How to Connect with Locals on Self Drive Safari
There are two ways to travel to other countries; You can buy a tour package, join a group and travel to a country, you will choose to stay at a nice hotel, eat where other tourists eat, travel to the museums , the scenic sights and the historical buildings, shop and you will go home with many photos. The second way to travel is by going on your own or with a friend, having made the decision to make friends with the local people, to get to know the culture and the customs through the eyes of the people who live it every day. This is the travel to real experiencing the country in case you want to return home knowing that you really understand the people and their culture. Below are the ways on how to connect with the local people on a Uganda self-drive safari.
Always find someone from the country in your own town before you go; you can visit the local university where you can meet the international students organizations and get the right information for one of the students from the country where you will be traveling. You can meet with them and ask them about the country, the culture and the local sots to hang out when you get there. By this you will have local knowledge in advance of your travel. Many of these students have got families and friends back home and they might offer to introduce you to them by emails of Facebook before you travel. You will have the right contact person who can help out get you around and explore the local life style.
Always learn the language; there are courses all over the internet, sign up for one and get the common expressions so that you can speak the language. This will help you to fit in when you go out to the local bars and restaurants. As you start conversations with some of the locals who eat there, make sure you get some friends who will be willing to show you around.
Hang out at the college or the university; this might sound like strange but this will surely help connect easily with the local students who will be willing and ready to show around. You can even get into the homes of the locals which is a great experience.
Always engage with the couch surfing community, this is a website that will help you get the right into the local scene, it has locals from nearly every country in the world opening their homes for the travelers to stay while they are in their home towns. In case you are planning in advance, you can have all your lodging take care of by staying with the locals in their homes. This is also a good place and community to ask for all sorts of travel, get to know the best in the wall bars and meet the locals who will take you around town with you for a few hours.
Eat where the local eat; the best way to learn a country is through food. Even though so many traveler eat from the hotels or in the restaurants. The food at these places is nothing like what the locals eat. Always choose the restaurants that are filled with locals, even if they look less alluring that your usual diner. You can easily make friends with your waiter and the bar tender and return every day. These will take you places when they are off at work. You can as well locate families that open their homes to the foreigners for a meal. Some charge a bit, but the bigger value is to eat real food and get to converse with the local people.
Always find out about the local events; there might be holidays or the special events or the festivals going on while you are there, so be sure to find out about these and plan to attend them. In case you have not taken the time to do this, you can ask the waiters or the bartender where you usually take your meals. You can be in position to find out how the people in your host country celebrate, what they wear, what they eat, and what the events and festivals mean to their cultural history.
Always find a crafted vacation planner; since many people want to travel outside, there are many companies that plan personalized trips. These connect with the locals in countries and will arrange for the personal local tour guides and even opportunities to stay in homes or share the meals with the local families. The main advantage is that the locals are already known to the company so they are safe hosts for the foreigners. The planner can be a great source of information about where to go and what to see for the great local experience rather than just the touristic one.