Olive Telma Kweberaho is an adventurous, flexible, resilient, courageous, open minded, unstoppable, fearless, go-getter and sometimes a little crazy. He is an outdoor person who enjoys simple pleasures like travel, nature, adventure, good vibes and reggae music. Telma loves to experience and see new things, the wild, to watch the sun rise and the sun set. She loves freedom and believes freedom is the ability to go anywhere any time when you want and can afford it. She finds her joy in less crowded quiet places.
What makes you proud to be a Ugandan?
Uganda is beautiful, unique and wonderful. It’s a land of contrast, with many living in extreme poverty yet completely surrounded with beauty! Mountains, Lakes, Rivers, Wildlife and Savannas.
Uganda is a piece of art, the architecture, how traditional houses are constructed. The diversity of cultures, the weather that is always beautiful and favourable to our melanin.
The different languages spoken; I admire and respect people who speak several languages. I love street food because it’s affordable and easy to find anywhere in Uganda.
My love for street food is one reason I am scared of relocating to first world countries. Imagine not being able to get roasted gonja and chicken on a road trip?
What was your initial or first travel experience? What memories did you carry from it?
I’ve been travelling since I was a child. My mother was from a different part of the country and I’m from Jinja so I always got that chance to visit relatives. As a child, road trips’ adventure is something I always looked forward to.
I don’t quite remember what my first travel experience was when growing up but maybe I can talk about my adult experiences, like the first time I went to Gulu.
Growing up during the times of Joseph Kony and Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Rebels, I always thought Gulu was a no go area so travelling to Gulu the first time gave me mixed feelings.
First of all, it was at night and the bus broke down! I thought we were going to be attacked by the LRA! The people I had travelled with were all drunk or tipsy I’d say, so they were making noise, the mood was up there, everyone was happy.
I was scared, I think because I was sober. I don’t drink alcohol but that night I remember someone had carried a jerrycan of local wine, I might have taken most of it.
What are your top travel destinations locally and beyond? And why?
Jinja, Kabale and Fort Portal are my top three tourism districts. Jinja is that one place you wake up any day or time and travel to.
It’s affordable, it’s not far from Kampala. The source of the Nile gives us a chance to enjoy several adventure activities, the beautiful sunset at the Nile river is nerve calming.
Fort Portal is a one stop place for crater lakes. Every lake gives you a different view and experience. Kabale has the best weather in the country. Lake Bunyonyi and the hilly areas, serenity of Kabale give me the best experience and pleasure when I need vacation.
What makes or breaks your travel experience?
It’s mostly the company. I don’t like traveling with very large groups of people. In the big groups, most people will discourage others from going all the way. With many people, organizers always rush through activities which spoil it for me.
I love to enjoy, take time and have fun, interact and get intimate with nature.
Big groups derail and drain the energy out of me. Also, I am shy so it’s a little difficult for me to express myself around many people.
Like recently I visited Busowooko Falls but because there were many people, it was hard for me to enjoy the falls because I was surrounded by people who thought swimming at waterfalls is dangerous.
People especially strangers think everything adventurous people do is dangerous yet for me that’s exactly what makes life fun. Risky doesn’t scare me.
It turns me on. When I visit a place, I love to immerse myself into it without limitations but when you travel with a big group, you don’t get enough time.
What would you like to see done better in Uganda’s tourism sector?
Advertising. We need a lot of space to talk about the beauty that Uganda is. Let the stakeholders in tourism and the hospitality businesses use the right people to influence the sector.
There are many beautiful Tourism Destinations that the world and Ugandans don’t know about. These places need to be advertised more.
The costs in the hospitality industry are too high for Ugandans. I think they should put local rates for Ugandans. The reason why Ugandans don’t travel much is because they think hotel rates are high and they’re rated for foreigners.
1. Most Nature Reserve Centres are poorly managed. I’ll give examples; There’s a camping site in Mabira. The place has bad toilets, no bathrooms yet tourists are expected to pay and stay over.
2. Then Mabamba Eco Tourism Bay, not sure who runs the place but with other 300 bird species, this place can be a very good destination for birders if improved.
3. Ugandans should normalize local tourism. People who run hotels/destination facilities ask me questions every time I check into places alone, sometimes I’m ignored, services are slow or poor especially when the place has foreigners/whites!
Tourism is not for white people only. I don’t have to date a white man to be a tourist. Oftentimes I get people asking me if I’m dating a white man. I’ve never dated a white man and I’m not interested.
Which travel destinations are on your travel bucket list, and why?
Bora Bora. I heard it’s the Jewel of the sea! I get goosebumps when I think about this place, I think it’s heaven. I think it’s the promised land. The Water bungalows, the Lagoons and pink sands!
If I ever make it to Bora Bora, I hope no one wakes me up. Maldives; I love blue spaces, I love water places, I love to lay in the sand in a bikini. In Uganda I want to visit the Nile Safari Lodge at Murchison falls.
I’ve been to Murchison falls but Nile Safari Lodge lives rent free in my mind. The place looks dope, the infinity pool, the air balloon experience must be blissful.
There’s that bed by the water. I love camping but that’d be a whole different experience. Watamu at the coast. I’ve been to Kilifi county but didn’t have enough money to visit Watamu. It’s still on my list.
Victoria falls: I’m a waterfalls freak! You’d take me anywhere there’s a falls.
Victoria falls, the devils pool; is one place I’ve been saving to go to and I’m hopeful to have saved enough by August this year.
I want to go to Miami, I want to attend the Afrochella Festival in Ghana, I want to go to Barbados… the world is on my bucket list. I want to travel the world. I’d go on and on… my list is long.
I haven’t been to many places but I hope one day I’m financially stable enough to afford to travel as much as I love to.
What do you love about your culture?
The etiquette; the way we greet, at family meals, how young ones are expected to behave around and address elders. I love traditional meals. The festivals and cultural dances.
The artistry of homes. The way we socialize and greet people. The way we dress up. Our history is rich and our folk music is something to be proud of. I hope it’s never forgotten. I hope my children learn our history.