Gorilla Tracking in Uganda, Rwanda

Rev. Simon Lokodo who is the minister for Integrity together with his fellow MPs from Karamoja region have expressed their bitterness about the fact t that the Uganda Wildlife Authority decided to have the Kidepo Valley National Park jubilee celebrations at a hotel in Kampala rather than having the celebrations in the park.

This came after Uganda Wildlife Authority decided to mark the Park’s milestone at Kampala Serena Hotel and they argued that by doing so, they left the real community living around the park out of the fete. Lokodo who was so angry in his own word said “That is useless and rubbish. I’m strongly denouncing it as an insult to the people of the area who surrendered their land to government just so the national park could exist.”

Chobe and Paraa Safari Lodges both situated in Murchisons Falls National Park under the management of Marasa which is the hospitality wing of Madhvani Group received certificates of recognition as top rated properties according Trip Advisor which a world wide industry leader in client based ratings of hotels, resorts, lodges, restaurants and other tourism attractions. They both got ‘Certificate of Excellence 2013’ which puts the two Marasa Africa managed properties into the top 10 percent of reviews given by visitors.

The news realized from the standard revealed that there were 10 security officials were caught by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) after suspecting them of assisting the poachers in the Tsavo Conservation Area. Among these suspects were the acting senior warden, the company commander, five platoon commanders and three rangers.

A number of tour operators form Uganda to the annual ITB Berlin travel and tourism exhibition this year which began on March 6th has increased after a long period of time.

The group of Ugandans has been led by the minister of Tourism, wildlife and Antiquities, Maria Mutagamba with 22 tour operators, and Sheraton hotel.ITB is one of the famous leading travel and tourism expos which attract around 100,000 visitors.

A silverback gorilla identified as Ruhemuka from the Kahungye mountain gorilla group on Uganda has died due to a painful forest accident.

The healthy gorilla above 30 years of age has fallen from a tree landing his head on the ground from a height of 20-30 meters on March 6th 2013.the rangers have discovered that its month and eyes had been torn by a nearby tree. There excessive bleeding into the brain and chest region might have led to the sudden shock which resulted into death.

The silverback has died around Kahungye hill on the steep side with Maesa plants where the group is found. The dead body has been found by the trackers shortly after its death.

Uganda is Africa’s best destination for bird species with over 1,000 species to have been discovered compared to Great Britain. There are 100 West African forest species like the Great Blue Turaco,raucous Black and white Casqued Hornbill, Gem-like Green Broadbill and 23 other species being endemic to the Albertine Rift.

Uganda is the best place to see the shoebill stork which is a huge swamp bird famous for its heavy clog-shaped bill. The birds can be found in every part of the country like in the west wherethey can be found in Bwindi National Park for Albertine Rift endemics, Queen Elizabeth National Park has over 600 bird species, Semliki park has Congo Basin endemics, Mabamba swamp in Entebbe is famous for the Shoebill stork, Bigodi wetland near Kibale Forest is famous for the Great Blue Tuyraco,Murchison Falls park is famous for the savannah species like Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Red-Throated Bee-Eater and Denham’s Bustard. The main area in Eastern Uganda for birds is Lake Bisina famous for the Papyrus Gonolek and the Shoebill.

Mr. Ishmeal Sekandi the long serving Executive Director of the Uganda Hotel Owners Association has resigned and has been replaced by Mr. Sam Balagadde who has been introduced by the chairman of UHOA Mr. Ibrahim Muwanga the owner of Hotel Africana located in Kampala.

The  Akagera National Park in the northeast of Rwanda  covers a sizable chuck of savannah.A mix of rolling grassland interspersed with broad-leafed and acacia woodland,these lower-lying lands are dissected by the Akagera River.

The bird species in the park include the Red-faced Barbet,Sousa’s Shrike,White-Collared Olive back among others.The park has a mosaic of wetlands and lakes,along the course of the Akagera River and the eastern boundary.

Amidst the Papyrus and reed beds some of the prized species to be found are Carruther’s Cisticola,Papyrus Canary,Serinus Koliensis and others.white collared olive back

A local aviation company has opened an air emergency medical evacuation service to improve Rwanda’s tourism sector.

Akagera Aviation said the system will provide rapid response rescue and medical care to give to the tourists who will experience a serious health problem while in the country. This will improve the tourism and hospitality sectors and also support the health care system in the country.

Ruhango district in Rwanda has worked on a new plan to promote the huge tourism potential in the area. The district has a number of tourist attractions mostly the historical sites but have not been marketed.

According to the current survey, the district has eight sites with the possibility to be turned into tourist attraction areas. The district hopes to attract more visitors and investors in the tourism and other sectors.

During the award ceremony in Arusha about the 7 natural wonders of Africa, River Nile which begins its journey from the source of the Nile in Jinja to the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt has been Uganda’s only winner and the minster for Tourism, Widlife and Antiquiries, Hon.Agnes Akiror Egunyu received the award on behalf of the country.

Among the nominated attractions include Ngorongoro Crater, Mt Kenya, the Aldabra Atoll, the Peak of Furnace on La Reunion, Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Avenue of Baobabs, the Red Sea Reef, the Okavanago Delta, Tsuma Rock, the Sahara Desert and Tsingi de Bemaraha.

Tanzania had three winners and these include the Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti National Park and Mt. Kilimanjaro. Winners from, other countries include the Red Sea Reef in Egypt, the Okavango Delta in Botswana and the Sahara Desert.

Being among the top 7 new natural wonders of Africa will improve on the economy because it will attract more tourists to come see the attractions.

The fuel pump prices in Kampala,Uganda have increased by USH200 because the country has been waiting for the results of the Kenya elections. Fuel stations like Shell, Mogas, Kobil and Total have increased their pump prices of diesel and petroleum products leading to an increase in transport fees within Kampala

The pressure ahead of Kenya polls has led to increment and many dealers have stopped importing fuel through Mombasa which is the main route and this has affected the supply.

The Rwanda Development Board has encouraged the tourists and the business community that the country is very safe to travel to after the FDLR rebels based in DRC made two attacks in the Northern and Western areas killing one person in each.

Clare Akamanzi, acting CEO, RDB, said people traveling to Rwanda should continue enjoying the beautiful landscape, rich culture, good climate, the variety of wildlife in the national parks and the rare mountain gorillas.

The Nyungwe Forest National Park has 970 km² of rainforest, bamboo, grassland and swamps and gazette in 2004. It is a home of different  animal species which include over 13 different primate species  which is 25% of Africa’s total, 275 bird species, 1068 plant species, 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian and 38 reptile species. At the time the Friends of Nyungwe Cooperative was not in existence, locals who live around the forest used to encroach on the forest something that led to issues like the fire outbreaks and illegal hunting of animals. One of the community-based tourism activities being carried out to protect and preserve Nyungwe Forest National Park is Kitabi Cultural Village, set up by the people living around the forest in 2009 five years after the cooperative .

Basing on the report of the year, there is an increase in the number of tourists who are currently visiting the country form different parts of the world. The report was compiled by the ministry of tourism and Antiquities sector for the financial year 2011/2012 and it indicates that the tourism industry contributed to 9.0% to the GDP for 2011 compared to 7.6% in 2010 and also its contribution to foreign exchange increased from US$ 662m in 2010 to US$805m in 2011 which is about 21% improvement.

Sometime back, RDB started fencing off the Akagera national park from the farms in the neighboring communities that border the park. This is a joint venture partnership between of RDB Tourism and Conservation managing the national park and they expect the work to be completed by the end of March or early April 2013.

The idea of fencing off the park was seen as the only way to wipe out the problem of human – wildlife conflict which is so rampant in different part of country where there are parks. Putting up a fence is the only way to protect small scale farmers from buffalo and hippos that cross from the parks into their farm lands and destroy a lot of their crops, sometimes injure them and at times kill people with the most recent incident being only two weeks ago.

The Rwandans who are currently working in western part of Sudan, an area of Darfur that has been torn by these on going wars in country have officially opened up a showroom which is intended to promote investment and tourism potentials of  Rwanda. In Darfur, there are over 3,000 Rwandan peacekeepers serving under the AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) that is apart from some civilian personnel.

This showroom will host a daily cultural display program and here people within UNAMID will be informed about and exposed to Rwanda’s developments, culture and historical background given the fact that Rwanda has a very rich culture.

According to the statement from the Rwandan group in Darfur, this development is a result of the recommendations made during last month’s General Assembly of the Rwandan Community in Darfur. The Showroom was officially opened on January 19, by Lt. Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba the UNAMID Force Commander

You can expect to find different art crafts pieces, traditional clothes and many other traditional items made in Rwanda. Gen. Nyamvumba also advised that there will be large numbers of UNAMID visitors , civilians, police as well as the military, this therefore means that there is likely to be a lot of customers and the organizers should ensure that there is always enough stock of the items that may be required. This may in one or another help market Rwanda’s other tourists’ attractions more so the different primates among others.

Uganda is the best and fastest developing destination in Africa. In 2011, Lonely Planet named Uganda the best travel destination for 2012 and this attracted a number of travelers to come witness the truth.

This year, the National Geographic has identified Uganda as a country with best trips for 2013 which means a lot to the whole tourism community and those interested in nature as Uganda fights to encourage sustainable tourism.

Uganda has a number of attractions like the rare mountain gorillas, wildlife and bird species that have attracted a number of visitors.

Uganda is known by a number of people as an insecure country because of the brutal regime in 1970s but currently Uganda is very stable and very safe so there is need to promote the industry in the region and outside.

Are you thinking of things to do in Rwanda, well, your on the right site.

Rwanda is a neighbour to Uganda and both two countries have a lot of things to do when you arrive there. Kigali is the capital city of rwanda which is a home to over a million Kigalians. If your thinking of things to do in Rwanda, you cant leave out Gorilla Trekking.

There are so much things to do in rwanda and one of them you cant miss is experiencing  how to trek gorillas.

The miss tourism grand contest event was graced by Maria Mutagamba who is the minister for Tourism, Wildlife & Antiquities together with the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s Executive Director Dr Andrew Seguya alongside many other major players in the tourism sector, notably tour operators and hotel owners. There are about 15 finalists that were selected from those that turned up for auditions which was held at the end of last month.

The Narok county government has been advised to make sure that it markets all the other tourists’ destinations in the county in an effort to increase and maintain their tourists who visit. This follows the fact that there seems to be a lot of interest in marketing the Wildebeests migration than any other attraction sites.

Sammy Nkoitoi, the chair man of the Siana Conservancy said focusing entirely on the wildebeest’s migration at the Maasai Mara and neglecting the not other forms of tourism will not do a lot of good especially because wildebeest migration is only a three-month experience yet the county has to keep receiving tourists for the rest of the year and the other tourists sites can be of good use at that time.

He said while talking to reporters in Narok town that the county government should work on securing markets for the big five animals, bird viewing and nature walk in forests. These will be great attraction to different tourist from different parts of the world.

The popular Cyanika border that is between Uganda and Rwanda , very much used by the tourists and safari operators as they are two important tourism regions that connect from there and those being Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks from the side of Uganda as well as Parc de Volcanoes from Rwanda. Today there are lots of visitors from Uganda, the Pearl of Africa and they are now using a brand new tarmac road from Kabale to Kisoro. More people are using the route especially now that there are several gorilla groups that can be accessible from the Western side of Bwindi going through Nkuringo. More people are visiting Lake Mutanda, since the opening of the new Chameleon Hill Lodge and you can go for the hiking trails as well.

Uganda Tourism Association (UTA), a body under which all tourism associations in Uganda fall held an annual general meeting on 1st/Oct/2013 and during this, they were able to vote for a new president of the association who turned out to be Herbert Byaruhanga. He will be serving for the next 2 years after the latter serving as the temporary president for the last six months.

Byaruhanga said while talking after the AGM at Hotel Africana in Kampala that his efforts in the next two years of office will be more on improving the image of the association which has been spoilt by some members of the public and also strengthen the relationship between the private sector specifically in tourism business and the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) which is the umbrella body for the all private sectors in the country.

Students from Rwanda that are studying in India also celebrated the fourth edition of world tourism day by entertaining the guests at the celebration at the Indian Merchants’ Chamber (IMC), Mumbai, India with their exciting Rwandan dances.

Ernest Rwamucyo who is Rwanda’s High Commissioner to India also attended the celebration and this provided an opportunity to highlight Rwanda’s development progress. The celebrations began with the Choir from the Happy Home and School for the Blind, singing in different languages before other events kicked in.

The host was Shailesh Vaidya, the president of IMC and the event attracted trade commissioners, consuls general, travel and tourism professionals, as well as print and electronic media of India.

Clarence Fernandez who was the representative for Rwanda Development Board in India said that the commissioner Rwamucyo shared Rwanda’s growth story and also invited participants visit to Rwanda so that they can get an opportunity to experience the country’s beauty. He said that any one can visit Rwanda not just from a tourism perspective, but also to look at the vast opportunities that exist in developing trade and making investments in the country.  

Besides exhibiting, there are some lucky people that walked away with prizes like free air return tickets to Rwanda and Turkey all courtesy of Turkish Airlines. The event was fun and fruitful.

Uganda will celebrate its national Big Birding Day next weekend and the celebrations will be apart of the weekend to be spent bird watching across the entire Uganda. This year, the Big Birding Day will be organized as a three day event which will be on 18th and 19th of October 2013 and after the results are in and reconciled, it will be followed with a Birding Festival which will be on the 26th of October.

Birding event will include activities like guided nature walks in the different conservation around Uganda with the help of expert ornithologists or bird guides from Nature Uganda members for a bird watching competition. The competition will be among groups of at least two 2 members who are experienced bird watchers so that they can confirm the species identification. Participants will be required to record all the birds that they have seen or heard calling within the sites.

Over 1,600 pieces of illegal ivory were confiscated by the Kenyan officials in the past week and they were weighing almost five tones. These pieces were found hidden inside sesame seed sacks which was about to be shipped to Turkey.

According to the officials, illegal hunting of wildlife is so high in places across sub-Saharan Africa where there are armed gangs of poachers who are slaughtering elephants to meet the markets demand for ivory in Asia where they grind rhino horns into powder for use as Asian medicines.

Arthur Tuda, Kenya Wildlife Service’s (KWS) officer in charge of Coast region said while talking to the press that this ivory came had come from Uganda through the Kenya-Uganda border and it was stashed in sacks of sesame seeds, and t hidden in two 40-foot containers. The export documents indicated that the containers as carrying sesame seeds.

Great news from the Busoga Tourism Initiative as it has earmarked Kyando hill, the place where Bishop James Hannington was killed back in the day of colonialism. They believe that this is one of the tourist attraction sites in the region that should be marketed. Despite the fact that this place had been known for religious importance, BTI notes that this site has a fascinating experience that everyone should get an opportunity to feel.

Edward Baliddawa, who is the Kigulu North MP, said that this area should not only be known for its religious importance but also for its historical and cultural value which is of importance to all people regardless of their religious and cultural background.

There are some leopards that have been seen wandering loose in areas of Teso North district. Area chief Wycliffe Omoding said the cats have been spotted in Kagutio, Akiriamete and Aleles in the last three weeks.

These leopards have been attacking domestic animals and the in the latest incident, a child who had woken up to read at 5am saw a leopard chasing a pig outside their house. This is has caused a lot of worry among the local residents and so they need the officials to help address the problem for the safety of the animals and the locals them selves.

The chief of the police said that a woman at Akiriamete was lucky not be attacked when she encountered one of the leopard as she went to get her animals from the pastures where he had taken them to graze. Meanwhile the acting Busia county commissioner Josephine Onunga said that Kenya Wildlife Service officers from the Western region have promised to send a team to track down the animals.

Onunga has asked the locals in the area where the leopards have been seen to be very cautious so that they can avoid being attacked together with their domestic animals as these animals are very dangerous and they can easily kill.

Locals and tourists are flooding areas of Gulu Municipality and Pakwach town councils inpreparation for the yet to occur hybrid solar eclipse which is expected on November 3 meanwhile those from Gulu will be lucky and watch the eclipse from their homes. Hotel and tour operators say they were fully booked. Tourists can always enjoy tailor made packages that take you to Murchison Falls National park which is situated only one hour away from Gulu.

The Owiny Primary School in Pakwach has been facilitated well to host tourists who may be in the region to watch the eclipse. This school was cited as a vantage location for viewing the eclipse at 4:15pm. It has been refurbished with assist from tourism ministry so said that Nebbi district information officer Godfrey Odia.

Dr Paula Kahumbu who is the Wildlife Direct Director said while talking to journalists in Nairobi Kenya that the sentence given to those found guilty of poach is still lenient which is why there are more deaths of elephants. She said that the judiciary must be ready to increase on the punishment for these offenders to help stop the trafficking of ivory in Africa.

Sam Gitau who is Nakuru County executive for trade and tourism has argued the Kenya Wildlife Service to let the county government take over the management of Lake Nakuru National park because according to him, KWS has totally failed to manage the national park. He said so while talking to the press in Nakuru town and added that the park is a county asset that should be protected and managed by the county government so that they can generate more revenue.

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