Revenge journey: with the liberty to journey once more, in 2022 I mentioned sure to each journey alternative that got here my method!
Earlier than 2023 swallows me in a frenzy of labor, I’m taking a second to mirror on the twelve months through which I continued to piece my life again collectively because the world reopened for tourism. Simply as we have been getting in control post-pandemic (with summer season bookings virtually as busy as 2019) Uganda tourism was dealt a blow by the recurrence of Ebola. Would you consider it, we groaned collectively. Tour operators had solely simply resumed “actual work” after two years of farming goats and washing automobiles; however anyway THANKFULLY the Ebola outbreak has formally been declared over, so let me say no extra.
If 2020 was a write-off, and we “awakened” mid-2021, I’ll sum up 2022 because the yr I mentioned a powerful sure to every little thing. (And if 2021 was the yr of the massive resignation, certainly 2022 should have been the yr of the massive burnout!) In 2022, I used to be so busy searching for new alternatives and answering journey queries that there was little time for inventive writing on my beloved weblog. Don’t fear expensive reader – or listener? – in 2023, I promise to encourage you as soon as extra! This yr’s challenge is a podcast, launching quickly… however first…
Fodor’s Journey’s Full Information to the African Safari
Considered one of 2022’s highlights was updating the Uganda and Rwanda chapters of Fodor’s Full Information to the African Safari. Fodor’s have been writing guidebooks for over 80 years.
If you happen to’re researching a vacation spot listed on this weblog submit, know that I’ve visited them personally in 2022. This implies that you would be able to examine them within the Fodor’s Information or ship me an enquiry. This submit is a compilation of 2022’s social media updates. Stand-out moments – which made the lengthy drives, Bwindi’s horrible roads, and the limitless proof-reading of the guidebook value it! – embrace:
UGANDA journey highlights
- Listening to hyenas howling as I stretched out in mattress on the wonderful Ishasha Wilderness Camp, southern Queen Elizabeth Nationwide Park.
- Including 5 ‘lifers’ to my chicken listing in Mgahinga Gorilla Nationwide Park throughout my keep at Mount Gahinga Lodge.
- Celebrating the tenth anniversary of Rwakobo Rock Lodge in Lake Mburo.
- Ferry rides and kayaking looking for otters on the very cool Banda Island, Kalangala (Ssese Islands).
- Dinner on the Bungee Bar overlooking the River Nile at Jinja.
- The Uganda Railway Museum at Jinja railway station.
- Driving throughout the Nile’s ferocious white waters at Karuma Falls en path to Pakwach and West Nile.
- Being one of many judges of the Miss Rwenzori Tourism Ultimate in Kasese.
- Flying over Lake Victoria and Lake Mutanda in the direction of the Virunga volcanoes with Aerolink.
- Driving each rocky highway round Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, from Nkuringo to Rushaga, Ruhija and Buhoma.
- Visiting each lodge in Lake Mburo Nationwide Park.
- Shopping for straw hats in Mbarara!
- Taking a tour of Emburura Farm Lodge.
What a tremendous welcome we had from the Batwa group of Mgahinga. Interplay with this historic forest tribe are all the time memorable. I requested to have my photograph taken with Stephen, one of many elders. Cue: mass photograph bombing by the entire village! What a giggle. I used to be in Mgahinga close to Kisoro to put in writing about Volcanoes Safaris’ Retreat “Albertine Rift Ecosystems and Nice Apes conservation challenges 2022 to 2050.”
Prince Wasajja of Buganda Kingdom accomplished the 21km run on the Rwenzori Marathon in western Uganda. Kasese city was painted inexperienced and the streets have been lined with curious bystanders who couldn’t consider their city had turn into the discuss of the nation for a weekend. For a lot of Kampala associates, this was their first go to. That reveals you the facility of sporting occasions in placing a vacation spot on the map. 2023 is about to be even greater for Kasese!
I used to be curious to see the brand new tarmac highway that bisects Murchison Falls Nationwide Park (nonetheless beneath building in some areas). I hate that Uganda is drilling for oil in a Protected Space however the drive to the Prime of the Falls is actually simpler than earlier than. All of us gasped once we have been hit by spray from the river! (Fortunately the cameras and telephones survived). We handed by way of Murchison on our method again from Arua in West Nile.
Stirring up magic on the Satan’s Cauldron is one among my favorite tales from Murchison.
There’s a lot to put in writing about West Nile:
- firstly the BIG smiles
- various cultures of tribes which are native to the area
- a listing of invites to quite a few waterfalls
- mountain hikes
- sizzling springs
- Emin Pasha’s Fort
- Congolese music
- smoked Angala fish
- Amin’s Path
- Vibrant kitenge materials bought by South Sudanese women on the Friday market
The individuals of Arua cherished my 10 little-known issues to do in Arua written after an earlier go to.
What are we with out tradition?
Mungu and I spent an enthralling hour with Tutu, Director of the Madi Lugbara Group Museum in Arua, West Nile, northwestern Uganda. I cherished the museum’s simplicity. Furthermore, the objects displayed aren’t dusty objects that sit forgotten on a shelf. “Go to the villages in West Nile” says John “and you will notice all this stuff in day by day use.”
Defending conventional tradition begins by listening to our elders’ tales, studying the teachings captured by music, participating with passionate individuals like Tutu. He introduced every little thing within the museum to life along with his insightful, incessantly humorous, tales. The Madi Lugbara Group Museum is in Arua city. It’s one among many group museums throughout Uganda. They’re principally run by volunteers and all want our help.
One of many nice issues about writing a weblog is assembly all types of fascinating individuals [do say hi!] Whereas I used to be trying out inns and eating places in Kampala for Fodor’s Journey, tour information Joan got here to say hi there. She’s a ‘Prime Fan’ of my Fb web page so it was great to satisfy in individual. The workers on the 5- star Kampala Serena Lodge are all the time sensible, courteous and pleasant. It’s an actual privilege to remain there.
The good AidChild Equator Store is a couple of metres from the Equator line on Masaka Street. We had an excellent pleasant welcome from the group. To examine their present store, snacks menu and nice services, learn AidChild Equator Store’s itemizing within the Journey Listing.
On a half-day “boda boda tour” of seven crater lakes, we stopped at a tea plantation on the sting of Kibale Forest. I used to be over the moon when one of many tea-pickers handed me the “jerrycan shears” and gave me an opportunity to select my very own tea! Tea + Ugandan jerrycan invention = pure pleasure for a Brit like me (an enormous tea drinker).
Cool strategy to spend the weekend alert! If you happen to’re searching for a little bit of an journey with out touring removed from Kampala, I like to recommend this half day tour: I jumped in a wood boat at Ggaba for a 20km bike journey alongside the marram filth roads of Mukono. I got here again feeling tremendous relaxed… (and dusty and sweaty!) You probably have your individual bike, you’ll be able to be a part of Sunday bike rides round Kampala at zero price. Contact the Muzungu for more information.
RWANDA journey highlights
Stand-out moments included:
- Being again in Rwanda after three lengthy years!
- Consuming sambaza fish whereas listening to Congolese music in Rubavu (Gisenyi) on Lake Kivu. Learn How you can eat like a Rwandan – a couple of snacks (I wager you’ve by no means tried).
- Chatting conservation with Rwanda Growth Board at Gishwati Mukura Nationwide Park, Rwanda’s latest protected space.
- Sipping tea and nibbling home made biscuits on the terrace at Virunga Lodge, overlooking the dual lakes of Bulera and Ruhondo.
- Gawping in awe on the world-class Ellen de Generes Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Kinigi, near the beginning of the gorilla monitoring.
- Having The Finest Therapeutic massage Of My Life on the five-star Maisha Spa at Kigali Serena Lodge.
- Consuming tea on the balcony of Virunga Lodge overlooking Lake Burera.
- Reconnecting with Greg Bakunzi of Pink Rocks. Their cool campsite in Musanze is a centre for journey, artwork and cultural studying. The group profit instantly from t heourists.
- Listening to tales about Dian Fossey from Gaudence, the proprietor of the legendary Muhabura Lodge, the place Fossey used to remain.
In Could 2022, I noticed for myself how straightforward it’s to enter Rwanda on the snazzy new Gatuna “one cease store” border submit.
After years of cross-border bus journeys, it was fascinating to cross the border in a vacationer car. First my information Rashid had to purchase COMESA insurance coverage; on the border he needed to ‘clear’ the car with the Uganda Income Authority and Immigration. Right here we have been each issued with an Interstate Go (a part of the East Africa Vacationer Visa which all EAC residents and residents are eligible for). Lastly, our baggage have been scanned and searched – don’t unintentionally carry a cavera (plastic bag) into Rwanda!
In Kigali, Rwanda, we caught up with Dr Andrew G. Seguya who heads the Larger Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (and was the longest serving ED at Uganda Wildlife Authority). GVTC is greatest recognized for shielding the mountain gorillas that vary between Rwanda, Uganda and the DR Congo. Have you ever heard of the pledge to guard gorillas? Gorilla monitoring vacationers are inspired to decide to defending the gorillas from human ailments by signing the www.gorillafriendly.org pledge.
Have you ever visited Rubavu (Gisenyi) on Lake Kivu?
This chilled-out small city borders the DRC city of Goma and is nice for an extended weekend. The buffet breakfast at Lake Kivu Serena Lodge is to die for! Their new gymnasium opened in time for CHOGM in 2022 and the lodge has added mountain bike rent and birdwatching to their listing of actions.
Have you ever heard of Gishwati-Mukura Nationwide Park?
Rwanda’s conservation and tourism visions are daring and galvanizing. The brand new nationwide park, created in 2016, is in reality two (severely degraded) forest fragments. An formidable plan is in place to develop tourism actions (mountain climbing, birdwatching, chimpanzee monitoring and cultural experiences). A tree planting programme is visibly serving to stop soil erosion, defend rivers, enhance biodiversity and – crucially – present firewood for native communities. I’ve been following Gishwati-Mukura’s evolution carefully since writing a weblog for Albertine Rift Conservation Society in 2019.
Fancy sleeping in Dian Fossey’s room?
Gaudence’s household knew pioneer gorilla conservationist Dian Fossey effectively and shared some fascinating tales about Fossey’s stays there. Do you know you’ll be able to keep within the very room the place Fossey slept? (For a premium value). You’ll be able to guess the place the muzungu wished to sleep! (Sadly I arrived when the room was being renovated).
KENYA journey highlights
Nairobi’s matatus are legendary! Each is a murals.
Work it child (Extra causes to have fun 2022)
Thanks to everybody who voted for me within the Prime 100 Ladies in Journey and Tourism in Africa. I felt honoured to be nominated and stunned to return at no. 2 within the on-line vote!
Coaching assignments led me throughout East Africa: digital advertising and marketing coaching in Jinja, Kampala, Fort Portal and West Nile; a community-based tourism webinar from Sunbird Hill for the East Africa Tourism Platform. Different work highlights included being talking reside to readers of the U.Okay.’s Wanderlust Journal; a digital advertising and marketing presentation at Uganda’s inaugural Journey Tourism Expo; On Uganda podcast interview; judging Uganda’s annual Journey Writing Competitors. The yr ended on a excessive with an invite to Nairobi to co-lead a day discussing accountable tourism (one among my favorite topics) with Kenyan content material creators, Ecotourism Kenya and Kenya Tourism Board. (Thanks Barbara!)
Did 2022’s travels make up for lockdown on the sting of Kibale Forest?
That point was enchanting in some ways and I stay grateful day by day (as my #LockdownDiaries attest) however I took the isolation exhausting. I confess: 2022’s carbon footprint was off the dimensions and this yr I’m dedicated to offsetting my travels. I’m additionally dedicated to launching a podcast, a challenge impressed by being locked down with nature. Extra on that very quickly!
Lastly, you’re all the time welcome to contact me for journey suggestions or take a look at my Journey Listing.