Uganda Travel News

Importance of gorilla tourism to Uganda

Gorilla tourism started in 1993 when the first group of tourists where able to track gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The first group to be successfully trekked by tourist was Mubare gorilla family located in Buhoma region of the forest. Since then, Uganda Wildlife Authority have been able to habituate a number of gorilla families for the purpose of promoting gorilla tourism in Uganda. Among these we have habinyanja gorillas, rushegura group, bitukura gorillas, oruzogo gorilla family, kyaguriro gorilla group, nzongi, kahungye, bweza, busingye and nkuringo gorilla families among others.

Gorilla tourism is very important as it is an income earner to Uganda Wildlife authority. Uganda Wildlife Authority is a body in charge of conserving for generations and all Uganda National Park. Income got from sell of gorilla permits each costing USA Dollars 500 is used in the conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas as well as paying salaries for Uganda wildlife Authority staff working in national Parks such as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Queen Elizabeth National park, Murchison falls National Park among others.

Gorilla tourism has led to the construction of accommodation properties in most parts of the country. Tourists who come for gorilla tourism need accommodation at the point of entry which in this case is Entebbe and kampla. Most Hotels and guest houses have sprung up and include Boma Guest House, Protea Hotel, Lake Victoria serena among others that provide accommodation for tourists. In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, tourists have to spend a minimum of two nights and because of this, may lodges have been constructed in different regions of Bwindi impenetrable National Park and they include, Clouds mountain gorilla lodge, Nkuirngo camp in the southern part of bwindi, Gorilla mist camp, Ruhija Gorilla safari lodge, Broadbill gorilla camp in Ruhija side of Bwindi forest, Buhoma Lodge, Gorilla forest camp, mahogany springs, silverback lodge, buhoma community in the northern part of Bwindi forest in Buhoma, Gorilla safari lodge in rushaga side of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. All these lodges have helped in providing accommodation to all categories of tourists that come to Uganda.

Gorilla tourism has led to the development of infrastructure in the area. Many roads leading to Bwindi Impenetrable national Park have been rehabilitated and constantly maintained to ease transportation of tourists to the park. Notable ones include section of the road connecting Buhoma and Ruhija and the ishasha road that connects queen Elizabeth National Park to Bwindi Impenetrable National park. In the south the road to rushaga is under construction all of which is important in as far as gorilla tourism is concerned as well as transportation of people and goods.

Air transport has developed due to the need of transporting tourists to Bwindi Impenetrable national park and mgahinga national park. Airstrips such as Kihihi and kisoro are very active thanks to the services of Fly Uganda as well as Aerolink Uganda who operate daily scheduled flights from Entebbe to Kihihi and kisoro respectively. Other people have been able to utilize these services from areas which were at one time impassable. This is attributed to the booming gorilla tourism in these regions.

Gorilla tourism has created employment to the people of Uganda. Many Ugandans are employed by Uganda Wildllfe Authority as rangers, conservationists, doctors and guides. Others are employed by tour operators as guides, safari consultants while others are in the hotel industry. All those employed are able to pay others dues and pay taxes to the government.

Gorilla tourism has led to earning foreign monies from tourists who come from different countries. Tourists from UK bring pound sterling, those from America bring in US Dollars, all which is used to import other goods and services from such countries. Note that when Uganda is improting goods and services, she requires such currencies and because Uganda lacks such, gorilla tourism comes to her rescue. Note that gorilla permits are sold in US Dollars and each gorilla permit costs USD500.00 which is taken to bank of Uganda.

Gorilla tourism has also helped in selling activities in other national park. Tourists who come for gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park also visit other national park such boat cruises in Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls National Park, chimpanzee trekking in kibale national park all of which contribute to national development.

Gorilla tourism has put Uganda on the world map since Uganda has had poor image for quite sometime ever since Iddi Amin was president. Due to the fact that those who come to Uganda as tourists and conservationists go back and spread good news about Uganda and its people.

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