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Sander van Zanten

Sander, the local travel expert in Uganda

Sander came for the first time in Uganda through the ' Back door ': Not as a tourist, but for family visit with his Ugandan wife. Now they run their own travel agency, partly from the Netherlands and partly from Uganda. Contact with locals and community tourism is very important in their travels. "They are the people who make Uganda so special."

In 2001, Sander came for the first time in Uganda, with his Ugandan wife he met in the Netherlands. From the Netherlands they had set up a foundation that was committed to the birth village of Sanders ' mother-in-laws. "In 2007 we moved with our two children to Uganda, to build a school there in half a year," says Sander. "Seven years later, we were still there, as it was not as fast as expected. The school and a clinic came, but it turned out that we did not get enough satisfaction from charitable projects. Local people were in need of jobs and income and we wanted to get involved. This is how we started op tourism activities. It started with hiring a cottage in Kampala and that grew to set up a guesthouse for people who stay for longer periods in Uganda, for example for volunteering or study.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"I am specialized in Nothern an d North-East Uganda. Mainly Kidepo valley national park and the Karamoja region. "

How did you get involved in travel?

"Getting to know Uganda
Sander decided to set up tailor-made tours, with the premise that travellers really need to get to know Uganda. "I sometimes talked to tourists who did not visit the local market during their journey or never ate Matoke during their stay, "says Sander. "While it is adding so much as you learn to know the daily life in a country. Contact with local people, that is what it is about. We work together with several homestays, where travellers can stay at people’s home. It's basic, but you always have privacy. We alternate with more luxurious lodges. The homestays are a great way for locals to provide their own livelihoods. I am therefore actively encouraging them to start something. With one of our drivers, David, I have set up a homestay in his mother's village. The money he earns, he stops in his farm. In this way the whole community benefits from tourism. "
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