Trip Report is coming (…travelpod.com/travel-blog/…tpod.html), but wanted to pass on a great experience with Pearl of Africa...
One of the toughest things of planning your trip is arranging a guide. There are a lot of unknowns and a bad guide can be ruinous to your trip. Luckily, we choose right with Pearl of Africa.
We wanted to book our own route and choose our own hotels for the 11-days in Uganda and hire a guide/driver to take us on it. Our route was the typical circle starting in Murchison and working our way to Bwindi. Evelyn at Pearl of Africa helped book our permits for the gorillas and CHEX and was present to answer any questions we had during the planning process. After we had wired the money, she was still very attentive, which I read is not always the case with some companies who tend to be harder to reach once your money is secured.
The only element of discomfort was some miscommunication between Evelyn, our guide, Jameel and ourselves at the beginning of the journey. The day before leaving, Jameel was under the impression we were supposed to meet to go over the 11-days however we were not informed and were not at the hotel when he came, which gave him some worry. We then met the next morning before departing, which was Jameel's first time seeing the route. While having no idea where we were going and no person funds provided by the company, he took it in stride and figured it out as we went and this resourcefulness was a reoccurring skill of his.
Jameel handled a battery problem with little repercussions and knew the ins-and-outs of every destination - when to visit the parks to save on entrance fees, where to see the animals and his keen eye would spot animals that no one else would see. He quickly warmed up to us and figured out that we were a younger, easy-going couple who also took it in stride, never worry about getting dirty to push-start the truck when needed or giving the locals a ride. He was a gem of a guide and very open to talk to about his country, his family and how the tourist industry works.