Uganda’s National Parks Reopen For Tourism.
Uganda’s National Parks Reopen For Tourism : Uganda’s national parks reopen for tourism amidst the Covid-19 pandemic which has seemingly brought the global tourism industry to a standstill. The good news is that there is a ray of light at the end of the tunnel, as the country prepares to welcome tourists back to its national parks.
Uganda has 10 national parks which are managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, along with 12 wildlife reserve areas. The most visited national parks include; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which is famous for its habituated mountain gorillas. There is also Murchison Falls National park, Kibale National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Other nationals parks that tourists visit while in the country include; Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Semuliki National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Mt. Elgon and Mt. Rwenzori National Parks.
As of 5th June, 2020, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) released a statement informing the general public that all national parks were open for tourism, except the primate parks.
Primate national parks such as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Kibale Forest National Park will remain closed till further notice, in order to protect primate species from contracting the deadly coronavirus. However, tourists visiting Uganda can still explore her savannah national parks.
In the public statement, the organization also stated that all tourism activities within the various national parks shall be carried out in a manner that ensures all guidelines by the Ministry of Health and the directives by the President of Uganda are followed. Here are some of the guidelines to follow by all tourists visiting the protected areas;
- Mandatory temperature screening using non-contact infra-red thermometers at the key entry gates of the different national parks.
- Mandatory hand washing or sanitizing at the entrance points of all UWA premises and protected areas.
- All tourist vehicles and boats in all the national parks shall carry half capacity. This will also apply to concessionaire delivery vehicles entering and exiting the parks.
- Saloon car vehicles shall not be permitted to carry out game drives activities in the protected areas.
- Large groups exceeding 25 people shall not be permitted in the parks at the same time for the same activities.
- Events such as destination weddings shall not be permitted in the national parks till further notice.
- Tourists visiting the national parks are encouraged to carry their own hand sanitizer and facemasks.
Apart from the above set guidelines, the organization has also gone an extra mile to provide its entire staff with the appropriate wear in order to protect them as well as its visitors from any possible infection.
In addition this, the organization also mentioned that all tourists who will be visiting its national parks and protected areas will be sensitized on the approved general government COVID-19 operational guidelines, including guidelines developed and approved by the management of Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Activities you can do during your visit to Uganda’s national parks.
There are plenty of activities that you can do during your visit to Uganda’s national park, post-COVID-19 lockdown;
Game drives: Visitors can embark on guided game drives during your visit to any of the savannah national parks. Game drives can be done in Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, Lake Mburo, Kidepo Valley, and Semuliki national Parks. The parks offer visitors both day and evening game drives that last between two to five hours.
Boat Cruise: Boat cruise expeditions are offered in Queen Elizabeth national park, Murchison Falls national park, and Lake Mburo national park. You can choose to either embark on a morning or afternoon boat cruise, which last about two hours. In some parks like Murchison falls national park offer visitors a four hour boat cruise to the lower delta, with splendid views of the popular Murchison Falls.
Lion Tracking Experience: This activity is offered at Queen Elizabeth National Park and it is the best activity to do if you want to see the famous tree climbing lions in the Ishasha sector, south of the national park. The lion tracking experience is conducted by a team of expert researchers, accompanied by a park ranger. The activity will give you an up-close view of the lions as they about the daily activities.
Other interesting activities that you can do during your visit to Uganda’s national parks include; sport fishing, guided nature walks, horseback riding in Lake Mburo national park, bird watching, mountaineering, and community cultural tours among others.
You just can’t miss this opportunity to explore the wild savannah lands of Uganda and view all its stunning wildlife animals in the various national parks. So, as look forward to lockdowns being lifted by governments in various countries, Uganda’s national parks remain open awaiting your return back to the wild.