A sexy mother of two teenagers, Kelly MacTavish Mungar knows Uganda like the back of her hand. A factor clearly illustrated in her unique collection of exciting safaris and excursions as well as a comprehensive and professional service offering world wide travel arrangements. Dedicated and well versed in her chosen career, Kelly sparks enthusiasm and confidence.Of American decent Kelley has long adopted Uganda as her home. Married and settled in Uganda Kelly was in tourism management for seven years before launching her own dynamic tour and travel services, The Pearl of Africa in the mid 1990s.
Appropriately she named her company after the famous words of the late Sir Winston Churchill whose heart and sense of adventure was captured by Uganda. He aptly summarized Uganda as the Pearl of Africa. She talked to us about her about business, family and Uganda.
RP: Who is Kelley MacTavish?
I am a tour operator and travel agent. I have lived 23yrs in Uganda and own Pearl of Africa Tours. In April, I partnered with Gasuza Lwanga to open Rogue Elephant Creative, because I saw many synergies between tourism and media agencies.
I came to Uganda as a dentist. I worked for Kisekka Foundation Hospital and Deseret Intl.
RP: Why invest in tourism and art?
Well, I wanted to do something different from dentistry. I enjoyed being outside and I enjoy logistics. It worked for me and I am a good tour operator (sic).
RP: What opportunities are in the tours and travel industry as a service provider?
I included media – photo, film and music, into my portfolio because I saw a need to improve this area as we market tourism. Clients want better images, videos and music to help make decisions on how to spend their disposable income. Tourism is an invisible export that brings foreign exchange to Uganda starving off inflation. Tourism employs people across a wide range of jobs, from managers to cooks to cleaners, guides and drivers, with different education requirements. There are investment opportunities in tourism through hotels and lodges, restaurants, activities, adventure, night clubs and in the marketing and training of the tourism stakeholders.
“Did you know that for every 11 tourists that come to Uganda in a year, 1 permanent job is created and the potential for growth is unlimited.”
RP: At that time you were looking for doing what you loved outside dentistry (tours and travel alongside art) any challenges?
There were many challenges. Roads need to be expanded, security beefed, hotels and restaurants but even more, the country needs to be marketed more aggressively by government. If GoU would put money to market the country internationally, then the industry could grow bigger and faster but GoU spends only $700,000 @ yr against $35M (Kenya) and $17M (Rwanda). We need to understand the industry and not kill it with taxes and regulations.
RP: Are you a member of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators?
I am a member of AUTO. And I have been for all 15 yrs that I have owned Pearl of Africa Tours.
“MacTavish-Mungar is a founding member of the GeoTourism Council of Uganda and the brand Uganda – Gifted by Nature. In 2010 Kelley was Chair of the Kampala Chapter of the international tour operator organization, the Skål Foundation. Until this year Kelley was Chair of the American Chamber of Commerce in Uganda.”
RP: Best Bucket-List Safaris in Uganda?
Well of course there are the mountain gorillas. There are only 800 of these beauties left in the bamboo forests of East Africa. More than 50% are within the borders of Uganda, the Source of the Nile, Murchison Falls NP and Kidepo Valley NP. Add also chimpanzees in 20 forests including Budongo and Kibale Forest.
RP: Back to your arts and music side, you meet and start working with Gasuza Lwanga. Tell us more about him?
I meet the artist, musician and photographer Gasuza Lwanga 8 months ago. I was mesmerized by the images that he had of Uganda, photos of models, videos that looked like they should be on MTV and fabulous music in English and Luganda. I wanted to find ways to work with him to promote his talents and make marketable images for Uganda. So we talked and opened Rogue Elephant Creative.
Gasuza is a photographer with a great eye for light. but he is also an artist and musician, and actor. He has a great stage presence.
RP:Why would one opt for Rogue Elephant Creative?
Rogue Elephant Creative makes beautiful images in a professional manner that corporate clients can use for their branding and social media requirements. Our team of young urban professional brings new eyes. Their creativity abounds and is passed to the clients promptly and affordably.
For Video, we will bring first world quality to corporate clients and artists in both TVC’s and music videos. There is no need to go out of Uganda when looking for quality. We also have some beautiful new equipment, for photos, film and music plus the sound from The Cube, our recording studio is fabulous. Artists should come and check it out. They will not be disappointed in the sound or in the production quality.
RP: Who are some of the clients you have worked with?
We have just completed two of 4 projects with Mukwano including TVC’s for Nomi and Mama soap powders. Gasuza has worked with most of Uganda’s arts stars corporates too. Though our studio opened only three months ago, we have engaged a pool of talented producers to work with. Collectively they have more than 40 years creative experience combined with a strong management team, we promise and deliver quality time after time.