Uganda Strengthens Fight Against Poaching

Uganda Strengthens Fight Against Poaching

Uganda Strengthens Fight Against Poaching
Close to 500 game rangers have been passed out by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to beef up the security of wildlife in the country’s national parks and game reserves after under going training at Murchison Falls Training Ground in Nwoya district. The group, which consists of 393 men and 97 women aged between 22-30 will be deployed in different conservation around the country to add on the already existing force in the field. The training was carried out for four months conducted by UWA in conjunction with the UPDF’s fourth division Gulu. In 2005, the same recruitment also took place where 200 rangers and 400 UPDF men were seconded to UWA under Special Wildlife Integrated Force for Tourism (SWIFT).The passing out ceremony was presided over by the president of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who congratulated the graduates and the Uganda Wildlife Authority for building manpower to protect the parks. He said that lawlessness in the parks has been going down for the last five years, which has made the number of animals in the park to go up, especially the elephants.Also, the fight against poaching guarantee increased Uganda safaris for gorilla trekking in Bwindi, game viewing and other related packages in the Pearl of Africa.

The President also blamed the “mediocrity” of the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) for not doing enough to promote the Ugandan Tourism Industry. The President said Uganda has unique potential in tourism with high plateau area with the lowest part 650meters above sea level and the highest part more than 5,000 meters above sea level saying that this should be the basis for promotion of the sector.

The president said that the promotion of the potential of wildlife has been poor due to poor performance of the Uganda Tourism Board. He says that some countries have very little to offer yet they attract more tourists mentioning Spain as an example that attracts 50 million visitors per year.

Concerning the development and improvement of the tourism sector, Museveni said there is need to work on the roads in the parks and he called the UWA management to have a master plan and he will look for money for it. Museveni also advised UWA to construct airport or aerodrome near the park to help in transportation of tourists by overcoming the hustle of traffic jam in Kampala. The president also advised that in order to combat the issue of conflict between human beings and wildlife, electric fence could be put in place and some plants that animals don’t like, like red pepper should be planted to deter the animals from straying into community land.

The president also said that he has instructed Uganda Revenue Authority to introduce scanners at all borders to track the vehicles that might be used to smuggle animal products. The newly passed out rangers are expected to boost the security of wildlife that has always been threatened by poachers in the parks where they will be deployed. The most endangered animals in Uganda parks include elephants, buffaloes, and antelopes that are always hunted by poachers for products like meat, husks, hides and skins, among others.

The rangers will also be very instrumental in offering security to tourists against some dangerous wild animals like lions and leopards that may attack tourists while traversing through the game parks enjoying activities like game drives, game viewing, chimpanzee and gorilla tracking, among others.

Posted by admin in News, Uganda, WildLife
Explore Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Explore Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Much as bigodi wetland has always been a complementary to chimpanzee trekking in kibale forest national park, the site is much more than a swamp. Located just 6 kilometers from the kanyanchu information center, bigodi wetland sanctuary is a fascinating area sheltering over 200 bird species and various primates and mammals all which make a visit there surely interesting. The wetland is a community-based project managed by the kibale association for rural and environmental development (Kafred). Its from a Rutooro word “Kugodya” which means walking in a tired way. From the records, all people on reaching this place would appear exhausted and could not walk any further so had to first rest there before continuing. Travelers, researchers students and conservationists visit the swamp for various purposes.

KAFRED that is in charge of the wetland sanctuary is a community-based organization that supports eco-tourism enterprises objectively to ensure that local communities benefit from tourism. Among the unique features that make Bigodi wetland sanctuary a place to visit include:

Wildlife Viewing (primates, mammals, reptiles and amphibians)
wildlife in Bigodi wetlandThe wetland is not just a swamp but also a home to a variety of wild animals both primates and mammals. These include black and white Colubus monkeys, Red Colubus monkey, Blue monkeys, Baboons, Mangabey, Grey cheeked, Red tailed monkeys, L’Hoest monkey, Vervet monkeys, otters, push pigs, chimpanzees, sitatungas, mongooses and bush bucks among others. Visitors to Bigodi wetland follow various trails in the swamp led by experienced guides who help in spotting various animals. For safety, visitors are reminded to tuck their trousers into the stockings to prevent bites from termites such as red aunts.

Bird watching
Sheltering over 200 bird species 6 of which are endemic to the area, Bigodi wetland sanctuary is a paradise for birders.
Blue turaco in bigodi
The great Blu Turaco also known as a loyal lover is one of the unique birds with an intriguing story. The bird is believed to remain single for life after the loss of a loved one. The other birds residing in the wetland include purple breasted sunbird, African pitta, Abyssinian ground thrush, Collared Apalis, Black capped apalis, Crowned eagle, Green breasted pitta, Kingfishers, Weavers, Cuckoos, Hornbills, Papyrus Gonoleks, Flycatchers, Black bee eater, Little greenbul, Brown chested alethe, Blue breasted kingfisher, Yellow rumpled tinker bird, Dusky crimson wing, Black bishop, Western nictor, Spotted bardet, Brown throated wattle eye, white-spotted fluff tail, weaver birds and purple breasted sunbird. Birding is well done in guided forest walks led by experienced guides who help to spot birds and provide detailed information about each spotted bird.

Community visits
After touring the swamp, visitors always connect to the neighboring communities and visit various community projects all-originating from the wetland sanctuary. Among the visited groups of people include the Bigodi women group that consists of 40 members. These people make crafts such as beads, baskets, bags, and mats most of which are exported to Europe. Interestingly, the former poachers in Bigodi swamp and the entire kibale national park are the present guides who greatly support tourism and conservation in the area.
craft materials

Additionally, visitors transfer to Bigodi secondary schools, which was established and fully sponsored by the Bigodi wetland sanctuary project. The wetland projects have helped local communities providing them with various employments, which include water projects, health, resolving funds, health, should, sponsorship to church among others. This earns income to the local people hence improving their standards of living.
Conclusively therefore, a visit to Bigodi wetland sanctuary is a lifetime experience. All travelers should visit the wetland to promote conservation and tourism in the area.

Posted by admin in News, Uganda, WildLife

Best thrilling Uganda Adventure Tours

Uganda is known as the Perl of Africa, comprising of distinctive natural beauty and is among the leading safari destinations in East Africa. The country offers memorable adventure holidays with unique tourism attractions encompassing trekking endangered mountain gorillas, visit Murchison falls, adrenaline white water rafting at the source of the river Nile in Jinja, authentic culture, very good climate all year round. Uganda is totally a traveler’s dream destination and a must not miss out when in Africa.

The following are a must see Ugandan destinations

Murchison Falls Boat Trips
murchison falls national park
The Nile in mid western Uganda falls below a hard rock forming the famous Murchison falls. The falls form a mist and permanent rain ball and are among the top adventure attractions in the country. Tourists can view them while on launch cruises at the bottom or can hike and view them from the rock above.

What makes Murchison falls much more unique and attractive are the various wildlife species in Murchison falls national park that include elephants, hippos, crocodiles and number of birds that can be viewed by tourists on boat trips to view the great falls. Other outstanding wildlife species in the park include the lions, leopards, buffaloes and the rhinos at the Zziwa rhino sanctuary in Nakasongola.

Mountain Gorillas
gorilla safaris in bwindi
They are located in southwestern Uganda in Bwindi impenetrable and Mgahinga gorilla national parks. Mountain gorilla tracking in Bwindi or Mgahinga gorilla parks offers thrilling forest adventures with sightings of various wildlife species that include a number of primates like monkeys, birds and many others.

Mountain gorillas are very unique mammals with 95% DNA similar to humans and only remaining in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable has half of the remaining mountain gorillas on the planet with 14 habituated gorilla families. Each mountain gorilla family can be trekked by only 8 tourists a day and mountain gorilla trekking permits are sold at $600 only.

Source of the River Nile Water Rafting In Jinja
Jinja water
The river Nile adventure is one most exciting tourism activities all adventure travellers and you just cannot skip it on your trip to Uganda. The White Nile in Jinja is referred to the adventure capital of east Africa with rapids that favors white water rafting activities to effectively take place in the area.

The Nile rafting in Jinja offers adrenaline activities in the great river Nile in its early stages. Rafting is an adventure for go getter and not faint hearted people because while on the grade 5 rapids, all of you may find yourselves in the waters of the Nile, there is no need to fear this because there is always a rescue raft team to get tourists out of the water.
This adventurous activity is open all kinds of people and can be enjoyed any day of the year.

Rwenzori Hike
Jinja water
Mountain Rwenzori is located in western Uganda and has the third highest peak Margherita on the continent on mount Stanley standing at 5,109 meters above sea level. The Rwenzori peaks are snow capped with a number of glaciers.

Hiking the Rwenzori is among the adventure activities that tourists in Uganda can engage in however it requires one to be physically fit and stable health wise well equipped with the necessary hiking gear especially heavy coats for warmth because the mountain top freezes below zero degrees.

There are well developed hiking routes uphill and potters who can be hired to carry luggage for the tourists going for the hike. The Rwenzori hike provides en route sightings of some of the rare wildlife species like the three-horned chameleon and a number of birds endemic to the Albertine region. Other wildlife species that can be viewed in the Rwenzori area include forest elephants, leopards, chimpanzees and many others.

Posted by admin in Uganda, WildLife

Tracking the Mountain Gorillas

Tracking the endangered Mountain Gorilla is one of  the Most strenuous yet rewarding safari experiences one can ever have. Though this gentle giant ape is highly venerated, coming in close contact with it is not a picnic but rather a real voyage through the jungle with steep slippery hills and mist covered rain forests.

The mountain Gorilla (Gorilla berengei berengei) is an endangered ape whose population in the world has been estimated to be less than 800 individuals all living in Uganda, Rwanda and D R Congo. They often rotate with in the big chant of forest vegetation that cuts across the boarders of the mentioned 3 countries. From Bwindi and Mgahinga parks to Virunga and then Volcanoes, the last remaining Mountain Gorilla population finds its home.

where to track the Mountain Gorillas from

As mentioned earlier, this man’s evolutionary cousin can be tracked from the 3 countries although most commonly is Uganda and Rwanda since D R Congo is marred by insecurity and several rebel activities that may put the lives of tourist at risk.

A gorilla permit in Rwanda costs 750USD while in Uganda is at 600USD but some times goes down to 350USD in the low season (March-May). Tracking in either of the countries may give more less the same experience and the procedure and rules are the same.

In Rwanda, access to the Volcanoes national park is much easier with a shorter distance unlike the one in Uganda where Bwindi national park has a longer distance from the capital Kampala (about 6-8 hours drive).

Tracking the Gorillas

Accessing the Gorilla permits can be either from a tour operator/ travel agent or directly from the Wild life authority. However the later may be inconveniencing since you need to secure one in advance because the demand is very high and only about 9 groups of 8 individuals are allowed to see the Gorillas per day in Uganda with each group tracking one Gorilla family. This means that you need to secure your permit a month before the date of tracking in order to be on a safer side.

You should come along with tracking gear that may include gum boots, raincoats, jackets, long sleeved shirts/ blouses, and drinking water. Walking sticks are available for purchase as well as porters to help you carry your luggage. Rain may be expected at any time of the day since the area is a typical rainforest.

Tracking the gorillas requires a relatively good  degree of fitness since it involves walking up hills amidst dense shrubs  and cold conditions. Children below 12 years are not eligible for tracking the gorillas and any one with a communicable disease like flu or diarrhea is forbidden from tracking since it posses a threat to the life of a mountain Gorilla.

Tracking starts at 8am after the 7 o’clock briefing by the Senior park officials where you are given rules to follow during tracking and allocated a gorilla family to track . The time one spends on this expeditious activity is not certain since it is dependent on where the gorillas will have spent the previous night. It is normally estimated to be between 2 and 8 hours.

All your struggles and hustles will certainly be soon forgotten when you finally meet face to face with the Mountain Gorillas. You are guaranteed a full hour with them at a distance not closer than 5meters as you observe their feeding habits, grooming the young ones, mating and playing. You are allowed to take photos but with no flash lights.

After tracking, you may take a community tour to the neighboring communities to explore their culture and daily life style. Taste their local dishes, participate in bear brewing and traditional dances which will consummate your safari experience. The encounter with the Mountain Gorilla ranks among the absolute highlights of an African Safari.

Conservation Projects.

An American zoologist Diana Fossey who entered Rwanda in the 1960s studied the Mountain Gorilla life for 18 years and began one of the most remarkable and venerated efforts of saving the life of a mountain Gorilla which she discovered was on verge of extinction. She worked hard to fight poaching of these apes amidst sharp resistance from the illegal traders and poachers who eventually took her life.

At the time of her death in 1985, the world had heard her humanitarian call and began to respond positively by funding conservation projects that later saw the gazetting of the Gorilla national parks in Rwanda and Uganda.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority works hand in hand with the neighboring communities to enhance that the few individuals of this endangered species may survive and recover from the plight of endangerment in the near future. Its upon this basis that the money you pay for the Permit, part of it is used to facilitate conservation efforts and part is given to the communities that were affected in gazetting parks that shelter these apes.

Your gorilla tour in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo is not only a life memorable adventure but also a step towards Mountain Gorilla protection from extinction. Be part of the epic story to save your evolutionary cousin-the Mountain Gorilla.

Posted by admin in Blog, WildLife