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April Update from our Founders

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Mountain gorillasSeeing the mountain gorillas of Uganda is one of the handful of things I’ve done on my travels that I never stop talking about. It tops my own personal list of wildlife experiences (see our blog post on the subject). I saw these magnificent animals in Bwindi, a national park in the foothills of the Rwenzori, close to the border with the Congo. The way the experience is organised is an exemplar of how we might protect other threatened species - the Uganda Wildlife Authority charges an amount that, though it seems high ($600) sustains the entire conservation effort; access to Bwindi and its gorilla families is tightly controlled and monitored and the whole infrastructure and economy of the area is underpinned by local control. Mountain gorilla numbers in Uganda are increasing, and your visit directly contributes to that - food for thought if you’re planning a visit.

Uganda is an outstandingly varied wildlife destination, with few parallels anywhere in the world (don’t get me started on the birdlife - extraordinary). Thinking of my trip there, and watching the latest Planet Earth II series from the BBC, made me think that visiting these great wildlife refuges is the greatest gift you can give to a child. I have three young children, and when I think of the holiday I would most like to take them on it is on safari in Kenya or South Africa, to the Cloud Forest of Costa Rica, to the tiger reserves of India, or to the incredible coral beds of Indonesia.

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MyanmarAlso on our blog you can read an interview with Nan Win and her team in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). I remember the first time I met Nan Win - I said I was looking for something unique and unusual in Myanmar. Tourism to the country was growing at breakneck speed so the temptation was strong to simply offer what the market wanted and swim with the tide. But….she had a twinkle in her eye and described an array of unusual things that she and her old friend Pascal Khoo Thwe (a famous Burmese author - interview here) had created. That’s when I knew she was right for TravelLocal - a meeting of minds!

A quick follow up to last month’s email exchange with Jacky, (TravelLocal customer to Myanmar earlier this year). Nan Win pointed me towards the organisation Trash Hero (www.trashhero.org). We will look into how we might support what they do.

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We are moving offices! Our team is expanding, thanks to your support, so we need somewhere bigger to grow into. That means there’s more room for you to actually sit down (Dennis and Teresa - I’m thinking in particular of you…) if you come and visit.

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Many of you have taken the trouble to review your trip, and we are proud to say that our network of local experts have been achieving great things in this regard - long may that continue. For those of you so inclined you can help us (and the local company that hosted you) further:

If you are a Facebook user and already logged in you can review us by going to TravelLocal’s Facebook page and clicking on the grey stars where it says "tell us what you think". Here is the link to do that:  https://www.facebook.com/pg/travellocal/reviews/?ref=page_internal

Similarly if you use gmail or have a Google account then you can review us there too (right now this would be a very useful type of review to get). The link you need, provided you are already logged in to your google account is here:   http://bit.ly/2n6QpvT

Happy travels!

Huw

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