UCU alum gets international nod for eco-tourism
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2022/03/ucu-alum-gets-international-nod-for-eco-tourism/
By Joseph Lagen
As a student of Bachelor of Computer Science at Uganda Christian University (UCU), Joseph Aliganyira learned how to design websites. He perfected the skill so much so that he soon became the go-to person regarding website design at the university. Before he knew it, Aliganyira had many websites to his credit, including more than 10 for tour and travel companies.
In November 2017, two months after graduating from UCU with a BSc in Computer Science, Aliganyira put the information he garnered while developing websites into practice by starting his own tour company. On January 24, 2018, he launched the company under the name Kubwa Five Safaris.
Kubwa is a Kiswahili word for “Big.” Aliganyira chose the name Big because his intention was to showcase Africa’s Big Five Animals – the Elephant, Lion, Leopard, African Buffalo and the Rhinocerous. The business also has packages for visitors to track Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees.
Kubwa Five Safaris offers tour programs for guests seeking to explore the East African countries of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda as well as tours across southern Africa – Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa.
Despite the beating that global tour companies took from the Covid-19 pandemic, Aliganyira and his eco-tourism company seemed to have stood head and shoulders above the competition in 2021.
On October 14, 2021, the International Trade Council announced Kubwa Five Safaris as a Top Placer for Tourism and Hospitality in the 2021 Go Global Awards. Kubwa also was awarded as a Tourism Industry Leader by MEA MARKETS in the African Business Excellence Awards and got a nomination as a Top Hospitality Company in Africa by Lifney – a UK-based Travel media company.
So, how did he manage to perform well in a year where Covid-19 ravaged the world? The secret, Aliganyira says, lies in walking the talk of eco-tourism.
“Kubwa Five Safaris is dedicated to responsible travel,” he says. “We have partnered with established non-for-profit foundations to help our travelers give back to the community by engaging in and giving part of their proceeds to tree planting in Kyanika village, Fort Portal in western Uganda. This helps us to reduce our carbon footprint, while building cultural awareness.”
He says he creates opportunities for his clients to interact with and buy items from locals. “Our packages ensure that several local businesses get to be showcased – which is a great way to ensure that our clients’ money gets to benefit the community,” he said.
He says he is able to pull off such initiatives because his motive for being in this kind of business is not driven by profits.
“Thanks to my time at UCU, I learned that as a Christian, I can worship God through the quality of my work,” he said. “I have committed to doing exactly that, with Kubwa Five Safaris and my computer skills.”
At UCU, Aliganyira was a member of the Mustard Seed – one of the choirs at the institution. Through mission and outreach ministry, Aliganyira’s understanding of service of God was widened beyond the four walls of the church.
“As a computer science student, one of my highlights was successfully developing a digital map of UCU using Geographic Information Systems and Google Earth Applications,” Aliganyira recalls about his undergraduate academic project. “It did not only emerge the best – but it was also a first within the university.”
The smile that Aliganyira often wears plays a key role in concealing the challenges that he and his business go through.
For instance, not every hotel or lodge provides the high level of excellence in service that Aliganyira would want his client to experience.
Kubwa Five Safaris, now four years old, offers packages for wildlife safaris, gorilla and chimpanzee trekking, cultural and nature walks, city tours, mountain hiking trips, bungee jumping, white water rafting, boat rides for water adventure, birding safaris, honeymoon and anniversary trips.
Aliganyira is married to Brenda, a UCU Bachelor of Industrial and Fine Art alum who teaches at UCU. The couple has three children – two girls, Eleorah and Ellianiah, and a boy, Eloy.
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