Uganda Wildlife Authority plans to reduce the fees charged for birding expeditions from US 100$ to US 30$ per day effective January 2014 with a view to boosting birding as a prime tourism product.
According to the UWA director of Tourism Development and Business Services (DTBS) Mr. Raymond Engena, the new rate will be the same as that charged for the nature walk.”There will be no difference in charges between birding and nature walk,” stated the director during the launch of the Big Birding Day at the Uganda Museum on Friday October 18th,2013.
Mr. Engena stated that the future of avian tourism lies in the private guides and called upon the birding promoters to harmonize for the activity within and outside protected areas. Addressing the theme of Big Birding Day 2013 “Connecting People to Birds and Nature,” Mr. Engena said that Uganda now boasts of recorded 1,065 species with 60% of this population found in the national parks. He lamented however that birding was competing with agriculture as people cut down the natural habitats for birds and degrading wetlands, lack of appreciation for birds’ contribution to the livelihoods and called on the promotion strategies for birding to be streamlined.
Mr. Engena who the guest speaker at the launch ceremony argued that the tourism fraternity must get the destination marketing right and think of how best to share the benefits from the birding activity with the communities. Dr. Robert Nabanyumya speaking on behalf of the board chairman, Nature Uganda, said birding and birds contribute immensely to our economic development and improvement of livelihoods. He noted that the birding event was initiated in 2003 but since 2009,it has turned into an annual event
The birding race was marked by dispatching various groups to different birding sites including wetlands, semi-arid sites, forests, farmland, grasslands and the protected areas for a form of a competition to determine the group that would come up with the longest list of birds identified and counted. The UWA group chose Ziika forest and Kajansi fishing ponds where they managed to identify birds in the wilderness with beautiful colors and unique calls . The group was able to register a variety of bird species such as pied Kingfisher, long tailed cormorant, the yellow weaver bird, white Egret and the black necked dove among others.The official results will be announced during the birding festivbal on October 26 T at Kitante Primary school grounds End .
Uganda Wildlife Authority in collaboration with sister security agencies have intensified the crack down on the illegal trade in ivory in the countryside and the major entry and exit points. The intensified joint efforts last week led to seizure of almost three tones of ivory estimated at millions of dollars, which was bound to Mombasa port for shipment to the Asian markets. The 832 pieces of ivory whose origin is yet to be established were intercepted by officials of the Uganda Revenue Authority Law enforcement section in a consignment at a warehouse along Kampala-Jinja highway. It had been concealed in gunny bags covered with plastic waste when it was detected.according to the Deputy Director Conservation, Mr. Charles Tumwesigye,this was the biggest ivory confiscation Uganda has made over the last ten years. The owner of the cargo has been given as Mr. Odhiambo Owino, a Kenyan National who hired the truck from Kenfreight to transport the cargo to Mombasa disguised first as coffee, fish maws, cotton and plastic waste. The truck driver and turn man have been arrested to help with investigations to establish the people involved and possibly the source of the illegal ivory. UWA will with URA that did the seizure and Interpol to undertake the forensic (DNA) analysis to establish the origin of this ivory. Only a few days ago, four Guinean nationals were arrested Entebbe International Airport with 116 kgs of ivory. Investigations are in advanced stages for the suspects to face prosecution in Uganda courts of law.Early this month, an Anglican priest identified as Ben Baguma was arrested with two pieces of ivory in Kabarole, western Uganda by the UWA law enforcement staff who are investigating the racket. Another consignment with over 600 pieces of illegal ivory believed to have transited through Uganda was recently intercepted at Kenya’s Mombasa port. END
BY THE MINISTER OF TOURISM, WILDLFIE AND ANTIQUITIES,
HON. DR. MARIA MUTAGAMBA
Friday, 18th November, 2013
On the 3rd November 2013, the World will witness a total Solar Eclipse. The Solar Eclipse is an extra ordinary geographical phenomenon of the movement of the solar system; the moon shields the sun and creates a temporary darkness. Most of this eclipse will occur over the Atlantic Ocean with the only landfall being in Africa across relatively large areas of sparsely inhabited rain forest in the Congo.
Hybrid'eclipse is a rare form of solar eclipse, which changes from an annular to a total solar eclipse along its path. The hybrid eclipse is the rarest of the four types of solar eclipses. It is caused when the moon passes in front of the sun and casts a shadow on the surface of the Earth.
What is significant about the November 3rd eclipse is that according to NASA's calculations only 7 of its kinds have occurred since Christ. The last hybrid eclipse is believed to have occurred on March 16th 1466 and the next one is forecast for June 3rd 2114.
Uganda has been identified as the best location in the World to view the eclipse with the following places specifically giving the vantage point- Pakwach , Arua, Soroti, Masindi and Gulu. Pakwach being the best of the listed to watch the eclipse and Owiny Primary school in Pakwach has been identified as the best location to view the Solar Eclipse. The eclipse will take place on Sunday, 3rd November 2013 at 04:15pm. in Uganda.
This natural occurrence will attract international and domestic travelers to these regions to witness the Solar Eclipse. In this respect, the tourism sector views this as an opportunity to raise the visibility of the country and attract more visitors for this event and promote other attractions in and around the sightseeing areas.
From a tourism development perspective, the solar eclipse event presents a unique and positive opportunity to focus the world's attention on Uganda. The solar eclipse sightings are closely followed by the world media and this occurrence gives the destination wide visibility that Uganda should capitalize on.
The event will attract many tourists and people who observe the Solar System who will be flocking into the country to see this phenomenon; thereby increasing visibility of the country and the tourist arrivals and subsequent inflows of foreign exchange.
The solar eclipse is a rare event and hence the need to inform all Ugandans and in particular the young and school going children to prepare and witness the event for their educational enrichment.
The Solar eclipse presents opportunities and linkages that will result from the expected influx of visitors. The communities in the Northern Uganda stand to benefit from this event by selling souvenirs, food and accommodation services, and the tour and transport operators will benefit by providing services to the tourists.
This event presents an opportunity in building and projecting the positive image of the country and the northern region in particular. The northern part of Uganda has suffered an image of war and disease despite the pacification that has taken hold in the recent past. This is an opportunity to showcase the region and dispel negative publicity like invisible children video.
This event also provides an opportunity to showcase Uganda's natural and cultural attractions and the peaceful co existence that thrives. The opportunity will be used to market additional tours and attractions within the region.
The tourism sector has registered bookings from tourists coming to Uganda for this event and there is growing interest and pressure for accommodation services in areas where the solar sighting will happen. In this regard, Government saw the need to prepare the communities within the solar eclipses sighting to prepare and economically benefit from the influx of visitors.
Cabinet at its 37th meeting September 2013 constituted a Cabinet Committee to work out the requirements of giving a face lift to Owiny Primary school and providing amenities to cater for the influx of people expected to visit the site to witness the total solar eclipse of the sun on 3rd November 2013. At the sametime, a technical committee was constituted to carry out preparations of the Event.
Uganda will carry out a number of activities in preparation of and awareness creation of the Total Solar Eclipse to the public ahead of and during the main event to take place on 3rd November, 2013. The activities will include the following among others:
- Renovation of Owinyi Primary School: There will be a facelift of the School and provision of water facilities at the site.
- Publicity: Both national and international publicity will be done (TV, Radio, and Print Media etc).
- Production of the Solar Eclipse Promotional Video clip.
- A Monument in commemoration of Uganda's hosting of the Total Solar Eclipse, 2013 will be erected at Owinyi Primary School.
- A Tourism Information Centre including a reception, exhibition area and office will be constructed in Pakwach.
- Familiarisation trip for international Journalists to various tourism sites in the country will be conducted.
- Entertainment will be provided by local Artists
- The Organising Committee is also exploring and informing visitors of the range and alternative accommodation such as home stays, camping, and sanitation services.
The Safety issues associated with the Event are:.
Viewing the sun with the naked eye or with any optical device such as binoculars or a telescope can cause permanent eye damage or blindness, so it is advisable to always use special eye protection such as special solar filters like a camera film.
The permanent eye damage can result from looking at the disk of the sun directly, or through a camera view finder, or with binoculars or a telescope even when only a thin crescent of the sun remains. The 1% of the Sun's surface still visible is about 10,000 times brighter than the full moon. Staring at the sun under such circumstances is like using a magnifying glass to focus sunlight onto tinder. The retina is delicate and irreplaceable.
There is little or nothing a retinal surgeon will be able to do to help you. Never look at the Sun outside of the total phase of an eclipse unless you have adequate eye protection. Children particularly are vulnerable and should be provided with appropriate viewing equipment.
You can view with:
- Certified eclipse viewing glasses
- Pinhole camera
- Welder's Goggles
- Undeveloped Black and white film ( Not colored)
- Water in a basin
Do not use:
- Naked eyes
- Color film
- Developed films
We urge you to bring your family and friends to experience this once in a life time event while exploring the rest of Uganda's Attractions.
For more information please visit the ministry website at www.tourism.go.ug and www.visituganda.co.ug
"The Big Birding Day" (BBD) is a special day when every person in Uganda is encouraged to go out birding in any part of the country, with the main aim of increasing awareness on the potential of birds to promote tourism in Uganda. This event also aims to promote domestic tourism, by involving Ugandans in such an exciting exercise.
The first BBD was organized in 2003 followed by the events in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The BBD comprises of three events; the launch which is in form of a public lecture; the birding day, where we all go out for birding in the whole country in sites of our choice; and the big birding festival, which is the final day where we announce the results from the birding event.
This year the BBD events will take place as follows; the Launch at the Uganda Museum on 18th, Bird watching day all over the country on 19th and the Big Birding Festival in Kitante Primary School Gardens on 26th October. The sub-theme for this year is "Birding, Our livelihoods, Our economy". This theme targets to promote birding as one of the leading source of livelihood for the country.
This communication is intended to invite you to be part of the Birding teams and also to attend the other BBD events.
You are requested to arrange for birding in a site of your choice on the birding day 19th October and let me know which site you have chosen. You need a team with at least two birders if possible and other interested participants for your site. Birding will be a 24hr exercise starting at midnight (19that 1201am) to midnight (20th at 1200am). Remember this is a competition for the longest bird species list recorded during the 24hrs.
The winners stand to win different prizes so you should be in that team.
SO GET READY FOR THE RACE AND INVITE ALL YOUR FRIENDS TO PARTICIPATE.
Looking forward to celebrating the birds of Uganda with you.
Chimpanzee Tracking and Bird watching in Kibale National Park also fondly known as the World’s Primate Capital was the major highlight of the Tourism week climaxing in World Tourism Day in Fort Portal, Western Uganda on September 27, 2013.
Uganda’s minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities (MTWA) Dr. Maria Mutagamba was the chief guide for the successful chimpanzee tracking event on September 26, 2013. Flanked by the Toro Princess Elizabeth Bagaya, diplomats from the US embassy, the British High commission in Uganda, and several dignitaries from the Tourism fraternity were able to sight the famous Kanyantale community individuals including Rukara (the one with a dark face) at a close range.
UWA’s Director of Tourism and Business Services Mr. Raymond Engena and the Conservation Area Manager, Kibale, Mr. Edward Asalu hosted the guests.
In the forest, the trackers also encountered a number of other primates, several species of birds and butterflies while UWA’s professional guides explained the medicinal and ecological importance of a variety of trees. Earlier, the Toro royals and Western diplomats combed the forest for the much sought after birds including the green- breasted pitta.
The national Vision 2040 has projected Fort Portal as a tourism city given its proximity to several unique physical features including Kibale, Semuliki, Rwenzori, Queen Elizabeth National Parks, a host of crater lakes, rich culture and diverse people. The leaders have called for upgrading of Saka airstrip to boost air transport.
A week long tourism exhibition showcasing Uganda’s eco tourism attractions and services was held at Boma Grounds which attracted thousands of folks from the region.
The world tourism day whose theme was Tourism and Water: Protecting our common future, was presided over by Mr. Muruli Mukasa the minister of state for security and addressed by the Toro King HM Oyo Nyimba Rukidi IV. The presence of Miss Tourism Uganda pageant contestants added pomp to the celebrations.
His Majesty King Oyo observed that the choice of Fort Portal to host the World Tourism Day was spot on, and that it is not surprising that government has earmarked the beautiful town as the tourism hub. He invited the private sector to invest in Kabarole tourism infrastructure, agro-tourism, museums, and distance education.
The chief guest Hon. Muruli Mukasa praised the Rwenzori region for warm climate, beautiful scenery, unique physical endowments, the strong Chwezi history and lineage plus a strong tradition all of which place the region at a vantage position as a tourism destination.