The Founders of The Uganda Safari Company
Jonathan & Pamela Wright
After building their first lodge in Western Uganda, the safari business was launched from a desk in the garage of Jonathan and Pamela’s Kampala’s home. But we need to go back several generations to see that the Wright family has a long history with East Africa.From Ethiopia in the late 1940’s to Uganda in the 50’s, the call to the continent has been very strong. Safaris, camping, bush lore, wildlife, the open skies…it is in their blood. Jonathan was born in Jinja, (then a small town at the source of the River Nile) and went to school in the Highlands of Kenya. Despite being sent later to a boarding school in the UK, and the family leaving Africa to settle in a Norfolk seaside village, he vowed one day to return home to Uganda where he belonged, where he could wander barefoot year-round. Waylaid temporarily by University in Canada and a stint in insurance in London, return home he did, in the mid-1990s, with his Canadian wife Pamela and their two children under the age of 2, Annabelle and Fergus.
It’s a long story, but the short version is this: it was a toss-up between moving to Newfoundland, or moving to Uganda. Uganda won, and here they still are.
Over the years they slowly built up The Uganda Safari Company and its holding company, Wildplaces Africa. Pamela moonlighted as a consultant and freelance writer while looking at the softer side of the company, while Jonathan ran the operations, galvanized teams of builders and guides and sat for a 3-year term as a Director on the board of the Uganda Wildlife Authority. He remains an Honorary Warden to this day.
The company has certainly grown since the early days when the two of them ran things alone out of the garage. Now there are over 160 working in the company. They have since built their home in the bush where they live with dogs, cats, chickens and a goose. Annabelle and Fergus are at University in Canada but come home as often as they can. Jonathan continues to galvanize the team, and Pamela is currently the Honorary Consul for Canada.
Gary Segal: Group General Manager
Gary’s 20 years of experience in hospitality ranges from some of the busiest kitchens to the most remote locations in Africa. Originally a qualified chef and safari guide, Gary is determined and passionate, loves to exceed guest expectations and has managed properties and operations in Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique and Uganda. He first joined Wildplaces to open Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge in 2008. After heading up a high-end resort opening in Mozambique, he returned to Uganda and to Wildplaces Africa in the driver’s seat as Group General Manager. His passion for Africa and its wilderness is palpable.
Tamara Segal: Group Business Development Manager
Born in the UK and raised in South Africa, Tamara has 18 years of all-round experience in tourism, having first completed a diploma in tourism and then spending 8 years in tourism management before branching into finance for a spell in London and South Africa. But tourism is in her blood and she returned to it when she met Gary, joining him in rural Uganda to manage Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge where her primary focus was community development and the set-up of sustainable systems. Together they then managed the opening of a high-end development in Mozambique, before returning to Uganda and Wildplaces Africa. Tamara is a stickler for detail and handles the administrative, marketing, agent relationship and detail-driven aspects of the group.
Jochen Reinhold: Marketing & PR – German Markets
Jochen manages our marketing in Germany. He possesses a university degree in business administration and tourism management and calls on many years of experience in the tourism and hotel industry. In 1997 he started his career working for a luxury hotel in the German Alps where he received the official qualification for hotel administration. His love for East Africa started in 2003 when he started working for the Kenya Tourist Board. In 2010 he founded his own agency for tourism marketing and consulting with clients from the East African hotel and tourism industry. Based in Munich, he is strongly connected with journalists, tour operators and travel agencies with a focus on East Africa. Jochen loves to be out in nature and has a keen passion for travelling in Africa.
Florine Deneubourg: Sales & Marketing Manager
Florine grew up in Belgium and graduated in Marketing and in Management Sciences. When she initially came to Uganda in 2015, she was involved in community projects. Corporate and social responsibility in community and conservation continues to be a great passion for her with Wildplaces Africa & The Uganda Safari Company: She loves travelling and discovering new cultures, and she has excellent destination knowledge of Uganda. She is dedicated, detailed, hard-working, sociable, organized and responsible; and loves driving sales and creating new marketing opportunities.
Dancan Kiiza: Sales & Marketing Executive
Dancan is finalizing his Masters in Management Science and also possesses a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management! While pursuing his Bachelor’s degree, he served as a President for the Makerere University Tourism Association. His dedication to the tourism industry is palpable! He is well travelled throughout East Africa and he has been involved in marketing the destinations we offer for a number of years, including attending several international trade fairs and being involved in various campaigns to promote the destinations. He is multi-skilled, passionate, very flexible and customer-centric. He feels truly privileged to be able to do what he loves each day within a company that he has such great admiration for.
Halima Nansubuga: Safari Planner
Halima is a dedicated and adaptable individual with a positive attitude towards life. She works consistently through efficient and analytical thinking, planning, dedication and organization. She is very driven and passionate about tourism and has had over 7 years’ experience in safari planning in Uganda. She is particularly interested in helping others and changing lives, and community tourism is one of her passions.
Lydia Nakkazi: Safari Planner
Born and raised in Uganda, Lydia has a very deep passion for tourism – and a strong desire to show others her beautiful country. She has been working in the industry for 8 years, and has gained an impressive amount of product knowledge. What drives her the most is the exposure to working with people from all over the world, and exploring new cultures. She is not afraid of a challenge, and will go out of her way to ensure the best service possible. Her witty mind and quick thinking, combines with the love for her country and results in amazing guest experiences.
Michael Ohguchi: Head Safari Guide
Michael is Ugandan, with a Japanese father and a Norwegian/Ugandan mother descending from the royal family. He has been in the tourism industry from 2000 and has studied in Kenya and as well as in Uganda, with many varied tourism and guiding qualifications. Mike serves as the Welfare Executive Board Chairman for the Uganda Safari Guides Association and is passionately involved in all aspects of tourism. Mike loves the peace and tranquility of nature – showing this to guests is where he is his best.
Dickson Atwiine: Safari Guide
Dickson grew up in Mbarara, in the western hills of Uganda and he studied tourism and travel operations. Dickson loves hospitality and the tourism industry; and feels blessed to have such exposure to Uganda in a way that few others have. He is hard working, friendly and professional with a high-rate of excellence on guest feedback.
All our guides are trained in defensive driving and have First Aid qualifications.
Lodge Reservations | Purchasing | Finance | Other Operations
Our main office is situated in Bugolobi, Kampala, a leafy suburb a little away from the hustle and bustle of the centre of town. This is our hub, where all reservations, marketing, vehicle maintenance, accounting, purchasing and other logistics for the group take place. The passion and dedication of the team is palpable when visiting our office; and many a day and night is spent strategizing and planning together, with the sole focus of promoting tourism to the country we love.