Tourism Takes Shape Again In Uganda As National Parks Reopen
The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has seen businesses across the world shutting down. most of the national economic sectors such as tours and travel tourism, hospitality, and transportation have been mostly axed since the pandemic made countries to impose total lockdown that completely restricted travel both within states and abroad. for tourism business to happen there must be travel by a visitor from the origin (home country) to his or her destination for the consumption of tourism products. Unlike other businesses,in tourism a client traveler to the consumer the product other moving the product before him or her to happen.
In Uganda, the tourism industry is one of the significant sectors to the economy of Uganda contributing to over 1.6 billion Ugandan shillings to the Growth Domestic Product (GDP) for the previous financial year 20118/2019. Uganda tourism is majorly based on Natural resources especially national parks water bodies, mountains, and its people and culture. Importantly Uganda is famous for hosting worlds half of the endangered Mountain gorillas that are found in parks of Bwindi and Mgahinga, all traced in the South Western part of the country.
When Uganda reported her first case of covid19 in March, the Uganda wildlife Authority suspended all the tourist visitations in all its ten National parks in a bid to combat the spread of pandemic to the precious wild animals. This suspension further affected 13 wildlife reserves and 13 sanctuaries.
However, in the latest statement released on Friday, June 2021, UWA says that after a consultative meeting with various stakeholders, the National parks have been reopened.
“……. After consultations with various stakeholders and putting in place standard operating procedures for containment of the possible spread of the Covid19 Pandemic in our protected areas, the savannah parks are now open for Tourism”, a statement by UWA said.Further, the document reported that the head officers of UWA located in Kampala are also open for any tourism-related services
Which National parks are open for tourism?
The national parks that have been opened according to the statement released by the management of Uganda Wildlife Authority are Ugandan savannah parks. The tourists are free to visit these National parks in Uganda if they wish. Savanah national parks in Uganda that have been opened include Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, Kidepo National Park, Semuliki National Park, and Lake Mburo National park.
It is important to note that tourism activities in primate national parks of Uganda have remained suspended until further notice. The primate Ugandan National parks include;Bwindi Forest National park, Kibale forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park remain closed to tourists. This because these parks contain high precious endangered species especially mountain gorillas and chimpanzees that are close relatives of human beings and share 98%DNA with human which makes them susceptible to respiratory diseases as well. Therefore, without proper precautions would expose them to the coronavirus.
Stringent guidelines to follow while accessing the opened parks
Although Uganda wildlife Authority has started easing some of the tourism restrictions that have lasted for over 2 months, you need to be aware of the following Standard Operating Procedures that have been put in place by UWA to combat the pandemic to from affecting the untamed national parks.
According to the statement by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the tourism activities within the park will take place following the Ministry of Health guidelines and the guidelines to prevent the coronavirus as follows;
- All visitors/ tourists to national parks will undergo mandatory temperature screening at different National parks gates of entry with compulsory washing of hands and sanitizing at all UWA premises and protected areas.
- Guidelines of carrying half capacity travelers using both vehicles and boats in the park shall be enhanced to observe social distance which will include concessionaire delivery vehicles.
- This time around saloon cars shall not be permitted to carry out tourism game drives in the park.
- More than 25 travelers/tourists will not be allowed to enter the park at the same activities at the same time according to the new UWA guidelines
- Events such as destination weddings are not yet allowed into the opened Savanah parks.
Tourists visiting the national park as also encouraged to carry their sanitizers and face masks to ensure extra caution.For more information regarding visitors and precautions to the protected areas,refer to the Uganda wildlife Authority websites. www.ugandawildlife.org
Can I travel to Uganda now for a holiday?
At the moment Uganda is slowly lifting the lockdown imposed due to the outbreak of COVID’-19 pandemic. Although UWA has reopened the savannah parks for tourism, this applies to only domestic travelers, not for international travelers. The countries only international airport is still closed for international travelers and as soon as the airport reopens then u will be guaranteed the safest holiday safari in Uganda.
As African adventure vacations, we are optimistic that the gradual easing of lockdown will soon see the airport opened which will enable you to travel to Uganda’s best National parks. We advise you to start booking for 2021 vacations in Uganda with us and we shall keep you posted on any confirmed traveler related news coming in.Stay safe as you can start preparing your safari bags for safaris in Uganda soon.