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Uganda Is a Blend Of Savannah And Forest Creatures, Making Her a Classic Wildlife Adventure Tourism Destination

Mt. Elgon National Park/Courtesy photo

By Nabendeh Wamoto

Uganda Wildlife Authority’s (UWA) Mt. Elgon National Park has caused conflict with the masses since its inception in 1994. Why do we conserve and for whom, is the topic I was asked to discuss in my weekly Swahili language international radio interview  in commemoration of International Wildlife day on 3rd March 2024.

This is so because I was a warrior advocate of the Save the White Rhinoceros in the Republic of Kenya  under the late president Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi.

In Uganda today, I am part of a crusading group to save our soils by planting bamboo in Bugisu. To answer the above question, I refer to a discussion by a celebrated African-American army General of the Operation Desert Storm fame  COLLIN POWELL, I quote ” During my first tour of combat, I was an advisor to a South Vietnamese infantry battalion posted along the Laotian border.

The battalion commander was captain Vo Cong Heiu, who took me on an informal inspection of our army base camp when I arrived. Directly behind our post, a mountain loomed over our heads. I pointed towards it and Heiu said with a grin , ‘Laos.

From that mountain side, the enemy could almost roll rocks down onto us.’ I wondered why the base had been established in such a vulnerable spot. ‘Very important outpost’, Heiu assured me. What is its mission?, I asked. ‘Our post is here to protect the air field’, he said pointing towards our departing marine helicopter.

What is the airfield here for?, I asked. ‘Airfield is here to resupply our post’, he said. From my training at Fort Bragg, I knew our formal role was to establish a “presence” and stop the Viet Cong from moving through. But Heiu’s words were the immediate reality. The outpost was there to protect an airstrip, which airstrip was there to protect and supply the outpost.” Therefore, we conserve the environment in order to conserve ourselves. Uganda is about the size of the United Kingdom, with a total area of 239,000 square kilometers of land, the rest is water, (lakes, River and Marshland). Those who market her (the country) renowned as the Peal of Africa so far do not even mention that one could cross the great Equator twice while looking in the same direction.

Ecologically, Uganda is where the East African Savannah meets the west African jungle. In this lush country is where one can observe lions prowling the open plains in the morning and track Chimpanzees through the rain forests undergrowth the same afternoon then the next day navigate tropical channels teeming with hippopotamus before setting off into the misty mountains to stare into the eyes of the mountain gorilla, which is Uganda’s star attraction. The mountain gorilla is the most endangered; the bulkiest of living primates and among the most peaceable gentle giants who share 95% of their genes with the humans and fewer than 700 individuals that survive today all over the face of the earth, divided between Uganda’s Bwindi National Park and the Virunga mountains shared by Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Equally, Uganda is Africa’s most complete bird watching destinations. This alluring birding list includes the psychedelic great blue Turaco and the raucous black and white casqued Horn bill as well as the gem-like green Broad bill and the recorded 23 other species endemics to the Albertine Rift (Bunyoro area). The country also hosts the most sought-after African bird; Shoe bill, a massive prehistoric looking swamp dweller notable for its heavy clog-shaped bill. This verdant bio-diversity is further attested to by the country’s status as by far the smallest of the four African countries whose bird checklist tops the 1000 mark. 1000 species recorded within an area comparable to that of Great Britain!! There is more to the country beyond wildlife, the mighty Nile punctuated by the spectacular Murchison falls, with the world’s most thrilling commercial white-water rafting. There are the snow-capped peaks of the Ruwenzori Mountain, with tantalizing challenge to dedicated mountaineers, the Virunga Volcanoes and Mount Elgon both of which offer highly rewarding hiking opportunity though scintillating high land scenery. More sedately, the Myriad Islands of Lake Victoria and Bunyonyi in the south western region of Uganda. The country boasts abundant forest fringed crater lakes that stroll the rift valley floor and escarpment around Fort Portal.

Bujagali near Jinja is the lunching point of white-water rafting across the Nile in the East also one of the safest in the world, passing through three heart stopping grades, five rapids in one day and Bujagali also provides Kayaking, Quad-biking and 44 meter- high bungee jumps from a cliff above the Nile.

Nabendeh Wamoto S.P (0752658433), simonwamoto@yahoo.co.uk

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