UGANDA’S RESPONSIBLE TOURISM
Responsible tourism in Uganda encompasses natural and traditional resources. However, many of its residents are impoverished, with still rare water and electric power in various areas. Responsible tourism is one approach to contacting Uganda’s mostly rural populace and assisting them in conserving the land and wildlife that live with them. Gorillas also require our assistance to safeguard them from threats ranging from a common cold to oil drilling, and orphans and vulnerable youngsters in Uganda require your physical, spiritual, and financial assistance.
While the country is entirely biodiversity and valued, it remains economically impoverished. More than 80% of Ugandans live in rural areas, most of whom work as sustenance farmers. Armed coups, homicidal rulers, HIV waves, and the Lord’s Resistance Group, a guerilla crowd commanded by Joseph Kony that waged war on Uganda’s north side regions for nearly 20 years, have all wreaked havoc on the country. While these events are happily done, the repercussions of scarcity, lack of education, lousy organizations, and orphaned remain. Many travelers see Uganda as a “poor but happy” country, with smiling faces, lively dances, and enthusiastic children. However, before being drawn in too soon by those endearing smiles, it’s worthwhile to know more about the nation’s history, speak with your tour guide, and gain insight into the reality of daily living in Uganda.
Environment and Wildlife
The protection of mountain gorillas in Uganda is an exact victory story. This kind has decreased in numbers alarmingly since being identified in 1902 due to habitat destruction, poaching, war, and diseases spread by humans. In the forest were 620 mountain gorillas, according to estimates from 1989? Captive breeding was not an alternative for this subspecies because it does not flourish there.
Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla Parks were established in 1991. Since the number of gorillas has enlarged by about 40% to over 880. However, simply looking at the parks was insufficient; it needed to be combined with a highly controlled and well-managed vacation industry to secure the required funds to keep the parks harmless. There are 11 accustomed guerilla groups in Bwindi (plus one that is only used for study), and eight monitoring licenses are placed daily on each family. The cost is high—the US $600 per individual for one hour with the gorillas—and there are many discussions about boosting it further (permits in neighboring Rwanda cost $1500). However, as a core component of the Responsible Tourism in Uganda helping hand, this money is funneled directly back into the national parks and gorilla safety. Even though it may seem pricey, permits commonly sell out during the high season.
Responsible tourism in Uganda transforms tourist destinations into “exclusive” experiences, is always contentious, and has met with different degrees of achievement worldwide. Alike – though considerably higher – visitors are capped at areas like the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu.
The strict restrictions and low tourist counts for mountain gorillas are not merely a publicity stunt; they are vital to prevent the gorillas from becoming disturbed or contracting diseases; even a common cold can be fatal. It must cost money to get the luxury of being in their company. However, remember that by seeing them, you are supporting their survival, and the trip itself is priceless.
License to drill
Recently, oil reserves of up to 2.5 billion barrels have been found along Uganda’s west side, much of it beneath Murchison Falls, the nation’s largest and oldest nature reserve. There had been 80 boreholes dug there at the end of 2014, producing about 60,000 tonnes of waste; nevertheless, it is anticipated that 600 boreholes will be completed in total. Considerable worries also surround the safe disposal of this waste, the possibility of disastrous oil spills, and the impacts of drilling and geological testing on the local fauna.
The oil reserves are known to spread through Uganda’s most lush and wildlife-rich Rift Valley regions, especially Queen Elizabeth Nature Reserve and Lake Edward, which UNESCO protects.
The Democratic Congo’s border divides the lake. On its west side is the earliest and most rich biodiversity nature reserve in Africa, Congo’s Virunga National Park. Virunga is also home to mountain gorillas. The Ugandan and Congolese authorities continue to pursue oil drilling despite the dangers to the lake’s encircling eco-systems and communities. So, the oil industry was awarded the Lake Edward drilling concession in 2015 in response to harsh international condemnation from conservation groups and NGOs. “Around 200,000 fisherman and residents depend on Lake Edward for a living,” claims Oil in Uganda.
Oil operations here might significantly affect the lake, the unique environment, and the creatures and people who depend on it.
Regarding the invention of oil, there are various points of view. On the one hand, the oil firms’ sudden flood of wealth and the infrastructure they brought with them, such as new roads, are sorely needed, especially in the area around Murchison Falls. The villagers struggled to harvest crops in one of Uganda’s poorest places, which was destroyed by civil war and drought. Many still reside in mud homes with thatched roofs and no drinking water or power.
Given Uganda’s shortage of skilled engineers, chemists, and specialists to carry out extracting and testing, it is uncertain how much funds will reach the people most in need. Importing workers would increase local conflicts and pressure a suffering population. The involved oil firms’ ethics are also seriously questionable. Global Witness research revealed proof of significant payments paid to a dishonest Congolese defense spokesperson. He threatened and even killed activists opposed to the oil company’s exploration. To discover more, see the excellent investigative documentary Virunga.
How to Participate in Responsible Tourism in Uganda
Several international groups are exploring, advocating, and pushing for the oil beneath these valuable ecologies to continue in place. Start sharing these initiatives, sign petitions, donate to Global Witness and WWF, and if you can travel to Uganda or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, visit these magnificent national parks to demonstrate to the govs how much more meaningful they are when they become unaltered.
People & Culture
However, few tourists are informed of the other half of the gorilla’s success story. These woodlands were not just home to gorillas; they also hosted the Batwa people. This pygmy tribe is Uganda’s oldest tribe. They lived a primarily earliest predator accumulator life in these woodlands until 1991, when they were expelled as “conservation refugees” when the national park was established. This productive area is a compactly inhabited pieced together of farms outside the trees; there was no land for the Batwa, so they converted settlers. The Batwa used their languages and could not converse with other communities in the area. No one had ever been to school, neither could read nor write, nor did they have any farming experience, so they had little to offer local farmers. Furthermore, they are highly excluded and even loathed by other groups, which regard them as reluctant, sluggish, and alcoholics. However, alcohol consumption has indeed increased among the tribe.
The Batwa are paying a high price for the gorillas’ success. They had lived in harmony for many years with these enormous apes, woodland elephants, zebra, and other animals. It might have been more helpful to learn from them and develop a more responsible and durable strategy to protect the gorillas rather than expelling them. The knowledge of plants and animals they possessed will be irretrievably lost a quarter-century after being evacuated from their land.
“Changes in conservation practice and theory in the last decade have highlighted the importance of involving communities in the long-term conservation of the world’s landscapes and the vital role indigenous peoples have, but these changes in thought have yet to be felt in Uganda,” says Dr. Christopher Kidd of the Forest Peoples Programme. The Batwa continue to fight for the recovery of their lands and livelihoods, as well as the recognition of their land rights by the Ugandan government.”
The Batwa Encounter is a brilliant idea that incorporates the native Batwa community into tourism and is situated on the boundaries of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Notably, it has worked with the Uganda Wildlife Authority to allow access to the reserve and the forests to Batwa rangers as part of these excursions. They have no other chance to achieve this than now. The Batwa used needles for hunting antelopes, set up wildlife traps, collected honey, and ignited fires. Full-day excursions take visitors over the lowest slopes of the volcano and into the forest to learn about these practices. It’s incredible to see how the more experienced Batwa guides appear to unwind almost immediately once they’re back among the trees.
Another choice is to go into a revered cave where the Batwa once danced and listened to traditional songs to hide from their assailants. The journey is incredible, and knowing the tribe’s history makes it much better. Not every contact with a Batwa is as accountable. Some are even more manipulative of the tribe, such as “pygmy village” trips that use the society as an attraction without the consent of residents or actors that perform for tourists without giving them the chance to participate. The Batwa might not receive payment for participating in either of these situations. So, request further data from your tour guide and confirm the morality of your trip.
Responsible tourism in Uganda includes numerous duties and ethnicities, excellent crafts, and inspiring melody and dancing, which can be found throughout the state. As the vacation industry grows in the area, so are the prospects for locals to participate. There are cooperatives of women who weave baskets and make pots. Local guesthouses and lodges, like the excellent Buhoma Community Lodge and Clouds Mountain Gorilla hotel near Bwindi, are owned by entrepreneurs. Staying in a community-owned establishment does not necessarily imply roughing it.
On the borders of Kibale Forest National Park, the wildlife-rich Bigodi Lakes Refuge is administered by a social organization that organizes tours, creates and markets local goods, and provides guesthouses and food to a local community. The Katwe hamlet, close to Queen Elizabeth Nature Reserve, offers tours of its intriguing Salt Lake and salt mining here today—difficult labor in a portion of Uganda.
There are numerous such instances of social tourism in Uganda, ensuring that your money is kept in the nation and helps those in need. Most tourism in Uganda occurs in parks with authorized guides, excluding locals and their places of work.
However, by venturing outside the parks for even a few nights of your trip, your spending will go a lot farther, and your perception of Uganda as a place to see wildlife will completely shift. The people of Uganda are just as fascinating.
Tips for Responsible Tourism in Uganda
In the nature reserves, you could get aside by wearing shorts and revealing shirts; otherwise, Ugandans dress carefully. Long dresses and slacks are preferred over shorts, and knees and shoulders must be wrapped. The raucous bars in Kampala are the anomaly where everything goes. Kids will visit you from all around the nation and want pencils and candies. Give gifts sparingly because doing so promotes begging and gives visitors the appearance of being walking gift dispensers.
If you think of donating, talk to your tour operator or Vacation Company about what is required in a town, institute, hospital, etc. The gift must be given to the head teacher, leader, or others. If feasible, buy things in Uganda to help the native economy. Traveling to Uganda with an extra bag is recommended because there are many beautiful and surprisingly inexpensive crafts. Be mindful that larger city craft fairs sell many imported goods from Africa. Before photographing individuals, particularly children, obtain their permission. It’s appealing to snap away, but remember to be humble and show respect. Sending images back is a beautiful gesture, but I only agree to do so. For a good reason, gorilla tracking is carefully restricted.
All of the guidelines will be given before you go; however, you must keep at least 7 meters away from the gorilla, and the interaction will last no more than an hour. Diseases such as flu can be easily transmitted to gorillas, with catastrophic implications. Thus this is done to safeguard them. Please remember that if you are ill, you will be unable to follow the gorillas. If you hope to talk to someone, you must use a Ugandan conversation style! Never ask a question immediately; greet them, ask how they are, and expect they will ask the same questions back; Anything less would be deemed impolite. The term ‘mzungu’ will be used frequently by native children. It is used to denote white foreigners (similar to “gringo”) and is not pejorative. Simply smile and wave! Ugandans are incredibly conservative. Greet with a handshake, and keep public displays of love to a minimum if you are traveling as a couple. Homosexuals in Uganda must be discreet when they are together because homosexuality is illegal.
The Social Responsibility of Sight View Safaris
Our safari lodges and safari operations are involved in various Responsible Tourism in Uganda projects, including social and environmental protection programs that affect our businesses. While going the extra mile is essential, Sight View Safaris’ company philosophy is “In Harmony with Nature.” Our responsible travel aim is that our guests leave emotionally more prosperous, knowledgeable, and environmentally conscious than when they arrived and more appreciative of the world when they return home. Our consumers are exposed to the continent’s wealth of artifacts, experiences, and issues that our planet and humanity face.
Sight View Safaris employees know how all aspects of life interact and that tourism and how we conduct a business impact the locations we visit, which can be positive or harmful. We believe in proactively teaching one another and visitors about these cultural and environmental challenges and promoting responsible behavior in daily life.
As individuals and a corporation, we believe in contributing to more important societal goals beyond simply making a profit. We recognize and are concerned about our human impact on the world, causing rapid climate change due to tremendous overconsumption and resource depletion.
We actively encourage partners and affiliates to responsible planning and manage our environment and natural resources to repair harm and secure long-term viability.
Our responsible travel policy also supports Fair Trade in Tourism, which is concerned with ensuring activities beneficial from tourism. Children and youth are being educated and empowered through conservation, education, sports, health, and development skills.
As part of the community outreach projects that Sight View Safaris has undertaken to offer direct and indirect support to communities living adjacent to Uganda’s national parks to earn a living from the tourism dollar, they are safeguarding the National Parks as a result.
Health Care Support
Sight View Safaris promotes excellent health and well-being in the communities and families of the locations we visit through visitor donations of medicine, equipment, and supplies and the assistance of a travel doctor.
We are committed to elevating our community by providing extra assistance and attention to those in greatest need. Children, teens, and adults attend vocational and general life skills courses, have access to a good education and receive assistance in sponsorships and school supplies.
Sewing Machine Project
Sight View Safaris equips women with sewing skills and knowledge to boost their self-esteem and prosperity. Furthermore, we take an essential step by advertising their items in our lodge’s gift store and encouraging visitors to give and volunteer with the group in our cultural centers.
Sight View Safaris’ sustainability activities include reforestation. We run a Carbon Neutral lodge and partner with the Uganda Carbon Bureau to offset our carbon footprint. The indigenous tree planting initiative allows guests to leave a lasting impression at our lodges. We always care about the environment and take steps such as litter collection, waste management, water conservation, recycling, and resource reuse.
Pack For a Purpose
Save a few kilos of luggage space and bring supplies for the programs we help in need. You will make a priceless dissimilarity in the lives of our local kids and families.
How to Pack for a Specific Purpose
Through our fair-trade policy, we help sponsor walking safari guides with guiding skills training courses. We support the guides’ children in our school program, focusing on the girl-child staying in school. At the same time, her father earns a comfortable living.
Bafrika Cultural Center
They are promoting the preservation and education of ancient indigenous Batwa cultures. Cultural performances, habitat conservation, skill development, education, and forest and community tour experiences are the activities displayed at the center. Sight View Safaris is pleased to advertise and sell our visitors the center’s goods and services.
Purpose of Responsible Tourism in Uganda
Our responsible travel policy aims to promote these community-based projects and sustainable companies by strengthening the lives of children, women, and their families. Many of the items developed due to these activities have significantly decreased our carbon footprint while lowering the financial costs associated with obtaining fresh fruit from the community. We are following our standard approach of assisting local communities in and around national parks.
We anticipate that some responsible travel projects will benefit the broader economy by reducing rural-urban migration, empowering communities, and fostering a healthy and educated populace. We hope that others in the sector will follow suit.
Vision For Vulnerable Communities Foundation carries out Responsible Tourism in Uganda
The Vision for Vulnerable Communities Foundation is an affiliate nonprofit organization founded as an umbrella organization representing communities in Uganda’s tourist destinations to recognize the status of tourism as a business and trust that this sector can support societies get out of scarcity. Furthermore, its objective is to enable local people to develop, manage, and develop themselves. With the rise of tourism in the 1990s, towns around “protected areas” and national parks discovered a new source of income: tourism. Uganda has become increasingly suited to small-scale, environmentally connected tourism known as Eco-tourism as a tourist destination. Responsible tourism in Uganda represents excellent opportunities for enhancing local people’s income while maintaining “protected areas.”
The Foundation for Vulnerable Communities will assist communities in building tourism activities that they can plan, manage, and grow themselves. These actions should not replace more conventional agriculture-based economies but offer a required ‘cash crop.’ This is critical to the community’s well-being and the tourism sector they are attempting to establish. Everyone can benefit from community tourism. People from the neighborhood who are illiterate, undereducated, or unemployed can still be engaged as porters to carry water and wood, manage paths and complexes, and work on infrastructure projects. Concerned citizens will find opportunities to grow as they acquire the requisite skills because these are not /dead-end /jobs.
Responsible In Uganda, there are several tourists, but this does not mean that the country’s economy or residents will benefit directly from the money spent there. Society might not take control of this challenging industry unless its potential site comprises various sectors. In addition to jobs and expenses directly associated with the visit, tourism earnings should also be found in farming, architecture, and medical services. The development of crafts, beekeeper, dancing, singing, and drama will continue to offer community possibilities through the Mission For Threatened Communities Foundation. These activities increase opportunities for both the community and the visitor. A crucial component of any vacation is shopping. A beautiful piece of handcrafted art can be brought back to spread holiday cheer.
Suppose concerned citizens are adequately organized and sensitive. In that case, handicrafts may be marketed outside the village through shops in Kampala and even exported.
Vision For Vulnerable Communities Foundation Objectives
We develop and promote infrastructure in rural areas so that access to protected areas is more accessible.
We need to restore Uganda’s rich cultural heritage and its reputation as a quality tourism destination.
The destination area’s rich religious and cultural values should be preserved and promoted.
We are giving value to and promoting traditional skills, values, Cultures, and the history of our communities.
In order to increase foreign tourism, provide accommodations that are free from harassment and pollution, as well as infrastructure and sanitation facilities that are appropriate.
We are incorporating marginalized and poor sectors into the labor market.
To increase tourism awareness among the communities, we provide tourism training.
Increase tourism industry income for the benefit of the host community by utilizing local resources and skills.
We are Lobbying the private sector to use CBT activities.
We provide training on natural resource management and sustainable technologies for communities.
To contribute to our social & environmental initiatives or book our safaris to automatically be a part of Sight View Safaris Responsible Tourism in Ugandares organized by our travel team. Contact us now.