Going The Extra Mile For Our Guests in Uganda January 2019

Having had some time exploring new areas of Uganda, and celebrating both Christmas and New Year there, it was time to start the second of our “Pearl of Africa” two week Birdwatching Trips. We were staying in a very nice hotel overlooking Lake Victoria, with lots of birds along the water-front, and we welcomed our newly-arrived group there. We were staying here the night before setting off the following day to begin our birding – looking for Shoebill. Everyone arrived at the hotel safely but unfortunately one lady did not feel well. We hoped she was just tired after the journey.

Next morning the news was not good. The poor lady was very ill and in no fit state to join the tour. This is where being a bird guide gets interesting! We now had one guest unable to travel and five guests keen to see Shoebill after breakfast. We swung into action: firstly to make sure our unwell guest could stay on in her room? Yes, she could. Next up, contact the hospital and arrange for our guest to get expert medical help and advice. This done, we then booked an extra night for Ruth at the hotel too so she could stay with our guest to co-ordinate the hospital visit and be on hand to help in any way needed. Next up, we contacted our local guide to let him know the situation, phew! And all this before breakfast!

So with our plan in place we said good-bye to Ruth and headed out to look for Shoebill. Our amazing ground agent, Herbert, was also on the case and arranged a private transfer, driven by his own son Davis, for Ruth and our unwell guest to re-join the tour once she was able to travel. The hotel was marvellous too, helping in every way possible and being so accommodating over the unexpected extra nights.

Glad to report that the tour with Alan and Crammy, our amazing local guide, enjoyed wonderful views of Shoebill. Meanwhile back at the hotel the doctor assessed our guest. He was able to confirm that her condition wasn't as serious as first thought, and that she would soon be on the mend with no lasting symptoms thankfully. Ruth acted as go-between for our guest and her husband who had been persuaded to continue with the tour as Ruth was looking after his wife with the doctor on the case. All pretty stressful all round but having a team to look after our guests certainly pays off in a situation like this.

The next day luckily our unwell lady was feeling much better and she was able to re-join the tour. Davis collected Ruth and our relieved guest from the hotel at Lake Victoria and even made a roadside stop by an area of papyrus to scan for Shoebill for them, but sadly no sign. Well worth a try though and kind of him to stop. Huge thanks to the doctor, everyone at the hotel, Herbert and Davis for all coming to our aid and making this situation relatively straightforward.

Thankfully with the two of us in the Birdwatching Trips team being on hand, we were able to split up leaving Ruth to stay back at the hotel to look after our guest and co-ordinate everything there, while Alan could continue with the rest of the group to allow our guests, and especially our patient's husband, to see Shoebill, his most-wanted bird, without disrupting the trip for the rest of the group!

Paddling about in the Mabamba Wetlands, looking for Shoebill

The rest of the tour ran very smoothly indeed and everyone enjoyed a fantastic array of birds, close encounters with mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. A wonderful tour in a friendly, safe, beautiful country, Uganda has it all. We finished the tour back at the same hotel overlooking Lake Victoria with over 500 species of birds and 50 species of mammal enjoyed!

We would love you to join us on our next Uganda tour in December 2020, please see our tours pages Uganda Pearl of Africa December 2020 or email us for more details on


We know you will love the “Pearl of Africa – Uganda”, it really is an amazing wildlife destination.

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