Value Added Tax Charged On Up Country Lodges
Uganda tourism industry is growing and so funding from the government is required. Through levying taxes like Value Added Tax (VAT) on upcountry accommodation facilities, the government is able to support tourism budget even for tourist attractions that are still less visited yet need to be preserved. This tax is incorporated in every safari package that tour operators cost.
A number of projects like road construction to the parks where these lodges are found are going and when done there lodges are beneficiaries too. The VAT that is levied is one way of funding such activities as the roads in the countryside for years have been marked for being bumpy and dusty.
Following the reading of the Budget for 2014/15, the minister of Finance decided to reinstate 18% VAT on all up country Hotels and lodges in Uganda. Government had introduced VAT in 2013 but was later suspended because of strong opposition from Tour Operators, Hoteliers and other tourism stakeholders . This was abrupt and would cause a loss on their side since they had sent quotes to their clients using rates without VAT and that it was going to be very hard and unprofessional to go back to their clients with new quotes now including VAT.
Others also reasoned that Uganda needs to invest in tourism marketing and infrastructure before thing about increasing taxes and making Uganda an expensive tourism destination compared to our neighbors Kenya and Tanzania.
With the introduction of VAT, it means that Uganda tour packages will have to increase due to the fact that all rates will have to be increased by 18%. When you look at other products such as Fuel which has been affected, it also implies that the cost of transport will as well go up.
The government on the other hand is saying that we need to move to self-reliance by raising funds from Ugandans and their businesses other than relying on foreign aid which has strings attached. Insiders also urge that following aid cuts due to corruption and anti-homosexuality bill, the government has no option but charge heavy taxes on its subjects.
How To Contribute Towards Responsible Travel On Uganda Safari
Buying Food At The Lodge
Each plate of food at the lodge is levied with Value Added Tax and its part of this tax that the government gets its funds to support tourism during budget reading.
Supporting businesses that follow environmentally and socially responsible practices is a great contribution to Responsible travel. When you buy a souvenir, you support the local community to get there basic needs. Hiring a porter during gorilla trekking is another way to directly support the local community.
Use the local companies that hire local tour guides and use local services for an authentic experience. Encounter Africa safaris is a one of the local companies that advocate for responsible travel because this is one of the ways to maintain tourism attractions for the next generation to witness.
Try not to buy items crafted from parts of threatened animal species or natural products. The world is against sell of animal parts especially if killing the animal was the only way to obtain it. Sustainable tourism must be your Uganda safari plan so as to conserve the wildlife that is slowly fazing off the world scene.
Follow the traditional rules of the destination you visit during Uganda safari especially the religious beliefs and cultural beliefs because this is one of the ways of preserving its Uniqueness and not erode its authenticity.
Keep to designated walking and driving trails. Leave only footprints and tyre marks and take photos and memories of your Africa safari in Uganda.
Do not dump garbage especially one that doesn’t decompose. This alters the nature of the environment from which Wild animals thrive.
Ask for permission in case you want to do filming or photographing the locals. This makes them feel comfortable and not suspicious. Its also a form of respect them they will respect you too and you have a great time amidst these friendly people. People of Uganda are known for being welcoming.
How To Contribute To communities During Uganda Safari
Take a community walks especially those around the parks. Some of the dangers experienced by the conservation area is invasion from local communities. During gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National park, you can do the Batwa trail and Garama cave visit which is guided by the Batwa. The Batwa were evacuated from the forest which was there sole provider for years. To benefit from the forest this community project was set up and its owned by them.
Every park entry fee has 20% contribution to the local community around so whenever you enter a park you are indirectly give back to the community.
Deciding to participate in community activities like Bigodi Swamp in Kibale National park is under the care of the local community. The Uganda Community Tourism association (UCOTA) is there umbrella body.
This was made to empower poor communities around tourism destinations improve their lives through community based products. The Kikorongo Women’s group close to Queen Elizabeth National Park make money by selling there art and crafts. In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is Nkuringo community wall and Buhoma Community walk where you may take park in visiting a banana beer brewer, traditional healers, black smith and others.
What Activities To Do On Uganda Safari
In Uganda gorilla trekking is only done in Bwindi Impenetrable National park and Mgahinga National Park. You need a gorilla permit to be allowed to do gorilla trekking. The Uganda wildlife Authority is the selling body for these permits. Pack the right gorilla trekking gears to enjoy the entire adventure.
Game Drives In Uganda National Parks
During game drives you may get to see animal like lions, elephants, water bucks, bush bucks, cape buffaloes, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, giraffes and others. The parks have great views too.
Birding in Uganda
Uganda is has amazing birding destinations with over 1000 bird species that you can select spot on your Africa Birding safari. Some of the famous birding destinations include Mabamba Swamp, Kazinga Channel in queen Elizabeth National park, Bigodi swamp in Kibale National Park, Kaniyo Pabidi Forest Murchison falls National park, Semliki National park and others.
Some of the birds you may get to identify include about 23 of the 24 species of Albertine endemics even those on the red list of IUCN. A few of these birds in Uganda include shoe bill,, African Eagel Owl, Grey capped Warbler, Yellow-backed and lesser Masked Canary-Gabon and slender-tailed Nightjars, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, African Green Broadbill, Western Green Tinkerbird, Mountain Masked chestnut throated Apalises, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, African Hill Babbler to mention but a few.
Hiking the During Uganda Safari
Uganda has a number of beautiful highlands but the most outstanding is Rwenzori Mountain. Hiking Rwenzori Mountain may take about 7 days to and from the mountain. Advance arrangements for Rwenzori Mountain must be done to secure ranger guide, porters in advance.
Its highest peak is Magheritah, which is snowcapped. Other mountains you can hike include mountain Elgon, mountain Muhavura, Gahinga Mountain, Sabyinyo Mountain and others.
White water rafting On River Nile
Beating the heavy tides of River Nile is a thrilling adventure as you take on the adrenaline stimulating yet funny adventure. You do not need to have experience to join this fun because instructors in in place to take you through all details.
A team of instructors with a Kayaker are ready to assist where necessary just follow the instructions they give. Different tide levels are available for you according to enjoy according to your capability.
Chimpanzee trekking on Uganda Safari
Uganda is a great chimpanzee trekking destination with Kibale National Park harboring the biggest number of habituated chimpanzees in the entire country. You need a chimpanzee trekking permit to attend. Other chimpanzee trekking destinations in the country include Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth National park, Kaniyo pabidi forest in Murchison Falls National park, Ngamba chimpanzee sanctuary and others.
Sport fishing During Uganda Safari
A few areas have been designated on Uganda water bodies to do sport fishing. On River Nile in Murchison falls National Park you can hire a boat and a captain to take you sport fishing, carry your fishing equipment and lures. Even on Lake Victoria are points where you can do sport fishing.
Some of the fish you may get to catch include Nile Perch, tilapia, cut fish, mud fish the list is endless.
The launch trips During Uganda Safari
The parks that have amazing water bodies in the National parks of Uganda have relaxing launch trips. The Murchison Falls National park launch trip gives great view of river Nile as it squeezes through the narrow gorge to bursts out and form a cloudy appearance.
The Kazinga channel launch trip gives you insight into the amazing looks of the Rift valley floor. You may get to see animals like lions, leopards, elephants, cape buffaloes, waterbucks, bush bucks to mention but a few. A number of birds enjoy spending time on the banks of Kazinga channel.
Rules Of Uganda Safari
- No dumping garbage on the wilderness because it alters nature. This is one of the reasons why park tracks are not tarmacked. Keep the garbage in your vehicle during game drives.
- Never carry anything from the Pack in terms of animal parts, live animals or birds or anything about from the pack without permission from Uganda Wildlife Authority. Its punishable by imprisonment or pay a hefty price.
- Do not shout while in the wildlife parks because animals are scared by unfamiliar noise from intruders in there vicinity.
- Never feed wild animals because they must look for there own food. Some of the primates along the road have been fed by passersby and with time they are failing to feed themselves. Others end up grabbing eats from passengers if they do not give them. Many of these animals have been knocked down by vehicles during such incidents.
- Briefing is a must for anyone going for gorilla trekking or Chimpanzee tracking during Uganda safari
- Never move alone in the park late night without a ranger guide. The jungle has carnivores that may feast on you.
- Burry all feaces in a hole beyond recognition at least 30 cm deep especially during gorilla trekking and chimpanzee tracking.
- Avoid smoking or drinking while in front of the wild animals. They may grab what you are feasting on.
- Do not go off track during game drives because you may injure yourself or the wild animals.
- Never spit on the vegetation as this is the main feeding source for most animals especially the herbivores.
- Stay close to your group during primate safaris in order not to get lost in the jungle. Even during game drives do not depart from the rest of the group.
What To Pack For Uganda Safari
- Insect repellant to apply and keep away the stinging insects
- Safari cloths in jungle friendly colours like Khaki that you are not afraid of getting dirty because the game parks are dusty at times or ground boggy especially during gorilla trekking adventures.
- Medicated soap in case your skin is allergic to water in the wild.
- Pajamas to wear for nighttime sleep
- Foldable hat to protect your hair from dust and buzzing insects in the wild.
- Some warmers because it is generally cold in the Parks early morning and late afternoon
- Flip flops for game drives or tracking boots for gorilla trekking adventures
- Sun glasses to protect your eyes from sunrays or flying insects that roam the parks
- Travel insurance just in case of any emergency
- First Aid Kit with emergency treatment in case you are hurt
- Camera to take photos as memories for your Uganda safari experience
- Packing cubes for easy checkups in case you need to unpack your belongings
- Snacks to munch on during gorilla trekking, chimpanzee tracking or game drives especially when you are hungry and getting exhausted.
- Toiletries in case your lodge does not provide these services
- Some cash to exchange into local currency in case you wish to do on ground transactions. Credit cards are rarely used by the local people because of the lengthy procedure of collecting money from them.