The Entebbe Botanical Gardens MultiMedia Tour
Entebbe is a couple of hours drive south west of Kampala. It was the site of the original colonial capital, so it was an obvious location for the British to site a Botanical Gardens which they did in 1901. Today the Botanical Gardens are a huge forty acre park set on the shore of Lake Victoria – they make for a lovely day out.
In Uganda’s colonial past the Botanical Gardens provided the colonial botanists with somewhere to study classify and describe the local flora into species that can be commercially exploited and others. They also provided a handy test bed for trying out species that had proved profitable in other parts of the empire. So as well as being able to see lots of native Ugandan plants, birds, animals and insects we also found examples of the empires best exports: Rubber Trees, Cacao (chocolate), Sugar Cane, Oil Palms and the Cola Nut Tree (along with a rather conveniently discarded Coke can).
As well as species which are still commercially grown today we also came across many strange imports, like the Cannonball Tree from South America which has beautiful flowers and huge cannonball shaped fruit. The fruit are hard like nuts and stink when cracked. I don’t think it has ever had any commercial use other than an oddity, but it may have been used to settle stomachs. Our guide seemed to credit most of the plants and trees with this quality. Which makes sense; you can be fairly sure that the colonialists had a regular and urgent need for such plants.
As well as the trees we also saw amazing birds, terrifying insects, boisterous monkeys and some Canadians. We recorded the highlights on film – edited out the Canadians – and present it here for your viewing pleasure: