It was a fine day in Entebbe, on Lake Victoria, and I had waited deliberately for the afternoon to walk towards the Botanical Gardens. Walking east of the main road towards Kampala through a quiet neighbourhood, it was easy enough to spot the main entrance. After paying the entrance fee, I received a full-page receipt, and walked down the main track. Lined by tall palm trees, it turns next to the Department of Land and Survey, and then, various trails can be chosen. I looked up a giant umbrella tree, with branches fanning out in all directions - an appropriate name for a tree. I spent hours walking the tracks and trails of the Botanical Gardens. I wanted to be on myself, and had chosen not to accept the offer for a guide.
Many trees still have a plaque giving the Latin name. The Botanical Gardens were established around 1900 by the former colonial power. Its initial function was to plant trees and plants from other parts of the world, to see whether they would flourish in Ugandan soil and climate. Thus, for instance rubber and cocoa, but also spices were introduced here - and some did better than others. Some did not survive at all. The Botanical Gardens are a pleasant enough place to spend a few hours, and with plenty of open spaces, you get the idea of being in a park. It is claimed that one of the Tarzan movies was shot here. I was particularly impressed by the enormous roots of some of the trees.
Apart from the trees and plants I saw in the gardens, they are also teeming with wildlife. I heard all kinds of birds above and around me, and tried to spot one of the biggest birds around, the grey-cheeked hornbill. It seemed to be playing with me: when I arrived close to the tall tree he was sitting in, he flew to the next; and when I caught up with him there, he would continue to yet another tree. I walked past a part where medicinal plants were being cultivated, and saw a big group of green vervet monkeys run around the grounds soon after that. They turned out not to mind my presence, and I was especially endeared by a mother with the tiny head of a monkey sticking out of her fur. The animals moved very quickly around me, up and down trees as if they were immune to gravity. I walked the shoreline of Lake Victoria, came across a family who was collecting branches and bundling them to carry them to their homes - or the market? I walked through a part with a dense forest; once upon a time, Uganda was apparently covered by precisely this kind of forest. It was getting dark now, and after reaching one of the far ends of the Botanical Gardens, I reached the exit gate.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Botanical Gardens Entebbe (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Botanical Gardens Entebbe.
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