Beautiful gardens laid out on a 40-hectare piece of land, stretching over a kilometer along the lovely shores of Lake Victoria and rising inland onto a gently sloping beautiful landscape known as Botanical Gardens have been leased out to an Indian investor for a sewage project.
Entebbe Botanical Gardens is home to over 400 plant species, ranging from little known indigenous fruits and medicinal plants, the towering highly prized commercial timber species, the economically important crop species and their relatives, to a wide range of ornamentals.
The Botanical gardens are also a representation of a typical tropical rainforest and wetland ecosystems which attract vast numbers of birds, reptiles, and apes, making it a good destination for animal lovers as well.
Over the last century, the botanical gardens have also been home to dozens of exotic plant species that were brought into the country.
However, reports coming in indicate that part of the 120-year-old gardens has been leased out to an investor Megha Industries who owns the adjacent Victoria Mall, to construct a sewage management plant for his business.
When contacted by one of our sources about the matter at hand, Meghani Sikander of Megha Industries confirmed acquiring a 10-year lease (renewable) from the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) to expand the sewerage system of Victoria Mall adding On average, over 7,000 people access the mall every day, way more than what had been anticipated during the initial construction.
“We have done our best in order not to damage the plants in the gardens. We engaged National Water and Sewerage Corporation to assist in constructing a sewage line that can connect directly to the lake after proper treatment of the sewage. However, they told us to wait for at least one-and-a-half years,” Meghani explained.
“Before the sewer line, this whole place was every Saturday subjected to a stench whenever emptying the small septic tank we have. After realizing that emptying every Saturday was not sustainable, we had to run to Botanical Gardens to get land to try and construct a bigger septic tank to help us solve this problem,” he added.
Comments from the NARO director Dr. Ambrose Agona about the issues have been futile.
The Entebbe town clerk Charles Magumba said he was aware of the investor’s businesses in Entebbe. He, however, refrained himself from commenting on details about the septic tank being constructed in Botanical Gardens.
Entebbe Botanical Gardens was officially Launched in October 1898 by James Berkery, the commissioner and consul general for the British protectorate before agricultural research institutes were introduced.
The facility was established solely for the examination and development of agricultural resources before transplanting them to larger farms and with Over 120 years, Botanical Gardens has evolved from an agricultural research facility to a tourist center. Visitors are required to pay a fee ranging from sh2,000 to sh20,000 in order to access the place with a variety of plant and animal species.
Apart from being an incredibly beautiful scenery, Botanical Gardens house an important Uganda plant heritage which provided the springboard for the flourishing national agricultural research ‘empire’, having been the first agricultural research unit to be established in the country.
One is instantly hit by the gently sloping beautiful landscape merging into the green vegetation culminating from different plant collections with canopy gaps revealing the blue-white waters of Lake Victoria.
In co-existence with the plant species, Botanical Gardens also host a number of animals, with the Colobus monkeys being the notable ones. There are also turtles, bats, and mongooses.
Botanical Gardens, which can be accessed by car or boat, is about a 10-minute walk from the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre commonly known as Entebbe Zoo and has now been leased for expansion of a sewage system to an Indian Investor.