PEARL OF AFRICA TOURISM EXPO 23-25th FEB.2018

REDISCOVER THE PEARL.

I was having lunch with Jovita last Saturday, totally engrossed in my nachos when he mentioned there was a tourism expo going on at Jubilee Park, Sheraton gardens. I’ve been living under a rock lately and had no clue of said event but I was intrigued so once he suggested we check it out, I was down.

The Pearl of Africa Tourism expo is an annual exhibition showcasing some of the best tourism products and services from both domestic and foreign businesses. The 3 day event was launched by Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, the minister for tourism, wildlife and antiquities. The theme; Rediscover the Pearl, A country gifted by nature. It was held under the Tourism ministry run by Uganda Tourism Board (UTB).its main premise to have visitors interact directly with businesses and service providers.

We got there at about 4pm, the weather cool and cloudy, just the way I like it. Going in, the first tent we came into contact with was passing out flyers and doing registration for a marathon scheduled for the next day, I politely but firmly declined, I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before how much I loathe walking, that however pales in comparison with running of any kind, I mean I like a nice leisurely stroll, the odd hike and I’ll run if I have to but it’s just not for me. Further down, a crowd had gathered round some cages, what do you know; a mini zoo had been set up by the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), big cats being the main attraction. First there was the Lion; it looked good, well fed just lying there all majestic and unfazed by us puny humans, then the monkey, a crested crane (our national bird if you didn’t know), some parrots going ham on a watermellon, the lioness, cheater, leopard all of which were fast asleep and some pythons as well. The animals all looked well taken care of, I’m grateful for that.

We then made our way to the business tents down below, one section was showcasing clothes, African prints, artwork and jewelry, there was a stage set up for entertainment and I went by, a band was doing a not so bad rendition of Sting’s Englishman in New York. We hit up the first section with tents showcasing activities and ventures particularly in the wild, these included, Dream Balloons that offers hot air balloon safaris in Murchison Park, this right here is on the bucket list! I’m definitely doing this one of these months., The Extreme Adventure Park that offers zip lining, paintball shooting and high ropes, a great way to spend a weekend or public holiday, Adrift that does bungee jumping(not doing that again!),Raft Uganda to mention but a few.

There were different safari tours like Wild frontiers Nile river safaris, Pinnacle safaris and Nanjing Tours&Travel, this was a new one to me, who knew that besides their super duper dumplings and bombastic shredded goat they did tours and travel. There were various banks and insurance  companies like Old mutual that had a Mickey mouse cut out you could pose and take photos with, naturally I was there!, Tourism associations like Uganda safari guides association., Uganda Tourism association, and The Elephant Center were present as well.

Further away were the Airlines and helicopter carriers, Hotels like Arcadia suites, Mestil hotel & residences that was handing out complimentary coffee, a good move on their part, Speke resort Munyonyo, Igongo Cultural centre that had a beautiful spread of cultural gourds, horns and jewelry. I’m sure there was a lot more to behold had I not been so distracted by the beautiful Maua & more set up, flowers, potted plants and cacti, I love cacti, I can’t explain why I just do, they make me so happy. Jov offered to buy me those cute miniature potted cacti and I was delighted, he’s a lovely little guy, his name is Stiff Pickle.

The primary reason I had wanted to come for the expo was to find out about the Kampala sightseeing bus that I’d heard about. City tours are awesome so why not? We found the tent and went about making inquiries, the lady I spoke to, Diana was very helpful, she informed us there was a tour the next day, at a discounted price of 25,000ugx instead of the norm, 100,000ugx. I was on that like Donkey Kong, made reservations, took her contact and just like that, my work there was done! We walked a little more checking out more artwork, a kids section and booths showcasing the different tribes in Uganda. It was getting late and having successfully reserved my tour, I called it a day.

Attendance for the expo was great, kids and adults alike all looked like they were having fun, I know I did, the exhibits were good, very informative and the mini zoo was cool. Really well organized expo, I enjoyed my time there immensely. Jov thanks for the cactus, UTB it was riveting.