Responsible tourism: Gorilla and chimpanzee trekking, Uganda
If you are looking for a safari where your tourist $ really does count, then Uganda ticks lots of boxes. Despite its torrid past it is one of the only countries in Africa where elephant populations are on the rise and a large number of National Parks exist to protect the wildlife here. We protect our local wildlife focusing on revealing and reporting incidents of wildlife poaching and the illegal trade of Uganda’s wildlife resources. Also controlling on the encroachment by humans on the feeding and breeding areas of a number of wildlife species. Logging, cultivation of land, charcoal making, urbanization, road building, pollution and waste management are a few of the more devastating human activities affecting the existence of Uganda’s wildlife.
When out on safari, we do not leave the main track to ensure the wildlife is undisturbed.
In Bwindi National park only 10% of the gorilla population is habitualised (ie. used to people) and only 3 gorilla families can be visited. It is important that the majority are not exposed to humans in case any virus is passed from human to gorilla. (In Ruwanda - nearly 90% of the gorilla population is habitualised) The permit system means that only 8 people can visit each gorilla family for a maximum of 1 hour a day. Your monies also contibute to the protection of the Chimpanzees in Kibale National park as there is a permit system here. Through the tourists and their permit fees this allows for there to be a structure and well financed system for rangers and anti poacher patrols
Our partners support a number of charities including contributing to the conservation of the wildlife such as Rhinos have been re-introduced to Uganda; the creation of the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary was established for this sole purpose. All of our trips can be tailored so we can visit this sanctuary en-route. New laws pertaining to logging and charcoal production, specifically in the ‘protected forests’ has curtailed much of the devastation, The increased use of Solar as a source of power over firewood and charcoal is also a very positive initiative. Increased manpower to control animal poaching and the illegal trade of animals and animal parts has reduced the incidents of animal kills, again, particularly in the ‘protected’ areas of the country,Educating Ugandans about the purpose of wildlife.
The boats have been put in place that also help curb illegal fishing and are available for use by isolated communities in times of emergency rescue which is already proving invaluable in saving lives. The Waterways Project means that they can be deployed anywhere along a shoreline, silently and without detection.
Water for People is a company that has projects that we support as well collaborating with local partners to support more water and/or sanitation business initiatives in districts. Lasting water and sanitation solutions have been achieved when key players in the private sector, civil society, and local government get involved. In Uganda, we work with the local district governments; business development service providers; water and sanitation entrepreneurs; and local non-governmental organizations.
We worked together in the completion of a baseline assessment of Kamwenge district and now supporting the construction of one piped water supply system that will be managed by a private operator. We are also working hand in hand in facilitating the rehabilitation of 40 hand pumps with meters and training hand pump mechanics and entrepreneurs to operate and manage these systems.
Some of the benefits are approaches to supporting sustainable water systems and preservation as we are working to increase water system sustainability by exploring the role of the private sector and water businesses, including training entrepreneurs and hand pump mechanics, sensitizing communities to this new approach, and metering piped water supply systems and hand pumps.
Volunteering & charity:
We support the local projects in Uganda through charity and volunteering works, as well as through the hotels we use.
We involve our clients in yearly projects in developing primary and secondary schools in rural areas especially Masaka, Kalangala-Ssese projects include Goat projects, classroom projects, renovation projects, water projects, Chicken projects, Painting projects.
Mweya Safari Lodge, in partnership with USAID-STAR (Sustainable Tourism in the Albertine Rift) and the Pearls of Uganda Program, are working with the community to expand their local primary school to accommodate the growing number of students (among other charitable projects)
At Silverback lodge, where we stay near Bwindi, we support the local orphanage and vunerable children centre, where monies are raised to fund education. This is done through donations and also buying artwork that the children have created.
Local crafts and culture:
Uganda has a very strong cultural heritage and we support it. Our clients visit kingdoms including Buganda, Busoga, Bunyoro and Toro. Ugandans are remarkably hospitable and hail from a diversity of rich cultures and life styles. Each tribe has its own traditional dance and we support the cultures when we visit the cultural communities and also the clients buy African crafts which boost locals incomes. Culture and traditions are also expressed through a wide range of arts and Crafts made from wood, Papyrus reeds and local materials. These include beaded Jewellery, African shirts wood carvings and batiks. They can be found all over the city in village bazaars, gift shops, hotels, urban galleries and the National Theater Craft Market which promote the economy of Uganda. While our clients are on the Uganda safari, we consider taking them a cultural tour to the known destinations and appreciating the African culture some of the items are the Ugandan Drum, Kasubi Tombs, and Uganda shrines. A lot of royalty and respect is paid to this culture.