Alice Teramoto, one of our ace Reservations Supervisors, visited Uganda in the spring and was able to go on gorilla and chimp treks in the nation’s national parks. We caught up with Alice to get her expert insight about Uganda and to share tips about selling trips to Uganda to your clients.
1. Where did you travel?
I travelled to Uganda.
2. What is the number one thing agents should know about Uganda?
You need to book the gorilla and chimpanzee tracking permits in advance as numbers are limited. You don’t want to miss out on the chance to see these primates due to poor planning.
3. What is the biggest misconception about Uganda?
That Uganda is not a suitable destination for a first-time trip to Africa since it’s only about primate treks. This isn’t true at all. You can still go on a more typical safari in Uganda and see other wildlife throughout the nation. Also, people think that you cannot go trekking in the rainy season. However, I visited in the spring, which is the peak of the green season, and I still enjoyed good trek conditions, so the weather definitely shouldn’t be an impediment to a primate trek.
4. What was your favourite lodge?
My favourite spots were Elephant Plains Lodge in Queen Elizabeth National Park and Chimpundu Lodge in Kibale National Park. I was in absolute luxury at these spots and the personalized service was amazing.
5. What new things did you learn about Uganda?
Uganda is blessed with beautiful crater lakes. I saw them everywhere on my trip and I didn’t realize this about the landscape before visiting. This is more proof that there is definitely more to Uganda than just primate trekking. There are opportunities for game viewing and safaris and you could easily spend two weeks here exploring. A lot of people ask me what other countries they can visit in combination with Uganda and I do offer suggestions, but I will also suggest they spend longer in Uganda, as there’s so much to do there.
6. What was your favourite local experience?
The gorilla trek was a huge highlight for me and, yes, it was the main reason for my visiting. It was toward the end of my trip so I saved the best for last. So when working on an itinerary it would be ideal to put at the end rather than the start. To be able to see a gorilla family up close and personal is an amazing and very special once-in-a-lifetime experience.
7. What was your favourite individual destination?
This is connected to the above, but I enjoyed Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, as that is where you can stay to do the gorilla trek.
8. What were your favourite local dishes or drinks?
The food was so gourmet on this trip. I had three-course meals at all lodges and hotels and it was very westernized, so I didn’t try any local dishes. But there were two days where lunches to-go were packed and they consisted of beef chapati rolls.
9. What would be the perfect complement as an extension to this trip?
People don’t realize that there is more to Uganda than just gorilla trekking, so apart from the Essential Uganda, which is a similar itinerary to what I did, I would recommend Murchison Falls National Park. You can also easily combine Uganda with a visit to Rwanda. For those travellers that want the perfect game safari, it’s also very easy to combine Kenya with Uganda with direct flights between Entebbe and Nairobi.
10. What are your top three tips for agents who want to sell Uganda?
One: It is always best to book in advance as there are a limited number of gorilla permits, only eight permits for each gorilla family per day. The gorilla permits in Uganda are half the price of those in Rwanda, so they are very affordable.
Two: Offer clients an opportunity for a second trek as well as these cannot be purchased locally.
Three: It is easy to combine Uganda with a stopover country in Europe or Dubai, or a safari in another East African country like Kenya or Tanzania.