Hi Tina —
The lodges, for the most part, were far better than I had expected — comfortable beds, good food and attentive service, not to mention spectacular views in a number of them. The food, in some cases, was wonderful and in others, certainly adequate but paled a bit in comparison to the great meals. Some of the box lunches weren’t so good, but similar to what we have had on previous trips to parts of Africa, so I wasn’t expecting much. Best box lunch was provided by the Boma Lodge Entebbe.
Since part of my focus on these trips is photography, I found Anthony very accommodating in waiting for me to finish getting “just that perfect shot”, and this was complicated by my often using both still photography & video. Certainly, there was lots of opportunity for photography — the scenery everywhere was breathtaking.
One particular part of the trip which I enjoyed was the canoe ride to see the Shoebill. We not only got close views of the bird but were able to see it in the soft silence of the marsh, without motor sounds. The work of our two local guides, Ishmael & Samuel, in jumping out of the boat in water up to their waist and higher to pull us over the reeds in order to get a closer look at the bird was exceptional and we made sure they got quite a bit extra in compensation.
The only negative comment I have about the trip is about tipping. Some of the recent tour companies we have dealt with have factored in the normal costs of tipping the hotel staff, porters, etc. into the price of the tour. This is much more convenient for the participant since you are not continually trying to find small change everytime someone does something for you. I’m not including in this the tips one might give to the main guide & driver, just the incidental tips. In some places we have been it can even be very difficult to get sufficient small currency to tip with, which makes it so much more awkward. I realize that this raises the total price you must charge for the tour in comparison with other companies that do not include tips, but I think that this would be a positive factor for clients in choosing a tour company.
One other thing: when we were booking & paying for the trip, the whole payment process became very awkward. If this could be simplified, it would be less frustrating.
Overall, it was a wonderful holiday, and I commend your company for doing all the groundwork and for providing us with such competent guides & drivers. Anthony & Gaitan ( Geitan in Tanzania ) were an exceptional pair and, although we didn’t spend as much time with William, I felt he was a very good and careful driver in Uganda.
Thanks again, and we will be telling all our birding friends about your company.