Uganda…Wander and wonder… and then you fall in love!

I remember a story that we were told while growing up, about the Europeans who came to our motherland in the search for colonization. They wandered and roamed our land like butterflies, or at least with little sense of direction. In amazement, our forefathers then referred to them as Mzungu. This Swahilli word is loosely translated as wanderer. Today we still refer to whites as Mzungu.

But as they wandered on, they saw the wonder that is in Uganda. Little wonder, Winston Churchill wrote back describing Uganda as “The pearl of Africa”. This should have been the start of tourism in Uganda.

I never dreamt of showing up as a safari specialist, but the defining moment leading to my current love, was that school trip we took to western Uganda in the Queen Elizabeth national park when I joined the wild life club. We were not wandering but this awakened the inner wanderer in me.

Our first stop was at the Equator, the imaginary line that divides the world into two- the Northern and Southern hemispheres. I stood at this point with one leg on either side of the line. It’s amazing, how one becomes lighter while on this line. Here water runs down in sinks to the clockwise in the Northern hemisphere and anticlockwise in the Southern hemisphere. The guide called it the coriolis effect… I called it the Equator magic.

Then we were on our way to the queen Elizabeth national park, overnighting in the dorms. We saw elephants in the night by our camp.

In the days that followed, we went to the katwe salt works to see how salt is mined, we took morning and evening game drives and a boat cruise on the Kazinga channel.

Queen Elizabeth has a variety of Flora and Fauna and it’s acknowledged to be a habitat for over 95 mammal species with about 612 species of birds. The various species in this park, has made it a unique park most liked by tourists. It has five levels of vegetation. Namely bushy grassland, Acacia woodland, Lakeshore or swamp vegetation along with forest grassland.

We saw wildlife such as Cape buffalo, Uganda Kob, waterbuck, warthog, lion, leopard, hyena, giant forest hog as well as elephants. Then it was time for us to return home. And this time, we took a train. This ride showed me Uganda. The wonder of Uganda.

Our country is a land of contrasts. In half a day, you can drive from mist shrouded volcanic mountains to hot hazy savannah, dappled with wild life, serene undulating hills of tea plantations, lush but ordered giving way to tangled jungle and rain forests with the musical accompaniments of chaotic, cacophonous bird life. It indeed presents Africa in one small place. It is amazing!

At this moment, I realized, promoting Uganda tourism starts with me.

This formed my current opinion of our country and it was from this trip that I was determined to show Uganda to every one willing to visit.

People are very friendly, welcoming and the food is awesome.

I have since travelled the whole country to learn more so as to tell this story. I have indeed wandered this wonderland.

Up north, we have the Kidepo valley national park and Murchison falls. This region is famous for the big five and exclusive lodges. The iconic BIG FIVE – lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard – have long dominated the list of must-sees on a Ugandan safari.

But that’s not all that Uganda offers. The Mountain Gorilla and Chimpanzee that have increasingly become a “bucket list” item for many a traveler to this part of Africa.

The adventurers will want to try Bungee jumping and white water rafting in Jinja, horse riding and mountain climbing.

The leisure and honeymooners have the luxury of lazing away at the beaches of Lake Victoria, the world’s second largest water body.

Uganda has it all. And our mission at the Uganda Safari Chapter is simple… It is complete understanding of Uganda, why it is as it is. And why it exists as the Pearl of Africa.

As we always say, out of Africa, there is always something new. When visiting Uganda, choose the Uganda Safari Chapter, and lets take you on a Safari. Only with us, it is not wandering like the Mzungu. It is an African Safari full of wonders.

 

Lets go on a safari!

Peter Mwanja

Managing Director

The Uganda Safari Chapter.

 

 

Religious Tourism

With the approach of September and October, Exclusive Services group is getting  ready to welcome in Lebanon series of Pilgrims Tours from Europe, to discover the Country that hosts more than 3500 churches & shrines.

Our guests are coming from Poland, Hungary, France and Spain.

 

 

 

Sailing on grass? Not possible? Yes, it is, but only in Poland!

The Elbląg Canal, constructed in 19th century can accommodate small vessels with up to 65 passengers on board. The difference in water levels approaches 100 m, and is overcome using locks and a remarkable system of tracks between picturesque lakes – the only existing in the world. This unique cruise opportunity gives an unforgettable experience of seeing one of Seven Wonders of Poland. Cruise vessels are modernized, guide service and catering on board can be provided. Private charters available. Sail on grass then and spend a few wonderful hours admiring untouched nature and unlimited possibilities of the human mind. Just an hour and a half drive from Gdansk Airport, well connected with the world.

   

   

  

 

Hosting an event like royalty in Poland!

Poland is full of magnificent castles, palaces and other monuments, converted into luxurious hotels and venues. Great heritage in outstanding modern costume. A few examples that we are most proud of.

 

ROYAL CHARM OF WARSAW

The Royal Castle – most prestigious venue of Poland, carefully raised from ruins after WWII. A must in Poland’s capital. Dine where kings, presidents and prime ministers did…

      

 

COPERNICUS HERITAGE

Pearl of Gothic architecture – Collegium Maius of Jagiellonian University, the oldest in Poland. World famous astronomer was among the first students there in the 15th century. Follow the greatest, while in Cracow…

      

 

KRASICKI CASTLE

Truly the most brilliant castle hotel in Poland. Former residence of bishops, who knew very well indeed how to create an unforgettable event. Take a step to heaven…

      

 

www.dmcpoland.com

LONDON HOTTEST OPENINGS 2018

DORSETT CITY HOTEL

The perfect hotel choice for both business and leisure travelers that offers stylish and contemporary accommodation for the most discerning guests to enjoy, relax, party and refresh.

This 13-storey hotel with 267 rooms including suites boasts modern architecture and design; alongside two restaurants, 24 hour gym, 4 meeting rooms and a destination rooftop terrace bar with a panoramic view of London’s most iconic skyline.

 

 

 

 

SWINGERS

Opening London March 2018 Swingers West End will take crazy golf back to its seaside roots in a venue that reimagines the faded glamour of the 1920s English Riviera.

Located just off Oxford Circus, step out of the hustle and bustle of London’s busiest streets and into a quintessential British seaside setting of food, drinks and fun, where the sun is always shining. 20,000 square foot venue is packed with a variety of private hire spaces.

 

 

PRINCIPAL LONDON

The London is a Grade II* listed landmark building that occupies the eastern flank of  The opening of The Principal London will create a hub not only for its guests but also for Londoners who have a passion for great food, fabulous cocktails and memorable nights in the city. It will offer a variety of spaces for drinking, dining and partying that will – much like PRINCIPAL hotels themselves – be distinct from each other and unique in their offering.

 

 

VINTRY AND MERCER

Opening London Spring 2018 Vintry & Mercer is nestled at the heart of the City, among the livery halls, guilds and narrow streets that line the banks of the Thames. This is where past and present intersect, where the long traditions of trade and commerce come to life in the contemporary style of the 92 bespoke rooms and suites.

 

 

 

 

BUSTRO NOME

The Original Gourmet Tour Through London

Opening May 2018 Bustronome is the moving terrace of London. A double decker bus offering a panoramic view, which can accommodate up to 38 people.

 

 

 

KERRIDGE’S BAR & GRILL

Corinthia Hotel London announced that renowned Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge will open his first London restaurant at the hotel this September 2018.

Kerridge’s Bar & Grill will be a relaxed brasserie-style dining room with an adjacent bar, open all day.

 

 

BANKSIDE HOTEL

Opening London September 2018 The social hub on London’s culturally vibrant South Bank is arriving. An intimate six-storey hotel, 161 bedrooms including seven suites, offering genuine hospitality that respects and encourages individuality.

 

 

 

 

GRACE HALL

Period details dovetail with modern styling at this enchanting Leadenhall venue.Grace Hall is a versatile multi-faceted events space capable of hosting between 10 and 600 guests across four exquisite spaces.

FULL DAY TRIP OLESKO – ZOLOCHIV – PIRGIRTSI CASTLES

Ukraine has more than 50 castles and fortresses. The biggest part of them is worth visiting. Some of them, such as Akkerman Fortress near Odessa, Kam’yanets – Podilsky castle, Hotyn became the place for many international festivals and tournaments. Travelers from all over the World are coming to Ukraine to visit museums at Medzhybizh, Palanok, Dubno castle and many others, which definitely are not a waste of time.

The castles, as well as fortresses, are the perfect venues for incentive activities, corporate events and, of course, gala dinners.

The most popular tourist itinerary includes visits to  Olesko, Zolochiv and Pidhirtsi – the small villages famous for their amazing castles. These castles are different – the powerful defensive building of Olesko Castle, the beautiful palace with slender towers and shining mosaic in Zolochiv and mysterious castle from Renaissance with bastion fortifications in Pidhirtsi.

 

FULL DAY TRIP OLESKO – ZOLOCHIV – PIRGIRTSI CASTLES.

There are hardly any castles in the world that went through such roller coaster transformations – from a royal residence to a hospital, vocational school for farming machinery mechanics, ghost-haunted ruins, museums, crumbling structures in perpetual state of restoration where cows and goats graze on once well-kept lawns.

Olesko Castle is an outstanding architectural and historic monument from the 13th – 18th centuries, once a strong fortress of Old Rus in the 14th century.
Later in the 15th – 16th century Olesko Castle was turned into a palace for aristocracy and remodeled in the Italian Renaissance style in the 1620s. The famous Polish king Jan III Sobieski was born there in 1629. The king often lived in Olesko Castle and collected numerous art works. Afterwards the castle belonged to the Rzewuski family.

After restoration in 1965-1975 Olesko Castle became a museum. Hundreds of unique paintings, sculptures and applied arts can be seen in the museum.
Among them are icons, portraits, still-lives, the monumental picture of the Battle of Vienna, old furniture and wooden sculptures. In the Olesko Castle basement there is a well which also served as an escape passage for the besieged.
A nice park with some modern sculptures surrounds Olesko Castle.

Pidhirtsi Castle is a unique architectural monument in the late Renaissance style dating back to 1635-1640. It belonged to the aristocratic Rzewuski family, was not intended as a defense structure and should be more accurately called a palace.
Pidhirtsi Castle is surrounded by a moat and includes a Baroque church of St. Joseph (1752-1766). It has a wall with a heavy gate and a park with old trees.

Pidhirtsi Castle has been under restoration after years when it was used as a Soviet hospital. It may take many years before it regains its pervious glory.
However visitors are admitted and have to use their imagination when looking at once grand interiors. Visitors to Pidhirtsi Castle will be invited to take a short walk to see a beautiful wooden church of St. Michael from 1720.

Zolochiv Castle was built as a citadel with bastions in the 1630s. In the 17th – 18th centuries the castle belonged to the rich Polish families of Sobieski and Radziwill. In the days of Austro-Hungarian empire, Zolochiv Castle was turned into a prison and later became a grim prison under Stalin. A memorial and an exhibition to commemorate those who perished here can now be seen in the castle as well as a chapel outside the castle walls.

Inside Zolochiv Castle visitors could see a newly restored Chinese palace built to follow European fashion for Chinese art in late 17th century. To the right, there is a larger residential palace undergoing restoration. From the bastions, one could see surrounding countryside and the town of Zolochiv. Tourists would be taken to the old magic stone in the castle courtyard. It has engraved inscriptions in the unknown language and a hole in the middle that will help fulfill your wishes if you put your finger there and turn.

 

 

An Atlas of Stars… By Across Morocco

To greet your star performers on their incentive or end a great day of teambuilding….

Glamp the Across Morocco way under the Milky Way and party in the desert with the Atlas Mountains as your backdrop.

Across Morocco can add those luxury touches and star entertainment tailored to your budget and concept.

Dine royally like a Berber King, party and dance the night away.

More info on :  Luxury Desert Camps

Video Link on YouTube

Castles Venues in Kenya

Old and New, take your pick

Kenya is famous for its wilderness and game sanctuaries. Yet if you wish, you can be a King, Queen, Prince, Princess for a couple of nights, even in Kenya. Grogan Castle was built in 1930 by Col Ewart Scott Grogan. An English explorer, politician and entrepreneur with a difficult love-story but thankfully, a happy ending. This castle splurges mystery at every step, a paradise hidden from the rest of the world with enchanting vistas of Mount Kilimanjaro, Pare Mountains, Lake Jipe and the Great Tsavo National Park. Murder Mystery or a Game of Thrones anyone?

The Grogan Castle Hotel, Kenya

The Grogan Castle Hotel, with views of Mount Kilimanjaro

And 80 years on, George Tafaria Waititu, a lad from the foothills of Mt Kenya, made his dream come true by building the Tafaria Castle, a beautiful destination for fun, bleisure or events. A disco and cinema in a Dungeon? Check. Horse-driven Carriage? Check. Roman-style Amphitheater? Check… and so much more.

Tafaria Castle, Kenya

Tafaria Castle, at the foothills of Mount Kenya

For an event or a reward program that can incorporate one of these unusual locations and crowned with the Magic of a Kenyan Safari contact the AQS team or MICE director Tasneem at tasadamji@africanquest.co.ke