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Updated: 4 years 6 months ago

Akagera National Park under threat in Rwanda

Tue, 11/13/2012 - 16:37

One of Rwanda National Parks named Akagera national park is under a serious threat.  Although several interventions have been geared towards conserving the park from human destruction, encroachers have continued to carry out harmful activities to the park and to its wildlife at large and this is the largest in the country and wildlife at large. This issue was laid out last week when various officials were having a one-day tour in the park of about 110 kilometer long electric fence under construction which aims at separating the park from neighboring communities.
Even though the fence has been constructed, different illegal poachers and smugglers have continued to kill animals in the park and poaching has been on the increase in the last few months with in the park. However, according to the park managing director, the officials want good relations with neighboring communities and that’s why they are committed to help them get water for their cattle so the communities should also help them in guarding the park as well. Dangerous people like Poachers, smugglers, marijuana traffickers and so many others are not threatened by the electric fence and because of this, measures to train game rangers have been taken into considerations so as to guard and control park borders. Also the encroachers were warned that hard measures were being put in place to punish them and they promised to work around the clock to help park authorities put away poachers and other dangerous kinds of people. 
Besides the Government and park officials, also stake holders like Tour operators offering Rwanda Safaris must also own the issue to find lasting solutions such as sensitization programs to the nearby local communities.

The Gorilla Glory in both Uganda and Rwanda

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 17:18

Uganda is hosting more than half of the endangered mountain Gorillas population. However now the tale of two countries where Uganda should have a clear advantage because of its numbers in Gorillas, the other numbers point at something else which is Rwanda the only other country where the huge primates can safely be visited besides Congo which is considered unsafe due to the constant rebel wars. Rwanda is giving Uganda a run for the money so much since it increased a 50% on the Gorilla tracking permit where foreign non residents pay $ 750 from $ 500. This was a result of the head of tourism and conservation in the Rwanda Development Board described as “sustained increase in the interest for gorilla trek”. Recently, more numbers show how Rwanda which just re opened the Gorilla tourism in 1999 after the 1994 Genocide has managed to make its self a formidable competitor with Uganda. According to the senior advisor in Rwanda, the country had 170,000 visiting Volcanoes National Park in 2008 where as the same year Uganda had only 10,362 visiting Bwindi national Park for Gorilla tracking and about 3,303 visiting Mgahinga Gorilla Park which put the total to 13,500. In 2010, Uganda received 18,000 visitors to the Parks. Most visitors cite convenience from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park than Kampala to Bwindi that’s why so many opt to track the Gorillas in Rwanda and hence potential Gorilla tourism in Rwanda compared to Uganda. The ease of access from Kanombe Airport to Volcanoes which is only 2 hours drive compared to that of Uganda from Kampala to Bwindi which is almost 9-10 hours drive makes so many tourists to opt for tracking Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda.
Besides the accessibility, Rwanda as a country also does aggressive marketing for its Tourism industry compared to its neighbor Uganda. One of their most known stratagem is the annual Kwita Izina celebrations performed to name the baby gorillas born within the year from different families. The ceremony is widely publicized all over the world and has been known to attract several stars including Hollywood. Though when it comes to packaging, Uganda offers a unique experience with pristine nature compared to Rwanda which has a more experiential type of package.
However, for Uganda to blow its own trumpet a little louder, concerned personnel’s have the need to market the sector worldwide. These range from the local government to private investors to local communities surrounding the area and this is the advantage that Rwanda has over Uganda when it comes to Gorilla Safaris and Rwanda tours.

Confirmation of Uganda’s attendance at the travel exhibition in London

Tue, 11/06/2012 - 15:53

Uganda has confirmed that it will be one of the many countries which will participate in the World Travel Market in London. This is one of the world’s largest international tourism Exhibition that takes place every year at the Excel docklands in London. The Minister of Tourism Wildlife and Heritages Mrs. Maria Mutagamba said that the exhibition which started today will help Uganda to market and sell its tourism unique potentials compared to other East African countries.
As Uganda, it’s very unique for all the tour operators to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business with other worldwide leading travel sector players and keep abreast with the latest developments in the travel and tourism industry. This exhibition is very important because it will reduce the costs which the government has been spending to promote the country’s tourism sector abroad since the government will be highly represented by all the sector players in the tourism industry.
Uganda is represented by both public and private sectors which all aims at helping the private sector to market their potential and also government to market Uganda’s tourism sector. The World Travel Market exhibition which is slated for 5-8 November will help Uganda to showcase her numerous attractions and to mark the 50 year Golden Jubilee. The country’s major tourist attraction will be the Mountain Gorillas and the over 1040 bird species in the country.
The organization for protecting wildlife in Uganda called Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) will be sponsoring the exhibition with a total contribution of Ush 304 million since it’s the beneficially of the event. UWA is the major player in Uganda’s tourism sector since it manages over 75% of the tourism sites in the country therefore by funding this event, it will help this organization to attract more tourists from the world more so from United Kingdom.
The country has been participating in this exhibition for the last 16 years and this helped it to attract more tourists from the UK basing on the UBOS report which state that there were 37000 arrivals in the year 2011 from UK on average and 155,000 from the whole Europe.
The Uganda tourism board has sent more than 30 participants and 20 tour and travel operators will be able to display their products.

Gorilla Park Rangers killed in Virunga

Tue, 11/06/2012 - 15:50

Two gorilla park rangers in Virunga National Park in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo with another soldier were killed by rebels as reported by one of the Park officials.
In this attack, also five rebels were killed and this has threatened the life of the endangered species of Mountain Gorillas living in the Virunga National Park. The Eastern area of Democratic Republic of Congo has in the past years suffered from existence of numerous armed rebel groups based in the Park. Because of this, they often poach animals and according to the Park officials, almost 130 park rangers have been killed by rebels since 1996.
It has been reported that the M23 rebel group has its bases in the Park and recently it allowed tourists to resume activities such as Gorilla trekking in the region. However, this year the rebellion by this group has caused more than 500,000 people to flee their homes into the neighboring areas of Rwanda and Uganda.
According to the Virunga National Park Director Mr. Emmanuel de Merode, the rangers were travelling with an armed escort by the time they were ambushed by the members of the Mai Mai militia which is another rebel group that has its base in Eastern Congo. The group came under attack from a quite substantial Mai Mai unit.
The Virunga National Park is one of the three National Parks with the world’s remaining Mountain Gorillas (other gorilla parks are Bwindi National Park in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda). Virunga is also on the list of UN World Heritage sites in danger.

Rwanda Government plans to build animal sanctuaries to boost Domestic Tourism

Mon, 10/22/2012 - 18:05

Rwanda had an animal sanctuary on the hill of Rebero in Kicukiro district but was destroyed during the 1994 genocide memorial and so, it has never been rebuilt. The government official from the Rwanda Development Board confirmed that the board plans to create an animal sanctuary which will be named the Wildlife Education Center. It will be used to educate children about the values and importance of wildlife. The ministry added that they are embarking on a major awareness of tourism on both local and at the international level. This will hamper the growth of local tourism as animal sanctuaries or orphanages have been proven to be major drivers of tourist numbers locally.
Uganda and Kenya have animal orphanages and sanctuaries located in major towns, which has seen their tourism revenue increase. Uganda has Uganda wildlife Education Center (UWEC) in Entebbe, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and Ngamba Island ChimpanzeeSanctuary on Lake Victoria where as Kenya has the Nairobi National Park and Haller Park in Mombasa.Now the Rwandan government has planned the establishment of wildlife sanctuaries where they will collect and protect animals that are found to be illegally detained in homes and those endangered in captivity. 
The sanctuaries will not only serve to protect animals, but will also be for educational purposes as stated by the Manager in charge of conservation at the Rwanda Development Board Mr. Télésphore Ngoga. In relation also to tourism promotion, the government of Rwanda has lined up several projects such as fencing Akagera National Park; defining a buffer zone for the VolcanoesNational Park, reinforcing protection of Nyungwe Park and diversifying its tourism products. The promotion of domestic tourism is vital to increasing tourism revenues especially from domestic tourists and also will be a great opportunity for locals who cannot afford Gorilla permits, transport and accommodation costs to visit the National Parks. this will reduce on the costs the locals incur on their Rwanda safaris.