Pader, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The government has allocated sh800 million to facilitate the development of Aruu Falls, an enchanting tourism site located in Angagura Sub County, Pader district. The State Minister of Tourism, Martin Mugarra Bahinduuka, announced the allocation, emphasizing that the funds will support various infrastructure projects aimed at enhancing visitor experiences and promoting the site’s tourism potential.
The allocated funds, scheduled to become operational in the upcoming financial year, will be utilized to construct essential facilities such as walkways, guardrails, and roads. These improvements are crucial for ensuring convenient access, visitor safety, and overall security within Aruu Falls. Minister Mugarra’s announcement reflects the government’s commitment to bolstering the tourism industry and capitalizing on the revenue-generating prospects of domestic tourism.
Minister Mugarra addressed concerns raised by Pader district leaders regarding the current condition of Aruu Falls, acknowledging its significance as a promising revenue source through domestic tourism. The minister, accompanied by a group of Ugandan tourists, singers, and travel enthusiasts as part of the “Explore North” campaign, visited Aruu Falls.
He urged Ugandans to actively promote domestic tourism by utilizing various communication channels to showcase their local attractions. Minister Mugarra also expressed concerns about potential deterrents to foreign tourist arrivals, such as recent legislation regarding homosexuality, highlighting the need to prioritize and stimulate domestic tourism.
Local stakeholders, including Councilor Dickson Ojok and Nancy Lawino, the Pader district secretary for finance and community-based services responsible for tourism, raised the issue of inadequate financing hindering the support and development of the tourism sector. They also emphasized the risks posed by precarious walkways and substandard accommodation facilities at Aruu Falls, underscoring the importance of financial support for necessary improvements.
Samuel Odonga Otto, the proprietor of Eden Camp Site neighboring Aruu Falls, echoed the same sentiment, urging the government to provide assistance in developing tourism infrastructure across the country.
During the excursion, Minister Mugarra also visited Fort Patiko in Gulu district. Local community leader Rwot Collins Atiko of the Patiko Clan urged the minister to support and promote local tourism by facilitating the improvement of road networks and accommodation facilities. Both Aruu Falls and Fort Patiko are renowned for their historical and cultural significance but have suffered from underdevelopment due to limited financial resources.
As part of the ongoing campaign, influential figures including singer Jose Chameleone, kickboxer Moses Golola, comedian teacher Mpamiire, and beauty pageant representatives pledged to leverage their platforms to raise awareness and promote domestic tourism throughout the country. Aruu Falls, located 47 kilometers from Gulu City, derives its name from the Luo word “Aruu,” meaning “woken up.”
Originating from the Timu forest in Kabong, the falls traverse Agago district before reaching Pader district and cascading down the steep slopes in Angagura. The site holds cultural significance in Acholi tradition and boasts a rich political history, with former President Idi Amin Dada having visited the falls frequently for political planning. Fort Patiko, also known as Baker’s Fort, was constructed by Samuel Baker in Patiko, Uganda, and completed on December 25, 1872.
Following Baker’s departure, the fort served as a residence for Emin Pasha and Charles Gordon during their respective tenures as Governors of the Equatorial Province. Today, ruins of the fort can be found in Ajulu parish, Patiko sub-county, Aswa County, Gulu district, serving as a poignant reminder of Uganda’s historical legacy.