Entebbe Botanic Gardens, the oldest national Botanic Garden in Uganda is strategically located at the ‘entrance’ into this country, that is the Entebbe International Airport. Three minutes drive form the airport and you are already in a welcome environment that will take away all your jetlag and initiate you into Uganda’s well known hospitality.
On your way back, the extra time before you catch your flight can best be spent in the gardens and you can be sure of carrying with you that everlasting impression which you will share with your pals back home.
And just 34km away from Kampala, the Botanic Gardens is the place for the city dweller where you can spend your weekend away from the routine noises and hectic daily chores of the city. At the end of the day, you will be feeling better than your anticipation in additional to learning about how you can make the living environment better for yourself and the generation to come.
What makes Entebbe Botanic Gardens so pleasantly special?
- Entebbe Botanic Gardens has a total land area of 40 hectares.
- 1.5 km along lake Victoria shore line; all of which present a breathtaking scenery.
- A walk along the beach into the haunting forest.
- A rock garden in the Entebbe Botanic Gardens.
- A medicinal garden which sustains a big proportion of the Uganda rural peasant.
- The Gardens have a collection of 389 species of higher plants.
In addition to offered leisure, the garden also offers opportunities to learn to care for the environment, taking care and conserving useful plants and real life experiences for students of tourism. By this time all you need is a cool shade and cool refreshment both of which are never in short supply.
A Brief History
In the years after its establishment in 1898, the garden was very active in plant introduction from many parts of the world. Crop species of foreign origin such as cocoa, coffee, tea and rubber were introduced and evaluated.
Uganda’s varied agro-climatic conditions offered a good opportunity for these plants to grow and they have become the main cash-crops of the country.
Experiments on economic crops have been taken over by the Agricultural Experimental Stations such as those at Kawanda, Namulonge and Serere, a move which contributed to the neglect suffered by the Entebbe Botanic Gardens from the scientific community.
The garden has until recently served simply as an area for public recreation and enjoyment, with no attempt made to develop its considerable potential as a systematic collection of plants, and as a centre for research and education.
This education is urgently needed for people from all walks of life, from policy makers to the botanic garden staff. The garden has not been equipped with areas for children or the disabled.
The staff includes:
a) The curator
b) One assistant curator
c) One officer responsible for the cut-flower garden and potted plants
d) One officer for plant propagation
e) One officer for the medicinal plant garden
f) One clerical officer
g) One part-time consultant
Since October 1990, efforts are being directed towards the following objectives:
- Garden maintenance and improvement, which involves construction of three pit-latrines and ten concrete garden chairs.
- Nursery work, which involves germination of seeds of timber and fruit trees, ornamental trees and some grasses; vegetative propagation of shrubs, herbaceous plants and some grasses.
- Establishment of a medicinal plant garden
- Establishment of a cut-flower and indoor garden.
- Compost-making to encourage organic gardening.
- It is unfortunate that garden design work is not possible because the garden is unfenced, making it vulnerable to grazing cattle.
- The integration of conservation activities with agricultural and genetic resources development.
- The educational and recreational potential of the gardens will be realized through the development of facilities and services that will benefit both residents and tourists alike.
- Public involvement in the work of the botanic garden and extension into the community will be a priority.
- The screening of native plants for utility and possible economic production.
- A scheme to establish collaboration with relevant institutions in the development and production of native wild plant species of economic and educational value e.g. medicinal plants, wild fruits, fibres, spices, fuel-wood and forage crops.
- Establishment of ethnobotanical gardens, if possible in each district.