How to find safe, credible accommodation in Africa

You really enjoy the idea of going on a holiday to Africa, but you aren’t sure how to pick the best accommodation online.

The internet is filled with loads of amazing hotels, lodges and other accommodation in Africa, however when you’re sitting on the other side of the world, staring at your computer screen, how can you be sure that an accommodation’s website is trustworthy, really offers the amenities it promises… or even if the place really exists?

If you’re wary of booking accommodation online in Africa, it’s best to book through a reputable online tour operator. Tour operators get the best possible rates from their supplies and can bring the cheapest rates to individual travelers as well as group travelers. Reputable booking agents are trustworthy and credible, meaning that all the accommodation offered on their website is legitimate and won’t make promises they can’t deliver.

When picking a reputable online tour operator, here are a few things you should look for:

1. Does the company have a blog?

If the company is passionate about what they do and they want to share their passion, experiences and knowledge with readers, they will have a regularly updated blog. This feature on a website also makes it a lot easier for travelers to access reliable travel information and tips.

2. Does the company have a meet the team page?

It’s all very well having a travel company and booking tours and accommodation in Africa, but if the company’s work force is filled with people who don’t know a leopard from a cheetah, an en-suite from separate or camping from glamping, then the company really isn’t worth trusting your hard earned cash with. Have a look at the tour operator’s ‘meet the team’ section of the website. Here you can gauge how clued up and experienced the company’s employees are judging from each team member’s profile blurb.

3. Is the company registered with a tourism services association?

The above elements will ensure that your online tour operator provides an honest quality service, but the cherry on the cake is when they show that they have aligned themselves with a credible tourism services association, for example SATSA (Southern Africa Tourism Services Association) or AUTO (Association of Uganda Tour Operators) or UTB (Uganda Tourism Board).

A membership with SATSA means that the tour operator is bonded with third party indemnity cover, which is a financial guarantee that covers all monetary deposits paid to the company before your trip starts.

With these tips, you’ll be sure to organize everything from luxury accommodation in Africa to Africa Tours with a company you can trust.

African Safaris Desk

African Adventure Travellers Ltd

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Kony 2012 Video is Misleading

Kony 2012 is a campaign by the charity organization Invisible Children to get Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader, Joseph Kony arrested by the year 2012. They want to achieve what has failed many including the mighty Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) in less than one year.

How do they plan on doing this?

What I agree with the Kony 2012 campaign

Yes Joseph Kony is an evil man and should be brought to book. The LRA and Joseph Kony have caused a lot of suffering many can not even imagine. The war has left many dead, families destroyed, many homeless, dreams crashed, and so many people in the affected region of Northern Uganda were left hopeless. The war received little attention from the world media compared to wars such as the Invasion of Iraq by G Bush and co. and many people of the world who could do something to end the conflict did not know about it. Many of those who knew simply chose to ignore. Though Joseph Kony and the LRA were flushed out of Uganda by the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF), they continue to cause havoc in Central Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They have to be stopped and the world should know them, what they have done and what they are capable of doing. The Kony 2012 campaign has a done a tremendous job in creating this awareness as more people who did not know about Joseph Kony and the LRA now know, and those who seem not to care before are beginning to care.

What I disagree with the Kony 2012 campaign

The Kony 2012 campaign lays a lot of emphasis on using military intervention. A lot of us do not agree with this option. The Kony 2012 video clearly shows that LRA has an army of child soldiers who were abducted from their families. Yes these child soldiers have caused a lot of havoc but under the command of Joseph Kony and his cronies in the LRA. These children need to be saved from the LRA which a military intervention may not achieve. In the past many children were saved through peace talks, military clashes only lead to massive deaths of these kids.

Even if a military intervention were to be inevitable, advocating for a military invasion by a foreign force, the USA in particular is very suspicious and must be condemned. The USA never engages in wars where they have no particular interests. A lot of oil has been discovered in the Albertine region that includes areas in Northern Uganda that were highly affected by the war. There are lots of minerals in the areas affected by the LRA insurgency both in Uganda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic. A USA military invasion spells plunder and should be discouraged. Unfortunately the Barack Obama administration has already authorized one hundred fully armed military “advisors” to “help” one of the most powerful military forces on the African continent, the Uganda Peoples Defense Force (UPDF) to pursue Joseph Kony and the LRA. We can only condemn the USA involvement and wish our resources shall be spared.

How the Kony 2012 video is misleading and negatively impacting on Uganda.

Uganda is located in East Africa NOT Central Africa

Over and over the narrator in the Kony 2012 video indicates that Uganda is located in Central Africa. It is totally untrue and so misleading. Uganda is located in the East of Africa and is among the five countries that make up the East African Community alongside Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. It is very important that this is well known because the Central Africa region is known for lots of negativities like wars which are absent in the East African region. Many countries around the world discourage their citizens from visiting the Central African region and carelessly including Uganda in that region set subjects the Pearl of Africa to the same negativity. Our country is bound to lose on foreign tourist flow because of such careless talk.

Joseph Kony and the LRA are NOT in Uganda

Secondly, though at some point the Kony 2012 video indicates Joseph Kony and the LRA moved out of Uganda, the video generally seems to portray Joseph Kony and the LRA are still in Uganda still abducting more children and still causing more havoc. This is because most of the scenes in the documentary were taken more than four years back when Joseph Kony and the LRA were still in Uganda. As a result many people around the world have got the impression that Joseph Kony and the LRA are still in Uganda, hence portraying Uganda as a war ravaged country which is totally untrue. Joseph Kony and the LRA are NOT in Uganda. Uganda is one of the most peace countries on the African continent and it is because of this that world online travel forum Lonely Planet declared Uganda the best travel destination for the year 2012. Kampla, the capital of Uganda has also been declared among the most secure cities in Africa.

Most of the scenes taken in Uganda should have shown what is actually currently on ground. The affected region in Northern Uganda is totally peaceful and undergoing massive post conflict reconstruction by the Uganda government of H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and several international Non Government Organizations (NGO) Invisible Children inclusive.

Ugandans/Africans are NOT helpless and NOT savages

Lastly the Kony 2012 video seems to portray Africans and Ugandans in particular to be totally helpless and require Mr. Jason Rusell, his toddler Gavin and a bunch of American teens/youths to come to their rescue. I should not be misunderstood or understood to be contradicting myself, I totally support the awareness campaign BUT it is so one sided and biased. There are so many local efforts that in the past have worked tireless to end the conflict. For instance several local politicians, cultural and religious leader and neighboring countries notably the Republic of Southern Sudan have organized peace talks to get the LRA stop the conflict. Thought they did not end the conflict, so many abducted children were saved as a result of the talks. Also it is the UPDF that cleared the Northern Uganda of the LRA rebels and have been pursuing them ever since with a hope of finally stopping them. All these deserved a mention in the video. We Africans are capable of stopping Joseph Kony and the LRA. Yes the world should know about the havoc the conflict has caused and that we need their support in so many ways to overcome this insurgency and rebuild the affected societies but we should not be portrayed as helpless on one side and as savages on the side because we are NONE of that.

Uganda Safaris Desk

African Adventure Travellers Ltd

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Best Places to Chill Out and Relax After a Uganda Safari

Ssese Islands, Lake Victoria

The Ssese islands are an enchanting chain of 84 Islands in the northwestern area of Lake Victoria in Uganda. Uganda may not have an ocean but is surely well compensated with the presence Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria stretches between Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. It is the world’s second largest lake and with it comes lots of opportunities to relax and chill out at the beautiful sandy beaches, do boat cruises on the lake, eat some well prepared fresh fish especially Tilapia and Nile Perch and enjoy the beautiful scenery at the island.

White Sand Beach in Ssese
White Sand Beach in Ssese

The Islands are fast developing into a favorite get away point for many travelers to relax after the traditional Uganda safaris that usually involve extraneous treks and long drives. Beautiful resort beaches have been set up and a variety of accommodation is available for visitors  to chose from ranging from budget to luxury travelers. All in all it is a perfect place to end your safari in Uganda.

The Island is accessible by a ferry from Nakiwongo, Entebbe. It is a relaxing cruise of three  to about four hours to the Islands.

Lake Bunyonyi

This magical, mystic  lake is the epitome of relaxation. Its located in southwestern Uganda and is a perfect place to relax and unwind after the extraneous gorilla trek in Bwindi. Lake Bunyonyi is dotted with 29 islands all covered in lush green. Its also the second deepest lake in Africa and is known to be totally bilharzia free and safe from water predators such as the hippos and crocodiles – perfect for swimming.

The Mystic, Magical Lake Bunyonyi
The Mystic, Magical Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi – which translates to “small birds” – is surrounded by highly terraced slopes covered in green. The temperatures are quite moderate, and the atmosphere is mostly misty and cool. Lonely Planet compares its scenery to one of the scenes in the hit movie “Lord of the Rings” and many travelers have compared its experience to that of Switzerland. It is such are great place to relax and chill out after your adventures across the country.

Swimming and canoeing are the major activities on the lake, though it is highly advised to desist from swimming the entire length of the lake due to its enormous depth which has taken lives.

A range of accommodation is available for travelers, both budget and luxury travelers are accommodated.

River Nile, Jinja

The Nile is punctuated by a series of white water rapids and number of small islands covered with lush vegetation creating such an amazing scenery.  Looking at birds darting across the water, watching the fishermen spread their nets, smelling the sweet scents emitted from the surrounding plants and listening to the gushing waters of the might Nile as it makes its way from Lake Victoria in such a quiet and serene atmosphere is so fulfilling especially after activity filled safari around the country. A range of accommodation is available along the river banks and on the small Islands on the river, the most notable is Bulago Island.

River Nile
View of the River Nile in Jinja

Boat services are available to do a ride around the source of the Nile and appreciate the source of this phenomenon that troubled many European explorers.

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Ngamba Island is approximately 40 hectares large Located in Lake Victoria, 23 kilometers offshore from Entebbe. The Island is predominantly forest and is a host to a variety of wildlife including several bird species such as the cattle egrets, reptiles such as the monitor lizard, butterflies, and lots of shrubs and trees.The Island was turned into a chimpanzee sanctuary to provide a safe haven to orphaned chimpanzees. Currently the Island has over 40 chimpanzees which roam freely on the Island and protected by a wire fence.

A Resting Point at Ngamba Island
A Resting Point at Ngamba Island

With its serene location away from noise and pollution, the Island is a favorite spot to go and relax and appreciate what nature as got to offer in beautiful birds singing sweet melodies, the cool whispering breeze blowing across Lake Victoria to the Island, and a beautiful scenery of a variety of wildlife. Its a great choice to relax after a safari adventure.

A range of accommodation facilities are in place for travelers that chose to spend more than a day at the Island.

Mabira Forest

Mabira is the largest rainforest in central Uganda. This lush rainforest is endowed with lots of tree species, several monkey species, butterflies and numerous small animals. It is located along the Kampala – Jinja highway and is a perfect chill away from the noisy and dusty urban centers around the central Uganda. You can chill at the balcony of Mabira Rainforest Lodge, read a book, take swim or do nature walk in the forest and savor the sites and sounds of the forest plus the sweet scents emitted by an array of plants. The Mabira Rainforest Lodge is situated  a short distance from the highway and is less than an hours drive from Kampala.

Mabira Forest Lodge, Mabira Forest
Mabira Rainforest Lodge, Mabira Forest

Uganda Safaris Desk

African Adventure Travellers Ltd

Posted in Adventure Travel | 1 Comment