Uganda Tourism News And Changes
Uganda Tourism News And Changes, The Uganda tourism industry have evolved overtime as the country is economically growing. Local people are slowly learning the purpose for touring the country’s destinations, which had been seen as a waste of money or a habit for only the rich. Many preferred to take foreign adventures but a number of them are picking up visiting uganda tourism destinations.
In general, the tourism influx to major Uganda safari destinations is rising even after the Covid 19 pandemic, which hurt tourism worldwide. More information about Uganda as a land gifted by nature or why it is referred to as the pearl of Africa is being disseminated. Through different media platforms like internet, magazine, televisions, radios and others. The once unknown Uganda as an African safari destination is picking momentum.
Uganda is best known as one of the African countries that host mountain gorillas, the source of River Nile on Lake Victoria, which is the longest river in the world, great game parks, one of the best birding destinations in Africa and so much more.
With all the above to sell, some changes must be in place to regulate the operations of Tour and travel operators for the safety of the tourists and to offer value for money.
The Uganda Tourism Board for years has been devising ways to regulate the tourism sector to reach the world standard without affecting the tour operators work. All stakeholder in the industry are being consulted in order to hit the tourism equilibrium and not leave behind anyone in this highly fragile industry.
How Uganda Tourism Met Changes in 2013 to 2015.
From 2013, the Uganda Tourism industry witnessed several changes that are worth writing about. It is during this period that the government of Uganda decided to have an independent ministry of Tourism and Wildlife to cater for tourism development in the country. This was a great achievement as initially, it was affiliated under the ministry of Trade tourism and trade. After achieving this, the ministry established an independent office to pursue its official duties.
The duty of licensing and controlling quality of all tour and travel agents was moved from the ministry of tourism to Uganda Tourism Board. In June 2014 Uganda Tourism Board held a consultative meeting with Tour Operators at Uganda museum to discuss the best way on how licensing and quality control exercise will run.
It was thus agreed that the tourism act will be implemented and all tour and travel agents plus tour guides would be licensed after passing minimum requirements as set by Uganda Tourism Board. The fee to be paid is Uganda Shillings 300.000 per company and guides. The following meeting saw Uganda Tourism Board explain the guidelines for being licensed and the benefits of being licensed.
In this same period, Uganda Tourism Board has its budget increased to five billion Uganda shillings which much as it is still meagre is a right step in the right direction. It also indicates that the government has started appreciating the roll tourism plays in earning foreign exchange to Uganda.
2013-2014 saw Uganda Wildlife Authority increase the price of Gorilla permit from US Dollars 500.00 to USD700.00 for foreign None residents and USD479.00 to USD500.00 for Foreign residents. This almost sparked off contest between Uganda Wildlife Authority and Tour Operators who urged that while Rwanda was in position to increase her price of gorilla permits, it had worked on their infrastructure. Tour operators argued that it was better for Uganda Wildlife Authority to first deal with infrastructures in National Park, wildlife conservation before rushing to increase the price of gorilla permits.
In the same year, Uganda Wildlife Authority introduced discounted rates for gorilla permits on low seasons of April, May and November at USD350.00 from USD700.00 to allow those that cannot afford tracking gorillas in high seasons to do so in low seasons. This was meant to increase permits sales during low seasons as well.
Uganda Wildlife Authority embraced cashless system where the originally used paper receipts as park entrance were replaced with UWA Cards. This is working in National parks although tour operators argue that before it is rolled to other national parks, it should be tested and confirmed. Uganda Wildlife Authority say that this will help in reducing on amount of cash carried around by driver guides which end up attracting robbers and putting the safety and security of clients at risk.
Uganda Tourism Association which is an umbrella body for all private associations in Uganda got a new President. Herbert Byaruhanga was elected as a new President for Uganda Tourism Association replacing Amos Wekesa. He started by stressing that a master plan would be in place to guide tourism developments of the association and indeed it was launched and we look forward to its implementation. He also promised that a fully fledged secretariat would be instituted to run the day today work of Uganda Tourism Association. With the new president in, all private tourism organizations have been working together to develop the industry.
The year 2013-2014 saw Uganda Wildlife Authority propose to put Uganda Gorilla permits online to be viewed and purchased by everyone on the globe. This was resisited by local tour operators under their umbrella organization (The Association of Uganda Tour Operators) resulting into the minister to institute a body to find out the best way to sort this out.
It was later agreed that gorilla permit be put online but the right to view and book be left to Uganda’s registered tour operators only. Uganda Wildlife Authority implemented this as the software purchased was modified to suite the new requirements. In the meantime, Uganda Wildlife Authority started providing weekly availability of gorilla permits to tour operators something that has eased work for the reservations team at UWA.
Ebola hits the news as it killed many in West Africa and tourists to East Africa cancelled their trips thinking that West Africa is closer to East Africa. It was at this moment that Uganda Tourism Board issued a press release to assure tourists that Uganda is ebola free and that our team is the most active on the continent.
A number of tourists visiting Africa for safaris started choosing Uganda as one of the to go to African Destinations until 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic crushed to World tourism Industry to the bone. Rebuilding it is slowly picking up at a very low level because people are in fear of what may compare while on safari.
The Uganda Tourism Board through the Director Quality Assurance Mr Semakula in a meeting held in 2019 had issued an ultimatum that all tour operators, guides, hotels and other stakeholders have to fully register with UTB by 2020. This was to be implemented in 2020 if anyone was to allowed access to Uganda tourism destinations. This came as a bid to reduce the number of briefcase operators who offered no value for money.
What Uganda tourism Change were made after Covid 19
When the Corona Virus affected the world and travel suspended worldwide, this Uganda Tourism Board ultimatum was pushed to January 2023. No unregistered Uganda tour or travel stakeholder is to be allowed in the National park by Uganda wildlife Authority.
The Uganda wildlife Authority tarrif as of 2022 to 2025 were changed after the corona virus lockdown where by currently the cost of gorilla trekking permit in Uganda is $800 for foreign nonresidents per person per trek, $700 for foreign residents, 300000shs for East Africans. No one is allowed to visit the mountain gorillas or chimpanzees trekking without a mask. These endangered primates are susceptible to human communicable diseases because they hold a high percentage of human DNA.
Even the price for Park entry to Murchison falls National park changed and Queen Elizabeth National park, Lake Mburo National park and others to $45 per person per 24 hours. The cost price for chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National park is now $300 per person per trek and much more
What Are Uganda’s Major Tourism Destinations
The Uganda National Park
Uganda has 10 known National parks all distributed throughout the country. You need a well-coordinated itinerary and good number of days in Uganda to enjoy all there beauties with less interference.
The famous Uganda National parks include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga National park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Kibale National park, Rwenzori National Park, Elgon National Park, Semliki National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park.
All these National park host wildlife and amazing landforms all that are naturally created landforms or thrive in a natural setting. Even those habituated like the mountain gorillas and chimpanzees do not loss entirely there natural behavior.
In the Uganda National Game Parks, you may get to see animals like Elands, lions, Impalas, lions, cheetahs, hyenas, Rothschild giraffes, herds of elephants, leopards, water buck, reed bucks, bush busks, hartebeest, black and white colobus, red tailed monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, chimpanzees, blue monkeys, zebras, olive baboons and so much more. Although all these animals are not found in each of these parks, there those that are common to most parks.
Some parks are famous for hosting Uganda’s primates like the mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable National park and Mgahinga National Park. These are some of the only world renowned habitats for the mountain gorillas. Other primates like the blue monkeys, golden monkeys, L’Hoests’, potto, black and white colobus, grey-cheeked mangabey, olive baboons and many more may be spotted. Kibale National park is the major home of chimpanzee trekking in Uganda but some of the above mentioned primates may be spotted in this park too.
Birding Destinations In Uganda
Uganda is one of the major birding destinations in Africa. Even the Africa Bird Club acknowledges this. The country hosts over 1000 bird species and these are attributed to the favorable habitats where they thrive. Some of the renowned Uganda birding destinations include Mabamba swamp, Mpanga Forest, Mabira Forest, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Musambwa Island although not so much visited, Botanical gardens, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Bunyonyi and so many others. To exhaust at least half of the Uganda birding destinations, you need a well-tailored and coordinated itinerary
Uganda Water Activity Safari Destinations
The source of River Nile in Jinja is one of the major water activities that Uganda is proud of. The exact point where River Nile separates from Lake Victoria is amazing as a zigzag like water line separates calm water of Lake Victoria from that starting its course to Egypt.
White water rafting in Itanda Falls makes the water drama on River Nile an epic adventure.
The launch trip to Murchison Falls is one of the top highlights on the course of River Nile. The Victoria Nile water flows for over 80 km on a bed of rocks stagger then squeezes through a narrow gorge of about 6 meters wide before bursting out to create a thundering sound.
The water then cascades down a 44 meters high cliff to join the rest of the course. This occurrence is one of the highlights in Murchison Falls National Park.
A launch trip on Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park gives you the best views of this biosphere reserve at the bottom of the rift valley. The banks are often graced by an array of birds both domestic and foreign birds that love feeding from the marshy ground. These shores have a bird magnet. A number of animals may be seen drinking and bathing from the shore. Some of the animals you may get to see include lions, leopards, herds of elephants, bush bucks and so many others. The aquatic life of this channel is enjoyed by hippos, crocodiles, otters and others.
ln some of the water bodies is impressive as you may get to catch Nile perch, cat fish, tilapia, lung fish and others depending on your luck for the day. You need to make advance booking so that a boat with its captain is booked in advance. Carry your own fishing equipment and lures.
White water rafting on River Nile
Much as River Nile is the longest River in the world that feeds Uganda to Egypt, the most interesting activities are in Uganda. White water rafting at Itanda falls gives you the thrill of the Nile course.
You do not need to have experience to be part of this adventure because there are skilled instructors that take you through the entire expedition. You just need to peddle through the rough tides and secure your safety gears. An instructor with a kayak goes through the tides first to establish there strength then call upon you to go through. Your safety is the duty of the instructors on ground.
Bungee jumping on river Nile
Jumping from a high cliff to touch the River Nile water is fascinating. A heavy rope holds you as you get down a boat wait to pick you. It is an adrenaline stimulating activity.
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