Home » Africa: Uganda creates tourism guidelines for reopening, hikes Gorilla trekking fees by $100

Africa: Uganda creates tourism guidelines for reopening, hikes Gorilla trekking fees by $100

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In alignment with President Yoweri Museveni and the Ugandan government’s action to contain the spread of COVID-19 within the country, the Ministry of Wildlife Tourism & Antiquities and the Uganda Tourism Board have created guidelines for tourism and hospitality enterprises as part of Uganda’s COVID-19 mitigation and recovery plans.

While Uganda’s borders remain closed, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) announced on June 5 that savannah parks and reserves are open for domestic tourism with measures in place that align with the Ministry of Health’s guidelines.

Primate tourism and research remain suspended and primate parks remain closed until further notice. UWA has introduced the following procedures which will remain in effect when borders re-open for international tourism:

• Mandatory temperature screening using non-contact infra-red thermometers at key tourism gates

• Mandatory hand washing/sanitizing all the entrances of all UWA premises and protected areas

• Vehicles and boats will initially operate at half capacity in accordance with government social kdistancing guidelines

• Groups exceeding 25 people will initially not be permitted in the parks at the same time for the same activities

• Visitors to parks are encouraged to carry their own hand sanitizer and face masks

Travelers, travel advisors, and tour operators who need to reschedule gorilla trekking permits because of COVID-19 travel restrictions can do so up to two times through December 31, 2022. Successful rescheduling is contingent upon the status of COVID-19 and government regulations within Uganda at the time of request.

On July 1, 2020, the cost of gorilla trekking permits will increase from US$600 to US$700. Travelers whose travels have been affected by COVID-19 and whose original trekking permits were scheduled prior to July 1, 2020 will not be required to pay any additional costs upon rebooking. 

Meanwhile in May, two new mountain gorilla babies were born in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, joining the species’ growing, population of more than 1,000 in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Every birth is a success for the species. Mother Kabagyenyi and father (Silverback) Bweza are looking after their baby in the Nshongi family. The other baby is a new member of the Muyambi family.

Previously listed as critically endangered, the mountain gorillas’ status changed to endangered in 2018, marking one of the world’s best conservation success stories. Conservation is driven by tourism, as money generated by permits and park fees helps support efforts to protect the species and its natural habitat. 

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