When our Oasis Overland tour leader offered us a slum tour through Bwaise slums in Uganda, I wasn’t sure how comfortable I felt about it. Not only would we be wandering through the residents private village and homes, but no doubt we would also be snapping away with our cameras at every sign of poverty. It seemed so wrong.
I very nearly decided not to go along.
However, I am so glad that I did decide on visiting the slums in Uganda as it has led to a small change in my life.
Bwaise Slum Tours in Kampala, Uganda
Catching a matatatu (local taxi) through the traffic-choked streets of Kampala, the capital of Uganda, is an experience in itself. Add 12 muzungu’s (white tourists) like myself and you become the main attraction. As we crawled through the streets we were reminded that the residents of the slum we were visiting, Bwaise slum, live well below the poverty line but we had nothing to fear in terms of being robbed as we would be guided with a guard.
Arriving in Bwaise Slum we met our AFFCAD (Action for Fundamental Change for Development) tour guides who explained where we would be going and who we would meet over the next 2 hours.
AFFCAD is a non profit community based organisation with offices in Bwaise slums in Kampala. It was formed in 2009 by a group of four youths to mitigate the impacts of HIV/AID and Poverty in the slum areas of Kampala, Uganda. They now run tours and also offer various volunteering options, from 1 day to several months.
As we learnt more about the AFFCAD organisation, children’s faces began to peer through the wooden windows at us. Their faces breaking into shy grins every time they caught our eyes or we offered a wave.
Walking out onto the streets of Bwaise slum I quickly felt a tug at my hand as it dangled at my side. Glancing down I spotted a grubby little hand clasped around my fingers. The ear to ear grin split her face as she looked up at me and my heart melted.
Within seconds everyone had at least one kid grasping both hands as we began our slum tour. And in most cases two or three kids would be hanging off our fingers.
Visiting the local school where 40 kids cram into a shoebox of a room with dirt floors was eye opening. Brightly painted pictures plastered the wooden walls and wooden desks lined the room. Another of the classes was completely flooded with a foot of water sloshing between the walls due to it being rainy season.
When the floods arrive, several weeks of the year, there is nothing to be done but send the kids back home. It sucks as all they want to do is learn and play.
Continuing the slum tour we were taken through a maze of winding streets of ramshackle homes. Each housing several generations of family members with no electricity or running water.
The water they do collect often bubbles up from natural springs that are littered with rubbish.
A queue of tiny kids carry plastic containers waiting to be filled for their once daily (if lucky) meal of plain rice. Education about boiling the water before consuming it is the only way to keep them from getting sick.
Long canals choked with rubbish criss-cross through the slums. The locals stand waist deep in them pulling trash out of the water to see if anything has washed down from neighbouring communities that is worth keeping or selling.
Nearly everything can be reused and each item is meticulously poured over to calculate its value.
Wandering deeper into the slum we are told to switch off our cameras.
The locals here are mostly prostitutes in the slum earning little more than $1 an hour, yet this is more than most. It is a lucrative business for someone with no other options. And while AFFCAD are trying to stamp it out, they know they are fighting a losing battle.
They would rather educate the sex workers about HIV/AIDS and how to protect themselves over the long term.
As we wrap up the tour we are invited into a local restaurant to devour a traditional meal of Ugali (a type of rice and maize mixture) with a stew of tender beef. All costing less than $2.
Waving goodbye to the kids I make the very easy decision that as soon as I return to New Zealand I will be organising the sponsorship of one of the children. For just $40 a month I can make a huge impact in their lives with 3 daily meals, school supplies and medicine to help them out.
What is ridiculous and weighs on me heavily is that I can quite easily spend that on one night out drinking. It makes me sick just thinking about it.
Reader Questions: Do you sponsor a child or donate to a worth charity? Do you recommend any for me to research?
To learn more about what AFFCAD are doing in Bwaise slum, or how you might help them, then please check out their website.
Packing and Route Tips for Climbing Kilimanjaro
East Africa is renowned for boasting many breath-taking attractions, from the beauty of the Serengeti to stunning Tanzania beaches like Kendwa and Nungwi. However, there’s one thing that undoubtedly attracts adventure lovers more than most, Mount Kilimanjaro.
Mounting climbing can be a daunting experience, especially when you’re stood at the foot of Africa’s highest peak. However, there are a series of routes available to anyone who takes on the challenge of climbing Kilimanjaro.
Naturally, some routes are more treacherous than others, and are approached from different points, so this article offer some insight what you can expect from each one and what you’ll need to take with you.
The Marangu Route
Departing from the Moshi Hotel and into the Kilimanjaro National Park via the Marangu Gate, this stunning route allows you to experience The Saddle – a high altitude desert which can be found part way up the mountain.
This route is said to be the most straightforward in terms of its physical demands, however it has a notoriously steep incline which climbers must overcome in order to reach the summit.
The Machame Route
This route also passes through the Marangu Gate, and leads through picturesque ice fields as you reach the Shira Plateau.
This route takes a day longer than the Marangu Route to complete, although this can be advantageous to climbers as it allows for better acclimatisation.
The Rongai Route
This route enters the national park via the northern entrance of Rongai Gate, and is considered to be the second easiest route to the summit of Kilimanjaro.
The route begins at a fairly high altitude and involves a relatively gradual incline to the summit.
The Lemosha Route
Entering via the Londorossi Park Gate, the Lemosha Route is the toughest and most remote route to the summit of Kilimanjaro, and crosses the Shira Plateau where its paths meet the Machame Route.
Despite its challenges, the route has a high success rate, and involves spending a couple of nights at various altitudes.
What to pack?
Packing for a mountain climb in Africa can often be a difficult thing to get right. Pack too lightly and you run the risk of running out of essentials – but pack too much and you’ll end up wasting your energy lugging around stuff you don’t need.
Your clothing should include the following items for travel:
- Sunglasses (polarized)
- Gloves (thick waterproof for trekking + thick pair for evenings)
- Pants (for hiking and relaxing in the evenings)
- Short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirts or t-shirts (for hiking and relaxing in evenings)
- Underwear (sports bras for ladies)
- Thermal underwear
- Fleece jacket
- Down jacket or ski parka (for temperatures below freezing plus wind-chill)
- Rain jacket + pants (for the humid rainforest and cold snow)
- Travel towel
- Swimwear (for first and last day swimming – can be left at your hotel during your trek)
- Ski or trekking poles
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Hiking boots
- Socks – hiking socks + wool socks
Other essential kit includes:
- Water bottles and Camelback (2-3)
- Sleeping bag (rated -25 degrees)
- Get 3 litres of bottled water before the trip (available at your Moshi Hotel)
- Camera + tripod
- Video camera + tapes
- Notebook + pencil / pen
- Pocket knife
- Energy bars
- Alarm clock
- Sewing kit
The Best Safari Holiday In The World
Every continent has its little treasures. North America is big and beautiful and is the entertainment capital of the world. South America is exotic and offers treasures such as the Amazon rainforest. Europe is known for its culture, architecture and art. Asia is known for its interesting hardworking people who live very differently to the west. Australasia (Australia and New Zealand) is known for its sunny beaches and very friendly people. Antarctica, of course, is very cold and then there is Africa – lush, expansive, green Africa.
The movie ‘The Lion King’ is not far from the truth with regards to how the animals live amongst each other in Africa. Obviously they don’t roam the streets, as some people actually think, but are kept in the safaris where game rangers protect them.
In Africa, particularly South Africa, there are many safari experiences. The biggest one being ‘The Kruger National Park’. The Kruger National Park is a staple of the South African experience. Millions of people flock there from all over the world each year to experience it. There really is no other experience quite like it. It is all about nature and the wild. Just remember when traveling to these far away places to keep your health in check. This Research Verified review will tell you more.
What Makes The Kruger National Park So Special
The Kruger National Park was established long ago as far back as May 31, 1926. It was named after the president at the time, Paul Kruger. The unique part of the safari are the animals you will find there. Animals such as rhinos, leopards, buffalos, lions and elephants (known as the big 5) as well as African wild cats, caracals, cheetahs and servals. You will find tall giraffes, hippos, jackals, kudu, an array of gorgeous, colorful birds, warthogs, monkeys, baboons and more. This is the biggest reason so many people come from all over the world – to experience something different and dazzling under the African sky. This is Africa’s offerings at its best. Just to be there and explore its pure nature. It is one of the largest parks on the surface of the Earth extending to 19,485 square kilometres. It’s basically the same size as Israel (Israel covering 20,770 square kilometres). It’s massive with so many things to do and it offers both day and night game drives.
Back in 1926, the first tourist cars entered the Park. Back then there was no accommodation provided for them. Nowadays there are gorgeous travel packages from World Strides on offer. There are a lot of 3 day options that go for great prices including luxury options. There are lodge, camping and gorgeous luxury safaris. Although, if you are traveling from overseas you will want a longer experience. There are combination tours that combine the Kruger National Park itself with trips through the Garden Route and Cape Town as well as Victoria Falls, Swaziland and Kwazulu Natal.
Kruger National Park Offerings
There are gorgeous culinary delights at the safari and there are huge buffet breakfasts on offer made superbly under the watchful hands and eyes of expert chefs. There are actually 17 different restaurants within the Kruger National Park that offer breakfast. You can also enjoy a bush “braai” at the Kruger Park which is the South African term for ‘barbeque’. You cannot visit South Africa or the Kruger National Park and not have a braai – it’s part of the complete experience. It often includes different meat such as ‘boerewors’ which are very thick, juicy and tasty meat filled sausages, lamb chops, beef steaks and chicken as well as chicken kebabs. It will always come with beautiful salads and fresh bread (often buttered garlic bread with herbs) and buns for the boerewors in which ketchup and mustard are often combined. Beer and wine are also really big in South Africa and there will be a big variety.
There are also swimming pools at the park which are great during the hot summers – December to February period. There are beautiful spa resorts within the Kruger National Park that offer gorgeous packages as well as ziplining nearby.
You can travel to this magical place alone but it is best spent with family or friends. The Kruger National Park offers ample adventures. There is no other place like it on Earth and the memories of it will stay with you forever!
Honeymoon Safaris: The Perfect Combination
Honeymoon Safaris: The Perfect Combination
Wedding preparations are exciting and fun, but equally as stressful. You get caught in a blissful whirlwind that culminates in that special day, which marks the start of an entirely new story in your life. An extraordinary and luxurious honeymoon in some unique location is the ideal transition into your new life with the person of your dreams. It allows you to unwind, reflect and celebrate the start of this new chapter. An African safari offers you a mixture of adventure and romance that is almost impossible to beat. Ranging from heart stopping moments of discovery to the pinnacle of luxurious relaxation. There are a number of excellent options available to you and this article hopes to give you a little taste of what’s out there.
Get a new perspective on the Serengeti
Visiting the Grumeti Reserve region in Tanzania allows you to take to the skies in a hot air balloon. This unforgettable ride over the treetops is an exciting and romantic way of experiencing the majesty of the Serengeti. It takes game viewing to unbridled heights and gives photography buffs a new outlook on our world. The balloon glides over grasslands and acacia forests before ascending to almost 1000 ft to expose the true enormity of the reserve. This gives you and your partner the time and space to experience the beauty of the land and the wildlife below.
Adventure and romance
Many lodges cater to more adventurous guests by offering a number of different outdoor activities: these include archery, stargazing, mountain biking, tennis, water skiing and nature walks. Honeymooners are often allowed to customize (like ending a hike with a romantic picnic) these activities to make them a bit more private and special.
Rest and Relaxation
If you’re looking to slow down a bit then you expect to be pampered. Many lodges have world-class spas, which offer a wide range of treatments, and you can expect peace, serenity and VIP treatment. The beauty of the wilderness, which is reflected in their décor and mindsets, generally inspires these spas. Enjoy a massage or nourishing mask in the comfort of your own suite or head to the spa. The choice is yours. Treatments can often be tailored to couples.
Safari lodges are typically designed to offer you total seclusion. Suites are often far apart and self-contained. Private Vehicles can often be booked for guests looking for ultimate privacy. Your meals can be enjoyed in the setting of your choice: in your room surrounded by candles, under the starlight on the deck or out in the bush with your private chef. Maybe you want to dine in a romantic setting made especially for you as the stars twinkle overhead. This is your time and they aim to make your dreams come true.
Africa has many wonderful safari destinations, each offering travellers something unique. Visit Tanzania to see the vast plains of the Serengeti. See the Big 5 in the lush bushveld of the Kruger National Park in South Africa or stand in the shadows of the sandstone outcrops and incredible baobabs in Zimbabwe. Go out and find what your heart desires.
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
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