As we celebrate the 50th Independence, today lets have a look at the Uganda’s tourism industry, one of the leading foreign exchange earners.
Uganda is one of the leading tourists’ destination countries in Africa with a variety of attractions. Uganda’s tourism is based on primates, wildlife, culture, nature, landscape, flora, birds. Over the last decade, Uganda has attracted many tourists taking different leisure trips and wild adventures such as gorilla tracking, wildlife safaris, mountain trekking tours, cultural sites tours etc.
The tourism industry was hindered in the 1970’s because of the political instabilities that reigned in the country for an extended period of time and saw tourism decline. However, with the re-establishment of relative stability since the 1990’s, it has seen tourism grow and is now the second foreign exchange earner of the country.
Uganda boasts of ten national parks, all of which are all reach in attractions. These parks include Murchison falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National park, Kibale Forest National park, Kidepo national park, Mt. Rwenzori National park, Mt.Elgon National park, Lake Mburo National park, Semliki National park, Mgahinga National park, Bwindi impenetrable National park.
Other attractions include cultural tours. Uganda has diverse cultural settings each with a unique way of life. Notably of the attractions, Uganda is a home to half of the remaining world’s mountain gorillas, which are found in Bwindi impenetrable National park. The park is located in South Western Uganda and is made up of three parts, with currently 9 gorilla families habituated for gorilla tracking.
Chimpanzees tracking also make a highlight of attractions, with Kibale Forest National park being the home to a big number of chimpanzees. This is also a home to over 13 primate species with vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, baboons among others being part of the primates leaving in the park.
Chimpanzees are also tracked in Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth National park, Budongo forest in Murchison Falls national park, Semliki National park, and can as well be visited at Ngamba Island.
There is a variety of wildlife which can be found in the national game parks. Murchison falls National Park in particular offers a variety of game such as antelopes, buffaloes, lion, elephants, giraffe, water hogs, hippos, crocodiles among others. Murchison falls offers a breathtaking view of the mighty Nile River forcing itself through a narrow gorge, plunging down the rocks with a thunderous roar.
Other wildlife National parks Queen Elizabeth NP, Kidepo National park among others offer a variety of game, Queen Elizabeth national park having the highest concentration of hippos in Africa, as well as the biggest amount of bird species recorded in Uganda.
Mountaineering is also one of the attractions that make the tourism in Uganda. Mountaineering is done in Mt. Rwenzori National park, Mt. Elgon National park and Mgahinga National park.
Rwenzori has the highest peak in Africa with glacier at the top. To hike up to the last peak, it takes a minimum 9 days for both hike and descend. Most tourists come to enjoy this adventure, which is a life time experience to get to the top of this mountain.
Cultural/Historical tours as the attraction are done in the different tribes in the country. Notably, most cultural tours are done in Buganda kingdom in the Ganda Culture, Kalamajong, Bunyooro kingdom, Tooro kingdom, Ankole kingdom, Gisu land and Sabiny.
Among the historical sites, there is Namugongo catholic shrines, the bahai temple, Ksubi tombs, National museum.
Uganda is proud to be the source of the Nile. The mighty Nile river starts from Uganda, in Jinja district. Other attractions on the Nile include white water rafting, bungee jumping among others.
Uganda was voted the world’s leading destination centre for the year 2012, and this is because of its various attractions, which has improved with more effort put on conservation of these attractions.
Uganda still has many potentials to offer to travelers. Much of its destinations have not yet been marketed and promoted, and more are less visited. This means that Uganda has a big potential for developing ecotourism.