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active 4 days ago

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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Featured trips & expertise

Murchison Falls
Explore the Nature and Wildlife of Uganda - 8 Days

With just over a week in Uganda, you can see most of the country's highlights. You'll visit incredible national parks like Murchison Falls, Kibale Forest, and the primeval Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. You'll track rhinos, seek out gorillas and chimpanzees, and take a boat ride to the roaring Murchison Falls — it's all on this exciting itinerary.

Recent trip reviews for Sander

View gorillas in uganda, Uganda - Oct 1 - Oct 7, 2018

Traveler: William G. - Local specialist: Sander van Zanten

The trip was fantastic driving from Rwanda through Uganda the experience seeing the people, small towns was wonderful. The Gorilla Trekking was much harder than we thought at 7,500 ft above sea level. We live at sea level. Our idea was doing the Habitational on the first day and a regular trek the following day...bad idea as we were very sore after a 10 hour up and down hills including 4 hours following the gorilla family. Following day we just bailed out of the trek as we needed the rest,... read more

The trip was fantastic driving from Rwanda through Uganda the experience seeing the people, small towns was wonderful. The Gorilla Trekking was much harder than we thought at 7,500 ft above sea level. We live at sea level. Our idea was doing the Habitational on the first day and a regular trek the following day...bad idea as we were very sore after a 10 hour up and down hills including 4 hours following the gorilla family. Following day we just bailed out of the trek as we needed the rest, yet “What an Experience” I even got false charged by the large Silver Back...a real African adventure!
The food at Nkuringo Bwindi lodge was not up to par and I’m not a picky eater so I suggest you make other arrangements at that location. The staff was very nice but even when we write everything we wanted to eat down on paper, it never was correct.... a communication problem. Even Moses our driver translated but it never worked.
The best lodge was Kyaninga. A beautifully log cabin lodge with great food and wonderful staff.
Now for Kim Kim...a great tour company which allows you to deal with the tour operator in the area your traveling in. My questions about our trip were answered within an hour which gave me a feeling of confidence about the upcoming African adventure. Our driver and guide “Moses”was with us at all times if we needed anything... he was great. Overall trip was a 9 out of 10.
Bill & Sue Gordon

Sander van Zanten, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Bill and Sue,
thank you so much for the review, it is wonderfull to see you enjoyed the pearl of africa. Thank you for the feedback about the lodge in bwindi. I will follow it up!

I hope you will come back one time to see the rest of the country!
Warm regards,
Sander