For the last five years, Kyaninga Lodge, located in the picturesque town of Fort Portal in western Uganda, has embraced sports tourism through organizing its annual triathlon event.
Now in its fifth edition, the Kyaninga Triathlon set for Saturday, April 23, 2016, has grown to become a regular fixture on the sporting calendar, and gives participants the chance to leave behind the swimming pool and city-based triathlons in favor of spending the day racing around some of the most beautiful countryside Uganda has to offer.
“It is hard to imagine a more perfect location to spend a few hours sweating away,” says Englishman Steve Williams, proprietor of the lodge.
The lodge's very own crater lake (free of bilharzia, hippos, and crocs) shall provide the venue for the swim. The bike ride shall take competitors around the neighboring countryside where the local villagers offer enthusiastic support, while the race around the rim of the lake remains both carefree and challenging.
As with previous iterations, the event will be run over two distances - the short course and the medium course. The short course covers a 750m swim, 16.5km mountain bike, and 4km run, while the medium course covers a 1.5km swim, 33km mountain bike, and 8km run. This distance will only be included if there are a minimum 10 participants.
Entry fees start at UGX150,000 or $45.00 for individual entry and UGX250,000 or $75.00 for team entry.
All proceeds from this event go to the Kyaninga Child Development Centre, providing much-needed, high-quality, specialized and affordable assessment, treatment, education, and support to children with disabilities and their families.
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The lodge is an engineering feat in itself and is comprised of 8 log cottages perched against stunning views of Lake Kyaninga and the backdrop of “Mountains of the Moon.” They are set apart to offer space for privacy and tranquility.
The swimming pool lined with pavers from volcanic rock shall also provide competitors time to soak after the triathlon.
It is also located an hour away from Kibale Forest National Park, which hosts the greatest concentration of primates in East Africa with 1,500 chimpanzees and a host of other nocturnal and diurnal species. It is also two hours away from Queen Elizabeth National Park and the fabled 5,109 M. Ruwenzori ranges also known as Mountains of the Moon.
Sports tourism has gained momentum in recent years in the countryside with events such as the just-concluded sports event, Gorillas in the Mist Rally, through the rolling hills of western Uganda and upcoming events such as the Mihingo Lodge Marathon slated for June 2016 and the Nile River Festival planned for 2017.
Written by Tony Ofungi, eTN Uganda Correspondent