Monday, 30 May 2016

THE RESTORATION OF LAND IN THE OIL WELL AREAS OF MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK HAS BEEN COMPLETED

 It is a moment of joy for the conservationists and Uganda Safari tour enthusiasts that the restoration of land on 42 out of the entire 52 Oil exploration and the appraisal wells has been completed in the famous Murchison Falls National Park and the adjacent communities. The lush flora that initially existed in these areas has been restored and as of now it has matured and the wild game is able to graze freely. Murchison Falls National Park features twenty two (22) wells and out of these seven (7) have had a restoration of land and then given back to the government while other seven (7) are ready to be handed over. The restoration of land commenced in the year 2014 according to the Total E&EP which is the main player in the oil and gas sector in Uganda and the respective companies are anticipated to restore the damaged land to its natural state in the pre-drilling time. This is aimed at ensuring environmental protection which will in turn ensure the continuity of Uganda Safaris. According to the Health and Safety Environment Manager Yusuf Zziwa acknowledges that the native species of trees have been planted on some of the wells with the aim of ensuring that they get back to their former state before the oil assessment activities were conducted. In a bid to enhance the environmental protection, the Oil waste in the areas of Buliisa and Tangi has been cleared and transferred to Nyamasoga consolidation place. Murchison Falls National Park which is also the largest game park in Uganda has since 2010 been a hot spot following the oil discovery attracting numerous global oil and gas companies and the government to take advantage of this rich resource whilst the environmentalists were at the forefront saving the park’s biodiversity. The park is also a hot spot destination for travelers on safaris in Uganda. It can be noted that protected areas like Murchison Falls National Park constitute over ¾ of the visited sites by the Uganda tour undertakers and the nation earns considerably inform of tourist revenues. The fear lies in the fact that Oil is expected to fetch $3bn per annum for the two complete decades when the production commences which environmentalists think that it may override the survival of animals thus compromising their conservation. However, though Oil is considered as a quick gain, tourism has the capacity to last forever.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

AFRICAN MINISTERS RESOLVE TO SELL AFRICA AS A BLOC TOURIST DESTINATION


AfricaThe Africa Tourism Ministers have come to understanding regarding the formation of a joint forum that would bring them together to tackle the issues facing tourism development on the continental level including Uganda Safaris and tours.

The idea was invigorated after realizing that whatever occurs in certain parts of the continent or specific countries at the end pose an effect on the rest of the continent.   This was reached on during a panel discussion at the just concluded Indaba Fair in Durban South Africa. The discussion was moderated by the International anchor from CNN and it was in this event that the Minister of Tourism for South Africa Derek Hanekom appreciated the need for joint effort.
The members cited examples like outbreak of Ebola in West Africa that affected the travel in other parts of Africa including safaris in Uganda despite the fact that West Africa is closer to Europe than it is to other African parts like South Africa. This is because world travelers view Africa as an expanse country other than a geographical spread with many countries some of which are far from others.
The successful African travel Expo Indaba which apparently is the largest on the continent and the third in the world pulling 8,000 – 11,000 participants including the policy makers, tour operators, travel media, global buyers among others all aiming at enhancing tourism growth on the continent and the individual states is an indicator the tourism strength of Africa.
The Uganda’s State Minister for Tourism Agnes Akiror affirmed the move that would see African states unite as a block to have a strong brand and face issues together. The matter will be then be passed on to the heads of state for discussion and consideration.  The minister notes that though the marketing is conducted in regional blocs, the joint ministers forum would help to solve overlapping issues including allaying fears that tend to rise from misinterpretation of given situations.
Apparently Africa is registering a steady increase in the tourism sector and a rate of 4% this year is anticipated while by 2030, a count of 130 million arrivals are projected according to United Nations World Tourism Organization. This trend has not left Uganda behind with the tourism industry emerging the highest foreign exchange earner in 2013 generating $.4 billion.  The world travelers increasingly picking interest in Uganda tour products like gorilla trekking safaris and wildlife safaris continue to give her an advantage as well.
However, despite the progress the continent is still engulfed in myriad of challenges including the absence of Open skies policy which limits Air travel between individual states.

THE TEA GROWERS EXHIBIT HARMONIOUS LIVING WITH THE MOUNTAIN GORILLAS IN UGANDA

The Uganda gorilla tracking safari destination of Bwindi impenetrable Forest National Park provides shelter to a minimum of 400 critically endangered mountain gorillas which apparently still stand as the epitome attraction in the Uganda’s tourism product inventory.
Bwindi is a remarkably diverse Uganda Safari destination featuring myriad of flora including Bamboo species, a range of birds that include endemics like the Green Broadbill and other primates like Chimpanzee and Baboons. Surprisingly, this is surrounded by one of the intense agricultural communities in Africa marked by extreme levels of land fragmentation.
Though the Bwindi forest was indeed under threat due to need for more agricultural land, following its gezzetion and development of gorilla safaris in Uganda, the surrounding people have found means of living harmoniously with it. The Kayonza Growers Tea Factory (KGTF) which is a for profit community initiative under the ownership of 7,205 smallholder tea farmers has proved beyond doubt that the tea farmers can be at peace with the mountain gorillas.
Based in Kanungu bordering the northern section of Bwindi, the members of this initiative have struck an innovative means of implementing their tea growing programmes without compromising forest conservation and this is known as eco-agriculture. The initiative which commenced in the year 2010 has seen a count of over 4,000 farmers taught things regarding conservation of river banks, wetlands along with natural forests and as a result, over 20,000 indigenous trees have been planted on farm margins along with hillsides that have already been degraded.
The KGTF’s Chairman Mr. Gregory Mugabe notes that the initiative was inspired by need to halt the decreasing trend in the tea production believed to have been caused by shortage of water, degradation of soil and prolonged drought all of which were brought up by deforestation. The dream came true in 2010 when the UK based Café Direct brought in the eco-agriculture initiative. The Café Direct operates in twelve (12) developing countries and in 2012, it run a producer challenge centered on climate change which saw KGTF emerge the winner pocketing $10,000 – the money that pushed the eco-agriculture initiative on the margins of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to greater heights.
The local people through this initiative have not only achieved environmental conservation but also increased the habitat for the fauna that can as well be explored on gorilla safaris in Uganda. The community benefits from tourism development in the area through local employment in lodges, art and craft centers and conservation along with market for their produce. This in turn has created a harmonious environment between the local people and the park where almost a half of the world’s mountain gorilla population is known to be thriving.


Saturday, 7 May 2016

DESTINATION UGANDA SET TO HOST 500 NORDIC TOURISTS AND INVESTORS

The Embassy of the Republic of Uganda in the Nordic States of recent commenced the series of events that would culminate into a count of 500 people undertaking a safari to Uganda by the end of this year.
The Ambassador of Uganda to the Nordic states Zaake Wanume Kibedi noted that Uganda nationals in countries of Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Norway have embarked on the range of promotional activities running under the theme  Tour Uganda planned to end with a 500  delegation taking up a Uganda safari. This move is aimed at tourism promotion, enhancing the revenue generated from tourism and the priority destination for Nordic travelers.
It can be noted that the embassies of various states all work to further their national interests in the fields of political, economic and socio-cultural. Therefore, the Uganda embassy in the mentioned states sets the step to commercial diplomacy engaging business forums where important information is availed to the investors, those interested in safaris in Uganda and other tourism enterprises.
The embassy is planning to arrange counts of travel and business forums from April up to the month of November in all Nordic countries to create a stimulant for the much bigger event called TOUR UGANDA that will see 500 Uganda tour enthusiasts fly to explore the Peal of Africa in detail.
The first seminar was held in Helsinki on 21st April pulling a range of tourism sector stakeholders in Finland, tourism and travel journalists along with a myriad of Ugandans living in Finland. A range of other related events will be conducted on 19th May, 17th June in Iceland, 30th August in Helsinki and 3rd September in Stockholm and eventually in Copenhagen Denmark.
Mr. Stephen Asiimwe the Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Tourism Board acknowledges the significance of move and accepts that the promotional activities of the Ugandan Mission in Nordic states have resulted into increased tourist arrivals mostly from Denmark.

PRIME UGANDA SAFARIS EXHIBITS AT INDABA FAIR 2016

Prime Uganda Safaris and Tours Ltd like it has always done in a range of International exhibitions and travel fairs, is now exhibiting at the ongoing Indaba fair in Durban South Africa.
The company together with a range of other tour operators are exhibiting under the umbrella of Uganda Tourism Board all with the aim of showcasing Uganda safari tour products putting in consideration their unique specifics in their individual product packaging.
The Expo is running from today 7th May and will come to an end on 9th May at the famous Albert Luthuli Convention Center in the city of Durban – the Republic of South Africa. The Indaba Fair stands as the largest marketing events on Africa’s tourism calendar and listed among the must visit top three events of its stature on the world calendar. This gives the participation in it by Prime Uganda Safaris a credible worthiness a perfect revenue through which the company can use to publicize its profound products globally.
The private sector is not alone in this Expo. The government is being represented by the Uganda Tourism Board – the main marketing body of Uganda and Uganda Wildlife Authority – the Conservation body of the Uganda’s wildlife including those in National Parks and Game Reserves. This puts the picture of marketing bigger covering the national scope other than the individual interests.
The Uganda’s tourism sector is working cohesively joining the efforts of both private and public sectors to strategize her tourism position globally and develop the sector that is believed to enable the country transform into the middle income state. The emphasis is put on increased the number of arrivals interested in safaris in Uganda, their period of stay and expenditure as well.
The destination Uganda is popularly known for her counts of Mountain gorillas in Bwindi, hospitable people and diverse cultures along with a myriad of wildlife including big five, water bodies including the world’s longest Nile River and remarkable highlands like the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains.

Friday, 6 May 2016

THE ABSENCE OF FUNDS CURTAILS CULTURAL TOURISM

The Bamasaba people who thrive on the foot hills of Mount Elgon feature one of the remarkable cultures that would form a rich ground for cultural safaris in Uganda if tapped into.
The Bamasaba also referred to as the Bagisu feature an organised Cultural Institution that is charged with all the developments in the tribe and the current head of this Institution Mr. Bob Mushokori carrying the title of Umukuka is faced with lack of funds despite his zeal to prosper the institution and develop the Masaba land as a rich Uganda safari tour destination.
The Inzu Ya Masaba as the institution is locally known features impressive plans including organising a meeting to foster Unity and the meeting for heads of 26 Bugisu clans that would craft the avenues of conserving their culture and if possible use as a tool to foster development through Uganda tours.   The cultural leader notes that the funds to run the institution are inadequate as it only survives on donations along with the five (5) millions extended to the traditional leaders by the government.
The Bamasaba are worldly known for their Imbalu circumcision ceremony which marks the transition of young boys to manhood. This event which occurs in every even year is a cultural wonder as young boys are cut alive without any kind of sterilization. This event has been incorporated in the list of national products worth exploring by the travellers on Uganda Safaris and tours.
The Bamasaba tribal group also feature a considerable cultural attachment to Mount Elgon also known as Mount Masaba. The mountain is believed to an embodiment to their founding father Masaba and thus for example taking an adventure hike to the once tallest mountain in Africa in the company of indigenous Bagisu guides would be a complete journey to their ancient past. The 4321m high Wagagai peak can be summated in 4 days following the shortest Sasa trail.

THE PIONEER OF GORILLA TOURISM IN UGANDA

The Uganda gorilla safari destination of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park positioned in the south west of Uganda has built its reputation over the years and its current dominance in the region as the main gorilla trekking haven has not come on a silver plate.
Bwindi Impenetrable believed to be having a minimum of 400 mountain gorillas which is the largest mountain gorilla population in a single habitat and close to a half of their world population that currently stand at 880 is recognized to have pioneered gorilla safaris in Uganda.  In the year 1993, the first group of world travelers arrived to track the Mubare gorilla family in the park’s northern sector of Buhoma following two years of the group’s habituation.
Following the successful habituation of Mubare Family and the respective visitation, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park rolled on the move to habituate more gorilla groups not only for conservation but also to generate more tourism revenues as it had proved possible. As a result, the park now features twelve (12) habituated gorilla groups while two more are under habituation.
These gorilla families are spread in four regions which are all accessed by travelers on gorilla trekking safaris and tours in Uganda. Buhoma to the north of the park is the pioneer region and apparently has three (3) gorilla groups namely; Mubare gorilla group, Habinyanja gorilla group and Rushegura gorilla family. Ruhija to the east of the park features three (3) gorilla families namely; the former Research group Kyaguliro but now available for tracking, Oruzogo gorilla group and Bitukura gorilla family. The southern sector of Rushaga features five gorilla families all which emanate from one gorilla family which was the largest to ever been habituated in Bwindi called Nshongi. Other four include; Mishaya, Bweza, Busingye and Kahungye. The Nkuringo section to the south west feature only one gorilla group named Nkuringo and the most challenging to trek in Bwindi. Interestingly, two more gorilla groups are under habituation in the southern sector namely; Bushaho and Bikingi which will be added on the list of gorilla families in the park.
With the strict management of Uganda Wildlife Authority operating four headquarters in the respective regions of Bwindi, the gorillas in Bwindi can only be accessed while in possession of the gorilla permit that is issued at its main headquarters in Kampala at  a price of $600 for the non foreign residents, $500 for the resident foreigners and 250,000/= for the citizens but as well offering discounts in the low season months of April, May and Nov reducing to $450, $400 and 150,000/= for the mentioned categories respectively. Since each gorilla family can take up to eight (8) people in a day, it means that the whole of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has in possession of 96 permits which are supposed to be utilized by travelers interested in gorilla tracking safaris in Uganda. Other gorilla trekking site in Uganda is Mgahinga gorilla National Park with its single gorilla group called Nyakagyezi.

Monday, 2 May 2016

THE DATE FOR GORILLA NAMING CEREMONY IN RWANDA ALREADY SET

The Gorilla Naming Ceremony is one of the new products that are steadily gaining fame among the world travellers including those that undertake gorilla trekking safaris in Rwanda. The 12th edition of its kind, this year’s gorilla naming ceremony is scheduled for September 2nd at its usual venue Volcanoes National Park to the north west of Rwanda.
This annual event marked by naming of baby mountain gorillas stand as a national celebration of the conservation efforts and the accomplishments in the sustainable tourism  related to the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas – the highly sought after wildlife species by travelers on gorilla safaris  and tours in Uganda and Rwanda.
The Chief Tourism Officer at the Rwanda Development Board Mr Belise Kariza disclosed that the event will run under the theme 'United in driving growth through conservation' which capitalises on the 2014’s call for prioritisation of conservation and ensuring sustainable tourism promotion. The officer further notes that the scheduling of the ceremony in September puts it in the world’s tourism month according it considerable exposure on a global scale.
During this year’s Kwita Izina ceremony, a count of 19 baby mountain gorillas which have been born after the naming ceremony of last year are to be named among which include remarkable twins. This event comes at a time when the Volcanoes National Park has been acting as a base for the gorilla census in the Virunga massif whose results will be availed in 2017.  The block is recorded to have had a count of 480 mountain gorillas in 2010 which was a 26.3% rise from the 2003 figure of 380 mountain gorillas.
This 12th Rwanda gorilla naming event is planned to last a whole week period and will incorporate a range of activities such as two (2) days exhibition, customised scientific tours, familiarization trips and Conversation on Conservation an outstanding high level forum while the gorilla naming day will mark the end of the week’s activities. The travellers on gorilla tracking safaris are welcome to engage in all the activities. The other participants expected to attend include; conservation partners, policymakers, regional partners, philanthropists, tourism industry leaders, celebrities and famous travel bloggers.
Volcanoes National Park where the event is always conducted is a pivotal center of conservation most of which is centered on mountain gorillas. The gorilla naming is seen as another conservation strategy that binds gorillas with humans and enhances awareness of gorilla conservation among the public both at local and international level.

THE RWANDAN MUSEUM EMBARK ON THE MOVE TO BOOST CULTURAL TOURISM

The Institute of National Museums of Rwanda (INMR) is taking on an initiative of planting a range of tree species that are nearing extinction so as to enhance national history preservation and ensure the continuity of cultural safaris in Rwanda.
A count of 300 historical medicinal and bird friendly trees hailing from seven species were planted at the famous Ethnographic Museum one of the main Rwanda Safari tour sites in the southern province.
The range of these tree species planted were extracted from the Nyungwe Forest National Park and they included; Sygygium Guinense (Umugote), Macaranga Kilimandscharica (Umusekera), Harungana Madagascariensis (Umushabishabi), Neoctonia Macrocalis (Umwanya), Hagenia Abyssinica (Umugeti) and Urutobwe And Umukipfu. Nyungwe is the most verdant and well protected natural forest in Rwanda with myriad of flora including beautiful Orchids, fauna like Chimpanzees and Africa’s largest grouping of Black and white colobus monkeys making it a darling destination for travelers on safaris and tours in Rwanda.
The Institute of Museums in Rwanda is harbouring the future idea of having a magnificent lush forest with impressive bird sights and sounds where the guests on safari in Rwanda can always seat and enjoy a fine cup of Rwandan Coffee.  This would in turn increase the time spent at the Museum and the expenditure as well resulting into more revenues and self sustainability of these Museums by the year 2020.
The Ethnographic Museum already has Eucalyptus forest on the 20 hectares on which it is seated. The new tree species planted have got considerable importance for example umukipfu tree is known to yield flowers after five (5) years and would continue to do so for more years thus attracting the honey bees. In addition, the tree species provide local medication in form of herbs that assist women in labour according to the Acting Manager of Natural History Museum. The Natural history Museum also formerly known as Kandt house is positioned in Gitega sector in the district of Nyarugenge and features great environmental artefacts and always explored on safari tour in Rwanda.
Apparently tourism is the chief export earner for Rwanda generating $304.9 million in the previous year.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

RWANDA AIMS AT RWF35B FROM MICE

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) disclosed its overwhelming ambitious move to generate Rwf34.7 billion from the Rwanda tour product of Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE).
Despite the cry for absence of high end hotels along with few developed tourist products, Rwanda Development Board is optimistic that this issue will be solved by new hotel entrants in the Rwanda’s hospitality industry.
According to Head of MICE at the Rwanda Development Board Mr Frank Murangwa, a count of 1,000 hotels with four (4) to five (5) stars are anticipated to be added on the Rwanda’s list  of hotels. Apparently the country features 8,000 hotel room count though most of these do not meet International standards and thus fail to serve the affluent travelers on safaris in Rwanda.
The MICE sector is looked up as the future main contributor to the foreign exchange earnings according to Claver Gatete the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning and thus efforts have to be made to ensure that the world travelers travel to Rwanda and spend more while on their Rwanda safaris. The efforts would definitely include developing new products and also expand on the already existing.
Rwanda is increasingly building her reputation as a conference destination which is supplemented by her annual events like the gorilla naming ceremony which is carried out in Rwanda gorilla safari destination of Volcanoes National Park and slated on 2nd September for this year and a count of 500 visitors are anticipated in attendance.  Though the body is not exactly aware of the revenues generated from this annual gorilla naming event, it is noted that the accommodation units in Kigali and Musaze are always full and a count of over 20,000 Rwandese attend the event.
Among the conferences that Rwanda will host this year include; Pan African Conferences, global Africa investment summit in Sept along with Forum for Agriculture Research in the month of June. In 2014, MICE generated $30.1 billion which is 31% contribution to the tourism industry receipts.
The inception of various remarkable hotel brands including Marriott Kigali, Golden Tulip, and Sheraton along with Radisson Blu is a remarkable step to the success of MICE in Rwanda.