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Bwaise Slum Tours in Kampala, Uganda

Find out what it’s like to go on one of the Slum Tours in Kampala, and how it has made a big impact on me.

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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.

Uganda Slum Tour

Local relaxing in Bwaise Slum

 

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.

AFFCAD Bwaise Slum Tour in Uganda

AFFCAD Bwaise Slum Tours in Uganda

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.

Local school in Bwaise Slum - Uganda

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.

Bwaise Slum Tour - Children

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.

Bwaise Slum Tour - Local School

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.

Bwaise Slum - School

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.

Drinking water in Bwaise Slum

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.

Bwaise Slum Tour in Uganda - Canals

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.

Children of Bwaise SlumLaughing children in Bwaise Slum

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.

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Rob

    May 12, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    A thought provoking post indeed. I didn’t go on a tour of the slums of Mumbai for the very reasons you mentioned. I never imagined that it could inspire a change in myself to help. Also it’s amazing to see such happy smilie faces in your photos despite the extreme poverty. The human spirit is unbelievable!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 13, 2013 at 6:19 AM

      I can’t believe how many smiling faces we see every day Rob. Their spirit is unbreakable even after everything they have been through.
      And totally get why you didn’t do a slum tour in Mumbai. I think some companies do exploit these situations so do research before signing up.

  2. Rob

    May 12, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    Oh lordy, please can you not post my last comment I made a mistake adding my comment luv! It seems a bit crass of me posting my blog post about saving £30,000 when these people are living in such poverty!! Sorry! Great post though

    • Cole Burmester

      May 13, 2013 at 6:22 AM

      Hi Rob,
      I don’t think it is a bad thing because we have all grown up in different circumstances.
      Cheers for your comments.

  3. Jo

    May 12, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    Hi Cole, I sponsored a 6 year old girl in Quito through “Tear Fund”. After many many delightful letters and 10 years of sponsorship we met her and her family in 2011. This was the most magical experience of our lives, we had such fun with them, they are so amazingly happy and grateful souls. I wrote about it here.

    http://www.worldwideadventurers.com/south-america/ecuador-south-america/a-small-investment-for-life/

    She is now 17, we have private contact on Facebook and she now calls me ‘dear godmother’. She is hoping for university next year and I am hoping to go back, visit and help again.

    Tear Fund comes highly recommended by us.

    • Cole Burmester

      May 13, 2013 at 6:24 AM

      That is a beautiful story Jo and so glad you have got to meet her in real life. That is the sort of experience I want to find. Will definitely do some research on TearFund.
      Cheers.

  4. Dan

    May 13, 2013 at 1:22 AM

    That last photo is amazing! Great post Cole.

    • Cole Burmester

      May 13, 2013 at 6:20 AM

      Thanks Dan. I took the last photo after showing them the one before that. That’s when they started cracking up haha.

  5. Casey @ A Cruising Couple

    May 13, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Sounds like you had a good organization to guide you through, which I think makes all the difference. I always get worried when I hear about these ‘tours’ because I’ve heard time and again how a select few will profit off of tourists, charge them ridiculous amounts, and then keep all the money after the ‘slum tour’. Having said that, I worked in a slum in India, and of course it was life changing. I’m glad to hear that the experience was so amazing for you! Everyone looks very happy to be in your photos as well 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      May 17, 2013 at 5:52 AM

      That is very cool that you were hands-on in a slum Casey. I thought about doing volunteering instead of sponsorship but can’t believe how much they charge for you to “volunteer”.
      For the photos I always asked them before I took it and most of the time they were actually asking me to take photos of them!

  6. bronwen

    May 13, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    This is a soul capturing post Cole so thanks for sharing. I helped sponsor a child at when i was at primary school many moons ago and she was from India. And when I left the school i stopped. Now that my own kids are all adults and i don’t have to support them i have thought several times about starting again. I would be interested to know which fund you choose to go through……and definately i will do an African child too.
    Thanks Cole.

    • Cole Burmester

      May 17, 2013 at 5:50 AM

      Thanks Mum 🙂 I am sure I will let you know and hopefully we can make a difference together!

  7. Jemma

    May 16, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    I hope that slum tours in Uganda will make an impact to the lives of many travelers. For us, it’s only a small amount of money but for them, it could mean a lot. Let’s support Uganda and all those who need our help! 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      May 17, 2013 at 5:42 AM

      Great point Jemma. As long as they are organised in such a way that they benefit the local community then that is a good thing 😀

  8. tourism uganda

    May 18, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    Really very nice and good this site.I want all people visit this site. Thanks for all of your hard work.

    • Cole Burmester

      May 23, 2013 at 3:10 PM

      No problem. Feel free to share it around so more people can see all the great work being done in Uganda 🙂

  9. Kelly Cartwright

    May 18, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Those beautiful, innocent smile of the Ugandan children melted my heart. Your blog serves as an eye opener to the international community.

  10. Kristy of Family Visa

    May 29, 2013 at 7:06 AM

    I just felt bad and sorry for those children. This story inspires me to start helping needy people now through my own little way because what I can give now can change their lives for the better.

  11. Jonathan Look, Jr.

    May 31, 2013 at 6:04 AM

    As a person that lives everyday in the shadow of places like this I have been hesitant to do a “slum tour”. What you describe seems like a great experience. It is always a balancing act isn’t it. On one hand these people NEED sensitive witnesses. On the other they don’t need to be on display. Well balance here!

  12. Robyn

    June 5, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    I’ve sponsored a child through World Vision since 2004. I’ll be leaving on a “rtw” trip in Nov but have made sure to set aside enough money to continue my contribution while I’m travelling. I too would have a difficult time deciding if it was ethical or not to take a guided tour through a slum.

    • sempuuma ronald

      June 25, 2013 at 1:23 PM

      am a ugandan
      but all i have to say is thanks for having a good and big heart
      may u be blessed for that

  13. Lisa Hemsen

    August 8, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    Those beautiful children have so little but yet their smiles are so rich. I too have been a sponsor for the AZCM in Kampala, Uganda headed by a wonderful man of God, McMillan Emmanuel. Unfortunately, the sponsors have dropped off and there are only a couple left which hardly feeds the many children of this orphanage. They really need help. God Bless you and all who have such beautiful souls.

    • Cole Burmester

      August 9, 2013 at 4:45 AM

      The more we can do to help them as well as educate people around us, then the better their lives will be. Good on you for being involved Lisa!

  14. Kafuma Richard

    July 2, 2014 at 12:45 AM

    Thank you for visiting and also supporting us to run our programs and also much thanks to Oasis for bring you down to the real life people live in here in the slums. Remember that one “person can bring a change, Together we can bring a difference” yes we can.

  15. Pingback: Inspiring Travel Lifestyle Blogs 1-15 MayInspiring Travel Lifestyle Blogs 1-15 May | The Travel Tester

  16. Jaffar Tazan Nyombi

    January 19, 2017 at 7:51 PM

    Hello,every one i am Jaffar the Tour guide, i am a co founder Action for Fundamental Change and Development (AFFCAD) . i am so happy about the story and the feedback from all of you. I know it has been a while but i thought its important for me to send in my appreciation and also connect with you as well as updating you . The slum tours have now been changed to Kampala slum walk as many of our clients were not comfortable with slum tours as a name .kindly if you would like to suport in any way we well come you and you may contact me

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Africa

The Best Safari Holiday In The World

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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.

Travel Packages

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!

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Africa

Honeymoon Safaris: The Perfect Combination

Honeymoon Safaris: The Perfect Combination

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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.

Privacy

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.

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Africa

5 Travel Tips for a Safari in Botswana

5 Travel Tips for a Safari in Botswana

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Botswana is always among one of the finest safari destinations around the world. Being in the right place in Botswana in the right time with a perfect preparation, you can behold some of the most rare wildlife viewing sights one can ever see. Yes, there are a number of things that you need to do right to be able to have the best out of your safari in Botswana. And here are 5 tips that should help you make your Botswana safari tour a great success and once in a lifetime experience.

Oasis Overland African Gorillas

Visit April-November

Yes, it’s kind of not-so-good idea to go on a Botswana safari between November and April because it’s the time for rainy season. So, when planning for your tour, make sure it’s between April and November and not between November and April.

Wear Comfy Clothing

When on any safari, it’s important you are in the utmost comfort. The temperatures during the summer in Botswana are between 18°C to 38°C. So, it can be really difficult to enjoy the safari in the summer if you are not wearing the perfect comfy clothing. Pack well.

Always Go with a Guide

You may be a brave individual but you should not take the risk of moving from one place to another without a guide while on safari here. A guide can be really handy and save you from deadly mistakes and accidents. The guides can help you with answers to the questions like what ways to take and how close to get to the wild animals. But that does not mean you can’t get close to the wild animals, a guide will help you get really close to some animals whilst you may have to see some from quite a distance if they are not safe.

David-Sheldrick-Elephant-Orphanage-Mud-Pool.jpg

Do your Research before Selecting Your Accommodation

Where you will stay can make a big difference. So, to have the best experiences, you should pick an accommodation option that can give you the perfect safari feels. There are a number of world-class safari tour operators with great accommodation and dining options for tourists. So, pick one that has the reputation to deliver you the kind of experience you are looking for.

Money and Cash

Major credit cards are accepted in most safari camps and hotels but don’t ever expect to find an ATM machine! You can either have the local currency which is Pula or US dollars, Euros or South African Rand as they all are readily accepted in most areas. When in the local markets, you should bargain to have the right prices for products. But if you don’t like bargaining, there are plenty of shops where the prices are fixed. So, when shopping, make sure you know if the prices are fixed or not before starting to check out products.

These are not such difficult tips to follow. So, make sure to follow the above mentioned advice and have some unforgettable experiences on your Botswana safari tour.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe 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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