Travel News: Eat With The Fishes At Norway’s New Underwater Restaurant

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Eat With The Fishes At Norway’s New Underwater Restaurant
Open Jaw reports a new restaurant with what’s being billed as Europe’s first underwater dining room will soon open on the southern tip of Norway. The semi-submerged, aptly named Under is housed in a 112-foot long rectangular building, one end of which sits on the seabed, 18 feet below the surface of the North Atlantic.
The other, above ground end looks kind of like an intermediate species dragging itself from the sea on an evolution chart or, as The Guardian more picturesquely puts it, a “whale resting its head on the rocky shore.” Diners descend through a steadily darkening interior, decorated with earth-toned wood and metal, pink and coral textiles, and finally rich greens and blues, before reaching the submerged dining room, where 40 guests are seated in front of a 36-foot wide, 11-foot high window looking out on the aquatic goings-on. The menu will showcase locally grown produce and locally caught seafood, such as stone crab, rugose squat lobster, limpets, clams, and sea cucumbers. Try to ignore the horrified looks of the fish swimming by the window as you eat their neighbors. Unusual and underappreciated ingredients will be welcome in the kitchen. A dessert made with two types of algae is promised. Located in southern Norway’s forested, beachy, and often stormy Lindesnes region, Under opens to the public on April 2, but we couldn’t find an available reservation until September, so book well in advance.

List Of New Zealand’s Visa Waiver Countries modified
In October, requirements will change for people from several nations planning to visit New Zealand. An Electronic Travel Authority (ETV) along with an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy will be introduced. The visa waiver applies if visitors intend on staying for three months or less.  Here’s a list of New Zealand visa waiver countries but who will need to get the ETV: Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia (citizens only), Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, UK, USA, Uruguay, Vatican City.

Cuba Set To Build Over 3,800 Guestrooms In 2019
Open Jaw reports as part of an ambitious Ministry of Tourism (Mintur) development plan through 2030, this year around 3,805 hotel rooms should be completed across Cuba, with another 5,000 to be renovated and improved. Currently, according to José R. Daniel Alonso, Mintur’s general director of development, investment by Cuban state enterprises and international companies are geared towards expanding lodging capacity. Alonso said, “We are doing so in important tourist poles like Varadero, where there is investment by the Almest furniture enterprise and Mintur’s real estate company, Inmotur. In this case, we can mention the Oasis and Varadero Internacional hotels. Meanwhile, in this destination, other investment projects are in the preparation stage.” New facilities are being built in the center of the country. For creating diverse range of tourist options across the island and taking advantage of its natural potential, Cuban investments are also being made for new hotels on the Ramón Peninsula and in Guardalavaca, Holguín. Also, the development of a tourist pole on Camagüey’s Cayo Cruz is planned by the Ministry for reaching the capacity projected for 2030. Another issue that needs to be addressed is connectivity. The Ministry of Tourism, along with the Ministry of Communications, is carrying out a national development plan for getting hundred percent Wi-Fi coverage in all tourist facilities.

 

This Is The Best Cruise Destination In The World
Travel+Leisure reports if you’re looking for the ultimate cruise destination, one place just took the top spot in the cruise industry’s Wave Awards: Greece. The U.K.-based awards recognize the best of the cruise industry, from the best locations to the best operators, and winners are decided by a combination of industry judges and public vote. The judges named Greece as the best destination, both as a port and a country, for 2019. Greece has more than 2,000 islands each offering their own charms and attractions, and the country’s ideal climate makes cruising possible for most of the year. Wave Awards representatives highlighted the picturesque seascapes and many cruise options, including smaller ships that visit quieter islands, as a major benefit. Explore lesser-known gems like Giola, a natural pool located on the island of Thassos. Greece’s islands are a longtime favorite, particularly with Travel + Leisure readers. The island of Páros was named the best island to visit in Europe and one of the best islands in the world in the World’s Best Awards. The country’s tourism sector is growing at a record place, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. In the public vote, Greece came in second, just behind Barbados. Barbados also has a lot to offer, from the pristine coastline and 70 miles of beach to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bridgetown.

 

A Wisconsin Cruise Ship Passenger Faces Years In Cayman Islands prison After A Gun Was Found In Her Luggage
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Carol Ann McNeill-Skorupan’s ship had anchored at George Town in the Cayman Islands last month, the first stop on a nine-night Caribbean cruise that departed from Florida. Once in port on Feb. 3, the 68-year-old Madison, Wisconsin, woman got a notice that her third piece of luggage, which hadn’t arrived with her flight from Wisconsin to Fort Lauderdale, had been found and flown down to the George Town airport. But when McNeill-Skorupan went to pick it up, her vacation turned into an expensive lesson in how American gun rights don’t always travel well, and that could land her in a foreign prison. Inside that third bag, X-rays showed, was a .25 caliber handgun and six rounds of ammunition. Despite her claim of a Wisconsin concealed carry permit, in the Caymans, it was considered illegal possession of an unlicensed firearm. Conviction carries a mandatory seven-year prison term upon a guilty plea, 10 years if convicted at trial, unless the court finds “exceptional circumstances.” She’s among dozens of Americans caught up in the Cayman Islands’ strict enforcement of gun laws, but one of only two facing trial and the risk of significant incarceration. According to reports in the Cayman Compass, the Cayman Islands’ main news outlet, McNeill-Skorupan spent three nights in jail before her release on $10,000 bail and the surrender of her passport. She was living in a hotel with an evening curfew while awaiting trial next month. McNeill-Skorupan didn’t ask that Delta forward the bag, her lawyer told the court, and had directed that it should be left with a friend in Florida, Meadors said. A judge later granted her permission to travel, and Meadors said she’s back in Madison. He said he has been tracking her case because it could impact his own and has been in touch with people who have spoken with her. Meadors, 54, who is in Florida awaiting a hearing in May, is in bigger trouble. He has already pleaded guilty to bringing his 9mm handgun to the Caymans, where he was building a multi-million dollar retirement home, but was allowed to return to Florida for medical treatment. It’s unclear if McNeill-Skorupan was planning to bring the gun on her cruise since Celebrity Cruises bans passengers from taking firearms on board. Guns and ammunition are strictly regulated in the Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica, as several other visitors have learned recently.

 

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Nancy in Queen Elizabeth National Park with Africa Wild Explorations

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WIT AGENT NANCY continues her escapades in Uganda this week with Africa Wild Explorations. Last week, it was all about chimpanzee-tracking in Kibale Forest National Park and the ecological initiatives around the Bigodi Community. Read on to learn more about her upcoming adventures in Uganda this April. 

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Next up, it’s a drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park. She’ll stop en route at the Equator, before checking in at the Elephant Plains Lodge. In the afternoon, a peaceful cruise on the Kazinga Channel.

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QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK

QENP is one of Uganda’s most popular national parks, and with good reason! You have the high Rwenzori mountains to the north and the remote area of Ishasha to the south. The long waterways of Kazinga Channel run west to east, bookmarked on either end by Lake Edward and Lake George respectively.

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This area is a haven for natural beauty: savannah plains with acacia and euphorbia trees, sunken crater lakes, swamps teeming with life. All in all the park is home to more than 90 types of mammals and the highest range of bird species in Africa! Wildlife includes elephants, leopards, hyenas, forest hogs, warthogs, waterbucks, topis, Uganda kobs (a type of antelope) and lions!

Over 600 species of birds flock to the area, drawn to the channel like a magnet: White and Abdim’s Storks, Saddle-billed Storks, Lesser Masked Weavers, Grey-headed Kingfishers, African Mourning Doves, Black-headed Gonoleks, Red-chested Sunbirds, Brown Snake Eagle, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Bateleur, African Harrier Hawk, Grey Kestrel, Great White and Pink-backed Pelican, Great Cormorant, African Open-billed Stork, Knob-billed Duck, African Jacana, African Fish Eagle, African Skimmer and Grey-headed Gull.

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  • Elevation: 900-1845 m (2953-6053 ft)
  • Size: 1978 sq km
  • Habitat: Medium altitude moist semi-deciduous forest, moist thicket, riparian forest, riverine bushland, open woodland, open grassland, seasonal and permanent swamps, lakes and rivers.
  • Best time to travel: All year round. Thanks to the location on the equator, Uganda has a tropical climate. Rainfall occurs regularly, with a peak in the months of April-May and November.

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EQUATOR

You can imagine, the Equator is a popular photo op in the park. This memorable line that divides north and south hemispheres is marked by a large circle. Don’t forget your camera to snap a shot!

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KAZINGA CHANNEL

The river runs 32 km through Queen Elizabeth National Park, linking Lake Edward and Lake George. The vibrant water attracts a varied range of animals, elephants to buffalos, baboons to waterbucks, Nile crocodiles and one of the world’s largest concentration of hippos. It’s also teeming with birds, such as pelicans, fish eagles, kingfishers, cormorants, and saddle-billed stork. It’s a fantastic afternoon seeing these creatures live, breathe and move in their natural habitat, as you’re led by a knowledgeable guide.

ELEPHANT PLAINS LODGE

The luxury lodge is a brand-new hotel perched at 941 meters high on the western escarpment of the Albertine rift in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Lodgers are rewarded with panoramic views of 80 acres of grassland, and the beautiful lake Kikorongo, a favorite waterhole for elephants.

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From the lodge, guests can enjoy loads of wilderness activities, such as game drives in the Kasenyi Plains, wildlife viewing at Mweya Peninsula and Nyamunuka Crater Lake, chimp tracking in Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, Forest Walks in Maramagambo Forest, and tracking tree climbing lions in Ishasha.

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How can Tourism Affect a Village in Uganda?

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Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about what kind of footprints tourism leave behind. Mindful travel is all about understanding your place in the greater environment. It’s about sharing the world we live in, making connections between yourself and the world halfway across the globe.

If done mindfully, and with the right local connections, travel can have a lasting, mutual effect both on you and the land you step into. 

WIT Agent in Uganda

This April, WIT Agent Nancy is embarking on an incredible trip to Uganda with Africa Wild Explorations. Uganda is THE destination for mountain gorillas–and her first major stop, Kibale Forest National Park, is one of the best safari destinations in Africa for chimpanzee tracking. 

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After the fantastic Kibale Forest National Park, WIT Agent Nancy will be heading out to Bigodi village. Resting in the shadow of the Rwenzori Mountain Range in western Uganda, Bigodi borders Kibale National Park. After lunch with one of the community leaders — a founding member of Bigodi Community Tourism  — then it’s time for a nature walk in the swamp.

In 1992, Bigodi Community Tourism established the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED). As an official Community Based Organization of Uganda, its main mission is to facilitate projects to stimulate health, education and economic growth while protecting the local environment, the rainforest, and the wetlands. The group’s emblem is the great blue turaco, a majestic bird found in the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary.

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KAFRED PROJECTS

Tourism in the area creates revenues that KAFRED then used to stimulate community development projects and initiatives, such as:

Community development projects have been funded with income from tourism. The best examples are the secondary school, the wetlands boardwalk, safe water and the wetlands visitor center with bylaws. This has helped to increase awareness and appreciation within the community of the importance of conservation.

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The Bigodi Women’s Group, also a member of UCOTA, is involved in the making and selling of handicrafts. Most of the materials and dyes used are natural and this was an environmental issue. KAFRED has through UCOTA organized training workshops in sustainable harvesting methods.

Music, dance and drama by local groups such as Enyange Dramactors and Study Tours are used to increase the understanding and interpretation of natural and cultural values in the community, particularly in schools. Enyange Dramactors received training from Kibale and Semliki Conservation and Development Program in the 1990s. On the other hand, interpretation signs, write-ups, guided walks, and presentations are used for conservation awareness building for both domestic and foreign visitors. Walks around and across the swamp are guided, visitors are encouraged to keep on the trail and all the garbage is carried back to the visitor’s center and properly binned. KAFRED does not provide catering services and this limits the levels of pollution.

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How has Tourism changed Bigodi?

  • Employment of teachers, guides, cooks, security guards, and cleaners

  • Teachers and guides receive special training

  • The Women’s Groups are provided with space to sell handicrafts and peanut butter at the Wetlands visitor center.

  • There is a market for local foodstuffs that can be consumed by visitors and tourists, for example, bananas, tomatoes, onions, eggs, and chicken.
  • Local people have adapted to eating the above-mentioned foodstuffs, leading to improved nutrition.
  • The number of permanent houses has grown from 2 in 1992 to 7 in 1995 to more than 30 today.

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  • In the late 1990s, KAFRED hosted an average of 1000 visitors annually for an income of about 6 million Uganda Shillings (6m UGS). By 2008 the visitor count had risen to 3,500 with annual revenues of nearly 100m UGS. During the last financial year, we received over 4,000 visitors and an income of about 150m UGS.
  • About 75% of the net profits is spent on community projects. KAFRED began construction and management of Bigodi Secondary School starting in 1993. The school now has some 350 children. Because of tourism revenue, parents pay about 50% less for fees compared to other private or community schools.
  • About 95% of wetlands visitors are non-Ugandans. This has led to other business opportunities such as hotels and lodges, which are in turn run by local people and which employ local staff.
  • KAFRED has funded a community safe water project. Community water kiosks have been set up to serve at least 300 people. This has reduced the cost of water prices from UGS 800 to UGS 200 per 20-liter can.
  • Building a house for midwives so that they can stay at the local health unit and support mothers whenever they need maternity services. In the recent past, women had to hold it until office hours or the family would have to hire a private car to Fort Portal town, 40 km away on a bumpy road!

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SWAMP WALK

Later that Afternoon, Nancy will enjoy a signature swamp walk in the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. The local guide will introduce her to more than 100 species of birds and primates! The region is thick in biodiversity, home to chimpanzees, mongooses, bush pigs, and loads of monkeys!

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Travel News: Wow Air, Viking Sky

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Disney Doing Away With Smoking Areas, Oversized Strollers

Orlando Sentinel reports Disney announced Thursday that it will be removing all smoking areas from theme parks and banning oversized strollers. On May 1, Disney is going smoke-free. Smoking will be prohibited in all parks, but designated smoking areas will be available outside the entrances of the parks, and in designated areas at Disney Springs and at Disney resort hotels. Also, starting on May 1, strollers will have to be no wider than 31 inches, which is a reduction from the current 36-inch limit.

Viking Sky Cruise Ship Engines Failed Because Of Low Oil Levels,

USA TODAY reports Norwegian authorities are investigating why the Viking Sky cruise ship sailed despite a weather warning, leading to engine failure, a mayday call, and air evacuations. The Viking Sky cruise ship that had to be evacuated off the coast of Norway over the weekend had low oil levels that led to engine failure, according to the Norwegian Maritime Authority, which has been investigating the incident.

Norwegian officials opened an investigation into the incident Monday. The NMA indicated in a press release that while oil in the tanks was relatively low, it was within set limits. But as the ship crossed rocky seas, movement of oil in the tanks triggered an alarm. Norwegian media reported gusts up to 43 mph and waves over 26 feet. “The heavy seas in Hustadvika probably caused movements in the tanks so large that the supply to the lubricating oil pumps stopped,” Alvestad said. “This triggered an alarm indicating a low level of lubrication oil, which in turn shortly thereafter caused an automatic shutdown of the engines.”

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Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport Has Banned Irregular-Shaped Bags

New rules for checking in bags of irregular shape and size have come into effect at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport from Monday, March 25, 2019.

The new rules are aimed at preventing blockages and breakdowns in the baggage handling system caused by bags that do not have any flat surfaces or that have long straps or grips as per the International Air Transport Association (IATA) guidelines. The new rules have been agreed to after extensive consultations with the Airline Operators Committee (AOC) and other bodies representing airlines. Effective, March 25, 2019, only regular-shaped bags will be allowed at check-in counters; The bags must have at least one flat surface to be accepted on the check-in system; Round or irregular-shaped bags will not be allowed at check-in counters; Bags with longs straps will not be allowed at check-in counters. Passengers trying to check-in bags that do not conform to these rules will be offered the option of having their baggage wrapped with one flat side at the airport approved baggage wrapping stations.

United Airlines Announced It Will Be The First Airline To Offer Nonbinary Gender Options For Customers To Book Flights

The airline said the decision was made to “lead the industry in LGBT inclusivity.” United Airlines announced Friday that it has become the first US airline to allow customers to have the option to book flights with a nonbinary gender prefix and title, “Mx.” In a press release shared by the company, United said customers “now have the ability to identify themselves as M(male), F(female), U(undisclosed) or X(unspecified), corresponding with what is indicated on their passports or identification.” The airline said the decision was made to “lead the industry in LGBT inclusivity” and “to exhibit our care for” its customers. As part of its security screenings, federal Transportation Security Administration regulations require all flying passengers to disclose their gender identity prior to their flight, but TSA agents will accept any gender identification as long as it’s consistent with what’s listed on the flyer’s government-issued ID. Several states now offer IDs that allow people to identify as something other than male or female.

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Amsterdam Bans Red Light District Tours, Sold As Shore Excursion On Cruises

Cruise Critic reports Amsterdam is banning all tours of its Red Light District as part of an ongoing effort to address tourist congestion and to show respect for the city’s sex workers. Tours of the city’s Red Light District are popular excursions offered by many cruise lines, oceangoing and river, as well as independent tour operators. Each week, more than 1,000 guided tour groups pass through Oudekerksplein, the Red Light District’s main square, according to the city. During peak hours, between 11 a.m. and noon, and 7 and 8 p.m, more than 25 groups routinely crowd the area, disturbing businesses, and residents. The implementation will be gradual: As of April 1, guides will be forced to end tours by 7 p.m. as opposed to 11 p.m. The full ban goes into effect on January 1, 2020. “We are banning tours that take visitors along sex workers’ windows, not only because we want to prevent overcrowding in the Red Light District, but also because it is not respectful to sex workers,” Deputy Mayor Udo Kock said in a statement. “It is outdated to treat sex workers as a tourist attraction.” 

Wow Air Collapses

Wow Air has officially ceased operations after it failed to secure a rescue deal. The cash-strapped airline had already canceled some flights earlier this week after a potential rescue deal with rival Icelandair fell through for a second time. Icelandair had reopened talks with Wow after the low-cost carrier lost the support of a potential US financial backer last week, but discussions broke down over the weekend. Icelandair announced on Sunday that ‘its possible involvement with Wow Air’s operations, as announced on 20 March 2019, will not materialize’. Chief executive of Icelandair Group Bogi Nils Bogason added: “The financial position and operations are such that we did not see any reason to continue.” The airline, which operates low-cost flights from the UK to Reykjavik and onwards to the US and Canada, has been scrapping unprofitable routes since late last year. It is telling passengers to rebook with other airlines and says these might be offering special ‘rescue’ fares. “Passengers whose ticket was paid with a credit card are advised to contact their credit card company to check whether a refund of the ticket cost will be issued. Those passengers are advised to contact their travel agent to arrange an alternative flight. “Passengers who may have bought travel protection, or those passengers whose credit card terms may include such protection, may be entitled to claim compensation and assistance due to delays or travel disruption. 

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Uganda’s Kibale Forest National Park with Africa Wild Explorations

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This April, WIT Agent Nancy is embarking on an incredible trip to Uganda with Africa Wild Explorations. Uganda is THE destination for mountain gorillas. But for her first stop, she’ll spend a full day at Kibale Forest National Park, one of the best safari destinations in Africa for chimpanzee tracking. 

Read on to follow in her (upcoming) footsteps!

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After breakfast, her guides will escort her by vehicle through lush highlands to the West, through tea, coffee and banana plantations. Uganda grows more bananas than any other country in Africa! They’ll also have unobstructed views of the Mountains of the Moon! Peaking at 5,109 Meters (16,762 ft!), the Rwenzori Mountain Range can certainly call itself one of the most iconic summits in the world with pride.

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KIBALE RAINFOREST NATIONAL PARK

The national park is a paradise for primates, home to 13+ different species of primates and countless other mammals, butterflies, and birds. The flora in the park ranges from wet tropical forest to dry tropical forest, and on to woodland and savanna along the rift valley floor.

The African jungle has the greatest variety and concentration of primate species found anywhere on the continent. It’s certainly a happy habitat to the parks 1,400+ chimpanzees, like the uncommon I’Hoest’s monkey, endangered red colobus, black & white colobus, red-tailed monkey, blue monkey, olive baboon, grey-cheeked mangabey, bush baby and potto.

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PRIMATE LODGE

During her visit to the rainforest, Nancy will be staying at the Primate Lodge Kibale. Tucked in right at the heart of the park, the lodge is at the doorstep of the Chimpanzee Habituation, and the point from which the Chimpanzee tracking excursion departs. From the comfort of your Luxury Cottage, you can unwind and listen to the chattering of the red-tailed monkeys in the dense branches.

Eco-Lodge, Eco-Travel!

Primate Lodge’s commitment to Sustainable Tourism matches the surrounding environment. The lodge was constructed with local materials, draws on solar-powered electricity, and the lodge’s economy contributes to the livelihood of many families in surrounding communities.

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LUXURY COTTAGES

The lodge keeps nine spacious and ensuite luxury cottages, with eco-friendly habits, a rustic ambiance, spacious verandas, and plenty of cozy room.  The luxury cottages are secluded and furnished in a rustic African interior.

Made of local brick and thatched grass, the cottages have been specially designed to enjoy the warmth of the tropical sun rays yet without oppressive heat or cold. Beautiful and artistic wall hangings, soft colored full length drapes on locally made rails as well as soft handwoven jute and wool rugs adorning the classic wooden floor finish this 30m² suite secluded in its corner of the forest for maximum privacy and comfort.

STANDARD COTTAGES

There are also seven standard cottages. These are newly refurbished, private and ensuite with a cozy bedroom and bathroom. Each room also enjoys beautiful views of the surrounding forest vegetation from the wide glass windows and doors as well as from the spacious veranda over-looking the rain-forest

FAMILY COTTAGE

Traveling with your family? No problem. L’hoest Cottage and Colobus Cottages are adjoining, with individual bathrooms and an interconnecting door.

HONEYMOON COTTAGE

The popular double storied ‘Elephant Banda’ comprises an upstairs bedroom which extends out over a large, elevated thatched wooden deck/veranda which too seems to extend right into the forest canopy. The deck is very popular for evening relaxation with a drink as you soak in the sunrays sipping through the tall forest trees. It is also an ideal spot for private room-service dining, either breakfast or lunch in the company of Black and White Colobus Monkeys or Red Colobus Monkeys that frequent the surrounding trees! It can also be amazing for candlelit dinner for your special night. The room also comes with a giant 7×7 King Size Bed. Not surprisingly, this cottage is especially popular with honeymooners or those celebrating anniversaries!

Stay Tuned to Next Week to hear of Nancy’s adventures in Queen Elizabeth National Park and cruising on the Kazinga Channel — and of course, the gorillas!

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WIT Agent in Uganda with Africa Wild Explorations

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This April, WIT Nancy is embarking on an incredible trip to Uganda with Africa Wild Explorations. She’ll venture into the national park, meet up with park rangers, and glimpse the majestic gorillas of the mountains.

She’s flying from Portland to Amsterdam on the nonstop flight, then flying KLM from Amsterdam to Entebbe Airport.

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Entebbe is 30 miles south of Kampala on the shores of Lake Victoria. She’ll meet her hosts from Africa Wild Explorations, after a night in Entebbe, she’ll head to Kibale Forest National Park.

Over the next few weeks, here on the blog we’ll be taking a close look at Uganda and follow the footsteps of Nancy on her incredible journey!

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Top Things to Know about Uganda

It’s a Land of Many Waters

Uganda is a land of many waters, and most famously, it’s home to the source of the Nile. There is Lake Bunyonyi, the second deepest lake in Africa, Lake Victoria, one of the African Great Lakes, and Murchison Falls, the world’s most powerful waterfall. Ssese Islands, a paradise of white sand beaches and tropical vegetation.

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Tourists flock to see Mountain Gorillas

Uganda is the world’s premier primate destination, with baboons, chimpanzees, rare colobus, Bushbabies, and Pottos. It’s THE place to go to see some wild mountain gorillas, with almost 54% of the world’s entire population of Mountain Gorillas calling Uganda home.

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A Safari Lover’s Paradise

Thanks to ten national parks, the country also offers rewarding game drives, including rare tree-climbing lions of Ishasha, elephant herds, giraffes, as well as more than a thousand bird species.

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Some other quirky facts:

  • pan-fried grasshoppers is a local delicacy served to guests
  • the equator runs through Uganda, and the line is marked at 72 km post along the Kampala-Masaka Road and another equator mark is located in Kasese District within the Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Uganda is the size of the State of Oregon, but with a population that’s almost 10 times larger
  • – Uganda’s Rwenzori mountains are so high that they are snow-capped year-round, with Mt. Stanley towering at 5,109m (16,762 feet).

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  • In 2012, Lonely Planet selected Uganda as the Best Tourist Location. Since then, popularity hasn’t waned, averaging a million tourists each year. It’s also among the Top 16 Holiday Destinations for 2016 by CNN.
  • – Muwenda Mutebi II of Buganda rules over the Kingdom of Buganda, a subnational kingdom within Uganda. Founded in the 14th century, it has existed on and off as one of the more powerful political states in East Africa.
  • – There are over 40 languages spoken within its borders—and while English is the official tongue, Luganda is the most common in use. There is even a Ugandan English dialect known as Uglish, using many unique expressions and idioms.
  • – A “rolex” isn’t a watch, it’s a snack—a chapati bread rolled around a two-egg omelette with onion, tomatoes and cabbage. It’s a popular street food for late nights!
  • – Uganda spiced tea is a popular drink, blended with ginger, milk, sugar, and loose black tea leaves.

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In case you missed it: 

WIT Agent Gavi Booked a Client Cosette on a Gorilla/Chimp Trek in Uganda. Here’s what she had to say: 

Hey Gavi, I’m here now in the island. Very eco-friendly — more so than any other place. It’s rustic but cool. Actually, it’s unbelievably hot, but I’m here to relax after the trek and will snorkel tomorrow and go to Stone town and the spice market on Tuesday. The gorilla safari was amazing! Saw golden monkeys and chimpanzees — good but the chimps were in the trees so didn’t get close enough. It’s the luck of the draw, I found out. But I came for the gorillas, and we had the best experience ever! Sat and played with the group. The head tracker, Mr. D was great — very familiar with the family. I’ll send you photos — unbelievable! I got knocked down twice, which meant they like me and were playing, but thought I was flattened by a Mac truck and it happened so fast. Another woman was getting her picture taken and a gorilla put his hand in her shoulder and then pulled her hair! The guide pulled her away and he ran back to another gorilla, rolled over with his feet in the air and then jumped up and pounded his chest! Crazy! Saw babies as well. It couldn’t have been better.

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What is Africa Wild Explorations?

Africa Wild Explorations is a luxury safari company offering authentic journeys into iconic African destinations to explore hidden treasures, learn about local cultures and legendary traditions. 

Check out their reviews!

WIT Agents have traveled to Uganda and would love to share their expertise with you. We can also assist with booking flights, airport transfers, hotels and other excursions.

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Context Travel: Japan for Families

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Japan for Families

One of our favorite tour guides Context Travel offers excellent day trips in Japan – a single day to explore the marvelous kaleidoscope that is Tokyo.

There’s also an awesome 5-day itinerary of the highlights: Tokyo, Kyoto, and Arashiyama — curated especially for Families.

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Or pick and choose your tours for Japan – a la carte style!

Context Travel offers cultural and historical tours and activities led by deep subject-matter experts in over 50 cities around the world. It’s an in-depth, thematic way to explore the city, get to know its intimate nooks and crannies.

Japan for Families: 5-day itinerary

This is an in-depth introduction to Japan’s major hubs, as much as you can reasonably see in five days. It’s a comfortable step back in time that’s perfect for curious families. You’ll start in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, then grab the bullet train to the old capital of Kyoto, keeper of Japan’s centuries-old heritage. On the outskirts of Kyoto lie the beautiful temples and landscapes of Arashiyama.

  • Pricing from: $2,900 for 5 private tours led by an expert guide*
  • Includes hotel meet up for each tour
  • Does not include accommodation or train to Kyoto

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Day 1: Tokyo in a Day

  • Akihabara electric city
  • Omotesando and Harajuku hip shops and quirky fashion
  • Meiji-jingu & Shinto

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Day 2: Evening: Kyoto Geisha Tour: Gion at Twilight

  • Travel to Kyoto by train
  • Explore the historic district of Gion

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Day 3: Introduction to Kyoto: Temples and Shrines

  • Kyoto’s temples and shrines

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Day 4: Kyoto for Families: World of the Warriors

  • Samurai culture, games and activities for kids
  • Nijo Castle
  • Japanese gardens

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Day 5: Arashiyama Tour

  • Travel back in time to the Heian period in Arashiyama on the outskirts of Kyoto
  • The Heian period (794 to 1185 c.e.) is analogous to the ancient Greek and Roman periods for Europeans. Many of Japan’s foundational beliefs, arts and traditions were developed during this period. 

Ask your Travel Agent for more tours led by expert travel guides around the globe. 

Photos courtesy of Context Travel. 

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