There are very few destinations in the world that are naturally gifted as Uganda. From its verdant tropical rainforests to rich cultures, legendary mountains, and wildlife, Uganda is every tourist’s dream destination. Are you interested in eco-tourism? Still, no better place is worth visiting that offers responsible travel experiences than Uganda, the Pearl of Africa.
All Uganda safaris are carried out with ecotourism guidelines/principles or sustainable tourism goals. Ecotourism is a kind of travel involving visiting natural areas and the main objective is learning or participating in activities with minimal environmental effects while also protecting and empowering the host communities that is socially and economically.
The IUCN 1996 defines eco-tourism as environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed areas in order to enjoy and appreciate nature which promotes conservation, has low negative visitor effect, and offers beneficially active socioeconomic involvement of the local population.
Unlike other forms of tourism, ecotourism focuses on environmental conservation and sustainable development. It comes with a long list of benefits including saving forests, people’s cultures, and in general, the environment.
By protecting the environment, visitors are guaranteed authentic experiences. And with Uganda’s tourism largely dependent on nature, ecotourism or sustainable tourism plays significant. Traveling to the pearl of Africa is a lifetime opportunity to appreciate her gift of nature. From the unique flora, and fauna to the unique cultural heritage.
Best eco-friendly destinations in Uganda
Typical examples of ecotourism or sustainable tourism in Uganda include Kalinzu Central Forest, Mabira Forest Reserve, Mpanga Central Forest, Lutoboka, Bunjazi Central Forest, Busingiro Eco-tourism Site, Bugoma, Rwenzori Mountains, Kibale National Park, Botanical Gardens Entebbe, Zika Forest, Kaniyo-Pabidi Forest, Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve, Ssezibwa Falls, etc.
Background of ecotourism in Uganda
The history of ecotourism in Uganda can be traced back to the 1990s. It is one of the new phenomena and it includes incredible safari activities like birding or bird watching, guided nature walks, forest walks, community walks or village visits, sport fishing, gorilla tracking, game viewing, butterfly watching, scenery viewing, boat cruise, cultural and rural tourism, primate watching, canoeing, and many others.
Gorilla watching or trekking in Uganda is only conducted in its prior forest destinations; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Visiting these parks to see mountain gorillas is only for visitors who have obtained valid gorilla tracking permits, each costing US$700 per person.
For chimpanzee tracking safaris, there are multiple locations to visit to interact with chimpanzees including Kalinzu Forest Reserve, Kibale National Park, Budongo Forest, Kyambura Gorge, and Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve.
Benefits of ecotourism or sustainable tourism in Uganda
Ecotourism plays a huge role in preserving natural resources. Only environmentally/eco-friendly safari activities are promoted in ecotourism.
A large of locals are employed in a number of fields as guides, park officials/destination managers, etc.
Enhances local community access thus reducing the feeling of solitude among the locals. The local people are often involved in ecotourism activities.
Enhances household income as local people from their handcraft products plus other food items.