Gorilla tourism is one of the major reason why tourists are visiting Uganda and Rwanda for last fifteen years. Mountain gorillas live in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the virunga Ranges. Because of the threats that face their habitats, mountain gorillas have been declared endangered species and the fact that mountain gorillas cannot survive in captivity, it then becomes complicated to conserve them outside their natural habitats. Current statistics have put the number of mountain gorillas at 800 individuals of which 400 hundred are in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Over the past few years, there has been several threats towards the already endangered species which include clearing and reducing their habitats, poaching and natural death. Gorilla tourism being the backbone of all tourism activities in Uganda so far, one as to ask himself that what if God forbid, these mountain gorillas are no more? Would tourists still come to Uganda given the fact that there would be nothing unique to see? If it comes to wildlife, our neighbors Kenya and Tanzania have more to show than Uganda and they are actually doing more marketing than Uganda.
Uganda has lots of potential attractions to enjoy if well developed and therefore even if gorillas were no more, there would still be a lot to see. Uganda water resources which include the largest African flesh water lake in the names of Lake Victoria which is not yet fully utilized to develop marine tourism, we do have the source of the longest river on planet earth very popular for kayaking and white water rafting. We would therefore still get adventure tourists to visit such places.
Uganda has over 1000 species of birds making it one of the few African Countries where birders can enjoy a birding tour. Much as Uganda is still potential tourist destination, if marketed very well, then this would bridge any gap created by loss of gorillas.
Uganda has been known for having very hospitable and friendly people. No one comes to Uganda and He/She does not feel welcome. We have more than 55 different ethnic groups with different cultural and community orientation and as the world shrinks, people would love to know each other a reason strong enough to visit Uganda.
They’re very few places where one can enjoy a boat cruise other than on Kazinga Channel. This channel connecting to graben lakes of George and Edward was declared the largest natural channel in the world with the highest concentration of hippos on planet earth. Imagine a two hour boat viewing over 600 water birds, buffaloes, elephants and so much more. Other spectacular boat cruise can be enjoyed in in Murchison falls national park to the delta and base of the falls.
Uganda is home to several primates which include chimpanzees and habituated groups are in Budongo forest, kibale forest national park, kyambura gorge, kalinzu and so many other places. This plus other primates would still attract tourists to the pearl of Africa.
The list of attractions in Uganda is endless and as long as we maintain relative security, increase on our marketing efforst and budgets, maintain good working relationship with the country where tourists originate, tourism could proof to be the pivot of Uganda’s economic transformation.