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Events

UGANDA – A Pioneering Destination for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events

BI WORLDWIDE's Head of Events Shaun Casey travelled to Uganda, exploring African culture, wildlife, and picturesque attractions that would create the ultimate experiential event to truly engage and motivate an incentive travel audience.

When I decided to travel to Uganda to participate in a primate safari I was encountered with total astonishment by most people. It’s a tough task for any tourism authority to change the perception of its country. If asked what they knew about Uganda, most people of a certain age would respond with “Idi Amin” or “Raid on Entebbe”. Both of these events took place in the Seventies and today, Uganda is a very different place!

Gorilla tracking

My itinerary took me to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for some gorilla tracking, then on to Queen Elizabeth National Park in Ishasha for a more traditional safari experience of spotting tree climbing lions, elephants and hippos and finally on to Kibale to spend some time with chimpanzees.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda

UWA helping the community

With a park entrance fee of $750 per day in Bwindi, many would balk at the cost. However, the fantastic work carried out by the UWA (Ugandan Wildlife Authority) to protect the mountain gorilla population is simply overwhelming. The habituated gorillas trust the rangers and there is definitely a special relationship between man and primate in this region. With less than 5% separation between us and them from a DNA perspective, the whole experience was profoundly moving. What´s more, 20% of the entrance fee is directed to community sustainable projects. I visited a local school, which simply could not exist without this vital support. There certainly would be no education for kids in rural areas without this initiative.

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Uganda is promoted as 'an experience of a lifetime,' and it certainly was.

  • Shaun Casey
  • Head of Events

Face to face with a 200kg silverback!

The tracking is certainly strenuous and hiring a porter is a sensible idea for a helping hand to overcome the obstacles en route. William was my porter. A kind, gentle man who carried my bag, pushed me up the steep inclines and laughed with me when we were scared rigid by being face to face with a 200kg silverback. He told me about his life. William works extremely long hours on a tea plantation most of the time generating up to $100 per month for his wife and two children. His ambition was to put his two children through school so that they would have a better life. It was a hard life for him, but by working as porter, each day could give him a 25% boost to his monthly income. That´s what responsible tourism is all about but he only has the chance to work as a porter one or two days per month.

William the Porter

Must-see attractions to marvel at

As the itinerary unfolded, we visited Deo who manages a small crop farm on the edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park. He showed us a 20km elephant trench, which had been financed by contributions from tourist fees. These trenches stop elephants crushing his crops and thus protecting his livelihood for himself and his large family already living in a very modest way.

The standard of lodges for tourists was far higher than my expectations. The focus on eco-friendly constructions was encouraging and staff were welcoming, warm, friendly and extremely professional. We also had some fabulous food!

Queen Elizabeth National Park has some impressive game viewing. I wasn't expecting to see such a vast array of elephants, hippos, lions, cobs, birds. The onslaught of such stunningly beautiful landscapes was breath-taking time and time again. The whole experience was enhanced further by the fact that we were the only tourists around. There was no convoy of vehicles tracking one spectacular sighting of a lion! This is how a unique experience really should be!

An adventure to remember

My lasting memory of Uganda? Uganda is promoted as “an experience of a lifetime”, and it certainly was. The gorilla tracking is probably one of the most exhilarating adventures I have ever undertaken. The quality of Ugandan hospitality was second to none, from the friendliness of the UWA rangers, the kindness of the porters, the professionalism of the staff at our lodges and the smiles from the people on the streets. For me, Uganda is one of the hidden gems of Africa and deserves our support.

Shaun was able to see the gorillas up close

If you're looking to run an experiential event and not sure who to talk to, get in touch - we'd love to hear from you. 

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