of Europeans, if a Muganda wanted to visit a distant village, he usually traveled on a well-built road that was kept in constant repair. His home was a spacious, beehive-shaped bungalow. Upper class residence would have several courtyards. Clothes in Uganda were tailored from fig-tree bark that had been beaten with grooved mallets to produce the look of corduroy and the texture of silk. In commenting on the construction Speke wrote, "They were sewn together as well as any English glover could have pieced them. Ugandan music was the most sophisticated in Africa. Orchestras included harps, xylophones, flutes, horns and a proliferation of drums tuned to every note in the scale. Uganda's religion is described as bearing a resemblance to the pantheism of Greece and Rome. The Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi, in Kampala, are a World Heritage Site.

Charles Miller describes the turn of the century Uganda as "set in a diadem of roller-coaster hills, spattered with the glowing embers of tropical flowers, brightened with clouds of butterflies and sweetened with the conversation of a million tropical birds." Speke wrote, "I was immensely struck with its excessive beauty ... wherever I strolled I saw nothing but richness." Stanley called Uganda simply, "The Pearl of Africa."

At independence it was essentially voted "the most likely to succeed" of it east Africa partners. As you probably know, the pearl didn't fare so well. But it is now time to revisit Uganda. Uganda is no longer a war-ravaged nation ruled by fear. Security, both physical and psychological, has be restored, the economy has been liberalized, the army integrated, there is a new constitution, the United States Peace Corps has returned and every year Kampala hosts a stream of international meeting.

Our program is designed to provide participants with an enjoyable introduction to the grandeur and diversity of East Africa.  Not your off the shelf, canned safari, these program visit untouristed areas; markets, traditional villages, schools, development projects, cottage industries, and other entities that are part of the fabric of life.  Past participants have been thrilled by the many opportunities to meet and discuss issues with local people and sample the local cuisine.  The Uganda itinerary offer prime photography and sketching subjects; including wildlife, rural and village life, and the spectacular landforms of the Great Rift Valley escarpment, and opportunities to observe a variety primates. The program is designed by David Mozer, the director of the International Bicycle Fund, an African studies specialist and pioneer of bicycle touring in Africa.

The primary mode of travel will be self-contained bicycling. The cycling difficulty is moderate, averaging 40 miles per day. The route primarily follows low volume paved and unpaved roads. Lodging is in small hotels, and modest local housing. All participants receive a comprehensive pre-departure information with detailed instructions on setting up your bicycle and other information for program preparation. Bicycling in Africa is ideal for the good-natured realist who appreciates the rewards that can be gained from the modest rigors of bicycle touring.

Group size is limited to ten people so early sign-up is recommended.

Bicycle Tour Fact Sheet


Schedule: January and August (see full schedule and status)
Program Price (lodging, two meals/day, guide, museum fees and more): US$1290 (less than six people add $100) (airfare is not included). Average out of pocket expenses per program $100 plus or minus $50.
Description: Day 1-2: Kampala. Visit historical and cultural sites. Day 3: Travel to Fort Portal. Visit development projects, schools and farms. Day 4-5: Cycle to Kibale National Park to hopefully observe a variety of primates. Day 6­8: Cycle along the Rift Valley escarpment, including Queen Elizabeth National Park with more amazing wildlife to watch. Day 9-12: Cycle through the extraordinarily scenic Buhoma-Kabale area -- aptly called "the Switzerland of Uganda". Visiting villages, schools and a medical center. Day 13: Return to Kampala.
Features: Small group exploration of western Uganda. Fascinating visit to traditional rural villages, social programs, development projects, schools, national parks, historic sites. Enjoy the wildlife, extraordinary beautiful scenery, delicious food and a lot of friendly people contact.
Starting/Ending Point: Kampala, Uganda
Skill Level: Suitable for fit Beginner/Intermediate/Expert who are comfortable on dirt roads.
Mileage Daily / Total: 20-70 km, 12-43 miles, starts with lower mileage / 600 km, 370 miles
Cycling Conditions: paved (40%) & dirt (60%), several long hills
Accommodations: Small hotels, family farm/orphanage, private homes, parish house, no tent camping.
Van Support: None. Local transport generally plentiful when need to be called upon.
Meals Included: Two meals per day, generally breakfast and dinner (traditional food, rice / cassava / banana / potato with various sauces).
Other Activities: Walking, bus rides.
Bike: Mountain bike recommended.    Bike Rental: Mountain bikes available from independent business at $15/day for multi-day rentals

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Unique Programs To Special Places For Memories Of A Lifetime!

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