Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Cashless Card System
The Uganda wildlife authority lost staff members to bandits who used to ambush them with a mission to steal the money collected at the gate as park fees hence the introduction of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Cashless Card System. A lot of funds were mismanaged by those who collected them for the Authority too. Conservation of wildlife requires financial support and so the cashless cards were one of the solutions introduced to stop this vice.
For tourists’ safety the cashless card was the turn too solution to reduce on the amount of hard cash clients travelled with. Many clients especially those on Uganda safari that travelled with cash were under threat of those bandits who would steal their cash on the way to the parks.
The world is advocating for a carbon free environment and trees must be conserved to support this cause so Uganda Wildlife Authority want to reduce on the paper issued out as permits and receipts. The use of Reusable cards is slowly helping with saving the trees from which paper is made. In 2013, the Uganda Wildlife authority introduces the cashless card with gorilla trekking cards as a sample survey.
History of The Cashless Cards for Uganda Wildlife Authority
In The past a number of Uganda Wildlife
Uganda wildlife Authority introduced their cashless/smart card system to replace the cash and receipt systems that were being used to receive entrance fees to National Parks previously. This card system started in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where all gorilla permits were put on cards. This had been working very well and individuals and tour operators seem to have adopted and accept this.
Following the success of gorilla permits on cards, Uganda Wildlife rolled out this card and cashless system to other national parks such as Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth, Kibale and Murchison Falls National park where all park entrance fees were put on smart cards in a process of whipping out receipts and paying at the gate.
This development was very good as it would reduce on cash being carried by Tour guides who are sometimes attached by thief’s. On top of that, no one can steal the money loaded on these cards as a code or password is required.
To effect this, machines to detect money on these cards were installed at several points that includes Uganda Wildlife Authority head office in Kampala, Katunguru Queen Elizabeth Park Headquarters and Queens Pavilion in Kikorongo to cater for Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Nshara gate to cater for Lake Mburo National Park, Buhoma to cater for those from Bwindi and they are going to ishasha side of Queen Elizabeth National Park and in Fortportal to cater for Kibale National Park.
Challenges faced by Cashless System
Right from the beginning, this cashless system was rejected by majority local tour operators saying that the same system was first applied in Kenya and it failed. Cashless system was packaged together with a proposal of putting gorilla permits online. This didn’t rub well with local tour operator on ground that it would expose them to competition from international tour operators and as a result.
Things turned bitter between Uganda Wildlife Authority and Local Tour Operators worsened and because of this. UWA decided to launch this cashless system without testing it and consulting local tour operators who are the major stakeholders in as far as bringing tourists to Uganda National Parks are concerned.
How To make Payments To Uganda Wildlife Authority
As the world is transitioning to digital and so even transactions that minimize use of cash are picking up in Africa. Uganda Wildlife Authority accepts Credit cards, wire transfers for payments, mobile money like gorilla trekking permits, Chimpanzee trekking permits, Park fees and so much more. You must provide detail as required by financial service providers. this was done to minimize exchange of hard cash.
What Payments to Make to Uganda Wildlife Authority
All park activities under the care of Uganda Wildlife Authority are paid for at the Headquarters in Kampala . Here you present your credit card which is swiped into the credit card reading machine. When the gorilla trekking card is issued, it has a magnetic strip containing your details at the back that is swiped through another machine to read your personal details. The card bares a card number too just in case its lost. You need to note down this number as a safety measure.
What Are The Uganda National Park You Can Visit while using the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Cashless Card System
Uganda has 10 National parks all located in different points of the country but majority a concentrated in the Western part of the country. Some of the Uganda National Parks Include.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
This is the home of the biggest number of mountain gorillas in Uganda. The park is believed to have lived over 30000 years and hosting a more than 10 primate species including the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and others, 300 tree species, 51 reptiles, 88 months, 310 butterflies, over 350 bird species and so much more. This refugia forest in one of the survivors of the ice age era.
The main activity of this park is gorilla trekking but birding, nature walks, Batwa pygmies visit are some of the activities famously done in and around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Kibale national Park
This tropical rain forest hosts the biggest number of habituated chimpanzees in Africa. At the moment about 1500 chimpanzees are residents of this park both wild and habituated. A number of other primates live in the park including L’Hoests’, black and white colobus, grey cheeked mangabey, red tailed monkeys, olive baboons, pottos monkeys and others
Kibale National Park hosts a plethora of birds including about 6 species of Albertine endemics. Chimpanzee trekking is the main activity of this park but chimpanzee habituation can be arranged, birding, nature walks, hiking surrounding highlands and so much more.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
This park is known for its biodiversity with an amazing view of the rift valley floor. The Rwenzori ranges form a beautiful backdrop that runs approximately 60 miles long and 40 miles wide.
Queen Elizabeth National Park has a variety of vegetation zones that support the livelihood of several animals. some of the vegetation zones in the parks include swamp vegetation, bushy grassland, forest grassland, acacia woodland and others.
During game drives in the different tracks of this park you may see animals like lions, leopards, water bucks, warthogs, bush backs, topis, buffaloes, giant forest hogs, hyenas, mongoose to mention but a few.
The abundant birdlife in the park makes priority uganda birding destination. Some of the birds you may get to see include papyrus gonolek, Chapin’s flycatcher, lesser and greater flamingos, African skimmer, martial eagles, black-rumped buttonquail and many more.
Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge is rewarding as you test your fitness with hiking to the gorge. Other primates are present too including olive baboons, black and white colobus, vervet monkeys, grey checked mangabey and others.
During the launch trip on Kazinga Channel you have one of the best moments in the park. Look over the banks to spot a number of animals that move down to quench thirst, birds that love feeding from the marshy banks and lovely views of the Rwenzori rangers pop out beautifully.
Lake Mburo National Park
This is the closet national park to Kampala city. It is home to impalas, zebras, giraffes, elands, water bucks, bush bucks, warthogs, Uganda Kobs to mention but a few. A boat ride on Lake Mburo gives you the greatest experience of the pack. You may watch fisher men casting their nets to catch fish. The park has great views and receives a cool breeze from lake Mburo in its center.
Murchison falls National Park
Murchison falls National Park is bisected by the great River Nile, which is its lifeblood. The park has Murchison falls which are the strongest falls in the world. The Nile flows for over 80 km before stumbling on imbedded rock underneath and squeeze through a narrow gorge to burst out violently and create a cloudy appearance.
During the launch trip on River Nile, you get an exceptional look into the park beauties. During the voyage, watch out for hippos, huge Nile Crocodiles, riverine birds, wild animals that love quenching thirst from the shores. As the falls come into view, the turbulence of the boat changes and foamy appearance comes into view. You will hear the mighty Nile grumbling as it squeeze through the 6 meters wide gorge to burst out violently.
A number of animals live in the park including Oribi, lions, hyenas, water bucks, bush bucks, Uganda Kobs, giraffes, buffaloes, elephants, a rich avian life with over 450 species to mention but a few. During a game drive through different tracks you may spot some of these animals.
Chimpanzee trekking in Kaniyo Pabidi forest is eye captivating. Look out for other primates like olive baboons, grey cheeked mangabey, vervet monkeys and others. A wide range of birds live in the forest including Ituri Batis, yellow-footed flycatcher, white thighed hornbill and others.
Kidepo valley National Park
Located in the fur north eastern corner of uganda is Kidepo Valley National Park. this park is the carnivore’s destination in Uganda. A few of the animals you may get to see include cheetahs, spotted hyenas, black-backed and side striped jackals, bat eared fox, striped hyenas, aardwolf, klipsinger, Burchelk Zebras, bush bucks, oribi, Defessa water bucks and others.
Rwenzori National park
This Park lies at the foot hills of Rwenzori mountains. You go through the surrounding forest cover on the slopes of the mountain. You may get to see animals like elephants, cape buffaloes, giant forest hogs, bushbucks, chimpanzees, leopards, over 214 bird species inclusive of 19 Albertine endemics. The birds enjoy treats from different vegetation zones.
Mountain Elgon National park
This park is one of the unique wildlife reserves in the eastern part of Uganda. This is the water catchment for this area. This park is less visited and this is attributed to Mountain Kilimanjaro in Kenya which is better preferred by tourists. The park has great vegetation zones like montane forest, bamboo, montane heath, giant heather and others. These favor the survival of some animals. like oribi, Defassa water bucks, leopards, spotted hyenas to mention but a few.
An array of birds live in this park like Jackson’s Francolin, moustache green tinkerbird, black collared Apalis and others.
Semliki National Park
One of the rarely talked about Uganda National parks is Semliki National park. it is a remote park Isolated in Bundibujo district. It’s a biodiverse park with a wide range of birds. The amazing Sempaya hot springs bubbling from beneath are exceptional. It’s a moist semi Deciduous forest with more than 336 tree species, 53 mammals, and others.
Mgahinga National Park
In the fur southwestern corner is Mgahinga National Park. The park has one gorilla trekking family called Nyakagezi. This family meanders the forest and at times crosses into Rwanda. To book the gorilla permits for this park you need to check on the availability of mountain gorillas. Other activities known to this park include birding , visit the Batwa Pygmies, hiking the volcanoes and others.
Packing List For Uganda Safari
- Sun screen to smear your skin and protect it from sunburns.
- Insect repellant to keep away buzzing and stinging insects.
- A Camera to take photos and keep memories of your experience in the wild.
- Foldable Drinking water bottle to carry drinking water with.
- Binoculars to get a clearer view of far ranging attractions
- Flip flops to wear during game drives since you are entirely in the car
- Pajamas to wear in the night
- Energy snacks to munch on when hungry
- Rain gears in case it rains while in the wilderness especially for activities like gorilla trekking and chimpanzee tracking.
- Safari clothing but pack those relevant ones because the more you pack the heavier your baggage.
- Tracking boots for gorilla trekking in Uganda because the ground in the parks is constantly soggy and slippery.
- Toiletries just in case your lodge doesn’t offer them
- Light Back Pack to carry with your belongings especially if you have to trek.
- First Aid box just in case you get injured while in the field