Skeptical of this: Invitation to Participate in the East African Universities’ Lecture Series and a Safari

Hmm … this smells off. Must be as SCAM somewhere in here.
Updated 12/13/13. I do not think this is a SCAM.  But I am not quite sure what it is.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Tours of Purpose (TOP) <>
Date: Wed, May 23, 2012 at 9:29 PM
Subject: Invitation to Participate in the East African Universities’
Lecture Series and a Safari

Dear University of California Faculty and Staff:

Tours of Purpose, TOP, a professor exchange agency dedicated to the
development and improvement of economic, academic and general welfare
in East Africa (i.e., Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi) is
hereby extending a humble invitation to you to participate in our
ongoing program of lecture series taking place in our local
universities, colleges, high schools, primary schools and other
academic institutions.  Additionally, TOP would like to avail to you a
one in a lifetime opportunity to take a safari where you will see and
photograph lions, elephants, giraffes, leopards, zebras, hippos,
rhinos, among an array of wildlife, in addition to a rare opportunity
to visit the mountain gorillas and man’s closest relative, the chimp,
at a TOP’ scholars’ give away price. Winston Churchill took this trip
and immortally dabbed Uganda “The Pearl of Africa”, and Queen
Elizabeth was on such a safari when she learned that she had become
queen of England. The average visit lasts for about two weeks–with a
couple of days or so dedicated to visiting the said incredible African
wildlife reserves–although you may wish for your particular visit to
be shorter or longer. TOP would like to partner with a specific
professor, or any academician, in pursuing a possibility of coming to
East Africa to deliver lectures in any given dispositive academic
discipline.  TOP will cooperate with you in arranging and customizing
your travel details to Africa, including picking you up at the airport
in TOP state of the art SUVs, booking fair accommodation, arranging
your meals, setting and managing your speaking schedule, taking you on
a safari trip and other tours, and ultimately delivering you to the
airport for your flight home. TOP invariably offers the option of one
being paired with another educator from North America or Europe during
this trip, although traveling alone in East Africa is not complicated
nor precarious at all.

Thus, if TOP secures your willingness to participate, TOP will, first,
discuss with you the financial side of it, including revealing what
assistance may be available for you in this regard so that you can
achieve your $1,200 or so round trip air ticket.  Second, where a
Holiday Inn-style room costs about $180 a night in East Africa, TOP
offers you even better accommodation in our partnering hotel, Giraffe
Park Hotel, at $350 a week, breakfast and dinner inclusive. Lunch can
be packed or arranged very reasonably.  As a TOP scholar, you also
qualify for $200 towards your travel expenses.

Consider, too, should you have plans of traveling to or through
Europe, why not shoot two birds with one stone by detouring through
East Africa for the instant, noble purpose and halve the costs, not to
mention the time to be saved or to be well used. Take note, too, that
in addition to some of your students who may either just want to
accompany you or do an internship here, you can invite your family and
friends as well.

As such, your willingness to participate dwarfs all financial
concerns, for TOP stands with you to make this trip not only
economical but, most importantly, simple to handle all around. In
fact, as an American educator, you are due to discover that your worth
to the vast world’s academic needs is patently inestimable and that
sharing your expertise inures a hidden fulfillment.

In sum, this email cannot answer all the questions you might have
regarding this trip, therefore, you are encourage to contact me so
that we can further this conversation, including chatting on the
phone, if you desire.  Needless to say, I, or a TOP representative,
will be available to talk with you about either an immediate trip or
to muse about a distant future possibility for this lectureship, in
addition to whether TOP, in conjunction with our local institutions,
should promulgate a concrete, personalized proposal for your

Lastly, feel very welcome to visit our website (
) to learn more about us and to view photos and read up on
testimonials of past participants. Also, on the website you will be
able to either join us on Facebook or to follow us on twitter.

Therefore, we hope to hear from you soon.


~Josephine Nakandi
Program Director

Tours of Purpose, TOP
49 Nakawa Road, Suite 400
Kampala, Uganda, East Africa
Tel: +256 778 899 429

UPDATE 12/12/13

Some miscellaneous stuff I found on the web relating to Tours of Purpose

Denis White, a Professor at U. Toledo has some doubts about financial behavior of “Teach and Tours Sojourner” which he reports has the same contact # as Tours of Purpose.
Teach and Tours Sojourners and Tours of Purpose both work with Stawa University

A reviewer of Teach and Tour Sojourners on Trip Advisor has some serious negative comments.

The “Meta Name” tag in the source of the current Tours of Purpose website reads:

” “

The “Title” tag in the current website reads “Tours of Purpose | Teach and Tour Sojourners, Kampala, Uganda, Entebbe”

Another negative review of TATS is here.

I note – there are also positive reviews out there of TATS and TOP.   Hard to know just what is going on here.  Could be that someone is trying hard and occasionally things go poorly.  I have no idea.

Author: Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

3 thoughts on “Skeptical of this: Invitation to Participate in the East African Universities’ Lecture Series and a Safari”

  1. Someone contacted me about this to ask if I had any more information and a little sniffing around on the web showed that other people did not have good experiences:



    for exmaple


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