As serendipity would have it, May is the month that our brochure Experience champions Uganda and it is also when Frankie McCarthy and Fiona Walls pay the self-same country a well overdue educational visit. I thought it only right to combine the two; Frankie and Fiona’s adventures serving to illustrate the wonderful experience that constitutes Uganda.
Frankie and Fiona’s itinerary is extensive and aims to fit a lot into just under two weeks. After flying into Entebbe, the pair will be staying at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale National Park, Semliki Wildlife Reserve, Kidepo Valley National Park and, finally, the Victoria Nile.
They leave on Saturday 5th May, so it’s great to have managed to catch up with both of them before they set off.
Why are you going to Uganda?
Frankie: No one in the team’s been for a couple of years and Uganda is a fast-developing country, so we want to see what’s new. We’re hoping to gain a better understanding of not only what’s on offer there, but also how the vast number of experiences available can logistically fit into itineraries.
Fiona: Aside from following orders from Will (!), Uganda has a lot to offer. It’s more than the gorilla trekking destination that everyone thinks of; there’s a huge variety of other activities, from classic wildlife safaris in the north to extreme sports in the south. There’s really exciting stuff happening here in the conservation world too. It seems like a very good place to get my teeth into!
Are you visiting any community or conservation projects?
Frankie: We’ll be visiting a local village while at Ndali Lodge. Like a lot of other places we represent, Ndali Lodge is run by the local community and so provides employment and brings income into the local economy and supports education in the area in a big way.
Fiona: African Wildlife Foundation helped open Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge and it’s part owned and run by the community. At the time this made a huge impact on human-gorilla conflict in the area, incentivising conservation. Quite a big proportion of bed night levies go towards community development too.
What are you looking forward to?
Frankie: Really looking forward to gorilla trekking. Not sure if we’re doing the long trek or the short one, but apparently both are beautiful – the long one can be eight hours long though, so we’ll see how that goes!
Fiona: We’re staying at Apoka Lodge near the end of the trip, which I’m excited about. It’s in a National Park right in the north of the country on the South Sudanese border and rarely visited by anyone, but is meant to have some incredible wildlife there, with no other vehicles around. Aside from that, we’re also going chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest and right at the end we’re visiting Wild Waters Lodge, which speciliases in things like quad biking, bungee jumping, horse riding and white-water rafting.
That just leaves me to wish Frankie and Fiona the best of luck on their trip and thank them for making time to chat. If you’re interested in hearing more about planning a luxury safari to Uganda, please get in touch, and in particular with Frankie and Fiona come the end of May.