The Pearl of Africa

by Namit Arora

A few years ago, my partner and I spent twelve days in Uganda. We visited two national parks to see chimpanzees and other animals, the Ssese Islands of Lake Victoria, the source of the Nile, the town of Jinja, and Kampala. As far as possible, we used the average citizen's mode of transportation and made no advance hotel reservations—choices that I think foster a greater engagement with the locals. As I often do when I travel, I shot some idiosyncratic video footage mostly as an aid to memory, akin to keeping a journal. Watching it again recently, I thought: why not make an amateur documentary? That's just what I did and here is the result (20 mins; also check out some pictures).

Why “Pearl of Africa”? Apparently, Winston Churchill, visiting Uganda at age 33, was so impressed by its mountains, valleys, greenery, lakes, wildlife, and friendly natives that he called it the “pearl of Africa”, and the name stuck. I have a rather low opinion of Churchill but I find nothing to quibble about in this case. I too loved my time in Uganda.