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New UWA Buses to Boost Tourism in Uganda

New UWA Buses to Boost Tourism in Uganda

  • Posted: Jan 29, 2018
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The year 2018 has started with interesting news including the importation of brand new executive UWA buses that are aimed at promoting domestic tourism in Uganda. Additionally, these buses will contribute to awareness among some members of the population especially corporations, schools as well as the general public institutions within the different areas of tourism for conservation initiatives.

While launching the buses at Uganda Wildlife Authority Headquarters in Kamwokya (Kampala), the State Minister for Tourism-Hon Godfrey Kiwanda emphasized that the over dependence of the country in International Tourism is not sufficient in supporting tourism development in Uganda hence the need to also focus on domestic tourists.

According to UWA Executive Director-Dr. Andrew Sseguya, all the five buses coasted about $800, 000 (Uganda shillings 2, 923,080,000) and was part of the Agency’s strategy to improve tourism and conservation within all the National Protected Areas. Therefore, you can visit Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Lake Mburo and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park at greatly reduced transport cost.

However, that is not enough because with the poor state of roads, it is challenging to connect to the National Parks even with the purchase of the buses. Therefore according to UWA Executive Director, the Government is very committed to constructing more roads across Uganda so that tourists are not challenged with transport and connection to the Conservation Areas.

What special features are found on the executive buses to make them ideal for tourism? They surprisingly have high ground clearance with cozy leather seats, power charging ports, entertainment and communication facilities as well as enough luggage space. Wouldn’t want to feel the comfort of the new tourism buses?

During the same time of launching the buses, Minister Kiwanda also launched the 2018 Tulambule public Campaign, to sensitize and create awareness about the tourism sector among Ugandans, as a way of promoting domestic tourism in the country.  During this initiative, tourists (especially Ugandans) are able to make trips to popular destinations in the country such as Murchison Falls, Kidepo Valley, Lake Mburo and Queen Elizabeth National Parks as well as Towns like Jinja, Mbarara and Mbale at affordable rates for middle income earners.  Therefore with the purchase of the buses, Ugandans can take advantage of the low rates to explore the beauty of the country-known as the “Pearl of Africa”. Not only that, with these buses, two birds have been shot with one stone because tourism is marketed to locals and then more Ugandans will be able to visit the spectacular National Parks.

These executive buses were commissioned as part of the benefits of the $100,000,000 World Bank Project referred as the “Competitive and Enterprises Development Project (CEDP). This project is aimed at supporting reforms to improve the business environment within Uganda.

In conclusion, the launch of the executive buses by the Uganda Wildlife Authority is one of the ways of marketing the attractions especially National Parks to locals while at the same time promoting domestic tourism since more Ugandans will be able to explore what the country offers.

Kibale Forest Has 3 Chimpanzee Tracking Sessions

Kibale Forest Has 3 Chimpanzee Tracking Sessions

  • Posted: Oct 03, 2017
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As one of the most attractive safari destination  in Uganda for chimpanzee tracking and also famous to the world as one of the most populated primate capital in Africa,Kibale Forest  now runs three chimpanzee trekking sessions a day in line with conservation and tourism demand. Most travelers to Africa love tracking gorillas and chimpanzees at the same time though some still don’t different that they have a choice to go chimpanzee habituation instead of  trekking and spend a all day in company of the first moving primates.

Because gorilla tracking and Chimpanzee trekking go hand in hand, the high demand for gorilla tourism lead to a high demand for chimpanzee trekking as well.However, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) the government body that manages all Uganda national parks passed a new chimpanzee tracking session for Kibale forest to be thrice a day instead of twice a day in respect of conservation and tourism demand. This has enabled many primate lovers to track chimpanzees as well as gorillas in the right time one after the other. Its also great news to those planning to visit Uganda for gorilla and chimpanzee trekking tours to Kibale forest and Bwindi Impenetrable National park since the number of chimpanzee permits has been doubled.

Important Things to Know About Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale Forest

Best time to Go Chimpanzee Trekking

Chimpanzee trekking is all year activity just like gorilla tracking but those interested in Chimpanzee habituation can visit the park in the months of March, April, May and November when the tourists are low. Since chimpanzee habituation is done in groups of 4-6, you get enough chances of getting close to the chimps, make clear observation and photography. But also tracking chimpanzees in March, April, May and November is great in Kibale Forest National Park.

Cost of Chimpanzee permits in Kibale

Chimpanzee trekking permits for Kibale Forest National Park cost $150 per trek while chimpanzee habituation go for $22o for a day but the trekking fee goes to $100 per a trek during low season months a price valid until 2019 when Uganda Wildlife Authority plans to revise its park tariff rates. It is anticipated that this Uganda tour adventure will also become a little bit costly in future for conservation reasons so better to do it once you can provided there is money and time.

Other places where to go chimpanzee tracking grounds in Uganda include;

Awakening Lango’s Tourism

Awakening Lango’s Tourism

  • Posted: Mar 10, 2017
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Lango sub region is made up of 8 districts, with a population of about 2.1 million people and Lira is the largest district and town. The town serves as a commercial trade center, between Uganda and South Sudan, with most of the people in the region practice farming including rice, maize and cattle.

Lango sub region of northern Uganda is officially open to tourism, following the launching of Lango Tourism Cluster and the recent domestic tourism campaign, dubbed Tulambule Uganda. The Uganda Tourism Board, ministry of tourism, wildlife & antiquities, in partnership with local authorities, started identifying tourism sites and attractions including history, culture and food in Lango sub-region.

Lango is to open to the outside world after isolation from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel insurgence which brought misery to people from the 1980’s to 2006.  In fact, the Barlonyo memorial site was the first to be visited by the officials, where 302 civilian were killed at the site by Kony rebels in 2004. During a tour to this cultural site, visitors get a clear picture of the killings that went on during the war in northern Uganda.

As Ugandans explored Lango’s tourism sites and attractions during the 3 day Uganda Tour dubbed “Tulambule Excursion”, conducted last year. The minister of tourism and officials from Uganda tourism board with local authorities visited various historical and natural tourist. Along cultural and educational engagements were made with local schools, tour operators and ways on how to create and market the kind tourism experience, a local or foreign tourist would have while in Lango were liaised.

Lango people have a rich and unique culture heritage; anthropologists assert that these people originated from Ethiopia, some of the heritage hills and rocks bear evidence. Ibuje, Nget and Otuke hills according to the local legend are some of the sites identified for tourism. During the visit, officials encountered some of the earliest human foot prints; Olum was one of them believed to have supernatural powers.

The traditional culture is rich and unique, locals especially women practice their dance, music and folklore as well as local cuisines including Shea (Mwoya) butter making are still cherished despite the increasing westernization. Artisans also produce coiled pottery, carving wood and fashioning straws into mats, weaving baskets and a lot of Lango artifacts remain unexplored.

The people of Lango once had one kingdom before the British colonial rule; the Tulambule Team also explored the British imperialist war land marks in the region, especially at Kangai site, where two kings of traditional kingdoms of Bunyoro – Kitara and Buganda were captured during anti-colonial wars that took place in 1899. Kungu is another landmark in Apac district where missionaries started first settled to spread Christianity hence it’s a great attraction for faith based tourism.

Other cultural heritage and historical sites that were identified as important for tourism development in the region include:-

Burial palace in Apac district, where Uganda’s first prime minister and president, Dr. Milton Obote was buried. During his rule, president Obote once abolished traditional kingdoms which were later re-instituted after his downfall. Unfortunately, the Lango chiefdom remains defunct to date.

Besides the rich cultural heritage, Lango sub-region is also blessed with natural attractions including rivers, fresh water lakes, swamps, which present opportunities for adventure and wildlife viewing. They include Lake Kyoga, Lake Kwania, Olweny and Arocha swamps and several rivers including River Moroto with pygmy crocodiles, birds and mammals. River Moroto boasts Aswan hydro-power station which generates hydro-electricity, leading to economic development in the region.

Following the accomplished Tulambule visit in Lango, a series of meetings were conducted, highlighting plans to increase tourist facilities including hotels, building a new airfield, expand road network to carter for tourists who may prefer to travel to region by air. All these are expected to awaken tourism in Lango according to ministry of tourism and Uganda tourism board.

Some of the region’s districts like Lira and Apac have towns, with hotels, restaurants, health centers and hospitals, banking facilities; the common mode of transport is motorcycles, cars and bicycles. For those who need to get around to the markets for shopping, sightseeing or business.

Why Uganda Still Receives Low Tourists

Why Uganda Still Receives Low Tourists

  • Posted: Aug 26, 2015
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Uganda is a land locked country bordered by Kenya in the East, Sudan in the north, and Democratic Republic of Congo in the west and Tanzania in the South. Uganda is known within the tourist circles – thanks to the great mountain gorillas within the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Forest in south western Uganda.

Uganda is among the African countries with booming tourism sector – this is because, thousands of tourists rash to Uganda to view a variety of tourist attraction and to justify Winston Churchill’s statement “Uganda is the pearl of Africa” after viewing the amazing attractions – a century later, Lonely Planet voted Uganda the Number one tourist destination for 2012. The tourism potential of Uganda is unexplainable –

  • one of the three countries hosting the mountain gorillas,
  • a country with the known Source of the Nile in Jinja,
  • a destination with the highest chimpanzee population density in the world
  • a country which is home to over 1065 bird species nearly half of Africa’s 2400 bird species
  • one of the few African countries with kingdoms and unique culture well preserved for future generations
  • an amazing ecotourism destination with well preserved national parks and game reserves

Despite of the above, Uganda tourism still experience some limitations to elevate to highest level – the problem of poaching is still rampant. Karamajong in north Eastern Uganda are hungry for wild meat exposing Kidepo Valley National Park to danger, Queen Elizabeth and other game reserves popular for wildlife safaris also experience the same problem though Uganda government is fighting tooth and nail to control the habit. In attempting to control poaching, rangers are also exposed to dangers and some loose their lives since some poachers are armed. Elephants, Rhinos are highly hunted for tusks or horns while Antelopes, buffaloes and so on are hunted meat and skin.

Limited funds – the government of Uganda lack enough funds to promote tourism in terms of marketing. Much money is needed to be injected in tourism through advertising Ugandan tourist potentials like wild animals, birds, drainage and relief features. On the other hand, organizing international tourism exhibitions or crusades is very expensive – even sponsoring representatives to the world exhibition is costly and some times Ugandan representatives are denied visas to go market Uganda abroad.

Uganda is a land locked country which makes it difficult for the visitors to access via the sea/ ocean. Unlike Kenya, most of the Ugandan visitors use Air transport which makes their safaris very expensive. To that note therefore, Kenya receives more visitors who easily use water transport to tour the Kenya, Tanzania and other nations near the sea.

Poor infrastructure like roads, accommodation and so on – some roads to the Uganda parks and reserves experiences seasonal inaccessibility especially in rain periods. Kidepo Valley National Park is hardly reached in rain season, from Queen Elizabeth National Park to Bwindi Impenetrable forest via Ishasha sector is also in bad condition – therefore, visitors delay to reach the park.

The collapse of Uganda Airline – the plain used to transport visitors to Uganda with ease but unfortunately, it collapsed due to limited finances. The use of other airlines is more expensive to Ugandan visitors – hence declining number.

Some tourist attractions are situated in remote areas which are hardly accessed – some are very far from the Airport which makes it difficult to catch the return flight in time.

Seasonal Out breaks of diseases like Ebola, Malaria among others – such diseases threaten visitors to Uganda which puts tourist activities on stand still. Uganda is among the forested countries in Africa with mosquitoes, tsetse flies and so on – therefore tourists are advised to move with Malaria control vaccines. It should be noted that Ebola is seasonal in Uganda and the government is fighting tooth and nail to overcome the out break.

Inadequate communication in some remote areas – some forested places have no access to internet and telephone net works. Rangers and visitors find it difficult to communicate effectively.

Presence of dangerous wildlife like reptiles, lions, hyenas and leopards among others. Such wildlife is a threat to visitors and rangers. However, limited cases have been reported since visitors are highly guarded by rangers while in parks and Reserves.

Nyakagezi Mountain Gorilla group in Mgahinga Forest National park is mobile and tracking it is not guaranteed – it some times cross to Rwanda or Congo and then back to Uganda after some time. However, tracking gorillas in the alternative Bwindi Impenetrable forest National Park is guaranteed and in case visitors fail to trek Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga Forest, the Uganda Wildlife officers can reallocated another gorilla group in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

The increased encroachment to the game reserves and National Parks – This is as a result of increased population in Uganda. Some forests have been cleared, burnt – some swamps have also been settled in by people instead of wildlife. As a result, the country is loosing some important wild animals and birds as they disappear to other countries.

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UTPA interviews UTB Board chairman

UTPA interviews UTB Board chairman

  • Posted: Jan 11, 2015
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Mr James Tumusiime was inaugurated by the Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities as the new Chairman of the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), a body responsible with the marketing Uganda as a tourist destination. Uganda Tourism Press Association(UTPA)’s SOLOMON OLENY caught up with him about his plan for the tourism sector whose current performance leaves a lot to be desired. Here are some of the highlights from the interview.

Uganda’s tourism sector is still under-funded compared to our neighbours Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya. How do you plan on getting more funding?
We will use means within our influences to supplement our budget since it’s likely to take long before the tourism budget is fattened. For starters, we will increase direct taxes levied on Uganda’s tourism strategic players such as centers of hospitality, lodges, transporters, and tourism centers among others. That way, we will be in position to raise a minimum of at least $3 million annually. However, this will be after implementing systems that enhance the growth of these players which is in the offing.
We are also on the verge of getting Donor support from various organizations like UNDP through the International trade center, European Union among others.

Many staff members of UTB are political failures who reportedly got these jobs out of sympathy by the Government. Do you trust their capabilities or you plan on recomposing the staff?
For starters I think it is too early to jump to conclusions in regards to anyone’s competences. See, it takes a collective combination of fully functioning ‘7Ms’, namely, market, method, machines, material, manpower, management and money for an organization to deliver. Provided all these components are at our disposal, we will be able to weed out incompetent staff who cannot deliver more easily. Precisely, we are going to be a more result-oriented institution.

You are destined to be in office for the next three years, how many jobs you project to have created by the end of your contract?
Over 150,000 more jobs both directly and indirectly in addition to the current 550,000 which totals to about Shs700,000. This will be possible through the synergetic and multiplier effects over time because there are a lot of players mushrooming in the sector day after day.

In 2012, Uganda was ranked number one tourist destination by Lonely Planet. Amos Wekesa a key player in the tourism sector says Uganda didn’t reap as much as expected from this award, how do you plan on creating an influx of tourists coming in?
We are focusing on the implementation of standards for all tourism players like the transporters, lodges and civil aviation authorities, and ensuring that the regulations are adhered to faithfully. This will help in ensuring that they meet the acceptable standards hence the ability to not only magnetize tourists, but also give them a reason to stay longer for better experiences. That way, tourists will increase on their spending while in the country thereby enabling us remarkably surpass the current $800 million returns.

Our second priority will be heavy marketing and promoting Uganda’s tourism on the international scene. Currently, the biggest majority of our tourists are from Africa especially sub-Saharan Africa. As such we are now pursuing Europe and U.S markets. They are still virgin markets because for a long time Uganda has not promoted itself out there.

For years, Ugandans have expressed little interest in touring their own country hence domestic tourism has remained an untapped market. How do you plan on increasing the local demand for tourism?
It has been that way because tourism isn’t marketed to them. We will ensure that the local authorities and the players in the sector mobilize marketing expos through which the local tourists can be interested into different forms of tourist activities such as culture, nature and fashion among others. This system is tried and tested and it did wonders in the Busoga when the Busoga authorities and tourism players under the umbrella of the Busoga Tourism Initiative capitalized on mobilizing Ugandans for the Busoga expo which turned out to be a big success. We will also work hand in hand with the Media Center to market the sector through the local and international media.