People take a selfie on a family getaway

Family Travel & Getaways

Taking time off from work or your usual surrounding can make one feel happier, healthier and more productive on return. Today, family getaways are very important because we have moved past the old age homestead setting and therefore hardly see some members of the family. Although family getaways can be looked at as very stressful and expensive, they’re very necessary and their value is unimaginable. Usually, what makes up the most stressful aspect of travel of any kind, whether a solo trip or family getaway, is actually figuring out the travel details. Details like when is the most convenient time to travel, the preferred destination, which activities are available at a specific destination and so on. However, that should not be a problem anymore. There’s an option of getting a travel partner/consultant. The expertise and experience of travel consultants not only eases decision making on travel details but also, avails a wide range of travel packages in different budget ranges.

Family travel selfie

Family selfie while on vacation

The best gift you can give to those you love is time. Spending time with one another has a magical effect of shaping perspective and generally how you relate with the rest of the world. Your travel days need not come to an end because you have got children now. Family travel often adds more value to the travel experience compared to travelling solo where your focus might be diverted to work. During your family getaway, there’s vast opportunities that facilitate Family bonding, especially through activities. Activities like building sandcastles, boat rides, hiking, playing beach soccer or beach volleyball are a great way for parents to bond with children and vice versa. Family travels are valued by children, both in the moment and for long afterward in their memory,” according to psychologist Oliver James. Travel experiences become “happiness anchors” for children, who then use the memories created as reminders of more positive life-moments. In the long run, a family travel experience will enhance long-term self-esteem within children by subconsciously telling them that you care about their well being and they have your full attention.

enjoying the beach during family travel

Family enjoying the beach together

In most cases, travel is simply looked at as a way to get away from the usual or the ordinary  (escapism). However, beyond the change in environment, it also serves as an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the destination by connecting with the culture and people present. Such awareness and awakening, has far reaching value to the children even more than it does with adults. It opens up their eyes and mind to a new world, different from the ordinary surrounding. Giving your children such a gift of experience instead of something materialistic creates stronger bonds between you and them. “The reason experiential gifts are more socially connecting is that they tend to be more emotionally evocative,” states psychologist Cindy Chan. “An experiential gift elicits a strong emotional response when a recipient consumes it—like the fear and awe of a safari adventure or the excitement of a rock concert—and is more intensely emotional than a material possession.”

Family capturing beautiful moments while on travel.

 

For children, family travel is also an opportunity to learn. That beyond the adrenaline rush activities and the excitement, their attention is bound to be drawn to how different that destination is from home. The difference in culture, language, general way of life of people in the community, historical artifacts and the environments, opens up their mind to think beyond what they knew or had seen. Such exposure to new experiences makes children more sensitive to differences and accommodating of divergent views. Children that travel often are more likely to dream bigger and aim for the finer things in life compared to those that don’t. They get to appreciate that there is so much more in the world beyond what they thought they knew, hence more ambitious and determined to work harder and see their dreams come true.

Family bonding during enjoying a travel experience.

Beyond the inconvenience of not being able to get away from the family aspect of your life, occasional family travel  undoubtedly creates quality time for all family members. This quality time presents an opportunity to get to know yourselves better and to connect with your kids on a level not normally reached during our day-to-day. Getting to understand what excites or scares your children, what their goals and dreams are and all other tiny details concerning their lifestyle and well being, enables parents to guide children better. It’s these shared experiences and quality time that brings (and keeps) families together. Travel is a great way to break comfort zones together, encourage one another and to teach children that they have to be resourceful. Experiencing the challenges that come with travel also shows them strength and problem-solving skills they may have otherwise been unaware of, resulting in better decision-making in their futures. Travel is a space in which you can let them fail, make choices, think critically, and show them what life is truly about.

Family spending quality time together in the view of a sunset.

While on your family travel vacation, it is important to make sure that you make days count rather than to count days. According to Dr. Seuss, sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. Make those beautiful memories together as a family and they will live with you forever. About the trouble of planning a great family getaway, you need not stress about that anymore either. Simply contact Swanair Travel and Safaris through info@swanairtravel.com, +256776515014 or visit swanairtravel.com for any assistance with planning your dream getaway. With Swanair, comes the option of saving for your travel through regular deposits of your choice, to the Swanair travel wallet. It’s easy, quick and convenient but most importantly, onboarding is at no cost. To onboard for the travel savings option, simply register via this form. This is your year, make that dream travel experience a reality.

Welcome to Swanair Travel Wallet

Travel can be affordable with the Swanair Travel Wallet

Have you ever dreamed to travel to a specific destination but somehow you left it as just another dream beyond reach? If one of your reasons is that these destinations are way beyond your budget, then all hope is not lost yet.

The reasons why most of these destinations are considered very expensive are because sometimes, we don’t put in enough time and effort to plan for travel. However, there are instances where you plan for travel but somehow, it still never happens. For instance, do you ever feel like you get paid but your money just disappears before ticking any destination off your wish list? Yeah, me too! In most cases, if I don’t keep track of how I am spending my money, it seems to vanish without a trace. By the time I look at everything else I had planned for, I realize that there has been no progress at all.

A lady stressed out by her plans.

There has been a popular myth that travel is an expensive hobby and I don’t agree. The assumption is that people who travel a lot must either have rich parents, lucrative lottery winnings or work high paying jobs. As a result, it’s concluded that normal people can’t afford to travel because it’s far too expensive for the rest of us.

To some extent, I actually understand how that can be so because, I once thought so too. There’s always a time where suddenly everything seems too expensive. And although ordinarily, one needs to save, it becomes very hard, especially saving for a “hobby” like travel. However, travel is such a huge concept that can not be limited to what is beyond our means. There is always an experience within everyone’s budget. All it takes is to have the right amount of information about a destination or experience, save for it and consult a travel advisor on how to make it possible.

Today, as a consequence of the post pandemic, travel is expected to be even more expensive. This is because the number of people traveling again is on the rise. As a result, so are prices. Airfares and hotel rates are climbing as travelers return in the highest numbers (since the pandemic began) hitting beaches, mountains and visiting friends and family after a season of being cooped up.

However, the prices should not discourage you from traveling. There are ways you can get around the situation and travel the world and enjoy a wide range of experiences, at a fair price. Remember, all it takes is discipline and commitment as shown below;

  1. Plan for your Travel.

Planning for a trip can sometimes be a daunting experience. It gets extremely overwhelming especially, if you have never done such a thing before. One of the factors that make it not as exciting as it should be, is the availability of so much information on the internet. There’s plentyful of information on social media platforms and blogs that it is to get confused or spoilt for choice. This, among others, make it an extremely challenging experience. However, it is important to adequately plan for your trips so as to get the most of your experience.

a work table full of plans for travel

Planning for Travel

Planning for a trip entails so many steps and it’s hard to rate them in accordance to importance as they’re all crucial steps. The key steps however are the following;

  • Identify your desired destination(s).
  • Research on the physical, political and financial environment in your desired destination.
  • Decide on how long you’d want to spend at your destination.
  • Decide on the number of people traveling with you.
  • Come up with a list of activities that you are interested in, at your destination.

Notably is that the above are only but a pinch of the many steps required, in no particular order. Furthermore, it is very advisable to consult with a travel consultant, to avoid missing out on important information that might be necessary for your travel.

  1. Save for your trip.

For most people, saving is not something they enjoy doing and much less if saving for travel. With the cost of living going higher every other day, unexpected bills popping up, and responsibilities accumulating every other day, it is easy to get caught up in all that and being unable to save for travel. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, there are ways to make saving a habit and in return, being in position to achieve all or most of your plans. It is definitely not an easy thing to do as it requires plenty of hard work and sacrifice, but if I could do it, I’m confident you can too.

a picture of savings for travel

Saving for travel

Here’s a few tips that helped me save for my dream destination and finally tick it off my bucket list;

  • Create a savings plan alongside your travel plan.Your savings plan should comprise several goals; both short-term and long-term. List your goals in order of priority and don’t be shy to shoot high. However, ensure not to shoot so high that it kills your enthusiasm for your big trip.
  • Create a budget spreadsheet clearly indicating your income and usual expenses. This will give you a clear picture of what you spend your money on. From your usual expenses, you’ll be able to identify your must haves and have nots and therefore able to decide on what to cut down on.
  • Commit to your dream and make the decision everyday to work towards achieving it. This can be done by putting a picture on your wall, sticky notes with writings of why you’d love to make that trip or a map with pins and strings to mark your dream around the world trip route, for constant revalidation. Saving money is a slog, but anyone can do it if they set their mind to it.
  • Keep your distance from financially irresponsible people or an environment that will likely cause you to spend more than earn. However, remember that you can save for travel, and
  • still let loose every once in a while.
  • Start a dedicated fund by creating a new account where to specifically save for travel. Then choose to feed it monthly, weekly, or daily. Make it easy to transfer money over from another account and every time you go online to check your balance, transfer some money, even if it’s just $5. Make it fun. Make it a habit. Make it natural. Make it painless. Revel in its growth!
  1. Get a trusted partner to motivate you and support your travel goal. There are several options from which to consider but I can only speak of one that helped me achieve my travel goal, Swanair Travel and Safaris. Swanair Travel & Safaris founded in 1993, is one of the oldest Travel Management Companies in Uganda offering a  wide range of services like nternational destinations, corporate travel, safaris, air ticketing, hotel booking and currently, the Swanair travel wallet. The Swanair travel wallet is an exciting and rewarding savings option designed for travel enthusiasts, first time travelers and planners of foreseeable future travel and vacations.
a poster of the Swanair Travel Wallet

Welcome to Swanair Travel Wallet

 

With the Swanair travel wallet, you’d not only be able to create an account where you can save for travel through regular deposits of any amount you find convenient, but you’d also have access to the best deals and promotions. At the end of the day, you get both a convenient and comfortable payment plan and possible discounts on your travel through earning of points. Creating an account in the Swanair travel wallet is easy, quick and very seemless. Yes, if you are thinking what I think you are, I can assure you that I felt the same too. It’s extremely impressive how easy planning for travel has been made with this initiative. If you’d like to be a part of it like I am, click https://forms.gle/7RibZboft6yemYp79 to get started.

Good luck and we hope to hear from you about your experience at your dream destination. You can reach out through +256776515014 or visit swanairtravel.com.

Simply contact Swanair Travel and Safaris through info@swanairtravel.com, +256776515014 or visit swanairtravel.com for any assistance with planning your dream getaway. With Swanair, comes the option of saving for your travel through regular deposits of your choice, to the Swanair travel wallet. It’s easy, quick and convenient but most importantly, onboarding is at no cost. To onboard for the savings option, simply register via this form. This is your year, make that dream travel experience a reality.

A sunrise

Romantic Getaway – My Dream

It has been a while since I had the freedom to choose. To choose whether I wanted to go out for dinner, stay in doors or even have a romantic getaway in the wild. The Covid19 pandemic robbed me of my freedom to choose. It robbed us of our ability to do a lot of things, but not anymore. This year is going to be my year. This year, is your year so let’s make the most of it. Let us tick a few items off our wishlists and achieve our bucket list experiences. In my opinion, nothing speaks an all round experience for a romantic getaway this February like a Safaris in Uganda. Thinking about how I would like to celebrate love this Valentines sends a cold chill down my spine and feels my heart with so much joy. I cannot wait to travel far and beyond for that is exactly how I want to experience love in the wild this year.

  1. First, I want love to find me. I want to simply wake up one morning, pack my bags and go on a romantic safari in Uganda. I want the experience to be seamless and yet very fulfilling. There should not be any unnecessary hustle and bustle in planning and definitely, no breaking of a sweat. I want to wake up to an itinerary specially crafted to suit my desires and an affordable travel package that wont strain me a bit. It should be just enough to satisfy my dream romantic getaway.
  2. Secondly, I want to find love on the road. From the comfort of the car, to the company of the one I love the most, I want to have it all. I want to experience the sun rising from ahead of the car while the cool breeze rests on my face. I want to feel my stress fall behind me as fast as the trees that seemingly move backwards. I will listen to my favorite afrigo band music and sing along to lyrics I can hardly remember. I will dance to the sound of drums and that from the saxophone. Sunrise is a beautiful beginning
  3. After singing as loudly as I can to “Obangaina” with my favorite person’s smile staring deep into my soul, I want to find love in all the roadside food. I want to take a bite of that roadside bird (chicken) and have a taste of all its flavours mixed with a bit of chilli to add some spice. With the meat juices flow down my cheeks, I want to taste everything else on the stall from “gonja” to “nsenene” and everything else available.
    people selling food on the roadsde - Romatic getaway ideas

    Road side food is a must have delicacy for any road trip

     

  4. With a quenched thirst and a well fed body, we will make our stop at the Equator crossing for some more photography because I want to make and keep every romantic memory. I then want our next stop to be in Lake Mburo National Park because I want to find love in the wildlife. Lake Mburo is interesting in such a way that you never have to struggle match to sight a wide range of wildlife. With a game drive for a short distance, you will most certainly sight zebras enjoying each others company, Impalas, hyenas, leopards and even buffaloes.  Lake Mburo National park is said  to have about 68 different species of mammals.

    An image of Lake Mburo National Park

     

    There are also 5 lakes within the park and that’s my opportunity to enjoy the boat cruise experience. I want to take a boat cruise on Lake Mburo to catch the beautiful sunset over the waters while I also get the opportunity to sight hippos, crocodiles and water birds. For the rest of my evening, the spice to this adventure will be listening to cultural tales about the pastoralists while walking side by side with the one that caught my eye. I want every step taken together on our nature walk to leave a footprint of our love in the park.

    A romantic boat cruise on Lake Mburo National Park

    A boat cruise on Lake Mburo National Park

  5. I want to be awakened by the beautiful sound of birds in the trees outside our room and be reminded that indeed dream getaways can be achieved. Excited for what lies ahead, I will quickly get ready for my all time dream destination that is Bwindi. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is approximately a 4 to 5 hours drive away. The drive from Lake Mburo to Bwindi National Park is very scenic and worth the experience as it passes through the plains of Ntungamo, the rolling and terraced hills on Kigezi before joining the forests in the Bwindi National Park.
    Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi NP - Romantic getaway ideas

    Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi NP

    Bwindi is home to many endangered species including roughly half of the worlds mountain gorillas. I have heard that tracking gorillas in a dense forest can sometimes be wet, muddy and uncomfortable as it reaches altitudes of almost 2000meters above sea level. As a result of a terrain that is usually strenuous and often humid, it makes tracking even more difficult but the sheer thrill of coming across a habituated group of gorillas dominated by a male silverback, outweighs any difficulty.

    Bwindi is Uganda’s main gorilla trekking destination and her habituated families can be accessed from four trail heads: Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo with each trail head having its own characteristics, families and levels of difficulty.

About the trouble of planning a great romantic getaway, you need not stress about that anymore either. Simply contact Swanair Travel and Safaris through info@swanairtravel.com, +256776515014 or visit swanairtravel.com for any assistance with planning your dream getaway. With Swanair, comes the option of saving for your travel through regular deposits of your choice, to the Swanair travel wallet. It’s easy, quick, and convenient but most importantly, onboarding is at no cost. To onboard for the travel savings option, simply register via this form. This is your year, make that dream travel experience a reality.

Impala swanair

“Dear Pandemic, I am Visiting Uganda… “

Dear Pandemic, I am Visiting Uganda

For reasons such as study, work or joining family, one may leave Uganda to settle in another country. However, every once in a while, home does call you back and that call can be hard to ignore even though there is a difficulty brought by the pandemic. So, how do you travel back to the refreshing air of a place so familiar when movement has become so stifled?

Andrew Mugasha* left Uganda about 9 years ago to settle in the United States of America. After that lengthy absence, he returned to Uganda in 2021 for a short visit.

“I came back to visit family and to explore parts of the country that I had not seen before” Andrew told us in an interview.

You too may have your own reason for coming to Uganda, but here are a few things you can learn from Andrew to have a smooth, memorable travel and stay here.

Planning

To make that journey, Andrew didn’t just wake up and hop onto a plane the next day. There were a number of considerations to make; the length of the journey, multiple stop overs in other countries, the expenditure on arrival at home and most importantly, the pandemic. This required Andrew to have an intricate plan for everything to be seamless.

“I had to consider the time of the year I wanted to travel, the people available to visit and spend time with and how much time I could get off work. I made a list of places to visit in Uganda after weighing costs like accommodation, food and transport” Andrew adds.

It is also a good idea to consult from friends in Uganda before travelling so that your budget is befitting. Finally, Andrew advises that it is important to check with your physician so that you can align with the medical requirements of your stops as you travel.

Pick an activity that will keep you busy on the journey. This could be a couple of books, or movies, or music on your device. Ensure that you have these ahead of time. Then you can get your plane ticket, pack and wait for take-off.

COVID 19 Guidelines

Andrew had already been vaccinated before his trip, so you too may consider getting vaccinated ahead of time, because you will need the vaccination card on arrival at Entebbe International Airport. On top of that, most of the airlines have strict travel requirements such as a COVID test that was taken less than 72 hours before travel date, and some other security checks like sharing address information for countries like Belgium.

Remember to mask up all through your journey. You can get creative with your mask you know? Add Graffiti, or wear an Ankara-print one. Either way, just have your mask and sanitizer on hand.

Entebbe Airport Checklist

On top of your Visa, Passport and Vaccination card, endeavor to have a yellow fever vaccination card. Andrew says that the time he visited, this wasn’t asked for but he had it nonetheless. It probably was ignored because COVID had the airport security unsettled, but it would be terrible to be asked for it and you don’t have it. So, get the yellow fever vaccine and have your card with you as well.

Uganda’s Rich Tourism Basket

“I visited Western Uganda-Kasese, Fortportal and Mbarara. There was a lot to see like Mabeere Ga Nyinamwiru, Kazinga Channel and crater lakes. As a Ugandan I was amazed at the progress the country has made and what it has to offer for tourists” Andrew notes.

True to this, Uganda really has a wide range of things to see and experience. From cuisine to culture, historical sites, physical features and infrastructure, your visit will be memorable.

Glaring Criticism

Due to the pandemic, the government of Uganda limited resident Ugandans from moving inter-district. This meant that they couldn’t consume the tourism sector, yet those who traveled from abroad could. Andrew thinks this was largely unfair, because the resident market has a lot of potential for tourism benefit. That limitation caused dullness and negative economic impact as different stakeholders had to rely on foreign customers.

“At Kazinga Channel, the tour guide told us we were the first group he guided in over 2 months, while the visitors’ book at the safari lodge where we slept hadn’t been signed in 3 months” Andrew remarks. This could have been combated by allowing resident Ugandans to tour their country with strict observance of SOPs, so that you don’t create a divide where foreigners enjoy the country more than the residents.

For a non-resident of Uganda, this may not affect you. Andrew advises that once you are here, you “be patient because some people who are key to your visit lack a sense of urgency. Be present, ask questions, account for all sorts of miscellaneous things happening, and enjoy yourself. Uganda is truly the pearl of Africa”

*Names have been altered to keep the source anonymous

Chimpanzee tracking at Kyambura Gorge

A SAFARI AT QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK

Uganda is richly blessed with stunning tourist attractions adversely spread out throughout the country. Among these tourist attractions are national parks. Queen Elizabeth National park is not only one of the most popular tourist attractions in Africa but also the most visited national park in Uganda. It is an ideal destination for all nature and wildlife lovers but has experiences for all its visitors nonetheless. No wonder, it is popularly referred to as the “medley of wonders”.

Queen Elizabeth national park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park and renamed two years later, to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II.  This name contributed to its popularity, alongside its stunning beauty and the fact that it is accessible by both those traveling by road or air. It is located in southwestern Uganda and lies astride the Equator with monuments on both sides of the road making latitude 00. It is in the Albertine region along with Kyambura and Kigezi wildlife reserve, which brings together the most diverse ecosystem in Africa.

Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent views include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kobs. The rich bio-diversity of the crater lakes, forest, savannah, woodland, and acacia and numerous animal, plant, and bird species lying on an area of 1978km2 make Queen Elizabeth National Park a popular tourist destination.

The park is home to over 95 mammal species, which are the main attraction of the visitors to the park. It has four of the ‘Big Five’ namely Elephant, Leopard, Lion and Buffalo. It is home to thousands of hippos that populate the water shores of Kazinga Channel, which connects Lake George to Lake Edward – known to have the largest herd of hippos. The park is an open Savannah spread with acacia and euphorbia trees that provide a habitat for leopards, elephants, lions, Uganda kobs, Topi, hyenas, and big herds of buffaloes, large families of banded mongoose, warthogs, bushbucks and waterbucks.

The wildlife in Queen Elizabeth National Park supports a wide range of safaris activities like game drives, boat safaris, nature walks and so many other experiences as shown below.

Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Early morning or evenings are the best times to go game viewing mainly because the sun is not as hot and the cats prefer to hunt during these periods. The game drives in Queen Elizabeth national park happen mainly in the Kasenyi area, which has the largest Kob mating ground. The area is famous for big cats because of the high population of Uganda Kobs which they prey on. Look out for herds of buffaloes and elephants as they graze through eh Savannah. The game drives are in custom-made vehicles for safari where each occupant has access to a window seat and open roof.

 Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Boat safaris at Kazinga Channel

The Kazinga Channel is a 32-kilometre-long freshwater channel that links Lake Edward to its smaller neighbour, Lake George. The lakes are named after Queen Victoria’s son, King Edward VII, and his own successor, King George V. The wide channel is a key feature of Queen Elizabeth National Park and a popular area for wildlife tourism. The channel is home to a wide range of animals and birds, including one of the world’s largest concentrations of hippos (around 2,000) and countless Nile crocodiles. You can also expect to see elephants, buffaloes, and over 100 species of water bird, including the African Skimmer.

The Kazinga Channel provides travellers with a fantastic game and bird viewing experience because it is an oasis for many of the fascinating species that inhabit the park. And taking a boat tour along it, gives visitors the chance to cruise just meters from hundreds of enormous hippos and buffalos while elephants linger on the shoreline.

Boat safaris at Kazinga Channel

 

Chimpanzee tracking at Kyambura Gorge

Kyambura Gorge is situated in the far east of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park hosts the Kyambura gorge which is an ‘underground’ forest 100m below the Kichwaba escarpment. It is home to ten primate species including the famed chimpanzees, olive baboons, black-and-white colobus monkeys, etc.  Kyambura Gorge is nicknamed ‘the valley of the apes’.

Chimpanzee tracking is a popular wildlife activity in Uganda which allows you to step into the world of the chimps. The treks last for around three hours and include a maximum of one hour with the chimps in their natural habitat. You can expect to see them from a safe distance of 8-10 metres. Only a few chimps inhabit the gorge and therefore chances of seeing them are about 60%. The sights and sounds of the forest however, generate suspense and make a sighting even more rewarding. Therefore, in order to enjoy the experience of chimpanzee tracking, one has to book in advance from the park headquarters. Important to note is that though the chances of sighting the chimpanzees are not high, the experience of tracking through the forest is amazing as you have many other sightings of beautiful birds and other primates.

Chimpanzee tracking at Kyambura Gorge

Bird watching in Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth national park is a birdwatchers haven with over 600 bird species and is an important Birding Area (IBA) according to Birding International. It has the highest number of birds found in any protected area in East Africa. The park has diverse habitat for birds from Savannah, numerous crater lakes, forests and woodland. For the best birding in Queen Elizabeth National Park, some of the best birding hot spots include Kazinga Channel, Kasenyi Area, Mweya Peninsula, Maramagambo Forest, Ishasha Sector, Lake Kikorongo, Katunguru Bridge area and Katwe Area. Generally, every corner of the park is a great bird watching area. The bird species to look out for include, African mourning dove, Swamp flycatcher, Grey headed kingfisher, pin-tailed whydah, slender-tailed nightjar and collared pratincole. Look out for the flamingos at the salt lakes of Katwe and Bunyampaka. And since the birds are relatively easy to spot, you can expect great photo shots as you explore the park and its environment.

Other activities that offer spectacular safaris experiences are nature and forest walks alongside community walks and cultural experiences. Nature and forest walks are often done with a ranger guide for purposes of safety. They are available at the Mweya peninsular where you have a great birding and views across Kazinga channel and Lake Edward. In Ishasha, you have an opportunity to walk along Ishasha River where you have an opportunity to get close to the Hippos with your ranger guide. Maramagambo forest is another site with the famous bat cave and several bird species.

In addition to the amazing wildlife, Queen Elizabeth has a rich cultural history with a lot of fishing villages adjacent to the park. Visitors have opportunities engaging with local communities and enjoying the stories, music and dance Or engage in the daily activities of the locals like harvesting and cooking a quick vegetable meal and making crafts. Kikorongo Women’s Community Project offers cultural performances of dance, drama, music and fire-making, basket weaving, paper beads. However, one needs to book before visiting because the women are not at this project daily but many will be in their farms where they spend most of their time.

Queen Elizabeth National Park offers a wide range of exciting safaris experiences that leave every visitor refreshed and rejuvenated. It is undoubtedly an ideal tourist destination when one visits Uganda.

For an amazing safaris experience at Queen Elizabeth NP, contact us on info@swanairtravel.com or +256776515014 or visit swanairtravel.com

Skydiving in Diani

DIANI, THE ULTIMATE PARADISE

Diani beach is located along the Kenyan coast, about 19 kilometers south of Mombasa. The stunning beach is about 10 kilometers long, with a beautiful 12 mile stretch of sand and shallow waters near the shore. It is bordered by the stunning Indian Ocean, delicate silky white sands, warm turquoise waters, lavish greenery with palm-lined streets, and the shinning emerald blue that emerges from the crystal-clear waters. Diani Beach is undoubtedly stunning and therefore one of the most prominent tourist destinations in Kenya. It is known for its coral reefs, black and white colobus monkeys, and for the closely located Shimba Hills National Reserve, which looks out over the Indian ocean. In addition, Diani has an airstrip that makes it easily accessible using direct flights from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport or Wilson Airport in Nairobi. It is also a little more than an hour’s drive from Mombasa and a 4 – 5hour train ride on the recently operational Nairobi-Mombasa Standard Gauge Railway making road and railway transport possible alternatives. Noteworthy is the fact that Diani beach has for five consecutive years been awarded as Africa’s leading beach destination!                                          

Fasten your seatbelt and let’s explore Diani Beach–everything that comes to mind when you think of a tropical paradise. In this article, we will look at some of the activities and experiences, that make Diani the ultimate paradise.

 

1. Skydiving in Diani

Skydiving is one of the most fun and enjoyable activities to do on the planet. While skydiving, endorphins, adrenaline, and serotonin, known as the feel-good chemicals, are produced by the brain essentially making people feel very happy. Skydiving at Diani is a popular attraction for people all over the world and the ever-clear skies make the sport extremely enjoyable.

Every March and November, Skydive Diani organizes the weekly boogies festivals during which, tourists get a chance to enjoy advanced skydiving antiques and an exclusive training session. To make your experience even more exhilarating, Skydive Diani offers the off-planes package, where divers jump from an airplane, of course with the help of a guide.

Skydiving in Diani

A group skydiving in Diani

2.  Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, and Boat Trips in Diani Beach

Boat trips, Snorkeling, and scuba diving are all exciting ways to enjoy the richness and diversity of marine life hosted in the Indian Ocean. The key difference between scuba diving and snorkeling is how deep you go into the water. While scuba diving and snorkeling, you get the opportunity to explore the world underwater and therefore, stand a chance to interact with marine animals like green sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles, killer whales, humpback whales, and many more. 

Scuba diving in Diani

A scuba diver in Diana

3. Visiting Chale Island

Right at the heart of Msambweni bay, 12 km south of Diani Beach, lies Chale Island. It has a spectacular white sand beach and is beautifully fringed by coral reefs, making it a haven for tourists seeking a more romantic treat. From its adequately equipped water sports center to fascinating boat excursions, Chale Island ultimately has something to offer to everyone. While on your visit to Chale Island, you can participate in activities like boat snorkeling, beach snorkeling, kayaking, local catamaran sailing, game fishing and so much more.  

In the middle of the Island, lies Maisha Poa spa and you can agree with me that nothing beats a professional massage over some soothing music, after a long day on the beach. Here, all the energies of the tidal lake, coral caves, ancient mangroves and gentle breeze cumulate, offering you the right atmosphere to facilitate relaxation. 

About 20km south of the Island, lies Wasini Marine reserve which is endowed with several marine animals. And on the western side of Chale Island, lies Gazi, a local village that is most popular for fishing. Here, you can sample some of the authentically cooked fish and other marine animals as you enjoy the view of the big coconut plantation and mangrove swamps. An excursion to this village is enough to feel the traditional setting of the Kenyan society. 

Chale Island

4. Relax at the Spas in Diani

Diani Beach is the home to award-winning spas that offer the most relaxing spa and massage experience. Some also provide henna paintings, which is the traditional way of enhancing beauty in women among the locals. A perfect example of a world-class spa at Diani Beach is the Uzuri SPA Diani, which offers treatments with both European and African products to suit both men and women. Uzuri Spa and Fitness is located at the Leopard Beach resort. Just like its name suggests, uzuri (goodness), this spa is a sanctuary for people who want to enjoy tranquillity and experience body, mind and soul rejuvenation at its best. 

Some of the facilities at the spa include the Afya Gym ( a state of the art) a fully equipped workout facility alongside an aerobics and yoga pavilion, as part of their workout department. If you need a break from the ordinary salty water, you can unwind on their steam bath, sauna, and outdoor Jacuzzi. There is also a health bar, which is close to the pool and offers different fresh juices, healthy salads, light meals, and smoothies. What a way to end your day!

Diani Spas 

5. A Visit to Shimba Hills National Reserve

Diani is home to East Africa’s second-largest coastal forest, Shimba hills. The National reserve is only 45 minutes from Diani Beach, making it worth the visit during your stay in Diani. It presents a different kind of experience with a beautiful view of local villages, wildlife and so much more, hence a much needed break from all the water activities at Diani Beach. Shimba Hills National Reserve is famous for being a home to animals such as elephants, sable antelopes, Genets, leopards, civet cats, waterbucks, hyenas, buffalos, bush pigs, bushbuks, white Columbus and coastal black, bush duiker and so many others. It harbors reptiles such as Pythons, Lizards, Cobras, and Geckos and is also home to more than 111 bird species including the African Hawk, Ostrich Eagle, Quail, Sunbird, Crowned, Hornbill, Honey Guide, and Uluguru.

Shimba Hills National Reserve

Elephants in Shimba Hills National Reserve

 

There are several other activities, including but not limited to: playing golf, visiting forty thieves beach bar and bistro, visiting the Diani Beach art gallery, touring the Kongo mosque and touring fort jesus, a combination of which makes Diani the ultimate paradise. It is perfect for both relaxation and adventure, making it an ideal tourism destination for all in need of a beautiful escape or get away. 

In case you’re wondering where to travel to next, Diani beach is definitely ideal and worth the consideration. Book your trip to Diani Beach with Swanair Travel and Safaris, to experience all the above and more, by simply visiting www.swanairtravel.com or reaching out through info@swanairtravel.com and +256776515014. With Swanair Travel and Safaris, planning your travel will not only be easy and quick, but also, in accordance with your personal wishes. You will undoubtedly be able to experience your most deserved memorable get away, at a subsidized cost and without breaking a sweat. Let’s travel and explore Kenya together!