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In Conversation with Mugasha, the Aerial Photographer Showcasing Uganda in New Spectacular Views

Arnold Mugasha, a Ugandan aerial photographer, is one of the very few talented dronists in the country. He’s known on Instagram as shotbymu. His aerial captures are just stunning, and we, like many, remain completely blown away by his unique drone views of Uganda. We spent an evening with him to know more about his passion for aerial photography.

How Arnold started

It started about 3 years ago when Arnold was watching BBC Planet Earth, a nature documentary TV series by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Two episodes specifically inspired him. The first being the one that captured hyenas chasing wildebeests and the second which went globally viral, where newly-hatched marine iguana made its way to the sea, after a gauntlet race with over 20 snakes.

“The way these scenes were being shot, looked movie-like yet they were actually real life scenes. This cinematic shooting of everyday animal life got me thinking and that’s when I decided to go to YouTube and start learning about drones as well as learning about the camera crew photographers of BBC Planet Earth.” Arnold recalls.

Arnold then started saving some money to purchase his first drone a DJI Mavic Pro, one of the first bold moves he made at a young age of 24. This cost him about UGX 4.7 million (about USD$ 1300). He bought it in December 2016.

The first challenges he countered

Possession of a drone back in 2016 was not the same as possessing a normal camera to use for photography. It involved a lot of clearing, trying to understand the recognized fly zones and no fly zones which failure to understand, could result into indefinite confiscation of the drone by authorities by the Civil Aviation Authority, intelligence and Police for security reasons.

“When I got my first drone, I was very cautious. I did a lot of research that involved moving to police stations and Civil Aviation Authority to understand the fly zones and laws governing drones. Lucky enough as I established later, there are no laws restricting ownership of a drone by a citizen if you are using it in unrestricted fly zones like private establishments.” Arnold explains.

The real trouble he has encountered

It happened at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, the only place in Uganda where you can see rhinos in the wild. Arnold had arrived late the previous night and had not gotten acquainted with the rules of the sanctuary. When he started flying the drone early the next morning, all hell broke loose.

“All of a sudden, I saw game rangers come running to me. At first, the thought I was a poacher and since rhinos are listed as among the most threatened species, they are highly protected. It took hours of explanations and showing them my identifications proving that am not a poacher that they finally let me go and warned me not to do that again.” He remembers.

His best highlights as an aerial photographer

At first, he fails to pick his best, a thing that proves he puts in a lot everytime he decides to be behind the drone remote. After about 15 seconds of thinking however, he zeroes down to a few.

“I think Kabale is one of my best highlights. When I visited Lake Bunyonyi, it was one of the most breathtaking scenes I have ever seen and taken. The second I can point out is Murchison Falls along River Nile where I also shot Chobe Safari Lodge. These scenes are very magnificent.” Arnold says.

Turning passion into business.

At first, Arnold used to fly drones out of passion. When people started recognizing his amazing aerial shots, they started hiring him to shoot their projects providing rare opportunities to travel across the country.

“My drone is now attached to my company registered as Shot by Mu Ltd. One of my first paid jobs was in June 2017 when a team flew in from India to do a documentary about Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in West Nile. They were looking for a dronist and that is when I met them and tagged along.” Arnold explains.

Arnold now established a website ( where he documents all his works that support him in sharing his work to potential clients. In future, he plans on building a team and move beyond just a one person team.

Looking ahead

Arnold has over 8 years experience in the creative industry working as a multimedia designer dabbling in graphic design, animation and illustration, so camera work is the latest addition to his skills. He is not about to let this end. 4 years from now, he plans on big things for the Shot by Mu brand.

“3 or 4 years from now I don’t want to have a typical day time job. I want to focus on Shot by Mu and make it a fully fledged production house that will be shooting on movie sets, documentaries and telling nature stories about Uganda that you rarely see on TV. In short, I want to be living life doing what I am passionate about.” Arnold explains.

The photographers he looks up to in Uganda and beyond

To be good at anything, you have to learn what your peers in that field are doing and be inspired. Besides his liking for BBC Planet Earth photographers, Arnold has learnt how to be a better photographer through mastering what his peers are doing in Uganda and East Africa.

“ In Uganda, I look up to William Kane, Aaron Kajumba and Kreativ Adikt. In Africa and beyond, I look up to Truthslinger, Tobi Shinobi and Osborne Macharia. These keep me pushing forward.” He says.“You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take”- he concludes


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UNYPA Set to Launch Y+ Beauty Pageant 2020

Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV/AIDS (UNYPA) a non-profit focused on fighting HIV/AIDs stigma & discrimination among the youth and  improving access to Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) is back yet again with the 7th Edition of its Y+ Beauty pageant. Amidst and despite the current challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, UNYPA has gone a step ahead to organize the pageant that will help disseminate information about HIV/AIDS and also tackle the socio-economic, psychological and physical challenges experienced by youth positively living with the virus.

The pageant is an avenue for young people living with HIV to propel HIV activism and awareness. Every year the pageant has attracted increasing numbers of participants since its inception in 2014, with previous contestants standing out as Y Plus ambassadors that have invariably been at the frontline to fight discrimination through various activities involving school outreaches, peer to peer support groups, and at national & international representations and dialogues.

The pageant will run in 3 phases, minus its launch slated for the 25th September 2020 at Kampala Serena Hotel and thereafter regional auditions will be held from the 7th to 30th October 2020, followed by a week-long boot camp for all successful contestants from the 13th to 19th November 2020 where they will be involved in capacity building and strengthening training.

The grand finale will then be held at the 3 months culmination that will be extensively utilized to equip said contestants, with each contestant subsequently required to showcase their advocacy skills, knowledge on HIV/SRHR and share an individual action plan on the steps they hope to take to fight Gender Based Violence, stigma & discrimination before a highly competent jury. Rewards will be presented to all winners and thereafter a year-long campaign will be kicked off by UNYPA and the associated stakeholders to fight HIV-related stigma & discrimination in each region of Uganda with a focus on youth involvement and participation .

The pageant will be available on digital & social platforms including television and UNYPA social media pages to maximize the participation of the digitally savvy who’s attendance will be a boost regardless of the various Covid-19 guidelines and SOPs put in place to govern the entire campaign.

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Uganda Claims 6th Position Among Top African Destinations for International Conferences

President Museveni gives a Speech at the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in 2019

Uganda has climbed from the 10th position (as per 2018 rankings) to the sixth as one of the most popular destinations in Africa for hosting international conferences and events in 2019.

The rankings were released by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

The rankings are based on the number of association meetings taking place regularly, rotating between at least three different countries and with 50 participants.

ICCA represents the world’s leading association for the global meetings, conference and events industry.

According to the Uganda Tourism Board CEO, Lilly Ajarova, Uganda hosted 22 association meetings including the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentarians Conference, 8th African Population Conference, Africa Now Summit, 4th African Judicial Dialogue and the 2nd Congress of the AfricanPrimatological Conference, in 2019.

“In 2020, Uganda had organized and was scheduled to host a number of notable conferences such as the G77 summit, Africa Climate week, World Health Summit, CBR World Congress and the AfrAA Conference, among others.

All the events were rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has sent the whole world into a frenzy.

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Let’s All Join The World to Fight COVID19, Wash Hands, Self Distance, And Let’s Pray For Humanity

Uganda today has over 500 cases of the Coronavirus pandemic, and although people might not be in panick, our economy is.

COVID19 pandemic has left the world scared, and in panick. All our neighbours have at least two confirmed cases of the Virus, and we must pray not only for ourselves, but even for humanity.

Today, we choose humanity. We choose love. We choose to stand by each other.

As we follow the guidelines set by the President, we further urge fellow Ugandans to wash their hands, avoid handshakes, and also practice self distancing.

In all this, let us put our hands together and pray for the safety of family, friends, and humanity.

Currently, COVID19 has affected over 183 countries, and one National Conveyance leaving over 7,026,758 cases, 403,078 Deaths, and only 3,435,758 recovered.

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