Interesting Facts About Entebbe You Probably Didn’t Know

Entebbe, a large town in Central Uganda, is located on a Lake Victoria Peninsula. Entebbe is renowned for being Uganda’s largest commercial and military airport called the Entebbe International Airport launched in 1929. The word, Entebbe, means seat or chair in the Luganda language. It was named after this because that was where a colonial governor sat to arbitrate legal cases in 1900s. It then became the official office and residence of the President of Uganda which dictates that Entebbe is the chief seat of power in the country.

When Sir Gerald Porter, a colonial Commissioner, used Entebbe as a base in 1893, is so then became a British colonial administrative and commercial centre. Port Bell became Kamapla’s harbor which now only is used for jetties. There was a time when it was used by ferries of Lake Victoria.

The population of Entebbe in 2002 was estimated around of about 55000 people only. By 2010, the population increased to 76500 as per the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. However, the national population consensus, to the date of 27th August 2014, has marked the population at around 70000.

One of the ways Entebbe is known all around the globe is through the successful mission it led against a counter-terrorist hostage-rescue situation at the Entebbe Airport on 4th July 1976. It was named as the Operation Entebbe. It was carried out and lead by elite commandos of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The whole situation began when an Air France plane was hijacked by two members, broken away from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and two other members of the German Revolutionary Cells. The hijackers demanded to free 40 Palestinians and affiliated militants, then imprisoned in Israel, and 13 other prisoners positioned in four different countries in exchange for the hostages. The surprising element on the highlight of this event was the fact that the Ugandan government assisted the hijackers whereas the dictator Idi Amin supported and happily welcomes then.

Eventually the hostages were shifted to an airport building and hijackers divided the group on the basis of being Israelis. They and some of the non-Israeli Jews were shifted to another room. 148 Non-Israeli people were released and flown to Paris whereas the other 94 remained as hostages, subject to death threatens. This threat then was taken very seriously by IDF and an operation was planned to rescue all the remaining hostages which would include armed resistance from the Ugandan military troops.

A whole week was spent on the planning of the Operation Entebbe and night time was decided for the rescue mission. Israeli transport planes flew 100 commandos to Uganda. The operation lasted about 90 minutes but it was a successful mission as 102 hostages were saved and al the hijackers along with 455 Ugandan soldiers were killed. Five of the commandos were wounded whereas the unit commander was killed. The military codename that was given was Operation thunderbolt but because of the unit leaders’ death, it was more so known as the Operation Jonathan in his memory.

This airport has also experienced the scene of when Queen Elizabeth II departed Entebbe in 1952 for England and it was during this journey she learned of her father’s death and that she had now become the Queen. The final resolution talks to end the M23 rebellion was also hosted by Entebbe.

The other new interest that has developed the attention is the Entebbe-Kampala Expressway or Highway. Undergoing construction, it is a four-lane toll highway in the Central Region of Uganda. The purpose of this highway is to link Entebbe International Airport which is the country’s largest civilian and military airport to Kampala. Kampala is Uganda’s capital and the largest metropolitan area. This new expressway would be much less of a hassle to drive around as the existing road is quite narrow making it congested and not suitable for heavy traffic. The expressway will require vehicles to pay the toll through the electronic billing devices. The main points this highway will be close to include the town of Entebbe, Abayita Ababiri, Akright City, settlement of Kabojia and neighborhood of Kajjansi, all of which are situated in the Wakiso District. Other than that, it will also touch the suburb of Munyonto in Makindye Division and neighborhood of Busega in the city of Kampala from where the main expressway will join the Kampala Northern bypass Highway.

If you’re willing to spend money on discounted fares to Entebbe, you also must know the ambience and attractions of the city. It is one of the most pleasant town of Uganda famous for its parks, beaches, islands and of course the national zoo. It is an intriguing city with much to look around, enjoy, relax and have a great vacation with your family and friends. Entebbe Botanical Garden has amazing flora and fauna and especially after knowing that one of the Tarzan movie was shot right there, the place seems to give an entirely different experience.

Entebbe is a paradise for the birders as you can spot myriad of them with their beautiful textures all around. Places like Botanical Garden would be the best place to enjoy the view. You can also visit the Zika forest for birding and butterflies. As apparent form the name, it does involve Zika virus but only to the extent that it was discovered in Uganda in 1947. However, Uganda has absolutely no Zika virus.

Apart from the wildlife, Entebbe also has beautiful beaches and the Ssese Island where you can spend an entire day boating, fishing, taking nature walks and visit the villages surrounding the area. Ssese Islands has also been voted as one of the best hidden Island Chain in the entire world.

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