Stuff we like

Just for fun, we thought we’d share some of our favourite Uganda-related things with you. Some are about Uganda, some are Ugandan, some we have come across during our travels and others have been personally recommended to us by friends, family, colleagues and clients. 
Of course other products are available…

International

Drifters Sleepwear
Photo: We Are Drifters

ANTI-INSECT BAMBOO SLEEPWEAR

 

Anti-insect bamboo sleepwear – I met Naudia Salmon at the Adventure Travel show in London: we were both exhibiting and had stands opposite each other. This is when I came to know about WeDrifters – and boy was her stand popular.

We have long been fans of bamboo clothing and if you would like to know more, Naudia says: “Here’s some information on our travel-inspired Anti-Insect Sleepwear. The unisex sleepwear is made from soft bamboo fabric and anti-insect technology, designed for peace of mind and a great night’s sleep wherever you are.

You can view and download an overview here, and see us featured in Active Traveller’s top active innovations of 2019 here.

I think our sleepwear would be ideal for your trips to Uganda”.

 

Photo features Kim Willis photographed by Julie Marouard.

Incognito Anti-Mosquito Incense Sticks 10 sticks
Photo: Incognito

Incognito mosquito repellent

 

Incognito mosquito repellent. I am not a huge fan of insect repellent – rather ineffective and soooo many people do not seem to know it is bad manners to cover yourself in it while in a bar/restaurant inadvertently tear-gassing your neighbours and destroying their taste buds for the evening…

That said, I do think these Incognito incense sticks help – mozzies just don’t like the smoke. Being organic is a bonus. Just make sure you do not leave them burning as you go to sleep.

They also have a range of Deet-free, child-friendly, natural repellents for the tear-gassers out there.

Books & Links

A guide to Birds of East Africa
A guide to Birds of East Africa

Guide to the Birds of East Africa

 

Guide to the Birds of East Africa has been a must-have in any birdwatchers book collection for years, especially if coming to Uganda on a bird watching tour.  But I like the new app too – same classification, information and great pictures and answers all my questions but so much lighter to carry while in the field, genius.

I don’t have anything else to say – just get it! 

The Unfeathered Bird, Katrina Van Grou

The Unfeathered Bird, Katrina Van Grouw.

 

Hands up… you may have noticed at Venture Uganda we love birds and we are lucky that Uganda is the place to see so many (over 1000 species – just saying ). Our passion also extends to books and here is an amazing one I picked-up at the British Bird Watching Fair one year. It’s an utterly fascinating, scholarly work showing the anatomy and evolution of birds, with beautiful drawings. This lady is talented, clever and dedicated. What a contribution she has made.

Charities

Proud supporter of the African bird club

African Bird Club

 

Venture Uganda has been a sponsor of ABC for years. These are truly knowledgeable, passionate people – OK bordering on obsessive nut cases but in the nicest possible way. The quarterly bulletin is so informative and they fund excellent conservation and research initiatives around the world but I have learnt so much from them for example check out this amazing video of the science behind colour in African birds with Dr Stephen Pringle.

Peddle on Dreckly

Pedal on Dreckly 

 

Happy to give a shout out to the good folks from Pedal on Dreckly which apparently, in Cornish, means, “it’ll get done… Dreckly” (Without time limit). These cyclists came to Uganda and, like many other tourists, visited the stunning Lake Bunyonyi – filled with 29 little Islands. This is a beautiful place to relax or go out in a dugout canoe and visit islands like the Punishment Island or the former leper colony or, on a more upbeat note, enjoy a crayfish supper.

You can also immerse yourself in the local culture which is what they did. They were so touched by the warm welcome they received and the community’s efforts to develop themselves and, in particular, to support local children, that they were motivated to try and offer a little help.

Tourists can now visit or stay in this community, helping them to generate some additional income. We can get behind that.

For anyone wanting to visit, we can make that happen. See more on their Facebook

Shopping

Shea Butter

Shea butter 

 

I love this stuff so much I could eat it. It gives your skin a sort of satin sheen, makes it so soft and it feels great. They also sell lip balm. It’s organic and it’s Ugandan: what more could you want.

Bee natural honey Uganda

Natural honey 

 

Call me weird but a couple of spoons of this delicious honey in a cup of warm/hot water is how I start my day.

It is also great on beautiful, fresh, luscious Ugandan pineapple and banana with granola.

Luwombo prepared in banana leaves

Luwombo 

 

If you have never tasted food cooked in banana leaves – you must try it. It just tastes sweeter. My favourites are chicken – soft, tasty and falling off the bone – or earthy Gnut sauce with greens. Simple, organic food cooked the traditional way – no wonder food is Ugandans’ top priority!

Kilombera local weavers Jinja Uganda

Kilombera weaving 

A trip to this cottage industry is fascinating: see how the looms are set up and watch the weavers at work. It’s a riot of colour and noise. Then do some serious shopping: lovely quality and that pure cotton feel, colourful and funky. And it’s located on the banks of the River Nile

Read more

Taking bark for processing into barkcloth

Easy Afrik barkcloth 

 

I find bark cloth fascinating: how the fig tree is cherished among the Baganda tribe and beyond, watching the bark being stripped from the tree and, after, the tree is lovingly bandaged in banana leaves so it recovers and continues to produce bark for 100 years. Then the process of boiling and bashing with a special mallet to produce the cloth. And finally the many uses it has ceremonially, as a burial fabric and for arts and crafts.

You can buy beautiful quality cloth, crafts and art pieces.

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Bitenge fabric Uganda

Bitenge 

 

If I had to describe Africa in one word, I think it would be ‘colour’- the bright sunshine and happy people, dressed in vibrant, loud traditional prints. There is a vast choice of these fabrics and a local tailor will soon run up an outfit for you. And then you can buy matching cushions, curtains, lampshades, hats…

Local baskets made by Rubona basket weavers

Rubona baskets

 

Baskets can be found all over Uganda, in every home but for the basket-weaving ladies of Rubona this is an art form and their quality is, in my eyes, unrivalled. The group leader, Kellen, is obsessive about it. It is interesting to look at the gardens of plants from which the dyes are extracted and to have a go at weaving yourself but, equally, it is just nice to buy a few to have at home. They are strong and last for ages but, sadly, I would choose the synthetic colours just because the natural dyes can fade over time.

Harvesting coffee cherries in Uganda

Coffee

 

It’s an absolute crime that Ugandan coffee is not on every supermarket shelf, world-wide, or perhaps it should remain the best-kept secret, only available from a few top-quality, artisan sellers. If you’re coming to Uganda, don’t go home without a bag (or two). And if you want to support gorilla conservation at the same time, take a bag of gorilla conservation coffee from these places

Uganda jewellery made out of beads

Acholi and Karamajong jewellery

 

These tall, striking people from northern Uganda are well known for their bright colours and wonderful adornments. Their jewellery is so bold and beautiful – it’s great to shop but also great fun to sit with them and make your own.

Uganda waragi gin brewed in Uganda

Uganda Waragi: banana gin

 

That is to say, made from bananas, not tasting of bananas although coconut and pineapple flavours are available, as well as original. This is the proper stuff (that won’t kill you) but you can also see how local moonshine is made, in the village, by visiting a still. Join us in Uganda, the ‘party capital of East Africa’, for a tipple or two or take some home.

An art piece by Paulo Akiiki a Ugandan artist

Artists 

 

I hear a deep, collective sigh in the office, “here she goes”. OK, I admit it, I love Ugandan art. We have so many people producing top quality, paintings, prints, ceramics, bronzes, carvings… and you have unrivalled access to visit these people in their studios, watch them work, chat, commission and buy at really reasonable prices. I am running out of wall space: you can easily roll yours to carry it home and frame it from there. They make classy, unusual gifts too. Be careful, it’s addictive.