Five reasons I hang around longer than I’d planned at the Pearl of Africa tourism expo

(Craft It’s new foreign correspondent in Kampala)

#1. Remarkable Rwanda
The Land of a Thousand Hills had teardrop banners lining the Sheraton Kampala yard. They were in orange, black and white; they were being blown by the wind, swaying like they knew their place in the realm of beauty, in the fineness of Rwanda.

There was an advertising brilliance to the positioning of their marketing. Their pitch had few words, they showed us more.

They told their stories through pictures on the banners, sold their country with two simple words: “Remarkable Rwanda.”

Each banner had those words. I was sold.

Note to self: Visit Rwanda in 2018.

#2. Magical Kenya
Kenya is calling. Kenya is telling us, ‘Mujje. Come to us, we want you!’ Kenya is unrelentingly knocking on our doors, making passes at our wallets and saying, “It’ll be worth it. You won’t regret it.”

Maybe appointing Eddy Kenzo as Tourism Ambassador for Kenya in Uganda is working. Maybe we are paying more attention.

There are ads all over our media spaces telling us to “Take a Break” and #TugendeKenya.

It’s a patient woo which is stealing our hearts. Stealing my heart.

Kenyans on Twitter should no longer spite the Uganda Shilling mbu, “Sina sina value.”

#3. Visit Uganda
Because we are the Pearl of Africa and because we will give you matooke like you’ve never had before, Visit Uganda.

I’ll admit this, when you have Remarkable Rwanda and Magical Kenya standing at your side and throwing you all the sweetness of words, Visit Uganda sounds like a boring, uninspired pitch to use as a catch phrase.

But there’s beauty in simplicity. What we lack in our flat catchphrase we make up for in our hospitality.

Forget the banality in our tagline – come to any part of Uganda and you’ll be welcomed like you belong here.

#4. Mobile zoo
There was a lot happening in that zoo.

There was the Karamoja cluster showcasing shiny, multicoloured stand-out jewellery.

Then the Bushenyi cluster, it had ghee. (They always have ghee.)

The Bunyoro tent had pictures of kings; Omukama Kabalega in that black and white photo looked like someone we have seen before.

President Kenyatta’s eyes, nose and cheeks looked like those of this fallen king who died in 1923.

But the lioness in the mobile zoo stole the show. She lay in her cage like a crowned princess, unbothered by the eyes of humans and flicking of cameras.

#5. Mowzey Radio
This one might seem like a random straw to throw in at a Tourism Expo but stay with me. It wouldn’t be an all-round expo if we had only watched the traditional dances of people blowing horns, beating drums and stumping their feet as they jumped and shook their Ugandan bodies.

There always has to be a twist. And the band up the stage did it – they sung their lungs out.

It was a thrilling tribute to the late musician Moses ‘Mowzey Radio’ Ssekibogo. He lives in the music he created and the sing-along tunes he made.

Tuape blogs at

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