Today we had the chance to return to the Takeaway Restaurant during our journey back from Mbarara, and yet again it was a delicious pit-stop along the way. We had the choice between chicken or talapia, the whole fish, head and all, and everything was delicious. This restaurant is one of the last along the route before entering another city, so it is a great place to snag a bite before getting back on the road. I would estimate the Takeaway to seat approximately 75 customers, which I would think it could easily occupy.
We stopped at the Equator Shops on our way to Mbarara, but just had to return on the trek back to accumulate even more souvenirs. Everyone seemed to enjoy standing in both hemispheres, and of course it was the perfect photo-op for our group on this trip. Shops were all bunched together along the road, about the length of a city block, along both sides, and this was the perfect test for us to try our hand at bargaining. The skill is almost expected in the area, but it was shocking in some cases at how much the seller is willing to drop the price to make a sale, but it just goes to show, they need us to make a living.
The Crocodile Farm was a very interesting place, and a little intimidating I must say. When we first walked up we came upon a storage house for the younger crocs, which then turned into the juvenile crocs, those under 5 years of age. It is at this age when the animals are then used for meat and making products such as bags, shoes, and belts. Our tour guide would not give an approximate asking price for any of the items, but from what we gathered they sell to buyers in Korea who then turn around and sell again for profit. Because the farm does not have many expenses, it must do pretty well in terms of income, which is great hope for small businesses in Uganda.
Small businesses like these all seem to do pretty well in retrospect, but I really feel that they could make so much more profit by making a few changes. First of all, these places could use more advertising. Businesses like these need to get the word out that they exist, especially to tourists like us, otherwise they will never get the foot traffic needed for a large income. Tourist attractions are huge, so maybe more of that mentality at these places could turn mild success into major growth. Now, tourism doesn't always have a positive effect in all countries, but it could be the thing needed to stimulate this country financially. Small businesses are a big thing in Uganda, and that can be used to their advantage if they are operated in such a way that can impact the country in a positive manner. In the long run this could help the economy of Uganda, which in turn could truly effect the rest of the world.
What do you think could be done to promote small businesses such as these? Do you think an increased amount of tourism would have a positve or negative effect on the country?