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Best 5 Places For Tracking Chimpanzees In East Africa

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Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe

With a wealth of luxuriant tropical rainforests, East African safaris offer some of the most unforgettable chimpanzee trekking adventures on Earth. From the Afro-montane forests of Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest National Park to Kibale and Budongo Forests of Uganda, to the Mahale and Gombe Stream Parks of Tanzania, primate lovers are spoilt for choice with the spectacular destinations offering chances of seeing our close cousins in their natural habitats.

Chimpanzee trekking adventures involve walking through dense forests, led by expert guides and armed rangers on foot but there are also chances of encountering other iconic primates that live in the same habitats as chimpanzees. Whether you are a first-timer or seasoned primate trekker, you are sure to be mind-blown by our choices for the top 5 places for tracking chimpanzees in East Africa;

Kibale Forest National Park

kibale chimp trackingKibale Forest National Park is possibly the most popular chimpanzee trekking destination in East Africa. With approximately 795 square kilometers, this Park shelters over 1500 of Uganda’s 5000 chimpanzees hence making it every traveler’s number one choice for chimpanzee treks. This Park is characterized by relatively easy and flat terrains as well as dense undergrowth but the one hour allotted for observation and photography makes you forget all the challenges encountered in trekking these Great Apes for several hours. With Kibale, it is possible to undertake the “Chimpanzee Habituation Experience in Uganda”, an all-day activity allowing visitors to visit a semi-habituated chimpanzee troop to watch them go about their daily routines from the time they rise to the time they make their nests at only $250 per person per trek. Permits for normal chimpanzee treks in this Park are at $200 and guarantee one hour with these Great Apes.

Budongo Forest, in Kaniyo-Pabidi sector

Budongo Forest is situated within the north-western corner of Murchison Falls Conservation Area, close to Lake Albert and in the North-West of Uganda. It extends for over 825 square kilometers and shelters more than 600 chimpanzees within its dense rainforest. The majority of the treks in this Forest are conducted at the Kaniyo-Pabidi sector (south) and begin with a briefing at Budongo Information Center (adjacent to Budongo Eco Lodge). However, the canopy of Budongo Forest is denser than in Kibale Forest National Park, thus becoming more challenging to trek than it is in the latter. A Permit to trek chimpanzees in Budongo Forest costs $100 per person per trek and allows participants t walk for hours in the forest searching for the Great Apes and spend one hour with the habituated troop.

Nyungwe Forest National Park

nyungwe forestExtending for approximately 1000 square kilometers, Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest National Park is another excellent place for tracking Chimpanzees in East Africa. There are over 500 chimpanzees and two habituated chimpanzee Troops (one around Uwinka and another at Cyamudongo, a fragmented forest). Besides trekking chimpanzees, visitors to Nyungwe Forest are offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of undertaking the iconic canopy walk that you won’t experience in other chimpanzee trekking destinations in East Africa. Permits for trekking chimpanzees cost only $150 and provide chances of seeing chimpanzees alongside other primates and birds of the Park.

Mahale Mountains National Park

Mahale Mountains National Park in Tanzania is another excellent place for tracking chimpanzees in East Africa and shelters about 800 individuals within its diverse landscapes. These chimpanzees were habituated by the Japanese Research Project established in the 1960s and what makes the experience here magical are the white sand beaches and azure waters of Lake Tanganyika that offer relaxation after hectic treks in the jungles. Besides chimpanzees, other primates in this Park are the extraordinary Angola Colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, red colobus monkeys, blue monkeys alongside a plethora of forest bird species. Permits for this Park cost only $150 per person per trek.

Gombe Stream National Park

Extending for only 52 square kilometers, Chimpanzee trekking in Tanzania’s smallest National Park is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This Park was gazetted in 1968 and extends through the steep slopes and River Valleys bordering the northern sandy shores of Lake Tanganyika. With a permit of $100 per person, you will have a chance to walk through this tinny Protected Area, made famous by the research works of Jane Goodall.

Best time to Track Chimpanzees in East Africa

Chimpanzee tracking in East Africa is conducted all year round but these adventures are more enjoyable during the dry season. For Uganda and Rwanda, dry seasons extend from June to August/September and January to February) when trails are drier and less muddy/slippery For Tanzania, the dry season is from June through October and offers the best chimpanzee spotting opportunities given the fact that these Great Apes favor the lower slopes.

Go on a Self Drive Safari in Kenya

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Kenya Safari

You have a million reasons to visit Kenya for self drive tour. With self drive safaris, you can create an adventure of your own. There are endless options for one to experience Kenya but self drive stands out. Leaving the driver guide behind and you explore Kenya on your own is by far an amazing opportunity of a lifetime. Yes, a self drive in Kenya has multiple advantages over the organized tours. Here are some of the reasons why you should choose a self-drive safari in Kenya;

Ultimate freedom

Independent travel in Kenya/self drive is by far a more flexible travel option that gives solo travelers opportunity to freedom to explore what the country has to offer at their pace. You enjoy ultimate freedom which the usual safaris don’t give.

Because you are a sole manager of your Kenya tour, there is opportunity to make a stop visits to multiple tourist sites while en-route. Secondly, you can start your trip from different part of Kenya and venture into the community which makes it possible to give back to the local communities. You can even go camping which makes it more affordable because some self-drive rental cars in Kenya are fitted with camping gear.

Affordability

For budget/backpackers on Kenya safaris, a self-drive tour is amazingly a great chance to explore and experience the Magical Kenya. It is a more affordable alternative means to explore Kenya than the guided safaris. What is important is that choose the right rental car from the many options available. In case of big groups or family tours, hire a car in Kenya that can accommodate the number of people you plan to travel with.

When hiring a car for a self drive in Kenya, you can find a rental car at USD30 per day or USD88 per day for van rentals or if you are interested in a 4×4 rentals. Important tip: Book your self drive car in Kenya with a reputable tour operator and you will have detailed information about your rental, destination, rates etc.

Comfort & privacy

While on self-drive in Kenya, you can choose your own kind of rental car to use and also the friends/family members. Not everyone likes traveling with strangers and with self drive, you have that chance to get on a road trip with persons you are comfortable traveling with. Besides, the self drive rental cars in Kenya are all in their better mechanical conditions, the seats are comfortable, no crowds like if you traveled using a bus, matatu.

Excellent game viewing

With a self drive, you can stop next to the road at the national park or reserve at any time, enjoy sight of wildlife at your pace. Also, you won’t be interrupted unlike when you travel in a group and everyone is struggling to have space to capture the best shots of the game in the wild. If you want to have the most of Masai Mara Reserve game viewing experience, the big game viewing, wildebeest migration, camping etc consider a self-drive a must do and you won’t regret.

You are the manager

Self drive tours in Kenya mean you become sole manager/in charge of your trip unlike most guided safaris. With self drive, you can choose which wildlife species to sight for and spend more time with.

Safety

Unlike the past, Kenya is currently safe for self drive tour. You can embark on a road trip to the Masai Mara National Reserve for your self drive trips safely to enjoy the wildebeest migration. But, before traveling to any part of the country, get to know the current state of security in the area you plan to visit.

Why Uganda Self Drive is the Best Option During the Pandemic

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Uganda Car Rental

Why self-drive rental cars are the best option for Uganda tours during COVID-19 times? With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, traveling to your destination to enjoy Uganda safari, self-drive tour or guided safaris isn’t easy. Considering the challenges that come about using other means of transportation and also travel restrictions, the best option for solo travelers on self-drive tour in Uganda is renting a car.

Self-drive rental cars are the best, the most convenient and currently the safest alternative for solo travelers to get to their destinations to enjoy self-drive in Uganda-The Pearl of Africa. Here are a few incredible reasons why self-drive rental cars are the best option for Uganda tours during COVID-19 times.

Possibility of observing the physical distance

Driving yourself in a rental with family, friends or colleagues on self-drive tour in Uganda is amazingly the best way to avoid crowds. Crowds make it easy to get in contact with other people especially if you traveled using public means of transportation. With self-drive rental cars, you travel with fewer people mostly colleagues, friends or family and it becomes easier to keep a distance.

Traveling in a fully sanitized rental car

When you choose self-drive rental cars, you are assured of using a car that is fully sanitized as it is mandatory for all car hire companies or agencies/tour operators to do so. This is means, the rental car can be safe for even the next road users. All our rental cars are disinfected, right from the seats, gears, doors handles to steering wheels etc. When you take public means, you won’t be sure if the bus or taxi was sanitized or not. Rent a car in Uganda with us and have a peaceful self-drive tour experience.

Unlimited mileage

Majority of car hire agencies in Uganda provide unlimited mileage for self-drive tours. You pay for a rental car Uganda and your movement around the agreed tourist sites all depends on you. You manage your trip unlike driver guided safaris. In general, on a self-drive tour, you become more like the owner of the rental car. But, whatever the destination you plan to get to, always observe the safety precautions.

Doorstep car delivery services

When you hire a car for a self-drive tour in Uganda with us, you get to enjoy our doorstep car delivery services. You won’t need to stress yourself, our drivers can deliver the car you rented up to your place of residence, hotel or any location as agreed by both parties. With public means, you have to wait at the bus park, taxi park or road side and in the process you put yourself at a risk considering the contact you get with many people.

Keyless entry system is often used

Today, most car rental companies have taken advantage of Keyless entry features to reduce the rate of visitors touching the keys. This makes rental cars safe to travel in Uganda while on self-drive tour.

Tanzania Car Rental: Why You Need a Driver

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Tanzania Safari Car

Hiring a car in Tanzania with a driver for your 2021-2022 guided safaris or self-drive tour is amazingly the best way to discover what this magical East African state holds for the world. Driving yourself on Tanzania tour can be fun but comes with some challenges. Yes, self-drive safari tours have gained popularity in Tanzania and East Africa at large.

Driving yourself in a new destination like Tanzania comes with uncertainties and the best alternative is renting a car with a driver. Hire a car in Tanzania with us and be guaranteed of the best Tanzania safari 2021-2022. Here are some of the amazing reasons why you should rent a car in Tanzania with a driver in 2021-2022.

Wide knowledge about Tanzania

While internet plays a significant role especially if you want to search for direction to your destinations, on the other hand, things won’t be the same when you get into an area with no internet access. At that point, you will be left alone and probably your instincts can come to play. Not to have a stressful road trip, getting lost because you don’t known the direction to your destination, the best option is for you to hire a car in Tanzania with a driver.

The advantage of renting a car in Tanzania with a driver is that driver guides have wide knowledge and experience about the different travel destinations and your exploration becomes easier. Safari/driver guides in Tanzania are knowledgeable about places to eat from, where you can purchase items and the best accommodation facilities. This saves you a lot of time which you could have wasted finding out such important areas.

Renting a car in Tanzania with a driver guide also guarantees you a safe road trip, amazing tip and you have a chance to explore hidden places which you may not find out in your travel map or google maps. Rent a car in Tanzania and be guaranteed of unbeaten road trip.

Excellent game viewing experience

Thousands of the holidaymakers come to Tanzania mainly to explore the country’s diverse wildlife species. Hiring a car and driver is amazingly the best decision one can make. The driver guides know which spot to get you incredible view of wildlife and if wildebeest migration in Serengeti National Park is your dream experience then be assured of unforgettable experiences. Also, you will get a chance to learn more about Tanzania’s history, detailed behavior of wildlife and bird species as shared by your professional driver guide.

Easy to drive

The advantage of hiring a car with driver guide is that it is easier to navigate through the different parts of Tanzania. Driving on the main routes can be easier because most of them are good standard. However, you will have a different story once you get out of the main road. The poor road conditions deep in the rural areas can easily be managed by the experienced driver guides because most of them have had experience navigating through the same routes which you won’t even find any road signage.

Liability in case of road accidents

Hiring a car in Tanzania with a driver saves you much because all the liabilities are transferred to the car rental company/agency. Yes, you will be in charge of where your driver should take you but where issues like road accidents or damages occur, you won’t be held liable/responsible.

Communication is easier

Being a first time traveler in a new destination can be challenging, things like language barrier will be order of the day. But Tanzania car rental with driver eases everything. Once you get deep in the rural areas, most local residents may only stop at greeting you using English and you encounter challenges if you want to find out direction to your destination. With driver guide, you are saved from such a stress, interaction becomes easier and interestingly, you too can walk freely to interact with local residents or purchase some items.

Time management

Taking a wrong direction can be stressful and time wasting. But such issues can be avoided when you rent a car in Tanzania with a driver.

Mechanical knowledge

The driver guides are not only experienced with destinations but they also have basic mechanical skills, essential requirement which can save you in case of mechanical issues or breakdown. Your driver guide can make a stop and change a car Tyre in case you get a puncture of flat tire.

Why Was Africa Called the Dark Continent?

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Why Africa Was Called the Dark Continent

Was Africa really called the dark continent and Why was it called the Dark Continent? It was said that Europe did not know much about Africa until the 19th century. But that answer is misleading and disingenuous. Europeans had known quite a lot about Africa for at least 2,000 years, but because of powerful imperial impulses, European leaders began purposefully ignoring earlier sources of information.

At the same time, the campaign against slavery and for missionary work in Africa actually intensified Europeans’ racial ideas about African people in the 1800s. They called Africa the Dark Continent, because of the mysteries and the savagery they expected to find in the interior.

Exploration: Creating Blank Spaces

It is true that up until the 19th century, Europeans had little direct knowledge of Africa beyond the coast, but their maps were already filled with details about the continent. African kingdoms had been trading with Middle Eastern and Asian states for over two millennia.

Initially, Europeans drew on the maps and reports created by earlier traders and explorers like the famed Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta, who traveled across the Sahara and along the North and East coasts of Africa in the 1300s.

During the Enlightenment, however, Europeans developed new standards and tools for mapping, and since they weren’t sure precisely where the lakes, mountains, and cities of Africa were, they began erasing them from popular maps.

Many scholarly maps still had more details, but due to the new standards, the European explorers—Burton, Livingstone, Speke, and Stanley—who went to Africa were credited with (newly) discovering the mountains, rivers, and kingdoms to which African people guided them.

The maps these explorers created did add to what was known, but they also helped create the myth of the Dark Continent. The phrase itself was actually popularized by the British explorer Henry M. Stanley, who with an eye to boosting sales titled one of his accounts “Through the Dark Continent,” and another, “In Darkest Africa.” However, Stanley himself recalled that before he left on his mission, he had read over 130 books on Africa.

Imperialism and Duality

Imperialism was global in the hearts of western businessmen in the 19th century, but there were subtle differences between the imperialist hunger for Africa compared to other parts of the world. Most empire building begins with the recognition of trading and commercial benefits that could be accrued.

In Africa’s case, the continent as a whole was being annexed to fulfill three purposes: the spirit of adventure, the desire to support good work of “civilizing the natives,” and the hope of stamping out the slave trade. Writers such as H. Ryder Haggard, Joseph Conrad, and Rudyard Kipling fed into the romantic depiction of a place that required saving by strong men of adventure.

An explicit duality was set up for these adventurers: dark versus light and Africa versus West. The African climate was said to invite mental prostration and physical disability; the forests were seen as implacable and filled with beasts; and crocodiles lay in wait, floating in sinister silence in the great rivers.

Danger, disease, and death were part of the uncharted reality and the exotic fantasy created in the minds of armchair explorers. The idea of a hostile Nature and a disease-ridden environment as tinged with evil was perpetrated by fictional accounts by Joseph Conrad and W. Somerset Maugham.

Abolitionists and Missionaries

By the late 1700s, British abolitionists were campaigning hard against slavery in England. They published pamphlets described the horrid brutality and inhumanity of plantation slavery. One of the most famous images showed a black man in chains asking “Am I not a man and a brother?”

Once the British Empire abolished slavery in 1833, however, abolitionists turned their efforts against slavery within Africa. In the colonies, the British were also frustrated that former slaves didn’t want to keep working on plantations for very low wages. Soon the British were portraying African men not as brothers, but as lazy idlers or evil slave traders.

At the same time, missionaries began traveling to Africa to bring the word of God. They expected to have their work cut out for them, but when decades later they still had few converts in many areas, they began saying that African people’s hearts were unreachable, “locked in darkness.” These people were different from westerners, said the missionaries, closed off from the saving light of Christianity.

The Heart of Darkness

Africa was seen by the explorers as an erotically and psychologically powerful place of darkness, one that could only be cured by a direct application of Christianity and, of course, capitalism. Geographer Lucy Jarosz describes this stated and unstated belief clearly: Africa was seen as “a primeval, bestial, reptilian, or female entity to be tamed, enlightened, guided, opened, and pierced by white European males through western science, Christianity, civilization, commerce, and colonialism.”

By the 1870s and 1880s, European traders, officials, and adventurers were going to Africa to seek their fame and fortune, and recent developments in weaponry gave these men significant power in Africa. When they abused that power—especially in the Congo—Europeans blamed the Dark Continent, rather than themselves. Africa, they said, was what supposedly brought out the savagery in man.

The Myth Today

Over the years, people have given lots of reasons why Africa was called the Dark Continent. Many people think it is a racist phrase but can’t say why, and the common belief that the phrase just referred to Europe’s lack of knowledge about Africa makes it seem out-dated, but otherwise benign.

Race does lie at the heart of this myth, but it is not about skin color. The myth of the Dark Continent referred to the savagery that Europeans said was endemic to Africa, and even the idea that its lands were unknown came from erasing centuries of pre-colonial history, contact, and travel across Africa.

Top 10 Significant Historical Sites in Africa

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Timbuktu Mosque

The African continent has long been inhabited and has some amazing historical sites to show for it. The African continent has long been inhabited and has some amazing historical sites to show for it. Check out these impressive examples of architecture, culture, and evolution.

1. Olduvai Gorge

Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

This paleoanthropological site is located in the eastern Serengeti Plain, within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in northern Tanzania. Olduvai Gorge is remarkable for its deposits, which cover a time span from about 2.1 million to 15,000 years ago and have yielded the fossil remains of more than 60 hominins (human ancestors).

Olduvai Gorge

It has provided the most continuous known record of human evolution during the past two million years. It has also produced the longest known archaeological record of the development of stone tool industries. The famous archaeologist and paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey discovered a skull fragment there in 1959 that belonged to an early hominin.

2. Timbuktu

Timbuktu, Mali: Djinguereber mosque

Located on the southern edge of the Sahara in what is now Mali, the city of Timbuktu has historical significance for being a trading post on the trans-Saharan caravan route and as a center of Islamic culture in the 15th through the 17th century.

The city was founded by Tuaregs around 1100 CE, later became part of the Mali Empire, and then changed hands several times after that. Three of western Africa’s oldest mosques—Djinguereber (Djingareyber), Sankore, and Sidi Yahia—were built there during the 14th and early 15th centuries; Djinguereber was commissioned by the famed Mali emperor Mūsā I.

The city was a center of Islamic learning and housed a large collection of historical African and Arabic manuscripts, many of which were smuggled out of Timbuktu beginning in 2012, after Islamic militants who had seized control of the city began damaging or destroying many objects of great historical and cultural value.

3. Rock-hewn churches of Lalībela

House of Giorgis church, Lalībela, Ethiopia

Lalībela, located in north-central Ethiopia, is famous for its rock-hewn churches, which date back to the late 12th and early 13th centuries. The 11 churches, important in Ethiopian Christian tradition, were built during the reign of the Emperor Lalībela.

Lalibela

The churches are arranged in two main groups, connected by subterranean passageways. Notable among the 11 churches are House of Medhane Alem (“Saviour of the World”), the largest church; House of Golgotha, which contains Lalībela’s tomb; and House of Mariam, which is noted for its frescoes. Centuries after they were built, the churches still draw thousands of pilgrims around important holy days.

4. Great Zimbabwe

Great Zimbabwe: ruins

During the 11th to 15th century, Great Zimbabwe was the heart of a thriving trading empire that was based on cattle husbandry, agriculture, and the gold trade on the Indian Ocean coast.

The extensive stone ruins of this African Iron Age city are located in the southeastern portion of the modern-day country of Zimbabwe.

It is thought that the central ruins and surrounding valley supported a Shona population of 10,000 to 20,000 people. The site is known for its stonework and other evidence of an advanced culture.

Because of that, it was incorrectly attributed to various ancient civilizations such as the Phoenicians, the Greeks, or the Egyptians.

Those claims were refuted when the English archaeologist and anthropologist David Randall-MacIver concluded in 1905 that the ruins were medieval and of exclusively African origin.

His conclusions were later confirmed by another English archaeologist, Gertrude Caton-Thompson, in 1929.

5. Meroe

Meroe, Sudan: pyramids

The ruins of the ancient Kushitic city of Meroe lie on the east bank of the Nile River in what is now Sudan. The city was established in the 1st millennium BCE.

It became the southern administrative center for the kingdom of Kush about 750 BCE and later became the capital. It began to decline after being invaded by Aksumite armies in the 4th century CE.

The ruins were discovered in the 19th century, and excavations in the early 20th century revealed parts of the town. The pyramids, palaces, and temples of Meroe are stunning examples of the architecture and culture of the kingdom of Kush.

6. Leptis Magna

Leptis Magna, Libya: Roman amphitheatre

Leptis Magna was the largest city of the ancient region of Tripolitania. It is located on the Mediterranean coast of what is now northwestern Libya and contains some of the world’s finest remains of Roman architecture.

It was founded as early as the 7th century BCE by Phoenicians and was later settled by Carthaginians, probably at the end of the 6th century BCE.

The city became an important Mediterranean and trans-Saharan trade center. Leptis Magna changed hands and eventually became one of the best-known cities of the Roman Empire.

It flourished under the emperor Septimius Severus (193–211 CE) before later seeing some decline owing to regional conflict.

It fell into ruin after it was conquered by Arabs in 642 CE and eventually became buried in sand, only to be uncovered in the early 20th century.

All About Ghanaian Tradition of Naming According to Day of Birth

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Ghana Naming

In West Africa especially Ghana, newborns are given special names depending on the day they are born. Diverse ethnicities have variants and meanings as a symbol of cultural integrity and ancestral affiliation. Here’s your need-to-know guide.

Background

The naming system of the Akan people is as distinct as that which elders in Togo (the Ewe people), the Ga people, Benin (the Fon people), and the African diaspora pass on to toddlers. Other forms of traditional naming include middle names, which can refer to order of birth as part of the caste of siblings, twin status, or could be an inherited maiden name.

Aside the fact that day names are a simple means for commonality, they are easy conversation starters and icebreakers.

The system

The Akan people use the Kwa language group’s system of timekeeping, which is based on a six-day week (‘nnanson‘), with the seventh day inclusive. In Ashanti homes, Sunday-born males and females are named Kwasi or Kwesi and Akosua respectively (meaning ‘associated with the universe’); Monday-born are Kwadwo or Kojo, Adjoa or Adwoa (meaning ‘associated with peace’);

Tuesday-born are Kwabena or Kobi, Abena (meaning ‘associated with the ocean’); Wednesday-born Kwaku or Kweku, Akua (meaning ‘associated with spider/Ananse’); Thursday-born Yaw, Yaa ( meaning ‘associated with the earth’); Friday-born Kofi, Afia or Afua (meaning ‘associated with fertility’); and Saturday-born Kwame, Ama (meaning ‘associated with God’).

Fanti boys and girls, on the other hand, are given the day names: Monday – Cudjoe, Kojo, Quajo, Adjoa, Ajuba, Juba; Tuesday – Quabena, Abena, Bena; Wednesday – Quaco, Aqua, Acooba, Cooba; Thursday – Quaw, Aba, Yaaba; Friday – Cuffy, Afiba, Fiba; Saturday – Quame, Quamina, Ama; and Sunday – Quashie, Quasheba.

History also plays a part. Slaves from the Gold Coast taken to the Caribbean during the 18th and 19th centuries were referred to as Coromantees. As such, the Ndyuka people and parents in Jamaica give their children the following day names: Monday – Cudjoe, Kodyo, Adyuba; Tuesday – Cubbenah, Abeni; Wednesday – Quaco, Kwaku, Akuba; Thursday – Quao, Yaw, Yaba; Friday – Cuffee, Kofi, Afiba; Saturday – Quamin, Kwami, Amba; and Sunday – Quashee, Kwasi, Kwasiba.

Names of renown

Most Ghanaians have at least one name from this system. Ghana‘s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, was born on a Saturday, while the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Atta Annan, was so named for being born on a Friday. The 25-year-old popular Ghanaian-British fashion model Adwoa Caitlin Maria Aboah is Monday-born.

Variations

Aside the main day names, there are variants and flexibly diverse adjustments. Examples include: Sunday – Akwasi, Kwasi, Kwesi, Akwesi, Sisi, Kacely, Kosi; Monday – Kojo, Kwadwo, Jojo, Joojo, Kujoe; Tuesday – Kwabena, Kobe, Kobi, Ebo, Kabelah, Komla, Kwabela; Wednesday – Kwaku, Abeiku, Kuuku, Kweku; Thursday – Yaw, Ekow; Friday – Kofi, Fifi, Fiifi, Yoofi; and Saturday – Kwame, Kwamena, Kwamina. The extensions and variants result from differences in ethnicities or bending of monikers to make them sound a certain way.

Is Uganda the Pearl Of Africa?

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Boats of Uganda

Uganda is situated in East Africa. It’s bordered by Kenya in the East, Tanzania in the south, Democratic Republic of Congo in west and Sudan in the north. Uganda is a land locked country but with lots of hidden treasure. In his book entitled “My African Journey” Winston Churchill called Uganda, the pearl of Africa after being amused by the amazing attractions endowed in Uganda. Still in his book, Winston wrote about the magnificence, color, life, birds, reptiles, insects, beasts, mammals, and vegetation among others. Basing on his initiative many people to date, when describing Uganda, the pearl of Africa can not miss mention because of the following reasons:

  1. Uganda is called the pearl of Africa because of hosting half of the world’s Mountain Gorillas. Gorillas are among endangered primate species and mountain Gorillas are so rare among others. However, it’s a pleasure to mention that half of the remaining mountain Gorillas are found in south western Uganda; Bwindi impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The two Gorilla parks are among the most visited parks in Uganda. Today, seeing mountain Gorillas is among the most expensive experience in Uganda. The cost of Uganda Gorilla permit goes up to US$700 but because mountain Gorillas are rare, many people yarn to go to Uganda to enjoy one of the life time events– Gorilla trekking.
  1. Uganda is a primates’ haven – The list of primates found in Uganda is endless. To mention but a few include Mountain Gorillas, Ververt Monkeys, Bush babies, Golden Monkeys, Baboons, Chimpanzees, Black and white colobus monkeys, Mona monkeys, Red tailed monkeys, blue tailed monkeys, Grey-checked Mangabey, Red colobuses, L’Hoest’s Monkeys and so on. The popular destinations hiding primates in Uganda include Kibale National park, Bwindi impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Kyambura Gorge, Toro Semuliki Game reserve, Budongo Forest, Ishasha sector among others.
  1. Uganda hosts the BIG FIVE – Tourists can find Rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Elephants, Lions, Leopards and Buffaloes in most of Uganda’s savannah parks including Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls national Park, Kidepo Valley National Park and so on. Luck visitors can fnd leopards in BINP, KNP, SNP among other destinations. To encounter the big five, it’s recommended to book a long trip in Uganda to be able to explore colonies of the big five mammals.
  1. Uganda has the highest number of bird species in Africa. Uganda is a birding paradise boasting a massive bird list of more of than 1073 recorded bird species making up 50% of Africa’s bird species and 11% of the world species. This huge bird list is contained within a small territory of only 90041 square miles (about the size of Britain), hence having one of the highest concentration of birds per square kilometers in Africa. Birding in Uganda rewards with easy spotting of many birds by covering just a small area or birding for a short period of time. The incredible diversity of habitats that no other area in Africa can match is the reason Uganda harbors such a huge diversity of birds and collects so many migrant birds during the year. Uganda lies in a unique position where she shares Africa’s major ecological zones (apart from the sea) and each has associated bird species, including many that are range restricted.

Popular areas with many birds include most of the Uganda’s islands and the shores of different water bodies, Semuliki National Park, Lake Bunyonyi, Kazinga channel, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Murchison Falls National Park among others.

  1. Source of River Nile in Jinja – Uganda. The country is called the pearl of Africa because of hosting the source of the world’s longest River. River Nile originates from Jinja I Uganda and powers its waters (Mouth) in Mediterranean Sea – about 6,600 kilometers from the source (Jinja) to the mouth (Mediterranean Sea).
  1. Lake Victoria is shared by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Lake Victoria is the world’s second Largest fresh water Lake. The Lake is endowed with many islands hosting a large number of birds, smooth stones and beaches around Lake Victoria. Tourists find it inevitable to tour around and on Lake Victoria on boat and cars.  The most popular beaches on Lake Victoria include Butembe beach, Lutembe beach, Spennah beach, Ggaba beach, Nabugabo beach and so on. Islands include Ngamba, Sese, Bugala, Koome among others.
  1. The Murchison Falls – Its one of the world’s most powerful waters. Murchison Falls, also known as Kabalega Falls, is a waterfall between Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert on the Victoria Nile in Uganda. At the top of Murchison Falls, the Nile forces its way through a gap in the rocks, only 7 m (23 ft) wide, and tumbles 43 m (141 ft), before flowing westward into Lake Albert. While squeezing its way through a narrow gorge boarded by rocks, the moist wind forms a beautiful structure resembling a rain bow with different colours – this is the best of the falls.
  1. Uganda is called the pearl of Africa because of its tallest Mountains. Mountain Rwenzori on record is the tallest in Uganda and second in East Africa after Mount Kirimanjaro. Mountain Rwenzori is also known as “Mountains of the moon” with Margherita (5,109 m) as the third highest in Africa. The fabled Mountains of the Moon – lie in western Uganda along the Uganda-Congo border.  The region’s glaciers, waterfalls and lakes make it one of Africa’s most beautiful alpine areas. Mountain Elgon is situated in eastern Uganda and well known for its largest Volcanic base.
  1. Suitable weather -Uganda is sunny most of the year with temperatures rarely rising above 29 degrees (84 degrees Fahrenheit). The average annual temperature is about 26 degrees Celsius (78° Fahrenheit). The rainy season is from March till May and October till November. Light rain season falls in November and December. The nature of weather in Uganda favours travels throughout the year and easily predictable.
  1. Unique culture in Uganda – There are a wide range of ethnic groups in Uganda with many different languages spoken, namely Luganda (commonly spoken language), English (only a small portion speak it), Bantu, Swahili, Nilotic and Lumasaba. Christians make up 85.2% of Uganda’s population, there are a certain number of Sikhs and Hindus, and 12% are Muslims. In their respective ethnic groups, Uganda a cheerful people are willing to welcome and stay with Guests irrespective of their gender, age, sex and ideologies.

 

Jan Kooi, the Elmina, First African to Be Awarded Highest Military Honor in Dutch Army

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Jan Kooi

Jan Kooi was the first African corporal to gained some fame in the Netherlands for his brave feats in the Atjeh (now Aceh) war which happens to be the longest, deadliest and most inconclusive war ever in Dutch colonial history. The sultanate of Atjeh, on the northern tip of Sumatra, was distinguished to be a stronghold both of piracy and of orthodox Islam. During the 19th century, the Dutch constantly expanded their control over Sumatra.

The Atjeh war began in 1873 and ended only in 1904. To this day, there is a secessionist movement in Aceh fighting against Indonesian government troops. Jan Kooi entered into the service of the Dutch East Indies army in 1869, at the age of 20 years. He was born in Elmina in 1849.

His mothers’ name was Essowa. His father’s name is poorly readable in the army records: something like ‘Dinaba’. With his new Dutch name of Jan Kooi, he enlisted at the recruiting station in Elmina for the duration of 12 years, receiving a considerable bounty of 200 guilders.

On 30 May 1870 he left Elmina on the ship Ternate, arriving in Batavia (Jakarta) on 14 August 1870. With the other new arrivals, he was sent for training with the 1st infantry battalion. Almost a year later, training was completed, and Kooi was sent to Atjeh with the 2nd infantry battalion.

From 1874 to 1879 he was engaged in numerous military expeditions in Atjeh, earning himself a range of distinctions: the Atjeh medal 1873-1874; the distinction for extraordinary efforts in Atjeh 1873-1874; twice he is mentioned with distinction in the campaign records; in 1881 he is awarded the bronze medal.

On top of these decorations, Jan Kooi was the first African soldier to be awarded the highest military honors in the Dutch army: the Militaire Willemsorde (4th class) No wonder that he was a famous man during his brief stay in the Netherlands in 1882, on the way back to his native Elmina. Newspapers reported how he had saved the life of his commander by killing two Atjeh fighters, while himself suffering ten bullet wounds under enemy fire.

Later that year he earned a reward of 100 guilders for saving the life of lieutenant Bijleveld by killing a heavily armed Atjeher. The article in the Overveluwsch Weekblad noted that Kooi spoke perfect Dutch, but also spoke warmly about his family and homeland.

During his stay in Harderwijk, the garrison town with the recruiting station for the colonial army, he had twice his portrait painted. Two very different portraits: the highly formal soldier’s posture on the portrait by J.C. Leich; and the impressionistic portrait by Isaac Israels, one of the most famous Dutch painters in the 19th century.

After army service, Jan Kooi settled in his native Elmina, which meanwhile had been handed over to the British. Here we encounter him once more in the baptismal records of the church of St. Joseph: on 30 May 1886, Joannes Kooi is mentioned as the godfather to Grace Maria Plange, daughter of Jacob Plange and Arala Yaniba.

The Lost African Tribe Still Living in India Today

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Lost African Tribe in India

Slavery and colonialism are siblings from the same seed; they altered the chemistry of African history so badly that we may never find our path towards becoming whole again. Both man-made and human-inflicted, it is sad how the actions of a few men many years ago continues to hurt an entire continent and have torn apart generations – leaving them without hope of self-discovery and redemption.

As a result of slavery, many Africans were removed from their motherland and taken to foreign countries where they were meant to settle and survive in the midst of strangers and on lands where they are till date, unwelcome.

Many generations after, these displaced Africans continue to live in foreign lands not because they like it there, but because they have lost all trace of home and have no links to the roots of their ancestors. Thus, they live day by day until their death as people without an identity.

Siddis - Lost African Tribe

In a journey of self-discovery and bridge building, a young African explorer took it upon herself to find the lost tribes of Africa scattered in Diaspora, and she found the Siddi Tribe, an African tribe living in the Karnataka forests in faraway India.

Asha Stuart is a Young Explorer grantee and a member of the Young Explorer Leadership and Development Program. After discovering the Siddi people in 2012, National Geographic Society grant funded her work so that she could go and document the Siddi tribal people – an African diasporic community that was forcibly taken to India between the 15th and 19th century.

All they have of Africa are bits and pieces of our culture which they have preserved overtime through dance and art. Can these people ever return back to Africa? Do they still have a place here?

The compelling documentary below says it all and invokes the rhetoric of whether the lost sons of Africa will ever return home.