Louis Badea, Jumia Travel Uganda’s Country Manager was interviewed about his travel experience in Africa and Uganda in particular. Most people don’t usually find comfort in countries far away from home. Let’s see what Louis Badea thinks about Uganda and what actually made his stay there memorable and funky.
Briefly Louis, tell us something about yourself and what you do.
I am Louis Badea, 25 years old, French, born and raised in Paris. I have now been working in East Africa for one year and half. I am Jumia Travel’s Country Manager in Uganda.
How did you end up in Uganda? We’re curious how does it feel to be a country manager of a company in a foreign country.
After my studies in Paris, I did a 6 month internship in Kenya for Jumia Travel. By that time Jumia Travel was already experiencing a rapid growth. Bookings were growing steadily in Uganda and we therefore needed to open an office in Kampala to be closer to both our partner hotels and customers.
Regarding how I feel being Jumia Travel’s Country Manager in Uganda, I have to say that I definitely enjoy it a lot! Tourism industry has a huge potential in this country and we see lots of players (Uganda Tourism Board, Uganda Wildlife Authority, lodges, hotels, etc.) involved to make it grow!
You look like someone who likes to travel a lot. What does traveling mean to you?
I have been travelling for a long time. When I was younger I did quite a lot of trips with my family. Then, after high school, I started exploring new continents and countries with friends.
To me, travelling means a lot! It is all about discovering and experiencing new things, cultures, languages, cuisines, etc.
And how do you balance being a Country Manager with your love for travel and adventure?
When I opened the office here in Kampala, I would travel a bit more than nowadays. By that time I was alone so I needed to visit partner hotels upcountry quite often. Now, that I am surrounded by other people, I travel a bit less than I used to, at least for business trips.
Roughly speaking, within and outside Africa, how many countries have you visited?
I have had the chance to travel quite a lot in Europe, America, Asia and Africa. In Africa, I have been to North Africa (Tunisia), West Africa (Cape Verde, Togo), South Africa, DRC and all EA countries except Burundi and South Sudan.
You have been in Uganda for a while now. Which place is your favorite?
Except Northern Uganda, where I have not been so far, I have traveled almost everywhere in Uganda. If I was to pick one of those places, I would say Rwenzori Mountains.
Rwenzori Mountains it is! Okay tell us more about it, what was special about the Rwenzori Mountains and why did you like it?
First of all, I really like to discover a place on foot. I did an eight day hike up to Margherita Peak, the highest peak in Uganda and the 3rd in Africa, and truly enjoyed it. Landscapes are really stunning and diverse – bamboo forests, rain forests, rocks, glaciers. It is definitely a challenging experience but also rewarding at the same time. One can enjoy great views all over the Rwenzori Mountains chain.
As a person coming from another continent, what was your perception about Uganda before you came here?
Since I was working in Kenya before – and that everyone has a good opinion of Uganda over there – my perception was good. I was really curious to experience this country. But if I was to say what my perception was a few years back, it would be a bit worse. Unfortunately, media are generally spreading out quite a bad reputation for this country, which is both not justified and unfortunate. What I would know about Uganda was mostly not really glorious aspects of it – LRA or Amin Dada for instance.
So Louis, now that you’ve been here for quite some time, how would you describe Uganda in one sentence?
A home away from home.
We’re talking all good things, but have you ever had any bad travel experience?
Nothing comes to my mind. I have never experienced any issues when travelling. Maybe I could pick one misadventure that a friend of mine experienced when we were hiking Rwenzori Mountains. The last day of the ascent, we spent 15 hours walking from 4:30 am up to 19:30, including 8 hours on the glacier. On the way back from the peak to the camp, a friend of mine fell down on the glacier and passed out. We had to call the rescue team so he could be evacuated. I am sure he really enjoyed the hike otherwise, except that bad experience. This trek is really challenging, the hardest I have done so far.
What advice would you want to share with travelers visiting Uganda?
JANGU! Travelers really need to put Uganda on their travel list! It has everything to offer. It is safe, people are friendly, accommodation and transportation are affordable, and infrastructure is good overall so it is quite easy to travel all over the country. Landscapes are diverse, stunning and so many activities can be done here – safaris, trekking, water sports – you name it.
Credit: Jumia Travel Blog.