Is it safe?
Uganda is by far one of the safest African destinations. It is regularly visited by many school and youth groups as well as older travellers throughout the year. Yes, some areas in its furthest reaches have had some significant troubles in the past and there are government advisory’s out relating to being careful in and around some of the major cities but with the exception of arriving into the Entebbe airport and our last night staying at the zoo near the airport, our expedition will not be visiting the major cities. In Uganda adventure tourism brings a huge amount of income to very needed local communities and as such international travellers are hugely welcomed and supported and looked after by the community in these areas.
What does this mean on the ground?
On arrival we will be meet immediately by the team and from then on we will be either with the local outfitter team as well with Explore Instructors or Red Chilli Safari team with Explore Instructors for the entire duration of the trip. Staying in regularly used, safe, guarded resorts and camps. As well as with our Explore expedition instructor team the whole time. We will not be visiting the city of Kampala and will not be going into Entebbe city. We will be spending the last night in Entebbe in a specialist camp at the zoo. However this camp is a very popular camp used a lot for travelling international groups including volunteer organisations and travelling doctors. Again it is highly guarded. At no stage during the trip will any of the members of the team be on their own or without adult supervision.
There’s flight changes, visas and it’s a long way away?
It is a big flight journey from America and that is why we have extended the trip a little to maximise our time on the ground and allow some recovery time in the first couple of days. If the thought of your son / daughter flying alone that whole way is daunting (and rightly so) we will be creating a communication page for parents and encouraging kids to book onto the same flights. It’s not essential but might make the journey more fun for everyone on the plane. Jez will be also flying out from North Carolina to Uganda on the same day as the kids so if you would like to book the same flight out as Jez we can help with that for sure. Heading home Jez will be heading back to Sydney but we will be at the airport in Entebbe helping kids get on their flights so it should be an easier and less daunting journey heading home. The kids will also be familiar with airport transfers and changes for the return flight.
If you felt you wanted to fly over with your son / daughter and have your own African adventure at the same time let us know and we can help you plan your own adventure and Safari.
What about if there is an emergency?
Our outfitters have been established and living and running trips in these areas for many many years with international travellers and as such have a whole team of medical support set up. The outfitters owners Emily and Sam are British and live in Jinja with their two year old son. So in the event of any medical situation the best possible care would be sort from the best doctors and hospitals in the area. They already know exactly where to take their clients in an emergency who are the same doctors and hospitals they would use for their own young son. All the team would be first aid trained and there are evacuation plans in place for every section of the trip. We are also working at the moment to arrange to have a British doctor on standby in Uganda for the duration of the trip. The outfitter is set up as a travel company and will provide travel insurance for the duration of the trip so once we land in Entebbe until we depart from Entebbe we will be fully covered under their policy. Please see the 'Explore Africa info' for more details on this policy. You will need your own travel insurance to cover the flights though as these are not covered by the outfitters policy and are welcome to have your own travel insurance for the adventures and duration of the trip as well. However this component is covered as part of the trip.
What if the situation changes?
Well 100% if the political situation changes and anything crazy kicks of in Uganda we will not go. It’s not worth it. Safety is and always will be the top priority for us in every single decision we ever make for the young people on our trips. Your Travel Insurance and the outfitter policy will cover this and we would look at a last minute alternative if possible.
Malaria and other tropical vaccinations... that sounds terrifying!
To give an example Claire has spent over 6 months in Uganda and had no issues at all. If you take decent Malaria tablets we highly recommend Malarone (but please check with your doctor) and take them at the right time every day (we will help with this). If you use bug spray when off the water and at camp during the day and cover up with long sleeve and long armed tops at night. Plus zip up your tent / use mosquito nets in any dorm rooms then the risks is very low. Combined with the tablets reduce the risk even further. We will be working with the kids daily to ensure that they follow all the required steps to stay healthy and safe.
Surely kids don’t go to Africa!
Our outfitter have been running trips to Uganda for many years for a whole range of different groups and ages and are specialists in this field. This is why we have chosen them. We also know them extremely well and know they will keep your kids safe and give them an amazing insight to so much more than just paddling during this adventure. Here is some information from the outfitter has asked us to share with you to help you make an informed decision on wether you would like to send your young one on this adventure with us.
‘On the same section of river over the last 15 years we've hosted a wide range of international schools, British school group trips. University groups come super regularly, American youth groups and kids camps, we've even run primary age kids camps. We run weekly kids kayaking sessions, we've had scout groups, some of the biggest travel agents in the world. Even the BBC, channel four (UK TV station) we've hosted directly as the on the ground operator. World Class Kayak Academy has spent months there with a similar adventure. On the competitor list of the world champs in 2015, 90% of the competitors had been to the Nile in the last 2 years. It's going to be a fantastic experience, but it's a known quantity.
What if I still am not sure?
Then please reach out to us with any questions you have. The outfitter team are also available and very happy to chat directly with you to help make sure that you discuss any questions, worries you have helping you make the best and most informed decision possible. We know this is a huge undertaking not only for the kids on the trip but also for you in sending your kids on this amazing adventure.