A photo of tourists on a nature walk.

Seychelles: why it’s a leading tourist destination.

There are many beautiful places in the world, but none have as much going for them as the Seychelles. It is one such tourist destination that can help us rejuvenate from the hustle-bustle of our city life. The country is a great destination to plan your honeymoon, family outing, or trip with friends. Blessed with year-round warm tropical weather, one can visit here at any time during the year. 

Her warm waters tempt scuba divers, where vast whale sharks and manta rays glide. And in the shallows, thriving reef beds and long sea grasses make for fantastic snorkelling along the varied, shipwreck-laden seascapes of Mahé’s north coast. As the primary draw for travellers, first time visitors will soon realise after a stroll along the powder-like stretch of La Digue’s Grand Anse, that the hype is more than justified.  A favourable oceanic climate prevails as the archipelago sits on the calm waters outside the Indian Ocean’s cyclone belt, with the southeast trade winds that have long bought visitors to these distant shores soothing the tropical humidity. 

The top tourist attractions in Seychelles and very good reason to visit, are shown below:

  1. The most beautiful beaches in the world

The beauty of the Seychellois beaches is beyond words and is unmatched anywhere else in the world. With their icing-sugar shores and glass-like water, reputation precedes the Seychelle’s beaches. We all have a different idea of the perfect beach, but on Seychelles, you’re not likely to be caught short without somewhere to stretch out and catch some rays. 

Each island of the Seychelles is surrounded by a stunning coastal landscape consisting of warm, turquoise water, exquisite ribbons of powdery-fine white sand, and palm trees as far as the eye can see! Often, you’ll find yourself just a short distance from the closest beach so you’re sure to never get bored, as each beach and bay will enchant you with its unique features. 

From imposing boulders to secluded natural beach spots where you will feel like you’re on a desert island, the variety of unique beaches on offer here gives any tourist plenty of options with vast experience opportunities.

A picture of Anse Georgette, Praslin beach in Seychelles
Anse Georgette, Praslin beach in Seychelles
A picture of Petite Anse, Mahé beach in Seychelles
Petite Anse, Mahé beach in Seychelles

2. Unique Islands

Seychelles archipelago is one of the most amazing and beautiful island paradises in the world but with 115 islands and amazing coral atolls, it’s a tough task narrowing down the best Seychelles islands to visit. While some islands of the Seychelles will bring you face to face with other tourists, others are almost completely deserted and offer peace, quiet, and pure seclusion.

Island-hopping is the best way to get to know all of the different sides of the Seychelles. Every island, whether large or small, brings the full variety of the Seychelles to the forefront. And thanks to the various tours that are on offer on every island, the Seychelles are a unique and varied holiday destination.

Out of the so many islands, only a few are open to tourists and inhabitable. Mahe is the main and the largest island in Seychelles. It is home to Victoria, the capital of Seychelles and the International airport, making it the starting part of all trips to Seychelles. Praslin is the second-largest and second most popular island of Seychelles. It has the world’s most white and thinnest sand beaches and is more laid back than Mahe.

A picture Mahe Island in Seychelles
Mahe Island
A picture of Praslin Island in Seychelles
Praslin Island

3. Spectacular Nature and impressive animal species 

An island nation at the heart of the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles sit about 1,000 miles off the East African coast with over half of the surface area covered by marine and wildlife reserves, including the UNESCO-protected Aldabra Island where astonishing numbers of giant tortoises roam freely – just one of the many examples of the harmony that can exist between tourism and conservation. 

Although one of the world’s smallest countries, the Seychelles are an ecological delight with diverse terrain ranging from high-altitude tropical forests, dotted with hiking trails to thriving coastal mangroves. The verdant rainforest disguises tiny tree frogs and tiger chameleons whilst native Sunbirds and Paradise Flycatchers dwell in the treetops above. And with the abundant exotic plant species, including the government-protected coco de mer – a fruit treasured by Asian cultures as a natural aphrodisiac and retainer of mystical properties, Seychelles’ varied plant life is a joy for botanists. 

The majestic vegetation of the Seychelles can be found on the country’s beaches and in its nature parks, as well as the tropical gardens that many accommodations offer. The lush, deep-green plant world of the Seychelles will make you feel as if you are in a whole new world, with huge trees, exotic flowers and bushes, and a wide range of tropical fruits are just waiting to be discovered. Almost nowhere else in the world protects such a unique range of species so strictly. Above all, the Seychelles are even to this day home to the Coco de Mer palm tree.

A picture of a Nature trail, Anse Major, in Seychelles
Nature trail, Anse Major
A picture of Vallee de Mai, Praslin, Seychelles
Vallee de Mai, Praslin

4. Beautiful climate throughout the year

Seychelles are the perfect destination all year-round. Whether you travel in January or July, the temperature in the Seychelles almost never drops below 26°C. Unlike other tropical islands, there is no rainy season, so the stunning beaches here are the ideal place to get away from it all, especially during the European winter season. Good weather in the Seychelles is pretty much guaranteed!

Stress and unrest are not words that apply to the Seychelles as the relaxed pace of life under the tropical sun is the perfect antidote. While here, you’re made to forget the stress of daily life and focus on relaxing and enjoying your holiday in paradise to its fullest extent.

5. Different Kinds of Accommodation

From elegant hotels, comfortable apartments, luxurious resorts and to authentic guesthouses, the Seychelles offer something for every taste and every budget. For those that prefer to spend a relaxing holiday in a luxury hotel, right by the white sandy beach, at traditional guesthouses where you can experience the lifestyle of the Seychellois a little closer, to spend the holiday at the beach, or even in a tropical oasis, there’s an experience for all. During an island hoping holiday, one can even choose to experience all of them by staying in all kinds of accommodations. This helps a visitor to know the different sides of the Seychelles. We will gladly help you find the perfect accommodation for you!

A picture of Paradise Sun Hotel, Seychelles
Paradise Sun Hotel, Seychelles
A picture of Glacis Heights Villa, Seychelles
Glacis Heights Villa, Seychelles

The Seychelles are a top tourism destination for any kind of relaxation holiday and we totally recommend it. And should you like to visit the Seychelles, Swanair Travel and Safaris is here to take care of all your planning to ensure you have the perfect holiday. Contact us on info@swanairtravel.com, 0776515014 or visit our bookings page to book your next holiday.

A picture of tourists Bungee jumping on the Nile

Jinja: Ten things to do at the Source of the Nile

Jinja is a town located in the Eastern part of Uganda, along the northern shores of Lake Victoria. The town is found about 80 kilometers away from Kampala, the capital of Uganda. Jinja is famous internationally mainly because it is the source of the great River Nile but has over the years gained a reputation of fun and adventure. It is now popularly known as the Adventure Capital of East Africa for her long list of adrenaline activities and other tourism-related activities. Jinja’s natural scenery as a result of being close to two major water bodies – the Nile and Lake Victoria, with exciting multiple tourist attractions, has rendered it a top tourist destination in Uganda.

There’s an exciting experience for all kinds of tourists, making Jinja one of the best places to visit in Uganda. Some of the amazing tourist experiences available are as shown below:

  1. White water Rafting

White water rafting is one of the top tourist attractions in Jinja that takes you through different grades of rapids. The white water rafting experience in Jinja is said to be of high quality because it has several grade 4 and 5 rapids. Most of the rafting is done at the Kalagala and Itanda falls. White water rafting in Jinja involves maneuvering through strong waves and rapids using tube boats (filled with air) on the mighty Nile. While rafting on the waters of the Nile, participants pass through some breath-taking scenery and landscape along the margins of the river. There is also wildlife species like birds, monkeys, butterflies and vegetation. Very few tour activities can compare to the experience of white water rafting on River Nile.

A picture of tourists White water rafting on the Nile
White water rafting on the Nile

2. Bunjee Jumping

This is an adrenaline pumping experience that will taste anyone’s resolve to the full. It is where one is plunged about 43 meters down into open space before being partly immersed into the Nile water at the Nile High Bungee. Bungee jumping is an activity much loved by those who want to test the limits of their adventure spirits. The experience can be very frightening but travelers love it as it is one way of showing your braveness. However, one needs to be at least 13 years and above to take part. The person must also be free of any underlining illness like a heart attack, hypertension and more.

A picture of tourists Bungee jumping on the Nile
Tourists Bunjee jumping into the Nile

3. Kayaking and Canoeing

Kayaking on the Nile river in Jinja involves canoeing on the white water rapids of the amazing Nile at a very slow pace. Kayaking or Canoeing on the Nile exposes one to the incredible biodiversity and landscape surrounding the Nile river. It is a great way to experience the river up close. Fortunately, the weather is always right for Kayakers to explore the Nile, the beautiful surroundings and exotic birds. Those who book the activity are always given instructions, basic skills on how to row a boat and defence mechanisms in case of an incident while sailing. Life jackets are provided for everyone at no extra fee.

Kayaking on the Nile
Kayaking on the Nile

4. Tubing the Nile

Tubing on the Nile River is a new fun activity to do in Jinja on an adventure trip. It takes an adrenaline drifting on a tube for 2 – 3 hours long, right at the source of the world’s longest river while sunbathing and enjoy beautiful sceneries on both flat/lazy or white water adventure. This is a newly introduced activity along the Nile. It involves floating on the waters of the river Nile on air-pressured tubes. As participants float on the Nile, they have opportunities to go up to the main Jinja bridge and experience the amazing landscape. They can also watch monkeys, birds, tides and rapids from a distance. Tubing the Nile is a very cool thing to engage in and there are safety measures in place to ensure that no harm comes your way.

Tourists Tubing on the Nile
Tubing on the Nile

5. Quad Biking

Quad biking is one of the popular tourist activities that takes adventure to a whole other level and does not require prior driving experience. It involves riding on a four-wheeled motorbike in some of the remotest parts of the town. The bikes will take you past the rural villages, forests, sugarcane plantations and along rarely seen sections of the Nile river. The Quad biking experience is very adventurous and can be taken by almost anyone irrespective of whether they have experience with the bikes or not. Lessons are given to all amateurs before going out into the countryside. A free training session is conducted before each safari and trips are tailored to suit the riders’ ability and give the best possible adventure. Sliding across the puddles and potholes in mud makes quad biking much more fun.

Quad biking in Jinja

6. Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is a thrilling outdoor activity done on village trails, bridge paths, and forest road in order to enjoy the long riding experience with a spectacular viewing of the natural wonders alongside the road. It is always interesting but doing it in the beautiful countryside of Africa is something else. The horse riding experience in Jinja takes between 1 to 3 hours and takes you to explore the rural communities, the river Nile and the beautiful landscape surrounding it. Participants are guided by an experienced guide who knows all the routes. One does not need to have any experience riding horses because there is a training session before the real thing.

Tourists Horseback riding in Jinja
Tourists Horseback riding in Jinja

7. Cycling

Cycling offers a different experience from quad biking because it is more physical and drains more energy. However, the activity is equally adventurous depending on the route you take.

Cyclists are provided with a mountain bike and a guide to take them on an interesting journey of discovery beyond what the Quad bikes can provide. Using a mountain bike, one can go further into the sugar plantations, community villages, the river Nile and even up to Jinja town itself. Cycling doesn’t have a time-frame and can be hired for a whole day. If you want to have an amazing encounter with nature, you can choose to do the biking in Mabira forest. In this case, you will be driven with your bike to the starting point in Mabira forest. While in Mabira forest, expect to encounter primates, birds, butterflies and the local people.

A picture of Tourists Cycling in Jinja
Cycling in Jinja

8. Visiting the source of the Nile

It is in Jinja where the Nile starts its journey to North Africa. There is a landmark at the point where the waters leave Lake Victoria through a depression/gorge before spreading out and turning into what is called the River Nile. The source of Nile monument is one of the most historical sites and a must visit when one visits the source of the Nile. On a typical trip to visit the source of the Nile, visitors stand on a group a rocks to spot the watermark from a distance or take a boat to the actual source of the Nile, but this depends on the volume of water or tides. After spotting the source of the Nile mark, visitors take photos next to a sign post and then visit one of the many craft shops to buy souvenir and crafts.

A picture of The Source of The Nile
The Source of The Nile

9. Bird Watching

Uganda is one of the best destinations for bird watching in the world and Jinja is one of the best birding safari destinations in Uganda. The birds can be spotted right out of your hotel, along the roads, in forests like Mabira or on the waters of Lake Victoria and river Nile. The best time for birding is the morning and evening hours but for avid birders, one opt for the full day birding Jinja experience. We highly recommend going to Mabira forest or take a boat along the Nile river for the best birding experience. Mabira forest is only 15 kilometers away from Jinja town

and has an amazing collection of birds that can rival any other location in Uganda.

A picture of Tourists bird watching in Jinja
Tourists bird watching

10. Fishing in Jinja

Jinja is one of the best places for sport fishing in Uganda. The most popular species to go out for is the large Nile perch and the tasty tilapia. One of the great things about fishing along the Top tourist attractions in Jinja is that certain sections are reserved for sporting fishing hence allowing anglers to catch huge specimen. The ideal time to catch fish is in the morning and evening hours. Indiscriminate fishing is frowned upon as is using old-fashioned gear. One has to go for only mature fish. Before going out to fish, anglers will be briefed about the river and safety measures before being given correct fishing gear. Anglers who do sport fishing in Jinja always complete with happy faces. The local fishing guides know the areas which have the highest concentration of fish.

A man fishing on the Nile

There is more to Jinja than just the source of the Nile as shown above and more. Jinja also has a wide range of good accommodation options for all travellers that complement the travel experience.
Should you like to visit Jinja anytime soon, you can book the above experiences while in Jinja through different service providers or book a fully planned trip through any reputable tour company in Uganda. As Swanair Travel and Safaris, we are excited to cater for all your travel needs and are available through info@swanairtravel.com, 0776515014, or visit our bookings page to book your next holiday.

A photo of giraffes in Murchison falls NP

MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK – A TOP TOURIST ATTRACTION

Murchison Falls National Park, locally known as Kabalega National Park, is situated between Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert at the end of the Albertine Rift valley. It is approximately 305km and a 4 to 6 hours drive from Kampala. Murchison falls NP is one of Uganda’s oldest national parks, first gazetted as a wildlife reserve as early as 1926 and later transitioned into a national park in 1951.

The northern section of the park contains savanna and borassus palms, acacia trees, and a riverine woodland while the south is dominated by woodland and forest patches.

The Murchison falls NP can be visited throughout the year although the best time to visit is during the dry season (also known as the peak season in the months June to September, December to February). This is because during the dry season, there’s little rainfall and therefore vegetation is thin. This in return makes it easy to have clear views of animals while access roads to the park and hiking trails are also more passable.

For the visitors interested in birding and would like to visit the park when it’s less crowded, the wet season (March to May and November) is ideal. During this time, lodges offer discounts too which favors budget travelers.

A photo of giraffes in Murchison falls NP
A photo of giraffes in Murchison falls NP

WILDLIFE AT MURCHISON FALL NATIONAL PARK

Murchison Falls National Park is home to approximately 76 mammal species, 556 Bird species, 51 reptiles, and 51 Amphibians. The signature animal at Murchison Falls National Park is the giraffe.

However, one is able to see many other animals through activities like taking a boat cruise, nature walk and during game drives in the park. Examples of animals at the park include but are not limited to giraffes, elephants, zebras, hyenas, buffaloes, Uganda Kobs, bush backs to mention but a few. It should however be noted that the best time to sight the big cats (leopards and lions) is early in the morning during game drives before the sun gets too hot and forces them into their hideouts. The park also has primate residents such as red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, endangered chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys. These are seen in the Kaniyo Pabidi forest which is part of Budongo Forest, in the south eastern part of Murchison falls NP.

A photo showing tourist attractions in Murchison falls NP.
A photo showing tourist attractions in Murchison falls NP.

MURCHISON FALLS IN MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK

Murchison Falls National Park is best known for the most powerful waterfall in the world which is its main tourist attraction. The waterfall is found along River Nile(Victoria Nile) and at the top of the falls, the Nile River squeezes through a narrow gap in between two rocks where it plunges with a thunderous roar into the “Devil’s Cauldron” leaving behind a stunning rainbow. Furthermore, for every second, the equivalent of 200 bathtubs full of water is forced through a gorge less than seven paces wide. The pressure is so great that the ground around it trembles. The water then plummets 43 meters before flowing out toward Lake Albert as a placid river whose banks are dense with hippos, crocodiles, waterbuck and buffaloes.

A photo showing the majestic Murchison falls
A photo showing the majestic Murchison falls

ACTIVITIES AT MURCHISON FALL NATIONAL PARK

There is a wide range of activities at Murchison falls National Park that offer breathtaking experiences to spice up your visit. The main activities at the park include the following: game drives, bird watching, boat cruises, chimpanzee trekking, nature walks, and hiking to the top of the falls. For adrenaline junkies, the hiking process is a thrilling experience that’s also very refreshing.

A photo of tourists on a nature walk.
A photo of tourists on a nature walk.

ACCOMMODATION AT MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK

While at Murchison falls NP, there is a variety of safari lodge options to choose from, ranging from budget to luxury. The accommodation at these lodges ranges from 40$ to 500$ per night and therefore there’s an option for everyone. One can either book the travel activities through a travel agency or through safari lodges. Whilst choosing the best lodge therefore, beyond affordability, it’s important to consider the one with a gorgeous view of the Nile so as to enjoy a wholesome experience. Examples of lodges at the park that we recommend are; Fort Murchison Safari Lodge for budget, MRL, Pakuba and Sambiya river lodge for midrange, Chobe Safari Lodge, Twiga Safari Lodge, Paraa Safari Lodge, Murchison River lodge for luxury, to mention but a few.

A photo of Paraa safaris lodge.
A photo of Paraa safaris lodge.

The beauty of Murchison falls National park is one that cannot be exhausted in a single blog. It is one that everyone needs to personally experience. Therefore if you are planning for your next safaris destination, we recommend you visit Murchison Falls National Park. And should you like to avoid the hassle and bustle of planning your safaris, simply contact Swanair Travel & Safaris at +256776515014, info@swanairtravel.com, or click here to book your dream getaway.

A photo of the Shores of Lake Victoria

TOP 10 BUDGET TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN UGANDA

Uganda, popularly known as the Pearl of Africa, is an ultimate travel destination for travellers. With its deep green jungles, vast lakes and rivers, abundant wildlife and breathtaking terrains, Uganda is in all her corners effortlessly beautiful. In Uganda, there is a travel experience for everyone, and the hospitality of her people is unmatched.

Here are some of the top budget tourist attractions with travel experiences that’ll nourish your soul, with minimal expense.

  1. Lake Victoria

If you really want to experience the heart of Uganda, the story begins with Lake Victoria, which is the birthplace of the Nile River. Not only is it Africa’s largest lake and the world’s largest tropical lake, but Lake Victoria also boasts one of the world’s largest ecosystems. There is so much natural beauty and wildlife to see here – from scenic high hills views to islands, beaches, fishing boats, and various bird and animal species.

A photo of the Shores of Lake Victoria
A photo of Lake Victoria shores.

Some of the key travel experiences in order to have the best of Lake Victoria include fishing, a sunset boat cruise, birding in Mabamba, beach outings, and island visits.

  1. Jinja and the Nile River

While you are touring Lake Victoria, you may want to check out Jinja, the colonial town that is positioned at the start of the Nile River. The town is regarded as East Africa’s adrenaline capital and among the most scenic places in Uganda. If you are an adrenaline junky, Jinja is an ideal destination for all the adventure-filled travel experiences to get your blood pumping.

A photo of the Source of the Nile
Source of the Nile

Some of the key travel experiences that everyone should try out while in Jinja include a boat cruise on the Nile River, whitewater rafting, jet boating, bungee jumping, quad biking, horseback riding, kayaking and canoeing, tubing and so much more.

  1. Mabira Forest

Mabira forest is the largest natural lowland tropical forest in central Uganda and is considered the favorite destination for Eco Tourism. Mabira forest is a favorite destination for Eco Tourist. Mabira is home to 219 butterfly species, 316 bird species and 97 of moths. The forest also has blue duikers, fruit bats, baboons, Bush pigs, the Tree Hyrax, Red Tailed Monkeys, Squirrels, Bushbuck, Grey Cheeked Mangabey, Bush Babies, Leopards (very rare), and various species of snakes.

The key travel experiences in the forest are nature walks, cycling, birding, wildlife viewing, zip lining and hiking at Griffin falls lugazi, cultural encounters or simple relaxation and camping/picnics.

  1. Itanda Falls

Itanda falls is a steep cascade roaring waterfall on the majestic River Nile with water estimated at 100 meters deep. It is characterized by all the six whitewater rafting levels and rightly known as the Paradise of Kayakers and Rafters. Itanda falls is one of the most spectacular and beautiful hidden treasures of Uganda, that is a must see. The falls are such a magnificent and almost equally scary sight.

A photo of Itanda falls
Itanda falls

The key travel experiences while visiting Itanda falls is whitewater rafting, kayaking, and in the middle of the falls, are islands that make a beautiful relaxation spot along the Nile.

  1. Sipi Falls

Sipi Falls, the triple waterfall at the foothills of Mt Elgon, is arguably the most beautiful waterfall in Uganda. Besides these 3 powerful falls, the entire landscape is dotted with more than 300 other ‘smaller’ waterfalls. This series of three waterfalls offers spectacular views, both from the top after a hike and from the bottom. And the rainbow that forms as the falls are hit by the morning sun, that’s something everyone should look forward to.

A photo of Sipi Falls
Sipi Falls

While at Sipi Falls, some of the travel experiences to look forward to are abseiling, hiking, mountain biking, bird watching and so much more

  1. Sezibwa Falls

The Ssezibwa Falls are a spectacular tourist attraction along the Kampala – Jinja highway. They are as a result of water squeezing through rocks and dropping at great speeds into a large pool. Tourists love the place because of the crystal clear water falling from a steep cliff into the nearby forest. Visiting the place isn’t all about the falls but also the beautiful scenery with lush green forests that act as sanctuaries to birds and small primates. While at the falls, do not forget to visit the local snake cave where people still perform rituals to appease their ancestors.

A photo of Sezibwa falls
Sezibwa falls

The top travel experiences at Sezibwa are rock climbing, nature walks and hiking, bird watching, camping, cultural experience and so much more.

  1. Ssese Islands

A major tourist attraction in Uganda, the Ssese Islands are a group of about 84 islands dotted along the northwestern shores of Lake Victoria. Each island differs in size, shape, and exotic flora and fauna. However, all the islands have white sand beaches, palm trees, flowers, rare plants, rare plants, lush forests and blue waters. These islands are amazing for photography and are perfect atmospheres for relaxation. The Ssese Islands are ideal for honeymooners and anyone in need of some private peace and quiet.

A photo of Victoria Forest Resort on Ssese Island
Victoria Forest Resort on Ssese Island

The top travel experience at Ssese Islands include sport fishing, swimming, beach games and cycling, nature walks, wildlife viewing, horseback riding and windsurfing, as well as cultural visits.

  1. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is a private sanctuary aimkng at conservation of the endangered rhinos managed by the Rhino Fund Uganda. Located north of Kampala, in Nakasongola, this sanctuary is home to Uganda’s only population of wild rhinos alongside other animals.

A photo of Rhino at Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Rhino Sanctuary

The key travel experiences to consider while at the sanctuary are rhino tracking, scenic nature walks, shoebill trek and canoe cruises, and so much more.

  1. Kazinga Channel

Kazinga Channel is a wide and long channel that links Lake George to Lake Edward. It is located within Queen Elizabeth NP and is the nearest and easy to reach waterbody in the park. Kazinga Channel is undoubtedly one of the natural impressive marvels in Uganda that is worth encountering while on a safaris. It is a habitat to one of the great hippo concentrations in the world hence dubbed the Hippos paradise.

A photo of the kazinga Channel
kazinga Channel

Taking a boat cruise on the scenic Kazinga Channel is a great way to see amazing wildlife and the gorgeous scenery of Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park. With the boat hugging the banks of the channel, youre bound to see a wide range of wildlife like African Cape buffalo, hippos, Nile crocodiles, elephants, and numerous bird species.

  1. Fort portal crater lakes.

These crater lakes are many and they vary in size and character. However, all offer such breathtaking views and are a beauty to behold. The crater lakes paint a dramatic landscape and offer one of the best hiking places in the area. The hikes lead you through several crater lakes, villages, tea plantations and waterfalls. In addition to the beautiful scenery of the crater lakes, one is able to catch a glimpse of Mt Rwenzori at a distance on a clear sunny day.

A photo of one of the Fort Portal Crater Lakes
Fort Portal Crater Lakes

The crater lakes atmosphere is ideal for hiking, long walks, cycling, bird watching, sport fishing and definitely for amazing instagrammable photography.

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.

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