Travel

Kenneth Tumusiime’s 12 Years as a Bird Guide

Kenneth Tumusiime has spent 12 years in the Tourism and Wildlife conservation, working as o a tourist safari bird guide specialist in Uganda.

Last week l had a chat with him about his experience in the profession of which he was kind enough to share.

Tell us about yourself?

Am Kenneth Tumusiime a Tourist Safari Bird Guide specialist.

I am also a professional, experienced and knowledgeable, friendly Tourist Safari Bird Guide Specialist who is a keen wildlife photographer.

Passionate about travel with a good working experience of 12 years in tourism and wildlife conservation.

I have a family of five my wife and 4 children. I am a very responsible and dynamic person, self-motivated and result oriented with strong interpersonal conduct and integrity.

How long have you been a tour guide? How did it start?

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Since 2008 I have been working as a Guide and I started as a Trainee Guide in Murchison Falls National Park working for Wild frontiers (G&C Tours) from a humble beginning.

What is your most undiscovered place in Uganda?

My Favorite and most undiscovered place in Uganda is Kidepo Valley National Park in Karamoja Region.

Like the saying goes ‘Go off the beaten tourist paths and take the road less traveled.”

What is your most exciting moment while doing your work?

Encountering 8 shoebills at Albert Delta in Murchison Falls national when I had a group of Birders from Colorado in USA in just one place was the most exciting moment.

What are the benefits of hiring a tour guide?

Each tourist destination has its cultural heritage as well as diversity. On your own, you might miss an opportunity to enjoy a new found cultural heritage wholly.

However, through the eyes of a local guide, you stand to benefit from fresh and unique insights about a location as they are passionate.

You stand to benefit from interacting with local families during a homestay, thus experience the real deal.

You can hardly encounter this genuine experience in a rented hotel.

The idea of traveling to a new region is to experience real as well as authentic meals, how they talk, how they interact with one another. You can’t find this on your own. Thus, the benefit you derive from hiring a native guide to show you around.

Having a native guide will save you from disappointments; they’re familiar with the best local attraction sites, cultural centers not forgetting the hidden unmentioned beautiful places.

Getting a tour by local guides gives you an opportunity to make real friends. They are more than talking, walking encyclopedias who offer facts about a place.

They tend to share their insights and are fun to have around. As they reside in the city, you’re traveling in, and they may take you through their daily lives at a personal level that you can relate to. Engaging in these conversations builds friendships that often last.

What are the qualities of a good tour guide?

A tour guide must have strong communication skills  because being a guide is all about having strong communication skills.

It’s ok to be a quiet person, but if you have to communicate with new people on a daily basis, you just have to be able to do it well.

On a basic level guides should be great at projecting their voices across a group, and be able to do so in a clear and easy to understand way. On an interpersonal level, being great at knowing how to communicate well with people is a huge asset.

A guide should be personable and outgoing.  We also refer to this as the “Star of the Show” quality, which isn’t something you can teach.

There can be a bit of social awkwardness when a new group of strangers show up, and a guide should be able to break that immediately to help people feel comfortable talking to each other and their guide.

This ensures later on they feel open to add comments or add questions along the way.

Tour guides need to retain a lot of stats and facts when walking people around a city- but they also need to be a great story-teller.

Guides simply can’t get the information wrong; spend extra time trying to remember it or spend the whole tour reading from a piece of paper.

Their memory should be so good, that it seems as if they’ve just always known these facts when they recite them. But most of all, the story needs to sound like it’s their own.

Things tour guides should have at all time?

The right phone

Reference/Field Guide Books.

Good Pair of binoculars.

A Map.

Knife

First Aid Kit

Smart Watch.

A personal voice amplifier.

How much have you travelled?

I have Travelled East Africa extensively in Northern Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, some few parts of Congo and southern Sudan so many Kilometers.

I have gone as far as Diani Beach in Ukunda Kenya, Serengeti National Park via Moshi in Tanzania

Advice to the people that would want to be like you?

Being willing to work hard and put everything into a venture, it is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love that anything in life worth having comes from patience and hard work.

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