To support the growing tourism industry and provide better customer services within the parks, Uganda Wildlife Authority ((UWA) has identified opportunities for investment in services, products and infrastructure and accommodation facilities.
There are opportunities for development of new ecotourism products and services, within and outside the national parks, by the private sector or through public-private partnerships. These include:
– Luxury tented camps and cottages
– House Boats, Cruise Launches on the Nile and Sport fishing on the Lakes Victoria, Albert, Edward and George
– Walking Safaris in the wilderness areas and the volcanic craters
– Canopy Walkways in tropical forests and sky trams
– House boats and other water based activities
– Mountaineering packages for Rwenzori, Elgon and Mgahinga Mountains
– Nature walks, game farming, game ranching and sport hunting on private property (private wildlife reserves)
– Internal air transport services to the national parks and other domestic touristic hubs.
– White water rafting on the Nile
– Stop over facilities en-route to the national parks along major tourism circuits e.g. Kampala – Mbarara – Kasese – Mubende – Kampala; Kampala – Masindi – Gulu – Kitgum
– Hot springs baths and supporting facilities
– Development of Lodges and other types of accommodation to suit the various categories of visitors
TOURING THE PEARL OF AFRICA
– One of the most trusted references for travelers, Lonely Planet, surprised the world when it chose Uganda as a favorite and top world destination to visit. It described the country as “the land [that] mixes savannah, enormous lakes, rain forests, and the glacier-clad Rwenzori Mountains, one of Africa’s tallest ranges.”
– Kidepo National Park in north eastern Uganda was named as one of the 10 best parks in Africa by CNN Travel, a publication of CNN.
According to the publication, Africa is regarded as a destination for safari, but Kidepo Valley National Park, covering 1,442 square kilometres is one of the top 10 parks where travelers can find the most outstanding trips.
– Mt Rwenzori was voted among the top hiking places in Africa. It was the only mountain in Africa that made it to the top 15 best hiking spots in the world.
– Uganda is regarded as Africa’s best destination for birders. The country, which is the size of United Kingdom, boasts of over 1,058 bird species, accounting for 11% of the globe’s total, and half of Africa’s.
But it was not an undeserving.
Uganda offers memorable experiences, ranging from national parks, flora and fauna, birding excursions and culinary adventures to excite any taste bud.
Then there is the scenic and expansive landscape, canoeing expeditions on the mighty River Nile, sailing on Lake Victoria and Lake Bunyonyi, Africa’s deepest inshore body of water.
It is easy to understand why the Queen’s knight-errant, Sir Winston Churchill was inspired to call Uganda ‘The Pearl of Africa’.
The unexpected Lonely Planet verdict not surprisingly launched the government into action.
Addressing the nation President Yoweri Museveni said tourism could bring in an additional $500m given that national parks, hotels and tourist sites are already in place. Uganda’s tourism has a big potential. A renewed tourism drive can help overshadow the negative perceptions many in the world still have about Uganda rooted in a bloody past.
A favorite stop is Murchison Falls National Park, located in north western Uganda. It spreads inland from the shores of Lake Albert around the Victoria Nile through which the River Nile flows, at a terrific speed.
You’ll need to be there to experience it – at the top on the southern bank of the Falls. It is spectacle as the water gushes in a nestled steamy equatorial jungle somewhere at this end of the northern Albertine Rift valley.
This is one of the loveliest sites along the Nile with smoky water viciously and loudly pouring from high up in the rocks and all the way down to the river’s bed.
The force of the water will dampen your clothes but not your spirit! The child in you will almost naturally come out, thoroughly exhilarated by the whole spectacle. When a new one million dollars viewing facility at the overlooking the Falls is completed, travellers will have a modern information centre, equipped with interpretation and audio equipment for briefing visitors, plus a picnic or camping sites.
In and around the river are all sorts of wild life like hippos, crocodiles, elephants, antelopes, lions, leopards as well as savannah, monkey species and birds.
You will also want to go South West where you will find Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is a home to a variety of wild animals and is a popular bird-watching destination, preferably along the Kazinga Channel which connects Lake George and Lake Edward.
Further in the west in Kabale is Kibale National Park located in south western Uganda and home to the red colobus and L’Hoest monkey. The butterfly species are many and so for flower and plant species.
The other animals to look out for are the forest hogs, buffaloes and antelopes on guided forest walks. Birding is the other attraction at the community Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary.
Crossing over to the East is Bwindi National Park, located at the Uganda-DR Congo border. It is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site and is within sight of Virunga National Park. This is the home to the half of the world’s gorilla population but with a sizable population of birds and rich and diversified ecosystem. Tracking the gorillas is worth every step you take.
To the North, in Karamoja is Kidepo National Park one of Uganda’s major parks. Its beauty stretches over eye-rousing savannah tree stretches and landscapes that run afar and into bleak horizon.
At Kidepo you will come face to face with a variety of birds, 500 species to view. Plus the expanses of the desert are dotted with a water source, River Lorupei which supports dense Acacia Geradi forest.
The animal population, of over 80 mammal species quenches its thirst here and for the tourist this is optical nutrition. There are also the Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon which are the highest mountain range in Africa and snow-capped.
You can also look out for other National Parks Elgon National Park in eastern Uganda, Semliki National Park in Bundibugyo and Mgahinga National Park on the Uganda, Rwanda and Congo border in the South western town of Kisoro.
Besides beautiful water backdrops Uganda you will have a close-up experience with chimpanzees at Ngamba Island, a 45-minutes cruise from Entebbe docking area.
Ngamba is just one of the islands on gigantic Lake Victoria. Ssese islands forms an archipelago of 84 islands in the world’s largest tropical lake in Kalangala district which is in the North West of Uganda. Of the 84 islands 43 are inhabited by people. You might want to spend some time at the various fishing community where among other fish types is, Nile Perch.
Uganda has not lost its nature and it markets forest walks as one of its tourism packages. There are a number of forest reserves, including Mabira Forest Reserve, on the eastern route, to Jinja, which is not far off the capital city, Kampala, and is one of the largest rain forests.
There is Mpanga forest reserve, located along Masaka road at Mpambire. It has a rich eco system where plant life suitably survives alongside animals. There are exploratory trails for butterflies, hornbill Trail, among others
Bugoma Forest Reserve is to the western route, along Lake Albert which is close by, and another river called the Nkusi.
But more than anything Uganda stands out for its culture and people. Various sites are open to the public where locals and outsiders alike get to learn about their culture and history.
One of such places is the Ssezibwa Falls located in Mukono, on the Kampala-Jinja highway. It is a place where Christians and cultural believers go to worship. People visit this spot to have their problems solved. Solving of problems takes nine months and when your problems are solved, you will be expected to come back and ‘give thanks’. One can also enjoy bird watching, watch the falls as they violently hit against the rocks or take forest walks
Then to central Uganda in Sembabule, after Masaka, you will come face to face with the history of the legendary Chweezi people and what’s left of their dynasty, at Bigobyamugenyi. It derives its name from the forested enclosure of trees around the former Chweezi palace. There are two-tree pinnacles that welcome you to the about 350 hectare expanse.
There is a story of a princess told and shared in the South West, in Fort Portal at a cultural and historical site called Amabeere Ga Nyina Mwiru (breasts of Nyina Mwiru). It is hidden away in the heart of the Toro kingdom in western Uganda. Toro folklore has it that the caves acquired the name after King Bukuku of the Toro chopped off the breasts of his daughter Nyina Mwiru and had them thrown inside these caves, following a prophecy that the daughter would one day get married and have a son, Ndahura, who would kill the king and take over his throne.
To the North are the Nyero Rock Paintings which are listed by UNESCO as one of its sites. It is three-tiered rocks helter with primitive paintings on their inner surfaces.
Archaeologically, the site dates back to the Later Iron Age. The makers of the paintings cannot be identified, but the ingenuity with which they were painted demonstrates a high degree of appreciation of their aesthetic values
To the list you can add Katereke Prison, Tororo rocks, Fort Lugard named after a British soldier during the colonial era, the Source of the Nile which is a marvelous sight located in the East in Jinja at the point where the Nile emerges out of the Lake Victoria before embarking on its journey to the Mediterranean, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) with a variety of animals, Sir Samuel Baker Fort, Nakayima Caves and Tree in Mubende to mention but a few.
Other places to visit while in Uganda
Brothers Amans Mapeera Catholic Church/Kigungu Landing Site, point at which the first catholic missionaries came into Uganda.
Sipi Falls – series of three waterfalls in Eastern Uganda Sempaya Hotsprings – startling ground of boiling water with a temperature of about 500 centigrade. You can boil an egg here.
Kitagata Hotsprings – These are two hotsprings and are located in Sheema District in western Uganda with a legend to them.
Karuma Falls- beautiful sight of smoky water that’s a result of water hitting a series of natural rock formations at the bottom of the Nile, at on the Kigumba-Gulu Highway.
Uganda Martyrs Shrine, Namugongo – site where christian martyrs were burned to death for their refusal to renounce Christianity.
Ntebbe Za Mugula – feature in chair-like form, located off the banks of Lake Victoria. It is this feature called Ntebbe Za Mugula that Entebbe municipality gets its name.
Lutembe bay – home a large bird population as a migratory stopover site on Lake Victoria. This is home to over 100 species of birds.
Mabamba Bay- extensive marsh stretching through a long narrow bay, fringed with papyrus towards the main body of Lake Victoria in Mpigi district. It is the closest place to Kampala where Shoebills are regularly seen.
Entebbe Botanical Gardens- established in 1898 on the northern shores of Lake Victoria virtually on the equator.
Budongo Ecotourism Site – has high biodiversity with an estimated 24 species of small mammals, nine being primates, 465 species of trees and shrubs, 359 species of birds, 289 species of butterflies, and 130 species of moths.
Uganda National Museum, Kampala – has art craft and archeological items that symbolize Uganda’s history and cultural heritage. It is located on Kira Road in Kampala.
Just go see for yourself!