Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Don't stop traveling.

It’s been said that you discover yourself when you travel. I agree. You are in a foreign place, discovering new food, people, and culture. It’s inevitable that you yourself will change, and your thinking will evolve.

We all face hardships, and I’ve certainly encountered many who have lost jobs, loved ones, and hope. Stress and depression beats us all down eventually. So many have sought refuge from the frustrations of life by discovering a new land, and you know what? The transformation is real.

 Traveling has cured their blues. Traveling has offered them a fresh perspective, and has strengthened them to return home rejuvenated. What’s the magic all about? You’re away from the familiar and aren't subject to the same trappings which challenged you. The same worries don’t apply when you take a new step in a new land.

Wise words.
There are new adventures to be found every time you hit the road. I’ve met and hosted budget travelers who have journeyed from North Africa to the South through every means necessary—walking, riding, or hitchhiking. The road has been good to them. They’ve found genuine folks along the way who have kept their costs down. They experienced an adventure more than they’ve bargained for, and sampled the local culture in a way that could never have been possible through a five-star hotel. So, the idea that you need to be fabulously rich to go so far away doesn't add up when I hear their stories.

I agree with this.
I’ve certainly gotten the “travel bug” myself through my clients, and my list continues to grow of places to see. I’ve exchanged smiles from many I never believed I would ever meet. It’s made me think, “if they can travel that far to see my country, why can’t I make such sacrifices for theirs?” 

A traveler is an international ambassador. They might not be waving a flag, but their demeanor translates so much more than what one may have seen or heard through media. Some of my friends abroad have expressed reservations about visiting my continent. They hear negative press, and it’s affected their travel plans.

Sure, precautions need to be made (like any trip outside familiar surroundings), but once you open yourself to the continent, Africa welcomes you with a genuine embrace. There is so much more to Africa than an acacia tree or a “Lion King” safari.You discover that Africa has a vibrancy that has to be felt. Its peoples are rich in spirit, and the culture is undeniably infectious.

Couple of tourists at the local market.
So I challenge you to live boldly. Challenge stereotypes, discover unabashedly, and look beyond the familiar. You’ll be so much more wiser, happier, and saner for doing so.

See you in Kampala!

Go out your comfort zone.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Why you should visit Kampala.

Kampala is  known as one of the safest cities in Africa. It is a place you can move around around without feeling threatened. I have seen some foreigners move out and about even at night. People are always friendly and ready to help just in case you ask for it. Some people refer Kampala as the city of East Africa just because it’s lively and full of life. People love life and they take every day as it comes.

Kampala road, one of the streets in Kampala.

If you are a foreigner expect to be called as you look like; Mzungu for White, Muchina/ for Chinese or Asian looking. And this does not mean anything racist, it is how you are referred to and you will get used to it.  They will call you to greet you or offer a service or simply take a photo of them if you look like a photographer. And if for example a “boda boda man” bike rider tries to offer you a service and you are not interested, he will not persist by pestering you. It is kind of annoying when someone forces a service upon you that you do not want.

This seller on the right asked if he could be in the photo.

Kampala is one of the busiest cities in Africa, it has about a population of 1.9million people or so. People are out and about doing their work and then there is the traffic with cars and vehicles everywhere It can get exhausting to go through this busy city and all the noise around but it’s an experience one should not miss and the seeming chaos actually has a charm and attractiveness to it since you will not find it anywhere else.
There are rules and laws of the city.  But not all are followed and that applies to the traffic rules. Drivers are stubborn, traffic lights are not followed and some are not functioning, so you the pedestrian you have got to figure it somehow, on how to cross. Fortunately, of late the Police is doing a good job curbing drunk driving in the city.
You will go a day within this city without having any of your belongings or money stolen, just hang on tight to your bag and that will solve the problem.
Busy down town town Kampala.

The old taxi park.

There are varieties of restaurants and cafes to eat from while in the city. If you do not want to eat local cuisine, you can eat Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Thai and so many other cuisines. The coffee is great for the coffee lovers as you all know we have lots of it in Uganda, even though most Ugandans drink Tea which we call Chai.

One of the coffee shops in the city, you can also do shopping if you wish so.

The social life is very good here, there are a variety of bars and clubs, entertaining theaters where you can watch some comedies and plays, salsa dancing classes, Poetry and book clubs, Cinemas etc.
Enjoying the view of Kampala.

 In this city,  you will never be alone.

Welcome to Kampala – the one City  in Africa that never sleeps.

Friday, 2 May 2014

The dog walking experience.

When a client contacted me and asked about the walking tour, I was happy to give him all the details he wanted. But then there was one thing, he said he wanted to come with his dog. I asked my self; "How are going to do this?".
I started thinking of all the routes that we could use which had less people and of which we could do the tour on day like Sunday because it is much easier to do the walking tour. But then the client said his dog would go any where, I didn't have to worry about changing the routes. The tour was actually done on a Saturday.  The dog was a beautiful Labrador of about two years and half called Zeus.

The seller playing with Zeus.

We started our tour quite well, we reached the first market and some people were wondering why we hada dog with us. Some people were agitated with this peaceful dog thinking it could harm them. The thing is, in Uganda dogs are mostly trained for security purposes and they are quite scary. So most people think all dogs are the same. But we kept convincing them the dog was friendly and peaceful and then they would try to touch Zeus to prove it. They fell in love with him once they realised he was actually cool and calm. We took a break at this market for a bit for him to take some water.

Zeus got himself a bright colored necklace.

 Cuddling Zeus. 
We continued our trip on Kampala streets and people kept giving us space to walk because of the fear of the dog. But this is one of the tours I have enjoyed, peoples' reactions and walking this wonderful and most behaved dog was great. It taught me a lot about how people think of animals or dogs. I think we need more pet culture in Uganda. We need to give more love to these animals.
When we passed in Owino market people thought we were selling. We got comments like; "Are you selling?", "How much can I give you?", "What a beautiful dog!", "What do you feed it on?", and so on. There were still some people who were agitated.
We later had another break for him to take some water. He was really tired.

Relaxing time.

Posing for a photo with Zeus.
 All in all, this was a good experience. Zeus was very strong than I expected, he gave me a good work out with my arms we kept switching him.
If you ever want to walk your dog, write to us. Lets find him/her a different route than yours to see Kampala. Dogs need to see their city, don't they?

Thursday, 6 March 2014

The sweetness in walking.

I have come across people wondering how I do this. I am talking about the walking. They wonder how I walk from the city to the Buganda palace. My answer is always " I love walking, Its healthy and I can manage to do it." Well, I think most people in my country are lazy, we are used to boarding taxis or using "boda bodas" bikes. Most of my friends are like that, they would rather get a taxi from Kampala road to Jinja road than walking. One time a man told me "I can't believe you are girl and you are doing kind of work like a man does, its good of you." I smiled and told him walking is not that hard as people make it seem to be.
There are many advantages in walking if only we took time.
If we took off time to walk everyday, these are the advantages.

 Most of the people walked on the tours are older and it is impressive that they are still energetic to do that. I have heard that abroad people walk and do a lot of cycling, hence keeping the bones strong and active. Well,, who doesn't want stronger bones and joints?
Lets ditch the taxis and "boda bodas" (Bikes) some times and walk.
I know the roads in Kampala are challenging to have a walk, but if you have been around for a while, you get used to how things work. I have often forced my friends to walk with me but it comes with whining, that it is my job and that is why I am not bothered. But I always win. And I enjoy walking with clients because a group walk is less tiring and more fun. Could not ask for more exercising.
Walkers are happy people.
Everybody who enjoys walking, why not join me? You will no regret it. Happy walking.