Tourism Has The Answer To Depreciating Shilling
Over the past years, Uganda has grown in the tourism industry making it one of the country’s major foreign exchange earners hence tourism has the answer to depreciating shilling. This growth however has faced challenges of underfunding from government and the Covid 19 pandemic, which stagnated the world.
In Uganda, Tourism has been the leading foreign exchange earner having surpassed Agriculture in recent time. As we talk, the Uganda shilling is depreciating at an alarming rate and currently the United States dollar is trading at an equivalent of Uganda Shillings over 3800 per dollar.
The Bank of Uganda has intervened by selling security bills to reduce shillings in speculation but the situation is not about to stabilize since this seems to be a global challenge. According to reports coming from Bank of Uganda, Uganda imported more goods compared to what was exported. This therefore implies that more United States dollars and other foreign currencies were spent compared to what was earned in terms of visible and invisible exports.
The economies of the world are trying to recover after about two years of lockdown because of the corona virus. Even the tours and travel industry in uganda and world over is trying to pick up although some travelers are still in fear of the effects of corona virus.
The government of Uganda and the private sector are monitoring this situation accordingly and it is feared that if not controlled very well, then prices for basic and essential commodities and services are likely to increase. Inflation is likely to hit the highest mark, cost of living has already increased and many companies are likely to lay off many employees in order to break even on their side.
The tourism industry is one of the sources of income the government is looking at to try collect some revenue in order to improve the escalating prices of commodities in the country.
What Tourism Can Do To Improve Economic Situation In Uganda
Uganda is endowed with so many tourist attractions which include the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park, Chimpanzees in Kibale, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Budongo, beautiful national parks such as Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls National park among others.
The other outstanding attractions include Lake Victoria which the largest fresh water lake in Africa with its numerous beaches. The Nile which is the longest river on the planet earth with its source in Jinja, we have Rwenzori mountains which are the largest mountain ranges in Africa as well as her hospitable people with different cultures.
The government and the private sector have invested heavily in infrastructure such as roads, hotels, lodges and tourist vehicles in order to improve the standard of service offered to tourists that will make it to Uganda.
The major challenge that is facing Uganda’s tourism is lack of enough funds to promote this sector. Uganda Tourism Board that is supposed to promote and market Uganda is still underfunded and most of her budget goes to paying employees of the board leaving tourism with a small budget for marketing.
Our neighbors Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya have understood the importance of tourism in relation to foreign exchange in flow and have been spending heavily to increase tourist inflow in their countries. This has worked for them and should work for Uganda as well. If Uganda follows suite, then more dollars will enter the country and the exchange rate will go down and possibly this will help to stabilize the unstable Uganda shilling both in the short and the long run. The presence of East African Visa is one pass to give access to Uganda’s tourism industry which is less publicized. At least one doesn’t have to apply for another visa to enjoy the attractions in Uganda.
The tourism industry is providing jobs to a variety of stake holders like driver guides, hotels, park rangers, tour operators, hotel and lodge staff and so many others. Even other sectors like agriculture, medical, cultural institutions are directly or indirectly benefiting from the exposure of Uganda tourism. It is one export that doesn’t require clearance from any customs or moving from one location to another for visitors to see.
We are sure that the government of Uganda is banking on oil exploration and production but although the global prices have risen and this might not work as expected. The whole process of oil needs a lot of investment compared to tourism.
When you tip some of the service providers that have dedicated there time and given you there acquired information to make your trip a success, you improve there life. Although tipping is not compulsory, its one way to encourage the serve providers to look for ways to even perform better. They use the tips for supporting there families and taking children to school like the porters you use during gorilla trekking. Majority earn their living through helping tourists.
When Is the Best time To Travel To Uganda For Safari
Uganda is open for tourists all year but you need a do advance booking of some activities in order not to panic at the last moment.
In case you wish to do gorilla trekking or chimpanzee trekking in Uganda, you must acquire a permit for either of them in advance of travel because of the high demand worldwide. There are limited permits released for tourists to book each day and are on first come first served basis no one can reserve either a gorilla permit or chimpanzee permit without payment. This is the only commitment to show that you are interested in this activity.
The peak season for Uganda safari activities is June to September and December to January when the roads are more passable. Majority of Uganda’s tourism attractions are in remote areas with dusty bumpy roads and when it rains, some of the roads are impassable.
The low seasons for Uganda tourism are normally March to May and October to November but this doesn’t mean the attractions shut down. There is plenty to see especially in the wildlife parks when new births are being brought to earth and less congestion in the parks. You have chances of being alone on an activity supposed to be shared by others like gorilla trekking maximum number of tourists to attend is 8 people per family.
For national parks with game drives in Uganda, you need a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle because of the slippery tracks when it rains, dusty roads during dry seasons. Feeling comfortable while on a Uganda safaris is one way of making memories too of your Africa safari experience.
Which Activities To Do On Safari In Uganda
Uganda is a country gifted by nature and so most of its tourism attractions are nature based. Although majority are located in far ranging areas, they are accessible within a day by road. By using a knowledgeable tour operator like Encounter Africa Safaris we help in designing a well-tailored itinerary that gives you the best Africa safari experience.
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Uganda is one of the only mountain gorilla habitat in the world. The wild mountain gorillas live in families under the leadership of a silverback, which is the dominant male. Through gorilla habituation, the wild gorillas are familiarized to the presence of humans without altering there nature.
One need a gorilla trekking permit to be allowed access to gorilla trekking. In Uganda, the current cost of a gorilla permit is $800 per person. Only 8 gorilla permits per gorilla family are opened to the public.
Game drives in Uganda Safari
Taking an early morning game drive in the wild, gives you access to a number of animals that live in Uganda National Parks like Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Lake Mburo National Park and others.
Some of the animals you may spot include herds of elephants, buffaloes, water bucks, bush bucks, Rothschild giraffes, reed bucks, impalas, zebras, lions, leopards, hyenas, topis, uganda kobs, okapi, Oribi and others. Note that not all those animals are found in all game parks. In case you are specific about finding a particular animal, request for which National park can be added to your itinerary. Having an open mind during a Uganda safari in the game parks gives you Africa safari satisfaction.
The animals in the game parks are wild so finding them may not be a must because they are not stationed in a particular location like in the zoo.
White Water Rafting On River Nile
Uganda being the source of River Nile also has some of the best River Nile experiences. White water rafting on River Nile gives you an exciting beat of the river as it starts its course. You do not need to have any experience to do white water rafting because there instructors on ground to take you through every detail. The Itanda falls are the major white water rafting points in Uganda.
Ensure you securely buckle the safety gears and participate in peddling the tides. Enjoy the entire experience. You may head for bungee jumping an adrenaline stimulating activity where you get down a high cliff to touch River Nile water while hanging by a rope.
Chimpanzee trekking on Uganda safari
Trekking to see the chimpanzees is very interesting as you get to see human cousins that have DNA of about 98% that of humans. They live in a community under an alpha male, each day the community splits into small troupes to feed. They rekindle in the evening to construct nests.
Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is best done in Kibale National Park, Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth National park, Kaniyo pabidi in Murchison Falls National Park and others. The cost of chimpanzee trekking permits vary with place.
Launch trip On Uganda Safari
The launch trips on the waters within Uganda national parks are thrilling. You may get to see a number of animals taking a bath by the riverside, while birds search through the marshy shoreline.
Look over for amazing features like the rift valley, Rwenzori ranges, ridges and so much more. Uganda has two significant launch trips that is one on Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth national park and another on Murchison falls national park. Watch out for several birds especially riverine species.
While in Murchison falls national park, you get to watch River Nile vigorously pushing through a narrow bend of about 6 meters wide to burst out vigorously and form a cloudy appearance then cascade a 44 meters high cliff to touch the bottom and continue with the course.
The launch trip on Kazinga channel gives you the best view of the Rift valley floor and its surroundings. A wide range of fauna grows at the bottom of the floor including forest cover. The shoreline of Kazinga channel is magnet to a number of birds including local and foreign species.
Sport Fishing on Uganda Safari
The most exciting fishing point is on river Nile where designated points are reserved for this purpose. You must carry your own fishing equipment and do advance booking for a fishing boat and captain. You have chances of catching fish species like Nile perch, tilapia, catfish, lungfish and others according to your luck.
Birding on Uganda safari
Birding in Uganda is one of the prime bird destinations in Africa harboring over 1000 bird species. You can do birding in botanical gardens in Entebbe, Mabamba swamp, Queen Elizabeth National park, Bwindi Impenetrable forest National Park, Kibale National Park, Mpanga forest and others. You may have the chance to see Uganda birds like shoe bill, Red-chested owlet, Bar-tailed Trogon, Black- collared Apalis, Tacazze Sunbird, African blue flycatcher and others.
You need a detailed itinerary with a number of days available on your holiday timetable. Although Uganda is Africa’s birding destination, they live in different locations so you must have patience and enough time on safari to get the best birding safari experience in Uganda.
We pray that the government listened and takes the advice given to them to promote tourism for both short and long term solutions for Uganda economic growth and prosperity. Tourism is one option but even other sectors can be improved upon to support the country’s income.